Culinaire #11.8 (January-February 2023)

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ALBERTA / FOOD & DRINK / RECIPES JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2023 Charcuterie Boards | Beer and Wine Festivals | Winter Drinks
HIGH PERFORMANCE RODEO CALGARY’S INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS ONE YELLOW RABBIT’S HPRODEO.CA 37TH ANNUAL JAN.16.2023 – FEB.05.2023 3 WEEKS. 6 CO-PRESENTING PARTNERS. 12 VENUES. 26 SHOWS. 115 PERFORMANCES. 150 ARTISTS. NOW ON SALE TICKETS
January/February 2023 | Culinaire 3 contents departments 6 Salutes and Shout Outs News from Alberta’s culinary scene 8 Off the Menu The Artist Lounge Halloumi Cheese with Tomato Jam 9 Book Reviews Two new Alberta cookbooks 10 Chefs’ Tips and Tricks Say Cheese! 34 Making the Case Wines for a cold winter’s evening 36 Etcetera... Five restaurant quality Canadian sauces 38 Open That Bottle With Calgary Herald’s wine writer – Darren Oleksyn We love charcuterie boards - grazing on our own while bingeing a Netflix series, relaxing with a significant other and snuggled in front of the fire, celebrating birthdays and breakups with girlfriends, or solving the world’s problems with old friends. Many thanks to Natalie Findlay for the photograph of her beautifully styled board gracing our cover this issue. ON THE COVER Volume 11 / No. 7 / January/February 2023 13 Decoding Michelin What does the guide’s arrival in Canada mean for our restaurants? by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth 16 Better Than Take-Out: Garlicky fried rice with peas and bacon by Renée Kohlman 18 Partake: Low on alcohol, high on flavour by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth 20 “Board” For Valentine’s Day Just as easy as ordering out but so much more fun! by Natalie Findlay 22 January/February Spirits Whiskies for nestling up – or Robbie Burns Day? by Tom Firth and Linda Garson 24 Start it up New Year, new culinary business by Shelley Boettcher 26 Country Flatbread The versatile cracker: dip it, dunk it, snack it by Morris Lemire 28 Rum Retakes the Limelight Quality rums abound, and these days they can be enjoyed neat by Tom Firth 30 Find Your Festival in 2023 Some of the major beverage festivals in the next six months by David Nuttall 32 Great Bottles at Itty-Bitty Prices We’ve scoured the results of our 2022 Alberta Beverage Awards for well-priced wines that over deliver by Tom Firth 14 8 6

new year, a new start, and time to look forward to all the good things to come this year – well, it has to be more promising than the last few years, doesn’t it?

We are so lucky to live in Alberta – the ‘can do’ province. Even when times are tough and we’re down, we’re not out. We’re regrouping, rebuilding, and setting everything in motion, preparing for the next ‘up’. We know it’s coming…

It makes me want to support our local producers more than ever before; to play my part in helping along their success, however small or large, new or wellestablished. We get a lot of products to try from all over the country and all over the world, but on these pages, we’ll always be highlighting good local products and businesses first.

The last few years have seen a spike in talented people working from home and using that time to create new specialty culinary businesses from their hobbies and pastimes. If you, or someone close, is thinking of starting a new food or beverage business, we have some tips to avoid the pitfalls and help you on your way to success in this issue.

We regularly include food and drink trends at this time of year, and as someone who is fortunate to be invited to try out and eat in new restaurants so we can tell you about the good ones, I spot similarities. We haven’t included a trends article this issue, but I can tell you here that halloumi cheese, souffle pancakes,

and Basque cheesecakes are certainly having a moment, and pizza ovens and pasta machines must be hot commodities as it seems the majority of restaurants I visited late last year are proudly making pizzas as well as their own pasta, to appeal to a wider audience.

Later this month on January 22, when we’ve had a chance to recover from the excesses of the holidays, it’s the Lunar New Year - and another two weeks of indulgence.

Wishing you a very happy Year of the Rabbit. Gung hay fat choy!

Linda, Editor-in-Chief

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
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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

Our contributors

Shelley Boettcher

Shelley is an awardwinning Calgary-based writer and editor whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world. She’s the author of the best-selling books, Uncorked: The Definitive Guide to Alberta's Best Wines $25 and Under. If Shelley’s not drinking wine, she's probably drinking coffee. Visit drinkwithme.com for her food, wine and spirits exploits, or Twitter @shelley_wine, Instagram @shelleyboettcher.

Morris Lemire

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

Morris lives in Edmonton where he spends summers gardening organically with no digging; he sees each soil profile as having its own purpose. A keen cross-country skier, he likes winter, in part, because citrus is plentiful. He uses citrus in everything from preserved lemons to tagines, cocktails, to cookies. Morris was in the wine trade for 25 years, and lucky to have travelled enough to know that Alberta is a very special place.

Renée Kohlman

Renée is a professional cook and baker, freelance food writer and columnist for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. She's also the author of two best-selling cookbooks: All the Sweet Things (TouchWood Editions, 2017) and her most recent Vegetables: A Love Story (TouchWood Editions 2021). Renée lives in Saskatoon and you can find her every weekend at the Farmers’ Market where she sells her jumbo gourmet cookies.

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Great things are happening after hours at Calgary’s Lina’s Italian Mercato. When the Elbow Drive store closes, there’s new life in the form of Lina’s Cucina – a Friday and Saturday night pop-up by Aussie pasta master, Christopher Hyde. He’s rightly very proud of his handmade pasta - it’s some of the best in the city! There are starters and desserts too, but we advise relishing as many of the superb pasta dishes as you can, you’ll thank us. And there’s more! After store hours on Thursdays, Pizza and Destroy pop up takes over the kitchen, and we were blown away by Scott Heine's deep-dish, Detroit-style pizzas (and we’re usually thin-crust pizza eaters!). There’s a noteworthy pepperoni potato salad too, and local beers. linasmarket.com/linas-cucina

Century Hospitality Group’s Birdog is open, their third restaurant in Edmonton’s core. Planned to complement the downtown food scene, this new upscale restaurant and bar has a cool – and warm - hotel lobby feel and a menu of “global fare”. Occupying Bottega 104’s old location, and with the 880º pizza oven still in place, pizzas feature prominently, alongside steaks (a 44 oz bone-in Tomahawk with bone marrow!), salads, and share starters. There are cocktails and a curated wine list, and a private dining room for 12 people. 10181 104 Street, centuryhospitality.com/birdog

Bluebird Restaurant now offers daily breakfasts and lunch. Banff Hospitality Collection’s newest restaurant opened in September, and now we’ve visited ourselves, we can tell you about it! Built in 1908, the ex-Melissa’s Missteak house has had an extensive refurbishment, and is mountain chalet-

chic gorgeous. On two levels, the beautiful 50-foot fireplace takes pride of place. There are two bars and a lounge, and upstairs can be sectioned into smaller private rooms. Montreal chef, Konstantin Chakhnovwhere has created the menu for this ‘wood-fired steakhouse’ overseen by corporate chef Justin Leboe, and steak certainly features prominently, with prime rib the centrepiece, but crab and shrimp Louie, lobster bucatini, and wood-grilled arctic char are also calling our name. There’s a good choice of wine and local beer, as well as excellent cocktails, and now a hearty mountain brunch menu. 218 Lynx Street, bluebirdbanff.com

Chef Ryan Blackwell is back in Calgary and has opened a new restaurant. Named for the genus of olive trees, Olea is a new concept from the Sensei Bar team, focusing on cuisine from France, Italy, and Spain. With only nine months planning, Frank Architecture have captured the mood, with light wood and tiles, and an open kitchen with a Forno oven. Olea is casual and approachable, with something for everyone – including the kids - on the timeless sharing menu (don’t miss the mushroom baklava). The Neopolitan pizza dough gets a three-day ferment, and the pasta machine for all the housemade pastas was brought over from Italy. Amane Kanai has curated his small wine and cocktail program to complement the menu too, and there’s a west-facing, winterproof patio! 1520 14 Street SW, oleayyc.com

Lebanon meets Italy at Edmonton’s Forno Flatbread Co. This clever new concept is based around man’ousheh –thin, baked flatbreads with crispy edges and your choice of meat, cheese, and

veggie toppings. Also on offer are ten delicious 12-inch pizzas, Pick & Roll wraps in fresh pita dough, and a selection of bowls, and dips. 3418 99 Street NW. facebook.com/fornoflatbreadco

Take a Hike Market is open in Canmore- the brainchild of Chef Jonathan Duguay and Amanda Winston, who are serving up comfort food meals as well as clever grab-and-go (just defrost and heat the bag in water) campfire-ready meals of brisket, lemon thyme chicken, and grandma’s meatballs, for your mountain adventure or in your cabin. Pick up charcuterie and cheese (try before you buy!) from the market, and grocery items from local chefs and artisans. They cater too in Canmore, Banff, and the Bow Valley. Inside Solara Resort and Spa at 269, 187 Kananaskis Way, takeahikemarket.ca

Calgary’s Concorde Group are on a winning streak, and we’re sure new Barbarella Bar will be another huge hit. The old Scotiabank on 8 Avenue SW houses this casual, two-storey, ‘Amalfi Coast with a bit of California’ restaurant, totally transformed by Frank Architecture, with floor to ceiling windows that open onto the street and create a light, bright and airy feel. There’s a private dining room for 24 people, the “Living Room” has corner couches for 10 people, and there are three huge red fireplaces. Chef Jeremy Medina and his team have created a menu that everyone will enjoy, with in-house made

6 Culinaire | January/February 2023
SALUTES & SHOUT OUTS

pasta (the pasta making kitchen seats 11 people!) and pizzas. Brad Royale’s wine list tilts Italian and American, and there are 18 taps of mostly Canadian beer with 6 cocktails on tap too. Happy hour will be busy with 50 percent off the entire drinks list and half price pizzas, and in summer the 100+ seat wraparound patio will be the place to be! barbarellabar.ca

Edmonton’s Smokin’ Barrels has opened Tropical Sweets Café - but it’s not all sweet! This Mexican-Columbian menu includes hot dogs and tamales, arepas and empanadas, fresh-baked filled croissants, as well as sweet and savoury yuca waffles! 10235 124 Street, Unit 100B. tropicalsweets.cafe

Claudio and May Carnali are no strangers to Calgary’s restaurant scene. We’ve enjoyed Da Paolo, Il Gallo Nero, and Buon Giorno, and now they’ve taken over Bridgeland’s LDV Pizza Bar, where they’re serving traditional Italian fare of truffle pate crostini, Mozzarella Fritte, and Italian fries finished in the oven with rosemary, parmesan, and garlic (yes please!), as well as a handful of pastas and 10 pizzas (try the San Francesco and Crazy Calabrese!). Italian-trained chef, nephew Alessio, has joined the team in the kitchen too. Two 25-seat private rooms are ready for events… 916 1 Ave NE, ldvpizza.com

Calgary’s Winebar Kensington has a new look. After 14 years as a happy customer, Jerry Troha made an offer, and now has his first restaurant! Original

