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A L B E R TA / F O O D & D R I N K / R E C I P E S M A R C H 2 02 0

Tutto Italiano! (our Italian issue)



A Sense of Place | Italian Wine | Charcuterie | Amari | RTDs

I ntrodu c i n g B e F resh D i n n e r for 4


Volume 8 / No. 9 / March 2020


departments 6

Salutes and shout outs


Off the menu


Chefs’ tips and tricks

The latest news, openings, and happenings Winebar Kensington’s deconstructed tiramisu

Italian cuisine from non-Italian chefs


28 Spice it up—lasagne

Turning the ordinary into the extraordinary!

40 Etcetera…

Discovering new products


42 Open that bottle

Stephen Reid, CEO Creative Restaurant Group


Striking liquid gold


Canola oil put pioneering, organic, Highwood Crossing on the map, but their story goes much deeper by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth

A sense of place Why it matters where our food comes from by Linda Garson

22 Crowd-pleasing charcuterie Putting together the perfect sharing board by Daniel Bontje

ON THE COVER 26 From creamy to crispy

Many thanks to Chef Erin Boukall—the master of intricate, coloured, and patterned pasta—for her exquisite, delicate farfalle, and to photographer Dong Kim for capturing the graphic essence of this bow-tie pasta for our Italian issue!

Turning risotto into arancini by Natalie Findlay

30 Portuguese custard tarts

32 March spirits

From St. Patrick’s Day to Italian liqueurs! by Tom Firth and Linda Garson

34 Amaro

Quality amari are produced around the world, including Alberta by Linda Garson

36 ru ready 4 rtds?

There are over 800 different coolers in Alberta—how did that happen? by David Nuttall

38 Making the case

...for Italian wines, perfect for pairing with your food by Tom Firth

Make these iconic tarts in the comfort of your own kitchen by Renée Kohlman March 2020 | Culinaire 3


Welcome back! I

t feels like ages since we spoke with no February issue, and much has happened in that time—mostly good and some sad. Saying goodbye to loved ones is heart wrenching, and the toast to absent friends never more poignant than remembering the happy times when they were across the table from you. And for me, happy times are so often connected with food and drink. The meals we enjoyed; the people at the table; the lively, and often hilarious conversation; the wonderful food and memorable wines. This is why I love to run events, and why I have been hosting Vine & Dine pairing dinners many times a month for more than 14 years now. It gives me such pleasure to see people who have never met before sitting across a table as strangers

at the start of the evening, and booking their next dinner with their new dining companions—and now new friends—at the end of the evening. Since joining Culinaire and Vine & Dine together a year ago, and letting you know of the events in the magazine, the majority sell out now —this year our wine and culinary tours to Portugal in May and to Northern Italy in September both sold out fast—the Italy tour in just four days from opening for bookings in January. Italy is a country close to my heart, and even though I follow the grape and therefore travel a lot, it’s possibly the country I have visited more often than anywhere else. With such a strong culinary identity, even though the cuisine and wines are totally regional, there is a

sense of pride in the gastronomy and the produce that I don’t see in many other countries, and it’s fully justified. I’ll be back in Italy in April and September this year; so with pleasure, we bring you our third “Everything Italian” issue, celebrating the food, the culture, and the drinks of this beautiful country. Salute!

Linda Garson

Flavours from all over the world are just minutes away from home. Grocery. Bakery. Deli. Café.


EDMONTON Little Italy | Southside | West End

CALGARY Willow Park

Alberta / Food & Drink / Recipes

Editor-in-Chief/Publisher Linda Garson linda@culinairemagazine.ca Managing Editor Tom Firth tom@culinairemagazine.ca Multimedia Editor Daniel Bontje web@culinairemagazine.ca Sales Denice Hansen 403-828-0226 denice@culinairemagazine.ca Sky Hansen 403-993-0531 sky@culinairemagazine.ca Design J. Windsor Design Contributors Daniel Bontje, Elizabeth Chorney-Booth, Natalie Findlay, Mallory Frayne, Dong Kim, Renee Kohlman, David Nuttall

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

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

Our contributors Elizabeth ChorneyBooth

A freelance writer who focuses on stories about food and travel, Elizabeth is a Globe and Mail bestselling cookbook author, having contributed to two books with the Best of Bridge franchise in addition to writing for Culinaire and other publications. She is also a regular contributor to CBC Radio and the Calgary Herald. An avid traveler, Elizabeth lives in Calgary with her husband, two kids, and her ever-growing collection of vintage cookbooks.

Daniel Bontje

Coming from a background in psychology, Dan has always been passionate about how food and drink tastes, and also how it makes us feel and connect with others. Eager to try new things, Dan balances his love of cooking with his love of eating, and can be found scouring the city for new recipes and restaurants to share. Whether baking a wedding cake, hosting a pop up dinner party, or enjoying a glass with friends, Dan is always thinking about food!

403 283 8988 @verobistro 209 10th Street NW, Calgary

Natalie Findlay

After a brief period with an Easy Bake Oven, Natalie’s mom allowed her to use the big girl’s oven and set her on the course for a life filled with delicious outcomes. Since graduating from Le Cordon Bleu, Natalie has worked in restaurants, hotels, bakeries, and her own business. Currently, Natalie is a freelance writer, recipe developer, and photographer, and is loving every minute of it.

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

403 764 0878 @queensyyc 3927 Edmonton Trail NE, Calgary NOVEL AUTHENTICITY

SA LUTE S & S H O UTO UTS In Edmonton, Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse have now opened A Bite of Brazil at 10114 104 Street NW—a coffee shop serving up their most popular dishes, such as gluten-free, savoury and sweet cheese breads and brigadeiros (chocolate truffles) in a casual environment, along with their own specialty Brazilian coffee. Open 7 days. Calgary’s Bridgeland Distillery have created an exclusive membership Founders’ Club, for those that share their passion and to join them in the journey as their whisky matures. Perks include exclusive bottles throughout the maturation process and also a prerelease bottle of the first whisky. Details at bridgelanddistillery.com. Calgary has a gorgeous new event space, The Pioneer, on 8 Avenue SW in the extensively restored ex-Art Gallery of Calgary and upstairs in the old Divino space next door. A blank canvas with four different spaces, it’s ideal for weddings, corporate events, pop-ups, fundraisers, gala dinners, film screenings and more. Chef Judy Wood, of Meez Cuisine, has opened a gourmet restaurant in Calgary heritage mansion, Lougheed House. Open for lunch, brunch, and pre-booked high tea, Chef Wood has created a delicious, classic French comfort food menu using local ingredients. And after dining, enjoy a discounted admission to the house. Closed Monday/Tuesday. Second openings in Edmonton: Doughnut Party have almost a cult following since they opened three years ago, and now they’ve opened a second location, in Ritchie at 9610 76 Avenue. 9–2 pm, closed Mondays. And upscale, upbeat Guru Restaurant & Bar have opened the doors at their second restaurant offering more creative, Indian-inspired dishes in Ice District at 10111, 104 Avenue. Open from 11 am, closed Mondays. Deane House, in Inglewood, has reopened after four months of extensive repairs and restoration from a sprinkler 6 Culinaire | March 2020

malfunction last September. Chef Chris Barton, formerly of Anew Table, now leads the kitchen, with new shared plates and family-style dining menus for lunch, dinner, weekend brunch, afternoon cocktails, and Sunday live jazz, no corkage suppers. Lunch and dinner six days, closed Mondays.

inventive plant-based dishes from 15 Calgary restaurants, with wine and cocktails. New this year, the chefs will be vying for the “Best in Taste” trophy, with yours truly as one of the judges! Proceeds from this delicious event go to the Starlight Children’s Foundation. See you there!

Kensington has a new beer hall in the ex-Molly Malone’s spot, and it’s one for food lovers! Free House is the latest addition to the Creative Restaurants Group (Bonterra, Posto, Cibo and more) so we knew the food would be good, and it is! As a tasting room and showcase for staff and customers’ favourite microbreweries, 24 local beers are on tap at any one time; and as a food organization first who’s big on flavour, the chef-driven menu is designed to marry with these beers, with a focus on Alberta products. Enjoy—we certainly did! Open seven days for lunch and dinner.

City and Country Winery have been making wine in BC since 2017 and their goal to move production to Alberta has finally been realised! Calgary’s first urban winery and tasting bar is now open at 544 38A Avenue SE, making small batch, gluten-free and vegan wines with no added sugars, colours or flavours, in Flexcubes and Oenotanks rather than oak barrels. Enjoy a plate of charcuterie with a California zinfandel, and an Oregon or Okanagan pinot noir—all made in Calgary! Open Friday–Sunday.

Now in its third year, the celebration of vegan and vegetarian cuisine, Plants, Pinot and Potions, is taking place at WinSport on March 27. We’ll be sampling

Our Daily Brett’s new location is now open on 14 Street SW at 29 Avenue SW in Calgary—you can’t miss “Good Honest Food” painted on the outside wall! Now with 50 seats in this bright and modern new space, drop in for breakfast or lunch,

or pick up culinary treasures and prepared foods to take away. Open seven days. You’ll have heard the hype by now, and guess what? It’s all true! Chef Darren MacLean’s new fish and plant-based Japanese restaurant, NUPO, in Calgary’s Alt Hotel East Village, is outrageously excellent. No detail has been missed; the dark, dark, black bars, black blinds for the north-facing windows, smoked mirrors, exquisite crockery, extensive sake menu, and stunning tea-infused cocktails—you’ll already be impressed—and then comes the food. OMG. We had the Omakase, a Japanese Chef’s tasting menu, and possibly the best value in the city. Twelve unique dry-aged fish nigiri, hand-cut and dressed in front of you, plus several other dishes will wow you—and wait for the climax—no spoilers! Open seven days 5 pm–close. Reservations strongly advised! And then there’s Eight, hidden at the back of NUPO—a chef’s table of around 12 c ourses, cooked in front of you for only 8 people—and even more stunning, if that’s possible. But more anon about Eight as they’re completely booked up for a couple of months! Edmonton Downtown Dining Week is coming soon, from March 11–22 More than 40 downtown restaurants are serving up multi-course brunches and lunches for $20, and dinners at $35 and $50, and cocktail tours, farmers market tours, opera, a drag brunch, and bingo. Check edmontondowntown.com for details. Eight years in, National 17th has reopened after a major refurb—lighter and brighter with a raised level on two sides, and now tables and chairs as well as bench seating. The oyster bar is now a pizza station serving up completely delicious New York style, crispy crust 16-inch pies with malt in the dough, and by-the-slice after 9 pm. There’s a new beer board and wine by-the-glass program, as well as new cocktail, coffee, and loose tea programs. We love the new elevated menu; it’s a little healthier and definitely many cuts above your average pub food! (Insider info: don’t miss the S’More dessert!) 11 am–late.

