Mark McEwan's take on the genuine appeal of European food and drink
Prepared in the context and in collaboration with the European Union campaign More Than Food Canada and Mark McEwan
Finnish dill vodka with Polish kielbasa Credits: More Than Food Canada
As a restaurateur and grocer, I can tell you that decisions about food are made with the heart as much as they are with the palate.
Today, Canadians are more passionate than ever about the quality of what we eat and drink. We not only expect our food to be delicious, but it also has to be authentic. And, we just love when it has a great story about where it comes from and how it’s made.
When it comes to this kind of fare, there are few places as renowned as Europe for the rich heritage and uncompromising quality of their food and beverage offerings.
For food lovers, there is no substitute for the unique character of cheeses derived from centuries of tradition, like Pecorino Romano (PDO). Produced in central Italy with whole sheep’s milk from pasture-grazing herds, this cheese is the key to a great carbonara, a staple recipe at my house. While I always enjoy the more known classics there are so many more European cheeses to discover: France alone has over 500 types of cheese. European diversity has resulted in many authentic products that have preserved centuries-old food of making traditions such as Lappi cheese from Finland, Halloumi from Cyprus and Queso Manchego (PDO) from Spain.
There is something truly special about enjoying cured meats that have been perfected over generations, like Kielbasa from Poland, which we’ve used at ONE Restaurant for a fun fondue. Even European produce has historical significance, like mushrooms from France, where they were first introduced for use in kitchens back in the 17th century.
The Canadian trade agreement with Europe, CETA, has opened even more opportunities for business operators and making storied European products readily available to Canadian food retailers. What’s more, many products are protected with Geographical Indicators such as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) so consumers know they’re getting the real thing. These European Union (EU) labels are a guarantee for the authenticity of products, as well as their high quality, reinforced by strict production standards.
By stocking the best of Europe, you will help satisfy consumers’ appetites for food that offers a real experience, combined with high safety standards – that feeds our souls as much as our stomachs.
Especially at a time when Canadians have had to stay home and many have cancelled travel plans to their favourite food destinations, European food and drink has genuine appeal, by transporting us to another place and time with every bite.