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A L B E R TA / F O O D & D R I N K / R E C I P E S S E P T E M B E R 2 02 1

Plant-Based Dining | Alberta Distilleries | Using Local Produce


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contents

Volume 10 / No. 4 / September 2021

departments 6

Salutes and Shout Outs

8

Off The Menu

9

Book Review

10

Chefs’ Tips and Tricks

News from Alberta’s culinary scene

Donna Mac’s Madeleines with Carrot Caramel tawâw by Shane Chartrand

14

Summer’s sweet refrain

38 Making The Case

Autumn is on its way

40 Etcetera

What’s new?

42 Open That Bottle

With James Grant, World Class Bartender of the Year 2021

22

34

14

26 Making it Better!

16 18

ON THE COVER It’s harvest time, and our market stalls are laden with local produce. Thanks very much to Culinary Calgary’s Erin Boukall for her seasonal and colourful cover concept and styling, and to photographer Dong Kim for his bright and beautiful photograph!

Deuce Vodka

Country star Brett Kissel pivots into the spirits world by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth

Step By Step

Sausage and pepper calzones by Renée Kohlman

On Board

Empire Provisions’ charcuterie board by Linda Garson

20 I’m Stuffed!

From ho-hum to show-stopper by Natalie Findlay

22 The Rise of Plant-Based Dining

There has never been a better time to ‘eat your veggies’ by Carmen Cheng

From local produce to our local shelves by Joel Fournier

30 A Bottle of Suds…

Holding on to summer with fruit beers by Tom Firth

32 Giant Blue Hyssop

…and the future of food by Morris Lemire

34 Alberta Distilleries Get Crafty The changing landscape of artisanal distilling by David Nuttall

36 September Spirits

For sunny afternoons and chilly evenings by Tom Firth and Linda Garson September 2021 | Culinaire 3


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

YOUR LETTERS

Welcome

More praise from new Vine & Dine guests at our Foreign Concept pairing dinners, and our dinner with overnight stay at Buffalo Mountain Lodge in Banff. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your emails!

back!

I

hope it was a good summer for you. Did you manage to escape the city heat for some countryside adventures, and visit some new to you places to eat and drink? It has been a bit smoky though, hasn’t it? With no August issue, we always think we’ll have plenty of downtime to decompress, recharge our batteries and clear our befuddled brains - and strategise for the year ahead - and every year we’re always left wondering where the summer went, and how can it be back to school and back to our desks (that we never left!) already? The Alberta Beverage Awards fill our July and early August, and this – our ninth year – was our biggest and most successful yet by a very long way; well more than a third bigger than our previous biggest, last year! We’re looking

forward to bringing you all the results next month, in our October issue. Meanwhile, our markets are full of the colours of the harvest ( just like our cover, and we hope you like it!) and fresh, ripe produce, and if there’s one thing the last eighteen months have reminded us, it’s an appreciation and love for local. In this issue we have articles doing just that – local supporting local too, and celebrating the growing interest and respect for veggies, and the people who grow and cook them. Cheers

Linda Garson, Editor-in-Chief

Hi Linda, Just wanted to say how impressed I was with last night. Sheena was blown away and you now have a new fan! It was a great night and we can’t wait to do it again! Thanks again Linda, love your work! MF Hi Linda, It was really good to see you. We really did enjoy the weekend/meal and would be interested in another out of town Vine and Dine if you were to do it again. We will absolutely see you at another event in the future. RH

Dinner just got easier! Find scratch made, authentic Italian dishes ready to heat-and-serve in our coolers daily. Grocery. Bakery. Deli. Café.

italiancentre.ca

EDMONTON | CALGARY | SHERWOOD PARK


Alberta / Food & Drink / Recipes Editor-in-Chief/Publisher Linda Garson linda@culinairemagazine.ca Managing Editor Tom Firth tom@culinairemagazine.ca Multimedia Editor Keane Straub keane@culinairemagazine.ca Sales Denice Hansen 403-828-0226 denice@culinairemagazine.ca Design Kendra Design Inc Contributors Erin Boukall, Carmen Cheng Elizabeth Chorney-Booth Natalie Findlay, Joel Fournier Dong Kim, Morris Lemire Renée Kohlman, David Nuttall Keane Straub

To read about our talented team of contributors, please visit us online at culinairemagazine.ca.

Our contributors Morris Lemire

Morris Lemire lives in Edmonton where he likes to cook, garden and write. He depends on the excellent service and resources of the Edmonton Public Library, without which he would be lost. Morris has been gardening for many years and says he still has a lot to learn. But he also claims that most vegetable gardening is easy, forgiving, and deeply informative.

Renée Kohlman

Renée Kohlman is an awardwinning cookbook author, food writer, baker, and recipe developer in Saskatoon. When not working on her second cookbook (Vegetables: A Love Story, due Fall, 2021) she’s writing for The Saskatoon StarPhoenix and others, and in her garden admiring her sweet peas and coaxing her cats down from trees. Renée hopes one day to go hiking in Iceland, eat a croissant in Paris, and have a dishwasher in her kitchen.

Dong Kim

Contact us at: Culinaire Magazine #1203, 804–3rd Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2P 0G9 403.870.9802 info@culinairemagazine.ca @culinairemag @culinairemag facebook.com/CulinaireMagazine For subscriptions and to read Culinaire online: culinairemagazine.ca

A freelance photographer and consultant, Dong splits his time between Edmonton and Calgary. Although he shoots a wide range of subjects, his passion lies in photographing food and capturing stories from the food community. An avid traveller whose itineraries often revolve around learning about a culture through its culinary scene, Dong shares many of his travels and food encounters on Instagram at @therealbuntcake.

Culinaire Magazine acknowledges that we live, work and play on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut'ina, the Îyâxe Nakoda Nations, the Métis Nation (Region 3), and all people who make their home in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta. All Trademarks presented in this magazine are owned by the registered owner. All advertisements appearing in this magazine are the sole responsibility of the person, business or corporation advertising their product or service. For more information on Culinaire Magazine’s Privacy Policy and Intention of Use, please see our website at www.culinairemagazine.ca. All content, photographs and articles appearing in this magazine are represented by the contributor as original content and the contributor will hold Culinaire Magazine harmless against any and all damages that may arise from their contribution. All public correspondence, which may include, but is not limited to letters, e-mail, images and contact information, received by Culinaire Magazine becomes the property of Culinaire Magazine and is subject to publication. Culinaire Magazine may not be held responsible for the safety or return of any unsolicited manuscripts, photographs and other materials. Reproduction of this publication in whole or in part without written consent from Culinaire Magazine is strictly prohibited.

September 2021 | Culinaire 5


SA LUTE S & S H O UT O UT S Congratulations to the Italian Centre Shop on their fifth location, at 8005 Emerald Drive in Sherwood Park. It’s the biggest store yet for Alberta's largest, family-owned specialty grocer, and features a licensed 50-seat cafe, 30-seat patio, 70 ft. deli counter, a Tavola Calda (hot table) of ready-to-eat Italian comfort foods, a full-service pizza bar, and an in-house gelateria! Staying in Sherwood Park, Bodega Tapas & Wine Bar by Sabor have now opened another location here, at 410 Baseline Road! Excellent tapas and large plates, and meat and cheese boards - and like traditional tapas bars, no reservations - walk-in only. From 4 pm, closed Mondays. We featured cookbook, One Loaf at a Time/One Bowl at a Time, earlier this year in our March issue, and now we congratulate Saskatchewan TV chef and author, CJ Katz, on winning Best Cookbook at the 2021 San Francisco International Book Festival! And more congrats go Edmonton’s Northern Chicken owners, Andrew Cowan and Matt Phillips, who recently won $10,000 from Telus, in their national contest to support small businesses through the pandemic! The sign says it all, “a Banff sushi, Japanese BBQ, karaoke joint.” The latest restaurant from Banff Hospitality Collective, Hello Sunshine is retro, funky, and groovy, with two karaoke rooms, “The Disco Den” and “The Lava Lounge”, and a 6-seat “Tiny Bar” for Japanese whisky, cocktails, and small bites. Chef Kaede Hirooka has a big following after heading up many kitchens in Calgary, most recently with his fusion pop-up, Respect The Technique, and with chef Yuki Koyama (ex-Calgary’s Sukiyaki House) preparing the sushi, we know we’re in good hands for this super delicious menu! Open seven days from 5 pm, at 208 Wolf Street. Staying in Banff, be sure to visit Buffalo Mountain Lodge’s beautiful, new, refurbished restaurant, The Prow, and enjoy Chef Lance Montero’s (formerly 6 Culinaire | September 2021

chef at Calgary long-time fave, Cilantro restaurant) Rocky Mountain cuisine, with his lip-smacking, upscale menu of game meat from CRMR’s own ranch in the Calgary foothills, sustainable seafood dishes, his much-loved pastas, and local veggies. Unlock the secrets of Bar Déjà Vu to reveal the location and password when you make your reservation for a cocktail experience at this Canmore speakeasy, and enjoy elevated bar snacks by Chef Blake Flann. exploretock.com/4296. New York’s The Halal Guys, are celebrating 21 years – and now with the key to the door, Calgary’s Youssef El Sweify has opened his first of five Alberta locations, at 923 17 Avenue SW. El Sweify travels to eat, and discovered The Halal Guys in San Francisco – eating there six times in one week! Healthy food bowls are on trend, and platters of chicken, beef gyro, falafel, or a combo, served over rice, with lettuce, tomato, pita, come with The Halal Guys’ famous (and delicious) secret white sauce, and optional ‘explosive’ hot sauce! Or try them as a pita bread wrap. Sides include hummus, baba ghanoush, and fries, with baklava and cookies for dessert. Look for new menu items every few months too. Open seven days, 11 am-late.

We’re all about good food delicious, creative, and exciting food - and every dish we tried at Calgary’s Sensei Bar fits that description (and we tried a lot!). Executive Chef Ryan Blackwell’s menu shows expertise in all manner of flavours and techniques, drawing on French, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, and Thai influences, without any pretence at authenticity, just beautifully prepared and presented plates from Chef de Cuisine, Erin Massolin. We’re definitely coming back for more potatoes in coconut yellow curry with spinach and burrata, chicken rillette bao with peanuts and kimchi serrano mayo, albacore tuna with fois gras and yuzu truffle, and wagyu tataki… paired with an impressive cocktail or premium sake. Open seven days from 4:30 pm at 1520 14 Street SW. There’s a lot of highs at Calgary’s new Major Tom– spectacular views from the 40th floor of Stephen Avenue Place; a high quality, high end, dry aged, prime and wagyu beef program; a highly anticipated opening, well deserved high fives to chefs Garrett Martin and Garrett Rotes… along with filtered sparkling and still water at no charge, wonderful crispy and creamy potato doughnuts, super delicious crispy hen egg with pepperoni jam, the cheesiest


