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A L B E R TA / F O O D & D R I N K / R E C I P E S JA N UA RY/ F E B R UA RY 2 02 1

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FOOD & DRINK TRENDS for 2021

The Best Fish & Chips | Value Wines | Savoury Pies | Sour Beers


contents

Volume 9 / No. 7 / January/February 2021

departments 6

Salutes and Shout Outs

8

Off The Menu

9

Book Review

13

Chefs’ Tips and Tricks

News from Alberta’s culinary scene

20

Asylum For Arts’ Hearty Potato Soup Tastes From Home: Recipes from the Refugee Community

Taking comfort…

40 Etcetera...

What’s new?

42 Open That Bottle

Chef Jinhee Lee of Jin Bar

10 10

What’s In Store for 2021

What are we eating this year? by Linda Garson

18 The Drink Trends of 2021

What are we drinking this year? by Tom Firth

20 Honest Dumplings

Revolutionize Alberta Grocery Stores’ Freezer Section

ON THE COVER

We tried a lot of fish & chips last month - in a lot of different styles, ranging from completely authentic to very creative, but equally delicious! Thanks very much to Y93 Sushi Crave for their remarkable dish, and to photographer Dong Kim for his expert capture of this contemporary expression of Fish & Chips (Page 26)!

…one dumpling at a time by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth

22 Winter Warming Pies

No need to wait for Chinooks to warm things up! by Natalie Findlay

25

Keeping it Simple: The Old Fashioned cocktail by Linda Garson

36 26 The Search For Calgary’s Best Fish & Chips

…is over – the results! by Linda Garson

30 From Far and Wide…

Let’s Eat!

Food to power the body & soul by Sabrina Kooistra

33 Great Value Wines

…that are easy on the wallet by Tom Firth

34 Winter Whiskies

To celebrate Robbie Burns night! by Tom Firth and Linda Garson

36 Sour Beers Never Tasted So Sweet

The latest beer trend by David Nuttall

38 Making The Case

Wines for a cool winter’s day or frigid evening by Tom Firth

January/February 2021 | Culinaire 3


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Finally… I

t’s what we’ve all been waiting for – 2021 is here! It couldn’t come too soon for many of us, certainly anybody in the hospitality industry, or like us – a magazine that supports the best of the hospitality industry. And we’re hopeful now, we’re past the shortest day, and that alone is worth celebrating. From here the days creep longer and brighter, little by little. We’re looking forward, our January/ February issue - one of two joint issues a year – is always crammed full of topical articles. There’s always so much to include at this time of year in the world of food and beverage. And we’re excited to bring you the results of Calgary’s Best Fish & Chips; who knew there are so many great plates in the city! Before you know it, January 25 will be here, and time to open your best whisky, toast your haggis, and celebrate Robbie

Burns Night. We have lots of suggestions for your tipple this year on pages 34 and 35. But by the time Robbie Burns Night comes round, we’ll have passed some very important days: don’t forget Kiss a Ginger Day on the 12th (any gingerbread left?), National Hug Day on the 21st (oh that we can – and not just virtually!), and both National Compliment Day as well as National Peanut Butter Day on January 24 - both too good to miss! I’m sure you need no invitation to celebrate National Pizza day on February 9; with so many new pizza parlours opening in the last few months, we have no excuse! And then we’re straight into Chinese New Year celebrations for the Year of the Ox on February 12, and we have articles on early settlers and their food culture, as well as dumpling dynasty, Honest Dumplings. Of course we all look forward to Valentine’s Day, and this year it falls

on Family Day weekend, just two days before Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17 – let’s go all out to celebrate that! Gung hay fat choy,

Linda, Editor-in-Chief

Culinary treasures from our backyard and beyond - local and European favourites under one roof. Grocery. Bakery. Deli. Café. EDMONTON Little Italy | Southside | West End

italiancentre.ca CALGARY Willow Park


We are

OPEN

Alberta / Food & Drink / Recipes

Editor-in-Chief/Publisher Linda Garson linda@culinairemagazine.ca Managing Editor Tom Firth tom@culinairemagazine.ca Multimedia Editor Keane Straub keane@culinairemagazine.ca Sales Denice Hansen 403-828-0226 denice@culinairemagazine.ca Design Kendra Design Inc Contributors Elizabeth Chorney-Booth Natalie Findlay, Kyle Groves Gabriel Hall, Dong Kim Sabrina Kooistra Karen Miller, David Nuttall Keane Straub

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 info@culinairemagazine.ca @culinairemag @culinairemag facebook.com/CulinaireMagazine For subscriptions and to read Culinaire online: culinairemagazine.ca

To Feed Calgary

Our contributors Gabriel Hall

Having spent over 20 years travelling between Canada and the rest of the world, experiencing firsthand the connection between food, history, and culture, Gabriel is a writer and photographer whose key interest is understanding local ingredients, their historical techniques, and how to apply those ideas to future cuisines. When not travelling or studying, he can be found drowning his sorrows at random Japanese whiskey distilleries.

Fresh & Local Market & Kitchens is Calgary’s premium destination for locally produced food and brilliant local chefs. Calgary’s Local Food Hub connects passionate shoppers with sustainable local food ideas all year long.

Sabrina Kooistra

Sabrina is a freelance writer pursuing a Communications and History double major at the University of Calgary, who 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 crossstitching project.

Kyle Groves

A culinary instructor at SAIT, Kyle Groves’ previous position was the executive chef of Catch restaurant and Oyster bar. During his tenure at Catch they maintained the title of Best Seafood Restaurant for six consecutive years. Prior to working at Catch, Kyle worked and lived in London, England and Edinburgh, Scotland. During his time abroad, Kyle worked at multiple Michelin starred restaurants specializing in the seafood sections.

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

In-Market Shopping Takeout • Curbside Pickup

Calgary’s Local Food HUB Avenida Village 426, 12445 Lake Fraser Drive SE Thursday – Saturday 11a-8p; Sundays 11a-5p

www.FreshAndLocal.ca


SA LUTE S & S H O UT O UT S For 15 years the Ocean Wise symbol has meant an ocean-friendly choice on a menu or in a store, and in February it’s their first National Chowder Chowdown festival, so let’s enjoy delicious chowders all month with partproceeds supporting this sustainable seafood program (and our local restaurants too!). For details, check out ocean.org/seafood. Two new breweries have opened up north! Congrats to Darren McGeown of Arcadia Brewing, in Edmonton’s Manchester Square. His long-term dream, since a kid in Northern Ireland, was to open a friendly, neighbourhood and community place where people can come together, share good times – and enjoy crushable craft beers. And now he’s done it! arcadiayeg.com. And further west in Spruce Grove, another community-focused brewery, Talking Dog Brewing has opened its doors! This family of dog lovers has joined their science expertise with the creative arts to produce their craft brews from local ingredients. And of course they have growlers and howlers! talkingdogbrewing.ca. Calgary’s love of pizza knows no bounds! We loved James Beard Award-winning Chef Keith Luce’s Tavernetta, and were very sorry to see it go, but now he’s opened the Little Tavern Pizza Project in Strathcona Park. He’s keeping it lowkey, but having fun with it, and we’re not at all surprised to see the elevated, quality food and the quirky names for his dishes. You have to try a Stinkin’ Rose, Pig Perfect, and Basically Medicine pie! littletavernpizza.com You won’t recognise the Open Range space on Edmonton Trail – it’s been completely torn apart and rebuilt bright and airy with garage doors, and is now home to Pizza Culture, the new venture from Tony and John Nicastro, along with Pizzaiolo Jeremy Hube. They’re keeping it very traditional, with their recipe for dough from early 1500s Naples, and a Stefano Ferrara woodfired pizza oven brought over from Italy. pizzacultureyyc.ca 6 Culinaire | January/February 2021

Completing the pizza trio is the new concept from long-time faves, Starbelly and The Beltliner. Pink Door Pizza is across from A&W on 130 Ave SE, for take out and delivery only. Group Executive Chef Justin Lall is here making his dough and sauces, and has created a fun menu with dishes such as Okey Dokey Artichokey, Curry Up & Don’t Be Late, and Pizza For The Seoul, as well some Ol’ Faithfuls! pinkdoorpizza.com

Caitlin Fulton, who have opened their 4,000 square foot, The Butchery by RGE RD, in the ex-Jiffy Vacuum spot at 12229-107 Avenue. A veritable emporium of provisions for your kitchen, you’ll love the custom cuts and house-made products from local farms, as well as breads, pickles, local cheese... and a lot more. rgerd.ca.

A1 Cantina has opened its doors in Calgary’s Britannia Plaza, in the ex-Suzette location. You already know it’s going to be excellent if you’ve eaten at Native Tongues and A1 Bodega (and Oh wait! Fom the kitchens of Craft Beer Market is the new Pie-Eyed Pizza, serving if you haven’t, you really should!). We love Chefs Rodrigo Rodas and Salvador up both round and Detroit-style pizzas, Penieres’ northern Mexican menu of and also only open for delivery through salads, tacos - do try the Al Pastor with Skip, Doordash, and Uber Eats! spit roast pork - the 5-salsa tasting (oh Talking of Italian food, YYC Pasta Bar has yum!), the cocktails, and we just about inhaled the Buñuelos de viento for desert! opened at 1322a 17 Ave SW. Chef Yash is a1cantina.com making everything freshly for you, and as well as a big selection of familiar starters And rivalling any of Alberta’s top and pasta dishes, you can create your own dish - choose your pasta, then one of seven restaurants, Änkôr (pronounced sauces, add some meat, fish, seafood… and ‘Encore’, and you will want more!) is open in Canmore. Danny Beaulieu, previously finally add some veg! yycpastabar.ca at Crazyweed and The Juniper, has And Noto Gelato, the new concept from gathered a superb team (coincidentally, Pulcinella’s Domenic Tudda and his all originally from Quebec) to open this absolutely outstanding bistro. Every dish niece, Stefanna Spoletini, has opened in we tried was plate-licking stunning; the Bridgeland at 236-4 Street NE, offering tartare is genius, and the duck with confit traditional, handcrafted gelato with leg, dry-aged breast, and parsnips, is some ingredients imported directly from Italy! of the best we’ve had. It’s LEED certified, notogelato.ca soon to be solar-powered, and with More Edmontonians realising their almost no waste! Wherever you live, it’s dream are Chef Blair Lebsack and worth the drive. ankorcanmore.com.


