Culinaire #12.1 (May 2023)

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Cooking with Herbs | What’s in store for Alberta’s Breweries | Stalks of Spring


6 Salutes and Shout Outs News from Alberta’s culinary scene

8 Off the Menu Foreign Concept’s Fish Sauce Caramel Brussels Sprouts

10 Chefs’ Tips and Tricks All Fired Up! Cabin- and camp-friendly fare

34 Making the Case Cruising the Iberian Peninsula

36 Etcetera...

What’s new?

38 Open That Bottle

With Cam Dobranski of Medium Rare Chef Apparel and Spirit Wares


Herbs are little flavour bombs that can take  any dish to the next level, and this month is the  time for planting. But herbs don’t just elevate food, they can elevate drinks too, including cocktails and mocktails. Thanks very much to Natalie Findlay for her recipes with herbs and  her beautiful photograph adorning our cover  this issue– we’re all ready to plant up our pots!

16 The Perfect Pair

… Black bottom chocolate and coffee cream pie

by Renée Kohlman

18 Fun at The Fort:

A spirited bunch takes on distilling by Lucy Haines

20 Herbs for a Flavour Punch

As the ground warms, planting season approaches by Natalie Findlay

22 The Wines of Alberta

Alberta may not have the classic, grape-based wineries that British Columbia is known for, but it does have something extra special by Erika Ravnsborg

24 May Spirits

Alberta-made products claim the day!

by Tom Firth and Linda Garson

26 What to Expect from Alberta Brewing in 2023

Now craft beer is less of a mystery, it’s what is expected from a brewery that keeps changing by David Nuttall

30 Stalks of Spring

One of the first signs of Spring is the bounty of delicious stalks and shoots that pop out of the ground by Mallory Frayn

May 2023 | Culinaire 3 contents departments
Volume 12 / No. 1 / May 2023
22 38 18 16

Another trip around the sun…

It’s our birthday! We’ve just completed our eleventh year, and with this issue we’re starting year twelve of bringing you stories of our local food and beverage communities and sharing their contributions to Alberta.

We’re hearing from chefs with their ideas of recipes for the start of the camping and cabin season, new spirit releases from local distillers, and our own unique wine industry – even if the climate is too cold to grow grapes. And there couldn’t be a better time to celebrate than Spring, a time for rebirth and regrowth, full of anticipation for the year ahead.

shape, and we’re looking forward to being able to reveal all very soon, and for you to join us on this amazing journey.

It’s been a fascinating time for me over the last couple of weeks, as one of my closest friends has been staying with me for her first visit to Alberta, and I’ve had to choose where to take her, what to see, and where to eat, whittling down my choices of favourite

But it’s a really good exercise to see our province through someone else’s eyes, to appreciate the things we take for granted on a daily basis through a fresh lens, and being forced to prioritise visits, realising yet again just how many wonderful and delicious experiences there are waiting to be enjoyed, and how vibrant and alive our province is with such kind, generous, and supportive people ready to make a stranger welcome.

Thanks so much to everyone we visited, everywhere we ate, and to all who extended the hand of friendship this month, as well as the last eleven years of eating and drinking my own way around our province.


Elevate your grilling game with all natural Alberta-raised Piedmontese beef. Grocery. Bakery. Deli. Café. EDMONTON | CALGARY | SHERWOOD PARK

Alberta / Food & Drink / Recipes


Linda Garson

Managing Editor

Tom Firth

Multimedia Editor

Keane Straub


Tara Zenon 403-472-1345


Kendra Design Inc


Natalie Findlay, Mallory Frayn

Lucy Haines, Dong Kim

Renée Kohlman, David Nuttall

Erika Ravnsborg, Keane Straub

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

Our contributors

Mallory Frayn

Mallory is a clinical psychologist, founder of Impulse Psychology, and writer in Montreal. Through both therapy and writing, Mallory's goal is to help people build healthier relationships with food. She has written on food and psychologyrelated topics for various publications, including a column for Psychology Today. Mallory’s work has also been featured in Eater Montreal, Time Out Montreal, and more. Follow her on Twitter @drfrayn.

Keane Straub

Freelance writer and photographer, Keane is based out of Calgary. They have travelled from Tofino, BC, to Charlottetown, PEI, and tried a lot of local flavour along the way. While beer is their go-to, they won’t say no to a good gin and tonic. A storyteller at heart, they find building LEGO therapeutic, and enjoy hiking, teaching photography basics, and reading about Mount Everest. Find them on Instagram @keane_larsen or their website

Lucy Haines

Contact us at: Culinaire Magazine

#1203, 804–3rd Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2P 0G9 403.870.9802

@culinairemag @culinairemag

For subscriptions, competitions and to read Culinaire online:

A long-time freelance writer, Lucy specializes in travel, food, arts, and entertainment. In a 30-year-plus career writing newspaper and magazine features, Lucy has interviewed celebrities, reviewed restaurants and sampled foods around the world. After writing news and features for Metro Edmonton for a decade, Lucy is now editor at Alberta Prime Times, a monthly lifestyle newsmagazine for 50-plus Albertans.

Culinaire Magazine acknowledges that we live, work and play on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut'ina, the Îyâxe Nakoda Nations, the Métis Nation (Region 3), and all people who make their home in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.

All Trademarks presented in this magazine are owned by the registered owner. All advertisements appearing in this magazine are the sole responsibility of the person, business or corporation advertising their product or service. For more information on Culinaire Magazine’s Privacy Policy and Intention of Use, please see our website at All content, photographs and articles appearing in this magazine are represented by the contributor as original content and the contributor will hold Culinaire Magazine harmless against any and all damages that may arise from their contribution. All public correspondence, which may include, but is not limited to letters, e-mail, images and contact information, received by Culinaire Magazine becomes the property of Culinaire Magazine and is subject to publication. Culinaire Magazine may not be held responsible for the safety or return of any unsolicited manuscripts, photographs and other materials. Reproduction of this publication in whole or in part without written consent from Culinaire Magazine is strictly prohibited.

Three years after Brad Stefaniuk and Joni Klaassen opened Jam’s Diner in Airdrie, they’ve opened a sister diner in the Kane’s Harley Diner spot at 1209 9 Avenue SE. It’s a completely different menu, and with Chefs Robert Brown and Hady Sabbagh (both ex-Bridgette Bar), and Adrian Ragot tending the bar, we’re in good hands. Everything is made in-house (the dogs, bacon, and pastrami as well as houseinfused spiced gin!), much of it smoked. Be prepared for generous portions and big flavours – all well-priced (including the cocktails). Do try “The Carey”, smoked chicken sandwich, tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich, spun malt ice cream – and don’t miss the chicken skin gravy! Closed Mondays,

Alberta is home to around 26,000 Ukrainian newcomers affected by war, so Edmontonians Janice KrissaMoore and daughter, Jorgia, founded Free Store at 10568 108 Street NW, to help them adapt to their new home here. Ukraine’s Kitchen by Free Store sells food such as borscht, perogies, chicken Kyiv, holubsti (cabbage rolls) and rogaliki (pastries) handmade by newcomers, with purchases paying for materials and wages for those cooking the food. Order online at or at the store.

There’s a 3D immersive dining experience in Calgary, at the new Clay Pot Asian Food Kitchen, sister restaurant to Clay Pot Rice on Macleod Trail, but with a totally different menu. Chef Paul Yung, along with wife, Polly, and partner, Alex Guo, has created a menu of Asianbased dishes with influences picked up from 30 years in kitchens, creating his own style, such as Shrimp Cracker Nachos, flaming Dongpo Chicken Wings, Prime Rib Chimichurri, and Sake-cured Salmon and Tuna that arrives in a mist of dry ice. Chef Yung makes all his own noodles and broths (as well as an

excellent chili oil!). You’ll be captivated too by two walls of constantly changing videos, (put up your own photos tooperfect for birthdays and weddings!)

2122 Crowchild Trail NW, noon-11 pm, seven days.

Edmonton has a new brewery! Polyrhythm Brewing is open at 11635 145 Street NW, with award-winning homebrewer Chelsea Tessier in charge of the brewing program, and drummer/ electrician Taylor Wacey running the taproom. Eight Polyrhythm beers are on tap ranging from Wing Nut Wit and Snare Drum NEIPA to Bodran Irish Stout, plus Edmonton’s Pink Boots Hazy Session, and there’s a small menu of meat and veggie paninis, all made on local baker, Bon Ton’s rye or sourdough bread. Wednesday to Sunday,

Regina’s Brewed Awakening has opened its first Alberta location, BRWD Coffee Company, at Delta Hotels by Marriott Calgary Downtown. Lisa and Ken MacMurchy opened their first coffee bar twelve years ago, and have been carefully growing and expanding now to four locations in their home city of Regina. This full-service espresso bar offers the classics as well as a few of their own specialty items, with a food menu of breakfast bites and sandwiches, soup, wraps, muffins, cookies, and a few more of their popular proprietary items. 209 4 Avenue SE.

Edmonton, Fort MacMurray, Calgary’s University District… now The Banquet Bar has opened in Calgary’s Mahogany community. If you’ve visited the other locations, this premium dive bar menu will be familiar, here cooked by Head Chef Stuart Leduc, and it’s really good! There’s not only something for everybody on the menu but also with the choice of games and sports – this huge 560-seat space employs 150 locals, and has three

floors (plus a rooftop patio) of pinball, basketball hoops, and games, as well as ten pin bowling, a life-size Price is Right wheel, and a stein locker program. Specials include Tuesday toonie bowling with 39 cent wings. 11:30-2:00, seven days.

The Continental YYC is quite the transformation from Brasserie Kensington and Eat Crow in Calgary. Executive Chef Dawn Chabot and husband Eric, along with partner Sabi Tofalvi (all ex-Chairman’s Steakhouse), renovated the space themselves in just three weeks to create an elegant space with white tablecloths and comfy chairs. They’ve gone old school here in this small 28-seat dining room (plus 12-seat lounge) with traditional cocktails and tableside Caesar Salad and Bananas Foster, beautifully presented and generous dishes such as Coquilles St Jacques, Campari-marinated Prawns with Caviar, and Rabbit Wellington with artichoke and mushroom sauce, and everything made in-house. Chef’s tasting menu items change daily, so there’s always something new to try! 1131 Kensington Rd NW, closed Mondays,

And across the road, we’re congratulating Chef May May!

