Toronto chef gets inventive with the small, blue fruit
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Blueberries aren’t quite in season in Canada yet, but the mounting hype over their health benefits has sown a robust demand for the fruit. In B.C. (which grows 95 per cent of Canada’s highbush varieties, according to the B.C. Blueberry Council), blueberry production is expected to increase by about 40 million pounds over the next three years.
With so much blueberry in our futures, why not whip up some new ways for serving them? We’re all accustomed to seeing those smudgy blue spots studding our pancakes, but with a little imagination, blueberries can be much more than just accoutrements for our brunch fare.
The B.C. Blueberry Council recently visited Ontario, and for the occasion, celebrated Toronto chef Marc Thuet whipped up some adventurous blueberry-themed concoctions. He says his restaurant, Bistro & Bakery Thuet, welcomes the berry’s arrival every summer. “I wait for it every year,” he says. “It’s an easy fruit to use, especially labour-wise — you just wash it and it’s ready to go.”
He had some fanciful ideas for the Blueberry Council’s visit and, for one dish, he incorporated blueberries into a concoction of poached egg, smoked salmon, Thai basil and goat cheese foam. “It sounds weird but when you use it, it matches,” he says of the blueberry-goat cheese pairing. And blue foods seem to jive well together, as Thuet insists that the berry also goes well with blue cheese.
When pairing blueberries with savoury flavours, Thuet says pork proves a friendly companion. He demonstrated this in his main breakfast course, which was a blueberry buttermilk pancake served on a sugary slab of back bacon. Thuet also uses the berry in his sauces for braised pork and venison, and says that blueberries make a tasty accompaniment for foie gras, too.
And what about wine pairings for your blueberry nights? The Alsatian native keeps it loyal, recommending a Pinot Gris Vendange Tardives from near the Alsatian mountains, which are blanketed with blueberries. “Look for a wine that grows close to blueberries,” he says. “Sometimes there is a blueberry hint on your palate.”