Winebar chef, Phil Turner, is still here changing the menu often – sometimes daily - and making the bread and fresh pasta, preserves, and pickles! They take what they do seriously at Winebar but don’t take themselves seriously; it’s unstuffy, and now more modern looking with new brickwork, furniture, décor, and local artwork on the walls. winebarkensington.com

A third Edmonton location for The Mash! Not content with five craft beer and pizza joints in Calgary and two in Edmonton, Cochrane’s Half Hitch Brewing’s, The Mash, is celebrated for using the spent grain from the brewing process for their pizza dough, and now they’ve added Old Strathcona to their roster, at 10402 82 Avenue. masheats.ca

Lil Empire is growing! With very popular locations inside Annex Ale and in Bridgeland, Lil Empire now have a third Calgary location in Capitol Hill, at 1837 20 Avenue NW. For excellent quality beef- and plant-based burgers, Spicy Korean and Classic Crunch chicken sandwiches, a choice of dogs, addictive chili cheese fries and dirty fries, and plenty of saucy add-ons too. lilempireburger.com

There’s no stopping Love Pizza! Husband and wife team, Gavin Fedorak and Braede Harris have now opened their 5th location in Edmonton’s Heritage Valley Town Centre at 2812 James Mowatt Trail. Celebrating their seventh anniversary this month, Love Pizza has fast become a hotspot with weekly specials, keto crust options, and a tater tot menu. lovepizza.ca

The University District is home for Calgary’s second Fuwa Fuwa café. Meaning “fluffy fluffy”, Fuwa Fuwa launched in Ontario five years ago, and have two cafés in Edmonton and one

in Kensington. Michelle Ta and Kris Kitwattana have opened at 3945 University Avenue NW, and in addition to seriously good soufflé pancakes, roll cakes (glutenfree on offer too), macarons stuffed with fruit jam, and Basque cheesecake, it’s the first in Western Canada to feature a selection of ‘croffles’ - croissant-waffles. fuwafuwapancakes.com

Calgary gets its first Oodle Noodle location. Launched in 2005, Edmonton and the north have been keeping it all to themselves, and now Ronnie and Sam Singh have opened Oodle Noodle’s 18th location, and the first in Calgary, at 1244 17 Avenue SW. There’s a wide choice of dishes on the menu, and a feel-good factor as they’re community minded and donate thousands of pounds of food to local organizations in need. oodlenoodle.ca

Big Fish-Open Range are now open in Calgary’s Marda Loop. The stars were aligned for Chef Saravanan Balasubramani when he seized the opportunity to open his new restaurant in the ex-Pubblico space at 2018 33rd Ave SW. It’s a different vibe to the Renfrew restaurant and 3-4 times the size, allowing more bar space and a bigger kitchen to offer more options: land and sea in one menu with veggie, vegan, and healthy dishes, a kid’s menu, daily features, and a liquor program to be proud of matching the same high quality of the food program. Upscale yet casual, there’s a 30 seat private dining room upstairs, and free underground heated parking. Lunch and dinner, with all-day Sunday and daily happy hours. bigfishopenrange.ca

Do you have a notable achievement we should know about? A new opening, launch, rebrand, or accolade? Email us at info@culinairemagazine.ca!

January/February 2023 | Culinaire 7
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Halloumi Cheese with Tomato Jam

The Artist Lounge Halloumi Cheese with Tomato Jam

Serves 5-6

2 320g packs halloumi cheese

Olive Oil

Fresh basil, chiffonade

Tomato Jam

½ cup white onion, diced

1½ tsp (8 mL) olive oil

1½ tsp roasted garlic

300 g fresh roma tomatoes, deseeded and diced

½ cups white sugar

2 Tbs (30 mL) white vinegar

¼ tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1½ tsp (8 mL) lime juice

1½ tsp chipotle peppers puréed (1 pepper)

1. For the tomato jam, in a pot sauté the white onions in olive oil until translucent (roughly 3 minutes) and after 2 minutes add the garlic for last minute.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and cook until almost all the liquid is gone (roughly 20 minutes).

3. Cut each block of halloumi cheese into 6 pieces.

Last summer we ran two delicious pairing dinners at the newly opened Artist Lounge. The Halloumi cheese with Tomato Jam was so popular that we kept it on the menu for both dinners!

Many thanks to Judy for requesting the recipe (and for the very kind words) and thanks very much to The Artist Lounge Head Chef Trent Bochek for generously sharing his recipe! We couldn’t resist asking once we saw Judy’s email!

“Hi, Linda.

We enjoyed last night. My favourite was the halloumi with tomato jam and fresh basil. Could I make a request for the recipe for this dish – especially the tomato jam which was simply delicious? Thanks again for contributing so much to the food and wine scene in Calgary. You do a great job!

Cheers, Judy H, Calgary.”

4. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a frying pan. Grill halloumi on medium heat for roughly 1½ minutes per side or until golden brown. Do not overcrowd pan. Alternatively, as the cheese doesn’t melt you could cook it on a grill.

5. Spoon enough cold tomato jam on top to cover the cheese and finish with fresh chiffonade basil.

If there’s a dish in a restaurant in Alberta that you’d love to make at home, let us know at info@culinairemagazine.ca, and we’ll do our very best to track down the recipe for you!

8 Culinaire | January/February 2023 OFF THE MENU

You Are Human and You Need Cake

Over the holidays, my extended family was able to get together here and there for some much needed – and much missed - time to connect. While getting together often means food is part of the equation, whether it’s an afternoon affair or a full-blown dinner event, we often talk about cooking, recipes, and yes – cookbooks.

Julie Van Rosendaal has been a consistent, and stalwart fixture in Calgary’s culinary scene for some time, and has been publishing timely, relevant and often delectable dishes and observations for readers, listeners, and otherwise food enthusiasts for quite a few years. You Are Human and You Need Cake was borne out of some hateful comments, but Van Rosendaal turned some of those comments around and made it about why

we “need” cake. Maybe we don’t “need” cake, but we certainly at times “need” to have a cake-appropriate occasion – and that time can and should be happening more often.

Accompanied by as always excellent images of all the recipes, the book is divided into five very broad and sometimes overlapping categories, such as chocolate cakes, or cakes with fruits, even fancy-ish cakes and morning cakes, but if one were to feel the need to enjoy a good cake, you might as well make or serve a cake you like.

Ranging from a pumpkin torte with maple cookie crust (p.84) which has some surprising connections, but might skirt the definition of cake too. Baked Alaska (p.73) which always seems too tricky to pull off, and what seems like possibly the best carrot cake you never knew you needed

Chef Eats: Recipes and Techniques

Have you ever wanted to cook chef-quality food but not work in a restaurant kitchen? I’m always excited to see cookbooks from local people, and after reading Chef Eats, Calgary Chef Alison MacNeil (in collaboration with her chef husband John MacNeil), has me believing that I can elevate my cooking skills to make these dishes too. She breaks down the steps so simply, that you’ll feel confident making your own salted butter (p.11) and curing your own bresaola (p.29) and think “I can do that!”

MacNeil starts with a glossary of specialty equipment and ingredients, and explains what they are and why we need them, and splits the recipes into four chapters – the stations she worked to master in professional kitchens. She sensibly includes lined blank pages for notes, so you don’t

have to scribble on the recipe pages, and each dish is accompanied by her stunning photography, with small inset photographs too showing how it looks at different stages. I can almost taste the Bison Lasagne (p.66) from looking at the mouth-watering photo.

Home-style cooking and comfort food are MacNeil’s speciality (John’s is more fine dining), and both are here. She takes us through elemental skills of professional pastry making, pasta making, and stocks, and then uses those recipes as a base for the more ‘chef-fy’ dishes. Her Steelhead Trout en Papillote (p.84) and Chicken Pot Pie (p. 94) look to be real winners, and there’s a recipe for Faux Apple Pie (p.121) that doesn’t contain apples, (it’s made with a vegetable, and I’ll let you read the book to find out which) - evidently you’d never know!

(p.63), A Jos Louis cake (p.53)!, plus Bundt cakes, chocolate cakes, shortcakes and so many more.

We might not all need yet another cookbook, or even one dedicated to cakes, but if your roster of cakes or special occasion recipes is some tatty pages printed out or culled from old family books, you might want to check this one out and find a few more opportunities to let your friends or family - eat cake. TF

There are several steps in the Strawberry and Cream Terrarium (p.127), but I can imagine your guest’s faces when you serve it at your next dinner party. MacNeil even includes her recipe from their Black Pig restaurant for the delicious Pumpkin Sticky Toffee Pudding (p.131), a must-try!

The book ends with a few drink recipes - some simple, like Vermouth (p.135) and some more daunting, such as Chanterelle Mushroom-infused Vodka Caesar (p.141)and she still makes us believe we can make them too. LG

January/February 2023 | Culinaire 9
BOOK REVIEW BY TOM FIRTH AND LINDA GARSON

Say Cheese!

Perhaps one of the longest, continuous love affairs in gastronomy is that between humans and cheese. For more than 7,000 years we’ve been creating wheels and blocks and logs and balls of this dairy product. Old or young, hard or soft, ripened or fresh; any way you melt, slice, dice, shred, or crumble it, the varieties available and the uses for cheese are limited only by imagination.

This time of year, we’re all about comfort foods – the cheesier the better. We asked Alberta chefs for their fromage-forward faves, and we’re excited to share them with you this month, from smooth burrata and stone fruits, to a familiar Italian dish with some downunder flair.

The menu at Edmonton’s Dalla Tavola Zenari is rooted in approachable Italian comfort food, something that inspires Chef Elisa Zenari. “Food in my mind is about sharing love and it doesn't have to be complicated,” she adds. It’s a concept that goes back to the Italian tradition of cucina povera – peasant cooking. “Uplifting inexpensive cuts of meat or using simple ingredients and making them shine is everything to me.”

And of all the ingredients a chef can use in a dish, for Chef Elisa there is one that stands out from the rest: “Cheese is gold!” Whether you’re adding to a dish to elevate it, or making it the star of the show, she encourages exploration, and notes that the possibilities are endless.

To help you get started, Chef Elisa shares her recipe for Gorgonzola Cream Sauce, perfectly suited to enrobe tender bites of gnocchi. “It’s an easy dish that any home cook can handle, and the base can be used in so many applications.” The rice flour makes this sauce gluten-free, but it can be substituted for all-purpose flour if one prefers – be sure to cook it with the butter in step one for 2 to 3 minutes.

1. On low to medium heat, melt butter and sauté garlic for 1 minute, then add green onion. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add white wine. Allow half of the wine to cook away (about 3 minutes).

2. Add whipping cream and raise the heat to medium stirring constantly.

3. Add rice flour to water, stir until smooth then add slowly to the pot while stirring. It is important to do this before the cream becomes too hot or it will not blend properly (it will form lumps).

4. Add salt and vegetable stock and bring the sauce to boil. Allow to boil gently for a few minutes stirring constantly, reduce heat.

