You may remember a few posts back, that the CAVA restaurant in Toronto was planning to host a taste test of Michael Schmidt’s “two calves”. Well, here’s a report of the results of that Taste Test, excerpted from the Food Network.ca blog, along with photos, some from that blog, and others courtesy of CAVA:
“Truth be told, I get invited my share of dinners although not as many as you may think. At the beginning I would say yes to pretty much any event that would have me. But after learning the hard way (hello, fat pants), I’m a bit more discerning now about the events I attend. Plus, I have a little one at home, so the event has to pretty darn special to get me out of my fat pants AND away from my son. That’s a looooong winded way of saying I wouldn’t have missed A Tale of Two Calves dinner at Cava Restaurant Tuesday night for anything.
Dairy farmer and activist Michael Schmidt – he of the raw milk controversy – provided Chef Chris McDonald, owner/executive chef of Cava Restaurant, with two 5-month-old calves, born on the same day, but one was fed raw milk while the other was fed commercial pasteurized milk.
Would there be a taste difference? That’s exactly what the 70 or so people packed inside Cava Restaurant, including Sean Heather (AKA Mayor of Gastown, who flew in from Vancouver for the event), were there to find out. Michael didn’t even tell Chef Chris which was which. The two calves were handed to him simply labelled A and B.
Chef Chris decided to start with the organs since he figured the differences would be most noticeable. He immediately noticed during his prep of the first dish – calf livers “anticuchos” – that calf B’s liver was redder, bigger and firmer than calf A’s. As you can see in the picture above, A is definitely grayer in colour; there was also a huge taste difference. I found A more subtle in taste whereas B was more intense in flavour and firmer in texture. While I preferred the taste of B, I was pretty convinced that A was the calf raised on raw milk since the taste was more subtle.
Then it was on to the next course – Calf Comparison: Eye of Round with Line Caught Albacore Sauce and Tete De Veau Terrines. Here things got a bit confusing. Both Elana and I preferred the terrine of A – more flavourful but liked the eye of round of Calf B better. It was less mealy and had a better flavour. I did notice calf A was a bit greyer in colour overall. At this point I felt less confident about A being the raw-milk raised calf….”
If you haven’t read it already, check out part 1 of our Tale of Two Calves report, showing photos of the calves and of their internal organs.