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Serving London, Stratford & Southwestern Ontario № 43 • September/October 2013 www.eatdrink.ca

eatdrink Flavour& Philosophy at

The Root Cellar Organic Cafe A Winning Combination in London

and Featuring

The Only On King

“Meet Your Chicken!” in London

Smackwater Jack’s Taphouse

Local Fare with a View in Grand Bend

New!

Donald D’Haene DISHES on

Local Theatre

Jerusalem: A Cookbook Review & Recipe Video by Janice Zolf

The EPIC Wine Trail

Driving the Essex Pelee Island Wine Route

Fire Roasted Coffee Co. & Habitual Chocolate Brewing Anticipation in London

ALSO: Spring Rolls & Noodles Rule–The Vietnam Restaurant, Thuận Kiê`u, Quynh Nhi & Tamarine


Ontario’s Event of the Year

Savour Stratford Perth County Culinary Festival

presented by

Sep tember 20-22, 2013

More than 150 chefs, culinary personalities, farmers, Ontario wineries, craft brewers and food purveyors come together in Stratford to create one of the largest culinary events in Ontario celebrating Globally inspired, Locally grown cuisine on the Toronto Star Culinary Stage. Sip, sample and savour at over 40 engaging chef presentations, talks and tastings. Roam the market accompanied by FREE music concerts, street performers and culinary fun for the kids. Savour Stratford Opening Night presented by Fanshawe College GE CafĂŠ Chefs Series with Vikram Vij ~ Exclusive 3-hour class and lunch Taste of Ontario Artisan Alley ~ Saturday exclusive cask and craft beer, VQA wines, Dillon's Small Batch Distillers and artisan cheese tastings by the Dairy Farmers of Ontario Toronto Star Culinary Stage ~ International culinary demonstrations Women in Food Breakfast presented by Chatelaine ~ A provocative panel discussion Sunday morning at The Church Restaurant Sunday Tasting presented by Scotiabank ~ Seasonal morsels created by 30 local chefs paired with producers, craft beers and VQA wines at our afternoon garden party FREE Entertainment presented by the City of Stratford ~ Live acts all weekend

Come and share in our celebration of food!

savourstratford.com @StratfordON @SavourStratford

StratfordON SavourStratford


Join us for these Upcoming Events… • Terry Fox Run — September 15 • Country Christmas Craft Show — November 2 • Huron Tract Spinners and Weavers Exhibition — Nov. 2–3 • A Remembrance: The Great Lakes Storm of 1913 — Nov. 8–10 • IODE Christmas House Tour — November 9–10 • Festival of Lights Celebrations — Nov. 22–mid January, 2014 • Santa Claus Parade — November 23

For information please contact:

Tourism Goderich 1 800 280 7637 or visit our website at:

goderich.ca


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contents

12

ISSUE № 43

September/october 2013

f o o d w r i t er at l a r g e 8

The Foodie’s Place in the Culinary Pecking Order

By BRYAN LAVERY

R E S TAU R A N T S

12

“Meet Your Chicken!" at The Only On King in London

By BRYAN LAVERY

16 Spring Rolls & Noodles Rule: The Vietnam Restaurant, Thuâ. n Ki`êu, Quynh Nhi and Tamarine in London

16

By BRYAN LAVERY

26

To Serve and Provide: Smackwater Jack’s in Grand Bend

38

The Root Cellar Organic Cafe: Flavour and Philosophy

By TANYA CHOPP

By NATALIE NOVAK

Road tr i ps

20 The Joy of Slowing Down, in Perth County’s Millbank By NICOLE LAIDLER

26 46 50

K i t c h en Des i g n

24

Small Details for Grand Results

C U LI N A RY R E TAIL

30

24

Fire Roasted Coffee Co. & Habitual Chocolate Downtown By CHRISTIE MASSÉ

T R AV E L

34

Bib On, Butter Up and Uncork! ... in Nova Scotia By jANE ANTONIAK

N E W & N OTA B L E

40

The BUZZ

THE BUZZ

WI N E 46

The EPIC Wine Trail along Lake Erie’s North Shore

B eer m at t ers

50

54

By SUSAN ORFALD

By jANE ANTONIAK

Forked River Brewing Company and Late Summer Notes By THE MALT MONK

t h e at re « NEW COLUMN!

54

Donald DISHES on Local Theatre

By DONALD D’HAENE

B OO K S

56

Talking with My Mouth Full by Gail Simmons

Review by DARIN COOK

COO K B OO K S 58

58

Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi Review and Recipe Selections by Janice zolF

TH E LIGHT E R S ID E 62 Five Shades of Grey By JUDY J. THOMPSON

56


navigate great № 43 | September/October 2013

TO

TIMES

in

Lambton County

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7

LAMBTON SHORES

SARNIA & POINT EDWARD

CENTRAL LAMBTON

ST.CLAIR RIVER DISTRICT

TOURISM SARNIA-LAMBTON

LET US GUIDE YOU THROUGH OUR VACATION PLAYGROUND!

dine

& UNWIND Limbo Lounge, Downtown Sarnia

call or click for your FREE travel guide and map

  also available at visitor centres throughout Southwestern Ontario

1.800.265.0316

www.tourismsarnialambton.com/EatDrink


8

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№ 43 | September/October 2013

food writer at large

The Foodie’s Place in the Culinary Pecking Order By Bryan Lavery

P

foodie?

With the simultaneous escalation of the ecking order is the colloquial term food media, food apps and camera phones, for a hierarchal system of social I try to keep my mind open to change. organization. For the record, the Expressions that seemed to have no root in original usage referred to the expression of dominance in chickens. With our culinary lexicon are suddenly ubiquitous. Some people self-identify as foodies to the keen interest in all things culinary, it avoid being characterized as the type of should not surprise anyone to learn that food snob they associate with old-school there is a gastronomic pecking order. At the bottom of the gastronomic hierarchy is gourmets. When people say to me, “You’re such a foodie” it makes my skin crawl. I goinfre (greedy guts), then goulu (glutton), gourmand, (one who enjoys eating), friand don’t want to be categorized or lumped in with foodies despite their clichéd glory. (epicure; one who with discriminating taste takes pleasure in fine food and drink), The term sounds too much like groupie, gourmet (a connoisseur of food and drink), and groupie, to my way of thinking, has the implication of being obsessively and finally the gastronome (one with a indiscriminate. For some serious interest in gastronomy). reason the word “foodie” has Let’s not overlook “foodie,” goinfre always seemed too gung ho, a contemporary term that is goulu too disingenuous and more frequently and incorrectly used about status than anything as a synonym for gourmet or gourmand else. Several people have told epicure. Most people are blind me that I am mistaken, that I to the fact that there is a distinct friand am a food snob. difference in their meanings. gourmet Writing in the Guardian, The foodie is an amateur or Paul Levy, who claims hobbyist and a gourmet has the gastronome paternity of the term foodie educated palate and refined with colleague Ann Barr, taste of a professional. admits that American restaurant critic, Foodie, like the expression eatery, is a relatively new term in our modern culinary food writer and novelist Gael Greene may lexicon. Both of those terms have given me have coined the term foodie at about the same time in 1982. “What started as a term a lot of flak. The word eatery I am only now of mockery shifted ground, as writers shamefully surrendering to after initially found that “foodie” had a certain utility, finding the term not only loathsome describing people who, because of age, sex, but unappetizing. My complaint is that income and social class, simply did not “eatery” is being used inaccurately; it is fit into the category ‘gourmet,’ which we an interloper on the culinary landscape, insisted had become ‘a rude word’.” evoking images of cheap, usually inferior We can see how far we have come by a restaurants with undiscriminating all-youlegendary satirical sketch on the IFC series can-eat offerings and other unspeakable Portlandia (you can watch it on YouTube) horrors. Recently, I have begun to hear caricaturing foodies and called, “Is the the term eatery to describe fine dining establishments. I am seeing the expression chicken local?” The episode goes like this: A waitress approaches a man and woman bandied about in venerated pages of seated at a table and asks if they’re ready to prestigious publications.


www.eatdrink.ca

№ 43 | September/October 2013

order. The woman says she’d like to know more about the chicken. “The chicken is a heritage breed, woodland-raised chicken that’s been fed a diet of sheep’s milk, soy and hazelnuts,” the waitress states. “This is local?” the man asks, leaning attentively on his hand. “Yes,” the waitress replies. “Oregon organic, or Portland organic?” the woman asks. “It’s just all-across-the-board organic,” the waitress answers. The waitress leaves for a moment, and then returns with a file. “His name was Colin,” she says. “Here are his papers.” The questions get more intense and exhaustive, to the point that the waitress says, “I can’t speak to that level of intimate knowledge.” The diners then excuse themselves, promising to return but first they need to see where he was raised and lived, before they eat “Colin.” Although this satirical sketch mocks foodies, as consumers we should be aware of where our food is being sourced.

9

In my experience, those characterized by the French term goinfre (greedy guts) suf­ fer a ravenous disposition. They are hard to stomach due to their selfish, insatiable appetites. Gluttony is often an emotional escape, a sign that something is eating you. Gluttons indulge their voracious appe­ tites indiscriminately and over-consume to the point of waste. Gourmand is an all-encompassing term for acolytes who take great pleasure in good food but who are routinely unacquainted with etiquette. They lack the skills of proper refinement while being over-fond of eating. At the next level, we find the epicure. This term has had a renaissance but is still sometimes used to lampoon those devoted to the pleasures of the table. The Oxford Companion of Food says the term “derived from the Greek philosopher Epicurus, who declared happiness to be the highest good, which came to mean, in a food and wine

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contest, a person of refined tastes.” Gourmet denotes even more respectability and gravity in culinary matters. This French term originally meant “cultivated wine-taster.” Gourmets tend to be discriminating in their eating habits and sophisticated, with a cultivated and professional interest in culinary matters. The gastronome has reached the highest level, taking great strides to comprehend the most subtle nuances of taste. It is a pleasing word, gastronome: unfortunately it has become archaic. The gastronome’s discerning palate and quest for illumination have been confused with pretension and snobbery. The fact is that gastronomy is the study of the art and science of food and the relationship between food and culture. I have noticed that gastronomes and foodies have at least one thing in common: they both seem to have a strong desire to impart their observations to others. BRYAN LAVERY is eatdrink’s Food Writer at Large and Contributing Editor and a gourmet/gastronome.


№ 43 | September/October 2013

www.eatdrink.ca

AUTHENTIC

11

CULINARY EXPERIENCES FROM FARM TO TABLE, LONDON’S CULINARY CULTURE IS COOKING WITH LOCAL FLAVOUR

WWW.LONDONTOURISM.CA/CULINARY


12

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№ 43 | September/October 2013

restaurants

Meet Your Chicken! At The Only On King in London By bryan lavery

I

n its sixth year The Only On King, with its fully realized farm-to-table philosophy, devoted acknowledgement of the local terroir, and support of local farmers and producers, remains an outstanding archetype of the virtuous up-to-the-minute Ontario restaurant. The ­kitchen, led by Paul Harding, is a selfproclaimed labour of love. When Harding is not chained to the stove, he continues to find new ways to integrate the locavore ethic into all aspects of The Only. Former business partner and dynamic co-chef Jason Schubert left the restaurant over a year ago to work at Sanagan’s Meat Locker (an old-fashioned butcher shop, specializing in meats from small local farmers who ethically raise their animals) in the heart of Toronto’s Kensington Market. Recently, Schubert announced via twitter that he has started a new trade, working for “a kick-ass old school masonry restoration company.” Schubert may have left many fans in his wake but under Harding’s proprietorship the restaurant continues to perform at the top of its game. That is in part due to The Only’s trusty and knowledgeable long-time manager Scott Sloan.

The Only’s Chef Paul Harding Dealing successfully with the difficulties and disciplines of local food procurement, and executing an ever-changing daily menu with a deep appreciation of the seasonal palate has been evidence of the kitchen’s dedication. The cooking repertoire empha­ sizes the rich traditions of classic French and Italian cuisines and the aesthetics of modern British cuisine. Located in a historic build­ ing and former dairy on King Street in the London downtown dining district, the res­ taurant has a welcoming character with just that right amount of off-the-cuff insouciance that often comes with success. The conversa­ tional hum can be loud when the restaurant is hopping — which is most nights. The Only was voted number six of Canada’s Best New Restaurants in 2008 by enRoute magazine. It has lived up to its early


№ 43 | September/October 2013

accolades and the kitchen has never rested on its laurels. The Only is collaborative by nature and there have been many exciting events where The Only has partnered with other culinary notables like Victor Barry of Splendido, Vineland’s Tawse Winery, and Nick and Nat’s Uptown 21, a gourmet hot spot in Waterloo. A recent collaboration with Michael Caballo and Tobey Nemeth of Edulus restaurant in Toronto (which was voted number one of Canada’s Best New Restaurants in 2012 by enRoute magazine) was a much talked about sold-out success this summer at The Only. Dinner at The Only On King begins with a basket of warm, white-linen-wrapped house-made bread accompanied by long, crisp, melt-in-your-mouth breadsticks and a pot of salty, creamy butter. In keeping with their philosophy of local food procurement, flour, grains and legumes are sourced from the historic Arva Flour Mills. The list of local producers that The Only supports is extensive. Farben Farms is Harding’s choice for Berkshire pork raised in a natural environment with no additives, hormones or drugs. Another producer, Lo Maximo

The chalkboard menu always reflects a locavore ethic Meats, is an outgrowth of Spence Farms, a fifth-generation family farm located in Chatham-Kent. Paul and Sara Spence’s Lo Maximo Meats offers traditionally raised beef, pork, chicken, goat, lamb and eggs with no hormones or steroids, but with a Latin American sensibility. The meat is aged

Come and join us at the C-K Table! September 21 & September 22 producers direct from the farm to your plate.