March & April Vine & Dine series events Fair Trade Vine & Dine Foreign Concept

Vine & Dine Franca’s Italian Specialties

ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen

Domaine Gustave Lorentz Winemaker Dinner Mr. Chen’s Asian Brasserie

Thursday March 12 We’re celebrating Fair Trade values ahead of the National Fair Trade Conference with an always delicious pan-Asian pairing dinner at Chef Duncan Ly’s Foreign Concept! $81.75 ++ Fridays March 13, June 12, October 2 and November 13 Reserve now for our 6-course pairing dinners with chef demos at ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen—they book up very fast! $81.75 ++

Vine & Dine, Vero Bistro

Wednesday March 18, Thursday 26 Tuesday 31 We’re coming back for our 12th series at Vero Bistro to feast on Chef Jenny’s outstanding 6-course pairing menu— last year all three evenings sold out! $81.75 ++

1st day of Spring Chef’s Table Kitchen Party, Shoe & Canoe

Thursday March 19 People said our first Chef’s Table dinner here last month, upstairs in the private kitchens, was the best culinary event they’d been to! Now we’re celebrating spring with another superb 6-course pairing dinner here! $81.75 ++

Wednesdays April 15, 22, and 29 Italian is our most often requested cuisine, and we are coming back to Franca’s, one of Calgary’s hidden gems, for three 6-course pairing dinners! $81.75 ++

Tuesday April 21 A special, one-off premium Fine & Dine multi-course winemaker dinner with Domaine Gustave Lorentz from Alsace at this award-winning Mission restaurant! $89.90++

Chef’s Table Kitchen Party Upstairs at Shoe & Canoe

Friday April 24 As they’re so popular, we’re continuing our new series of 6-course Chef’s Table pairing dinners upstairs in the private kitchen at Shoe & Canoe into April and May! $81.75 ++

Culinaire Culinary Treasure Hunt

Saturday April 25 For our 6th annual culinary hunt we’ve planned 30 exciting destinations for you to discover, and more treats for you to enjoy! Register as a team of two or solo at culinairemagazine.ca

Our spring and autumn wine and culinary tours of Portugal and Northern Italy are both completely sold out. Watch for details of our 2021 tours in our autumn issues! Check out culinairemagazine.ca/events and contact linda@culinairemagazine.ca, 403.870.9802 to reserve your places or to arrange a private event. March 2020 | Culinaire 7


Winebar Kensington’s Deconstructed Tiramisu BY LINDA GARSON | PHOTO BY DONG KIM


ast year we ran a one-off special Italian Summer Pairing Dinner at Winebar Kensington, and the dessert was a deconstructed tiramisu. None of us had ever had anything like this before and we were all completely smitten! Just about everyone asked for the recipe, and we are really grateful to Chefs Mitchell Carey and Phil Turner of Winebar Kensington for sharing this with us—it was outstanding! Three elements come together beautifully to create this deconstructed tiramisu. To save time, swap out home-made ladies’ fingers for good quality store bought ones, but if you want to try your hand at making your own, please see Winebar Kensington’s recipe at culinairemagazine.ca. Mascarpone Panna Cotta

Serves 4

3 sheets of gold gelatin 3 cups (750 mL) 35% whipping cream 1 cup (250 g) mascarpone, room temperature

2 Tbs (28 mL) Kahlua or coffee liqueur (or more if you’re feeling fancy) 2 Tbs (28 mL) Amaretto (or more) 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract) 70 g granulated sugar 1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk

5. Pour combined mixture into silicone moulds or small disposable cups. Place in freezer to solidify, and once frozen enough to handle, unmould and allow to thaw in the fridge a couple of hours before serving.

1. Place gelatin sheets in iced water for 10 minutes or until soft. 2. Mix whipping cream, mascarpone, Kalua, Amaretto, vanilla bean (or extract) and granulated sugar in a medium pot. Slowly bring mixture to a boil while whisking to dissolve sugar and eliminate any clumps from the mascarpone. Once mixture is combined, taste and add more liqueurs to your preference. 3. Whisk in your soaked gelatin sheets until they dissolve fully. 4. Place buttermilk in a large vessel with pouring spout, such as a water jug or large measuring cup. Slowly introduce the hot cream mixture to your pouring vessel while whisking. It is important this is done slowly to temper the buttermilk.

2 cups (500 mL) of your favourite brewed coffee 75 g granulated sugar 4 g Agar Agar

Coffee Fluid Gel

Combine brewed coffee, sugar and agar agar. Whisk vigorously and continuously to heat up and activate the agar agar gelling agent. Pour mixture into a wide dish and allow to set in the fridge. Once set, cut up into small cubes about 1 cm x 1 cm and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth; you may need to carefully add a SMALL amount of water to help this process (add water slowly as too much can produce detrimental results) Tiramisu Assembly 1. Line-up your dessert plates. Place a panna cotta on each plate. 2. Transfer the coffee fluid gel to a squeeze bottle or piping bag and place several large dollops of fluid gel on the plate surrounding the panna cotta. If you do not want to pipe the fluid gel onto the plate, you can simply serve it in a small dish on the plate. 3. Place two ladies’ fingers on the plate.

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

8 Culinaire | March 2020




Meet up. Wind down.

An approachable public house inspired by western Canada’s best pints, spirits and provisions. 209 4 Avenue SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0C6 | 403 205 5416 | shoeandcanoe.ca Culinaire March Issue.indd 1

2/10/2020 12:57:22 PM

C H E F ’ S TI P S & TR I C KS



talian cuisine is enjoyed the world over for good reason. But good Italian-style dining can come from anywhere, and from chefs who aren’t of Italian heritage. Many recipes can have that distinctive Italian approach, but incorporate flavours or techniques that aren’t quite traditional. For our March issue, which always focuses on everything Italian, we spoke with six chefs from Calgary and Edmonton, who might not have an Italian pedigree but who make great Italian dishes. What we found from the chefs was a near-unanimous support for selecting the freshest, most authentic ingredients, and also a focus on keeping it simple. Which is really what good food is all about.

Thipp Xaykasem, executive chef of Allora in Calgary’s Aspen Woods community, talks of a simple concept for the restaurant; quality, local, house-made or imported ingredients directly from Italy— providing that authentic and traditional Italian experience their customers crave. What Chef Thipp likes most about Italian cuisine is, “The simplicity. There is nothing fancy or intricate when it comes down to the characteristics that tie a dish together. However, this can also make the creation of Italian dishes tricky. Simple ingredients with the emphasis on fresh and local can really come to life if executed correctly.” For making dishes at home, chef recommends having different qualities of olive oils, one for cooking and one of higher quality for drizzling, garnishing or dipping bread into. For cooking pasta, the water to pasta ratio should be 4 to 1 – also, the water should taste like the ocean—heavily salted. Lastly, he says, “Have fun and enjoy

yourself when cooking. Italian cooking is all about fun, delicious meals, and bringing the family together. The more people, the better.” Chef Thipp’s Signature Roasted Tomato Sauce is a phenomenal base for pasta, pizzas, and other dishes. Allora’s Signature Roasted Tomato Sauce Serves 6–8

425 g onion, medium dice ½ + ⅓ cup (200 mL) olive oil 50 g garlic, rough chop 1 tsp (4 g) dried oregano 1 tsp (4 g) granulated onion 1 tsp (4 g) granulated garlic 2 tsp (10 g) smoked paprika 1 tsp (5 g) chilli flakes ¾ cup (182 mL) tomato paste 3–960 g cans pureed San Marzano tomato 2 tsp (8 g) fresh basil 3 Tbs +1 tsp (50 mL) red wine vinegar To taste salt and ground pepper 1. In a saucepot, sweat onions in olive oil on medium heat. Season with pinch of salt, add garlic and spices, sweating for 1-2 more minutes. 2. Add tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes. Add pureed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, transfer to an oven safe pan. 3. Add fresh basil to the top of the sauce. Cover with parchment paper then cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 2 hours at 350º F (sauce will reduce significantly). Remove from oven. Let cool for about 15 minutes. 4. Remove aluminum foil carefully, discard parchment and basil. Puree with hand blender to your desired consistency. 5. Season with red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks.

