A L B E R TA / F O O D & D R I N K / R E C I P E S J U LY/AU G U S T 2 02 0
SUMMER RECIPES To Make At Home
The New Face Of Restaurants | Campfire Cooking | Summertime Sippers
Volume 9 / No. 2 / July/August 2020
Salutes and shout outs
Off The Menu
News from our local culinary scene
Revisiting Camp Cookhouse Brown Butter Cornbread
12 Chefs’ Tips and Tricks:
From small gatherings to… smaller gatherings
38 Spice It Up: Pesto:
26 22 42
The perfect summer condiment
Discovering new products…
50 Open That Bottle
Ernie Tsu of Trolley 5
Cheese For The Season Canadian-made cheese by Candace Hiebert
18 From Farm to Table:
Sunterra’s enduring legacy of premium pork by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth
20 The Historically
Significant Reason You Should Make Cake
Does anything say summer in Alberta more than toasting marshmallows over a firepit? We’re delighted with our cover, and it’s all thanks to photographer Dong Kim. We know it’s not an easy shot, and we really appreciate his patience and tenacity!
For inside or outside, and every occasion this summer by Tom Firth and Linda Garson
Sweet remembrances of rationing and Canada’s ‘housoldiers’ by Sabrina Kooistra
34 A Wave of Delight:
One of the highlights of camping! by Lexie Angelo
42 The Greening of Breweries
22 Over The Campfire
ON THE COVER
30 Summertime Sippers
26 Surviving COVID-19
Restaurants and bars across the province have faced unparalleled challenges by Carmen Cheng
Easy cooking and fresh flavours for summer seafood dishes by Natalie Findlay Adopt, adapt, improve by David Nuttall
46 Making The Case
Grill-tastic wines for these summer months by Tom Firth July/August 2020 | Culinaire 3
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
A glimmer of hope
OVID-19 has been devastating in so many ways to so many people, but now we may be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, and with businesses gradually opening up, I’m feeling a sense of excitement and a spark of enthusiasm in Alberta that I haven’t felt for several years. While there’s still caution and an understandable nervousness, there’s a new creativity emerging from the darkness and solitude, a feeling of gratitude that we may have survived the worst, and a wonder and hope for what the future may look like. It reminds me why I chose to stay in this province when I came for only thirteen months in 2003. There’s a “can do” attitude that I wholly endorse, as well as an acceptance of newcomers and new ideas that in my experience, is not found in many other places. I love that that I know of at least 14 new and reimagined eateries open since
we last chatted, even in these challenging times. That takes guts, determination, and resourcefulness - traits of which Alberta can be proud. If you’re concerned about dining out, let’s continue to order takeout – every little bit helps. But please use the restaurant’s app if they have - or order direct, and most importantly, pick up the meal yourself or arrange for someone to pick it up for you. With delivery services’ fees to the restaurant of 25-30 percent, it’s a lose-lose situation, as neither business makes enough money from your purchase. That’s why with our Vine & Dine Online paired dinner packages, we’ve arranged for curbside pickup. Culinaire supports local in all shapes and forms, it’s one of our values, along with equality, integrity, fairness, and an open-mind. It sounds a bit trite now to repeat that we’re all in this together, and
while we’re by no means all in the same boat, we can get through this if we look out for each other. It’s that rising tide…
Stay strong, Linda Garson Editor-in-Chief
Cook up exciting dishes for the family using ingredients from our backyard and beyond! Visit Italiancentre.ca/recipes 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor Tom Firth email@example.com Multimedia Editor Daniel Bontje firstname.lastname@example.org Sales Denice Hansen 403-828-0226 email@example.com Sky Hansen 403-993-0531 firstname.lastname@example.org Design Kendra Design Inc Contributors Lexie Angelo, Daniel Bontje, Carmen Cheng, Elizabeth Chorney-Booth Natalie Findlay, Mallory Frayn Candace Hiebert, Dong Kim Sabrina Kooistra, David Nuttall
To read about our talented team of contributors, please visit us online at culinairemagazine.ca.
Contact us at: Culinaire Magazine #1203, 804–3rd Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2P 0G9 403.870.9802 email@example.com @culinairemag @culinairemag facebook.com/CulinaireMagazine For subscriptions and to read Culinaire online: culinairemagazine.ca
Our contributors Carmen Cheng
Coming from a long line of food lovers and notorious overorderers, even at a young age Carmen loved to eat and try different dishes. She believes in learning about different cultures through understanding and honouring their culinary stories. She will try pretty much any food because there’s no room for pretension. Carmen has shared her food adventures on various forms of media including print, online, and television.
Candace loves food - eating it, making it, taking about it - and is always up to try any and every culinary adventure, especially with friends. She has been active in various aspects of the food industry for the past 13 years, with a background in baking and pastry. Candace is passionate about bringing people together around food and is constantly arranging dinner parties and gatherings with delicious meals at the centre.
A freelance writer pursuing a Communications and History double major at the University of Calgary, Sabrina enjoys writing about – you guessed it – history. She’s a farm kid with a bad case of wanderlust, enjoys lending a hand on her family’s beef farm near Strathmore, and venturing abroad whenever possible. When she has spare time, you can find Sabrina tinkling the ivories or chipping away at her latest cross-stitching project.
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SA LUTE S & S H O UT O UT S Snippets of good news from our everchanging food and beverage scene! Eau Claire Market has long been ripe for something new and hip, and now Alberta’s smallest brewery, Brüch Bar, is open evenings and weekends serving their alcoholic and non-alcoholic kombucha and unique cocktails created with these organic and gluten-free brews – if they don’t sell out! Their kombucha beer is made from just tea, hops, and water, to which spices, spirits, and juices are added for the constantly changing cocktail menu. As a nano-brewery, the batch size is only 150 L, so expect new varieties every visit. 5:00 pm-late. If there are cars blocking the traffic on Edmonton’s Gateway Boulevard, it’s probably because Calgary’s Peter’s Drive-In opened a new location at 5151 Calgary Trail! For everything katsu (Japanese fried cutlets) and donburi (rice bowls), Koji Katsu has opened at 1111 6 Avenue SW, Calgary. Dine in or take out hot and crispy chicken, cheese, pork or prawns with rice, miso soup, and maybe with curry too – makes you hungry doesn’t it? Generous portions at lunch and dinner – until they run out of house-cured panko! Closed Sundays. Reimagined in Calgary’s Brasserie Kensington space, EATCROW is now open and you can read about it on page 29. Don’t miss that root veggie tartare! Golfers in Edmonton got lucky this season when the City chose Robert Spencer Hospitality Group to run the eateries at municipal golf courses. The Greenhouse at Riverside, Rundle, and Victoria Golf Courses, serves up classic comfort food and features the great local ingredients that Chef Paul Shufelt highlights at his Workshop Eatery and Woodshed Burgers too. From the CharCut duo, Connie & John’s Pizza is now open for take out ThursdaySunday 4-10 pm, for belly-filling 16” NYC and square 14” Detroit Deep Dish pizzas. Read more on page 29. 6 Culinaire | July/August 2020
Calgary’s Modern Steak has switched around its restaurants between downtown and Kensington locations, so now you’ll satisfy your burger hankerings on the 1st floor and treat yourself to Modern Rooftop’s views and food at 8 Avenue SW, eat your fill of Alberta ranch-specific steak at both locations, and head upstairs in Kensington for Modern Ocean – now we’re spoiled for choice! Mochi Donuts are the stars at Amaido Café in Calgary’s Chinatown. Owner, Melissa Luu and her family were inspired by their travels, enjoying the chewy rice flour treats in Seattle and San Francisco, and now serve rotating flavours of Thai Tea, Milk Tea, Matcha, Mango, Caramel Miso, and Black Sesame until they sell out - which is most days! Eat in or take out, with pints of ice cream and coffee from local roasters on offer too. There’s no stopping Tuk Tuk Thai, they’ve now opened a brand new, big and shiny location at 1020 9 Avenue SE in Inglewood for dine in and takeout! Kensington’s new fun, fast casual, Indie Counter Culture, was 14 years in the making for Rob Crnkovic, but now the time is right for this modern Indian takeaway. Don’t be misled by the lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek menu Chefs Arshad and Gurpeet are cooking up a storm of elevated and legit Indian food, and making all their chutneys and breads in-house too. Come for the excellent
Butter Chicken, and try Gump, Po Peep, Slumdog, and more – you’ll be glad you did. Licensed, with a large patio out back. Open 11 am-10 pm, 7 days. A new (for most of us) dining experience awaits in the ex-Abruzzo location on 8 Street SW, Calgary. Welltravelled creative cook, Anas Alsurmi came to study at U of A in 2003, and has opened Yemeni Village, serving very traditional Yemeni food, such as Mandi, famous all over the Middle East for meat cooked slowly in a charcoal pit with rice to soak up the drippings from the juicy and tender goat, chicken or lamb. Alsurmi has developed a special oven and technique so it tastes the same here as it does back home! Or try the veggie and egg dishes, as well as Moofa Fish and the most superb Yemeni bread that we can’t stop eating, cooked fast in a hot clay tandoor. BYOB or try the special lime, avocado and mixed fruit juices. 11-10 pm, 7 days. Hutch is a range of stylish, stainless steel kitchenware designed by a team in Calgary and made in their own factory, and now they’ve opened Hutch Café on 7 Street SW - an upscale French café concept where you can buy the products
perfectly safe as well as perfectly special with only 10-12 tables. $100 pp and optional wine pairings.
their memory with Eleanor & Laurent, a Parisian-style boulangerie and patisserie. Stop by for beautiful pastries and baking, ice cream, sandwiches, and charcuterie – we bet it’s gone before you get home! Thursday-Sunday, 9-5 pm and also indulge in Chef Jay’s delicious fare of truffled eggs, signature lobster rolls, and superb mushroom vol au vents. Eat in or take your salads, sandwiches, and snacks into nearby Prince’s Island Park. 9-6 pm, closed Mondays. Nearly 150 years after Eleanor and Laurent Garneau arrived on the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River, Abel Shiferaw of Sugarbowl, is honouring
Edmonton Chef, David Leeder, has teamed up with upscale Wishbone to launch Grey Mare, and these burgers are a big hit. Read more on page 28. Bearspaw’s Flores & Pine have created a fabulous bespoke dining experience, with a super high service model and exquisite food for your celebrations! Supper Club has a unique prix fixe menu created by Executive Chef Rory McGouran, with uber-social distance dining, so you’ll feel
Downtown Banff has a chic new eatery in the Elk + Avenue Hotel. Farm & Fire features a menu created by acclaimed Chef Scott Hergott of award-winning Banff Gondola Sky Bistro, and centres around slowroasted, wood-fired fare, with a forno oven and a unique rotisserie imported from France, along with sustainable and locally sourced ingredients. We’re thrilled that two of our favourite food events are still happening this summer: Open Farm Days takes place August 15/16, when farms, ranches and ag-tourism operators open their gates to us (albertafarmdays.ca); and Albertawide dine around festival, Alberta On The Plate, runs August 7-16, strengthening ties between farmers and chefs around the province with multicourse, fixed price menus highlighting local producers, growers, and beverages (albertaontheplate.com).