September 21 — C-K Table Dinner An exclusive night of savoury dishes amongst picturesque blueberry frilds. Proceeds going to Growing Chefs Ontario for children’s food education. September 22 — Farm Tours & Vendor Market See the work and passion of local farmers and producers. More information at www.cktable.ca


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№ 43 | September/October 2013

be purchased on Saturdays at its satellite operation at the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market. On offer are favourites like the signature vegetable salad, pork rillettes or even foie gras parfait. Of course, the main reason to go to The Only at the Market is for Brian Bellamy’s outstanding bacon butty with cheese. The Only’s kitchen has an aptitude for cooking lesser-known cuts of meat with great versatility. I have many memories of organic The Only’s Manager Scott Sloan and Chef/Owner Paul Harding flat-iron steak, braised shin and flash frozen by a local abattoir and sold and grilled organic beef heart, all cooked to at regional Farmers’ Markets. perfection. Simple sauces at this restaurant Recently, I ordered The Only On King’s accentuate flavour and elevate a good piece classic chicken boudin (white sausage), of meat or fish to a superior one. A recent which has become a delicious signature appetizer that the kitchen turned into dish. On this occasion it was served with a an entrée is golden-brown, Fisher Folkfried egg, Swiss chard and garlic sauce. Our sourced tuna meatballs, braised in tomato charismatic waiter, Margeaux Levesque, with olives, capers and pine nuts, and gave me a binder with a dossier (prepared accompanied by knock-out gnocchi. by farmer Paul Spence) on candidates for my This kitchen crafts silky crème brûlées dinner that is entitled “From and a yummy Pavlova-like Our Family Farm To Your dessert, aptly named Eton Fork — Meet Your Chicken!” mess, with berries sourced There was a dizzying array of from Heeman’s Berry Farms. potential contenders and all A richly-flavoured Habitual had lived a happy life on the chocolate semifreddo with Spence family farm where boozy cherries, raspberries, they “had the opportunity to mint oil and Maldon salt was roam in an open area with perfect melt-in-your-mouth fresh air, sunshine, bugs, Food Day Canada fare. grass and weeds to feed on.” The restaurant allows The information provided guests to bring their own included: date of birth, wine, features several housemarkings/distinguishing made seasonal cocktails, characteristics, likes, dis­ and has a varied wine list likes and other personal of interesting choices and a information that included questionable selection of bottled and draft beer produced hobbies and diet. exclusively by Muskoka Brewery. Later, I quizzed Spence about his inspira­ tion for the “Meet Your Chicken!” dossiers The Only On King and he told me, “It was actually a suggestion 172 King Street, London from a fellow farmer ... It’s a great way to both 519-936-2064 educate and amuse consumers.” www.theonlyonking.ca In addition to Harding’s often ironic sense tuesday to saturday 5:30 pm to close of humour, he is proficient at butchering and making many house-made specialties: bacon, sausage, terrines, galantines, pates BRYAN LAVERY is eatdrink’s Food Writer at Large and and confits. The Only’s kitchen has a Contributing Editor. revolving repertoire of dishes and several can


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restaurants

Spring Rolls & Noodles Rule ` The Vietnam Restaurant, Thuận Kiêu, Quynh Nhi and Tamarine, in London By BRYAN LAVERY

T

he genius of Vietnamese cooking lies in the adaptation of foreign influences to develop a distinctly unique and subtle cuisine with contrasting flavours and textures. Sour ­flavours are balanced by salty ones, and

sweet notes are tempered by heat from chilies and ground pepper. There is a de­ pendence on rice; noodles figure promi­ nently and a wealth of fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables. As in China and East Asia, Thuận Kiê`u has a stylish urban sensibility (above and right) and the ambitious menu offers an encyclopedic range of dishes, such as the array below. Photos by Jorge Polio Photography.

the Vietnamese serve their rice in bowls with chopsticks. Meat is an accompaniment rather than a central offering. The Vietnamese custom of wrapping fresh rolls and spring rolls in lettuce leaves and fresh herbs are a remnant of the original cultures that existed before centuries of Chinese influence. The Chinese contributed many culinary techniques including their art of stir-frying using the wok; the French left their traditions and penchant for aromatic filtered coffee with condensed milk and crème caramel; scented ingredients like lemongrass were embraced from the


№ 43 | September/October 2013

Thai culinary repertoire; and the spicing techniques and aromatic infusions of curryinspired recipes are suggestive of India. That is the short-list. Pho, a popular street food in Vietnam, is a deeply-flavoured broth with long rice noodles, fresh herbs and thin slices of meat most often accompanied with a side of bean sprouts, peppers and lime

The Vietnam Restaurant

My introduction to pho and subsequent comparisons are based on the delicious concoctions that have a fragrant undertone, accompanied by thin slices of rare beef, which they have been serving at The Vietnam since my first visit twenty years ago. The Vietnam is located across from Kellogg’s, and Long Duc Ngo has been the welcoming hands-on proprietor of this long established Vietnamese restaurant since 1994. The kitchen offers a selection of accessibly-priced noodle, rice and soup dishes. The substantive menu includes superb spring rolls, pho, sizzling hot pots, and many seafood and chicken dishes.

Thuâ. n Ki`êu

Established in 1996, Thuâ.n Ki`êu is familyowned and operated and has developed an ardent and devoted fan base over the years for Chen’s (or Chu’s — he goes by both) hands-on approach, his ability to remember his regulars by name and his traditional Vietnamese cuisine. For years the restaurant was located in cramped premises at Huron and Sandford Streets. The new incarnation has a slick urban sensibility with a variety of seating options. The ambitious menu offers a range of traditional/non-traditional Vietnamese dishes that reads like an encyclopedia. Some dishes reach out to other parts of South Asia. Due to its updated highconcept business model, it has lost some

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wedges. Pho has become the mainstay of many Vietnamese restaurants. In London, students have given Ben Thanh and Pho Haven cult-status due to pho’s hearty, meal-in-a-bowl, comfort food popularity and its relative affordability. Here are four Vietnamese restaurants in London that dyed-in-the-wool foodies brag about.

Favourites include Pho Dac Biet, the signature combination beef, rice noodle broth with rare and brisket beef, beef balls and tripe with fresh herbs. The cold rice paper roll known as goi cuon is a perennial favourite. It is comprised of noodles, shrimp, pork, lettuce, mint and Thai basil, making this savoury easy to dip in a thick sauce of peanuts and soya. 1074 Dundas St, London 519-457-0762 • www.vietnamrestaurant.com tuesday–thursday 11am–9pm; friday 11 am–9 pm; saturday 12 pm–10 pm; sunday 12 pm–9 pm; closed mondays

of its intimacy but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The service is very attentive but when it gets crowded, and it does, things at TK’s can go a bit haywire. The appetizer to order is the Bo La Lop; the parcels of grilled lemongrass-infused beef wrapped in grape leaf are exceptional. At Thuâ.n Ki`êu, they are zealously creating quality food using traditional cooking methods and techniques to impart the essence of Vietnamese cuisine. 1275 Highbury Ave N., London 519- 455-7704 • www.thuankieu.ca monday–saturday 11 am–9:30 pm; sunday 11 am–8:30 pm


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Quynh Nhi

For well over a decade the family-run Quynh Nhi (named after siblings Quynh and Nhi) has garnered a loyal patronage and prospered because of its responsive service, consistency and traditional Vietnamese cuisine. The updated fortyseat restaurant is situated off the beaten path, next door to an auto repair garage at the corner of Wharncliffe and Riverside. Quynh Nhi built its formidable reputation

Tamarine by Quynh Nhi

Tamarine by Quynh Nhi is the sibling restaurant and the evolution of the venerated Quynh Nhi. This is the new wave of Vietnamese cuisine that has undergone a coherent development, it has a technical almost architectural articulation, and the chefs are concerned with creativity and innovation. Menu offerings are intended to be mixed and paired in ways that harmonize and contrast flavours. Both the shredded

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on its spring rolls. The signature Crispy Spring Roll is offered with chicken, pork, or in a vegetarian version served with fresh mint, lettuce and a chili-lime fish sauce. The restaurant is also known for its five different spicy Pad Thais on offer. 55 Wharncliffe Road N., London 519-850-8878 • www.quynhnhi.ca monday–saturday 11 am–9 pm

mango and shrimp salad with chili lime fish sauce, mint, crushed peanut and pickled carrots, and the green papaya salad with fiery beef jerky, basil and sweet tamarind sauce are otherworldly. Tamarine is known for its crispy Torpedo Rolls made with shrimp, and crispy Imperial Rolls with shrimp, pork, wood ear (a type of fungi) and glass noodles, which are also served with fresh mint, lettuce and a chili-lime fish sauce. The kitchen combines fresh ingredients with traditional seasonings to construct offerings designed to encourage communal dining. Long Phan is your charismatic host and downtown London champion. 118 Dundas St, London 519-601-8276 www.tamarine.ca. monday–friday 11 am–2:30 pm & 5 pm–9pm; saturday 4 pm–10 pm BRYAN LAVERY is eatdrink’s Food Writer at Large.

Tamarine represents the new wave of innovative Vietnamese cuisine, seen in the array below, and in the sleek, sophisticated interior. Photos by Steve Grimes.


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road trips

The Joy of Slowing Down Traditional Foods — and Attitudes —in Millbank, Perth County By NICOLE LAIDLER

M

illbank is one of those rural communities most people drive by on the way to someplace else. But this quiet village of around 600 residents makes a worthwhile destination for day trippers in search of authentic Mennonite cooking and some of the region’s finest cheese. Located in the heart of Perth County just 20 minutes north of Stratford, Millbank is home to Anna Mae’s Bakery and Restaurant — a busy roadside eatery, bakery, and gift shop — and the Millbank Cheese Factory — established in 1908 and now locally owned by 90 families. Once discovered, both will have you coming back for more. Meeting customers from far and wide is one of the things manager Janice Kropf loves best about working at Anna Mae’s. “We get a lot of visitors from London, Woodstock and Toronto, as well as the States,” says Kropf. “It’s fascinating to find out where people are coming from.” The restaurant and bakery

Horse-drawn buggies are a common site on the village streets

Behind the counter at Anna Mae’s Bakery & Restaurant are also popular with the local Mennonite community, whose horse-drawn buggies are a common site on the village streets. Anna Mae Wagler was a local Mennonite woman who began selling homemade pies at the end of her laneway. After turning her kitchen into a small bakery to keep up with demand, she built the current stand-alone location in 1991. “Originally it was just supposed to be a bakery and a small coffee shop,” says Kropf. “Then someone asked her to cook a meal.” In 2001, Wagler sold the business to her neighbours, the late Mel Herrfort and his wife Marlene. Anna Mae Wagler still lives in Millbank, and Marlene continues to own the business with daughter Amanda helping out behind the scenes. But apart from a few new menu items, Kropf says not much has changed at Anna Mae’s for more than 20 years. That seems to suit the customers just fine. On a busy Saturday night, the 175-seat restaurant can serve up to 1,000 people. Many make a special trip for Anna Mae’s signature broasted chicken — marinated pieces of chicken deep-fried to perfection in a pressure


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cooker. “They come out nice and crispy, but not greasy,” says Kropf. “But it’s not a typical Mennonite dish. It’s just something Anna Mae brought in that we became known for.” “Mennonite cooking is basic country cooking. Meat, potato, and vegetable,” Kropf explains. “It’s the way people used to cook years ago.” The simplicity is reflected in the restaurant’s short dinner menu, which offers a five-week rotating meat schedule. Features include turkey with dressing, farmer’s sausage, roast beef, meatloaf, pork chops, pig tails, and schnitzel, in addition to broasted chicken and Monday’s all-you-can-eat fish and chips. All are available in three portion sizes — small, regular, and platter. But no meal at Anna Mae’s would be complete without a slice of homemade pie. With more than twenty varieties to choose from, it is difficult to eat just one. Apple pie, pecan, and cherry are the top sellers, says Kropf, although coconut cream is also popular. The bakery also offers a tempting selection of breads, muffins, cookies, cakes, squares and sweet buns, as well as apple fritters, donuts, and creamfilled Little Janes. And the tasty treats aren’t just popular with visiting city-folk. “Mennonites are known for their baking, but many of our Mennonite customers actually buy our things too,” says Kropf. After dining and stocking up on baked goods at Anna Mae’s, it’s worth taking a stroll through the village to the Millbank Cheese Factory. Founded as a cooperative by local farmers in 1908, Millbank Cheese and Butter was producing 180,000 kg of cheese per year by 1933. By the mid-1980s, it sold $12 million worth of cheese and butter annually and was purchased by Schneiders,

Millbank Cheese Factory outlet store

A selection of some of Anna Mae’s famous pies followed by Ault Foods and Parmalat. When Parmalat shut down production in 1999 the community rallied to buy back the factory. “In September 2003 it became owned by the local community again, and at this time is owned by 90 families from the Millbank area,” says Ed Bennett, board president of Millbank Cheese and Cold Storage Inc. Of those families, 80 are “horse and buggy people,” he says. Millbank Cheese is particularly well known for its cheddar, which is made from a traditional recipe and naturally aged. “That means there are no enzymes added to the cheese to age it,” Bennett explains. “That is something that has been consistent since 1908.”Mozzarella, havarti, marble, Gouda, cheese curds, a selection of flavoured cheeses, as well as goat and sheep cheese, are all Millbank staples. In 2004, the company launched an organic line. It currently produces an organic Swiss and organic mild, medium, and aged cheddar — up to 8 years old — all made with unpasteurized milk. “It’s a more natural cheese,” says Bennett. “The difference is in the rules. You can’t release raw milk cheese to the market until it is aged at least three months.” In addition to selling Millbank cheeses, the factory store carries Mapleton’s organic ice cream and frozen yogurt, drug-free, free-ranged poultry products from The Poultry Place, and locally-raised beef and pork. And while Millbank Cheese can be found in specialty food shops throughout Ontario, Bennett says many cheese-lovers make the trip to Millbank to Continued on page 22 ...