And while we’re talking sandwiches... the new Mixtape, from the team at Donna Mac, is serving up a tiny menu of four big flavour buns and huge bagels from Chef Nick Kennedy at Eighty-Eight Brewing Co. Ice cream sandwiches too! 1070 - 2600 Portland Street SE, Thursdays to Saturdays 4-9 pm, bagels 11-2 pm. on Sundays. We’re excited for Kamado Izakaya ghost kitchen, a collab between Thank You Hospitality and Itamae Naoki Kimura, whom we know from his time at Calgary’s Ki Modern Japanese, Ichizen, Shikiji, and Anju. From Hokkaido, Naoki began as a fishmonger, where he honed his sushi skills, and has since travelled the world, always with a dream of opening his own Izakaya. kamadoyyc.ca to order, Wednesday-Saturday, 4-9:30 pm. cheese toast, the brisket cheeseburger, those crunchy fries with steak-seasoning and garlic aioli, excellent cocktails – we could go on! 5-11 pm, closed Mondays. With patties of Springvale beef and Winters Turkey from Community Natural Foods, and buns from Good Bread and Care Bakery, a burger from Calgary’s new Saucy Burger, supports three local businesses. And another good thing that comes in threes? They’ve succeeded in fast, really good, and incredibly inexpensive – which we were always told wasn’t possible! We love Chef Michael Dekker’s vision, and we love his small menu of burgers on toasted potato rolls. Oh, and those Kennebec fries and the chili topper… Watch for new menu items coming soon too! Seven days, from 7 am. 1001 17 Avenue SW. Further west, Ronnie Mupambwa has opened Candy Shop Café at 1324 17 Avenue SW, so after eating at his popular Chakalaka tapas restaurant, hop next door for an indulgent menu of cakes, tarts and desserts, alongside a menu of bubbles and custom cocktails! Open 3 pm weekends, 5 pm weekdays, closed Mondays. We enjoy Hayden Block’s Texas-style BBQ, and Comery Block’s Tennessee-

style, and now Block Hospitality have opened South Block Barbecue and Brewery, in the ex-Wurst spot on 4 Street SW, bringing North Carolinastyle barbecue to Calgary. We tried 12 of Chef Craig Ramsey‘s meat, seafood and veggie dishes, all paired with South Block’s draught beer, brewed in-house by head brewer Ryan Placktiff. We were very impressed with the blackened Pork Hock, moist and flavourful, and perfect with the dilly potato salad; Dirty Chips with brisket, jalapeño, and pimento dip; Smoked Shrimp and creamy and cheesy grits, Blueberry Burnt Ends, crispy Bacon Wrapped Peppers stuffed with brisket, and so much more – and there were rich desserts too. Bring your appetite here upstairs; downstairs is the brewery and music venue for 225 people, with live music every weekend. Seven days, 11 am-late. Talking of Tennessee, Very Good Entertainment, the group that’s brought Chemical Steve’s, Scuba Jay’s, and Top Notch to Calgary, has opened Flirty Bird - a new Nashville hot chicken sandwich shop in the ex-Shiki Menya spot in Bridgeland at 827 1st Avenue SE. Choose your heat level from “no flirt” to “scorchin’ flirt,” the hottest in town, they say. 11 am-3 pm, closed Sundays and Mondays. flirtybirdchicken.com.

Meanwhile, back in Edmonton, familyrun Tentador Latin Cuisine has opened at 15184 127 Street NW, with a tempting menu (as the name suggests – Tentador is ‘tempting’ in Spanish!) of South American dishes, including 12 baked and deep fried empanadas (one is a dessert empanada), as well as handhelds (tacos and sandwiches), starters and mains, and traditional cachaça and pisco cocktails. Open seven days for lunch and dinner. tentador.ca. Edmonton also has a new wine bar at 9621 82 Avenue, called Darling, “where Natural Wine flows to old school beats”. Thursday-Sunday 7-11 pm, @darlingwinebar. No reservations. Founded in Taiwan in 2013, premium bubble tea chain, The Alley, is known for their signature tapioca pearls and pure sugar cane syrup. Five years after launching in Canada and 27 locations later, the third Edmonton store is now open at 11966 104 Avenue, in the Brewery District. the-alley.ca. Following the success of their Edmonton launch, Pablo Cheese Tart is now open in Calgary at 602B 16 Avenue NW, serving up their premium, family-size cheese tarts and fruit-topped minis, as well as smoothies and soft-serve ice cream. Open seven days noon-8 pm. September 2021 | Culinaire 7


O F F TH E M E N U

Chef Laetitia Chrapchynski’s

Madeleines STORY AND PHOTOGRAPH BY LINDA GARSON

T

his year, we celebrated Canada Food Day with a segment on Global TV, and featured dishes from from local restaurants’ Alberta On The Plate menus that showcase local farmers. One of the dishes was from Laetitia Chrapchynski, chef at Donna Mac, who included both Highwood Crossing’s organic wholewheat flour and their rolled oats in her Alberta on the Plate dessert, inspired by the Bouchon cookbook as well as by Montreal pastry chef, Patrice Demers’ book. These delicious madeleines with carrot caramel gripped the imagination of many local food lovers, and we’re very grateful to Donna Mac and Chef Chrapchynski for sharing the recipe.

Chef Laetitia Chrapchynski’s Madeleines with Carrot Caramel and Carrot Pulp Granola: Makes 12

230 g white sugar 90 g wholewheat flour, sifted 120 g almond flour, sifted ½ tsp ground cardamom ¼ tsp salt 200g deeply browned butter, melted 200g egg whites Ice cream to serve, optional 1. Mix together the first five ingredients, and add the melted butter and egg whites. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or ideally overnight. 2. Scoop out into heavily greased madeleine pans. Alternatively, you can use muffin tins or financier molds. Do 8 Culinaire | September 2021

not use silicon, as it is difficult to achieve crispy edges. 3. Bake at 350º F for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let rest for 1 minute and unmold immediately. 4. Place 2 or 3 madeleines on a plate and drizzle with the carrot caramel. Use carrot pulp granola as a base to hold a scoop of ice cream in place.

Carrot Caramel

4 cups (1 L) carrot juice 200 g sugar 20 g aged white balsamic vinegar

Place all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the caramel reduce for 25-35 minutes.

Carrot Pulp Granola

140 g wholewheat flour 80 g old fashioned rolled oats 100 g brown sugar ½ tsp salt 115 g butter, cubed 100 g carrot pulp from juicing or grated Place all ingredients in a food processor. Bake at 375º F until crispy and golden brown, about 15 minutes.


tawâw

B O O K R E V I E W BY LI N DA G A RSO N

Progressive Indigenous Cuisine By Shane M. Chartrand with Jennifer Cockrall-King House of Anansi Press $34

D

O YOU GET EXCITED TOO WHEN

you see cookbooks from local chefs and people you know? We’re already warm to their recipes and we’re expecting to like them, but that’s a total understatement for how I feel about tawâw. There is so much more to this book than the recipes and good looking photographs of beautifully plated dishes. They’re certainly all here too, and lots of them. More than that though, this book is the personal journey of one of Alberta’s most creative chefs, a completely honest account of his search for identity, his fears and self-doubts, his influences and inspiration, and where he and his food fit in a contemporary culinary world. Where he fits is pretty much at the top; Chef Shane Chartrand is at the

forefront of Indigenous cuisine, and he inspires us to source and use local products. I’m feeling the need to rush out and buy beets now, and can’t decide which of his glorious beet dishes to make first. Will it be Beet-Stained Potatoes with Horseradish Cream (p.267) or Chocolate Beet Cake with Saskatoon Berries (p.194)? Probably both! Then there’s bison – must try his Skewered Bison Strips on page 114 (and we hope his dream of being able to get them at pow wow is realized soon!) and OnePot Spaghetti Squash, Bison, and Corn on the following page. His elk and wonderful salmon dishes also have my name on them… Salmon Three Ways – cured, salmon and egg salad, and ‘stained glass’ (p.89) are high on the list for my next dinner party!

More and more we’re looking for emotional attachment to our food, and Chef Chartrand’s stories are captivating; we gain a great insight into this creative mind – the vulnerability and anxiety, as well as the beauty and artistry – and tattoos! He explains ingredients and how to use them, such as bee pollen (p.94) and wild rice (p.166), and we’re fascinated by his story about chum salmon (p.97), and the truths in “On Emotion and Risk” (p.241) leading into his signature dish, “War Paint’ (p.245), also pictured on the cover. If it isn’t already included, add tawâw to your wish list this season.


C H E F ’ S TI P S & TR I C KS

A

Summer’s Sweet Refrain BY KEANE STRAUB I PHOTOS BY DONG KIM AND KEANE STRAUB

lbertans are experts at drawing out summer as long as possible. We might be clinging to warm weather and the outdoors a little bit harder this year, in denial of the fact that the days are getting shorter. But, as the season winds down, we’re moving right into the beginning of harvest season, and fruit that has ripened on branches and vines is bursting with deep flavour, while golden honey drips like a late summer sunset. In the spirit of holding on to our summer for a bit longer, we’ve sought out fruit gardens, honey farms, and wineries in Alberta to bring you those last tastes of this sweet season and learn a little more about the raw ingredients that are grown and used at these businesses and how to incorporate them into your kitchens at home.

For more than a decade, Ilse and Hugo Bonjean of Spirit Hills Winery, near Millarville, have been producing food-pairing wines that come from the terroir of the Rocky Mountain Foothills. “What we do is pretty unique in the world,” says co-owner and president Hugo Bonjean. “Just like people know different grapes produce different wines, so do different flowers produce different nectars. That in turn creates different wines.” Wildflower nectar is collected, dried, 10 Culinaire | September 2021

and stored as honey by Spirit Hills’ bees. Full of antioxidants, raw honey is a sterile product, which can’t be fermented. “What we do when we make wine is we rehydrate the honey, turning it back into its liquid nectar state and that is what gets fermented,” explains Bonjean. The fermented nectar is then infused with a variety of hand-picked wildflower petals for white and rosé varieties. For red wine, blackcurrants are macerated in the tanks throughout the fermentation period. “Blackcurrants are one of the berries with the highest amount of antioxidants,” says Bonjean. They also contain anthocyanins – the compound in grape skins that gives red wine its colour and flavour – but at a concentration 30 to 90 times higher, making currants an ideal replacement for grapes when making wine. They also make for delicious desserts, like this blackcurrant ice cream parfait.

Blackcurrant Ice Cream Parfait Serves 2-4

1 cup blackcurrants ¼ cup (60 mL) water ½ cup (120 mL) honey or granulated sugar (adjust for taste) 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs 4 cups (1 L) good quality vanilla ice cream 4 short, wide mouth mason jars 1. Wash and drain blackcurrants and add to a small saucepan with water. Heat to a boil and add honey or sugar. Blackcurrants are quite sour so you will get that beautiful sweet-sour flavour. If it is not sweet enough add more honey or sugar. Let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Cool in fridge for 2 hours. The syrup will thicken as it cools. 2. Divide graham crumbs among the mason jars. Add a layer of vanilla ice cream and top with blackcurrant syrup. Finish it off with a dusting of the graham crumbs and serve immediately.


At DNA Gardens in Elnora, Red Seal Chef Lynsey Armstrong has her pick of fresh ingredients grown right on site, from herbs and edible flowers to a variety of fruit, like saskatoons, raspberries, and sour cherries. DNA Gardens also works with local ranchers and craft breweries to bring a unique experience to their visitors. “Every evening during the summer we have a Bootlegger, Beer and Brisket Dinner, where we have a delicious meal with slow smoked brisket, followed by saskatoon pie and gelato,” explains Armstrong. DNA Gardens also produces jams, jellies, and syrups that are available for purchase both at the gardens and Gasoline Alley in Red Deer. “Our jams contain only 25 percent of the sugar of [commercially produced] jams,” says Armstrong. “We use a different pectin that allows us to reduce our sugar which results in a flavour bang of fruit.” For Armstrong’s Tart Cherry Lemonade, fresh cherries are best, and visitors can pick them in season at the gardens. “When you harvest and pit your own cherries, put your cherries in the fridge overnight and pit them when ice cold,” Armstrong recommends. “They will make a lot less mess and you will retain more juice.”

