Taste’s Third Year Ends on a High Note

Clockwise from upper left: Raising a glass of Mission Hill's 5 Vineyard Rose, Dungeness crab and albacore tuna salad, grilled sockeye salmon with parsley and basil butter, dessert arrives, lemon olive oil cake with just-picked summer berries. All photos: Rebecca Baugniet

Imagine a long table dressed in white linens, silver and stemware. Place it in a farm field, flanked by rows of kale and cilantro.  Paint a scenic background, say, of the Haro Strait, Gulf Islands, Mount Baker and other mountains in the distance. Now bathe it all in a warm, golden, slowly setting sun. Add a softly strumming guitar player and sixty happy, appreciative guests. Finally, bring a few perfectly executed dishes to the table and pour some of BC’s best wines.


If you think this all sounds to good to be true, then sadly, you missed out on last Sunday’s Land and Sea Harvest Dinner – the grand finale of the 3rd  Annual Taste Festival. Happily, though, they are already planning next year’s.  This is the first event I’ve ever attended where guests were asking to buy tickets for next year’s follow up, but it isn’t hard to see why.


Reminiscent of the recent al fresco dining sensation Outstanding in a Field, the main difference is that this event was plotted here on Vancouver Island, not imported by traveling foodie evangelicals. The brainchild of Taste founder and organizer Kathy McAree, the Marina Restaurant’s Chef Matt Rissling, farmer Ryan Vantreight and grower Eric Doublier,  the Vantreight Farm Dinner brought the distance between farm and fork down to nil. Chef Matt Rissling and his team made the ultra-fresh produce shine in a four-course, family style dinner.


Each course prompted groans of audible delight, from the spot-on soft-boiled eggs with orange yolks mirroring the evening sun in miniature on our salad plates, right through to the moist lemon olive oil cake, onto which we piled fresh berries and whipped vanilla crème fraiche, only to be told “wait! – there’s lavender syrup!” so we paused, waiting our turn to drizzle and be dazzled.

Plans are already underway to lengthen the table to include up to 200 guests next year. But yes – you might want to reserve your seats early.


Land and Sea Harvest Menu by Chef Matt Rissling


5 Seed Bread, Turkish Olive Oil

Dungeness crab and seared loin of albacore tuna salad, Buttercrunch lettuce, sliced raddish, sauce gribiche


Mission Hil 5 Vineyard Rose

Lemon and herb marinated baby carrot and French bean salad, Baby beets, Salt Spring Island goats cheese, sherry vinaigrette


Mission Hill Reserve Sauvignon Blanc

Grilled Sockeye salmon, parsley and basil butter, Grilled lacinato kale, garlic buttter

Herb roasted German fingerling potatoes


Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Gris

Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Noir

Lemon olive oil cake, summer berries, whipped vanilla crème fraiche and lavender syrup


Mission Hill Reserve Late Harvest Riesling

Written By:

Rebecca Baugniet is a freelance food writer and editor living on Canada’s West Coast with her husband and their four children. The author of three published cookbooks, Rebecca has also written for EAT Magazine and for Montréal ...

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