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www.eatdrink.ca Continued from page 21 .... stock up on their favourites. “Our history and reputation bring people to our door,” he says. After more than 100 years in business, Millbank’s naturally aged nineyear-old Cheddar remains the top draw. “Aging cheese is an art,” says Bennett. “And we pay careful attention to that.” Anna Mae’s Bakery & Restaurant 4060 Line 72, Millbank ON 519-595-4407 www.annamaes.ca Millbank Cheese Factory 6974 Church Street, Millbank, ON 519-595-8787 www.millbankcheese.com

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â„– 43 | September/October 2013

kitchen design

Small Details for Grand Results By SUSAN ORFALD

Y

ou have committed to renovating your kitchen, you have a design in place, appliances selected, and have considered the style and look you wish to achieve. But there are still numerous details that need to be coordinated and thoughtfully implemented to ensure a smooth, successful project. It is an asset to have a designer and a contractor who work well together and communicate well with each other, as well as with their clients, for a seamless project with minimal hiccups and interruptions. It is best to have a clear floor plan to work by, noting any required changes in framing, locations of walls, windows and openings. Details such as the size of trim, crown mouldings, wainscoting and baseboard dimensions are important to achieve the desired finished product. If you are taking the cabinetry to the ceiling, it is crucial to ensure that the ceiling is level. As a designer, I will typically provide a detailed electrical plan for the contractor or customer, as I have reviewed the appliances they wish to incorporate, as well as discussed lighting and switch locations. Lighting is key both from a practical point of providing adequate task lighting, as well as setting the ambience and mood of the space. If a proper electrical plan with detailed dimensions is implemented and followed, costs (as well as timing) will be contained. These are the next details to consider, as mechanicals (electrical,

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plumbing and venting) are the first tradesmen in after the framing alterations are completed. Heating beneath a tile or engineered wood floor would also need to be planned for this at this stage. Other flooring details to consider are the transitions between different materials from one space to another to keep heights consistent. What colour grout will you choose if you’ve selected tile as a material? Would you like a border or accent within the floor? If you are choosing hardwood in a kitchen, it is best to select a hardwood floor with no bevel, for ease of cleaning. Thought also needs to be given to the ducting for the range or cooktop, how large the duct will be, how far the run will be, how many 4 elbows and where (or whether) it will exhaust to the exterior. When you have a completed design, consider what accessories you want

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№ 43 | September/October 2013

to build inside the cabinetry. I advocate the use of many drawers in a kitchen design. They maximize storage space and make those spaces more accessible. The most popular items to consider are cutlery drawers, spice drawers or pull out units for spices, slide out shelves, tray dividers, garbage and or recycling centers, and whether you would like any glass cabinets or open shelves for displaying items. Do you want an area to hide your small countertop appliances when they are not in use? Do you like to have a television in the kitchen when you are working? These details need to be considered when drawing your electrical plan. Depending on the layout of your kitchen, you may need to know what the hardware choices of the cabinetry are, to accommodate clearances in corners. Cabinet hardware needs to be functional — make sure it is comfortable and easy to open, as well as aesthetically pleasing. Consider hinges that open more than 90 degrees. Some hinges are available with a soft close feature — you just give the door a push and it softly closes. Drawer tracks are another consideration. A full extension track will give better access to the back of drawers. Some drawer tracks are mounted underneath the drawer to allow a bit more width to each drawer. These also have the option of a soft close feature. (No drawer slamming allowed ...) You will need to decide on paint colours and sheens, as typically all but the last coat should be done prior to cabinet installation. Cabinet installation is a very important step in the project, as the quality of the installation is very evident in the finished product. The cabinets should be scribed to the existing walls. The installers can be creative to accommodate issues that arise on site, as there are literally hundreds of parts and pieces that make up a kitchen. (It is something like a

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jigsaw puzzle when it arrives at your house!) If you have decided on a solid surface countertop (granite, marble, quartz or soapstone for example), once the cabinets are installed the countertop will need to be templated and then taken away to 6 fabricate. Usually this adds 2–3 weeks to the length of your project. The last detail to be completed in a kitchen renovation is the backsplash. Will you 7 choose tile, glass, stone, granite? Often it is easiest to leave this decision until everything else is in place so you can visualize the finished effect. Once your appliances are installed (and manuals read) it is time to get cookin’! Bon appétit!

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SUSAN ORFALD is an Interior Designer who has been designing kitchens (and many other spaces) for 28 years. She works at Hutton Bielmann Design Inc. in London.

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restaurants

To Serve and Provide Smackwater Jack’s Taphouse, in Grand Bend By TANYA CHOPP

T

he saloon-style doors to the kitchen at Smackwater Jack’s barely have time to close before they are swung open once more as a server emerges with another order. With a quickened step she glides across the stamped concrete floors and through the wood-framed glass doors to the outside. One of the more remarkable aspects of Smackwater Jack’s is its al fresco space, where 170 patrons can laugh, dine and drink beneath the stars, while several wellspaced propane torches nix the nip from the air. Even in unseasonably cool weather, the two-tiered patio space is bustling. While the interior can seat approximately 80 people, the expansive river-view deck, canopied by umbrellas and dotted with fresh flowers, is where most will opt to sit until the frost rolls in. Located on the edge of River Road in Grand Bend, the restaurant overlooks the water and the view is stunning, day and night. A forty-foot dock allows for easy access to the restaurant from the water, and local musicians often take to the outdoor stage to add a hint of romance to the air. As owner Brad Oke passes a group of smiling diners he asks if they’d like a blanket to warm their laps. It doesn’t take long to realize that customer service is the extra mile walked by the staff of this community-minded establishment. It is an attitude that is winning the hearts, minds

Patios offer an ever-changing view of the boat activity

Dusk at Smackwater Jack’s; time to enjoy a sunset view and appetites of locals and tourists alike. When Oke goes back inside to grab a few throw blankets, one of the women leans over and says, “All I have to say is that it’s about time that there was a place like this.” Since opening in July 2012, Smackwater Jack’s business has grown exponentially. The growth has been fuelled by a commit­ ment to quality food and service, as well as by a few clever marketing moves. The seasonally-inspired and locallysourced menu offers guests a wide selection of creations. While Oke insists that fish and chips are the most popular, chef Taylor adds that the southern fried turkey fillet and braised Ontario lamb are also crowd favourites. Everything is made from scratch on site, right down to the sauce, and meat and produce don’t have to travel far from the farm to the table. Smackwater Jack’s sources fresh fish from Purdy’s Fish Market, beef from Metzger’s, pork from The Whole Pig, turkey from Hayter’s Farm and potatoes from Grand Bend Produce Co Ltd. On tap is a wide assortment of craft, domestic and imported beers, including two varieties brewed only for Smackwater Jack’s: Smack Attack and Just Joe are custom concoctions made especially for the restaurant by the Stratford Brewing Co. The restaurant has two bar spaces. The first is a standard indoor bar. The second is an outdoor engineering achievement,


№ 43 | September/October 2013

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complete with enormous flat screen TV’s, mood lighting and James Bond-like secret machinery. With the flick of a switch, the bar’s roof can close down over the liquor storage area, sealing it so tightly it couldn’t be opened with a crowbar. The clever structural designs that abound at the restaurant allude to the undercurrent of ingenuity supplied by Oke and his outside-of-the-box think­ ing. When Oke first laid eyes on the building, the old fish hut hadn’t been used in over a decade and had suffered through other renovation and revival attempts. While others may have shied from the challenge, Oke was inspired. “It was destiny,” he says. Drawing on his 29 years of experience as a home designer and builder, Oke determined the best use of space and began to work. The roof was raised, floors re-poured and the space reinsulated. The result is an atmosphere that is energetic, and sophisticated but still comfortably beachside. The remodeling was only one of the challenges. With the overwhelming influx of tourists into Grand Bend during the summer, the restaurant faces an odd logistical problem: the area is so popular, that the establishment is hard to get to. So Oke came up with a unique solution. As you approach Smackwater Jack’s, don’t be alarmed by the ominous presence of the ambulance. Its days of medical emergencies are over. Oke purchased the decommissioned vehicle and turned it into a “patron transfer service,” now known affectionately as the Smackulance, so that guests who have traveled by foot, as well as those too tipsy to drive, may have safe transport without the hassle of worrying over their own vehicles. Guests are dropped off at their doorsteps, for free, anywhere across the Grand Bend area and up to Port Franks. “All I ask is that you don’t play doctor,” jokes Oke as he loads a laughing group into the back. A second Smackulance will soon be put on the road, thanks to the popularity of the service. It is another testament to the business’s transformation from a humble fish hut into an anchor that holds the community together around a comfort-food Smackwater Jack’s Taphouse laden table ... with an excellent view. 71 River Road, Grand Bend 519-238-5556 www.smackwaterjacks.ca open daily 12 noon–9 pm open until 10 pm friday & saturday TANYA CHOPP is London-based marketing communications specialist and freelance writer whose work is focused on the promotion of health, wellness and support of the arts. She cooks with wine, and sometimes she even adds it to the food of a beautiful relationship.

The popular Smackulance


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culinary retail

Brewing Anticipation Fire Roasted Coffee Company & Habitual Chocolate at King & Talbot in London By CHRISTIE MASSÉ

W

hen Dave Cook takes a break from befriending rock gods like Gene Simmons with his band-branded, top quality artisanal coffee and chocolate bars, he is answering questions on the long awaited opening of the new Fire Roasted Coffee Company Café and The building has received a beautiful facelift and some Habitual Chocolate location at structural changes that blend seamlessly into the streetscape King and Talbot. Cook and Luis Rivas — owner of True Taco and Operations developing as we went along much like the Manager of Artisans’ Group — take the creation of a sculpture.” pressure in stride, knowing that doing things Along with the predictable unpredict­ right trumps doing things on schedule. ability attached to renovating a building and The expected opening date fell some­ expanding an established business, Cook time in April of this year. Now, just prior to spreads himself thin with other ventures. opening in August, Cook says “I’ve been Owning the Artisans’ Group and overseeing mentally willing things. We’re so close I both the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ can taste it.” In a blog post concerning the Market and the Masonville Farmers’ Market, delay, Cook outlines some of the challenges leading the fight for food trucks with Michelle they’ve faced in the process including, Navackas (Business Development Manager of “insane landlords (not the current one), Artisan’s Group), co-writing feature articles ridiculous lease regulations, cost overruns, for Roast Magazine, and traveling to coffee funding shortfalls, construction mistakes, and cacao producing countries like Haiti to construction delays and tradesmen that meet one-on-one with his suppliers, are just a just never show up and a plan that was few of the things that keep him running. Dave Cook founded Fire Roasted Coffee Co. in 2007, and Habitual Chocolate became a logical addition with the Fair Trade connections he forged.