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January/February 2021 | Culinaire 7


O F F TH E M E N U

Hearty Potato Soup BY LINDA GARSON I PHOTO BY DONG KIM

D

elicious soup warms the soul and fills the belly on cool winter days, and this hearty potato soup is very much one of them. Back at the end of November, we ran a socially distanced, relaxed, and delicious pairing dinner at Asylum for Arts. Over six courses of vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, the soup was a highlight, perfectly complemented by British Columbia’s Poplar Grove Chardonnay and live classical guitar music. Everybody absolutely loved it, and we had many requests for the recipe. Thanks very much to Amber Clancy for sharing it with us!

Asylum For Arts Hearty Potato Soup Serves 8 as a starter

6 large gold potatoes 3 Tbs butter 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 4 garlic cloves 1/3 cup all purpose flour (can be glutenfree flour if preferred) 4 cups (1 L) vegetable broth 2 cups (500 mL) milk 1 cup (250 mL) heavy cream 1 Tbs salt 2 tsp ground pepper 1 tsp ancho chilli powder (mild and smoky) ½ tsp cumin 1 cup (250 mL) sour cream 1 cup cheese, grated ¼ cup sour cream for garnish ¼ cup grated cheese for garnish A few chives for garnish, optional 8 Culinaire | January/February 2021

1. Wash, peel, and dice potatoes into 2.5 cm cubes. 2. In a large pot, add butter and onions and on low heat cook until softened but not browned, around 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. 3. Add flour and stir until smooth, then toss in potatoes, broth, milk, cream, salt, pepper, chilli powder, and cumin. 4. Bring to a boil and cook for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. 5. Reduce heat to a simmer, and remove half the soup for pureeing. When pureed

return it to the pot, add sour cream and cheese, and stir. 6. Ladle into bowls or cups and add a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle cheese and a few chopped chives on top to garnish. 7. Add a dash of love and serve to family and close friends.

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!


B O O K R E V I E W BY K A R E N M I LLE R

Tastes From Home:

Recipes From The Refugee Community

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) 2020, Free to download

A

new start. Something we all need right now. The UNHCR has published a collection of recipes in honour of the 70th anniversary helping out refugees. The contributors come from around the world and have had a fresh start settling in Canada, proudly a global leader in refugee resettlement. The recipes selected by each contributor (and the unique personal stories behind them) showcase the strength of food, with familiar tastes and traditions. There is so much evidence of heart behind these recipes. Divided by countries, or regions around the world, there is a background to each regions’ history and the struggle their people have encountered. Each refugee relates their experience of arriving in Canada, the help

they received, and how food memories from home helped settle in a foreign place. Although the cookbook is about the recipes, the stories show food is about so much more. The common thread is definitely a love of sharing through food they will never forget, even though they are happily settled here. You cannot help but feel the rich cultural background and the personal connection each person has to the food from their homeland. Although many of the ingredients will require a trip to an international grocery store, some recipes are made more accessible for Canadian kitchens with substitutions and cooking techniques. It would be easy to highlight the more prominent contributors who are in politics, but just as important is the determination of all contributors to give back to Canada,

through community services helping other refugees, catering businesses, restaurants and even plays ensuring their culture and food is not lost to future generations. We cannot travel the world freely right now but this cookbook provides an amazing opportunity to try a recipe and experience one of the many different cultures of those who have made Canada their home. Each free download of the cookbook triggers a donation by a donor to benefit the work done by the UNHCR. Download at: unhcr.ca/cookbook. Karen is a lawyer by trade, who claims to have been on the “know where your food comes from” bandwagon sooner than most, and now forages her daily food from local growers.

In a city where beef is King, Caesar’s Steakhouse is a Calgary Institution Downtown: 512 - 4 Avenue SW 403-264-1222 I Willow Park: 110, 10816 Macleod Trail SE 403-278-3930 I caesarssteakhouse.com


Food Trends What’s In Store for 2021 BY LINDA GARSON

N

ow that 2020 – normally associated with sharp vision – is behind us, we’re looking forward to a year when everyone can move forward with the plans they had to put on hold, and see those new ideas and innovations emerge. But last year proved how easy it is to be sideswiped, and “pivot” became our most overused word, so our crystal ball is a little cloudy. However, we’re confident of our predictions below, having carefully watched and tracked the events and happenings of last year, and it’s this that guides the direction of our content, and the articles and features you can expect to read in Culinaire this year.

The future of dining:

Restaurants took such a hit last year that we’d expect new menus to be pared back, with tighter inventories of ingredients and rolling specials to control food costs, and hand in hand with that, running even smaller inventories on wine lists and back bars. We’re feeling bad for laundry companies too, as we’ve pretty much seen the last of restaurant tablecloths. It’s casual all the way now - fast casual, upscale casual, family dining, with or without reservations. It doesn’t mean that the food is dumbed down, but there may not be as many opportunities to wear your tux or fancy frock. It’s just as well, and will save on the dry cleaning bill, as we’re eating a lot more with our hands:

for Mort & Mindy from High Dough, LovePIzza’s Holy Shiitake, and Noble Pie’s Sweet Cheesus! Watch out for cultures merging too in pizzaland, like Jin Bar’s crazy good Korean toppings.

Taco everything!

Pizza, pizza, pizza

Ten new pizza restaurants opened just in Calgary in the last four months, so we really hope you’re still craving pie. Toppings and names are getting more creative; no guesses what’s on top 10 Culinaire | January/February 2021

If it isn’t pizza, then it’s tacos. And we’re lucky to have some excellent choices for where to get them. Found on menus in all types of eateries, from take out to taquerias with hand-pressed tortillas, tacos are here to stay and increasing in popularity. Always good for a happy hour deal too! And where there’s such a popular food item, chefs will get creative and cultures cross, and we’ll see more menu items such as Gringo Street’s Thai Coconut Braised Short Rib tacos, and Peking Duck tacos.


Fried chicken

Almost ubiquitous, fried chicken has reached cult status - on its own, in a bun as a burger or sandwich (or a sando), from the south or the east, and from a wide variety of cultures where it has different names. We’re all going to know the difference between our katsu and our karaage, our huraideu-chicken and our spicy yangnyeom chicken, our buttermilk-brined and our beerbattered chicken!

Local, local, local…

Local produce on a menu used to be a big selling point, but now it’s de rigeur. It’s expected, and if a restaurant can’t name the farm their beef or pork comes from, customers will be asking questions… Farm to table and farm to fork are the norm, and we’re holding those to account that aren’t supporting local, and asking “why not?”

Ethics-based eating

We’re becoming more value-based, and looking at environmental impact, social justice, inclusiveness, and diversity in the food industry. Trust is becoming more important; we trust farmers but not farming, and we’re asking questions about the way farm workers are treated. One result of value-based eating, coupled with wanting to know where our food comes from and a desire to support local businesses, is that more farmers are partnering with butchers shops, and have set up online ordering websites to sell directly to us - even delivering it themselves.

Online shopping

More plant-based

Predicted as a trend last year, vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based food has only increased in popularity, and it’s not going anywhere in a hurry. We’re questioning the supply system, meat-packing, and the way animals are treated, and as a result there are incredibly good alternatives available in stores as well as new veggie and vegan dine-in and take-out restaurants popping up.

Agro-tourism

To satisfy the increased interest in local produce and farming, watch for more farmers to open their doors to us to tour round and see for ourselves how our cheese and sausages are made, our veggies are grown, and where the chickens live. Let’s hope we’re able to roam free ourselves in summer to visit more farms in August for Alberta Open Farm Days!

And while we’re talking about online shopping, we’re very pleasantly surprised how good the produce is! It was always a worry that our apples will be bruised, the celery will be limp, and our avocados mushy, but stores know we won’t be coming back unless our produce is as good as if we’d chosen it with our own hands. Online shopping can only grow, especially when you think that supermarkets haven’t changed a whole lot in the last 80-100 years – they’re unfashionably car- and real estatecentric. Now technology has made it possible for us to click on a recipe without making a shopping list, and all the ingredients miraculously turn up on our doorstep! January/February 2021 | Culinaire 11


Still popular

Some menu items seem to be timeless and never go out of fashion: • Roast carrots of all colours are still appearing with everything, and also on their own too as a starter. • Are there any restaurants that don’t have a beet salad (with or without goat cheese) on the menu? • Donuts are always in fashion; sometimes trendy, sometimes outrageously coated, and more recently appearing as savoury versions made from potato (have you tried Vendome’s smoked salmon donuts?), and as a bun filled with cheese (don’t miss Orchard Restaurant’s cheese-stuffed garlic bread and Soleil Bistro’s Beignet Bombs). • Charcuterie – with people eating at home more, we’ve seen a huge growth in businesses offering prepared charcuterie boards, platters, and boxes for us to spoil ourselves while binging on Netflix. • Comfort Food – we’re craving it, at home and in restaurants. We’ve all needed comforting last year, and food is one satisfying way. We go back to the food we grew up with; we want the familiar, whether that’s congee, cheese, chocolate, chicken, or chips (with fish!).

