Culinaire #9.1 (May/June 2020)

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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 AY/J U N E 2 02 0

Celebrating Alberta’s Craft Producers

Pantry Staple Recipes | Local Growers, Beer, and Spirits

Gourmet to go – anytime!

Mount Royal

906 16th Avenue SW, Calgary

A division of Save-On-Foods LP, a Jim Pattison business. Proudly Western Canadian Owned and Operated.

Mount Royal

906 16th Avenue SW, Calgary A division of Save-On-Foods LP, a Jim Pattison business. Proudly Western Canadian Owned and Operated.


Volume 9 / No. 1 / May/June 2020


departments 6 7

Salutes and shout outs

Good news from our local culinary scene

Book review

Beer Bread: Brew-Infused Breads, Rolls, Biscuits, Muffins, and more


24 Step by step: going crackers?

Artisan crackers to make at home

40 Etcetera…


Local kits and products to enjoy at home

42 Open that bottle

Dennis Scanland of Sunny Cider

8 10


Keeping it local

Alberta-made cheese by Candace Hiebert

Of preppers and pantry staples

26 CSA: A community approach to local food in Alberta

28 Similkameen Valley

From hard liquor to hand sanitizer

32 Award winning Alberta-made

16 Spring spirits

Many thanks to photographer Dong Kim for shooting our cover celebrating Alberta’s wonderful artisan distillers, and to Bridgeland Distillery for the use of their pristine still room!

Hansen Distillery by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth

Local cooks’ must-have pantry items (and what to do with them!) by Natalie Findlay

Alberta distilleries respond to COVID-19 by Mallory Frayn


20 Maintream moonshiners

Father’s Day is fast approaching by Tom Firth and Linda Garson

When doors close, another opens

The Leftovers Foundation by Daniel Bontje

by Lexie Angelo

Resilient and remarkable by Jeannette LeBlanc


Our very young craft spirit industry is kickin’ ass by Tom Firth

34 The state of Alberta’s craft alcohol

The 2020 world of our breweries and distilleries by David Nuttall

38 Making the case

From the ends of the earth by Tom Firth

May/June 2020 | Culinaire 3


Stars can’t shine without darkness


t’s often in times of adversity that we see people pull together; I can’t remember a time since Calgary’s flood in 2013 that we’ve seen so much kindness and an outpouring of support for each other. Restaurants have been particularly hard hit, and even though they may be struggling to pay their staff and the rent, many are generously donating meals to those in need and at risk. Alberta knows the boom and bust cycle well, and Albertans know how to get up, dust ourselves off, and get back on that horse. We will get through this, stronger than ever. We’ve been sharing stories of all that’s good in our province’s hospitality trade for eight years now, and we plan to continue to do so for many years to come. But we couldn’t continue without support from

our advertisers, many in the very industry that’s hurting badly, so we’re truly grateful to those who believe in us and allow us to keep on telling the stories of good people doing good things, such as inside this issue. Supporting local businesses is more important than ever before. Resilience and resourcefulness are my key words, and with no more Vine & Dine pairing dinners, I’ve created Vine & Dine Online, a variety of paired meal packages with videos, and I’m thrilled at the comments on our inaugural package from Franca’s Italian Specialties below.

Cheers, Linda Garson

I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed the virtual Vine and Dine we did last night. It was well done with minimal preparation on our part. Easy to follow instructions and your video was great. Thank you—I would recommend!! Michelle B I wanted to send some feedback on our dinner last night. Everything was truly superb! The meal prep was easy and flavors were AMAZING. Pairings were excellent and we really enjoyed the video! It was a really special evening and a birthday memory I will cherish forever. Thank you. Shawna B

Cook up exciting dishes for the family using ingredients from our backyard and beyond! Visit for inspiration. Grocery. Bakery. Deli. Café. EDMONTON Little Italy | Southside | West End

CALGARY Willow Park

Alberta / Food & Drink / Recipes

Editor-in-Chief/Publisher Linda Garson Managing Editor Tom Firth Multimedia Editor Daniel Bontje Sales Denice Hansen 403-828-0226 Sky Hansen 403-993-0531 Design J. Windsor Design Contributors Lexie Angelo, Daniel Bontje, Elizabeth Chorney-Booth, Natalie Findlay, Joel Fournier, Mallory Frayne, Candace Hiebert, Dong Kim, Jeannette LeBlanc, Karen Miller, 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 @culinairemag @culinairemag For subscriptions and to read Culinaire online:

Our contributors

Jeannette LeBlanc

Jeannette is a freelance writer with a focus on sharing the stories of a place and its people. Her work can be found in print and online publications in Canada and the US. She holds WSET 3 certification and keeps a fresh palate by judging wine competitions, or drinking with those who know more about these things than she does. Jeannette lives in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley, and is happiest with a glass of bubble in hand.

Lexie Angelo

A food and lifestyle writer passionate about contemporary cooking and international cuisine, Lexie is a traveler and adventurer always in search of the hottest trends in food and drink. She has lived in Europe and studied at the University of Edinburgh, a UNESCO City of Literature. Her top food destinations include Kyoto, Madrid, and Michelin star restaurants in Copenhagen and Stockholm. She is currently at work on a lifestyle cookbook.

David Nuttall

David has worked in liquor since the late 1980s. He achieved his Beer Judge Certification in 2012, and is the head judge for Calgary International Beerfest, as well as judging the Alberta Beverage Awards and Alberta Beer Awards. He has appeared on radio, television, and in the movie Aleberta: Our Beer History. He is also a freelance writer for print and online, speaker, and has run Brew Ed beer courses since 2014. Follow him @abfbrewed.

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.

403 283 8988 @verobistro 209 10th Street NW Calgary

We are offering curbside pickup from Tuesday to Sunday (5–8 p.m.), including Italian specials such as Dinner for Two for $89 or Dinner for Four for $120. Our full menu is also available. Every day we feature a bottle of wine to pair with dinner at 30% off regular price. Call to order after 2 p.m. and we can take payment by phone. Please note we have taken all necessary steps to operate in a safe and sanitized environment. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 5–8 p.m. for pickup


open fourt take- o

Snippets of good news from our everchanging food and beverage scene! Congratulations to Calgary’s Cōchu Chocolatier, on taking home Gold (Chai Masala Caramel), Silver (Soft Salted Caramel), and Bronze medals (for Peanut Butter), as well as Commendable for “The Jann”, in the UK’s Academy of Chocolate, 2020 global chocolate competition! Congrats too to SAIT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism on moving up six spots from last year to place 21st in CEOWORLD Magazine and QS World University Rankings for best hospitality and hotel management school in the world —and the only Canadian school to be included in the list! We all miss dining out at our favourite restaurants, so let’s support Canada #TakeoutDay Wednesdays, and order in. Last month, many restaurateurs saw a significant spike in sales of 20–60 percent on these days, with some selling out. Leduc’s Habaneros Mexican Grill saw sales double from the previous week! Way to go! SPUD has launched a new Stay Home box program for customers and those in need to receive a reliable food source, faster than ever. First is the #WeApplaud Box, with a baby box, vegetarian staples box, and cleaning box coming soon! Proceeds from the boxes go directly to supply front-line workers and those at risk with discounted or complimentary boxes. Visit Imagine ordering a dinner of sushi from Japonais or Dorinku, beef dishes from DOSC, a healthy portion of Seoul Fried Chicken, and wine paired to the meal! This culturally and culinarily diverse group of five Edmonton restaurants have banded together to find ways to keep their people working—their servers are now running deliveries! Visit their websites, and order at Wild Tea Kombucha has launched an online store community of 14 small and local, food and beverage brands, with more coming soon. All at one online hub, 6 Culinaire | May/June 2020


Anne Selmer, Cōchu Chocolatier, they offer no charge, contact-free delivery within Calgary with a $25 minimum purchase. “It’s just about spreading positivity, and to lift one another up,” they say. Hear hear!


More local Calgary businesses have joined forces to create Project #TogetherYYC— a community-building signage for business windows. Neal’s Yard Remedies’ Lisa Shelley, and Jenifer Rempel, of Urban Productions, have created a series of future-focused and positive signs that tell a story and spread a message of solidarity. The free posters can be accessed at, and downloaded to print on 8.5 x 11" poster paper. Brewery & The Beast has launched Homeschool Series—step-by-step videos of a cocktail recipe and unique culinary dish hosted by festival chefs and guest bartenders, with proceeds going directly to them and a charity of their choice. $10.00 per session gets you the food and drink recipes in advance, along with a link to the episode, and opportunity for live Q&A. To register, visit To support those who are keeping us well fed, Tourism Calgary has set up #LoveYYC From Home to highlight the local entrepreneurs that are facing these challenging times head on. Share your favourite acts of compassion using #LoveYYC and tag @TourismCalgary; for a list of contact-free local offerings.

Local food bloggers, Tara and Ken Noland, have released their first e-book, The Best Canning Recipes. With 12 simple recipes (including our fave—quick pickling!) and many tips, this little book will get you started on the canning trail to enjoy all the local produce now becoming available across our province. $7.95 at Village Brewery has launched The Village Sociable Project, an easy way to pay it forward and reach out to people you care about, so no one feels like they’re going through this alone. Spread cheers by sending beers to friends, family, co-workers, or all of them together, at


Beer Bread: Brew-Infused Breads, Rolls, Biscuits, Muffins, and more By Lori Rice The Countryman Press 2020 $34


ell this cookbook certainly came at the right time! With many people adapting to more cooking (and bread baking) at home, there’s no better place to start than a good old Classic Beer Bread (p.150), a simple loaf to make with few ingredients (and no yeast). Bread bakers will know there’s more to bread making beyond the simple loaf, and there’s no shortage of craft breweries with a myriad of styles and flavours available, so why not venture further? Full confession, I am not a beer drinker but I do have miscellaneous bottles/cans in my refrigerator. However, I love to bake any kind of bread, and I couldn’t wait to put some of those “leftovers” to good use. The book is a collection of recipes of different baking methods, with easy quick breads, (no yeast required), yeasted breads, pizzas, and even dips and spreads

such as the Classic Kentucky Beer Cheese (p.187). The recipes do mention a distinct style of beer and a suggested flavour profile, and if you’re beer savvy those choices may seem self-evident; but for the less knowledgeable, the explanations help understand why it works with that particular bread. Included are recipes for a straightforward Honey Whole Wheat Blonde bread (p. 91), which is great for sandwiches; intriguing Pale Ale Cheeseburger Snack Rolls (p.68)—a hamburger stuffed in soft yeasty bread just waiting for a cold brew to go with it! The Biere de Garde Braided Brioche was golden delicious with the malt flavour balancing perfectly in the buttery dough. There are even some recipes on the sweeter side, such as the Tropical IPA Pineapple Coconut Bread (p. 58) or the

Amber Ale Apple Butter Swirl Bread (p.41). I think simple flatbread crackers using beer for the liquid (p. 140) are better for it! I have uncovered so many new ways to use my “leftover” beer, so whether your own enthusiasm is for beer or a new-found need to bake, this book should inspire you to experiment with beer. Karen is a lawyer by trade, who claims to have been on the “know where your food comes from” bandwagon sooner than most, and now focuses on foraging her daily food from local growers.