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“When we first got the space it was in rough repair. We basically had to bone it out like a chicken.” As expected with a 19th-century building, the beautiful space has a few “scars” as Cook describes it. Embracing the character of the space, the philosophy behind the décor is a mash-up of the basic level structure with high-end details. Designer Wayne DeGroot, owner of D-Cubed, has lined the contour of the café side of the space with a bar constructed of a halved walnut tree trunk that has been varnished and polished to chic perfection. The coffee bar is composed of thick repurposed barn board and the exposed duct work of the ceiling is highlighted by retro-contemporary lighting. The communal tables on the café side hold 32 seats with 10 more outside. Rick Ho of London Audio has wired the exterior for tunes, a move the city struggled with, but one Cook believes is essential to promote “café culture” in our slightly conservative city. The café will offer simple fare from Pastry Chef Michele Lenhardt (previously of The Black Walnut Café in Wortley Village and The River Room Café at Museum London). “We don’t want to veer far from what we do,” says Cook, concerning menu options. Fresh juices, baked goods and pastries, salads, sandwiches, and late night charcuterie plates will be available to accompany the local beer and wine list. On the south side of the space is the exposed brick and glass lined chocolate room. The production room is temperature controlled and houses two 65-pound batch

chocolate grinders for the company’s bean to bar operation. Also here is the “chocolate faucet,” which tempers the chocolate to the correct degree, and is responsible for the perfectly smooth sheen of Habitual’s final prod­ uct. The crew wants the public to experience the operation in its entirety, both visually and aromatically. The open exposure allows for this level of involve­ ment. Rivas claims the chocolate smells even better than the coffee. “I grew up around chocolate in El Salvador, but never knew much about it. Through trav­ elling I have expanded my understanding and can now do so much more with it.” Rivas explains they are looking to offer somewhat of a chocolate school in the space. “We want to change the public’s perception of chocolate through exposure and education.” According to Rivas, chocolate is full of antioxidants and provides natural energy. The facility will be able to produce 130 pounds of chocolate in 24 hours. The entire space will be available to rent out for special occasions and chocolate/ coffee education to large enough groups. Through their long hours of operation, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., they also want to accommodate event ticket holders from Budweiser Gardens, feeling they have a lot to offer pre and post concerts, games, and events. With one eye always on the big picture, expanding this business is just the first step towards an expansion of community. With the intention of working with Budweiser Gardens and Covent Garden Market, as well as other nearby businesses, there are plans to encourage more of a night life in the King and Talbot area. With such benefits afoot, better latté than never! The Fire Roasted Coffee Co. & Habitual Chocolate Café 105 King Street at Talbot, London www.fireroastedcoffee.com mon to sat 7 am–11 pm; sunday 9 am–5 pm CHRISTIE MASSÉ is a graduate of the Stratford Chefs School.


â„– 43 | September/October 2013

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From fine dining to the freshest produce, farmers’ markets, wineries and a brewery, Elgin County will satisfy every taste. Pick your own fresh fruits & vegetables, take a cooking class in an old bank, experience adventure at a bee farm, stroll through a field of lavender, and so much more. Pick up your Savour Elgin Culinary Guide today!

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travel

Bib On, Butter Up and Uncork! A Culinary Adventure — East Coast Style — in Nova Scotia By JANE ANTONIAK | Photography by BRUCE FYFE

L

If you really want to blow your diet head to The Port gastropub in Port Williams, where the lobster poutine, served hot and steaming with white lobster sauce, chunks of lobster and locally crafted cheese curds from Foxhill Farm & Cheese House around the corner is certainly not meant to be shared! Enjoy it with a flight of in-house crafted beers while you watch the tide come in (or go out). Of course it’s not all lobster in Nova Scotia but Fresh from the Bay we certainly stuck to the The king of the crustaceans sea, like typical land lub­ was found in tiny Halls bers let loose on an ocean Harbour, a fishing village playground for a weekend! on the Fundy coast where From house-made salt-cod Sharla and Rodger Cameron fishcakes for breakfast at operate an unparalleled The Bluenose II, downtown lobster experience. The Halifax’ favourite family Lobster Pound proudly restaurant, to succulent offers “Lobster in the scallops in crispy rice paper Rough” from a cook shack at Stories restaurant in the and pound which draws in beautiful Haliburton House and then exports 1.5 million boutique hotel in Halifax, pounds of lobster annually there was choice aplenty on to North America and Asia. Lobster Poutine, above, and scallops at the Haliburton Hotel, below every menu. Visitors can pick a live lobster weighing between one to five pounds from Down Home Fry Shack an open water vat, have it Some places keep it weighed at the cash register beautifully simple. A must in the gift shop then carry it stop for down-to-earth outside to the cookhouse in diner lovers is John’s Lunch a bucket where it is boiled for a full fry experience. in Fundy salt water. While Located near the you wait at a patio table you Woodside Ferry Terminal can enjoy a few cold Keith’s in Dartmouth, John’s is while watching the local a diamond in the rough, kids jump off fishing boats and the fish and chips into the harbour. But once were recently voted best in the lobster arrives your Canada by Canadian Living focus will be entirely on the magazine. Testimonials fresh-from-the-bay flavour. from fans worldwide are

obster five ways — now that’s what we came to Nova Scotia for and the bluenosers certainly did deliver! Lobster poutine, lobster club sandwich, butter poached lobster dressed with lobster roe mayonnaise, a lobster roll and — finally — a classic boiled lobster cooked in seawater from the Bay of Fundy, were all on the menu over one weekend of buttery bliss.


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printed on the paper place mats, while foreign currency is lovingly tacked to the wall as proof of its renown. Truth lies in the lightly battered fried clams, scallops and moist fish served alongside vinegar style coleslaw. The clams are truly memorable. People line up for paper takeaway bags, some diners sit outside on picnic tables while others crowd inside at booths to sit in the steam from the openly displayed fryers. Mixed into it all is Fotis Fatouros, the co-owner with Strato Baltas. Fotis is the friendliest guy in the world. He works the adoring crowd while his son Stephen and the team fry up 40 pounds of fish a day plus seafood. Wife Patricia runs the cash with a smile. It is bliss 1950’s style.

Taking it Uptown

Other restaurants like Fleur de Sel in Lunenburg, Stories in Halifax and The Blomindon Inn in Wolfville take the setting and service up several notches while remaining true to fresh and local sources. You can dine in a seacaptain’s mansion (and stay the night in gorgeous rooms) at The Blomindon Inn where in-house maplesmoked candied salmon is deliciously prepared by Chef Sean Laceby, who was trained at the Culinary Institute in Charlottetown as well as in New York and Napa Valley. He brings joy to the table in comfortably elegant surroundings. Or travel to the picturesque Atlantic side, to Lunenburg where a special experience awaits at Fleur de Sel. Chef Martin Ruiz Salvador presents his Frenchstyled offerings of seafood, including the beautiful and delicious butter poached lobster (no shells to crack here) alongside a bento box of oysters on the half shell with house made sauces. Or enjoy a night at a boutique hotel in Halifax at Haliburton House where you can dine in the intimate Stories restaurant to the urban fusion stylings of Chef Scott Vail. Savour his pan-seared rice paper wrapped sea scallops on a private oasis patio in the back garden.

Cheers!

Of course you can’t properly go to Nova Scotia without having a sociable beverage. While most Nova Scotians start their day with tea (try the Nova Scotia wild blueberry tea at The Tea Brewery in Mahone Bay) the teacups make way for heartier beverages as the day rolls into night. We certainly expected, and enjoyed, Keith’s in Halifax, where you can take a historical re-enactment guided tour of the brewery at the harbour that thankfully includes a few cold pints! And then there’s the whisky and rum: both made in the province and enjoyed in everything from moist and delicious cake at the Rum Runners Cake Factory on the wharf in Halifax, to artisan crafted spirits at unique distilleries such as Ironworks in Lunenburg. Here, Lynne MacKay and Pierre Guevremont run a craft distillery in an old blacksmith’s shop. You can

Julia meets a 5-pound lobster at Halls Harbour, above, before tucking into her “Lobster in the Rough,” below

later have their booze in an upscale cocktail at Fleur de Sel. We took home a bottle of single batch Bluenose dark rum. Cake will not be made from that!

Uncork

What surprised us the most on this journey is the emerging wine industry in the Gaspereau Valley and Annapolis Valley. It’s like a tiny Sonoma. Visitors follow windy two-lane roads to independently owned gems such as Blomindon Winery in Canning, which has some


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Butter-Poached Lobster at Fleur de Sel Restaurant

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of the oldest vines in Nova Scotia. With tidal breezes coming in off Minus Basin, Bay of Fundy, the winemakers think they are onto something special and have developed unique hybrids. Here they grow the L’Acadie grape and blend it under the label Tidal Bay, which is judged and regulated by a set of standards established by the Winery Association of Nova Scotia. To obtain the Tidal Bay designation, all wines must be made from specific grape varieties, include 100% Nova Scotia grown grapes, and be approved every year by an independent blind tasting panel. This refreshing white wine is great with seafood or on the patio. The Grand Pré region outside of Wolfville is home to a growing wine route which includes some big players like Domaine de Grand Pré with its world class restaurant, Le Caveau. However, as longtime CBC fans we were really excited to head to Pete Luckett’s vineyard and hope­ fully meet the guy who started Pete’s Froo­ tique in Wolfville. Perhaps you Pete Luckett with a glass of his remember him, popular Phone Box label wine as we did, from his many years on CBC Mid­ day with Valerie Pringle explain­ ing the nuances of then-exotic fruits and veg­ etables. He later took his show to CTV and the Food Network. Pete’s Frootiques are now very popu­ lar at markets


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in Halifax where stu­ dents shell out $10 for a smoothie. So my daugh­ ter Julia, a Dalhousie student, was also quite Blomidon Inn, above, is a fomer curious to sea captain’s mansion in Wolfville. meet the Below, adventurers try boat jump- man behind ing in Halls Harbour. the famous stores. Luck­ ily for us Pete was at the vineyard, greeting visitors and offering tast­ ings while we all enjoyed the beautiful vistas. His Phone Box label is very popular and delicious. Plus, he offers all visitors a free call to anywhere in the world from his Brit­ ish red phone box in the vineyard! “It’s a labour of love,” he enthuses happily as he views the estate and sips a crisp blueberry wine. “It was an old field and an old barn. It’s come a long way in a short time. To be part of that excitement, to get people to try and accept Nova Scotian wines, is really making me happy,” he says. Nova Scotians are experts at making others feel happy too. A warm welcome awaits — just bring a hearty appetite and a thirst for fun, scenery and good times. JANE ANTONIAK is a culinary travel writer for eatdrink magazine. She is also Manager, Communications & Media Relations at King’s University College, Western in London. BRUCE FYFE is regular contributing photographer for eatdrink. He is also a Librarian at Western University, London.

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spotlight

The Root Cellar Organic Cafe Flavour and Philosophy: a winning combination By NATALIE NOVAK

T

he Root Cellar, an organic café, bakery and juice bar in Old East Village, celebrated its first birthday in July. Located in a former wine retail store, the 21-seat restaurant is small but charming with brick archways along one wall, colourful menu boards, and artwork by a different featured artist each month, typically with a social justice theme or using sustainable materials and techniques. The restaurant is an offshoot of On the Move Organics, a London company that connects people to local certified organic food Left to right: Jeff Pastorius, Ellie Cook & Aaron Lawrence producers through its home delivery service, its operations at Western Fair Farmers’ and The Root Cellar, though, as she manages the Artisans’ Market, and the Dundas Street café. café’s front of house operations.  The whole organization is in the process of In the fall the eatery will take over converting to a worker-owned cooperative, neighbouring space at 621 Dundas Street. with the four principles — Jeff Pastorius The dining area will expand from 700 to (who founded On the Move Organics), Ellie 1,500 square feet, more than doubling Cook, Aaron Lawrence and Joel Pastorius its capacity to 55 seats. In warm weather — all taking equal responsibility for the full diners can also enjoy the sidewalk patio.   business. It is Ellie you’re most likely to see in Currently the café caters primarily to brunch and lunch crowds. It is a popular destination for people who live and work in the neighbourhood, and on Saturdays people will often pop in on their way to or from the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market. With the expansion, the café is looking to build a dinner crowd and will offer healthy versions of traditional pub fare, from appetizers to shepherd’s pie. “We believe it will appeal to people who are looking for local organic options when they dine out,” says Ellie, who expects to run extended hours once the new space is open.   The menu will continue to be built on certified organic foods, locally sourced in season. Right now there are soup, sandwich and salad selections that you can always count on, like the vegan sweet potato curry soup, roasted beet and goat cheese panini, loaded grilled cheese flavoured with greens and caramelized onions, kale slaw or the


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spicy chickpea salad, as well as a selection of desserts. All baking is done in house, and customers can order fresh breads and buns to take home — ancient grain, multigrain, cheddar spelt, cinnamon raisin, and others.  Specials posted on the chalkboard and on Facebook change daily, depending on what is available in season — perhaps a roasted asparagus or roasted zucchini panini, a heritage sausage melt, or a dish or dessert that incorporates unplanned for ingredients. “We were surprised with a crop of organic mini-raspberries, and had raspberry mint scones on the menu for a while,” says Jeff.  Another Root Cellar staple is the organic fresh juice and smoothie bar where staff whip up healthy concoctions made from vegetables, fruit and wheatgrass mixed with almond, coconut or cashew milk. “We make our own cashew milk from fair trade organic cashews imported from El Salvador,” Ellie explains.   The majority of ingredients are sourced closer to home, though. “We go to great lengths to support local small scale farmers,” say Jeff and Aaron, who secure food for On the Move Organics and The Root Cellar. Their shopping list is far reaching and includes cheeses from Monforte Dairy in Stratford; flours from Arva Flour Mill; heritage water buffalo and Berkshire pork sausage from Eco Farms, an Amish growers cooperative in Guelph; milk and cream from Organic Meadow, a cooperative of Ontario family farms; hot beverages from Fire Roasted Coffee, Wisdom Tea and Wildflower Tea companies; herbs from Heritage Line Herbs in Aylmer; produce from Dolway Organic Garden in Hyde Park, Sunnivue Farms in Ailsa Craig, Sleegers Greenhouses Strathroy and HOPE Amish farmers collective in Aylmer; free range chicken and eggs from Don and Sharon Gingerich’s farm in Zurich, which has its own egg grading facility. “It’s the only onsite grading station for certified organic eggs in Southwestern Ontario,” says Aaron, and that enables them to move fresh eggs from laying bed to café quickly.  A list of current food suppliers is posted on a chalk board behind the cash register and updated weekly, ensuring diners can see where The Root Cellar food has been sourced. “It’s very transparent and it helps A crack in the front window has been “stitched” together using pieces of stained glass, creating a rainbow mosaic.

educate people about local food supply,” says Ellie. Jeff and Aaron work closely with farmers, encouraging them to extend their growing season and to fill specific gaps, for example by planting small fruit orchards since certified organic fruit can be difficult to source locally. Jeff, Aaron and Joel, who have been home brewing for years, are hoping to establish a London brewing cooperative and to install a nano-brewery in the Root Cellar by the end of the year. The brew crew envisions making elderberry or pumpkin stout, and supporting the revival of regional malt and hops production. It seems like a natural progression for the group who believe in choosing local, organic ingredients whenever possible in whatever they eat and drink. The Root Cellar 623 Dundas Street, London 519-719-7675 www.fb.com/TheRootCellarOrganicCafe tuesday to saturday, 10 am–7 pm Natalie Novak is a freelance writer based in London.