5. Add gorgonzola, or your favourite melting cheese, let melt, take off heat and enjoy!

10 Culinaire | January/February 2023
Gorgonzola Cream for Gnocchi Serves 4-6 1 Tbs salted butter 1 tsp minced garlic 1 cup green onion 2 Tbs (30 mL) white wine 4 cups
whipping cream 1 Tbs rice flour 1 Tbs
water To taste salt 1 Tbs
liquid vegetable broth 100 g Gorgonzola cheese CHEF’S TIPS & TRICKS
(1 L)
(15 mL)
(15 mL)

For Chef Eugene Hicks of Calgary’s Shoe and Canoe, inspiration comes from a childhood spent cooking with his mother. Having a vegetable garden at home meant Chef Hicks became accustomed to using fresh produce, and when the family moved to the Okanagan, his passion for food grew.

“Good food takes time and patience,” says Chef Hicks, and some of his favourites are cassoulet and braised dishes, “ones that create aroma, and warm the kitchen. Not only do you taste but you enjoy the dish with all the senses.”

When using cheese in his dishes, Chef Hicks is all about trying new things: “Different flavours come out whether it is melted into a sauce or crumbled on top to finish.” The simple act of letting cheese come to room temperature can result in different flavours and textures too.

Dukkah ½ cup hazelnuts

3 Tbs almonds

4 Tbs white sesame seed

3 Tbs pistachios

1 Tbs fennel seeds

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp coriander

½ tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp kosher salt

In a pan on medium heat toast the whole spices and nuts without any oil in the pan until all are slightly toasted and fragrant. Allow to cool then blend in a food processer. Add remaining ingredients.

1. Heat oven to 400 F. Place the burrata on the counter so that it can come to room temperature.

2. In a food processer blend sugar, cardamon pods, lime juice and zest, and vanilla bean from the pod until well combined.

3. Remove the stones from the fruit by making cuts to section into quarters, then remove the flesh from the stone. Place fruit in a bowl and add the sugar mixture. Mix until fruit is coated.

4. Place in a baking dish and roast for 20 minutes or until fruit has softened but not collapsed, so it’s just started to juice, and sugar has caramelized. Once roasted set aside.

5. Slice the sourdough loaf into 6 mm slices then cut each piece in half on a diagonal. Place on a lined pan then drizzle olive oil over them and season with salt and pepper. Toast in the oven for 6 minutes or until golden.

6. Place the roasted stone fruit to cover the bottom of your dish. Place the room temperature burrata on top. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the burrata then sprinkle the Dukkah spice on top. Place the toast point around the edge of the dish or place on the side.

January/February 2023 | Culinaire 11
The recipe he shares here is infused with his past experiences, from his aunt who would bring loaves of sourdough all the way from San Francisco, to eating stone fruits warmed by the
sun. Burrata with Roasted Stone Fruit and Dukkah, and Sour Dough Toast Points Serves 3-4 people 1 – 250-300 g burrata 5 apricots 4 peaches 2 nectarines 175 g brown sugar 5 cardamom pods 1 lime, zest and juice 1 vanilla pod (split in half) 1 sourdough loaf To taste salt and pepper Olive oil
Okanagan

As Executive Chef at Lina’s Cucina in Calgary, Christopher Hyde’s inspiration comes from his travels and experiences abroad, and it’s his love for all things Italian that challenges him. “It drives me to be more creative, but stay humble in the history of a dish and its traditions.”

A self-proclaimed lover of all things pasta, Chef Hyde takes pride in the handmade varieties available at Lina’s, and is in pursuit of perfection when it comes to the process. “After years of practice I still find myself learning about new pastas and new and different techniques in making it.”

Chef Hyde’s Cacio e Pepe – literally cheese and pepper – is taken to another level with his addition of Vegemite, a nod to his childhood in Australia. If you think you know vegemite (and you’re not sure if you want to get reacquainted), Chef Hyde says, “If it's balanced out with the right amount of cheese and butter, it can add a wonderful umami flavour to the dish.”

“Never cheap out on good quality cheese,” he adds. Starting with the best ingredients helps set your dish apart. And, keep things simple. “Often the simplest of dishes are the best - they’re showcasing the ingredients.”

Vegemite Cacio e Pepe

Serves 4

114 g unsalted butter

22 g Vegemite ½ cup (124 mL) water

96 g ground Pecorino Romano, set aside an additional 20 g extra for finishing 40 g ground Parmigiano 65 g ricotta cheese

1 tsp coarse black pepper (freshly cracked is always better)

1. Melt butter with Vegemite and water. Do not boil, just until all the vegemite and butter are melted. Whisk to combine if need be.

2. Using a vitamix or blender, place the ground pecorino, parmesan, and ricotta into the container first and then pour over the hot liquid. Make sure the lid is on.

3. Turn the vitamix or blender on to full and blitz until completely smooth, pour the mix into a medium sized bowl and whisk in the toasted black pepper until well incorporated. Cover and set the bowl aside.

Cooking your pasta:

I usually like to use 150 g-200 g of pasta per person depending on how hungry you are.

1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Stir in desired amount of salt until dissolved.

2. Add the pasta to the water, stir a few times to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Cook according to package directions, stirring occasionally, until al dente or softer depending on desired texture.

3. Using a strainer, remove the pasta and shake off any excess water from the pasta and place into the bowl of sauce, toss the pasta in the sauce or stir in with a wooden spoon or spatula till the pasta is well coated. Serve the pasta in a bowl with the reserved ground pecorino and sprinkle over top, finally, use a pepper grinder and crack a bit more coarse pepper over the pasta to finish. Enjoy!

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.

12 Culinaire | January/February 2023

Decoding Michelin:

What does the guide’s arrival in Toronto and Vancouver mean for Canadian restaurants?

Michelin. It’s a word that is alternatively spoken in whispered reverence and boisterous braggadocio in serious international culinary circles. The name also causes a lot of confusion for more casual diners, especially those of us in Canada who, until very recently, have had to travel internationally to experience Michelin dining first-hand. But with Toronto and Vancouver receiving Canada’s first Michelin Guides last fall, Michelin fever has hit Canada in a big way.

First, a short primer for those who haven’t delved into the world of Michelinstarred restaurants: The Michelin company, the same French corporation that makes Michelin tires and boasts the cheerful Michelin Man as its mascot, has been publishing travel guides to encourage people to head out on road trips and, assumably, buy their tires since 1900. The guides have evolved to become the gold standard in restaurant evaluation, with a system that ranks a city or region’s best restaurants on a scale of one to three stars.

Even being awarded one star is a

hugely prestigious and game-changing proposition for a restaurant, potentially bringing in customers from around the world, including globe-trotting gourmands who make a hobby out of “collecting” stars. In addition to the star system, Michelin guides include “recommended” restaurants, which also puts a feather in a business’s metaphorical cap, and “Bib Gourmand” designations for restaurants that offer great food at an affordable price.

Until 2022, Canada did not have any Michelin-starred restaurants, not because our restaurants aren’t good enough, but because Michelin simply did not produce guides here. Guide production is a costly proposition — the company needs to unleash its top-secret “inspectors” out into a region to assess hundreds of restaurants, visiting the best of the best multiple times. It takes some wooing and, very likely, some kind of financial dealings, but again, Michelin is fairly tight-lipped on these things. What is clear though, is that Canada’s restaurant industry has matured considerably over the last decade and it

was time that at least some portions of the country be evaluated alongside restaurants in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Much of the world is still undocumented by Michelin, which is why the Vancouver and Toronto guides are indeed a big deal for Canadian cuisine.

“We are always evaluating exciting new destinations for the guide, around the world,” says Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Michelin Guides. “Once all the conditions are present to highlight the quality of the culinary scene in a given city, region or country, the Michelin Guide begins its process. We look forward to expanding coverage and discovering restaurants in new areas. Our core mission is to highlight attractive and remarkable tables to the gourmets who rely on our recommendations.”

Part of what makes Michelin so wellrespected is there are always surprises as far as which restaurants receive stars. Over the years, some restaurant watchers have balked that the starred restaurants tend to

January/February 2023 | Culinaire 13
Michelin group, courtesy Visionphoto.ca

be too classically European when it comes to cuisine (though, there’s been a notable preference for Japanese food in recent guides), that the highlighted restaurants are too expensive and often only offer cost-prohibitive tasting menus, and that they don’t always reflect restaurants’ local cultural impact or importance within the community.

Toronto ended up with 13 stars being awarded to its restaurants (including a two-star ranking for the very exclusive Sushi Masaki Saito) with eight restaurants in Vancouver receiving stars. There were definitely a few unexpected trends: smaller independent restaurants like Toronto’s Edulis and Vancouver’s Barbara won out over bigger, glitzier, and more famous dining rooms such as Canoe and Hawksworth (though both of those grand restaurants did get nods in the “recommended” category). What’s interesting here is that the stars can be much more of a game-changer for these smaller restaurants that may not be as known outside of their respective cities. Now the challenge is for the chefs and restaurateurs to avoid the distraction

of the stars and remain focused on the intangibles that won them accolades in the first place.

“Receiving a Michelin star just solidifies what we have already been doing in the room since we opened in 2015” says Jeff Parr, general manager at the one-starred AnnaLena in Vancouver. “The phone is definitely ringing a bit more and it’s a little harder to get a booking, but aside from that it’s business as usual for us. Making sure we live up to the new expectations from our guests is a big driving force. Our plan is

to just continue on the path that brought us to this place.”

Chef Andrea Carlson of Vancouver’s Burdock and Co., which was also awarded a star, agrees that the only path forward is to stick to the vision that has always guided her. “We’ve had the most heartfelt congratulations from regulars and guests who have generously supported us over the years,” she says. “We have very solid core values that define our trajectory: supporting local organic food producers and cultivating relationships around food security in our region. We will continue to draw our inspiration from nature and create menus based on seasonal availability.”

It’s not just the regulars who benefit — there’s plenty of evidence that the Michelin stamp of approval does exactly what the guides were designed to do when they first came out in the 1900s, which is to encourage travel. Destination Vancouver President and CEO Royce Chwin notes that Vancouver’s guide “further elevates our reputation as a global dining destination,” and there’s plenty of evidence that the advent of stars

97 POINTS
Andrea Carlson, courtesy Janice Nicolay
TESTAMATTA:
DECANTER 2022 100% Sangiovese CSPC 839956
“It has an incredible freshness, this is the real beauty of Testamatta 2020.  This is the highest level of perfection ever reached”
in Italian means “Crazy Head”

really does get people out on the road (or in the air).

“It puts a destination on the culinary map – literally and figuratively,” Poullennec says. “Being home to a Michelin Guide boosts tourism, as we highlight these travel destinations and their selected restaurants on all our platforms, consulted by more than four million gourmets and travellers. According to a 2019 study by Ernst and Young, twothirds of frequent travellers would choose to visit a destination with a Michelin Guide presence over a comparable location without one.”

Even though Vancouver is closer to Albertans than any other city with a Michelin Guide, Albertans still aren’t in a position where we can just pop out for a Michelin-approved meal on a Tuesday night, and we shouldn’t hold our breath in the hopes that will change anytime soon. As wonderful as our local restaurants are, Alberta’s restaurant industry arguably isn’t seasoned enough to receive Michelin inspectors yet. If Vancouver and Toronto are any indication, it takes ultra-creative chef’s tasting menus, be it omakase sushi

or five courses of seasonal farm-to-table wonders, to win those stars and neither Calgary nor Edmonton have quite enough of those to make a Michelin bid worth our while.

