ALBERTA / FOOD & DRINK / RECIPES :: VOLUME 5 NO.7 :: DECEMBER 2016
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE FOOD & DRINK GIFTS
GIVING BACK ALBERTA FOOD CHARITIES
Winter Beers | Transforming Your Dinner Table | Holiday Cocktails
38 12 22 20
50 VOLUME 5 / ISSUE #7 DECEMBER 2016
Features 12 Transforming Your Dinner Table …into a festive Wonderland. Dressing your table is as important as the dinner itself to create lasting memories and impress your guests by Leilani Olynik
26 Giving Back A big part of the holiday spirit, and something Albertans are known for, is giving back. Here are six Alberta food charities close to our hearts by Anna Brooks
38 Food and Beverage Gift Guides Still haven’t decided what to buy for those special people? We’ve scoured local stores and the internet to bring you our ideas for food and drink gifts by Linda Garson
32 Bread Sauce We’re with Nigella and Jamie on this one! by Linda Garson
48 Making the Case Decadent, dessert-worthy wines for the holidays by Tom Firth
33 Millefeuille - A Festive Dessert! The perfect end to your holiday meal by Natalie Findlay
50 Open That Bottle David Gray, of CBC’s Eyeopener by Linda Garson
Holiday Cocktails Celebrating the festive spirit by Brice Peressini
10 2 Easy Snacks… to kick off your holiday dinner by Dan Clapson
20 Four Ways with Brussels Sprouts Brussels sprouts for breakfast, lunch and dinner! by Natalie Findlay
28 A Slow Cooker Christmas Free up time in your oven by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth
36 The Beauty Of The Bordeaux Blend Some of the greatest wines in the world by Tom Firth
44 Have Yourself a Very Merry Beer-mas! Seasonal, holiday and winter beers by David Nuttall
Salutes and Shout Outs
Chefs’ Tips – and Tricks!
24 Spice It Up: Root Vegetables 34 Step-By-Step: Gingerbread
On the Cover: Thanks to Ingrid Kuenzel for creating and photographing our festive table, and to Hendrix Restaurant Equipment and Supplies for the beautiful plates and crockery that make it sparkle.
Letter From The Editor There’s a more generous spirit at this time of year too (and not just the warming brown kind in our glass!) and, for most of us, we can see a light at the end of the tunnel and know that holidays and a break are close. As you would expect, we’ve focused on holiday meals and the drinks to enjoy with them in this issue, and have changed many of our regular features to take you from planning right through to your after dinner nap – or from setting the table, to canapés and welcome drinks, to the meal itself, and dessert and the deliciously decadent drinks to follow. It’s hard to believe we’re at the end of the year already, but December in Alberta is always something to look forward to for me. It doesn’t seem to fall much below freezing, and maybe we’ll get a light smattering of shimmering, crisp snow to put us all in a festive mood.
We’ve also been scouring local stores as well as the internet to find foods and foodrelated products, kitchen accessories, and beverages to help with gift ideas for the gourmands and culinairians in your life; I hope there’s something for you here – to give and to receive.
Talking of giving, Albertans are known for philanthropy, donating both time and money, but we wanted to draw your attention to six causes close to our hearts – those that feed others in times of need – and hope you may spare more than a thought for them too. I couldn’t see 2016 out without special thanks to all those who have helped make Culinaire possible this year: our advertisers and supporters; our editors and contributors, both visual and verbal; and to you for picking up just about every last copy and taking us home with you to share with your friends and family. Here’s to a happy, healthy, prosperous – and delicious 2017 for all. Cheers, Linda Garson Editor-in-Chief
Easy is a beautiful thing. Grocery. Bakery. Deli. Café.
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ALBERTA / FOOD & DRINK / RECIPES Editor-in-Chief/Publisher: Linda Garson firstname.lastname@example.org Commercial Director: Keiron Gallagher 403-975-7177 email@example.com Edmonton Sales Director: Lisa Wolansky 587-338-8780 firstname.lastname@example.org Creative Director: Dan Clapson email@example.com Managing Editor: Anna Brooks firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing Drinks Editor: Tom Firth email@example.com Contributing Photographer: Ingrid Kuenzel Design: Emily Vance Contributors: Anna Brooks Elyse Chatterton Elizabeth Chorney-Booth Dan Clapson Natalie Findlay Mallory Frayn Renee Kohlman Dave Nuttall Leilani Olynik Brice Peressini Phil Wilson
To read about our talented team of contributors, please visit us online at culinairemagazine.ca.
Our Contributors < Elyse Chatterton
Classically trained butcher, enthusiastic baker, passionate gin drinker and food blogger, Elyse was born and raised in the northwest of England. She started work for her family as an apprentice butcher at the age of 14, and has been cutting meat ever since. Moving to Edmonton five years ago, Elyse currently works at Tofield Packers and with Get Cooking Edmonton, to deliver meat based cookery classes. Follow Elyse at lifewithoutlemons.com and @elysechatt
< Dan Clapson
Dan Clapson is a food writer and columnist in Calgary. He is a panelist for enRoute Magazine’s “Canada’s Best New Restaurants” awards, and writes regularly for many Canadian outlets including The Globe and Mail, Avenue, and Food Network Canada. In 2013, he co-founded eatnorth.com, a foodfocused website specializing in Canadian cuisine and the people behind it. Dan loves home cooking as much as dining out; follow his foodie adventures @dansgoodside
< Leilani Olynik
Contact us at: Culinaire Magazine #1203, 804 -3rd Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2P 0G9 403-870-9802 firstname.lastname@example.org www.facebook.com/CulinaireMagazine Twitter: @culinairemag Instagram: @culinairemag For subscriptions, competitions and to read Culinaire online: culinairemagazine.ca
Olaf-shaped pancakes and little fingers stealing cookie dough, Leilani is happiest in the kitchen with her two young girls. She has a diverse background in digital marketing, writing, and event planning, and as the Marketing Coordinator for the Calgary Farmers’ Market, she shares her passion for local food by showcasing the market as a vibrant and inspiring place to reconnect with your farmer and your food. Wife. Mother. Food lover. Bourbon enthusiast. And proud Calgarian.
Salutes... Congratulations to… Jinhee Lee of Vintage Chophouse, who won Calgary Gold Medal Plates against stiff competition, and will now compete at the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna next year. And to John Michael MacNeil from The Belvedere who took the silver award, and Michel Nop of Redwater Grille for taking home bronze. And to Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance (ACTA) and partners in Raw Alberta, who won the Alto Award for Collaborative Tourism at the 2016 Travel Alberta Industry Conference.
Congrats also go to Cindy Sidhu, who is celebrating a 20-year milestone for Northmount Liquor Store! And finally, a warm welcome to Chef Paul McGreevy in his new role as Executive Chef at Starbelly Open Kitchen + Lounge. Having opened three locations and established the food program as CRAFT Beer Market Corporate Chef, we’re excited for his new local producer-focused menu! 2016 marks the 200th anniversary of Islay Distillery, Lagavulin, famous for the Hebridean peat smoke of its single malt Scotch whisky. In Canada the occasion is
celebrated with the launch of a one-time, eight year-old bottling. Belvedere Vodka has launched 2016 (BELVEDERE)RED in partnership with philanthropist and musician John Legend, marking 10 years since Bono and Bobby Shriver founded (RED) to fight against HIV/ AIDS in Africa. Over five years, Belvedere has provided 30,000 HIV-positive women with life-saving treatments that stop the transmission of HIV to their babies.
and Shout Outs... From The Wild is a different sort of pop up - an outdoors outfitter with a passion for cooking wild food. Created by filmmaker Kevin Kossowan and Knifewear’s Kevin Kent, the shop focuses on everything you need to enjoy outdoor fishing, hunting and foraging, all field tested and approved by the Kevins to help you enjoy the wilderness and its delicious bounty, especially if you cook the food over a wood fire. Open December and January at 10816 Whyte Avenue, Edmonton. In the heart of Edmonton’s financial district, Century Hospitality Group‘s Chris Lachance has opened LUX Steakhouse + Bar94, with former Oiler and longtime friend, Ryan Smyth. Memories from Smyth’s hockey career cover the walls of this elegant restaurant, voted one of Edmonton’s Best Designed Rooms. Offering classic AAA cuts and Prime Alberta Beef, LUX has also partnered with Heritage Angus Beef, for 100% antibiotic- and hormone-free meat. Enjoy Wagyu Carpaccio or STK Tartare before indulging in share plates of Lobster & Artichoke Dip and Truffle Perogies, or head straight for the Lap 6
of LUXury, a 24 oz prime ribeye with prawns, asparagus, cabernet demi glace, truffle lobster mac n’ cheese, and twice baked potato. Joeys Barlow
17 years after opening in Calgary, Joeys Barlow has undergone a complete refurbishment for a new warm and inviting industrial feel, with brick walls, locally made chandeliers, a new wine wall, and a large, copper clad, wood burning forno oven. New menu items include night market curry dip and house-made naan bread, spicy chicken banh mi, and Hawaiian tuna tacos, while faves such as Spanish paella are still on offer, as well as the daily changing free range rotisserie chicken, roasted hourly so it’s always fresh. Check out the
pressed juices, squeezed every morning, on their own or in cocktails like Al Presidente and The Leading Lady. Happy hour specials include $3.50 sliders, sushi cones, and tuna tacos, and $4 drinks. Airdrie’s oldest house, built in 1905, has undergone extensive renovations and is now First & Vine. Chef Mike Frayne, of Notable and The Nash, is in the kitchen cooking up a small gourmet menu of sharing plates and tapas, such as the popular gnocchi with whipped Fairwinds Farm goat cheese and roasted squash; duck confit with apple dressing, arugula, and candied almonds; and boquerones of white anchovies, basil, and chorizo vinaigrette. This warm and cosy little eaterie opens lunch and dinner. First & Vine
Holiday Cocktails by BRICE PERESSINI
What brings more smiles to Christmas than Santa? If you said family and friends, you’d be correct. However, the holidays can be stressful, and sometimes people need a little help getting into the Christmas spirit. And by “Christmas spirit” I mean a little Irish Cream. Bailey’s has a special place in my heart (and on my bar); you see, many Christmases ago the first bottle of alcohol I ever purchased was this creamy, boozy, bottle of Christmas goodness. And I can think of only one thing more Christmas than this in your morning coffee. (Don’t judge.) Mistletoe? Sorry, I can’t drink that. A Christmas tree with a star on top and presents underneath? See mistletoe. The nativity scene? Was wine one of the three gifts the wise men brought? Christmas carols? Well, don’t we need booze first for that? So what’s more Christmas than Bailey’s in your coffee while unwrapping gifts, and gorging on a “breakfast” of sugar candies? Why eggnog of course! So for our special Christmas cocktail why not do something crazy and combine the two most Christmas things I can think of and make them one? That’s right: Irish Cream and Eggnog. 8
2 oz Bailey’s 1 oz Kahlua 1 oz Kraken Spiced Rum 1 egg Cinnamon & nutmeg
Dry shake (no ice) the Bailey’s, Kahlua, Kraken and egg for 20 seconds. Add ice and a pinch of cinnamon, then shake again for 20 seconds. Strain into a tall ice filled glass, and sprinkle nutmeg overtop. Garnish with a cinnamon stick (optional). Note: Don’t let this sit out too long. As a surprise, I have an equally delicious second cocktail; the inspiration comes from something else that is inherently Christmassy. Charlie Brown Christmas? No. Although a classic, the diminutive Mr. Brown has nothing on the Christmas classic Miss Green and her friend Red.
