While beer has been in Canada since before we were officially a nation and has since become our most popular alcoholic beverage, recently the appreciation of it has trended toward a new level of sophistication.
We are rethinking beer, its variety of ingredients, and all the flavour possibilities for enjoying the perfect pairing.
To this end, and in support of the local food movement, Delft Blue and Steam Whistle, two quality producers practicing ethics and sustainability, paired their ingredients for a challenge.
On a beautiful summer day in Cambridge, Ont., culinary students from across the province convened at the Delft Blue veal farm to demonstrate their skill and creativity in making 2-oz sliders from scratch using ground Delft Blue veal and Steam Whistle Pilsner in their recipes. The students chose their own added ingredients and cooking methods.
Celebrity judges on hand were Sara Waxman, renowned food writer and publisher of DINE magazine; Brian Morin, spokesperson for culinary arts and craft brewing and award-winning executive chef of Beer Bistro; and Certified Chef de Cuisine Niels Kjeldsen, prominent member of the Canadian culinary community and Culinary Director for Prime Restaurants Inc. Their judging was based on presentation, the veal burger, bun, toppings, taste and the unique use of beer. While teams of imaginative young chefs baked and broiled feverishly to elevate “the burger” with their international array of ingredients and flavours, the audience enjoyed sliders to their heart’s content, and the popular Steam Whistle beer truck kept them refreshed.
“All of the sliders were very interesting and unique, and the competitors added a lot to the basic ingredient, which was the burger,” said Waxman. “The presentation was lovely. It looked delectable. And it tasted great.” But there can be only one. When the “Japanese Slider” by Peter Barnes and his team from Brampton was announced as the winner to raucous applause, Barnes pumped his fists in jubilation. Elated, he told me between breathes, “We explored Asian ingredients; we just went crazy; it was a great experience!” Indeed, his miso-flavoured bun and Delft Blue veal with radish kimchi, bonito flakes, tobiko, seaweed and wasabi aioli was a winner with every tantalizing bite.
We love veal and know that it is one of the leanest and most nutritious proteins; high in iron, zinc and vitamin B12, and low in saturated fats. Our tour of the Delft Blue farm was quite an eye opener. Here we observed the temperature and light-controlled, clean and open concept housing of healthy veal calves drinking fresh milk and feeding on probiotics, vitamins and minerals. Huge animals, aged longer than most farmed animals, growing to more than 500 pounds.
At Delft Blue, we hear terms like “sustainavation” and “nutrigation.” While it is North America’s largest veal producer, it is also at the forefront of eco-farming. For Jerry Bartelse, founder, “Agriculture is the farmland of innovation, and in everything we do we must figure out how we’re going to cut down on our carbon footprint and use the resources that we have on hand to do it.” Their anaerobic digester of farm waste produces enough electricity to power 500 homes!
Smooth, clean and crisp, the golden Bohemian-style Pilsner has a floral hop and grainy aroma. Named for the steam rushing from factory whistles, Steam Whistle Brewery in the historic John Street Roundhouse welcomes more than 100,000 visitors each year to discover Canada’s number-one selling, gold medal-winning Pilsner—and we are proud of our hometown beer, one of Canada’s “greenest.” Crafted with traditional European brewing methods and only four natural, GMO-free ingredients: pure spring water, malted barley, hops and yeast; the signature green glass bottles, cans and draught also reflect an award-winning, eco-friendly craftsmanship from recycled packaging and Deep Lake Water Cooling to Bullfrog-Powered facilities and trucks running on bio fuel.
Cheers to that! – Adam Waxman
For more information on beer and the winning “Japanese slider” recipe, go to www.SteamWhistle.ca
For more information on veal and delicious veal recipes, go to www.DelftBlueVeal.com