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.
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.
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.
Here’s a better look at Professor Plum (that’s Norman Hardie in the background):
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
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
Here’s a closer look inside the pithivier:
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.
Here’s what the egg looks like after it’s been cracked open:
The dinner was presented by Toronto Life and Drink Toronto. Here’s a look the rest of the evening’s festivities.