by Lorraine Payette, written August 11, 2013
(GANANOQUE, ONTARIO) Lisa Bird, Executive Director of the Downtown Gananoque BIA, sat in the shade of her tent at the second Gourmets of Gananoque on August 10, happily enjoying a pulled pork parfait that she had just picked up from the True Catering booth on the festival site on King Street East.
“This is wonderful,” she said. “I can’t encourage folks enough to go over and try one out.”
The dish, a new treat created for the occasion, was just one of the tantalizing specials brought out to celebrate the day. The best foods in the area were available for the tasting, and could be had for different numbers of coupons. Each coupon cost a dollar, and various items went for anywhere from one coupon on up.
Whether your taste was for Afro-Caribbean or traditional North American food, pulled pork or baked beans, Jamaican patties or almost anything else, prices ranged from one to five coupons. The food was fresh and instantaneous, served with a smile and a chance to go back and get some more.
“It’s a work in progress, but it’s coming,” said Councillor Bill Sheppard. “We’ve had a truly great day for weather, and lots of people out. Everyone seems really happy to be here getting a chance to try all this great food.”
Three students from the Youth In Policing Initiative assisted with the event throughout the day. Jonah Paquette, one of the YIPIs helping at the event, was kept busy making sure everyone had what they needed.
“It’s good,” he said. “There’s lots to do, and the food is pretty good.”
Live music was provided by The Stares, a band specializing in music from the 60s, 70s and 80s, as well as Chaka Chikodzi on marimba and Simon Handley on drums playing down the street. DJ the Balloon twister was there for the kids, and everywhere was the sound of joyous celebration as people forgot their diets and took advantage of great food and good times.
“We sold over 2,800 coupons,” said Bird. “A busy day was had by all. Our vendors heard positive comments all day, and the downtown merchants stepped up with sidewalk sales and internal raffles. On my rounds I popped into some businesses and saw lots of people browsing and shopping. For only being the second year of this event locally, it was well attended and will continue to grow.
“We want to give many thanks to the Thousand Islands Accommodation Partners (TIAP) and Bergeron Clifford Law offices for their sponsorship. Without them, we could never have got this off the ground.”
This year’s participants included Hot Roast Co. (serving roast beef sliders with horse radish, scones with cream and preserves, and lemonade), Robeson’s General Store (Mini cold plate and homemade square with coffee), OLG-Gateway Restaurant (crab-and-lobster dip and spinach dip), All About Books and Internet Café, Danos Pizza and Subs (poutine sampler), First Nations Creations (Victory Tea), Eagle Point Winery presented by Moroni’s Restaurante (2011 Riesling, 1000 Island Sunrise, 1000 Island Blush, 2011 Merlot, 2007 Reserve), Afro Caribbean Society (Jamaican patties, samosas, mandazi, atta, rice, collard greens, jerk chicken, fried plantain, beef stew, greens, ugali, fried fish greens, rice & beans,mango, guava, water, coconut drinks), Donevan’s (gourmet sno-cones), True Catering/Sweet 101 (pulled pork parfait, cotton candy) and Hometown Catering (country baked beans, broccoli quiche, bacon-potato salad).
Plans are already in the works for next year’s food festival, which promises to be bigger and better than ever. For more on Gourmets of Gananoque, please contact the Gananoque BIA at 613-382-9900.