Culinaire #6:8 (Jan:Feb 2018)

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Finding Comfort In Chocolate

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Irish Whiskey | Dining Well At The Lodge | Boozy Hot Chocolate

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Features 10

8 Food and Drink Trends What will the next 12 months hold for Alberta’s food scene? What’s in and what’s out in Calgary’s restaurants and stores by Dan Clapson

20 Don’t Let The Ol’ Bread Go To Waste 3 recipes for using stale bread by Eva Colmenero


Alberta Bakeshops Bread is back, and bakeries are cropping up across Alberta to meet the demand for premium bread above the run of the mill by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth

34 When Irish Eyes Are Smiling The future is very bright for Irish whiskey by Tom Firth

22 Cocoa Meets Alcohol It’s time for boozy hot chocolate! by Linda Garson

36 Beer is a Barrel of Fun A new appreciation of the brewer’s craftsmanship by David Nuttall

29 Dining At The Lodge 3 off the beaten track foodie escapes by Linda Garson

40 Making the (half) case: We drink less... but better, and show off some Top Value wines by Tom Firth

33 The Soul-Warming Spirits of Winter Enjoying heat-laden spirits by Tom Firth with Linda Garson

42 Open That Bottle Mary Bailey of The Tomato by Linda Garson


Crazy For Cacao There’s a resurgence of creativity in the world of chocolate; Alberta’s new chocolatiers are doing things differently by Mallory Frayn

Departments 6

Salutes and Shout Outs


Off The Menu – Vero Bistro’s Ragù Bolognese


Book Review


Inside Job: The Wine Importer


Chefs’ Tips – and Tricks!

24 Step By Step: Chocolate Truffles

On the Cover: Many thanks to Cococo Chocolaterie for advice and assistance with the dripping chocolate on our front cover, and to Jeremy Fokkens for capturing those drips in such a mouth-watering way. Now we all want to lick the spoon!


Letter From The Editor know what the latest culinary trends will be, and here’s our best guess for what you’ll be eating and drinking in 2018. And when it’s cold outside, we’re looking for ways to warm up inside with hearty meals and comfort food, so we’ve included recipes for braised meats and boozy hot chocolate, and we’re looking more closely at warming spirits too.

Happy New Year! How were your holidays? I hope it was a time to connect with friends and family – and indulge in wonderful eats and drinks. There’s always so much to fit in our first issue of the year; we all want to

Just when you’ve made friends with your bathroom scales again, along comes Valentine’s Day. I make no apologies for all the chocolate appearing in this issue, and I hope you’re on the receiving end of some local hand-made goodies. Alberta has some amazing chocolatiers, and we have lots of suggestions for your loved ones. We have exciting news of a brand new event in February with Concorde Entertainment Group. YYC Taste + Tour is an outstanding day of unique

experiences and culinary adventures in some of your favourite Calgary venues. It’s different to our Culinaire Treasure Hunt and there are treats, surprises, and fabulous prizes to be won. There’s a limit to the number of teams we can take, so register today while places are available for you. You won’t want to miss this! And we’ve had complaints; two people have let us know that they’re having trouble finding Culinaire in our outlets as they’re all gone when they get there. We’re thrilled that Culinaire is so popular, and apologise if you’re not able to find a copy. It is a priority this year to increase our print run, and with our advertisers’ and supporters’ help, it should be easier to find a copy of Culinaire in both Calgary and Edmonton in 2018. Cheers, Linda Garson, Editor-in-Chief

Un nuovo inizio. (oon noo-OH-voh ee-NEAT-zee-oh) A new year means ‘a new beginning’, and that means you get to try all kinds of new things from our shop.

Also, Valentine’s Day is coming. Grocery. Bakery. Deli. Café.

EDMONTON Little Italy | Southside | West End

CALGARY Willow Park

ALBERTA / FOOD & DRINK / RECIPES Editor-in-Chief/Publisher: Linda Garson Sales Director: John Tatton 403-616-5231 Edmonton Sales: Kristen Boyko 780-782-4280 Creative Director: Dan Clapson Multimedia Editor: Eva Colmenero Contributing Drinks Editor: Tom Firth Contributing Photographer: Ingrid Kuenzel Design: Emily Vance Contributors: Anna Brooks Elizabeth Chorney-Booth Dan Clapson Eva Colmenero Jeremy Fokkens Mallory Frayn Renee Kohlman Karen Miller David Nuttall Silvia Pikal

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

Our Contributors < Elizabeth ChorneyBooth

Elizabeth ChorneyBooth is a Calgarybased freelance writer who focuses on stories about food and travel. In addition to writing for Culinaire and other publications, Elizabeth is a Globe and Mail bestselling cookbook author, having contributed to two books with the Best of Bridge franchise. She also is a regular contributor to CBC Radio. An avid traveller, when she’s not on the road Elizabeth lives in Calgary with her husband, two kids, and her ever-growing collection of vintage cookbooks.

< Dan Clapson

Dan Clapson is a Prairie-based food writer, the Alberta restaurant critic for The Globe and Mail and co-founder of He is a regular expert on daytime shows like Cityline, CTV Morning Live Vancouver and Global Calgary and enjoys a patio pint with his old high school pals as much as he appreciates the nuances of well thought-out cuisine. Dan loves home cooking as much as dining out; follow his foodie adventures @dansgoodside.

< Jeremy Contact us at: Culinaire Magazine #1203, 804 -3rd Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2P 0G9 403-870-9802 Twitter: @culinairemag Instagram: @culinairemag For subscriptions, competitions and to read Culinaire online:


Jeremy Fokkens is a Calgary-based commercial and portrait photographer, whose goal is to bring genuine stories and concepts to light when photographing subjects and people. His clients include Travel Alberta, VISA, Toyota, Syncrude, Alberta Beef, Bow Valley College, Calgary Stampede, and The Walrus. When he’s not shooting, you can find him in the mountains playing on his bike, hiking and canoeing, or road tripping across Canada. Find him at @jeremyfokkens.

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.

Shout Outs... Edmonton has a new and unique dining experience! Rutherford House, the 1911 home for almost 40 years to Alberta’s first premier, Alexander Cameron Rutherford, opened as a historic site in 1973, and since then has welcomed more than 500,000 visitors. Now you can dine there too in the new Vintage Fork restaurant. Open six days a week for Chef Salar Melli‘s brunch, lunch, and afternoon tea, Vintage Fork offers in-house baked goods, daily menus, and special event dinners for groups of 10-50 people. Vintage Fork

Oliver neighbourhood. It’s a small space with just 600 square feet, and seats eight at a communal table as well as eight by the window, with standing room around the table. Think grab-and-eat Bavarian sausage and pickles, or a tiny dine-in beer hall. The sausages are all made in house, with Alberta-made traditional Bavarian style beer. It’s the quickest lunch in the city too!

and that Shrimp on Shrimp? Delicious. Don’t miss the cocktails, our new fave is DMGT – a G&T with sherry, lime vinegar and fennel! Open every day 11-11, with a happy hour snack menu from 3-5pm.

In Calgary, there are still new openings almost every day, despite some of the city’s most lauded restaurants closing down.

Big Starr

And Edmonton has a new English/Irish inspired restaurant too on Ellwood Drive SW. Chef Lindsay Porter and Evonne Li have been collaborating for many years after Culinary Arts School, and now opened London Local, offering British fare with a Canadian twist – always delicious and with full-flavoured dishes from local indigenous ingredients. Look for chicken liver parfait; house black pudding with poached egg; and braised beef cheek pie with Stilton, mushroom, anchovy and smoked champ mashed potatoes; and check out London Local’s version of Sunday roast, a fun take on classic roast beef. The three-course menu changes weekly, and at $30 is amazing value! Edmonton’s Nate Box of Elm Cafe, District, Little Brick, and Burrow, has opened up his fifth restaurant, Salz, at 115 Street and 105 Avenue, with Chef Allan Suddaby – the sausage guru. Perfectly fitting, Salz is a German and Austrian sausage and beer hall in the 6

Donna Mac

Thank You Hospitality Management, the team that brought us Proof and Vine Arts, have opened Donna Mac, on 10 Avenue SW, led by Chef Tino Longpre and Amy Turner. It’s an inviting space designed by Sarah Ward Interiors, with lots of natural light from the north and west facing windows. Supporting the local arts, local ceramicist Becky McMaster created the custom dishware. The menu is seasonal and shared with your friends – we couldn’t stop eating the fingerling potatoes with porcini mayo and king oyster mushrooms, short rib with jalapeno and Cheddar potatoes –

Sister to Lot 102 on Macleod Trail, Big Starr has opened in the ex-Parc spot on 16 Avenue SW, and has kept much of the gorgeous interior, adding beams and lights, and opening up the bar. It’s a southern-style BBQ smokehouse serving up simple food done well from Chef Josh Kozak. We’ll see you there for homemade jalapeno poppers, corn fitters with honey butter, Alabama chicken wings, bacon corn dogs with homemade sausage wrapped in bacon, and dirty fries – all followed by $3 giant Texas doughnuts, pecan pie, and whipped peanut butter pie. Taps are all local, and house wine is just $4.50 all day, with $8 cocktails, so there’s no strain on your wallet. At the back of the restaurant, have your fill playing darts, Buck Hunter, and Foosball. Weds – Sun afternoon-late. The Grumans story continues with their neighbourhood deli on Elbow Drive in Britannia. It’s very different to downtown’s full service restaurant – more bagels and blintzes, and deliinspired quick lunches, take home goodies from the deli case, sandwiches, and frozen meals. This 44-seat space serves up breakfast all day long, and