But that doesn’t mean that we Albertans won’t get to feel some of that Michelin

glow. Both of Canada’s Michelin cities are a short plane ride away and as our local chefs and restaurateurs travel to those cities themselves, they’re bound to be inspired. Whether that results in Michelin stars down the road or not, it will make for better culinary experiences right here at home.

98 POINTS
I
DECANTER & JAMES SUCKLING 2022 100% Sangiovese CSPC 772396 COLORE: in Italian means “Dream”
“Colore is my first love, my love for the old vines which produce incredible and world class wines.
think
that this year, we made the best Colore we’ve ever made.”
Little Bird Dim Sum, courtesy Anthony Pratico

Better Than Take-Out!

Garlicky Fried Rice with Peas and Bacon

Winter months are a good time to reach for frozen vegetables. Why pay $6.99 for a head of cauliflower shipped here from Texas when you can get a bag of peas for less than half of that?

Frozen vegetables are picked and processed at their peak freshness, thus retaining all their nutrient-dense goodness. Sure they make a handy dandy ice pack, but frozen peas are also a dependable delight for fixing fast and delicious weeknight dinners. They’re affordable, kid-friendly, and gosh darn it, so good for you, being a fantastic provider of fibre and other good things. And the best part—you don’t have to beg your kids to shell frozen peas.

Here’s a little fun fact about peas. This cool-season vegetable has been around for thousands of years, even showing up in ancient Egyptian tombs. If you’re a fan of Norse mythology, you may know that apparently a grumpy Thor sent flying dragons to drop peas into all of the Earth’s wells, thereby filling them up and spoiling the water. But some of the peas missed the wells and sprouted, giving people another food source. To appease (yes, I did just write that) Thor, the mortals ate the peas only on a Thursday, which was dedicated to him. If you’ve ever had a nasty, dried up, flavourless pea, you know that they can indeed be a weapon, so Thor really wasn’t too far off.

Like many of you, I always have a bag of frozen peas in the freezer. When I’m pressed for time and have nothing planned for dinner, I’ll crack open a box of organic macaroni and cheese and add the peas to the last few minutes of cooking time for the pasta. This way I feel like I’m having more of a complete meal and less like I’m living in a dorm room. Sometimes I get real fancy and add sundried tomatoes too!

16 Culinaire | January/February 2023
The best fried rice is made with day-old rice
STEP BY STEP

Frozen peas are perfect for adding a pop of colour and nutrition to soups, stews, curries, and the like. You can also purée them into soups or blitz them into dips. Pasta and peas go hand-in-hand, so just toss them into a pot of hot, buttery noodles dressed with heaps of garlic and Parmesan - but one of my favourite ways to eat peas is in garlicky fried rice. Not only is this meal economical, it’s also a grand way to use up leftovers that may be lingering in the fridge.

Garlicky Fried Rice with Peas and Bacon

Serves 2-3

¾ cup (175 mL) canola oil, divided 3 large eggs, beaten

1 tsp (5 mL) sesame oil

½ onion, diced

2 medium carrots, diced 2-3 garlic cloves, minced 1 Tbs (15 mL) minced ginger ¼ tsp red pepper flakes

1 cup (250 mL) frozen peas

3-4 cups (750 mL - 1 L) day-old cooked rice

more minutes, until bright green.

4. Stir in the rice, bacon and green onions. Season with salt and pepper. Stir fry until everything is combined and warmed through, about 3 minutes.

5. Drizzle with soy sauce, then stir in the cooked eggs. Toss to combine. Season to taste.

6. Divide into bowls and garnish with

First things first, the best fried rice is made with day-old rice. If you’re making rice to accompany a stew or a curry, just make extra for fried rice the next day. Not only does this mean that your fried rice will be ready in a manner of minutes, this cold rice ensures that the fried rice will have the perfect chewy-tender texture. Just be sure to fluff the hot rice with a fork once it’s cooked, and before storing it, so that the rice separates and doesn't solidify in one big block.

The add-ins to fried rice are endless. Carrots and onions add colour and flavour, but mushrooms, cabbage, broccoli, etc are all excellent too. Leftover bacon from breakfast went into this recipe, but any cooked chicken, beef, pork, or tofu would be tasty too. The great thing about fried rice is that it can be customized to what needs to be used up in your refrigerator. Just don’t forget the frozen peas!

5 slices cooked thick cut bacon, chopped

3 green onions, chopped, reserving some for garnish

½ tsp salt ¼ tsp pepper

3 Tbs (45 mL) sodium-reduced soy sauce

1. Heat a large wok or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbs (15 mL) of the canola oil, let it warm for a minute, then pour in the eggs. Once they begin to set around the edges, gently scramble until softly set, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl.

2. Add the remaining oil and the sesame oil to the skillet, then add the onion and carrots. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, one more minute.

3. Add the peas and cook for a couple

Love

Renée Kohlman is a busy food writer and recipe developer living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her second cookbook, ‘Vegetables: A Love Story” has just been published.
The add-ins to fried rice are endless
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at first bite

Partake: Low on alcohol, high on flavour

Over the last few years phrases like “non-alc,” “zero proof,” and the seasonal “dry January” and “sober October” have entered the public consciousness in a big way.

Foregoing alcohol has become a trend for some drinkers and a revolutionary lifestyle change for others, and the reasons for cutting back or going completely sober can be deeply personal and often lifechanging. With alcoholic drinks so intertwined with our social culture, the move towards sober living has created a huge opportunity for businesses looking to create adult booze-free drinks to stand

in for alcohol-based beverages. In the world of beer, no one brand has been as successful in this endeavour as Partake, a Calgary-based non-alcohol brewery.

For Partake’s founder and CEO, Ted Fleming, that path towards an alcohol-free lifestyle started with a Crohn’s disease diagnosis about a decade ago. The thenOntario based engineer (he and his family have since relocated to Calgary where Partake is officially now headquartered), was a social beer drinker, but his health concerns put an end to the ritual of drinking pints with friends. Like many nondrinkers, Fleming found that cracking open

a can of pop or ordering a Shirley Temple in a pub didn’t offer the same satisfaction as drinking a crisp cold beer, and most of the locally available non-alc or “near beer” options didn’t taste like the real thing.

Fleming watched from the sidelines as the rest of the world dove into the craft beer revolution, wishing that he could kick back with a tasty IPA or stout. He didn’t miss the way that alcohol made him feel, but he did mourn the taste of a really great beer. “There weren't great beer alternatives at retail,” Fleming says. “And the ones that were out there all tasted the same. There weren’t any craft styles.”

18 Culinaire | January/February 2023

Fleming decided he wanted to do something about his predicament and started a website to seek out and distribute European craft, non-alc beers, something that was surprisingly easy since no alcohol means he didn’t have to deal with the headaches that come from importing liquor both internationally and inter-provincially. He was able to form a community of fellow non-alc beer enthusiasts through the site which made him realize that there was a viable market for better brews.

In 2016 he recruited a friend to help him formulate a no-alc IPA, later employing the help of a local college in Ontario to scale up the recipe. Nonalcoholic beer is basically made with same ingredients as a regular beer and after much trial and error, the product that would become Partake was born. “We raised the bar to the point where it's not a compromise from a taste perspective to be drinking a non-ale beer,” Fleming says. “It's a beer that is true to style: it gives you an IPA that tastes like an IPA, and a red ale that tastes like a red ale and a stout that tastes like a stout.”

Launching in 2017, Partake seems to have hit the scene at the exact right time. The market has exploded with alcoholfree products, with zero-proof items like Seedlip’s spirits capturing drinkers and bartenders’ imaginations, and a flood of alcohol-free wines and ready-to-drink cocktails appearing in stores and online. While there are other non-alc beers available, Fleming’s care in making sure

that Partake is comparable in flavour and mouth-feel to genuine craft beers has made it a leader in the non-alcoholic beer category. The brewery now offers six core beers — pale ale, blonde, peach gose, red, stout, and that original flagship IPA — as well as rotating seasonals like an Oktoberfest style and some additional fruity gose flavours. This variety and dedication to quality has made Partake the best-selling non-alcoholic beer in Canada.

Partake’s particular success can be credited to Fleming’s ability to create a product that is nearly indistinguishable from regular craft beer in flavour, though it doesn’t hurt that the beers are also low in calories, carbs, and sugar. Fleming says that the company’s growth isn’t just coming from people who “have to” avoid alcohol, but also from drinkers who want to cut down on their alcohol consumptions or stick to a single alcoholic drink before switching to no-alc so they can continue to socialize without getting drunk, allowing them to drive home and avoid a next-day hangover.

“Just like with plant-based eating, we've seen a lot of flexitarians when it comes to non-alc beverages,” Fleming says. “In the early days of my business, the consumers looked like me — people who really had to be in the category of non-alc for health or substance abuse reasons, religion, or what have you. Today it's much more about people choosing to be in the category because the products taste great, are low calorie, and they enable you to do so many other things

in your life that you have to be cautious about if you're consuming alcohol.”

Partake hasn’t just seen significant growth in Canada — there are currently production facilities in both Alberta and Ontario to meet cross-country demand — but has also expanded into the United States, most notably hitting the shelves at Target stores. As his own company’s ideal customer, Fleming isn’t surprised that Partake has been so successful. What has surprised him is the response he’s been getting from fellow non-drinkers (and scaled-back drinkers) who have seen Partake make real changes in their quality of life.

“We get a lot of feedback in terms of how impactful the product is on people's lives,” he says. “It has allowed people to still enjoy beer and have a healthier relationship with alcohol, healthier relationship with their family, and in being more present. They’re not missing a beat in terms of social experiences but are telling us how positively impactful our product has been and how they use it to achieve things in their lives that were hard for them before.”

Partake is available in stores, bars and restaurants across Canada and the United States. For more information, visit drinkpartake.com.

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.

January/February 2023 | Culinaire 19

“Board” For Valentine’s Day

The origins of Valentine’s Day are confusing at best. Archaic stories from pairing of women with men by lottery, to priests that secretly married couples so the men would not have to go to war, or a reference to a bird’s mating season, all have nothing to do with present day expectations of what Valentine’s Day is all about.

Where is the love?

Some choose the grand gesture of a dozen red roses with lavish dinner reservations intended to impress. Let the champagne and caviar flow!

Others embrace the smaller but just as meaningful gestures of quiet time spent together.

Maybe this year is the time for a “boarding” Valentine’s Day.

Boarding is pretty much just as easy as ordering out but so much more fun. You don’t need a lot of prep time and “boarding” can be adjusted for any food preference and budget. It’s all about filling your board with your favourite things. Then spend time grazing and enjoying conversations, playing games, and reminiscing about life with those who you have chosen to join you.

Valentine’s is a day to celebrate love. Couples, families, friends. Valentine’s is not only about other people though. True love starts with loving ourselves. If this Valentine’s you are without a friend, family, or lover to celebrate, remember that our first love is the deepest… sorry, wrong quote. Our first love is with ourselves. Go ahead and celebrate you as much as if you would be celebrating with another.

Music is often used to express feelings, so pair your board with tunes that express yourself such as:

- Singles “Good Thing” board - you

already know this board has everything you want.

- Couples “Let’s Stay Together” boardmix it up. You and your partner’s favourite eats.