We’re going to play with a classic cocktail that we featured earlier this year: the French 75. But to make this drink a Christmas classic we’re going to make it brilliantly red, with a green garnish. This play on the French 75 will be a sure hit at your Christmas get together.
1 oz Tanqueray Gin ½ oz 1:1 Simple Syrup ½ oz fresh squeezed lemon juice 1 spoon frozen raspberries 3 mint leaves 3 oz sparkling rosé
Add the gin, simple syrup, lemon juice, raspberries, and mint into a shaker and muddle the ingredients together. Add ice and shake for 20 seconds. Double strain into a champagne flute and top with sparkling rosé. Garnish with a fresh raspberry on a cocktail pick, and drape a leaf of mint over the glass. See! Looks like mistletoe!
Easy Snacks To Kick Off Your Holiday Dinner by DAN CLAPSON photography by INGRID KUENZEL
Every holiday party has to Curried Roasted Nuts Yields 5 cups start to somewhere. But Total prep/cook time: 20 minutes it should start at a place that’s relatively stress-free. 2 Tbs (30 mL) grapeseed oil People can get caught up in having everything “just so” before friends and family arrive, which, don’t get me wrong, is fantastic, but there are always more simple ways to impress the people in your life than you think. Here are two easy and delicious snacks to get things rolling at any shindig this holiday season. Nuts are a staple at most holiday parties and dinners, but while cracking the ol’ tin of mixed nuts might impress your grand aunt, your friends are hoping for something a little bit more exciting. This simple spice blend is great on any style of nut, so mix up the quantities of each if you like (don’t like almonds? Try macadamia nuts!).
2 Tbs (30 mL) liquid honey 1 tsp yellow curry powder ¼ tsp ground cumin ¼ tsp ground turmeric ¼ tsp ground cinnamon 1 cup raw cashews 1 cup raw hazelnuts 1 cup raw almonds 1 cup raw pecan halves 1 cup raw walnut halves To taste, salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 325º F. 2. Place the first 6 ingredients in a
medium bowl and whisk to combine.
3. Place nuts in a large bowl, pour oil
and spice mixture over-top and stir well until the nuts are evenly coated.
4. Spread coated nuts onto a
large baking sheet and let roast in oven until nuts have browned, about 15-18 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and transfer
to paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Once cool, transfer to desired bowl, season to taste and serve.
5 cups cerignola olives* ²/³ cup (160 mL) good quality extra virgin olive oil 1 lemon, zested and juiced 5 cloves roasted garlic 1 Tbs Korean red pepper flakes ½ tsp ground black pepper ¼ tsp sea salt
1. Place all ingredients in a large
bowl and toss gently to combine. Let sit at room temperature for an hour, tossing occasionally to ensure olives are evenly coated.
2. Preheat oven to 275º F. 3. Transfer olive mixture to a large
baking dish and let cook slowly in oven for 30 minutes. Remove and stir occasionally.
4. Remove from oven. Scoop some
Lemon and Korean Red Pepper Marinated Olives
olives into a heat-safe bowl, and return baking dish to oven. Replenish as needed.
If you’ve never tried serving olives warm in a delicious oil-based marinade, then
*Note: These olives are widely available and come in green, black and red. A mix of colours makes for the best presentation.
Yields 5 cups Total prep/cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes
you are missing out. In this recipe, the brightness of the lemon zest and the subtle heat of the Korean pepper flakes help the buttery cerignola olives become even more addicting than they already are.
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Transforming Your Dinner Table Into A Christmas Wonderland by LEILANI OLYNIK photography by INGRID KUENZEL
It’s the most wonderful time of year; trimming the tree, raising a glass of mulled wine, maybe even stealing a kiss under the mistletoe. You’ll be making a grocery list and checking it twice, surely. But don’t forget to take some time to plan the finer details of dressing your Christmas table. Here are a few simple ways to prepare your table to impress guests with more than just a perfectly roasted turkey.
Know your Audience…
Christmas is all about having fun and making memories. Inviting a family with small children to join an opulently set table may not be the most relaxing way to tuck into your masterfully designed dinner. Take some time to plan the finer details of dressing your Christmas table The way you set your table, including where you choose to seat your guests, really does set the tone for your meal. Does this mean your table setting and decor should entirely cater to your guests? Not at all, but there’s no better way to ensure they enjoy themselves than making them feel at home. 12
Consider a child-friendly setting with thoughtful kid-sized utensils to make them feel special. Safeguard the table by planning a seating arrangement to save you from having Great Aunt Millie chattering in your ear all night.
Tip: Pair guests with mutual interests together to encourage lively conversation. Or just guarantee that your brother is Millie’s mashed potato-mate. You’re in charge of those little details when you plan ahead!
Holiday decorating is at its most beautiful when it is thoughtful and deliberate; choosing a theme makes a big impact without having to go over the top. When considering a theme, the most important thing is to create something magical. Finding unusual details to add to your table is a reflection of your personal style and the traditions you hold dear. Start with a simple tablecloth or decorative runner, and add a non-intrusive centerpiece to anchor everything else.
Tip: Be mindful of choosing elaborate or cumbersome centerpieces. They shouldn’t be so high that you can’t see the person sitting across from you.
A rustic setting couldn’t be simpler. Which, as an aside, is the key to a beautiful table: less is more. Using nature as inspiration, look to the outdoors for pieces that can grace your table. Tuck sprigs of spruce and pinecones under a glass cloche or lay them down the middle of your table runner, and interweave candles in varying heights to set an organic tone. If you’re fond of a fresh vibe, place the earliest known Christmas tree decorations, apples, on your table. Earthy green artichokes and juniper contrast the red in a traditional Christmas colour palette. Even easier: mason jars with cranberries and rosemary, or burlap napkins with cinnamon sticks and sage leaves make for an effortless and affordable rustic table setting. The way you set your table, including where you choose to seat your guests, really does set the tone for your meal
Tip: While you couldn’t choose a more traditional and festive plant to add to your Christmas table, holly is something to steer clear of. The berries are poisonous and the leaves are sharp; they’re best left to an outdoor arrangement adding to your Christmas curb appeal!
Adding in elegant accents in gold or copper juxtaposes the modern whites, and adds flair without creating chaos. If you have a particularly energetic family, a modern table that’s less cluttered could have a naturally calming effect.
Pair guests with mutual interests together to encourage lively conversation Lush, rich hues of reds and purples lend themselves well to achieving a modern aesthetic. They also happen to be the same colour as wine and port, so that’s convenient.
Creating the warmth and charm of a vintage Christmas table is easily achieved with a mix of old and new. Add great grandma’s china that you’ve had tucked away to basic white plates. Bring out your silverware, and add fresh floral and lace accents. Bring warmth to the table with candlesticks, or even better - a candelabra! There is no limit to the eclectic grace that comes with marrying well-loved pieces full of memories with a neutral setting. May your table be beautiful, your bellies full, and your favourite people be by your side. And for the love of all that is merry and bright, leave that can at the grocery store and spend a few minutes (that’s literally how long it takes) to whip up homemade cranberry sauce for your sophisticated diners. Now let’s eat, drink and be jolly!
A minimalist monochromatic setting is a stunning way to let the food shine on stark white plates. This is especially dramatic if your Christmas dinner is being served, rather than offered as family or buffet style.
Wife, mother, and food lover, Leilani has a diverse background in digital marketing, writing, and event planning. She can be found buzzing around the Calgary Farmers’ Market as their Marketing Coordinator. 13
Soup Kitchen story and photography by DAN CLAPSON
During the holidays, people can get so caught up in baking, party and dinner prepping that they forget how handy it is to have a pre-made batch of soup ready and waiting to save the day come mealtime. The nice thing about a simple potato soup is that it’s a great way to start off a dinner. The flavours are not overpowering, but rather eternally familiar and comforting.
Here is a simple soup recipe that tastes like a big, warm hug when you need it most during an (arguably) stressful time of year.
heat. Add diced onion and cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
6. Using an immersion blender,
Potato and Roasted Garlic Soup Serves 6 Total prep and cook time 1 hour 1 bulb garlic, halved 2 tsp (10 mL) canola oil 1 Tbs butter 1 yellow onion, diced 4 russet potatoes, peeled and 2 cm cubed 5 cups (1.25 L) water 5 cups (1.25 L) vegetable broth 1 cup (240 mL) heavy cream To taste salt and pepper Smoked paprika, for garnish
People can… forget how handy it is to have a pre-made batch of soup ready and waiting
1. Preheat oven to 400º F. 2. Place garlic bulb halves in tin foil,
pour canola oil over top, wrap up and let roast in oven until golden and soft, about 40-45 minutes.
3. While the garlic is roasting, heat
butter in a large pot on medium-high 14
4. Add diced potatoes, water, and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and let simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 10-12 minutes. Reduce to low heat and keep warm on stove until garlic is roasted.