More restaurant-quality choices without restaurants

As restaurants staffed down last year, new small businesses sprung up with talented chefs becoming entrepreneurs. We’ve seen a big growth in private chefs and catering companies 12 Culinaire | January/February 2021

offering to come to our homes and businesses and cook for us. Talented home cooks can now sell their specialties directly to the public, advertise, and deliver direct to us too, which wasn’t allowed before. They can’t sell to restaurants but can sell to grocery stores, so we may see small, local businesses’ products on the shelves - look out for them! Choices of take out meals, dinner packages, boxes, and kits are only set to increase. Try to pick it up rather than have it delivered, and you can eat restaurant-quality food at home every night. Restaurants themselves are also offering their own branded products as a way for us to have the experience and flavours at home. We’ll see them on grocery store shelves as well as to pick up in the restaurant – many of which are now acting as delis and markets, and selling pantry goods too. With so many eating at home, food service suppliers have suffered in direct proportion and have now turned to selling to the public as well as to supplying restaurants. That could mean quality food at big savings, delivered to you too, so check them out when you’re planning your grocery list.

What’s in store?

Legislation is now in place to ban single-use plastic items where there’s evidence showing that they’re found in

the environment – one step further in the plan for zero plastic waste by 2030. By the end of this year, we’ll see compostable grocery bags, alternative straws and stir sticks, compostable cutlery and food containers, as well as environmentally friendly six-pack rings for beer. And finally, we’re slowly seeing more vertically farmed products available as the demand for local increases. Soil-free growing not only yields much, much more than conventional agriculture, 365 days a year, but as the fruit and veggies are grown indoors it can be in towns and cities, and there’s no need for pesticides, sun, fields, and transport from the countryside to the city.


C H E F ’ S TI P S & TR I C KS

Taking Comfort BY KEANE STRAUB I PHOTOGRAPHY BY DONG KIM

W

INTER IS A TIME FOR dormancy, for taking our time to just breathe, and tuck into warm plates of nourishing food for the body and soul. These comforting dishes can come in many forms, from many places and backgrounds, as we discovered in this month’s Chef’s Tips. Four chefs from Calgary and Edmonton share with us what motivates them during the winter, how we can stay inspired to cook, and the delicious result of slowing down and allowing ourselves a little comfort as the New Year unfolds.

January/February 2021 | Culinaire 13


A1 Bodega & Café’s Executive Chef Mharlon Atienza says that being part of the opening team of two restaurants, and working alongside other chefs, instilled in him the value of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. “These are lessons I have carried forward in my career as a chef, but also translate into my personal life making me the teacher, husband, and father I am today.” Calgary born and raised, Atienza says that finding fresh ingredients during the winter is a challenge, so he hits up one of Calgary’s farmers markets. “There, you can find offerings from a lot of small greenhouses in Alberta that are operating year-round.” During winter Atienza craves comfort, and “the stick-to-your-ribs type of cooking like Mom’s pork belly adobo.” Served with sinangag, or garlic fried rice, this is one dish that is simple to make, slow to simmer, and oh so savoury.

Pork Belly Adobo with Sinangag (garlic fried rice) Serves 2-4

850 g pork belly (skin on or off) 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled ½ cup (125 mL) gluten-free soy sauce 2 cups (500 mL) water 4 bay leaves 1 Tbs black peppercorns Thai or Serrano chili (optional) ¼ cup (60 mL) vinegar To taste salt To taste raw sugar 2-3 scallions, sliced thinly (garnish) 14 Culinaire | January/February 2021

1. Cut pork belly into 2 cm cubes and place into Ziploc bag or spill-proof container. 2. Crush garlic cloves, add them and soy sauce to bag with pork belly. Seal and refrigerate, allowing to marinate for at least an hour. 3. In a large pot add water, bay leaves, and black peppercorn (use cheesecloth or a tea steeper to make removal easier). Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove peppercorns and bay leaves from water and discard. 4. Remove pork belly from marinade and transfer to paper towel. Reserve the marinade. 5. Bring the flavoured water to a boil. Add pork belly and cook for 5 minutes, skimming off any foam that comes to the surface. 6. Add the leftover marinade and Thai/ serrano chili if you like it spicy. Simmer for one hour, or until tender. 7. Add vinegar and simmer for another 15 minutes. If you like a thicker sauce, simmer until the liquid forms a nice sheen and is thick and glossy. 8. Taste and add sugar and salt to your

liking. Garnish with thinly sliced scallions.

Sinangag (garlic fried rice) Serves 2-4

2-4 cups cooked, day-old rice ¼ cup (60 mL) canola oil, or any neutral cooking oil 1 head garlic, peeled and minced or crushed To taste salt To taste sugar 1. In a mixing bowl, gently break up dayold rice until there are no clumps. 2. Add canola oil to non-stick wok or pan and heat on medium heat. Add garlic and fry, keeping a close eye on it. It should be golden brown, but not burned. Once garlic is golden brown, remove from oil and set aside. 3. Add rice to oil and sauté. The goal is to heat the rice through, and get some of it crispy without burning. 4. Once the rice is heated through, add back the browned garlic, and season with salt and sugar.


Amit Bangar’s experience as Executive Chef at Calgary’s Calcutta Cricket Club is one that has brought him closer to his own culture and heritage. “[It’s] helped me create my own identity through food,” says Bangar. Bangar points out that winter is a great time for seafood. “Colder waters can lend to many varieties of fish, crustaceans and shellfish to be a little fattier, and packed with amazing flavours.” Stocks are at the top of Bangar’s winter cooking list. “A really good stock is easy to throw together and can go a long way.” Gradually filling the home with a warm aroma while cooking is an added bonus, something that is certainly achieved with Bangar’s recipe for braised lamb rib vindaloo.

Braised Lamb Rib Vindaloo Serves 2-4

2 racks lamb ribs

Spice Rub

4 dried sanaam chilies 3½ tsp whole cumin seeds 2 tsp white poppy seeds 20 whole cloves 1 tsp black peppercorn 10 cloves of garlic, peeled 20 g fresh ginger 1 whole green chili, chopped 7 Tbs (105 mL) white vinegar 1 Tbs (15 mL) tamarind paste 2 Tbs salt ¼ cup (60 mL) mustard oil 1 cinnamon stick 2 tsp yellow mustard seed 1 large red onion, thinly sliced 1 tsp turmeric 1½ tsp red chili powder 1 Tbs sugar 1 stem curry leaves 2 Tbs (30 mL) ghee (optional)

Note: Ground spices may be

substituted for whole spices at a 1:1 ratio. For whole cloves, substitute ½ tsp ground cloves. If using ground spices, toast lightly in a dry pan before use.

1 lime, for garnish Fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish Thinly sliced onion, for garnish 1. In a pan, toast the sanaam chilli, cumin, poppy, seeds, cloves, and peppercorns together over medium-low heat, constantly moving the spices to ensure they don’t burn. Set aside to cool, then grind with a mortar and pestle. 2. Once all spices are finely ground, add garlic, ginger, and green chilli to the mortar, crushing into a fine paste. Add tamarind paste and vinegar and mix all together. 3. Pat down the lamb ribs with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. In a mixing bowl, rub spice paste onto the lamb ribs, fully coating with all of the marinade. Cover, and leave in the fridge overnight. 4. Preheat oven to 325° F 5. Add mustard oil to a wide, heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven, and add cinnamon stick and yellow mustard seeds. Set heat to medium, and slowly temper the oil until the mustard seeds start to sputter. 6. Add sliced onions, turn up the heat and begin to caramelize, making sure not to burn. If the onions start to stick and turn dark on the bottom, add in a bit

of water, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally. 7. Once caramelized, add turmeric, red chilli powder, sugar and curry leaves to the onions, and mix well. 8. Add one cup of water to deglaze pan, scraping with a wooden spoon to lift off any bits that stuck on the bottom of the pot. 9. Add lamb ribs with all of the marinade to the pot, and stir gently. Add enough water to just cover ribs. 10. Turn the heat up until just before the liquid comes to a boil. Cover with a lid, or use foil to create a tight seal. Place in the oven for about 3½ hours. 11. Once cooked, remove from oven and allow to rest for about an hour. 12. After resting, gently pull the lamb out and set aside. Using a blender/stick blender, puree the braising liquid to desired smoothness, or leave it as is, if you prefer it chunkier. 13. Cook down braising liquid until a rich curry sauce is formed. Add a touch of ghee if desired, and salt to taste. 14. Add lamb back to finished vindaloo sauce, and warm through. 15. Plate lamb ribs on a serving platter, and garnish with cilantro, onion slices and lime.

Note: If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, use a spice/coffee grinder, or create a makeshift mortar and pestle with a large, heavy Ziploc bag (make sure there is no air in the bag when sealed), and a crushing implement (a rolling pin, or an empty wine bottle works great – be sure to use the bottom surface when grinding). January/February 2021 | Culinaire 15


Cold weather does little to diminish Holly Holt’s inspiration – the Sous Chef of Edmonton’s OTTO Food and Beverage loves cooking during the winter months. “It’s the best time to curl up on the couch, read a cookbook, have a glass of wine, and brainstorm recipes and meal plans,” she explains. Holt also frequents The Italian Centre Shop, and Asian supermarkets, and takes advantage of local walleye, thanks to her brother, an avid ice fisher. “If you’re able to sustainably source Alberta’s lake fish, I highly recommend doing so.” And of course, we can all use a bit of warming up when we come in from the cold. “When we think of cold weather food, we think comfort,” says Holt, and Drop dumpling batter her ‘Heart’y Chicken and Drop Dumpling ¼ cup unsalted butter ½ cup (120 mL) water Soup is especially good for the soul.