10 Culinaire | March 2020

Medi Tatoub, Head Chef at Vivo, with two locations in Edmonton (Edmonton West and Sherwood Park) is no stranger to traditional, family style Italian dining. Vivo focuses on quality ingredients, locally sourced wherever possible, fresh pasta, and cooking from scratch. For kitchen “must-have’s” when making Italian cuisine, Chef Tatoub recommends, “A very good EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) from Italy or other Mediterranean countries, fresh basil, garlic, good quality marinara sauce from quality tomatoes, fresh pasta, (and for cheese) Parmigiana Reggiano or Grano Padano.” But in the end, “quality ingredients speak for themselves.” A favourite dish is the Seafood Linguine that reminds him of a favourite restaurant from his childhood in Morocco. “They had fresh sardines, langoustine, mussels, clams, you name it, and the taste of the fresh seafood was always amazing, which stuck in my head,” he says. So, when I was making the menu, I wanted to recreate the same flavours in my seafood linguine with its light yet full-flavoured sauce.” Chef Medi’s Seafood Linguine Serves 4–6

6 L water 600 g dry linguine pasta 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced 2 tiny fresh chilies, sliced or pinch of chili flakes 1∕3 cup (80 mL) olive oil 16 mussels, fresh or frozen 16 clams or store bought cans 1 cup clam juice, store bought 16 medium prawns, peeled and de-veined 12 baby Nova Scotia scallops Handful Italian parsley, freshly chopped ½ lemon wedge 3 filets of anchovies (optional) ½ cup (120 mL) white wine (optional) To taste salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil with 4 Tbs salt and cook linguine until al dente. 2. Meanwhile, in a deep skillet or frying pan, fry garlic and chili in olive oil over medium heat; do not brown. 3. Add mussels and clams, which will begin to open within minutes. Discard any that do not open. 4. Increase heat to high and add white wine and clam juice. Reduce by half. (The rapid boiling will create an emulsion between the liquid and the olive oil, an essential element in the texture of the

finished sauce). 5. Add prawns and cook for 1 minute. 6. Finally, add scallops and cook for 1 minute. Season, but be careful of adding too much salt—mussel juice can be very salty. 7. Drain pasta well but do not rinse. Return to pot and pour seafood and sauce over. Add parsley and toss together. Adjusting seasoning. 8. Arrange pasta and seafood with lemon and anchovies (if desired) in a large bowl and serve immediately. March 2020 | Culinaire 11

C H E F ’ S TI P S & TR I C KS

For Chef Sonny Sung, Corporate Chef of the Sorrentino’s Restaurant Group (with 6 Edmonton locations as well as Buco Pizzeria + Vino Bar, Bistecca Italian Steak House, and Caffè Sorrentino’s), “Italian food is about enhancing good ingredients at their peak. So many great dishes, from pizza margherita to spaghetti carbonara, are about a handful of ingredients with classic flavour combinations—chocolate and hazelnuts, tomato and basil, or melon and prosciutto.” Chef Sung has several recommendations for essential ingredients for Italian cuisine, Parmigiano Reggiano—a cheese of incomparable flavour, texture and richness. When fresh, ripe tomatoes aren’t available use good quality canned tomatoes. “I suggest La Molisana tomatoes, grown on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. Onions and garlic—white onions for cooking and red onions for salads because they are milder. When selecting garlic, the bulbs should be big, plump, and firm. Try black garlic for an intense, unique flavour experience.” 12 Culinaire | March 2020

As for any tips for the home cook, “less is more when it comes to Italian cooking. Use quality ingredients. Good tomatoes from Italy, Parmigiano-Reggiano, EVOO, fresh garlic. That’s all you need for the best Italian dish!” For a flavourful, yet simple side (or even as a main), try Chef Medi’s Truffle Potato Gnocchi. Truffle Potato Gnocchi Serves 4–6

750 g russet potatoes Olive oil, to drizzle and for sautéing 28 g shaved black truffle 1 Tbs (15 mL) truffle oil 60 g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated 1 pinch grated nutmeg 1 cup 00 flour (more if required)  2 Tbs sea salt  Garlic cloves (to taste) 1. Pre-heat oven to 375˚ F. 2. Wash potatoes in cold water and place on oven tray. Drizzle olive oil over top. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until soft. Remove and cool completely. Peel, then

mash in a food mill. 3. Place potatoes, truffle, truffle oil, cheese, and nutmeg in a stainless-steel mixing bowl, add flour and knead gently until the flour is fully incorporated and the dough is soft, smooth, and a little sticky, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Don’t overmix it, or the gnocchi will be tough; the dough should feel very delicate. 4. After kneading, cover with a kitchen towel and let ingredients rest for 20 minutes. 5. Divide the potatoes into 3 balls with the palms of both hands, and roll the dough on a floured surface into a rope about 2 cm in diameter 6. With a sharp knife, cut the rope crosswise every 2 cm into cubes and sprinkle them with a little more flour. 7. Fill a pot with 3 L of water and bring to a boil. Add salt and gnocchi. Once gnocchi begin to float to the surface, remove immediately. 8. Add garlic and olive oil to a frying pan on medium heat and add gnocchi. Toss until golden brown on both sides.Serve immediately with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

As the Executive Chef for three restaurants : Annabelle’s Kitchen, as well as Blink and Bar Annabelle, Chris Dewling is a busy man. Though only open a short time, Annabelle’s Kitchen in Calgary’s Garrison Woods community, has a focus on homemade Italian food that is approachable and well priced, starring pasta made fresh in-house, with great pizza, and appetizers. Chef ’s favourite dish at Annabelle’s is a classic pepperoni and mushroom pizza, though made with a mushroom duxelle and feta cheese on top for a stand-out expression, but he cheerfully acknowledges his love of a wintertime classic (it’s still winter, right?) of ravioli with squash and brown butter. As for sourcing the best ingredients, Chef Dewling points out, “Calgary is the home of many great Italian markets. They have a fantastic selection of cured meats, Italian cheeses, flours, canned tomatoes, etc. to help with any meal or occasion you are planning.” Though for the home cook he says, “A basic motto for Italian cooking is to keep recipes simplistic and saucy, while not cheaping out on the ingredients. And don’t forget to open that bottle of Brunello!” Hear hear! Chef Dewling’s Eggplant Parmesan is pure comfort food and easier to make than you might expect!


POINTS James Suckling

Eggplant Parmesan Serves 4–6

300 g shallots, sliced thin ⅔ cup (150 mL) extra virgin olive oil 1.2 Kg red cherry tomatoes To taste salt 1.5 Kg (about 4 medium) eggplants, sliced 1 cm thick 45 g Kosher salt, for curing 800 g fresh mozzarella, grated 300 g Grana Padano or Parmesan, grated Fresh basil, for garnish 1. Preheat oven to 350º F and grease a 9” square baking dish. 2. Start tomato fondue by sweating the sliced shallots in olive oil over medium heat for 10 minutes then add whole


POINTS James Suckling

cherry tomatoes. Simmer on low heat until the tomatoes burst open. Simmer for another 10 minutes and adjust seasoning. Puree in blender and set aside. 3. While making the fondue, salt the sliced eggplant for 30 minutes over a wire rack. Rinse well and dry on a clean cloth. 4. In the greased dish, begin layering as follows: I cup tomato fondue, eggplant slices, slightly overlapping, ⅓ of the grated mozzarella, and 50 g of the Parmesan. Repeat 3 times. 5. Bake for 25 minutes. Add 150 g of the remaining Parmesan on top and bake for a further 5 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Serve with the remaining tomato fondue and some fresh torn basil.

PASQUA PASSIMENTO RED & WHITE These elegant and velvety wines are inspired by Romeo and Juliet’s wall in Verona Italy where 3,000 love messages a day from around the world are written on Romeo and Juliet’s wall. To find a retailer scan here or

visit liquorconnect.com and search Pasqua Passimento

C H E F ’ S TI P S & TR I C KS

Chef Jenny Chan has a simple concept for Calgary’s Vero Bistro. Vero, in Italian, means “true,” and the bistro strives to bring to customers the true heart of Italian and Spanish cuisine. With annual trips to Europe, Chef Jenny hones her skills from great chefs, but also spends time in local markets to learn about new and traditional ingredients. One thing Chef Jenny loves about Italy is, “That it is so regional. Each region can be so different from the next, even from town to town. For example, Bolognese from Bologna, Parmigiano Reggiano from Parma, balsamic from Modena, white truffles from Alba. I also love how the ingredients are so fresh; all Italian recipes are about enhancing food. Italian food is simple and very honest.” As for a favourite dish at Vero, “it would have to be our seafood platter,” explains Chef Jenny. “Coming from Hong Kong, I grew up eating fresh seafood and shopping at the local fish markets on the pier—and I love(d) it so much.” More recently, she’s visited regions such as Bologna and Piedmont learning techniques and ingredients from notable chefs, including pasta making from a Nona that worked at a Michelin-starred restaurant for 20 years. For the home chef, Chef Jenny recommends, “Working at La Dolce Vita before I opened Vero, Franco—the owner—would always tell me, “good ingredients make great food”… (this is) what I think when I’m creating my menus.” But also, “buy fresh herbs like rosemary, Italian parsley, and basil, never dried, and use whole unpeeled garlic versus garlic from a jar,” and “never rinse or oil cooked pasta.” Who doesn’t love the richness and belly warming effect of perfectly made risotto? Try Chef Jenny’s Risotto Acquerello as an accompaniment to grilled proteins. 14 Culinaire | March 2020

Risotto Acquerello Serves 4–6

1 shallot, fine chop 60 g butter 100 g dried porcini, from Alba if available 100 g frozen porcini ⅓ cup (80 mL) dry white wine, non-aromatic 320 g risotto rice (Chef Jenny uses Carnaroli) 1.2 L vegetable stock or water To taste salt and pepper 60 g Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, shredded Basil oil (optional) White truffle paste from Alba (optional)

1. Put shallots into a pan with 20 g of butter and sauté over low heat for 15 minutes, so the shallots become translucent but not browned. Add porcini mushroom and dried porcini. 2. Deglaze with white wine over a very low heat, evaporate the alcohol, and add the rice. Start adding the hot broth, little by little until the rice is cooked but still al dente. When the rice has absorbed all the broth, add remaining butter and cheese. 3. Season with salt and Reggiano shavings. 4. Drizzle over a bit of basil oil or top with a teaspoon of white truffle paste from Alba (optional).

C H E F ’ S TI P S & TR I C KS Toshi Karino, chef and owner of Carino Bistro, built the concept around a simple idea. Italian food with a Japanese twist— blending a love of two distinct national cuisines. As for bridging the two, Carino was the wine director at Calgary’s Teatro for many years before striking out on his own with his own restaurants. Currently, at Carino, chef Karino raves about the Wagyu meat sauce and the agedashi mozzarella, but also shares what he loves about Italian food, “It’s not too complicated,” though Karino offers a single tip for home cooks, “don’t overcook the garlic.” Chef Toshi’s signature take on Cioppino, is a fusion of a fish stew with Japanese influences.