- Girlfriends “My Girl” celebrates each other board - is filled with fun, festive treats for an evening of all girls!

- Guy friends “Stand By Me” board - to embrace the bromance.

- Minimal “My Baby Just Cares For Me” board - it doesn’t have to be expensive to be a celebration.

- It’s family time! Enjoy your “It’s Alright” board with the kids - you can get them to try almost anything when you make it fun, and they get to use their fingers to eat!

- Vegetarian “At My Most Beautiful”

board - a veggie board is outstanding with both raw and roasted vegetables, smooth spreads and garlic crostini.

- Breakfast in bed with the “You Make My Dreams Come True” board - what a luxury to enjoy breakfast in bed. Whether it be by yourself, with your partner or the whole family. Just make sure there are lots of napkins.

- Extravagant “Putting On The Ritz” board - this is where champagne and caviar dreams sit atop an elegant board allowing you a sampling from the riches of the land and sea.

- The “Somebody That I Used To Know” breakup board - everything is your choice you don’t have to try and fit someone else’s wants on your board.

20 Culinaire | January/February 2023

What are your favourite foods? Pile them on! What foods make you feel good? Add those. What food is only enjoyed as a decadent treat? Slip that in the centre. Add something crispy, crunchy, smooth, salty, and sweet.

And best of all, enjoy your Valentine’s Day with love in your heart and your favourite board on your lips.

Here’s a few easy recipes that you can add into your board to make it Valentine’s ready.

Honey Whipped Feta with Boozy Cherries

Makes 2/3 cup (160 mL)

1/3 cup frozen cherries, thawed

2 Tbs (30 mL) sherry or fortified wine

½ cup feta cheese

1/3 cup (80 mL) cream cheese

1 Tbs (15 mL) honey

1. In a small pot add the cherries and juice along with the alcohol. Bring to a gentle boil and let the liquid reduce to half, approximately 3 minutes. Reserve.

2. In a small food processor, add the feta cheese and pulse on high until the feta is in small pieces.

3. Add the cream cheese and process until smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice. Add the honey and pulse until fully incorporated.

4. Top spread with cherry mixture. Serve with crackers, bread, endive or other dipper of choice.

Valentine’s Red Hummus

Makes 1 cup (250 mL)

1 400g can cannellini beans

1 Tbs (15 mL) lemon juice

1 clove garlic

1 Tbs (15 mL) avocado oil

2½ Tbs (37 mL) water

1 tsp beet powder

To taste sea salt

In a small food processor add all ingredients and process until smooth, scraping down the sides. Adjust salt to taste.

Chocolate truffles

Makes 6 - 10

125 g chocolate (½ semi-sweet and ½ bittersweet)

1/3 cup + 2 Tbs (115 mL) cream

1 orange, zested

1 Tbs (15 mL) amaretto (or other favourite liqueur)

1. Roughly chop chocolate and place in a small bowl.

2. In a small saucepan, add cream and orange zest. Over medium high heat, bring cream just to a boil and remove from heat. Pour the cream over the chocolate.

3. Add the liqueur (if using) but do not stir, cover. Let rest approximately 10 minutes.

4. Remove cover and gently stir

until smooth and full combined. Put in refrigerator until cold.

5. Remove from fridge and using a spoon, scoop the mixture and quickly roll into balls. They don’t have to be perfectly round. If desired, roll formed truffle in cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts, shredded coconut or other topping of choice.

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.

Centine Rosso 2019 Vintage Dark and floral Cheese Pairing: Fresh cheesesfeta, mozzarella, cheddar, and baby swiss. Brunello Di Montalcino 2017 Vintage Velvety and intense Cheese Pairing: Hard cheeseparmigiano-reggiano, grana padano and pecorino. Aska 2019 Vintage Complex and intense Cheese Pairing: Aged cheddar Col Di Sasso 2020 Vintage Soft and balanced Cheese Pairing: Hard cheeseparmigiano-reggiano, grana padano and pecorino. Le Rime 2021 Vintage Fresh and floral Cheese Pairing: Mild goat cheeses, fresh mozzarella, mild cheddars, brie, and gouda. 92

Jan/Feb Spirits

We seem to be thinking about whisky a bit this time around. Perhaps it’s because of Robbie Burns Day on January 25th, and what better way to celebrate the bard? Or perhaps it’s because it’s a wonderful spirit to enjoy when the wind is howling and blowing, and one is nestled up, all snug-like with a dram…

This month, we have a few highly enjoyable whiskies from a wide range of places, but also some Scottish gin, and for those après ski moments (or après shovelling ones) an espresso martini to get your chill on.

Koval “Bottled in Bond” Single Barrel Rye Whiskey, United States

First off – you’ve been warned, this Single Barrel Rye is bottled at 100 proof, so you might want to have a bit of water handy before you start. Completely alive with bright spicy characters and yet with some orange peel, apple, and a slightly floral note on the nose. After some water, the heat still remains on the palate, but all these spices and slightly leathery characters still bring finer complex flavours. Delicious – but have that water nearby!

CSPC 868436 $110-120

On the Rocks Espresso Martini

Exactly the right sort of balance in a ready to drink espresso martini. Rich, robust coffee flavours evoking a cold pressed barista level coffee - finely balanced against a very smooth, vodka spirit base from Effen Vodka. Weighing in at 20 percent ABV, its perhaps a little easier to finish the glass than expected, but it’s a marvellously smooth journey if you need that little après work pick-me-up.

CSPC 875217 $20-$25

Single Malt Whisky, Batch 006

Eau

Claire Distillery, Alberta

We’re excited for – to us, the best whisky yet from locals, Eau Claire Distillery. Batch 006 is their first six-year old release – and it shows, with a depth of flavour from aging in three types of barrels: new Hungarian oak, ex-sherry French oak, and ex-bourbon American oak, before being blended together to produce a game-changing, complex whisky with butterscotch flavours of Werther’s Originals, with raspberries and cream. Alberta locavore whisky fans - go for it if you can get it!

CSPC 880474 around $109

Lind & Lime Gin, Leith, Scotland

Lind & Lime suggest adding fresh lime juice and simple syrup to make your gimlet, but honestly… after the juniper, this delicious gin leads with aromas of lime and pink peppercorns such that we’d be very happy to sip it neat with a lime wheel garnish for a ‘gimartini’! The beautiful bottle is green, but not only in colour: it contains 100 percent organic ingredients, it’s distilled with 100 percent green electricity, and the packaging is 100 percent plastic-free.

CSPC 875968 $54-57

Penderyn Icons of Wales #8 – Hiraeth, Wales

I feel quite sure many people in Alberta can identify with ‘Hiraeth’ – Welsh for ‘longing for your heritage or homeland’. Please don’t buy this whisky just for the absolutely gorgeous packaging – the beautiful black and gold tin and stunning gold metalcoated bottle – the whisky inside is a 46 percent ABV, single malt from their pot stills which, with a drop of water, opens up to be a smooth and rounded, sippable, honeyed dram, that also donates to people with mental illness and homeless youth and women.

CSPC 867162 $100-110

Suntory World Whisky Ao

There can’t be many distillers that can produce a whisky from their own distilleries across five different countries, but Beam Suntory can – and have! Ao, Japanese for ‘blue’, represents the seven seas that tie Canada, America, Japan, Scotland, Ireland, and their whiskies, together. It’s golden and rich, well-balanced, with notes of baking spices, vanilla, and apple pie - and one for whisky enthusiasts to treasure!

CSPC 880859 $105-120

22 Culinaire | January/February 2023
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Start it up: New Year, New Culinary Business

Have you always dreamed of creating your own culinary business? There’s a lot to consider - recipes, packaging, funding, selling. Here are a dozen tips on how to get your idea out of your head and onto store shelves (and in tummies) now.

1. Get an honest opinion (aka don’t just ask your mom)

Do others think your food is good? Do they think turning it into a business is smart? “Your family and friends are not going to tell you if you have a bad idea. Of course they love it. They love you,” says Bonafide Media and PR’s Jessie Cayabo. A marketing and PR professional who splits her time between Calgary and Edmonton, she has clients across North America.

When Cayabo was approached about working with a bakery in Edmonton a few years ago, she loved their bread but wanted a second opinion. She took a

sample to a well-known chef, who said it was one of the best he’d ever tried.

“An objective professional opinion of a third party, people outside your network, is one of the greatest resources you can have,” Cayabo says.

2. Check out the competition

“Is there a demand for what you want to do?” Cayabo says. If there’s no demand, what makes you think you can create one? The other side of that coin is that maybe there’s too much demand. How will you make your product stand out?

3. Reach out

• Government of Canada resources (canada.ca/en/services/business/start) include information for immigrant start-up visas, business registration and more.

• The ATB Entrepreneur Centre (atbentrepreneurcentre.com) offers free online resources including a business plan template and seminars.

• The Alberta Indian Investment Corporation (aiicbusiness.org) helps Indigenous entrepreneurs with business ideas.

• The Metis Entrepreneur Assistance Program (apeetogosan.com) has information, grants, and loans for Metis small-business owners.

• And Canadian Food Innovation Network (cfin-rcia.ca) offers funding to new food businesses too.

4. Don’t skimp

on branding

A cheap logo from Fiverr may work for some but if you want to be taken seriously, pay for a branding package from a legitimate graphic design agency.

24 Culinaire | January/February 2023
Jessie Cayabo, PR professional, Bonafide Media

“You get what you pay for,” Cayabo says. “Your brand is the visual representation of you, your story and your product — and maybe even your family. Your branding is your identity, and, ideally, you’re going to be married to it for years and years.

and chef-owner of Preserved Foods Boutique. “Follow labelling laws. Incorporate your business. Do your due diligence, because you are liable.” Cayabo echoes her words. “Food handling is serious business,” she says. “People can die if you’re not doing it right.”

6. Figure out what a fair price is “Price appropriately. That means knowing your food costs,” says Rundell. She says that in her case, that meant learning not just what a raw ingredient cost to buy — but what she was throwing away. A kilogram of onions, for instance, is no longer a kilogram, once they’ve been peeled. “I needed to learn to include my food waste percents when I was figuring out my prices.”

7. Figure out your COGS: cost of goods sold

“Your COGS will be so much higher once you’ve turned yourself into a legitimate business. You’ll need to pay for your annual fees for licensing and your inspections,” Rundell says. “Make sure you build those costs into your pricing.”

11. Promote your business …but only if you can keep up with demand. “If you’re selling product, you have to be careful about over-promoting, because you lose customer confidence if you can’t keep up with demand,” says Cayabo. Say, for instance, you have a thriving booth at a local farmers’ market. It’s so good, you decide to expand to a second market. “But suddenly, you don’t have enough product. You’re not there for a few months or you have a wait list,” Cayabo says. “A wait list is fine but there are limits. Eventually people will give up and buy someone else’s product.”

“And ideally you want a designer who is in it for the long haul in case you decide to expand your product line. You don’t want to keep looking for someone new.”