BY CANDACE HIEBERT | PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL BONTJE
s we continue to support our Canadian producers, we’re focusing on beautiful and complex cheeses made right here in the true north, many of which are known across the world for their quality and flavour! Maple Cheddar, British Columbia
Made with whole milk from the Okanagan Valley, this maple-infused cheddar is creamy with a slightly sweet, buttery flavour. The maple gives it depth and a marbled appearance - it is a striking addition to any cheese board. It’s also delicious melted onto grilled chicken. Bothwell Black Truffle Cheddar Manitoba: Bothwell Cheese, from
ice creams, but they also make world-class cheeses. Their Smoked Applewood Cheddar is aged for two years and smoked for eight hours, resulting in an intense and woodsy flavour. When you next make an omelette, grate this smoky cheddar on top as it finishes. Devils Rock, Ontario: The black wax encasing this distinctive blue cheese looks striking on a cheese plate, but also serves to keep the cheese soft and creamy as it ages. Devils Rock is slightly sharp, and the intensely creamy texture balances it perfectly. Spread over fresh crostini and top with chutney or slices of curry-poached pear.
Manitoba’s tiny town of New Bothwell, has been producing awardwinning cheeses for nearly 100 years. Their Black Truffle Cheddar isn’t shy on flavour - you’ll get an intense wave of truffle with every bite. Add a slice of this terrific melting cheese to your next burger for an extra pop of flavour!
Lindsey Bandaged Goat Cheddar Ontario: Another bandaged cheese,
Avonlea Cheddar, Prince Edward Island: Named for Anne of Green
Le 1608, Quebec: Le 1608 is made with milk from Canada’s cattle breed, the Canadienne, now only numbering around 500 in North America. It’s a semi-firm, washed rind cheese with a complex, tangy flavour, and tastes like a grassy field in springtime - earthy and sweet. Savour on its own with dry white wine, or drizzle with wildflower honey.
Cows Creamery Smoked Applewood Cheddar, Prince Edward Island: Cows Creamery are known
Many thanks to Springbank Cheese who provided this beautiful cheeseboard for photography and sampling.
Gables’ famous fictional town, Avonlea cheddar is crumbly and complex with earthy and fruity notes. It’s wrapped in cloth for aging, allowing the cheese to breathe and take on the flavours of its environment. Eat it as-is or serve slices alongside hot apple pie instead of ice cream.
mainly for their vast selection of
but bringing very different qualities to the table. Strong and earthy, with that distinctive “goaty” flavour, this crumbly cheese is ideal served in chunks on a mezze board. Serve next to salty olives and sweet honeycomb for a mouth-watering experience!
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.
8 Culinaire | July/August 2020
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O F F TH E M E N U
Camp Cookhouse Brown Butter Cornbread BY LINDA GARSON
ow many of us upped our baking game while saying safe at home? Camp Cookhouse’s brown butter cornbread recipe was so popular when we published it last year that we thought it was the ideal time to revisit it for you to add some variety to your repertoire. It was requested by a reader who had camped at Cyprus Hills and visited Elkwater, where she discovered this delicious cornbread, and had been dreaming of it until Camp Cookhouse generously shared their recipe, making her dream come true!
Camp Cookhouse Brown Butter Cornbread Makes one 13 x 9” cake pan
2 1/3 cup (400g) cornmeal 4 cups (1 L) full fat buttermilk 2 2/3 cup (400g) All Purpose flour 2 Tbs baking powder 1 tsp baking soda About ½ of one nutmeg nut, freshly grated 1 cup (225 g) salted butter 4 eggs ½ cup brown sugar 1½ Tbs salt 1 large lime, zested 1. Whisk together the cornmeal and buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate overnight - up to a few days. When you’re ready to bake, remove from the fridge, crank your oven to 450º F (don’t use convection) and grease and sugar a 13 x 9” cake pan. 2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg, and set aside. 3. Place the butter in a tall, medium pot and put on high heat on your stove. Cook occasionally swirling the pot. When the 10 Culinaire | July/August 2020
sugars are a light toasted brown colour remove from the heat and let cool - the colour will continue to darken a bit. 4. In a stand mixer with the whip attachment combine the eggs, sugar, salt, and lime zest, and add the lime juice to the buttermilk-cornmeal. Whip on high for several minutes until it is very frothy. 5. Add a touch of water and scrape the sugars that may have stuck to the bottom of the pot. Turn the mixer off, pour in the butter (make sure to get all the sugars from the butter!) and whip briefly again. Pour in the buttermilk-cornmeal and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined - some small lumps are fine but ensure there are no dry clumps of flour. 6. Pour into the cake pan and pop into the oven for 15 minutes - then drop the temperature to 325º F and bake for a
further 20-25 minutes. 7. The cornbread is done when the centre springs back if gently pushed or if a skewer comes out clean. When done, remove from oven and immediately invert onto a tray. Allow to cool, cut and enjoy!
If there’s a dish in a restaurant in Alberta that you’d love to make at home, let us know at culinairemagazine.ca, and we’ll do our very best to track down the recipe for you!
CAMP cut square pieces in half and toast on the griddle with butter, then finish with maple syrup. This cornbread freezes very well - just be sure to reheat to serve. You could also halve this recipe and bake in an 8 x 8” pan.
B O O K R E V I E W BY TO M F I RT H
By Steven Raichlen Workman Publishing $33
teven Raichlen may have already written “The Barbecue! Bible” but this is an essential tome of sorts for both the barbecue enthusiast and neophyte. Written in both an easy going and concise manner, this book covers the very basics with some of the hows and whys of your flame-based dishes, but still provides relevant information for the experienced grill master in your life – meaning if you think you already know it all, don’t skip the first 47 pages. From there, sections are devoted to everything from breakfast (really!), most of the major proteins, veggies and tofu, and dessert and drinks (seriously!) with plenty of sauces, rubs and accoutrements for lots of variety, whether you entertain a lot or just like to keep things fresh. The photos are fantastic throughout,
but still manage to look possible for trying dishes at home. These don’t look like expertly staged, teams of chefs on hand looking images, but close to what most can achieve at home. This is barbecue meant to be a little dirty, but always delicious. Raichlen starts off with “The seven steps to grilling nirvana”, which at first glance seems a little overly enthusiastic, but topics cover choosing the grill, the fuel, the tools, and so on. This becomes everything you wanted to know but you were afraid to ask or didn’t want to Google, with even a small section on winter grilling which might come in handy here at home. Recipes start with breakfast where the Bacon and Egg Quesedilla (p.52) should fire up anyone’s morning, to Black
Pepper Baby Backs with Whiskey Vanilla Glaze (p.157), to Maple-Sriracha Chicken Drumsticks (p.211). Meats are covered with clear instructions, while on the sides Coconut-Grilled Corn (p.271) should hit the mark once local corn is on the shelves. This is a solid addition to the bookshelf for anyone interested in grilling or cooking with fire, and while I’m not quite a newbie to working the ‘cue I found most pages offered something new, or at the very least, an explanation of why it’s done a certain way by those in the know.
C H E F ’ S TI P S & TR I C KS
Small Gatherings From
to… Smaller Gatherings Alberta’s Expert Caterers Know How to Feed a Crowd
BY TOM FIRTH I PHOTOS BY DONG KIM
e all had such high hopes for 2020 – I know I had been eager for these far-off future days since I was a small boy, looking forward to flying cars and vacationing in earth’s orbit. Instead, we got a bit of a dumpster fire, with months of lockdowns and social isolation, and with a gradual easing of restrictions. Though many weddings and other large gatherings are on hold, sometimes the show must go on, and while we remain responsible, we might be hosting or organizing a little get-together. Who knows better than a caterer how to feed a hungry crowd (or even a big family) when time is tight and there’s a schedule to be followed? Any good get-together needs a little food and drink to go around, and for timely insight into patio and wedding season, we asked some of Alberta’s best-known and regarded caterers for their tips and tricks for canapés and hors d’oeuvres, for parties large and small.
12 Culinaire | July/August 2020
Martin Ternowetsky, head chef
at Bridges Catering in Edmonton’s NW, suggests, “making sure anything you do ahead is wrapped well. Most meats and sauces can be cooked the day before, but fragile items like fruits and veggies should be done the day of (the event).” With over 20 years of experience in the business, and catering anything from a business breakfast to an outdoor wedding, Chef’s advice is to try to plan ahead, so if you are going to be busy on the day you entertain, then choose items that can be made ahead and that you just need to heat up to serve. Finally, Chef Ternowetsky recommends, “Choose something you will enjoy eating and making. It’s easy to be intimidated, but start simple and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, they can produce tasty surprises.” Try Chef Ternowetsky’s Creoleinspired shrimp with avocado and cucumber on any warm day.
Blackened Shrimp Bites
2 large ripe avocados 1 tsp (5 mL) lime juice 1 Tbs small diced green onion 24 peeled and deveined prawns (24 – 30 size) thawed or fresh 2 Tbs paprika 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp onion powder 1 tsp salt ½ tsp cayenne pepper 1 pinch black pepper 2 Tbs (30 mL) olive oil 1 small bunch cilantro 1 English cucumber To taste salt and pepper
1. Cut avocados in half, remove the seeds and scoop the flesh into a small bowl. Add lime juice, a pinch of salt and pepper and mash with a fork. Mix in the onion then wrap and store in the fridge until needed. 2. Take your thawed prawns, pat dry with a clean towel and remove the tails. Mix all your dry seasonings and toss prawns in spices to coat well. Heat a non-stick pan until very hot and add olive oil. Add your prawns in evenly, don’t overload your pan, you can always cook two batches. 3. Cook your prawns for 2 or 3 minutes on each side or until pink and firm. Remove from pan and cool. Wash and slice cucumber into 1 cm thick pieces. 4. Spread a bit of guacamole onto each cucumber slice and top with a cooled prawn. Add a leaf of cilantro to the top for a nice fresh touch. Garnish your platters with herbs, citrus or whatever colourful foods you enjoy. July/August 2020 | Culinaire 13
Fish Croquettes with Lemon and Herb Aioli Serves 6 to 8
2 Tbs butter 1 medium onion, diced 285 g white fish fillet (sole, basa, tilapia) ¼ cup (60 mL) cream 285 g potatoes, boiled and mashed (you can also use leftover mashed potatoes) 2 Tbs (30 mL) grainy mustard 2 Tbs fresh dill 1 Tbs (15 mL) lemon juice 1 cup flour (can substitute rice flour) 2 eggs, beaten with a fork 1 cup breadcrumbs for dredging (can substitute gluten-free) 2-3 cups (500-750 mL) canola oil for shallow frying To taste salt and pepper
Herb & Lemon Aioli
2-3 cloves garlic 1 Tbs (15 mL) lemon juice 1 cup (250 mL) mayonnaise 3 Tbs fresh parsley, minced 2 Tbs fresh dill, minced 2 Tbs chive, minced 1 Tsp (5 mL) lemon zest 14 Culinaire | July/August 2020
1. Pre-heat oven 350º F. 2. In a frying pan, melt butter and add onions. Cook 15-20 minutes until golden brown. 3. Place fish and cream in a baking dish and bake in oven for 5 minutes. Remove and cool, then shred into small pieces. 4. In a large bowl, place the fish, cream, potatoes, eggs, mustard, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix and taste for seasoning. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the mixture and shape into croquettes. Freeze. 5. For aioli, mix all the ingredients together. 6. Place the flour, egg and breadcrumbs into separate bowls. Once croquettes are frozen, dip them into the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Freeze again so they are firm before cooking. Once ready, heat oil on medium to 365º F. Add croquettes and fry for a minute or two on each side. Drain on paper towels. 7. Serve warm with the aioli on the side.
