On The Hunt For Good Food In Prince Edward County

You intrepid GFR reporter tries his hand at a spot of ice fishing on the Bay of Quinte, apparently one of the very best places in Canada for Walleye. I have to admit that it was a little nerve-wracking. Who knew that one could ice fish on only three inches of ice? Thank goodness for the tumblers of whisky.

Your intrepid GFR reporter tries his hand at a spot of ice fishing on the Bay of Quinte, apparently one of the very best places in Canada for Walleye/Pickerel. I have to admit that it was a little nerve-wracking. Who knew that one could ice fish on only three inches of ice? Thank goodness for the tumblers of whisky as I was pretty damn anxious… especially with the CC-177 Globemaster III transport planes from nearby Trenton airbase flying right over our little fishing spot.

Just last weekend I had the extreme pleasure of spending a weekend with Vicki Samaras and Jonas Newman of Prince Edward County’s Hinterland winery and County Road Beer Company. Ostensibly I was there to learn some hunting basics (see my New Years Resolutions) as Jonas is a seasoned compound bow and recurve crossbow hunter. Little did I know that the very same weekend Jonas and Vicki had partnered with both Norman Hardie Winery and Angéline’s Inn to present a game dinner cooked by Hinterland Chef Neil Dowson and a fishy lunch prepared by Scout Canning’s Charlotte Langley, as well as accommodations at the aforementioned Angélines. Oh, and especially for me Jonas decided to throw in a little ice fishing too.

Their next dinner is on the 25th of February featuring Chef Daniel Usher preparing a southern European dinner at Norm Hardie’s with Chef Dowson assembling a Danish Smorrebord Sunday lunch at Hinterland. Check out the Hinterland website for further details as they are made available. The cost for last week’s dinner/accommodation/lunch package was $500 per head.

As sun retreated we experienced the magical hour. And it got even colder. Much colder. The ice started freezing up even more, and I heard and felt my first ever ice quake. Utterly terrifying. Did we catch anything in our two hours on the ice? Nope. But it was a truly amazing and exhilarating experience, and I think that's the point. I'd love to do this again soon.

As the sun retreated we experienced the magical hour. And it got even colder. Much colder. The ice started freezing up even more, and I heard and felt my first ever ice quake. Utterly terrifying. Did we catch anything in our two hours on the ice? Nope. But it was a truly amazing and exhilarating experience, and I think that’s the point. I’d love to do this again soon.

Hinterland Chef Dowson hails from England, with his last job in the UK being Scotland's luxury Torridon Hotel (located next to the Balmoral estate, where he learned a thing or two about preparing game. All of the meat and fish served had been hunted/caught by Hinterland's Winemaker Jonas Newman.

Hinterland Chef Dowson hails from England, with his last job in the UK being Scotland’s luxury Torridon Hotel (located next to the Balmoral estate, where he learned a thing or two about preparing game. All of the meat and fish served that evening had been hunted/caught by Hinterland’s Winemaker Jonas Newman. Note the Venison heart and liver from one of Jonas’ hunts ready for prep on the table at the County Road Beer Company brewery.

Upstairs above the Hinterland tasting bar, hidden behind their sparkling library, is this wonderful little gastronomic sanctuary, available for private parties and special events.

Upstairs above the Hinterland tasting bar, hidden behind their sparkling library, is this wonderful little gastronomic sanctuary, available for private parties and special events. Seats 16 comfortably.

The mild-mannered Jonas Newman turns out to be a seasoned hunter. Here he is pictured with one of his compound bows and his recurve crossbow. Behind is a sturgeon skin courtesy of Cornel at Acadian Sturgeon.

The mild-mannered Jonas Newman turns out to be a seasoned hunter. Here he is pictured with one of his compound bows and his recurve crossbow. Behind is a sturgeon skin courtesy of Cornel at Acadian Sturgeon.

Chef Neil Dowson serves up a piping hot pot of Bullshot, and delicious mix of game consommé, spices, and gin. Just the thing to warm you up on a chilly Canadian Winter evening.

Chef Neil Dowson serves up a piping hot pot of Bullshot, and delicious mix of game consommé, spices, and gin. Just the thing to warm you up on a chilly Canadian Winter evening.

