Everyone agrees that the tomato is the ultimate summer flavor. “They are the taste of the sun, and remind me of long summer days when I was a child in Provence,” says Provence Marinaside’s Executive Chef Jean Francis Quaglia. Eaten fresh-picked out-of-hand, chopped into salsas and salads, juiced, roasted or sun-dried – there are almost as many ways to enjoy their flavourful goodness as there are varieties.
For the entire month of August, Provence Marinaside celebrates all things tomato with its Ninth Annual Tomato Festival – offering special prix fixe menu that will satisfy even the most addicted tomato-holic. This three-course seasonal menu is value-priced at $58 with an optional rosé wine pairing which has been carefully selected by Wine Director Joshua Carlson and his sommelier team. The wine pairing is also value-priced at $30 for a different rosé with each course, or only $20 for a smaller pour. Both the individual dishes and the wines are also available à la carte should you so choose.
“Locally-grown tomatoes have a more intense flavor profile,” says Chef de Cuisine Sheldon Maloff who worked with Chef Jean Francis to design the Tomato Festival Menu. “They could not be more different from the tasteless varieties you find at the large grocery stores. We are fortunate to work with BC producers who supply us with amazing varieties of heirloom and modern varieties. Local tomatoes just taste so much better.”
The three-course Tomato Festival Menu starts with two choices: Rustique Tomato and Fish Chowder – a refreshing summer starter featuring compressed heirloom tomatoes, Oceanwise fish, vegetables and herbs (Rimauresq Cru Classe Rosé 2016 Cotes de Provence, France) orProvence’s very popular Tomato and Nectarine Salad with local nectarines, whole grilled Argentinian prawns, red onion, fresh basil and dressed with a sherry vinaigrette (Synchromesh ‘Cachola Family Vineyard’ Cabernet Franc Rosé 2017 Similkameen Valley, British Columbia).
The starters set the palate for a trio of tempting Mains. Diners have their choice of Brown Butter-Poached Chicken Ballotine stuffed with sundried tomato and Marcona Almond pesto, accompanied by heirloom tomato wedges, orzo and tomato compote (Prieure de Montezargues Tavel Rosé 2016 Rhone, France) or Tomato Risotto with Wild Mexican Prawns and Hokkaido Scallops served with grilled heirloom tomatoes, oven-roasted Roma tomatoes, Gem tomato and Piparras salsa, shaved Grana Padano cheese and basil oil (Tomaresca Calafuria Negroamaro Rosé 2017 Salento, Italy) or Grilled Line-Caught Halibut with Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette accompanied by sautéed leafy greens, Provençal fingerling potatoes with oven-dried tomatoes (Domaine de Carteyron ‘Cuvee Malyse’ Rosé 2017 Cotes de Provence, France).
Chef Sheldon has created a special dessert to end the meal – a Tomato and Raspberry Savarin Cake napped with tomato sabayon (JoieFarm Plein de Vie Brut 2017 Naramata, British Columbia). After all, tomatoes are a fruit don’cha know!
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve ever heard of a Green Zebra, Moneymaker or Black Krim – you’ll find wonderful tomatoes of every possible description on the menu of Provence’s Ninth Annual Tomato Festival, August 1 – 31 at Provence Marinaside located at the foot of Davie St. and across from the Quayside Marina in Yaletown.
PC: Emrys Horton