Tart Cherry Lemonade Serves 2-4

2/3 cup (160 mL) cherry syrup 2/3 cup (160 mL) lemon juice 3 cups (750 mL) sparkling water 1. Combine cherry syrup and lemon juice, to make your lemonade concentrate. 2. Place ice in a glass and add a 1/3 cup (80 mL) lemonade concentrate and ¾ cup (180 mL) of sparkling water. 3. Serve with a slice of lemon and candied cherries.

2. After a week, strain off vinegar and reserve. Then layer cherries with the sugar and leave for another week, stirring once a day. 3. Once the sugar and cherries have soaked for a week, place in a pot and bring to a simmer. When sugar is completely dissolved strain cherries, reserving syrup. Refrigerate in a sealed container. 4. If preferred, place cherries on a baking sheet and let dry for 2-3 days. Store cherries in freezer. They are a delightful snack or used on charcuterie boards, and salads.

Cherry Syrup

1 kg tart cherries 2 cups (500 mL) white vinegar 1.25 kg granulated sugar 1. Soak cherries and vinegar together in a cool dry place for 1 week. Vinegar should be covering cherries.

Note:

The vinegar can be used for a salad dressing or reduced with a touch of sugar to a glaze and used as a drizzle over pizza or any dish that could use a dash of tart.

September 2021 | Culinaire 11


Forty-two percent of Canada’s honey is produced in Alberta, and at Chinook Honey Company in Okotoks, owners and operators Art and Cherie Andrews have had sweet success in the industry since 1995, when they started with just two hives. Since then, they’ve grown and added education and tourism components. “The thing we really appreciate about this business model is being able to work directly with the customer, and get to know their needs,” explains Cherie. Along with jams, jellies, sauces, and mead, produced and sold on-site, the honey itself is sold in many shapes and forms, says Cherie. “If you’re looking for a good honey product, try and buy from a local producer,” she advises, and turn the container upside down and look for a large air bubble to slowly make its way to the top – this will usually tell you if the honey is pure, or has been watered down. While it’s often enjoyed drizzled on fresh bread, or even by the spoonful, Art says honey can be used as a substitute for sugar in most dishes, in half the amount that sugar is called for. “A little-known fact about honey is its relatively high acidity,” he adds. With a pH level of about 4, it works well as a substitute for vinegar, and in meat marinades like this recipe for Honey Whisky Sirloin. 12 Culinaire | September 2021

Honey Whisky Sirloin

Red Cabbage with Honey Caraway dressing

1/3 cup (80 mL) honey 1/3 cup (80 mL) honey whisky ¼ cup (60 mL) soy sauce ¼ cup (60 mL) Worcestershire sauce ½ tsp red pepper flakes 1½ tsp minced garlic 1 kg sirloin steak

1 red cabbage, about 500g, shredded ¼ cup butter 1 medium white onion, sliced ½ cup golden raisins 1/3 cup (80 mL) honey 1 Tbs (15 mL) honey vinegar 1 tsp caraway seeds, toasted

1. Combine all ingredients, except steak, in a large ziplock bag or sealable container 2. Place steaks in the bag and remove as much air as possible before sealing. Flip the bag over a few times to ensure steaks are well coated with marinade. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 3. Heat barbecue to medium-high heat. Remove steaks from marinade and allow excess to drain off. 4. Place steaks on the hot grill and cook 4 to 5 minutes before turning. Cook steaks to desired level of doneness. When cooked, remove steaks to a serving platter and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain.

1. In a large saucepan or deep frying pan melt the butter over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes until transparent. 2. Add the raisins and toss through the butter. Stir in honey, mixing well. Add cabbage, vinegar, and caraway seeds, and toss to coat. 3. Turn heat down to low, cover, and steam cabbage for 10-15 minutes until just tender, tossing once or twice during cooking time. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Serves 4

Keane Straub has travelled from Tofino to Charlottetown, sampling the different flavours Canada offers. The passion people have for their craft and culture inspires Keane to tell their stories.


September 2021 | Culinaire 13


Deuce Vodka: Country Star Brett Kissel Pivots into the Spirits World BY ELIZABETH CHORNEY-BOOTH

Brett and Cecilia Kissel

W

hen it comes to spirits, it’s a little harder for a vodka to stand apart from other brands on the market than it may be for a distinctive gin or whisky. Even if a brand claims to have a cleaner taste or uses a unique filtration method or grain mix, to the average person mixing a highball or cocktail, a vodka is a vodka is a vodka. Which isn’t to say that all vodkas are created equally or that the extra pains that a distiller goes through aren’t worth it, just that a fledgling craft vodka distillery needs to find an extra hook. And there’s no better hook than a legitimate celebrity endorsement. Just as Aviation Gin has Ryan

14 Culinaire | September 2021

Reynolds and Crystal Head Vodka has Dan Aykroyd, Deuce Vodka, a label run out of Big River Saskatchewan, has country music star Brett Kissel as an owner and spokesman. The product was actually developed by his business partner Matt Doucette, a youthful gogetter who started producing his vodka as soon as he was legally allowed to — he applied for his distilling licence on his 19th birthday, making him the youngest person in Saskatchewan to ever do so. As a young distilling wizard, Doucette had his formula and process down pat, but four years into the trade he needed to figure out how to get his vodka from his distillery in Big River to bars

and restaurants and into home liquor cabinets. Luckily, he had enough bravado to contact one of his favourite country singers via an Instagram DM to try to negotiate a sponsorship deal. Kissel looked at the small scope of Doucette’s business and thought that it was best to pass, but his wife Cecilia, an online influencer with an eye for diamonds in the rough, encouraged her husband to meet with Doucette and offer some mentorship. Kissel could smell that the COVID-19 pandemic was coming, but he had one last show in Moose Jaw in March of 2020 with Brad Paisley before the world shut down (Kissel estimates that it was the last pre-pandemic


SHOP. EAT. LICENSED. Open All Year Long

Business partners, the Kissels and the Doucettes

live concert in North America since restrictions on large gatherings were enacted in Canada the day before but an exception was made for Paisley’s show), and invited Doucette to meet with him. Kissel was so impressed with Doucette (whom he calls “an entrepreneur on steroids”) and his vodka that he told him that he didn’t just want a sponsorship, he wanted to go into business with him. In May 2020 (coincidentally, Kissel’s 30th birthday) the two signed the paperwork to start the Deuce Vodka Corp. and launched an expansion into Alberta, with a second production facility at the Rig Hand Distillery in Nisku. With no shows to play for the next year, Kissel threw himself into the vodka biz and set to letting the world know just how good Doucette is with a still. “It’s been amazing that I’ve been able to focus 24/7 on this launch,” Kissel says. “Everything I’ve done in music has been pretty special, but every time I’ve had a moment to celebrate, I’ve had a drink in my hand. We’re the kind of people who like to stop and smell the roses and acknowledge the moment that we’re in. So, it made perfect sense for me to get into the spirit business — I’ve always wanted to do it, I just thought I’d be doing it later in life.” Kissel credits Doucette’s skill, Alberta and Saskatchewan’s premium grain and clean cold water for Deuce’s smooth taste and lack of burn on the palate. The use of local ingredients gives Deuce a sense of place that spoke to Kissel and

aligned with his brand as a musician. Drawing on what Kissel sees as Western Canadians’ celebratory culture, in addition to its core product, Deuce also makes a pink fruity “Neon” flavour and this summer introduced seasonal summer mixes to the product list. While the flavoured stuff sells well to particular demographics. Kissel is most proud of the cleanness and crispness of the original vodka, which appeals to his own Eastern European roots, and is filtered to the point that vodka lovers can happily sip it without mix. While Kissel won’t speculate as to whether or not Deuce has any plans to expand to other spirits (or more specifically, if they have anything barreled that will eventually become whisky), he’s happy that his pandemicborn project has been properly launched and that he can naturally promote it now that he’s back to his “real” job of performing in front of audiences. “If you don’t have a great product you’re dead in the water,” he says. “But also, the only way to get that product out to the market is if you have a great drive and a great commitment and attitude. In music, you need talent, commitment, sacrifice, and attitude. That’s the recipe I believe in. It’s the exact same thing with this spirit business.” Cookbook author and regular contributor to CBC Radio, Elizabeth is a Calgary-based freelance writer, who has been writing about music and food, and just about everything else for her entire adult life.

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September 2021 | Culinaire 15


STEP BY STEP:

Sausage and Pepper

Calzones STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY RENÉE KOHLMAN

and cheese. There is no sauce inside the calzone (it would make it soggy), so be sure to have plenty of marinara or pizza sauce on hand for dipping. This recipe uses homemade pizza dough, but you can speed things up by buying premade dough at the deli. This recipe also makes a big batch, so you can eat some for dinner, then freeze the rest for future meals. Your future self will thank you!

Sausage and Pepper Calzones

Makes 8 large calzones or 16 small Whole Wheat and Honey Pizza Dough:

2 Tbs active dry yeast 1 cup (250 mL) warm water (110°–120° F) 3 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups whole wheat flour ¼ cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl 2 Tbs (30 mL) liquid honey 1½ tsp salt

Pizza dough

A

s we slip into back-to-school mode, it’s always a good idea to have the freezer packed with simple suppers and snacks to reheat on busy weeknights. Calzones slide into this category perfectly. If your family loves pizza (who doesn’t love pizza?!) then they’re sure to love its tasty cousin, the calzone, too. A calzone is like an enclosed pizza that has been folded over. The pizza dough is filled with an assortment of meat, cheese, vegetables, your usual pizza

16 Culinaire | September 2021

toppings, and it’s a great way to use up leftovers in the fridge. I used Italian sausage, but cured meats like pepperoni or salami would also work. Peppers and sausage go hand in hand, but cooked greens such as spinach, chard, or kale would be terrific too. Ricotta cheese is a traditional add-in, and I rather like how it mellows out the spicy sausage filling. The melty mozzarella binds everything together and the olives bring a slight acidity that cuts through the richness of the meat

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, use a spoon to stir the yeast into 1 cup (250 mL) warm water (110°–120° F) until it dissolves. It should get foamy and froth up. This will take about 5 minutes. If your yeast doesn’t froth up, you’ll have to start over with a new package of yeast. Add the remaining dough ingredients, plus 1 cup (250 mL) of cool water to the bowl. 2. Knead on medium-low speed for 5–6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Or you can knead the dough by hand for about 7 minutes. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, turning to coat, and cover with a clean tea towel. Let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until the dough has doubled in size, about 50–60 minutes. 3. Punch down the dough and divide into eight equal portions. I like to use a scale for this part. If you don’t want to make your own dough, you can purchase 1.35 kg of pizza dough from the deli. 4. Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 450º F. Lightly flour your work surface and roll each piece of dough into an 18 cm circle. Place the circle on a parchment-lined baking sheet.


Note: In my oven, 2 trays (4 large calzones) can be baked at once. I’ll put these in the oven while I assemble the remaining four. Toppings: 500 g Italian sausage, casings removed 2 red and/or yellow bell peppers, diced 1 small red onion, diced 1 tsp smoked paprika ½ tsp salt ¼ tsp pepper Pinch red pepper flakes 1¾ cups (425 mL) ricotta cheese 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese 1 cup sliced black olives 1 large egg plus 1 Tbs (15 mL) water for egg wash ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 Tbs Italian seasoning or a combination of dried oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary 2 cups (500 mL) marinara or pizza sauce (homemade or store bought), for serving Filling

1. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat until no longer pink, using a wooden spoon to break it up into crumbly pieces. 2. Stir in the peppers, onions, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Let cool completely before assembling the calzones. 3. Spread about 3 Tbs of ricotta cheese

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onto half of the dough, leaving a 2.5 cm border. Spoon a heaping 1/3 cup of the sausage mixture on top of the ricotta. Add some olives and top with some mozzarella cheese. 4. Fold over the dough so the curved edges line up, making a semicircle. Pinch the edges together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough and fillings. 5. Using a sharp knife, cut 3 slits into the top of each calzone, to allow steam to escape. Brush egg wash all over the tops of the calzones, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and dried herbs. 6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. If making smaller calzones, the cooking time will be around 12-15 minutes. I like to rotate the pans from top to bottom at the halfway point to ensure even

browning. Let the calzones cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before slicing in half. Serve with warm marinara sauce for dipping.