Enjoy Foothills Creamery ice cream at home! Our small batch, barrel churned ice cream is made with real cream and fresh buttermilk, making it the perfect at home treat! Available at your local grocery stores.


Foothills Creamery Ltd.




e’re always ready to support our local producers, especially in these uncertain times, so we’re highlighting Alberta-made cheeses, then you don’t have to choose between supporting local or nuanced and complex flavours on your cheeseboard. Here are a few suggestions that satisfy both criteria! SYLVAN STAR CHEESE Sylvan Star Cheese, near Sylvan Lake, are known all over the world for their awardwinning Goudas. In addition to delicious mild, medium, aged, and smoked cheeses, they also offer flavoured Gouda. Two of our favourites are:

Cayenne and Green Peppercorn Gouda The cayenne fills your mouth with

gentle spice, while whole peppercorns give this cheese a distinct green peppercorn flavour and added texture. For extra pizzazz, try adding a slice of this spicy Gouda on your grilled chicken burger. Nettle and Celery Gouda

This cheese tastes like a spring garden, herbal and green. The unique additions of nettle and celery to a classic Gouda make for a bright, flavourful cheese that begs to 8 Culinaire | May/June 2020

be eaten out of your hand, but try adding it to a vegetable quiche for a tasty twist. FLORA FROMAGE Flora Fromage make dairy free, cashew based “cheese” in Calgary. With more people choosing to eat dairy free, these creamy, luxurious, plant-based alternatives are a welcome addition to a cheese board. Orange Apricot “Chevre”

The texture and mouthfeel of this cheese is remarkably similar to a traditional chevre. Tangy and slightly sweet, with pieces of dried apricot scattered through, it’s delicious spread on a crostini with a drizzle of honey or balsamic. Truffle Black Pepper

Soft and tangy, with just the right amount of truffle, and coated with black peppercorns, you’ll want to serve this cheese to dairy lovers and dairy-free foodies alike! Try it dotted over a grilled mushroom and leek flatbread—if you haven’t already eaten it all with a spoon.

DANCING GOATS At Dancing Goats farm near Acme, Alberta, two former ballet dancers now make delicious artisanal goat cheeses, each one named after a traditional dance. Pavane

This beautiful soft cheese is ash aged, giving it a striking appearance. The sweet outer layer gradually gives way to a chalky, crumbly, and more strongly flavoured centre. The complexity of Pavane is best appreciated on a cheeseboard, maybe with a dab of fruity jam. Two Step

The dark brown rind on this semi-firm cheese is a result of being washed in Village Brewery’s Blacksmith ale, creating a subtly bitter flavour. The interior is creamy and has earthy mushroom notes. Elevate your next grilled cheese with Two Step and spicy chutney! Many thanks to Springbank Cheese who provided this beautiful cheeseboard for photography and sampling.

Candace is passionate about food—eating it, making it, and writing about it—and is up to try any and all new culinary experiences, especially with friends.



A Nutritious Choice that could Lower Your Carbon Footprint

Available at Select Calgary Co-op Stores OR at the farm For Details, Including Store Locations Visit:

Fleet Country Farms Ltd. Castor, Alberta 403-882-4324






Elegance. Defined Find us on

Alberta's freshest food & beverage magazine - January/February 2020 29

Of preppers and pantry staples Must-have items to stock in the pantry (and what to do with them!) BY NATALIE FINDLAY


reating tasty meals from a limited supply of ingredients can be both liberating and limiting. We all have our favourite pantry staples that we turn to when we forget to go to the grocery store, didn’t have time—or like now—safe at home, when our ability to venture out on a whim to pick up whatever we want, whenever we want, is limited. Some of us are faring well and creating all kinds of delicious meals, others… well, not so much. Sometimes you don’t know what you really need to have on hand until you are restricted; then you learn quickly. Let’s take a stroll around the pantries of four popular local culinary writers and cooks, and find out what they have stocked their pantries with, and what they are cooking up!

Calgary cookbook author, CBC radio food columnist, and contributing food editor for the Globe and Mail, Julie Van Rosendaal says her pantry staples include: n Canned tomatoes (all kinds) useful for quick pasta sauces, soup, curries, stews, chili. I also keep tubes of tomato paste in the fridge (they last far longer than their expiration date suggests!) n Stocks. The 1 litre tetra packs are perfect n Canned and dry pulses. They’re the most significant source of plant-based protein, versatile and convenient. They’re also cheap! n Dry pasta. I always have an assortment of interesting shapes—there’s no reason mac ‘n cheese has to be made with macaroni noodles… just anything small that will grip the sauce n Oils. Canola is my go-to as it has a high smoke point, neutral flavour, and is useful from baking a chocolate cake to frying fish

Grains, they’re shelf-stable and affordable n Flour/sugar/yeast/baking powder/salt. With a stash of flour and leavening agents, you can make biscuits, pancakes, waffles, quick bread, and yeast bread n

From her latest book, Dirty Food, Van Rosendaal’s easy pantry staple meal, Toast Crumb and Garlic Spaghetti, is a favourite for adults and kids alike. Toast Crumb & Garlic Spaghetti Serves 4

250 g dry spaghetti (about enough for 4) Salt 2–4 slices white bread (or 1–2 cups fresh crumbs) 1–2 garlic cloves, crushed ¼ cup (ish) butter 2 Tbs (ish) (30 mL) olive oil Pinch red chili flakes Freshly grated Parmesan

Photograph courtesy Julie Van Rosendaal

1. Cook the spaghetti in a big pot of salted water until al dente, and scoop out about a cup of the cooking water before you drain it. 2. Meanwhile, whiz your bread into rough crumbs, along with the garlic, in a food processor. 3. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter and oil and when the butter starts to foam, add the garlicky breadcrumbs and chili flakes and cook, stirring, until toasty and golden. 4. Scoop about half the crumbs out of the pan, add the drained pasta and toss to coat with the remaining crumbs, grating some Parmesan overtop and adding a splash of the starchy pasta water to moisten. Serve topped with the reserved crumbs and extra Parmesan. 10 Culinaire | May/June 2020

Food writer, Carmen Cheng, of Food Karma Blog tells us her favourite pantry staples: n Rio Mare Tuna—it’s so much more flavourful than most brands n Canned tomatoes n A few different soy sauces: the generic brand when a recipe calls for a lot of soy sauce and craft, small batch soy sauce when you just need to finish a dish with flavour n Lots of sauces and ingredients that build umami and flavour such as sesame oil, gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), and fish sauce. Fish sauce is my secret ingredient to add unexpected umami into dishes n Spam, we like this canned meat in our household n Kimchi, my partner is Korean and kimchi is a staple, even if it needs to be refrigerated and not stored in the pantry n A bag of rice Cheng also added, “During social distancing I started to reserve bacon fat in a jar. It’s great for this recipe, adding some smokiness, but oil can be used in its place.” Her favourite go-to pantry meal is:

Photograph courtesy Dong Kim

Kimchi and Spam Fried Rice Serves 6–8

Oil or bacon fat if you have any, for frying 1 can Spam, cut into cubes (can swap for 6 strips bacon, rough chopped) 3 cups kimchi, chopped into thin strips 1 clove garlic, minced 4 cups cooked rice (preferably made the day before, and using a fork make sure to break up any clumps) 2 Tbs (30 mL) kimchi juice from the kimchi jar 1 Tbs (15 mL) gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) 2 Tbs sesame oil 2 eggs 2 tsp (10 mL) fish sauce, recommended but optional To taste salt and pepper 1 bunch green onions, sliced thin diagonally Sesame seeds to garnish

Note: Prepare all ingredients before cooking, as the cooking process is really quick and you will want everything ready. 1. Heat a wok or large fry pan on medium, add 1 Tbs oil. 2. Fry Spam until edges are brown and crispy, set aside. 3. Add another ½ Tbs oil to the hot wok. Turn heat up to medium high. Fry kimchi and garlic approximately 2 minutes. 4. Add the rice to the wok mixture. Stir fry to incorporate all ingredients. Fry until rice is warmed through, about 3–5 minutes. 5. Add kimchi juice, gochujang, and sesame oil and fold into other ingredients in the wok, cook together for 2 minutes. 6. Meanwhile, heat a separate nonstick pan, add oil and fry two eggs sunny side. 7. Stir Spam back into the rice mixture. Add fish sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. 8. Plate rice, top with crispy fried eggs, green onion slices, and sesame seeds. May/June 2020 | Culinaire 11

Her quick and easy meal is a delicious and hearty soup. “Beans are a natural fit for soup,” she says. “If you don’t have stock, you can use water. If you don’t have white beans you can use kidney beans, or black beans. I love using flavourful sausage as a base for soup, as all of the spices and herbs are right there. If you want to keep it vegetarian, just add a tsp each of dried oregano, basil, and paprika to the vegetables.” Tomato and White Bean Soup with Sausage and Kale Serves 6

1 Tbs (15 mL) canola oil 3–4 links fresh Chorizo or Italian sausage 1 onion, diced 2 stalks celery, diced 2 medium carrots, diced 2 garlic cloves, minced ½ tsp salt Pinch chili flakes 4 cups (1 L) low sodium chicken stock 12 Culinaire | May/June 2020

Photograph courtesy Renée Kohlman

Renée Kohlman was named one of Canada’s best food bloggers by the National Post for her blog, SweetSugarbean. A graduate of NAIT’s Culinary Arts program, she is a food columnist for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. Her pantry is full of staples including: n Cans of white beans, black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas n Cans of tuna, salmon, sardines n Cans of tomatoes—whole, diced, and crushed n Pasta of various shapes n Chicken, beef, and vegetable broths n Cans of fruit, such as peaches, pineapple, pears n Rice, lentils, couscous, quinoa, barley, popcorn n Flour, oats, sugar, yeast n Evaporated milk n Coffee, chocolate, tea

1–798 mL can crushed tomatoes, 1–540 mL can white kidney beans, rinsed 2 bay leaves 1 tsp honey 4 cups chopped kale, thick stems removed (can use spinach or Swiss chard instead) 1 cup chopped parsley ¼ cup chopped basil To taste salt and pepper Grated Pecorino Romano, Parmesan or Asiago cheese to serve 1. Warm the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove the sausage from its casings and add to the hot oil. Break up the sausage with the back of a wooden spoon. Stirring occasionally,

brown the meat for about 5 minutes. 2. Stir in the vegetables, garlic, salt and chili flakes. Cook for another 5 minutes until the vegetables soften. Add the chicken stock, crushed tomatoes (rinse the can out with 2 cups of water), beans, bay leaves, and honey. Cover, bring to a boil, turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. 3. Add the chopped kale, and herbs. Cook 2 minutes longer. If you find the soup too thick, thin out with a bit more stock or water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 4. Divide the soup into bowls. Garnish with plenty of cheese. Be generous— these are the days for eating all of the cheese!