Heart’y Chicken and Drop Dumpling Soup

½ cup all-purpose flour Generous pinch of salt 2 eggs

1. Season the chicken all over with a sprinkle of salt and pepper 2. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed pot. Add Soup chicken and cook until lightly browned. 1 whole chicken, preferably locally 3. Add in carrot, celery, and onion, and sourced, quartered cook until onions are just translucent. To taste salt and pepper 4. Reduce heat to low, add garlic, cook 2 Tbs (30 mL) canola oil until fragrant. 1 large carrot, diced 5. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and all 1-2 celery stalks, diced herbs except parsley. Add enough water 1 large yellow onion, diced to cover chicken. Cover with lid, and 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped simmer on low for 1 hour. 1 stem fresh rosemary, stem removed, 6. If using chicken hearts, prepare by roughly chopped removing ventricles, and any fatty bits as 2 sprigs fresh thyme, stem removed, best you can, and set aside. roughly chopped 7. Prepare your drop dumplings: in a 1 bay leaf 10 chicken hearts, optional (you can usually small pot, bring butter and water to a simmer. Remove from heat, add flour find these at your local grocery store) and salt, and using a wooden spoon stir ¾ cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, vigorously. Let mixture cool until it no roughly chopped longer steams. Zest and juice of 1 lemon Serves 3-4

16 Culinaire | January/February 2021

8. Add eggs as slowly as possible (to avoid scrambling) while still mixing with wooden spoon. Dough should be shiny and smooth. Add some of the parsley to batter if you like. Set aside. 9. Taste soup, add salt to taste. Shred chicken meat from bone, remove bone and discard. 10. If you’ve lost a lot of liquid, you may want to add more water at this point. Bring back to a simmer. If using chicken hearts, add them at this point. 11. Drop dumpling batter by the spoonful into the hot broth as quickly as possible – use two spoons to achieve best results, one to scoop dough, and the other to scrape the dough off to drop into broth. Dumplings take about 3 minutes to cook, and will float on the surface when done. 12. Turn off heat, add parsley, lemon, and salt and pepper to taste.

Note: This soup freezes very well if there are leftovers!


Chef Eric Mah says the most memorable experiences of his career – presenting a dinner on a beach in Aruba, and staging in a restaurant in Romania – were stops along the way to coming full circle to work alongside his mentor as the Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Calgary’s Purlieu. For Mah, inspiration can come from something he sees on TV, a request from his wife, or “wanting to test something weird that popped into my head.” And, if you’re feeling less inspired by what you can find at the grocery store, Mah says to consider what the Western provinces can offer, such as apples, pears, and broccoli. “We also have great farms in Alberta for pork, chicken, lamb, and obviously beef.” Mah attributes the flavours he explores to his training in the Caribbean and Asian heritage, and tends to complement both of those elements. “Just a smell or taste can bring back memories of warmer, distant places.” Mah’s recipe for Moroccan Curry Chicken is sure to deliver.

Moroccan Curry Chicken Serves 4

1 Tbs ground cumin ½ Tbs ground coriander 1 Tbs turmeric powder 1 Tbs paprika ½ tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp chili powder 8 chicken thighs, skin on To taste salt and pepper 2 Tbs (30 mL) canola oil 1 yellow onion, finely diced 2 Tbs fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 cup (250 mL) water 1 can (398 mL) coconut milk 1 can (398 mL) crushed tomatoes 2 bay leaves ½ Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely diced ½ bunch cilantro, stems removed and finely chopped 1. Mix together cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, and chili powder, set aside.

2. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, and set aside. Add canola oil to a deep pot and heat until almost smoking. Add chicken thighs, skin-side down. Brown the skin, then flip and sear the other side. Once both sides are browned, remove and set aside. 3. To the heated pot, add onion, ginger, and garlic. Sauté for two minutes, until onions become slightly translucent. Reduce heat to medium, and add spice mixture. Stir constantly for about two minutes, until spices are cooked and fragrant. 4. Add water to pot to deglaze, making sure to scrape all the bits from the bottom of the pot. Add coconut milk, tomatoes, and bay leaves, and stir to incorporate.

5. Add chicken thighs back in, side by side to fit snugly in the pot (try not to stack them if you can avoid it). The chicken should be submerged in the liquid. 6. Cover pot with lid and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 20 minutes to finish cooking the chicken thighs. 7. Remove lid and add diced apples. Cook for another 5 minutes to further reduce sauce. Check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. 8. To finish, add chopped, fresh cilantro and serve over steamed rice, or your favourite starch.

Note: Try adding raisins, dried apricots, slivered almonds, or whatever inspires you, to this dish – play around with it to find the flavours you like!

Keane Straub has travelled from Tofino to Charlottetown, sampling the different flavours Canada offers. The passion people have for their craft and culture inspires Keane to tell their stories. January/February 2021 | Culinaire 17


2021 R

BY TOM FIRTH

ather than watching the food and beverage scene changing organically according to the whims of producers, consumers, restaurants and liquor retailers, the past year has seen a number of trends change due to necessity rather than our desires. Lockdowns and restrictions limited our dining in options for significant parts of the year, while opening the doorway to more online shopping, and consuming at home. For the spirits industry, distillers in Alberta have had a tough time with the impact on restaurants this past year, but offset somewhat by the renewed interest and community-based support for buying local. Gin seems to be showing some indications that the market is possibly saturated, or that consumers seem to be slowing down in their quests to “try all the gins,� but on the bright side, Alberta-made craft whiskies seem to be trickling into tasting rooms and onto shelves at local retailers. The quality of most are fantastic, and expect a lot of drum banging and shouting from the rooftops as new bottlings and novel aging regimes are announced. From further afield, it looks as though rum (though there are some locally made ones!) and tequila are gaining traction, whether evoking the beach or sunny destination we missed or are pining for, might be the hot new ticket this coming summer. Somewhat of a surprise is how much the readyto-drink category and pre-mixed cocktails continue to grow. Perhaps it’s that more craft distillers and brewers are making them with premium ingredients, less sugar or sweeteners, and an eye to

18 Culinaire | January/February 2021


an authentic drinking experience rather than Smirnoff Ice Redux or Mike’s Hard Lemonade 2.0. While a Manhattan, daiquiri, or a negroni might not be too hard to make at home, having a small format, dare I say… single serving handy - is a good thing. As the economy continues to sputter, we should expect to see ongoing collaboration brews or bottlings, where producers will work together on a product that might be a local brewer using a local distiller’s barrel and so on. This will also include restaurants working with a producer to create a collaborative house bottle. Hopefully gone are the days where your local watering hole only serves beer from the “big guys”; every place should, when possible have at least one tap devoted to a local craft beer. Personally, I love it when a brewpub or brewery taproom has a rotating “guest” tap to showcase another local producer. That high tide floats all boats. On the wine front, the drive to support local will most likely continue, and British Columbia’s offerings are about as close as we get to local. Thankfully, we have a good selection of those wines in our retail stores, and I know of more than a few people who are choosing to order directly, though I like to support our local wine shops and retailers when I can. More people continue to embrace online shopping or ordering for their beverage needs, but also with fewer opportunities for interaction with sommeliers or servers with specials, many might be using the time to continue to explore the wonderful world of wine in all its variety, while others are choosing to stick by established brands, countries or regions that provide, good, consistent value and flavour profiles. As dine-in eating is severely impacted these days, at home consumption will continue to be a thing as people generally avoid bars and other licensed establishments for a casual drink. Please continue to support our local producers whenever possible, and many are offering free or very reasonable delivery. The buzzword for the year ahead will be “local” but perhaps more accurately, it will be “community”. Local businesses – whether in our neighbourhoods, our cities, province, or even across Canada - will need our support, and will need consumers to make buying decisions that impact our communities positively. Whenever possible, buying within our communities, from local businesses, or even direct from producers will make a big impact.

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.

A T H OME C OFFEE & T EA D ELIVERY

Cheese is the Answer


Honest Dumplings

Revolutionize Alberta Grocery Stores’ Freezer Section One Dumpling at a Time BY ELIZABETH CHORNEY-BOOTH

S

ometimes the best products aren’t born out of a plan for culinary dominance, but an entrepreneur’s simple desire to be able to buy a product that just doesn’t seem to be available in the existing market. Originally from Shanghai, Edmontonian Ray Ma was disappointed with the selection of packaged dumplings in her local grocery stores. None of them were particularly tasty, and most were full of less-than-ideal ingredients. Ma was making her own dumplings at home, filled with 20 Culinaire | January/February 2021

interesting combinations of flavours and ingredients and thought that other dumpling lovers might want to give them a try. In 2014 Ma was working as a lawyer and her partner Chris Lerohl had a job in tech, but they knew they wanted to see how well Ma’s dumplings would sell. Ma quit her job to shift to dumplings full time, and the couple tested the waters by selling bags of dumplings at a farmers’ market. They quickly realized that the gap in the market that Ma felt with her dumpling cravings was shared by others in

Edmonton. “When we started we didn’t even know what a commercial kitchen was,” Lerohl says. “We had to figure out a lot of things really quickly.” The farmers’ market was a success, and before long Ma and Lerohl were also doing pop-up events in Edmonton. They named their venture Honest Dumplings after their commitment to transparency and quality when it comes to their ingredients — even the dumplings’ brightly coloured wrappers are dyed with natural vegetable juices. Both the markets and the pop-ups were a hit and before long, Lerohl and Ma set their sights on something bigger; they attended a food show in California and became convinced that there was a place for their dumplings in mainstream grocery stores. “We got really inspired and knew that was where we wanted to take our product,” Lerohl says. “The grocery game is really changing and we knew that we could bring a disruption to that category, and bring a different kind of customer experience to that market. And that’s when we really pivoted into being a grocery food company.” Lerohl and Ma got to working not only on developing relationships with stores, but also on new packaging and marketing to appeal to shoppers rushing through grocery store aisles. Without the opportunity to have that one-on-one interaction with their customers that they had in the farmers’ market, after some trial and error the pair worked with an agency to come up with a look that would convey Honest Dumpling’s personality from within a freezer case.


What they came up with were whimsical illustrations and lettering — with no depictions of the actual dumplings. Part of being “honest” meant not overselling the dumplings inside the bags with stylized photos; Ma and Lerohl wanted their food to speak for itself. But packaging is just packaging. What really sets Honest Dumplings apart is the flavour and quality of the dumplings. While the company’s ingredient standards are a gamechanger on their own, the innovative fillings are what keep customers coming back. Honest Dumpling’s core flavours include traditional pork with shrimp and edamame, maple pork belly with quinoa and bok choi, ginger beef, kung pao tofu, and butter chicken. There are always limited edition flavours that push the boundaries even further.