To freeze baked calzones: Wrap individual calzones in plastic wrap then place into a resealable plastic bag. Freeze for up to 1 month. To reheat, place thawed calzones in a 350º F oven for 5-7 minutes or until hot inside. Can also reheat in the microwave for a couple of minutes. Don’t freeze uncooked calzones.

Renée Kohlman is a busy food writer and recipe developer living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her debut cookbook All the Sweet Things was published last year.


On

Board E

BY LINDA GARSON PHOTOGRAPHY BY DONG KIM

MPIRE PROVISIONS IS A BOUTIQUE grocer and café in Haysboro, SW Calgary, co-owned by Karen Kho and Dave Sturies, and specializing in hand-made butchery specialties and locally made charcuterie from sustainably raised Alberta livestock. For Kho, the key to a successful grazing board is that it needs to look bountiful and colourful. With a great deal of experience, she’s shared some really helpful tips for creating beautiful boards. “Add height by creating roses with the salami, and place dark fruit next to triple cream cheese,” she says. “Don't be afraid to have items touching, and don't arrange all of the meat and cheese the same way.” Kho also suggests balancing out the saltiness of the cured meat and cheese with contrasting flavours, such as fresh seasonal fruit, local honey, spicy pickled peppers, and gherkins. “But at the end of the day it's not just about how it looks,” she adds. “It's about the quality of the product as well.”

Empire Provision’s charcuterie board includes: CHEESE: Oveja Con Trufa - gourmet sheep milk cheese with truffle veins from la Mancha in Spain Godminster Aged Cheddar - organic Cheddar from England with a distinctive burgundy wax in a heart-shaped truckle Tomme du Manoir au Cidre - a semi-firm fruity cheese from Quebec brushed with apple cider Saint Marcellin Grand Cru - a soft, unpasteurised, mould-ripened, nutty flavoured cheese from the east of France ACCOMPANIMENTS: Empire Provisions House Smoked Almonds Empire Provisions House Smoked Olives Empire Provisions Rhubarb Jam Spicy piparra peppers - from the Basque region, also known as guindilla peppers Sweety Drop peppers – teardrop-shaped and sweet Fresh strawberries and blueberries from BC Grapes, blackberries, and raspberries Gherkins and dried fruit 18 Culinaire | September 2021

MEAT: Empire Provisions Saucisson Sec French-style dry cured sausage Empire Provisions Country Paté a coarse pate with pistachios Meuwly’s Abruzzo Salami spicy, Italian-style dry sausage Meuwly’s Coppa gourmet salami, also called capicollo/ capocollo


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Bring a group or a friend and enjoy an evening of elevated carnival treats and libations, Antique Midway rides and games, the intriguing Cirque de la Nuit entertainers, mysterious fortune tellers, and Heritage Park surprises around each corner. Pull up a seat and join the conversation at Under the Sky Salon. And cap it all off at La Grande Finale! tickets start at $75 per person for details and tickets, visit heritagepark.ca/carnivale Heritage Park is a registered charity and Canada’s largest living history museum. Your support allows Heritage Park to preserve and present Western Canadian heritage and culture.

September 2021 | Culinaire 19


I’m Stuffed!

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY NATALIE FINDLAY

Shrimp Stuffed Avocado

I

f there is one thing i can count on to upgrade the WOW factor in a meal - it’s making something that I can stuff. And the good news is you can basically stuff everything. Take for instance the tried and true turkey - stuffing this holiday poultry turns it from ho-hum to show-stopper. We place that bird right in the middle of the table as the masterpiece. Well, we can do that with so many other foods and elevate them to WOW as well. The three recipes below are just the tip of your stuffing options. You can substitute your favourite vegetable, fruit, or meat quite easily. Example: If you don’t like the shrimp

20 Culinaire | September 2021

in the stuffed avocado, how about replacing the shrimp with grapefruit segments? Chop up the avocado. Mix everything together. Remove the membrane from the grapefruit and stuff it with the mixture. If eggplant isn’t your thing, substitute zucchini, tomato or squash. While the salmon makes a delicious pocket for the seafood mixture in the Seafood Stuffed Salmon, you could easily use trout, halibut or cod. Only a small amount of time is needed to create a pocket in whatever food you choose, and you will be rewarded with an elegant, delicious, sophisticated meal. So, just stuff it!

Shrimp Stuffed Avocado Stuffs 2 halves of avocado

2 Tbs (30 mL) mayonnaise 2 tsp (10 mL) lime juice To taste hot sauce To taste sea salt ½ cup baby shrimp ½ stalk celery, finely diced 1/3 small red pepper, finely diced 1 Tbs red onion, finely diced 1 Tbs parsley, finely chopped 1 avocado 1. In a small bowl, add mayonnaise, lime juice, hot sauce (if using), and salt, and stir to combine. Taste and adjust


seasoning to your preference. 2. In another small bowl add the shrimp, celery, red pepper, red onion and parsley, and stir to combine. Add the mayonnaise mixture to the shrimp mixture. 3. Cut avocado in half and remove the seed. Add shrimp mixture to both sides of the avocado.

Note: You can also use larger shrimp and cut them into small pieces. Seafood Stuffed Salmon

This recipe will also make a delicious salad in 3 easy steps: 1. Prep lettuce leaves. 2. Remove avocado skin and chop avocado into bite size chunks. 3. Combine everything together.

½ tsp dried thyme 1½ tsp dried oregano ¼ cup (60 mL) stock ½ tsp salt 1 lemon, zested ¼ cup walnuts, rough chop 1 Tbs parsley, fine chop 1. Preheat oven to 400º F. 2. Cut a deep “V” through the length of the eggplants. Season with salt and olive oil and roast for 30 minutes. 3. Meanwhile, in a medium sauté pan over medium heat, cook the carrot, celery and shallots for 6 minutes. 4. Add garlic and continue cooking another 3 minutes. Add the lentils, herbs (thyme and oregano), and stir to combine. 5. Add stock and reduce until almost dry. Season with salt. Remove from heat. 6. Add lemon zest, walnuts and parsley. Spoon into eggplant. 7. Reduce oven to 375º F and bake another 20 to 30 minutes.

Stuffed Eggplaant

Stuffed Eggplant

Stuffs 2 small eggplants 2 small eggplants Pinch salt Drizzle olive oil

Filling for Eggplants

1-2 Tbs olive oil 1 small carrot, small dice 1 stalk celery, small dice 1 shallot, small dice 4 cloves garlic, rough chop 1 cup lentils, pre-cooked or canned

Tahini drizzle

1 Tbs (15 mL) tahini 1 Tbs (15 mL) lemon juice Water to thin to desired consistency Pinch sea salt In a small bowl, combine tahini and lemon juice with a whisk. Thin with water to desired consistency and season with sea salt to taste. Serve eggplant with a drizzle of the tahini dressing and a side salad to complete the meal.

Note: Half a baby eggplant would be the perfect size to serve as an appetizer.

Seafood Stuffed Salmon Stuffs 2 salmon steaks

½ cup bacon, small dice ¼ cup onion, small dice 3 cloves garlic, rough chop 5 shrimp - 21/25 10 small scallops 2 slices lox, rough chop 4 sprigs parsley To taste dill (optional) 1 lemon, zested and juiced 1½ Tbs goat cheese or Boursin cheese 1. Preheat oven to 350º F. 2. In a medium sauté pan, add bacon, onion and garlic and sauté 4 minutes over medium heat. 3. Roughly chop the shrimp, scallops and lox into small pieces, and add to the pan. Let cook for a minute and remove from heat. 4. Roughly chop the parsley and dill (if using) and stir into the pan mixture. Add juice and zest of the lemon. When slightly cooled, stir in your cheese of choice. 5. For each piece of salmon, cut a pocket into the belly of the salmon, leaving the edges intact. Stuff the seafood mixture inside the pocket. Lay salmon on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until salmon is cooked through (depending on size and thickness of salmon). 6. Remove from oven and serve with a drizzle of lemon and a sprinkle of parsley. Natalie is a freelance writer, photographer and pastry chef. A graduate of Cordon Bleu’s pastry program, she manages her own business too to create custom-made cakes. September 2021 | Culinaire 21


The Rise of Plant-Based Dining in Alberta BY CARMEN CHENG

Save Da Sea Community Natural Foods

T

here has never been a better time to ‘eat your veggies’ than right now. Alberta has seen a surge in plant-based menus and food offerings in recent years, which is in line with nation-wide demand for plant-based products. According to research by Nielsen from December 2019, sales of plant-based foods grew by 16% annually, to a market value of $500 million. Nielsen analytics also indicate that sales of meat alternatives in Canada increased 52% during the beginning of the pandemic compared to a 30% increase in fresh meat products.

22 Culinaire | September 2021

Although animal meat consumption still outweighs that of plant-based meat alternatives, as research into plantbased recipes and options improves, so does the quality and diversity in product offerings. V Burger, a fast casual plant-based concept opened in Calgary in July 2020, offering a fully plant-based menu with an emphasis on burgers and ice cream creations. The team at V Burger, led by Executive Chef Andrea Harling, spent a year and a half researching and testing recipes, developing most of their ingredients including the much-lauded plant-based ice cream and burger patties.

“It was fun learning the ins and outs of the recipes, and we feel like we are a better brand because of it. We take a lot of pride in the quality of our food,” says Harling. V Burger has had a strong fanbase since its opening, and Harling associates the high demand with the quality of their food and several other reasons, “it tells us that people want 100% plant based options, and that we have created a place that people can come and enjoy a good burger and ice cream knowing they are making a great choice for the environment, animal welfare and their overall health.”


The rising popularity of plant-based foods seems to coincide with the increased shift globally towards ethical commerce, social values, and technology.

Mondays Plant Café

Increased Awareness and Advocacy

Vegetarian dining used to be unfairly associated with bland tofu dishes for the hippie crowd. With increased coverage from social and mainstream media including advocacy from athletes and celebrities for the delicious attributes and health benefits of a plant-based diet, the stigma around vegan cuisine is shifting. Increased exposure and information have created better awareness for plant-based dining and where to find it. Padmanadi is a 20-year Edmonton institution that has built a strong following for its hospitality and vegan Asian comfort foods. Maya Paramithi, whose family owns Padmanadi, notes an evolution in customer awareness of vegetarian foods over the years, “We’ve Truffula

had a booth at the Taste of Edmonton for 14 years, a number of years ago people might ask ‘If this isn’t chicken, what is it?’ and now customers stopping at our booth are not asking.” Paramithi also credits social media and technology with furthering general awareness of vegetarian dishes and have made it easier for plant-based restaurants to capture new customers and promote their offerings.