Calgary’s Chef Judy Wood of Meez Cuisine is a busy woman. In addition to being Chef and owner of Meez, she’s Judy Wood Cuisine and runs Lougheed House Restaurant. Meez are well known for their storefront pick-up and takehome dishes, but they also do full event catering and simple drop-offs for events big and small. Chef Wood encourages families to sit down, talk and laugh and eat together. Busy schedules can get in the way; many people don’t have time to cook a family meal, let alone sit down and eat it together, so she hopes her concept helps with that and healthier choices, instead of processed food. For tips, Chef Wood points out a classic. “My motto is simple - always the best. Go for recipes with the fewest ingredients, but choose the best ingredients you can get in season.” But at the same time, for those looking for a little extra inspiration, “If there is something you make at home - try to think how you could do it as an hors d’oeuvre.” Acknowledging the difficulty of managing restrictions, Wood says, “It is a bit difficult with so many dietary preferences out there. I do try to appease all needs by ensuring I have vegetarian or even vegan-friendly dips with veggies, gluten-free crackers for cheese boards, and olives, nuts or tempura beans for an appetizer with some crunch.” For a yummy, make-ahead treat that works as an appetizer or with a salad and roasted potatoes as a main, try Chef Wood’s fish croquettes!
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Devour Catering view themselves as more of a celebration company rather than just caterers serving delicious food. According to J’Val Shuster, the proprietor of Devour, “We love the opportunity to be part of once in a lifetime events where people connect and deepen relationships.” As for a tip Shuster says, “Choose items that make YOU happy and excited to serve – this energy will translate into the dish (and you will have fun making them too so it’s a win-win). Choose items that have a memory or even some nostalgia attached to them. Put your own spin or personality, or family tradition into it where you can.” In terms of further managing time on the big day, or balancing dietary restrictions, Shuster shares that items that guests can interact with are also fun, and a good way to manage any allergies or insensitivities since guests can make their own. Ideas might be a savoury fondue or a lovely platter where guests can assemble their own plate or sandwich. Grazing boards and platters are all the rage right now and work well in this situation too. Shuster also points out the three “rules” of canapes, “Simple to prepare, beautiful to look at, and delicious to eat.” Words to live by indeed. For a fresh take on a versatile salad (gluten-free, but also easy to modify for dairy-free or vegan guests) try Devour’s recipe below.
Beet and Apple Salad on Endive Spear
Makes approximately 24 spears 2 small beets or 1 large beet 1 Tbs (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil 1 Granny Smith apple, cut brunoise 3 sprigs fresh thyme 2 Tbs yellow pepper, cut brunoise ¼ tsp sugar 1½ tsp lemon juice Zest of 1 lemon 16 Culinaire | July/August 2020
2 Tbs crumbled goat cheese for garnish, skip for vegan guests Optional: diced chicken or cocktail shrimp 3 heads Belgian endive, separated into individual leaves and root end trimmed To taste salt and pepper 1. Preheat oven to 375º F. 2. On a baking sheet, drizzle beets with olive oil then cover with foil and roast until tender, about 1½ hours. Check the beets with a paring knife by poking through the centre then removing knife - this should feel easy, and skin should rub off with ease. Let cool, then peel by rubbing them with kitchen cloth (remember that your cloth will turn red with red beets) and cut them into brunoise (5 mm diced).
3. In a bowl, add all the ingredients and with a spatula, fold a couple of times. Depending on the size of the beets and apple, you may add more salt and pepper to taste. 4. Place about 1 Tbs of the salad on the root end of the Belgium endive and sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese as garnish. This recipe is easily modified and can be dressed up or dressed down. Substitute white truffle oil for the lemon juice, and use honey instead of white sugar for an “upscale” version. Also when in season, persimmons, nectarines and fresh peaches can be used instead of apples.
A Cappella Catering has been operating in Edmonton since 1991, growing from a humble beginning to having over 100 staff with 19 vans and a legacy of fresh, scratchmade food. According to Executive Chef and partner Mich de Laive, “Know your crowd and understand your event.” He adds, “For baby showers - have dainty, lighter fare like tea sandwiches, fresh vegetables and petit fours. For a sporting event - heartier items like pulled pork and Sloppy Joe sliders are great with savoury, salty bites that keep the cold brews flowing throughout the game.” Chef also recommends adjusting quantities based on the event time with guests being hungrier between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, but also between 5:30 and 7:30 pm, suggesting smaller plates can help control portions. Asked about any guilty pleasures or go-to nibbles, “I really like simple things that just get the taste buds going. Apple and brie crostini - topped with strawberry habanero jelly is so easy - but people really love it,” he says. Speaking of getting the taste buds
going, try making de Laive’s Beet Pickled Devilled Eggs for your next get together.
Beet Pickled Devilled Eggs Serves 10
5 boiled eggs 4 cups (1 L) beet juice 1 garlic clove 4 Tbs (60 mL) mayonnaise Fresh chives (chopped finely or in 2-3 cm sections) To taste salt and pepper 1 sandwich bag or piping bag with star tip 1. Preheat oven to 350º F. 2. Peel boiled eggs and soak in beet juice for an hour. Dry on a paper towel. Cut boiled eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and reserve in a separate bowl. Tip: submerge boiled eggs in iced water for easy peeling. 3. Coat the garlic clove in oil and bake for 15 minutes. Cool and mash with a fork. 4. In a bowl, blend the egg yolks, roasted garlic, mayonnaise, salt and pepper until a smooth consistency is reached.
The mixture should be stiff enough to stand in peaks off of a spoon. 5. Season egg white halves (which are now pink) with a pinch of salt and pepper and pipe the egg yolk mixture into them. Tip: If you don’t have a piping bag, transfer mixture to a Ziploc bag and cut a small piece off a corner to create a makeshift piping bag. 6. Garnish each half with a small strip of fresh chive or a sprinkle of finely chopped chives. July/August 2020 | Culinaire 17
Dave and Ray Price
From Farm to Table: BY ELIZABETH CHORNEY-BOOTH
Sunterra’s Legacy of Premium Pork 18 Culinaire | July/August 2020
any Albertans are more than familiar with the Sunterra brand: the company’s markets, cafés, and catering services are an established part of urban life in both Calgary and Edmonton. Most of us know Sunterra as a place to grab a specialty gourmet item or an inexpensive but healthy lunch or takehome dinner, but there’s a whole second division of the company that many market customers aren’t aware of. Sunterra started as, and is still very much, a farm-based company. The Price siblings — who, to varying degrees, own
and operate the Sunterra markets that we all know and love — grew up on their parents’ farm near Acme, which continues to be not only providing Sunterra customers with premium pork products, but also ships high quality Alberta pork all over the world. This year Sunterra Markets celebrates its 30th anniversary, while Sunterra Farms celebrates a whopping 50 years, though the Price family’s farming roots go back even further than that. In addition to some grain cropping that’s primarily sold through the commodity market, Sunterra is primarily focused on hogs — raising,
Mountain Vista and Hand Hills, Alberta
Training Manager Kristen Mitchell
processing, and selling its own pork. The company raises about 400,000 pigs a year between its Alberta farm and additional properties in Ontario and the United States, with up to 80 percent of them being shipped to lucrative markets in Asia. “We’re a bit of an oddity because there are a lot of producers that are smaller, but also many that are much bigger. We’re sort of medium sized,” says Ray Price, the Sunterra Group’s president. “And if you look at us as a food company, we’re relatively tiny. So, we’re actually a pretty good sized farming company, but a very small food company.” Much of Sunterra’s success, particularly with foreign markets, has to do with the quality and breeding of its pigs — Price says that the Japanese market in particular demands a certain level of quality, which is also present in the pork you’ll find in Sunterra’s markets, essentially the only place you’ll find the products in Alberta. In addition to different processing techniques that come with its relatively small processing plant, Sunterra has nurtured a breed of pig that Price believes is genetically superior to the typical pork found on grocery store shelves. “Our genetics give the pork a higher marbling — which gives more juiciness to the meat,” Price says. “The feed we use also has a big impact. The wheat and barley rations we use give you a firmer fat that doesn’t cook the same way. The meat is also a deeper pink, and that all comes from the feed.”
