The race is over.
There is still a small trickle of hedgehogs and yellowfoots coming in from the Gaspesie (where it didn’t snow), and a few Tricolome up here, but the season is pretty much officially done. We just finished up our annual mushroom event, this year with 30 varieties on the menu! It was a wild success I would say, if not for a few too many last minute cancellations and a touch of staffing stress. All in all, so rewarding though and much fun was had. We’re exhausted.
Off the menu, the customers loved the 'fromage frais aux morilles', the smoked polypore pickles, both of which we sold a whack on the side. The puffball lasagne was a favourite, and many were turned onto rabbit which was my coup de coeur. But as usual, it was the series of mushroom sweets that wowed the most - panna cotta, candies, cookies, cake and ice cream. It really is surprising what desserty aromas come naturally from mushrooms, especially in the bolete family.
For more photos, here is a slideshow of Mushroom Festival highlights:
I think we can happily call it a year - and with more than a ton of wild Que mushrooms processed at the restaurant only, that’s enough mushroom for a while thank you. That’s not counting the tons that went to market, only what passed through my hands. A crazy amount of work.
All summer/fall, we wonder what the hell we’re doing amidst the insanity, and every November 1st or so, we pat ourselves on the back and bask in the glory for a few minutes, drink a bunch of mousseux and celebrate a feat accomplished, another year down, with the fresh sweet memories of all the estatic customers..
While it is slowing down at the Jean Talon Market too, we are still there, now only Thurs-Sun. And we remain open on the weekends at La Table for regular business with our equally enticing but more varied 5-7 course menu..
From now on though the winter, apart from Saturdays, we open following the reservations. Which is fine. I have a backlog of orders for products and plats-sousvides, catering gigs, the inventory to do and all other ménage that has been put off, not to mention much less staff from here on in.. Slow down or not, we can’t take it too easy, just a little. François is no longer picking mushrooms - besides some wild mustard greens foraged today, he is mostly busy cutting down trees and chopping wood these days.
But before we get into serious catch-up mode and production for the X-mas markets, we will be taking a day to roast a few pigs on our new spit machine and drink more wine. To close the season, we are hosting a big staff/family party for the market and restaurant team, and all the people who helped us with the house (which is coming along, although still a construction zone, sigh). Mechoui and Oysters and a buffet sans shrooms, Weehoo!.
Apart from that, I’m psyched to be back in my kitchen, cooking up anything and everything, not just mushrooms. Can’t wait to make squash soup, some sausage, experiment with some bread.. Rabbit terrine today.. Soon, it will be tourtiere time!
I love autumn and have my fingers crossed that this isn't the extent of our Indian summer. Dreaming maybe, but I'm ready for winter too. Bring it on, cuz that's when I really play.