16 Culinaire | March 2020

Carino’s Sweet and Hot Tomato Cioppino Serves 4

4 king crab, meat only 200 g white fish Ramen, boiled egg, char-siu pork (optional)

50 g chopped onion Olive oil 15 g chopped garlic 1 440 g can diced tomatoes 50 g sugar 10 g Japanese Ichimi spice (ground red chili pepper) 1 Italian sausage, casing removed and chopped To taste salt and paprika To taste chili flakes 1 cup (240 mL) dashi broth (buy dashi powder in Asian markets and sprinkle it in boiling water) 1¼ cups (300 mL) tonkotsu soup (buy ramen broth at any market) 1 cup (240 mL) tomato sauce 4 large prawns, head on 12 clams 12 mussels 4 scallops

1. Cook onion in a little olive oil until brown. Add garlic (do not brown), add tomatoes and sugar, bring to simmer stirring constantly. Add Ichimi and cook 30 minutes, add a little water. Do not let burn. 2. In a Dutch oven, heat a little olive oil over medium high heat. Add sausage, let brown then add vegetables from step 1. Add pinch of salt and chili flakes, cook 3–5 minutes, don’t let brown, and lower heat. Add dashi broth, tonkotsu soup, zucchini, and tomato sauce. Bring just to boil, then lower heat. Add prawns, cook 2 minutes then add rest of seafood. 3. Cover Dutch oven with the lid and cook a few minutes until the clams and mussels have opened and the flesh looks plump. 4. Add salt and paprika to taste, bring to boil, and add cooked ramen, egg, char-siu.

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anola oil, the product that comes from the great yellow crop of the prairie provinces, has never been as sexy as olive oil, its Mediterranean cousin. Despite its usefulness, canola gets a bad rap from the anti-GMO crowd and is often downplayed because of its relatively neutral flavour and general ubiquity. But canola is one of Alberta’s key crops and something that food lovers are increasingly embracing, thanks to pioneering organic producers like Highwood Crossing in High River, Alberta. Although they make plenty of other grain-based goodies, Highwood Crossing’s calling card is its organic hard-pressed canola oil, an unrefined and non-GMO

18 Culinaire | March 2020


oil that’s packed with distinctive flavour. Popular with home cooks and restaurant chefs alike, the oil may be what put Highwood Crossing on the modern map, but owners Tony and Penny Marshall’s story goes much deeper. A relatively small farm on the Highwood River, Tony Marshall’s family has been farming at Highwood Crossing since 1899, but the company’s roots as an organic grower started in the late ‘80s when the couple took over the farm. In the past the mixed-use farm had been used for grain, cattle and heavy horses—Tony’s great grandfather and his neighbour, George Lane of the Bar U Ranch, brought the first Percheron horses to Canada from France—but the younger Marshalls

wanted to do something different, while still paying homage to the roots of the farm. “When Penny and I got married and took over the farm, we fairly quickly made the transition back to organic production,” Tony says. “My grandfather and great-grandfather would have farmed organically, but it would have been organic by default. We wanted to use many of the same practices that they would have used.” The Marshalls didn’t have one definitive reason for going organic, but they did have young children at the time and were conscious of what they were putting into the world, and as a professional home economist, Penny understood

Once the farm had been chemical-free for three years and could be certified organic, the Marshalls set to developing some commercial products.

the value of good, chemical-free food. With the farm’s beautiful location on the river the Marshalls were also concerned about chemical run-off. As well, back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, there was a noticeable shortage of organic products in the local market that they were able to fill. Once the farm had been chemical-free for three years and could be certified organic, the Marshalls set to developing some commercial products. During some business travel Tony came across an oil press and started pressing canola and flax oil to sell at local farmers’ markets. The first day of sales was a rousing success— people loved the idea of the organic oils and clamoured to buy them. Feeling like they’d hit the jackpot, the Highwood Crossing team returned the next week and quickly realized that premium oil isn’t a weekly purchase for most people. “People were blown away and our first week of sales was incredible,” Tony says. “But I came back from that second market and told Penny that we’d need some more products. So she developed a recipe for a muffin and pancake mix and our power

grains hot cereal, which is a blend of flax and a number of different whole grains. We had some friends who had a little mill and we started milling different flours. So we went from basically having just two products to the 40 different products that we now sell.” While Highwood Crossing will always be best known for its oils, Tony says that the label’s granolas and steel cut oatmeal well outsell the oils, largely because many customers consume them ever day. The rise in organic bread bakers has also put the company’s flours into high demand. As its popularity grew in local farmers’ markets, Highwood Crossing began moving into the retail market, starting with health food stores like Calgary’s Community Natural Foods and eventually moving into major supermarket chains all over the province. The brand is also a favourite of many restaurant chefs and appears on menus of places like the River Café in Calgary, which was an early adopter of local organics. The farm will also ship orders placed on highwoodcrossing.com anywhere in the country.

When the Marshalls started farming organically they didn’t foresee themselves being at the forefront of a movement, but 30 years later, Tony says that they were clearly “at the right place at the right time” marketing-wise. While customers love Highwood Crossing for its quality as well as its organic nature, the Marshalls don’t consider themselves organic activists. They just continue to make wholesome food in a way that makes both themselves and their customers happy. “What we’re doing works for us,” Tony says. “It works for the size of our land. It works for our belief system and our philosophy of being able to add value and to sell either directly to the end user or to restaurants and bakeries. We’re not getting up on an apple crates and saying this is the way that everyone should do it. But it works for us.” Cookbook author and regular contributor to CBC Radio, Elizabeth is a Calgary-based freelance writer, who has been writing about music and food, and just about everything else for her entire adult life.

March 2020 | Culinaire 19

A sense of place BY LINDA GARSON

Prosciutto di San Daniele DOP

One of the most prestigious prosciutto varieties, Prosciutto di San Daniele DOP is made from only super high quality pork legs and sea salt in the little village of San Daniele in Friuli, the most north-eastern corner of Italy.

Gorgonzola DOP

Taking its name from a small town in Lombardy, near Milan in the north of Italy, Gorgonzola Dolce DOP is a soft and buttery blue cheese, aged for a minimum of 50 days, while Gorgonzola Piccante DOP ages longer to give a stronger flavour and a more firm and crumbly texture.







an there be a country whose food and way of life are more intrinsically linked than Italy? Where people take such pride in their food history and heritage? We’re becoming increasingly interested in the food we eat—where it comes from, and how it’s made—and for fans of Italian food, we’re lucky to have so much choice here, but is it really Italian? How do we know it’s not an imitation? In 1992, the European Union created a system to guarantee authenticity and traceability, and protect valuable European food names to preserve their tradition and character. Fourteen years later, it opened up to include products

20 Culinaire | March 2020

San Marzano Tomatoes of Agro Nocerino Sarnese DOP Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP

Water buffalos were originally valued for their strength and to pull the farmer’s plough, but their milk has been used since the 12th Century to make this stretchy, melting cheese from Campania.

from all countries. What this means is that only Italian products made in Italy, and that meet the most stringent quality criteria can be classified as DOP—short for Denominazione di Origine Protetta (or in English, PDO—Protected Designation of Origin) where everything must be produced and processed in the area, and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication), which is less strict—the product may be processed in the specific region, but the ingredients might come from a different area. It’s a win-win, benefiting us in being able to identify the real thing and know where it comes from, and also benefiting the farmers and producers by supporting

Coming only from between Salerno and Naples in Campania, southwest Italy, San Marzano tomatoes have just about reached cult status, and the only tomatoes allowed for making authentic Neapolitan pizza.

local businesses and sustainable rural development. So how do we know which products are the real McCoy? Genuine DOP certified products will have a red and yellow label, which includes a serial number, and many restaurants will proudly write DOP next to the ingredient on their menu. PGI foods will show a blue and yellow label. Italy has 299 registered products, more than any other country, starting in 1996 with cheeses such as ParmigianoReggiano, Pecorino Romano, and Asiago, and meats like Prosciutto Toscana. What are we likely to find in our stores? Above are a few of our favourites to look out for.

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Culinaire | March 2020

pleasing charcuterie BY DANIEL BONTJE | PHOTOS BY DONG KIM


echnically, a “charcuterie” is a pork-specific butcher shop and the pork

products inside, but when we talk charcuterie boards, that’s not what the typical Canadian is thinking. Instead, we have seen a resurgence of these colourful sharing boards in restaurants and across Instagram accounts, overflowing with meats and cheese, and with nuts, olives, fruits, jellies and jams. The combination of ease and variety make it perfect for nibbles any time—a robust board and a bottle of wine could be the perfect nosh with friends. But putting together a sharing board can be daunting for the same reason that it can be fun—there doesn’t seem to be any rules. Many thanks to the Southside Italian Centre Shop in Edmonton for putting together such a wonderful array of meats and cheeses for the charcuterie board shown here. March 2020

| Culinaire


We reached out to Sera Duros, co-owner at The Italian Store, and Gino Marghella, General Manager at the Italian Centre Shop, to compare notes and tips for making charcuterie boards easy, balanced, and crowd-pleasing. Sometimes, the stress can start with the board itself. “I always tell people not to worry what kind of board or platter they have,” says Duros, “incorporate the little dishes you have there as well,” and Marghella echoes

charcuterie boards because they are easy to eat, last well at room temperature, and have good intensity of flavour. “If you have kids around, pepperoni sticks or a farmer sausage is great,” says Duros. Cheese follows a similar rule—look for contrast and variety. “What I usually do is pick one or two cheeses and pair them with the right jam or honey.” recommends Marghella.”Prima Donna with pepper jelly, appenzeller with fresh green grapes,