Adding to those dry pantry ingredients we’ve mentioned, we also have freezer items to help keep our kitchen stocked. Freezing is an easy way to keep food from going bad and to store (as in this time) foods that we have stocked up on like meats, vegetables and fruits. n Breads for sandwiches make great use of those cans of tuna and salmon n Tortillas allow you to whip up tacos, enchiladas or quesadillas. Hamburger buns, as we light up the BBQ n Other items that store well include: potatoes, sweet potatoes, onion, squashes, cabbage and root vegetables n Eggs keep for several weeks in the

fridge and provide endless meals from scrambled eggs to quiche n Long lasting fridge items such as mustard, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, capers, and pickles will all add extra dimension to your cooking n Berries are great to have within easy reach for adding to smoothies and baking recipes, such as my favourite quick fruit crumble recipe below.

instead of creating from what we have on hand. However, this pandemic has given us the opportunity to grow and learn. We will come out of this better equipped and more creative at handling both a crisis and our kitchen.

With these pantry staples you can create delicious and nutritious meals that can easily last two weeks or more. It used to be simple to head out to the grocery store whenever we needed something

2 cups frozen berries 2 Tbs sugar 3 Tbs flour 2 Tbs brown sugar ¼ tsp salt 1 tsp cinnamon ¼ cup cold butter 1 cup oats

Natalie’s Quick Fruit Crumble Serves 4

Preheat oven to 350º F. 1. Mix the berries, sugar and 1 Tbs flour together and place in a greased, ovenproof dish. 2. In a medium bowl combine 2 Tbs flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. 3. Add the butter, and using 2 forks mash the butter into pea-size pieces. Stir in the oats. 4. Add topping to fruits and bake for approximately 40 minutes. Let cool and enjoy.

Photograph courtesy Natalie Findlay

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.

May/June 2020 | Culinaire 13

From hard liquor to hand sanitizer Alberta distilleries respond to COVID-19 BY MALLORY FRAYN

14 Culinaire | May/June 2020


ithin 24 hours of shutting their restaurants in response to the COVID-19 crisis in March, the Banff Hospitality Collective decided to pivot their priorities at Park Distillery, proceeding to produce almost 1,000 litres of hand sanitizer in their first week of production. While this feat is impressive, what makes it even more remarkable is that distillers across Alberta and Canada made the switch from producing gin, vodka, and other spirits, to using the pure ethanol they produce to make hand sanitizer. With almost zero communication amongst themselves, the community came together to give back. “We have a community of craft distillers from coast to coast that have bound together and decided to do this,” says Matt Hendriks, head distiller at Park, “I hadn’t even spoken to other distilleries

about it, I just knew that they were doing it.” In a town as small as Banff, Hendriks notes that their immediate priority was to support their local community, donating much of their product to Banff’s emergency unit. They then transitioned to supplying shipping companies, with Hendricks highlighting the importance of truck drivers to the Banff community. “If truck drivers get sick and shut down delivery, there’s no food coming into Banff. Then our town really goes into a state of emergency,” he notes. For other distilleries, leveraging existing partnerships made it even easier to give back via hand sanitizer. Jordan Ramey, COO at Calgary’s Burwood Distillery, describes how the company’s partnership with local charity, Mealshare, morphed in response to COVID-19. Burwood was already collaborating with Mealshare

at their restaurant, and when those operations were drastically reduced, they decided to apply the buy-one-give-one model to their hand sanitizer instead. Ramey believes that initiatives like these, “speak to the kind of folks that run craft distilleries in the province. It’s a ‘you need something, how can I help you?’ type of mentality,” he explains. When asked what consumers can do to help during times of crisis, Ramey believes that buying local is where to start. “Larger corporations have big wallets to lean on,” he says, contrasting this with local businesses that are struggling to stay afloat, particularly in the food and beverage industry. And while difficult times may increase the likelihood of reaching for a boozy beverage to try and cope, Jamie Hilland, director of sales and promotions at Confluence distillery, hesitates against this. After making the switch to exclusively producing ethanol and halting production for consumptive purposes, Hilland recounts that within weeks, Confluence ran out of all other spirits, (at the time of interview, March 30, 2020). “Liquor stores were just churning through it,” he says. However, he believes that the most important factor to consider during quarantine is mental health. “If you’re drinking like wild, don’t do that,” he recommends, and suggests trying to stay social through virtual means instead. Particularly in an industry where socializing is everything, adapting to isolation isn’t easy for hospitality workers either. Having spent over two decades working in restaurants and bars, Hendricks notes the difficulties in limiting socialization, even when necessary. “When you’re used to being behind a bar serving 15 guests, talking all day, and that gets cut off, it’s hard,” he says. But even within this community, people are banding together to support each other during times of need. As Hilland puts it, “If we care about supporting local, we have to care about the emotions that go on behind it; that means we have to support each other too.” Mallory is a Calgary freelance writer now living, learning and eating in Montreal. Check out her blog and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @cuzilikechoclat


LimonceLLo Spritz 1 part Luxardo Limoncello 2 parts Pasqua Prosecco 1 part soda water Garnish with lemon slice Pour over ice and ENJOY! Other Alberta distilleries producing hand sanitizer Black Diamond Distillery, Saint Albert Broken Oak Distilling Co, Grande Prairie Eau Claire Distillery, Turner Valley Greenwood Distillers, Sundre Grit City Distillery, Medicine Hat Last Best Brewing & Distilling, Calgary Minhas Micro Brewery, Calgary Skunkworks Distillery, Calgary Strathcona Spirits Distillery, Edmonton Two Rivers Distillery, Calgary




pril showers typically bring May flowers, but we really don’t know what to expect these days as spring is upon us and we slowly head towards warmer days and many unknowns in the coming months. While in theory, a good bottle of Scotch makes a fine Father’s Day gift; we think everyone could use a good wee dram at the moment. Bruichladdich Octomore 10.1 Islay, Scotland Described on the label as “Super-heavily peated” but please don’t stop reading if you’re not a fan of peat or smoke, as this is one outstanding whisky. Yes, it’s smoky but you like BBQ, don’t you? It’s silky smooth and almost creamy, with flavours of cinnamon, vanilla, and a hint of salinity. Stunning, and just one drop of water makes it even more so. CSPC + 824957 $145–$150

Ledaig 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, Mull, Scotland Sometimes, you just need a smoky whisky, Ledaig 10 fills the glass with oily, iodine characters and vinyl over clean citrus and 16 Culinaire | May/June 2020

tobacco notes. Very well balanced on the palate, with smoke and fusil oil leading oak and spices. Most remarkable is the lengthy finish that evolves and lingers forever— best enjoyed with a few drops of water. CSPC +752144 $65–$75

A.D. Rattray Cask Orkney 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, Orkney, Scotland Maybe known as “The Blue Whisky” to you, Cask Orkney is aged 18 years in second-fill bourbon casks. There is a very gentle peatiness for those that like a little smoke but not too much, more noticeable on the palate. Very smooth with wellintegrated apple and peach notes, a little spice and sea salt, and a long, lingering finish. CSPC +821931 $115–$125

A.D. Rattray Cask Speyside 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, Speyside Scotland We’ve had A.D. Rattray’s Cask Islay and Cask Orkney for quite some time in Alberta, and now the first edition of Cask Speyside is here, and it’s an excellent expression of the region. Soft and easy drinking, this 10 year old is pale and light, with vanilla custard flavours along with

a little citrus on the finish. Ideal for whisky beginners and enthusiasts alike. CSPC +817470 $75–$85

Lismore 15 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, Speyside, Scotland A dark amber colour, this is a weighty whisky—full, lush and rich, with honeysweet aromas—yet it’s still fresh and reminds me of windswept northern Scotland. There’s a lovely progression of flavours that start off more herbal and then roll into those warming sticky toffee pudding favours of dried fig and molasses… of course with a caramel sauce! CSPC +789146 $82–$92

Tomintoul 16 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, Speyside, Scotland A long-time favourite, Tomintoul is known as “the gentle dram” and matured in bourbon casks. Fresh cereal aromas with mild citrus, cocoa, and leather. Nutty and toasty on the palate with a remarkable smoothness. It was easy to go back to it for just another “taste” to make sure it really was that good (and maybe a third taste too). Fantastic neat or with a mild splash of water. CSPC +808170 $95–$105

“Greatest Hits” and “Vine & Dine” from Hotel Arts Group

refresh’d E D M O N T O N ’ S F O O D F E S T I VA L

To be enjoyed from the comfort & safety of your own home with safe curbside pick-up


When doors close, another opens The Leftovers Foundation BY DANIEL BONTJE

Keg donation to the Dream Centre


has seen many restaurants and businesses making the tough decision to close their doors, even temporarily. Whenever this happens, we think of all the people affected—front of house, chefs, suppliers, customers—but how often do we consider the food that is in their fridges? For Lourdes Juan, founder of The Leftovers Foundation, that’s exactly where her mind goes, and she has been redirecting food to those who need it for almost a decade. Always passionate about her work, Juan is more than happy to chat about how busy The Leftovers Foundation is currently. The work took on a new urgency in March as COVID-19 suddenly saw a spike in donations like never before. “It’s been crazy,” she says. “March felt like (it was) 100 days long, and somehow also not nearly long enough. With Leftovers, it wasn’t a pivot so much as a complete explosion and expansion of what we normally do.”