Grumans Britannia

fresh brisket on Fridays; and the coffee program includes espresso, cappuccino and lattes with your afternoon rugula, macaroons, carrot cake, or NY-style cheesecake. Grumans Britannia excels in catering with a little notice for your platters and salads, and serves as a private event space too. Closed Mondays. Down the road in Haysboro is the new Empire Provisions from ex-Teatro long-timers Dave Sturies and Karen Kho, with chef Blake Anderson in the kitchen baking up a storm of pies such as smoked lemon chicken, and chorizo and potato, as well as cooking up soups to eat in and take away frozen to enjoy at home, spicy Espsito meatballs with

tomato sauce and house-made ricotta, mac ’n’ cheese, and a daily Mealshare meal of the moment. Fast, fresh and affordable, is the motto here, so stop by for excellent sandwiches: “porchettaboutit” – slow roasted pork belly with rosemary and salsa verde; and “Jive Talker” – smoked turkey, hummus, beets, pickles, and lemon aioli; and leave with any of the 10+ fresh sausages, cured meats, artisan cheeses, pates, or homemade kimchi and smoked almonds. Open 7 days. On 4 Street SW in Mission, our friends at Anejo, Blanco, and The

Empire Provisions


Living Room, have brought us Belle Southern Kitchen & Bar, serving up finger lickin’ BBQ classics, smoked delights, and picnic lunches. Choose your smoked meats by the half-pound or pound, or go for the lot with “Big Britches” – chicken, brisket and ribs, and a choice of two sides, such as smoked potato wedge fries, blue cheese potato salad (okay, we’re sold!), chili hush puppies, or deep fried mac n’ cheese. There’s live music on Friday and Saturday evenings, and whiskey – lots of whiskey! 11-11pm, closed Mondays. And don’t miss a stop at Granary Road Market, and a visit to the Loft Bakery, Kitchen and Lounge. Head Baker Abdesamed “Ezzy“ Ezzedini, and Pastry Chef Tiffany Lucarelli are busy baking croissants, muffins, breakfast sandwiches, and freshly baked bread downstairs, while upstairs in the Loft Lounge, you can relax with a cold beer or glass of wine and enjoy a casual lunch or snack from local ingredients.


March 4, 2018 ~ Heritage Park

Chance to show off your culinary skills H Prizes for best plated dessert & Chocolate Competition H

Sponsored by:




Off The Menu by LINDA GARSON photography by INGRID KUENZEL

Some dishes are so popular they stay on a restaurant’s menu for years – there’d be a riot if they were replaced. Vero Bistro’s Ragù Bolognese is such a dish, and much requested. Many thanks to Chef Jenny Chan for sharing her recipe! Vero Bistro’s Ragù Bolognese (Authentic Bolognese Sauce) Serves 4

1 Tbs (15 mL) olive oil 2 Tbs butter 1 medium yellow onion, finely and evenly diced 2 small (or 1 very large) carrots, finely diced 2 stalks celery heart (or 1 large stalk), finely diced 2 garlic cloves, very finely diced

1 bay leaf Grey salt and freshly ground black pepper 500 g ground pork cheek or hock ½ cup (125 mL) dry white wine 1 cup (250 mL) milk 500 g fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, diced ½ cup sundried San Marzano tomatoes ½ cup (125 mL) chicken stock Pinch of fresh ground nutmeg

1. Heat the oil and butter together in a

large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring until vegetables are softened.

2. Increase the heat to high and add

the meat gradually, stirring and breaking up lumps between each addition. This allows its liquid to evaporate, which is key if you want to brown your meat and not boil it. When no pink can be seen and no lumps remain, set a timer to 15 minutes. You want your meat to caramelize and even become crispy in spots. You want golden bits of meat to stick to the bottom of your pan, which will be deglazed with the wine.

3. Over medium heat, pour the white

wine into the saucepan. With a wooden spoon, scrape all the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Push the meat all around to make sure you scrape it all off. By the time you’re finished (2-3 minutes), the wine will be evaporated. Be careful not to let the meat stick again (lower heat if necessary).

4. Add remaining ingredients, and

season with fresh ground black pepper and grey sea salt. Bring to a boil then turn to the lowest heat and let simmer very slowly until the aroma comes. If it is too thin for your liking, thicken with potato starch with water -1 Tbs:2 Tbs ratio, when the sauce is boiling.

5. Add a couple of knobs of butter, and serve over cooked pasta sprinkled with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

If there’s a dish in a local restaurant that you’d love to make, let us know at, and we’ll do our very best to track it down for you! 8

Book Review


The Okanagan Table

Recipes are set out in a novel way by time of day, and include many of Butters’ classic recipes such as “Oat Crusted Arctic Char” (p.154). “Fresh Sablefish Nicoise” (p.83) looks delicious, and showcases local vegetables and more West Coast fish. But even when the weather gets cooler there are true comfort food recipes, rich in flavour.

by Rod Butters Figure 1 Publishing $37.95 Chef Butters is considered part of Canada’s culinary elite, having worked at Scaramouche and the Four Seasons in Toronto, and Chateau Whistler, Pacific Palisades and the Wickaninnish Inn in British Columbia, before opening his own restaurants in Kelowna. He is considered to be a pioneer in the farm to table movement, especially once the Okanagan beckoned. This cookbook is somewhat of a memoir with recipes from all his kitchens. This is not a ‘restaurant style’ cookbook, but encourages the home cook to have the confidence to put food on the table even in a casual setting. The photos show unadorned tables with the dish as the centerpiece. There is no lack of expertise

or technical advice in the cookbook, and Chef Butters gives lots of tips to get the most flavour out of any dish. He is also passionate about using local suppliers for as many ingredients as possible, and there is probably no better place than the Okanagan to be inspired to do such. The cookbook showcases many of the Okanagan Valley’s prolific suppliers of produce, proteins, and spirits.

Some of the best recipes in the book, however, are from his micro bar + bites menu, with simpler snack dishes and great drinks capturing the spirit (pun intended) of the region. Who wouldn’t love “Bacon Wrapped Plums” (p.221)? Food and flavour are meant to be the star here, so start with the morning and work your way through the day savouring every minute. Karen Miller is a former lawyer who got on the “know where your food comes from” bandwagon earlier than most, and now focuses on foraging her daily food from local growers.

: : Cal g a r y C ulina r y A dvent ure YYC Ta st e + Tour : : brought t o you by C ul i nai re a n d Co n c o rd e E n t e r t a in m e n t G ro u p Culinaire and Concorde Entertainment Group are teaming up to bring you a VERY special day full of fun and unique experiences, eats, drinks, and laughs, at our very first Calgary culinary adventure – YYC Taste + Tour! Experience some of the best restaurants and entertainment venues in the city, including Ricardo’s Hideaway, National,

Goro + Gun, Palomino Smokehouse, and many more!

to sushi rolling, you won’t want to miss out on this special day!

On Saturday, February 24th, from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, you too can be one of the lucky people to be a part of the excitement.

Grab a partner and sign up as a team of two, or sign up solo. With a limited number of teams, visit to register now before we sell out, and follow us on social media to get some hints of what’s to come!

There are plenty of surprises, treats, and amazing prizes to be won. From bowling

S atu rd ay, Fe br ua r y 2 4t h, 9:3 0 a m t o 5 :3 0 pm 




: : Th i s i s one memorable day ! :: 9

8 Food And Drink Trends For 2018 by DAN CLAPSON

It’s that time of year again. No, not time to look at your credit card balance and wonder how it got so out of hand over the holiday season – the time of year where you wonder what the next twelve months will hold in the Alberta food scene.

Trends seem to be coming and going faster than ever these days, but here are eight that I’m betting will pique some time throughout 2018.

Birch Syrup

Maple syrup has been a staple of Canadian professional and home kitchens for decades, and now its more mineral-y and pronounced sweet cousin, birch syrup, is fighting for shelf space. Due to its intensity and price (birch syrup requires almost double the amount of sap as maple to create an edible product), simply dousing it overtop a stack of pancakes or waffles won’t result in anything overly pleasurable. Instead, chefs are using it modestly, complementing plates of seared game meats or seafood and adding it to simple desserts like vanilla ice cream, pound cake and more.

Custom-made Wares

Now that eating local ingredients and sipping on local craft beer and spirits has become a baseline in Alberta, what’s the next step? Localized wares, of course. These days, restaurants aren’t satisfied with mass-produced aprons, bowls, plates, and even designer textiles, however striking. You will see more servers this year donning aprons by local designers, more menu art done by local visual artists, and more custom bowls to spoon out of than previous years. Customization, when it comes to restaurants, is officially the new “grow your own”. 10

expect to see them, dried, juiced or otherwise, popping up in all sorts of interesting ways in Edmonton and Calgary.


Cured meats as garnish

It’s not uncommon to find chewy strips of candied salmon or thin slices of cured beef and pork on charcuterie boards across the province, but chefs are finding more finesse these days when it comes to what is, essentially, jerky.

Don’t let this fungus scare you off in the kitchen because the mold that’s used in a variety of Asian processes to create soy sauce, fermented bean pastes, and sake, is being embraced by chefs across Alberta who are combining it with butter and basting cuts of steak and pork. Bakers fold some of the pungent ingredient into their bread dough for a unique flavour after baking.

A light grating of cured beef overtop a simple beef tartare adds depth – much like shaving bottarga (cured tuna roe) onto a plate of freshly made pasta ups the ante. If you’re going to try this technique at home, just think of using it the same way you’d use parmesan to finish a dish.

Plant-based Cooking

The vegans are coming! Alright, so it might take Alberta some time to become as vegetable-focused as our neighbour to the west, but that doesn’t mean that protein and dairy alternatives aren’t becoming more commonplace here by the month. Order a vegan pulled pork pizza made with jackfruit at Edmonton’s Die Pie or try the cashew cheese-filled tortellini at Donna Mac in Calgary to turn into a meatless believer.

Haskap Berries

Even though this berry is native to Northern parts of Canada, the haskap hasn’t really been available at a commercial level until recently. This interesting little berry that looks like an elongated blueberry, but tastes more juicy and robust, can be turned into wonderfully satisfying juice or syrup, and when dried, is a great complement to game meats. You probably won’t drive past a “pick your own” haskap farm this summer, but


Micro-distilled Canadian Whiskey

As the microdistillery scene continues to grow at a rapid rate across the country, there is more interesting, boutique liquor on store shelves than ever before. Since some of the earlier wave of distilleries have already hit the three year mark in 2017, we can expect some small-batch whiskey arriving to liquor stores and bars near you in the coming months. Three cheers for brown liquor!

