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Serving London, Stratford & Southwestern Ontario № 38 • November/December 2012

The HO


LIDAY Is s u e

A Room With a Point of View


River Room at Museum London and Featuring


The Epicurean Gift Guide A Chatham-Kent Table

Savouring & Celebrating Local Food

Blackwater Coffee & Tea Co.

Brewing Passion in Sarnia

Holiday Wines

For Gifts and For Your Table

ALSO: Savour Stratford’s Special Sunday | Cooking Classes | The Finger Lakes Wine Trails

Savouring the magic of STRATFORD Come enjoy Stratford’s heritage district wrapped in fresh cedar boughs and sparkling lights as you wander the Victorian Christmas Trail collecting stocking stuffers along the way.

Take an international gastronomic journey at lunch and dinner with the Stratford Chefs School students. Or stay local as artisan producers pair up with gifted Stratford chefs and share their philosophies at the Savour Stratford Farmer Dinner Series. Special tastings celebrate the upcoming season with gourmet ideas for the holidays from our popular Scotch and Chocolate to fun candy and truffle making. And lots of Christmas family cheer – from horse-drawn carriage rides and a Chocolate Trail to the musical pageantry of Starbright, a Christmas family tradition. And only in Stratford – World Champion Figure Skating Champions Patrick Chan, Elvis Stojko and Kurt Browning perform in the spectacular Celebration on Ice on December 13th. NOVEMBER Tue-Sat Stratford Chefs School Culinary Repertoire dinners Thur-Sat Stratford Chefs School Chalkboard Menu lunch series 3,10,17,24 Farmer Dinner Series at various restaurants DECEMBER 8 9 13 15

Tea & Chocolate Pairing at Tea Leaves Starbright Concert at Stratford Festival Theatre World Champion Figure Skating Celebration on Ice Scotch & Chocolate at Foster’s Inn

For all our holiday events go to

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you’ll want to

forever • celebration of lights • fusion food show • christmas on the farm • christmas shows and live theatre • home tours • art tours • shopping extravaganza ... savour it all! 1-800-265-0316


™ inc.

Restaurants | Chefs | Farmers & Artisans | Culinary Buzz | Recipes | Wine | Travel A Food & Drink Magazine Serving London, Stratford & Southwestern Ontario

Think Global. Read Local.



Chris McDonell –

Managing Editor

Cecilia Buy –

Contributing Editor Bryan Lavery – Social Media Editor Jane Antoniak – Advertising Sales

Chris McDonell – Jane Antoniak –


Michael Bell, Jim Sisco –


Chris McDonell


Bryan Lavery, Cecilia Buy, Jane Antoniak, Jennifer Gagel, Rick VanSickle, Darin Cook, D.R. Hammond, Sue Sutherland Wood, Jill Ellis-Worthington


Bruce Fyfe, Jesse Gibb, Jennifer Cook

Editorial Advisory Board

Bryan Lavery, Cecilia Buy, Cathy Rehberg

Copy Editor

Jodie Renner –


City Media


Impressions Printing, St. Thomas

Telephone & Fax

519 434-8349

Mailing Address

525 Huron Street, London ON N5Y 4J6


A Virtual Magnet for All Things Culinary Interactive Digital Magazine, Complete Back Issues and More! Cover Photo: Five key members of The River Room creative team, including owners Harmen Spoelstra and Jess Jazey-Spoelstra, top left. Photo by Jesse Gibb

Copyright © 2012 ­eatdrink™ inc. and the writers. All rights reserved. Reproduction or duplication of any material published in ­eatdrink™ or on™ is strictly prohibited without the written per­ mis­sion of the Publisher. ­eatdrink™ has a circulation of 15,000 issues published six times annually. The views or opinions expressed in the

information, content and/or advertisements published in ­eatdrink™ or online are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Publisher. The Publisher welcomes submissions but accepts no responsibility for unsolicited material.

BILLY’S DELI RESTAURANT 113 Dundas St., London

519-679-1970 Tuesday–Saturday 7:30 AM−3 PM • Sunday 9 AM–2 PM HOLIDAY CLOSURE: December 24 to January 1

From all of us at Billy’s

“Merry Christmas & Happy New Year”

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ISSUE № 38

NovemBER/DecemBER 2012

foo d w ri t er at l a r g e 10 Leveraging Our Opportunities



20 24 30

R E S TAU R A N T S 14 The River Room’s Point of View, at Museum London By BRYAN LAVERY 28 Blackwater Coffee & Tea Company, in Sarnia By JANE ANTONIAK fa r m ers & a r t is a ns 20 Recap: A Special Sunday in Stratford By JANE ANTONIAK 24 Savouring & Celebrating The Chatham-Kent Table By darin cook c ulin a ry re ta il 30 The eatdrink Epicurean Gift Guide By sue sutherland wood T R AV E L 34 Exploring The Finger Lakes Wine Trails, in NY



N E W & N O TA B L E 38 The BUZZ


c at erers 46 Culinary Trends in Holiday Catering By BRYAN LAVERY C U L I N A RY E D U CAT I O N 48 Something for Everyone: Cooking Classes By JILL ELLIS-WORTHINGTON 51



B eer m at t ers Barley Wine: The Strongest Spirit of the Season By THE MALT MONK

W I N E 54 Ready, Set, Go! Wine Shopping for the Holidays By RICK VanSICKLE BOOKS 58 A Harvest of Canadian Food Writing By DARIN COOK C O O K B O O K S 62 The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman 67 Canada’s Favourite Recipes by Murray & Baird Reviews and Recipe Selections by JENNIFER GAGEL T H E L I G H T E R S I D E 70 Seize the Moment: Stress-Free Holidays By sue sutherland wood

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№ 38 | November/December 2012


The Relaunch of By Chris McDonell, eatdrink Publisher


e’ve gone about the business of be the best place to find a deal or great offer. You relaunching our website quietly, can also follow our Facebook and Twitter feeds on finishing a long-overdue process of our SocialStream, read and comment on stories, adapting current enter your Culinary Event technology to providing the onto our Event Calendar It’s time for a contest! local culinary information and see what else is going that our readers crave. While on, find every back issue still committed to “the of the magazine, and read A new cookbook every few weeks. printed word” — last summer Online Exclusive stories. we increased our print run Please check it out. to 15,000 copies per issue because of heavy demand — We wish you and yours all our new website will allow us of the best food, drink and “Like” eatdrink magazine to tell more stories, give our companionship for the and you’re entered in every draw. advertisers new ways to attract holidays. And remember, First Draw December 1, 2012. customers, and increase a gift certificate to a local readership. Whether you visit on restaurant or shop is an outstanding way to keep your computer, tablet or mobile device, you can your dollars in your community while creating a flip through the entire magazine. We’ve made great culinary experience for someone you care it easier to find and share the stories that you’re about. Cheers! most interested in. Our ­Marketplace will soon

Cookbook Draw




№ 38 | November/December 2012

food writer at large

Leveraging Our Opportunities Let’s Send Visitors Home Praising London By Bryan Lavery


igure skating fans from around the world will be coming to London in March for the 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships. The best figure skaters in the world, from over 50 different countries, will participate in the event from March 10 to 17, 2013, at the Budweiser Gardens (formerly John Labatt Centre), as they compete for the title of World Champion. And the event’s festivities don’t end on the ice. Through the “Light up London” initiative and on-site Fan Fair, the entire London community will be engaged in a full week of celebrations. The Fan Fair will take place at the Covent Garden Market and Budweiser Gardens, and will feature family-oriented activities, including games, activity stations and an outdoor vendor marketplace. “Light up London” will cover the downtown core in purple, white and silver — the color themes of this year’s ISU World Figure Skating Cham­ pionships — with participating restaurants featuring special WFSC themed menu items, in-house activities, contests and decorations. The competition schedule will begin with a full practice day for the competitors on March 10 and end with an exhibition gala

Taste of Ontario’s Southwest

As a long-time proponent of culinary tour­ ism, I was pleased to help identify and show­ case the diversity of culi­ nary experiences found in Ontario’s Southwest last year by writing a culinary tourism guide. My col­ leagues and I collabo­ rated with the South­ west Ontario Tourism Corporation (SWOTC) and devel­ oped criteria to determine inclusion in the guide. The criteria were also used to evaluate and highlight each destination’s distinct

featuring all of the medalists on March 17. Allevent tickets include access to all practices and competitions and the exhibition gala. For the local community and the culinary community in particular, who will be an important part of the festivities, it will be the first sporting event held in downtown London to be televised around the world to millions. An event the size of the world cham­ pionships is not only going to raise London’s profile around the globe, but it will also have a tremendous economic and cultural impact as well. Skate Canada is projecting this event will generate 28 million dollars in revenue in London. Audiences for this type of event are generally well-educated and have a high level of disposable income. Tourism London wants us all to be proud Londoners, proud to show off our city. “You can’t pay for that kind of advertising.” If we understand the motivation of a culinary tourist and what they are looking for, we can leverage our culinary businesses and send visitors home from London to tell their friends about the amazing experience they had. What better, more cost-effective marketing can you get than word of mouth?

regional culinary assets. We identified assets that embrace and promote the mandate of culinary tourism’s farm-to-table philosophy. Ontario’s Southwest Culinary Guide provides travellers with an overview of restaurants, wineries, retail shops, producers, products, and farmers’ markets that are noted for their abundance of local, seasonal options, and it showcases the best each destination has to offer. Read the Ontario’s Southwest Culinary Tourism Guide by visiting the website (www.

№ 38 | November/December 2012

Recently I was asked to organize the culinary portion of Taste of Ontario’s Southwest in conjunction with the Culinary Tourism Summit, the Ontario Tourism Summit, and the launch of Skate Canada at the Budweiser Gardens. The evening’s Taste of Ontario’s South­ west featured superb locally sourced food samplings from chefs and farmers throughout the RTO1 region, along with spectacular ice carvings and a skating dis­ play. Many of the region’s top-flight chefs were invited to participate. There were over twenty tasting stations highlighting food, farmers, wine and brews from Ontario’s Southwest. As a tribute to the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships, a skating exhibition took place at centre ice, followed by professional ice sculptors that carved four unique pieces representing the region, alongside a six-foot Ice Skater sculpture. Visionary chefs like Andrew Wolwowitcz of The Springs (Local Venison with a Chocolate Pomegranate Gastrique), Chad Stewart and Joshua Fevens of Garlic’s of London (Braised Elk with Root Vegetable Stew and Duck Confit Crostini with Chevre and Fig-Pinenut Chutney), Danijel “Dacha” Markovic of Kan­ tina (Roasted Red Pepper Gazpacho with C’est Bon Chevre Mousse, and Field Gate Farms’ Organic Chicken Aymokac with Arva flour Corn Bread), Julie Glaysher of Idlewyld Inn and Avenue Dining (Willowgrove FarmSmoked Bacon and Beet Lollipops and Veg­ etable Terrine with C’est Bon Goat Cheese), Kim Sutherland of Ovations at the Budweiser Gardens (Spiced Pulled Pork with Ontario Apple and Red Onion Chutney), Robbin Azzopardi of Auberge du Petit Prince (Con­ fit Metzger Farm Short Ribs with C’est Bon Chevre, Local Potato Chips, and Local Trout

The 2012 Ontario Tourism Summit Opening Reception (above) at the Budweiser Gardens. (Left) London cheesemonger Erin Harris — The Cheese Poet, Tourism London General Manager John Winston and Woodstock cheesemaker Shep Ysselstein of Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese. with Apple-Radish Salad on Artisan Bakery Crostini), and Erin Harris of the Cheese Poet ( Local Artisan Cheese, Kinehdn Maple Sugar Floss, Kitchen Maven Preserves, Cheese Poet’s Arva flour Artisan Crackers) are all known for advancing seasonality and local specialty ingredients by crafting seminal cooking experiences in their kitchens. Luis Rivas of True Taco and Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market was also on hand to prepare a trio of handmade miniature tacos: chorizo, barbacoa and vegetable. Out-of-town chefs like Rino Bortolin at Rino’s Kitchen in Windsor (Warm Mush­ room Trio with Muscedere Winery Pinot Noir Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella, and a Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple and Fennel Salad), Kim Saunders of the Windjammer Inn in Elgin (Lake Erie Pickerel Cakes with Sweet Potato Biscuits and “Iron Spike” Pulled Pork), Paresh Thakar of Personal Touch Eat­ ery and Catering in Sarnia (Purdy’s Pickerel Asian-inspired Ceviche with Sweet Corn and Daikon, Whitefish Roe and Lena’s Lamb Rogan Josh with Basmati rice, Yukon Gold Patty and Cucumber Raita), Heather Pond-

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№ 38 | November/December 2012

Manorome of the Blue Elephant in Norfolk (Van Berlo Farms’ Sweet Potato Bread Pud­ ding, Maple Ridge Maple Caramel Sauce, and Fett Farms’ Fully-Loaded Baked Potato Soup with Jensen Cheese and V.G. Packers Bacon), Paul and Sara Spence of Experience Casa Latina in Chatham-Kent (featured Nipissing Game Farms Quail), and Rich Hunter of King Edward Pub in Ilderton (signature DelMac farms Middlesex County Lamb Burgers) all spoke to their terroir and culinary prov­ enance through locally sourced ingredients and products and seasonal offerings. Cheese­ maker Shep Ysselstein from Oxford County showcased his cheesemaking skills, featur­ ing Semi-hard 5-month Farmstead Cow Milk Cheese — Appenzeller style, Hard 5-month Farmstead Cow Milk Cheese — Alpine style, and a 5-month Farmstead Sheep Gouda and Cheddar cheese. Michelle Lendhardt of The River Room and North Moore Catering prepared a stun­ ning array of desserts: Chocolate Ganache with Pumpkin Mascarpone Cheese, Almond Petit Fours with Pear Butter and Spun Maple Sugar, Raspberry Spheres, and Lemon tart with Sour Cherry Compote. Several flavours

of “liquid nitrogen” ice cream were made in front of the guests: Local Goat Cheese, Cara­ mel and Fleur de Sel, Honey and Lavender, and Chocolate Praline Chestnut. Habitual Chocolate and Fire Roasted Coffee both showcased their ethically sourced, fair trade, locally roasted products. Ontario’s Southwest is a hot spot of culi­ nary activity. Nowhere is that love of all things food more evident than in the growth of culinary tourism. Culinary tourism, as defined by the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, “includes tourism experiences in which one learns about, appreciates and or consumes food and drink that reflects regional or national cuisine, heritage, cul­ ture, tradition or culinary techniques.” Culinary Regionalism includes characteristic culinary and agricultural features special to a particular region. It recognizes uniqueness and the idiosyncratic characteristics and cul­ ture of the places where the food is produced and of the people who produce it. Bryan Lavery is eatdrink magazine’s Writer at Large and Contributing Editor. He can be reached at

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№ 38 | November/December 2012


A Room with A Point of View The River Room at Museum London By bryan lavery Photography by jesse gibb


rt and food have always had a special relationship. Restaurants located in museums have a loyal client base — patrons of the arts typically appreciate fine cuisine. I have always had a special affinity for the London Museum and this particular room. The River Room, inside Museum London, has banks of tinted windows with panoramic views overlooking artist Ron Benner’s garden installation project, “As the Crow Flies,” as well as the Forks of the Thames and old courthouse. The River Room is a superb lunch spot that has put Museum London back on the local culinary map. The space, which has had a checkered past in its thirty years of operation and had been closed since the demise of On the Fork in November 2010, now has the clubby ambience of a Manhat­ tan restaurant, with its casual, tailored décor and New York

attitude. This is the latest venture by Jess Jazey-Spoelstra and Harmen Spoelstra, coowners of North Moore Catering. First and foremost, Jess Jazey-Spoelstra is a culinary dynamo and the city’s reigning caterer of choice. When JazeySpoelstra was offered the restaurant space at Museum London, she was initially reluctant. However, the room and the facilities at Museum London are a natural fit for a caterer with Jazey-Spoelstra’s flair, vision and experience. Jazey-Spoelstra has built a reputation quickly as the city’s premiere caterer, almost entirely on wordof-mouth from a glittering retinue of wellheeled clients. Like any successful caterer/ restaurateur, she has a particular je ne sais quoi and an innate talent for picking and mentoring professional staff who can communicate her vision and deliver it with aplomb and finesse. Hers is an impressive achievement. The venue has been refurbished (includ­ing the old curved ceil­ ing) and elegantly tailored and renewed to host special events.

