It’s happened! May hit and suddenly it is tulip time in the capital! It’s also time to get your butt in gear and get yourself a ticket to Bon Appetit. Not convinced that it is a great idea yet? Well, here are a couple short interviews I did with Vicki from Empire Cheese and Erica from Humming Bird Chocolate – both amazing people and products that you will get to sample at the event. For more information about the charities that will be supported, other food and drink partners as well as how to buy tickets – click here.


Simply Fresh – First question, what made you decide to get involved with Bon Appetit? Do you have a particular cause that you identify with – or just the event in general?

*Empire Cheese –  I contacted the organizers of Bon Appetit after I found the event on-line.  We were looking for culinary events in the Ottawa region to promote our cheese because we were just expanding our delivery region to include the Ottawa area.  When I located this one, I thought what a great event to feature local food and restaurants while raising money for such a worth while cause.  We were very anxious to be a part of the event and were thrilled with the success of it last year when we participated for the first time.

**Humming Bird Chocolate – Bon Appetit is a great opportunity to help many worthwhile organizations while bringing some of Ottawa’s best food together in one space.  My husband, Drew, and I have done a lot of work overseas assisting people in developing countries, so this was a chance to do something closer to home.


What should people try to keep in mind when searching out a great cheese or chocolate?

* In our plant, we manufacture cheddar in the traditional way using whole milk.  All of our cheese is naturally aged and does not include any preservatives or additives to enhance the flavour.  As a result our cheddar has a rich, creamy texture and taste.  I believe all of these things are important when selecting a piece of great cheese.

** I think one of the most amazing things about chocolate is that it isn’t just one “flavour,” but there is a great variation in taste based on the origin of the cacao beans and how they are handled by the individual chocolate maker.  Chocolate can taste fruity, nutty, savoury, floral.  So, with that in mind, I would recommend that people look at where the beans are from and the list of ingredients.  The fewer ingredients, the better, if you want to really experience the natural characteristics of those fine cacao beans.

Thinking of your product, what is your favourite pairing? Something classic like wine, or a bit more unusual?

* My favorite is a piece of extra-old cheddar on a cracker topped with a great red-pepper jelly.  It is even better when you add a glass of pinot grigio!

** Probably because I’m surrounded by it all day, but I eat chocolate slowly and frequently.  One of the amazing things about chocolate is that it melts very close to human body temperature.  So when you taste chocolate, you want to put a piece in your mouth and let it melt for a little while.  It will coat your tongue and roof of your mouth allowing you to experience more of the nuance in flavour.

I love to choose a few bars made from cacao beans from different regions and taste them with friends or family.  Everyone will have their own preferences and will identify different flavours in the bars which you may or may not experience yourself.  We’ve also been doing some research on pairing our chocolate with wine and whiskey and this is quickly becoming a favourite way to enjoy chocolate at our house!