Smoked Trout Rillette, something that worked incredibly well with a glassful of bubbles from Hinterland's range.

Smoked Trout Rillette, something that worked incredibly well with a glassful of bubbles from Hinterland’s range.

Venison Heart Tartare, from the heart pictured above. Exquisite.

Venison Heart Tartare, from the heart pictured above. Exquisite.

Seared Venison Liver on Crostini with Apple. A favourite of mine.

Seared Venison Liver on Crostini with Apple. A favourite of mine. From the liver pictured previously.

Game Paté-En-Croute, stuffed with pheasant, duck, goose, rabbit, and venison. Served with cressy mustard and cornichon. Mind-blowing, and served with some vintage Hinterland Rosé.

Game Paté-En-Croute, stuffed with pheasant, duck, goose, rabbit, and venison. Served with cressy mustard and cornichon. Mind-blowing, and served with some 2013 vintage Hinterland Rosé.

Lake Pickerel (Walleye) Paupiette with a Salmon Roe Beurre Blanc and Fleuron, served alongside the gorgeous 2013 Les Etoiles from HInterland.

Lake Pickerel (Walleye) Paupiette with a Salmon Roe Beurre Blanc and Fleuron, served alongside the gorgeous 2013 Les Etoiles from Hinterland.

Haunch of Venison with Gratin Potato, Maple Roasted Carrots, Pickled Red Cabbage, and Celeriac Purée. Served with two vintages of Ontario Syrah, the first from the Lake Erie North Shore Project (made with Will Predhomme) and the second the Red Herring Wismer-Parke Vineyard from Niagara. Both were distinctly different, but a superb match for the venison.

Haunch of Venison with Gratin Potato, Maple Roasted Carrots, Pickled Red Cabbage, and Celeriac Purée. Served with two vintages of Ontario Syrah, the first from the 2012 Lake Erie North Shore Project (made with Will Predhomme) and the second the 2015 Red Herring Wismer-Foxcroft Vineyard from Niagara. Both were distinctly different, but a superb match for the venison. I haven’t had wild venison for nigh on 21 years since I left Scotland. This was really special.

And of course some cheese (served at a perfect temperature) : The perfect end to a delightful evening... paired with even more Hinterland bubbles.

And of course some cheese (served at a perfect temperature) : The perfect end to a delightful evening… paired with even more Hinterland bubbles.

Just a touch more of that 2012 Syrah please?

Just a touch more of that 2012 Syrah please?

The next morning at Norman Hardie's for some sparkling and oysters around the brazier.

The next morning at Norman Hardie’s for some sparkling and oysters around the brazier.

A fascinating barrel and tank tasting with Winemaker Norman Hardie in the cellar of his winery. It was pretty chilly down there...

A fascinating barrel and tank tasting with Winemaker Norman Hardie in the cellar of his winery. It was pretty chilly down there…

Scout Canning's Charlotte Langley was in charge of our fish-focused luncheon, and after a night of game meats it went down a treat.

Scout Canning’s Charlotte Langley was in charge of our fish-focused luncheon, and after a night of game meats it went down a treat.

B.C. Albacore Tuna with Whipped Bacon Fat and Celery Foliage.

B.C. Albacore Tuna with Whipped Bacon Fat and Celery Foliage, served with Le Portage Laurentian, a wine made by Norman Hardie specially for Montreal’s Joe Beef.

Lightly-Smoked Lake Trout with Carrots and Fennel.

Lightly-Smoked Lake Trout with Carrots, Fennel and Roe.

Lightly-Smoked Lake Trout with Carrots, Fennel and Roe.

Lightly-Smoked Lake Trout with Carrots, Fennel and Roe.

Whitefish Pie (from a can) with a Pickled Egg.

Whitefish Pie (from a can) with a Pickled Egg, served with the 2014 Norman Hardie Cuvée Des Amis… an excellent pairing.

Charlotte created this amazing canned dessert too. It was really quite special... and I never usually eat dessert!

Charlotte created this amazing canned dessert too. It was really quite special… and I never usually eat dessert! Honey Yogurt Pancotta, Raw Blueberry Flour Crust, Pistachios and Citrus.

It really was an astonishing weekend, with some stellar food and wine coupled with the very best in company.


Jamie DrummondEdinburgh-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 truly unique experience.

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