One of the most memorable food events of 2013 for me was Indulgence, a Canadian epic of food and wine. I was on a short break this time last year and I wasn’t going to make the same mistake for this year’s event! For $75 pp, ticket holders were able to enjoy 18 different stations, each a team of local chefs from Edmonton’s fabulous restaurants, collaborating with local producers and farmers, and paired with some of Canada’s best VGA wines. Unbeatable price, unbeatable food. I don’t think any other food event can touch Indulgence when comparing quality of food and drink with ticket prices. It’s no wonder it sold out within the hour. Luckily I was on the ball and got four tickets for us right at 9am when they went on sale!
Doors opened at 6:30pm on the dot. A horde of hungry (and thirsty!) Edmontonians were gathered at the Delta Edmonton South lobby, waiting for those doors to open. It got pretty hot! I think Indulgence has grown into such a large event that perhaps expanding it to a larger facility would be beneficial! It would also allow more restaurants and producers to pair up, and more ticket sales! It’s such a successful event, why not more!
We started off by going to the tables in the back of the room first to avoid the crowds. Culina and The Cheesiry’s creation of baby potato and asparagus salad with pecorino aioli served as our first bites. Light and delicious! A lot of the tables showcased the produce, such as Doef’s Greenhouses, paired with Century Hospitality Group’s Lux Steakhouse & Bar. I didn’t manage to get a close up, but the terrine packed a rich flavor and the tomato jam was super sweet. A kaa-pow in the mouth after our first bites! I enjoyed it, contemplating seconds, whereas some might have found the whole bite too sweet from too much jam.
Last year Culina (?) had made a Caprese salad that Jody kept coming back for. When we saw the tomato salad by Von’s Steakhouse & Oyster Bar x Gull Valley Greenhouses, Jody was quick to head for the table. Although not as addictive as last year’s tomato salad, the tomato basil sorbet was flavorful and absolutely delicious! Bits of blue cheese sprinkled on the salad provided the much desired salt as well. Fantastic, as I’m not the biggest fan of blue cheese in the first place!
Unaware that the next booth was actually more of a dessert course, we picked it on up anyways. By far the prettiest dish of the evening in my opinion, The Marc x Fairwinds Farm created a dish of Fairwinds Farm chevre and goat yogurt parfait, red beet and goat’s milk ice cream, orange and hazelnut crumble, parsley oil, and fennel pollen. They also created quite the stir in my group of friends and a ripple in others I bumped into as well! We all loved the red beet and goat’s milk ice cream (to die for!) but the parsley oil just threw us off. Most components were on the sweeter side so it was strange that the orange and hazelnut crumble didn’t have any notes of sweetness in them. This still didn’t stop us from coming back for seconds just for the beet component!
Other dishes for the evening: Madison’s Grill & Vintage Room x Sunworks Farm dish of coq au vin with caramelized pearl onion, smashed potato with grilled chicken garlic and rosemary sausage and Toast Fine Catering x Sylvan Star Cheese dish of ramp agnolotti with a Sylvan Star Old Grizzly crisp (love this cheese!).
One of the best parts of Indulgence is getting to meet the producers and farmers. Harvest Micro Greens explained to us the uses of their products and provided arugula seeds for free!
And the eats continued! Jody liked the Delta Edmonton South x Four Whistle Farms’ lamb souvlaki slider so much she came back for seconds. We were lucky enough to see Chad Moss, president of Slow Food Edmonton, the organizer of Indulgence. He taught Jody and I some culinary skills courses at NAIT and even sold me my knife from Knifewear! It’s always nice to bump into him at various events! Even a bonus that he gave us an extra piece of super-crispy Alley Kat beer battered Ling Cod.
We even bumped into Edmonton’s own Phil Wilson, or you might know him as the food blogger, Baconhound! Fan pics! Fan pics!
The most interesting thing I ate? A pulled bison hump sausage fatty and bison heart tataki by RGE RD x Alberta Bison Ranch. I’ve never had bison hump before and it was surprisingly fatty. Did not know that’s where they stored extra fat! It’s still lean when compared to other meat cuts but it was interesting! Bison heart was prepared Japanese tataki style, a blue rare slice. It was chewy. That’s the best way for me to describe it. I wasn’t the biggest fan but apparently bison heart does have that texture to it!
The most popular dish of the night? Red Ox Inn x Berry Ridge Orchard paired to make warm beignets rolled in Saskatoon sugar and filled with Saskatoon jelly. Holy moly. A tray of fresh beignets would come out, filled on site, and be gone before the minute was up. I know this because I stood there through three tray cycles. Ahhh-mazing. One of the best beignets I’ve ever had. People were just standing around waiting for these trays to come out from the kitchens. Piping hot, they were light (although not as airy as the ones at The Marc‘s restaurant) but delicious with the Saskatoon berry filling! No lie. I had two. And a half.
That’s not even all the booths. I’m missing photos of at least a quarter of the dishes, and I didn’t nearly touch all of the wines that were paired with every dish. Most booths had an option of a red or white wine, some even had three or four offerings. I managed to taste maybe a third before I had to call it quits to become the group’s designated driver. Joe and Andrew had a good time though, including multiple samplings of Alley Kat’s Main Squeeze beer. Mmm, grapefruit.
Indulgence is the must-go-to food event of the year. The lesson here: get your tickets on time. No doubt next year’s event will be just as successful if not more. I hope they expand to a larger facility and accommodate more people! Superb food, fantastic selection of wines and drinks, the chance to talk to local and rural producers, farmers, ranchers, and your favorite chefs (even Chef McGuire from Tzin was there to help out RGE RD!). For $75 pp, it’s so worth it. I definitely indulged to the fullest last night and I look forward to next year’s event! Great job Slow Food Edmonton and its volunteers and thanks to Delta Edmonton South for hosting!
For more information on next year’s event, make sure you follow @IndulgenceYEG on Twitter or their Facebook page.Indulgence