Festival of Chefs…
…at the Cheese Boutique in Toronto. It was the third time that this event was staged during the month of May since the Cheese Boutique moved into their present large premises in June of 2000 - from the Bloor West Village.
Every weekend during the month – including Victoria Day – celebrity "Chefs" were invited to participate in this festival. Here is where they and their establishment can be introduced to a wider segment of the public and are given a chance to dazzle the visitors with their cooking proficiency and yummy delights.
Staging and hosting this type of event in Toronto was Fatos Pristine’s idea. He is the owner of the Cheese Boutique and has been striving to make this culinary jewel the ‘Mecca’ of food lovers from near and far. He has created a unique shopping experience at this new location – at the foot of the South Kingsway - that surpasses most other establishments of this kind in the GTA. Needless to say he has succeeded admirably well. The variety and selections in this establishment leave little to be desired.
Cheeses, special meats, baked goods, wines, condiments and more items than you can think of, can be found in this store also many unusual items, that you didn’t even know existed, can be found here, in this extraordinary delicatessen store.
Extraordinary was also the selection of the ‘Guest Chefs’ chosen for this year’s nine outstanding culinary events: David Lee – SPLENDIDO; Jonathan Gushue – LANGDON HALL; Massimo Capra – MISTURA on 265 Davenport Road (Third visit!) and of Food TV fame; Jason and Bertrand – AMUSE BOUCHE; Donna Dooher – MILDRED PIERCE; Lino Collevecchio – VIA ALLEGRO; Mathew Sutherland – FAT CAT; Lynn Crawford – FOUR SEASONS and Pat Riley – PERIGEE were this year’s line-up of culinary celebrities.
A number of special guests are also invited on each of these weekends and are served wonderful and select Italian cuisine by Modesta Pristine, Fatos’ wife and the spirit behind the throne (or oven) – so to say.
One example of the delights offered was Massimo’s "Stuffed Chicken wrapped in Prosciutto" – similar to Polle Ripieno, one of Mistura’s signature dishes. If you want more info go to the website" www.mistura.ca
Another delicious dish was served by Mathew Sutherland – from the Fat Cat Wine Bar on 331 Roncesvalles Avenue and 376 Eglinton Avenue – on Victoria Day, which consisted of small, very spicy "Fat Cat" beef sausages with smoked paprika, red pepper beef and pork served with a smoked bacon and toasted nut quinoa (a type of grain) that tasted enchanting. He had also brought the charming Amanda Ford along, to assist him that afternoon with the long line-ups.
Check out the he "Fat Cat’ website: www.fatcat.ca,but you don’t have to be a cat lover to enjoy their gastronomical masterpieces.
The meat department of the Cheese Boutiqe supplies the small, tasty sausages to his restaurant. The same mouth-watering beef mixture is available in a regular sized sausage for the general consumer.
Various delightful wines were also offered for tasting by in-house sommeliers on each of the events. Henry of Pelham provided a Chardonnay Reserve (white) with a wonderful finish and a Pinot Noir (red) with a flowery nose, to go with the delicious culinary offerings on Victoria Day.
events will be scheduled for next year again – mark this in your calendar –
or keep checking the Cheese Boutique website at
anything else you need to know and do visit the store to do some shopping –
you’ll not regret it!
Astrid Harzbecker at the Danube Swabian Club
Thanks to an aggressive advertising campaign - and Erwin Huber’s organisational talents - this delightful young lady found a full house to listen to her lovely voice. Over 250 music lovers filled the great hall and enjoyed every minute of her two-hour performance.
There was an intermission after the first hour. Astrid and her husband Hans Jürgen had CDs available for sale. A huge line-up to buy the compact disks attested to the magnetism of the presentation already witnessed.
Her repertoire includes a fascinating mixture of emotions presented with a wonderfully clear and expressive voice. Some of them are full of temperament, are romantic and optimistic, such as her signature melody "Let the summer into your heart" (Lass den Sommer in dein Herz), and several others that won her many awards at the "Grand Prix der Volksmusik" and in scores of other similarly prestigious occasions. One of the highlights of her career was when she was awarded "Platin" for her composition "Gondoliere" – in a real gondola on the ‘Canale Grande’ in Venice – in 2003.
Her contact with the audience was charismatic and immediately won them over. Her performance started on the stage, but she quickly moved down to the level of the public and stayed there most of the time. The audience noisily applauded a short stint of a dance with a gentleman who claimed to be the "Waltz-King" of Salzburg.
"Music to me is a way to express my emotions", says Astrid Harzbecker. "The songs contain an enormous lot of myself." Mostly probably in the two of the many songs she composed herself titled: "Das längste Feuerwerk der Welt" and "Frag die Sterne über Napoli" (‘The world’s longest fireworks’ and ‘Ask the stars above Napoli’) that illustrate some of her personal and private destiny.
One of the major breakthroughs as hit performer came in 1991. At the "International Festival of Folk Music" she was awarded the prestigious "Herbert-Roth-Prize" for one of her own compositions: "O Maria, schütz’ die Berge" (Oh Maria, protect the mountains). This song has already sold far over a million times and remains unforgotten.
Her love for Canada is reflected in the Country-Sound hit "Red Roses River". It was here in Canada where Astrid was extraordinarily honoured. Since the year 2000 she is an Honorary Citizen of Calgary! She says she likes Canada and we will most likely see more of her again in the future.
Some of the guests had anticipated more of the old genre of songs and not so many new ones. They mentioned it to me and I explained that these are the hits of today – in the old "Heimat" – not the ones that were popular when they left there, 50 years ago.
also to Erwin Huber from AM 530 Radio (Saturdays from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.) who
was responsible for Astrid’s concert here and who made all the arrangements
for her performance in Kitchener and the Donauschwaben Klub, Toronto.
Message to Seniors
The McGuinty government is providing support to hundreds of communities across the province as they get set to celebrate Seniors’ Month in June, and plan for the challenges of Ontario’s aging population.
"The McGuinty government is on the side of seniors. That is why we are working to help them lead active, healthy lives," said Jim Bradley, Ontario’s Minister Responsible for Seniors. "It is never too late to start. Take a fitness class. Join a walking club. Plant a garden. Volunteer. The important thing is to stay active and involved."
Seniors’ Month recognizes the contributions of older adults across the province. For more than 20 years, communities have been hosting seniors’ events including award ceremonies, information fairs, seminars and socials. To help communities promote Seniors’ Month, each year the province develops and distributes promotional materials, including a poster. For the first time, the poster is available in 19 languages including Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cree, and Urdu.
Information about Seniors’ Month, including a listing of events taking place in communities across Ontario, is available on the Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat website at www.gov.on.ca/citizenship/seniors.
Some recent McGuinty government initiatives include:
Increasing the number of cataract surgeries by 16 per cent
Increasing hip and knee replacement surgeries by 28 per cent
Allocating an additional $155 million in new funding this year for long-term care homes, bringing the overall budget to $2.84 billion for fiscal 2006/07.
"We encourage everyone to join in the celebrations taking place in their local community," said Bradley. "This is our opportunity to help older Ontarians remain fit, healthy and engaged in their communities."
For further information: David Oved, Minister’s Office, (416) 314-1400; Donna Piasentini, Communications Branch, (416) 314-7242
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