The challenge as I understand it started with a bet between Mark and Joel about if anybody can tell the different between wet age and dry aged steak. I understand the difference is very subtle and almost undetectable.
|Wet or Dry aged steak (credit @foodieyu)|
Wet-aged beef is the beef that is typically found in our grocery stores that have been aged in a vacuum-sealed bag to retain its moisture. The flavour has hints of metallic and sourness but this is almost undetected to the pedestrian pallet. It is the popular way beef is aged due to low costs and b/c it takes less time. Our wet aged beef hailed was hormone-free Angus from PEI. "Beef the way it used to be" - it was grass-fed, finished on grain and potatoes.
Dry-aged beef is really predominantly reserved for high end steak restaurants as the beef is hung to breathe and lose water in a controlled environment to encourage the growth of certain microbes to intensify the concentration and saturation of the natural 'beefy' flavor.
Mustard and Marmalaide samplings- from the most pungent and grainy to sour, sweet and candied flavours -it was just a delight.
My highlight from the olive oil was the organic sample. It had 4 different layers of flavour and was bursting with personality.The Balsamic vinegar flight was fantastic. We went from very common aged balsamic - 2 yr, 5 yr, 10 yrs and the smoothness and thickness just built the older the vinegar got. The pinnacle was the tasting of the 50 year old vinegar - which retails for approx $500. We were taught to make a fist and hold out our thumb and there was a little crevice that you can pour the vinegar out on to taste. Vincenzio was so gracious to explain to us the procedure of production and the different properties of the oil and vinegars.If money fell off trees, my pantry would be stocked full of organic olive oil and aged balsamic.
The wine for the evening was excellent local Ontario Cab Francs - one from the Grange from Prince Edward County, and the other is Beamsville Bench from Rosewood.
Mark also, served us some smoked salmon that literally came out of the smoker only minutes ago. You could smell the smokiness in the air and it translated straight to the salmon. We also had a plate of thinly sliced bresaola (air dried salted beef) which was a treat, a delicious salad and herbed butter- lemon dill and purple garlic for our bread. My personal favourite was the purple garlic butter - so amazing, tasted like garlic bread!
For the tasting which was the pinnacle of the evening, although as you can see we were gainfully full at this point of delightful appetizers and different tastes.
|Yorkshire pudding (credit @foodieyu)|
Tasting time - we needed to figure out which was dry vs. wet aged. They were both flavoured equally - simply coated in butter, salt, and pepper before going into the oven.
I was trying to eat a mouthful, cleanse my pallet with a cab franc and then have the next mouthful. Both the beef were perfectly rare and so tender and juicy. It was hard to figure out but I chose 'A' which the majority seemed to pick. Mark Michelin later revealed afterwards that A = wet-aged and B = dry-aged which proves that really these subtle differences between the meat can't be detected too well!!
Mark even served dessert of a red velvet cake (one of my favourites) and a cheese cake (which was my other fav). Seriously one of the best tastings in my limited culninary career and a huge thanks to Mark Michelin and Joel for a wonderful night!!
St. Jamestown Steak and Chops
518 Parliament St. (at Carlton St.)