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Juan has been working with food waste and food access for years now. “The spark kind of happened back in 2012, when my cousin asked me to pick up some excess bread. I thought it would be a couple loaves, but when he said he might need an extra car…” Juan laughs, remembering: “there was roughly 200 pounds of bread,

the Drop in Centre said that they would have it all used up by noon the next day. That really shocked me again—when you look at it, its so much food but when you start thinking about how many people there are living and working there, how many bagged lunches… it adds up so quickly.”

“In March, we redirected about 45,000 pounds of food,” Juan says. “Restaurants were closing left and right but even at their most vulnerable, they were giving. As we were cleaning out these refrigerators, which was so sad, people were still smiling. People still loved knowing that they could help someone else.” and I was completely shocked! I kept thinking that if we hadn’t gone and picked it up it would have all ended up at the landfill, it would have all gone to waste.” “We took this bread from the bakery to the Drop-In Centre, and the gentleman at

Juan has always been an entrepreneur, so that first delivery quickly grew into more. “We really started building what we have today—a 600-person army of volunteers in Calgary and another 100 in Edmonton working seven days a week.”

Palomino pick up

This army of volunteers has continued to grow every year, and in 2019 was mobilized to redirect 6,000 pounds of food every week, but even that could not have prepared them for the surge that they saw in March this year. “In March, we redirected about 45,000 pounds of food,” Juan says. “Restaurants were closing left and right but even at their most vulnerable, they were giving. As we were cleaning out these refrigerators, which was so sad, people were still smiling. People still loved knowing that they could help someone else.” Jeraldine Blanchard, co-owner of Yann Haute Patisserie, has long partnered with the Leftovers Foundation. “We have worked with them for years… although they do all the work!” Blanchard laughs. “For us, donations are usually croissants, pastries, breads… it’s all things that freeze well. It’s food we are proud of, and it’s the same quality.” Yann Haute has remained open and

Inn from the Cold drop-off

continues to bake up a storm daily. “Even in a crisis, people still want their comfort food and to celebrate special moments. We are happy to bring that moment of comfort, and we have had a lot of love.” Keeping their doors open has also meant that they can continue their weekly donations to The Leftovers Foundation, something critically important as more Albertans than ever are struggling with access to food. As restaurants struggle to pivot and remain open or close their doors, service agencies have also seen real challenges. They face the same logistical issues around providing care and services while maintaining safety, but have seen rising need following layoffs and financial instability. Whether it’s students, seniors who may need to stay isolated, or those who have lost their jobs, the need is greater than ever. Luckily, Albertans are stepping up to help each other in a big way. “There are all

these service agencies, even smaller ones who are coming out of the woodwork,” says Juan. “We love partnering with them and we love getting to learn about all the different work that happens in our cities.” “I did a lot of pickups when the restaurants were closing, it was really surreal to see empty restaurants but still see smiling faces. It wasn’t that we rescued tons and tons from every single place, but everyone gave what they had,” she remembers. “It has been really meaningful to see that it’s been everyone from the local places to big guys, even big chains have been reaching out like never before. We are all in this together.” To find out more about the Leftovers Foundation, go to to become a donor, partner, or volunteer. 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. May/June 2020 | Culinaire 19

Maintream moonshiners g BY ELIZABETH CHORNEY-BOOTH

rowing up, Shayna Hansen was more than aware of her family’s moonshining past. Tales of older relatives’ adventures in the days of illegal home distilling had long been the focus of colourful stories told at Hansen family functions. While she was amused by her familial history, Shayna never imagined that legacy would lead to a family business of her own. “My family have been moonshiners since way back, going back to my greatgrandparents,” she says. “After them, my grandparents were moonshiners, and my dad did some moonshining too. So when I was growing up I thought it was normal and something that everybody did.” To be clear, neither the Hansen grandparents nor Shayna’s father were professional bathtub gin distillers—their amateur moonshining was merely a hobby that tapped into a family history rooted in some small scale bartering by her great-grandparents during the Great Depression. Still, Shayna’s husband Kris became fascinated by his in-laws’ pastime and before long, he also caught the home distilling bug. The hobby grew into a passion and when Kris and Shayna sold their welding company in 2014,

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they decided that a distillery would be a natural fit for a new business. Hansen Distillery (named in honour of Shayna’s family lore) opened in Edmonton in late 2016. After taking courses in the Okanagan to help him learn how to scale his small-time garage distilling from his garage stills into a commercial production facility, Kris took charge of the distilling end of the business. Like most new distilleries in Alberta, Hansen started by making white spirits, but in keeping with Hansen family lore, in addition to gin and vodka, they are also marketing a moonshine product. Hansen’s End of the Line Moonshine is made simply with Alberta-grown wheat, water and yeast. The distillery also makes a vodka, though it’s a more sophisticated product that is triple filtered and 30x distilled for a smoother taste. “Moonshine can be scary to people, but it is essentially just vodka,” Shayna says. “It’s just not as refined as vodka and those two products are quite different.” In addition to the plain moonshine, Hansen produces flavoured moonshines, usually creating small-batch seasonal combinations. The available flavours

change often, as Kris experiments with unique varieties like blueberry basil, peppered garlic bacon, vanilla fig, and old-fashioned root beer. Diversity and a keen sense of fun seems to be a key part of Hansen’s local following; they’ve also made a name for themselves with the Purple Cow saskatoon berry cream liqueur and Morning Glory chocolate hazelnut cream liqueur. This fall, they also came up with an extraordinarily popular pumpkin spice cream liqueur. “We always have people waiting to see what the next thing will be,” Shayna says. “It’s almost like a hobby for some people. They’re very interested to see what we’ll come up with next.” Hansen has also been selling an unaged rye spirit called Border Crossing, but it will slowly be phased out, thanks to the new launch of the brand’s properly aged whiskey. Reaching its third year of operation means that Hansen was just able to start bottling an official whisky, which has been happily aging in barrels since the distillery first opened. Touted as Edmonton’s very first craft whisky, Northern Eyes was released to the public in February to significant fanfare. The whisky is made with Alberta rye and aged

in American oak for three years. “We’re using new oak barrels rather than ex-bourbon barrels, which is what the typical Canadian whisky is done in,” Shayna says. “And it’s 100 percent rye grain. We wanted to showcase what Alberta is known for. We get all of our grain from a little farm in Stettler run by my great-grandfather’s sister’s daughter. We really wanted to be able to support another family member.” The first batch of Northern Eyes Whisky sold out almost immediately, but to allow for a fairly steady supply, Hansen is releasing a new barrel’s worth

of bottles every month for the next few years. Shayna says that the feedback so far has been very enthusiastic, with most customers remarking that the flavour is deeper than they’d expect for a three-year-old whisky. Other barrels are reserved for longer aging whiskies that will become available in the coming years. Because of fees associated with distribution, Hansen’s spirits are most easily found in the Edmonton area, where the distillery has a loyal and enthusiastic following. The distillery also offers tours Thursday through Saturday, for $15 per

person. The tours include a tasting flight of five spirits, including the Northern Eyes Whisky. For those not able to visit the distillery itself (which has the best selection of products for purchase) or an Edmontonarea liquor store, Hansen is able to ship bottles anywhere in Canada. For more information, visit 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. May/June 2020 | Culinaire 21

The World ’s Most Admired Wine Brands 2020 D R I N K S I N T E R N AT I O N A L


Dandurand is honoured to announce that we represents 9 of the top 50 World’s Most Admired Wine Brands. Below we recommend wines from these great brands for you to enjoy, so that you can see for yourself what makes them so admirable in the eyes of the world’s wine trade.






The origins of the Torres family in the Penedès region date back to the 17th century. Since it was founded in 1870, Bodegas Torres has managed to combine tradition and innovation with the aim of making premium wine and brandy, always with the utmost respect for the environment.




MAS LA PLANA 2015 93 Points – James Suckling


CELESTE CRIANZA 2016 93 Points – James Suckling



Villa Maria lays claim to the title of New Zealand’s Most Awarded Winery for over 30 years. As an icon of the New Zealand wine industry, They are known for bold and industrychanging moves and award winning single vineyard wines. 3








Don Maximiano Errázuriz founded Viña Errázuriz in 1870. With his great vision for the future and his innovative, pioneering spirit, he planted the first French grape varieties in the Aconcagua Valley.



MAX RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 93 Points – Descorchados





[yellow tail] began as a little family winery in a small country town in Australia, and from day one the mission was to make wines that are great value that everyone can enjoy because they over deliver on quality. [yellow tail] is approachable and the wines can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere. 7




# 1 - 1 0 M O ST P O W E R F U L W I N E B R A N D S I N T H E W O R L D 2 0 2 0








Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi is one of Italy’s oldest wineries, with a history dating to the 1300s. One of the most significant wine producers in Italy, with nine estates and roughly 2,500 acres in Tuscany, the family has been growing wine since the late 19th century. 9

NIPOZZANO CHIANTI RISERVA 2016 92 Points – James Suckling


PERANO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 93 Points – James Suckling





In 1997, true to his pioneering spirit, Michel Chapoutier set out from France to explore the terroirs of the oldest continent of Australia. He wanted to meet people, people like him with a passionate interest in bringing out the true character of vines and the terroir. 11

CHAPOUTIER BELLERUCHE 2018 89 Points – Jeb Dunnuck



CHAPOUTIER CHANTE ALOUETTE 2017 94 Points –Robert Parker




Les Vins Georges Duboeuf, one of the largest and best-known wine merchants in France. The company is known for its popularization and production of Beaujolais wines, leading to Duboeuf’s nicknames of le roi du Beaujolais (The King of Beaujolais). 13

DUBOEUF BEAUJOLAIS 2017 91 Points – James Suckling


JULIENAS CHATEAU DES CAPITANS 2015 90 Points - Wine Spectator






Trapiche Vineyards stands out for its premium standards in viticulture and winemaking. Founded in 1883, Trapiche is one of the oldest brands of wines produced in Argentina. 15