(and also available for order online or through Spud), Ma and Lerohl have longer term plans to expand nationally and even come up with other Chineseinspired products to add to their line. For now though, they’re also focused on spreading their food philosophy through their new Uproot Food Collective. Joining with other farmers’ market favourites South Island Pie Co. and Natural Kitchen Delights, the service offers delivery of a growing number of local products to Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Fort McMurray and a few other Alberta communities. Knowing how hard it is to turn a smaller scale food brand into a grocery store staple, they wanted to leverage the knowledge that they’ve built up with Honest

support other businesses as well.” For a full list of products and retail locations or to order dumplings or other Uproot brands, visit honestdumplings.com. 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.

“We feel very lucky that we’ve been able to expand and help support other businesses as well” For Chinese New Year, the company is bringing back its Chinese Takeout Pack with ginger beef, sweet and sour pork, and General Tso’s chicken dumplings. They may not be traditional, but the approach is similar to what Ma and Lerohl have found in modern restaurants in China. “In China there are so many delicious dumplings,” Ma says. “All with such high quality and good flavours.” With Honest Dumplings now in both specialty health food stores and major grocery stores throughout Alberta

Dumplings to help other local businesses. It’s been especially important during the pandemic, where eat-at-home businesses have actually had an opportunity to grow. Coming back full circle, it’s all about bringing those food products that people yearn for to tables across Alberta and beyond. “We try to do things honestly in life and give people what we would want,” Lerohl says. “We feel very lucky that we’ve been able to expand and help

S AV E TH E DATE A N D R E S E RV E YO U R S P OT N OW F O R C A LG A RY ’ S B R A N D N E W

Fresh & Local Market & Kitchens

Culinary Treasure Hunt! SATU R DAY, A PR I L 1 0

@ culinairemag

/CulinaireMagazine

Answer trivia questions about participating restaurants, markets and stores to reveal where to receive a treat, and for a chance to receive a gift. Win fabulous prizes for • locations visited • best costumes • best team names • posting the funniest photos and more! Sign up yourself or as a team of two at culinairemagazine.ca/treasure-hunt Spots book up fast! @ culinairemag

culinairemagazine.ca January/February 2021 | Culinaire 21


Winter Warming Pies

No need to wait for the Chinooks to warm things up; these savoury pies will do the trick. And remember, a pie without the crust makes a delicious stew!

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY NATALIE FINDLAY 22 Culinaire | January/February 2021


Tender Mushroom Phyllo Pie Serves 4

10 sheets phyllo pastry (8 for the base and 2 for the top) 50 g dried mushrooms 1 cup (240 mL) boiled water 2 Tbs (30 mL) olive oil 1 cup leeks, white parts thinly sliced 2 cups button mushrooms, rough chop 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, rough chop ¾ cup chanterelle mushrooms, rough chop 1½ tsp fresh thyme, fine chop 2 tsp fresh sage, fine chop ½ tsp fresh rosemary, fine chop 4 cloves garlic, peeled and rough chop 6 small kale leaves, thinly sliced ½ cup (120 mL) white wine ¾ cup (180 mL) mushroom liquid ¼ cup goat cheese ¼ cup asiago cheese, grated ½ lemon zest and juice 3 Tbs butter

1. Preheat oven to 375º F. Remove phyllo pastry from freezer if frozen, and let thaw. Cover dried mushrooms with boiling water and let sit for 30 minutes, covered. 2. Add oil to a sauté pan, on medium-low heat. Add leeks and cook, 3 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms and the herbs (thyme, sage and rosemary) and let cook 8 - 10 minutes. 3. Add the garlic and kale and cook another 2 minutes. 4. Add the white wine to deglaze pan, heat for 3 minutes. 5. Remove the reconstituted mushrooms and squeeze out any liquid. Roughly chop and add to your pan. Use ¾ cup (180 mL) of the mushroom liquid and add to the pan. Let cook 10 minutes for the liquid to reduce. Remove from heat. Let cool. 6. Add the goat and asiago cheeses as well as the lemon zest and juice and stir to combine.

7. Melt the butter in a small pot. 8. Lay out your first sheet of phyllo. Keep the rest covered so they don’t dry out. With a pastry brush, completely cover the phyllo sheet with butter (including the edges so they don’t dry out). Layer your next sheet of phyllo and repeat for the 8 sheets for the base. 9. Place the mushroom mixture in the centre. Fold the phyllo on top of the mushroom mixture. If you would like further decoration to the pie, use the last 2 sheets of phyllo (layered and buttered and cut into 5 cm strips) to create a rough crinkled design on the top. The phyllo will do all the hard work and crisp up beautifully in the oven. 10. Place on a baking sheet and bake 30 minutes.

medium heat, 5 minutes. 5. Mix the cornstarch and water together and add to your pot, stir for about 3 minutes, it will thicken slightly. Add sweet potato and cranberries.

6. Add mixture to the pie base and cover with the dough top making sure to cut a hole in the centre and 4 slits to release the steam. Cook in the oven 30 - 40 minutes.

Turkey Dinner Pot Pie Serves 6

2 Tbs (30 mL) olive oil 1 cup onion, diced 1 cup celery, diced 4 cloves garlic 100 g spicy sausage 468 g ground turkey ½ tsp salt 1 tsp black pepper 1 tsp fresh thyme 3 tsp fresh sage ½ cup (120 mL) white wine 1 cup (240 mL) turkey or chicken stock 2 tsp cornstarch 1Tbs (15 mL) water, cold ½ baked sweet potato, cooled ¼ cup fresh cranberries 1 9” store bought pie shell (with a top) 1. Preheat oven to 375º F. 2. Add olive oil to a medium pan over medium-low heat. Add onion and celery and cook 5 minutes. 3. Add garlic, spicy sausage and ground turkey and cook 5 minutes. Stir and break up sausage and turkey into small pieces. Add salt, pepper, thyme and sage and stir to combine. 4. Deglaze the pan with white wine, cook 2 minutes. Add the stock and cook over

January/February 2021 | Culinaire 23


Warming Lamb Pie Serves 6

1 package puff pastry, thawed 2 slices bacon, thinly sliced 1¼ cup onion, small dice 1 cup carrot, small dice 1 cup celery, small dice 4 cloves garlic, chopped 875 g lamb, cubed 1 tsp salt Pinch nutmeg ¼ tsp allspice ½ tsp cardamom 1 tsp black pepper 2 tsp cinnamon 2 Tbs rice flour 2 Tbs (30 mL) olive oil 3 bay leaves 1 cup (240 mL) red wine 1½ cup (360 mL) lamb or beef stock 1 cup prunes, rough chop 1 can white kidney beans, 398g 1½ cups green peas 1. Preheat oven to 350º F. 2. In a medium pot over medium heat add the bacon, cook 5 min. Add the onion, carrot and celery, cook 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cook 3 minutes. 3. In a medium bowl, add the cubed lamb, salt, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, black pepper and the cinnamon. Stir to cover the lamb with the spices. 4. Add the rice flour and stir to cover the lamb. Remove the mixture from the pot and reserve. 5. Add 2 Tbs (30 mL) oil to a large pan, and heat. Add the lamb but do not overcrowd the pot or the lamb will steam instead of browning. After all the lamb is browned return the onion mixture to the pot, add the bay leaves and deglaze with the red wine. Cook 2 minutes. 6. Add the stock, prunes, and kidney beans and cook 15 minutes. Add the peas and remove from heat. 7. Roll out half the puff pastry for the base of the pie shell, prick with a fork and blind bake 15 minutes. Then, fill the shell with the lamb mixture. 8. Roll out the puff pastry top and place on the pie and trim to desired size to fit the dish. Cut a centre hole and 4 slits to help the steam release. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes. 24 Culinaire | January/February 2021

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.


Keeping it Simple

The Old Fashioned Cocktail BY LINDA GARSON

I

f you’d ordered a cocktail in the early-mid 1800s, most likely you’d have received a spirit mixed with sugar, bitters, and a little water. You might have called it a “bittered sling”, but basically this is the recipe for an Old Fashioned cocktail – so called because it’s the way cocktails with whisky, rum, gin, brandy, or any other spirit you fancied in your drink, were made before bartenders started getting creative. And it couldn’t be easier; your bartender would have muddled a cube of sugar with a little water and a few dashes of bitters until the sugar dissolved, added a couple of ounces of whisky and some ice, and stirred it all together. Now distilleries are doing all the “hard work” for us and there are several new premixed Old Fashioned cocktails to make it even easier! Here are four to try, and a kit to make your own at home:

Bridgeland Old Fashioned Cocktail, Calgary All four ingredients of Bridgeland Distillery’s Old Fashioned are made at the distillery: their young 3-grain whisky, made mostly from Taber corn, their orange liqueur, bitters, and organic simple syrup. It’s deliciously warming, even served over ice, with notes of clove and cardamom from the bitters, a touch of vanilla - and of course orange! Yum!

On The Rocks, The Old Fashioned, USA These bottled cocktails are a class act; made with well-known, high quality spirits, they possibly taste better than homemade. On The Rocks Old Fashioned is a base of Knob Creek bourbon to which bitters and cane sugar is added, along with orange, cherry, and lemon zest. Pour over ice, add a twist of orange peel - and no one will ever know!

CSPC +823340 500 mL $38

CSPC +831908 100 mL $7 CSPC +831901 375 mL $22

Founder’s Original Barrel-Aged Old Fashioned, Ontario This gorgeous little bottle contains a lip-smacking blend of cask-strength, American bourbon and rye whiskey with smoked chocolate and vanilla bitters with lots of orange peel, and gomme syrup (cane sugar with natural gum arabic from Acacia trees), aged in first-fill bourbon barrels. It’s sweet and luscious, with baking spice flavours we’d take this instead of dessert!

