Video by John Sweeney sweentown.com
I have just spent a week at Devour! The Food Film Fest in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, where All The Time In The World was screening. Devour combines two of my favourite things: films and food. And not just any food. Devour celebrates local, sustainable, gourmet food – bringing amazing chefs, both from Nova Scotia and from all over North America, to cook for its patrons. Even Sam Kass, the chef for the Obamas during their terms in the White House, was in attendance.
No living off bags of popcorn at this film festival! Films, gourmet dinners, foraging tours, culinary workshops and wine tasting are all part of Devour. I had the pleasure of spending a windy afternoon on the shores of the Minas Basin foraging for periwinkles during low tide with local chef Sean Laughey who was accompanied by From the Wild filmmaker Kevin Kossowan and Chef Blair Lebsack of RGE RD restaurant in Edmonton. Chef Blair sources all his meat from local farmers and incorporates locally foraged foods into his dishes.
I learned how to cook an amazing spiralized celeriac pasta with a goat’s cheese, onion and wild mushroom sauce from Chef Chris Pyne of Founders House in Nova Scotia, . And from Chef Louis Bouchard Trudeau of The Charcuterie of Québec, named one of the Top 10 new restaurants in Canada by EnRoute Magazine in 2016, I learned the wide range of possibilities for blood terrine.
Locally sourced food was a very common theme amongst the gourmet chefs at Devour. Being in Nova Scotia’s wine country, I have become familiar with the term “terroir” — a recognition that the characteristics of a wine are not simply influenced by a particular type of grape but by the natural environment in which the grape is produced. Everything from the soil to the topography, from the climate to the culture of a particular area influences the grape, and therefore the wine. Clearly ‘terroir’ extends beyond grapes.
The concept applies equally well to local food. Certainly my taste palate has come to appreciate the terroir of Dawson City. The terroir of local food is something every community should be proud of. If you want to take part in a fantastic gourmet film festival during a glorious East Coast Fall, you should keep Devour! on your radar for next year.