A simple rule is to think in terms of contrast—if you have dried meat, like salami, then look to balance it out with a softer texture, like prosciutto. that sentiment. “I like to use little bowls,” he suggests, “they add a different element and some height.” Once you have your surface, Duros suggests starting with meat as the anchor. “You need to have good quality beef, you need to have some pork, and you want to have different textures of meat.” A simple rule is to think in terms of contrast—if you have dried meat, like salami, then look to balance it out with a softer texture, like prosciutto. Don’t scatter it across your board either, suggests Marghella. “Putting big groups of meat together makes it easy to tell what’s what; it makes it easier to eat and it helps the board look bigger and fuller.” Cured meats are traditional for 24 Culinaire | March 2020

manchego and quince, brie and camembert go with any jelly!” “My favourite?” Duros laughs, “I guess it is a good dry cheese like a Reggiano or maybe a Manchego, I think it’s a must!” Cut or crumble those harder cheeses, but with softer cheeses like Camembert, leave them whole and let people cut their own. Those softer cheeses are crying out for a vehicle such as sliced, toasted baguette, or go for crackers that are sturdy and load-bearing, but remember that the crackers are not the star of the show. Marghella tells us “I always like thin, crunchy breadsticks, but focaccia too can bring out a different quality in the meat.” Once you have your meat, cheese, and carbs, it’s time to add the accoutrements

that will take things to the next level, and Duros has plenty of ideas to elevate and tie together your charcuterie board. “Roasted peppers, some nice dips like an olive tapenade, maybe a bowl of Marcona almonds to give it some height—the bowl also is a great way to separate out nuts for allergies,” she adds. While sweet fruits are an ideal component, many of the classic choices like sliced figs, grapes, or dried cherries, share two key features. Firstly, they are bite-sized and easy to handle, and they still look good hours later. Pears and brie may sound nice at first, but after a couple of hours they may look a little sad. Preserves and honey are another great way to add variety, and a little goes a long way. “It’s about being creative, having different colours, and that there are different pairings too,” says Marghella. Above all, put your personality on the board, use it as an opportunity to share the flavours you love, and don’t be afraid to experiment. The most important part of enjoying charcuterie is picking the right people to enjoy it with, and the same rules apply: look for variety and contrast, and remember the wisdom of keeping the nuts a little bit separate. Eager to try new things, Dan balances his love of cooking with his love of eating, and can be found scouring the city for new restaurants and recipes to share.


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Creamy to crispy: risotto to


isotto easily turns from a rich, luxurious rice dish into arancini—a crispy, fun, rice dish. A productivity champion in the kitchen, it’s versatile with many flavour combinations, easily transitions from mains to appetizers, freezes well, loved by all ages, and all this with fairly little work. Sometimes I make risotto just so I can make arancini. A “leftover” dish that improves on the original. Traditionally, arancini are made bigger and served as a main, however, making them smaller increases the crunchy to creamy texture ratio, which is always a winning scenario. Basic Risotto

Serves 8 (reminder: you are making enough so you purposefully have leftovers to use for arancini) 3 cups (750 mL) stock 2 Tbs (30 mL) olive oil ½ large onion, small dice 3 cloves garlic ½ cup (125 mL) white wine 2 cups arborio/risotto rice 1 tsp salt ¾ cup parmesan cheese, grated

4. Add parmesan cheese, stir and serve. Note: it is easy to alter this recipe to add your favourite flavours. Try a different cheese (like a goat cheese), and easy additions like spring peas, summer corn, and root vegetables.

To Make Arancini

1. Heat olive oil in a high-sided pot until it reaches 350º F. 2. Scoop cold risotto into balls and roll between your palms to make sure they stick together. Roll in flour, then beaten egg, then panko. 3. Add balls into oil being careful not to overcrowd the pot. 4. Fry approximately 5 minutes turning as they start to brown. 5. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve. Store in oven on low to keep warm as you finish frying all the arancini balls.

Green Goddess Arancini Makes 10 x 4 cm balls

2 cups leftover risotto 1 egg, beaten ½ cup flour ¾ cup panko (or fine breadcrumbs) Method as above

Green Dip for Arancini Makes 2 cups

1½ avocados ½ cup (125 mL) plain Greek yogurt 5 cilantro leaves, rough chop 4 sprigs parsley leaves, rough chop 3 pickled jalapeños, rough chop 1 Tbs (15mL) jalapeño liquid

Green Goddess Risotto

Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a hand blender until smooth.

3 cups (720mL) vegetable stock (or as per rice package) 1 Tbs (15 mL) olive oil 3 green onions, thinly sliced 2 cloves garlic, rough chop ¼ cup (60 mL) white wine 1 cup arborio/risotto rice 1 tsp salt 2 Tbs basil, chiffonade 2 tsp tarragon, rough chop 2 Tbs parsley, chiffonade ¼ cup watercress, rough chop

Mushroom Risotto

Serves 4

1. Heat stock in a small pot over medium heat. Let simmer until needed. 2. Heat olive oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat. Add onion and let 1. Heat stock in a small pot over medium cook 5–8 minutes. Add garlic and let heat. Let simmer until needed. cook another 3 minutes. Add white wine 2. Heat olive oil in a medium sized pot and let reduce 5 minutes. over medium heat. Add onion and cook 3. Add rice and salt. Slowly start adding 5–8 minutes. Add garlic and let cook your stock 1 ladle at a time and stir the another 3 minutes. Add white wine and risotto. let reduce 5 minutes. This process should take about 20–30 3. Add rice. Slowly start adding your minutes and the riceSTORY should AND be creamy stock 1 ladle at a time and stir the risotto. PHOTOS BY NATALIE FINDLAY but with a slight bite. This process should take about 20–30 26 Culinaire | March 2020

minutes and the rice should be creamy but with a slight bite still. 4. When ready add herbs and stir well, before serving.

Serves 4

3 cups (750 mL) mushroom stock (or your preference) 2 Tbs butter 1 small onion, small dice 3 cloves garlic, rough chop 8 sprigs thyme 2 cups mixed mushrooms, chopped small ½ cup (125 mL) white wine

arancini 1 cup arborio/risotto rice 2 Tbs fresh oregano leaves, rough chop 1 tsp salt and pepper 1/2 cup pecorino cheese, grated 1. Heat stock in a small pot over medium heat. Let simmer until needed. 2. Heat butter in a medium sized pot over medium heat. Add onion and let cook 5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and let cook another 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and let cook 5 minutes. Add white wine and let reduce 5 minutes. 3. Add rice, oregano, salt and pepper. Slowly start adding your stock 1 ladle at a time and stir the risotto. This process should take about 20-30 minutes and the rice should be creamy but with a slight bite still. 4. Add pecorino cheese, stir and serve. Note: you can reconstitute dried mushrooms and use the water as your mushroom stock.

Mushroom Arancini Makes 10 x 4 cm balls

2 cups leftover risotto 1 egg, beaten ½ cup flour ¾ cup panko (or fine breadcrumbs) Method as above Natalie is a freelance writer, photographer and pastry chef. A graduate of Cordon Bleu’s pastry program, she manages her own business too to create custom-made cakes.





28 Culinaire | March 2020

f you’ve ever travelled to Portugal, you’ve likely stuffed your face with ultra binge-worthy Portuguese custard tarts. These tarts are all about contrast. You have the shatteringly crisp, buttery pastry that holds a sweet and creamy custard filling. The tops of the tarts develop lovely caramelized bits thanks to the blistering heat of a very, very hot oven. If you don’t have a trip to Portugal planned anytime soon, there is good news! You can make these iconic tarts in the comfort of your own kitchen. Granted, there are quite a few steps involved, especially when it comes to making your own laminated pastry, but the finished product is very much worth it. There aren’t many ingredients, but technique is of utmost importance. Give yourself plenty of time, read the entire recipe through first, and be prepared to have your mind blown with the first bite.

custard tarts Portuguese Custard Tarts Makes 12 tarts

Dough 1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour ½ tsp salt ⅓ cup (80 mL) cold water ½ cup (125 mL) very soft unsalted butter (the consistency of sour cream) 1. Combine flour, salt and water in a large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be sticky—you may need to add a little more water. Dump the dough onto a work surface generously sprinkled with flour. Dust a little more flour on top of the dough and knead for a minute to form a round. Cover the dough with your bowl and let it rest for about 30 minutes. 2. Roll the dough into a 30 cm square about 3 mm thick, dusting with flour as necessary. The dough is very sticky! 3. Spread ⅓ of the butter over ⅔ of the dough, leaving a 1 cm border. Flip the unbuttered side over the middle of the square and fold the opposite end over it like a letter. Straighten the edges. 4. Turn the dough 90º and dust it with

flour. Flip the dough over and sprinkle with more flour. Roll the dough into a 3 mm thick rectangle repeating the buttering and folding process. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. 5. Sprinkle the dough with more flour and roll into a 30 cm square about 3 mm thick. Spread remaining butter over the dough leaving a 2.5 cm border on the top edge. Starting with the side closest to you, tease up the edge of the dough and tightly roll it away from you into a log. Be sure to brush off any excess flour from the underside. When you get to the end of the dough, wet the edge with a bit of water just so the dough sticks. Straighten the edges and roll up tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 3 hours but preferably overnight. Sugar Syrup ¾ cup granulated sugar ¼ cup (60 mL) water 1 cinnamon stick 1 lemon, zest in long strips In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook the syrup, without stirring until it reaches 210º to

215º F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon peel. Let it infuse for 30 minutes, then remove the cinnamon stick and lemon peel. Custard Base and Assembly ⅓ cup (80 mL) all-purpose flour ¼ tsp salt 1½ cups (375 mL) whole milk 6 large egg yolks 1 tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract 1. Preheat the oven to 500º F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to heat. 2. Whisk flour, salt, and milk together in a medium saucepan. Be very thorough with your whisking! Put the pot on medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. 3. Whisk the yolks into the cooled milk. Stir in the cooled sugar syrup and vanilla. Mix until well combined then strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large liquid measuring cup. 4. Unwrap the dough and slice it into 12 equal pieces. Place 1 piece of dough into each muffin cup. Dip your thumb into cold water and press into the centre of the swirl, pushing the dough against the bottom and sides of the cup until it reaches to about 3 mm above the top. Fill each cup ¾ with custard. Try not to get any custard on the pan as it will burn. Carefully place in the oven on the baking sheet and bake until the pastry is browned and bubbly, and the tops of the custard start to caramelize, about 12–14 minutes. 5. Remove from the oven. Let the pan cool for 10 minutes then remove the tarts. An offset spatula is great for tart removal. Let the tarts cool 20 minutes.