JP Wiser’s Old Fashioned Whisky Cocktail, Ontario Founded 163 years ago, JP Wiser’s is Canada’s oldest continuously produced Canadian whisky distiller, and has just released its first ready-to-serve cocktails. You can’t go wrong with the Old Fashioned; this enjoyable, easy drinking classic is nicely balanced with sweet and bitter orange, and you’ll find yourself reaching for a little more, and maybe just a little more too!

CSPC +819668 200 mL around $14

CPSC +804510 750 mL $36-37

Spirits With Smoke Smoked Old Fashioned Kit, Calgary The original Spirits With Smoke kit, inspired by Calgary entrepreneurs, Antonio and Meredith, when working behind the bar at One18 Empire. Everything you want is here: five aromatic woods: cherry, hickory, maple, oak, and walnut; boutique Quebec Maple Syrup; and Canadian bitters. And more: 2-ice ball moulds, a muddler, a bar spoon, and recipe cards. $150-$175 spiritswithsmoke.ca/shop/old-fashioned-kit. January/February 2021 | Culinaire 25


Casting Our Nets for Calgary’s Best

Fish and Chips BY LINDA GARSON

The British Chippy

Mulligan’s at Valley Ridge Golf Club

Pelican Pier

Sea Fish and Chips

Flower & Wolf

The Nash

Bobby’s Place

Fergus & Bix

Y93 Sushi Crave

East Coast Market & Grill

Free House

Vegan Street

26 Culinaire | January/February 2021


W

ell Calgary, who knew? Knew that we have so many excellent opportunities to eat fish and chips here in our landlocked city! We love comfort food any time of year, but particularly in winter when we’re more often indoors, and it’s cold so we’re maybe hankering for a little comfort from our past (and who hasn’t needed comforting in recent times?), so being from the north of England, I naturally turn to fish and chips, and even though our British Consul General, Caroline Saunders, is from further south in England, it turns out she’s also rather an expert on underwater culinary delights. “Fish and chips are very much part of the British culture, there is a fish and chip shop near Leeds which has been in business since 1865,” she says. “They were one of the few foods not rationed in Britain in WW2, and played a part in the D-Day landings. British soldiers identified each other by calling out ‘fish’ and waiting for the response of ‘chips’.” We set out to find out how Calgary fared in the fish and chip world – what would we find to satisfy our craving - and embarked upon an adventure we could never have dreamt. We asked our readers and our followers on social media and television who you would nominate for your favourite fish and chips in Calgary, and the response was overwhelming; we counted nearly 40 chippies, cafés, pubs, and restaurants around the city on your list of greats! We can’t resist a challenge like that, so we engaged three additional expert judges to balance our Britishness –

Chef Kyle Groves, culinary instructor at SAIT, who, as the executive chef of Catch for many years, well knows his way round a perfectly cooked piece of fish; Le Voyage Gourmand, aka Gabriel Hall, who has eaten his way across the world; and Tom Firth of Culinaire Magazine, who’s certainly an expert on fries (I know, I steal most of his when we lunch!) and is well-versed in running the numbers for a competition. “I was surprised at the sheer number of fish and chip places in a city notable for its beef,” says Gabriel Hall. “People are passionate in conveying their memories of classic style fish and chips, while others blended a bit of their own personalities and contemporary experiences.” A minimum of three judges visited each location to evaluate the fish, the chips, and the sides and presentation equally. The chips are as important to us as the fish, and we discovered a wide variety of each. WHAT MAKES THE PERFECT DISH? WHAT WERE WE LOOKING FOR? • The fish has to be delicious and cooked to perfection – firm, yet easily flaked, with a light, crispy batter to provide a textural contrast. Not greasy or oily, and without the oftenfound pastiness below the batter from dredging the fish in flour before battering while it is wet. • The chips (or fries) should also be crispy, cooked through, and we should be able to taste the potato. They must be hot, and may be lightly seasoned, but never greasy. “Often it was harder to judge the chips than the fish,” says Caroline Saunders. “We debated the merits of different styles numerous times. The British style chips tend to be chunky and single fried so the flavour of the potato is more dominant.” • The presentation includes how it looks on the plate, but allows for the extra accompaniments if present. It’s not usual to have coleslaw, ketchup, and tartar sauce with your fish and chips in England – malt vinegar, mushy peas, and gravy would be the norm (as well as a slice of white bread and butter to make

a chip butty!), but we became accidental coleslaw and tartar connoisseurs after sampling more than 30 different variations. • And finally, our “overall” assessment was given twice the weight of each of the previous categories, and we each wrangled with “how likely would you be to recommend this to a friend”? We take this very seriously, and while we had some terrific pieces of fish and some terrific chips, they weren’t always on the same plate, and if we’re recommending the best of the best, every piece has to be good – and consistently good. WE’VE SPLIT OUR AWARDS INTO THREE DISTINCT CATEGORIES: • First, what we’ll call the “Authentic” fish and chips. These would be just as at home in England as in Calgary. The chips are likely to be thicker cut, and the fish is most likely haddock, cod, or halibut (although we encountered some extremely good pollock), lightly and plainly battered to allow the quality of the fish to shine. • “Classic” would be more of the pub or restaurant-style of fish and chips that many Canadians would be used to. The fish might be beer battered, the fries with more seasoning, and there may be additional flavourings in the batter or on the chips. • Our third category, we’re calling “Contemporary”. This is where wild and often unexpected things happen; the dish might be a fusion of different cultures, and the batter might be gluten-free or panko breaded, and there may be creative sides. Ultimately, it was a hard fought and close contest; not only did we find some outstanding plates in our city that we’re very happy to recommend, we also met some passionate and proud restaurateurs, cooks and chefs, and were welcomed with some of the warmest and friendliest service. Calgary you can definitely be proud! In collaboration with:

January/February 2021 | Culinaire 27


Highly Recommended winners are: Bobby’s Place (@BobbysPlaceYYC) “A bar/restaurant with a wonderful Scottish backstory and exceptionally friendly hosts. The batter recipe included a good measure of Guinness, and has been passed down several generations. The fish was moist and flavoursome, and the handcut chips perfectly seasoned.” CS Fergus & Bix (fergusandbix.com) “No stranger to a pint and a pub favourite dish, what I was looking for was crisp, tasty fish, delicious fries (with a little salt), and was blown away - including by the homemade tartar sauce!” TF We’re delighted to announce the highest scoring Authentic fish and chips: The British Chippy (thebritishchippy.com) “Quite honestly, this was a dish that stood out clearly from a number of other restaurants. The expertly prepared fish, the perfectly cooked chips, everything done right from start to finish.” TF

Sea Fish and Chips (seafishnchips.com) “This friendly café has the feel of a seaside chippy and oozes authenticity. Hand cut, well cooked steak fries and a wide selection of fish. The batter is light and crispy, and our haddock was perfectly cooked. Great value too.” CS

Highly Recommended winners are: Mulligan’s at Valley Ridge Golf Club (valleyridgegolf.com) “Rarely do you expect greatness from a post-round of golf meal, but Mulligan’s amply provides. The battered haddock retains its texture and flavour due to meticulous drying and care during preparation.” GH

Our highest scoring Classic fish and chips is a tie between: Flower & Wolf (flowerandwolfcalgary.com) “It was a joy to sample this plate, with super thick-cut chips and a curry vinaigrette to dip them into. Chef Glendinning has several tricks up his sleeve here for a really flavourful batter with an extra crispy topping.” LG

Pelican Pier (pelicanpier.ca) “There are five different choices of fish with your chips at Pelican Pier, as well a trio with one piece each of haddock, cod, and pollock. All expertly handled as you’d hope, as it’s a seafood market with a wide range to purchase, as well as a restaurant.” LG

The Nash (thenashyyc.com). “I enjoyed the contemporary style of the fish and chips at the Nash. The Togarashi mayo was a welcome change from the classic tartar sauce. The citrus and the chili complemented the thick Icelandic cod nicely!” KG

Judges:

Caroline Saunders

Gabriel Hall

28 Culinaire | January/February 2021

Kyle Groves

Linda Garson

Tom Firth

And last, but certainly not least, were our innovators. Our Contemporary champs are: Y93 Sushi Crave (y93kitchen.com) “An unexpected taste sensation. Perfectly composed selection of fish and seafood fried in a crispy crumb seasoned coating. The tartar with red roe adds a great splash of colour and brings a salty touch.” CS Highly Recommended winners are: East Coast Market & Grill (scotianstyle.ca) “An exceptional amount of attention was paid to every component, from mixing rice flour in the batter to ensure crispiness of the crust during transport for their takeout customers, to blending savory in their dressing to be mixed with fries and gravy.” GH Free House (freehouseyyc.com) “This was a delicious offering. The fries cooked in beef fat were one of the stars of the entire competition. The fish was thick and the gluten free beer batter was crisp and delicious.” KG Vegan Street (veganstreeteats.ca). “Although this can’t be strictly considered fish and chips, this homage to the flavours of the ocean packaged in fish and chip form, with heart of palm, dried seaweed, and flaxseed, presents a savoury profile, while the grapeseed oil and soy milk-based tartar sauce is almost indistinguishable from its mayonnaisebased counterpart.” GH


January/February 2021 | Culinaire 29


From Far And Wide, Let’s Eat! Food to Power the Body and Soul: Chinese-Albertan Stories From hometown favourites to fusion, Chinese immigrants make Alberta feel like home BY SABRINA KOOISTRA

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n the 1860s, thousands of young chinese migrants left their village homes in China for the Gold Rush in California and British Columbia. While the work was gruelling and abusive, it offered wealth to send home and to start a new life abroad. In the 1880s, thousands more answered the call to build Canada’s first national connector, the Canadian Pacific Railway through the Rockies to Calgary and later, the Canadian National Railway from Edmonton to Winnipeg. Around the same time, Edmonton became its own hub of

30 Culinaire | January/February 2021

opportunity; as the gateway to the Klondike Gold Rush, the city developed a Chinese community of its own, with Chinese men taking part in the trek north for gold and other minerals. Despite social prejudices and racist legislation, many Chinese immigrants joined regional or clan-based “Tong Associations” or “Benevolent Societies” in Calgary and Edmonton, where they gather for food and fellowship to quell homesickness, cope with racism, and pursue success together. One of these organizations is the Chinese Benevolent Association (CBA) in Edmonton.