Seafood Stuffed Salmon

Health Benefits and Nutrition

Undoubtedly, incorporating more vegetables and fruit into your diet comes with a myriad of health benefits. In a time where dietary restrictions or sensitivities are prevalent, plant-based alternatives offer options for those who aren’t able to consume dairy or animal products. Allison Landin, owner of Truffula, a tree nut creamery in Edmonton, started culturing cashews as part of a gut-healing protocol to heal from an auto-immune condition. Landin was excited to learn about culturing nutbased cheese and the nourishment and benefits that come with it. Launched in 2013, Truffula’s cultured nut products and grain-free crispbreads are now available in retail locations all across Alberta. “There has been a huge upsurge in people adopting a plantbased diet for both health and ethical reasons,” says Landin. Mondays Plant Café in Bridgeland Calgary serves a vibrant and nutritious plant-based menu. “We focus on vegan cuisine for the health aspect first and foremost, but we also feel strongly that it is an ethical way to eat, and leaves the smallest impact on our environment,” says co-owner Ali Magee who adds that they have seen new customers come into their café “who are ‘trying to eat more plants’ every day.”

Ecological and Ethical Impacts

The positive impact to our planet of eating more vegetables and less animal products has been touted widely. Along with animal welfare, sustainability of our food system and climate impacts are growing considerations. Being ecologically responsible requires significant effort, and restaurants that are committed to sourcing responsibly and ethically are often spending more time and money to live this value. The Coup has been offering globally inspired vegetarian fare in Calgary for over 16 years and has maintained their commitment to ecological responsibility and sustainability during this time. This commitment is also aligned with the values of their sister restaurant – “Nourish Bistro” in Banff. Vice President Operations, Ted Ainsworth describes their philosophy as a “commitment to not just a specific diet, but also to being a business that is ecologically responsible.” Ainsworth notes that their team has proudly adhered to their values and brand even Kb & Co.

during the challenges of the pandemic. To ensure their commitment to local and sustainable practices, the chef spends a significant portion of their day on sourcing. The Allium, a co-operatively owned plant-based restaurant in Calgary has September 2021 | Culinaire 23


Padmanadi

Nourish Bistro

Increased Accessibility and Diversity of Options

Garbanzo

an ethics-driven philosophy that not only includes being conscious of our ecosystem, but also extends to providing an equitable and fulfilling work environment. The Allium’s collective ownership model affords their members an opportunity to buy into the cooperative to share in the ownership of the restaurants. Its model also provides flexibility for co-operative members to pursue other interests. Serving elevated plant-based dishes in a relaxed atmosphere, The Allium’s focus on plant-based dining and sourcing practices also aligns with its ethics. “Our customers are excited by the creativity and flavours in our dishes,” says Jared Blustein, one of the owners of The Allium and adds, “we have found that people want to be healthier and more conscious of the impact they have on our planet.” 24 Culinaire | September 2021

With more research and investment into plant-based products, accessibility to vegetarian or vegan options has improved, along with the quality and diversity of those products. There has also been a sharp increase in the retail market for vegetarian or vegan friendly alternatives for foods commonly made with animal products. Community Natural Foods has been in business since 1977. Marketing Manager Beth Potter says, “Plant based has always been a big part of our business. For years the vegan and vegetarian diet was associated with good health and longevity. Today it is also celebrated for its benefits to the planet.” Potter notes that they have seen a definite lift in demand for plant-based cuisine and attributes this to, “increased awareness of the environmental impact of traditional meat-based diets” and more demand for affordable protein sources. Current trends in plant-based products are alternatives for seafood and dairy ingredients. Community Natural Foods carries a variety of plantbased dairy options and has also started carrying a vegan smoked "salmon" from Save Da Sea, made from marinated carrots, which is great on a bagel with plant-based cheese or avocado. Plant-based alternatives can often

make it less daunting to incorporate more plants into one’s diet. Maya Paramithi of Padmanadi also noted that plant-based meat products often provide familiarity to their customers and helps them understand what they can expect in terms of the flavour and texture of dishes making it more approachable, “Transitioning to a new diet can be hard. Some customers might be trying to address health concerns by eating more vegetables and less meat. Having plant-based alternatives can give these customers comfort by providing something they can relate to.”

Availability of Convenient and Delicious Options

There are now more fast, convenient, and affordable options that are plantbased, making it easy to grab an energy rich vegetarian meal to go. There also seems to be more businesses dedicated to highlighting the delicious flavours that can come from cooking and seasoning plant-based cuisine well. Garbanzo’s is a new pop-up concept in Calgary, started in April 2021 by chef Alec Fraser. Through his travels, Fraser encountered fast-casual vegetarian food that was indulgent and satisfying with flavours that he would crave after. Garbanzo’s plant-based menu focuses on playful comfort foods that have that crave-abillity factor and are fast and convenient.


Boss Burger

The signature house-made pita bread is soft and pillowy, making it a deliciously convenient vehicle for Garbanzo’s popular falafel wrap. The pita bread is also served alongside fresh vegetables for the bowls of dip. “I didn’t originally mean to make the menu fully vegan. When I was developing the recipes, I knew I wanted to highlight plant-based ingredients and make the best tasting dishes. The fact that our menu ended up being vegan goes to show that if you’re using the

ingredients well, plant-based dishes can be really flavourful and delicious.” Fraser notes that his customer base is varied and includes folks who are vegans and customers who stopped in because they had heard from friends about the delicious dishes. In the 5 years since opening their first location in Edmonton, fast casual concept KB&Co. has expanded to five franchise locations across Alberta and British Columbia offering customers a menu that is convenient for those on the go.

“Everything is made from scratch in store locally using whole non-processed ingredients and we commit to using organic ingredients where possible,” says Lindsay Whyte, franchisee of the Calgary location, who was drawn to this concept because of its corporate culture and focus on providing casual and conscious eats. “We also have a selection of fresh baking produced at each store with many gluten-free options. Our focus is serving, fresh, high quality and delicious plant-based menu items. Regardless of where you are on your food journey, we want you to feel welcome at KB&Co. and that there is something on the menu you will love.” Whether you have adopted a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, or are looking to add more plants into your diet, Alberta now has a great roster of plant-based options. Carmen Cheng comes from a long line of food lovers and notorious over-orderers. She loves traveling, learning about different cuisines, and sharing her food adventures on social media.


Making it Better! FROM LOCAL PRODUCE TO OUR LOCAL SHELVES BY JOEL FOURNIER

W

hen many of us think about supporting our local Albertan food and beverage producers, our minds turn to perusing the local farmers' market to pick out the freshest fruits and vegetables, buying our meat ethically raised from local ranches, and dining at our favourite locally owned restaurants. Another way to support our local culinary

26 Culinaire | September 2021

economy is to support these growers by using locally sourced ingredients to make value-added products. What is a value-added product? It’s one that modifies and enhances its raw ingredients into a completely different, more valuable item. This can include turning fruits and berries into jams and marmalades, making cooking oil

from crops such as canola or sunflower oil, distilling and brewing grains into alcoholic beverages, or smoking and dehydrating meat to make jerky – the list goes on. There is no shortage of local producers across the province creating all sorts of delectable value-added offerings, and many of them source their ingredients


directly from Alberta farmers, ranchers, and growers. Because these goods are made with local ingredients, they travel shorter distances, are higher in quality, far more delicious, and way healthier than their mass-produced grocery store counterparts. Additionally, when you buy products from locally owned and operated crafters, not only are you supporting a single business, but you’re also supporting the local growers that supply the raw materials needed. One local business that continues to do an impressive job of showing off the wide variety of produce grown in Alberta, is Preserved Foods Boutique in Bragg Creek. Since 2018, Preserved has taken some of the best produce our province has to offer and made it available year-round through canning. According to owner and chef, Vanessa Rundell, “I found myself wondering why there wasn’t Alberta grown produce in added value products on grocery store shelves. I was looking for a way to step aside from restaurants but still work directly with farmers and show off all of their amazing hard work and a way for Albertans to have access to Alberta grown produce year-round.” Because harvest season only takes place during a limited time each year, canning ensures that the food remains fresh, delicious, and ready to eat all year long. Preserved makes and sells a diverse range of products year round; for a sweeter palate they have an assortment of jams, including their Haskap Jam, Saskatoon Gin Jam, Raspberry Vanilla Jam, and Carrot Cake Jam. On the

savoury side, Rundell makes Bread & Butter Pickles, Sweet Garlic & Chili Ketchup, Dilled Carrots, Candied Chilies, and Salsa Roja. She also makes some seasonal products, including Pickled Asparagus, Maple Rhubarb Jam, Wild Rose Lemonade Jelly, and Garlic Scape Relish. It’s not just the local ingredients that make the food from Preserved stand out. Rundell has over ten years of experience as a chef alongside a lifelong passion for cooking, and brings that experience to her foods. With a background in fine dining, having worked at The Ranche and at Rouge – both in Calgary, Rundell was able to build relationships with local producers and work with the food they grow. She explains, “Between those two restaurants I learned first hand that the closer you are located to the ingredients you use, the better your food will taste. Food loses its nutrients the longer it has

been off the plant, and at the end of the day it’s the nutrients in those foods that taste so good. It's why a fresh garden strawberry is exponentially tastier than a strawberry shipped across the continent. Our farmers work hard and it shows in their quality.” Another Alberta business showing off the province's culinary culture, is Andys Beef Jerky in Edmonton. Of course we’re renowned for our high quality beef, and for over ten years Andys has been using that beef to craft delicious, artisanal jerky. In addition to their original beef jerky, Andys also boasts a wide variety of flavoured jerky, including peppered, teriyaki, maple, sweet & spicy, honey garlic, lava, and BBQ maple. Initially, owner Heidi Mirander was not fond of beef jerky, finding the average store-bought variety to be too greasy, too salty, and too tough. However, Andy, a butcher friend, convinced Mirander to

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try some jerky that he had made in his backyard smoker. “After a little coaxing, I sampled his peppered flavour, and it was outstanding! It was soft and easy to chew, not salty and had an awesome flavour. I told Andy that he should sell this and make a business out of it.” What sets artisanal jerky apart from the store-bought varieties? According to Mirander, it’s the quality of the local beef, and the freshness of the jerky itself. As she says, “We proudly source local, certified and inspected beef, eye of round only, and we never freeze the beef, either before production or after; and no unpronounceable ingredients are used even though we are shelf stable.” Many of the common grocery store varieties of jerky are made up to six months prior to even seeing a grocery store shelf, whereas Andys prides itself on preparing fresh jerky on a weekly basis. “We handcraft our jerky fresh, each and every week and feel that this, and having the luxury of being able to source local beef and ingredients, enables our artisan jerky to rise above the others,” says Mirander. Calgary’s Cian’s Mustard, has been using the diversity of local Alberta produce to create handcrafted and artisanal mustards. Using their grandfather’s recipe, the folks at Cian’s Mustard were able to create a family business using not just locallysourced mustard grains, but other local ingredients, including yogurt, honey, spices, and even locally crafted beer.

Now we’re able to safely run our pairing dinners again, many evenings are selling out with waiting lists, so don’t delay in reserving your places. Fresh & Local Market & Kitchens World Taste & Tour Saturday September 4 It’s a fun, full and rewarding day of food and exploration at our World Taste Tour, with more than 15 different cuisines to discover - and there are spots for only nine teams of two open now!

“We are different to traditional mustards, going beyond ordinary mustard and vinegar. We use a variety of ingredients to maximize flavour to create a more nutritiously impactful, flavourful mustard,” says Cian’s Mustard’s Colina Clark. Using Greek yogurt as a base to cook the mustard in order to create a more savoury taste, additional ingredients are used to create a variety of flavour profiles, from their original recipe to other flavours like beer, honey, maple, medium, and hot. According to Clark, using locallysourced ingredients not only makes for a more marvelous mustard, but also contributes to the overall integrity of their products. “There is a person behind every product, not a machine. We are very fortunate to have cultivated relationships among our suppliers, farmers’ markets, and customers over the years, it is about community for us. That is what sets us apart from larger production companies; it is about the people.”

