The Night That Was: Mariposa Maple Dinner

This past Saturday night I realized a career-long dream of hosting a wine dinner in my work boots. Having grown up on a farm in Southwestern Ontario, I don't get many opportunities for country wine dinners. So when organizer Katie Worobeck started planning a Maple Syrup Celebration dinner for Mariposa Farm in Plantagenet, about 45 mins east of Ottawa, I was immediately on board. Katie's plan was to round up 3 of Ottawa's best young chefs and have them join Mariposa Farm's Chef Matt Shepard to each prepare a Maple Syrup inspired dish for a big dinner. The rest of the lineup included former Mariposa Chef Mark Currier now of Hintonburg Public House; Jon Svasas formerly of Domus and Taylor's Genuine who is soon to open Fauna; and also Gold Medal Plates champion Jamie Stunt of OZ Cafe. The wine pairings included selections from Ontario's finest: Tawse Winery, Norman Hardie, Thomas Bachelder, and Hinterland Wine Co. All the wines paired perfectly with the dishes, each in a different way contributing to the rustic maple theme of the dinner.

Mariposa Farm owner Ian Walker gave everyone a tour of his sugar bush and syrup boiling operation. He does things the old-school way, boiling down the sap in a large cauldron hung over a fire that burns all day. ÄLska Farm owner Genevieve was also onsite with her boutique maple syrup production which she was reducing down the syrup to make some fantastic maple taffy on popsicle sticks! And we kicked off the dinner with me sabering open a few bottles of Hinterland's 'Les Etoiles' traditional method sparkling from Prince Edward County...