From line cook at Notable, to executive sous at Goro + Gun, and head chef at Lonely Mouth, now Chef May Ng has her own new restaurant, Satsuki, where she’s making everything from scratch, even her own soy sauce! She’s created a beautiful space, where she’s serving a wide selection of sushi, small and large rolls, and excellent Zensai (appies) such as Wagyu Gyoza, Steamed Daikon, and Hana (sweet potato) Dumplings. Signature Shushoku (mains) include Sakekasu Miso Sablefish Risotto and Curry Donburi, and you’ll love the YuZu Panna Cotta and Matcha Experience desserts! Chef’s 10-15 course omakase menu is available Friday-Sunday at 5 pm and 7 pm. 1130 Kensington Road NW,

6 Culinaire | May 2023

Passionate chefs doing it their way! At 9750 170th Street, Edmonton’s Đa Kao Restaurant, from Chef Luan Nguyen (Ivan) and Shannon Phan, is an homage to their Vietnamese roots inspired by the ward in Sài Gòn, with dishes creatively adapted to Alberta tastes and ingredients that can be sourced locally. Some items such as spring rolls, bánh mì, pho, will be familiar, but don’t miss their Dragon Fruit Salad Rolls, Passionfruit Deep-fried Shrimp, 5-colour Vermicelli Bowl, and other colourful specials! Đa Kao also offers catering for offices and parties. 11 am-9 pm, seven days,

Elizabeth Reimer is a SAIT grad with a passion for baking (and begonias!), and after honing her skills at Yum Bakery, Alforno, and Trullo Trattoria, she’s now realised her dream, opening Begonia Bakehouse at 1502 14th Street SW, in Calgary, where she bakes many varieties of breads including sourdough, country bread, red fife, rye, milk bread, and her great grandmother’s Maritime Brown from Nova Scotia. But that’s not all – check out the selection of croissants, sweet and savoury Danishes, and the standout favourite Kouign-amann, as well as financiers, madeleines, monkey bread, sandwiches, and dog treats! Stay for a Monogram coffee, and enjoy the wall of begonias too. Thursday-Sunday, 8-3 pm.

Now you have a choice of locations in Calgary to get your fix of Franca’s Pizza - they’re still up north on Edmonton Trail and have opened a takeout-only location in Oak Bay Plaza! This bright new spot is decked out in Italian colours of red and green, and has been completely refurbished with new flooring and tiling, new equipment, and a new oven. As well as your choice of 14 excellent pizzas, pick up a frozen lasagna to take home, salads, amaretti, biscotti, traditional and limoncello tiramisu, and bags of Franca’s Coffee beans. Save the wait and order ahead at 403-281-5400. Seven days 4-9 pm.

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

Fish Sauce Caramel Brussels Sprouts


Sauce Brussels Sprouts are one of the most popular dishes on their menu, irrespective of season and reason.

We’ve had more than our fair share of them, and heard many gasps of delight at the first bite, and we’ve received many requests for the recipe.

Foreign Concept’s Fish Sauce Caramel

Brussels Sprouts

Serves 3-4

500 mL sugar

135 mL fish sauce

65 mL water

175 mL sambal olek (chili paste)

65 mL sesame seeds

2 limes, zest and juice

450 g Brussels sprouts

1 Lap Cheong or Chinese sausage

1 lime, juiced

40 g crispy fried shallots (from Asian stores, or Asian section in supermarket)

1 green onion, chopped fine

1 tsp sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Thanks so much to Duncan Ly for generously sharing his recipe for these

sweet, sprouts with us. We’ll try, but somehow we suspect ours will never

1. In a saucepan combine sugar, fish sauce, and water, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

2 Add sambal olek, sesame seeds, and the lime zest and juice from two limes, and bring back to the boil. Turn off heat.

3. Clean Brussels sprouts, and take off any discoloured leaves. Cut large sprouts in

half. Slice sausage into thin diagonal slices. In a deep fryer or air fryer fry the Brussels sprouts and sausage until golden brown.

4. Toss in the sauce to coat the Brussels sprouts. Add the juice of one lime.

5. Garnish with crispy fried shallots and chopped green onions, and sprinkle over additional sesame seeds if desired.

8 Culinaire | May 2023 OFF THE MENU

All Fired Up!

The countdown to the May long weekend is on! Time to take stock of what to bring, what to wear, and most importantly, what to eat! Whether your idea of roughing it is within the walls of a lakeside cabin or a four-person tent, your outdoor meals can be simple and spectacular.

This month, four Alberta chefs have provided some great cabin-or-camp friendly fare, from starting salads to decadent brownies. They’re quick to prep, easy to serve, and take you beyond the realm of hotdogs and s’mores (nothing wrong with those!) Stoke your fire, get the coals glowing, and let your weekend begin!

If you peruse the menu of Edmonton’s Rosewood Foods, two defining factors will probably come to mind: fresh and uncomplicated. “We’re inspired by simply prepared and delicious food,” says owner Jesse Gado.

The Kale Gomadare salad is Jesse’s favourite dish on the menu: “When I first started going out to eat sushi, I was obsessed with Spinach Gomadare Salad, which is essentially wilted spinach tossed in a savoury and sweet sesame dressing. We worked hard to replicate a similar dressing to give us a beautiful and fresh result that travels well.”

By prepping all of the ingredients ahead of time, the only thing left to do when you arrive at your long weekend destination is put everything in a bowl, dress, and season the salad. “You can add grilled or fried chicken, or any other protein to the salad if you like, but frankly this salad is great on its own!”

Rosewood Kale Gomadare

Serves 4

4 bunches of leafy green kale

1 pint of grape tomatoes

4 Persian cucumbers or two large

English cucumbers

4 fresh radishes


2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp (5 mL) sesame oil

¼ cup (60 mL) mirin

½ cup (125 mL) canola oil

½ cup (125 mL) rice wine vinegar

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup (180 mL) soy sauce

1¼ cup white sesame seeds

To taste lemon juice

1. Wash, destem and chop the kale into small strips. Place the strips into a large stainless steel salad bowl and massage them thoroughly.

2. Slice the cucumber and tomatoes into chunks and slice the radish very thin. Place these into the salad bowl with the massaged kale.

3. Place all the dressing ingredients into your blender and blend thoroughly. Taste for seasoning.

4. Dress the salad to your liking, adding dressing one tablespoon at a time, and finish by adding fresh lemon juice to taste.

10 Culinaire | May 2023 CHEF’S TIPS & TRICKS

At Edmonton’s Smokey Bear you’ll find Chef Riley hard at work creating dishes using a wood-burning grill and quality, local ingredients. “My cooking is inspired by my surroundings - the people, the land, the animals and plants - and telling a story of beautiful ingredients prepared with little intervention over an open fire to make them shine.”

When it comes to the menu, he leans towards vegetable dishes, especially during the warmer months. Fifth Gen Gardens does the growing for Smokey Bear, so you know you’re getting some of the best the province offers. “We spend lots of time preparing them fresh but also fermenting, pickling, and drying for the long winter months,” Chef Riley adds. With cucumber salads popping up on menus all over Alberta, there’s no better time to try your hand at Chef Riley’s creation during that first trip to the cabin at the end of May. This Cucumber Salad with Charred Pesto was made for grilling

– easy to prep and store, and leaving minimal waste.

An inside tip from chef himself: “Get some mesh strainers from the dollar store and flatten them to make your very own campfire pan. And don’t be afraid to really char your veg! The smoky flavour will shine through.”

1. Peel your cucumbers reserving the skins for your pesto. Rough chop the peeled cucumbers into bite sized pieces.

2. Zest and juice your limes reserving each component separately.

3. Cut your dill into fine chiffonade (use the whole thing!) reserving some of the tops for finishing the salad.

4. Rough chop your scapes and pickled vegetables. Set aside 50 g of veggies for finishing the salad.

Charred Pesto:

1. Turn your BBQ on to high heat, alternatively you can use a fire!

2. In a strainer basket above your BBQ place your garlic scapes, cucumber trim, pickled veg and pistachios. Spray with a small amount of oil and cook until you begin to get some char. Place in a bowl and allow to cool.


Salad with Charred Pesto

Serves 6

12 small cucumbers

2 limes

1 bunch dill

2 bunches garlic scapes

150 g pickled green veg (beans, asparagus, whatever is kicking around in the back of your fridge!)

150 g pistachios

50 g parmesan, grated

3 Tbs + 1 tsp (50 mL) oil

To taste salt

3. In a mortar and pestle (you can also use a blender or even just a knife) begin to mash your charred veg into a pesto.

4. Once a paste has formed, add in your lime zest, juice, parmesan, and oil. Season with salt to taste.

Finishing the Salad:

Toss your cut cucumbers in your pesto. Allow at least 24 hours for the flavours to infuse into your cukes! When ready to serve finish with fresh dill and salt if required.

* The cucumbers will last for up to 1 week in a sealed container.

May 2023 | Culinaire 11

As Culinary Director for both Brix & Barrel and Rooftop in Calgary, Chef Ty’s inspiration when it comes to creating dishes, is people. “Making food for people to enjoy and talk about to their friends and family is what makes me want to continue to make great food.”

Hard-pressed to choose just one fave dish from the menus, Chef Ty names a few: tagliatelle, short ribs, wild mushrooms and burrata, and the jerk chicken skewers. “These items showcase our wide variety of menu items and offer savoury and spicy flavours.”

Also appearing on the menu are Steak and Shrimp Skewers, and he shares the recipe here as a quick and easy dish perfect for grilling at the cabin. “You can elevate your steak experience while camping - it’s really easy and has a ton of flavour,” explains Chef Ty. And, they make for great appetizers or main dish.