Gato Negro — Spanish for “black cat” — was born as a wine brand in Chile in 1960. The origin story has it that for more than half a century, a black cat enchanted the wine makers of Viña San Pedro. 17





RESERVE MALBEC 2018 92 Points– James Suckling


MEDALLA MALBEC 2016 93 Points – Wine & Spirits


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his should be the season of backyard entertaining, with some tasty snacks, fine friends, and a tipple or two. But with the pandemic continuing to keep us on lockdown, plans of grand gatherings are put on hold. This doesn’t mean the snacking has to stop. Quite the contrary! Whether you’re feeding a family of four, or it’s just you and your cat, nothing beats a good charcuterie board. It’s so simple to prepare, there’s no real cooking involved, and it looks rather pretty especially when garnished with seasonal fruit. Crackers go hand in hand with meat and cheese, and while in the deli section you’ve likely noticed how pricey those fancy artisan fruit and nut crackers are. They’re almost as much as a hunk of good cheese! To save some bucks and learn a new kitchen skill, might I suggest making your own fancy crackers? It’s super simple, plus you know what you’re putting into the recipe, and you can customize the flavours as you like based on what’s in the pantry. For this recipe I mixed some barley flour into regular all-purpose. I like the taste of barley flour in baking, plus there’s extra nutrients and fibre. You can use whole wheat or spelt as well. Next up is the dried fruit. I used the dried cranberries that were hanging out in my pantry, but dried cherries, chopped apricots, figs, even raisins would be a good choice. Nuts can be whatever you have on hand. I usually keep them in the freezer, and lo and behold! I found a bag of walnuts near the back! Pecans, almonds, hazelnuts would all be excellent. I like a little seed action in my crackers so I used

sesame, pumpkin and ground flax. If I had poppyseeds in the house, they would have been in there too! I added a little bit of this and that from the spice cabinet, but feel free to switch these up as you like. Buttermilk is the star of the show here, as it helps to create little air bubbles when combined with the baking soda. A simple loaf is made, baked, frozen and then sliced into thin crackers, which are then baked again. These are like the biscotti of the cracker world! It’s hard not to pluck the crackers off the baking sheet while they are cooling, but try and save some for that charcuterie tray. Each loaf makes about 2 dozen crackers, but if your house is like my house, they won’t last long! Cranberry Walnut Artisan Crackers Makes two loaves, about 24 crackers each loaf 1 cup barley or whole wheat flour 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup dried cranberries ½ cup chopped walnuts ½ cup pumpkin seeds ¼ cup sesame seeds ¼ cup ground flaxseed 2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp dried rosemary ½ tsp salt ½ tsp dried thyme ¼ tsp cinnamon ¼ tsp ground nutmeg Pinch black pepper 2 cups (500 mL) buttermilk ¼ cup packed brown sugar 3 Tbs (45 mL) pure maple syrup 2 tsp fresh lemon zest 1 Tbs whole flaxseed

1. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. You can also use 8x4 inch loaf pans. 2. In a large bowl, stir together all 14 dry ingredients (flour to pepper). 3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, brown sugar, maple syrup, and lemon zest. Add this to the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. 4. Divide the batter between the loaf pans, smoothing the tops with an offset spatula. Sprinkle the flaxseeds on top and bake for 40–45 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. 5. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove the loaves from the pans and let cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, wrap the loaves tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 2 hours, or overnight. 6. Preheat the oven to 300º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 7. Using a serrated knife, slice the loaves (they should still be partially frozen) as thinly as possible, ideally 3 mm thick. Place the slices in a single layer on the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, flip over, and rotate the pans from top to bottom. Bake for another 15 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks. Store crackers in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 4 months. Note: Can also use mini loaf pans, reducing baking time to 20–25 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. May/June 2020 | Culinaire 25

A community approach to local food in Alberta BY LEXIE ANGELO


f you’ve ever trekked through a busy farmer’s market on a Sunday afternoon, you know how popular local fruit and vegetables are in Alberta. But you may not know about CSA’s, or Community Supported Agriculture programs. John Mills, owner of Eagle Creek Farms near Bowden, AB says, “When I heard of the CSA idea, it was a really good way for me … to get into farming and to overcome some of the challenges of starting a farm.” The model of the CSA is simple. You purchase a share of the crop in advance, and in return, get 12–16 weeks of fresh vegetables typically between late-June and early-September. But there is an added advantage for the local farmer as well. “The cool thing with the CSA model is that by partnering with shared families, you have that capital up front to foot the cost of the overhead … so the farming can get going,” says Mills. Each CSA farm is different. Eagle Creek Farms originally started as a cattle farm,

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whereas Tam Andersen, owner of Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farms, near Edmonton, explains that her operation was originally a tree nursery. “It has evolved over time from growing trees to growing all sorts of vegetables,” she says. “We have over 25 acres of gardens that we grow 150 different types of vegetables in.” Andersen, who has run a CSA program for over eight years, says that CSA’s are more than just shares in a harvest, they are “a wonderful way to get reacquainted and connected back to the land and where your food is grown.” A surprise in every harvest box When you join a CSA, you may recognize familiar items in your harvest box such as lettuce, carrots and radishes, but you may be surprised with local vegetables you’ve never considered cooking with before such as kohlrabi, Swiss chard or mustard greens. “The kohlrabi is more of an odd vegetable that people don’t normally eat,” says Mills. The cartoonish-looking bulbs taste like a cross-between a turnip and a radish and grow particularly well in southern Alberta. When deciding what to grow each year, John Mills says he aims to offer a wide variety of vegetables, but also considers how much of the selection in the seed catalogues he thinks he can successfully grow. “We have some challenges here in Alberta with weather that really cuts down our short growing season for peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes,” Mills explains. “The fun part of the CSA is trying to help educate people, whether it’s through our emails, or the one-on-one interactions

with me, or my staff at the CSA deliveries,” Mills says. One of the highlights of running a CSA is to “help educate people on how to use those odd and unusual crops and try to introduce different stuff into everyone’s diets and daily eating.” Tam Anderson started experimenting and growing “all sort of unusual vegetables” after working with Chef Blair Lebsack from RGE RD in Edmonton ten years ago. Lebsack shared his expertise on what looks great and colourful on a plate, and Andersen says, “We really learned a lot from the chef as to the harvesting times and windows of things, and what works most beautifully on a plate rather than in a bag.” Through their collaboration, Andersen discovered that Edmonton-area gardens “can grow all kinds of Asian vegetables.” Now, she grows herbs and greens that aren’t found in mainstream grocery stores or restaurants, such as scarlet frills mustard, red mizuna, and komatsuna, which is a Japanese mustard spinach. Operators know that some items may not appeal to everyone, so often you will see trade boxes where you can swap those unusual garlic scapes for zucchini, or unwanted brussels sprouts for cabbage. Some CSA’s also offer add-on packages, such as eggs, flowers, or a selection of BC fruit. Winter harvest boxes are also popular, and typically contain root vegetables like turnips and potatoes, as well as hardy greens like spinach, arugula and kale. Sustainable farming and support Although you don’t get to pick the

vegetables in your harvest box each week, joining a CSA helps with sustainable farming and reducing food waste. Once he started his CSA, Mills knew exactly how much food to grow in his first season. He explains, the share families are a “stable market” and take the guesswork out of the first year of farming, unlike attending farmer’s markets where it’s difficult to predict how many people might stop at your booth and how busy the market might be. Andersen says Prairie Gardens is more farm-focused and doesn’t attend farmer’s markets. Instead, she limits her CSA to “fifty families a year so, we can do a good job for everyone.” Through community shared agriculture programs, Mills says the advantage is knowing “the vegetables you’re growing are going to end up in people hands, and not going to be composted.”

Early registration helps with crop planning The key to a successful CSA experience is to register early. “The real beauty of a CSA from a farmers perspective is if people sign up early—that allows us to plan, and purchase the seeds that we need to purchase,” explains Andersen. Prairie Garden and Adventure Farms opens for registration in the spring and offers a family share for $850 and a couples share for $550, as well as bonus Halloween pumpkins and a Christmas winter CSA basket. Anderson also hosts workshops, long-table dinners and cooking classes, and delivers herbs and greens year-round to local restaurants such as The Butternut Tree and Biera. Eagle Creek Farms changed their CSA model two years ago. “We still grow vegetables on the farm at the same scale as before,” Mills explains. However, he sends

his vegetables such as carrots and potatoes to the YYC Harvest Box and offers 45 different varieties of seed potatoes for local gardeners. He encourages people to come visit the farm as well. “We also have a U-pick and a sunflower maze on the farm. You can come out here and see where we grow our food, and how we grow it organically.” The YYC Grower’s Harvest Box program is a cooperative effort of fifteen local farms, including Eagle Creek Farms, and offers weekly and biweekly programs for $29.95 per share in the Calgary area. Visit or for registration details. Lexie Angelo is a food and lifestyle writer in Calgary. She is a traveler and adventurer always in search of the hottest trends in food and drink from around the world. Follow her on twitter @angelolexie May/June 2020 | Culinaire 27


The resilient, remarkable,

Similkameen Valley A n early sun crests the rocky range as Mount Chopaka greets a new day, her silhouette shining over the valley below. Life stirs slowly, on ranches and at vineyards and in orchards, breathing into the land a persistent energy. This is the Similkameen Valley on an elemental level. There’s a transcendent beauty to it, one echoed in the character of those who call it home. “If we don’t know where we come from, we don’t know where we are going.” Lower Similkameen Indian Band Before roads or rails, and prior to the expansion of the Hudson’s Bay Trading Company and the Gold Rush, it’s estimated 800 to 1,000 Smalqmix (of the Sukwnaqin-x) made the first encampment in what’s now Keremeos. Today, there are 11 reserves totaling 15,000 hectares over 90 kilometers. The descendants have an active Band and

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engaged community. Forged eons ago by volcanic activity and glacial flooding, the region is rich with mineral deposits. The Similkameen River, with headwaters in Manning Park, and fertile soils attracted first ranching, farming, and then viticulture. It feels remote while still being accessible, and most want to leave a low environmental footprint. Hot summers means the Similkameen is ideal for tree fruits and viticulture. As early as 1916, at least one larger fruit grower mailed recruitment brochures across Canada with the promise a company town would be built for family settlers. By the 1960s, the valley was an organic farming hub and vineyards appeared around the 1980s. Some fruit growers crossed over, and every year brought more acres planted to vines. Organic practices and certifications were, and continue to be, common. By the early 2000s, some eager