5. Remove garlic from oven, let cool
slightly, grab the bulb halves by the base and carefully squeeze cloves into pot.
puree the contents of the pot until silky smooth.
7. Stir heavy cream into the soup,
season to taste with salt and pepper, garnish with paprika and serve, or simmer gently on the stovetop until the rest of the meal is ready. Dan Clapson is a freelance food writer and columnist in Calgary. When he’s not writing about Canada’s amazing culinary scene, he is likely listening to 80s rock or 90s boy bands. Follow him on twitter @dansgoodside
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A Feast Of Festive Birds by ELYSE CHATTERTON photography by PHIL WILSON
On Boxing Day, a cold turkey and stuffing sandwich – spread thickly with applesauce – is something to be relished. However, when the leftovers just keep coming, and dried-up turkey becomes a feature in every meal you eat for a week, maybe it’s time to consider an alternative holiday bird. As a butcher, a large percentage of my job is guiding people into choosing the right piece of meat for their needs. I factor in the number of people being 16
served, the amount of time they want to spend in the kitchen, and their carving ability. It’s funny — all the normal rules seem to go out the window when it comes to Christmas though. While turkey can be delicious, it’s one of the most difficult birds to store, prepare and cook. The average turkey weighs 14 pounds, which includes more than three pounds of bones. One person will typically consume only one pound of turkey as part of their Christmas meal. So why do we cook enough turkey to feed a small army, just because of tradition? Christmas is perfect for overindulgence. And a table groaning with delicious food is, of course, the very definition of a
feast. I am not suggesting you forgo the feast this Christmas, but rather modify your choice of bird to suit the actual number of guests you’re feeding.
Chicken Duck Cornish Hen
4 2-4 1
When cooking birds, you generally will be roasting meat on the full carcass. Don’t worry — this is not something to be afraid of if you follow a few simple rules: –– Always remember to use a sharp knife and work on a large chopping board –– Have a serving plate close by so you can transfer the meat away from the area where you are cutting –– If you are a little nervous about this process... carve in the comfort of your own kitchen and not at the table — nobody needs the extra pressure of hungry eyes watching you attack the bird! Avoid a kitchen massacre with this simple guide to carving all large birds:
Carving The Legs
–– Cut through the skin that attaches the leg to the body. Ease the thigh outwards and cut through the joint to remove the leg and thigh –– Cut through the drumstick and thigh at the joint — give it a little wiggle and you will see the joint –– Leave the drumsticks and thighs whole, or carve into slices. The easiest way is to hold a piece up and carve around the bones
Carving The Breast
–– Cut as close to the breast bone as you can, starting on the top of the bird. Carve out the whole breast, pulling it away as you cut –– Cut into thick slices diagonally along the whole breast
A little out of the ordinary, but quite easy to cook, is goose. For you carvers out there, you’ve probably had a go at cooking a turkey or chicken. Why not try something different this year? Here is a great recipe for a mouth-watering Christmas goose:
The Christmas Goose
In England, goose was always the preferred Christmas bird, but over the last century it has gradually been overtaken in popularity by turkey. Here’s to bringing back traditions! An average sized goose will adequately feed four to six people. Fat deposits in the body turn to liquid at a lower temperature compared with other birds. It’s this fat that helps the bird cook more evenly and, as a result, there is no need to turn or baste the goose as the liquid fat does all the hard work for you. Goose fat has a luxurious texture and mild flavour; it also makes for delicious gravy. The high smoke point makes this the perfect fat for roasting potatoes, too.
want spillage into the bottom of the oven. Sprinkle the top of the bird with sea salt and black pepper.
4. Cook for approximately three hours
in a pre-heated 400º F oven. After one hour, remove the excess fat from the bottom of the roasting tin; check and remove fat every 30 minutes.
5. Check the temperature. You are
aiming for an internal temperature of around 175° F at the thickest part of the thigh, and 160° F in the center of the stuffing.
6. Place the bird on a large board,
allow to rest for at least 20 minutes and carve.
Roast Goose With Cranberry, Maple, and Pecan Stuffing Serves four to six
5 kg oven-ready goose 2 red onions, peeled and halved Handful of fresh sage leaves Sea salt and black pepper
A table groaning with delicious food is, of course, the very definition of a feast
Stuffing 200 g grated apple, mixed with juice and zest of 1 orange 150 g cranberries 100 g dried breadcrumbs ¼ tsp ground cinnamon ¼ tsp ground cloves 1 bunch scallions, chopped finely 1 egg, lightly beaten 2 Tbs (30 mL) maple syrup 150 g pecans, roughly chopped Sea salt and black pepper
1. Mix all the stuffing ingredients
together, season well and pack into the neck of the bird. Tuck the flap of skin over the stuffing and under the bird. Secure with a small metal skewer.
2. Remove any excess fat from the
goose cavity (use this for your roast potatoes). Place the onion, leftover orange you zested and squeezed for the stuffing, and sage leaves into the cavity of the bird.
3. Place the stuffed goose on a wire
rack in a deep roasting tin. It will give off a lot of fat as it cooks, and you don’t
This Christmas, I hope your festive feast is a little less fraught. Give yourself plenty of time and don’t be afraid to ask your local butcher for advice on what meat options will be the best for your meal. I leave you with some very wise words from the legendary Julia Child: “Always remember: If you’re alone in the kitchen and you drop the meat, you can always just pick it up. Who’s going to know?” Happy Holidays! Classically trained English butcher, enthusiastic baker, passionate gin drinker, and food blogger, Elyse was working for her family in the northwest of England as an apprentice butcher at the age of 14. She moved to Edmonton five years ago and currently works at Tofield Packers.
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Four Ways With Brussels Sprouts story and photography by NATALIE FINDLAY
While Brussels sprouts are a common vegetable to serve at Christmas time, this small, green ball has not always been everyone’s favourite vegetable.
Stuffed Brussels Sprouts
pan. Add pancetta and garlic and cook 3- 5 minutes.
24 Brussels sprouts 75 g hot pancetta, diced 2 cloves garlic, finely diced 1 lemon, zested 6 green olives, pitted and roughly chopped ½ cup (110 g) cream cheese, room temperature 1 Tbs Parmesan cheese, grated Pinch sea salt 1 Tbs butter, melted 1 Tbs Parmesan, grated
4. In a medium bowl, add cream
3. Heat ½ Tbs olive oil in a small sauté
cheese, olives, Parmesan, lemon zest, pancetta and garlic and season with sea salt. Thoroughly combine all ingredients together.
5. Add cream cheese mixture to each
But these recipes are going of the Brussels sprouts, making sure to be generous with the topping. to change Brussels sprout haters into Brussels sprout 6. Drizzle your baking tray or pan lovers — and for those with olive oil and place each Brussels sprout in place. Drizzle with melted who already love Brussels 1. Preheat oven to 375 º F. butter. Cover with foil and bake for 40 sprouts, you can find minutes. 2. Trim Brussels sprouts so they have a out how to eat them for Remove foil, and grate Parmesan breakfast, lunch and dinner! flat bottom. Core out part of the centre. 7. over top. Return to oven and broil
Brussels Sprout Couscous Serves 6
½ cup couscous 10 Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered 2 Tbs (30 mL) olive oil 2 cloves garlic, fine diced 4 sprigs thyme ½ red onion, thinly sliced 1½ tsp ground cumin 1 pomegranate, seeded ¼ cup (20 leaves) fresh mint, chiffonaded ¹/³ cup (80 g) feta, crumbled Pinch sea salt ¾ cup (180 mL) Greek yogurt Pinch sea salt ½ lemon, zested and juice 1 tsp harissa spice
1. Make couscous as directions on the package.
2. Add olive oil to sauté pan over
medium heat. Add onion and cook 8 minutes or until translucent.
3. Add thyme sprigs, cumin, garlic
and cook another 3 - 5 minutes. Add mixture to couscous.
4. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to pan then add the Brussels sprouts. Season with sea salt and cook over medium heat for 8 - 10 minutes or
until Brussels sprouts start to brown.
5. Remove and add to couscous.
Add the pomegranate, mint and feta to couscous mixture.
6. Stir all ingredients together until combined.
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and fry the speck. Remove speck and keep the remaining fat.
2. Add the onion and rosemary to the skillet and cook 5 minutes.
3. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes, Brussels sprouts and sweet potato, and cook 5 - 10 minutes or until fully warmed.
5. Season with sea salt and pepper. Add reserved speck.
Leftovers: Brussels Sprout Breakfast Fry-Up
6. Cook eggs to your liking and serve on 2 sprigs rosemary 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 10 mushrooms, quartered 10 cherry tomatoes, halved To taste sea salt and pepper 4 - 8 eggs, poached, fried, or scrambled
top of the fry-up.
Brussels Sprout Coleslaw
2. Slice the apple into matchsticks, and
add to the bowl.
5. Add mustard, honey, apple cider
10 Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced 1 pink lady apple, cored (this kind doesn’t brown quickly) 2 sticks celery, thinly sliced 4 strips bacon (bacon fat reserved for dressing) ½ cup raisins ½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
3. Cook bacon in a small skillet over
1 small sweet potato 10 leftover Brussels sprouts 120 g smoked speck (or other smoked ham), sliced ½ onion, diced
Dressing 1½ Tbs bacon fat, top with canola oil if needed 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 1 tsp fennel seeds, smashed in a mortar and pestle 2 tsp (10 mL) honey 1 tsp (5 mL) mustard 1 tsp (5 mL) apple cider vinegar 1 Tbs (15 mL) hard apple cider Pinch sea salt
1. Using a mandolin, shave the
Brussels sprouts and celery into a medium bowl. 22
Note: if you don’t have leftover Brussels sprouts and sweet potato, then you can cut your raw Brussels sprouts into half and then each side into thirds. Cut your sweet potato into small cubes and roast in a 375º F oven for about 15 minutes. Add 1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat them to the recipe. vinegar and apple cider, a pinch of sea salt, and whisk to combine all ingredients. Reserve.
medium heat until browned. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Reserve the fat. 6. Add bacon, raisins, and walnuts to the bowl with the Brussels sprouts. Add 4. Turn the heat to low, and add the dressing. Stir to combine. garlic and fennel seeds to the fat. Cook Natalie is a freelance writer, photographer and for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Keep pastry chef. A graduate of Cordon Bleu’s pastry stirring the garlic and fennel seeds so program, she manages her own business too to create custom-made cakes. they don’t burn.