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№ 43 | September/October 2013

The BUZZ ... new and notable

T

he latest word on local chefs, restaurants, farmers’ markets, food shops, and culinary events. Send tips to blavery@ eatdrink.ca and follow us for up-to-the-minute news on Facebook and Twitter. London Training Centre combines 25 years of food skills training, advocacy for careers in food service and a commitment to a local, sustainable food system. The Local Food Skills program is designed as an introduction to the industry. The three-week program includes both classroom and kitchen instruction. Participants receive the full support of London Training Centre’s employment services team. Local Food Skills presents Food for Thought on Thursday September 12, 2013. This year, the 4th annual fundraiser, held at the farm where they grow food ecologically, is a feast in the field in support of the Local Food Skills program. www.londontraining.on.ca Chatham-Kent Table is an opportunity to meet and connect with farmers and producers in Chatham- Kent. The region has some of the most productive agricultural land in Canada and the organizers invite you to enjoy the bounty of this beautiful area. This year’s event will be held amongst the picturesque blueberry fields at Parks Blueberries & Country Store. Proceeds go to Growing Chefs! Ontario: Uniting chefs, growers, educators, and the community in children’s food education. Twenty-two area producers from Chatham-Kent and seven area chefs will prepare eight courses sourced from Chatham Kent. Farm tours on Sunday will run from 10–3 pm. www.cktable.ca

“I am London” celebrates the diversity of London by sharing the stories of ten successfully settled immigrants from different countries who have chosen London as their home. T.G. Haile of Addis Ababa and Yam Gurung of Momo’s at the Market are two of London’s culinary stars that deserve our attention and support. Yam Gurung was born and raised in a remote village on the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains of central Nepal with his parents and 7 siblings. At the age of 12 he headed to a busy Nepalese tourist area, to advance his chances of finding work to support his family. Gurung learned English, interacting with Western tourists and working in restaurants.” He would eventually apprentice as a chef in several London restaurants (notably Custom Cuisine Catering), learning about the various international cuisines. Yam came to Canada to join his wife, Samantha Schuster, and newly born daughter in 2001. They settled in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, where Samantha worked as a midwife for a year, before moving to London. Having always worked in the food services industry, for Yam the idea of starting a catering business came naturally. The business was incubated at the Western Fair Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market and has evolved to become Momos at the Market, where Yam and his team serve hand-made Nepalese food. Arriving in London in 1998, with little more than ambition and dreams of a brighter future, T.G. Haile was eager to start new life in a new home, after having escaped war in Ethiopia. T.G. began working at variety of jobs; attending classes to improve her English and

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№ 43 | September/October 2013 learning a new trade. T.G. dreamt of opening a restaurant. Her passion for cooking began at a very early age, when she would roam around her mother’s restaurant, just outside of Addis Ababa. Regulars, restaurant insiders, and the vegetarian crowd are known to flock to this off-the-beaten-track spot, for reasonably priced, fresh, well-executed Ethiopian cuisine in a homey and hospitable environment. The menu offers outstanding examples of Ethiopian cuisine. T.G. is proud to call London her home. “I chose to start my business in London, but more importantly, I chose to start my family here. It is a safe and welcoming community, and there is nowhere else I would rather build a future.” The Westminster Working Group is a group of residents living in the Westminster neighbourhood of southeast London who are dedicated to helping children, youth and families live a healthier life. The group started in March of 2010 and has since developed a Neighbourhood Action Plan to target some main priority areas: Urban Planning, Public Safety, Active Transportation and Accessibility, Availability of Food and Physical Activity Opportunities, which all influence a person’s ability to be active and eat healthy in their neighbourhood. The Westminster neighbourhood has been identified as a food desert due to its distance from nutritional food retailers. This means that there is no grocery store located within the neighbourhood and no local transportation that will take a resident directly to a grocery store. The Westminster Working Group led by Shannon Sinclair, wanted to make a local food hub where the community could meet and shop, and for that reason the pilot for the Southdale Farmer’ and Artisans’ Market was created. The Child & Youth Network (CYN) led by The Healthy Eating, Healthy Physical Activity initiative (HEHPA) have been willing to see the market’s plans come to fruition. The Child & Youth Network (CYN) is comprised of more than 130 local agencies and individuals dedicated to doing what is best for children, youth and families. Their vision: happy, healthy children and youth today ... caring, creative, responsible adults tomorrow. Westminster Park neighbourhood was selected as a pilot neighbourhood by the CYN in 2011. HEHPA project manager Christopher Green says, “HEHPA works to promote changes in physical behaviour and eating habits to promote healthy, happy living for children, youth, and their families. By coordinating with the Westminster Working Group, grassroots community projects can be created. These projects can be executed on a small scale, to have big impacts”. The Southdale Farmers’ Market operates until the end of September, every Thursday from 3:30 to 7:30 pm, at the corner of Southdale and Adelaide Streets. It has been a community initiative by the landlord who helped make the space possible, Market Manager Sara Denomy, and by Business Development Manager of the Artisans’ Group Michelle Navackas who provided guidance and staff, as well as the community who have come out to support the group. The Southdale Farmers’ Market helps bring fresh produce and a sense of community to the Westminster neighbourhood while letting residents knows that their efforts within their own neighbourhood can be an influence on the lives of many. Covent Garden Farmers’ Market, London Community Resource Centre (LCRC), and Growing Chefs! Ontario are collaborating on a pilot project to increase accessibility to and understanding of local fresh-from-the-farm food for school age children, their parents, and the community at large. The project, which is being piloted at University Heights Public School in September, involves setting up a farmers’ market at the school which will provide access to healthy food; education in the classroom provided by Growing Chefs Ontario, to promote

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understanding of why healthy food is important; and finally a “learning garden,” provided by LCRC. The market runs Wednesdays, September 11 to October 9, 3:30–6:30 pm right behind University Heights Public School, at 27 Ford Crescent, close to the University, Althouse and Brescia College. The market is open to the entire community, including Western students and faculty. Downtown London has relocated to King Street’s restaurant row after 10 months in a temporary office at Citi Plaza. The agency recruits new downtown development and promotes and mentors existing businesses. The newly renovated storefront is at 123 King St., across from Covent Garden Market. The Curry Garden Restaurant has recently relocated south of King Street on Richmond in the premises formerly occupied by Los Comales.

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At Kantina, Tapas Tuesdays and Wednesdays continue. For those suffering from food envy or rampant indecision, they have decided to extend their tapas nights into the fall. Peculiar Brunch: Sleeping in is one of the most important functions in life. So, on Sundays, give your brain time to relax; your stomach can wait until 11:00 am for brunch. Kantina’s take on a Sunday tradition, Balkan infusion, starts September 8. www.kantina.ca Recently opened innovative independent businesses like Byron FreeHouse and Waldo’s in Byron continue to add another level of sophistication to Byron’s culinary scene. Byron FreeHouse owners Katherine Banasik and Executive Chef Robbin Azzopardi have all the ingredients of a sizzling culinary destination and couldn’t have organized a better makeover. The FreeHouse opened in August to praise, in the smartly re-imagined premises formerly occupied by La Bella Vita Ristorante on Commissioners Road. The dining room is a dramatic example of the openness of contemporary restaurant design. Chef Joshua Sawyer’s upscale menu is innovative and has a strong seafood tilt with lots of interesting choices. Just down the block in Byron, Mark Kitching and Mark Navackas have opened Waldo’s in Byron, a satellite operation of Waldo’s on King in the Covent Garden Market. Waldo’s is known for using fresh market ingredients. You will enjoy casual bistro-style selections with many of the “old” Waldo’s signature favourites. Things are heating up in Wortley Village. eatdrink recently spoke to restaurant insider Wendy Yoon about changes at Gusto Food & Wine Bar. Chef Stephen Burns’s menu includes tapas-style sharing plates that are generally well-done. The restaurant also offers seasonal entrées, inspired salads, Italian-style pizzas and house-made desserts. Dine inside or on the charming balcony, this hot spot in the heart of the Village has become a mainstay. Danny Bikos and Chris Korakianitis are expected to open the Sweet Onion Grill in the premises previously occupied by Ciao Bistro across from the Black Walnut Café. Another new contender garnering rave reviews in the Village is Mai’s Thai Food. Restaurants like Unique Food Attitudes at Dundas and Lyle and The Root Cellar near Dundas and Adelaide continue to add charm to the Old East Village. Rick Peori from ABC Cheese opened his new cheese shop on Dundas Street across from WFFAM this past June. Miki and Agnes Hambleck of Taste of Hungary opened their new butcher shop in mid-August next door to Peori, and just down the street from Theo and Gerda Korthof`s Artisan Bakery, which set up shop earlier in the year. Miki and Agnes are well-known for their popular, all-natural, no-filler sausages, bacon, and other delicious Hungarian-inspired products. All three have maintained their locations at the WFFAM.

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№ 43 | September/October 2013 Chef Andrew Wolwowicz of The Springs on Springbank Drive is starting a monthly dinner feature at the restaurant called A Chef’s Salute to the Craftsman. This initiative will feature farmers, local producers, cheese makers and other food and beverage artisans. The first dinner will feature Cameron’s Brewery out of Oakville and Kyle Smith, the brew master himself, will be here to give a talk. The beers will be used in the preparation of the four courses along with having the beer to taste while eating that dish. The cost is $65. The Spring’s is also featuring live entertainment Thursday to Saturday. The smartly appointed restaurant, housed in a beautifully refurbished church, will be celebrating its 2nd anniversary in mid-October. www.thespringsrestaurant.com Everything Tea, located on the 2nd floor of the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market, has been nominated to enter the 2013 Canadian Gift and Tableware Association Retailer of the Year Award Competition. www.everythingtea.ca Laura Campeau of Silversmith Brewing Company has just started a London chapter of Barley’s Angels. It is more than just a social drinking club for women, the goal is to respect craft beer, brewing, and have a thirst for beer knowledge. www.barleysangels.org Rick Weingarden and Allan Watts’s Anything Grows Seed Company is now a permanent fixture at the Western Fair Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. Hard-to-find seeds and organic sprouting seeds will be available all year. With a new larger space they have expanded into some of their favourite items in other categories: bird feeders, gloves, potted arrangements, flower bulbs, sprout growers and handweeders to name a few. To come for the holiday entertaining season: amaryllis and paperwhites, both bare bulb and potted arrangements. Local organic garlic has been a specialty for years—buy for eating or growing. Look for Anything Grows Seed Co. during seed season at local Seedy Saturdays (www.seeds.ca) and The Stratford Garden Festival. www.anythinggrows.com Join Mercer Hall on Monday nights for a culinary adventure: no menu, no decisions to make, just sit back and relax while the kitchen creates tasty small plates, served family-style. Simply inform your server of any dietary concerns and enjoy up to 20 savoury courses followed by half a dozen desserts. If you make it all the way through and you’re still feeling hungry, the chefs will create new exciting items for you à la minute. This winter, Mercer Hall will be chasing the blues away with a set of themed dinner parties. Tickets are $50 and will include a theme-inspired cocktail, threecourse family-style dinner and take-home keepsake. Appropriate attire is encouraged for each event with the best-dressed couple/individual winning a weekend getaway in the hotel. 519-271-9202 Savour Stratford Perth County Culinary Festival runs September 20–22. This year’s theme is “Globally inspired, Locally grown cuisine.” For the opening on Friday, September 20, the chefs and students from Fanshawe College have planned an amazing kick off and their many talents will be showcased throughout the entire event. Bring your family and friends to the Avon River and visit the eclectic culinary village from 6–9 pm. The Mill Street Craft Beer and Wine Pavilion will be open from 6 pm–midnight. www.savourstratford.com Toronto Star Culinary Stage — Learn about the many flavours of the world that are now at home in Ontario’s culinary “melting pot,” including presentations on the foods of India, Trinidad, Mexico, Peru, Thailand, Brazil, Burma and Eastern Europe. Learn from celebrity chefs including Vikram Vij, Roger Mooking, Elizabeth Rivasplata, Wing Li, Mara Salles, Naomi Duguid, Francisco Alejandri, Jordan Lassaline, and Tim Larsen. www.savourstratford.com GE Café Chefs Series presents Vikram Vij. Join celebrated Chef Vikram Vij for an intimate 3-hour class and lunch. This demonstration-

