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[Recap] The Royal Dinner with Chef Michael Bonacini

by - November 10, 2016

The Royal Winter Agricultural Fair is now open until November 13, 2016 at the Exhibition Place, Toronto. Start the holiday season early by attending one of the largest combined indoor agricultural fairs and international equestrian competitions in the world. The fair takes place every November in Toronto, and it is where guests can enjoy the best in agriculture, local food, and equestrian competitions from across the country. There are so many things to do, and see at this year's The Royal Winter Agricultural Fair.

I had the pleasure of attending The Royal Dinner with Chef Michael Bonacini that was held at the Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place on November 6. Michael Bonacini created a fabulous four course menu that highlighted Canadian agriculture. The dinner heavily defines what The Royal Winter Agricultural Fair was all about. Guests got the opportunity to experience an exclusive farm-to-table dining experience featuring a four course meal. All of the dishes served were made with select ingredients sourced from Ontario producers and exhibitors.

The dinner was prepared by Chef Michael Bonacini, who is the co-founder of one of Canada’s leading fine dining restaurant companies, Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants. Bonacini’s restaurants include Jump, Canoe, Auberge du Pommier, Biff’s Bistro, Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill (four locations), Luma, O&B Canteen, Bannock, and the all-new America Restaurant (in collaboration with INK Entertainment). I have been to several Oliver & Bonacini restaurants in the past, so I was looking forward to the dinner.

1st course - The Watercress and Poached Pear Salad - ermine blue cheese, fig, sherry vinaigrette was a refreshing start. The combination of all ingredients created a pleasant depth of flavor to the salad. Particularly, I enjoyed the tartness of the sherry vinaigrette. This dish was paired with Sparkling Riesling, 2013 VQA Iridescence.

2nd course - The next course was the Northern Woods Mushroom and Porcini Crema Soup - leek, potato, lemon thyme, which was made of six varieties of mushrooms and then puréed super fine. I don't like mushrooms very much, but I do enjoy mushroom soup occasionally. This soup had a delectable velvety texture and rich flavor. This dish was paired with Merlot, 2012 VQA Dean's List Loyalist College Niagara.

3rd course -  Out of the four courses, this particular main course stole the show. The Wellington County Braised Beef Short Rib - wilted greens, chateau potato, carrot, red wine jus was incredibly tender, and the flavors blended together harmoniously. Loved every bite! This dish was paired with Cabernet Franc "101", 2013 VQA Southbrook Vineyards.

4th course - The meal ended off on a sweet note with the Fireweed Honey Butter Tart - creme anglaise, vanilla ice cream. This dish was paired with Riesling, 2014 VQA Fielding Estate Winery. The Butter Tart Competition has been an important part of The Royal Winter Agricultural Fair for many decades, and it is a nod to it.

Photo Credit: Grace Y.

Royal Horse Show

Prior to The Royal Dinner, my friend and I were able to enjoy the Horse Show, and walked around on the grounds. Please enjoy the photos from The Royal Winter Agricultural Fair.
Photo Credit: Grace Y.
Photo Credit: Grace Y.

Royal Winter Agricultural Fair 

Algoma Highlands Wild Blueberry Home Style Jam 

Old Mill MapleWorks

Kricklewood Farm Cold Pressed Sunflower Oil 

How's Fantastic Hot Apple Dumplings 

Haut Goat's Goat Milk Caramel Corn 

Speziale Fine Foods (finest cured and smoked meats)

Nana's Kettle Corn 

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Disclaimer: The event attended in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

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