Standing: Co-owners Harmen Spoelstra and Jess Jazey-Spoelstra and Executive Chef Jeff Fortner. Seated: Pastry Chef Michele Lenhardt and General Manager Sandra Doyle-Holden

№ 38 | November/December 2012


The casual but tailored dining room is lined on the inside walls with black and white photos that pay homage to its New York inspiration. Two outer walls are banks of tinted glass, offering spectacular panoramic views. The setting is stylish and relaxed, the colour scheme is warm and inviting, the textural elements are glass, leather and linen, and the glassware is Reidel. The dining room has seating for 85 patrons (comfortable chairs purchased at Kingsmills — Jazey-Spoelstra believes in supporting local businesses) and has an attractive curved bar with faux white leather stools at the entrance. The walls are lined with beautiful photos that pay homage to Jazey-Spoelstra’s days in New York. The photographs may have stirred a bit of contro­ versy with the old guard (American photos in a Canadian Art Gallery), but add to the ambi­ ence and authenticity of what Jazey-Spoelstra has created and showcase her skill as a pho­ tographer of the Big Apple. The River Room’s inspiration, as with most things related to Jazey-Spoelstra’s culinary endeavours, har­ kens back to the time (2001-2007) when she worked in Tribeca in Manhattan. The restaurant is conveniently located in Museum London and just steps away from the Budweiser Gardens, Covent Garden Market, and the downtown dining and shopping district. It is already attracting the local who’s who, lawyers and judges, the ladies who lunch, and the culinary set, despite some of its less conventional attributes. It has quickly become a brunch hot spot. Yes, there are glass ketchup bottles and high-quality jars of hot mustard. Meeting and interviewing Jazey-Spoelstra for the first time was like talking to an old friend who speaks “culinary” fluently. She has plenty of verve and vitality and is a natu­ ral raconteur, taking me on a culinary tour of the menu and New York City. After moving to New York City on September 10, 2001, the day before 9/11, she worked at Walkers in Tribeca, at the corner of North Moore and Varick (7th Ave) Streets. It was her “university of the food world.” Walker’s remains a culinary land­ mark and draws legions of regulars and semiregulars (jurors). Walker’s in Tribeca, a “regular guy” place serving great food at reasonable prices, is where Jazey-Spoelstra learned about food quality, freshness, and exceptional service. “It all came with the NYC attitude” — some­ thing she says she has had to unlearn. “Cus­

tomers loved being abused in New York. The more you abuse them, the bigger the tip. Here — not so much. I owe Walker’s owners Gerry Walker and Scott Perez a lot. They taught me so much while working there. I wouldn’t have what I have today if it wasn’t for them and for New York, teaching me and toughening me up, thickening my skin, so to say.” She continues, “Most restaurants in NYC are open until one a.m., some (like Blue Rib­ bon) even until four a.m., which works well when you’re in the industry and want to go out for food and drink after your shift. Regu­ lar haunts were Nobu, Mr. Chow, Momofuku, Balthazar, Pastis, The Frying Pan, Sup­ per, Joe’s Shanghai, Raoul’s, Peter Luger’s, Souths, The Ear Inn, Walker’s, Bubby’s, Brandy Library, KGB Bar, Pravda, Centrico, and Landmarc. Then you have just the best


Owners Jess Jazey-Spoelstra and Harmen Spoelstra , seated above at a beautifully bright corner table, have looked after every detail, including hiring professional, knowledgeable staff. Standing behind General Manager Sandra Doyle-Holden are Cheri Dye (left) and Sandy Baker. Private Dining at its best! Showing just one possible configuration below, The River Room is available for private events in the evening.

№ 38 | November/December 2012

food shops on earth: Russ & Daughters, Joe’s Dairy, Mur­ ray’s Cheese, Fiaccos, Katz’s Deli, and Raffetto’s. I was spoiled. I worked hard and played hard — that was New York. You didn’t dare serve bad food in New York — if you did, you were chewed up and spit out, and the restaurant would be closed in no time.” Jazey-Spoelstra’s culinary philosophy is to create exceptional food at reasonable prices. She tells me, “The rest is more theory— taste the ingredients, don’t muddle too many flavours, use excellent quality ingredients, and let the food speak for itself. She serves American beef and swears by its superior taste. I don’t like “stuffy” snooty places. I love regular-guy joints where the server is professional but fun and witty, and the food is exceptional, something you remember fondly. Great food, great ambience, great service — and always push the envelope, never get comfortable, continue to learn new flavours, tastes and techniques.” Getting back to the River Room, Chef Jeff Fortner has over a dozen dishes on offer on the brunch prix fixe menu ($21.00), including sublime Eggs Benedict with perfectly poached eggs and delicious hollandaise; classic Cobb Salad with grilled chicken, crisp bacon, blue cheese, hard-boiled egg, chopped tomato and cucumbers; Brioche French Toast of the Day; and Prime Rib Beef Hash, with peppers, onions, potatoes and prime rib, topped with two soft-boiled eggs and accompanied by signature greens. Brunch is served with a generous basket of warm mini-muffins and fresh-baked, melt-in-the-mouth cheddar scones, as well as coffee or tea and your choice of a glass of red or white wine, mimosa, Caesar, bloody Mary, screwdriver or domestic beer. Everything on the lunch menu is in the $10 to $13 range, and prepared in-house from scratch. Fortner is on top of his game. Features include handmade pasta, such as gnocchi, pumpkin ravioli, and hand-pressed tagliatelle. I have had the opportunity to sample all three: perfectly executed ricotta gnocchi with gorgonzola and porcini (not on the menu) was other worldly, tagliatelle with lemon was deliciously understated, and pumpkin ravioli with chestnut sage cream was sublimely delicate. Seafood Crêpes, with crab, Photo by Derek Barnes

№ 38 | November/December 2012

shrimp, scallops and cognac cream, Quiche (Jess’s mother’s recipe with Michele Lenhardt’s pastry), and New York-style deli sandwiches, all accompanied by a spectacularly composed signature side salad, round out the menu. The Pastrami Reuben sandwich is quintessential New York deli, with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and crispy dills. The Cobb Salad is classic. Pot pie with braised duck, okra and Andouille sausage is a delicious riff on the definitive gumbo preparation The desserts are prepared by über-pastry chef Michele Lenhardt (former co-owner of Black Walnut Café and pastry chef at the AGO). Lenhardt’s Cherry Tart and Lemon Tart are both classics and works of art. Chocolate Pâté is rave-worthy, as is Semifreddo. The Beignets (deep-fried choux paste) are served hot, with bacon fudge and vanilla cream. If you are a connoisseur of classic pastry and dessert, you have come to the right place — Lenhardt brings dessert offerings to a whole new level. The black-uniformed servers are welcoming and enthusiastic, as well as being professional, attentive and knowledgeable. The service adds to the experience. The River Room is also open in the evenings for private dining, weddings, dinner parties, cocktail parties, holiday parties, and business dinners. The River Room at Museum London, 421 Ridout Street 519-850-2287






hours of operation tuesday – friday: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. sunday brunch: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. available evenings for private events Bryan Lavery is eatdrink magazine’s Writer at Large and Contributing Editor. He can be reached at

Pastry Chef Michele Lenhardt takes even classics to new heights, including an exquisite Lemon Tart (left) and Sour Cherry Tart (below)

The River Room Executive Chef Jeff Fortner, Sous Chef Jesse Serratore, Pastry Chef Michele Lenhardt and Chefs Katherine Puzaria and Nate Hazelwood prepare everything in-house from scratch. Features include: 1 Carmelized Vadalia Onion and Forest Mushroom Quiche with Gruyere Cheese 2 Veal Milanese — Tender Milk-Fed Veal Cutlet topped with Arugula, Shaved Parmesan, Tomatoes and Red Onion and tossed with Red Wine Vinaigrette 3 Seafood Crepe with Shrimp, Crab and Baby Scallops in a Cognac-Cream Sauce 4 Duck and Andouille Sausage Pot Pie



“Country Dining at Its Best”

№ 38 | November/December 2012

• Shop • Stay • Play

Enjoy Ontario’s West Coast


Celebrate New Year’s Ev details! Call for the delicious

BREAKFAST ~ LUNCH ~ DINNER Wed to Fri: 9 to 9 • Sat & Sun: 8am to 9pm

Private Room Available

Mashed Potato Dumplings 1½ tsp Garlic Mashed Potato Seasoning or Garlic & Horseradish Potato Seasoning 1 tbsp sweet cream butter or liquid butter substitute 2 lbs all purpose potatoes, cooked slightly in (sea salt) salted water 1½ cup all purpose flour 2 large eggs beaten well ¾ tsp ground sea salt

¼ tsp fresh ground white pepper ½ tsp dried parsley 2 cans chicken stock (skim all fat off) 3 large bay leaves whole

1 Cook potatoes in lightly salted water, drain, and mash well. 2 Add butter with seasoning mixture to potatoes. 3 Place in freezer to cool just a bit. 4 Remove and add eggs, flour, sea salt, ground white pepper, parsley, mix well. 5 Using a large spoon, portion 1½-inch portions. 6 Heat broth to quick simmer with bay leaf for 5 minutes in a large covered pan. 7 Drop potato balls gently into broth cover and cook 6 minutes until done. (Gentlyturning them over every few minutes.) 8 Drain and serve hot.

Serving Lunch and Dinner Seasonal Hours

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№ 38 || Chops November/December Roasts & Steaks | Tenderloin | Ribs2012 | Sausage | Bacon & More!

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№ 38 | November/December 2012

farmers & artisans

A Special Sunday in Stratford The 2012 Savour Stratford Perth County Culinary Festival By Jane Antoniak | Photography by Bruce Fyfe

Madelyn’s Diner / Yungblut Meats


acon Butter Tart: two iconic Canadian food items enveloped in a single bite. What a way to kick off a fall Sunday morning at Savour Stratford 2012. Let’s hope Madelyn’s Diner and Yungblut Meats put them on the menu. This was not a bacon-craze concept (unlike bacon toothpaste, bacon bread pudding or bacon chocolate bars). This was a perfect marriage of savoury and sweet; of farmer and baker. I have to admit I had more than one sample while feigning to need more tarts for the photo shoot. Little wonder it won Best Dessert — but shouldn’t bacon butter tart be better categorized as Best Meat Dish or Most Creative Dish? If only there was a trifecta at Savour Stratford. Not that we didn’t love the samples from the other 31 vendors set up for the Tasting on September 23 under the impressive tents along Market Square behind the historic city hall. The Sunday events drew just under 15,000 people with a total of 25,000 visitors over the weekend (although some people may have been double-counted if they attended both days). This was the fifth year for Savour Stratford, and dates have already been set for 2013: September 20–22. It’s a large-scale undertaking to coordinate 125 vendors, farmers and tastings while offering ticketed educational events to more than 500 participants. Topics ranged from Knife Sharpening 101 to Stemless Wine Tasting in Riedel “O” glasses, held at Bradshaw’s Kitchen Classroom. Or choose from Savoury Pre­ serving, Converting Your Apart­ ment to a Farm, and Demystify­ ing the Pressure Cooker, all at the Stratford Chefs School Learning Centre. And while parents were sipping or tasting, kids packed the Kids’ Tent all weekend, where they took in Monforte Dairy ice cream making or hung out at the Living Salad Bar. All of this plus celebrity chef demonstrations, gala events, outdoor markets and street per­ formers make Savour Stratford an award-winning weekend for foodies from across the province. The Sunday Tasting provides a rare opportunity to mingle not only with chefs/restaurateurs, The Tasting Tents were erected but also to connect with stellar right in the middle of Stratford’s historic Market Square producers of the region’s bounty,


Revel Caffè / Las Chicas Del Café

Stone Willow Inn Wildstone Bar & Grill / TJ’s Fins and Feathers

Nick and Nat’s Uptown 21 / Soiled Reputation

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including cheese, meat, chocolate, bread, and wine. Each table at the Tasting features a restaurant owner/chef paired with a producer. “Sometimes this is the first time the producer and the chef have actually connected, spent time with each other,” says our tour guide, Cathy Rehberg, Marketing Manager of Stratford Tourism Alliance. One such connection was the pairing of fresh Ontario lamb from DelMac Farm, north of London, with the culinary team at the leg­ endary Church Restaurant, Stratford. Farmers Robin and Richard Cooke provided lamb education while Chef Caleb Stewart prepared pulled braised curried lamb served with pickled red onions and apricot conserve. The Cookes can normally be found at the Strat­ ford Farmers’ Market on Saturdays, but that weekend saw them side by side with the staff of one of Canada’s renowned restaurants. “We’re just thrilled that the Church Restaurant wants to serve fresh, local lamb. It’s a first endeavour for us to work with them and very exciting,” says Robin Cooke. Other interesting producer/chef combos included lavender farmer Suzanne Steed of Sparta (near St. Thomas in Elgin County) pairing her culinary lavender syrup, jams and sauces with chocolate made by her sister Kristene Steed’s company, Rheo Thompson Candies of Stratford. “This festival helps to build a sense of community between producers and restaurateurs. We celebrate our agricultural roots through our restaurants, cuisine and culture,” says Danielle Brodhagen, Culinary Program Coordinator at Stratford Tourism Alliance. Brodhagen encouraged visitors to “speak with farmers directly” to better understand the source of their food. This year visitors to the Tasting were each allowed one vote for the People’s Choice award, with the winning chef receiving $500 from sponsor GE Café Appliances. It must have been a close race, as so many teams offered incredible samples: of note were the edible bell pepper “shooters” filled with zesty gazpacho created by Molly Bloom’s Irish Pub and Caveman Crops. They took the environmental beliefs of the festival to a whole new, and delicious, level. Also, the cornmeal-crusted beets from Soiled Reputation, created by Chef Nick Benninger of Nick and Nat’s Uptown 21 Restaurant and personally handed out by Antony Johns, were stunning and won Best Vegetarian Dish. A dollop of creativity and humour was shown by Rene’s Bistro, which used strawberries from Sheldon Berries to create the appearance of “meatballs,” which were actually cake. Fun and satisfying! In the end, Chef Bryan Steele of The Prune and his partner producer, Northern Woods Mushrooms, won the People’s Choice award for his Smoked Mushroom Tart with house-made herbed ricotta, delicate squash and red pepper relish. Bravo! To help the guests wash down all the incredible samples, ten VQA wineries participated, including Pelee Island Winery, which released its new organic vintage, Pelee Pure. And eight breweries also offered samples, which went particularly well with the Metzger Meat ribs prepared by Huron County chef Devin Tabor of Bon Vivant Catering. Be sure to plan to visit Savour Stratford next September and, in the meantime, look for locally sourced items on your menu! Jane Antoniak and Bruce Fyfe are regular contributors to eatdrink.


