November 11, 2010

Annual General Meeting – November 11, 2010

As a teaser – for those of you who missed the event …OOPS!

We started the evening with a warm-up beverage – fresh Bow River water, garnished with a twist of lemon.  Thence to the AGM.  Our Bailli, Cindy Findlay oversaw the proceedings to a smallish, but interested gathering.  The business matters were conducted and the after the formalities, we adjourned to the reception area.

The servers passed around our choice of three beverages:

Canaletto Prosecco,
Noble Tree Chardonnay 2006,
Ceago Merlot 2006

Along with the liquids came a few Hors d’oeuvres:
Seared BC Albacore Tuna on Corn Salsa
Roasted Alberta Beef Striploin on Garlic Crostini with Caramelized Onion and local Grainy Mustard
Braised Chanterelle Mushroom and Vegetable Phyllo Roll

With our palates and taste buds awakened, we adjourned to the Enmax Conservatory Banquet Room.  Our eyes were immediately attracted to the table settings.  In the centre of each table was a very tall vase filled with fresh orchids and tiger lilies.  Fortunately, it was not only tall, but very narrow so that the view of our table mates was unobstructed.  The table cloth was woven with golden autumn leaves to complement the season.  Normally, we are buried in snow at this time of the year, but at that moment, we were snow-free and enjoying a beautiful “Indian Summer.”

As we unraveled our napkins, we discovered the menu.  It was somewhat strange, until Cindy in her opening remarks, noted that it was handmade paper from Manitoba and contained wildflower seeds impregnated within.  The intent is that it can be planted in your garden next Spring and the paper will compost as the flowers grow.  What a neat idea!

Our guests this evening were the President of the Zoo Society, Mr. Clément Lanthier, President & CEO, and his wife Anne Marie Page.

The dinner turned out to be beyond anyone’s expectations.  We started out with a melt-in-your-mouth Sustainable Seafood Lobster Terrine, served over a tarragon aioli and topped with a leaf of endive, filled with organic sprouts.  It was accompanied with a glass of lovely Kris Pinot Grigio 2009 from Delle Venezie, IGT, Italy.

Course number two was an interesting surprise – a spiced Pumpkin Soup with Vanilla Creme Fraiche served in the original pumpkin.  It was very hot, so caution was taken, but a number of our table mates used the opportunity to scrape out some of the pumpkin interior to enhance the spirit of the course.  A Noble Tree Chardonnay, 2006, Knights Valley, California found its way with this course.

Then came the main – a duo of Alberta Bison served with organically grown vegetables and Pomme Gratin.  An absolutely gorgeous Ceago Merlot 2006 from Camp Masult Vineyard in the Lake country of California was served with this dish.

Our Trio of Cheese plate was served “au natural” with a mouth-tempting fruit and nut compote:
Black Truffle Cheddar from Manitoba
Blue Benedictine from Quebec
Triple Cream Brie from Quebec

Alongside was a glass of a port-style Noble Tree Malbec “Dry Creek Valley” dessert wine 2003 from the Dry Creek area of California.

To finish the evening meal, we were served an Apple Rhubarb Bread Pudding like I have never been served before.  It was accompanied by a Bitter Dark Chocolate sauce and a very interesting salted caramel ice cream.  The Maple whisky beverage – Sortilege Whiskey from Quebec enhanced the dessert and finished the meal in a perfect embrace.

Our plates, this evening, were presented to:
Nicholas Atkins – Sous Chef
Rachelle Robles – Manager, Catering

My thanks and admiration go out to the staff of the Zoo Conservatory for presenting a meal that far exceeded our expectations and that has raised the bar for our other member establishments.

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