With its pronounced flavour, a little bit of tarragon can go a long way. Though quite common in French cooking, the average person can shy away from using it in everyday cooking because of its distinct bittersweet, almost licorice, flavour. Fear no more as chefs have been able to find the balance with it, using the accessible herb to accent cream dressings for roasted vegetables, vinaigrettes for salads, and fresh herb salads, to help brighten up any fat or cream-heavy creation. Dan Clapson is a freelance food writer and columnist, and co-founder of, a food-focused website specializing in Canadian cuisine and the people behind it. Follow him on twitter @dansgoodside 11

Inside Job: Wine Importer Marina Beck Reflects On The Trip To Italy That Started It All by SILVIA PIKAL photography by INGRID KUENZEL

When asked if she ever imagined she would be a wine importer and co-owner of Wine Alliance, Marina Beck says, “Never in a million years.”

That story begins more than a decade ago. In 2006, Beck was working as an executive assistant for an oil and gas company, but a trip to Europe that year, would change everything. “I never dreamed going to Italy was going to be a new career for me,” Beck says. Beck and her family travelled to the small town of Forino, in the province of Avellino, in Italy’s southern Campania region, to meet extended family on her father’s side for the first time. Driving into town was a special experience; they were greeted by a waving procession of strangers. Beck’s aunt hosted them, and took them on a tour of Forino, which is nestled on a hillside, and dates back to the Middle Ages. She showed them where the Roman Legion marched through town, and walked them to the house where Beck’s father was born (only half of which was still standing). It was six busy days of connecting with family, which included meeting her cousins Ciro and Antonello Urciuolo, who owned and operated the family winery. Beck quickly developed a bond with Ciro, who was the same age: “He didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak a stitch of Italian, but we had this undeniable connection. We were both searching for something more.” On the flight home, she was speechless, mulling over everything that happened. When she landed, Beck knew how to keep the connection to her family – she would bring their wine to Alberta.


Only one week after her trip she gave notice at work, and three months later, in early 2007, Marina Beck became a wine importer. “I didn’t really drink wine, or know anything, or know anybody. Ignorance is bliss in my case. I thought, how hard could it be,” she laughs. There were a lot of challenges in the beginning: “The first three years, I did everything wrong. I didn’t know how to open the bottles. I didn’t know what corked wine was. I thought, what am I doing? Coming into an industry I had no idea about, and knew no one, made for some thick skin and lonely days.” What kept her going was bringing the two families closer – Ciro even flew into Canada to be part of their first appearance at the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival (they communicated with the help of an English-Italian dictionary).

She also relied on what motivated her to start the company – building relationships with family-owned and operated wineries, and sharing their stories – and was grateful for supporters willing to point her in the right direction: “Someone saying, ‘Talk to so and so and tell them I sent you.’ I will never forget that.” Beck become known in the industry as the “family girl”, which she wore as a badge of honour. Her supporters kept requesting “Marina’s wines” at wine stores, and her company steadily grew. After nine years of working on her own, she partnered with Christopher Walker, a chef by training, and wine agent. Wine Alliance launched with Beck and Walker as co-owners in January 2016. “I realized I don’t have to do everything on my own,” Beck says. With her new business partnership, and

her two daughters joining the team (who were both interviewed by, and report to, Walker), everything fell into place. A typical week in their Calgary office involves pursuing sales opportunities, staying on top of inventory, managing logistics, accounting and payroll, and communicating with the families they represent. Fridays and Saturdays are normally for in-store tastings and wine events. “How did this happen? I went from being alone and doing this by myself to having three incredible individuals on my team who put their heart and soul into it,” Beck smiles. “That inspires me. I have a new sense of pride. All of those stepping stones brought me to this place.”

Silvia Pikal is a Calgary-based writer and editor. She’s covered everything from tenant rights to the different ways to cook potatoes (and has discovered potato cake is absolutely delicious). Tweet her @silviapikal.


Cafe: 8-8 Restaurant: 4 - late (weekdays) 11 - late (weekends) 8222 Gateway Boulevard

Chefs' Tips


The Bold and the Braised by ANNA BROOKS photography by INGRID KUENZEL and SUE MOODY

The holidays are over, the New Year is here and now it’s time to hunker down and hibernate.

Low and slow, braising is the ultimate technique for making those rich dishes that fuel us through the cold months. Yielding large portions perfect for freezing and reheating, a braised dish means you won’t have to leave your den for weeks!

Chef Brad O’Leary

Escoba Bistro & Wine Bar, Calgary Known for his hearty and flavourful meat dishes, Escoba Bistro & Wine Bar chef Brad O’Leary, says braising is best for cooking large, tough cuts of meat. Proteins like brisket, short rib, lamb shanks, and even chicken thighs, all benefit from a wet cooking process, which helps break down and tenderize the meat.


Moroccan Braised Beef Chuck Serves 4

Spice rub: 1 tsp coriander 1 tsp cumin 2 tsp chili powder 1 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp ground black pepper Pinch each of allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg 1 kg beef chuck 3 celery stalks, diced 2 large carrots, diced 1 large yellow onion, diced 3 cloves of crushed and chopped garlic 1 Tbs chili powder 1 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp ground cumin ½ tsp allspice ¼ tsp cinnamon 1 Tbs dry oregano 1 Tbs dry basil 1 cup (240 mL) red wine 1 L beef stock 1 can (796 mL) diced tomatoes Chef Brad O’Leary

“You can take inexpensive cuts of meat and impart huge amounts of flavour by marinating before you sear off and braise the protein,” O’Leary says. He says his final dishes are most flavourful when the meat is left to marinate for a day before going in the oven. Less dense proteins, such as chicken, pair well with Asian flavours like hoisin, ginger and sambal, while cuts with lots of connective tissue — like lamb shanks — are complemented by Moroccan spices: cardamom, smoked paprika and cinnamon. “Once the aromatics open up, add a stock base that suits the cut of meat and let simmer,” he adds. “All you need is your crockpot, and just let the flavours come together.” Try O’Leary’s mouth-watering recipe for Moroccan Braised Beef Chuck!

All you need is your crockpot, and just let the flavours come together

Upholding The Tradition Red Cup Distillery is a craft distillery in Vegreville using local grain, in house green malt and prairie moonshine recipes in a locally made 250 and 1,000-gallon Edmonton-made pot stills. Available in liquor stores

1. Combine all ingredients for spice rub, and rub over meat. Refrigerate overnight.

across Alberta.

2. Season meat with salt and pepper.

Sear meat on high heat, and then place in roasting pan.

3. Add celery, carrots and onion to pan used to sear meat. Cook until onions are translucent. Add garlic, herbs and spices. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Deglaze with red wine, and reduce

liquid by half. Add beef stock and canned tomatoes. Season to taste, and bring to a boil. Pour over meat and cover. Cook in oven at 300º F until meat is fork tender (approximately 3-4 hours). Enjoy!  @redcupdistillery  RedCupDistillery2015 Vegreville, Alberta, Canada

Chef Mathieu Paré

Bulgogi Braised Short Ribs with Baby Bok Choy

Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence

Serves 4-6

Chef Mathieu Paré, Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence executive director, says braising is a great method for the at-home chef because it requires minimal supervision. Brown your meat, add your mirepoix (a medley of celery, carrots and onions) and let low and slow cooking do the rest?

1.5 kg beef simmering short ribs

“It’s a simple process that gives you the ability to achieve an intense depth of flavour,” Paré says. “There’s an opportunity to be adventurous and explore the different qualities of beef outside of your typical steak.”

explains. “It helps build body and gives you that beautiful caramelized colour.”

Paré says the trick to braising lies in the prep work. To achieve crisp, even browning, Paré recommends coating your meat with a light sheen of canola or grapeseed oil, and then roasting on high heat.

For beef braises, garlic, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf are ideal aromatics to add, but Paré says beef also works well with other more exotic flavours like orange zest, star anise, cumin and coriander.

“A really good technique is browning a bit of tomato paste with your vegetables,” he

Try Paré’s fall-off-the-bone recipe for Korean-style Short Ribs with Bok Choy.

Chef Mathieu Paré

Salt and freshly ground pepper 3 Tbs (45 mL) sesame oil 1 head of garlic, peeled and separated into cloves ½ cup (120 mL) soy sauce ¼ cup packed brown sugar 3 Tbs minced ginger root ½ cup green onions, chopped 2 Tbs (30 mL) rice or cider vinegar 2 cups (480 mL) water 1 Tbs (15 mL) cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbs cold water 5 baby bok choy, halved lengthwise Toasted sesame seeds or broken cashews for garnish, optional

1. Trim fat from meat. Season with

salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tbs sesame oil over medium-high heat in large heavy pot. Add beef and brown all over.

2. In a bowl, combine garlic, soy

sauce, brown sugar, ginger root, onion, vinegar and water. Pour over beef, and bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to 325º F oven and cook for 1½ – 2 hours, or until meat is fork tender.

3. Heat remaining tablespoon of

sesame oil in large skillet over mediumhigh heat. Add bok choy and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, flipping occasionally. Add half the cooking sauce, and stir in half the cornstarch mixture. Cover and let simmer until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally. Garnish with sesame seeds or cashews.

4. Move beef to platter and keep

warm. Stir remaining cornstarch mixture into remaining cooking sauce. Heat on high for 2 – 3 minutes, until sauce bubbles and thickens. Spoon over beef. Serve with steamed rice or noodles, if desired.

Anna Brooks is an award-winning journalist and graduate student currently living and studying in New York City. 16

The Italian Centre Shop


or something a little fancier, there’s Bread is in these days. a bakery in the province for you (and Not that it’s ever really that’s in addition to the countless been out, but despite, or neighbourhood bakeries scattered across the province too). perhaps in response to, the gluten-free craze of Traditional Italian recent years, Canadians Italian markets, like The Italian Centre seem increasingly drawn to Shop (with three locations in Edmonton and one in Calgary), pride themselves wholesome, house-made on being one-stop-shops for Italian loaves of fresh-baked bread. goodies of all descriptions, and alongside Home baking is certainly on the rise, but since most people don’t have schedules that allow for daily kneading and proofing, a number of bakeries have cropped up across Alberta to meet the demand for traditional bread that’s a cut above the mass-market stuff that you’ll find on many grocery shop shelves.

meats, cheese and desserts, that includes bread. The Italian Centre shop employs over 74 bakers and uses an estimated 36 tons of flour every 10-day period to provide bread and other baked goods to its stores and wholesale clients. The bread department focuses on traditional Italian loaves like panini calabrese, pagnotta and ciabatta.