Rheo Thompson Candies / Steed & Company Lavender Aboriginal Culinary Concepts / Palace Hillside Elk Farm

Molly Bloom’s Irish Pub / Caveman Crops

Pazzo Ristorante / DeWetering Hill Farm

Stratford is more than great theatre.


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Stratford is more than great theatre.


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farmers & artisans

Savouring & Celebrating Local Food The Chatham-Kent Table By Darin Cook Photography by Jennifer Cook


icture an outdoor dinner party, set in the midst of fields of a local farm, featuring food that was grown or raised within close proximity. The local residents eating the meal can pinpoint on a map where the food came from, and they mingle with the farmers who cooked it themselves, on-site. It just doesn’t get more local or more delicious. These types of eating experiences are happening across Ontario to celebrate local food. And they are just what author Lynn Ogryzlo has ordered — not to mention written about — in her awardwinning book, The Ontario Table. Ogryzlo spreads the word about culinary regionalism, and her book is the product of years of research highlighting the bounty of our province. This September, eight farming families in Chatham-Kent took Ogryzlo’s concept to heart and developed their own Chatham-Kent Table, held at River Bell Market Garden in Dresden. Co-founders of the event, Paul Spence of Lo Maximo Meats and Joseph Grootenboer of River Bell Market Garden, farmers near Kent Bridge and Dresden, respectively, are setting out to reinforce the perception of how home-grown products can be prepared in tasty ways. Enlisting the marketing assistance of Charlene Houle

The Chatham-Kent Table ready for the guests of Chatham-Kent Tourism, Spence and Grootenboer have generated a healthy interest in the culinary event. For the same reason that we go to a restaurant, attendees came to the ChathamKent Table with the expectation of enjoying delicious food. But there was more to it than that, because we could learn about the food that grows close to our homes. Guests arrived for a five o’clock dinner service, filing through the doors of a large greenhouse at River Bell Market Garden. It had the feel of a rustic outdoor restaurant, but there was a buzz in the air as the diners set eyes on an impressively-arranged, white-linened table, waiting to comfortably seat just over 100 eager diners. The greenhouse could have been the setting for a wedding dinner or any other celebration with an accompanying meal following the main event. But this night was different — the food was the main The table with dinner in full swing

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Salad was coiled strings of zucchini tossed event, the meal was the celebration. There with a vinaigrette dressing and a medley of was nothing else going on except a focus vegetables, all available from on the food showcased by local River Bell Market Garden. It was agricultural producers. a fresh and vibrant jumpstart Organizers even lured to awaken our taste buds for Ogryzlo from her home in the the meal. A squash soup, with Niagara region to be the MC. ingredients from Jennalee And who better to entertain Farms near Thamseville, came the crowd than a passionate next, and the quality rivalled culinary activist, who was that at any top-notch restaurant, named 2012 Ontario Local which was no coincidence since Food Ambassador? In an the chefs at Rossini’s, a Chatham inspiring introduction, Ogryzlo restaurant that supports local reminded us how unfortunate it food producers, had a hand in is that some people take better The visionary Paul Spence conceptualizing the soup. care of their cars than their own and author and Ontario Also present at the dinner bodies, but engaging ourselves Local Food Ambassador were the owners of two wineries in local markets is the best way Lynn Ogryzlo and one brewery, who matched to take care of our community preferred pairings with five of the dishes. and our own health. The menu everyone had been anticipating Our first pairing, in the form of Long Pond Lager from the Bayside Brewing Co. was laid out at our place settings: all the in Erieau, came alongside a moist and starring characters were local ingredients, and all the agri-businesses were from towns delicious Lamb Slider prepared by Denver Nicklas and Jennifer Tomecek of Nature’s within sixty kilometres of where we were seated. The opening dish of Zucchini Tossed Flock Farm near Chatham.

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3 1 Ecuadorian Beef Stew from Lo Maximo Meats 2 Smoked Quail Breast from Nipissing Game Farm and Roasted Sweet Potatoes from Clarks Home Farm 3 The dessert plate paired Lavender Shortbread with Crème Fresh and Berries from Great Lakes Lavender with Alfajores (South American pastry) from Lo Maximo Meats Most of the dishes were served familystyle, each course presented by a parade of 3 farmers on a procession of platters. Murmurs of satisfaction arose from the table as each dish made its way from the kitchen. The scene was particularly satisfying for Spence, the visionary behind the event, who brought together the farmers to showcase what they offer. It was the perfect setting to encourage discussion about culinary regionalism, and there was inspired talk around the table about how to procure the excellent produce and meat from the farmers. As should be expected at any gathering of foodies, cameras and phones were at the ready to snap photos of the scrumptiouslooking dishes. At one point, Grootenboer

walked by with a smirk on his face, chiding us as pictures were flashed of the Organic Pork Stuffed Peppers and said, “Just eat it.” He was joking about the fact that he grows food to be eaten, not to be the subject of a photo shoot. This type of interaction between the diners and the farmers was another part of the event’s appeal. As Grootenboer noted in his introduction, “The farmers will be serving you, not only as a source of food, but also a source of knowledge.” The peppers were stuffed with a delicious pork mixture from Gelro Farms in Ridgetown. Rock and Stephanie Geluk raise a Piétrain breed of pig and maintain that the delicious flavour of the meat is in part due to the climate and local grains of the area. Early Acres Estate Winery near Chatham paired this pork and veggie combo with a Gewurztraminer wine. A Smoked Quail Breast, paired with Buckhorn (Baco Noir) from Smith and Wilson Estate Winery in Cedar Springs, was a hit at the table. Scot Ryckman from Nipissing Game Farm in Muirkirk was happy to share how it was prepared simply on a grill after marinating in sun-dried tomato dressing. A surprise to most of us was that ChathamKent is the second largest producer of quail in Ontario. Also surprising were the sweet potatoes served with it, grown on the farm of Jim and Ruth Clark, along the north shore of Lake Erie. Sweet potatoes are not typically associated with the corn- and soybeanrich cropland of southwestern Ontario, but having them grown so close to home made them that much more delicious. The minerals in the soil add to their rich orange colour and distinct flavour. The next course came from Lo Maximo Meats. This offshoot business of Spence Farms near Kent Bridge has taken a unique approach by bringing a Latin American perspective to the cuts of meat they offer. Paul and Sara Spence created an Ecuadorian Beef Stew, Seco de Carne in Spanish, with outstanding flavours in a rich sauce that surrounded moist morsels of their steroid- and hormone-free beef. It was paired with Across the Tracks wine from Early Acres Estate Winery. With the sun setting in the background, glistening through the panes of the greenhouse, a dessert plate was served with a pairing of Winter Crush ice wine from Smith and Wilson Estate Winery.

Farmers featured at The Chatham-Kent Table Paul and Sara Spence — Lo Maximo Meats, Kent Bridge ( ) Joseph and Eraina Grootenboer — River Gate Garden Market, Dresden ( Matt and Kate Korpan — Great Lakes Lavender, Chatham ( Scot and Cheryl Rickman — Nipissing Game Farm, Muirkirk Rock and Stephanie Geluk — Gelro Farms, Ridgetown Denver Nicklas and Jennifer Tomecek — Nature’s Flock Farms, Chatham Leigh and Jenny Allossery — Jennalee Farm, Thamesville ( Jim and Ruth Clark — Clark’s Home Farm In keeping with the Latin roots of Lo Maximo Meats, Sara Spence (originally from Ecuador) baked an authentic dessert, called alfajores, from her home country. A delectable bite of fluffy pastry filled with dulce de leche crème. Also on the dessert plate was a Lavender Shortbread with Crème Fraîche and Berries. The idea came from Matt and Kate Korpan of Great Lakes Lavender, just outside of Chatham. Lavender is most often associated with home, bath, and garden products, but it rightly lends itself as a flavourful ingredient


to add floral notes to a dessert. Proceeds from the event were donated to Growing Chefs! Ontario, a non-profit culinary program in London that educates children about all aspects of food, from growing to cooking to nutrition. Chef Andrew Fleet, founder of the program, was on hand sharing his expertise in the kitchen. At the end of the meal, in his closing remarks of gratitude, Fleet reiterated that even though he was the only trained chef on site, his role was limited to simply coordinating the flow of the kitchen. He was awed at how the farmers managed to cook and plate so much, on their own. There were sometimes harried questions along the way, such as the best way to carry three plates in one hand from kitchen to table, from the farmers who had never been restaurant servers before. As at most restaurants, the kitchen was out of sight to the diners, and we can only take Fleet’s word that the flurry of activity of the farmers being out of their element was worthy of its own show on Food Network. Ogryzlo may have been the celebrity at the event and Fleet may have been the only trained chef, but the focus of the evening was on the farmers who banded together to design, cook, organize, and serve their products in a way that showcased a cornucopia of regional culinary treasures. Our gratitude goes out to the ChathamKent farmers for bringing us together to relish and talk about food from our community, and for continuing to provide it to us for our own family dinner tables. Darin Cook works and plays in Chatham-Kent and regularly contributes to eatdrink.







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Blackwater Runs Deep Blackwater Coffee & Tea Company, in Sarnia By Jane Antoniak Additional Photos courtesy of Blackwater Coffe & Tea Co.

Photography by Bruce Fyfe


arnia’s main drag is gaining an increasingly funky vibe as more independent culinary businesses fill in historic empty spaces with interesting and eclectic dining options. Last issue we visited Lola’s and The Tree House. This issue we have found a warming cup of coffee and a comforting, tasty burger by visiting Blackwater Coffee & Tea Company. Located near the Imperial Theatre, Blackwa­ ter is Sarnia’s first and only coffee roastery. It is in full view, as the 22-pound bright red roaster sits right in the middle of the long and narrow mixed-styled restaurant. Owners Dave and Alyssa Duguay roast about 200 pounds of coffee a week, including beans from Ethiopia, Mexico, Peru, Honduras, and Indonesia. They make about six blends and do some customized roasting for restaurants in Sarnia including Maison St. Aubon, Sarnia Riding Club and Alternate Grounds (which was featured in eatdrink last summer). Dave’s house coffee is called Three Gringos, named after the three brothers who own Mountain View Estates Coffee in Toronto, where Dave trained and worked. “They are like brothers to me,” he says. He

Blackwater Owners Dave and Alyssa Duguay (right) have embraced the local food movement. The Coffee BBQ’d Burger (above) is the type of unique burger they feature every Friday.

worked in the coffee business in Toronto for 24 years, including time at Columbia Coffee and Tea Co., where he started as an apprentice right out of secondary school. In 2010, Dave and Alyssa were visiting her family in Sarnia. While Dave was making some sales calls, he met the owners of Blackwater. A short time later, he bought the place, which thrilled Alyssa, who was glad to return to her hometown. Alyssa had worked in Toronto for The Keg for 20 years and she was glad to pull up roots to return to a small town, the environment they wanted to be in to start a family. They now have two

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daughters, Evelyn, two and a half years old, and Finley, who is just under a year old. “When the opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance. I love Sarnia,” says Alyssa. “The big city is cold and it’s a lot warmer here. People say hello and they hold the door open for you. Not to mention the water and the beach. It’s a great place to raise a family.”


c­ ommunity roast beef dinner. The café has a December food drive for the Inn of the Good Shep­herd. “We try to get SarniaLambton on the map,” says Dave. Beyond coffee and burgers, Blackwater makes their own pizzas and baked goods with Chef Nathan Domitrek at the helm. His five-spice seasoning added a nice touch to the burger. He also helps keep up the demand for the café’s energy bars, blondies and butter tarts, as well as the banana bread made with Alyssa’s family recipe. The café seats about 40 and has a stage at the front for their monthly music nights on “First Fridays.” Otherwise, Blackwater closes at 5pm and is also closed on Sun­ days. It is not licenced. Plans are underway for a renovation to update the décor, tables and chairs in the new year. Right now the café has a mixture of flooring, some

The two have embraced the local food movement. This past summer they helped orchestrate and prepare a farm-to-field dinner to celebrate Food Day Canada. They are champions for Bluewater Beef and feature a unique burger every Friday. We sampled the Coffee BBQ’d burger with caramelized onions, five-spice bacon and Swiss cheese, served with the last of their exposed brick walls and is 2500 square feet in a long narrow path front to back, where the open kitchen is in evidence. It’s been a lot of hard work for Dave and Alyssa but they both say they’re in this for the long haul. “Coffee is my background and people are my passion,” says Dave. “I like making people happy whether they are here for a coffee or something to eat.” heirloom tomatoes from Smith Family Farms near Wyoming. The Duguays now have their own plot at Smith’s and are growing their own produce. They also source from Sara’s Natural Pork, Purdy’s Fisheries, Franz Turkey and Vrolyk Farms. Everyone at Blackwater wears a team t-shirt which proudly proclaims, “Get Local … Eat Here.” Dave and Alyssa quickly became part of the community. Dave belongs to the Sarnia Rotary Club and he chairs a

Blackwater Coffee & Tea Company 170 Christina Street North, Sarnia 519-337-9056

Jane Antoniak can’t start her day without a cup of coffee. Once awake, she spends her time as a culinary journalist and communications consultant throughout Southwestern Ontario. Bruce Fyfe prefers a French Press cup of coffee at his office at Weldon Library, Western University. He is a regular contributing photographer to eatdrink. For further info about Sarnia, visit


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culinary retail

The eatdrink Epicurean Gift Guide By Sue Sutherland Wood


ombining quality with value is always important when you’re shopping, but for the epicurean on your list, there’s a further challenge. You’re likely looking for something really different, perhaps a bit whimsical — and in the end, supremely practical. From stocking-stuffers to show-stoppers, here are some suggestions to suit every budget and support your local merchants at the same time!

Here’s a perfect stocking stuffer for students away from home and foodies alike! The Pot Clip by Trudeau is attached right to the edge of a pan, keeping the spoon suspended and eliminating the problem of pasta sauce or gravy on the stove top. Available in red or royal blue. Highheat resistant silicone stays cool to the touch. $8.99 each, Bradshaws, 129 Ontario Street, Stratford

Sheer functionality meets funky with this striking Emile Henry Cerise (red) Bowl from France. Touted on the website as “Jill’s Favourite,” it’s easy to envision how this handy bowl will quickly become a cherished classic for years to come. Whether it’s heaped with salad greens or doing casserole-duty from oven to table, this is a quality multipurpose item that will become a kitchen stand-by. Oven and microwave safe. $49.99, Jill’s Table, 115 King Street, London, This elegant Petite Maison Cheese Knife Set from Wildly Delicious comes in an attractive box and proves a thoughtful and useful gift suitable for any age group. The quality Japanese blades have been specifically designed with individual cheeses in mind, making each one distinct. There may never be gorgonzola on the brie again … The set includes a serving fork and four knives that are 5–5¾” in length. Rosewood handles. $28.00, Foodies of Grand Bend, 13 Main St. West, Grand Bend.

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Fearlessly serve a perfect poached egg every time with the help of this brilliant new product. Poachies are small individual bags that allow boiling water to contact the egg but prevent any leakage of the egg itself. The result is a divinely soft yolk obtained without vinegar, twirling or the shame associated with serving your egg as a triangle. An added bonus is that many eggs can be poached at the same time, and for the health-conscious, there’s no need for butter or oil. For an excellent video of the product, go to: Pack of 20 bags $7.99, Kiss the Cook, 551 Richmond Street, London, Whether you’re shopping for a new food processor or buying one for the first time, you owe it to yourself to consider the Breville Sous-Chef. With a 5 ½”-wide chute that easily accommodates larger veggies without chopping and the choice of 24 thickness-control settings, this is a serious kitchen tool. The 1200-watt induction motor has a 25-year guarantee and its handy storage case for blades is lockable. You can also program your own preferences into the machine for a predictable result each time. A mini-processing bowl is included for smaller tasks. $499.99, Kingsmills, 130 Dundas Street, London,

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Check out this innovative product for keeping wine at the optimum temperature — The Corkcicle. No more ice buckets, condensation or guesswork. Successfully cools white wine or brings a heavy red to a more appropriate temperature.