Spice it Up:
6 Ways with Root Veggies by MALLORY FRAYN
Love them or hate them, you can’t have a holiday dinner without root vegetables. I’m not complaining — they’re as versatile as it gets. Whether you use them in raw applications, cooked applications, in pickles or in cakes, you’re sure to find a variation that will satisfy your appetite, and your creativity! 1. Stuff them
If you know that there will be vegetarians or vegans at your holiday table, whip up some stuffed root vegetables as a hearty, satisfying main dish. Essentially, you will want to double cook whatever root veg you are using in
this application (pick medium to large size sweet potatoes, turnips or celery root, as you want something you can hollow out). Halve them and roast until tender, before scooping out the centres to create a bowl. Fill them with a mix of wild mushrooms, grains such as wild rice or barley, pulses like lentils or chickpeas, and other vegetables of your choice. Bake again until golden. You might even ditch the turkey to enjoy one yourself.
cloves) it contains, but carrots aren’t your only option. Try replacing them with shredded sweet potatoes or parsnips instead for that same moisture, but added je ne sais quoi. Alternately, you can replace some of the fat in your favourite Christmas baking recipes with pureed sweet potatoes or carrots. No one needs to know that the secret ingredient in your plum pudding is a vegetable! How about a scoop of sweet potato ice cream on top? Now we’re talking!
2. Shred them
Who doesn’t love crispy, fried potato pancakes? Try a twist on a classic by using root vegetables instead. Shred a melange of sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets, and mix them with a bit of flour and egg to bind them together. Pat them into pancakes and fry in plenty of oil, until they are golden brown and delicious. If you want to mellow out the sweetness of the root vegetables, you can use equal parts root veg and potatoes for a more neutral flavour.
3. Go sweet
Although they could be a side dish on your Christmas dinner table, root vegetables are an equally fitting component of a holiday dessert. Carrot cake is an ideal end to a festive dinner because of all of the warming spices (think cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and 24
4. Purée away
Mashed potatoes and gravy may be a staple on virtually all holiday dinner tables, but I will give them a pass any day for pureed root vegetables. Cook celery root until tender, and puree with plenty of good, but mild, olive oil for a healthier, more flavourful take on the starchy favourite. You can also blend up a mix of sweeter root vegetables like carrots, sweet potato, parsnips, and turnips to make sure everyone gets their veggies (without even realizing it’s good for them!). Keep in mind, if you don’t want to eat your root vegetable purée as is, you can thin it out with vegetable stock, poultry stock or coconut milk, to make a creamy soup to serve as a starter or side.
1. Roast the vegetables at 400º F
until tender and golden (you can use a splash of oil if you like, or roast them dry). It should take about 30-40 minutes depending on how big/small you cut them.
2. While they are roasting, make
5. Don’t be shy with spices
Root vegetables are typically hearty and neutral in flavour, so they are a great canvas for experimenting with spices and spice blends. They can be elevated by the addition of whatever myriad of spices you are eager to experiment with. Try adding dukkah, a Middle Eastern blend of crushed nuts, sesame seeds, coriander and cumin, to caramelized or roasted root vegetables for a salty, savoury kick.
6. Pickle them
No Christmas dinner table is complete without an assortment of homemade pickles. Think outside the realm of traditional cucumber pickles, and swap them out for root vegetables instead. Baby carrots are great simply pickled whole and raw with lots of fragrant coriander seeds. With hearty root veggies (ones you probably wouldn’t want to eat raw), be sure to boil them until tender prior to soaking them in your pickle brine. Pickled beets are always a fan favourite, but don’t shy away from pickling daikon radish, baby turnips or parsnips.
Roasted Root Vegetables with Labneh and Dukkah
the dukkah. Start by toasting the pistachios, sesame seeds, cumin, and coriander, in a pan over low heat until fragrant. Grind them in a mortar and pestle until they form a coarse blend. Add in 1 tsp salt.
5-6 cups of assorted root vegetables peeled and diced small 2 Tbs pistachios 1 Tbs white sesame seeds 1 Tbs black sesame seeds ½ Tbs cumin seeds ½ Tbs coriander seeds ½ tsp salt Olive oil Labneh (thick Middle Eastern yoghurt cream cheese) To taste salt and pepper
3. When the root vegetables
Coriander Pickled Carrots
4. Pour the hot brine into each jar
3 cups (720 mL) water 3 cups (720 mL) white vinegar ¹/³ cup plus 2 Tbs pickling salt 1.5 Kg baby carrots, washed and scrubbed 3 bay leaves 3 large cloves garlic 3 shallots, peeled and halved 3 tsp whole black peppercorns 3 tsp whole coriander seeds 3 x 1 L canning jars
1. Sterilize all 3 jars and lids. Bring a
large stockpot of water to the boil for sterilizing the filled jars later.
2. Bring the brine (water, vinegar, salt) to a boil. Keep it on the stove over low heat until needed.
3. In each jar, put 1 bay leaf, 1
garlic clove, 1 shallot, 1 tsp black peppercorns, and 1 tsp coriander seeds. Pack ¹/³ of the baby carrots into each jar, fitting as many into each jar as possible.
come out of the oven, toss them with the dukkah, setting some aside to garnish. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.
4. To serve, smear the bottom of the serving bowl with labneh. Pour in the root vegetables and sprinkle with the reserved dukkah. Serve warm or at room temperature.
(using a funnel to minimize spillage) leaving about 1 cm of headspace at the top.
5. Put the lids on securely, but
leave a bit of room to tighten them further. Boil for about 10 minutes.
6. Remove the jars from the boiling water and allow to cool to room temperature. Flipping them upside down can help ensure that they seal properly.
7. Once cooled, store in a cool, dry
place for least 2 weeks before eating. Note: If you don’t want to can the pickles, you can use the same recipe and simply refrigerate the pickled carrots until they are ready to eat. Mallory is a Calgary freelance writer and grad student now living, learning and eating in Montreal. Check out her blog becauseilikechocolate.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @cuzilikechoclat 25
Six Alberta Food Charities by ANNA BROOKS
Maybe it’s the sparkling snow on the ground, the bright lights in the streets, or just a few too many glasses of eggnog, but come December, everyone seems to be in the Christmas spirit. And a big part of the Christmas spirit — and something Albertans are known for — is giving back. Here are some local food charities to get involved with this holiday season!
Operating in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Millarville, Soup Sisters bring community members together to support women, children and youth in crisis through soup. “Most people would agree soup is the universal comfort food,” says Sharon Hapton, Soup Sisters founder and CEO. “What’s better on a cold, winter day to fill your tummy and warm you up?” New this year, the Soup Sisters bowls we’ve come to grow and love can be purchased at select 7-Eleven stores in Calgary. Whether you buy Chicken Noodle or Mushroom, Bean and Barley, 100 per cent of the proceeds go back to charity. 26
“We’re increasing our giving capacity by having it produced and sold in stores,” Hapton explains. “When you buy it, you’re getting delicious soup and supporting emergency shelters across the country at the same time.” To learn more, visit: soupsisters.org
It was just a year ago Mealshare started their Road to One Million campaign, and this November they celebrated reaching the million-meal goal. With participating restaurants in Calgary and Edmonton, the Mealshare
program helps feed the hungry by donating a meal to nonprofits and community organizations like the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre. Every time a dish is ordered as a Mealshare item at a partner restaurant, a portion of the proceeds go towards putting a meal together for someone in need. Visit mealshare.ca/ to see which restaurants are part of the Mealshare program in your city! Visit mealshare.ca/en/home to order a Mealshare dish today.
Food for Peace
Kitchens in smaller organizations like Alpha House and Inn from the Cold are often in need of fresh food, and LeftOvers Calgary helps stock them with perishable food items rescued from grocery stories, restaurants and bakeries.
“Twenty per cent of Calgary families live below the poverty line and food Celebrating 10 years as an official Calgary prices are going up,” says Lourdes charity, Food for Peace is a volunteer-run Juan, founder and executive director of LeftOvers Calgary. “We can fight that program that serves up freshly cooked by eliminating food waste. A lot of food vegetarian dishes for people in need. is close to expiry and thrown out, even though it’s perfectly good food.” “A vegetarian diet is much more sustainable and has more variety than Run 100 per cent by volunteers, a meat-based diet,” Sima Chowdhury from Food for Peace explains. “We’re LeftOvers Calgary partners with more teaching people that eating vegetables is than 30 service agencies across the easy and delicious.” city to serve thousands of low-income Calgarians nutritious foods often Cooking monthly meals at the Calgary missing from their diet. Drop-In & Rehab Centre and the Ronald McDonald House, Chowdhury For more, visit: rescuefood.ca said volunteers get to help others and learn some valuable kitchen skills at the Food Banks Alberta same time. Whatever part of the province you live in, you’ve either heard of the food bank or Why not work on your karma and get a known someone who’s needed it. new recipe under your belt this Christmas? But sometimes we forget how important For more information, visit: the service they provide is, especially facebook.com/foodforpeacecalgary when you hear how many meals and snacks Food Banks Alberta doles out LeftOvers Calgary each year (three million in Calgary in The city’s only food rescue program, 2015 alone!) LeftOvers Calgary, salvages usable food and shuttles it to people and Calgary Food Bank representative programs that need it most. Shawna Ogston says while it’s important
Food for Peace
to receive donations all year round, December’s status as a season of giving makes it an especially important month for the food bank. “When you don’t have enough money to put a holiday meal together, it’s quite stressful,” Ogston explains. “We definitely see an increase in need around the holiday season. People often have limited income, or have to cut the food budget to pay for unexpected expenses.” For those looking to donate, visit: foodbanksalberta.ca
Meals on Wheels
One of Alberta’s longest standing food charities, Meals on Wheels has delivered door-to-door meals for more than fifty years. Stephanie Power, fund development manager for Calgary Meals on Wheels, says the organization has seen a huge increase in the need for food support services over the past few years. Come wintertime, Power says it can be even harder to access affordable and nutritional meals. “Alberta winters can be harsh, and for those who already struggle with mobility and isolation, it can be that much more difficult,” Power explains. “There are kids going to school without lunches, and unfortunately, we’re seeing more and more of that.” Meals on Wheel runs five unique programs like the Home Meal Delivery program, which delivers fresh-chilled meals right to your front door. You can help Meals on Wheels by donating or volunteering for one of their local programs in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Airdrie, Medicine Hat and Spruce Grove.