Of course, not all loaves are alike and neither are the bakeries that bake them. But whether you’re looking for rustic loaves, traditional French bread,

Even though it’s a high-volume operation, bakery manager Angelo Antonucci says that he likes to focus on healthy, homemade flavours which

still offer good value for dollar. The Italian Centre Shop has been making its bread in-house since 2006, both so that they could offer a superior product for their sandwiches and to bring their bread product in-line with the other products in the store.

Angelo Antonucci 17

“As the consumer gets more educated, they tend to look for bakeries that they feel are taking care of them — price-wise and quality-wise,” says Antonucci. “We want to have a little more control of what our customers are consuming and that’s what moved us in the direction of doing our own bread.”

The Loft Bakery

Restaurant Groups

Lina’s Italian Market in Calgary (2202 Centre St NE) is not unlike the Italian Centre Shop in that it specializes in Italian and other European breads (the sourdough base for their Italian breads is dehydrated and imported from Italy). Pastry chef Erin Vrba also has the issue of having to manage a fairly high volume — after being acquired by the Creative restaurant group a couple years back (bringing Vrba with them), Lina’s has transformed into the central bakery for all of the group’s properties, including Bonterra, Cibo, Posto, Scopa and the Mill Street Brew Pub. That said, Lina’s is the heart of Creative’s baking program, and the one place that sells loaves and other treats on a retail basis. While the market sold bread before Creative took over, Vrba has put a new energy into Lina’s bread program, with fresh baguettes, several kinds of loaves, and yeasty bread treats like the café’s signature rum babas. Erin Vrba

“I feel like our bread has much more integrity and that’s by design,” Vrba says. “We’re really focusing on the bread and making it true to what it should be.” Something similar is happening at the Teatro Group, which, in addition to restaurants like Teatro, Royale, Cucina and Vendome, includes Alforno (222 7 St SW), a sit-down bakeshop that’s billed as an Italian pasticceria. As with Creative and Lina’s, the bread for the entire group is made at Alforno (and then used as table bread, in sandwiches, etc), but customers can also grab a loaf or a pastry from the counter so that they can recreate that restaurant bread experience at home. Alforno also leans towards Lina’s Italian Market


traditional Italian loaves like ciabatta and focaccia, with other standouts like a multi-grain baguette and buttery brioche. Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts’ The Loft Bakery, in the Granary Road Market, just south of Calgary, is also doing a serious bread game. In addition to pastries to nibble on as you walk around the market, the Bakery does a rotating daily bread, which could be anything from sourdough or challah to black olive fougasse or pumpernickel.

Boutique Bakeshops

For something more artisan, some of Alberta’s best bakeries — even those that have received more fanfare for their pastries than their loaves — usually

Mari Bakeshop

have some impressive loaves on their shelves. Mari Bakeshop in Calgary (529 Riverfront Ave SE) is run by pastry chef Lauren Ahn and head baker Doug Gregory, who both worked at Thomas Keller’s famed French Laundry in California before returning to Ahn’s hometown of Calgary and opening their own shop last year. While Ahn takes care of Mari’s specialty roll cakes, Gregory focuses on the loaves: baguettes, pain rustiques, crown-shaped couronnes and much more. Since Mari is a two-person shop and the proprietors do all the baking themselves, they open at 10 am and bake throughout the day, meaning that fresh baked bread is usually available (or on it’s way) all day long. Bon Ton Bakery in Edmonton (8720 149 St NW) touts itself as an artisanal bakery and boasts dozens of

Bon Ton Bakery

different kinds of bread. Everything is baked with traditional European methods. The bakery’s Heritage Organic Sourdough is one of its mainstays and is part of what has kept the bakery an Edmonton mainstay for over 60 years, but customers can also pick up specialties like caraway rye, challah, sandwich loaves, and hamburger buns as well as sweet buns, pastries and other treats. Back in Calgary, no run-down of bread bakeries would be complete without mentioning Sidewalk Citizen (618 Confluence Way SE, and 338 10 St. NW). The independent bakery that started years ago with chief baker Aviv

Fried delivering sourdough loaves on his bike has become a local institution. Sidewalk Citizen’s sourdough has become the gold standard for rustic loaves in Calgary. While organic sourdough will always be king at Sidewalk, the bakery also whips up puff pastry burekas, seasonal sweet loaves, sweet and savoury danishes, and their not-to-be-missed giant sticky buns. Elizabeth Chorney-Booth is a Calgary-based freelance writer, who has been writing about music and food, and just about everything else for her entire adult life. Elizabeth is a published cookbook author and a regular contributor to CBC Radio.

Sidewalk Citizen

Sidewalk Citizen


Don’t Let The Ol’ Bread Go To Waste by EVA COLMENERO

Many years ago, I accidentally left a fresh loaf of bread in the car after a trip to the grocery store. My mother assumed we forgot to buy it and that was the end of it...or so we thought.

When we found the baguette the following Monday, I took a bite and regretted it immediately. Without even asking, I took the dry, rubbery bread and threw it in the garbage. You can also guess the scolding I got for throwing away perfectly edible food. I clearly didn’t know that bread could be eaten, even when it’s gone stale, if it’s baked again or added to a recipe. Stale bread can be used in bread puddings, French onion soup, for stuffing, as croutons, and as a thickener for soup, among many other things. So if you find yourself with some old bread, make some comfort food, a side dish, or a dessert with your stale bread. Don’t throw it away like I did.

French Onion Soup Serves 6-8

Adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking 6 – 8 baguette slices, whole or small cubes 5 - 6 cups yellow onions, sliced thin 3 Tbs unsalted butter 2 Tbs (30 mL) olive oil 1 tsp salt Freshly ground black pepper ½ tsp sugar 3 Tbs flour ½ cup (120 mL) white wine 8 cups (2 L) beef, chicken, or vegetable broth 1½ – 3 cups shredded cheese (Gruyere, Parmesan, or Fontina)

1. Toast the baguette slices, or if

you’re using bread cubes, toast them in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside. 20

2. Melt the butter over medium-low heat, along with the oil, until foamy. Add the onions and make sure they get coated with the butter and oil mixture. Turn the heat to low, cover the pan and let it sit for 15 minutes.

3. Stir in the salt, black pepper,

and sugar. Turn the heat up to medium and cook the onions, stirring every few minutes, until the onions are a dark caramel brown, about 40 to 60 minutes.

4. Add the flour to the onions and stir for a minute. Pour in the wine, turn up the heat to high and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan while the wine evaporates.

5. Add the broth and bring to a boil.

Spinach Stuffing Balls Serves 8-10

Recipe and photograph courtesy Bernice Hill, Dish ‘N’ The Kitchen ²/³ cups days old whole wheat bread 6 eggs, lightly beaten ½ cup unsalted butter, melted 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese ½ tsp salt ¼ tsp pepper 2 packs (300 g) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed bone dry

If you find yourself with some old bread, make some comfort food, a side dish, or a dessert

Lower the heat and cover the pan. Let it simmer for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the broth has reduced slightly.

1. Slice the bread into 1 cm cubes and

6. Heat the oven to 350° F.

2. In a bowl, combine eggs, bread

Divide the soup into oven-safe bowls. Place a slice of the toasted bread (or a layer of bread cubes) on top of each bowl and sprinkle the grated cheese over the bread. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until all the cheese has melted. Then switch on the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese.

dry them, then slightly ‘rough up’ in a food processor.

cubes, butter, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Add spinach, mix well. Shape into 3 cm balls and place them in an ungreased 15” x 10” x 1” baking pan.

3. Bake at 350º F for 12-15 minutes or

until lightly browned. If you are making a day ahead, refrigerate then re-warm as before but for only 10 minutes.

Venezuelan Bread Pudding Serves 8

Courtesy of Carmen Galarraga from La Panadería by Parthenon Bakery “It’s bread pudding but more firm” 500 g leftover bread (2 or 3 days old) 4 cups (1 L) 2% milk ½ cup (100 g) margarine 4 eggs 2 cups (500 g) of sugar ½ Tbs vanilla extract Pinch of salt ½ cup raisins

1. In a large bowl, cut the bread into

small pieces and soak it in the milk. Stir in with a hand mixer at medium speed to break the bread into a paste.

2. Grease a 12” diameter x 1” high

metal cake pan with 1 Tbs margarine. Preheat oven to 400º F.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients

mix at medium speed for 5 minutes until blended.

4. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for one hour. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean and the top is golden.

Eva Colmenero is a writer and editor based in Calgary. She would be a vegetarian, if bacon were a vegetable. Follow her on Twitter @evac88 21

Cocoa Meets Alcohol: It’s Time For Boozy Hot Chocolate!


For many Canadians, hot chocolate brings back childhood memories of skating and making snowmen, but now we’re grown up it’s the perfect spiked drink for our Netflix binge and outdoors. Two Alberta chefs and mixologists have shared their delicious recipes here for us to make at home.

Andrew Borley

Bar Clementine, Edmonton Bar Clementine’s boozy hot chocolate combines aged tequila, green chartreuse, and the spicy and smoky flavours of ancho chiles (smoked poblanos). “The combination of chocolate and chartreuse is surely as old as the 18th century elixir itself,” says Bar Clementine co-owner Andrew Borley. “The Carthusian liqueur’s complex tasting notes of fresh mint and basil, alongside winter spices such as nutmeg, pair perfectly with chocolate.”


Borley embellishes this classic pairing with the addition of Ancho Reyes chile liqueur. The warming spice of ancho chile pairs beautifully with chocolate, and the botanical elements found in green chartreuse are accentuated by the addition of anejo tequila. Salud!