While Japanese consumers prize these qualities, it’s somewhat rare for Canadians to even notice differences between different breeds or kinds of pork, despite our relatively keen interest in genetics and feeding methods when it comes to Alberta beef. That’s why Sunterra mostly reserves its pork that stays in Alberta for its own shops, where they can sell specifically to niche customers who are interested in higher-end meat, while providing some education at the till or deli counter. In addition to fresh cook-at-home pork cuts, this includes bacon and other meat processed in partnership with Valbella Meats in Canmore and Sunterra’s increasingly sought-after Soleterra D’Italia line of Italian-style cured meats produced right here in Alberta. Soleterra D’Italia has been a unique product for Sunterra Farms. Beginning in 2016, the company worked directly with Italian sausage makers to formulate recipes that would mirror the quality of sausages and ham found in Italy. The Soleterra D’Italia products are all made in Acme, but look and taste like imported Italian meats — made even better thanks to that well-bred and fed Alberta pork. The line includes salami, prosciutto, mortadella and other cured meats, all available at Sunterra stores (and are utilized in many of the cafés’ hot meals), as well as Co-op stores in the Calgary area. Ultimately, Sunterra Markets and Sunterra Farms work symbiotically: the stores and cafés provide a market for the pork products, and the pork quality differentiates the stores from other specialty shops. It’s a smart system and one that bolsters the success of both businesses. As more and more food enterprises embrace the concept of farm-
Price family original barn
to-table and even try to develop their own farms to help create a closed loop, Price and his family take pride in the fact that it’s simply the way that they’ve always done business. “The genesis behind the Sunterra stores was always that we were producing with our pork didn’t work with regular retailers,” Price says. “As naïve farmers, we thought the best way to get our product to market was to serve it directly to consumers. We knew that we had to have talented chefs, because they would recognize and enhance the quality. That’s always been the fit.” 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. July/August 2020 | Culinaire 19
The Historically Significant Reason You Should Make Cake Sweet remembrances of rationing and Canada’s ‘housoldiers’
ith every wave of a thousand brave young men marching to foreign fronts, so too were a thousand women left behind with the task of preserving some shred of normalcy on the home front. In Canada, most households were maintained by women, and so the duty of feeding the home front population became one of Canadian women’s sacred war-time efforts. The ‘housoldier’ was born. But this new reality was met with much tribulation. Rationing and congested transportation networks meant supplies were limited, and unpredictable fluctuations in prices meant the access of supplies was often choked. Staples, as much as luxuries, were rationed including meat, flour, butter, eggs, milk, tea, and coffee, and following in close order was the task of adjusting recipes and palates to accommodate these war-time food restrictions. Soon, propaganda campaigns emerged urging the public to use only one’s fair share of food. Sound familiar? Yeast? Gone. Flour? Sold out. Sugar? Nowhere to be found. Spotty shelves and one per customer notices are a new reality for us during the COVID-19 pandemic. But it’s also a small taste of the types of rationing Canadians were once faced with that remind us that rationing times really mean sharing times. One notable culinary artifact from the World Wars is “Poor Man’s Cake,” or “Eggless, Butter-less, and Milk-less Cake” — an answer to the question of cake during the war. Trivial at face-value, this popular recipe with small variations became a feature of Canadians’ home front reality and is evidence
20 Culinaire | July/August 2020
BY SABRINA KOOISTRA
of the ingenuity and resourcefulness of those attempting to preserve normalcy at the dinner table when many baking essentials were in short supply. And so, with little knowledge of the strife of war, we look to the Canadian women who carried on with wooden spoons in hand to enjoy what little they could with what little they had. The recipe below is called, “Eggless Spice Cake,” a form of the so-called “Poor Man’s Cake,” sourced from “Economy Recipes for Canada’s ‘Housoldiers.’” Indeed, the process required to prepare this cake might arouse suspicion, given that step two involves boiling a dark brown concoction with raisins swirling about with every stir. It’s unexpected territory for cake
preparation admittedly, but curiosity did abound. A saccharine aroma will soon waft through your kitchen but is surely not an unwelcome side effect of your dalliance in Canadian war-time baking. As it turns out, cake during war (or at least this cake) is more like a loaf than cake. More on the dense side, it lacks the light and fluffy consistency of most traditional cakes, but it’s forgivable given the circumstances. By nature of the ingredients used, this is also extremely inexpensive to prepare, which makes it great for times when our budgets are tightened. In a small way, preparing this cake offers an opportunity to connect with our history in a unique way and to understand the sacrifices, big and small, that were made by Canadians to bolster the war effort. On the surface, the act of removing eggs and butter from recipes seems a far-cry from war experience, however, every effort to preserve resources to support the servicemen abroad was viewed as an act of patriotism. Every year on Canada Day, we are reminded of the events, people, and spirit that contributed to this wonderful country we all call home. While the pandemic has put stress on all of us in many unseen ways, we know the resiliency of the past is in no way extinct. Canadians, together, have survived and thrived. We will do so again. Take the opportunity to prepare this cake, to satisfy your culinary curiosity, and to experiment with this unlikely baked good. This sweet cake is great for a backyard “high tea” amongst friends and the sunshine, and can be elevated with some whipped cream and fresh summer berries (raspberries or strawberries will do nicely.)
Eggless Spice Cake 1 cup seedless raisins or currants ½ cup brown sugar ½ cup (120 mL) corn syrup 1 cup (240 mL) boiling water ⅓ cup melted fat (lard is listed in variations of this recipe) 1 tsp salt ½ tsp nutmeg 1 tsp cinnamon 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda ½ tsp baking powder 1. Combine raisins or currants, sugar, corn syrup, boiling water, melted fat, salt and spices in a saucepan. 2. Place over moderate heat and simmer gently for five minutes, let cool. 3. Add sifted flour, baking soda, and baking powder; mix thoroughly. 4. In a greased 9x5x3 pan, bake at 350º F for one hour. Sabrina is a freelance writer pursuing a Communications and History double major at U of C. She is passionate about uncovering the ways in which history, tradition, and food, shape our identities.
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Over The Campfire
BY LEXIE ANGELO I PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRANDIE J. WRIGHT
ooking a meal over a fire is one of the highlights of camping. While campgrounds and provincial parks may have restrictions in effect, or limited sites available in the months to come, you can always enjoy a backyard affair – and one classic tool you will want to bring with you is a cast iron pie maker. “It’s such a versatile item, and it’s simple to use,” says Kimberly Worbeck, senior merchant, at Mountain Equipment Co-op. She explains the cast iron pie maker is popular with Albertans, and it’s easy to see why. It comes in both single and double sizes and it’s readily available online and in stores throughout the province. If you’re able to head to one of Alberta’s 500 campgrounds, the
22 Culinaire | July/August 2020
pie maker is a lightweight tool, perfect for a long weekend or a short day trip. Perfect for desserts While many campers go for the classic s’more, the cast iron pie maker offers up endless dessert possibilities. A toasted fruit pie is easy to make, and a key ingredient, such as cherry pie filling is inexpensive and often on-hand in the pantry. However, don’t overlook decadent combinations of marshmallow, peanut butter and Nutella, or more sophisticated choices, such as stuffing puff pastry with apples, brie, and walnuts, all of which are made better by toasting over the fire.
Cinnamon Apple, Brie, and Walnut Pies Makes 4 pies
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 4-6 minutes per pie 8 slices cinnamon swirl bread ¼ cup (60 mL) soft margarine 1 can apple pie filling Brie cheese 4 Tbs walnuts, whole or pieces 1. Lightly spread margarine on each slice of bread. Place a slice in one half of the pie iron, margarine side down. 2. Scoop 2-3 tablespoons of pie filling on to the bread. Top with two slices of Brie and one tablespoon of walnuts.
3. Place the second slice of bread over the filling (margarine side up) and close the pie iron. Trim any excess bread crust off with your fingers otherwise it may burn while cooking. 4. Cook pies over the campfire for 2-3 minutes per side. Carefully open pie iron and tip pie onto plate. 5. Repeat for the other remaining pies. Let cool.
Try going savoury But the pie maker isnâ€™t just for desserts. You can start your day with a delicious and savoury bacon breakfast sandwich filled with scrambled egg, bacon and cheese. Cooking the bacon in advance keeps assembly fast and clean up even quicker. Worbeck says that being prepared before you get to the campsite really helps. For lunch, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches are a fun alternative, and itâ€™s easy to get the kids involved in making pizza pockets with shredded cheese and mini pepperoni - all of which can be
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quickly clamped into a cast iron cooker and set over the fire. The pie maker adds a fun twist on outdoor cooking and can also be paired with accessories like hotdog forks, and even a waffle iron. The best advice is to remember to grease the iron, get creative, and donâ€™t be afraid of a few burnt edges.
Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches Makes 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes, Cook Time: 4-6 minutes per sandwich 8 slices bacon 8 slices white bread Âź cup (60 mL) soft margarine 4 eggs, scrambled or a small carton of liquid eggs 4 slices sharp cheddar cheese Ketchup (optional) 1. Cut each bacon slice in half and cook in advance. Wrap in foil. I prefer to pack my cooked bacon in the cooler the day before departing for the campsite. 2. Lightly spread margarine on each slice of bread. 3. Place a slice in one half of the pie iron (margarine side down) and arrange two pieces of bacon on top. 4. Using a pan over the fire, scramble one egg or use 1/3 cup liquid eggs. When cooked, add the egg mixture on top of the bacon. Top with a slice of cheddar cheese. 5. Place the second slice of bread over the filling (margarine side up) and close the pie iron. Trim any excess bread crust off with your fingers to avoid burnt edges. 6. Cook the sandwich over the campfire for 2-3 minutes per side. Carefully open and tip sandwich onto plate. 7. Repeat for remaining sandwiches. Dip in ketchup or hot sauce if you like, and enjoy!.
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 24 Culinaire | July/August 2020
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Surviving COVID-19 How Albertaâ€™s Restaurants are Changing BY CARMEN CHENG
In the last few months, restaurants and bars across the province have faced unparalleled challenges. Without the ability to serve customers in their restaurants, many businesses have had to make significant adjustments in order to survive this pandemic, and we have seen incredible examples of creativity and agility surface. Here are a few ways that Alberta chefs and restaurants have pivoted their business model and product offerings to better meet the needs of a new environment. Creating at-home meal kits For many restaurants, offering takeout is not as simple as cooking and packing up existing menu items. To ensure a quality product, consideration must be given to how the ingredients will hold up during the travel time, streamlining processes to suit a much leaner staff, cost, and packaging requirements. Several restaurateurs and chefs have opted to modify their signature dishes into DIY meal kits that are suitable for the home cook to assemble and finish at home. Lil’ Empire, a small restaurant inside Annex Ales, owned by Karen Kho, Dave Sturies, Amber Anderson, and Shovik Sengupta, opened only six months before they had to make the heartbreaking decision to close temporarily. Kho and Sturies focused on Empire Provisions, setting up an online store to sell essential grocery items and takeaway meals, and the team decided to offer Lil’ Empire Burger Packs -100 kits weekly for online orders. To make high quality burgers for the home cook, each kit includes detailed instructions on how to best smash the patties. Although fairly new to the Calgary food scene, Lil’ Empire had already established a strong following for their burgers, proven by how popular their burger kits have become, with all 100 kits selling within an hour of sales going live. “When we decided to try out the burger kits we knew there would be a positive response from our already-established customer base, but we didn’t expect it to have the overwhelming popularity that it did. I attribute this to the power of food and how it evokes nostalgia or provides comfort during times of duress,” says Kho.
