The best takeout I had last year was the intended centrepiece of my April 3rd dinner at Elora Mill, which, as luck and lockdown had it, instead ended up in a box in the back of my car. It was a duck pie made with some mallards I’d shot near Lake Erie the previous autumn, but that was just the start of it. Its bottom layer was a mixture of mushroom, brasied duck leg meat and duck reduction. On top of that, whole duck breasts and then a thick layer of seared foie gras and, finally, sautéed chard, its earthy notes playing to the mushroom beneath. Add in the crisp pastry and light, brightly acidic duck sauce and you have, well, greatness. So, I made inquiries and learned that the pie had been prepared by Elora sous-chef Dacha-Danijel Markovic. His passion for charcuterie — and specifically pâtés en croûte and other pastry-wrapped treasures — got its start when he was growing up in rural Serbia, helping out with the family table. He honed that passion over a few years in the kitchen at Langdon Hall, followed by three at Fogo Island Inn under chef Jonathan Gushue, whom he next followed to Elora. Keep an eye on Dacha.
Photo Credit: (Portraits) Lila Lavereau Photography. (Exterior) VP Studios. (Food) Jacob Richler