Be sure to prep everything beforehand so you can just fire up the grill and get cooking right away – but then slow it

down and be patient. “Take your time with the proteins, they’re expensive and you don’t want to ruin them by cutting them wrong. Ensure they are seasoned well, use a thermometer so they don’t overcook - and don’t be afraid to use a little extra butter!”

Steak and Shrimp Skewers

Serves 4

Japanese Steak Sauce

½ cup (125 mL) tahini

2 Tbs (30 mL) minced garlic

4 Tbs (60 mL) soy sauce

½ cup (125 mL) mayo

½ Tbs (7 mL) sesame oil

1 Tbs white sugar

¼ tsp kosher salt

1 Tbs (15 mL) cold water.

Bamboo skewers

Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and once combined, stir in the cold water. Let sit for minimum 2 hours.


1 kg striploin

16 - 16-20 shrimp (450 g)

Light olive oil

To taste salt and pepper

1. Cut striploin into 2.5 cm cubes, against the grain. Mix in a bowl with a little light olive oil and salt and pepper.

2. In a new bowl toss shrimp with light olive oil and salt and pepper.

3. Skewer 2 cubes striploin, 1 shrimp, 2 cubes striploin, 1 shrimp, 2 cubes striploin onto 20 cm (8”) bamboo skewers. Place in sealed container.

Black Garlic Butter

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 Tbs (15 mL) black garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 mL) garlic, minced

1 tsp parsley, minced

¼ tsp smoked paprika

¼ tsp course ground black pepper

Canola oil for sautéing

To taste kosher salt

2-3 green onions, chopped fine 4 radishes, sliced thin

1. Mix butter, garlics, parsley, paprika, and pepper, together in a bowl until combined.

2. Add a little canola oil to a cast iron or heavy pan, and cook steaks until internal temperature is 125º F.

3. Brush with black garlic butter. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

4. Place on plate, garnish with chopped green onion and radish slices. Serve with Japanese steak sauce to dip!

12 Culinaire | May 2023

For Cody Draper, the chef at Calgary’s New Camp, cooking is about sustainability, efficiency, and creativity. “My cooking is inspired by a nose to tail, farm to table approach. In a world of so much waste and shortage, every scrap should be respected and utilized in the most efficient way possible, while still trying to be creative and trying to put an interesting spin on the classics.”

Crispy rice and seared tuna tops the list of Cody’s menu favourites and he finds it refreshing to be able to work with fresh seafood within a landlocked province. And, just because you’re headed out doors or to the cabin, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fresh proteins along the way. “A good trick for longer stays to prolong the use of proteins, consider freezing some items in advance, as they will keep longer in your cooler.”

Planning is key when creating a menu for out-of-home excursions. Keep meals simple, and don’t forget about dessert, too. This simple Skillet Fudge Brownie can be prepared up to three days in

advance and kept in the fridge or cooler until it’s needed. Plus, it’s gluten-free, so more can enjoy it – and that includes wildlife!

“Take precautions to keep yourself and your food safe. Be sure to store your food least 100 metres away from your campsite. Cooking or eating in your tent should be avoided, and properly dispose of any food waste to prevent attracting wildlife to your campsite.”

Gluten-free Skillet Fudge Brownies

Serves 3-4

500 g washed and drained cooked black beans

1½ cups white sugar

½ cup cocoa powder

6 whole eggs

6 Tbs (90 mL) vegetable oil

2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract

½ tsp salt

½ cup chopped nuts or chocolate chips (optional)

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the beans, sugar and cocoa powder until smooth.

2. Remove from processor and whisk in the eggs one at a time, oil, vanilla and salt. Stir in the chopped nuts or chocolate chips if using. This batter can be prepared at home up to 3 days in advance and cooked on site.

3. Preheat a 20-24 cm (8-9”) skillet in the coals of your fire or in an oven, keeping in mind the handle will be hot, safety first! The skillet should be hot enough that a water droplet ‘dances’ on its surface. Pour in the brownie batter and bake 25-35 minutes. Can be served still gooey in the center, if desired. As long as it’s hot to the touch, the soft batter is every bit as safe to eat as a sunny side up egg.

4. Throw on top your favourite iced cream or caramel sauce as desired. Enjoy!

May 2023 | Culinaire 13
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.

A Journey that Began with Harvesting Medicinal Plants Leads to Culinary Bitters ...

There has never been a better time to support our local communities. By making a conscious decision to buy products that are grown, made, or produced locally, you are doing your part to create a stronger, healthier and more sustainable province. It is now simpler than ever to identify products made in Alberta, thanks to the new Made in Alberta label. Next time you are out at the grocery store, keep an eye out for the Made in Alberta label to find products that are grown, made and produced right here at home.

As a Local Knowledge Keeper and experienced forager, Matricia Bauer grew her Indigenous bitters company, Wîsakipakos, out of her knowledge of local flowers, trees, shrubs and plants as food and medicine, and ways of preserving them. As the owner and operator of Warrior Women Inc., a successful company in Jasper offering interpretive plant walks and Indigenous cultural experiences, Bauer was initially approached by a tourism partner to develop a culinary experience for a group of international travellers.

“I suggested we could go on a plant foraging walk, then create a mocktail and cocktail from our ingredients. I brewed up tons of bitters and then COVID hit. I had vats of bitters and no tourists,” laments Bauer as she remembers the impetus for Wîsakipakos. But instead of becoming bitter about the situation, Bauer thought bigger and better, and got bottling.

Bauer started selling her bitters at the Farmer’s Market in Jasper and developed a cult following. “People couldn’t go out to their local bar to get their favourite mocktail or cocktail, so the bitters went over really well.” As word got out, and local mixologists and chefs took notice, Bauer realized she had a viable product on her hands. “I spent two years with a chemical engineer and expanded my product from inception to conception, and brought it to life.” In 2022, as a contestant on APTN’s Bear’s Lair, a reality series featuring Indigenous entrepreneurs pitching their plans to Indigenous business moguls, Bauer received national attention when she made it to the top three and won $10,000.

“Wîsakipakos happened by accident, but the momentum in the product carried it forward, and I like to roll with things that grow organically,” she laughs. As an Indigenous herbalist, Bauer is also completing her tea sommelier certification, so bitters are a natural extension of her general practice. “Bitters, tinctures, extracts, are all exactly the same thing,” she says. A grocery store vanilla extract is made using the same techniques that

Bauer employs for her bitters. “My bitters are made using an alcohol extraction. Alcohol is very effective at drawing out the medicine and aromas. Then you can mix it with other things, brew it, ferment itthere are lots of ways to take it from there, which are my own secret recipes.”

Wîsakipakos Indigenous Bitters are created with approximately 90 percent wild foraged ingredients using botanicals that are harvested in Alberta or purchased from Indigenous companies and growers in Alberta. Bauer employs a master harvester who forages half the

(Wayakesk), which are a best seller, include willow, birch and cinnamon, and pair well with steak. Berry Bitters (Minis) include cranberry, wild blueberry, and wild berry tea, which elevate desserts and can be used just like vanilla to add a unique flavour profile. The Leaf Bitters (Nipis), with stinging nettle and mint, or the Tea Bitters (Nihtiy) with muskeg tea Labrador and fireweed, can be used to enhance the flavour of rice or potatoes. On the more aromatic end, the Flower Bitters (Wapakwanis) include chamomile, rose petal, and lavender; and the Medicine Bitters (Maskihkiy) include cedar, sage and sweetgrass. By working with an Indigenous mixologist and an Indigenous chef, Bauer has developed curated drink and meal recipes for each of the bitters. Or they can simply be added to hot or cold water and enjoyed in their purest form. “It adds a different flavour profile, and it’s a nice way of getting your medicine in too,” says Bauer.

ingredients on privately-owned land and the other half on Crown land. “Most of our ingredients are used in Indigenous culture for medicinal purposes,” says Bauer of her extracts that also pack a flavour punch. “We haven’t always had the ability to go grocery shopping or to the pharmacy, so we’ve had to heal ourselves and use the medicines that mother nature has provided to us that are literally right outside our backdoor. That knowledge is still there, but it’s not always celebrated. And this is a nice way of celebrating that knowledge in your kitchen in a delicious drink, meal, or food product.”

Wîsakipakos Indigenous Bitters features six different flavours: Bark Bitters

Ultimately Bauer, who is Cree (Nehiyaw) from Sturgeon Lake, hopes that once the bitters make it into kitchens, that they will get used like any other condiment. “I would like to see people Indigenising their kitchens one bitter at a time. We use condiments from all over the world and this is a beautiful, Alberta-made, Indigenous- grown product that we have right here in our backyard that can elevate what you are serving to your family and friends.”

She also hopes Wîsakipakos will serve as a vehicle for education to get people excited about learning more about Indigenous culture. “It’s one thing to read about us, or to watch a YouTube video, but it’s another thing to actually taste what makes Canada unique. We say Canada is young, but Indigenous People have been on Turtle Island for thousands of years. These bitters are made to represent Indigenous culture, Alberta, and Canada. And they do in every step of the way.”

From mother earth to medicine, mixology to meal preparation, Indigenous bitters are adding complexity and flavour in kitchens from an Indigenous understanding and point of view.
The Made in Alberta voluntary labeling program helps consumers easily identify Alberta-made products. Alberta producers and processors can use the new label on their locally-made products to help shoppers quickly identify food products made in our province when choosing an item at their local farmers’ market or grocery store. Our unique Made in Alberta label clearly identifies local food and beverages that are made right here in Alberta. By purchasing Made in Alberta products, you are supporting Alberta’s growers, farmers, producers, and processors. When we choose local, we choose our neighbours. When we choose local, we support our neighbours.


Black Bottom Chocolate and Coffee Cream Pie

If you’re lucky to have an old school diner in your town, you know all about the pies situated under glass domes. The fruit pies are typically crisscrossed with a lattice crust, while the coconut, chocolate, and banana cream are each heaped high with mounds of whipped cream.