Empire Smashburger kit
Cibo pasta kit
Several restaurants in Alberta have also become popular for their DIY at home meal kits. Across the province, pasta and pizza kits have become popular; in Edmonton Corso at Home pasta kits by the Corso 32 group have been high in demand, and Calgarians have been satisfying carb cravings with pasta and pizza kits from Cibo 17th and Annabelle’s Kitchen. Starting a new business It might seem counterintuitive to start a new business amidst a pandemic, and when your current system is not suitable for a stay-at-home model, a new business
plan might just be what you need. Roy Oh is a well-known chef in Calgary’s food scene, having founded the celebrated Anju restaurant. In mid-March when social distancing orders were put in place, Oh was days away from opening a new restaurant focused on an interactive dining experience, which became invalid before its introduction. Chef Oh decided to pivot once again and launch Roy’s Korean Kitchen offering take-out meals and prepared meals, including marinated meats and his famous sauces. “I knew we had to do something that was approachable and well-loved. I thought our customers may want July/August 2020 | Culinaire 27
Cam Dobranski and Jacqueline Warrell EATCROW
Roy’s Korean Kitchen
familiarity so we came up with Roy’s Korean Kitchen,” says Oh. With craveable dishes such as his popular gochujang wings, Korean grilled short ribs, and ramen carbonara, Roy’s Korean Kitchen garnered immediate buzz on social media once it launched. Grey Mare burgers have become somewhat of an overnight sensation in Edmonton. Following a stint working internationally, chef David Leeder had been working on a new concept with the Wishbone team. Once it became apparent that COVID-19 would create new restrictions for the restaurant industry, Leeder, Brayden Kozak, and Brian Welch came together and drafted plans for Grey Mare. “I wanted to create something where I could support the community by using other local businesses and farmers who have a good product. Most importantly,
while sitting on their couch. “What I took away from my travels is to focus on the quality of craftsmanship and the ingredients, I wanted to bring that sense of quality for a fair price point to Edmonton. We really took a dynamic approach to trying to make sure people are having the best experience possible. We test everything to see if it will survive in to-go boxes up to an hour or more, and its constantly evolving - we strive to be better every day.” Innovating new distribution channels High fees can make third party delivery apps prohibitive for small businesses with already slim margins. Some businesses have employed creativity, innovation, and even collaboration with other businesses to come up with new ways to distribute their product to customers around the city.
Even prior to COVID-19, restaurateurs and chefs have had to demonstrate resiliency to meet changing demands of customers, trends, and the economy we wanted to feed people during this time,” says Leeder. Operating out of the Wishbone space, the approachable menu proudly touts quality local ingredients, and includes their famed burgers, hot chicken sandwiches, roast chicken, and carbonara croquettes. This is the type of food that customers want to dig into 28 Culinaire | July/August 2020
During Downtown Dining Week in Edmonton, Filistix owners Ariel del Rosario and Roel Canafranca, saw a slew of reservation cancellations. Del Rosario started asking customers who were calling to cancel if they would be interested in having the meal delivered to their home. Based on the demand,
he knew immediately that they needed to re-strategize how to get their food to customers. Filistix pivoted quickly, localizing their delivery initially to specific neighbourhoods, but they have now expanded delivery to the entire city, including Sherwood Park and St Albert. Edmontonians who had not tried Filistix before were now ordering from their delivery menu. “As a result, we made the decision to move away from full service and focus on delivery, takeout and fast casual dining as our core business moving forward,” they say. “We’re excited for the change and we feel this will better position us to come out of this crisis on the positive end.” Filistix has now automated and launched their own online delivery site, FilistixDelivers.ca. Respect the Technique had hosted several ramen pop-ups in late 2019. Since social distancing rules were put in place, chefs Kaede Hirooka and Jonathan Chung have been operating out of Avenida food hall, offering lunch bento boxes a few times each month. In addition, they have developed a contactless system where customers are able to pick-up orders in several locations around the city. Leveraging in-progress plans The last few years have seen an increase in customer demand for DIY meal kits, casual dining, and food delivery services. Restrictions imposed by COVID-19 has seemingly escalated this demand. With foresight, several experienced restaurateurs had been developing a new
Corso at Home Sepps
vision for the next phase of their business, which has become even more relevant with social distancing in place. Brasserie Kensington is an institution in Calgary, having operated for ten years. Owners Cam Dobranski and Jacqueline Warrell had begun planning for the next chapter of their restaurant, “We were ready for a change, we felt Calgary was ready for a change, and we wanted to get back to having fun in the kitchen…” says Warrell. Prior to COVID-19, the duo had been making changes to their space and menu testing in anticipation for the launch of EATCROW snack bar. Their new concept offers an approachable menu of small, simple dishes, big on flavour and vegetarian friendly, that pair well with their draft cocktail and beer list. Their vision for EATCROW is that customers come in for snacks or order multiple dishes for a more robust meal. When dine-in service was restricted, Warrell and Dobranski launched take home meals through Brasserie, but enthusiastically announced EATCROW shortly after business reopening plans for Calgary were announced. Sepp’s Pizza, from the folks behind Edmonton’s Ace Coffee and Leva Café, opened late 2019. Owner Joe Parrottino had pioneered pizza at the café close to 20 years ago, and had been refining his recipe over the years. As the economy declined in 2014, the business plan for Sepp’s took shape, “The idea to position the Sepp’s Pizza product as an exclusive online ordering and take out business, stemmed from our experience and market assessment” says Parrottino, “We knew our pizza was good and COVID simply
Grey Mare burger Corso at home
Respect the Technique
forced the public to consider takeout as the only option, which assisted our notoriety and exposure more rapidly”. Sepp’s has garnered a reputation for quality ingredients and well executed pies, however Parrottino is quick to credit the contributions of a great brand designer and social media team to their rise in popularity. Connie DeSousa and John Jackson are known for their group of restaurants in Calgary, which include the celebrated Charcut, Charbar, Rooftop Bar at Simmons, Alley Burger, and Chix Eggshop. For several years, the duo had been developing a pizza concept, working on their recipe and researching different pizza styles on their travels. With the sudden restrictions to dine-in service, they quickly pivoted to online orders with a menu and butchery provisions for curbside pick-up, however DeSousa and Jackson saw an opportunity to launch their pizza concept sooner to
accommodate the demand for takeout and delivery. Hence, Connie and John’s Pizza was born offering New York and Detroit styles for online ordering. Even prior to COVID-19, restaurateurs and chefs have had to demonstrate resiliency to meet changing demands of customers, trends, and the economy. Social distancing guidelines and new health restrictions in Alberta have further tested this resiliency. While the future of hospitality remains unpredictable, entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity is deeply rooted in this industry, and we will surely see more creative examples of businesses pivoting to flourish in this next normal.
Carmen Cheng comes from a long line of food lovers and notorious overorderers. She loves traveling, learning about different cuisines, and sharing her food adventures on social media. July/August 2020 | Culinaire 29
Summertime i ers pp S W
BY TOM FIRTH AND LINDA GARSON
ith our hot summers, but often cooler evenings, it’s good to have on hand a number of versatile bottles or cans to keep you covered for any occasion, and there’s no shortage of new releases and old favourites to keep you happy this summer!
Alvear Fino, Montilla, Spain We just don’t drink enough dry sherry. The aromas wafting from the glass immediately transport me to the Spanish coast, sitting in the shade and watching the sea crash against the rocks. And I have to ransack my kitchen for green olives, serrano ham and Marcona almonds to snack on with this delightfully tangy, salty, and mouth-watering wine. Bring it on!
Alvear Medium Dry, Montilla, Spain Medium dry sherry is a conundrum to many – it’s a warm amber colour, is it sweet or is it dry? It’s definitely related to fino, but it also seems related to Olorosso too? Yes, it’s the best of both - still salty and tangy, with distinct toasty almond notes, but then softening mid-palate to a little dried fig flavour, before a lonnng, dry, lip-smacking finish.
CSPC +112771 $18-$20
Amaro di Angostora, Trinidad It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a company like Angostura, with eons of distilling bitters, would eventually produce an Amaro, and their latest innovation is a triumphant new world classic. When the fire pit’s starting to die down, bring out this bottle and indulge in sensuous cinnamon and chocolate with back notes of liquorice, sipped slowly over ice. CSPC + 802195 $34-$38
CSPC +112789 $19-$21
Pink Gin, Confluence Distillery, Alberta Just the thought of pink gin is so appealing; it evokes a different era, a more elegant time of sophistication and little black dresses. Confluence’s new limited production pink gin will surprise you with its ginger and chilli flake nose that follow to the palate, and the secondary hint of chamomile. Take your pick – with or without tonic, it’s a pleasure either way. $48 at the distillery
Northern Keep Vodka, Canada Made from winter wheat and Canadian rye, this is a new addition to the vodka scene. A little boozy and heady on the nose, but very agreeable and very smooth on the palate with a good approach to mild characters. I mean, vodka should never be aggressive – right? A superb sipper, but also good in any number of mixed drinks.
Macallan 12 Year Old Sherry Oak Cask, Scotland A returning favourite on the Scotch scene, the 12 year old from Macallan was traditionally about a clean and pure expression of quality spirit with expressive sherry cask characters. Toasty and cereal-driven with mild fig and raisin sweetness. Delicious, and well suited for summer sipping.