Vine & Dine at Fonda Fora Friday September 3, Saturday 11, and Thursday September 30 We’re delighted to be in the private dining room of this superb, authentic, new Yucatan restaurant inside the brand new, boutique, Westley Hotel, for three super delicious, 6-course pairing dinners in September! Vine & Dine at Yakima Saturday October 16, Friday October 22, and Saturday October 30 We’re back at Yakima for three delicious pairing evenings in October. One of our favourite chefs has now

Joel is a freelance writer and a self-described food-lover and home cooking enthusiast. He has a passion for travel, food, film, music, and culture.

taken over the helm in the kitchen, and we’re excited for his new pairing menu! Restaurants and menus are added regularly, so check out culinairemagazine.ca/events for details. Contact Linda Garson, linda@cuiairemagazine.ca, 403-870-9802 to book upcoming evenings, to host a private event for your business or family, and to request to join the exclusive list of people who hear about these very popular events before the rest of the city!


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A bottle of suds…

Fruit beers to hold onto summer with BY TOM FIRTH PHOTOS BY JASON DZIVER

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ruit-flavoured beers always get a little extra play around my house, I certainly enjoy one on a nice day, and my wife is pretty enthusiastic about certain fruits in her beer too. As harvest is upon us or right around the corner, we thought it fitting to share the good word about a few that might make those last few days of gardening a little more tolerable. While there are numerable criteria for what fruit-added beers should be like, or how they are made, we are covering a few styles where added fruit is a significant ingredient, and the added benefit is that most of these beers are locally made. Phillips Solaris White Peach Ale British Columbia Lots of people reach for hazy wheat beers on a hazy summer day, and coupled with the incredible, refreshing power of peaches, Phillips brings the goods. Positively bursting on the nose with fresh peach aromas, in the mouth the peach flavour is perfect, evoking fresh, handpicked fruit with no sweetness. Damn good. CSPC +802542 (4x473mL) $14-16

Wild Rose Wraspberry Ale, Alberta A well-loved locally made classic, Wraspberry is all about the fresh, tart flavour of real raspberries balancing a crisp ale. This is one of the original beers from way back when Wild Rose was one of the few craft breweries in the area (only in bombers!), and it’s essentially unchanged from those days. Why mess with perfection? CSPC +811383 (4x473mL) $14-16

Piston Broke Raspbiscus Fruit Blonde Ale, Alberta A very new brewery in Brooks, Alberta, Piston Broke has come out of the gate with some really well-made beers. A blonde ale with a little bit of extra colour, the flavours are raspberry with a touch of hibiscus, and managing to strike the right balance between smashable beer, tasty fruit, and a rather delicate touch with the hibiscus. Not too bad at all. Brewery primarily, (6x355mL) $15-17

Waterloo Watermelon Radler, Ontario Weighing in at a kindly 2.5 percent alcohol, radlers are in essence a beer that has been cut back with something non-alcoholic. Watermelon is also a notoriously difficult flavour to get bang on, so hats off to Waterloo for giving it a shot. Lighter, easy flavours evoking just a bit of bubblegum, and the right sort of alcohol that won’t put you right to sleep after a hard day in the yard. CSPC +847829 (473mL can) $3-4

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Campio Brewing Albertosourus Tart Fruit Ale, Alberta The newest (and fourth) brewery in the Bear Hill group, this is the only one in the lineup here that “looks” like it has a lot of fruit. An earthy, slightly cloudy raspberry colour, the “-Sourus” had me a little worried at first as it’s not my typical preference. Fears allayed completely though when enjoying the pressed-juiciness of the fruit with a rocking tartness and balanced sourness. Very nice to enjoy while minding the grill, don’t drink this too cold. CSPC +846078 (6x355mL) $15-17 Hard Knox MvP Mango Peach Pale Ale, Alberta A hop, skip, and a jump away from South Calgary in Black Diamond, Hard Knox makes some of my local favourites especially when touring the countryside. The M.v.P. has its work cut out for it with the “mean” mango and the “sweet” peach supposedly fighting for dominance, but really, it’s more like a mango–peach BFF situation. Both fruits are fairly subtle, but definitely there and together offset a very nice core pale ale. Brewery primarily, (4x473mL) $14-16


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Giant Blue Hyssop AND THE FUTURE OF FOOD BY MORRIS LEMIRE

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his year’s unusual, late-may cold snap had me thinking about that one category in our gardens that we never worry about – native perennials. Stalwart children of the prairies and the foothills, they just keep on giving to the bees and butterflies, to the eye and the larder. They are hardy, resilient, low maintenance, aesthetic, pollinators, and on top of all that - many of them are edible. As our climate changes and once-familiar habitats are altered, we will need a bank of food plants capable of adapting to new growing conditions. Farmers have known for well over a generation that once-reliable environments are in flux, causing uncertainty in agriculture from seed procurement to insurance rates. Tea and coffee growers are planting at higher altitudes, seeking cooler growing conditions. It’s high time we got to work on a future plan that will replace the madness of flying cucumbers in from Mexico. It makes sense to start growing plants that are multi-use,

32 Culinaire | September 2021

providing us with more than one purpose. Native perennials fit the bill; they possess what I call call the power of three: beautiful, delicious, and bee magnets, all in one plant. Giant blue hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is native to the prairies, and but one example. Support for native pollinators, on its own, justifies our growing of Giant Blue Hyssop.* Giant Blue Hyssop was used by indigenous people across western North America as medicine, in ceremonies and for food. The Cree people call it Ka-wīkīpăkahk. But except for its occasional use as a garden ornamental, it was not adopted by European settlers, and has not become a staple of our present day cuisine. If you are one of the lucky few that has it in your flowerbed, by all means keep it there. It is beautiful, if not as showy as some of those ‘look-at-me darlings’ from other continents that our local bees never land on. But to maximize its gifts, you may want to also think of it as a culinary herb. For several years, I have been growing Giant Blue Hyssop


SUGGESTIONS FOR USING GIANT BLUE HYSSOP HYSSOP TEA: It is best to harvest the leaves at least six weeks after the plant emerges, but before it blooms. In Alberta, this generally means mid June to early July. Too soon and it hasn’t developed enough flavour, too late and the plant’s energy goes into flowering and the flavours become a bit subdued. This is also a good time to pick the leaves for drying. When it does flower you can use the flower to enhance tea, but remember to leave enough for the bees. I tried several methods for drying hyssop leaf and found the best method was air-drying in a cool dark pantry, cut and hung upside down. Drying it in full sun, wok frying, bamboo basket steaming, and even low heat dehydration, didn’t contribute any results that were worth the extra effort. The key to making a good pot of herbal tea from Giant Blue Hyssop leaves, either fresh leaf or dried, lies in the steeping temperature of the filtered water; as with green tea, 80° C to 82° C works best; at 100° C the subtle anise and mint flavours are muted. OMELETTES: A perfect match, with one cautionary note: add the leaf to the egg mix rather than to the onion or mushroom sauté stage. SALADS: Hyssop leaf works as an addition to potato salad, pasta salads, rice salads, and most particularly, in fruit salad. It also pairs well with cucumber and zucchini.

and finding different ways of using it in the kitchen. It is a relative of the mint family, yet milder, with subtle flavours of anise and lavender. For comparison, it is milder than lovage, parsley, sorrel, or tarragon. Like many herbs, it requires a gentle touch; the less you mess with it the better, which is why it works well as a generous garnish in cold cucumber soup. High heat drains it, and its subtle flavours are lost in hot stirfries, or day-long stews. This Alberta perennial is easy to grow and even easier to care for. You can propagate it from seed, or from a clump of root. In full sun, it will reach about a metre high, so plant it as a backdrop. With bumblebees in mind, plant a bed about a metre in diameter. Bees locate plants using ultra-violet light so the bigger the patch, the brighter the glow. Source Giant Blue Hyssop from nurseries that don’t use neonicotinoids, an insecticide that kills bees. The Alberta Information Management System (ACIMS) ranks Hyssop as an S4 plant: secure, but not common. This suggests we forego digging up plant stock in the wild, and look to nurseries or local native plant societies for our plants.

Morris Lemire lives in Edmonton where he likes to cook, garden and write. He depends on the excellent service and resources of the Edmonton Public Library, without which he would be lost.

SOUPS: Giant Blue Hyssop complements cream soups beautifully. Stir it in a few minutes before serving. It also works well in hot soups if (wait for it) you add it closer to the end. JELLY: If you wish to try Agastache in a jelly, follow a recipe for a herb jelly, such as basil. David and Rose Mabey recommend using apple jelly as the base, adding the herb, in our case hyssop, late in the process. Hyssop jelly pairs well with roast chicken, or pork. TAFFY: After much playing around, what I ended up with was candy. You can keep the cooked leaf in for texture, or strain it out for clearer taffy and better optics. (Don’t ask!) SYRUPS AND SHRUBS: Hyssop leaf lends itself perfectly to cold extraction methods, making it an ideal herb for cocktail syrups, smoothies and shrubs. Have fun experimenting with this one. CUT FLOWERS: Agastache makes a lovely addition to a bouquet. It also works very well as a dried flower, but again, leave enough for the bees. * Fitch, Lorne. P. Biol. A short List on the Virtues of Native Plants. edmontonnativeplantgroup.org

September 2021 | Culinaire 33


Alberta Distilleries Get Crafty BY DAVID NUTTALL

From left to right: Last Best Brewing and Distilling, Lone Pine Distilling Inc., Two Rivers Distillery

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f you have spent any time in a liquor store or bar in Alberta in the past couple of years, you should have noticed a whole array of new local spirits available. Much like the craft brewing scene, the artisanal distilling landscape is changing too. While not growing at quite the same rate as the breweries have been, there are now a significant number of new craft distilleries, all less than a decade old, located throughout the province. To be honest, Alberta has never been a bastion of distilling in its almost 120 years, due to several factors. It started with a small population that grew as World War I began, followed by provincial prohibition (1916-23), the Great Depression through the 1930s, World War II, and a ruling Social Credit government (1935-71) who cared very little for the promotion of alcohol during their reign. So it fell to the major distilleries of Ontario and Quebec to keep Albertans supplied with all the liquor they needed that wasn’t coming out of illegal stills somewhere out there on the back forty. While Alberta had supported numerous breweries since the 1890s, it wasn’t