Renée Kohlman is a busy food writer and recipe developer living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her debut cookbook All the Sweet Things was published last year. March 2020 | Culinaire 29


Culinaire | March 2020

Lasagne Spice it up BY MALLORY FRAYN


asagne is one of those dishes that almost immediately conjures up memories of comfort and care. Whether you recall enjoying the dish around your family table having watched your mom or grandma spend the afternoon putting it together, or love to order it as a special treat at your favourite Italian restaurant, it’s a classic for a reason. Who doesn’t like layers of pasta, cheese, and sauce? Without trying to mess too much with tradition, there are always ways to tweak a recipe to transform it into the best version of itself. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to top-notch lasagne in no time. “Pasta” It goes without saying that lasagne noodles are the traditional pasta of choice for lasagne, but there are plenty of other starchy and non-starchy options to layer with instead. Ultimately the key is that you want whatever you choose to be able to hold up in the layering process. If it is too delicate, it might disintegrate when you layer in sauces or other components that are high in moisture. Staying within the gluten-based realm, crêpes are an excellent standby. The benefit with these is that they don’t need to be boiled first. So, if you have any leftover from brunch, rather than throwing them away, save them for dinner. There are also a number of different vegetables that will do the trick. Thinly sliced and blanched (par-cooked) potatoes or sweet potatoes can be used for a take on scalloped potatoes that is more focused on the fillings than the tuber itself.

Seared or roasted zucchini or eggplant slices can alternately be layered in if you want to skip on the carbs altogether. Sauce Lasagne is traditionally layered with a fairly bog-standard tomato sauce, with or without meat, and occasionally, bechamel, to add in a layer of creaminess. Keeping with this formula, it’s a nice complement to have one sauce that is more acidic and vegetable-forward, and another that brings more depth and richness to the table. Keep in mind that some cheeses, like ricotta, have a “self-saucing” effect that melts into the various layers. For picky eaters, you can sneak more vegetables into your lasagne by finely grating carrots or zucchini into your favourite tomato sauce recipe. Or ditch the tomato sauce completely and use another vegetable-based puree like baba ghanoush, made from pureed eggplant. For carnivores, get meaty and layer your lasagne with slow-cooked Bolognese, or make a quick sausage ragù with spicy Italian sausage or chorizo. If you’d rather go vegetarian, load up on mushrooms for that meaty texture and flavour. Fillings Aside from the pasta and sauce, the third component typically layered into lasagne is, you guessed it, cheese. While mozzarella and provolone are often used because of their ability to melt, there are ultimately more flavourful options to be had. You can always double up with a mild, melting cheese and a stronger option that can be used more sparingly for pops of

flavour. Blue cheese can add some pungency, whereas gruyère and comté are prized for their nutty, fruity notes. A good, aged cheddar never hurt either and can add more of a homey, “mac n’ cheese” vibe to the end product. Don’t forget to think about creamy cheeses that can be layered in as more of a spread. Ricotta is a go-to and can always be amped up with fresh herbs, sliced olives, or even chopped pickles for salt and crunch. Traditional prairie recipes often sub in cottage cheese as a cheaper alternative to ricotta and frankly, it works just as well. Don’t like the chunks? Use an immersion blender to puree it before proceeding. If you’re looking to make a non-dairy lasagne, season the bottom of the pan and prevent things from sticking, add a small layer of sauce to start. Then add your “noodle” layer, creamy component, and more sauce. Repeat. Make sure you leave room for at least three layers of each of your components. Ideally, the more layers, the better. Don’t forget to top with plenty of cheese to help protect everything underneath, particularly if you’re using pasta, because you don’t want the noodles to dry out. And as tempting as it is to slice into it right away, let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes when you pull it from the oven to give it time to set up. After all, you want to be able to admire all those beautiful layers! Mallory is a Calgary freelance writer now living, learning and eating in Montreal. Check out her blog becauseilikechocolate.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @cuzilikechoclat March 2020 | Culinaire 31



hile our march issue is typically focused on everything Italian, we’d be remiss if we ignored one of the most beloved holidays in Canada where we celebrate the Emerald Isle (or at least the excuse to go out and celebrate) with St. Patrick’s Day on the 25th. But worry not; we have some unique and delicious Italian bottles as well, which most likely are brand new to most enthusiasts. Below are our picks of new-toAlberta Nocino and vermouth from Italy with some Irish whiskey if Guinness isn’t your thing. Erin go Bragh my friends!

32 Culinaire | March 2020

Paddy Irish Whiskey One of my first whiskey experiences as it was tucked in the back of my parent’s liquor cabinet, and I still love it. Plenty of citrus and honey with a decidedly floral character. Light, clean, well balanced on the palate, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—it’s a rock-solid dram. CSPC +784994 $33–35 Tullamore DEW Irish Whiskey Another classic whiskey well-known to aficionados, Tullamore is triple distilled and expressive with citrus and toasted characters, a bit of spice and an almostsweet finish. Quite versatile, it’s best neat or with a bare splash of water. CSPC +71746 $35-38 The Quiet Man 8 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey Still one of my favourite examples, the Quiet Man is aged in bourbon casks and is loaded with apple and honey notes, dried cereals, and spice. Best with a drop or two of water, it’s a perfect counter argument to the claim that Irish whiskey doesn’t hold a candle to Scotch. CSPC +786604 $52–54

Barr an Uisce Wicklow Rare Small Batch Blended Irish Whiskey Very new to our market, matured in bourbon casks and finished in sherry cask, the note recalls dried nuts, cranberries and apples, with a generous, darker honey tone. Good mouthfeel, and running a touch hot at 43 percent, it’s warming, spicy, and delicious. CSPC +802506 About $75–80 Casoni Nocino di Modena, Emilia Romagna, Italy Wow. Made by infusing green walnut husks in alcohol with a touch of sugar, Nocino di Modena is a totally seductive digestif with a lip-smacking, almost balsamic intensity, and one you won’t want to share. Sip it slowly and contemplate the world, or pour it over ice cream! CSPC +829197 500 mL, $38–$40 Pio Cesare Vermouth Di Torino From a secret family recipe locked away for more than 60 years, this outstanding very limited vermouth is available to us again! 27 aromatic herbs are macerated with Pio Cesare’s moscato d’Asti and chardonnay to produce a bright and lemon-fresh, mouth filling, memorable sipper. CSPC +807119 around $78

MOUNT ROYAL IN CALGARY corner of 16 t h a v e . & 8 t h s t. S W 7 a m - 10 p m e v e r y d a y

Photos are for illustrative purposes only. A division of Save-On-Foods LP, a Jim Pattison business. Proudly Western Canadian Owned and Operated.




raditionally served after a meal to aid digestion, and alleviate that bloated and stuffed feeling when you’ve overindulged, amari (the plural of amaro) are made from herbs, flowers, roots, and bark, macerated in alcohol, and can be aged in barrels or in the bottle. Meaning “bitter” in Italian, amari are becoming popular in Alberta as a brown after-dinner sipping drink, but these complex, sweetly bitter, herbal liqueurs are perfect for mixing in any number of cocktails: Try as a spritz using a 3-1-1 recipe: three parts prosecco, one part amaro, and one part soda water. They also make a wonderful Black Manhattan with 2 parts bourbon to 1 part amaro, and a maraschino cherry for garnish. Make an amaro negroni with 1 part gin, 1 part Campari, and 1 part amaro instead of the sweet vermouth, and stir over ice. Garnish with orange peel. Or just serve well chilled—with ice if you like—and a twist of lemon or orange peel. A little goes a long way! While traditionally Italian, with the surge of craft spirits, many quality amari are being produced around the world, including Alberta. Here are a few that are highly recommended.

34 Culinaire | March 2020

Nonino Amaro Quintessentia Fruili, Italy Nonino’s grappa is infused with liquorice, rhubarb, saffron, sweet orange, and tamarind, as well as nearby Alpine roots and spices, and aged in barrels for five years when it develops an alluring burnt orange flavour. Sip slowly. CSPC +707179, $50 Venti L-Amaro Italiano, Italy The all-Italian amaro; Venti means “twenty” in Italian and one botanical is chosen from each of the 20 regions of Italy, and then blended to produce this aromatic and emotive sipper. CSPC +820748, $50 Vecchio Amaro del Capo Calabria, Italy 29 herbs, roots, flowers, and fruits are blended to create Vecchio amaro. Flavours of sweet orange blossom mingle with anise and mint for a bittersweet, and well balanced, after dinner digestif. CSPC +801961, $36–41 Amaro Tosolini, Fruili, Italy Of the 15 botanicals steeped in Eau de Vie in ash wood barrels, you’ll taste gentian, star anise, cloves, mint, and ginger, alongside wormwood, Seville oranges and lemon balm. Perfect for a spritz! CSPC +795127, $40–$44

Casoni Heritage Amaro Emilia Romagna, Italy A sweet, yet earthy, nose comes from blending orange, cardamom, St John’s Wort, and wormwood together with 16 more botanicals. A slightly sweeter style, this amaro would make a great Negroni. CSPC +829191, around $35 Amaro Meletti, Le Marche, Italy A rich and complex nose of caramel follows through onto the palate, with a long aftertaste of brown sugar. Meletti Amaro would be ideal in your coffee, or try in a Black Manhattan cocktail. CSPC +810007, $35 Wild Life Distillery Wildcat Amaro Canmore, Alberta Wild Life have infused their vodka with citrus peels, vanilla, mint, wormwood, gentian, and cacao, then blended it with Fallentimber’s mead for this bittersweet amaro—idea for a Rocky Mountain spritz! CSPC +823121 500 mL $37 Bridgeland Distillery Spolumbo’s Amaro, Calgary, Alberta Bitter chocolate and vanilla appear after an initial anise aroma, giving way to caramel and fennel in this California wine-based amaro. Named for five Calgary entrepreneurs; sip or try in a Black Manhattan. CSPC +828642, 500 mL $45

Santa Margherita S.p.A. Via Ita Marzotto, 8 30025 Fossalta di Portogruaro (VE) Tel. +39 0421 246 111 Fax +39 0421 246 417 www.santamargherita.com info@santamargherita.com



from the producers of the #1 Selling Santa Margherita S.p.A. Santa Margherita S.p.A. Pinot Grigio in Canada Via Ita Marzotto, 8 Via Ita Marzotto, 8

Pinot Grigio

bbiadene Prosecco Superiore G Brut Glera

oon ION origin


: vel

300 – 500 m (985 – 1,640 ft.) above sea level

OIL: ith stones

Morainic origin, with little depth Sylvoz


1,800 - 3,500 vines per hectare (730 – 1,415 per acre)


Second half of September


11,50 % vol.