CSPC +829752 $27-32
Nonino L’Aperitivo, Fruili, Italy As a big fan of Nonino’s “Quintessentia” Amaro, expectations were high with this “botanical drink”, and they were still exceeded - one sniff and I’m sold. The Nonino sisters infused 18 botanicals for this new, allnatural, summer tipple and you’ll taste citrus, rhubarb and gentian. It’s fresh and bright, just add ice or for a special treat – your favourite prosecco! CSPC +828409 $45-$48
CSPC +1170715 $130-140
Caorunn, Scotland The first gin from the Scottish Highlands conjures a romantic vision of small batch craft at Balmenach distillery in Speyside, using an antique Copper Berry Chamber and five local, wild foraged botanicals: rowan berry, bog myrtle, heather, dandelion leaf, and coul blush apple. I’m captivated by the earthy nose, yet bright and complex flavours and rounded, slightly oily mouth-feel. CSPC + 802100 $43-$48
Speyburn 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, Scotland The distillery master calls this “front of cabinet” whisky - a classic, old school, dense, fatty, rich, layered Speyside – whose founding team worked through the night to release a cask for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. And you’ll be glad they did for it’s everything you want from a Speyside, a clean crowd pleaser with just a touch of lemon and toffee. CSPC +813425 $56-59
Scapegrace Gold Gin New Zealand This is heady stuff: a Navy strength 57 percent ABV, wheat-based gin softer than corn or rye and much more expensive than corn - in an antique Geneva-style bottle from New Zealand! There’s noticeably juniper, and orris root – do you know the taste? Think parma violets… and citrus, with a very long floral finish. Add just a touch of tonic! CSPC +814733 $65-$75
July/August 2020 | Culinaire 31
Sheringham Distillery Rhubarb Gin Sooke, British Columbia We’re privileged to have a sneak preview of this summer sipper, and we’re grateful as we can let you know about it too. Sheringham have developed a new, traditional London Dry-style gin base for this gin, and added B.C. rhubarb and a touch of sweetener. It’s balanced and not too tart, just add a splash of soda for a simple and delightful summer cocktail. 375 mL $25, 750 mL $44
Amalfi Aperitivo Spritz, Canada You can’t miss this brand new spritz on the shelf! It’s orange, it’s really good value, and it’s from Canada’s Crazy Uncle, who already make cans of very popular hard root beer and hard cream soda. Bright and bittersweet just like the Italian original, this is one for deck days or to start your evening on the deck. CSPC + 832640 355 mL 5% ABV, 4-pack $13-15
Village Brewery Hooch, Alberta We love to be able to support local businesses and enjoy cool drinks at the same time! The new Hooch natural hard seltzers come in three flavours – Mango, Grapefruit, and Lime, and are perfect for summer 2020 – they’re clean, crisp and only 95 calories and 2 g of carbs. Available in individual flavours or try a 12-can variety pack for 4 of each flavour!! CSPC +831578 355 mL, 5% ABV, $25
32 Culinaire | July/August 2020
Eau Claire Distillery Flourish Gin Look what happens when distillers have to stay home – they still play with botanicals, and develop a brand new gin, one designed for you to play with too to create your own cocktails! Eau Claire’s Flourish Gin is easy-going, aromatic and distinctly juniper-forward on the nose with mandarin notes. Perfect with tonic but ready for far more interesting mixes. CSPC + 8338213 $37-$40
Sofia Rosé Brut 2016 Mini, California From the Francis Ford Coppola Winery comes this delightfully refreshing, salmoncoloured sparkling blend of pinot noir and chardonnay. Flavours of tart redcurrants and crisp green apples abound, and it comes in a purse-size can. Sofia Rosé is a food wine that will have you salivating for your meal – bring on the charcuterie! CSPC + 802601 187 mL, 11% ABV, $7-8
Oro Bello Light, California If you gained isolation weight in lockdown, then you’ll be spoiled for choice this summer with the new low-calorie, low- carb, and low-alcohol drinks available. Oro Bello Light is a bright, dryza bone, meyer lemon tasting chardonnay from California with only 85 calories and 3.5 g of carbs – as the can says, “grapes, yeast, & SO2”.
CSPC +831742 375 mL, 9.3% ABV, about $7
Take away gourmet.
Chef-prepared meals, at your service. Vancouver | Kelowna | Calgary | urbanfare.com A division of Save-On-Foods LP, a Jim Pattison business. Proudly Western Canadian Owned and Operated.
July/August 2020 | Culinaire 33
A Wave of Delight:
Summer Seafood Dishes STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY NATALIE FINDLAY
ummer is meant for easy cooking and fresh flavours. These seafood dishes accomplish both, so let’s dive right in.
Trout Tacos with Mango Salsa Serves 2
4 small trout fillets 1 tsp chili powder ½ tsp cayenne powder 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp salt 1 mango, peeled and cubed ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced ¼ cup red pepper, small dice Pinch salt ½ lime, juiced ¼ tsp cumin 4 leaves Bibb lettuce Jalapeño, lime and cilantro for garnish 1. Season trout with a mix of chili, cayenne, cumin, and salt. Bake in a 350º F oven for 5-8 minutes. 2. Combine remaining ingredients for the salsa, adjusting seasoning to taste. 3. Serve the trout on top of a lettuce leaf and garnish with salsa.
this recipe can be adjusted to your heat preference by adding more or less chili, cayenne, and jalapeños to the tacos. The riper the mango - the better your salsa, as the sweetness from the mango balances the rest of the flavours.
34 Culinaire | July/August 2020
Pineapple Coconut Shrimp Rice served in the Pineapple Serves 4
1 cup basmati rice ½ cup (120 mL) coconut milk (just the liquid not the cream) 1 cup (250 mL) water 1 tsp salt 4 leaves fresh Thai basil 1 Tbs (15 mL) coconut oil ¼ cup red onion, small dice ¼ cup red pepper, small dice 340 g medium shrimp (approx 24) 1¼ cups peas 1 dried lime leaf 1¼ cups diced pineapple 1 green onion, thinly sliced 8 fresh Thai basil leaves, chiffonade Toasted coconut, toasted crushed macadamia nuts, lime wedges for garnish 1. Cook rice as package instructions but replace ¾ of the water with coconut water, add salt and fresh Thai basil. Let cool. 2. In a medium-hot pan add coconut oil, red onion, and red pepper and cook 2 minutes. 3. Add shrimp and cook until opaque. 4. Add rice, green peas, and lime leaf and warm through.
5. Add pineapple, green onion, and Thai basil, combine all ingredients together gently. 6. Top with toasted coconut, crushed macadamia nuts, and a wedge of lime. and garnish with salsa.
To serve this dish in a pineapple you will need 1 pineapple per person, as you will use 2/3 of the pineapple for each boat.
3. Coat each piece in flour then egg then panko, and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Place in oven and cook for 8-10 minutes
depending on how thick your pieces of fish are. 4. Remove from oven and serve immediately with your favourite side.
Baked Fish Sticks
Better than Captain What’s-his-name’s! Serves 4 8 pieces cod or halibut ½ tsp salt 1 tsp black pepper 1 tsp dried thyme 1/3 cup flour 1 egg, beaten ½ cup panko breadcrumbs Drizzle olive oil Preheat your oven to 375º F. 1. Cut your fish in finger-sized pieces and season with salt, pepper and thyme. 2. Lay out a 3-plate process for coating fish – 1 plate with flour, 1 plate with egg, 1 plate with panko.
July/August 2020 | Culinaire 35
Oyster Rockefeller on a Bun
The same great flavours but piled into a bun and enjoyed like a hot dog. Delicious! Serves 4 4 hot dog buns 8 fresh oysters, drained and patted dry ¼ cup flour 1 egg, beaten ¼ cup cornmeal Olive oil, or other frying oil
3 Tbs shallot 3 cloves garlic ¼ cup (60 mL) white wine ¾ cup (180 mL) cream 4 grates nutmeg 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 1 bunch fresh spinach, rough chop
Oysters cook quickly so make sure everything is prepared before frying these savoury parcels.
36 Culinaire | July/August 2020
1. Heat a medium pan over medium-low heat. Add shallot; cook 4 minutes to soften. 2. Add garlic; cook another 2 minutes. Add white wine and let reduce to ¼ the original amount. 3. Add cream and let cook another 5 minutes to reduce. Add a pinch of salt and nutmeg. Remove from heat, add Parmesan and incorporate into sauce. Add ½ the spinach and let wilt. 4. Preheat frying oil to 350º F. Best to use a small, high-sided pot for frying. 5. Lay out a 3-plate process for coating oysters – 1 plate with flour, 1 plate with egg, 1 plate with cornmeal. 6. Coat the oysters - flour then egg then cornmeal. 7. Place a few into your oil making sure not to overcrowd your frying pot. Let cook 1 minute and then turn and cook another minute.
Remove and place on a sheet tray lined with paper towel. Continue until all your oysters are fried. 8. Spread open hot dog buns, but keep them attached, and toast in the oven. 9. Add the fresh spinach to the buns. Top with the sauce. Place the fried oysters on top and sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese. Eat immediately.
This sauce would be great on top of a piece of halibut or salmon, wrapped in parchment and cooked in the oven. Easy, quick, and the spinach adds extra nutrition to a delicious sauce.
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.
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July/August 2020 | Culinaire 37
Spice it Up - Pesto P
esto is usually a classic combination of basil, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil, puréed into a potent paste of sorts, and the perfect summer condiment. No cooking required, it can be served alongside grilled meats, roasted vegetables, or tossed with pasta. Not only is it easy to make, it’s even easier to adapt to your own tastes, swapping in and out various ingredients based on what you like or what you have available. Follow these general guidelines and you’ll be on your way to spicing up your supper, thanks to only three or four ingredients.
38 Culinaire | July/August 2020
BY MALLORY FRAYN
Pick your greens Basil is the pesto herb of choice, but let’s face it, if you don’t grow it yourself, it’s expensive to buy and has limited shelf life. Instead, opt for less delicate herbs like parsley, cilantro, dill, mint, or chives. The only ones you really want to stay away from (or use in more sparing quantities) are hearty winter herbs like rosemary or thyme, as they are better suited for cooked applications. Alternately, you can broaden your selection beyond herbs and move into the territory of lettuces and other greens. Spinach, arugula, and kale are all options. Also, rather than throwing away the greens from vegetables like carrots or
beets, you can use them in pesto instead. A word about blanching: pureeing herbs and other greens can bruise them and cause them to lose their vibrant, green colour. To prevent this, briefly (literally, 3-5 seconds) blanch them in boiling water, remove and drop into a bath of iced water to chill rapidly. This will help to set their colour before proceeding with your pesto recipe. Nuts and seeds Pine nuts may come to mind, but again they are not cheap and frankly, don’t have a ton of flavour to bring to the pesto party. Widen your scope; whatever nuts and seeds you enjoy eating out of hand
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or adding to other savoury dishes can be used in the making of pesto. Almonds are great, skins on or blanched, pecans or walnuts do the trick, and cashews add a richness that is perfect if you’re using your pesto to make a creamy pasta sauce. Don’t overlook seeds either, with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and even hemp hearts all bringing different characteristics to this saucy purée. Regardless of what you choose, just make sure to toast them first to get the most out of their flavour. Cheese please Here the options are slightly more limited because you want to choose a cheese that is aged (read: dry) enough not to clump up and make a gooey mess of your pesto. Parmesan is ideal for this, as well as similar variants like grana padano or pecorino. For a truly Albertan option, try using Sylvan Star’s Old Grizzly Gouda, easily available at local retailers. You can also cut out the cheese altogether if you’d prefer a dairy-free option, or simply don’t feel like adding it. Oil Olive oil is typical in pesto, but may not be considered ideal for a couple of reasons. First, it’s relatively strong in flavour (particularly if its extra virgin), so can overpower the other ingredients. Second, olive oil can become incredibly bitter when blended, so isn’t the best choice for puréeing with a multitude of other ingredients. So what are some other alternatives? Ultimately that depends on what else you’re choosing to put in your pesto and how you’d like to complement it. If you want the herbs, nuts, and cheese to be the stars, opt for a neutral oil like grapeseed or canola. However, if you’d like the oil to stand on its own, go for something stronger, like camelina, which adds a lovely grassiness. Or, double up on flavour by using the oil that corresponds with the nuts and seeds you choose. For example, walnut oil with walnuts, or sunflower oil with sunflower seeds. Keep in mind that some of these oils are quite pungent, so you can always split them half and half with a more neutral oil. 40 Culinaire | July/August 2020
Put the carrot tops, sunflower seeds, garlic, lemon juice, and oils in a blender, or container suitable for using an Carrot tops from one bunch of carrots immersion blender. Purée until all the (roughly 2-3 cups) ingredients have been incorporated but ¼ cup sunflower seeds the pesto is still rather coarse. Depending 1 clove garlic on what application you are using it in, ½ a lemon, juiced ½ cup (120 mL) grapeseed or canola oil thin with water as needed and season to taste with salt and pepper. The pesto can 2 Tbs (30 mL) camelina oil be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days or frozen To taste salt and pepper for future use. Water as needed
Carrot Top Pesto
Mallory is a Calgary freelance writer now living, learning and eating in Montreal. Check out her blog becauseilikechocolate.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @cuzilikechoclat
Your Happy Place Awaits...