Maybe there’s a lemon meringue, with torched pillows of fluff, or if you’re in a really old school diner, there may even be a Flapper Pie. My favourites have always been a tie between the cherry pie, a la mode, of course, and dreamy chocolate cream pie. My stash of frozen cherries has since been depleted so that pie has to wait until summer before it can be baked at home. But the chocolate cream pie is another story. With basic ingredients and an easy press-in chocolate cookie crust, this is a pie worth indulging in. And you don’t even have to leave your house!

Chocolate and coffee are best friends, and they work wonders together here. If you don’t find the combination particularly agreeable, then it’s fine to leave the espresso powder out of the filling and the topping. As I mentioned earlier, I used a basic chocolate cookie crust, but if you prefer to use a prebaked pastry shell, or even a graham cracker crust then that is fine too.

The filling is smooth and creamy and has a double dose of chocolate thanks to the cocoa powder and chopped dark chocolate chunks. This is a great chocolate pudding that would be lovely just on its own and tastes miles ahead of anything out of a box. It’s rich but not terribly sweet, and the espresso enhances the chocolate in a very

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delicious way. Of course you can’t have a chocolate cream pie without the swoops and swirls of a whipped cream topping! I like to mound it in the centre of the pie then use a soup spoon to create the decorative touches. If you have chocolate curls or shavings on hand you can use these as a garnish. Toasted almonds, sprinkles or even mini chocolate chipsthe sky’s the limit!

Black Bottom Chocolate and Coffee Cream Pie

Serves 8


2¼ cups (560 mL) chocolate cookie crumbs

½ cup (125 mL) butter, melted 1/3 cup granulated sugar


2/3 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

2 Tbs espresso powder

Pinch salt

6 large egg yolks, at room temperature

2 cups (500 mL) whole milk

½ cup (125 mL) whipping cream

180 g dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks

1 Tbs butter

1 Tbs (15 mL) vanilla bean paste or extract


2 cups (500 mL) whipping cream

2 Tbs icing sugar

1 Tbs espresso powder

1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

Garnish: chocolate shavings, curls, or mini chocolate chips

1. To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350º F. Lightly grease a 25 cm (10-inch) deep-dish pie pan.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the chocolate cookie crumbs, melted butter and sugar. The mixture should feel like damp sand and hold together in your hands when you squeeze it together. If it seems too dry, add a few drops of water to the mix. Press this mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pie pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes until set. Let cool completely. This step can be done up to one day ahead.

3. When the crust has cooled completely, pop it into the freezer while you prepare the filling.

4. To make the filling: In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan off the heat, whisk together the granulated sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt. Whisk in the egg yolks until this forms a thick paste. Whisk in the milk, then the

cream. Turn the heat to medium-high and whisk until the mixture thickens, about 8-10 minutes, then boil for 1 minute.

5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chocolate chunks. Whisk until very smooth, then whisk in the butter and vanilla. Cool for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally.

6. Pour the chocolate mixture into the frozen crust. Cover the top with plastic wrap and press down so the wrap is touching the surface of the filling. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

7. Before serving, make the topping: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment (or use a handheld mixer with beaters), beat the whipping cream, icing sugar, espresso powder, cocoa powder and vanilla together until stiff peaks form. Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the pie. Heap the espresso whipped cream on top of the pie, and use a soup spoon to make swoops and swirls. Garnish with chocolate shavings, curls, or mini chocolate chips, if desired. Slice and serve. Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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.

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Fun at The Fort: A spirited bunch takes on distilling

Despite challenges facing the competitive liquor industry, The Fort Distillery is seeing steady growth, and company owner/founder Nathan Flim says it's the people, the product and the hustle that get the credit.

It may seem launching a distillery just before the pandemic, and then trying to grow it amidst industry uncertainty might be a case of bad timing. But that's not how Nathan Flim and the team at The Fort Distillery see it; the startup has found timing to be on its side, and Flim plans for it to stay that way.

“I've always had the drive to own my own business and when I read a magazine article about a chemist getting into distilling, that's all it took,” said Flim, whose own background in chemistry provided him work in government and agriculture before he and wife Kayla took the entrepreneurial leap in 2018. “I researched, talked to suppliers and other distillers, and thought, ‘the timing is good, and Fort Saskatchewan has a tight business community. We're young; if it doesn't work out, we'll start over.”

He hasn't had to do that. Now with about 25 full and part-time employees, The Fort Distillery and its companion offering, Tumbler & Rocks, (ready-to-serve premium cocktails) are navigating an industry that remains challenging. Distribution in other provinces is one hurdle, as differing regulations restrict access to those markets. Then there's the federal liquor tax, which (with a rate tied to inflation) saw a hike of two percent this go-round, less than anticipated, for the time being.

In an industry still trying to reboot after the pandemic, Flim approaches it all through his business' core values, focused on fun, relationships, growth, and bringing craft cocktails to consumers that are unique, yet familiar—think cosmo, margarita, old fashioned. And with a few key sales and production people helping lead the charge, Flim has his sights set on western Canada and more of the US market.

Heading up much of the fun and creativity is operations manager and head distiller Julia Le. In what she describes as a bit of fate, Le saw Flim’s online job posting when she was travelling in Vietnam, just after finishing her science degree. She took on the steep learning curve with Flim when she joined The Fort, and says she’s found her ‘accidental joy’ creating products that include a signature whisky and a couple of yearly specialty products (a cranberry gin and a two-bean brew — a coffee/chocolate liqueur — her personal favourite).

“Nathan and I were jacks of all trades

at first,” Le remembers. “There were some missteps along the way, like when I was trying to get a certain shade of blue, using red cabbage. I ended up with a sweet alcoholic borscht.”

A few years on, Le says she’s excited about The Fort’s upcoming whiskies (whisky must be aged a minimum of three years) that she says is ‘100 percent mine’ and utilizes nontraditional chocolate malt or oat bases. “It’s the most labour-intensive thing I’ve done; to go the funkiest I can within a normal range.”

Le is also making her mark as a female distiller in the very male-dominated

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Julia Le, courtesy The Fort Distillery

industry, though one she says is cooperative, kind and supportive. She tries to be the same with her own (mostly female) staff.

“I’m a manager and I love my job. I always strive for a happy workplace,” she says, pointing to bi-weekly staff barbecues and team-building trips to visit with partners like local berry farmers.

The Fort Distillery’s Tumbler & Rocks is making waves in the west and in some US markets (mostly the northeast) with spirit forward, premium, ready-to-serve cocktails. In Alberta, Amanda Gaydos serves as brand coordinator, and though she majored in management at university, Gaydos says the job is now largely creating social media posts and video reels spreading The Fort Distillery message (sometimes featuring Flim), or showing people enjoying the products.

“Mountain Pass Whisky is in about 350 locations across Alberta — the focus on mountains and use of glacier water make it an easier sell in places like Jasper and Banff, but since we’ve partnered with the Oilers, the brand doesn’t have quite the same interest in Calgary,” laughs Gaydos.

The business has already scored big on that front, with the Fort Distillery claiming bragging rights as the house whisky at Rogers Place, and provider of Ready to Serve (RTS) cocktails at Edmonton's Jubilee Auditorium. An airline partnership is in the works too, and Fort Distillery is a regular presence at Farmers' Markets

(Old Strathcona, Downtown, Red Deer, St. Albert) and beer and wine shows.

“We are even partnering with a furniture company, so opportunities go beyond where we would traditionally think to market liquor — and they even came to us. That is happening more as we get our name out there,” says Gaydos, adding she has freedom to run with ideas and get inspiration by mentoring up-and-coming social media/marketing students from NAIT who come to The Fort Distillery on job placements.

Such aspirations were barely a dream when Fort Distillery opened a lounge/distillery in a former flooring store showroom at the edge of Fort Saskatchewan five years ago. While still holding down a day job, Flim and a few staffers used their own-made vodka and gin on a shoestring budget, “with a 600-litre still and a couple fermentation tanks,” as the basis for drinks in the cocktail lounge, which Flim acknowledges kept the company going in early days.

The lounge was forced to shut down during COVID-19 just as Flim and company launched Tumbler & Rocksanother fortuitous bit of timing. Riding the craft cocktail wave, Flim says Tumbler & Rocks has elevated Fort Distillery's profile, especially among those who are not inclined to create their own cocktails at home.

“Maybe you've had an Old Fashioned at a bar, but don't have the ingredients or know

how to make it yourself. We want to make it easy for you,” says Flim, adding that decisions around price point, using bottles versus cans for the RTS cocktails, and buying vodka from other local distillers rather than making it themselves, have all been part of the marketing process.

The Fort Distillery hangs its hat on creating small batch spirits with a twist. Flim says all products have at least one uncommon ingredient in the recipe, from haskap berries to toasted malt barley. Experimenting with unique grains and old wine and rum barrels, Flim, Le, and the team, have a lineup that includes limited releases as well as signature offerings like Canadian Boreal Gin, and the economical, corn-based Mountain Pass whisky.

“The industry is maturing a bit—there's probably about 80 distilleries in Alberta today,” Flim says. “When I started, you could launch with a gin and vodka, and you'd be okay. But I like where it's going, especially around the craft cocktail culture, so our focus there is, ‘drink less but drink better’.”

For those living around or visiting in central Alberta, The Fort Distillery's tasting room in Fort Saskatchewan is open for trybefore-you-buy sampling.

Lucy Haines is a long-time freelance writer, specializing in travel, food, arts and entertainment. When she isn't writing, Lucy is a busy mom to four fantastic kids, and enjoys singing and performing in the local community theatre scene.

May 2023 | Culinaire 19
Amanda Gaydos, courtesy The Fort Distillery Julia Le, courtesy The Fort Distillery

Herbs for a Flavour Punch


The saying, “great things come in small packages” seems like it grew out of someone’s love of herbs. These tiny, emerald-green, flavour bombs can elevate just about anything. Take your bagel with cream cheese to a ‘dill-lightfully’, scrumptious bagel by adding dill, parsley, and lemon zest, a worthy and satisfying snack. It can turn your lemonade into an elegant mocktail. Herbs add flare to the otherwise boring and bland foods.