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until 1946 that Alberta Distillers (ADL) opened in Calgary. It took almost another 30 years before Palliser (now Black Velvet) Distillery was established in Lethbridge in 1973, and Sunnyvale (now Highwood) Distillers opened the following year in High River. While ADL and Black Velvet are now part of multinational conglomerates, Highwood continues to be privately owned. Four more decades passed before Alberta saw its first craft distilleries, made possible when the provincial government dropped the minimum production requirement in December 2013. Once green lit, numerous breweries and distilleries made applications. While breweries began operating almost immediately, distilleries needed a little more time. Because a distillery produces alcohol at a higher proof than a brewery, they have a few added licensing requirements and different guidelines for construction, fire codes, and safety, which add time and additional costs. First out of the gate was Eau Claire Distillery, opening in a former theatre in Turner Valley in 2014. It began, as do almost all distilleries, with gin and

vodka, but with an effort to use as many local ingredients as possible. As brewers already knew, Alberta is a treasure trove of natural resources for alcohol. World class grains such as barley, rye, oats, wheat, and corn are all around. Botanicals, honey, fruit, and the whatnots needed for spirits are mostly locally grown. Eau Claire also started exploring how terroir affected flavour, and consulted with local farmers directly. Since 2014 over 50 new distilleries have popped up in communities of all sizes. When Strathcona Spirits opened in Edmonton in 2016, they became the city’s first, and therefore the oldest, distillery. They also advertise as being the smallest producer in North America, operating out of a 740 square-foot facility just south of Whyte Avenue. The advantage of being a small producer is you can make multiple varieties of products; the disadvantage being, of course, is that it is only a small amount of each. However, since today’s consumer seems to demand variety and loves experimentation and shopping local, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Variety was taken to the extreme by Calgary’s Last Best Brewing and Distilling


in 2018, when distiller Bryce Parsons created a different gin each week of the year under the company's #gincrazeyyc banner. Producing 52 gins is certainly not the norm for any distillery, but it shows craft producers will experiment, create, and develop special editions, seasonal offerings, collaborations, small batches, or simply whatever strikes their fancy. Since proper whisky must be aged three years in Canada, new companies need other products to sell while waiting. Vodka, gin, moonshine, liqueurs, and unaged whisky and rum are the norm, but different distilleries will play to their strengths, so you will also find absinthe, brandy, amaro, aperitifs, grappa, and yes, even hand sanitizer, being produced. Now, with premixed cocktails, coolers of all kinds, and hard iced teas becoming trendy, many distillers are developing their own versions. So where do Alberta craft distillers go from here? There is so much potential that there is no single answer. All these craft distilleries are in their infancy and haven’t even had time to develop all their planned products. While breweries can make beer in about a month, many spirits take months or even years to mature. Add in an unexpected pandemic that has affected every aspect of their existence, from the supply of ingredients, to packaging and shipping, to their customer base, and most craft distilleries will tell you they don’t even know what normal is yet. However, with the continued growth of the cocktail culture, the return of tourism, the reopening of their tasting rooms to full capacity, and the consumer’s continued desire for quality regional products, the future looks bright. Alberta distilleries are already winning international awards, so soon they won’t be just a local secret. As public tastings return, expect to see these distilleries at everything from festivals and farmer’s markets to your local liquor stores. Search them out and pay them a visit for a tasting and a tour. You’ll be impressed with what you find.

David has worked in liquor since the late 1980s. He is a freelance writer, beer judge, speaker, and since 2014, has run Brew Ed monthly beer education classes in Calgary. Follow @abfbrewed.

Here is a list of distilleries operating in Alberta with their location and website. Most have tasting rooms and many offer tours. As always, check beforehand for opening hours and availability. Visit them if possible, and see what an incredible selection of sprits are produced in this province. Many of their products are available in liquor stores, but some are only offered online or at the distillery. 57 North Kitchen Brewery Distillery Fort McMurray, 57north.ca Alberta Distillers Limited Calgary, albertadistillers.com Back 40 Distillery Inc., Camrose, back40distillery.com Birds & Bees Organic Winery Meadery and Distillery, Brosseau, birdsandbeesalcohol.com Black Diamond Distillery, St. Albert blackdiamonddistillery.com Black Velvet Distilling Company, Lethbridge blackvelvetwhisky.com Bragg Creek Distillers, Bragg Creek and Firehall Distillers, Okotoks twopineventures.com Bridgeland Distillery, Calgary bridgelanddistillery.com Broken Oak Distilling Co., Grand Prairie brokenoak.ca Broken Spirits Distillery, Calgary brokenspirits.ca Burwood Distillery, Calgary burwooddistillery.ca Canadian Beaver Brewing & Distilling Company Ltd. Brooks, on Facebook Cold Lake Brewing & Distilling Co. Cold Lake, coldlakebrewingdistilling.com Confluence Distilling, Calgary confluencedistilling.ca Copper Cork Distillery, Vermilion coppercorkdistillery.ca Crabbie Goat Distillery, Valleyview thecrabbiegoat.com Dark Sky Distillery, Sturgeon County darkskydistillery.ca Delta Brewstillery, Calgary deltabrewstillery.ca District Distillery Ltd., St. Albert Doege Company Ltd., Edmonton, doege.ca Eau Claire Distillery, Turner Valley eauclairedistillery.ca Elk Island Spirits Co., Sherwood Park elkislandspirits.com Fort Distillery, Fort Saskatchewan thefortdistillery.com Gnu Craft Spirits, Calgary gnucraftspirits.com Great Plains Craft Spirits, Calgary greatplainscraftspirits.com Greenwood Distillers, Sundre greenwooddistillers.ca Grit City Distillery, Medicine Hat, gritcity.ca

Hansen Distillery, Edmonton hansendistillery.com Hawke Prohibition Distilleries Sherwood Park, hawkeprohibition.com Highwood Distillers Ltd., High River highwood-distillers.com Krang Spirits Inc., Cochrane, on Facebook Last Best Brewing and Distilling, Calgary lastbestbrewing.com Latitude 55, Grande Prairie, latitude55.ca Lone Pine Distilling Inc., Edmonton lonepinedistilling.ca M D Distillery, St. Albert, mddistillery.com Park Distillery Restaurant & Bar, Banff parkdistillery.com Pivot Spirits Ltd., Rolling Hills pivotspirits.com Red Cup Distillery, Edmonton redcupdistillery.ca Rig Hand Craft Distillery, Nisku righanddistillery.com Rocky Mountain Bighorn Distillery Yellowhead County rockymountainbighorn.ca Romero Distilling Company, Calgary romerodistilling.com Royce Distilleries, Slave Lake, on Facebook Secret Barrel Distillery, Spruce Grove secretbarreldistillery.com Section 35 Farm Distillery, Viking sec35.com Skunkworks Distillery, Calgary skunkworksdistillery.com Stone Heart Distillery, Innisfail stoneheartdistillery.com Strathcona Spirits, Edmonton strathconaspirits.ca Summer Love Vodka/ Starr Distilling Calgary, summerlovevodka.com Tippa Inc., Okotoks, tippa.ca T-Rex Distillery, St. Albert, trexdistillery.ca Troubled Monk, Red Deer troubledmonk.com Two Rivers Distillery, Calgary tworiversdistillery.com West Of The 5th Distillery, Barrhead westofthe5th.com Whispering Dutchman Distillery, Cochrane whisperingdutchmandistillery.com White Lightning Distillery Inc., Barrhead County, whitelightningdistillery.com Wild Life Distillery, Canmore wildlifedistillery.ca September 2021 | Culinaire 35


September Spirits

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BY TOM FIRTH AND LINDA GARSON

eptember is such a wonderful month, in many ways it’s a return to normalcy – with back to school for many, the last days of vacations, and perhaps more time indoors on the horizon. Naturally, we hope many more days of warm weather are still to come as we coax the last out of our gardens and outdoor excursions before a toque is part of our attire. This month, we’ve selected a few spirits suited to both sunny afternoons and chilly evenings – we leave it to you to decide which is which.

Grace O’Malley Blended Irish Whiskey, Ireland Well, here’s something different – and super delicious! Grace O’Malley Blended Whiskey is unique in Ireland as it’s a blend of triple- and double-distilled malt whiskey aged in ex-rum barrels, and grain whiskey aged in ex-bourbon casks, with some aged in French oak too – but with a malt content of 46 percent. And you’ll know it when you sip and taste milk chocolate covered caramels with sweet vanilla and dried stone fruits – whoa, this is a lovely sipper. CSPC +848764 $54-57 Hartfield & Co Wheated Bourbon Kentucky, USA How crazy is it that Hartfield & Co. is the first licensed distillery in Bourbon County since prohibition in 1919, and still the only one - a craft, a small-batch, craft distillery using local ingredients. Made from corn with malted wheat, this whiskey has one heck of a nose – sweet, smoky, apricot… and a smooth, sweet and fruity palate with a little cigar. At 50 percent ABV, it opens up with a splash of water to reveal a sweet vanilla flavour. CSPC +825475 $90-97 Havana Club Cuban Smoky, Cuba It is about bloody time. Why haven’t we seen rich, island rum being partially aged in smoky, peaty Scotch whisky casks before? A natural match - the warming, caramel flavours of the rum with robust smoky, iodine and saline characters, and a very smooth and very balanced palate that marries the spirit and the cask well. Excellent neat or in simple mixed drinks, but Havana Club Cuban Smoky has the versatility to really elevate creative cocktails too. CSPC +836405 $47-49 36 Culinaire | September 2021

Grace O’Malley Irish Gin, Ireland From Westport, on Ireland’s west coast, this heather-infused gin is dedicated to local legend, Grace O’Malley – the infamous pirate queen born into Irish nobility in 1530. Close your eyes and take a deep breath, and you’re smelling that fresh, rain-washed, purple heather that covers much of County Mayo. You may taste other local botanicals: wild thyme, red clover, bilberry, and the salty rock samphire too. Enjoy it neat – like I did. CSPC +848766 $50-53 Romeo’s Gin X, Canada Romeo’s Gin X. stands out in an already crowded field of craft gins. Flavoured with watermelon and a touch of sweetness, it’s refreshingly not too gin-forward but shows off a wide range of botanicals and flavours, which evoke a bit of the Hubba Bubba rather than freshly cut melon. Should prove versatile in cocktails that need a softer expression of the spirit. CSPC +835317 $32-35 Kentucky Spirits Limited Rye Whiskey Barrel #2, USA Kentucky Spirits Limited only release single barrel whiskeys at barrel strength; their shtick is honesty and transparency, and the label says it all. Their second barrel rye whiskey was filled March 2015, and bottled nearly six years later. Made from 90 percent rye with 10 percent malted rye, it’s uncut and unfiltered, and at 55 percent ABV, it’s a complex, spicy tipple with a chocolate orange nose, and full of treacle, cocoa, and fruit cake flavours. You’ll want a splash of water to fully appreciate it. CSPC +846192 Around $82


MAKING THE CASE

Autumn is on its way By TOM FIRTH

September just might be my favourite month in Calgary. It’s rarely too hot during the day, but the chilly mornings and late evenings keep the insects from being too much bother, It is still nice enough for shorts during the day and outdoor recreation, but in the wee hours, it’s nice to have the patio heater or fire pit going, and enjoy a glass or two. For many, back to school brings a sense of normalcy, or at least a reason to head off to bed at a normal hour, but it’s a good opportunity to have some nice meals outdoors while the sun is still shining. This month, I’ve tried to cover a wide range of local and international bottles with some that evoke summer, and some that might help us prepare for the winter months. This month as well, we have a few non-alcoholic wines for those that might be foregoing a tipple, but still longing for something a little different. Find these wines by searching the CSPC code at Liquorconnect.com; your local liquor store can also use this code to order it for you. Prices are approximate.

La Doncella 2018 Rosado La Mancha, Spain

An almost bone-dry rosé hailing from La Mancha with cool, tasty flavours of generous fruits and mild herbaciousness. A blend of tempranillo, syrah, and merlot really work well here showing off a richer, more flavourful palate that is just at home on a back deck or with some salty snacks of the crunchy kind. Bloody good tipple for a hot day. CSPC +779200 about $20-22

Loxton Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Wine, Australia

There are a great many reasons why someone might opt for a non-alcoholic wine, and it’s wonderful to have more choices than ever before. Loxton’s sparkling wine is a little softer on the nose, letting delicious apple fruits and a touch of biscuit show through. The palate is all about fresh pressed apples, in a light, fresh expression that does lack a little of the body that alcohol can bring, but very refreshing. CSPC +900980 About $8-10

Tantalus 2020 Rosé, Okanagan Valley British Columbia

Tantalus might be deservedly well known for their incredible rieslings, but their rosé is noteworthy too. Made with pinot noir and pinot meunier, this summer-evoking rosé brings out the zesty orange and berry fruits that sing with the acids in this lovely, dry wine for these last warm days. CSPC +740513 $30-34

Tom is a freelance wine writer, wine consultant, and wine judge. He is the Managing Editor for Culinaire Magazine, and the Competition Director for the Alberta Beverage Awards. Follow him on twitter @cowtownwine, email tom@culinairemagazine.ca.