Located just 14 kms from Fernie, BC and 3.5 hours from Calgary, Island Lake Lodge sits on 7,000 acres of Nature Reserve. Inspired by the forest that surounds us and local producers, our creative culinary team have put together a unique menu for this summer. You can also enjoy 100 kms of hiking trails, our full day spa, canoeing on the lake or just take in the majestic views. Monday Date Nights - All Summer! Includes: 2 glasses of prosecco, 2 entrĂŠes, 1 appetizer and 1 dessert to share - $99 per couple The Spa - We are all in need of some spa time these days! Give us a call to book your treatment Check our website for restaurant hours, spa offerings, dining menus, and all other information.
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The Greening of Breweries BY DAVID NUTTALL
“Adopt, adapt, improve” Slogan of the Round Table 42 Culinaire | July/August 2020
o say the least, 2020 has been a challenging year for all segments of Alberta’s economy. From fluctuating oil prices to a global pandemic, this year has probably forced more companies into survival mode than any previous year in this province’s existence. When it comes to breweries, adapting is something practically inbred, given the vacillating nature of the industry. The liquor business has always thrived on changing consumer appetites. Not only do product lines
come and go, but ingredients fluctuate, packaging evolves, and technological requirements constantly need to be addressed. Craft brewing is probably one of the most responsive industries to evolving technologies and consumer demands, given their smaller scale and that much of their product takes only a few weeks to produce. However, they do operate with far less capital than many companies, which requires more creative solutions for any adaptations. Historically, breweries have tried to maintain as “green” an operation as
possible, mainly because it often helped the bottom line. Any recycling, reusing, and efficiencies that improved brewery operations were practiced, not so much for environmental concerns, but because they usually kept the owners happy. The boom in craft brewing has arrived when it is essential to be environmentally conscious, so best practices are being employed and shared worldwide. In Alberta, most breweries are brand new, so many have had efficiencies from the start. Still, almost all breweries moved into existing (older) buildings, so energy efficiency is one of the first priorities in the reno. Lighting, heating, electrical, ventilation, insulation, etc. commonly need to be upgraded. Water usage is also a huge concern; some breweries use 10 L of water to produce 1 L of beer. With modern technology, many breweries are down to a 5:1 ratio, and with further improvements can get to a 2:1 ratio. Trapping and reusing clean wastewater also helps keep water usage down, but those improvements cost money and often end up on capital spending lists for the future. Alberta breweries source as many local
Courtesy Prairie Dog Brewing
ingredients as possible. We have some of the world’s best barley, so buying Alberta malt is easy for most beer styles. Hops are frequently sourced from other locations, but that’s only because there is very little Alberta hop production available. Spent grain (leftovers from the brewing process) or pomace (from cideries) can be recycled in numerous ways. For example, [Theoretically] Brewing Co. of Lethbridge
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diverts their organic waste to farmers for animal feed, to community gardens as compost, and to a local bio-gas plant to be converted into methane, which is burned to create electricity. Prairie Dog Brewing of Calgary also uses spent grain as an ingredient in their kitchen. Packaging is also an important part of the brewing process. Almost all breweries have a growler program which helps keep
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Mark and Lisa Watts, Hubtown Brewing Co.
Courtesy Prairie Dog Brewing
containers recycled. The small brown beer bottle we grew up with is dying before our eyes, being quickly replaced by the 473 mL can. Manufacturing new cans from recycled aluminum takes only about 5% as much energy as creating a new can from bauxite ore and is about three to five times more efficient 44 Culinaire | July/August 2020
than bottle manufacturing. Even old de-commissioned kegs can be reused as planters, given or sold to home brewers, or recycled as scrap metal. For the most part, Alberta craft breweries are aware of their environmental impact and try to upgrade and stay as relevant as fiscally possible. Newer
breweries may have the latest advancements that those even a few years old do not have, but there is always a great deal of sharing of best practices within the brewing community that helps further the cause. In March 2020 however, all systems and plans came to a screeching halt. Restrictions put in place by governments the world over essentially shut down the public’s access to breweries. Since taprooms are the lifeblood of craft breweries, this disconnect from the customer proved to be an unexpected challenge to these businesses. Some breweries sell almost all their beer production from their taproom, “which equated to 99.9% of our gross revenue,” says Hub Town Brewing’s Lisa Watts, especially if they do not bottle or can. Kegs become a non-starter with no open restaurants or bars to sell them to. Online delivery and pickups have become the saving grace for breweries. Almost no breweries had set up home delivery pre-COVID 19, so this infrastructure had to be assembled quickly, including converting almost all production to bottles and/or cans. This new business model has kept some staff employed and helps offset the loss of taproom sales. Nonetheless, even as governments give breweries permission to reopen their taprooms, not all are jumping at the opportunity. There are numerous reasons for this, including reduced occupancy, additional sanitation and PPE costs, and the difficulties of maintaining social distancing. Each brewery is different, especially those with kitchens, so the circumstances remain fluid. Expect more changes to come as places begin to open, but there will be some long-term effects felt throughout the industry, including, sadly, some permanent closures. Thanks to Kelti Baird, [Theoretically] Brewing Co., Lethbridge; Lisa Watts, Hub Town Brewing, Okotoks; Laura and Gerad Coles, Prairie Dog Brewing; Calgary and Dennis Scanland, SunnyCider, for their input. 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.
Paired Dinner Packages
Live Events We’re starting slowly with live events and small groups to ensure your safety and proper social distancing. Please check our website regularly for new evenings and packages! Vine & Dine Franca’s Italian Specialties
Vine & Dine Foreign Concept
Wednesday July 22, Thursday July 30, and Wednesday August 12 Italian is our most often requested cuisine, and we are coming back to Franca’s, one of Calgary’s hidden gems, for three 6-course pairing dinners! $81.75 ++
Thursday August 13, Wednesday August 19, and Thursday August 27 It’s our 4th season at Foreign Concept, and almost every evening sells out here, so reserve your places at one of these superb 6-course pairing dinners! $81.75 ++
Everyone is loving our 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 finish, so they’re as delicious as they would be in the restaurant.
Escoba Bistro Dinner Package
Escoba Bistro and Wine Bar is one of our most popular restaurants for public and private evenings ~ and their paired 4-course dinner packages are superb! Fridays
Foreign Concept Dinner Package
Each Thursday, Chef Duncan Ly is preparing an excellent, paired 4-course dinner of those pan-Asian dishes we love, for us to enjoy at home!
Safari Grill Dinner Package
Perfect for summer, our 4-course paired dinner package comes ready to eat or you can BBQ the main course at home! Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays
Hotel Arts Dinner Package
Executive Chef Quinn Staple has put together an outstanding four-course pairing dinner menu, with a main course for you to finish at home. Thursdays All packages are available in limited quantities for curbside pick up at the restaurant on designated days each week. For full details, check out culinairemagazine.ca/events and contact firstname.lastname@example.org, 403-870-9802 to reserve your packages, places, or to arrange a private Vine & Dine event.
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Grill-tastic wines for those summer months By TOM FIRTH
Moon Curser 2017 Border Vines Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
A Bordeaux-style blend, with rich, cedar aromas, deep, dark berry fruits, and a robust, floral aroma. Flavours are quite well evolved, with firm tannins and a fresh, clean flavour profile. This is going to work very well with anything from the smoker, or short ribs finished on the grill. CSPC +764949 $30-32
ere in Alberta, it’s a wide swing between the coldest winter months and our long but awesome summer days (as few as they may be). But one thing is certain, when the mercury rises, we love enjoying a beverage on the decks and patios, by the poolside, or otherwise communing with nature. In the interest of supporting local, a number of BC wines are recommended this month with a smattering of French bottles and a couple of perfect BBQ wines from Australia and Italy. One thing they all have in common? They’ll taste great while you work on your farmer’s tan. Find these wines by searching the CSPC code at Liquorconnect.com; your local liquor store can also use this code to order it for you. Prices are approximate.
Bertrand 2018 Gris Blanc, France
Made mostly from grenache grapes, this is quite the summer workhorse with crisp, apple fruits, strong pear aromas, and a little bit of nectarine. Serve chilled, but not too cold, it’s perfectly fine on its own as a casual sipper, but would also work with slightly salty appetizers or snacks. CSPC +812881 $19-21
Covert Farms 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
A classic blend, there usually isn’t too much BC semillon around, so this is a nice treat. Preserves a lot of the semillon character and not too “grassy” or herbaceous, this is very drinkable and very well balanced. Would suit a number of seafood dishes that would want copious butter served alongside. CSPC +770655 $24-26
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.
46 Culinaire | July/August 2020
Covert Farms 2016 “Amicitia” Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
A proprietary blend based around a meritage style with syrah in the mix, showing a medley of dark fruits such as black cherries, currants, and plums but also a nice zest of acids and silky tannins. It’s one of those bottles that is a little different, but disappears rather quickly. Try with a flavourful, but tender cut like a fine-looking ribeye. CSPC +754935 $24-26
Famille Hugel 2015 Pinot Noir Alsace, France
Famille Hugel 2015 Gewürztraminer Alsace, France
CSPC +802413 $30-32
CSPC +802414 $34-36
We don’t see a whole lot of Alsatian reds here, but they do exist and show a different take on their grapes. Famille Hugel’s pinot noir is a little leaner and yet softer than most with tart cherry, cranberry, and clean, dried herb notes. This would do well with Greek-style lamb or grilled seafood.
Frescobaldi 2015 Tenuta Perano Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy
The Alsatian expression of gewürztraminer is typically a little drier than others but still very well balanced. Here, you’ll find mandarin oranges, lychee and melon with a lifted floral expression. Near bone-dry, this will be a stunner with summery salads, Asian/fusion cuisine, or lighter seafood.