Clementine Hot Chocolate 6 oz Bitter Hot Chocolate 1 oz Anejo Tequila ½ oz Green Chartreuse ½ oz Ancho Reyes

To serve, combine all ingredients together in a heat resistant glass.

Grant McIsaac and Cam Alty

Calgary Sports And Entertainment Corporation “Sous Chef Grant McIsaac has crafted our rich and creamy hazelnut hot chocolate with a chocolatey finish that has the perfect balance of sweetness, allowing you to enjoy it to the last drop,” says Calgary Sports And Entertainment Corporation Beverage Manager, Cam Alty. “The toasted marshmallow garnish melts away, creating a delightful crème brûlée-like finish that excites the senses,” he adds.

Chef McIsaac’s hot chocolate is kicked up a notch with the addition of bourbon for deep vanilla and caramel undertones, making it the perfect way to warm up – whether you’re watching your favourite band or cheering on your team!

1. Warm half and half cream to just

Spiked Hazelnut Hot Cocoa

3. Add salt and bring to a light

1 cup (250 mL) half and half cream 3 Tbs (45 g) hazelnut spread 1½-2 tsp semi-sweet chocolate chips Pinch of fine sea salt 1 oz bourbon

before simmering and add chocolate chips. Whisk in until fully melted.

2. Add hazelnut spread and whisk until fully incorporated.

simmer, then add bourbon and top with marshmallows. See for Chef McIsaac’s easy Maple Marshmallow recipe for the perfect topping for your boozy hot chocolate.


Step By Step: Chocolate Truffles story and photography by RENEE KOHLMAN

Oh February, the shortest month of the year, and the month which has the holiday you either adore or dread . . . Valentine’s Day, of course, can elevate those who are in love or make you want to scratch your eyes out if you’re not. Whatever camp you find yourselves in this year, hopefully eating chocolate is on your agenda. It has been known to cure a broken heart, at least for a minute or two, along with doughnuts, bacon, and hot buttered popcorn. Not necessarily 24

during the same sitting, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. For those of us who have found the lid to our pot, chocolate is often gifted and devoured on V-Day. The act of savouring something rich and decadent is incredibly sensual. But, there’s an even sweeter side to chocolate: according to research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, a compound in dark chocolate, called phenylethylamine, releases the same endorphins triggered by sex and increases the feelings of attraction between two people. And indulging could pay off in the bedroom: The Journal of Sexual Medicine reports that those who eat at least one

square of dark chocolate daily experience higher desire and better overall sexual function than those who don’t partake. Dark chocolate for the win!

Homemade gifts (especially the edible kind) are the best gifts of all While it’s easy to go and buy a heart-shaped box of truffles, making them at home will save you a few bucks and you get to customize them how you like. Plus, we all know that homemade gifts (especially the edible kind) are the

best gifts of all, especially if you want to impress your loved one. The most important part of any chocolate truffle is the chocolate you use – so please don’t use a discount bag of no-name chocolate chips. Aim a little higher and go for good dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa. Valrhona, Callebaut, Camino, Green & Black’s, Lindt, are all safe bets. I was gifted a bag of Cacao Barry dark chocolate buttons, so that’s what I used. You’ll need to make ganache, which is just a fancy way of saying pour hot whipping cream over chocolate and stir it into a smooth, creamy, chocolatey mass. Now for the fun part. You can flavour the chocolate as you wish. Make just one flavour or divide the ganache into several bowls and play around with flavours. I made three different kinds: almond flavoured chocolate covered in finely chopped toasted almonds; boozy chocolate covered in icing sugar (sift first!); and fresh mint tossed in cocoa powder. They all taste fantastic, but we especially loved the chocolate/almond combo. The chocolate is up front, then you get the hit of almond flavour bringing it all home. Delish! And, if you google “chocolate truffles”, there are a myriad of other flavour possibilities. Have fun experimenting! Package up those luscious orbs of devilish decadence as you wish, and share them with someone who thinks you’re an absolute gem.

Chocolate Truffles

Makes about 4 dozen truffles 2½ cups chopped dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa) 2 cups (500 mL) whipping cream

Optional flavourings: 1 cup chopped fresh mint, stems removed 1 tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract 2 tsp (10 mL) pure almond extract 2 Tbs (30 mL) favourite booze (Baileys, Amaretto, Grand Marnier etc.) Pinch of sea salt

mine into two bowls and added about 2 Tbs (30 mL) of Irish Cream to one and 2 tsp (10 mL) of pure almond extract to another. If using mint, add it after the cream simmers, remove from the heat and let steep for an hour. Strain away solids, return the cream to a simmer and proceed with recipe.

3. Cover the ganache with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2-3 hours.

4. When the time comes to roll your

Finely chopped toasted nuts, such as almonds pistachios, walnuts, pecans Finely ground coffee beans Unsweetened cocoa powder Icing sugar Toasted coconut

truffles, place whatever you would like to roll them in into shallow bowls. Scoop about 1 heaping teaspoon of truffle filling, roll in the palms of your hands and gently roll into your garnish. I find wearing disposable gloves helps, as it is a messy job. If rolling into icing sugar, be sure to do so just before serving as the sugar will dissolve as it sits in the fridge.

1. Heat the cream over medium-high

5. Place the finished truffles on a tray

2. Divide the ganache into separate

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

Optional garnishes:

heat just to the boil – there should be bubbles around the edge of the pan. Turn off the heat and pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 2-3 minutes. Stir the mixture well until it is smooth. bowls and flavour as you like. I poured

and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Truffles will keep well if placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 1 week.


Crazy For Cacao: How Alberta Chocolatiers And Chocolate Makers Are Doing Things Differently by MALLORY FRAYN

There’s a resurgence happening in the world of chocolate, a changing of the guard as it were, and it’s making for an extraordinarily exciting scene right here in Alberta. While old school chocolatiers will never truly go out of style, they’re now up against more and more competition from newcomers in chocolate making. Whereas a decade ago chocolate was sourced from no-name suppliers and used to make truffles, caramels, and other bonbons, nowadays “bean-to-bar” has become the norm.

Cōchu 26

Chocolatiers are carefully selecting their chocolate from ethical sources, and in some cases these local chocolate makers are actually getting their beans straight from cacao plantations, and then grinding, winnowing, conching, and refining them into their own handmade chocolate. Either way, not only does it move towards ensuring that the cacao farmers themselves receive fair and equitable wages for the product they are selling, it creates a diversified experience for the end consumer, making it virtually impossible for any two chocolates to taste the same.


Formerly known as Moth Chocolate, this Calgary spot specializes in single origin bars sourced from select countries, emphasizing fair and direct trade. Owner Geordan Spicer honed her craft interning at Omnom in Iceland, and has since continued to educate herself by reading and watching whatever she has been able to get her hands on pertaining to bean-to-bar chocolate. When asked about her take on chocolate in Alberta, she says, “There

Old Coal

is a handful of awesome individuals getting going in Alberta’s chocolate making industry. I think that we all started around the same time, and although our emphasis is on varying aspects of cacao, we all share similar ideals towards ethical sourcing.”


Anne Sellmer’s chocolates are basically the dictionary definition of “too pretty too eat.” Moulded into a variety of shapes, and hand painted three or more times to look like works of art, she has embraced the fact that we really do eat with our eyes first. The best part is, they live up to expectations in the flavour department too, and have won awards both nationally and internationally to attest to that. With chocolate sourced from Central America, all the way to Africa, it’s like taking your taste buds on a trip without ever getting on an airplane.


Anne Sellmer

Sellmer has also paired up with other Calgary businesses like Phil & Sebastian, Eau Claire Distillery, and Porter’s Tonic, to showcase the myriad of flavours that can work in tandem with chocolate. “Although our focus is more on high end ingredients, at the end of the day it’s also just about what tastes good,” Sellmer says.

Old Coal

Based in Okotoks, just south of Calgary, Old Coal is seizing the potential of the ingredient that is chocolate. Owner Jolene Kolk’s grandfather worked as a blacksmith, inspiring her company’s namesake viewing coal not only as a source of energy, but also a symbol of craftsmanship and family. Jolene prides herself on producing creative and unexpected treats, often in collaboration with other local businesses. For example, her fan favourite “beeramels” came together with the help of Village Brewery’s Blacksmith Ale. “By using as much local inspiration as possible, we are able to bring a new, imaginative side of chocolate to our amazing customers,” Kolk says. You can order all of Old Coal’s chocolate creations online. 27

Sweet Lollapalooza

Sweet Lollapalooza

Sweet Lollapalooza may be a mouthful to say, but when it comes to Brett Roy’s chocolate, it’s an oh-so-pleasant mouthful at that. Sourcing some of the world’s rarest cacao, like Peru’s Pure Nacional, it’s both the quality of the ingredients and the calibre of Roy’s training that make his chocolates stand out. Having worked in Australia, North America, and at the Valrhona Grand Chocolate School in France, he’s combined all of his experiences into award-winning products, receiving 14 accolades from the 2017 International Chocolate Awards and being named one of the top 10 chocolatiers in North America.

“Bean-to-bar” has become the norm

“You could sum up our approach as this,” Roy says, “We source the very best ingredients, make sure these ingredients are ethically sourced, and then annually train with the best chocolatiers and teachers around the world to continuously hone our craft.”

Jācek Chocolate Couture

Perhaps one of the most well-known of the chocolatiers and chocolate makers in the province, Jacek now has three stores including locations in Edmonton, Sherwood Park, and 28

Canmore. Taking inspiration from the fashion world, owner Jacqueline Jacek releases chocolate truffle collections that change with the seasons, so customers can always expect something unique, exciting, and cutting edge. In addition to the truffles, she also offers single origin bars from Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, and the Dominican Republic. Taste testing each of the 70% bars side by side is a testament to just how distinctive cacao from different regions really is; the newly renovated Sherwood Park location is complete with a tasting room. “We want to educate people,” Jacek says, “(customers) can come and see beans being sorted and roasted, and learn about the chocolate making process.” This education is creating more discerning customers, which Jacek believes will only help grow and expand chocolate in Alberta.