Photographs courtesy Similkameen Independent Winegrowers

Forged eons ago by volcanic activity and glacial flooding, the region is rich with mineral deposits. The Similkameen River, with headwaters in Manning Park, and fertile soils attracted first ranching, farming, and then viticulture. vintners were priced out of land in the Okanagan Valley and turned their sights to the Similkameen. A handful of wineries grew into a tidy little wine region, large enough to form the Similkameen Winegrowers Association in 2009. The area now has 700 acres of vineyards with more than 14 wineries and cideries. John and Virginia Weber visited the Similkameen in 2001, leaving Saskatchewan to plant roots here and start Orofino Vineyards when few British Columbians knew this was a wine region. With almost 20 years here, John is the person newer winery folks call when they have questions. He and others often gather and compare their wines to those around the globe. If one word could describe this region it’s resilient. Farming is far from an easy life. The ranch with 150 cattle struggles to find skilled wranglers when cows need to go to summer pasture. Wildlife can wreak havoc on farms and crops. And farms are

part of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), designed to help preserve arable land but being a bit of a blunt instrument when farmers need to navigate legislation for improving their businesses. For example, Untangled Craft Cider and the Row Fourteen field-to-plate restaurant are part of Klippers Organics, started by Annamarie and Kevin Klippenstein in 2001. Looking to grow their business, they wanted to open a restaurant and then a cidery but licensing requirements meant the cidery had to come first—so they changed course and combined the projects to realize their plans. Even responsible growth brings change. Similkameen River water levels are anecdotally lower, and algae blooms increasingly common. More farming means more fences and impacts wildlife migration patterns, part of a healthy ecosystem. Some change is unexpected, like a global pandemic that’s affecting

us all; the 54th annual rodeo on Easter weekend didn’t proceed as planned. Wineries and cideries ready to welcome visitors in April are scrambling for new summer business strategies. Resilience here is key. At the time of writing, the world we thought we knew is changing into something we might not easily recognize—perhaps forever. Those businesses we support now will have the best chance, and the steps we take today become the trails we walk tomorrow. While we must wait to explore the world again in person, we can still sign up to receive newsletters, engage on social media, or join a winery’s wine club. In Alberta some retail wine shops already carry these wines, although smaller winery labels can be more difficult to locate. The future might be uncertain, but it’s people like these we want to have waiting for us when we find it together. May/June 2020 | Culinaire 29

The groundbreakers Clos du Soleil, est 2006

Small production dedicated to minimal intervention winemaking with biodynamic viticulture. Clos du Soleil is derived from the French meaning ‘an enclosed vineyard of the sun.’ To try: Capella, Signature (white or red Bordeaux variety blends respectively). Crowsnest Vineyards, est 1995

One of the first Similkameen wineries, the Heinecke’s adult children Sasha and Ann (winemaker) took over in 2017. The winery has an onsite restaurant with patio, a bakery, guest rooms, and distillery license. To try: 2019 Chardonnay, 2019 Riesling, 2019 Rosé. Forbidden Fruit Winery, est 2004

Steve Venables bought and planted the property in 1977, meeting wife Kim Brind’Amour in 1981 on the farm. They certified organic in 1984 and make fruit wines, grape wines, and three ciders. To try: Pearsuasion Dry Pear, Dead End wines or ciders.

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Orofino Vineyards, est 2001

John and Virginia Weber built Canada’s first strawbale winery, now 100% solar powered and with guest suites. Their focus is on vineyard-specific wines built to age. The recently acquired Passion Pit vineyard will see more Syrah planted, a very good thing. To try: riesling, gamay, syrah, cabernet franc, Beleza (blend). Eau Vivre Winery, est 2009

Owners Sukh & Neetu Bajwa purchased this established winery in 2018 so that Sukh could pursue his dream, with Anthony Buchana guiding Sukh through winemaking. To try: 2019 Syrah (natural ferment), 2019 Chardonnay.

original Snow Apple tree planted in 1916 still contributes today. To try: Pippin or Fameuse sparkling wines, Snow Cider. Seven Stones Winery, est 2003

Originally from Whitehorse, George Hanson bought land in 1999 to plant a vineyard with wine production in 2003. George holds on to bottles for a few years prior to release, and we thank him for it. To try: Row 128 Merlot, Chardonnay, Meritage.

Somewhat more recent additions Corcelettes Estate Winery, est 2011

Tim (a firefighter) and Carolyn Cottrill planted their vineyard in 1997, growing for other wineries until making their own wines in 2006. Like many here, theirs is a certified organic vineyard and winery. To try: 2016 Pinot Noir, 2016 Gamay.

Charlie and Jesce Baessler purchased their current property in 2015, expanding 21 vineyard acres to 30 and adding 160 this year. The new site gives opportunity to experiment with higher elevation growing. Annual production is around 5,000 cases. Try: 2019 Oracle Rosé, syrah, cabernet franc.

Rustic Roots Winery & Cidery, est 2008

Hugging Tree, est 2011

The Harkers are a fifth generation family in organic farming. Troy operates the farm and his wife Sara is the winemaker; an

Retired former RCMP officers Walt & Christine Makepeace moved from their first 60-acre location to a smaller 32 acres

Robin Ridge Winery, est 2006

We’ve launched a series of high quality, paired dinner packages for you to enjoy at home, with a video to take you through the dishes and pairings! The hot dishes are ready for you to cook and finish, so they’re as delicious as they would be in the restaurant.

Alforno Paired Pizza Package

A three-course meal, which includes house-made dough, fixings, and toppings for you to make your own Margherita, Fun Guy, or Pepperoni pizza! An appetizer, dessert, and a surprise are included too! Wednesdays

Franca’s Italian Pasta Package Corcelettes Estate Winery

over two sites, planting new vineyards and building a new winery for 2020. Son Brad is the winemaker, and last year Walt was the employee of the month every month.

the farm, Kaylan is the cidermaker, and both do absolutely everything. Try: Kingston’s Twist, Pippin’s Fate, or just about anything.

Liber Farm & Winery, est 2016

Untangled Craft Cider, est 2019

Mike and Nicole Dowell moved their family from Edmonton to fully embrace organic living. Their sevenacre organic vineyard is equal parts chardonnay and merlot, and the winery received certification in 2018. Try: both chardonnays (especially the Grand Estate Reserve).

Annamarie and Kevin Klippenstein began Klippers Organics in 2001. Their 50-acre farm is certified organic and tended entirely by hand. Last summer they opened a stunning farm restaurant Row Fourteen, designed by architect Norman Goddard, with a tasting room for the cidery. Try: Tangled or Hopped Apricot ciders.

Little Farm Winery, est 2009

Rhys Pender and Alishan Driediger (winemaker) purchased land in 2009 and produced their first vintage in 2011. Named for the French term paysan (small farmer), the focus is on creating interesting wines of character. Try: riesling, chardonnay, basically the entire Pied de Cuve series. Twisted Hills Cider, est 2012

Jo Schneider and Kaylan Madeira purchased 12 acres of land in 2008, mainly for organic cider apple growing. The ‘CiderDome’ opened in 2012. Jo manages

Vanessa Vineyard, est 2012

Suki Sekhon and John Welson purchased 75 acres of rocky, sloped grazing pasture in 2008 and began planting the five varieties used for their estate wines. They added Howard Soon as master winemaker and made their first vintage in 2012. Try: syrah, cabernet franc, viognier, meritage. Jeannette is freelance writer with a focus on sharing the stories of a place and its people. She lives in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, and is happiest with a glass of bubble in hand.

Mario and Franca’s delicious fourcourse pairing meal includes a hot pasta course from their hometown in Italy for you to cook at home! A starter, dessert, and additional baked goods are also included. Wednesdays

Hotel Arts Raw Bar Dinner Package

In his inimitable style, Executive Chef Quinn Staple has put together an outstanding four-course pairing dinner menu, with a braised beef short rib main course for you to finish at home. Thursdays

Moonlight & Eli Fondue Package

Spoil yourself with a sparkling paired Appenzeller and Jarlsberg cheese fondue, and 10 dipping items, followed by Sweet Bella Earl Grey Chocolate Fondue and more dipping items! Wednesdays/Thursdays All packages are available in very limited quantities for contactless pick up at the restaurant on designated days each week. For full details, check out and contact 403-870-9802 to reserve your package!

Award winning BY TOM FIRTH


ach year, I’m lucky enough to be one of the judges for the Canadian Artisan Spirits Competition. What that means in practice, is that several hundred blind sample bottles (of a few ounces each) in five or six boxes show up at my door. The bottles bear ominous labels, like 12/401*. The first number represents the category (i.e. gin, contemporary vodka, etc.), the second is the sample number, and the asterisk in this case indicates an additional criterion. This means that in a morning of judging, one should lump together a small flight of like products and get cracking. From experience, I’ll also share that tasting a flight of 10–12 gins is a hard way to start a morning. Taste, assess, repeat, and do so for as long as your palate and focus will last. Each judge is given several weeks to work through the blind samples, scoring using some templates and guides. It’s hard work, though it makes for an odd workspace when underway. What this competition really does is show the state of craft distilling in Canada, as each product has to impress enough of the judges from across the country who each might have a regional influence or preferred style. Does a prairie judge like rye? Does a certain liqueur alienate one judge but sway another? This is hard and diligent work indeed. The outlook is also looking great for Alberta, our very young craft spirit industry is kickin’ ass and taking names, as many did very, very well at the competition this year. Opposite, is a small snapshot of some of the best Alberta-made products from this year’s competition, complete results can be found at Prices are approximate, and some products might only be available from the distillery. Products with a CSPC code may be available from select retailers as well.