Perhaps contrary to popular belief, chianti doesn’t have to be served with tomato-rich pasta dishes. It’s also very well suited to the barbecue. Nicely round on the nose with cherry fruits, tar, and herbal characters, while the palate is quite soft but perfect for grilled meats or something from the smoker. Delicious.
Kitsch 2017 Esther’s Block Riesling Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Vasse Felix 2016 “Filius” Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, Australia
Black Hills 2018 Rosé Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
CSPC +824244 About $33-36
CSPC +428763 $30-33
A style of riesling we don’t see a whole lot of here with loads of green fruits, mineral character and about 8.4 grams of sweetness. Balanced by some tight acids, which also allow some of the richer fruit to show through. A bit… smashable and a quaffer, this is an excellent bottle for a warm evening.
CSPC +810432 $37-39
A dense and dynamic cabernet sauvignon from Australia, and quite reasonable on the wallet too. Currants and cherries with deep, savoury notes and grippy tannins that aren’t “too much” now, but this will hold up in the cellar for a few years. Pair with high quality, well-seasoned steaks if you can. Delicious.
The first vintage of the blush from Black Hills to have malbec in the mix (with both pinot noir and gamay noir), and one of the best rosés I’ve had in more than a few bottles. Fresh and lively with summery fruits of watermelons and strawberries and a touch of spice across the palate. Quite dry and quite tasty too.
Kitsch 2018 Cabernet Franc Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Culmina 2015 Hypothesis Golden Mile Bench, British Columbia
Moon Curser 2018 Dolcetto Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
CSPC +828416 Around $40-44
CSPC +767821 $60-65
CSPC +767821 $60-65
As an enthusiast of cabernet franc from warmer regions (such as BC), this one was eagerly anticipated. A deep palate of red fruits with mocha, tar, and a cherry-flavoured candy sort of finish, it’s got the fruit where it needs it and the tannins are well placed too. Match with duck, grilled sausages, or smoked fish.
Perhaps the finest release of the Hypothesis from Culmina, this checks off all the boxes. Deeply layered with restrained fruits, plenty of earth and spice with less-thansubtle herbal notes, it delivers even more on the palate. Mostly cabernet franc and merlot in a meritage-style blend, this will age with grace over several years too. A fine addition to the cellar.
CSPC +804944 $19-22
To my knowledge, the only varietally bottled dolcetto in Canada. Typically found in Piedmont in Italy, it seems to enjoy the South Okanagan as well. Look for plums and blueberries with dried nuts, spice and blackberry jam. A little bit of a fruit bomb on the palate, it should be a good, pleasing wine for summer sipping (and dining too). July/August 2020 | Culinaire 47
E TC E TE R A . . . Sipski
While the global pandemic has shattered a number of conventions, enjoying a glass of wine or can of beer has got a little easier. Sipski (the wine glass holder) easily attaches to a smooth surface, such as by the bath or on a mirror, and holds it securely in reach. Best to use in the bath (with an acrylic glass if possible) with your favourite white, red or bubble. The companion Sudski holds a cool can of suds handy so you can finish shaving and still have a brew. Available at Indigo Books, and some kitchenware retailers. $20.
The Artisanal Kitchen Perfect Homemade Ice Cream
The Best Make-It-Yourself Ice Creams, Sorbets, Sundaes, and Other Desserts, by Jeni Britton Bauer, Artisan. If you spend ages deciding which flavour you want in the ice cream parlour, you’re going to be spoiled for choice with this pint-size book, chock full of ideas you may never have considered – like Juniper & Lemon Curd Ice Cream, and Blue Cheese Graham Cracker Ice Cream… or maybe try Bergamot Frozen Yogurt and delicioussounding, Riesling-Poached Pear Sorbet! $12. Secco Drink Infusion
We’ve really enjoyed trying these sachets of freeze dried fruit and spices, they’re super simple and can be used with any spirit or soft drinks too. The pack includes two each of four flavours: Spiced Pomegranate with star anise, butterfly pea flowers and cardamom; Pepper Berry with strawberry, blueberry and peppercorns; Raspberry Rose Hibiscus, and Ginger Lime. Just leave to infuse in your gin for a few minutes for a tasty and beautiful cocktail! At willowpark.net and fine liquor stores, $20. Boxxle Premium Wine Dispenser
It’s well known that boxed wine (or bagin-a-box) is a superior format for wine. It minimizes the aging of open wine, and can also reduce the “footprint” of wine packaging. Enter the Boxxle. Not only can you transfer your favourite boxed wine into this stylish dispenser, but using the (included) dispensing bags, you can fill it with your bottled favourites for gradual enjoyment. Perfect for… slow drinkers, and it works very well indeed at keeping your supply fresh. amazon.ca, $156. 48 Culinaire | July/August 2020
Tapping The West
How Alberta’s Craft Beer Industry Bubbled Out Of An Economy Gone Flat, by Scott Messenger, Touchwood Editions. Tapping The West starts with Messenger and two friends, all local craft beer fans, embarking on a journey from Edmonton to explore as many breweries in Calgary as possible in one night. But it’s so much more than that, and over the next 268 pages he takes us on a much longer journey from Alberta’s beer pioneers to almost present day – and it’s a great read. We couldn’t put it down! $23.
Joe Beef Butcher’s Blend
Joe Beef is consistently in the top 100 restaurants in Canada (number 3 this year!), and while we can’t imagine dining there any time soon, we can recreate the experience at home with the first product they developed in their line of seasonings, and still the most popular - Butcher’s Blend. If you’re a fan of Montreal smoked meat, then you’ll love this 100 percent natural rub for sprinkling on your steaks, burgers and even in your chilli. Widely available, 200 g $9-$12.
After so many weeks safe at home, the idea of a natural Canadian soft drink with no added sugar, which supports local tree farmers and forest management, is rather appealing. Sapsucker is a refreshing, organic maple tree water, tapped and lightly carbonated, and left as natural or infused with lemon or lime. We really enjoyed them neat or instead of soda in mixed drinks. Available online at well.ca, Community Natural food, Nutters, and other good health food stores. 355 mL $2-$3. Ninja Foodi Cold and Hot Blender
Moda Magic Can Opener
This is one heck of a blender. Ninja’s Foodi works with both hot and cold programs for total crushing and extraction to make your smoothies and slushies, and precision heat to unlock flavours for concentrates, cooking veggies… and - what piqued our imagination infusing spirits by toasting herbs and spices then layering in fruit, without the need for any syrups. We couldn’t wait to try infusing vodka to make our own gin, and it was a success! A simple recipe produced a delicious gin and we felt so proud. With no distillation your end product will take on the colour of the roasted botanicals, but we’re seeing more coloured spirits in stores now – and bonus, this blender makes the best velouté soups too! Widely available $220
Alberta Grass YAK
A new discovery for us, Calgary’s Hutch Kitchen have their own manufacturing facility for their gorgeous range of stainless steel kitchenware, and sell these quality products direct with no middle man. This Moda Magic Can Opener is new – and magic because it’s designed to leave no sharp edges on the can or the lid (yes, we gingerly ran our fingers over the edge!) which doesn’t then touch the contents and can be placed back again for storage. $50 at Hutch Café in Calgary or online at hutchkitchen.com.
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July/August 2020 | Culinaire 49
O PE N TH AT B OT TLE
...with Ernie Tsu BY LINDA GARSON PHOTO BY DONG KIM
y family owns the Silver Dragon, which has now been around for over 55 years. Funny thing is they didn’t want me working in the industry, so I never really worked at the restaurant there,” says Ernie Tsu, co-owner of Calgary brewpub Trolley 5. Coming from restaurant stock, Tsu developed a passion for the industry in his teens, and the boy who, at 16 years old, lied about his age to become a busboy at a local bar, dropped out of school. He met his mentor, Todd Perkins, at the Sea Horse Maritime Restaurant and Pub. “It used to be called the Claudio’s Group, and at that time they had over 20 properties. So I was a general manager by the time I was 21,” Tsu explains. He became the company troubleshooter, moving around the different locations to turn the businesses around. “I started off in fine dining, then went into pubs, then went into nightclubs, started DJ-ing, and circled back to fine dining,” he adds. “So then it was like a roller coaster between fine dining, the pub chains, nightclubs, and premium casual.” Tsu has always had a passion for wine and beer - wine first, but while he was kickboxing, he started drinking, and enjoying, beer more. He developed a passion for suds while he was in the UK, and started home brewing. “The end goal was always to have a brewery - and you know, I’m kind of living that dream right now,” he smiles gratefully.
50 Culinaire | July/August 2020
His business partner in Trolley 5 is PJ L’Heureux, founder of Craft Beer Market and a competitor when Tsu owned 1410 and 1600 World Bier Houses, but they met while Tsu was with the Craft company, and decided to partner up on a brewery. “As soon as the location came open here at Melrose, I said I’d like to put my hat in the ring too, for a concept that I think would be perfect for 17th Avenue,” says Tsu. “So that’s how Trolley 5 came to be. Because PJ and I are both born and raised Calgarians, we named Trolley 5 after the trolley car system that used to run down 17th Avenue, which was route number five.” And it’s their fourth birthday; Trolley 5 opened with 16,000 square feet and 500 seats one week before Stampede 2016, and they’re going strong despite having to pivot for the pandemic. The brewery has been very well received, and they’re pretty proud that every one of their core beers has won at least two awards. Most recently, because of the pandemic, Tsu has been instrumental in founding the Alberta Hospitality Association, an advocacy group and voice for the industry. “We were very concerned
that we weren’t getting enough support from government,” he says. “Our industry is the number three employer in Alberta, but was not being addressed at all. There just wasn’t enough focus on what we actually do for our community.” Charities and non-profits stepped up to let the government know that without the hospitality industry, they’re in big trouble. Where are they going to host their events? Without restaurants, there won’t be chefs donating their time for dinners where 100 percent of the proceeds go to the charity. The association has had great traction and the government has listened. So what bottle is Tsu saving for a special occasion? “Though my passion is beer, I also have a massive love for wine, and I have a beautiful bottle of Barolo that’s sitting in my basement ready (for opening) and a 2006 Dom (Pérignon) that’s in my fridge as well,” say Tsu. “I’ll probably pop that open once we’re back at 100 percent capacity – that’s worth celebrating. Well, hopefully if we get back to a 100 percent capacity.”
90 P O I N T S RO B E RT PA R K E R | 90 P O I N T S W I N E S PEC TAT O R #41 - 90 P O I N T S W I N E E N T H U S I A S T B E S T B U Y S 2019
+762410 Cune Crianza 2016
The house that gave Rioja its fame