Cococo Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut

With locations across Canada, Cococo is no small player in Alberta’s chocolate scene, and an important player at that. Based in Calgary, they offer an array of products, all hand made to perfection. Award winning options, such as their sea salt caramels, come in unique flavours from Thai ginger sea salt chocolate caramel, to Hawaiian sea salt raspberry caramel.

Cococo Chocolaterie

In the test kitchen they constantly push boundaries, which leads to the invention of chocolates like their rosemary fusion bar, a blend of rosemary, thyme, and habanero sea salt that has won the hearts of not only local customers, but judges at the International Chocolate Awards. Arguably it’s this creativity and innovation that spawned highend chocolate in Alberta, and set the stage for other chocolatiers to get involved and hone their craft. The best part is, they continue to emphasize sustainability by using Rainforest Alliance certified chocolate and cocoa butter. Mallory is a Calgary freelance writer and grad student now living, learning and eating in Montreal. Check out her blog and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @cuzilikechoclat

Dining At The Lodge: 3 Off-The-Beaten Track Foodie Escapes by LINDA GARSON

What comes to mind when you think of booking a lodge for a mountain getaway? Rustic country cabins in picturesque settings, spectacular mountain views, and wandering wildlife? Hot tubs, winter sports and summer hikes?

Here are three, 30-year old retreats, where you can not only escape the rush of city life for scenic views, and gourmet dining too!

Island Lake Lodge Accessed in winter only by snowcat or snowmobile, Island Lake Lodge is about as far from the hustle and bustle as you can get. A half-hour drive from Fernie, you can feel yourself relaxing as you meander the 12 km through Mt. Fernie Provincial Park and forests of 800-year old cedar, douglas fir, and spruce trees.

Island Lake Lodge 29

Pacific ling cod with corn velouté, and anise shrimp risotto. And Island Lake are pretty proud of their 3000-bottle wine cellar!

Island Lake Lodge

What’s up? Island Lake are celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2018, and starting the summer season with their “Untamed Kootenays” weekend, June 8th to 10th. It’s a showcase of the region’s considerable culinary talent, and includes special guest chefs too who source and forage the ingredients for their dishes from the surrounding Elk Valley. Two indulgent days of impressive Lodge-made gourmet dining, guided hikes, spa time, and kicking back on the patio with exclusive drinks await for just 30 people! Setting the scene: At an elevation of 1400 meters, Island Lake is surrounded by jaw-dropping scenery. Possibly the ultimate winter location for serious skiers and boarders, and as well as the hiking, biking, and fly fishing in summer, there are miles of fascinating trails for you to wander, all with stunning views and photo opportunities at every turn. You’ll see the magical “I Dew Point”, a special wooden area for wedding ceremonies overlooking the lake, with the stunning Lizard Mountain Range behind, and angled bench seating for your guests. With only 26 rooms, you feel you’re communing with nature rather than commuting with the crowds; there are no televisions or phones in the rooms (don’t panic, there’s complimentary wireless internet access!) and an on-site cell phone signal booster – and they have iPads too if you need.

local farmers and community gardens, and you’ll meet him at the local farmer’s market on Sundays. Breakfast is a treat here, with choices like maple egg sandwich with avocado, bacon, tomato, maple fried egg, and smoked maple cheddar; and whole-wheat gingerbread pancakes, with peach and spice compote, whipped mascarpone, and bacon or sausage. Yum! At dinner, expect dishes like slow braised bison short ribs with truffled cheddar polenta and roasted vegetables; Earl Grey smoked duck breast with potato-yam pave and braised pear; and pan-seared

Living the life: To add to your relaxation, the day spa at Island Lake has gorgeous views, and is definitely to be recommended – as is the Frenchinspired Rocky Mountain Cuisine. A member of Ocean Wise, and using organic products wherever possible, ethically and traditionally raised products are important to Executive Chef Keith Farkas, his suppliers are 30

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Cedar Valley Rd, Fernie, BC 250-423-3700

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Beloved by notables such as Bing Crosby, Marilyn Monroe, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and HRH Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, iconic Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge rests in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is considered to be the jewel in Fairmont’s Alberta crown. Setting the scene: Canadian National Railways took over the luxury tents on the shores of Lac Beauvert in 1921, and

Wildlife sightings are an everyday occurrence – 53 species of animals live in the area, and you’ll drive past herds of elk. You’ll regularly see caribou, deer, moose, and bighorn sheep too, but hopefully not get too close to the bears and wolves.

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

expanded the site to open a summer resort the following year. The worldfamous golf course opened four years later, but it was only in 1988 that the Lodge became a year-round resort. Now 440 cedar chalets and luxury signature cabins sit in 700 acres of countryside around the shores of the lake, and a $16 million renovation has just been completed.

In keeping with Fairmont’s environmental stewardship, Lac Beauvert is also home to the Loon Nest Project, begun by grade 10 students from Jasper High School. Loons often have difficulty nesting, so the students created an artificial nest on the lake, resulting in chicks now hatching safe and sound since June 2016! Living the life: As you might expect at a property like Jasper Park Lodge, the spa is rated #4 in Canada by Conde Naste! Executive Chef Christopher Chafe heads up the kitchens, and he’s worked in prestigious locations all over the world. He oversees eight restaurants here, highlighting Alberta’s local and organic foods, whether that’s used for his twist on Northern Italian dishes in Orso Trattoria, or showcasing wild game and local seafood

for a Canadian experience at the classic Nook chophouse. More fresh seafood can be found at Oka Sushi, where it’s shipped in from Japan and Vancouver for Sushi Chef Tatsuhiko Okaki to work his magic. Emerald Lounge has fabulous views of Lac Beauvert and Whistler’s Mountain, so on a cold day hunker up near the fire and share a plate or two with friends, washed down with your favourite cocktail or a pint of Jasper Brewing Company’s best. On warm days you’ll want to drink in the views and chill out on the patio. What’s up? Did you know that Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan residents get a substantial discount at the Lodge? Kicking off the Super Bowl weekend, February 2-4 is Jasper Craft Beer & Barley Summit, a signature event of networking with craft beer and distillery leaders, as well as daily seminars on


18 THE VERY BEST IN 2018 from the staff and management of The Block email GM@BLOCKYYC.COM call 403.282.1339 @EatDrinkBlock

#101- 2411 4th Street NW |

building your brand, increasing sales, and growing these industries. And… two nights sampling amazing craft beers and spirits, along with culinary delights from the Lodge’s chefs.

Buffalo Mountain Lodge

March 2-4 the Lodge plays host to Devour, the Canadian Rockies Food Film Festival. Celebrating cinema, food, and wine, plans includes a cabin crawl dinner, curated films, cooking demonstrations, and guest chefs. Definitely one to look forward to! And while it’s a long way off now, Christmas in November is also celebrating 30 years this year! 1 Old Lodge Rd, Jasper, 780-852-3301

Buffalo Mountain Lodge When you want the best of both worlds, to kick back by the fire in a cosy mountain lodge but still be a 15-minute walk or short drive from Banff’s shops and nightlife, Buffalo Mountain Lodge is your destination. Setting the scene: Away from Banff’s often crowded main streets, the Lodge sits in nine acres of fir, pine, and spruce trees overlooking Rundle Mountain, on Tunnel Mountain, called “sleeping buffalo” by first nations people. Originally a motel for skiers, Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts’ (CRMR) Pat and Connie O’Connor fell in love with the site, and seeing untapped potential, created a small luxury resort with a focus on fine dining, in 1987.

You’ll often see deer and elk on the lawn – and talking of animals, Buffalo Mountain Lodge has some pet-friendly rooms too. Living the life: You’re always in good hands food-wise with CRMR, and the menus at the Sleeping Buffalo Dining Room are predictably delicious. With their own 540-acre buffalo and elk ranch, guess what’s for dinner? Currently venison, caribou, elk, and buffalo dishes account for 50 percent of the meals served in their restaurants, and you’ll also find Pacific halibut, Arctic char, and Alberta lamb and beef.

The main lodge and cabins are designed to complement their setting. High ceilings create a feeling of light and space, and they’re sympathetically furnished with natural wood, bent-willow, and glass.

The very popular charcuterie platters include elk salami, air dried buffalo, prosciutto, smoked duck breast, wild boar pâté, and aged Sylvan Star Gouda, as well as olives, pickles – and the famous CRMR mustard melons – a must have!

We love that many of the rooms have the rooms have patios or balconies, and the wood-burning fireplaces are perfect for cosying up; rooms are equipped with LCD televisions and Blu-ray players too.

Breakfasts are hearty, with dishes such as Game Hash with sautéed game meats, potatoes, and two poached eggs; and smoked pork chop & eggs with all the traditional accompaniments.


Buffalo Mountain Café

And last, but certainly not least, Buffalo Mountain Lodge boasts a multiple awardwinning wine list! What’s up? Buffalo Mountain Lodge has recently updated and renovated the Sleeping Buffalo Dining Room. The inspiration for the new look is still the natural materials of the area – wood and stone, granite and leather – reflecting its environment. And it’s still just as beautifully cosy as before! And now the Lodge has a new grab and go café where you can pick up coffee, sandwiches, and fresh pastries to take with you on the slopes or your hike, or you can stop in for a snack. Good news – you can also take home CRMR Kitchen’s sausages and ready-made meals from Buffalo Mountain Café too! 700 Tunnel Mountain Rd, Banff

The Soul-Warming Spirits Of Winter by TOM FIRTH and LINDA GARSON

Even the most ardent cold-weather enthusiast needs to come in from the chill occasionally, and what better way to warm up, and take a few (or more than a few) minutes by enjoying a rich dram or two? While these heat-laden spirits could be used with a mixer, they really are best neat or with a bare splash of water. But however you enjoy them, it’s best not to rush…

Carlos I Solera Gran Reserva Jerez, Spain This just sings to the soul on a cold winter’s day. Rich, dark caramel and toffee aromas with a not-too-subtle honey and vanilla character – it’s a hard one to stop nosing… Smooth and not too fiery on the palate, it’s a very enjoyable, wallet-friendly tipple for winter. CSPC +774577 $45

Glenfiddich 18-Year Old Small Batch Reserve Single Malt Whisky, Scotland A whisky this smooth, I imagine being enjoyed by Lando Calrissian; warming spices and hard cider aromas, with more than a little vanilla too. Roll it around your mouth and don’t let the smooth taste fool you, there is plenty of depth and nuance to discover. CSPC +530352 $120-130

Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Whisky, Scotland

Torres 20-Year Old Superior Brandy, Spain

Maybe it’s the name, but on the nose, I find plenty of banana fruits, caramel, and toasted cereal, not to mention some old leather and assorted spices. Packing a little kick (43% ABV), it’s quite spicy and warming on the palate. Not required, but a little water would open this right up. CSPC +783842 $54-57

Perhaps overlooked by brandy aficionados who know the Torres Jaime I, please add the Torres 20 to your shelf – it’s worth it. Dried oranges and clove, pepper, and cinnamon spices with vanilla, ginger and toast aromas, the palate runs a little hotter at first, but grows mellow and expressive over the midpalate. A perfect use of your brandy snifter – if you have one… CSPC +721388 $69

Eau Claire Distillery Single Malt Whisky, Alberta Think there is pressure in releasing Alberta’s first single malt whisky? Sure is, but rest easy Eau Claire, your inaugural offering of the single malt is quite the treat, with citrus, pressed apple aromas, old wood, vanilla bean, and toffee on the nose, and smooth palate presence with a bit of fire towards the back palate. Highly limited production this time around, keep an eye out for further releases since they’ve set the bar very high for the future. $95 best chance finding it is at the distillery.