“The history of the CBA consists of the continuous struggle for the wellbeing of the members of the Chinese community… The Edmonton Chinese community has grown bigger… and pockets of businesses owned and catering to those communities can be found throughout the city.” From the early 20th century to the 1960s, Chinese food forged a place in Edmonton and Calgary by westernizing the cuisine from the Guangdong Province to appeal to its non-Asian clientele. This changed in the 1970s when businesses, students, and family-


sponsored immigrants emigrated from a broader region of southeast China, including Hong Kong. A new era of culinary expression and regional authenticity arrived with the addition of new flavours from the Sichuan, Hunan, and Shanghai provinces – it’s the story of “Tomorrow’s Chinatown” that’s unapologetically itself. While our friends in the restaurant community continue to strictly adhere to COVID-19 guidelines, Albertans are invited on a Chinese culinary vacation – right here at home. In 1993, Winnie Chan of T.Pot China Bistro left Hong Kong to plant new roots in Canada with her husband and three children. They toured Toronto, Vancouver, and smaller centres like Red Deer, but Calgary exuded the warmth, friendship, and opportunity her family was drawn to. Located in Calgary’s Harvest Hills community, T.Pot is an elegant destination that draws upon Chan’s homeland roots and creativity to transform classics. This critically acclaimed restaurant, voted Canada’s best Cantonese Cuisine Restaurant in 2018, offers dim sum, Hong Kong café favourites, and traditional banquet entrées especially for Chinese Lunar New Year. A humble artist in her own right, Chan’s vibrancy and passion for making dishes inspiring, alluring, and beautiful will transform your understanding of Chinese cuisine from western ‘Chicken Balls’ and ‘Chop Suey’ to artistry like you’ve never seen or tasted before.

Crispy Duck on Glutinous Rice

The menu draws upon many local ingredients including AAA beef while also offering seafood staples including sea cucumber, crab, and abalone. Be sure to try their lobster in cream sauce! With Chan always searching for inspiration, it’s no wonder T.Pot has become a household name in the Alberta restaurant game. At Great Taste in Calgary’s Chinatown you’ll find down-to-earth

restauranteur, Yuki Lin, a Fujian Province native who moved to Canada in 2006 with her husband and in-laws. Before Great Taste opened its doors nearly ten years ago, Lin’s father-in-law, Hai Bao Zhong, operated New Eastern Lake Seafood Grocery alongside Lin, which provided seafood, vegetables, and other fresh ingredients to local Chinese restaurants. But Lin, having restaurant experience, jumped at the opportunity

Curated by you Dark chocolate only? Milk chocolate and nothing but milk chocolate? Maybe you’re nuts for nuts? Chose anything from our incredible Chocolate Case and we’ll customize a beautiful Copper Box just for you, or someone you love. Shop in person: Victoria Park • Bankers Hall • Signal Hill • Southcentre Curbside pickup: Cococo Chocolate Factory in Mayland Heights Shop online: www.CococoChocolatiers.com chocolate together


to take her expertise to the next level. Noting a lack of traditional Shanghai and Sichuan style food in Chinatown, Lin opened Great Taste. While Lin would like to serve her native Fujian cuisine, getting access to the same seafood as at home is difficult, however this didn’t stop her from embracing the traditions of neighbouring Chinese provinces. “I don’t want to copy other people. I want to do something that’s my own,” Lin says, “we do our best for the food quality.” Early each morning, Lin’s husband, Vincent, and Great Taste chefs (some of whom have been on the team from the beginning) handmake all soup stock, dumplings, and noodles needed for the day. It’s this commitment to fresh, never frozen dumplings, that’s made Great Taste’s Soup Dumplings (siu long bao) Calgary’s favourite. Another favourite are their lamb skewers cooked with Sichuan peppers. Each dish is like a love letter to home. Others to try include Silver Dragon Restaurant in Calgary’s Chinatown, for those craving dim sum. They have been serving up this southern, tapasstyle tradition for more than 54 years. Everything from pork dumplings to Peking Duck (a delicacy served with crepe wrapper, scallions, cucumber, and hoisin sauce) appears on its menu offering comforts and adventures alike. Emperor’s Palace in Edmonton also offers an array of fresh and affordable Sichuan and Cantonese dishes. This modern location with authentic fare is famous for its soups, so be sure to try the Seafood Hot and Sour Soup and Minced Beef Egg Drop Soup. Luck, love, and friendship are on tap as Chinese Albertans celebrate the start of the Year of the Ox with friends, family, and of course food. Seated at round tables (a place of equality), the Chinese community turns away from the past and looks to the future – a future that resembles the celebration with its abundance of food, love, and hope. 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.

32 Culinaire | January/February 2021

Tossed Chicken in Garlic Sauce

Stir Fried Shrimp with Lemon-Leaf & Sizzling Rice in Thai Gourmet Sauce


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Wines That Are Easy on The Wallet BY TOM FIRTH

nce again, we’ve rung in a new year; we’ve cast away the old one and look forward (hopefully) to the year ahead – bright eyed and bushy tailed…right? While you may be contemplating a “dry January” or at least cutting back, and hats off to you, some of us might still need to unwind occasionally, perhaps after an

awesome snow day, or you might be have a little dinner planned (most likely smaller than usual) here and there. The wines below, are drawn from the 2020 edition of our Alberta Beverage Awards, judged blind by a bevy (see what I did there?) of our expert judges, and determined to represent excellent value

post-competition (our judges don’t know what each product is, including the price, region, or producer). Our Top Values are exactly that, wines that deliver, at a great price. The complete results, with our judges, can be found online at culinairemagazine.ca/aba-results-2020

Codorniu Brut Clasico Penedes, Spain

Animus 2017 Douro Douro, Portugal

Trapiche 2018 Reserve Malbec Mendoza, Argentina

Honoro Vera 2018 Rioja Rioja, Spain

Wente 2017 Sandstone Merlot Livermore Valley, United States

Pine Ridge 2017 Chenin Blanc Viognier Napa Valley, United States

Hahn 2018 Chardonnay Monterey. United States

Bollini 2019 Pinot Grigio Rosato Dolomiti, Italy

Sierra Norte 2017 Pasion De Bobal Utiel Requena, Spain

Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise 2017 Shiraz McLaren Vale, Australia

Glen Carlou 2016 Grand Classique Paarl, South Africa

Zenato 2019 Pinot Grigio delle Venezie Veneto, Italy

CSPC +503490 $15-17

CSPC +796836 $20-22

CSPC +743983 $16-18

CSPC +19935 $18-20

Angus the Bull 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Central Victoria, Australia CSPC +713074 $22-25

CSPC +752752 $15-18

CSPC +171025 $16-18

CSPC +815924 $21-23

CSPC +153882 $22-24

Les Vins Bonhomme 2018 El Petit Bonhomme Blanco Rueda, Spain CSPC +79046 $15-17

CSPC +343327 $12-14

CSPC +746997 $22-23

CSPC +824524 $19-22

CSPC +390906 $15-17

Undurraga 2017 “Sibaris” Pinot Noir Gran Reserva Leyda Valley, Chile CSPC +761205 $14-17

January/February 2021 | Culinaire 33


Winter Whiskies! BY TOM FIRTH AND LINDA GARSON

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hat better way to enjoy a tipple than in Alberta, in the midst of a blustery, cold, winter’s day (except of course on a beautiful August evening), than a dram of whisky by the fire? This month, we celebrate quality whisky from around the globe and Canada whether Robbie Burns Day is being celebrated, or you feel like armchair travelling with your spirits. Cheers!

Canadian Club Classic 12 Year Old Small Batch Canadian Whisky, Canada The well loved, “classic” expression of Canadian Club, bursting with rich caramel toffee, a mild buttery mouthfeel and barrel-style richness. A little spicy on the palate as expected, but most impressive is how smooth this really is. A bottle that is very easy to reach for whenever the need arises. CSPC +753143 $33-37 Bearface Triple Oak Canadian Whisky, Canada Earning all sorts of accolades, Bearface in many ways represents the changing realm of Canadian whisky. Though carrying an age statement of 7 years, it is better described through the profound balance of multiple oak sources, various toast levels, and quality of the whisky itself. Rich and smooth with cranberry, honey, and a slightly smoky back palate. Delicious. CSPC +807202 $40-44 Kaiyo Mizunara Oak Whisky, Japan Something more than a little different in Japanese whisky, almost, but not entirely a single malt whisky. It would be classified as blended malt, using a unique oak for the barrels – the Mizunara oak, and spends several months in barrel – at sea, lending unusual factors to the aging. Salty and smoky on the nose and palate with subtle citrus fruit and a long finish. Mind-bogglingly good too. CSPC +820846 Around $117-125 34 Culinaire | January/February 2021

