Recently I have been writing about broadleaf maple syrup and also about quinoa, and so it was a nice surprise to find them together at the Harbour House Hotel. Located in Ganges, BC, the hotel strives to provide excellent meals that are as local as possible, all year long. They are lovingly restoring a portion of the original Crofton farm; one of the local founding families, they settled in Ganges early in the twentieth century. My family is from the gulf islands, and so I have a soft sport for the history and customs of the area. As Canada’s tiny patch of Mediterranean climate, the islands are dry, rocky, and beautiful. I was on the island for other business so I didn’t have time to explore the farm, though I did say hello to some friendly sheep, and managed to sneak a meal in the dining room. This time of year local food can be a little bleak, but I thought they did an excellent job of preparing some wonderful root vegetables, and some fresh salad greens from the greenhouse. My surf and turf came from the island as well; Saltspring is a foodie paradise.
The stand-out dish of the evening was the maple quinoa pudding. It was a lot like rice pudding, though the quinoa is much nuttier. If you try it at home, be sure to rinse the quinoa well to remove any trace of bitterness. The broadleaf maple, produced right on site, gave just the right amount of sweetness. Next year they are going to grow the quinoa, making the entire dish local. I had to be on the island anyway, but it was well worth a trip to paradise to taste. Next time I hope to have time to explore more of the island’s foodie adventures.