Uisge Source Water of Scotland Do you add a drop or two of water to your whisky or are you a purist? Many experts recommend opening up a whisky by adding a little water to remove the alcohol prickle and reveal more aromas and flavours. Brand new to Alberta is Uisge (pronounced ‘ooshguh,’ Scottish Gaelic for ‘water’) Source spring water – 3 x 100 mL bottles from sources close to some of the most popular distilleries in Scotland: Islay spring water with a higher natural acidity; a soft, low-mineral spring water from Speyside; and a hard, highmineral spring water from the Highlands. $28 at liquor stores. 33

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling by TOM FIRTH

I’ve always had a soft spot for Irish whiskey. Among other reasons, it can be cost-effective compared to Scotch, but also generally peat-free or lower in peat character – but perhaps most importantly, they taste great. A little lighter, perhaps a little easier to approach than Scotch, but that doesn’t mean Irish whiskey isn’t a serious dram… Like Scotch, Irish whiskey (there is an “e” in Ireland’s whiskey), has its roots in the untaxed or illicit stills dotting the countryside, avoiding onerous taxes levied on spirits – though distilling in


Ireland most likely goes back to the 14th century with…. who else? The monks. Moving forward to the 1960s, distilling suffered under the policies of the British government, and producers gradually disappeared or merged until there were only four distillers left -finally becoming a near monopoly when three of them formed Irish Distillers, distilling out of a single facility in Midelton.

Stylistically it's typically just a malty, gentle and sweet category of whisky Finally, in 1973, Bushmills joined the group and all Irish whiskey was made under a single roof. James Buchanan, of Calgary’s Buchanan’s Chophouse, a well-known

haven for whisk(e)y aficionados, curates one of Alberta’s best-known whisky lists, and notes that Irish whiskey, “is often very smooth thanks to its triple distillation, you see very little smoke or peat on many editions, and stylistically it's typically just a malty, gentle and sweet category of whisky. Not that there aren’t a pile of robust and heavyweight Irish whiskies, but the great majority are smooth and mellow, and meant to be sipped on their own.” Buchanan’s, for the record, has over 300 Scotch malts, and has 22 Irish bottles. According to Andrew Ferguson, the owner of Kensington Wine Market, and an internationally recognized whisky expert, “there is an explosion (underway) in new distilleries,

Looking for more Irish Whiskies to try? Check out... Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey CSPC +756701 $54 Bushmills Single Malt Irish Whiskey CSPC 131870 $49 Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey CSPC + 61374 $40 Teeling Brabazon Single Malt “Series 1” Irish Whiskey CSPC +792898 $107

especially craft distilleries… within the next few years Irish whiskey will go back to its roots with more than 30 distilleries operating.” While David Michiels, Scotch expert at Willow Park Wines & Spirits says, “The biggest thing to know (about Irish whiskey) would be that they have great flexibility to create different flavours in their whiskies using different grains. Their laws are not as strict for what is allowed for their base cereal mix. Lots of flavours to discover.”

Irish whiskey has great flexibility to create different flavours using different grains It’s only natural that with the bourgeoning interest in craft production, Ireland will continue to grow its whiskey offerings, and hopefully we’ll continue to see many more of them here in Alberta. As Ferguson puts it, “the future is very bright. I look forward to 5-10 years down the road when Irish whiskey, like Scotch will have many dozens of different producers with their own unique styles.” Cheers to that!

The Quiet Man 8 Year Old Irish Whiskey Exactly the sort of nosing experience I want in my Irish whiskey; dried apple, honey, dried grains, and spice, not to mention the warm vanilla notes from the eight 8 years in bourbon cask… Spicy, creamy, and sweet vanilla on the palate, this is my new fireside dram for winter. CSPC +786604 $52

Berry Bros & Rudd Craoi Na Mona 10 Year Old Irish Whiskey Finished in peated casks, this represents a very recent experience in Irish whiskey. What to expect in your glass? Brighter fruit tones with a mildly oily, iodine tone which is more prevalent on the palate. It’s at cask strength (46 percent), and shows best with a little water to ease up on the fire. A treasure… CSPC +784994 $78-80

Paddy Irish Whiskey I have a soft spot for Paddy’s, a long-time attendee in my parents liquor cabinet, it was one of the first whiskies I ever tried – flash forward a few decades and it is still one I keep on hand. The nose calls to mind lemon and honeycomb with a lifted

floral presence. Spicy and bold(er) on the palate, it’s a rock solid dram. CSPC +789372 $33

Tullamore DEW Triple distilled, and finished in three different barrel types, there is quite a bit going on in this glass. Citrus and vanilla, breadstick and apple/peach fruits on the nose, translate perfectly to the palate. Very smooth, and almost a little on the sweet side towards the finish, it’s easy to see why this is a classic. CSPC +71746 $35

Jameson Caskmates Irish Whiskey The Jameson brand is far and away the number one Irish whiskey in the world. Will wonders never cease? Their most recent offering is aged in stout-seasoned barrels (sourced from a brewery in Cork of course). Coffee and dark chocolate aromas eke through on the nose, while on the palate, it’s intensely floral and rich with a bit of grassiness, spice, and espresso. A little off the beaten path, but very enjoyable. CSPC +775554 $42 Tom is a freelance wine writer, wine consultant, and wine judge. He is the contributing Drinks Editor for Culinaire Magazine, and is the Competition Director for the Alberta Beverage Awards. Follow him on twitter @cowtownwine


Beer Is A Barrel Of Fun by DAVID NUTTALL

Beer in wooden barrels has been around ever since brewing left the clay and terracotta age about two millennia ago. Up until the onset of the 20th century, wood was the material used for mash tuns, conditioning tanks, storage vats, aging barrels, kegs – for almost all the beer’s journey from grain to glass except the brew kettle.

photo courtesy Troubled Monk 36

As breweries grew bigger and bigger throughout the 1900s, and stainless steel became common for almost all brewing vessels, wood was considered obsolete and impractical. The occupation of the barrel maker, the cooper, once so common it became a surname in numerous languages, was beginning to die out. Except for a few breweries in Europe, this was status quo until the craft brewing industry, and its practise of looking to the past for “new” brewing ideas, began to age beer in wooden barrels. Now, aging beer in barrels is an expensive proposition for any brewery, let alone small breweries that may be new to the market. First, you have to buy the barrels from somewhere. Since new breweries have spent a lot of capital just to get up and running, buying barrels is an extravagance most can’t afford.

Once you try a barrelaged beer, it will lead you into a whole new appreciation of the brewer’s craftsmanship

Of course, barrels take up valuable space, and tie up inventory that is not immediately returning its investment while it is being held for weeks, or even months, before its release. All breweries, big and small, new and established, like to make beer, sell it quickly, and repeat. However, when a brewery reaches a certain size and maturity, barrel-aging beer becomes a way to put out different styles of beers, or unique versions of existing beers. Why? As the spirits and wine industries have long known, wood imparts character

and a variety of flavours to its contents. It can help certain beer styles mature, get rid of off-flavours, or simply add a new dimension to a beer. The entire sour beer category was born centuries ago from the use of bacterially-infected barrels. As craft breweries grew and began to expand their repertoire of beer styles, wooden barrels became an easy way to create limited edition beers. When the American distilling industry began to shed the shackles of Prohibition seventy years after the fact, the resultant growth in the number of distilleries provided a consistent and inexpensive source of barrels, especially from the bourbon industry, since their barrels are only allowed to be used once to age the whiskey. Other whiskies, rum, tequila, brandy, gin, and wine barrels, soon became popular to use, as each endowed their own unique qualities to the beer. Breweries have numerous options when barrel aging. Spirit barrels are best for beers with softer flavours like vanilla and caramel, or even bolder flavours such as chocolate and coffee, depending on what kind of wood the barrel is made of (commonly oak, but there are numerous other woods used), the amount of toasting or charring inside, and the barrel’s previous tenant. Wine barrels are best for sours, although other kinds can also be used. While new, uncharred barrels can also be employed, they don’t provide the character that used barrels have. With time, your barrel-aged beer can be drunk as a cask-conditioned ale, be blended with different versions of the same beer, or with other beers. It can also be re-carbonated and/or blended with unbarreled beer before sale. Wooden barrels can contain only limited carbonation, which is why many cask ales seem so “flat” when compared to other beers.

