Victoria’s Feast festival cooks up tasty menu of film and food


What: Victoria’s Feast: Food and Film
Where: The Vic Theatre and the Mint
When: Thursday, June 13, through Saturday, June 16

Organizers of Victoria’s Feast: Food and Film festival are so committed to pairing the right food with films that they’re bringing peanuts all the way from Ontario for viewers to down with a pint and a boozy documentary.

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The organizers try to feature local food, and when it comes to peanuts, local means several provinces over. There are only two peanut growers in Canada, both in Ontario, said Kathy Kay, director of the Victoria Film Festival, which puts on the annual event. “They’re better than peanuts from the U.S.,” Kay said.

The Canadian peanuts will pair with Friday’s film, Brewmaster, which tells the stories of two American men trying to make it in the craft beer business.

This is the first time the festival is showing a film about beer, Kay said.

Now in its seventh year, Feast will serve up six films with carefully picked food pairings.

Kay said she is most excited about the cheese tasting that comes with Back to Burgundy, showing on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Flavia Costi from La Tana bakery, who holds a master cheese-taster certificate from her home country of Italy, will lead the tasting of four cheeses for the audience.

The films are screened at The Vic Theatre, except Himalayan Gold Rush, which will be shown at the Mint, an Asian fusion restaurant in downtown Victoria. Kay said the festival has worked with Rajen Shakya, one of the restaurant’s owners, for a long time. This year, Kathmandu-born Shakya will demonstrate how to make momos, which he describes as Tibetan dumplings, to go with a film set in his home country.

Shakya said he’ll talk about the ingredients — usually pork or chicken mixed with onions, ginger, garlic, cumin and cilantro, or potato and cabbage mixed with the same spices — and show the audience how to make a mix. He’ll also talk about the importance of momos in Nepalese culture.

“It’s a big family thing,” said Shakya, who grew up in a house of 23 people. “Whenever there was a momo night or afternoon, every single person in the house came together and it was a joint effort.”

The festival starts today with two films and their paired dishes. First up at 5:30 p.m. is Nothing Fancy: Diana Kennedy, a film about a 94-year-old British woman considered the world’s leading expert on Mexican food. The film comes with a ceviche featuring B.C. whitefish.

At 7:30 p.m., Chef’s Diaries: Scotland is showing. Food and a cocktail served by Toque catering and Sheringham Distillery will accompany the film about two restaurateur brothers who head to Scotland hoping to find culinary secrets in the country’s often-overlooked cuisine.

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