The Corkcicle, which its creators call an “elegant icicle filled with thermal gel” resides in the freezer till ready to be used and is then inserted in the bottle to chill from inside. Allows wine to stay on the table and remain at its most palatable. You can see a demonstration here: www. . $24.99, Kiss the Cook, 551 Richmond Street, London,

Whether you’re making cucumber slices for lunch or adding some whispers of fennel to a salad, a Mandoline is a handy friend in the kitchen. This model by OXO boasts a soft grip holder to keep hands safe, and the blades are covered when not in use. Broad, non-slip feet provide stability, and there’s the usual OXO customer satisfaction guarantee to back their product. The entire unit folds up when not in use.

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Here’s a perfect go-to Large Bar Pan that combines good looks with functionality. From cooking a roast to baking squares or preparing roast veggies for a crowd, this 10 x 15½ inch (25 x 39 cm) pan in attractive, hard-working stoneware does it all. Consider adding some of the wide array of meat rubs, sauces, and seasonings available from The Pampered Pantry at to make this a standout gift for anyone. $46.00, The Pampered Chef (online only), Sue Sutherland Wood is a freelance writer who also works in the London Public Library system. Read more of Sue’s work at


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Rolling in Riesling Exploring The Finger Lakes Wine Trails in New York State By Jane Antoniak | Photography by Bruce Fyfe


ust five hours from London is a weekend getaway with the feeling of the German Rhine and its world class Reisling at every turn. And I thought I was a red wine drinker! Not so much anymore, as a splendid winery weekend in the Finger Lakes Wine Country near Corning, New York (yes, where they make the CorningWare) quickly converts you to the vibrant wines being grown in this premier cool-climate winegrowing region. With 1,000 acres of Riesling being grown in the Finger Lakes and more than a hundred thousand cases of delicious, rich Riesling being produced from 200 different brands, the area is worth several visits, as it’s only humanly possible to taste so much wine in one weekend. This first venture was a pleasant car trip, departing London on a Friday afternoon, crossing at Lewiston into New York State, and then enjoying a picturesque drive on a two-lane highway through towns that all have a local bar, likely serving Genesee beer. While cruising through rolling hills, farms and tiny college towns, it seemed like our own little North American version of Ireland: lots of turns in the road, so to speak. Arriving in Corning, we stopped at Market Street Brewing Co Restaurant in

the heart of town. Why not start off a wine weekend with a pint of locally brewed Mad Bug Lager, part of a flight of beers all big on flavour? As dinner arrived in this self-described “rowdy” pub, I enjoyed my first glass of local Riesling, which fittingly, it turned out, was from Dr. Frank, who is hailed as the “father of vinifera” in the Eastern United States. At the Market Street Brewing Co, Chef John-Paul Burris pairs beer and wine with low-country southern US cooking, including grits and fish tacos. Rather unexpected, but fun! Also on Market Street is The Cellar Wine Bar, Martini Bar, and modern fusion res­ taurant. Chef Michael Lanahan draws upon local farmers’ markets for his sleek, uptownfeel lounge and restaurant. A chef’s tast­ ing menu with wine and martini pairings features peach tempura, Scottish salmon, duck, lamb lollipop, seared scallop and more. Good that it’s within walk­ ing distance to the hotel! Conveniently located at the end of Market Street is the hospitable

The scenic Keuka Lake Wine Trail from Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Winery and (inset above) the winery’s award-winning 2009 & 2010 Rkatsiteli

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Harvest’s bounty at Atwater Estate Vineyards (left); a bumper year for red at Hunt Country Vineyards (centre); and Winemaker Vincent Aliperti at Atwater Estate Vineyards tasting pinot noir juice (right). and modern Radisson Hotel. With 177 guest rooms, all with Wi-Fi, flat screen TVs and other amenities, depending on room type, the Radisson is a great home base to the Seneca, Cayuga and Keuka Lake Wine Trails, with the impressive Corning Museum of Glass and excellent dining and shopping choices just a walk away. www. Seneca Lake Wine Trail After a delightful coffee stop at Soul Full Cup on West Market Street in Corning, it’s a scenic drive to Watkins Glen, home of the spectacular gorge walk (best to do prior to wine tasting!), which is the starting point of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. It may be hard to imagine a first wine tasting at 10 a.m., but our stop at Atwater Estate Vineyards proved exceptionally memorable, as winemaker Vincent Aliperti and his assistant Kris Matthewson were pulling off Aliperti’s sixteenth harvest, 95% estate grown. Just days off the press, we sampled Pinot Noir and Riesling fermenting grape juices from the tanks. Like most in the region, Atwater is excited about the 2012 harvest. “Where cucumbers are bitter, grapes are great,” says Amanda Gumtow of Atwater tasting room. Aliperti is equally excited. “Everything looks beautiful,” he says scooping out a cup of grape juice to taste. “It’s a clean, full crop because we had such a dry summer.” Lunch was at the Red Newt Cellars Winery Bistro in Hector (8 miles north of Watkins Glen), which showcases the region’s local cheeses. Under “must-haves” on the 30-Mile Menu are the local cheese plate and the brisket burger. Featuring Muranda Cheese Company of Waterloo, NY, Lively Run

Goat Farm in nearby Interlaken, and Kenton’s Cheese Company in Trumansburg, the local cheese plate included edible flowers, pickled green beans and garlic greens. With Red Newt’s award-winning aromatic white wines, including Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, and of course Riesling, the meal and the panoramic setting were spectacular. Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars in Lodi was named the 2011 NY State Winery of the Year at the NY State Wine & Food Classic, and their 2009 Reserve Riesling won double gold at the NY State Classic in 2012. They draw on twenty vineyards over 105 acres for grapes and are able to select grapes from a variety of growing conditions in the region. Some of their wines, like Yellow Dog and Round Rock, are named after plots of land they own and grow on. You can sample the subtle differences of the terroir in the tasting room. Our guide, Jackie Dresser, explained how the glacial valley soil replicates the growing conditions in Germany. Cayuga Lake Wine Trail A quick jaunt off the Seneca Lake Trail takes you to the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail and to a world of fun at Lucas Vineyard in Interlaken, where late-afternoon wine tasters get a kick out of the Nautie Wines collection including Miss Chevious, a dry white blend; Miss Adventurous, a “flirty” blush; and Miss Behavin, a sweeter white. And every time someone new buys a case to join the “Captain’s Table,” they ring the bell and cheer! With a motto of “Wine if by Land — Tug if by Sea,” Lucas is a party headquarters on the Cayuga Lake, and you’ll likely walk out with a case just for the fun of it! ;



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1 Local cheese tray at Red Newt Cellars; 2 Delicious Rieslings at Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars; Keuka Lake Wine Trail Heading out again from Corning, we started our trip back to Ontario by hitting the Keuka Lake Wine Trail. Fifty years ago, Dr. Konstantin Frank immigrated to the US from the Ukraine, and with a PhD in viti­ culture, he moved to upstate New York for a position at Cornell University’s Geneva Experiment Station. Working with Charles Fournier and using his knowledge of cold climate vinifera, he began the transforma­ tion of the Finger Lakes area into a leadingedge Riesling region. Our Sunday morning began with a tasting of sparkling Blanc de Noirs at the legendary Dr. Frank Wine Cel­ lars. Our rounds of champagne-style tast­ ings were led by the very informed George DiTomasso, who encouraged us to try bub­ bly developed by Dr. Frank’s son Willy. He planted classic French champagne grape varieties in the Finger Lakes, resulting in Chateau Frank, made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, yet white in colour. Dr. Frank was a founder of the American Wine Society, and his wines were recently served at a State Luncheon in Washington for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Sec­ retary of State Hillary Clinton. The Dr. Frank

The Seneca Lake Wine Trail near Atwater Estate Vineyards



3 Modern Fusion dining at The Cellar Wine Bar, Corning NY; 4 Alchemy red wine at Hunt Country Vineyards.

team now has 120 acres of grapes, among the largest in the region, and certainly the oldest. Another interesting white at Dr. Frank is the Rkatsiteli, while the Semi-Dry Riesling is the signature wine, 91 rated. Being at Dr. Frank Winery and looking out at Keuka Lake below really makes you feel like you are on the Rhine. Hunt Country Vineyards Art and Joyce Hunt, the first to grow grapes from their family farm near Branch­port, are pioneers on the Keuka Lake Wine Trail. Now their son Jonathan is also an owner of the winery and director of winemaking. Inter­ estingly, and maybe it was a break from the Rieslings, it was their red wines that caught our eye: Alchemy is a Meritage blend and one of 24 wines the Hunts make from their 40 acres of active grapes. The Hunts also make ice wine akin to Niagara ice wines, a rarity in the Finger Lakes. We also enjoyed a chocolate and wine tasting experience at Hunt. Guests choose a wine and then receive a handmade chocolate from Hedonist Artisan Chocolates of Rochester, NY. We found that the Vidal Blanc Ice Wine pairs well with the Cherry Apricot chocolate, while the Alchemy pairs with the Pecan Cranberry chocolate. A great way to wrap up a weekend in the Finger Lakes! “It is a wonderful region,” says Art. “Clean air, clean water and fertilized soil. That’s why wine making does so well here,” he says proudly. Jane Antoniak is a culinary travel writer for eatdrink magazine who is always on the lookout for a new road trip. Bruce Fyfe is a librarian at Weldon Library, Western University, who enjoys taking his camera on the road.

Since “tis the season,” we will be donating a percentage of sales from the month of November to Prostate Cancer benefiting the London Regional Cancer Program at Victoria Hospital. — Rob & Dave, Abruzzi

119 King Street, London ON 519 675-9995


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The BUZZ ... new and notable


e here at eatdrink are currently compiling London’s Local Flavour, the 2013 Tourism London Culinary Guide. The new guide continues to confirm that Londoners are not just advocating “eating and drinking local” and “eating seasonal”, they are actively and creatively enhancing and making new other established cuisines. Likewise, more and more environmental and ethical options such as sustainable seafood, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and organic are being offered. From farm to table, London’s culinary culture continues to cook with local flavour. Anissa Foley would like to introduce you to Chef Ian McGill. Chef comes to The Braywick Bistro after serving as an executive chef in the Muskokas. His menu line up is fantastic and Chef McGill is well known for his duck and lamb dishes that are now on the new menu. The Braywick features Date Nights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, at $35.00 for a three-course meal and a bottle of wine for $19.00. Look for their Tapas menu coming soon Chef Dave Lamers of Abruzzi has the ability to take the earthy Italian culinary vocabulary and imbue it with both his idiosyncratic style and a culinary dialect that is responsive

to the seasons. Abruzzi has the authentic gastronomic spirit that makes cooking and eating absolutely central to family life, whichever part of Italy you are in. Lamers and Co-Owner Rob D’Amico are donating a portion of sales in the month of November to the London Health Science Centre and prostate cancer research. Chef Kim Sutherland from Ovations at the Budweiser Gardens uses all local or organic items for the backstage catering and has been voted as “Best Tour Caterer” by a large number of bands that come to the arena. The Springs on Springbank Drive continues to deliver a top notch experience under the creative genius and culinary guidance of Chef Andrew Wolwowicz. The smartly appointed restaurant, housed in a beautifully refurbished church, is celebrating its first anniversary. Wolwowicz’s innovative menus are crafted from local, regional and seasonal ingredients. Kantina owner Miljan Karac and Executive Chef Danijel (Dacha) Markovic reinterpret a classic Eastern Europeaninspired menu cuisine with plenty of skill, expertise and locally-sourced ingredients. Kantina recently opened a satellite location on the 2nd floor at the Western Fair

Owners Tim & Laura Owen and Chef Andrew Wolwowicz

310 Springbank Drive, London (between Wharncliffe & Wonderland) Open Monday–Thursday for lunch & dinner until 10 PM. Open Friday & Saturday for lunch & dinner until 1AM. Closed Sundays.


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Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market on Saturdays. Ever innovative, now Kantina wants you to “Break The Chain.” Every Tuesday during the fall/winter season, Markovic will be serving up his extraordinary menu on a “pay what you can” basis. “If you’re a fan of fresh, innovative, made-from-scratch meals and want to support local businesses, you’ll love our ‘Break the Chain’ promotion,” explains owner Karac. “This isn’t about attacking large-scale chain restaurants. It’s about breaking the chain ‘habit’ and encouraging Londoners to visit restaurants other than the ever-present and convenient chains.” Karac and his staff said they face the same familiar challenge that affects many locally owned establishments that don’t have the same promotional clout as the big chains. “The goal is to offer an experience that we feel is truly unmatched, at a cost that is determined by what the diner feels they should pay” says Brian Blatnicki, Kantina’s marketing consultant. “We’re confident that diners, once they try some of the outstanding alternative cuisine available in London, will be back for more!” Break The Chain runs from 5:30 p.m. to close every Tuesday evening starting October 30. Kantina is located at 349 Talbot Street just south of King. Menus are available online. Speaking of satellite locations, The Only On King is posed to open The Only at the Market in early November. Chef Paul Harding possesses a superior grasp on the tenets of terroir and sustainability, serving sophisticated but approachable French and Italian cuisine. In addition to dinners Tuesday to Saturday, The Only On King is now serving a traditional but inspired Sunday brunch. TAHHH Sushi is now licenced, so you can enjoy a glass of wine, beer or sake. Chef/Owner Chinh Nguyen continues to build a loyal following at the corner of Wonderland and Commissioners in the Food Basics plaza. Dine-in, take-out, catering and party trays, all customized and accommodating to various food allergies and intolerances. Tamarine by Quynh Nhi is London’s sophisticated and adventurous contribution to the evolution of South Vietnamese cuisine. Tamarine, at Dundas and Talbot, is celebrating its 2nd year anniversary with a special three course prix fixe menu starting November 1st. to the 14th. Blu Duby has quickly become one of London’s hottest downtown restaurants — just try getting a reservation on a Friday night. Blu Duby is in the premises previously occupied by Braise, straddling Dundas Street and the Covent Garden Market Lane. Greg Simpson is rocking the bar at Waldo’s on King several nights a week. Next door to Waldo’s, Josh and Jody Stall’s Upfront at the Market menus reflect its owners’ passion for bold, exuberant and eclectic flavour combinations. Check out a rotating roster of Internationalthemed dinners. When Upfront at the Market opened in the premises formerly occupied by Gambrinus, Milos Kral moved on

ALWAYS a 3-course prix fixe menu option

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CH UN R m Y B 2p DA1am− N 1 SU

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feel at home


For a limited time

to Gigs Grillhouse at Talbot and Carling, which is now appropriately named Milos’ Craft Beer Emporium . Kral has kept the previous staff and brought many of his core Gambrinus staff with him. He immediately installed 24 taps for craft beer, including 19 from Ontario.

Featuring the Fluted Sanoku Knife from Global Knives, a Japanese take on the traditional chef’s knife.

Regularly $139.99 Now Only $119.99 We offer Professional Knife Sharpening − ALL by hand. Appointments are also available for private knife sharpening lessons.