32 Culinaire | May/June 2020

Alberta-made spirits Strathcona Distillery Barrel-Aged Gin (Gold, with Distinction) I like barrel-aged gins. In the right hands a little oak tempers the intensity of the gin and adds layers of interest too. Strathcona’s has a fine blend of vanilla and citrus on the nose and palate. Delicious. CSPC +789514 $60 at the distillery

Wild Life Distillery Alberta Botanical Gin

(Gold, with Excellence in Terroir)

This is the sort of gin I love to drink. Evoking a springtime walk in the mountains or a hike in early fall. Sourced completely from Alberta foraged botanicals. It’s good, and Alberta-made. CSPC +810442 $52 at Wild Life

Strathcona Distillery Badland Seaberry Gin (Gold, with Excellence in Terroir)

A London Dry style of gin with locally sourced Seaberry (sea buckthorn) in the aromatics. My blind notes loved the bright and peppery aromas, and how this gin tasted like it comes from somewhere. Which is right here in Alberta. CSPC +787815 $50 at the distillery

Eau Claire Parlour Gin

(Gold, Best in Class)

A stalwart bottle in Alberta’s craft pantheon, with a number of richer, subtler characters and tempered juniper notes on the nose. Big and ballsy on the palate, it’s a solid gin for any day of the week. CSPC +789514 $50 at Eau Claire

Grit City Coffee Liqueur (Silver) One of my favourites from the competition, it’s quite sweet, but exemplifies the richness and roast of good coffee and makes for a fantastic liqueur with no bitter flavours. Perfect for any fan of the style. $35 at the distillery

Confluence Distilling Vinland Akvavit (Gold, Best in Class) Akvavit is possibly the next new thing in craft spirits and a number of great examples are quite new to our market. Confluence’s is brassy with all that caraway and dill with a delicious brine/ salinity. Tasty and cocktail versatile. CSPC +814153 $50 at Confluence

Eau Claire Distillery Prickly Pear EquineOx (Gold) Very well known to many Albertans, the EquineOx delivers a remarkably tropical aroma with a clean, and well-balanced palate. Goes very well in lighter, summery cocktails that benefit from a little je ne sais quoi. CSPC +789511 $50 at Eau Claire

Stone Heart Distillery Gin (Gold) A smashable gin and fairly versatile with all sorts of well-integrated botanicals on the palate. Fine stuff and a good one to keep on hand. CSPC +804174 $45 at the distillery

Grit City Distillery Forbidden Fruit Gin (Bronze) New to me, Grit City is calling Medicine Hat home, and they had a strong showing here. The Forbidden Fruit treads a delicate balance of letting the gin carry the day, but with some softness to the fruits. Well balanced and pretty too. CSPC +830192 $42 at the distillery

Wild Life Distillery Barrel Aged Gin

(Gold, Best in Class)

Fairly subtle on the oak, but definitely there, this barrel-aged gin is enthusiastic with well-chosen botanicals lending a zesty juniper foundation to the experience. Tasty gin, and suitable where enthusiasm is wanted. CSPC +812647 $59 at Wild Life

Stone Heart Distillery Vodka (Silver) A fine vodka made in the heartland (near Innisfail) Stone Heart is rich and silky, perfect neat or in many mixed drinks. CSPC +785419 $40 at the distillery

Tippa’s Lovebird Gin (Bronze) A popular and locally made gin, it’s potent and spicy but also really well balanced with a tight, dense juniper base. Exceptional in classic cocktails too. CSPC +817159 $43–47

Black Diamond Wheat Vodka (Bronze)

Smooth, in a nutshell, so damn smooth with mild tropical notes and a bright clean finish. Finely made vodka here. $45 at the distillery

Black Diamond Spiced Cranberry Liqueur (Bronze) A cranberry liqueur that isn’t too sweet, but also maintains good expression of the fruit and a wonderfully restrained dose of sweetness with good spice. Warms up a cool day with style. $38 at the distillery (seasonal availability)

Confluence Manchester Dry Gin


A gin that hits all the boxes with tightly wound, expressive botanicals with subtle cucumber and berry characters. Zippy and dry, this begs for raucous cocktails for two or G&T by the pitcher. CSPC +812027 $48 at the distillery

Latitude 55 Moonshine (Bronze) Hailing from Grande Prairie, Latitude 55 is making a pretty solid shine here. Specifically, I like the nose and the weight on the finish, but it’s easy to see the potential too of what this base spirit can do with some age. CSPC +820331 $45–50

May/June 2020 | Culinaire 33

Matt Hendriks of Park Distillery


The state of Alberta’s craft alcohol: 2020


very May, Culinaire takes on what’s happening in craft alcohol in Alberta. Suffice it to say, the events of the past six years or so have been unprecedented in its history, with more production facilities opening than the combined total in the 150 years since this region was designated a territory. Most of the focus has been on beer, and the number of breweries continues to grow, with new distilleries and cideries not far behind. However, we are also seeing locations change ownership or even close completely. This shows that the craft market still has some volatility while Alberta’s economy continues to find its footing.

34 Culinaire | May/June 2020

Breweries Since we last reported in 2018, more than 50 breweries have opened in Alberta, with licenses issued for dozens more, many of which are currently under construction. That puts the province at more than 120 operating breweries now, with more on the way. However, there have been some new developments in the past year that have shaken the foundation of the craft brewing community. First, we have seen the initial closures within the new wave of craft breweries (opened since 2014). To be fair, breweries have been shutting down since before Alberta was even a province, but these recent closures have come as craft beer awareness and consumption are on the rise. While the reasons behind why these breweries ceased operations will continue to be analyzed, it certainly proves that not every new brewery is going to be successful. At the rate new breweries were opening, it was only a matter of time before one or more failed. That’s just business; not all new restaurants and stores succeed either. Several factors come into play: financing, location, production, sales penetration, and especially the quality

and the popularity of the beer. What is clear though, as competition increases for our beverage dollars, breweries must stay relevant by producing products people want. Second, a triumvirate of craft breweries have been sold to outside parties. The first to go was Calgary’s Wild Rose Brewery to Sleeman Breweries, a subsidiary of Sapporo Breweries Ltd. of Japan. Then Banded Peak Brewing, in Calgary, was acquired by Labatt Breweries—part of Anheuser-Busch InBev. Being part of gigantic brewing conglomerates certainly gives these breweries a whole new distribution capability, and where it goes from there is unknown. Alley Kat Brewing Company, in Edmonton, took a different route, selling to two local entrepreneurs, so their changeover will probably be less noticeable. These sales prove that Alberta breweries are starting to register on the world beer map, and more investment opportunities are sure to happen. Distilleries Because distilleries are more complex and have more legislative requirements than breweries, they have not grown at the same

Stand out and stand tall. Will your products be winners this year?

Registration opens May 1 Visit to enter your wines, beers, spirits, mixers, coolers, and soft drinks for the 2020 Alberta Beverage Awards. Registration deadline June 26 Judging takes place July 13–15 For more information, contact competition director Tom Firth:


Brewsters McKenzie Towne

Troubled Monk

pace. Notwithstanding, there are over 30 manufacturers operating in Alberta, with a couple more opening each year. While making gin and vodka is de rigeuer in any distillery’s infancy, some have produced products such as grappa, apple brandy, rum, liqueurs, schnapps, eau de vie, amaro, RTDs, pre-mixed cocktails, soda, and more. The exciting news is as these operations mature, barrel-aged alcohol, especially whiskies, are beginning to hit the market. Look for a flood of these products over the next couple of years. Wineries Alberta has had fruit wineries for several years but leaves the grape vineyards to our western provincial neighbour. Nonetheless, in early 2020, Calgary became the site of the province’s first urban winery and tasting room. At City and Country, grapes and must from around the world are turned into wine inside unique fermenters, then bottled onsite. Urban wineries have proven successful elsewhere, so perhaps there is room for expansion to other locations in the province. In addition, in late 2018, Fermenton-Premises (FoP) was legalized, which 36 Culinaire | May/June 2020

allows the general public to make their own wine, beer, and cider outside their homes under professional guidance. Also called UBrew or UVin, customers select their ingredients and create their product using the store’s equipment; essentially permitting any adult in Alberta to become a craftsperson. There are now a couple of dozen locations around the province, so one wonders if they may become the training grounds for future commercial endeavours. Cideries Alberta may not have grapes, but we have more apple trees than we can count. So, when life gives you apples, you make cider. Over a dozen manufacturing licenses have been granted in the past couple of years and three tasting rooms have opened in Calgary, with Edmonton soon to follow. Many cideries are helping with food waste while supporting charities by taking donations of unwanted fruit and turning it into cider. Meaderies It doesn’t appear any new meaderies have opened in the past couple of years, but there has been an expansion in their

Alley Kat Brewing

product lines, moving beyond standard mead styles into more flavoured drinks, using honey as the base. With the growth of RTDs, this appears to be the natural line of progression. So, despite a few hiccups, craft alcohol in Alberta continues to blossom. Right now, while all tasting rooms are closed to drinking, most remain open for product take-out and pick up. In addition, many places have started local home delivery, and of course their products remain on shelves at liquor stores. Some have even transitioned into making (and donating) hand sanitizer. In no way has this province reached its full potential, since so many operations only recently opened. Furthermore, the talent is here, the quality is here, and most importantly, consumer demand is starting to request local products. Even in the challenging times currently, the long-term future still looks bright—however, they need your support now more than ever. 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.


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from the ends of the earth By TOM FIRTH


he world is a beautiful, wonderful place. A funny place at times, but it can also be a place full of unknowns and uncertainties. Last month, we talked about local wines, but this issue I wanted to think about distance— perhaps insurmountable distances, where our wine comes from. Ask anyone who has travelled extensively, perhaps fortunately to travel with the express purpose of tasting wine, to think on terroir—the sum sense of place of a wine’s origin. Want to taste the rolling hills of Tuscany? You can. A Grecian sunset? Dew-filled Marlborough morning? Wine can evoke the spirit of the wide world around us, even as we shelter at home for the foreseeable future. Please, be safe, be healthy, and we will make our way through this. Find these wines by searching the CSPC code at; your local liquor store can also use this code to order it for you. Prices are approximate.

Pago Casa 2018 Casa Benesal Red Valencia, Spain

A syrah, monastrell and garnacha blend that is the right weight for the palate anytime the weather is too warm for snow (so, let’s say June through September?) tight berry fruits with mellow tannins and a bit of earth and spice, this will manage well at your next barbeque for sure. CSPC +804166 About $20–22

Weinert 2015 Carrascal Malbec Lujan de Cuyo, Argentina

Leaning towards a more fruit driven style than Weinert is typically known for, the Carrascal Malbec still has earth and tar characters of a more European expression of malbec, but playing a supporting role towards plum and spice with a touch of leather and stewed fruits. Good, firm tannins are well placed here, suitable for any number of barbecued meats. CSPC +810225 About $21–23

Spier 2016 21 Gables Chenin Blanc Coastal Region, South Africa

A sexy little number that just gets better and better each time. Deep aromas of honey and lemon with a mild, understated wool blanket tone and just a pinch of oak that never overwhelms. Crisp and dry with excellent mouthfeel and the right amount of fruits. A stunning, well-priced wine.