Anna Brooks is Culinaire’s managing editor. A Mount Royal journalism graduate, stories have pulled her overseas to pursue international work in India, Africa and Thailand. Follow her on Twitter @Anna_Brooksie 27
That said, the humble slow cooker is not usually associated with the ultimate winter meal: Christmas dinner. While you can technically cook a turkey in a slow cooker, that golden skin (often an essential part of a holiday meal) only comes from slow oven roasting. Still, most of us know Christmas dinner preparation is an exercise in careful balance and timing — the turkey comes out of the oven, a side dish goes in — often making for a stressful day of cooking. This is where the slow cooker can come in. There are plenty of side dishes, appetizers, and even desserts you can do in the slow cooker to free up the precious real estate of your oven and streamline Christmas dinner prep.
A Slow Cooker Christmas by ELIZABETH CHORNEY-BOOTH
Slow cookers often conjure up images of winter comfort food, like belly-warming stews and meaty braises, which are undeniably perfect for this time of year.
Starting with appetizers and holiday snacks, classic nuts and bolts work beautifully in a slow cooker — they need to cook low and slow in an oven anyway, so crisping up in a slow cooker on your counter makes sense. Likewise, many cheesy holiday dips work well in mini slow cookers. Show up to a holiday party with your dip still in the cooker, and you won’t have to pester the host to make room in the oven to reheat it. …the turkey comes out of the oven, a side dish goes in — often making for a stressful day of cooking For the main event, slow cookers can be used to “roast” vegetables — a big batch of beets works well in a slow cooker, as does a medley of root vegetables like parsnips, carrots, and sweet potatoes tossed with fresh herbs. It’s also possible to do braised cabbage, whole cauliflower, or an
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entire butternut squash, which can be scooped right out of the skin and turned into a Christmas dinner mash. Potatoes also work — try scalloped, baked or even mashed potatoes. Since they all go in for about five to six hours, the slow cooker lets you get a lot of your cooking out of the way in the early part of the day, leaving you free to relax until it’s time to make the gravy. Slow cooker desserts aren’t particularly common, and you can easily make most traditional Christmas desserts ahead of time anyway, but there are good reasons to do desserts in a crock.
Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce
Recipes reprinted with permission from Robert Rose Publishing
Serve this easy cranberry sauce alongside roasted chicken or turkey, or freeze it for when you need cranberry sauce for a muffin or cake recipe. Makes about 2 cups. 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries ½ to ¾ cup sugar 1 Tbs grated lemon zest ½ cup (120 mL) orange juice ½ cup (120 mL) water
1. Combine cranberries, ½ cup sugar,
lemon zest, orange juice and water in a 2- to 4- quart slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 Don’t forget the beverages — a slow cooker can keep a pot of mulled wine or cider warm all evening long
hours or until cranberries have popped. Stir and taste to see if you wish to add more sugar. It will seem quite liquid, but don’t fret!
Serves 8 to 10
Slow cookers can create a remarkably even cooking environment for custards that need the gentle steam of a bain-marie. Or, if you like a warm dessert, spoonable pudding cakes are perfect for the slow cooker, and can be done with Christmas gingerbread and caramel flavours.
A Best of Bridge classic, made even easier in a slow cooker! A hot spiced beverage that brings together brandy, wine and beer — perfect for holiday entertaining.
3. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. The
sauce will thicken as it cools, and even more once refrigerated. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days or freeze up to six months. 1 bottle red wine 330 mL bottle beer 1 cup (240 mL) brandy 1 orange, sliced 1 lemon, sliced ¾ cup sugar 3 cinnamon sticks 1 Tbs whole cloves
1. Pour the wine, beer and brandy into a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker.
Finally, don’t forget the beverages — a slow cooker can keep a pot of mulled wine or cider warm all evening long. Just set out a ladle and some mugs next to the pot so guests can serve themselves!
2. Add orange, lemon, sugar and
There are a number of holiday appropriate recipes in the new The Best of Bridge: The Family Slow Cooker, co-authored by myself, Julie Van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan, but here are two holiday favourites:
hours or until the Glogg is warm and the spices have steeped.
3. Place the cloves into a spice bag or a tea ball and add to the slow cooker.
4. Cover and cook on low for three
5. Remove the cloves and cinnamon
sticks. If your slow cooker has a warm setting, set it to warm for serving. Elizabeth Chorney-Booth is a Calgary-based freelance writer, and co-founder/co-editor of RollingSpoon. com and Wapawekka.com. She enjoys exploring the connection between music and food through interviews with musicians and chefs.
Bread Sauce – A British Holiday Tradition
by LINDA GARSON
Bread Sauce It’s almost inconceivable for me to think of a holiday Makes 2 cups (500 mL) turkey without bread sauce. 6 cloves It’s so traditional in Britain, 1 medium onion, skin removed 6 black peppercorns and one of the classic sauces. Few blades of mace or 1 bay leaf Gravy is great on potatoes and other veg, but you can’t beat bread sauce on your bird. In medieval times, bread was used to thicken sauces as a way of using up stale loaves, and now bread sauce is the last survivor of these recipes. It’s so quick and easy to make, and you probably already have the ingredients in your cupboards and fridge, so go British this holiday season, and give it a whirl. 32
2 cups (500 mL) milk 1 Tbs butter 100 g white breadcrumbs, best made in a food processor from day old bread To taste salt and pepper 2 Tbs (30 mL) single cream (optional)
1. Stud the onion with the cloves,
and place in a saucepan with the peppercorns and mace or bay leaf. Pour in the milk and heat, stirring occasionally until hot.
2. Cover and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
3. Discard the peppercorns and
mace or bay leaf, and add butter and breadcrumbs. Heat until thickened, stirring often. Remove onion, season to taste (it’s good with lots of pepper) and stir in cream if using. Add more breadcrumbs if the sauce is too runny, or add a little milk if it’s too thick.
4. Leave to cool and freeze up to a
month, or pour into a warmed gravy boat or bowl and serve immediately. It’s that easy! Tip: Can be made up to three days in advance and reheated on the hob or in a microwave on medium for 3 minutes.
Millefeuille – A Festive Dessert! story and photography by NATALIE FINDLAY
This tangy, fruit-filled puff pastry layered with dollops of rosemary pastry cream will make the perfect end to your Christmas meal. Leave this dessert out on Christmas Eve and you can be sure Santa Claus will be making a stop at your house! Strawberry, Rhubarb and Rosemary Millefeuille
Serves 6, but can be easily doubled for a larger party
Start the day before to allow the rosemary to steep in the milk. 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed (can be store bought) 1 Tbs (15 mL) cream 15 g sugar 2 stalks rhubarb, thinly sliced 6 strawberries, sliced 40 mL fresh orange juice ½ orange, zested 1 Tbs sugar 2 Tbs (30 mL) water ½ cup (125 mL) milk 3 sprigs rosemary 3 egg yolks 2 Tbs sugar 1 Tbs cornstarch 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract ¹/³ cup (80 mL) cream 1 tsp icing sugar
1. Heat the milk over medium
heat until it starts to bubble. Add rosemary sprigs and remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl and let cool, reserve overnight in the fridge.
2. Remove the rosemary from the milk. Pour the milk into a small pot and place over a medium heat.
3. While the milk is reheating, place yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk.
4. Add sugar and cornstarch to yolks, and
whisk until light in colour and foamy. While whisking, slowly pour half the milk into the egg mixture.
5. Return mixture to the pot, whisk
constantly until mixture starts to bubble then remove from heat. Strain into a clean bowl.
6. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure
Pastry and Assembly 1. Cut pastry into 18 pieces 10 x 5 cm,
and brush with cream. Sprinkle with sugar.
2. Place on a parchment lined baking
sheet. Lay another piece of parchment on top, and then place another baking sheet on top of the parchment to stop the puff pastry from rising.
3. Bake at 375º F degrees for 20
minutes. If your pastry doesn’t look quite done, remove the extra parchment and baking sheet and bake another 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
4. Place 6 pastry rectangles onto a
wrap is touching the custard so it doesn’t form a skin. Cool and refrigerate until cold.
serving platter or individual plates. Place strawberry-rhubarb on top. Top with another puff pastry rectangle.
7. Whisk the cream and icing sugar until
5. Pipe or spoon pastry cream on top of
stiff and gently fold into the pastry cream.
8. Add rhubarb, strawberries, orange
juice, water and sugar to a small pot, and gently heat for about 5 minutes to soften the fruit and incorporate the flavours.
the puff pastry. Top with the third puff pastry rectangle and sift over some icing sugar to garnish. Serve immediately. Note: You can make these smaller and use as a sweet appetizer.
9. Remove from heat and stir in the orange zest. Let cool.
Step By Step: Gingerbread story and photography by RENEE KOHLMAN
It’s not the holidays around my house until the smell of gingerbread is wafting about. I like to whip up loaves of gingerbread to have on hand for drop-in guests (it’s bound to happen at least once!), and for quick, delicious desserts. Add some salted caramel sauce or molasses whipped cream (I like both) for a sensational, seasonal end to a holiday gathering. If you happen to have any slices of gingerbread leftover, they also make great French toast. Yes, that’s right! Gingerbread French toast is a thing. Top each serving with leftover salted caramel sauce and fresh fruit, and your dessert has turned into brunch. Apparently calories don’t count in December, so go ahead and have molasses whipped cream on the French toast, too. To spice up my gingerbread, I add not only ground ginger, but a good grating of the fresh stuff as well. Orange zest adds lovely citrus notes, and a generous pinch of ground black pepper makes you go, “Hmm…something gorgeous is in here, but I’m not sure what.” The gingerbread has wonderful, tender crumb and smells like magic when you take it out of the oven. Versatile for dessert or brunch, it’s the little loaf that keeps on giving. Who doesn’t need that, especially at Christmas? 34
Orange Spice Gingerbread with Salted Caramel Sauce and Molasses Whipped Cream
1. Grease a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan and
1½ cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp baking soda ½ tsp ground nutmeg ½ tsp salt ¹/8 tsp ground cloves ¹/8 tsp ground black pepper (optional) ½ cup (120 mL) pumpkin purée ½ cup butter, melted ½ cup packed brown sugar ½ cup (120 mL) fancy molasses 1 Tbs grated fresh ginger root 2 tsp orange zest 2 large eggs, beaten 2 Tbs (30 mL) water
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour,
Makes 8-10 slices
line it with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350º F and place a rack in the centre of the oven. spices and baking soda. Mix well.