She’s met wannabe clients who come to her saddled with branding they hate — and a basement full of ugly packaging. “Take samples and colours that you like, anything to help the designer who will be working on your brand. You need to give the designer some inspiration, so they have a starting point, an idea of what you want your brand to be.” And don’t let someone talk you into paying thousands to slap your logo onto kajillions of ballpoint pens or fridge magnets or other stuff no one wants. “It’s basically going to end up in a charity bin or your basement,” Cayabo says. “Spend your money on creating a solid brand that can grow as your business does.”

5. Get Real

“Become a legitimate food business. Get certified. Get your food handling permit, and work out of an inspected facility,” says Vanessa Rundell, entrepreneur

8. Pay yourself

“Your time matters, too. You can’t — and you shouldn’t — work for free. Add in an hourly wage for yourself,” Rundell says.

9. Don’t try to be the best at everything

“Be great at one thing. Don’t be OK at five things,” Rundell says. “It’s easy to get trapped into thinking you can do everything. But know your brand and what you do best.”

10. Think about where you want your product to be …and if your branding matches what you already see in your stores. Your ink-jet printer stickers aren’t going to pass muster at your favourite trendy grocery store. “Retailers pick products for their shelves because those products are aligned with their brand,” Cayabo says. If a retailer turns you down, don’t be offended. “But that may be a clue for you to take a closer look at your brand. Why don’t all the cool places want your delicious product in their stores?”

Think about Oprah Winfrey’s Favourite Things list. Before each year’s list is named, Oprah’s team checks each business to see if it can keep up with the demand that being on the list brings. “It’s easy to get excited about media coverage and attention but if you can’t fulfill orders and keep up with the demand, you’re better off declining because it’s just going to make you look bad,” Cayabo says. “People will be disappointed.”

12. Be patient

In 2022, Rundell celebrated Preserved’s fourth year and early this year, after months of planning, she’s launching new labels. Each will feature a QR code and, upon scanning, will take people to a video of the farm where the produce inside each jar has been grown — something she could only dream of sharing with customers in her early days in business.

“Being patient is hard for me, and it’s quite hard for most people,” Rundell says. “You put all this effort into starting a business, and you want to see the returns right away, but that’s not the way it works. You have to be patient as your business grows.”

Shelley is an award-winning Calgary-based writer and editor whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world. If she’s not drinking wine, she's probably drinking coffee. Visit drinkwithme.com.

January/February 2023 | Culinaire 25
Vanessa Rundell, entrepreneur and chef-owner of Preserved Foods Boutique.
Is there a demand for what you want to do?
You have to be patient as your business grows.

Country Flatbread the versatile cracker:

What is a flatbread?

There is no clear consensus. Some of them are not all that flat.

Nearly every culture in every corner of the world, from Mezo-America to Malaysia, had an unleavened bread that was relatively flat. That universality alone accounts for their many varieties. You can well imagine that the kinds of food they ate them with often determined how the bread was used,

as a dish or a spoon, reminding us that flatbreads are hand-held.

Traditionally, flatbreads didn’t use wild local yeast as a rising agent. When people travelled in caravans, or watched over herds of cattle and sheep, they cooked over an open fire, on a stone or cast-iron pan. Waiting for dough to rise was a non-starter. Preparing flatbread was fast, convenient, requiring few ingredients, while offering culinary

flexibility. Leftovers were easy to pack-up and kept well without spoiling. Nomadic or sedentary, flatbread making was and still is a daily task in many parts of the world.

Today the majority of flatbreads still don’t use yeast, although many do. Of course there are other rising agents, some of them hard to avoid, like air for example. Baking powder and baking soda cause bread to rise, as does egg white,

26 Culinaire | January/February 2023
dip it... dunk it... snack it!

fermentation and steam. In Alberta we usually add about 1 tsp of baking soda to our breakfast pancakes (yup! they’re a flatbread), which makes them just a little softer and fluffier.

Wikipedia lists 146 kinds of flat bread, which can be grouped into about 30 categories. In our case, and only for comparison, two types are considered, flexible and crispy. If the bread is to be used as a wrap, e.g. a tortilla, or as a scoop like naan, then flex works best. In our recipe what you are after is the exact opposite, a dry, crisp cracker that breaks with a snap.

This dry cracker type has several advantages; it keeps well, travels well, and it makes a great lunchbox snack. You can dip it into salsa, break it into soup, or use it as a party snack on its own. If your social gatherings are like mine, friends follow their nose straight into the kitchen. As these aromatic beauties come out of the oven, let your guests brush on their own olive oil and salt and like the bread itself, you’ll be golden.

Crisp Flatbreads

Makes about 18

3 cups (750 g) semolina flour: coarse-grained. Semolina is durum wheat

3 cups (570 g) white flour, unbleached (Note the lighter weight)

2 tsp salt, plus extra for sprinkling on the cooked bread

3 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped fine ½ cup (125 mL) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to brush on the warm bread 1⅔ cups (400 mL) water

4. Carefully form a ball, then cover with plastic wrap, (don’t let the dough dry-out) and put in the fridge for an hour or two. This prevents fermentation or rising, and gives the gluten a chance to relax.

5. Five minutes before taking the dough out of the fridge, put a baking stone or tray into the oven, and only then heat the oven to 450° F.

6. From the ball, pull off a piece of dough about the size of a large egg, about 120 g. Keep the remaining dough covered.

7. Using your hand, flatten the working piece of dough on a lightly floured surface.

8. Working from the middle, use a rolling pin to roll the dough as thin as possible, 1 mm to about 22 cm diameter.

9. Using a wide flipper, carefully place the flattened disk onto the stone/tray. 10. Bake for 8 minutes until the bread is crisp and golden brown. Remove from oven onto a cooling rack, let cool for a minute or so and then brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Note: If this is your first-time making flatbread on-the-go, pay close attention to organizing your workspace. You could make some ahead of time and warm them up.

in everything from marmalade to preserved lemons, cocktails to meringues.

Note: Recipe can be halved

1. In a large bowl, combine the two flours, salt and rosemary.

2. Make a well in the center and pour the oil and water into the well; gently mix.

3. Knead the dough right in the bowl until smooth, about 3 minutes. Avoid over handling the dough, or you’ll make it tough.

January/February 2023 | Culinaire 27
Morris Lemire lives in Edmonton where he spends the summer gardening and winter skiing. He likes winter, in part, because citrus is plentiful. He uses citrus

Rum Retakes the Limelight

Rum languished in many circles for a long time, as most examples gracing our shelves or cabinets were overly sweet, rather simple in execution, or spiced rums more similar to a rum raisin lifesaver than to an authentic, crafted rum experience. These days, quality rums abound and many bottles are rich, complex spirits that can be enjoyed neat like a fine cognac or whisky and equally as good in a mixed drink or cocktail.

While many of us might be pining for a beach getaway or a break from the winter chill, here are a few for your glass that might aid in your daydreaming of warm, surf-soaked beaches.

El Dorado 15-Year Old Rum, Guyana

Honestly, a stunning little number that manages to ooze authenticity in its profile, but also with a number of aromas and flavours that evoke a much older rum. Rather spicy with deep molasses notes but also a clean citrus character on the nose, and on the palate, smooth and rich with a peppery finish and mild smokiness. Very, very good neat, but would add excellent depth in a simple cocktail.

CSPC 411124 $55-59

Barcelo Imperial Rum Dominican Republic

In several regards, enjoying the Barcelo Imperial Rum is a bit like enjoying a fine, older cognac. A bit fiery on the palate with rich, wood barrel characters supporting a deep and complex spirit that rolls around the tongue. Leather and caramel, with a bare hint of sweeter flavours, this Best in Class at the 2022 Alberta Beverage Awards is a fine addition to your back bar, or a special occasion rum by the fire.

CSPC 803037 $45-50

Kōloa White Rum, United States

There have only been a handful of times in my experience, where a white rum – often the least of a rum distillery’s offerings –has been completely stunning. This was one. Kōloa Distillers in Hawai’i is making one of the best white rums I’ve ever come across. Ridiculously smooth, clean, and mellow on the palate and nose with a rather delicate citrus and sweetness on the palate. A clean sipping rum, that would also be perfectly at home replacing vodka in many mixed drinks – it’s that good.

CSPC 743401 $53-59

Admiral’s Old J Tiki Fire Spiced Rum Guyana

Coming on hard with a kick to wake you up, the Tiki Fire is all about rich caramel, spice and maybe a little citrus, but on the palate, that 75.5 percent ABV brings in some serious heat, but still allowing juicy limes, and a whole bevy of spices to shine though. Generally, spiced rum is a hard sell around the office, but Tiki Fire is something a little different, and pulls it off with style.

CSPC 876098 $44-47

Kōloa Coconut Rum, United States

A small possibility exists that you might have been scared off coconut flavoured rum in the past – by sugary-sweet, cloying examples that often appear on the backbar. But it might be time to rethink this aversion. Bottled at 40 percent ABV, and using infusions made from real coconuts too, it’s pleasingly dry with pure, fresh coconut characters. Perfectly suitable for enjoying neat or in simple cocktails, but will definitely up your umbrella drink game around the tiki bar.

CSPC 759992 $53-59

Flor de Caña ECO-15 Rum, Nicaragua

We likely don’t think much about the impact of our spirits, but this rum is carbon neutral, fair trade certified, and distilled with renewable energy too. These are all laudable goals. A crisp, zesty rum with demerara sugar notes and a clean, cereal character on the nose. This really sings on the palate with caramel and spice flavours moving along slowly to a finely robust finish. Very nice neat, but will accentuate a rum cola with style.

CSPC 845737 $60-70

28 Culinaire | January/February 2023

Wing commander.

Dale Gienow’s passion is working with animals. With funding from Edmonton Community Foundation and as Director of WILDNorth, Dale is saving animals in distress in and around Edmonton; protecting the living nature that surrounds us.

Donations to ECF inspire hope, create opportunity and enhance the Edmonton lifestyle. We work with our donors to give, grow and transform. ecfoundation.org gives WILDNorth wings.

Charity begins at Home.

January/February 2023 | Culinaire 29

Find Your Festival in 2023 Part 1

Festivals. Remember them?

No matter how you define the word, they exist throughout Alberta, in every season, ranging from million people events like the Calgary Stampede to small town art fairs. However, the past couple of years have been an ordeal for organizers, with lockdowns and supply issues causing havoc to all concerned. As a result, almost all events were cancelled in 2020 and 2021, while a few began to return in 2022.

Listed below are festivals with alcoholic beverages as their main focus. Almost all will have some sort of food component as well, and many will have entertainment, but you attend these events for the adult beverages. With hope that normalcy has returned, here are some of the major beverage festivals scheduled to happen in Alberta (with a few from BC) in the first six months of 2023.

January MS Whisky Fest

January 19

Jack Singer Concert Hall, Calgary

This is Calgary's best single day whisky festival. Master classes are held before the main evening consumer event, where you can sample over 300 whiskies from more than 40 different vendors. Proceeds of this event benefit the MS Society of Canada.

Tickets: $128-163 calgarywhiskyfestival.ca

Victoria Whisky Festival

January 19-22

Hotel Grand Pacific, Victoria, BC

Held in Victoria, BC's inner harbour, this festival is a must for lovers of brown spirits. The combination of multiple master classes, consumer tastings, and dinners brings in experts from around the world to educate those in attendance.