Mon–Wed & Fri–Sat: 10–5:30 | Thu: 10–6:30 | Sun: Noon–5

551 Richmond Street, London 519-850-5477 ○

“... an intimate neighbourhood restaurant with an imported Italian wood-burning oven exploring new tastes and classic Italian favourites ...”

Speaking of Braise, former chef Kristain Crossen is now Executive Chef at the Windemere Manor. The Windermere Manor, built in 1925, by London’s Smallman family, is an accurate architectural reproduction of Tudor, England. The Windermere Manor opened its doors in 1991 as a component of the University of Western Ontario’s Research Development Park, offering meeting/conference facilities, food and beverage and hotel accommodations. Windermere Manor is a hotel, restaurant, banquet hall, and conference facility. . Julie Glaysher is now the Executive Chef at the Idlewyld inn and Avenue Dining. Nestled in London’s quaint Old South neighborhood, the historic Idlewyld has sustained its air of excellence for over a century. What started out as a private residence in Victorian times has evolved into London’s premier boutique hotel, boasting membership to organizations such as Distinguished Inns of North America and gaining the prestigious designation of being named one of Ontario’s Finest Inns. Check out Chef Glaysher’s new menu online. Garlic’s of London continues to be a prototype for the ethical modern Ontario restaurant. Edo Pehilj and Manager Emma Pratt celebrate culinary regionalism and the uniqueness and idiosyncratic characteristics of the terroir. Recent meals at Garlic’s show that chefs Chad Stewart and Joshua Fevens they are still at the top of their game. T.G.’s Addis Ababa is an inconspicuous Dundas Street restaurant between Burwell and Maitland. Close your eyes and savour the exquisite aromas emanating from the nearby tables and the kitchen. T.G. is also well-known as a local caterer of fine Ethiopian cuisine. 519 433 4222 A little further east on Dundas, across from Kellogg’s, Long Duc Ngo is the hands-on operator of one of London’s longest running Vietnamese restaurants, The Vietnam. The kitchen offers a selection of authentic noodle, rice and soup dishes. The menu includes pho, hot pots, seafood and chicken. Hu tieu tom cua ($4.95) is a signature beef-noodle soup, requiring bean sprouts, fresh herbs and two sauces be added just before the spoon hits the lips. Another appetizer, goi cuon ($3), is eaten ice cold. Rice paper envelops noodles, shrimp, pork, lettuce, mint and Thai basil, making this savoury easy to dip in a thick sauce of peanuts and soya. 519-457 0762

1700 Hyde Park Road, London 1 block North of Gainsborough 519-641-7777

At 646 Dundas Street, try one of twenty-one different Super Rolls from Ten Up Sushi; they have all the classics like the California Roll available for $5.50 or try something a little different like the Ginger Wasabi Roll for $6.50. If you’re looking for more variety, try one of the sushi combos like the

№ 38 | November/December 2012

makimono set which includes a California roll, spicy salmon maki and spicy tuna maki for just $13. Ten Up Sushi is dedicated to providing fresh and delicious food all the while maintaining a friendly and attentive atmosphere. 519-439-6471 Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market On November 10th, go up to the 2nd floor for a Holiday/ Retro Cookbook Swap. Bring your used cookbooks and trade them with others for new ideas. Enjoy the company of other foodies who enjoy great recipes. 10–2pm. A Christmas Open House and Ginger Bread-Making event will be held the same day to coincide with the Santa Claus Parade at the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market. The 2nd floor Artisans’ Market will be open to the public in the evening. Chef Andrew Fleet of Growing Chefs! is coordinating the making of a Gingerbread recreation of the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market. Chefs from the market and across the city will be working with children in the six weeks leading up to Christmas. Each week children will be able to sign up for this event and decorate gingerbread. For further information: 519 438 5942 Chef Erin Harris of The Cheese Poet is joining forces with a local wine expert this holiday season to offer private wine and cheese tasting events. The Cheese Poet will also be offering holiday-inspired gift baskets — the perfect gift for the cheese lover in your life. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese ... don’t

Your love of all things Italian begins at

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Available and In Res Online taurant

Contemporary Southern Vietnamese Cuisine

Basil Beef

Spicy Red Curry Shrimp

118 Dundas Street Just East of Talbot


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Bringing GREECE to London for over 38 years! “A sacred place where we celebrate life and each other with joy, warmth, good food and drink.”

Garden Patio Open Daily We Host Parties — from 8 to 80 We Know How!


572 Adelaide Street, London 519-434-6736

Mon−Sat 11am to 10pm Sunday 11am to 9pm




at MUSEUM LONDON | 519.850.2287

wait too long to book your event and order your holiday gift basket! On Saturdays, The Cheese Poet’s seasonal grilled cheese sandwiches continue to be the talk of the Market. Theo and Gerda Kortof and baker extraordinaire Anne Roche are thrilled to announce that the Artisan Bakery will be opening their additional bakery at 864 Dundas Street and expect to be moved in by early November. Artisan Bakery will continue to operate their bakery at the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market. Theo and Gerda are also very excited to introduce Bud Kuch to their team. Kuch, from the Yukon, comes with a wealth of experience, and the new sourdoughs are the tasty proof of that. Coming from a tradition of homemade meals and baking, Dessert Buns has open a bakery and production facility on the 2nd floor of the Market. Margaret and Henry Klaussen offer a variety of sticky buns made by hand from scratch, with no added preservatives, using old-time family recipes. They use the freshest and best ingredients, purchasing local ingredients whenever possible. “Really Good Bread From the Wrong Side of the Tracks.” Alan Mallioux started baking bread early in his marriage to Barb (aka Shop Girl) when she kindly suggested that he find a hobby. This led to his first B & B, then the Stratford Chefs School, many restaurants here and there, his second B & B (where his bread production really kicked into high gear — selling out most Saturdays at the Stratford Farmers’ Market), his first full-on bread bakery (poorly located) and now his second, the Downie Street Bakehouse (much better located). All in all, over 25 years of bread baking experience. Downie Street Bake House features from-scratch, hand-shaped, artisanal and specialty breads made with time and care. Good, honest ingredients made into breads with flavour (that also happen to be good for you).Visit Downie Street Bakehouse at the Market on Saturdays. Judy Gremaud has created a unique line of moist and delectable energy bars using only natural and wholesome ingredients. Kosuma Bar™ contains everything a healthy body needs to feel vibrant and nourished. Packed with natural vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they are also high in protein, rich in fibre and a source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. There are no additives, fillers or anything artificial. Gremaud chose the name Kosuma [ko soom’ah] because it means to thrive, to grow strong and healthy. “We chose nuts and seeds to make our bars crunchy; we chose nut butters and fruits to make them chewy,” says Gremaud. Whole nuts, whole seeds, whole berries and a whole lot more ... Kosuma is located on the 2nd floor of the Market. Gary and Martha McAlister from Everything Tea have brought in a wide variety of intriguing new teas for seasonal gifting, including “Zodiac” flowering teas (according to your birthday) and winter teas (gingerbread, banana cinnamon, mint truffle, almond biscotti and cranberry). They also carry delectable European treats, classic Christmas puddings, cakes and cookies, pickled walnuts, stem ginger, brandy sauce, Victorian chutney, Thorntons and Cadbury chocolates,

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“Corrie Street” calendars, hangover teas and candies, mulled wine candies and so much more. Upstairs at the Market. You can find the sweetest of goodies at Candy Culture at the, where colourful candy favours are abundant. Try unique products such as pirate treasure boxes or decorative candy batons. Or come talk to them about customizing candy favours for your upcoming event or creating a one-of-kind candy buffet for your wedding. Lo Maximo Meats now is offering ducks, geese and rabbits at the Market. They come from small family farms in ChathamKent and are pasture raised. Paul and Sara Spence are taking orders for delivery in the fall and winter, but place your order now as supplies are limited.


continues to grow, jumping 9% in volume of beer sold last year, according to the Ontario Craft Breweries trade group for independent brewers based in Ontario. Visit an Old World Christmas Market hosted by Windells Chocolates at London’s historic Elsie Perrin Williams Estate on Sunday, December 2nd, 11am-4pm. Featuring unique artists and crafts, Belgian Chocolates, Wine & Chocolate Pairing Seminars by Itsoktowine, Father Christmas Horse & Carriage Rides, Dessert Café, Apple Cider, Hot Chocolate, Glühwein & Wine Samples, Christmas Carollers and more.

On November 7, The Arts and Cookery Bank will host Spence Farms and the Old River Farm, who are organizing a special evening preparing, barbequing, eating, and talking about beef. Featuring Southwestern Ontario-raised beef, Paul and Sara Spence from Kent Bridge will prepare an Ecuadorian Asado on La Parilla (barbeque). The all-inclusive price is $75, which includes wine, gratuities and taxes. This is one of the “Nine Wednesdays,” an exciting culinary series at The Arts and Cookery Bank. Noteworthy Wines is a new London-based wine agency launched by Bill Wittur. His mission: introduce awardwinning wines at reasonable prices to wine enthusiasts, hospitality venues and event managers throughout Southwest Ontario and to make the process of selecting wine a little less intimidating. There are some exciting things brewing at Railway City Brewing Company, and if they have their way, there’s going to be a few more Dead Elephants coming out of St. Thomas. The company will be making a big move next year, but they won›t be going too far. Scheduled to open in 2013, the new brewery will feature an expanded production facility for cans, bottles and draft beer, a larger retail store, and a tasting room for special events. Railway City is one of the many small craft brewers reaping the benefits of an exploding micro-brew market in this province. While beer sales overall have fallen 2% to 3% in the past couple of years, the market for craft beer

growers & creators of fine lavender products


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Ilderton’s The King Edward now has a semi-private dining/ meeting room available for up to 10 people, with PC-ready HD TV for presentations etc. Savour Stratford’s popular Saturday Tastings return this fall with topics perfect for the season. The afternoon Tastings include: Herbal Blending for your Health; High Tea at the Stone Maiden Inn, Decorating Christmas Cookies, Tea & Chocolate Pairing, and the ever-popular Scotch & Chocolate at Foster’s Inn. Savour Stratford introduces its new Farmer Dinner Series on Saturdays beginning October 20 and continuing at a different restaurant each week until December 1. Stratford Sl JO ee IN p IN & US T D F ER in O R SP e f O EC or $ U R IA 19 L! 9


Telegraph House & Harbourtown Fudge

Where history meets hospitality! Christmas Baking, Chocolate & Fudge. 205 Main Street, Port Stanley 519-782-3006 Recommended in

Where to Eat in Canada Awarded

“Best Dining on Lake Erie” by Lake Erie Living magazine


A Heritage B&B & Bistro

restaurateurs celebrate their farmer/chef partnerships. This is your chance to sit down at the table with the farmer who grew the kohlrabi and carrots or raised the heritage turkey, the cheesemaker who hand-washed goat’s milk cheese in grappa, and the baker who kneaded the dough for the Red Fife bread. Reserve your table by contacting the restaurant directly and quote “Farmer Dinner Series”. Limited seats available. Mercer Hall has added brunch to its menu! Offered 7 days a week from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm (starting at 11:00 am on Saturdays and Sundays), creations from Chef Tim Larsen including Chicken & Waffles and the soon to be famous Egg “Merc Muffin.” For a unique dining experience, join Chef Larsen on Saturday, November 10th and his team in an exclusive farmers’ dinner night, featuring Mercer Hall’s favourite local food producers. Enjoy a four course dinner with the Stratford Chefs School featuring Monforte Dairy, Soiled Reputation, T.J.’s Fin and Feather and Church Hill Farm on Saturday, November 17th. Cost: $30/Per person plus $5 corkage. Held at The Prune. Visit Revel Caffe in its new location at 37 Market Place in downtown Stratford. Their new Chef Randi Rudner will be brewing a limited edition Marketplace brew — a singe origin micro-lot Caturra bean done in a honey wash. It features a floral aroma, full body, sweet blueberry notes and a chocolate finish. And Revel Caffe honours local growers and producers with a special dinner from Chef Rudner, featuring Harmony Organic, Church Hill Farm and Soiled Reputation on Saturday, November 24th. Turnbull & Stewart continues its popular “Cooking Conversations” through the fall. Join 13th Street Winery’s Chef Eva Moughrabie on Thursday, November 15th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. She’ll help you explore “odd ball” food and wine pairings. $45 per person plus tax. Chef Rosemary Lee from Toronto will be demonstrating the finer techniques of Asian cuisine including Thai and Sushi on Thursday, December 13th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. The menu is online. $45 per person. T he WTreats From i ndja m Our Kit mer P chen to Your a nt r y Table — 17

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Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre makes for a terrific evening of mystery and laughter! A gastronomic 3-course dinner at The Parlour teamed with a night of humour and entertainment is the perfect solution for your group Christmas party! Saturdays, November 17, November 24 and December 7 at 6:30 pm. $40/per person. There are a variety of ways to experience the fare of the Stratford Chefs School — from three-course “chalkboard” menus at lunches to dinner with celebrity and guest chefs including Top Chef Canada Season 2 winner Carl Heinrich. New this year are lunches and dinners on Saturdays, part of the Stratford Chefs School’s new culinary repertoire. Lunches are served most Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays starting at 11:30 am, now at Rene’s Bistro in downtown Stratford. Passport Adventures, a new option, can include Season Opener, Patron Reception, Gastro Book Club, Chefs Table, Bubbly Gastro Chat, Dinner with a Culinary Star, and Gastro Cooking Classes. Event details along with posted menus are online. Join proprietors Carrie and Jeremy Wreford for the Bradshaws Annual Christmas Open House event — a Stratford Christmas tradition — on Thursday, November 8, 5–8 pm. Be among the first to see their award-winning Christmas window displays and get your Christmas shopping done in a fun and relaxed environment. Enjoy delicious food samplings, informative and creative product demonstrations, enter to win fabulous door prizes and receive a free gift with every purchase! Bradshaws is open daily.

