Devour The Food Film Fest, the third installation and new manifestation of the Slow Food Film Fest, is about to change everything. Bringing 70 food filled films from far and wide plus 5 days of some pretty epic dining, Devour is set to become the food lover’s event of the year. And it’s happening right now.
I don’t know about you but I’m constantly envious of blogging friends attending city wide tasting events and huge food truck rallies and crazy food festivals and and and. Nova Scotia has its share of food events and sure, we’re not as huge as big metropolises like Toronto but god damn sometimes I feel like we could be so much more. Devour is exactly what I’m talking about.
Five days of food and film made all the more sweet with cocktails, food trucks, cheese, and wine. There is no way this can be bad. But if you’re still on the fence about travelling the long hour to the Valley (you got that sarcasm right?), let me spell it out for you.
It kicks off this evening with The Five Senses, a gala reception hosted by TV’s Bob Bulmer where twelve of the city’s best chefs get behind the line to bring you a feast that’s sure to please all the senses. Follow that with with a foray into the world of fruit obsession with a screening of The Fruit Hunters staring well known Bill Pullman. “A cinematic odyssey through nature and commerce, The Fruit Hunters will change not only the way we look at what we eat but how we view our relationship to the natural world.” If you had to choose but one event, tonight could easily fit the bill.
Then there’s the three incredible film-inspired dinners, course after course created by a tag team of local and visiting chefs taking inspiration from some amazing films. Thursday Front & Central’s David Smart joins Michael Blackie of Ottawa’s Next in a modern day feast inspired by the film Now, Forager. Then Friday’s Last Shepard Dinner sees local Jamie Smye of Pivot House pair up with Scott Vivian whose instagram feed for his Toronto restaurant Beast is reason enough to get excited. No wonder it is already sold out. Same goes for the third, a Mussles in Love collaboration between Danny St. Piere of Auguste Restaurant in QC and Blomidon Inn’s Sean Laceby. With each film screening prior to the associated dinner, it’s got date night written all over it. Thursday’s still open so I’d get on that.
If perhaps you’re looking for something more casual, catch an early flick then hit up the Food Truck Rally brought to you by the local loving folks at Select NS. With an emphasis on sustainable seafood, Tin Pan Alley, the Food Wolf and a Brooklyn Warehouse pop up in Nomad Gourmet have created three amazing menus that you’d be hard pressed to choose between. Go ahead, have one of everything. I should also mention the release of the much anticipated Select NS calendar during the Food Truck Rally. You’re not going to want to miss out on seeing Miss May and her rhubarb white chocolate bread pudding.
Then there’s Friday. Starting with a shorts program including Food Porn and It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere then leading into the feature film Hey Bartender, the night really gets interesting with a cocktail pop-up featuring Halifax’s famed Jeffrey Van Horne. To make it all the more awesome. you can soak up all that booze with the best burger in the city thanks to the Ace Burger Co take over of Nomad Gourmet. It’s no wonder Friday is among the top pics of The Food Wife who just so happens to be none other than the ridiculously talented Lia Rinaldo, one half of the Devour power duo. I couldn’t be more proud.
Or how about learning from the best in the industry at a few workshops geared toward the food blogger, filmmaker and culinary enthusiast. Friday through Sunday workshops covering everything from nose to tail cuisine to food photography put you right in the action. I ain’t no filmmaker but with names like Laurie Barnett, whose work includes bringing us more Bourdain in Parts Unknown, the workshops are at the top of my list.
Then, of course, there’s the films. The Devour team has compiled a truly incredible selection of films exploring every angle of food, it’s past, present and future. There’s the beautiful examination of the declining bee population in More Than Honey or the intimate story of one family’s deep connection to the culinary trade in Step Up to the Plate. If I could, I’d probably watch everything.
See what I’m getting at? I didn’t even mention the Magic Winery Bus allowing visitors to explore our burgeoning wine scene or the All You Need is Cheese Express where a trip to Fox Hill Cheesehouse for award winning Canadian cheese, local beer, and cider is on the menu or Sweet Hereafter, the awards gala that closes the event on a sweet note with a dessert showcase from NSCC’s culinary students. I honestly can’t seem to find anything on this program you wouldn’t enjoy.
But despite all the food and films and good times, underneath it all Devour represents something else. Much more than a trip to the movies or even a phenomenal meal, Devour is rooted in Slow Food, in it’s belief in good, clean and fair food for all. It’s no coincidence these chefs share a deep passion about their homes, sourcing locally from its shores and farms and forests. It’s no surprise the event is being held not in the province’s capital but rather in its agricultural epicentre. From the backgrounds of the event organizers Lia and Wolfville’s own Micheal Howell right down to the film selection, Devour has Slow Food at it’s heart. Through film and food, Devour will engage us. It will juxtapose the past with the present, bring awareness to our current food systems both locally and globally, and ultimately start the conversation about how we improve those systems for all.
That’s a conversation I want to be a part of. And if it just so happens to involve savouring incredible local food, watching thought provoking films and meeting some of our industry’s brightest, then you bet I’m going to Eat It Up.