JAM-PA­CKED with fla­vours

Tribune Express - - La Une - STÉPHANE LAJOIE ste­phane.lajoie@eap.on.ca

Main Street was bu­sy as ever for the an­nual Fes­ti­val of Fla­vours Sep­tem­ber 14, in Vank­leek Hill. Re­live that tas­ty day

VANK­LEEK HILL | Main Street was jam­pa­cked with fla­vours and foo­dies from all across the re­gion for the an­nual Fes­ti­val of Fla­vours Sep­tem­ber 14, in Vank­leek Hill. Meat on a stick, exo­tic cuisine and com­fort food at its best, thou­sands got a par­ty in their tum­my and came back for more.

“I just tas­ted the best sal­sa ever,” said Glen­gar­ry vi­si­tor An­drew Mor­ley. “It’s such a co­ol at­mos­phere with everybody on the street tas­ting food left and right. We should do that more of­ten! It’s my first time at the Fes­ti­val and it’s bet­ter than some food fests in Mon­tréal and Ottawa where ou­tra­geous prices are a real ap­pe­tite sup­pres­sor.”

The Fes­ti­val has be­come so po­pu­lar that the tra­di­tio­nal 320-foot table now has a small sis­ter on Main Street. Pro­du­cers had bas­kets full of fresh ve­ge­tables, and cooks from On­ta­rio and Qué­bec wor­ked the grills like chefs and got an ama­zing re­cep­tion from the crowd.

One booth that was a hit with the fla­vour see­kers was Texas Heat Sal­sa. With his cow­boy hat and pink goa­tee, Scott, the sal­sa hust­ler, wel­co­med guests with a basket of corn chips and some sal­sa with the good ol’ South taste. “I’m from Dal­las, Texas, and re­lo­ca­ted here for a job at the Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal of Eas­tern On­ta­rio (CHEO). Sal­sa was a pas­time at the be­gin­ning, but people lo­ved it so much that it’s now ta­king a life of its own.”

With taste buds by now Texas red, the vi­si­tors had al­most too ma­ny choices, from tra­di­tio­nal dum­plings to cro­co­dile ham­bur­gers. Ste­pha­nie’s brought out the big grill for some tas­ty ribs while the Mon­tréal smo­ked meat booth was ema­na­ting a de­li­ca­tes­sen smell to die for.

“The great thing is that you can taste dishes for the first time ever and fi­nish your meal with so­me­thing more tra­di­tio­nal,” said Ottawa foo­die Gregg Ver­beek. “The lit­tle cheese and beef bro­chettes from La Ca­bane à Riz were real­ly yum- my, es­pe­cial­ly with the su­ga­ry sauce on the side. But, while my wife was loo­king at quilts and soap, I chug­ged down a beer and bur­ger!”

Or­ga­nic food, fresh bread, ball­park pret­zels, crafts and a lit­tle acous­tic mu­sic, the Fes­ti­val hit a home run with its 2014 edi­tion.

“Food and fla­vours in Sep­tem­ber and beer for Ock­to­ber­fest, Vank­leek Hill is the place to be,” said John Du­gas, with a smile. “I love it that they can turn eve­ry­thing in­to a pou­tine and put the weir­dest ani­mal on a stick. Good food and friends, that’s the way to go.”

Pho­to Stéphane Lajoie

From the mas­ter ba­ker’s oven to the street of Vank­leek Hill.

Pho­tos Stéphane Lajoie

Scott the sal­sa hust­ler brought Texas style taste to Vank­leek Hill.

Can’t go wrong with ca­mel, cro­co­dile and kan­go­roo on a stick.

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