On February 16th, 2014, 20 members of the Slow Food Toronto community assembled at Ice Fishing Outfitters on Virginia Beach, Lake Simcoe. The day was reassuringly cold, the ice was thick, and our transport out to the huts was via a vintage, red Bombardier snow coach.
Slow Food Toronto stalwart farmer / chef / entrepreneur Mark Trealout connected us to the lakeside community, and attended with his energetic boys.
We were also fortunate to have chefs Tyler Shedden and Matt Duffy of Café Boulud with us, volunteering at the end of a long week that included the tail end of Winterlicious and Valentine’s Day Friday/Saturday double. Tyler and Matt provided a fantastic cassoulet [with duck and beans from Trealout’s Grassroot Organics] and were fully prepared for a fish frying frenzy [See photos of their fish hut kitchen set up below]. SFT community members augmented the cassoulet with a variety of locally-inspired dishes, and some Ontario craft beer and VQA wines were shared during the potluck lunch.
Attendees were reminded why the activity is called fishing rather than catching, as the perch of Lake Simcoe were less than co-operative with our plans, and few rose to the bait. Nonetheless, we shared the quintessentially Canadian experience of fishing from the solid, blue surface of a winter lake, and had a chance to meet, mingle and dream up further mindful food gatherings.