CSPC +260646 $28–31

Tom is a freelance wine writer, wine consultant, and wine judge. He is the Managing Editor for Culinaire Magazine, and is the Competition Director for the Alberta Beverage Awards. Follow him on twitter @cowtownwine.

38 Culinaire | May/June 2020

Santa Julia 2018 Malbec Cabernet Franc Reserva, Uco Valley, Argentina

A touch more classically Argentinian, this bold as brass blend shows all the rich plum and spice of the malbec with a supporting cast of characters from the cabernet franc. On the palate is where this one really takes off with the big, chewy flavours we like in our malbec, with a little softness on the mid and end palate. Very tasty, and very affordable.

CSPC +804098 $18–20

White Cliff 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand

Pago Casa Gran 2017 Casa Benesal White, Valencia, Spain

CSPC +793405 $17–20

CSPC +804167 About $20–22

There is something refreshing about the delightfully distinct expression of sauvignon blanc from New Zealand. White Cliff’s is crisp and citric with a touch of gooseberry and saltiness, and not overly excessive grassiness. Tasty and tangy, a breath of fresh air for a tired palate.

Cloudy Bay 2019 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, New Zealand

White Cliff 2017 Pinot Noir Marlborough, New Zealand

Honestly, more white wines should be this good—and interesting. A blend of gewürztraminer and muscat, it’s refreshingly tart, dry, and bursting with apple and melon with milder tropical character and lovely, silken textures. Floral, zesty, and exceptionally well-priced.

A very agreeable and versatile pinot from New Zealand showing off lots of tea leaf and cherry flavours, with a soft smokiness that brings a little extra depth. Mild, silky tannins close off a tasty glass that would be dynamite with duck confit, Polish sausage or high-quality franks.

Yalumba 2016 Barossa Grenache Shiraz Mataro, Barossa, Australia

Zuccardi 2017 Poligonos del Valle de Uco Cabernet Franc, Uco Valley, Argentina

CSPC +803148 $21–23

One of the icons of New Zealand, Cloudy Bay helped pave the way for global acceptance of New Zealand’s flagship grape variety. Zesty lemons with fresh lime juice, grapefruit, melon, and a pleasing seashell, mineral character. Finely balanced for sauvignon blanc, this would pair very well indeed with a grilled salmon dish.

One of the great wine blends, the GSM, is done to great effect in Australia (though it’s a Rhone-style blend). Mid-weight on the palate with massive berry fruits leaning towards tartness and spice, with just the right amount of tannins to balance out grilled meats or Portobello mushrooms. My vote? A nice rib eye about medium rare.

Cabernet franc is woefully overlooked, yet fine examples are coming from Argentina, where it is overshadowed by malbec. Innovative Zuccardi is pushing the boundaries of Argentina’s wine, and this captivating franc is soft and floral with great depth and even better balance. A stunner and one to stock up on. Try pairing with lamb or earthy, rich dishes.

Kolonist 2018 Odessa Black, Ukraine

Kolonist 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Ukraine

Jost 2018 Tidal Bay White, Nova Scotia

CSPC +820024 Around $21–25

CSPC +803827 About $22–23

CSPC +737024 $33–37

Made from a Ukrainian grape variety new to me, “Odeskyi Chornyi”, a cross of alicante bouschet and cabernet sauvignon, preserving generally the best of each variety. Very dark, almost resinous, with tar, black fruit, and a slight jamminess. Very heavy and tannic, and a touch rustic, this would be a solid barbecue performer with a quick decanting prior. CSPC +820022 About $21–25

CSPC +749854 $25–28

Wonderfully classical expression of cabernet sauvignon with some cooler climate characters. Plenty of olive and bell pepper with black cherry and floral tones. A touch of greener, harder tannins exist but for fans of the style, it’s fairly close to New Zealand cabernet. Bring to a barbecue or serve with a nice roast.

CSPC +817320 About $45–50

Wonderful, unique regional blends from Nova Scotia, Tidal Bay wines are light and fresh with typically a little sweetness, akin in some ways to Vinho Verde from Portugal. Here it’s a blend of L’Acadie blanc, New York muscat, and a few other uncommon grapes. Look for super ripe pineapple and tropical notes, yellow apples, and pears on the nose and palate.

May/June 2020 | Culinaire 39

E TC E TE R A . . .

With hundreds of take out and delivery options available, we wanted to let you know of some of our favourite, local, premium food and meal kits. You’ll want them for yourself, but you can also pay it forward and order a kit online to be delivered to someone you care about. A Cappella Catering Boxes

Keeping Edmonton well fed for nearly three decades, A Cappella Catering are no strangers to pivoting to offer exactly what’s needed, when it’s needed. Now with Chef John MacNeil newly on board, signature classics are revamped with impressive results—they delivered 200 Take & Bake Easter dinners alone, and more for Mother’s Day. Check out for a wide selection of boxed breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. ConMi Taco Kits

Mikko Tamarra’s pop-ups at Calgary’s Shelter Cocktail Bar were a great success last winter, and now he and his partners have adapted to share their love for tacos with kits to eat at home. They grind the corn each morning and hand press each tortilla, which limits them to 50 superb kits each day, each enough for 2–3 hungry caballeros. A variety of authentic Mexican fillings come with fixings and salsas too—and don’t miss the guac! Order at, $33–$38.

Real Treat Pantry Collection

The box says “unapologetically delicious” and it’s all true. Handmade in Cochrane, these fully organic, premium cookies remind us of the home-baked ones from our childhood —those cookies made with love… and butter! The pantry box comes with Ancho Chile drinking chocolate too. Four different kits, as well as two ranges of single packets, are at, and flavours are also available at Spud, Freson Bros, Sunterra, Planet Organic, and Indigo.

Moonlight & Eli Fondue Kits

You don’t need a celebration to order a fondue kit from Moonlight & Eli, they’re pure comfort any day of the week. Choose one of six cheese combos, and either meatbased or veggie to dip, both with bread, pickles, apple, tomatoes, and baby potatoes too. So quick and easy to make and so slow and lingering to eat with your love or a ‘Flix binge’ (like we did). There’s also a lot of bubbles to choose from… and chocolate fondue too! Order at Shiki Menya Chili Goma Kit Pedro’s Taco Kits

The team at Edmonton’s Smokey Bear are offering family-friendly taco kits, which include al pastor pork or mushroom, Meuwly’s brisket, or shrimp tacos; empanadas; chips and salsa; and your choice of extras – using local produce that we love. Check out to pre-order or place your order and pick up 40 minutes later! $49 for 2 people, $80 for 4. 40 Culinaire | May/June 2020

A legend in its own lunchtime, this ramen dish has achieved cult status in Calgary, and many of us have queued hoping for a chance to indulge before Shiki Menya run out of their 20-hour pork bone broth each day. What joy to discover it’s available online to order for pick up or delivery within 5K of the restaurant, as well as at Bridgeland Market. Orders at, 11am Saturdays, or— you have to be quick! $34 for 2 bowls.

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Proof # Date

2 Mar9


...with Dennis Scanland



unny cider’s about community; we like the idea of people gathering around for a drink and socializing and talking, not necessarily about Sunny Cider, but talking about community initiatives and that sort of thing,” says Dennis Scanland co-founder of Calgary’s Sunny Cider. Born and raised in Cranbrook, B.C., Scanlan made the move to Calgary in 1991 to study business administration. He bounced between working in the music industry and in IT before settling into urban farming. “The first year I started up a company to build gardens for people, but I also found this urban farming piece too; basically, growing farms and growing food on people’s backyards and selling it at farmer’s markets and to restaurants,” Scanland says about the business. Through this, he was able to start YYC Growers and Distributors, a Calgary based cooperative for urban farmers. While he’s still on the board of directors, his time is now spent working with Sunny Cider, which he started with business partner, Tim Kitchen, in the Sunnyside community. “We had access to so many fruit trees and so much fruit. And then, as subsequent years went by and people heard about us, they were bringing us fruit and it started to become a really cool community initiative,” he explains. “And so the last year we made cider in Tim’s garage, we made 2,000 litres—he

42 Culinaire | May/June 2020

basically converted it to a cidery, and he had a walk-in cooler in there.” Sunny Cider incorporated in September 2018, and they officially opened the doors of their cidery in May 2019. Scanland says that one of the struggles with cider though, is that people think of it as strictly a summer drink. “Trying to sell cider to restaurants in the winter is hard.” In order to break that perception, Sunny Cider has crafted recipes and blends specifically for winter. “One of our winter ciders was a Ginger Apple Pear, and we use

He motions to a big bottle of Community Venture Collection, Chocolate Orange Kveik that he picked up last fall. From Muskoka Brewery in Ontario, the beer is a collaboration with Newfoundland’s Quidi Vidi Brewery, and a part of the proceeds go to the community venture fund. For Scanland, the idea of what’s inside the bottle is appealing for two main reasons. “The thing that got me on this one: number one, I like dark beers, chocolate and orange. And number two,

“We had access to so many fruit trees and so much fruit. And then, as subsequent years went by and people heard about us, they were bringing us fruit and it started to become a really cool community initiative.” that as the base for a couple of the winter solstice blends. That’s what we mulled, and threw a bunch of spices in and had a kettle on all the time.” Sunny Cider are proud that the ciders they make are truly authentic. “A lot of the ciders out there are just apple with too much sugar and artificial flavours, and we never use any of that, and we never pasteurize. Our cans and our bottles are technically still alive; they do age, so we find that some flavours change after being in the can, because there’s still a little bit of that malolactic fermentation going on,” Scanland explains. So what bottle is Scanland saving for a special occasion?

the yeast—we want to experiment with it with our cider as well. And the other piece I love about it is that it’s a collaboration with another brewery,” he adds. Since Sunny Cider itself was founded with the idea of being community focused, and supportive of community-building ventures, the idea of collaboration really resonates with Scanland. When asked when he might open the bottle, Scanland shakes his head. “I don’t know,” he admits. Though he does know that, when he does decide to open it, he’ll be sharing it with Tim so they experience the flavours together and come up with ideas of how those flavours could be used at Sunny Cider.