Tickets: $35-195 victoriawhiskyfestival.com

February

The Jasper Beer and Spirits Festival

February 10-12

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Jasper Alberta Beer Festivals organizes five festivals throughout Alberta and BC each year. They begin in Jasper, with this combined beer and spirit festival, which includes seminars and other adventures. Food and beverages are all included in the ticket price.

Tickets: $100 albertabeerfestivals.com/festivals/ jasper-beer-and-spirits-festival

Winefest

February 17-18 Calgary, BMO Centre

February 24-25 Edmonton, Edmonton Convention Centre

Enjoy this all-inclusive sampling of wines as it returns to both cities. Here you’ll find wine from almost every producing country, along with an array of delectable hors d'oeuvres from local restaurants.

Tickets: $100-107 celebratewinefest.com

March

Edmonton Craft Beer Festival

March 10-11

Edmonton Expo Centre, Edmonton

Alberta Beer Festival's fastest growing beer festival, with over 500 beers from 100+ breweries along with craft spirits and more, all under one roof. Enjoy educational seminars, explore the Distillery District, and try delicious food from Edmonton’s best restaurants while taking in all the entertainment at this sampling event.

Tickets: $20-35 albertabeerfestivals.com/festivals/ edmonton-craft-beer-festival

30 Culinaire | January/February 2023
courtesy Alberta Beer Festivals courtesy Alberta Beer Festivals

Grape Escape March 24-25

BMO Centre, Stampede Park, Calgary

Calgary Co-op Liquor Stores return to Stampede Park with two evenings of sampling all forms of wine, spirits, beers, and more from over 100 producers. Check out some of Calgary's best food trucks and attend one of the educational seminars. Your ticket includes all your food and beverage samples.

Tickets: $65 coopwinespiritsbeer.com/grape-escape

Revelstoke Beerfest

March 31-April 1

Revelstoke Mountain Resort, BC

Alberta Beer Festival dips its toe into BC for the first time with the Revelstoke Beerfest. Explore craft beers and spirits from BC and beyond over three different sampling sessions.

Tickets: $30 albertabeerfestivals.com/festivals/ revelstoke-beerfest

April

Okanagan Fest Of Ale

April 14-15

Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, Penticton, BC

Spring comes early to the Okanagan, and one of Penticton's best events is the annual Okanagan Fest of Ale Craft Beer and Cider Festival with its unique indoor/outdoor venue. Over 65 craft brewers and 175 craft beers, ciders and cask ale make this one of largest beer festivals in the Pacific Northwest.

Ticket Price: $35-50 festofale.ca

Vancouver International Wine Festival

April 22-30

Vancouver Convention Centre West, Vancouver, BC

This is western Canada's largest and longest running salute to wine. Now in its 44th year, over three dozen events are staged all over town, with the main tasting expo happening at the Vancouver Convention Centre. This year expect 152 wineries from 17 countries, with the spotlight on South American wines. Tickets: $50-575 depending on event vanwinefest.ca

May

Calgary International Beerfest May 5-6

BMO Centre, Stampede Park, Calgary

This is the festival that began it all for Alberta Beer Festivals. With 700+ beers from 200+ breweries, the Calgary International Beerfest is now Canada’s largest beer festival, but it is much more than that. Beyond beer, there are ciders, meads, RTDs and spirits in the Distillery District. Brew master and Cooking with Beer seminars will educate you, some of Calgary’s best restaurants will feed you, and live music on multiple stages will entertain you.

Tickets: $20-35 albertabeerfestivals.com/festivals/ calgary-international-beerfest

YYC Caesar Festival May 20-21

Big Four Building, Stampede Park, Calgary

The May long weekend belongs to the caesar, probably Canada's most famous drink. YYC Caesar Fest returns for its sophomore year, with events happening Saturday evening and the Ultimate Caesar Sunday Party being held during the brunching hours for optimum tasting. This is a sampling event with beer and other spirits also being offered.

Tickets: $25 calgarycaesarfest.com

Look for festivals from July to December 2023 in the next issue of Culinaire.

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.

January/February 2023 | Culinaire 31
courtesy Alberta Beer Festivals courtesy Calgary Caesar Festival

Great Bottles at Itty-Bitty Prices

well-priced wines that over deliver.

Prior to last year’s competition, we used to identify post competition, Top Value bottles, but decided that it was more than enough to show off the best bottles, and let you decide what might suit. So this year, I selected a number of wines I’m personally familiar with and happy to recommend – but also punch well above their prices. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed them.

Chic

32 Culinaire | January/February 2023
Barcelona NV Brut Cava, Spain CSPC 854219 $19-22
IT’S ENTIRELY POSSIBLE THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE over-indulged over the holiday season, it’s also possible that you might be undertaking a New Year’s resolution to abstain for a little, or even undertaking a “Dry January”. If that might be you, we fully support your decision, but if you are still looking for a nice bottle or two to enjoy this winter – without breaking the bank, we’ve scoured the results of our 2022 Alberta Beverage Awards for some
these wines by searching the
code at Liquorconnect.com; your local liquor store can also use this code to order
for
Prices
approximate.
Find
CSPC
it
you.
are
De Codorniu Rosé Cava, Spain CSPC 760243 $22-24 Kris 2021 Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie Friuli-Venezia, Italy CSPC 716302 $21-23 Wente 2019 Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley, California CSPC 301507 $20-24 Tread Softly 2021 Pinot Noir South Australia CSPC 837589 $18-21 Escorihuela 1884 2020 Estate Grown Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina CSPC 770925 $20-22
Estate 2019 Merlot Similkameen
$32-36
2020 Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch, South Africa CSPC 804595 $20-24
2021 Estate Chardonnay Uco
CSPC 835814 $20-24
2021 Rosalia Rosé Prosecco Italy CSPC 849515 $25-28
Ventura Primer NV Reserva Brut Cava, Spain CSPC 854113 $19-22
Anna
Corcelettes
Valley, British Columbia CSPC 665190
Boschendal
UKO
Valley, Argentina
Giusti
Pere
2020 Bonterra Rosé,
$25-29
Asio Otus NV Bianco, Veneto, Italy CSPC 860188 $37-40 (3L) Fetzer
Mendocino County, California CSPC 833778
San Felice 2019 Chianti Classico Tuscany, Italy CSPC 245241 $21-24

TRADITIONAL ENGLISH GIN PIONEERS IN GIN DISTILLING SINCE

1762

New events and dinners are added regularly so check culinairemagazine.ca/events as these evenings sell out rather quickly! Email linda@culinairemagazine.ca to reserve and/or to be included in our bi-monthly updates to hear about events before the rest of the city. We try to cater for all allergies.

Vine & Dine at The Artist Lounge Friday January 13 An opportunity to wander the gallery and enjoy 6 pairing courses of Chef Trent Bochek’s super delicious small plates with a brand new menu for this one-off evening!

Italian Winemaker Dinner at Vero Bistro

Wednesday January 18 Federico De Cerchio, owner of Famiglia De Cerchio winery, in Abruzzo, is with us for an Italian winemaker dinner with Vero Bistro’s fabulous dishes!

Vine & Dine at Vero Bistro Wednesday January 25 and Tuesday 31 Six carefully created and beautifully served dishes are carefully paired to complement the flavours of Chef Jenny’s superb menus!

Vine & Dine at Shoe & Canoe Friday February 3 We’re loving the menus from Shoe & Canoe’s Okanagan chef, Eugene Hicks, so we’re coming back for a one-off six-course paring meal in February!

Special Chinese New Year Celebration Pairing Dinner at T.Pot China Bistro Wednesday February 8 T.Pot China Bistro was awarded the Best Cantonese Cuisine Restaurant in Canada 2018, and we’re coming for a special 6-course Chinese New Year celebration pairing dinner!

One-Off Eat The Market Vine & Dine at Fresh & Local Market & Kitchens Thursday February 9 Three of our favourite chefs are cooking two courses each for us at this special one-off, collaboration six-course pairing dinner!

“From the Farm” Vine, Dine & Demo at Sunterra Market Wednesday February 15 Our first special evening at Sunterra Keynote was so good, we can’t wait to enjoy a brand new sixcourse pairing menu with products from Sunterra’s own farms!

Vine & Dine at LDV Wednesday February 22 and Tuesday 28 Claudio and May Carnali of Da Paolo, Il Gallo Nero, and Buon Giorno, have taken over Bridgeland’s LDV, and we’re coming for a six-course pairing meal of their traditional Italian fare.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY WHITLEYNEILL.COM DISCOVER MORE AT NOW AVAILABLE IN ALBERTA

MAKING THE CASE What makes the cut?

Late last year, I was asked about what sort of wines I like. Seems legit – right? I’ve been asked so many times over so many years that I almost never have a handy answer. There are wines I enjoy for academic purposes like the old wines, the rare wines, and the weirdly awesome wines. But there are also wines that are purely crushable, quaffable, and ready to go which are completely excellent for being accessible.

Here on these pages, not everything makes the grade. These wines are all recommendations, and wines that I feel are representative, well-priced (whether inexpensive or pricey), and yes, wines that are possible to find. Out of the hundreds of bottles I try each and every month, these 13 wines represent a range of prices and regions, but also well-suited for a cold winter’s evening – or when summer’s barbecue days start up again.

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.

Red Rooster NV Sparkling Rosé

Okanagan

Valley, British Columbia

Made from nearly 100 percent malbec (with a paltry 2 percent pinot noir) this might be the first, northern hemisphere sparkling malbec I’ve tried. And it is good! Very much a rosé with a pinkish, coppery hue, the fruits are all about tart plums and cherry-style fruits, with a crisp, quaffable character – made in the traditional method too. A wine as delicious as it is far off the path, and representing some cool new expressions on the way from Red Rooster.

CSPC 833267 $35-38

Tom has been waxing on (and on) about wine, beer, and spirits for more than 25 years and freelances, consults, and judges on beverages all year long. He is the Managing Editor for Culinaire Magazine, and the Competition Director for the Alberta Beverage Awards.

Zinfandel California

I love zinfandel with all it’s brambly, wild fruit aromas and flavours, it’s mild blueberry character that tells you it was picked at the right time, and a chewy, definitely-present tannin structure – not to mention a rich, silky mouthfeel. So yeah, I love this zin too! Try matching with hard cheese or cured meats, but this will also go just as well with great pizza.

CSPC 862849 $22-24

Castaño 2020 “Ecologico” Organic Monastrell, Yecla, Spain

Over the years watching what was once “fringe” winemaking, like organics becoming mainstream, has been pretty wonderful. These days being organic isn’t enough by itself, the wine still has to be good enough to compete. Here, a crisp and quaffable monastrell shows clean berry style fruits with easy tannins and a lengthy but spicy finish. Very well priced, very well made – and organic wine.

CSPC 814052 $19-21

Quinta do Portal 2019 Reserva Tinto Douro, Portugal

Part of the charm of Portuguese table wines is that they embrace local, indigenous varieties (for the most part) like touriga nacional or touriga franca in the Douro – grapes near perfectly suited to the baking heat and dry conditions of the region. Here, the wine is all about black fruit with firm tannins, great acids, but also a clean, dry herbaceous character and beautiful spice. A great wine for smoked meats, charcuterie, or great cheese.

