Estrella Damm Gastronomic Congress Comes to Toronto

On the list for Moosehead and the affiliated Premium Beer Company promo events, we are attending the following on May 15.* Some details from Moosehead’s website:

Join Estrella Damm for Gastronomy Congress: A Journey to Joan Roca Cuisine from El Celler de Can Roca.

London, Miami, Lisbon, and Melbourne have all played host to the Estrella Damm Gastronomy Congress – a one-of-a-kind event that showcases top culinary personalities from around the world. On May 15, it’s Toronto’s turn – Chef Joan Roca will headline Toronto’s first-ever public Gastronomy Congress.

Roca is the chef-owner of El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. In 2013 and 2015, El Celler de Can Roca was named the World’s Best Restaurant. This special event will feature a live cooking demonstration by Roca, followed by an engaging discussion about modern gastronomy between Chef Roca and top Toronto chef Grant van Gameren.

The event will take place at the new Crow’s Theatre. The first professional performing arts facility of its kind east of the Don Valley Parkway.

Estrella Damm has been sponsoring these Gastronomy Congresses for some years. While Spain is not usually regarded as having a long beery heritage, beer accompanies tapas and some other Spanish food well, as we found on a visit to Barcelona some years ago.

The opportunity to pair an ever-increasing range of city or area beers is provided by the spike in the craft brewing movement in Spain including Catalonia. Estrella Damm itself is the “old school” with roots to an expatriate Alsatian brewer, August Damm, in 1876.

The flagship lager is a classic late-1800s adjunct blonde beer. Just about the time Budweiser emerged with its malt-and-rice formula, the same occurred for Estrella Damm – it was in the air.

Damm S.A. has issued numerous other styles including a Munich-style dark lager, Hefeweizen, red lager, and other variations, but Estrella Damm is the mainstay. It has been available in Toronto for at least a half-dozen years via LCBO.

I look forward to tasting Roca’s handiwork – as a world-famous chef it promises to be good. His thoughts on current culinary trends will be interesting to hear as well. He is known among other innovations for promoting the sous-vide method about 20 years ago. What was initially an expedient is today widely followed in restaurant practice, although whether at famed El Celler we don’t know.

For prices and ticket details check this Eventbrite page.

Noteworthy fact: Spain has a much older beer tradition than one would think, anchored in early Celtic settlements – it was interrupted by the Romans and their vines! More on this soon with a c. 1958 recipe for a beer puchero from Canadian chef legend Jehane Benoit.


*Our attendance is complimentary, courtesy Estrella Damm and Moosehead.