As the ground warms, planting season approaches. Whether you have a large, in-ground garden or a few pots on a deck, herbs will give you a summer packed with flavourful food options. They are easy to maintain, don’t take up much room and it feels so rewarding to grow, trim, eat, and repeat.

There are so many herbs to choose from. Almost any flavour bomb you would like to add to your meal, you just need the right herb and you’ve got a hit.

Parsley, cilantro, mint, lemon thyme, sage, rosemary, bay leaf, tarragon, lemon verbena, marjoram - plus so many more choices. Add your favourite to drinks, salads, dips, soups, stews, and even desserts.

Plant a few herbs this weekend and reap the flavourful benefits all year.

Triple Lemon and Lavender Lemonade

Refreshing and full of flavour, this is a perfect summer evening drink.

Serves 3

½ cup sugar

1 cup (250 mL) water

1 Tbs lavender flowers

5 leaves lemon balm

8 leaves lemon verbena

6-8 Tbs (90-120 mL) fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 small can soda water

Lemon slices for garnish

1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small pot. Make sure sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Add the lavender, lemon balm and lemon verbena and let steep 20 minutes. Strain and reserve.

2. Adjust quantities to the size of your glass. The proportion of ingredients are: 1 tablespoon syrup, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 3 - 4 tablespoons soda water.

3. Combine the syrup and lemon juice, shaken over ice and poured into a glass filled with ice and top with the soda water. Or through caution to the wind and free pour however much you want.

Note: Triple Lemon and Lavender Lemonade can be made in larger batches and kept in the fridge for 5 days (add soda water just before serving).

Herbs are fresh and flavourful and you want to make sure they stay that way for as long as possible. Keep them looking fresh by gently wrapping them in damp paper towels and store in a loose plastic bag in the fridge.

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Rosemary Orange Herb Shortbread Cookies

Makes 12 small cookies

¼ cup butter, softened

1/3 cup icing sugar, sifted

¾ cup flour, sifted

1½ tsp ground rosemary

½ orange, juice and zest

½ tsp sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 325º F.

2. In medium bowl add the softened butter and sifted icing sugar and combine using a hand mixer (can also be made in a stand mixer).

3. Add the flour, rosemary, orange juice, orange zest, and sea salt, and mix until everything comes together, scraping the bowl as necessary.

4. Using a small cookie scoop (equivalent to a tablespoon or so), scoop out approximately 12 cookies and place on a baking sheet. Bake 12 - 14 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and gently lift from the baking sheet unto a cooling rack. Let cool completely.

Orange Icing (for cookies, optional)

2 Tbs (30 mL) butter, softened

1/3 cup icing sugar, sifted

1½ tsp orange juice

Orange zest, for garnish

In a small bowl, combine the butter, icing sugar and orange juice. Mix until smooth and thoroughly combined. Using the back of a spoon, gently spread on top of the cooled cookies. Garnish with orange zest.

Note: For the cookies, instead of rosemary, you can also substitute with lavender or lemon thyme and lemon juice and zest.

Spicy Green Herby Sauce

Makes 1½ cups

2 green peppers

1 jalapeño

Oil for coating peppers

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 tsp ground cumin

50 g parsley (small handful)

10 stalks chives

50 g cilantro (small handful)

2 tsp (10 mL) white wine vinegar

1 tsp sea salt

1 lemon, zest

Note: Store in fridge for up to 5 days. Makes a great marinade, dip or dollop on fish, stew or roasted vegetables. Can also be frozen for 3 months.

1. Preheat oven to broil.

2. In a medium bowl, coat the green and jalapeño peppers in oil. Place on a baking sheet and broil in the oven on the top shelf. Turn the peppers as each side browns. When completely charred, return all peppers to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

3. Let cool, until peppers softened approximately half an hour. Peel the skin off the peppers and remove the seeds.

4. In a food processor, blitz the garlic. Add the peppers and blitz. Add the cumin, parsley, chives, and cilantro, and blitz. Scrape down the sides.

5. Add the white wine, salt, and lemon zest and blitz to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Serves 4

1 cup quinoa

30 g flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

15 g mint, roughly chopped

10 stalks chives, roughly chopped

15 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 mini cucumber, diced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced 1/3 cup (80 mL) olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

½-1 lemon, juice and zest

1. Make 1 cup of quinoa as per package directions. Let cool to room temperature. 2. In a medium bowl, add all the ingredients and give a gentle stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve at room temperature.

Note: will keep for 2 days in the fridge. Serve alongside your favourite side such as bbq lemon chicken or salmon.

May 2023 | Culinaire 21
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.

The Wines of Alberta

Way back when, in 2005, Alberta introduced the cottage winery licence (Class E) to add value to Alberta’s agriculture by diversifying the products that come from these farms. It seems to have worked, as more and more people are looking to the local wine market for both its quality and easy access. However, to start a fruit or honey wine business in the province, it is important to prove that you are truly a fruit farmer or beekeeper first. And that producers should have vast knowledge of their stock-in-trade, and ingredients, not just the finished product. It takes time, experimenting, and a whole lot of patience to make a good bottle of wine.

At this point in time, the Alberta climate means that grapes can’t ripen, or survive most winters like other places - but all is not lost. Alberta’s wineries have access to all kinds of local fruit to be enjoyed. This includes blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, haskaps, and saskatoons – to name a few. It is also common to find wines made from apples, alfalfa, and rhubarb.

In Alberta, there are some wineries that don’t use fruit, but use honey as their fermentation base, and these are what we call meaderies. Traditionally, mead typically fits between wine and beer in alcoholic strength, and can be still or bubbly, and can also have additional flavourings like fruit or spices. Albertans are certainly creative when it comes to producing a beverage that turns everyday life into a celebration.

Such as Shady Orchards and Winery in High River. What started as a fun hobby between newlyweds, only grew into a business by February 2018. So much so that, William Gordon had to quit his oil and gas job to make wine full time with his wife Kristie. Because of their location and that people tend to think good Canadian wine only comes from certain locations, they find

it difficult. However, they meet this task head on by listening to what their customers want, using their own fruits that they grow, and constantly making the changes needed to beat the odds.

“We are very locally in tune.” Says William. “It is the locals that inspire us along with the available fruit native to Albertans.” This inspiration had them create a favourite amongst the people, their raspberry-saskatoon wine, and more recently a series of lemonade-style wine coolers.

Another husband-and-wife team up in Northern Alberta have been creating all kinds of unique fruit wines since 1990.

Armed with a backyard full of fruit, a background in science, and a passion for good wine, this dynamic duo started something special in their own home. In 2002 these two moved out of their city home and into the country. With the 2005 cottage winery license changes these two knew they needed to create a five-acre farm full of fruit. It took five years of hard work and a lot of outside help but a successful vintage was created in 2009 and started selling in 2010. With no sulphates or fining agents in the bottle, no herbicides or pesticides on the fruit, and lastly, the natural manure and compost created by their own farm

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animals, comes a wine from the Barr Winery Estates.

However, the Barrs have had their share of challenges. It wasn’t just the labour, the maintenance of the fields, or even the cost. When Covid-19 hit, tourism to the winery had gone way down. Luckily with some adjustments, the winery is making its way back to being the joyous, innovative, and unique place that it has always been.

The first winery to open in all of Alberta starting July 2005 is Field Stone Fruit Wines in Strathmore. Found in many farmer’s markets and some select liquor stores throughout the province, this winery has only grown in its popularity. The two people who started Field Stone are Marvin and Elaine Gill who, despite having a love of music, longed to go back to their farming roots. The plan was to just grow berries but that quickly changed into something more. Before they knew it, their “hobby farm” flourished and a new dream emerged from it. The dream

of winemaking. With a little help from Canadian fruit wine expert Dominic Rivard, these humble farmers came up with an award-winning wine called Wild Black Cherry Wine (aka Chokecherry).

As mentioned above, there are some honey wines are also making history in the province. Fallentimber in Water Valley, Alberta is the perfect example of this. It is a third-generation aviary (bee farm) that has extended its product lineup into mead. What started as a single operation in 2010 has grown greatly. Because the owners have been around honey their whole lives, it only seemed natural to turn their love of it into a drink that expands their farm to

make it ground-breaking and achieve agricultural growth. It is now the biggest meadery in all of Canada and one of the biggest in the world. Because mead is a somewhat obscure product, not too many people know that it is a versatile, unique, and delicious drink that many people enjoy.

Alberta may not have the classic, grape-based wineries that British Columbia is known for, but it does have something extra special. Cottage wines bring a unique experience and promise a wonderful taste of the natural world. A lot of what Alberta produces are fruit and/or honey wines which are anything but typical.

Calgary’s City & Country Winery is the only urban winery and tasting bar in all of Alberta. Since their first vintage in 2017, what makes this place different to anywhere else in Canada is that the grapes come from all over the world - from the Okanagan to Australia. Husband and wife Chris and Karen Fodor started their own one-of-a-kind business here in Alberta opening their doors to the public in February 2020. With a current selection of 15 wines, there are no artificial colours, flavours, or sugars to their product so every wine that is created is completely natural. The products also have a bonus of being both gluten-free and vegan. As the Fodor’s say, “natural wine amplifies everything.”

May 2023 | Culinaire 23
Barr Winery Estates Cherry Wine, Field Stone Fruit Wines Erika Ravnsborg is an Alberta freelance writer/blogger/adventurer/explorer. Her blog, ( “This Magical World”, features her enchanted tales of travel, food, shopping, and culture. City & Country Winery

May Spirits

Was it just us, or did this past winter seem longer, colder, and generally just too much? Things are looking up though as the green stuff is starting to show up just this week, rakes are out, shovels are getting put away (though maybe not too far away – just in case), and Spring is here. This month, we wanted to show off a few locally made spirits that recently caught our eyes with some real breadth of cool, unique, and qualitydriven bottles. From a ready to go Old Fashioned, to amaro, and yes some of the top shelf whisky being made here at home, it’s a good time to be in Alberta.

