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Food & Drink

What went down at Toronto Life’s exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie

By Toronto Life| Photography by Renée Suen
What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie

On Tuesday night, some lucky Toronto foodies had the chance to schmooze with acclaimed Prince Edward County winemaker Norman Hardie over dinner at chef Brandon Olsen’s La Banane. But this was no ordinary dinner party: Olsen (right) and Hardie collaborated on a contemporary French menu that featured six courses paired with four Hardie selections, including a special blend created specifically for the hip Ossington restaurant. The vibe throughout the evening was festive, and the wine (and cocktails) flowed. Here’s a look at what was served.

First course: A trio of canapés, including freshly shucked oysters, miniature French omelettes topped with caviar, and two massive, crispy frog legs. Paired with: Norman Hardie’s Cuvée Discotheque 2016, an all-Niagara riesling custom-bottled for La Banane.

What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie

 

Second course: A bombastic bouillabaisse with more than a touch of heat, and huge Spring Island mussels. Paired with: Norman Hardie’s Calcaire 2016, a crisp blend of chardonnay, pinot gris and riesling, with lots of minerality.

What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie

 

Third course: A giant brick of foie gras, served with a slice of candied plum and house-made brioche toast. Paired with: A Professor Plum cocktail: St. Germain elderflower liqueur, apple cider and plum nectar.

What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie

 

Here’s a better look at Professor Plum (that’s Norman Hardie in the background):

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What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie

 

Fourth course: Seared albacore tuna tartare, with brown butter, capers and a whole lotta dill. Paired with: Norman Hardie’s Chardonnay VQA Niagara Peninsula 2015 

What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie

 

Fifth course: A rich duck pithivier (that’s a savoury pie made with puff pastry), topped with sultana raisins and a lashing of Armagnac Paired with: Norman Hardie’s Pinot Noir VQA Niagara Peninsula 2016

What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie

 

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Here’s a closer look inside the pithivier:

What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie

 

Sixth course: La Banane’s iconic Ziggy Stardust Disco Egg, a tie-dyed dark-chocolate shell that’s cracked open to reveal a clutch of chocolate truffles. Paired with: Chartreuse M.O.F. and Rémy Martin VSOP.

What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie

 

Here’s what the egg looks like after it’s been cracked open:

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What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie

 

The dinner was presented by Toronto Life and Drink Toronto. Here’s a look the rest of the evening’s festivities.

What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie
What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie
What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie
What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie
What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie
What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie
What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie
What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie
What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie
What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie
What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie
What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie
What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie
What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie
What went down at Toronto Life's exclusive dinner at La Banane with Brandon Olsen and Norman Hardie

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