8 - 10 °C (46 - 50 °F)


Medium-sized, tulip-shaped glass, narrowing at the rim


2 - 3 years

rds the rim


wine is put into pressurized tanks for the prise de mousse. There for 18-20 days, with the aid of selected yeasts, at a controlled e of 14-16 °C (57-61 °F). When the desired pressure has been round 6 bars), the wine is chilled to - 4° C in order to arrest the on and encourage stabilization. The sparkling wine is then kept rigio grapes lled temperature of 8-10 °C (46-50 °F) for at least a month, in ontact with vor its natural maturation in contact with the yeasts that have r.red-wine Following vinification on the bottom ). Once the of the pressurized tank. At the end of this phase, 24-26 °C. Malolactic nd isobaric ature of 15 -bottling is carried out.

and partly in French

30025 Fossalta di Portogruaro (VE) Tel. +39 0421 246 111 Fax +39 0421 246 417 www.santamargherita.com info@santamargherita.com

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut

Cabernet Sauvignon

30025 Fossalta di Portogruaro (VE) Tel. +39 0421 246 111 Fax +39 0421 246 417 www.santamargherita.com santamargherita@santamargherita.com

Santa Margherita Wines Santamargheritawines


ru ready 4 rtds?


hat we in canada call coolers (terms vary in different countries) had its genesis in the 1960s through the 1970s, when Californians took the cheapest local wine and combined it with sparking soda and fruit juices to create a spritzer of sort. The Ernest & Julio Gallo winery noticed this popular innovation and introduced Bartles & Jaymes in 1984 and thus wine coolers were born. Shortly thereafter, Canada introduced its version,

Canada, Europe, and Australia led the way in originality, while the USA plodded along with malt-based beverages due to various national and state restrictions on the manufacturing of packaged spirit based pre-mixed drinks. Throughout this century, sales of RTDs have been on a steady increase, even if some individual products debuted with great fervour, only to wane or disappear a couple of years later (remember Zima?). Today in Alberta, with beer sales staying

As the 2000s progressed, numerous other companies joined in and devised their own mixed cocktails in a can or bottle. The base ingredient could be any spirit, combined with fruit flavouring, soda pop, and/or carbonated water. the Canada Cooler, and within a decade Bacardi developed the Breezer, using rum instead of wine. Vodka entered the mix (literally) when Mike’s Hard Lemonade hit the market in 1996, followed by Smirnoff Ice in 1999. As the 2000s progressed, numerous other companies joined in and devised their own mixed cocktails in a can or bottle. The base ingredient could be any spirit, combined with fruit flavouring, soda pop, and/or carbonated water. Sales grew so much that a new liquor category was conceived: the Ready To Drink (RTD). 36 Culinaire | March 2020

level, and cider slowing down, it is coolers that have been growing at over 12% from 2018 to 2019 (according to Connect Logistics), by far the fastest rising division of all liquors. Coolers will pass wine in volume sold this year and will be double the volume of all hard liquor combined if current rates continue. So why the sudden jump? From 2015 to 2017 a trickle of lower alcohol, low calorie, less sweet, fruit flavoured vodka sodas came to market. In 2018, several more arrived, and by 2019, there were literally hundreds available. Will double-digit

growth still happen every year? Of course not; that is unsustainable. Yet in Alberta, we haven’t even been introduced to all the players yet ( just wait for spring-summer 2020), so there is still room for expansion. Coolers take away (mostly) from beer sales, so many breweries have decided not to fight them, but to join them. Numerous coolers are now made at breweries, or in conjunction between distilleries and breweries. It makes sense; breweries specialize in the blending of ingredients and have the packaging processes, while distilleries can provide the base alcohol. As we head into the 2020s, look for more local RTDs, as well as some big players arriving in Alberta. Given their convenience factor, plus the purchasing power and preferences of the 20–35 year-old age bracket, this category isn’t just going to be a short-lived fad. Next up: cannabis beverages. RTDs come in an array of styles. Here are the most common types, with some locally produced examples. There are over 800 different coolers in Alberta, and many brands have multiple varieties available. Hard Soda Pops

The flavours of your youth get kicked into adulthood with imitations of your favourite sodas reincarnated as hard alcohol. You’ll find root beer, cream soda, ginger beer, ginger ale, and fruit sodas, usually made with a vodka base. Alberta made: Boxer Hard Sodas

Vodka Sodas (also called Seltzer, especially the American imports)

The fastest growing segment of RTDs has multiplied more than 20-fold in sales over the last five years. Designed to be lower in alcohol and carbs, around 100 calories, with less or zero sugar, they only really landed in Alberta en masse in 2018, so sales have yet to peak. Alberta made: And Soda, Wild Rose Drifter Also: Nutrl, Pyur, Nude, Truly Iced Teas

Alcoholic iced teas began to flourish after the success of Boston Beer Company’s Twisted Tea, introduced in 2001. In Canada, numerous local examples began to spring up made with vodka (as opposed to the malt-based American versions) and there are now several in Alberta. Alberta made: Boxer Hard Iced Tea, Troubled Monk Troubled Tea. Also: Twisted Tea, Hey Y’all, American Vintage Pre-mixed Cocktails

The intention of these drinks is to imitate classic cocktails, even if they don’t necessarily follow the true recipe. Quality varies, however there are decent examples of Moscow Mules, Long Island Iced Teas, Margaritas (with tequila), Old Fashions, Mimosas, Pina Coladas, Caesars, Sangrias, highballs, et al.

Alberta made: Boxer, Burwood, Eau Claire, Fallentimber, Grizzly Paw, and Park Distillery

Hard Kombuchas

The widespread popularity of fermented tea has led to inevitable alcohol renditions.

Alberta made: Wild Tea Hard Kombucha Fruit Bombs

Single or multiple fruit combinations combined mostly with vodka, but also with other spirits. Wine Coolers/Spritzers

The original fruited wine coolers are still around. Mudshakes

Introduced into Alberta from New Zealand in the 1990s, these are the dairy equivalent of coolers. Think of flavours that often taste like beloved ice cream treats. Malt Based Drinks

Fruity quasi-beers.

Vodka Energy Drinks

Just as it sounds. Frozen Slushies

Yep, throw them in your freezer for (almost) instant slushies.

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

Making the case for Italian wine


i don’t know of any serious wine enthusiast who doesn’t like Italian wine. Granted, painting one of the largest wine countries with such a broad yes/no brush is a bit of a fallacy, but what is undeniable is the range of quality wine regions in Italy, but also such a swath of wines that go so well with food. Coupled with the stereotypical images we have of checkered tablecloths, straw-covered fiasco bottles of chianti (thanks Lady and the Tramp!) we almost equate Italy with fine dining, good wine, and special occasions. This month, in only 13 bottles, I tried to showcase a range of Italian wines from different regions, but also not just talking about sangiovese or Tuscany. I hope you enjoy them!

Planeta 2019 Rosé, Sicily, Italy

Simply stunning and wonderfully fresh— perfect for enjoying at the tail end of yet another winter in Alberta. Made from syrah with nero d’Avola and full of ripe strawberry fruits with a zesty, lime citrus flavour and subtle mineral characters. No food required. CSPC +756117 About $20–22

Planeta 2018 Alastro, Sicily, Italy

Another delicious and unique wine recently tasted. Made from grecanico with 15 percent each of grillo and sauvignon blanc with about 6 months of lees contact. Aromatic and expressive with red apples, tropical fruit tones and bread crust on the nose. Silky smooth on the palate and expertly balanced, try with robust seafood dishes or veggies. CSPC +756115 About $26–29

Find these wines by searching the CSPC code at liquorconnect.com; your local liquor store can also use this code to order it for you. Prices are approximate. Cantina Zaccagnini 2014 Tralcetto Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a wonderful grape that is sorely overlooked by many wine drinkers looking for a casual and versatile glass of wine. Deep and plush, with easy, agreeable tannins and a slightly tart/ sour fruit tone to the flavours. Remarkably versatile at the table, try pairing with meaty tomato sauces or grilled meats. CSPC +862003 About $18–21

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.

38 Culinaire | March 2020

Le Ragose 2016 Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso, Veneto, Italy

There are two basic camps emerging in Valpolicella: the plush, near-fruit bombs made popular in North America, and those that lean towards an earthy, more traditional style of winemaking. Le Ragose is in this second camp with black berries and sour cherry fruit, dried herbs, and hints of liquorice and cedar. Bloody delicious, and best paired with roasted meats or game. CSPC +821971 About $30–33

Sella & Mosca La Cala 2018 Vermentino di Sardegna, Sardinia, Italy

Viberti NV Moscato d’Asti, Piedmont Italy

Fontodi 2018 Meriggio, Tuscany, Italy

CSPC +804133 $23–26

CSPC +802398 About $20–22

CSPC +702858 About $36–39

Honestly, we should all drink a little more vermentino, it’s light and fresh and pairs perfectly well with all manner of salt water seafood. Rife with green apple fruits, mild spiciness, and mineral salinity, it evokes warmer days on a patio and long evenings. A well-priced treat.