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№ 43 | September/October 2013

Enjoystyle class is limited to 40 participants who will interact with Vikram as he introduces them to his world-renowned modern Indian cuisine. yourUsing local ingredients, Vikram will prepare a 3-course lunch for life!participants and pair the menu with specially selected wines from

Chateau des Charmes. Participants will also receive a signed copy of Vikram’s most recent book, Vij’s at Home: Relax, Honey, and a GE Chefs Series apron. The Local Community Food Centre, Saturday, September 21. www.savourstratford.com City Hall Learning Centre — Compare Ontario craft beers to inter­ national brands, or taste the subtleties of Canadian and American whiskies. Add a global perspective in your pursuit of a healthier lifestyle from global grains to characteristics of Asian and local teas. These talks and tastings are informative, entertaining and guaranteed to broaden your culinary knowledge and perspective. www.savourstratford.com The Taste of Ontario Artisan Alley — Saturday, September 21 — New for 2013 is an afternoon of testing and tasting some of Ontario’s Classes starting in Marchnewest VQA wines, up-and-coming craft beers, samples from Dillon’s Register now! Small Batch Distillers, and exclusive cheeses provided by Dairy www.fanshawec.ca/ce Farmers of Ontario from Ontario farm artisan cheese makers. A highlight of the Alley is the selection of a variety of cask beers — the unique and limited run of unfiltered and unpasteurized beers — only available at the Festival from 11 am–5 pm. www.savourstratford.com Savour Stratford Sunday Tasting, presented by Scotiabank — TAKE YOUR INTEREST OR PASSION TO September 22. The highlight of the culinary festival takes place at the A WHOLE NEW LEVEL tented garden party in Stratford’s Market Square, from noon–4 pm For more information on courses & to register visit: (VIP) and 1–4 pm (General Admission). Thirty top local chefs pair up with Perth County producers to create an array of seasonal morsels, to tempt your palates and to be judged for the festival’s top tasting awards. Guests fanshawec.ca/ce sample and savour the best of Perth County, while sipping Ontario VQA wines and craft beers with live entertainment. www.savourstratford.com “Reasonably priced, fresh, well-executed Stratford Garlic Festival — Celebrate two scent-sational days of garlic Ethiopian cuisine ...” — Bryan Lavery, eatdrink magazine in beautiful Stratford! Wander through the Garlic Market, watch celebrity chef presenters, hear what garlic gurus have to say, and learn to braid garlic! It’s a celebration of everything garlic and a community project of the Kiwanis Club of Stratford. Saturday September 7, 9–4 pm and Sunday September 8, 10 am–4 pm. www.stratfordgarlicfestival.com Flavours of Stratford Culinary Walks — Two guided walking tours present locally produced culinary delights in the heart of Stratford. Visit a selection of unique food destinations to meet passionate artisans. Morning tours are held from 10:30 am–1:30 pm. Afternoon tours are held from 2:30–5:30 pm. Tastings along the way conclude with a custom sandwich and sample of craft beer or wine. Wednesday–Saturday in September. www.visitstratford.ca/attractions Weekend Foraging with Peter Blush — Search the scenic trails of Southwestern Ontario for delicious wild edibles and mushrooms with veteran forager Peter Blush. Learn how to properly identify, harvest and prepare nature’s bounty with conservation in mind. Offered every weekend in September and October. Custom tours are available through the week. www.pucksplenty.com Vegetarian Options Pubs, Pilsner and Spirits tours — Stratford enthusiasts guide Takeout you on a walking pub crawl through Stratford’s Victorian downtown. Catering Sample four craft beers as you hear about the spirited side of Stratford and the tumultuous brewing history of Perth County. Reservations Recommended www.visitstratford.ca/pubstour Birtch Farms Apple Festival — A two-day kick off to the fall ADDIS ABABA Restaurant festival season, featuring pick your own apples and pumpkins, horsedrawn wagon rides along the “Apple Tale Trail,” scarecrow making, Tues–Fri 5–1pm • Sat 12–1pm • Sun 2–1pm corn maze, food tent, wine tasting and new product sampling. 465 Dundas Street 519 433-4222 Strolling musicians, fresh baked apple fritters, apple pies, apple www.tgsaddisababarestaurant.com

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№ 43 | September/October 2013 muffins, caramel apples and much more. The Festival is held from September 14–15, 10 am–5 pm. www.birtchfarms.com Winemakers Dinner Series at The Prune — Chef Bryan Steele and Sommelier Peter Lavoie invite their favourite Ontario wineries to The Prune Restaurant for a Winemaker’s series of dinners this season, starting on September 20th at 8 pm. Dinners will be created by Chef Steele to complement the wines, with help from Sommelier Lavoie and the winemakers. www.theprune.com Share the Health Farmraiser — Amazing music and incredible food to raise funds for The Local Community Food Centre to purchase fresh, healthy and organic local food. A shuttle from The Local Community Food Centre to farms runs from 11 am–2 pm on September 28th. www.thelocalcfc.org Savour Stratford Tutored Tasting — Dark Beer and Stinky Cheese. Just in time for All Hallow’s Eve, come and enjoy the fun of pairing some of the stinkiest cheese available with some great dark beers — a combination to get you through the long nights of fall. October 5 and 26 from 3–5 pm. Savour Stratford Culinary Trails inspired by Bacon and Ale, Maple and Chocolate are available year round at the Stratford Tourism Alliance. www.visitstratford.ca/bacontrail, www.visitstratford.ca/ mapletrail, www.visitstratford.ca/chocolatetrail

fb.com/eatdrinkmag twitter.com/eatdrinkmag Our readers want to know, so send us info about culinary events, fundraisers, and regional news. With BUZZ in the Subject line, send to: editor@eatdrink.ca.

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№ 43 | September/October 2013

wine

The EPIC Wine Trail Touring County Road 50 along Lake Erie

H

|

Photography by BRUCE FYFE

ead south for a leisurely road trip along the southern most part of Canada — the peaceful and picturesque County Roads 50, 20 and 5 in Essex County between Kingsville and Amherstburg — and take in EPIC: the Erie Pelee Island Coast wine route of nearly 20 quality wineries. This tour will be especially spectacular in the fall when not only are the trees in colour but the grapes are in production along with the incredible vegetable and fruit bounty of this rich agricultural region only two hours from London. EPIC is producing award-winning wines due to the cool breezes off Lake Erie combined with the highest heat units in the country. The two giants of EPIC bookend the route, Pelee Island Winery on County Road 20 in Kingsville and Colio Estate Wines just off County Road 50 in Harrow, are the

original wineries of the region and they playfully fight for dibs on who started first in 1979/80. Pelee throws down the gauntlet when it points to grapes being grown on Pelee Island back in the 1800s (and there is a museum on the island to back up the claim). Both wineries today are producing large volumes (from 350,000 to 450,000 cases annually) and shipping across Canada and to other countries. Both also have successful retail outlets in China. Pelee produces and bottles its wine in Kingsville, bringing the grapes by ferry from the island. It also source grapes from other growers. Visitors can go to the island by ferry from Kingsville or Leamington (in season) which is a great day or overnight trip. On the island you can visit a tasting room and tour the gorgeous vineyards by bike or car. There are BBQ stations at the Pelee pavilion where you can grill your own

Photo courtesy of EPIC

By JANE ANTONIAK


№ 43 | September/October 2013

food while enjoying wine. Pretty perfect! In Kingsville, Pelee offers complimentary tastings and has a full retail outlet which offers many wines not available in the LCBO. Tours of the facility include the barrel rooms and bottling areas which employ about 50 people. Pelee has over 65 wines now. This summer saw the release of two new lines aimed at growing numbers of people interested in sweeter wines, following the very successful marketing of plush, velvety wines in the U.S. The new VQA Island Time semi-sweet merlot and Island Time Riesling Vidal are meant to meet the demand for sweeter wines, which have always done well for Pelee in Alberta. At 235 grams of sugar per litre this would put Island Time at 2 to 3 on the old sweetness scale. “These wines are not complicated, you don’t have to think about it,” explains Lori Lupton, sales representative in Southwestern Ontario. “The aging market getting into wine and the younger people switching to wine are really enjoying these,” she says. Pelee has also released the Singing Moon label, a VQA sauvignon blanc, a VQA pinot blanc, and a VQA cabernet sauvignon merlot. Some of these have replaced some of the Alvar label as Pelee was looking for a more appealing designed label to compete in the rapidly growing marketplace. Colio Estate Wines continues to enjoy the popularity of the Girls’ Night Out brand

Wine Tasting at Pelee Island Winery which now includes six wines and four flavoured wine beverages with fun names like Strawberry Samba and Tropical Tango. New to the line, and also in the sweeter category, is the crisp and refreshing Girls’ Night Out Sparkling. Colio is known as a sparkling wine maker and has charmat method tanks in its Harrow winery. Colio has recently added a new line of wines called Lake & River using grapes from their 200 acres in Essex near Lake Erie and also from 21 acres in Niagara near the Niagara River. These moderately priced wines are typical of Colio’s friendly attitude when it comes to pleasing people. The winery offers tastings at its Harrow retail outlet. In between these two giants are nearly 20 other wineries and places to eat and enjoy the view of Lake Erie. A standout for scenery is Viewpoint Estate Winery, situated right on the shores of Erie on County Road 50. In season, it operates the Lakefront patio with offerings that include a charcuterie & cheese board. If you’re more interested in what comes out of the lake than looking at it, venture inland a bit to a long-time Essex county favourite, Meadows by the Lake restaurant, near Harrow on County Road 41. The fresh yellow perch is the #1 seller, and for good reason, as it is moist and delicious. Co-owner Neda Thomas-Jahn says they sell about 8,000 pounds of perch a year, which they purchase from Taylor Fish Company in Wheatley. “We’re so spoiled here,” says Thomas-Jahn happily. They take great pride in their fish, serving it with homemade tartar sauce nicely flavoured with dill. Really helps soak up the wine! Another way to wear off the wine is to participate in a Farm Dog Cycles tour of Girl’s Night Out by Colio Estate Wines


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Young grapes, above, at 42 Degrees Estate Winery. Owners Suzanne Dajczak and Martin Gorski, centre, also operate the Serenity Lavender Farm on the same property. Bottom, tour on an Opus bicycle with Farm Dog Cycles the area with Meg Balsillie and Liam Brennan. The couple were recently wed on the Balsillie family farm and their guests inquired where they could take a cycling tour of the wineries. Meg and Liam then started the business with beautiful Opus bicycles from Montreal. Liam has fitted them with reclaimed tobacco kiln wood baskets that hold six bottles of wine. They take small groups on their “one o’clock cruise” of three wineries along back roads for “local stories and crop touring,” says Liam. The business operates out of The Fruit Wagon, the Balsillie farm, which has an impressive roadside stand and gorgeous orchards, complete with row signs explaining the different fruits, vegetables and flowers being grown on the 35 acres. Some smaller winery highlights along EPIC include North 42 Degrees Estate Winery on County Road 50. The winery shares its property with Serenity Lavender Farm. Owners Martin Gorski and Suzanne Dajczak take great pride in the stewardship of their land and resources. The winery operates on gravity flow and is energy efficient — the processing building is heated with energy produced by the fermentation process. Suzanne grows one acre of lavender and creates value added products including body products, culinary lavender and herbs de province. Martin is excited to be part of the emerging wine business as a long time family owner of property in Colchester. Martin’s 2012 cabernet franc recently won silver in the Lake Erie North Shore Wine awards. He produces 3,000 cases of estate wine (all grown on site) annually. “With our high calcium soils, sandy loam and warm winds, the sky is the limit,” says Martin. As with all great wine tours, you simply can’t do it all in one day. Earlier this year we did another leg of the tour which included Oxley Estate Winery and Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards. Oxley is a renovated former vegetable farm/barn with a warm and inviting atmo­

Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards


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sphere culti­ vated by owner Ann Neydon Wilson, a trans­ planted Detroit lawyer who offers friendly tastings and a delicious lunch that includes local preserves. She loves living on the Oxley bluff and is very excited about their chardon­ nay, which recently won sil­ ver in Lake Erie Bottles from Oxley Estate Winery North Shore wine awards. Winemaker Rori McCaw at Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards near Oxley (closer inland towards the 401 and Tecumseh), is doing some excit­ ing work with grapes as well. Cooper’s Hawk enjoys touring visitors through the vineyards where you may indeed see some hawks and other birds of prey. An environmentally for­ ward winery, Cooper’s Hawk enjoys sharing the story of their sustainable practices. EPIC was established by the rebranding of the former SWOVA — South Western Ontario Vintners Association. As Lynnette Bain, Tourism Windsor Essex explains, the trail is meeting a demand from visitors to the area. “The passionate group of wine makers and proprietors worked together to identify themselves in more simple terms. They needed the consumer to quickly identify who and where their wineries were. The group works together as ambassadors for the local industry to create awareness, market the wine and region, and educate their membership.” Whatever the name, this is a lovely escape from the 401 and within easy reach of London and area. www.visitwindsoressex.com www.epicwineries.com JANE ANTONIAK is Manager, Communications & Media Relations, King’s University College, Western University. She enjoys touring vineyards — usually with a glass in her hand! BRUCE FYFE is a librarian at Western University and a regular contributing photographer to eatdrink magazine.

