By Nicholas MacNaughton, Special Contributor
Photos: Nicholas MacNaughton
It’s official: Cornwall’s downtown core is thriving. Local investments and determined entrepreneurs have significantly changed the heart of the city. The growing number of small businesses has also impacted the local culinary scene. Opened over nine years, one of the original catalysts of this transformation is Schnitzels European Flavours. From its huge patio open in the summer months to its live music by artists from all over Canada, Schnitzels has made a name for itself by providing great food as well as exceptional beer and wine. Schnitzels is truly a foodie’s dream destination.
Centered on a menu rooted in Bavarian cuisine, Schnitzels dishes range from European classics to wood oven pizzas. Chef Troy Paquette has helmed the kitchen for the past six years and left an imprint on the menu as well as the overall operation by taking the term “homemade” to a whole newlevel. All the bread and pizza dough are kneaded and baked on premise. Every cut of meat is butchered, prepared and smoked by Chef Troy and his staff. Yes, you have read correctly; Schnitzels has its own in-house smoker! Every other Sunday, cords of firewood are delivered to the restaurant to fuel its wood oven and smoker. No other restaurant in the area is devoted as much to detail and providing customers high-quality food at affordable prices.
Accompanying Chef Troy’s menu is an extensive beer and wine program. The General Manager of Schnitzels, Justine Viray-Levac, is a wine enthusiast and has done a tremendous job putting together various wines and beers that pair well with Chef Troy’s creations. Schnitzels has one of the city’s most impressive beer lineups from old favorites (Molson, Labatt) to well-established imports (Stella Artois, Erdinger) as well as craft and microbreweries (Beau’s, Mill Street). In addition, wine lovers will find a rotating list of Ontario labels as well as vintage bottles from around the world.
I was fortunate enough to sit down with Chef Troy and Viray-Levac to get an exclusive sneak peak at their Seaway Winter Food Festival menu. True to its roots, Schnitzels will offer new dishes sure to satisfy new diners and regulars alike. From the Erdinger Bratwurst Sausage to the Baked Chocolate Pudding, the menu showcases European flavors with modern style and execution.
I first tasted the Prosciutto and Arugula Flatbread. This is Schnitzels take on the classic Margherita Pizza. The thin crust of the flatbread was nicely charred by the wood oven and topped with a classic sauce prepared using fresh San Marzano tomatoes from Italy. However, the true star of the dish was the combination of the sweetness of the bocconcini cheese, saltiness of the prosciutto and peppery bite of the arugula. The arugula tossed lightly in extra virgin olive oil and lemon balanced the other bold ingredients. Simple, but yet delicious.
Next, I tried the Goulash Segadine. This dish is a German classic. Chef Troy has worked extensively to master this traditional Bavarian recipe, while adding his own twist. The result is fantastic: tender cuts of pork braised in a rich creamy broth seasoned with paprika and caraway and topped with crispy fried spätzle (soft egg noodle) and fresh scallions. The pork used is from local purveyor Langview Farms and slow-cooked for hours in a bouquet of spices. The deep fried späzle adds texture while the fresh scallions brings brightness to the dish.
Join Schnitzels European Flavours and the Seaway Winter Food Festival as they bring you one of the best dining experience in Cornwall’s vibrant downtown core.Schnitzels will be participating in the year’s Seaway Winter Food Festival. For more information please visit www.swff.ca