3. In another large bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry
ingredients, just until they are combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
5. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then remove the gingerbread from the pan and let it cool completely before slicing.
Orange Spice Gingerbread French Toast
1 cup granulated sugar 1¼ cups (300 mL) whipping cream 2 tsp flaky salt, such as Maldon 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
1 large egg ½ cup + 2 Tbs (150 mL) whole milk 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla 2-3 Tbs butter 4 slices Orange Spice Gingerbread
Makes about 1½ cups
1. Beat the egg in a shallow bowl.
Gingerbread smells like magic when you take it out of the oven
Whisk in the milk, sugar and vanilla.
2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
1. Heat the sugar in a medium
saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon occasionally until it starts to melt.
spoon until the caramel cooks down and is smooth.
2. Stop stirring and let the sugar cook,
6. Pour the caramel into a medium
3. Meanwhile, heat the whipping cream
Note: Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
swirling the pan occasionally, until it’s dark amber —about 7-9 minutes. Be sure not to burn the sugar.
in a small saucepan until bubbles start to form on the sides of the pot.
4. When the sugar is dark amber,
remove the pot from the heat and gradually pour the hot cream into the hot sugar — be careful, as a large waft of steam will come off of sugar.
5. Put the pot back on medium
heat and stir constantly with a wooden
bowl, and stir in the salt and vanilla. Let it come to room temperature.
Molasses Whipped Cream
3. Dip the slices of gingerbread into the egg mixture, making sure both sides are well soaked.
4. Place the slices into the hot skillet and cook for a few minutes on each side, until golden. Turn down the heat if the French toast is browning too fast.
5. Serve with fresh fruit, salted
caramel sauce (or maple syrup), and molasses whipped cream.
1½ cups (360 mL) whipping cream 1 Tbs (15 mL) molasses
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat together the whipping cream and molasses until firm peaks form. Serve with the gingerbread and salted caramel sauce.
LUN LUNCCHH (EVERY DAY )
Renee is a food writer and pastry chef living in beautiful Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her columns appear in The Saskatoon StarPhoenix and her desserts can be enjoyed at Riverside Country Club. Check out her blog www.sweetsugarbean.com
BRUN CH ( S AT / S UN)
(EV E RY DAY )
The Beauty Of The Bordeaux Blend by TOM FIRTH
The wines of Bordeaux, France, have long held a reputation as some of the greatest in the world. Drawing on the strength of the blend, Bordeaux is about the skillful assemblage of five main grapes: cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, petit verdot and malbec. In Bordeaux, the perfect ripening of grapes isn’t guaranteed each year, making the careful use of the various grapes instrumental in the quality of the region. Bordeaux varieties are well represented in wine regions around the world, as is the Bordeaux blend. While it was perfected in France, many other wine regions have recognized the strength of cabernet and merlot together, and produced their own versions in the last century, or so. Sometimes called a “meritage” wine (which is a portmanteau of “merit” and “heritage,” giving an indication of its pronunciation), the mix involves a premium wine using Bordeaux varieties - in the case of white wines, sauvignon blanc and semillon. Beyond its taste, age-worthiness and overall greatness, Bordeaux is a foodloving wine, pairing particularly well with red meats, hard cheese and other protein-rich dishes. No matter where in the world you are, Bordeaux always seems to be a winner. Here are 10 of our favourite Bordeaux blend picks from the 2016 Alberta Beverage Awards to tempt your palate this winter!
Château de L’Annonciation 2010 Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France CSPC 747810 $48-50 Best in Class, 2016 Alberta Beverage Awards
Tolaini 2010 Picconero, Tuscany, Italy CSPC 729206 $85-88 Best in Class, 2016 Alberta Beverage Awards
Road 13 2012 5th Element Okanagan Valley, British Columbia CSPC 741856 $63 Judges Selection, 2016 Alberta Beverage Awards
Giusti 2009 Umberto I, Veneto, Italy CSPC 778802 $115-120 Judges Selection, 2016 Alberta Beverage Awards
Burrowing Owl 2012 Meritage Okanagan Valley, Canada CSPC 1081131 $58-60 Judges Selection, 2016 Alberta Beverage Awards
Poplar Grove 2012 The Legacy Okanagan Valley, British Columbia CSPC 674580 $50 Judges Selection, 2016 Alberta Beverage Awards
Giusti 2014 Antonio, Veneto, Italy CSPC 783189 $40-42 Judges Selection, 2016 Alberta Beverage Awards
Spier 2012 Creative Block 5 Coastal Region, South Africa CSPC 752024 $24 Top Value, 2016 Alberta Beverage Awards
Château Denisiane 2008 Pomerol Bordeaux, France CSPC 747812 $50-52 Judges Selection, 2016 Alberta Beverage Awards
Clos du Soleil 2013 Signature Similkameen, British Columbia CSPC 177204 $40-45 Judges Selection, 2016 Alberta Beverage Awards
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Culinaire Gift Guide Drom Pepper and Grinders
Stuck for ideas? We’ve searched the province and the internet to bring you a baker’s dozen of unique gifts for the foodie in your life! Canova Pasticceria Panettone
Edmonton-based Canova Pasticceria Kris Owczarek and Carla Roppo-Owczarek are passionate about food. Through their travels abroad, they have developed an artisan Panettone, an Italian Sweet Bread. Handcrafted the traditional way, it takes 36 hours from start to finish so only 5,000 are made. $15.99 at Sobeys/Safeway, Sunterra, and The Italian Store Scarpones (Calgary).
DRØM Pepper was launched recently by Canadians Louise and Nigel Biggar, to bring us the exceptional black and red Kampot peppercorns from Cambodia. The pepper is organic and fair trade, and is so special that it has its own protected geographical indication. Black pepper $11.95, red pepper $14.95, includes free shipping. Also available are these beautiful ceramic grinders $99.96. Visit drompepper.com/collections.
Offcuts Calgary Charity Chef Calendar
Last year’s calendar raised $33,000 for Brown Bagging For Calgary’s Kids, so to keep up the momentum, here’s Offcuts 2017 – the irreverent, lighthearted calendar featuring 12 more stripped-down, well-known Calgary food dudes. At only $20, one calendar will provide 20 school lunches. Check out knifewear.com/blogs/news/ offcuts-2017 for your copy.
Poko Popcorn is a new gourmet snack made in Calgary with four locations, but you can also order online and have it delivered directly to someone’s door. It’s good stuff, made from real ingredients with no artificial flavours, and air popped with no oil involved. Grab bags start as little as $2.99 but we love the 1-gallon tin with that comes in a paint can for $19.99. Check out pokopopcorn.ca/order
Masquerade NEW YEARS 2017
Spirit Hills Pour Spout
A true Alberta gift for wine lovers! This boxed silver white tail deer head pour spout was designed by Spirit Hills Winery and can be used with any bottle. $25 at Spirit Hills Winery and select sales points. spirithillswinery.com
Saint Q Organic Maple Syrup
From Saint Quentin, New Brunswick, comes possibly the best maple syrup we’ve ever tried. Mellow, warming, and hitting all those pleasure spots in the maple syrup lover’s brain, it might be too good for baking but will elevate your breakfast game to the next level. $50 for 500 mL bottles, smaller sizes available. Available at The Cookbook Co. and online.
6:00 - Doors Open 7:30 - Dinner in Ballroom 9:00 - DJ, Dance, Photobooth 12:00 - Sparkling Wine & Party Favours
Venetian Masquerade. Bring your own mask. Dress to impress! 18+ event firstname.lastname@example.org $115 per ticket includes gratuity $319 per couple includes two tickets and a room Call 403-259-1709 to book Prices subject to GST and applicable fees
These sweet and crunchy, slow dry-roasted almonds are coated with Canadian maple syrup and a pinch of unrefined sea salt for an original, nutritious and delicious snack. You’ll find them in major stores and pharmacies, as well as in natural food stores and at prana.bio/en_ca/organicproducts. $6.49 for 150g
Soup Sisters Fresh Soup
Since 2009, Soup Sisters have dished up nearly 750,000 servings of homemade soup nationwide to women and children affected by family violence. Now you can buy fresh, ready-to-heat Soup Sisters’ Chicken Noodle, and Mushroom, Bean and Barley soup at Calgary 7-Eleven stores. 100% of the sales go to Soup Sisters, and in turn they support the Food Bank with fresh soup. 1 Litre $10. soupsisters.org/support.php
All-Clad Grille Pan
When it’s cold or snowing outside but you’re still craving barbecue, All-Clad’s Grille Pan is the king of indoor grilling for any season! Made from heavygauge, hard-coat anodized aluminium for durability and even heat distribution, the grille pan is non-stick for easy release and cleaning. At Hudson’s Bay, William Sonoma and other gourmet retailers. 11” SQ Grille Pan $160.00
Le Creuset Cast Iron Bakers
Available in five sizes, from 0.6 L to 2.8 L, Le Creuset’s new cast iron Oval Bakers are perfect for baking, roasting, stovetop cooking, and serving. As they are wide and shallow, ingredients are exposed more directly to heat, which is great for recipes with crispy toppings. The large loop handles make for easy carrying from oven to table. Offered in a choice of 7 colours. $120-$250
Deliciously Ella Cookbook
It’s easy to be healthy until you get hungry, so the author of international bestseller, Deliciously Ella, has released Deliciously Ella Every Day, with more than 100 simple yet delicious, plant-based, dairy-free, and glutenfree recipes. $30. Also check out her lovely new Deliciously Ella Rose, Lime & Cucumber Facial Wash $32.00 and Deliciously Ella Rose, Lime & Cucumber Moisturizer $51.00 all at Neal’s Yard, nealsyardremedies.ca
Botanical Gin Kit
We’re spoiled for choice with the growing selection of gins available in our province, but you can create your own blend of botanicals with Kitchen Alchemist’s Botanical Git Kit, and make your own gin too. Including everything you need to make gin apart from the liquor, the kit contains enough ingredients for two or three 750 mL infusions. $30 from silkroadspices.ca and kentofinglewood.com.
