I love the LCBO – and no, not because I’m a wino!
What I love about it is how they celebrate food and the pleasure of making it and enjoying it – with a complementary drink of course. I’ve been a fanatic of their magazine “Food and Drink” for years, and just recently I discovered they actually host cooking classes at select locations!
I finally had the opportunity to try an LCBO cooking class at the Millcroft location in Burlington last Tuesday. It was called “The Best of the Season” dinner and it was taught by Chef Tobias Pohl-Weary of the Red Canoe, a local bistro.
It was just an observational class, which meant we sat and watched while he cooked and explained. Good food without having to put in any work? That’s fine by me! Oh and did I mention there were wine pairings for each course? Even better!
Course 1: Local sweet pea and tarragon gazpacho
This was served with a scallop ceviche, but due to my allergies I had to have it left off. I liked this dish – although it was very garlicky! I also learned a neat tip that if you blend your gazpacho with olive oil, it emulsifies it and lightens the texture.
Course 2: Heirloom tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad with maple-Merlot reduction and grape seed oil and basil puree
This was awesome! I like the way he revived the typical tomato and cheese pairing by using a basil puree and the unexpected flavour of Merlot.
Course 3: Smoked heritage chicken served with summer sausage and potato casserole and sweet balsamic onion jam
I really loved the onion jam, but everything else was pretty mediocre. Maybe it’s because I’ve never really been that impressed by smoked chicken – I’ll take a nice brined and roasted chicken over smoked chicken any day! But if the fancy ever strikes, I learned how to make a stove-top smoker that can be used for not only chicken, but other meats, fish, cheese, or even tofu!
Course 4: Sweet buttermilk biscuits served with whipped cream, strawberries, and chocolate mousse
This was my favourite course! The biscuit was topped with turbinado sugar, so it had a nice sweet crunch to it. And the mousse was soft, and rich, and everything a mousse should be.
We got to take home the booklet of recipes with us, which is great because I can almost guarantee I will be making that mousse recipe soon! I also plan on playing around with wine reductions and seeing what other flavours I can use. I may or may not make the other recipes again, but I can definitely say I came out of that class inspired and with a few new tips under my belt!
Have you ever been to a cooking class before? What was it like?