Good morning readers! A couple of days ago I was able to squeeze a media event into my schedule, so here’s the preview! It took place at St. Albert’s Enjoy Centre, and if you haven’t made the trip there yet, you’re missing out on some stunning plants!
Fast forward three or so months and think about where you’ll be. Edmonton’s weather will be cool and the majority of us will be praying that snow comes later rather than sooner. Long gone are the festivals of summer, K-Days, Heritage Days, the Fringe Festival. School will have started, the leaves may be starting to fall, perhaps Canada Thanksgiving prep will be on your mind. You know where I’ll be? Most likely still living my dream of learning all things food related and eating, of course! And this time, it’ll be at St. Albert’s horticulinary festival, Dig In!
What does that even mean… horticulinary? Well it’s a word the organizers made up. It’s a fusion between horticulture, the art of gardening, growing, and plant cultivations, with the word culinary, the art of preparing or cooking of foods. So it makes perfect sense that the two words together mean that Dig In! is a festival of growing ingredients, for the purpose of eating delicious food! In partnership with ACTA (Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance) and the City of St. Albert, it sounds like my sort of thing!
The festival takes place over the evening of Friday, October 11 and all day Saturday, October 12, which happens to be our nation’s Thanksgiving long weekend. A perfect way to spend time with the family and still have time to make a fab dinner on Sunday!
Friday will kick off the festival with Alberta Ate Chef Collaborative Dinner, an interactive dining experience nine participating chefs (*pictured from the right to left at the media event)
- Chef Blair Lebsack of RGE RD*
- Chef Karine Moulin of Calgary’s Hotel Arts (Season 4 Top Chef Canada contestant!)*
- Chef Doreen Prei of Petroleum Club*
- Chef Jan Hansen of Calgary’s Heritage Park*
- Chef Danielle Job of Edmonton’s Holt Renfrew Cafe*
- Chef Steven Furgiuele of Culina Mill Creek
- Chef Julia Kundera of St. Albert’s The Glasshouse Bistro
- Chef Brad Lazarenko of Culina
- Chef John Riedler of Jasper’s Raven Bistro
The gala dinner will feature six courses, with locally sourced ingredients, and diners will be involved with some of the prep of their meals! Tickets are $110 and can be bought online.
Saturday will be an all day event. The main stage at St. Albert’s Enjoy Centre will feature free demonstrations and samplings, more details to come as summer rolls around. A retro-style series of contests for the best pie and best pickle of St. Albert will also be held, in addition to what may be the hottest event that weekend: a contest on who can handle the second hottest pepper in the world, the Trinidad moruga scorpion! Think you’re tough enough? On the Scoville scale, a habanero rates 100,000 – 350,000 heat units. The Trinidad moruga scorpion? 2,000,000 to 2,200,000 heat units! Holy smokes. Can’t wait to see who’s crazy enough for that… Jim Hole was super excited about it!
Dig In! will also host pre-registered sessions in a few different venues. A detailed schedule can be found here. Classes I’m looking forward to the most: container gardening (I knew that spare room in my future condo would be used!), cheese 101 (who doesn’t love cheese?), wineology (self explanatory), and baking with Chef Karine Moulin! Or how about a 2 hour session of jam making? Or pickling? Or an outdoor foraging adventure in the white spruce forests? Sessions are $20 each or 3 sessions for $50. I was told that class sizes will be in the 20’s or less to keep things intimate. Registration is already open!
Can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but I can’t wait for October! Something to look forward to now at the very least. More details are on the website, www.diginstalbert.ca and follow their Twitter page, @DigInFest, for updates. Thanks to the organizers for the invite to the media event (I’m hardly media, but okay, sure!) and I got a cute little thyme pot to start off my horticulinary adventure! (For those who don’t know, I don’t have the greenest of thumbs.) I’ll leave you with more photos of the Enjoy Centre instead. 🙂