County secures ‘terroir’ showcase
Tracy Haskett, an employee in Norfolk’s development and cultural services department, shared the good news this week that Norfolk will play host to the 11th annual Terroir Rural Retreat in April. The retreat will provide Norfolk chefs an opportunity to showcase locally-produced food to 150 national and international tastemakers in the travel and hospitality industry. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER
Norfolk County has secured a major opportunity to showcase its “terroir.”
Norfolk recently learned it has been selected to play host to the 11th annual Terroir Rural Retreat.
The event is organized by the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance.
The Rural Retreat traditionally takes place the day after OCTA business representatives and food and travel writers hold a day-long conference concerning issues affecting their industry.
This year’s Terroir Symposium will be held at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto April 23. The Rural Retreat will be held Tuesday, April 24, at the Burning Kiln Winery on Front Road north of Turkey Point.
Norfolk food products will be front and centre as local chefs prepare meals and dessert for about 150 guests.
Local eateries represented include the Blue Elephant in Simcoe, The Combine in Simcoe, David’s of Port Dover, and the Erie Beach Hotel in Port Dover. Guests will be served wine and beer produced in Norfolk.
The Rural Retreat is a coup for Norfolk’s tourism and economic development department. Many of the guests are leading “influencers” in print, on television, and on social media when it comes to travel destinations and fine dining.
“The businesses behind this are very eager to boost Norfolk County,” Tracy Haskett, an employee in Norfolk’s development and cultural services department, told Norfolk council Tuesday.
“This event will put Norfolk County on the world stage where it belongs.”
“Terroir” is a French word that refers to growing conditions in a particular area. It is most commonly used in reference to the soil and climate in grape-growing regions that produce wine. Each terroir is unique and gives rise to flavours found nowhere else.
“The terroir within Norfolk varies greatly from area to area,” Scott McRae, head chef at David’s, says in Norfolk’s application to OCTA.
“The sandy soil near the lakeshore lends itself to vegetables such as asparagus, cucumbers, squash, cabbage and fruits like blueberries and grapes. Many chefs get excited at the start of spring when asparagus is the first vegetable to be readily available.
“It signals the start of the growing season and is featured prominently on many restaurant menus for the limited time that it is available.”
Norfolk’s four-coloured, glossy application features local farmers, speaks about the county’s growing number of wineries and breweries, and mentions that Lake Erie perch and pickerel are local staples.
The document explains why Norfolk promotes itself as “Ontario’s Garden.”
It highlights the fact that Norfolk is the most agriculturally diverse region in the country. Norfolk is the No. 1 grower of pumpkins, asparagus, ginseng, peppers and cherries in Canada while being the leading producer of strawberries, rye, cabbage, squash and zucchini in Ontario.
Other prominent crops include sweet corn, apples, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.