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Black Hills 2019 Nota Bene, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

As this iconic Okanagan Valley wine reaches the significant milestone of its 21st vintage, it is also a snapshot of the maturation of Canada’s premium wines. Merlot dominant for only the third time with cabernet sauvignon accounting for about a third of the blend and cabernet franc, and finally a touch of petit verdot to round things out, in some ways, this is a softer, more refined expression that should cellar with grace. CSPC +708073 $63-67


Cloudy Bay 2020 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, New Zealand

Peter Lehmann 2018 The Barossan Shiraz, Barossa, Australia

Submission 2019 Rosé, California

Greywacke 2019 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, New Zealand

Submission 2018 Red, California

A leaner, even meaner expression of New Zealand sauvignon blanc with a steely, mineral driven core to support the olive and gooseberry/melon rind perfume notes. While on the palate, its lean acids and drier, more leafy, grassy flavours than some other examples of the grape. Suited to a warm evening, and lighter fare that incorporates some lemon in the dish or as a garnish. CSPC +836710 About $26

Nothing wrong with finding a wellmade, red blend from California with no mention of specific grapes or appellations. Among other things, you know that value will be front and centre, and likely a clean, fruit-forward expression. Rich and fruit driven with medium body and rounded, open tannins, this is exactly a wine that manages to be a crowd pleaser, but not scare off the seasoned wine enthusiast at your gathering. CSPC +843677 About $26-28

Natte Valleij 2018 Cinsault, Coastal Region, South Africa

Tantalus 2018 Old Vines Riesling Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Spier 2018 21 Gables Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch, South Africa

The classic New Zealand sauvignon blanc is so distinctive, so expressive, and so unapologetic, it’s really quite remarkable. Cloudy Bay has long been one of the exemplars of this style of sauvignon blanc with bold as brass, grassy herbaciousness, melon, olive, and citrus, yet fresh and rather juicy on the palate too. A lovely glass for a sunny day. CSPC +737024 $38-41

The Old Vines riesling from Tantalus was long held as one of the benchmark rieslings of Canada, though it could lean towards being a little austere for most drinkers. The approach has softened a little in the intervening years, but what does one get from this vineyard site planted in 1978? Sleek, tart apple fruits, steely acids, and a textbook expression of minerality. Still a benchmark, and still a riesling lover’s riesling. CSPC +740496 $48-52

For those that didn’t know, Peter Lehmann was the Barossan, very much responsible for making the famous wine region what it is today, and helping make the style of Australian wine what it is. Rich, velvety berry fruits with a lavish amount of oak character and chocolate tones. Tannins are big, but silky, and overall, a full-bodied shiraz ready for a barbecue. CSPC +795102 $26-28

One of my favourite examples of chenin blanc, and one from South Africa too! Spier’s has a little oak presence, which is a little different, but it supports rather than takes away from the lemon and honey aromas and mild wooliness. Most importantly, the wine in the glass is balanced, and shows off the character of the grape with the body of a medium oak chardonnay. Lush, tasty, and fun. Try pairing with duck or bolder seafood. CSPC +260646 $30-33

A good rosé at the right temperature can chill the body and warm the soul, they should be a far greater part of our wine selections than they are. The Submission is a spicy blend of grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre showing off subtle, summery fruits, a good core of acid, and a crisp, clean finish. The sort of wine that begs for lighter seafood dishes, a salty appetizer, or a hot day. CSPC +846970 $26-28

Wine geeks rejoice! This is exactly the sort of wine that gets the palate excited. Made entirely from the little-known grape – cinsault and sourced across multiple vineyard sites and different vine ages and plantings. Wickedly floral with dusty strawberry, tart cherry, and peppercorn spices with a hefty dose of beautiful acids. A showstopper and something a little new under the wine sun. CSPC +836998 Around $29-33

Thomson & Scott Noughty Organic Sparkling Chardonnay, Germany

Part of an emerging trend of quality-focused, non-alcoholic or alcohol-free wines, comes Thomson & Scott with Noughty. The nose is fruit driven with a pleasing toastiness and mineral character, while on the palate, the fruits are clean and tart showing off a cider-apple flavour and good acids and mousse. The lack of alcohol is noticeable, but not something that is “missing” from the palate. A fine alternative for the table or for those abstaining. CSPC +847599 $22-24 September 2021 | Culinaire 39


E TC E TE R A . . . Tabasco Sriracha Sauce

Tabasco has been in the hot sauce game for more than 150 years, so they know a thing or two about keeping up with trends. The newest addition to their line-up is now available in Canada: a blend of sweet, spicy, and savoury flavours of Southeast Asia with their signature Tabasco brand heat, making for a sauce that goes with anything: we love it with chicken, Thai dishes, pizza, and eggs. And, as always, it’s vegan, halal, kosher, and non-GMO. 256 mL $5-6. Widely available.

Bridgeland Distillery Frosé

There’s still plenty of summer left to enjoy this delightfully refreshing, “Frozen Rosé” from Calgary’s Bridgeland Distillery. The dry, strawberry-hibiscus, garden mint wine cocktail is a rosé wine, fermented at the distillery and fortified with their grain spirit, and a little natural flavouring. We love everything about it – the name, the colour, and that you just pop it in the freezer for and hour and add ice, or soda to make it a longer drink. From the distillery or bridgelanddistillery.com. CSPC + 853421 $30.

Peace River Hot Honey

Hot honey is on trend, and after two years of development, the Wolfe family have launched three, hot Peace River Honey flavours: Hot Honey, Bourbon Hot Honey, and Pineapple Jalapeno, taking inspiration from their Friday family pizza nights where they enjoy slices covered in honey. We’ve tried them with charcuterie, roast and fried chicken, BBQ meats, bacon (mmm!), and on our own pizzas… and they’re winners! peaceriverhoney.co/shop to order and for stockists. 375 mL $10. 40 Culinaire | September 2021

Oat Canada

The popularity of dairy alternatives is on the increase, but while some oat milks say “unsweetened”, the sugar content can be substantial from the malt and oat starch. Eloise and Jamari Ambursley have a family history of diabetes, so they set about developing a zero sugar and keto-friendly oat milk, launching last year and impressing Dragon’s Den too! More akin to skimmed milk in texture, Oat Canada can be used for cooking and baking as well as in your coffee. 946 mL, widely available.

Sisters Story Coffee

We love food and drinks with a good story, and Sisters’ Story Coffee is one of the best. It’s a new Canadian organic and Fairtrade Certified coffee exclusively purchased from farms owned and operated by Indigenous women in the Andes of Northern Peru. These women experience violence, and have very little financial or decision-making power, despite carrying the majority of the workload in the home and in labour-intensive coffee production. This program enables them to grow and sell their own product, providing them with direct payment and a Fairtrade premium to invest in their businesses and communities - and 15% of each purchase supports 11 women’s charities in Alberta too! $15-17. To order 340g bags of dark or medium roast, and decaf too, see sistersstorycoffee.com.

Sesame Snaps Seeds & Grains Bars

We’re no strangers to those little packets of crunchy sesame seed snacks, so we were thrilled to taste test Sesame Snaps’ four new Seeds & Grain Bars. They’re longer than the classic bars, glutenfree, and all made with honey, puffed grains, and sesame seeds of course, but no artificial flavouring, colours or preservatives. Which will your favourite be – Millet and Honey, Amaranth and Honey, Quinoa and Honey, or Buckwheat and Honey? We like them all! Widely available.


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O PE N TH AT B OT TLE

...with James Grant BY LINDA GARSON PHOTO BY DONG KIM

B

orn in Melbourne, Australia to military parents, James Grant grew up moving every few years. He studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Alberta, but didn't know what to do with it afterwards. He’d worked in the service industry while at college - and really disliked it. ‘I told myself I'm never going to work in a bar or a restaurant again,’ says Grant. “I worked in public relations and communications, and thought ‘I'm okay at this, but I don't love it.’” Wanderlust set in, and he moved to England. “I figured I have five years experience and two degrees - if I can't get a job in communications, I should choose a different field. And I couldn't get a job. I sent out probably a hundred resumes and I never got a call back,” he says. He googled ‘bartender resume’, and sent out a fake resume. He’d never bartended, but Grant knew he could probably pull a pint and talk to people: “I sent out about 30. I got 25 callbacks the next day, had an interview the day after, and left with a job.” He was soon promoted to manager, but when he ran out of money, moved back to Edmonton. He was hired on at Woodwork and loved it. “It was creatively satisfying. I was looking after guests; I was showing them a great experience, and I was learning every day,” he says. “I realized that I'd found my calling. I completely forgot about doing communications work, and eventually I took over as bar manager at Woodwork.” He moved on to other bars until he recognized that Baijiu’s Little Hong Kong was perfect for a format he’d seen in Toronto - a bar with no menu. It forced him to develop different skills: “It was so rewarding and exciting, and fun.” The ownership asked him to open “Pablo,” a new high volume, cocktail lounge nightclub, which closed for the pandemic and he returned to Little Hong Kong. Within six months it became the

42 Culinaire | September 2021

highest ranked Edmonton bar. Grant started competing in local bartending contests five years ago; he lost a couple, came second, and then started winning everything he entered. He wasn’t prepared for his first WorldClass regionals in 2017, however. “I gave my best, and had a spectacularly poor showing,” he admits. “But I told myself ‘that's not how I'm going to be remembered in this competition.’ I came back the next year prepared and focused, and made the top four nationally, and then made it to this year's World-Class Regionals.” Now 36 years old, Grant decided that by the age of 40 he needed a secure future. “I treated it like a full-time job, and won the National Finals - always a dream of mine,” he says. “It's pretty overwhelming to think that my life has now changed in some very fundamental ways. Not only do I get to represent our community, but I also have the opportunity to engage with bartenders and cocktail culture all over the world, and bring that knowledge back to Edmonton.”

And what bottle does Grant have squirreled away? When you win the World-Class Nationals, you're given a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue label. “The first year that I came really close, the restaurant made it to the final four and I saw my friend was handed a bottle of Blue Label. At that moment I said, ‘I'm never going to buy a bottle of Blue Label, but I'm going to win a bottle of Blue Label.’ And I've never bought one, but I certainly have one,” he smiles. “That bottle means much more to me now. It’s such a beautiful, luxurious, wonderful whiskey, and I've been fortunate to have it in a lot of wonderful contests. We certainly opened a bottle of it after I won in Toronto, and we were able to share it as a team, but to me that bottle represents so much persistence and tenacity, a desire to consistently improve year over year and prove something to myself - and to show that I could get to that level on my own terms. It's a very meaningful bottle to me, and it's quite precious.”


M AST ERFULLY BLENDED Dis t i n c t l y C a n a di a n A NEW RETRO LOOK TO CELEBRATE A HISTORIC CANADIAN TREASURE. From its creation in 1913, Seagram’s VO has been renowned as “Canada’s Finest” and is often regarded as one of Canada’s best known and most successful whiskies. Its delicate, complex character is the culmination of years of patient experience and creativity of the Master Blender. It is with this craft and skill that we can guarantee the consistent high-quality of Seagram’s VO. Best enjoyed over ice or with ginger & lime. PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY. THE VO DISTILLING COMPANY, TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA.


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Profile for Culinaire Magazine

Culinaire #10.4 (September 2021)  

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