Santa Margherita Brut Rosé Veneto, Italy

A bit unusual for Italian sparkling wine, this is a blend of chardonnay, glera, and… malbec. Malbec? Yessir, clean and fresh with tight, tropical fruits and a mild pink colour—and even milder red berry fruit on the palate. Quite tasty, and very smashable, this will go over very well on a hot summery day. Keep this one in mind.

A favourite of many who love wine but might have a sweet tooth, Moscato d’Asti is typically lower in alcohol (about 5 percent) and much sweeter than most effervescent wines. Clean and tropical with nectarines, mandarin orange, and pear characters. Summer in a glass—truly.

We don’t see many Italian sauvignon blancs here (this one with a touch of trebbiano), but this is worth looking out for. Lightly grassy in style with lime and gooseberry supporting, the palate is quite restrained showcasing delicate fruits and a decidedly peppery spice. Try matching with freshwater fish or roasted poultry.

Giusti 2018 Longheri Pinot Grigio Veneto, Italy

Cecchi “La Morra” 2016 Morellino di Scansano

CSPC +776331 $20–22

CSPC +782914 around $14–16

CSPC +817747 $22–$24

Crisp and beautiful on the nose and palate. Certainly not the most inexpensive pinot grigio out there, but it’s hard to get the depth and style found here for less. Generous fruits with bright, tropical floral characters; a palate that speaks of peaches and nectarines; and a crisp, apple finish. Try matching with creamy sauces or simple seafood dishes.

Sella & Mosca 2016 Cannonau di Sardegna, Sardinia, Italy

Borgogno “No Name” 2015 Nebbiolo Piedmont, Italy

Fontanafredda 2014 Serralunga d’Alba Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

CSPC +804182 $44–47

CSPC +768849 About $44–48

Before you rush to your wine books, Cannonau di Sardigna goes by other names which might be more familiar to wine enthusiasts. Grenache in France and alicante in Spain. A little smokey and a little salty on the nose, with black currants and charred earth aromas. On the palate, it’s full of chewy tannins, big black fruits, and a cedar finish. Match with grilled red meats if possible. CSPC +756158 $23–25

A bit of a “protest” wine, the “No Name” nebbiolo—from a highly reputable producer—didn’t quite meet all the criteria for its higher classification from the consorzio (primarily on colour), so it was bottled outside of the classification. Smoky cherries and spice on the nose move into an earthy and tannic palate, well balanced for those Bolognese-style sauces. Quite versatile and drinks very well now.

Hailing from a 120 hectare estate and made from 100 percent sangiovese (morellino being the regional name for sangiovese near the village of Scansano), this is floral, yet earthy too with deep, cherry-like fruits in a not-quite juicy expression. Quaffable for sure, and would go well with smokier Bolognese type sauces.

One of the great communes of Barolo, Serralunga d’Alba is typically thought of as producing a little more of a rustic expression of Barolo, but I dislike that heuristic, I love these wines which drink very well at all ages. Fontanafredda’s is laden with black fruit, earthy characters and plenty of tannins. Drinking very well now or over the next 5+ years. Try pairing with excellent beef or cheesy snacks (seriously).

March 2020 | Culinaire 39

E TC E TE R A Favuzzi Beet Cream

From the home of balsamic vinegar—Modena, in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna, this beet cream is made from red beet pulp, concentrated grape must and wine vinegar. We love the fresh and tangy flavour; for something different drizzle it where you would use balsamic vinegar—on salads, or with soft cheeses, crostini, and even desserts! 150 mL, $10 at Cookbook Co, Italian Centre Shop, Say Cheese and other fine food stores.

Italy’s Native Wine Grape Terroirs

By Ian D’Agata, $50. Love Italian wine? Like really, really love Italian wine? Ian D’Agata is a globally recognized expert on wine and especially Italian wine. This not-quite weighty tome explores the terroir or “sense of place” of fine wine from all of Italy’s myriad regions, appellations, and notable vineyards. If you can’t get a deep enough understanding of Italian wine, or perhaps you are a geology buff, this is the wine book for you.


Cheez-It iconic orange square crackers have long been a classic in the United States, and with their new launch in Canada they are coming out with a bang! Not only is there a new spicy flavour along with the original classic, there are also bigger, crunchier Cheez-It Crunch in either Sharp White Cheddar or Zesty Cheddar Ranch. The Crunch are sturdy but so packed with flavour that we could forego the dip and just enjoy them on their own! Available in all major grocery stores, 200 g $4.

Drinkmate Carbonated Drink Maker

Half the Sugar All the Love A Family Cookbook

By Jennifer Tyler Lee, Anisha Patel MD, Workman Publishing $35. Looking to cut out the sugar at home and embrace the healthier lifestyle? “Half The Sugar” does precisely that, with clear, easy-to-understand recipes from breakfast to dessert cutting out all that unnecessary sugar you didn’t realize you were adding to your diet.

Favuzzi Cream of Pistachio

At 65% pure pistachios, this little jar is full of flavour. Slightly pourable at room temperature and rich like a nut butter, it also has a sweetness that reminds us of white chocolate and makes it clear that sweet preparations are the way to go! Delicious drizzled over ice cream, pancakes or a brownie, there are all kinds of creative ways it could shake up dessert. 200 g, $15 from Italian Centre Shop, Lina’s, Cookbook Co, Luke’s DrugMart, Freson Bros, and other fine food stores. 40 Culinaire | March 2020

Another US success has finally reached our shores. Unlike other carbonated drink makers, the small footprint, countertop Drinkmate can add a fizz to any beverage—no electricity or batteries required. Try a mimosa with citrus juice and chilled white wine— and add you own sparkle. Or add your favourite fruit to water, leave to infuse the flavours and carbonate. So many fun ideas to try! Kit with 10 L (3 oz) cylinder, $120 from drinkmate-canada.com.

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only have one job, and my job is standards. If we don’t hit this standard, we will be pummelled by our competition, and our customers will not leave happy,” says Stephen Reid, CEO of the Creative Restaurant Group. Born in Oshawa, Reid grew up in Kitchener-Waterloo, and studied business at Wilfred Laurier University, before heading west in the early ‘80s. By fluke, he met a restaurant building company who were struggling, and completely turned it around, building numerous nightclubs, restaurants, and lounges for hotel chains. Eventually he was persuaded to run a restaurant, and teamed up with Clay Riddell of “Arguably the most successful oil and gas family in Canadian history.” “I had a dream I was going to build the next Keg chain,” Reid laughs. He learned from a historian in Lethbridge who knew the history of ranch cuisine in Alberta and, in 1988, opened the first of three Billy McIntyre’s Cattle Company locations, a home cooking, gourmet, Alberta steakhouse. “They were very popular, profitable restaurants,” he says. “We ran them between the two of us because it was a hobby business. We liked the people, and we liked the social side. And at the same time, we invested in private companies.” That led to 4th Street Rose, Wildwood, Bonterra, and Catch. “We went on to open 4th Spot, and Spot On Kitchen,” he adds. “We bought Loco Lou’s, and the Rose and Crown in Banff 25 years ago, and it’s still the busiest bar and pub in Banff.” Good accounting is a priority for Reid, and anyone who handles money goes

42 Culinaire | March 2020

to accounting school. “If you don’t pay attention to every nickel, you lose all profitability. Everyone on our team knows exactly where they stand on a daily basis, and we keep it down to five minutes a day.” Eager to learn about successful interiors, Reid spent a weekend with Pat Kuleto, of San Francisco’s Boulevard Restaurant. He learned about architecture and why lighting is so important—and ate

“We added Cibo because young people need to learn about Italian food, so it’s beginner Italian and reasonably priced.” great Italian food, deciding him to build an Italian restaurant. When it became available, the site had a grandfathered courtyard patio, and Bonterra was born. “We love Italian, and we added Posto beside it. We added Cibo because young people need to learn about Italian food, so it’s beginner Italian and reasonably priced,” Reid explains. “We need to keep listening to customers to give them more of what they want. There is no second place, it has to be the best you’ve ever had.” When Irvine Weitzman, president of

Mill Street Brewery, was looking to build a brewery, Reid offered him all his resources as he does to anyone who knocks at his door, and gave him realtors’ names, locations, maps... “We became friends, and he said, “we make really good beer and you make really good food. Why don’t we do this together?’” And his latest venture in Kensington, Free House, is now open too. So what bottle is Reid saving for a special occasion? “It’s a bottle of Cristal 2004, which was a vintage year and 100 point Wine Spectator year. I had two 1.5 litre bottles given to me for doing someone a favour in the finance world, 10 years ago,” says Reid. “We cracked one at Christmas, and it was absolutely delicious. We put it out in deep snow for two hours, and Chris, (Bonterra’s chef), was making all kinds of antipasti, and we devoured a bunch of small plates—and that bottle, which I thought would last for a long time, was drunk pretty fast by eight enthusiasts,” he laughs. “I don’t want to keep this bottle for 10 years. I’m willing to drink it next Christmas because it’s at the peak of the drinking cycle.”

“Fe d the entire family forjust..."

And have enough left over for seconds On Friday April 3rd, 2020 you’re invited to the 8th annual Taste of Bragg Creek. Year round, Bragg Creek wine & food merchants and restaurateurs offer culinary experiences to fit every occasion. Whether it’s after a long day on the trails, to quench your thirst after golf or to impress a significant other, Bragg Creek is the destination for you and your taste buds. Celebrate the Taste of Bragg Creek culinary event for the entire month of April.

For complete details visit tasteofbraggcreek.ca Facebook facebook.com/tastebraggcreek Twitter @TasteofBragg

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