A Taste of Canadian Derby

Posted: August 14, 2013 in Events
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The Canadian Derby has been the foremost social and fashion event of the season in Edmonton since 1957.  This is a chance for the ladies to display beautiful hats and fascinators. When I think of “Derby”, images of Julia Roberts dressed for the Kentucky Derby dance through my imagination.

Some Derby Trivia; this event is considered to be a “marathon” for the horses at 1 and 3/8 miles.  Only three year old horses are entered into the race.  It is the largest purse west of Ontario at $200,000.

Besides the racing and fashion, there is also the food.

This year, the 84th Canadian Derby will take place on August 17th.  The lucky folks who purchased tickets for the Colours Dining experience will be able to indulge in some very tasty meal options while they watch the races from their tiered restaurant seating.

For $130 you get:

• A delicious three-course meal including non-alcoholic beverages
• Complimentary commemorative Canadian Derby race program
• Television monitors on every table
• Live entertainment
• Contest entry to win a new car courtesy of Londonderry Dodge/Chrysler

Your menu choices for the Colours Dining Experience are scrumptious.  Chef Chris McMaster has hit it out of the park with this year’s lineup.

For starters:

Roasted Apple and Parsnip Soup with Saffron Petals

Roasted Apple and Parsnip Soup with Saffron Petals

This option wasn’t available at the tasting event, but it did smell divine!

Summer Beet Salad with goat cheese, candied pecans and fresh raspberry tossed in poppy seed dressing

Summer Beet Salad with goat cheese, candied pecans and fresh raspberry tossed in poppy seed dressing

If you read my blog, or my Twitter feed, you know that I am not a huge salad person.  This was very light and refreshing.  The roasted beets went really well with the mix of flavours in the salad.  A big thumbs up for this one.

Crispy Beef Dumpling with cucumber carrot slaw and horseradish dipping sauce

Crispy Beef Dumpling with cucumber carrot slaw and horseradish dipping sauce

I really enjoyed this one as well.  Not the traditional Chinese Potsticker that you would expect. The beef inside is tender and full of flavour.  Pairs very well with the horseradish dipping sauce.

Your choices for Main Course:

Grilled Chicken Breast with mushroom Dauphinoise potato, sweet corn puree, thyme crepe and seasonal vegetables

Grilled Chicken Breast with mushroom Dauphinoise potato, sweet corn puree, thyme crepe and seasonal vegetables

Another pairing of some great flavours.  The Dauphinoise potato was tender and firm.  The sweet corn puree was a lovely partner to the tender chicken.

Slow roasted Alberta Prime Rib with chive mashed potato, seasonal vegetables and Rosemary Jus

Slow roasted Alberta Prime Rib with chive mashed potato, seasonal vegetables and Rosemary Jus

Another teaser that wasn’t available for the tasters but looked and smelled divine.

Dungeness Crab Cakes with butter poached lobster, smoked tomato relish and fresh arugula salad

Dungeness Crab Cakes with butter poached lobster, smoked tomato relish and fresh arugula salad

Who doesn’t enjoy crab AND lobster? The smoked tomato relish was a nice touch.

Roasted garlic Portobello Wellington with balsamic glaze and seasonal vegetables.

Roasted garlic Portobello Wellington with balsamic glaze and seasonal vegetables.

This is the vegetarian main course choice for the event.  Not available for tasting but I think I may have actually enjoyed this one.

And lastly, my favourite, the desserts:

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with poached strawberry and rhubarb

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with poached strawberry and rhubarb

This was my absolute favourite out of all of the options.  I have a friend that is an amazing pastry chef and Panna Cotta is one of her favourites for breakfast.  This is topped with both strawberry and rhubarb, so a nice mixture of sweet and tart.  Vanilla bean is used in the Panna Cotta which is just lovely.

Chunks of brownie folded into bread pudding with salted caramel sauce.

Chunks of brownie folded into bread pudding with salted caramel sauce.

This is a great spin on an old favourite.  Chunks of brownie are folded into a traditional bread pudding recipe.  It is then garnished with salted caramel sauce and real whipped cream.

Phew!  That was a tasting marathon.

The In-Field Hospitality Tent is another option available for guests for the ticket price of $90. The infield presents the most unique setting to watch the Canadian Derby. Once a year guests received the opportunity to dine, lounge and enjoy all of the days exciting thoroughbred racing from the in-field.   You have exclusive access to a relaxing garden setting with lounge chairs on the lawn.

Included:

• Premium lunch buffet with coffee/tea included
• Complimentary commemorative Canadian Derby race program
• Full service cash bar
• Easy access to pari-mutuel tellers and self service terminals to cover all your betting requirements
• Live entertainment between races
• Televisions displaying the races and betting information throughout the Tent and in-field
• Contest entry to win a new car courtesy of Londonderry Dodge/Chrysler

Private box seating is sold out already for this year but is normally available for $100/box.  Boxes seat 4 guests.  Nothing fancy.  Food and drink is available at the grandstand.

There are birthdays, anniversaries, stagettes and a number of other social events being celebrated by attending the Canadian Derby.  This would be a unique way to celebrate a milestone.  It is also your only chance all year to be able to view the race from the in-field.

Many thanks to the Northlands Park team for the tasting event.  It was nice to meet the team and Chef Chris.

**Do you have Twitter?  Follow me @yegfoodie

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