Wild Life Distillery Wheat Whisky, Alberta

Four and half years after starting to produce whisky, Wild Life Distillery have finally released their first – and Canmore’s first –whisky, Batch 001. From local wheat (61 percent), barley (26 percent), and rye (13 percent), they’ve created a stunner; silky smooth with a generous mouth-coating oiliness, all light brown sugar and baking spices on the first sips, leading to graham cracker pie crust and honey. Please don’t add a thing, just sip and revel in this unctuous spirit. 375 mL also available.

CSPC 881267 $76

Romero Smoked Old Fashioned, Alberta

The quality we are seeing in pre-made cocktails - and with locally made spirits is really quite amazing. A smoked rum old fashioned, and made with the staves of their own rum barrels, this rum-based old fashioned from Romero Distilling is rich and textural with good depth and plenty of that elusive balance – and not too smoky either. Humming along at about 27 percent ABV, it’s that rare product that begs the question, “why haven’t we seen something like this before now?”

CSPC 883317 $31-35

Pivot Spirits Sour Cherry Gin Liqueur Alberta

In the tiny, Southeast Alberta hamlet of Rolling Hills (population 263), between Brooks and Taber, Pivot Spirits is an environmentally conscious, craft distillery producing vodka, gin, and unaged whiskies. They’ve blended their Farmacy Gin with the juice of local sour cherries and alfalfa clover honey to produce a delightfully tart liqueur, fruity - yet with the sweet honey earthiness peeking through – it would make a terrific Martinez cocktail! 375 mL bottle also available.

CSPC 883075 $46-52

Confluence Distilling Altered State Gin


Confluence has had a major rebrand, with new 100 percent recycled glass bottles, removeable labels, stoppers made from only cork and charcoal (no glue) – and new products! Altered State Gin is absinthe-inspired, citrus forward and herbal on the nose, with recognisable notes of lemon, thyme, sage, oregano and wormwood. Try it neat, as a white negroni with Lillet Blanc instead of sweet vermouth, or as a vesper martini with ¼-part vodka and 1/8-part Lillet Blanc.

CSPC 888175 $52

Rig Hand House of Commons Speaker

Rota's Canadian Whisky

A special label of Rig Hand’s “Rocking R” rye whisky celebrating its selection by the House of Common’s Speaker of the House (Anthony Rota) as the “house” whisky. The first time a Canadian whisky has been selected, and while notably the UK has a long history of using their own local whiskies, it was long overdue to select a Canadian whisky. The Rocking R is 100 percent rye based, spicy and cereal driven, with lighter fruit tones and a touch chewy on the back end.

Distillery/online $75-80

Confluence Distilling Mandarino Amaro


As well as new branding and changing their vodka and gin to new styles, Confluence has a new product – an amaro featuring mandarin oranges. It’s an easy sipping amaro, still with the expected slightly oily, viscous body that makes it slip down way too easily, and still with a goodly amount of bitterness on the finish, and using locally sourced berries too. There’s a blend of herbal botanicals, with something quite earthy that grounds it – it would be wonderful in a Paper Plane cocktail!

CSPC 886033 $45

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What to Expect from Alberta Brewing in 2023

Last month we looked at where Alberta breweries were headed in 2023 with respect to upping their marketing game and providing more inviting locations, not only for all members of society, but for all types of drinkers. To appeal to those not into beer, almost all taprooms now have non-alcoholic options, ciders, coolers (RTDs), and maybe even spirits and wine, which harks back to the old adage - it’s what’s in the glass that counts.

Since most Alberta breweries are less than a decade old, many are still exploring what kinds of beer styles and products will grab the consumer’s attention. When craft brewing began to hit its stride about 30 years ago, its sole purpose was to provide beer options that were

different, exciting, and more flavourful than the mass-produced yellow lagers that dominated North American brewing. Now, the very ubiquity of craft beer makes it less of a mystery to most people; it’s what is expected from a brewery that keeps changing.

So what can Albertans look forward to in 2023 from local breweries? Variety will continue to rule, partly driven by consumer demand for new products and partly directed by what brewers want to make, which is often determined by the ingredients available. Lately, this last part has been evolving probably faster than most brewers would like. Driven by science, Mother Nature, economic issues and more, the four main components of beer have all been affected this decade.

Barley is the biggest agricultural product in beer, and it has been on a wild ride for the last couple of years. While Western Canada’s 2021 harvest was 37 percent below 2020 and 21 percent below the 10-year average, the *2022 harvest was 46 percent higher than 2021 and 17 percent higher than the 10-year average. This is one of the biggest twoyear swings in decades. Is this an anomaly or the new norm with changing global weather patterns? Add in the unexpected war in the Ukraine (the world’s third largest barley exporter in 2021), and global supplies have taken a hit. This affects what types of malt are available for breweries to purchase, which influences what kinds of beers they can make. Local farmers hope for the best.

26 Culinaire | May 2023
Cold Garden, credit @chrisopheramat
Registration is now open! For more information, contact Tom Firth OPEN TO ANY: WINE < BEER < SPIRITS MEAD < CIDER < MIXER SAKE < LIQUEUR NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE Registration Deadline: June 30 Judging: July 18, 19, and 20 Results Published October Visit / ABA to enter your products

Hops have been another matter. The restrictions enacted due to the COVID pandemic reduced brewing production through large parts of 2020-2022, resulting in an oversupply of hops. While this crop has always had a cyclical nature to it, due to the rise and fall in popularity of certain beer styles, this decade has been unique with the supply of each harvest exceeding demand. As a result, many of the Pacific Northwest hop growers have reduced their acreage anywhere from 15 percent to 40 percent.

This area is Alberta’s biggest hop supplier, and while prices should be reduced in the short-term, which varietals survive the culling will determine brewing going forward. Alberta’s hop growers are increasing in both numbers and acreage, but they are far too small to supply local brewers. However, expect more beers highlighting Albertan or Canadian grown hops in 2023, as brewers try to produce beers with 100 percent local ingredients.

As the biggest component of beer, one could say water is also the most important. While Alberta has a relatively reliable supply now, there are red flags that are concerning. Shrinking glaciers, overuse, and drought conditions can destabilize a water supply very quickly. Add in a growing population we haven’t seen since the boom years of the last century, and watershed management becomes paramount. Alberta has nowhere near the frightening conditions of the American southwest, where a decades-long drought and exploding population has led to water shortages and municipalities declining brewing licenses. Breweries will continue to try to lower their water usage and reuse as much as possible.

Yeast may not be the flashiest ingredient in beer, but it is the workhorse. With brewers learning about more beer styles, and with more labs supplying the tools for creative breweries, the variety can be endless. If you include water chemistry-inspired beers, experimental brewing methods, barrel-aging projects, sour series, seasonal specialties, and the use of more local ingredients like fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices and more, the science of brewing becomes more exciting.

In 2023, breweries will continue to look

for the next “big thing”. Lagers and IPAs in all their iterations will continue to flourish, with yeasts, new hop varieties, extractions, and adjuncts becoming the stars of the beer. The session ale seems to be dropping in popularity, as those that want to drink, want more ABV (alcohol by volume).

Alternatively, the dozens of low alcohol beer styles that have been around for centuries will continue to be explored. Non-alcoholic and gluten-free beers are not going away, as their variety and quality continues to improve. Non-beer offerings like cocktails, RTDs, and the like will persist. Are hop water and barley water far behind? Alberta beers will not lack in variety, but breweries will begin to prioritize certain brands that work for

them and their customers.

Look for more collaboration beers between breweries. Additionally, new breweries will open, not at the rate seen in 2016-19, but those who planned or waited through the restrictions should open their doors soon. Finally, look for breweries to embrace their role as the new local watering hole, akin to the pubs of yesteryear.

28 Culinaire | May 2023
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. * Canadian Grain Commission reports Courtesy Revival Brewcade Courtesy Good Mood Brewery
t h e w i l d e r o o f t o p t h e w i l d e r o o f t o p t h e w i l d e r o o f t o p . c o m 5 2 5 5 t h A v e S W
U N C H E X P E R I E N C E N o w O p e n F o r L u n c h | T u e s d a y - S a t u r d a y B o o k Y o u r R e s e r v a t i o n s O n O p e n T a b l e
a y 9 t h
A v a i l a b l

The Stalks of Spring

Spring is a season teeming with new life, and one of the first signs is the bounty of delicious stalks and shoots that pop out of the ground once temperatures have warmed sufficiently. Rhubarb, asparagus, and fiddleheads, are three of the most prized delicacies come May, and can all be found on Alberta soil. Let’s explore what you can do with them!


Rhubarb, or Rheum Rhabarbarum (try saying that three time fast), is a perennial plant and member of the smartweed (Polygonaceae) family. While many Polygonaceae members aren’t actually edible, rhubarb is in good company with its other delicious relatives, sorrel and buckwheat. Because rhubarb is well suited to harsh and variable growing conditions, it can thrive in Alberta and is a common fixture in backyard gardens.

There are at least 14 different varieties of rhubarb grown in Alberta, all of which vary in their colour, sourness, and heartiness. Some varieties, such as German Wine rhubarb are used for just that, the making of rhubarb wine, while others, such as MacDonald (or Mcdonald) rhubarb tend to be used for pie filling. Rhubarb can be harvested multiple times in a single season, with the first crop usually available in May or June, and the second come late July. If you’re not lucky enough to have fresh rhubarb in your own garden, or that of someone you know, it’s usually pretty easy to find at local farmers’ markets.

While rhubarb compote and strawberry rhubarb pie may be some of the first options to come to mind when you think about these pink stalks, rhubarb is more versatile than you may think. Yes, it needs a lot of sugar in sweet applications, but its tartness also makes it a great candidate for savoury items too. Think rhubarb vinaigrette or mignonette, or infusing it in homemade lemonade for a tart and refreshing thirst quencher.