CSPC 867836 $40-44

34 Culinaire | January/February 2023
Lange Twins 2019 Sand Point

Sandhill 2021 Sovereign Opal Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

A wonderfully unique wine, made from a hybrid grape that is almost completely unheard of, and boasts creamy, tropical and stone fruits, and a friendly and bright acid structure. Off dry to sweet on the palate, in many ways a bit like a mix of gewürztraminer, muscat, and riesling. A rare white that is crowd pleasing and fun to drink too – break out the appies!

CSPC 833778 $25-29

Zonte’s Footstep 2018 “Lake Doctor” Shiraz, Langhorne Creek, Australia

Miles away from the overtly jammy or “fruit bomb” shiraz Australia made famous, but in a way still very distinctively Australian with opulent fruit and spice notes, and at the same time a clean and gentle savoury character showing a little cured meats and herb. Completely stunning modern shiraz that checks off all the boxes for gatherings with friends or family.

CSPC 727874 $22-25

Castaño 2018 Solanero Vinas Viejas

Yecla, Spain

A big, chewy, and most importantly a damn good new red (to us) from Spain. Based around old vine monastrell, with cabernet sauvignon and grenache, also spending 10 months in barrels. This is a complex, layered beast with a deep earthiness, but bursting with red fruits and a slightly resinous herbaceousness. Completely beautiful and perfect for big meats, roasted or grilled.

CSPC 175372 $27-30

A simply lovely, fresh example of a sangiovese-based rosé. Coming from a place of restraint with about 12.5 percent alcohol, there is a bare hint of sweet fruits on the summer spectrum with lemons, strawberries, and an overall generous character. A clean, smashable wine that very much overdelivers on price too. A versatile sort of wine that pairs well with light snacks, charcuterie or lighter seafoods.

CSPC 783725 $21-23

A truly remarkable wine – one of the marquee producers, from one of the marquee regions of the wine world. Delightful with slight earthy spice and woodsy/compost characters with a bright, strawberry fruit note that almost dominates. Far too young to really enjoy at the moment – but showing all the promise and potential of a special evening in the future. Wait until at least 2030 to pull the cork if you can.

CSPC 820687 $95-110

Tawny ports represent unbelievable value, unrivaled complexity, and for those occasional enthusiasts, last a little longer once opened (maybe a week to three weeks depending). The newest reserve tawny from Taylor Fladgate is packaged in a bottle evoking the “mallet” shape of bottles in the mid 18th century or so. Rich, but not too sweet, with toffee, honey and spice leading the way followed by a clean, figgy finish.

CSPC 873889 $54-57

Zonte’s Footstep 2021 “Violet Beauregard” Malbec Langhorne Creek, Australia

Part of a remarkable line up of wines from Zonte’s is this very different, but well worth trying malbec – from Australia! In a much more Argentine style over a French malbec, this entirely captivating bottle speaks from the heart with plump, ripe fruits, a decidedly blueberry (and plum) driven expression, and a drop of bubblegum. Zero oak, but 100 percent a barbecue rock star.

CSPC 740201 $22-25

Quinta do Portal 2019 Gran Reserva Tinto, Douro, Portugal

A true grand reserve wine, and one from the Douro region of Northern Portugal, that presents what the region is capable of in its table wines, and still at a very fair price. Centred around tourigas nacional and franca, with tinta roriz (tempranillo), and 14 months in barrel, there is plenty of depth and black fruit expression with some youthful tannins tying it all together. Enjoyable now with a little decanting, or wait about 10 more years to let the real charm shine.

CSPC 735317 $60-65

Mission Hill 2019 Oculus, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

In many ways, THIS is the flagship wine of the Okanagan. Certainly, Mission Hill has been at the forefront of the development of the region as a premium one, and Oculus is among their finest offerings. The 2019 is still wisely centred around merlot, with significant cabernet franc presence, cabernet sauvignon for some structure, and a drop of petit verdot. Floral and herbal with beautiful fruits, and excellent - even now, this will improve with time. A hard to find showstopper!

CSPC 1200794 About $200

January/February 2023 | Culinaire 35
Taylor Fladgate “The Mallet” Reserve Tawny Port, Douro, Portugal Lange Twins 2021 Sand Point Rosé California Chateau de Beaucastel 2019 Châteauneuf du Pape, Rhône, France

We’re so impressed with local chefs, and chefs from across the country, cooking up superb sauces and making them available to us, so if you could have restaurant quality sauces without leaving your home, why would you buy sauce from anywhere else? Here are four from Alberta and one from Quebec to tempt your tastebuds.

We’re always on the hunt for good new food products - if you make something you think we should know about, please email us at info@culinairemagazine.ca!

The Curryer Butter Chicken Sauce

We’re no strangers to Butter Chicken; having eaten scores of dishes in 2021 to find Calgary’s Best, I feel qualified to recognise a good one with complexity and a depth of flavour that comes from long simmering, without added sugar to sweeten a rushed one. The good news is we’ve found it here in the Curryer’s sauce! They hadn’t opened when we ran the contest as it would have been a major contender - simmered for five hours, rich and deep; creamy from the cashews, butter, and cream; and with a lovely heat from the red chili and black pepper – and no sugar! 500 mL $10 at Uproot Collective and The Curryer, thecurryer.ca.

Montreal’s Stefano Faita’s range of Italian sauces are now available in Alberta at Sobey’s, Co-op, and specialty food stores. Based on his family’s recipes, he uses only natural ingredients with no added preservatives, sugar, or water, and they’re completely gluten-free. Alfredo (405 mL) is decadent! Enjoy with bacon, chicken, or scallops; Tomato Basil is fresh-tasting and flavourful, definitely restaurant quality; Marinara is thick, creamy and rich, with a piquancy from lemon and garlic; and Arrabbiata has a bit of a bite from crushed chillies and basil - tomato sauce with a kick! 648 mL $8.

Secret Foods Yuzu Tamari Ginger

Tahini Finishing Sauce

The original flavours of Calgary’s Secret Foods’ finishing sauces - Smoked Paprika and Lemon Herb – are very popular and available in more than 300 stores across Western Canada. Now their creator, Anna Jane Daklala, has released a new flavourYuzu Tamari Ginger. This Mediterranean-Japanese fusion is full of umami, with yuzu citrus and spicy ginger. Made from a base of tahini, tamari, lemon juice, and EVOO, with its own (secret!) blend of spices – it contains no dairy, eggs, sugar, gluten, or nuts. 245 mL $9-10 at naturamarket.ca and well.ca, and soon at Community Natural Foods and Sobeys.

GR8 Thai Sauce

Talerngpong

been a

Calgary Zoo for six years now. His range of authentic Thai sauces are gluten- and dairy-free, vegan, and made from scratch. They’re frozen to keep them fresh, so all we have to do is defrost them and add our favourite meat, seafood, veggies, noodles – whatever takes you fancy – and heat for five minutes. We already love TJ’s red and green coconut milk curries but his slightly sweet and spicy yellow curry is new to us, and it’s absolutely restaurant quality. 500 mL $13, online at gr8thaisauce.ca or at cultivatr.ca.

Centini Foods Three Cheese and Vodka Sauces

Chevonne Centini of Calgary’s Centini Foods/Restaurant has two new flavours to add to her range of sauces and dressings –and they’re as good as you’d expectie. excellent! Three Cheese has Romano, Parmesan, and Asiago, and tastes freshly made, super thick and cheesy, and would be terrific with any protein. Vodka Sauce, the ‘Mother sauce’ with cream and vodka, is rich and creamy, tomatoey, with a little warming spice from the black pepper. Penne would be ideal for this sauce, but it would be wonderful with any wide noodle and protein or veg. $8-10 at Centini Restaurant and Co-op stores.

36 Culinaire | January/February 2023 etcetera...
Charoenpan (TJ to us) was an engineer in Thailand before coming to Canada and he’s chef at the Stefano Faita Pasta Sauces

...with Darren Oleksyn

Some careers follow a long and winding road; Darren Oleksyn had a clear idea of what he wanted to do, and stayed the course - and it's been successful for him.

Growing up in east Saskatchewan, his father was a teacher whose pastime was making fruit wine. “He saw wine as a challenge, so he would try to make it out of anything he could think of,” says Oleksyn. “His raspberry wine was pretty good, but his green tomato and celery wine was not so good.”

His father started making at-home kits, and after finishing university, Oleksyn started making them too, with wine always on the go in his cellar.

Oleksyn’s goal was to be a sports reporter: “I love sports, but I wasn't a good enough athlete to actually play it,” he says. He liked writing and decided to try it: two years of pre-journalism and two years of journalism at Regina University, finishing in 1990. His dream came true when he landed a position covering sports at a weekly paper in Estevan, and then at a daily newspaper in Prince Albert. “Then I discovered that when you cover sports, you don't have a social life, because you're always working nights.”

Tiring of sports, he became a general reporter and copy editor, being promoted to managing editor and city editor, before moving to Regina in 1998 to work at the Leader Post. “I was a copy editor there, so worked nights, and it was a great job; I knew Regina, my family was close, but my wife and I wanted to move to a bigger city, and in 2004 an opportunity came up at the Calgary Herald.”

Oleksyn worked in the newsroom as copy editor, a night supervisor part-time, and then assignment editor. At the Herald he met Shelley Boettcher, and they were both wine lovers, so when she left to work at Wine Access and an opening arose, he moved there too. “I took an introduction to wine course at at Willow Park (Wines & Spirits), and that really got me into it. I was trying to learn everything I could. I took WSET II and WSET III courses, and our vacations would be to wine country. The more you know, the more you know that you don't know, and you just want to keep learning,” says Oleksyn.

In his position as Managing Editor, his big project was producing the Canadian Wine Annual, a reference magazine of all the wineries in Canada, and the wine awards that they used to do “When it closed down, I did a little bit of work at the Herald, and ended up writing a wine book with Shelley - Uncorked in Alberta.”

Back at the Herald full time in 2013, Oleksyn managed special projects and starting his wine column, and has been doing that ever since. “My wife loves wine too; sometimes our palates are complementary and sometimes they're

conflicting, and it's fun that way. She seems to have a sense of picking out the most expensive wine when we go to events - so that can be good and bad.”

So what bottle is Oleksyn saving for a special occasion?

When he took the class at Willow Park, they tasted wines and always got a discount, so Oleksyn started buying wine. “Back then Bordeaux was a lot cheaper, so I used to buy the odd bottle and I did some futures buying. That stopped around 2009 when the prices skyrocketed,” he explains. “I like sweet wine; I don't drink a ton of it, but it’s fascinating. A lot of people probably don't even know that they make a sweet wine in Bordeaux.”

“It takes a special situation to be able to make a wine like this Chateau Guiraud Sauternes, so I picked it up. I have small bottles of different vintages, but 2005 was a great vintage, so I bought a bigger bottle. I keep thinking I'm going to open it, but maybe I'll wait until it’s 20 years old in 2025 and open it on my birthday. We'll probably have a party and open some other nice wines too. It'll be a fun experience, so I'll make sure I have my favourite wine friends with me too.”

38 Culinaire | January/February 2023
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