First stop on my culinary tour of Guelph was the lovely French Country cooking inspired Artisanale. I literally had just stepped off the bus when I was whisked away in a convertible by Sue and Stacey from Guelph Tourism’s Taste Real. The sun was shining through multicoloured maple and oak trees as we zoomed through the city on the quintessential Autumn afternoon.
As soon as we arrived I walked around the dining room and bar taking pictures of the classic country style interior. I was then introduced to Yasser Qahawish, the restaurants Chef and owner who rather than shaking my hand decided to give me a bear hug (Mr. Friendly, a testament to Guelph’s hospitality).
Once seated at the table I was introduced to two other guests who are “farm to fork” and “eat local” champions in the community. Ingrid Von Cube sat directly across from me throughout the meal and told wild and wonderful stories of her work organizing various food initiatives for the Olympics in Vancouver and Beijing. She also recently coordinated a Taste Real Field Dinner featuring special guest Chef Lynn Crawford. Kate Vsetula is the Team Lead for the Guelph Community Health Centre and has been an advocate for promoting local food in the community for many years. She chit chatted about the development of the Guelph Food Charter which seeks to promote the procurement of local food by consumers and industry in order to preserve and enhance sustainable agricultural diversity in the region.
I enjoyed a glass of cold cider (I was feeling in such a Fall mood) and slathered cold butter onto a perfectly crispy house made bread. Over the next hour we sampled a selection of dishes from the restaurant lunch and dinner menu courtesy of Chef Yasser. Spoons filled with silken potage were followed by the crunch of tartine. Swordfish and rabbit centric mains perfectly showcased the flavours of the season. Sweet finish with a Pear Bourdaloue and after wiping the crumbs off my chin I was back in the car zooming to my next appointment at Prof Joe Barth’s Wine Oenology class where I would continue my infamous ability to sip and speak in tandem.
Goat Cheese and Roasted Pepper Tartine
Grilled Swordfish with Ratatouille
Rabbit Ravioli with Sauce Supreme