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Beer matters beer matters

So These Two Biologists and an Engineer Walk Into a Bar ... Forked River Brewing Company, in London By The Malt Monk

I

t seems an eternity since London had a microbrewery dedicated to supplying local pubs and restaurants with locally made, fresh, crafted beers. While craft breweries sprang up in nearby towns and cities, the industry seemed to bypass the Forest City. That is, until early 2013, when two biologists and an engineer formed a brewing company and opened a brew house with 10-hectolitre capacity, called Forked River Brewing

Forked River co-owners, from the left, Andrew Peters, Dave Reed and Steve Nazarian

Company. Founders Dave Reed, Andrew Peters and Steve Nazarian are awardwinning home brewers and craft beer ­lovers whose dream of bringing locally made, fresh, all-natural crafted beer to the London market has become a reality. They now service the London hospitality industry with draft and cask beer. They have a retail and tasting room at the brewery where the public can purchase a fresh growler of draft beer. They also have bottled half-litre sales. When I visited Forked River Brewing, I was greeted by Reed and Nazarian, who were more than happy to show me around, talk beer and brewing, and offer a tasting of the product. They both seem proud of their new brewing company and so they should be. It’s quite a daunting task for little guys to enter Labatt’s home market — but it becomes obvious at first sip that Forked River is not targeting the same consumer. The first thing that you taste in a FRB brew is “freshness” because none of the FRB craft


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Steve Nararian at the Tasting Station beers are filtered, leaving all the wonderful natural flavours that the amalgam of fermented grain, hops, yeast and pure water deliver to the palate — flavours which are largely filtered out of corporate beers. It’s hard to believe, but there are generations of Canadian beer drinkers who have never tasted fresh beer. They limit themselves to bottled or canned corporate brands which may have sat on the shelf for who knows how long. Real, unpasteurized beer must be consumed fresh (as soon as it’s done conditioning) and has a limited

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shelf life because it is a living food product. Flavour does degrade with filtering, pasteurizing and shelf time. Forked River seems to be aware of this and makes just enough beer to meet demand. Also, limiting the output to draft beer, cask beer and fresh growler sales ensures the beer is consumed while fresh, in its best condition and at peak flavour. Their business plan seems pretty solid — to service the local London market with quality natural crafted beers. Nothing really over the top yet, just good drinking flavourful brews with broad appeal that should please both craft beer acolytes and first-time sipper alike. There are two flagship beers — Capital Blonde Ale (an unfiltered, well-rounded American style blond ale), and Riptide Rye Pale Ale (a very tasty, unfiltered spicy pale ale made with rye malt). The company will also brew a constantly rotating array of one-off special brews — the first one is “Ridunkelous,” a quenching Bavarian styled Dunkel Weiss which approximates the taste of Schneider Tap 5 without being too heavy (no small feat for new brewers). Rumour


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has it there is another special release brew bubbling away in the fermenter, which will be announced shortly. From what I’ve seen and tasted from Forked River I have to say: London, we’ve got ourselves a real craft brewer in town. Watch for FRB beers on tap at your

Late Summer Tasting Notes

Summer has been good to local artisanal beer drinkers, lots of new brews on tap. Here are some notable summer offerings which grabbed me by the taste buds and slaked a big summer thirst.

1

Maisel’s Original Weisse is a Bavarian Hefeweiss which has recently acquired Ontario agents. I had a few of these on tap and I have rarely tasted bet­ ter Hefeweiss. This is arguably among the top three Bavarian Weissbiers and it delivers the hallmark hefeweizen fruity bubble-gum/banana esters and clove-like phenols in spades. Unfiltered, dry, biscuity, fruity, spicy, spritzy with natural carbonation and absolutely glorious on a warm summer bistro patio. It will certainly impress Schnei­ der, Ayinger or Weihenstephaner Weiss fans. I hope this eventually becomes available in bottles at the LCBO.

2

The second notable summer delight was Beau’s Opa’s Gose (lcbo 343921). Gose is an ancient beer style and a specialty ale indigenous to the Goslar and Leipzig region of Lower Saxony. It is distinguished as a tart wheat ale made with cheese bacteria and ale yeast, but is also salty due to the dissolved mineral salts in local aquifers. It contains mostly malted wheat and minimal hopping with a good dose of coriander for balance — this gives a unique citrusy salty-tart, spicy dry discernment. The style was unique, and very popular, but seemed doomed to extinction with only one brewer making authentic Leipziger Gose when the Berlin wall fell. But this arcane style has been revived by North American crafters who have put their own unique spin on it. Amsterdam has made a Gose called “Maverick and Gose” which is pretty

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favourite pub or visit the brewery for a fresh growler. Forked River Brewing Company 45 Pacific Court, Unit 16, London 519-630-4756 www.forkedriverbrewing.com

good but Beau’s Opa’s Gose really impressed me. A hazy unfiltered orangey-gold with a lofty three-inch white cap. Opa’s Gose is a tart beer with mild citrusy notes and a unique salty character. The saltiness is diffused and complemented by the judicious use of coriander. Tart, biscuity, lightly salty with a spicy dry finish — this brew is a natural to pair with watermelon, summer sausage, German potato salad or ripe ­pungent cheeses.

3

Lastly, we had a summer release of a locally made Belgian Strong Golden Ale called The Wayward Son (lcbo 337345) by Radical Road Brewing Co. Don’t let the artsy packaging fool you. This ale is a world class Belgian styled strong golden ale. Aged in pinot noir barrels and utilizing a combination of barley, wheat, oats and Belgian candi sugar this is a big hazy gold ale that produces notes of dark cherry, honey, bitter orange peel, apricot, spice and has a light hint of oak in the finish. For me the outstanding feature of this one-off brew was its outstanding balance and deeply rounded drinkability — lightly dry, bright and noncloying. It’s touted as being “a complex offering with a wayward spirit.” I tasted a little complexity, but the real attraction here is the wonderfully unique mouth feel and character that the mixture of select grains gives this brew. The brewers state that “rebelliousness has led you here.” Perhaps, but it is the consistently solid artisanal offerings of this brewer which keeps me coming back. I paired a chilled bottle of this great ale with a spicy Chicken Diable sandwich, with very satisfying results. THE MALT MONK is the alter ego of D.R. Hammond, a passionate supporter of craft beer culture. He invites readers to join in the dialogue at maltmonksbeerblog.wordpress.com/


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Beer matters theatre

By DONALD D’HAENE

“I

New Column!

can’t expose a human weakness on the stage unless I know it through having it myself,” wrote Tennessee Williams. Busted. On stage and off! And even though I was a late bloomer — not having seen a play until I was 20 — theatre opened up my eyes to a window outside of my soul. Not so coincidentally, Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire was one of my first. “I don’t want realism. I want magic!” its lead character says. London has provided me with both magic and realism, as an actor, producer and reviewer over the past two decades. I’ve seen hundreds of local professional and amateur shows over the past five years alone. I plan on covering both, but I feel amateur theatre is London’s best-kept secret. Well, not for long, if I can help it. Take the much-anticipated production of Metamorphosis (Palace Theatre, September 19–28) for instance. Get this: the entire play takes place in a pool of water! Director John Gerry addresses his current project and passion

for theatre better than I ever could when he states, “a show represents all that is magical about theatre. The ability to tell stories that are eternal and that will speak to the soul.” Gerry is very particular in his choices. When asked by the Palace what show he had always wanted to direct, he replied that Metamorphosis was a show he would give up his birthday in Spain for. What show could inspire such zeal? Mary Zimmerman’s Tonywinning play conjures the forces of Ovid’s myths into gorgeous imagery, provocative moments and breathtaking story telling — all in a pool that is 10 by 16 by 2 feet deep. Set designer David Long adds, “The Palace Theatre was built with a concrete foundation — poured concrete with concrete supports — so that it can take the weight of the pool.” With the help of Moore’s Water Gardens, Long has built the pool like a stage (with a lid) on top of the existing stage. The Old East Village theatre is certainly opening its busy doors in ways it’s never done before. As if the pool wasn’t enough, The Palace hosted a touring cat show after the installation. No reports of soggy moggies. I should know — you think I’d miss a show featuring fifteen rescued pussies, two chickens and a ground hog? Adjacent to the Palace, in a relatively new space, the Procunier Hall, All Aboard hits the stage September 10 through 14. “All Aboard portrays an integral part of the history of Black Canada,” according John Gerry and Melanie Stewart in Metaphorphosis at The Palace Theatre

Photo by Jackie Noble of Noble Concepts

Donald DISHES on Local Theatre


Photo by John Iglesias

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was in Little Shop of Horrors. Take your pick: to its playwright, Dr. Colin Forbes. The Dentist, Seymour — heck, I would have author and subject is the last surviving settled for a patient! Never­ CPR porter and this play theless, I’m really looking recounts his experience forward to Iglesias Produc­ with racial prejudice in the tions version at McManus ’40s, as well as the history Studio, October 13–26. of the Canadian Pacific Director John Iglesias Railway. It is also the story continues the passion of a determined young man theme stating, “I’m just who eventually becomes following my heart. I’m a pediatrician and spends a fan of the underdog the rest of his professional Lesley Chapman and Rob Faust in love stories.” With several life teaching and practicing Old Love by Elgin Theatre Guild successful productions in Africa. On his return to under his belt, this is the first show Iglesias Canada, he establishes the first medical says he has put, “other people in charge clinic on an isolated First Nations Reserve. to shine. I can’t do it all myself anymore!” Speaking of Canadian history, I spoke to playwright, Norm Foster, about Elgin Theatre Sounds like a great theatre motto! Finally, thirty years after my first Guild’s remounting here in London of their recent critical and commercial hit Old Love at Tennessee Williams experience, Theatre Soup mounts Suddenly Last Summer, The ARTS Project September 19–21. October 7–19 at the “Why does this particu­ ARTS Project. Psycholar play resonate with audi­ surgeons, lobotomies, ences, Norm?” I asked. homosexuality, oh my! “Old Love?” Foster Can’t wait to see how pondered. “The older I get, director Lesleigh Turner the older my characters get. handles this stark, dare I This play was written with say it, “psycho-drama”? people my age in mind. Back to my quote at the People still looking for outset. I should know. love long after most of us Anyway, can’t wait to have found it. That’s why Phil Calautit in Little Shop of Horrors expose more weaknesses the play remains one of my by Iglesias Productions on stage figuratively and favourites.” literally. More on that in my next column. I’m not looking for love and it still See you in November! resonated with me. Maybe ‘cause I fit in with the “old” part. I told Foster I believe it is one of his best works. I state that even Donald D’Haene is Editor of donaldsdish.ca. He has though some of my personal best roles were been cast in Fuse Productions’ The Full Monty, playing The in his other plays! Palace Theatre February 7–16. Twitter @TheDonaldNorth and A role I always wanted but never landed email: donalddhaene@hotmail.com.


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books

Talking With My Mouth Full My Life as a Professional Eater by Gail Simmons Review by Darin Cook

I

t took four simple words for Gail Simmons to turn food into a lifelong career. She wrote those words — Eat Write Travel Cook — on a scrap of paper and they became a simplified vocation manual. “Like an eerie fortune cookie, that scrap became the trajectory of my life,” Simmons writes in her memoir, Talking with my Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater (Hyperion, 2012, $26.99). With the drive to act upon those four words, she became what can only be described collectively as a professional eater, with illustrious forays as chef, food critic, magazine editor, and Food Network TV star. These people known as professional eaters do actually exist. How can the rest of us not be jealous of someone who is paid to eat the best food the world has to offer? We all have to eat, some of us get better meals than others on a consistent basis, some of us go to fancy restaurants more frequently, but professional eaters earn their salary by eating top-notch food. Quite a gig. Simmons’ childhood memories come from growing up in a Jewish family in Toronto, with elaborate holiday feasts, her father’s yearly pickle making, and her mother holding neighbourhood cooking classes from her kitchen. When her mother was pregnant with her, Simmons writes that “she would wake up in the middle of the night demanding chocolate éclairs. I feel like that explains a lot.” Family vacations introduced her to exotic food and the first time she got drunk, complete with resulting hangover, was on a winery tour while visiting her father’s home country of South Africa. She was six at the time — that could explain a lot, as well. Out of college, Simmons worked as a journalist, writing about food for Toronto

Life and National Post. She decided to differentiate herself from the crowd by enrolling in cooking school to learn some practical and theoretical culinary skills. Simmons writes: “The biggest revelation was how little I actually knew about food. I loved the jargon, the language of a kitchen, which was all completely foreign: bouquet garni, mirepoix, fumet, forced meat, consommé, gastrique.” These language lessons in the kitchen, along with experiences as a line cook, became invaluable to her as a food writer. She has an incredibly eclectic career in the food industry ­— writing college newspaper restaurant reviews, line cook at Le Cirque, managing special events for Daniel Boulud’s restaurants (the famed chef who years later cooked Simmons’ wedding meal, an exquisite menu that read like a Top Chef meal itself). Her greatest on-the-job education was working on eccentric assignments as assistant to Vogue magazine’s food editor, Jeffery Steingarten. This involved feverish testing of any food whims that Steingarten had, like tasting 20 kinds of caviar, or making espresso from 17 different coffee machines. This has all led to what she calls the best job in the world, as Special Projects Director at Food & Wine magazine, attending food festivals around the world. Then reality TV came along and Simmons became a recurring judge on Top Chef, and host of the spin-off, Top Chef: Just Desserts. As a professional eater, her decisions as a food judge, based on her astute taste buds, can change the lives of young chefs. “Actually food is far easier to judge than, say, visual art, music, or dance, because there


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are very strict rules to cooking,” Simmons writes. “I would argue that judging food is based 80 percent on science and technique, and 20 percent on instinct and artistic flair. Taste may appear totally subjective, but there are scientific forces at work determining how food should be cooked and prepared. It’s chemistry more than anything. Non-professionals tend to judge food based on their biases more than on science and proper technique.” This memoir depicts a laundry list of exquisite dishes that most readers will only ever enjoy in their imaginations, but we can’t begrudge her having such an enviable position. Us non-professionals may eat just as much, but our credentials and training do not match what Simmons has accomplished. She followed a dream and put in time to become an authority by eating, cooking, and assessing a lot of food. Darin Cook is a regular contributor to eatdrink who works and plays in Chatham-Kent, and keeps himself well-read and well-fed by visiting the bookstores and restaurants of London.