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While many new Alberta breweries are looking into adding wood barrels for some limited edition beers, some have created wood flavoured beers by adding oak chips, cubes, or spirals to the beer in conditioning tanks. Here are a few breweries that have barrels and have released a barrel-aged beer, or plan to do so soon.

photo courtesy Big Rock Brewery

The new wave of barrel aging to create distinct beers began in the 1990s with American craft breweries. In Alberta, the larger, more established breweries began barrel-aging beers earlier this decade. When Wild Rose opened up their second Calgary location a few years ago, the space created in their Currie Barracks location became the home to numerous barrels. A similar expansion by Canmore’s Grizzly Paw has allowed them room to

start a barrel-aged series. Alley Kat, Big Rock and Brewsters have followed suit in their breweries. All are now producing three to four different wood-aged beers a year, from different kinds of barrels. Today, even the new Alberta breweries are joining this category. Most of these breweries are three years old or younger, yet they are not only producing one-off barrel aged beers, but also many are starting whole

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–– Tool Shed Brewing Co. –– Last Best Brewing and Distilling –– Situation Brewing Co. –– Troubled Monk Brewery –– Blindman Brewing –– Coulee Brew Co. –– Dandy Brewing Co. –– Blind Enthusiasm Brewing Co. –– Trolley 5 Brewing –– Mill Street Brewpub –– Zero Issue Brewing new programs to have a steady supply on the market. They are now offering consumers those certain beers which require aging, such as Barley Wines, Imperial Stouts, and many Belgian styles including sours, and more. Most of these products are in limited supply, so you need to grab these beers pretty much as soon as they are released. Once you try a barrel-aged beer, it will lead you into a whole new appreciation of the brewer’s craftsmanship. Yes, they cost a bit more than your average beer, but they are still usually less than a decent bottle of wine.

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Keep a look out for more in 2018:


Great on their own or paired with food, once you discover these beers, you will be searching them out at breweries and liquor stores for yourself or as great gifts for your beer geek friends.



Tuscany: May 18 - 29 Portugal: September 20 - October 1

educating Calgary palates since 2005

12 day luxury wine and culinary tours

Experience the beauty of Europe and discover the outstanding wine and food specialities in Portugal and Italy.

These comprehensive tours include:

– Four star hotels – Excursions, winery visits and tastings with special Vine & Dine privileges in vineyards and castles – Visits to markets, castles, museums, and other cultural locations – Guided city tours – Plenty of time to shop and wander – Harvest and stomping grapes in Portugal! – And lots more…! – Places for couples, friends, and solos

To request an itinerary for these trips, visit: or contact 403-870-9802

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Half Price Wine Fridays Half off bottles of wine every Friday after 4pm. Some exclusions apply

Making The (Half) Case by TOM FIRTH

There was an adage hanging above the door when I worked at one particular wine shop in the past. “Drink less…but better.”

source, it’s a perfect way to really enjoy wine or to learn more about good wine.

Drinking less, but better isn’t about spending crazy amounts of money on weird wine that no one “gets.” It’s about forgoing whatever happens to be on sale in a floor stack or flyer, and asking your local shop “what’s cool?”, “what’s good?”, and “what will go with my dinner?”

I don’t know if that is attributable to anyone or if anyone can lay claim to saying it first, but regardless of the

As the new year slowly dawns on us, whether we are tightening our belts from holiday spending, or finding our pants tighter from holiday excess, there is no reason why one can’t still enjoy a fine glass of wine, a pint of your favourite ale, or a nice tipple of something fiery.

Tenuta Castellaro 2016 Pomace Sicily, Italy

Langmeil 2015 Three Gardens SMG Barossa, Australia

A simply stunning glass of wine coming from the island of Lipari near Sicily. Made from malvasia delle Lipari and Etna carricante (which spends 6 months on the lees), look for intense tropicalstyle fruits of guava and melon with white pepper and much more. Excellent textures and balance lead one to pair this with grilled seafood like swordfish, lobster, or salty appetizers. CSPC +793790 About $40 on the shelf

One of the great blends and one that Australia does so well. This shiraz, mataro (monastrell), and grenache blend is just packed with fresh raspberry, cherry, and currant fruits, with warming spices and a damp forest earthiness. Medium tannins balance acidity, and the flavours are consistent guiding this fellow to the grocery store. Marinated flank steaks, pot roasts, or the like are planned for dinner. CSPC +709091 $24-25

Yes, absolutely, this is a grape wine from Japan. Made from the koshu variety in the Yamanashi prefecture, this wine is very pale with subtle grapefruit, saltwater, pepper, and mineral. Almost classical on the palate with citrus and spice leading the way, and an emphasis on the spiciness. I’m thinking of things like calamari, sushi – or even fried chicken would be a fine pairing. CSPC +784981 $40

Ken Forrester 2016 Petit Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch, South Africa

Ken Forrester 2016 Petit Pinotage Stellenbosch, South Africa

Tenuta Castellaro Ossidiana Nero Sicily, Italy

The signature white grape of South Africa, chenin blanc is one of the great, underappreciated whites. Personally, I love this expression with honey and lemon, apple, and a hint of green herb on the nose. Flavours are well structured with a touch of malolactic softness to the acids. Pair with salads, grilled poultry, or lighter seafoods. CSPC + 790303 About $16-18

Ah, pinotage, South Africa’s signature grape – some love it, others don’t, but this one might be one of my favourites. Coming across more like a muscled gamay rather than a smoky, tire fire like some pinotage, this one has deep berry fruits, a tarry finish, but minimal smoke. Try pairing with simmer-all-day chili or a hearty stew on a cold day. CSPC + 790305 About $16-18

Another show-stopping wine speaking of power and authenticity, the Ossidiana is blend of nero d’Avola and corinto, rife with slightly gamey, earthy aromas, and smoke, asphalt, and blackberries, it also has remarkably soft tannins to go with charred plum fruits, assorted spices, and a persistent finish. Incredible stuff. CSPC +793796 About $42


Who knows, maybe your next favourite wine, is just around the corner.

Grace Gris de Koshu, Japan

Top Values by TOM FIRTH

As we settle down after the holidays, we notice our wallets are a little slimmer, and what better time to talk about wines that deliver a little extra value.

The wines below are a recap of our Top Value wines from the 2017 Alberta Beverage Awards.

Robert Mondavi 2015 Private Selection California, United States CSPC +392225 $16-18

M. Chapoutier 2015 Bila Haut Rouge Côtes du Roussillon Village, France CSPC +739422 $15-17

Montgras Antu 2014 Syrah Colchagua, Chile CSPC +80275 $18-20

Spier Signature 2017 Chenin Blanc Western Cape, South Africa CSPC +659037 $13-15

Barokes NV Bubbly Moscato Australia CSPC +790293 $5-6

Sandeman NV Founders Reserve Douro, Portugal CSPC +786342 $20-21

Torres 2016 De Casta Rosé Catalunya, Spain CSPC +619916 $14-16

Los Vascos 2015 Chardonnay Chile CSPC +738877 $17-18

El Petit Bonhomme 2015 Tinto Jumilla, Spain CSPC +169383 $14-16

Francois Lurton 2015 Les Fumees Blanches Sauvignon Blanc Côtes-de-Gascogne, France CSPC +472555 $15-16

Monteci 2015 Pinot Grigio della Venezie Valpolicella, Italy CSPC +789674 $13-14

Castano 2015 La Casona Old Vines Monastrell Yecla, Spain CSPC +738517 $11-13

In each category, some of the finest beverage professionals in the province determine a Best in Class and Judges Selections in blind tastings.

After the scores are determined, the Culinaire Magazine editors determine if any of the Judges Selections are delivering exceptional value, and those wines earn a coveted Top Value award.


Open That Bottle story by LINDA GARSON photography by JASON DZIVER

“Even when I was a little kid I loved restaurants, I loved how they sounded, I loved that noise, that buzz that restaurants have, the dishes, the cutlery, the voices, and the food,” says Mary Bailey, Editor in Chief/Publisher of The Tomato. Originally from Kingston, Ontario, Balley moved to Alberta to be near her sister, who was also a foodie, and studied geography and art at the University of Alberta. Their mother was a really good cook and their father had grown up on a farm. “I had orphan dinners where I’d have 20 people over for Thanksgiving; I loved to feed people, and during university I worked in restaurants to support myself,” she says. “I worked front of house, I really had no desire to be in the kitchen at that time.” Bailey was also very interested in wine. In the early ‘90s, she talked herself into a job at one of Edmonton’s first wine shops, and a few years later joined a partnership in another wine shop. At that time City Palate had just started in Calgary, and Bailey really liked it – so much that she asked to start it in Edmonton and co-publish. “It was a crazy leap, but I thought it was something Edmonton needed. I know a lot about food and drink, and I thought I could hire good writers,” she laughs. For three years Bailey co-published with City Palate and then 42

went out on her own. “There was no editorial control, there was zero financial control, all I did was pay a royalty for the name,” she explains, but in 2010 she decided to rebrand as The Tomato: “It was the best thing we ever did.” Meanwhile Bailey studied wine, achieving the International Sommelier Guild diploma, French Wine Scholar designation, a diploma from the Spanish Wine Academy, and her Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level 4 diploma. So what bottle is she is keeping for a special occasion? Bailey doesn’t collect any particular wine but is more of an emotional collector, as she buys wine when she visits wineries – and she visits a lot of wineries all over the world. “I like to buy wine when I’m there as it reminds you of your trip,” she says. “It’s a search for terroir, I’m really interested in wines that tell you who they are. I really love

Beaucastel, I’ve been following them for a long time,” she continues. “They’ve been biodynamic since the ‘70s, and it’s a family estate. But also the wines are so delicious and so loveable. They’re not intellectual wines in my opinion, they’re wines you want to have with your friends, and just really enjoy – especially on a cold night.” Bailey bought the 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape, and 2003 Hommage à Jacques Perrin in 2007 on her second visit to Beaucastel. “I was wondering why have I kept a 2003 for this long, because for most of them it was too warm,” she says. “But frankly I think I kept them because I forgot about them.” And when might she open the bottles? “I think for the 1998 I’ll wait until next year as it will be twenty years old, but I think this 2003 will get opened this winter – I’ll just crack it with some people who really like wine,” says Bailey. “Sometimes it’s scary to open certain wines for certain occasions because there’s such a build up. I wouldn’t make a big deal of it, I’d just open it and I’d always have another bottle in case it’s done – anything can happen with wine.”

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