I had the pleasure of attending the Louise Prete pasta sauce launch event, but you must be wondering how I managed to snag such an invitation– by utilizing the power of my sparkling personality of course! I kid, I kid.
The back-story is that I was at the Day of the Dead event in early November at the Harbourfront Centre. After watching a ChocoSol event hosted by Mary Luz Mejia, I approached her with great anticipation and gushed like a groupie by telling her how much I admired her work.
I proceeded to ask her if she had any advice or words of wisdom to succeed in this culinary -food writing business. Despite her busy hosting duties, Mary was an incredibly warm and giving person; she was kind enough to talk to me about how to be media savvy and market oneself to businesses. It’s about connecting the dots and showing ways to be indispensable to the industry.
My take away was to be as charming as possible (yay!) and offer all my best qualities on a pretty plate. It must have worked because that’s how I got invited to the Louise Prete event! Thanks for taking a chance on me Mary.
A note about the photos: many thanks to Nicholas Wong of Baguettes and Butterscotch for lending me his photos. The camera I brought for the evening captured images of blurry and paranormal activity (or so I surmised when I went home to review the pictures). Suffice it to say that my camera died that evening; I will be getting a DSLR so this will NOT happen to me again!
Louise Prete was started by Michael Malleau who named his company after his nonna. His vision was to make beautiful and delicious food that connects with today’s local, urban community. Through the use of seasonal and quality ingredients, he is returning to the roots of preparing traditional dishes but with a modern flair that celebrate Italy’s new generation of arts and culture.
To celebrate the launch of Louise’s Sugo Pomodoro e Basilico, the entire menu was structured around showcasing this delectable sauce in various creations to depict its versatility.
Louise’s Sugo for dipping and enough crusty baguette for everyone to do some plain old dunking
After the niceties and introductions, with complete confidence in his product, the event began with a dart
right out of the gate; Michael put his pasta sauce in its most vulnerable and transparent
state: slightly warmed and served with a baguette slice. There were no
embellishments and nothing to hide behind; the sauce would speak for
Admittedly, I was hesitant to try it in the ‘nude’. Tomato based sauces are guilty of being too acidic and crying out for meat or pasta to combat the sour taste.
However, as Michael said in his introduction, this sauce was created in honour of Nonna, and done with justice it was. It wasn’t watery and thin; it had body. There was a rounded balance in flavor; there was a touch of sweetness and the lightest bite of heat. If this was just the tip of the iceberg, I was in gleeful anticipation for more.
Whole Wheat Pizza Margherita
The whole wheat flour used in the dough lent a delicate, nutty sweetness to the overall flavor profile. I’ve always been partial to hearty grains because they’re never one dimensional in flavour. A soundbite ‘snap’ of the crust broke the murmuring waves amongst the attendees. There was no playing games here: The crisp crust was a tell tale sign that they used a baker’s stone to get the texture just so. Despite the use of simple elements, it was the brightness of the sauce that tied the fluffy ricotta and earthy basil together. These mini frisbee- like pizzas were devoured in mere moments upon their entry into the eating arena.
Nonna’s homemade meatballs simmered in Louise’s Sugo Pomodoro e Basilico
There were a lot of homeruns this evening; unfortunately, this dish was a bit of a foul ball. I felt the flavours were muted and the texture was quite mealy rather than soft. I’m not certain if they had used too much breadcrumbs or if there was a lack of seasoning. It was the only thing I didn’t finish.
Individual Lasagna’s layered with fresh pasta and grilled eggplant, zucchini and sweet red peppers, each layer with a dollop of the Sugo
The roasted vegetables lay on a thin veneer of sauce, a layer of bubbly ricotta, and nestled within the golden pasta sheets. A cloak of mozzarella cheese was draped over the small bowl and set in the oven
to turn golden brown. Out of the stove, it was piping hot and since I did not wait for it to cool, I think I suffered a taste bud casualty; a part of my tongue was seared off from the fiery heat—that should teach me to practice more patience in the future! This was one of my favourite dishes; I enjoyed the richness from the clean tasting ricotta and the varied textures from the sliced vegetables- it was so hearty that not once did my inner carnivore lament about the absence of meat.
Wild Porcini Mushroom Risotto Arancini with Louise’s Sugo
The deep fried, golden brown spheres floating on top of Louise’s Sugo were little darlings to behold.
The nuggets carried some mighty fine flavors inside them. With my trusty fork in hand, I cracked it open; the pungent sharp Parmigianino regianno cheese contrasted well with the molten interior of soft rice and meaty- textured porcini. The filling was seasoned well and married perfectly to the crusty exterior; you wanted to strategically take a bite of both worlds each time. Although the Arancini was rich, it was the sugo for dipping which lightened and balanced out the dish; it was a thoughtful play on contrasts.
Biscotti, two ways:
These soldiers were lined up in rows and stacked on top of one another. They were ready to stage a full fledged attack on the flavor battlefield. To combat any worn-out taste buds, these sweets were the perfect way to end the evening.
Chocolate espresso: soft and luscious mouth feel. It wasn’t too sweet and there was a coffee flavor that lingered in the background. What a pleasure it was to bite into a biscotti that didn’t crumble or disintegrate under pressure!
Toasted pistachios, studded with cranberries: this had a crisper texture but was not dry. The sweet- tart cranberries, coupled with the rich and crunchy salted pistachios, made it hard to decide which double baked cookie I adored more.
Hand rolled pasta made with Michael
From caterpillar to butterfly, the pasta dough went through a transformation before our eyes. With delicate handling and stretching, the lifeless mass of dough became thin,velvety sheets. It is apparant to me why homemade is the only way to go; you can taste the preparation and care that goes into your pasta. Speaking of which, I enviously looked on as all three dishes of homemade pasta were snatched up by other media and attendees. Based on their closed eyes, upturned heads, and slight grins, I’d surmise that they were in a state of euphoria while devouring said pasta; I think it’s safe to say that it was a winner of a dish and a highly prized one at that.
Louise Prete offers their Sugo Pomodoro e Basilico pasta sauce at many retail stores: http://www.louiseprete.com/shop.html#
They offer prepared meals, catering, and delivery! So you can get your Louise Prete fix without leaving the comfort of your home http://www.louiseprete.com/shop.html#