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cookbooks

Jerusalem: A Cookbook By Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi Review and Recipe Selections by Janice Zolf

I

t’s safe to say that while politics may divide Israel, it is the food that brings it together. That theme pervades Jerusalem: A Cookbook, which won international cookbook of the year in 2012. The richly illustrated book, written by Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi and Palestinian chef Sami Tamimi, celebrates the delicious collision of cultures found in the kitchens of Jerusalem. The cookbook partners are the same age, but never knew each other growing up in the biblical city. Thirty years later they met in London England, and began their food collaboration, fusing their rich memories in a series of restaurants, delis and an award-winning cookbook. Colourful street food inspired by the great Suk (market) jumps off the page in this gorgeous ode to Jerusalem, like the Tunisian inspired Shakshuka, a breakfast staple made with ripe tomatoes and eggs — delicious with fresh pita bread. There’s a spin on risotto, a lower fat and healthier version of the Arborio rice version, made with barley. This one features diced tomatoes, marinated feta cheese and vegetable stock, a flavourful twist on a traditional meal found in many Jerusalem Yotam Ottolenghi restaurants. Jerusalem, both the book and the city, celebrates the bounty of the area: figs, pomegranates, dates and award winning olive oil, thanks to the rich soil and temperate climate. The key to hummus, according to Canadian chef Bonnie Stern, is at least

10 minutes of pureeing in the food processor. Ottolenghi concurs in Jerusalem; the goal is a thick, creamy paste, rich in tahini and an “exciting centerpiece” in many Jerusalem restaurants. Everyone in the Middle East lays claim to hummus. Ottolenghi says hummus wars have caused “even the best of friends to turn against each other if they find themselves in opposite hummus camps.” But there’s love amongst competitors, ensuring some of the best hummus joints in the world. Jerusalem’s no-fail recipe uses chickpeas sautéed in baking soda, a trick to penetrate the skins. This traditional Palestinian recipe was handed down from Sami Tamimi’s grandmother. Make this version and you’ll never buy the plastic tub, grocery store hummus again. Yotam’s mother Ruth can also claim a few pages of recipes including Romano peppers stuffed with Basmati rice, tomatoes, ground lamb, dill, mint and cardamom. Mouth-watering Sami Tamimi roasted red pepper and baked egg galette garnished with cumin and cilantro are stunning staples in Arab restaurants in Jerusalem; the cookbook’s illustration will make you want to drop everything and cook. The French may be known for baguettes but in Jerusalem it’s the challah that people


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line up for on Fridays. The Shabbat braided bread is a bakery favourite that arrived from Eastern Europe. The photograph of a typical Jerusalem bakery is enticing enough to make you want to book a trip to Israel. Here’s another reason to go, from Ottolenghi and Tamimi: the bureka. The stuffed filo pastry came to Israel via Turkey and Greece. The cookbook partners provide a delicious recipe for bite-size burekas filled with ricotta and pecorino, made famous by a bureka joint on Jaffa Street. A standout experience in many Jerusalem restaurants is the Israeli version of tapas, known as meze. As many as a dozen salads and dips are set out in the middle of the table, fuelling the communal, sharing food experience celebrated by both Jewish and Arab cultures. Jerusalem includes recipes Get a close-up look at Jerusalem: A Cookbook and watch London Ontario Chef Sagi Yaakov ­— a Stratford Chef School grad — cook the following two delicious recipes in producer Janice Zolf’s kitchen. www.youtube.com/ watch?v=3YImvgBqLDc&feature=youtu.be

for the ubiquitous hummus, beet dip with yogurt and Zatar, and many more delicious dishes that are part of this hospitality tradition. As London Ontario chef Sagi Yaakov says, “The only thing that unites Arabs and Israelis in Israel is the food.” You can watch Sagi cook Barley risotto with marinated feta, and Burnt eggplant with lemon and pomegranate seeds from the Jerusalem cookbook. Visit the website below and experience some of the culinary spirit of this wonderful cookbook in the hands of an expert Israeli chef. JANICE ZOLF is a freelance writer and video producer in London, Ontario. www.janicezolfproductions.com

Recipes printed on the following pages ...

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Recipes courtesy Jerusalem: A Cookbook, Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Random House, 2012.

Burnt eggplant with garlic, lemon & pomegranate seeds Serves 4 as part of a meze plate This salad has the most wonderful smoky aroma and works well with grilled meat or fish, as well as with other dips and salads to kick-start a passionate Levantine feast. But in order to get the full smoky flavour, you really need to stick to the instructions and allow the eggplants to burn well. If you want to turn it into a “real” baba ghanoush, whatever that may be (see page 76 in the book), drizzle on some light tahini paste at the end. 4 large eggplants (3¼ lb / 1.5 kg before cooking; 2½ cups /550 g after burning and draining the flesh) 2 cloves garlic, crushed grated zest of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 5 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley 2 tbsp chopped mint seeds of ½ large pomegranate (scant cup / 80 g in total) salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 If you have a gas range, line the base with aluminum foil to protect it, keeping only the burners exposed. Place the eggplants directly on four separate gas burners with medium flames and roast for 15 to 18 minutes, until the skin is burnt and flaky and the flesh is soft. Use metal tongs to turn them around occasionally. Alternatively, score the eggplants with a knife in a few places, about ¼-inch / 2 cm deep, and place on a baking sheet under a hot broiler for about an hour. Turn them around every 20 minutes or so and continue to cook even if they burst and break. 2 Remove the eggplants from the heat and allow them to cool down slightly. Once cool enough to handle, cut an opening along each eggplant and scoop out the soft flesh, dividing it with your hands into long thin strips. Discard the skin. Drain the flesh in a colander for at least an hour, preferably longer, to get rid of as much water as possible.

3 Place the eggplant pulp in a medium bowl and add the garlic, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and a good grind of black pepper. Stir and allow the eggplant to marinate at room temperature for at least an hour. 4 When you are ready to serve, mix in most of the herbs and taste for seasoning. Pile high on a serving plate, scatter on the pomegranate seeds, and garnish with the remaining herbs/veg on our plates is delicious and good for us too.

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Barley risotto with marinated feta Serves 4 This vegetarian main course is a dish everybody loves, particularly children. Unlike the proper Italian risotto, ours does not require the exact precision and meticulous preparation, but still tastes sensational. 1 cup / 200 g pearl barley 2 tbsp / 30 g unsalted butter 6 tbsp / 90 ml olive oil 2 small celery stalks, cut into ¼-inch / 0.5cm dice 2 small shallots, cut into ¼-inch / 0.5cm dice 4 cloves garlic, cut into 1/16 -inch / 2mm dice 4 thyme sprigs ½ tsp smoked paprika 1 bay leaf 4 strips lemon peel ¼ tsp chile flakes one 14-oz / 400g can chopped tomatoes scant 3 cups / 700 ml vegetable stock 1 ¼ cups / 300 ml passata (sieved crushed tomatoes) 1 tbsp caraway seeds 10½ oz / 300 g feta cheese, broken into roughly ¾-inch / 2cm pieces 1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves salt 1 Rinse the pearl barley well under cold water and leave to drain. 2 Melt the butter and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a very large frying pan and cook the celery, shallots, and garlic over gentle heat for 5 minutes, until soft. Add the barley, thyme, paprika, bay leaf, lemon peel, chile flakes, tomatoes, stock, passata, and salt. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a very gentle simmer and cook for 45 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure the risotto does not catch on the bottom of the pan. When ready, the barley should be tender and most of the liquid absorbed.

3 Meanwhile, toast the caraway seeds in a dry pan for a couple of minutes. Then lightly crush them so that some whole seeds remain. Add them to the feta with the remaining 4 tablespoons / 60 ml olive oil and gently mix to combine. 4 Once the risotto is ready, check the seasoning and then divide it among four shallow bowls. Top each with the marinated feta, including the oil, and a sprinkling of oregano leaves.


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№ 43 | September/October 2013

the lighter side

Five Shades of Grey By JUDY J. THOMPSON

F

ive couples, five houses, a theme and lots of swapping ... swapping of recipes, that is! My partner and I belong to a themed dinner club. Every two months we meet the other couples and we vicariously travel to different countries, or historical periods, or just go willy-nilly with odd themes. We take turns hosting and we rotate responsibility for the courses, which consist of appetizers, either a soup or a salad, the main course provided by the hosts, dessert and the “free ride.” Now don’t get your knickers in a knot ... the free ride is the couple who hosted last. They only have to bring a beverage geared to the theme. Going into our fifth year, we’ve been to England, Turkey, Denmark, Mexico, Tuscany, India, Austria and Japan, to name just a few destinations. Sometimes we shake things up by having a “Martini Weekend at the Cottage” or have themes such as Calgary Stampede, Pirate Night, Victorian Tea, Childhood Favourites or Mardi Gras. Each couple brings their course and an accompanying beverage to match the theme. This way we learn to cook foods we wouldn’t normally make and try foods we have always wanted to taste, along with beverages — alcoholic or virgin. Some themes and recipes were stellar hits while some were flops. Often we’d go whole hog and decorate for the theme. Turkish Delight was a memorable occasion. The couple who hosted had a backyard affair, and erected a Sultan’s tent with old curtains, cushions to sit on and a low coffee table to eat at. Hanging from the center of the structure was an old wrought iron chandelier with candles. When we were sated, we pushed away from the table to lie under the stars. Pirate Night had the hosts decorating their dining room like the captain’s

quarters of a ship and dressing up like a motley pair, speaking Piratese. Victorian Tea was a wonderful soirée with foods that Queen Victoria might have eaten and a beautifully set table, as if Royalty itself was attending. One themed evening, The Brier, saw one of my flops, which was a Stilton Cheese Ball. Instead of making one big ball, I opted to make many small ones which depicted curling stones. Bent toothpicks were sticking out of the tops, representing the handles. Not only was it overwhelming to have so many balls on one plate, but they tasted horrible! We reminisce about past dinners, and the one we most laugh about is Retro Night — the ’70s. Our menu included appetizers: celery with Cheese Whiz, cocktail wieners dipped in grape jelly, and Harvey Wallbangers. The main course was coq au vin, Parisienne potatoes and mushrooms, paired with Baby Duck wine. The dessert was apple cake with ice cream and apple smoothies. As we looked at the spread before us, we found the meal lacked colour. There were drab brown-greys, or an angry purple-grey, or an ugly greengrey, a whitish grey or just plain grey. The soup/salad dish was one of those disgusting hues too, blending in with the rest of the colour scheme. No wonder none of us can remember what was served for that course! Laughing, we did come to one conclusion ... if people in the ’70s took drugs, it was probably to perk up the appearance of the food. It tasted good, but it looked unappetizing and lacking in culinary colour. Retro Night was definitely five shades of grey! JUDY J. THOMPSON is a freelance writer and resides in London with her husband, Victor. She has two children, Heather and Matthew and one grandchild, Liam. She works in a local bookstore.


519.433.2891 36 Grand Avenue, London www.idlewyldinn.com


At Fire Roasted Coffee Company, the coffee bean has always been the star of the show. Now we are taking this dazzling taste experience downtown. Our new cafe has opened and we want to invite you to be amazed by the largest variety of handselected coffees that we have sourced from all around the world. We are right across the street from Budweiser Gardens. So before you take in one of their shows, stop by and take in one of ours, the Fire Roasted Coffee Bean!

• Coffee • Chocolate • Cafe Menu • Beer • Wine • SW Corner of King & Talbot

365 Talbot St., London, Ontario N6A 6K1

519-438-5225 www.fireroastedcoffee.com

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Eatdrink #43 September/October 2013  
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