Stratford Rotary Complex-Agriplex, 7 am–12 pm. www.stratfordfairgrounds com Our readers want to know, so send us info about culinary events, fundraisers, and regional news. With BUZZ in the Subject line, send to:

We tweet and retweet, post to our Facebook page, and print all the news we can. Let’s get better connected! PERFECT FOR:

• Your Christmas Party • New Year’s Eve Celebration • Escaping for a night or two • Indulging in lunch or dinner • Gift Certificates 519.782.3388 At the lights in Port Stanley

The Slow Food Perth County Sunday Market is thrilled to announce their new indoor location for the market during the cooler months — the Falstaff Family Centre! As of Sunday, November 4th to April (inclusive), you can shop from our vendors of Good, Clean, and Fair at this wonderful facility, centrally located and close to the downtown core. The market runs Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm. 35 Waterloo St. N, Stratford. Stratford’s Farmers’ Market is year round on Saturdays, featuring fresh produce, crafts, meat and cheese at the

“Fresh & Locally Focused”

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295 Bridge Street, Port Stanley

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519 782-3663


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A Catered Affair Culinary Trends in Catering for the Holiday Season By bryan lavery


lanning a seasonal celebration? Whether it’s an old-fashioned Christmas party, a cocktail soirée, or a corporate lunch, entertaining should reflect your taste, style and personality. The end of one year and the beginning of another is a good time to reassess the role of culinary trends as an indicator of popular culture. Before we proceed, let’s look at what’s hot in the catering world. Generally speaking, anything small and round is currently popular in food (from Arancini to Chicken Balls (Yakitori) to Croquettes). Asian flavourings: togarashi, yuzukoshi, gochujang are hot, hot, hot. Fermented everything is on-trend. Spice trends include: torridly hot, smoked, warm and aromatic, fruity. Foie gras jelly doughnuts, kimchee doughnuts and custom hamburgers between two grilled doughnuts are the rage. White strawberries, green tomatoes, geranium leaves, Shiso and Hibiscus are all culinary ingredient trends slated for 2013. Unleashing your caterer’s creativity is paramount to guaranteeing a successful event. A balanced repertoire of flavours, ingredients, tastes, techniques and food temperatures should all be considered when selecting a menu. And bear in mind that not only caterers, but many of your favourite restaurants are well-equipped to cater your holiday party in-house or in your home with the kinds of offerings that are guaranteed to give you satisfaction. Diners are flocking to restaurants to enjoy synchronized “tasting menus” where as many as 20 to 30 sampling courses are served. In urban

centres tasting-menu-only restaurants are beginning to spread like wildfire. Caterers are able to transform this concept by serving multiple courses of hors d’oeuvre size dishes. A starter course may include a Bloody Caesar with fresh grated horseradish and a giant shrimp (sustainable, of course) garnish served in a shot glass. This is the next big thing in both the catering and restaurant world where smaller food plates and more focused (locally/ regionally) offerings are the rage. Not exactly tapas, but high quality, labour intensive small bites. (Mercer Hall in Stratford has perfected this concept). Adapting to culinary trends allows caterers to offer innovative cuisine, quality products and services, to distinguish themselves, and help keep their services in great demand. The role of the caterer has advanced from behind-the-scenes hired help to often being a front and centre participant at the event. Clients often look to caterers to provide entertainment, excitement and education for their guests; whether it’s providing a food tasting or wine pairing, constructing innovative food and beverage stations, or instructing and cooking alongside guests as part of a chef’s demo. One of London’s favourite caterers, North Moore Catering ( is a London-based, New York-inspired catering company run by Jess Jazey-Spolestra of the River Room. Jazey-Spolestra’s high quality food is cooked fresh and served fresh. North Moore often uses a

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trailer and tent to sit up a mobile kitchen on location. Ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible, while some specialty items such as caviar, smoked salmon, bagels and cream cheese are expressshipped from the Big Apple. North Moore are upscale caterers, and are synonymous with professional service, inventive cuisine combined with seasonal high-quality ingredients. Innovation is the name of the game: party planners, chefs and stylists work together to execute truly unique events. Scrumptious foods are innovative and pleasing and designed with all tastes in mind. As a full service catering and special event planning company, North Moore Catering not only provide amazing cuisine selections, but with services and support to complete your special event. Another perennial favourite, Betty Heydon’s Blackfriars Bistro and Catering ( has served London’s demand for original, healthy gourmet cuisine for over fifteen years. This personalized catering service customizes each menu with the client’s precise wishes in mind. With a bevy of talented chefs, each with a wide repertoire of expertise, Blackfriars is known for exceeding expectations. From venue to décor to entertainment they will consult with you, and based on your requirements and budget will skilfully guide you through choices for your planned event. Like the restaurant, Blackfriar’s Catering has built its reputation on exceeding customers’ expectations as well as providing professional and intelligent service. In the past year, we also have seen some truly stunning events catered by Danijel (Dacha) Markovic of Kantina


(www.kantina.­ca), Andrew Wolwowicz of The Springs (www.­, Anissa Foley of Braywick Bistro and Wicked Catering (, Robbin Azzopardi of the Auberge du Petit Prince (, as well as excellent South Vietnamese cuisine by Tamarine by Quynh Nhi ( Bryan Lavery is eatdrink magazine’s Writer at Large and Contributing Editor. He can be reached at

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culinary education

Something for Everyone Get Back to Class, and Get Cooking! By Jill Ellis-worthington


s temperatures cool, the feeling of coziness surrounds us as we retreat into our homes. Thoughts of convivial domestic life fill our heads, and something fragrant bubbling on the stove is a big part of this Rockwellian fantasy. Summer was fun, but the approach of winter brings us back to reality. Children need feeding and the holidays — with their mandatory feasts — approach. How does one learn to cook in a society occupied by cell phones and laptops and tablets? Especially when one is part of the largest generation to date dominated by working moms, who didn’t necessarily learn homemaking skills at home, and for whom Home Economics classes were long gone before they ever reached high school. To the rescue — cooking classes by some of the city’s most beloved chefs and exciting newcomers. Lawrence Burden of Kiss the Cook has noticed a rising demand for cooking classes, and he credits the recent interest in culinary trends with the rabid popularity of the Food Network. “People have gotten into cooking trends because of TV in the last little while.” Burden feels that the demonstration cooking classes that his venue offers are preferable to those that require participation. “With hands-on classes, [participants] are often broken into teams and do just a small portion of the menu. Watching someone else do it from start to finish, you get the whole picture. And you get to ask questions.” And as a bonus, class members get to enjoy the resulting meal. Kiss the Cook offers myriad classes, including appetizers, pizza making, and foreign treats. They are taught by wellknown local chefs like Chris Squire (“who was our resident chef from day one,” says

Burden) and Fanshawe culinary school instructors like Wade Fitzgerald, as well as by kitchen stars like Danijel Markovic, of Kantina Café. Happy students at the c onclusion “He’s a wellof a Cooking Matters class kept secret here. He’s from Serbia and is a great find. He’s never done a class (for us) before but we’re going to give him a try, and I think he’ll be amazing.” Burden has added a new set of classes he calls “the basics.” They are for the type of person outlined at the beginning of this article; those of us for whom the kitchen is foreign territory. “On Saturday morning we’re trying something new — classes on the basics, like making eggs,” he explains. Classes in this series include knife skills, sauces and braising. Jill Wilcox of Jill’s Table concurs. “We have lineups at the door, starting at 6:00 a.m., to sign up for classes.” She’s noticed a change in the demographic of customers taking the courses. For over fifteen years, her store has been offering 75 to 80 different classes each year. Now she sees an increasing number of men, younger people, and couples attending classes. Food trends, like gluten-free and tapas, also play a part in driving the kinds of classes offered. Wilcox says she keeps her finger on the pulse of culinary curiosity “by watching what’s happening in food magazines and blogs, and I travel a lot, so I have a sense of what’s up and coming.”

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Wilcox credits customer suggestions for some of her most popular classes. “The one on lamb came from a customer and turned out to be so popular we had to add two additional classes.” Other popular offerings include OnePot Meals (apparently I’m not the only lazy dishwasher) and Things Your Mother Should Have Taught You About Oven Cooking (again, for the kitchen-impaired). The latter is taught by Chris Squire. Other local luminaries teach classes, but Wilcox often works with teachers she sees as budding kitchen artists. “We value people who have a real passion for what they do,” she says of new teachers such as Erin Harris, also known as the Cheese Poet. She also sees value in being located across from Covent Garden Market and having access to a plethora of fresh ingredients. “We emphasize local when we can,” says Wilcox. Wilcox, a food writer in local media as well as the author of four cookbooks (with another in the works), teaches about a quarter of the classes each year. At Jill’s Table, the classes are also dem­

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onstrations, and attendees “are coming for dinner,” explains Wilcox. These are just two of the venues that offer cooking classes in the Forest City. Another is the City of London. Through Spectrum, one can take a variety of courses from Parent-Tot Cooking and Cooking for One or Two, to a wide range of international cuisines, such as Mediterranean, AfroCaribbean, and Mexican. The classes range from one-day workshops or four classes long. Teachers are experienced cooks who have been sanctioned as instructors for the city of London, according to Janis Hamilton, supervisor of area services. “For instance, the Italian food courses are taught by a couple of Italian ladies who have been cooking since they could walk. Students consider it a real treat to learn from them and they are making their own pasta and sauces, hearing stories, and learning special techniques.”


Classes are offered at venues throughout the city and throughout the year. These are a combination of hands-on and spectator classes, and attendees get to eat the results. Register online at and look for the Recreation Registration (Spectrum Interactive) tab on the bottom right corner of the home page. At Cooking Matters, Suki Kaur-Cosier also uses the hands-on method to teach a wide variety of classes, from appetizers and easy dishes to ethnic cuisines, like Moroccan, Indian, Thai and Spanish. Suki’s classes are held at the Covent Garden Market’s demonstration kitchen, on the second floor, and at the London Training Centre. Both the large Loblaws (Richmond St. North and Wonderland) and London’s Superstores (Oxford St. East and in Oakridge) offer a range of cooking classes, held upstairs in spacious, bright rooms.

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The format is similar in all stores, though specific course content differs, since the individual store coordinators are responsible for lining up instructors. There are daytime and evening classes, all reasonably priced from under $10 and up. “What’s for Dinner?” — One longtime favourite — presents easy meal demonstrations. Becoming increasingly popular are courses for children and teens, with age-appropriate content from cookies and muffins, to salads and bread-making. Loblaw/Superstore cooking classes attract “a true cross-section of people,” one of their instructors says, because courses range from simple to “quite specialized, all at an affordable price.” www. JILL ELLIS-WORTHINGTON is a freelance writer and chief communicator for Write.On Communication Services International (

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Beer matters beer matters

Barley Wine — The Strongest Spirit of the Season By The Malt Monk


s I write this Christmas edition of Beer Matters, I’m just finishing up some great crafted porters and rich amber ales — there was plenty of great quaffing to choose from via our local crafters as well as imports. One that stood out was the Shipyard Brewery feature. The LCBO made available a double IPA, an imperial porter, and a barley wine from this great East Coast craft brewer. As we drift into the early winter chill and Christmas season, I’m stocking in some of the seasonals available this time of year — rich imperial Russian stouts, strong Belgian ales, old ales, spiced ales and of course, barley wines. Barley wine is a perennial winter favourite of mine — a rich, vinous, heady brew to be savoured in a snifter with a fine cigar, or with a rich dessert in front of a warm fire. Barley wine, as an ale style, is the strongest ale in the English brewing tradition and touted to be the brewing craft’s answer to brandy. In my opinion, although it has some of the warming of brandy, it has more in common tastewise with rich fortified wines like sherry or Madeira.

Origins, Development & Style

The type of ales we think of today as barley wines sprang from the archaic British farmhouse brewing tradition where the beers made from the “first runnings” (extremely high gravity wort) usually came up to eight percent or more when fermented. The

pioneering development of barley wine as a discrete style took place in the early eighteenth century in breweries attached to the great aristocratic houses of England. Today some of these estate breweries, like Traquair House, still produce limited releases of their strong ales. Such strong ale of “vinous qualities” was often aged in oak barrels a year or more and was intended to be a substitute for wine at the table when wine supplies were interrupted. Producing beers of this stre ngth and age was beyond the means of all but the upper classes, thus restricting brewing of the style to wealthy households with estate breweries. Commercial production was never viable until the revolution in malting science made producing pale malt in volume cost effective. Commercially produced barley wine first appeared around 1855, when legendary Burton upon Trent brewers, Bass and Company, offered their “No.1” Barley Wine. It became an industry standard by which all barley wines were measured, and remained in production until the 1970s. Despite barley wine having colour ranging from reddish amber to deep dark brown, the main ingredient is pale malt. It’s the hot mash process


and long boil that caramelizes the malt wort, giving a darker colour and the distinctive caramel-toffee discernment. Proper fermentation temperatures yield the esters that give the brew its rich dark fruitiness. After primary and secondary fermentation, the young brew is barreled for up to two years, resulting in a big robust ale with a complex bearing of vinous dried fruit, caramel, molasses, nutty, toffee, treacle character, plus some oxidative notes from extended aging. This is what defines the traditional English barley wine. Because of the complex flavours aging gives this beer, it is best sipped from a snifter glass to enjoy the release of its aromas as it gradually warms. Barley wine’s rich complexity and robust strength were a natural for American Craft Brewers to emulate. The style has undergone a second blooming in the domestic craft and microbrewing industry. As always, North American crafters like to take a traditional style and innovate — push the envelope a bit. So North Ameri­ can barley wines are often more hoppy, with higher gravity than their UK counterparts. Some American microbrewers put in addi­ tives like spice, molasses, Demerara sugar, and raisins to accent the brew and raise the alcohol content. Barreled barley wine is always more complex, but many modern brewers use natural flavourings and longterm tank conditioning or bottle condi­ tioning to achieve similar results.


Mill Street Brewing Barley Wine (LCBO # 70359 and on tap in season) is probably the most recognizable barley wine in the local market — an annual offering from one of our best regional ale crafters. As is common with all

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well-made natural barley wines, Mill Street’s varies in colour, taste and strength from year to year. On average, this is a hazy orange with a nice tight one-finger frothy cap that leaves lace. Aroma is sweetish caramely, spicy, much like butter toffee. Mouth feel is oleaginous, with generally sweet caramel-butter-spice flavours — sometimes well-balanced with bittering hops. The finish is long, with the buttery sweet malts giving way to a drying where the alcohol shows up very prominently. It’s usually drinkable young, but it will improve with a few months in the cellar. Dieu du Ciel Solstice d’Hiver (LCBO 270405) is a truly mellow, rounded barley wine from Quebec’s premier craft brewer. Decants a cloudy ruddy-brown ale with a small tight cap that lasts and laces the snifter. Very demure nose: some sweet fig and malt aromas, light earthiness, some roastiness, light fusel tones. Phenomenal mouthfeel to this — silken and rounded, very smooth and mellow for a high-gravity ale. Flavour profile has the front side showing sweet caramel malting, wellbalanced with some sharp herbal hopping, some decent complexity midpalate. Finishes with some increased bitterness dominating the lush caramel-fruit-roast tones and leaving a gentle warming. Alcohol is wellhidden by this beer’s complexity. A worldclass barley wine with an unexpected dividend — it’s ready to drink without cellaring to smooth out the rough edges. Very, very approachable, and a fine drinking big ale. Garrison Ol’ Fog Burner is a great barley wine from a Halifax craft brewer, which has appeared in this market in limited quantities. We can hope it appears in the winter LCBO

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release. Dark coloured: mahogany with ruby highlights and a small creamy head. The aroma is sweet, with malts, hazelnut, some cocoa, dusty English yeast notes, and grassy hops. Rich malt flavour, with caramel and hints of liquorice, and a spicy profile — fullrounded body, just-right sweetness, bold hopping. A well-balanced big beer with a long rich finish that produces a very pleasant warming. A very good barley wine, suitable to drink young or to cellar for more rounding. McAuslan’s St. Ambroise Vintage Ale (seasonal offering at the LCBO) is the premier brew of another great Quebec craft brewer — a barley wine made with a blend of wheat and barley malts — unfiltered, a lovely deep-orange color, rich maltiness, hints of caramelized fruit, impressions of plum pudding, but surprisingly crisp, with a balanced finish and ample bittering. Finish is long, mellow and warming, with sweet anise filling the palate. This ale ages wonderfully, and with a few months in the cellar on it, I have to say this is one of the best domestic barley wines I’ve sampled.

Malt Monk’s Taste o’ the Month

La Trappe Isid’or Ale (LCBO 288688) was brewed to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Dutch Trappist brewery (De Koningshoeven Brewery) founded in 1884. It’s named after friar Isidorus Laaber, the first brewer of Koningshoeven monastery. When the caged corked bottle is decanted of its contents, we get a cloudy, unfiltered deep amber ale with a sticky off-white cap. Notes of musky banana, ripe fruit, malt sweetness and spicy hopping meet the nose. The flavour has a base tone of stone fruit and green


apples with moderate acidity — complexity leaves impressions of fresh baked gingerbread, cherry licorice, hazel nuts, spice cake, and citrus peel. The finish lingers, leaving a light dryness on the palate. Complex, warming, a very approachable big ale. Reasonably priced for such a great Trappist ale. 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

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Ready ... Set ... Go! Wine Shopping for the Holidays By Rick VanSickle


hristmas is about the warmth of the season, sharing with family and friends. It’s a time of memories and anticipation, laughter, too much food, and everything sweet. Selecting the wine that accompanies all of that, whether giving, receiving or just sharing by a crackling fire, should never be a chore. Bottom line: Don’t stress about the wine. Buy what you like, buy what you think they like, sit back and enjoy. To help take a little of the worry out of holiday wine buying, we’ve put together a few suggestions for gifting, and for serving with that big, fat, juicy turkey (and a couple of alternatives if you choose to go the roasted prime rib or leg of lamb route).

