Discretely hidden on Dufferin, just north of Eglington, lies the Casa dels Països Catalan de Toronto, or the Catalan Centre of Toronto. A few months back Good Food Revolution’s Malcolm Jolley and I had contacted the Centre’s Josep Lluis with a view to speaking with him about Toronto’s Catalan community. After both having spent some time in both Spanish and French Catalonia, we had come to a mutual agreement that we would make a determined joint effort to learn more about Catalan cuisine, culture, and wine.
After a meeting with Josep, during which he explained his passionate interest in the upcoming Scottish referendum, we were delighted to discover that we were to be given the honour of judging the centre’s third annual Traditional Catalonian Cuisine Competition, alongside Chef Chris McDonald Chef/Patron of Toronto’s Cava restaurant.
Despite our mutual love for the cuisine of Catalonia, both Malcolm and I were most pleased to count Chris as a fellow judge, as when it came to appraising the individual dishes neither of us were too confident in our abilities when it came down to marking for Catalan authenticity. Thankfully Chris McDonald is a dab hand when it comes to such matters, and so with his sage guidance we were all set for our afternoon of judging.
Fuelled by the genuine warmth of community spirit in the room, coupled with a few carafes of red wine (not Catalan I must add!), the three of us embarked upon our assigned mission of judging a series of ten savoury and three dessert dishes. As you can see through the pictures below, so much good fun was had, and new friendships were made.
In our closing comments I went out on a limb and asked what it would take for Malcolm and me to join the celebrations as competitors in 2015. The crowd erupted into a rousing cheer of encouragement… so guess what Good Food Revolution will be doing to celebrate Sant Jordi (St George’s Day) on the 23rd of April next year?
We’ll certainly be looking forward to it, and over the intervening 12 months we’ll be searching for some well-priced Catalan wine to celebrate with.
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And that was a terrific way to spend a Spring Sunday. Roll on next year!