Rhubarb Eton Mess

Serves 4

For the poached rhubarb:

4 stalks rhubarb (about 400g), cut into

3 cm chunks

2 cups white granulated sugar

2 cups (500 mL) water

For the Chantilly cream:

1 cup (250 mL) heavy cream

¼ cup white granulated sugar

½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped out or

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

About 2 cups worth of store-bought meringues, crushed

1. For the poached rhubarb, make a simple syrup by fully dissolving the sugar in the water. This can be done either in a pot on the stove, or in the microwave. Heat the oven to 200º F. Put the rhubarb in an oven proof dish and pour the simple syrup over it, using enough to fully cover the stalks. Cover with tin foil and cook for around 45-60 minutes, until the stalks are tender, but not disintegrating. Allow the rhubarb to cool at room temperature. Once cool, it can be stored in the syrup in the fridge for up to a week.

2. For the Chantilly cream, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add in the sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until stiff peaks. The Chantilly can be made in advance and chilled until ready to serve.

3. For assembly, you can use 4 small mason jars or small bowls, whatever you have on hand. Layer a spoonful or two of poached rhubarb on the bottom, followed by a couple of healthy dollops of Chantilly cream, more rhubarb, and finally, more cream (2 layers of each). Generously sprinkle the crushed meringues over top of each and serve.


Asparagus officinalis was once classified as a lily, but now belongs to its own family, Asparagaceae. Despite being able to find it in most grocery stores year-round, it grows locally in Alberta in the months of May and June.

Innisfail producer, Edgar Farms, is the most widely known grower of asparagus in the province and has almost 30 acres of crops. Come late spring, you can find their asparagus in farmers’ markets across Alberta, with booths in Edmonton and Calgary. Historically they have also hosted an annual asparagus festival on their property, which has been on hiatus due to COVID, but stay tuned in case it makes a resurgence!

While you’re probably most familiar

with green asparagus, it comes in other colours as well. White asparagus are quite prized and as such, also quite expensive. They only differ from their green counterparts in that they are grown in the dark, preventing the production of chlorophyll, which is responsible for asparagus’ typical, green colour. Purple asparagus is another cultivar you may come across. It tends to be a bit sweeter than others because its sugar content is about 20 percent higher.

Whether you serve it cooked or raw, just be sure of one thing; don’t overcook it. No one is a fan of brown, stringy stalks that have had the life and freshness roasted out of them.


Technically a fern and not a “stalk” per se, fiddleheads are the coiled fronds of young ostrich ferns, which are harvested before they have the chance to unfurl. They grow wild and are foraged come spring, and while you can try to cultivate them should you own property suitable for growing them, there aren’t any local farms you can purchase them from. Because of differences in climate, they tend to grow better in BC than they do here in Alberta, but if you know where to look or are lucky enough to have someone who is willing to divulge their foraging secrets to you, you can find them here and there in the province. They tend to grow best in wetter areas, near water, just make sure as always when you are out foraging that you aren’t traipsing around on private property.

Of note, fiddleheads ought never to be consumed raw because they contain natural toxins that will lead to unpleasant digestive issues like nausea. Thankfully cooking removes these toxins making these delicious, grassy fronds, safe and tasty to consume.

Asparagus or Fiddleheads with Gribiche

Serves 4

2 bunches of asparagus (about 454 g) or the same weight of fiddleheads

4 large eggs

2 cornichons, small diced

1 tsp capers, minced

2 Tbs chives, finely chopped

2 Tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 Tbs (15 mL) Dijon mustard

½ Tbs (7.5 mL) grainy mustard

1-2 Tbs (15-30 mL) olive oil

To taste fresh lemon juice

To taste salt and pepper

1. Cook the eggs until hard boiled, but not so far that a grey ring develops around the exterior, about 10 minutes. It’s ok if the yolk isn’t fully set as it will help the sauce come together. Cool, peel, and chop, as if making egg salad.

2. While the eggs are cooking, you can prepare the remainder of the ingredients, chopping the pickles, capers, chives, and parsley.

3. Once the eggs are cooked, chopped, and cooled slightly, stir all the ingredients together and season to taste with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

4. If you are serving the gribiche with asparagus, trim the tough part of the stalk and steam until tender but not overcooked, about 4-5 minutes, tops.

5. If you are serving the gribiche with fiddleheads, boil in salted water for about 7-10 minutes. Drain and shock them in an

ice bath to stop the cooking and set the colour.

6. Serve by spooning generous dollops of gribiche atop either vegetable, garnishing with extra chopped chives if desired.

Mallory is a Calgary clinical psychologist and food writer now living and eating in Montreal. Her goal is to help people develop healthier relationships with food. Follow her on Twitter @drfrayn.

32 Culinaire | May 2023

CFM West

Wed-Sat: 9-7

Sunday: 9-5

Stoney & 16th

CFM South

Thurs-Sun: 9-5

Blackfoot & Heritage

MAKING THE CASE Cruising the Iberian Peninsula

The wines of Spain and Portugal are a rich and diverse set of regions generally producing interesting, and authentic wines, and wines that are often made using rare (at least internationally) or indigenous grape varieties. These wines in many ways are purely terroir-driven, authentic wines that are often free of the influence of well known “international” grapes like chardonnay or pinot noir.

Perhaps even better, is that the wines of Spain (and especially) of Portugal are exceedingly good value, and phenomenal at the table with a variety of foods. It would be a disservice to try to sum up either country’s cuisine into broad brushes, but Spain’s culinary highlights are often perfectly suited to the summer months, and Portugal loves robust, flavourful, and often very homestyle foods that Canadian’s love. I sincerely hope you can try several of these wines, and I hope you love them as much as I enjoyed trying them.

Find these wines by searching the CSPC code at; your local liquor store can also use this code to order it for you. Prices are approximate.

Honoro Vera 2021 Rosé, Jumilla, Spain

A blend of tempranillo and syrah, and just 100 percent a fun, easy going, and expressive rosé. Bright and generous summer fruits with some great melon tones too, the zesty acids and dry palate would make for a memorable dinner with grilled seafood, salads, and lighter fare. Serve chilled, but it would be a grave mistake to serve ice cold and supress all those delicate flavours and aromas.

CSPC 780358 $20-22

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.

Martin Berdugo 2020 Verdejo Rueda, Spain

Seriously, the world should be drinking more verdejo – especially in these fleeting summer months. Rather spicy on the nose with melon rind, lime, and a touch of dried herbs. The palate comes alive with all those exotic spices, fresh apple, and a lengthy, expressive finish. I’d gladly pair this with seafood, creamier cheese, and sunshine.

CSPC 830832 $23-26

Lustau La Plaza Vieja Medium Dry Sherry, Jerez, Spain

Summer weather is perfect for the complex wines of Jerez – commonly known as sherry. The real – or Spanish sherries are rarely as sweet as English or Canadian examples of the style, but rich, balanced, and bloody good. A lighter, Amontillado style sherry with mild toffee and lighter woodsy tones, this is a gem with salty snacks and even soft cheeses.

CSPC 819524 $35-37

Taylor Fladgate NV Fine White Port Douro, Portugal

Pretty much the only table wine that I frequently recommend enjoying as both a glass of wine and in a cocktail (seriously – look up a “Portonic”) is white port. Typically very dry, and with a light, tawny colouring, the palate evokes fresh almond flavours, a citrus, and dried fruit profile and a good evolution in the mouth. Serve cool to slightly cold – and check out some cool cocktail ideas too.

CSPC 164129 $22-24

34 Culinaire | May 2023

Lustau Peninsula Palo Cortado Dry Sherry, Jerez, Spain

A Palo Cortado sherry is somewhere between a pale and nutty style Amontillado sherry with some of the oxidation notes of the Oloroso. Completely delicious with saline characters, clean almond nuttiness, wonderfully dry, and with a bracing complexity that continually evolves. Serve chilled with fresh almonds or charcuterie style nosh.

CSPC 876136 $40-43

Xistro Ilimitado 2021 White Douro, Portugal

The white wines of the Douro Valley are rather uncommon on our shelves, but this blend of four indigenous grapes (centred around rabigato) is wildly intense, but with clean, recognizable fruits of pear, apricot, and best of all – a lean, steely acidity that brings out some stony mineral tones which just makes this sing. Bloody good.

CSPC 879365 $31-33

Losada 2020 Godello, Bierzo, Spain

A breath of fresh air on a cold day, showing off fresh wildflowers, crushed pears, and lifted stone fruits on the nose. Continuing this trend of crisp, dry, and minerally whites that just check off all the boxes, best of all is this zingy, green apple finish that to my thinking just wants to be enjoyed at the table with poultry, freshwater seafood, or even sushi.

CSPC 866872 $31-34

La Bonhomme 2020 Rosé Valencia Spain

A monastrell-based rosé, and a welcome part of the Bonhomme family of wines (el Petit Bonhomme is a staple around here). A pale, coppery-gold in the glass, the nose shows off orange/citrus notes (perhaps Valencia oranges), black cherries, and a touch of candy stick confection. Crisp and dry with a very easy going flavour profile, this is a summer sipper all the way.

CSPC 788761 $18-20

Adaro de Pradorey 2018 Ribera del Duero, Spain

Oh my, this is a wonderful gem worthy of a special occasion or some guests that you like. Black cherry and currant style fruits with a rich herbal layer and a touch of liquorice too. The 2018 is just starting to really come together (so hang on to a few if you can) with expressive tannins, a fine earthy nuance, and beautiful balance. Red meat all the way for this bottle!

CSPC 861899 $40-43

Condado de Haza 2018 20 Aldeas Castillo y Leon, Spain

Made with 100 percent organic tempranillo grapes, the 20 Aldeas is a wine rife with traditional varietal expressions. Dark, deep, and earthy with great supporting fruits, but at the same time some serious tannin (for tempranillo) and a bright, slightly floral perfume. A solid match with cured meats, or even something beefy from the smoker, it’s a star at your next barbecue.

CSPC 866894 $40-44

Castillo de Almansa 2017 Reserva

Almansa Spain

I’ve been enjoying this wine since about the mid-nineties and it was a stunning deal then and a stunning deal now.