A little something for the wine lover on your Christmas list:

I know shopping for the perfect bottle can be a daunting task for even the wine savviest of shoppers. You want to blow their minds. You Wow! factor under that tree. And it has to fit into your budget. Let’s break it down as we get ready to shop ’til we drop this holiday season. First of all, shop NOW. In fact, I hope it’s not too late already. Have you ever been to a wine store in late December? It looks as if a bomb has exploded and left only the worst wine on the lower shelves — the cheap stuff, the really bad stuff. Let’s face it, December is the month of giving, and for a lot of people the giving starts with good booze. So shop early and pay attention. In Ontario there is but one wine store, the LCBO, and you are racing against millions of thirsty, savvy wine shoppers, all eyeing the same bottles.

Stay ahead of the fray and get in the know. Vintages has a twice-monthly publication that in this season brims with useful information on Christmas buys. The November 24 issue, the main “icon” wine publication for Christmas, features some of the finest wines in the world. I like to be creative in my choices and scour the wine magazines and shelves for treasures that are unique and sure to please. I look for that wow factor with a dash of intrigue thrown in. The Ravenswood Icon Native Sonoma Mixed Blacks 2008, Sonoma ($75) fits the bill of exactly what I look for in a Christmas wine. It’s different (a crazy blend of Zinfandel, Petit Sirah, Carignane and Alicante Bouschet from pre-Prohibition vines); it’s stunning on the palate with thick, concentrated fruits and layered spices; and it will age beautifully. The Ruffino Serelle Vin Santo del Chianti 2008, Tuscany ($25 for 375 mL) also caught my eye. This is another wine that will have your recipient in awe of your wine-buying prowess. Vin Santo is a sweet Italian specialty where the grape bunches

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are slowly dried. The result is a gorgeous dessert wine with deep amber hues and complex flavours of candied tropical fruits, mango, marzipan, figs, citrus peel, honeycomb and sweet spices. Looking for something a little more, shall we say, affordable? It has to be different and punch well above its weight class to be a true Christmas “wow” wine. I’d suggest Bodegas Castano Hecula Old Vines Monastrell 2009, from Yecla ($12). This is a hidden gem from Spain with a bold nose of raspberry, violets, light spices and a touch of blue­ berry. It’s rich and complex on the palate with bountiful fruit and subtle spices. And there’s nothing wrong with wrapping up wines with famous names under the Christmas tree. Try the Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon ($20) from Sonoma or the iconic symbol of Napa Valley, the Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 ($35). Both are excellent choices. Don’t forget Ontario wines. Here are a few that stand out from the crowd: • Foreign Affair Unreasonable 2008 ($163, winery only or online): This appassimento-style red from Niagara’s Foreign Affair is the bomb. Big, bold, brash, and as unique a wine as you’ll find in Canada. The grapes have been dried for 163 days. If you’re splurging, go no further than right here. • Inniskillin Sparkling Icewine 2011 ($70): This comes in a gorgeous decorative gold tube, but it’s the golden nectar awaiting in the bottle that will thrill your recipient. Think honey, peaches and apricot, all delivered flawlessly in a racy, tonguetingling explosion on the palate.


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It’s always a mad dash to get that perfect wine to go with the Christmas dinner. What to match with all those amazing flavours is a challenge for many of us. When matching wine to big turkey dinners, it’s crucial to think beyond the bird and look at all the fixings that will be on the plate — the stuffing, the cranberries, the root vegetables, the gravy, and all that other yummy stuff that crowds our plate. To get any kind of a matching wine, think

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cherries and toasted vanilla, with aging potential of ten years or more. Throw in a nice wooden box for $16, and Santa may never leave your house.

fruity reds and whites that are high in acidity, low on tannins, and big on flavour. Try to avoid overly oaked wines. The key is to keep it simple. But not everyone thinks turkey when cooking for Christmas. Prime rib and lamb are two other popular choices, and for that you need a little tannin to mix with those red meats. Whichever your preference, here are some choices, all from our own backyard of Ontario:

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Classic Turkey Dinner

The Good Earth Pinot Noir 2009 ($25) — This is a lovely Pinot with a nose of red fruits, earth, cassis, vanilla and clove spice. On the palate, the earthy bits, spice and cran-cherry flavours are deliv­ ered on a racy spine of acidity. Strewn Riesling-Gewürztra­ miner Terroir 2010 ($17) — Both Gewurztraminer and Riesling are perfect with turkey, so why not a blend of the two? A Riesling (60%) and Gewurztraminer blend, it’s the best of both grape worlds with an exotic nose of clove spice, tropical fruits and zesty citrus. This wine on the palate shows a balanced approach to both expressive grapes, with citrus, spice and vibrancy.

Slow Roasted Prime Rib

Reif Estate Winery Meritage 2010 ($27) — Aromas of black currant, raspberry and blackberry fruit notes integrated with a sweet oak of pepper spice. Smooth on the palate with pepper spice adding to complexity of layers of bush fruit. Fruit lingers on the finish with a balance of acidity and firm tannins.

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Henry of Pelham Baco Noir Estate 2010 ($25) —The nose reveals the beauty of this grape from the outset — aromas of wild berries, currants, bramble/ underbrush, BBQ smoke and earthy tones all come together beautifully. The jammy, dark fruits are intense on the palate with touches of raspberry on the edges to go with balancing acidity and spices.

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№ 38 | November/December 2012


A Harvest of Canadian Food Writing Review by Darin Cook


ith the autumn yield of regional foods behind us and the sprouting of spring gardens months away, it’s time to embark on a harvest of a different sort — good Canadian food writing to sustain our restless, curious minds through the winter months. And if you find yourself wondering what to buy others for Christmas, any one of these books would be welcome by the foodies on your list. Canada is known for its vastness, and our culinary traditions span a corresponding breadth, both geographically and historically. Certain local foods have become emblems of Canadian pride: lobsters on the east coast and salmon on the west, split pea soup in Quebec, fiddleheads in the Maritime forests, peaches in the Niagara Peninsula, and potatoes on P.E.I. We can also stretch back through time with historically significant foods of First Nations, like pemmican (jerky-like buffalo meat with dried berries). The history of our country offers stories through food, and an array of Canadian authors capture these stories in print. Dorothy Duncan has written three books that mix the historical with the culinary. Duncan is a museum curator, historian, and cookbook researcher living in Orillia, and her writing takes us back to mealtimes of yore. Nothing More Comforting and Canadians at Table are comprised of short tidbits of food-related historical topics, such as The Beaver Club dinner, founded in 1785 and still held today, that pays tribute to the fur traders of days gone by who hunted our nation’s most symbolic animal (and yes, cooked beaver tails were a dish served at these dinners in

the past). Duncan is also a proud Ontarian, reminding us that the McIntosh apple was cultivated in the late eighteenth Century by John McIntosh, in currentday South Dundas Township. Feasting and Fasting highlights the melting pot of holidays that people in the True North, strong and free, have celebrated throughout history: from the potlatch and powwow ceremonies of First Nations to modern-day parties of Irish descendents (and those who wish they were) on St. Patrick’s Day. Duncan’s historical renditions are still relevant to the present state of food production and consumption. There’s nothing industrialized or manufactured about the food in her books; it’s all wholesome, from-the-earth, and very relevant to the current focus on local eating. Duncan’s books offer a plethora of recipes to accompany the historical facts, and many of them come from historical books, some dating back to the 1700s, that have stood the test of time. She encourages us to keep the old, sometimes ancient, standbys alongside modern recipe books. Continuing with a historical slant, but with a quirky dash of sociology, try delving into Margaret Visser. An iconic Canadian cultural writer, Visser has made a career of what she calls “the anthropology of everyday life.” Mealtimes are a large part of our daily routines, and her two books that focus on food offer an entertaining look at the cultural aspects of meals. “Food shapes us and expresses us even more definitively than our furniture

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or houses or utensils do,” she writes in Much Depends on Dinner. She goes on to describe nine representative foods, not only how they fit into a meal, but also how they have a notable history of their own. For instance, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes were derived from corn kernels by the Kellogg brothers in the early 1900s and have been as sacred to breakfast as corn cobs were to the original Indian cultivators thousands of years before. Her later book, The Rituals of Dinner, explores how table manners govern our human interactions at mealtimes. “We use eating as a medium for social relationships: satisfaction of the most individual needs becomes a means of creating community.” Gratifying a desire for food can be a bridge to fulfilling a hunger for companionship, (with table manners ensuring the interactions run smoothly). Looking back in history, as Duncan and Visser do, it’s easy to see that eating locally has long been a way of life. Most Canadian regions have harsh winters, and the seasons govern the food supply across our country, from maple syrup tapping in March, to the first signs of asparagus in the spring, to apple harvests in September. Keeping in touch with the cycles of nature is a great way to nourish ourselves, and our home and native land offers a variety of options throughout the seasons. First Nations people, locavores before the word existed, lived off the land, eating only what was in their near vicinity. First Nations people might approve of the modern experiment by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, which they documented in another Canadian book, The 100-Mile Diet. Using the word “diet” in the title tends to bring fad diets to mind, but it is far more than that: it started out as an experiment, then became an activist mission, and evolved into a very important lifestyle, bringing awareness to the miles that food travels to get to our plates.

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The book is an interesting first-person account of a couple willing to take a leap of faith, with MacKinnon as the gung-ho spearheader of the project and his girl­ friend Smith a bit more pessimistic with fears of starving. Both voices interplay nicely for the story to unfold with two perspectives as they reveal their “selfinflicted exile from the industrial food system.” Smith and MacKinnon, while certainly challenged by the limitations, were successful in Vancouver. However, not everyone has the Fraser River — the most productive salmon river in the world — within 100 miles. They were also surrounded by the bounty of local products like goose­ berry wine and chestnuts — high-quality products they may never have discovered if not for their experiment. And that is the greatest lesson in the book — we all have hidden gems close by, to be found if we take the time to look for and enjoy local products.

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Another Canadian author (and contributor to The Toronto Star), Margaret Webb, has given us a menu of local delicacies that can be found from coast to coast. Her book Apples to Oysters: A Food Lover’s Tour of Canadian Farms is arranged as a menu, with a cross-country selection from appetizers to desserts from all ten provinces. As scrumptious as the local delicacies are, they come to be regarded as more than just food. The oyster appetizer is not just any seafood, but comes from a specific fisher on a specific plot of sea — Johnny Flynn’s oysters from Colville Bay in Prince Edward Island. The people keeping us connected to our food take on greater importance, like Cecil Werner who turned flaxseed into a health craze from his Saskatchewan farm. And chefs who buy from farmers who match their intensity and passion bring the cycle to fruition.

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In Locavore: From Farmers’ Fields to Rooftop Gardens, CBC Radio’s food columnist Sarah Elton investigates several entrepreneurial farmers who are countering urban sprawl with innovative ways of implementing urban agriculture, like gardens on mall rooftops to stock nearby restaurants. Elton labels these people that change the industrialized food system as “local heroes.” They include Christie Young from Guelph, who founded an apprenticeship program called FarmStart for those who want to succeed in the agriculture industry but don’t yet have the technical background. The group of authors highlighted above are also local heroes, spreading the word about the current food revolution. Books like these not only enrich us culturally and historically, but they arm us as smart consumers. As Elton writes in Locavore: “Every choice I made at the grocery store was suffused with larger issues and had implications not only for our family’s pocketbook and our health, but for the future of the planet.” A local hero is not only the farmer who sells his eggs from his farm on the outskirts of town or the artisan baker around the corner, but also every consumer who chooses to support them. We stand on guard for thee, locavore suppliers and consumers, and we pray that our food remains as plentiful and varied as it has been throughout our history. Dorothy Duncan, Nothing More Comforting: Canada’s Heritage Food; Canadians at Table: Food, Fellowship, and Folklore; Feasting and Fasting: Canada’s Heritage Celebrations. Sarah Elton, Locavore: From Farmers’ Fields to Rooftop Gardens - How Canadians are Changing the Way We Eat. Alisa Smith & J.B MacKinnon, The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating Margaret Visser, Much Depends on Dinner; The Ritual of Dinner: The Origins, Evolution, Eccentricities, and Meaning of Table Manners. Margaret Webb, Apples to Oysters: A Food Lover’s Tour of Canadian Farms. Darin Cook works and plays in Chatham-Kent and regularly contributes to eatdrink.


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The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook Recipes and Wisdom from an Obsessive Home Cook by Deb Perelman Review and Recipe Selections by Jennifer Gagel


t’s hard to believe that anyone would want to spend much time in a tiny six-foot-by-seven-foot kitchen, but Deb Perelman does, with impressive results. Her cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Wisdom from an Obsessive Home Cook, is a testament to how much she loves to cook, even in a tiny space. Deb Perelman is the writer and photographer of the much-loved blog,, in which she writes witty essays about life, family, and even cleaning her closet while almost incidentally presenting the reader with amazing and bold recipes. Perelman isn’t a trained chef — she’s a wife and a mom who loves to cook. She describes herself as picky and determined (which is where the title’s “obsessive” sprang from), and found these traits came together to make her want to cook a lot, even though her kitchen is smaller than some closets. She’s one of those people who can’t settle for pretty good but must study, analyze and experiment until the dish is as wonderful as she’d imagined it could be. This passion for getting food right helped turn her hobby into a full-time career. For those of us who can’t be trusted to bring the laptop into the kitchen, Deb’s no-nonsense style of writing and many of her fantastic recipes have finally been published in hard copy. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook contains over 100 recipes, a few tried and true from the blog, but most of them new. Of course the book wouldn’t be complete without her characteristic photography, which is strikingly beautiful in its simplicity. While many of her recipes seem involved, it’s really just her fine attention to detail in documenting exactly how to recreate the dish. Her Butterscotch Banana Tarte Tatin looks beautiful, and you can

practically smell her descriptions: “the aroma of bubbling butterscotch climbs the walls” in her Butterscotch Banana Tarte Tatin. She claims to have been a failure when it came to the art of the Tatin. “My track record with tartes Tatin is terrible, especially those made with pesky apples that always want to burn before they cook through.” But this rendition cooks perfectly with precise timing and descriptions of colour changes and textures at every stage. Perelman believes recipes don’t have to fit into any particular box — only into that tiny New York Kitchen. They don’t need to be restricted to thirty-minute meals, or low in fat or calories, or any other particular thing. She asks only that they be delicious, accessible, and worth whatever time and effort the cook took to make them. These are the recipes she shares with us. Perelman’s love of good, accessible food has shaped her culinary prowess. In the main she uses basic grocery store ingredients so everyone can achieve the same results. “I don’t assume you have fancy imported olive oil or thirty-dollar aged balsamic in your pantry, and I won’t suggest you use either unless I am convinced it adds something essential to the recipe.” But she clearly makes the most of economical purchases. She understands the distinction between healthy everyday food and rich, special-occasion food, and she celebrates them both. That Perelman cooks for sheer joy is clearly apparent. You feel her creative process start