Atco Holiday Collection Cookbook Atco Blue Flame Kitchen has been publishing cookbooks for over 86 years, and their new 2016 Holiday Collection Cookbook is one of the best yet, transforming your grandma’s beloved recipes into modern classics. $20 from shop.atcoblueflamekitchen.com/book
NEW TANGO BISTRO SPACE FEATURES RAW BAR AND SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD MENU Famous for its great steaks and cozy atmosphere, the dark, woodworked space known as Smuggler’s Inn has become a dining landmark in Calgary. Forty-three years later, Smuggler’s Inn is surrounded by a diverse collection of eateries specializing in everything from sustainable seafood to Brazilian barbecue. But catching everyone’s attention is the newest addition to the Smuggler’s family: Tango Bistro. Originally known for their delicious, small plates of tapas to share, the inspiration of Tango Bistro has shifted focus to larger plates and fresh seafood. Entering the room, you’ll still see that familiar brick fireplace to your right and a number of spacious booths. To your left, there are chefs tending to the brand-new raw bar, featuring west and east coast oysters, king crab legs and even full lobsters. And the best part? Everything at the raw bar is fresh, never frozen. The room is a sight to see: the log cabinstyle wall and fireplace of the back room, a rotating collection of local art displays, and of course, a beautifully stocked glass wine display greeting you at the front door. But looks are only one part of the bistro experience. Tango’s array of mouth-watering beef entrées use only the top five per cent of Alberta beef, and — keeping consistent with the tradition of all the Smuggler’s group of restaurants — the finest cuts of meat. Tango is also proud of their
handcrafted cocktails — using only the freshest ingredients, they’re definitely worth the wait. With the menu also heavily oriented towards seafood, Tango works with partners like Ocean Wise to ensure they’re using high quality, oceanfriendly products, when possible. Some of the more popular items on the menu include the Grande Tower — a tiered seafood tower loaded with king crab, prawns, oysters, tuna tartare, mussels and lobster — and fresh east or west coast oysters. Located on the west side of the Smuggler’s family square, Tango Bistro is a perfect spot for business lunches, casual dinners or if you just want to enjoy some fresh seafood and a drink for happy hour. Some happy hour features include $2 shrimp cocktails Mon – Fri, buck-a-shuck and bubbles on Mondays, and other great daily features between 2:30 – 6 p.m. Sadly it’s a ways off now, but Tango patrons can also look forward to the newly revamped outdoor patio with fresh flowers and a roaring fireplace for next year!
6920 Macleod Trail S | For reservations, call: 403-252-4365 Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. — 10 p.m. | Friday: 11 a.m. — 11 p.m. | Saturday: 4:30 p.m. — 11 p.m. |Sunday: 4:30 p.m. — 9 p.m.
Culinaire's 2016 Beverage Gift Guide photography by INGRID KUENZEL
We’ve scoured liquor store shelves across Alberta to bring you our pick of this year’s winter wines and spirits.
Coole Swan Irish Cream Liqueur
liquorconnect.com will point you in the direction of a retailer near you, though prices listed may vary from store to store.
Malt whisky would regularly be finished in sherry casks that have been sent to Scotland from Jerez in Spain, but Nomad has turned that around, and is the first whisky to be aged in sherry casks for three years in Scotland - and then finished in pedro ximenez casks for a year in the González Byass cellars in Jerez! A smooth, elegant and complex whisky. CSPC 778451 $66
Jost Maple Wine
Bumbu Spiced Rum
From Malagash, Nova Scotia, comes this luscious wine, made only from maple syrup and sap collected from the vast forests nearby. It has enough acidity to be not at all cloying, but is full-bodied with lip-smacking flavours of burnt brown sugar, butter toffee, vanilla – and of course maple! Drink neat, or over ice cream… or salmon… CSPC 769723 375 mL $24
Very new to the Alberta market, Siempre continues the trend of high quality, sipping tequilas - miles away from the examples of not-that-longago. A blend of both lowland and highland agave, this premium tequila is so smooth, with a hint of tropical fruit, spice, and a little smokiness. Fine sipping tequila through and through. CSPC 785712 $60
This super smooth, all-natural cream liqueur comes from a family dairy farm an hour north of Dublin, and has all natural ingredients, single malt Irish whiskey, white Belgian chocolate, Madagascan vanilla, Cote d'Ivoire cocoa and fresh cream. It’s named after WB Yeats’ romantic poem, Wild Swans at Coole, about the search for lasting beauty. And this beauty is delicious! CSPC 777039 $34
Bumbu, from Barbados, is Christmas in a glass. This all-natural, small batch, craft rum uses the same recipe as sailors of the 16th and 17th centuries, who blended native Caribbean spices and fruits with their rum. Expect flavours of vanilla, cinnamon, roasted nuts and caramel, from up to 15 years aging in oak barrels. CSPC 281451 $49
Giusti Prosecco DOC Brut Magnum
“Less is more,” said no one ever when choosing a sparkling wine for the holidays. The much-acclaimed Giusti prosecco comes from one of the top zones in Veneto for prosecco production, and it also won an award at the Alberta Beverage Awards this year. Serve a larger crowd with a magnum at a very attractive price! CSPC 776335 $57
Glenfiddich 21 Year Old Gran Reserva Caribbean Cask
Glenfiddich distilled their first whisky on Christmas Day 1887, so it’s a celebratory time for the family-run business. They have a lot of great drams but we lost our hearts to the 21 year-old Reserva Rum Cask for its sweetness, toffee apple and ginger flavours. CSPC 981381 $318 If that’s too rich, the 18 Year Old Small Batch Reserve might be more up your street with flavours of cinnamon and baked apple. CSPC 530352 $152, or hit the heights with the limited 26 Year Old, the only 26 year-old whisky in Canada CSPC 394460 $869
Wayne Gretsky 99 Whisky
This new whisky from Ontario is made from local rye, malted rye, and corn, and aged a minimum of three years in once-used bourbon barrels, then finished in Gretzky red wine barrels. The nutty flavour, with caramel and allspice, is perfect for cocktails. Donations from every bottle go to the Wayne Gretsky Foundation, helping less fortunate youth experience the sport of hockey. CSPC 784318 $45
Lustau are best known for their quality sherries, but have just released their own vermouth. The wine base is a blend of amontillado and pedro ximenez, bringing a little nuttiness and sweetness to the palate. Flavours of sarsaparilla, wormwood, coriander and orange peel should add a little nuance to your next negroni or martini. CSPC 785739 $30
Blanton’s Gold Single Barrel Bourbon
Looking for a top-shelf bourbon? Blanton’s Gold is a six year-old whiskey bottled at 103º proof, allowing all that fiery goodness to warm you up this winter. Look for honey and roasted hazelnuts, citrus, leather and spice, and a big finish. CSPC 743306 $90
Spirit Hills Bonfire
Warm up your soul on cold winter days with Bonfire from Millarville-based Spirit Hills Winery. This red honey wine is made from Alberta berries, black currants and saskatoons, which combine to make the perfect base for mulled wine. All you do is warm it up. At liquor stores and from the winery. CSPC 786517 $23
Hennessy Very Special with 2 glasses
For the Very Special person in your life is this gift pack of Hennessey Very Special cognac, popular for its dependable and consistently high quality, and elegance. As it conveniently comes with two branded glasses, maybe the person you gift it to will share it with you! CSPC 766413 $50-$55
Have Yourself A Very Merry Beer-Mas! by DAVID NUTTALL
As sure as the leaves fall from the trees, breweries love to produce beers that reflect the seasons. Interestingly enough, winter is the most popular, by far. There is a long history of what are referred to as winter, holiday and/or Christmas beers all over the world — a practice that likely began thousands of years ago. There is very little difference between the three kinds of beers, except that winter beers allow for a much longer distribution period than the other two. No one really buys Christmas-themed beers after New Year, but holiday beers can have up to a four-month run from 44
Canadian Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day. celebration. By the 13th century, each Winter beers? Representing a quarter of household was required by law to produce the year starting in December, we all know a Christmas beer. it lasts for months either side in Canada. The Swedes are often credited with There is really no strict definition of what bringing Christmas brewing traditions to a winter beer is, which gives brewers North America in the 17th century, and to the chance to produce pretty much this day, Scandinavian breweries continue anything they choose. Given the cooler to create special beers for this occasion. temperatures in the northern hemisphere during this time, most breweries create dark, malty beers that are often higher in Scandinavia has the alcohol, and with added spices. deepest winter brewing traditions Historically, Scandinavia has the deepest winter brewing traditions; Vikings brewed strong beer for Jul (Yule) celebrations The British began producing winter around the winter solstice in honour of beers as early as the 16th century. Odin and other Norse gods. In Norway, With the Industrial Revolution and Jul transitioned to a more traditional parallel growth of commercial brewing, observance after Christianity took special Christmas-themed beers hold. Because of the close proximity — often called “winter warmers” — of the dates, they were rolled into one became commonplace.
Here in Alberta, Big Rock Brewing produced Cold Cock Winter Porter for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, and has brought it back occasionally as a winter seasonal thereafter. Since 2008, they have produced McNally Winter Spice Ale as their regular seasonal offering.
