• By: Keith Whittier

Wining and Dining at the Ottawa Wine & Food Festival

I have lived in Ottawa for a mere two months, but the city has already given me so many unforgettable experiences. Entering my third month of life in the capital, I made a conscious decision to make the most of my time here and find new ways to embrace the city’s culture.

Thanks to rock-it promotions, OLM was invited to a VIP event with Chef Nina Compton at the Ottawa Wine & Food Festival and I had the exciting opportunity to attend!

Chef Compton,salad Top Chef Season 11 runner-up and fan favourite, prepared a three-course St. Lucian inspired tasting menu. Seasonal vegetables and her use of cocoa and chocolate throughout the menu had guests feeling the warmth of the Caribbean.

Joining Chef Compton, connoisseur Michael Fagan exhibited his passion for wine through his carefully selected whites and reds intended to compliment Compton’s Caribbean creations. Fagan is a long time contributor to Food & Drink.

Guests of the event were treated to a cocoa tea martini and offered hor d’oeuvres upon arrival.

Before each course was brought to the table, Chef Compton explained the dish, what inspired it and what ingredients went into it. Fagan also explained his selection of wines, why they were chosen and what each would taste like with the particular course.main course

Chef Compton’s first course was a roasted vegetable salad paired with white wines from Chile and Italy.

The main course consisted of cocoa braised short ribs, polenta and baby vegetables. Fagan paired this delectable plate with red wines from California and Ontario.

A sweet red wine from Portugal and a creme liquor from Ontario were paired with the dessert course. Chef Compton’s salted caramel budino was exquisite and enhanced a full flavour experience of Fagan’s drink pairings.

chefBoth Chef Compton and Fagan wandered around from table to table, interacting with guests throughout the evening. When Chef Compton came to my table, I asked her what her favourite course to prepare was. She couldn’t simply pick just one but said she enjoyed starting with the theme of a cocoa-inspired menu and letting her creative culinary skills take it from there.

The event was presented by Saint Lucia Tourist Board.