NOV 21 - DEC 30

Could the department store Santa be the real thing? Kris Kringle transforms the cynics and New York City in this musical adaptation of the popular holiday favourite.




with bringing home her ingredients and attempting to stock them in her ridiculously tiny space. She develops or adapts recipes, cooks them, photographs them, writes every detail about them, and only then is the dish complete. These are recipes that have sprung from her life and adapt to life well. The Sweet Potato Blintzes with Farmer’s Cheese recipe was created by combining two of her son’s favourite foods, blintzes and sweet potato. But it’s also ideally suited for entertaining over the holidays. They can be made ahead — though she suggests freezing prepared blintzes before browning “so they always taste fresh and crisp when they are served.” She serves them with a no-fuss Cranberry Syrup, which is absolutely worth the small effort expended. And as a bonus,

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leftover syrup can be turned into festive cocktails with vodka and soda that burst with flavour and cheer. The author credits her mother for the boldness and can-do attitude that enabled her to make a wedding cake in such a tiny space. She also believes that the success of her recipes stems from having answered so many questions and comments from her dedicated readers over the past six years. It taught her to ask the important questions of herself and made sure she got it right every time. This book is truly her gift to all those fans who helped shape the Smitten Kitchen. JENNIFER GAGEL is a freelance writer who can be reached at

Recipes courtesy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Wisdom from an Obsessive Home Cook (Deb Perelman, Appetite by Random House 2012, $35)

Jacob’s Blintzes, or Sweet Potato Blintzes with Farmer’s Cheese Yield: 16 Blintzes Wrappers 1 ½ cups (355 mL) milk (I use whole milk, but other fat levels work, so use what you have) 6 large eggs 1 ½ cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour ¼ teaspoon (1 mL) salt 1 tablespoon (15 mL) melted butter or neutral oil, for brushing the pan and cooking blintzes Filling About 4 medium sweet potatoes 2 cups (455 grams or 16 ounces) farmer’s cheese

2 large egg yolks ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar ½ teaspoon (2 mL) ground cinnamon Few fresh gratings of nutmeg Pinch of salt Cranberry Syrup 2 cups (225 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries ¼ cup (60 ml) orange juice ½ cup (100 grams) sugar Sour cream for serving

№ 38 | November/December 2012 Make wrapper batter: In a blender, combine all the wrapper ingredients except butter or oil. (Alternatively, combine them in a bowl with an immersion blender.) Pour the batter into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour or up to two days. Prepare sweet potato: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Bake the sweet potatoes on a tray for about 40 minutes, until soft. Let them cool in their skins. Once they’re cool, peel the sweet potatoes, then mash them or run them through a potato ricer. Cook wrappers: Preheat a medium skillet or crepe pan over medium-high heat. Once it’s heated, brush the pan lightly with melted butter or oil. Pour ¼ cup batter into the skillet, swirling it until it evenly coats the bottom, and cook, undisturbed, until the bottom is golden and the top is set, about 2 minutes. No need to flip them. Transfer the wrapper into a paper-towelcovered plate, cooked side down. Continue with remaining batter.


the center of each wrapper, and fold the opposite sides of wrapper over filling until they barely touch. Pull the end of the crepe nearest to you up over the filling, and roll the rest of the way, to completely enclose filling, forming elongated, egg-roll-shaped packets. Repeat with remaining blintzes and filling. Reheat your crepe skillet — or a larger one if you want to cook more blintzes at one time — over medium heat and add more butter or oil to coat the pan. Place a few blintzes, seam side down, in skillet, and cook them until they are golden brown and crisp, for about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer them to a baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven until they are ready to serve.

Prepare filling: Once sweet potato puree is cool, stir in the farmer’s cheese, egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Make syrup: In a saucepan, over medium heat, simmer the cranberries, orange juice, and sugar together until the berries burst, about 7 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 5 minutes more. Strain the syrup into a bowl.

Make blintzes: Preheat your oven to 200°F (100°C). Put an ever-so-slightly heaped ¼ cup of filling in

Serve blintzes warm with a drizzle of cranberry syrup and/or a dollop of sour cream.

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Butterscotch Banana Tarte Tatin Yield: serves 6 to 8 All-purpose flour, for work surface 1 sheet frozen puff-pastry dough, thawed in the refrigerator for 1 day 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter ½ cup (95 grams) packed dark-brown sugar ½ teaspoon (2 mL) sea salt flakes 5 large ripe bananas (preferably without speckles), peeled, halved lengthwise 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract 1 tbsp (15 mL) bourbon or Scotch (optional) Vanilla ice cream, for serving

2 Melt the butter in the 9-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the sugar and salt. Cook, swirling the skillet occasionally, until the mixture turns medium amber, about 3 minutes.

1 For this recipe, you’ll need a 9-inch skillet heavy enough so you fear dropping it on your toes. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Roll out your puff pastry on a floured surface to a 9-inch circle, and trim if necessary. Transfer the pastry to the fridge until needed.

4 Place the pastry round on top of the bananas, and transfer it to the oven. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and puffed, about 25 minutes. Remove the tarte from the oven, and carefully invert the tart onto a serving plate. Don’t even think about serving this without vanilla ice cream.

3 Arrange the bananas in the skillet, overlapping them slightly. Cook, without stirring, for 3 minutes. Drizzle the vanilla and the alcohol of your choice (if using) over the bananas, and cook them until most of the liquor has evaporated and the liquid has thickened, about 1 ½ minutes. Remove the bananas from heat.

Give us a LIKE on and you could win one of these cookbooks ... and others! On December 1, 2012, we’ll have our first draw from all our LIKES, current and new. We’ll draw another winner for a different new book about every 3 weeks. You only have to enter once! Search for us under eatdrink magazine. And follow us on Twitter!

Search for @eatdrinkmag!

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Canada’s Favourite Recipes by Rose Murray & Elizabeth Baird Review and Recipe Selections by Jennifer Gagel


f you watch a lot of cooking programs on television, it can be easy to get the impression that here in the Great White North we eat nothing but maple syrup, salmon and Canadian bacon. Canada’s Favourite Recipes by Rose Murray & Elizabeth Baird dispels such notions and reflects our multicultural country in the best way possible — with the favourite dishes of Canadians from sea to shining sea. The 160 mouthwatering selections were chosen with the passion for our richly diverse food heritage that we have come to expect from these two authors. Elizabeth Baird has been a national culinary icon for nearly forty years, many of them as the food editor of Canadian Living magazine. Rose Murray has been teaching us to enjoy the best Canada has to offer for the better part of thirty years. Murray and Baird spent several years asking their friends, family and colleagues, “What is your favourite recipe?” Surprisingly, the answers were not the complicated, sophisticated dishes you might expect from some of the best chefs in the country. Instead, they are versions of comforting, old-fashioned foods you’ve probably enjoyed yourself at family gatherings. There are some fantastic recipes that include indigenous ingredients like fiddleheads and peameal bacon, but this book is much more than a how-to for ingredients native to the land. It’s also a walk down memory lane for the authors and contributors. Murray talks about how the Mini Scotch Eggs are a family favourite that she updated with quail eggs to make into company fare. These rich morsels are sized perfectly for appetizers, with the rich, crispy coating wrapped around the tiny eggs, but there’s also the option to make the traditional version with hens’ eggs, too. Draw on French simplicity with the Lamb Racks Provençal when company is coming. “Lamb racks are so easy to cook

and carve, yet provide a most elegant main course,” guide the authors. When festivities have you otherwise occupied, get the racks frenched by your butcher and this recipe is sure to impress with minimal fuss. Or take the lamb to the barbeque with their loin chop variation. There’s a definite international flavour to the dishes, but the recipes are tied together by the idea of comfort. The book is dedicated to “cooks across Canada who keep the flame of home-cooking alive and welcome family and friends to share their best-loved dishes. Cooks like our mothers.” Whether you grew up eating potstickers or borscht, the feelings of warmth and belonging evoked by these recipes are the same. No matter where the recipes originated or how they may have changed since they got here, this book is quintessentially Canadian. The selections in Canada’s Favourite Recipes combine vintage charm with modern flavours to give us the best that our country has to offer. And it’s thorough. There are eleven recipes for home canning, sensibly preserving the bounty of our short growing season. And more than forty recipes for cookies, tarts, candies or cakes. Apparently Canadian comfort involves plenty of sweetness. Maybe it has something to do with all that maple syrup. Canada’s Favourite Recipes is worth reading for the memories as much as the food. Share it in a warm kitchen with family, friends and loads of comfort. JENNIFER GAGEL is a freelance writer who can be reached at


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Recipes courtesy of Canada’s Favourite Recipes by Rose Murray & Elizabeth Baird (Whitecap Books 2012, $40)

Mini Scotch Eggs Makes 32 pieces

1 Set aside a bowl of water and ice.

You could of course use the same recipe for the meat wrapping on four regular hens’ eggs for a picnic.

2 Place the eggs in a medium saucepan and cover them with several inches of cold water. Cover the pan and bring almost to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Uncover, reduce the heat to a brisk simmer and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. With a slotted spoon, immediately transfer the eggs to the ice water and cool well.

16 quail eggs 1 lb (500 g) good-quality pork sausage meat 1 tbsp (15 mL) each Dijon mustard and snipped fresh chives 2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh thyme (or ½ tsp / 2 mL dried) 1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh sage (or ¼ tsp / 1 mL crumbled dried) ½ tsp (2 mL) salt ¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper 1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour ¾ cup (175 mL) fine dry bread crumbs 1 hen’s egg 2 tbsp (30 mL) milk 2 tbsp (30 mL) canola oil (approx)

3 Pat each egg dry and lightly tap all over on a hard surface, then roll gently before peeling by pulling away the membrane with the shell attached. (The secret is to get under the membrane.) 4 Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the sausage meat, mustard, chives, thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Divide into 16 portions. Wrap each portion of pork mixture around an egg. 5 Spread the flour and bread crumbs on two separate plates. 6 In a small bowl, beat the hen’s egg with the milk. Roll the sausage-encased eggs first in the flour, then in the milk mixture, then in the bread crumbs to coat well. Set aside on a platter in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. 7 In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. In batches, fry the coated eggs, turning often, until the sausage is browned on all sides, adding more oil if needed. Transfer the browned eggs to a baking sheet with a slotted spoon. 8 Bake in a 350°F (180°C) oven until the pork is cooked through, about 12 minutes. 9 Refrigerate until cold. (Make-ahead: Cool, cover and refrigerate for up to one day.) With a sharp knife, cut in half to serve cold. ED Note: You can skip frying them if you spray them generously with oil and turn them once during baking. Increase baking time to approximately 15 minutes or until pork is cooked through.

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Lamb Racks Provençal Makes 8 servings To french the racks, scrape the rib bones clean of meat, fat and gristle to about 1 inch/2.5 cm down from the tips. 4 lamb racks (7 to 8 ribs each) 5 cloves garlic ½ cup (125 mL) loosely packed parsley sprigs 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil 2 tbsp (30 mL) anchovy paste 1 tbsp (15 mL) red wine vinegar 2 tsp (10 mL) dried rosemary, crushed 1 tsp (5 mL) coarsely ground black pepper ½ tsp (2 mL) crumbled dried thyme 1 Dry the lamb racks well and score the outside layer of fat diagonally to make small diamonds. 2 In a blender or food processor, process the garlic, parsley, oil, anchovy paste, vinegar, rosemary, pepper and thyme until smooth. Rub all over the racks. 3 Marinate the racks, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting. 4 Place the racks bone side down in a shallow roasting pan. Roast in a 450°F (230°C) oven for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350°F (180°C); roast until a thermometer registers 140°F (60°C), another 20 to 30 minutes longer for rare. 5 Let stand, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes before carving between the ribs to serve.


Lamb Loin Chops Provençal 1 Prepare the marinade for Lamb Racks Provençal. Marinate 16 lamb loin chops for up to 4 hours. 2 Place the chops on a greased barbecue grill 4 inches (10 cm) from medium-high heat, or on a greased broiler rack in the oven. 3 Barbecue or broil until just pink inside, about 5 minutes a side, turning once. ED Note: Though the anchovies lend a pungent savoury component that complements the strong taste of lamb well, for those who are adverse, you can substitute an equal amount of sundried tomatoes.


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the lighter side

Seize the Moment and Enjoy Stress-free Holidays Byy Sue Sutherland Wood


any of us have food traditions that we recreate and cling to each holiday season. Wildly significant to families, they almost always take longer than we counted on to prepare at a time when we’re already stretched thin. Christmas is by its very nature a time for “fancy,” so it seems important that things are just so. Medjool dates are carefully piped with tangy citrus, slivers of smoked salmon and capers are heaped on pum­ pernickel squares, and cocoa-dusted rum balls wait in their tins. Cream cheese wrappers seem to fly off like calendar months in a 1940s movie, as they provide a welcome Phillyboost to smoked oysters, crab dip, and that really amazing green bean casserole someone always brings. (It has been suggested that if you eat cream cheese you may as well just smear it on your thighs, since it’s going to end up there anyway.) But I digress. I made a pact with myself a few years ago in which I would try not to be stressed at Christmas — after all, it’s crazy to get so caught up in the architectural design of a bake-sale pavlova that you’re too exhausted to enjoy it. So these days, whenever a chance to cut corners or to be more organized presents itself — and doesn’t ignite too much guilt — I’m going to take it. I rejoice when this works, and when it doesn’t, well, I try not to repeat the error. One year I decided to participate in a Christmas cookie exchange organized by an acquaintance of a friend (a key part of the story, since I did not know anyone involved). The logic seemed sound, and the hook was that we would each end up with 100 cookies. Naturally, I realized there would be diversity in such an event — and I was fine with that — but I hope you will not find me snobbish when I say that I was not aware that “Little Debbie” would be participating. Whilst the foil tubes were handy enough and artfully arranged in a semi-circle, I have to say I felt

let down. There was also a large contingency of shortbread — made with lard. As I received the sagging paper plate, I noticed that the thistle shapes had each left a leaden, sceneof-the-crime outline of thick grease. Then there’s the tree. Putting the Christmas tree up is a highly anticipated event that everyone purports to look forward to — and yet, eerily, once that day comes it’s as though the entire house has been evacuated. Years ago some previous version of myself pulled a wagon with small toddlers in tow to choose the most fragrant, real Christmas tree possible — a little on the fat side, ideally — and preferably with a bird’s nest still present. Years have passed and everyone still wants that experience, but now there are parameters in place involving crammed social calendars, precluding any possibility of rising early on the weekend. My cheerful solution has been to distill the entire event to a sort of military proceeding. The tree — regulation size — has been already purchased. Decoration boxes are lined with precision in the hall, cedar bough is looped and at ease near the door, and a nativity scene waits, pending assembly. Everyone has a task. Foremost in my plan is the avoidance of any last-minute, squealing tire visits to Canadian Tire for another string of lights, just before they close. Finally, once a third extension cord has been purchased — and the original two located in another box — it’s time for the reward of creamy eggnog served up with a rasp of nutmeg and some decent rum. And remember, when the other decorators start idly texting as you turn up the Christmas music, no one will notice that as you seize the moment, you also seize the rum bottle. Sue Sutherland Wood is a freelance writer who also works in the London Public Library system. Read more of Sue’s work at


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Visit Our 2nd Floor Artisans’ Christmas Market. are now available. Western Fair Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market Dundas St. East at Ontario St. Open Every Saturday 8am to 3pm. All Year Round.

519-438-5942 More Reasons To Shop Locally •

eatdrink Issue 38: November/December 2012  

The Holiday Issue

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