I had the pleasure of attending the Viennese Ball menu tasting event at the Shaw Centre this week for a preview sampling of what will be served for dinner on February 4th. I am no food expert, but I think guests are in for a real treat. This is definitely not your standard rubber chicken fare, as the Shaw Centre has put together a unique culinary experience that reflects the Austrian heritage of the Ball. At one point, Bernhard Faustenhammer, the Minister Plenipotentiary of the Austrian Embassy, closed his eyes and said he felt like he was back home in Austria. Well earned, high praise for an exceptional meal.
We were served in the Chef’s Table, a special room in the lower levels of the Shaw Centre, hidden amongst the kitchens, and we had a unique view of the meals being prepared under the watchful eye of Executive Chef Geoffrey Morden. It was interesting to be able to ask questions about the meal, and talk directly with the chef responsible. While the main meal was rich in meat and gluten, the Shaw Centre has gone to exceptional lengths to also provide vegan and gluten-free alternatives that do not disappoint in either presentation or taste.
Hors d’Oeuvres included Truffled Mushroom Tulip, Oka Cheese and Apple Purse, Asian Tuna Ceviche, and Beet and Goat Cheese Vol Au Vent. All received high praise.
The first course was a traditional Viennese Potato-Porcini Soup, which was creamy and delicious. The blended potato square in the center was topped off with double smoked bacon, and of course was excellent.
The main course was Braised Beef Tafelspitz, which was perfectly marinated, slowly cooked, and tender enough to break with a fork. The accompanying horseradish cream was bright and tasty, and a perfect match for the beef.
And if there hadn’t been enough already, the dessert was spectacular – a trio of Austrian specialties: a mini Apfelstrudel with pastry to die for, an individual Sacher Torte of chocolate goodness, and a perfect round scoop of caramel ice cream. The perfect ending to the meal.
The event was attended by Julian Armour (Producer of the Viennese Ball), Liza Mrak (Business Development Manager of Mark Motors of Ottawa and a Gold Sponsor of the Ball), and Bernhard Faustenhammer(the Minister Plenipotentiary of the Austrian Embassy).
So if you don’t have your tickets yet, be assured that dinner alone will be worth the price of admission. Well done Chef Morden and the Shaw Centre.