The world’s most famous Belgian Christmas beer is attributed to a brewery founded in 1366, but actually didn’t appear until 1926. Yes, it’s the infamous lager Stella Artois, which you might not have known has an implied connection to the Christmas Star. Big commercial brewers of North America, born in the early to mid1800s, have rarely stepped outside of their comfort zone to produce special beers for any occasion. Their marketing departments and packaging may offer seasonality, but the product inside the bottle doesn’t change. Some small independents before and after prohibition produced Christmas beers until most states banned references to Christmas or Santa Claus; so “holiday” beer became the accepted substitute. While the few dozen small breweries that survived prohibition continued to brew holiday beers, the modern Christmas version most likely began with Anchor Brewing’s 1975 release of Our Special Ale, which had a Christmas tree on the label and the words “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” around the edge. Each year since, they have slightly altered the recipe and changed the variety of tree on the label. Since then, the new craft brewing industry has embraced the season to produce a plethora of general winter or Christmasspecific beers. 46
Alley Kat, in Edmonton, has made Olde Deuteronomy off and on for 20 years as a special winter release, and Village Brewery may or may not brew their Monk Chai Winter Porter any given year. No doubt, new breweries throughout Alberta will be joining in soon with their own seasonal concoctions too. One holiday trend that started five years ago, cannot be ignored — the Beer Advent Calendar. Copying the design and principle of a calendar with 24 compartments of gifts counting down the days leading up to Christmas, Beer Advent Calendar sales have increased more than ten-fold since its inception in 2012. There are now multiple versions on the market from different producers, and many stores have taken to creating their
own. You can also find Scotch and Shooter Advent Calendars, proving that adults want to enjoy advent calendars too. Whether you’re looking for a gift or just want an unusual beer to try out yourself, you’ll find there is no shortage of limited edition, seasonally themed beers out there. Grab one (or several) before they disappear off the shelves. Until next year, Happy Holidays!
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Making The Case: Decadent, Dessert-Worthy Wines For The Holidays by TOM FIRTH
Sweet, sticky wines are wonderful things. They hit all the pleasure points of our brains, and provide a sensual finish to a great meal.
Gehringer Brothers 2014 Riesling Icewine Okanagan Valley, British Columbia Riesling is still the finest grape for icewine (to my thinking), providing the right sort of flavours and acidity to balance out the incredible sweetness. Lemon zest, apricots and honey on the nose lead to sweet fruits with a little acid, and a long finish. Great stuff! Enjoy with fruit-based desserts or custards. CSPC + 504860 (375mL) About $45
Dunes & Green NV Sparkling Wine South Australia
For those who worry they “don’t really like sweet wine,” keep in mind many dessert wines come in smaller format bottles that are very easy to share with smaller groups — if you need just a taste, a 375 mL bottle can go a long way with a close group of friends. We do a lot of work talking ourselves out of enjoying dessert, but the holidays can be a brief respite from the guilty pleasure of enjoying a decadent afterdinner treat. Dessert wines come in all manner of styles, and there is one for almost every final course. When it comes to pairing sweet wines with dessert, generally the wine should be sweeter than the food. Ruby ports work well with berry or chocolate desserts, while late harvest or icewines sing with citrus-based desserts. 48
December is also the time of year that sparkling wines come to mind, either as a celebratory tipple for New Year’s Eve, or as a glamorous treat for cocktail parties. There are no rules saying you can’t pop a bottle of bubbly on a Tuesday just because you feel like it. That said, try these lovely wines that are highly recommended, and have a safe and happy holiday! Tom Firth is the contributing Drinks editor for Culinaire magazine, and the competition director for the Alberta Beverage Awards. He firmly believes that great riesling is proof the universe is unfolding as it should.
Who says great sparkling wine has to come from France? Made from the “classic” grapes of champagne, pinot noir and chardonnay, the Dunes and Green is excellent right from the first sip. Slightly austere with citrus and mild autolytic characters, and a long, mineral finish. Well-priced and very well-made, suitable for parties, big or small. CSPC +776485 about $14-16
Quails’ Gate 2014 Fortified Vintage Foch Okanagan Valley, British Columbia Made in a style similar to ruby ports, the hybrid grape marechal foch makes for a smoky, berry-filled expression of fortified wines. Spicy on the palate, there are tart cherry, smoke and herb flavours, with a long, chocolatey finish. Blue cheese, charcuterie platters and chocolate desserts will work well here. CSPC +638148 (375ml) About $23-25
Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aîné 2013 “Le Chant des Griolles” Muscat Beaumes de Venise, Rhône, France
Lustau NV East India Solera Jerez, Spain
Kourtaki NV Mavrodaphne of Patras Greece
Amazingly floral, with prominent citrus tones of Meyer lemon, quince, and lychee, and a not-so-subtle perfume. The palate is quite dry for a dessert wine, with lots of acidity to prevent the wine being cloying or overwhelming. Refreshing on its own, it would easily work with citrus desserts like lemon meringue pie or pavlova. CSPC +779030 $23 (375mL)
Well-known, but often overlooked, this sweet, dessert-style sherry is packed with raisin and fig notes along with toffee, almond and prune fruits. Creamy on the palate and quite sweet, it’s balanced with a little acid presence. Other flavours include dried apples, and a touch of salinity on the finish. Best after dinner with cheese selections or desserts featuring nuts or raisins. CSPC +752660 (500mL) About $30
The sweet wine known as mavrodaphne of Patras, was developed around 1850. Made with the grape of the same name, the wine is fortified in a similar fashion to port. Not quite as dark as ruby port, the nose is raisins, chocolate with mild caramel notes, and a pleasant herbaciousness. Really enjoyable and worth trying for sure. CSPC +208413 $15-16
Leacock’s Rainwater Madeira, Portugal
Giusti 2011 Passito Bianco IGT Veneto, Italy
Valdo “Marca Oro” NV Prosecco Superiore, Valdobbiadene, Veneto
“Rainwater” is the lightest style of madeira, a fortified wine that comes from the Portuguese island of Madeira. Off-dry with lime zest, caramel, and a sweetish finish, it’s suitable before or after a meal. Pair with nutty, nottoo-sweet desserts, cheese plates and creamy soups. CSPC +245530 $27
A “straw” wine made from dried grapes similar to amarone or recioto, this dessert wine showcases honey and lemon aromas with hints of vanilla, clove, and white flowers. Rich and smooth, it has a little kick of acid on the finish, which calls for nutty desserts, blue cheese or old cheddar after the meal. CSPC +767181 (375mL) $45-47
I dare say that prosecco is more popular than champagne these days, and it isn’t hard to see why. Lifted citrus and pear aromas show enticing tropical characters. Moderately weighty on the palate with a decided lemon flavour profile. Easy going and tasty, this would be perfect as an aperitif or crowdpleasing bubbly for a special occasion. CSPC +550111 approximately $18
Taittinger NV Brut, Champagne, France
Champagne Larmandier-Bernier NV Latitude Blanc de Blanc Extra Brut Champagne, France
Henry of Pelham 2012 Riesling Icewine Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Wow. Intense aromatics jump out of the glass with apple peel, lemon rind, strawberry, and hints of salinity. Made entirely from chardonnay, the palate is soft and tropical, while the extra dryness is only noted on the back end. Would be perfect with oysters, but also great with strawberries, too. CSPC +772076 about $55
Our national, vinous treasure, icewine is incredibly sweet and made from grapes frozen on the vine. Thanks to our winters, Canadians make some of the best dessert wines. Honey, apricot, Meyer lemons and flowers show on the nose, while the palate is rich with sweet fruits, a touch of vinyl, and crisp acidity. CSPC +430561 (375ml) $70
A well-known and consistently impressive champagne, Taittinger makes a full range of premium and limited availability bottles in addition to their humble brut. Finely balanced between apple and citrus fruits are a lush creaminess and toasted sourdough flavours. A great bottle for any day of the week. Available in a range of sizes from 375 mL bottles to magnums and beyond. CSPC +40873 $58-60
would open the van door and count you off with their guns at checkpoints, just to intimidate you,” he says. “It was crazy times, with war torn countryside, but what struck me is they’ve been creating wine since the Roman times in that area.” A Calgary businessman took him into the mountains behind Beirut to see a better side of Lebanon. “You find restaurants built into the sides of mountains,” Gray explains.
Open That Bottle
story by LINDA GARSON photography by INGRID KUENZEL
“Wine is that civilising influence; that little respite in all the places you visit. It’s a chance to reflect with people, or tell the stories when you get back - it’s the living part of the bottle,” says David Gray, of CBC radio’s The Eyeopener. Moving from Ontario to Calgary as a youngster, Gray was smitten with the Rockies since his first glimpse, working in the mountains through university as a park naturalist and ranger. “I fell in love with the mountains and fell in love with adventure,” he explains. “That’s really the foundation of everything I’ve ever done since. I became a journalist largely because I got hooked on adventure.” A degree in history and political science in Calgary led to a masters in journalism at the University of Western Ontario, but for Gray it was a means to an end he was offered a job at CBC with 50
The National before he’d even finished his thesis. “I got lucky,” he says. “I got break after break. I came back to Calgary and became a Ledge reporter in Edmonton, then I landed a job in Toronto as a travelling correspondent with Venture, and lived on an aeroplane for six or seven years.” Gray worked on documentaries in Europe, the US, and in the Middle East – he was with Ralph Klein when he met Yasser Arafat in Gaza before returning to Calgary to open Venture’s western bureau, and subsequently a job hosting CBC’s Newsworld, before switching to radio. So what bottle is Gray saving for a special occasion, and why? “I was in Lebanon in the Bekaar Valley, which, as it turns out, is wine country, where 16 year-olds with AK-47s, wearing helmets two or three sizes too big,
“You park outside and walk through giant caves with waterfalls in them, and there’s beautiful terraces at the edges of cliffs that look out on the Mediterranean - it’s spectacular. We had one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life; they would bring dish after dish, with different wines, and one of them, of course, was a Lebanese wine - I think Chateau Musar, which is the one I’ve chosen today.” “Wine for me has always been people, place and time,” he continues. “My greatest wine experience was with my wife on our honeymoon in Paris, just buying something at the local store and going down to the river, pulling the cork out with our teeth and drinking it there. I don’t care what anybody says, any wine that you carry in a backpack into a back country cabin is going to taste so much better that evening than anything you’re going to find in the finest hotel.” And when might Gray think of opening the wine? He laughs, and says he’d love to repay the businessman who took him to that dinner with a bottle of wine, but adds, “I’d open it with Don Martin (who was writing for the Herald at the time) if he was in town, as he was on that trip as well, and we’d talk about old times.” “Or I would wait for an evening with old colleagues journalists with war stories to tell - and open up the bottle and swap stories with them.”
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Culinaire is Alberta's freshest food and beverage magazine, featuring dining in, dining out, wine, beer, and spirits.
Published on Dec 1, 2016
Culinaire is Alberta's freshest food and beverage magazine, featuring dining in, dining out, wine, beer, and spirits.