Deeply laden with cherry spectrum fruits but a clean woody note with a pinch of smoke and resin too adds some layers. Very drinkable from start to finish with great acids, firm – but not too heavy tannins, and some clean fruits. Try with pork, cured meats, or hard cheese.

CSPC 270363 $19-20

Xistro Ilimitado 2019 Red Douro, Portugal

Exactly the sort of wine I think about when I talk of authentic, Portuguese wine. From Luis Seabra who focuses on low intervention wines (and old vines), this spectacular red is made from classic Duoro varieties. Rife with red and blue fruits, spice, floral depth, and some exquisite tannins. A steal too, and a fine accompaniment to flank steak, beef kebabs, or yes, a great burger.

CSPC 879364 $31-33

Hacienda las Cañas 2019 Listán Negro Canary Islands, Spain

Wine from the Canary Islands, and also an almost totally unknown, ancient varietal like listán negro? Sign me up, and sign up all the terroir and geography nerds who like wine too. Very pale in the glass (from these 100-200 year old vines) with a deep smokiness and dried berry profile, in the mouth, there is a certain rusticness, but an elegance too which is pretty remarkable. Try with charcuterie.

CSPC 869301 $35-39

May 2023 | Culinaire 35

Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer

We’re often juggling for time to get dinner on the table speedily, so we’ve been putting this rapid cooker and air fryer through its paces. A nifty switch moves from air frying, roasting, baking, broiling, sautéing, sous vide, and dehydrating to rapid cooker mode for baking, steaming, and proofing. What’s super impressive is not only can you cook a meal for four of rice or pasta etc, veggies, and protein, all at the same time in 15 minutes, you can steam and air fry at the same time for juicy AND crispy chicken! Around $200.

A Second Helping: Whining and Dining on Long Island

Since opening his first restaurant in 1983, Tom Schaudel has been involved in another baker’s dozen acclaimed Long Island restaurants. He’s seen and heard it all, and fortunately, not only has a well-developed sense of humour but a natural talent for relating his hilarious stories – around 80 in this book, the sequel to “Playing with Fire”, his first book about his 100 worst, wackiest, and entitled customers. When did going out to dinner in New York become a blood sport? You can’t make

Cook It Wild

In time for May Long comes Chris Nuttall-Smith’s new book, and as he says, it isn’t just another camping cookbook, it’s about harnessing the hassle-free power of meal prepping. The first 50 pages are everything you need to know before you set off, followed by 80 excellent recipes, each divided into At Home (what to prep before you leave), and At Camp (how to finish and serve the dish). It’s a competently written book, and guaranteed to up your camp and cabin (or even home!) meals. Penguin $40.

Jovial Gluten- and Grain-Free Pasta

Two ranges of pasta have hit store shelves in Alberta for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Jovial Grain-free pastas are made from cassava flour and available as spaghetti, penne, orzo, fusilli, and elbows, while Gluten-free, brown rice pastas, come in 14 different shapes. Both are made in Italy and packed in a glutenfree facility, and they both cook up al dente. You don’t have to be gluten-free to enjoy them of course! Available at Spud, Blush Lane, Earth’s General Store, Bridgeland Market Brown Rice $7-8

Favuzzi Beechwood Smoked Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

There’s a lot of talk about diluted and counterfeit EVOO, but here’s one we know is real -and it happens to be our new fave. In Puglia, the ‘heel’ of Italy, third generation olive mill owner, Saverio Guglielmi, cold extracts the EVOO within 12 hours of harvesting his native Apulian olives, and for this oil, smokes it with beechwood to produce a superb natural smoky aroma that does wonders for your salads, fish and meat dishes, pasta… 100 mL around $10 at many Italian specialty markets.

Banana Ketchup by Asia Sauce

From Chicoutimi, in Quebec, Asia Sauce is brand new to Alberta - a range of six condiments made with fresh Canadian base ingredients and no artificial colours or preservatives. We’re loving our jar of Banana Ketchup; it’s tangy, fruity, sweet and sour, with just a hint of spice, and now only half full as we’ve been trialling it and it goes with everything from chicken fingers to fries, and anywhere you’d have ketchup! 375 mL about $11 at Italian Centre Shop, Lina’s, Luke’s, Primitive Grills, RFG Meats, and more.

36 Culinaire | May 2023

Vine & Dine at Modern Steak

May 11

We're thrilled to offer a premium surf and turf dinner pairing dinner in the private dining room at Modern Steak in Southport. Our evenings here last year sold out very fast!

French Flair at Ativus Wine Bar

May 9 and 23

The brand new Avitus Wine Bar calls itself “The home of Bon Vivant” and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing for our two French Flair pairing dinners here in May!

Culinaire | April 2023

One-off Vine & Dine at The Artist Lounge, May 17

Our two evenings last summer and in  January this year all sold out here with waiting lists, and we've been invited  back for another fabulous 6-course  pairing dinner in May!

Vine & Dine at Sapore

Tuesdays May 16 and 30

We are really excited to be coming to  the brand new Lina’s Italian Piazza in  Inglewood in May, and to their lovely  new restaurant Sapore, for a delicious  6-course pairing dinner from the  pasta master, Executive Chef  Christopher Hyde!

One-off Father’s Day Stein & Dine at Shoe & Canoe, June 18

Chef Eugene is creating a special sixcourse, delicious menu for this one-off Father’s Day brunch, which we’re carefully pairing with local brews and superb service.

Vine & Dine at Las Canarias

June 21, June 27, and July 5

Las Canarias are looking forward to  sharing their modern Spanish and Canary Island cuisine, for us to enjoy a flavourful  6-course pairing dinner of tapas, mains,  sides, as well as terrific desserts!

It’s South African Wine Week in June and we have four Winemaker Dinners!

June 13: Morgenster Estate will be with us for a multi-course premium winemaker dinner at Oxbow

June 14: Spier will be with us for a Vine & Dine winemaker dinner at Safari Grill

June 14: Boschendal will be with us for a multi-course premium winemaker dinner at The Continental Restaurant YYC

June 15: Bellingham Wines will be with us for a multi-course premium winemaker dinner at the new Big Fish Open Range in Marda Loop!

New events and dinners are added regularly so check as these evenings sell out rather quickly!

Email to reserve your places, and/or to be included in our bi-monthly updates so you hear about events before the rest of the city. We try to cater for all allergies.

Because of you... FOOD HAMPERS THANK YOU edmontonsfoodbank.com780.425.2133 and much, much more! Please Drink Responsibly. California Table Wine, 02023 Wente Vineyards, Livermore, CA. All Rights Reserved. POINTS MAY 2023 90 “BEST BUY” 37

...with Cam Dobranski

Born and raised in Edmonton, Cam Dobranski’s parents had medical and scientific backgrounds. He always loved cooking, and as a young teen got his start in his uncle’s ‘50s-style diner, Crestwood Café, cooking breakfasts, washing dishes, flipping burgers and making stocks at weekends.

He worked for Earl's too, and when he finished high school, wanted to become a marine biologist. While accepted into biological sciences and technology, the culinary arts called and won, and on graduating from NAIT, and yearning to travel, he applied to high end restaurants around the world.

“I moved to Switzerland as a 20-year-old kid for a year, and then came back and did a two-year business management course in 12 months, as I wanted to be more than a cook. I loved international business, and if I could own a restaurant and work internationally, that was one of my goals.”

Dobranski moved to Calgary in 2004 for a girl, but couldn't find a job. He recollects asking Kevin Turner at Brava Bistro, who suggested ‘Muse’, that had just opened, and with a little stint at the Fairmont Palliser too, worked at Muse, where he met Andrew Dallman, a cook, and started developing the idea of Medium Rare Chef Apparel together. Around that time, he met Louis Clement from Toronto, who was selling plateware. “I bought some, and this is my future Spirit Wares business partner,” he says. “He called and said ‘you're the only person that gave me the time of day. Could I fly you to Toronto to do a dinner?’” The dinner turned out to be Lynn Crawford, Mark McEwan, the thirsty traveler, Anthony Walsh (Canoe),

and the who's who of Toronto. Food Network was starting out, and Dobranski was networked in.

He helped with the plateware in Western Canada, and then Clement started developing businesses in China, and would bring Dobranski over as a consultant to train chefs how to make Western food. “That turned into a consulting gig in China,” he smiles.

Meanwhile, he opened Winebar Kensington in 2008, AKA Wine Bar in 2009, Brasserie Kensington in 2010, as well as developing Container Bar. Darren MacLean invited him to partner as a group, “so I'm a small partner in Shokunin, and I get to watch Darren grow his business, but my real baby was Winebar. It was everything I wanted, but it was 14 years old when I sold it - in restaurant years that's 90,” he laughs.

“I've been able to do Food Network shows and I just did a Disney+ show, ‘Chef Versus Wild’. I really love outdoors. My parents have a summer cabin in northern Manitoba, and every summer I'd be shipped out for two months. I'd learn how to fish, build fires, and live a little rustic.”

“Over time I’ve gone from being a cook to a mentor,” he explains. “I changed

gears because I was in Kensington 20 years from Muse to Winebar to Brasserie, and it was time for a change. Medium Rare and Spirit Wares need a bit more of me. It was one of the toughest decisions, and I struggled leaving my identity as a chef. I wanted to see all my employees be successful, and wanted a little bit of a legacy.

What bottle has Dobranski been saving for a special occasion?

He has a bottle of Tour de Marsens Vin Doux (sweet wine) from Les Frères Dubois. “We collect wine from places that we visit. We were just in Napa Valley, and I have some really nice biodynamic wines from Napa, but I wanted to showcase this pinot gris. Because I lived in Switzerland, it has a special place in my heart. A few years ago, for my 40th birthday, my wife took me to visit friends, and we spent a week in Montreux, the wine growing region. I’ve always loved Sauternes, and this dessert wine reminded me of a Sauternes.”

“It's a 2013, so we've been sitting on it. I'm sure it'll last for a bit, but we should probably open it sooner than later. I'll have to save it for a night when you could come and join us and try it.”

38 Culinaire | May 2023
Explore Five Distinct Wine Trails in Kelowna this Spring
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