Canadian Club “Chronicles” 43 Year Old Canadian Whisky, Canada Ok, this is obviously going to be filed under the “special occasion” or gift category of Canadian whisky, but the third release of the Chronicles edition is really quite remarkable. Lifted citrus tones with old leather, toffee and mulling spices, and a touch of brown sugary goodness that comes through on the palate. Too good for mixing, best enjoyed neat or with a splash of water. CSPC +839750 $295-330 Togouchi Japanese Blended Whisky Aged 9 Years, Japan It’s easy to see why this was a Judges Selection at the 2020 Alberta Beverage Awards – it’s damn good. Clean and lifted cereal notes with a rich, honey-like texture and a bit of spicy heat on the finish. Excellent neat, but a little filtered water opens it up nicely. CSPC +817269 About $100-115 Old Tub Kentucky Straight Bourbon, USA #TBT! A nostalgic nod to the roots of the Beam family, in Bardstown, Kentucky - aka Bourbon Capital of the World - where it began for them, in 1880. Old Tub is a limited edition four-year old, rustic bourbon, distilled without carbon or chill filtration to be as authentic as possible. It’s warming in the nicest way, with caramel and vanilla notes from the barrels. Some might add ice, but I’d go for it neat - and imagine the old days. CSPC +1171080 $43-47 Nomad Outland Whisky, Spain A bit of an unusual spirit starting with a Scottish-made spirit which is then finished using sherry casks – but in Spain. Ultimately delivering a whisky very similar to what we’d expect from Scotland, and at an extremely good price. Smooth and a little spicy with excellent balance. A frequent winner at the Alberta Beverage Awards. CSPC +778451 $60-70


Hinch 5 Year Old Doublewood Irish Whiskey, Ireland Big fan of irish whiskies and love seeing how the category is developing. What really captivated here were touches of lemon and floral characteristics with a mild soapy aroma. Runs a little hot in the mouth – perhaps it’s that 43 percent alcohol, but wonderfully balanced and possesses a silkiness on the palate right through the finish. Top shelf! CSPC +826653 $65-70 GlenAllachie 15 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, Scotland Relatively new to our market, the GlenAllachie is a well-balanced, versatile spirit with roasted cereal characters, toffee and leather and a deep, earthy finish. Packs a little bit of a punch at 46 percent alcohol, but still very smooth from start to finish. Worth keeping on hand for a cool evening. CSPC +824674 $120-130

Waterford Distillery Arcadian Organic Gaia Edition 1.1, Ireland Three new whiskies from Waterford have landed in Alberta, and they’re all changing our perception of what to expect in an Irish whisky. We knew they’d all be single malts, all barley-forward and terroir-driven, and they’re stunners. My favourite is the Arcadian Organic Gaia, a showstopper with a soft and lip-smacking oiliness, and complex flavours of orange peel, toffee, cocoa nibs, malt, and spice. It’s a contemplative sip… CSPC + 839002 $106-110 Milk & Honey Classic Single Malt Whisky, Israel Lovely nose with deep, saline qualities, honeycomb, and cereal characters. Flavours are well balanced by the 46 percent alcohol, but overall a lean, expressive single malt akin to many from Scotland in a lighter style. Something novel, tasty, and worth trying. CSPC +832018 $88-95


Blind Enthusiasm Brewing

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Sour Beers Never Tasted So Sweet

n the ever-fluctuating world of trendy beers, the latest contestant is sour beers. It’s an odd entry given the word “sour” is usually avoided as an adjective in beer lexicon. When categorized, it is not the one trick pony it is often perceived it to be, with most people today not knowing the difference between a gueuze and a gose. Despite being relatively new to most North Americans, sours have been around for hundreds of years, harking back to the days of wooden vats, inadequate sanitation, and microbiological nescience. Its current revival is being nurtured in craft breweries, as brewmasters resurrect long lost recipes using modern brewing techniques. In reality, sours represent a whole genre of beers. They come in a diverse collection of aromas, colours, carbonation levels, alcohol contents,

36 Culinaire | January/February 2021

BY DAVID NUTTALL

pH levels, and flavour profiles. Most are barrel aged or have added fruit, sending the category in a plethora of directions. However, one constant dictates a true sour; it has been made with wild yeasts and/or bacteria that yields the tart or acidic notes in the final product.

Sours have been around for hundreds of years To achieve that result, brewers of yore usually let wild organisms inoculate the wort through open-air fermentation. The outcome was often unpredictable, so these beers spent months or years aging in barrels and young and old versions were often blended. Found mostly in the breweries of continental Europe, especially Belgium and Germany, they are still made this way today. The main catalysts for production

of these beers are certain yeast strains within the Saccharomyces genus, commonly Brettanomyces, and other wild microbes like Pediococcus and Lactobacillus. Brewers also experiment with wild yeasts, literally those found outdoors. Today many “wild” organisms can be purchased from labs, and fermentation is more controlled to yield the desired flavour profiles. The traditional descriptors of sours usually sound completely unappealing: funky, barnyard, horse blanket, sweaty socks, and more. However, through centuries of practice, the famous brands have survived to become some of today’s most sought-after beers. The time, effort, space, and expense required for barrel aging is often prohibitive for most new craft breweries, so this is where the kettle sour steps in. By souring the beer in the


mash tun, it can be produced in about the same time as a regular beer, with no need for barrels. Often fruit is added to make these beers more palatable. While most breweries in North America choose this approach, there are a few committed to traditional methods. In Alberta, two breweries in Edmonton stand out by creating nothing but varieties of sours and other wild fermented beers. Trial and Ale and The Monolith (a dedicated barrel fermentation project of Blind Enthusiasm) have begun brewing

Search out the European classics and local interpretations from the hundreds available in this market: Berliner Weisse – Low alcohol (< 4 percent ABV) with a lactic sourness. Traditionally served with fruit syrups in Germany, now breweries add the fruit for you. While no true German brands are available here, look for Ribstone Creek Raspberry Berliner Weisse and Blindman’s Florida Weisse series. Flanders Red Ale – Reddish-brown with flavours of plum, raisins and currants. Aged for long periods and produced through a blending of young and old beers. Hailing from western Belgium, you can find Duchesse de Bourgogne and three classic examples from Rodenbach brewery in Alberta. Oud Bruin – A darker adaptation of the above with more caramel notes. VanderGhinste Oud Bruin is a classic Belgian example.

Blind Man Brewing

Blind Enthusiasm Brewing

Second fermentation courtesy Trial and Ale

and aging unique beers that rival those from Europe. Expect complex, nuanced beers in a wide range of aromas and flavour profiles, subtly astringent with some citric characteristics amidst almost vinous or cidery notes. Other breweries have recently started barrel fermenting projects alongside their regular lineup. Because all sours are not created equal, they get broken down into a few different categories, depending on ingredients, flavour profiles, production methods, and other factors. Most are wheat ales, some using unmalted wheat. 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.

Lambic and Fruit Lambic – Brewed only in the Senne Valley near Brussels with wild airborne yeast and aged until fermented. Rare examples from breweries like Cantillon, Boon, Drie Fonteinen, and Lindemans appear infrequently in this market. The more prevalent low alcohol Fruit Lambics are made by adding juice from apples, peaches, raspberries, cherries, or cassis to change the flavour profile. Gueuze – Fermented with wild yeasts, aged for years, blended, then bottle conditioned. Tart, citric, and almost cider-like. Drie Fonteinen and Tilquin are available here. Gose – Originally from Germany, featuring coriander and salted water. Modern renditions usually add fruit. Look for both versions of Wild Rose’s Ponderosa Gose or Situation Brewing’s WTF (Wild Type Fermentation) series. Mixed-Fermentation Sour Beer – This is what can happen when multiple yeasts, bacteria, fermentation processes, and barrel aging meet, making each beer a unique release. Search out the beers from Trial and Ale, Blind Enthusiasm/The Monolith and others. Kettle Sours – Many local breweries are now making sours this way, mostly as seasonals. Some will make multiple renditions from the same recipes by adding different fruit. The most prolific seem to be Zero Issue, New Level, Odd Company, Cabin, The Establishment, Blindman, Dandy, Big Rock, Railyard, Analog, Alley Kat, Canmore Brewing, Medicine Hat Brewing, Town Square, Hawk Tail, and Banded Peak, plus a few more. January/February 2021 | Culinaire 37


MAKING THE CASE

Wines for a Cool Winter’s Day, or Frigid Evening By TOM FIRTH

Joseph Drouhin 2018 Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France

With a new name and a new label, this bottle used to be known as the “La Forêt” pinot noir. Tightly wound raspberry and cherry fruits with a mild, wild herbal tone. Mid weight on the palate, with smooth textures and a tautness to the fruits. Will match up nicely with most things from duck breast to meats. CSPC +142406 about $26-28

A New Year is upon us, and with it brings new enthusiasm for the days to come. Though, most likely, we are still spending plenty of time indoors and close to home. There may still be days where we might be entertaining within our bubbles, or having a quiet romantic evening (or two), or even just a day where it will be perfect to fire up the barbecue (or smoker) and have a wonderful meal. This month, we are focusing on red wines (plus two South African chenin blancs I couldn’t resist sharing!) both from home and from several other countries that are making wines more than suitable for a cool winter’s day, or frigid evening. 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.

Tarapaca 2017 Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo, Chile

A cabernet sauvignon slightly off the beaten path, this one from Maipo, Chile. Plummy, cherry-driven fruits with a smoky, tarry undercurrent leading into chewy tannins and a smooth, long finish. Would really sing with steaks if having a winter bbq or Irish style stews. CSPC +249524 $20-22 38 Culinaire | January/February 2021

Kitsch 2018 Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley British Columbia

Hitting all the right notes and checking off all the boxes, this is a lovely, finely crafted pinot noir for any enthusiast of the grape. Ripe fruits and a deep, earthy, herbal character lead off the nose, while on the palate it’s a milder expression of the grape for sure, but well balanced and well nuanced. Pair with grilled seafood, lighter, fresher dishes, or intimate gatherings. CSPC +828415 $45-50

Spearhead 2018 Pinot Noir Cuvée Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

I love coming across the wines from Spearhead, specifically their well-crafted riesling and these pinot noirs. The cuvée pinot noir is a select batch of varied pinot noir clones made in fairly limited quantities. Rich and loamy on the nose with good herbs and the solid support of tart, almost sour berry fruit. The palate is perfectly suited to match the nose and acids will handle a little fat at the table. Think duck breast, game, or rich sauces. CSPC +833446 $45-48


Cune 2013 Gran Reserva Rioja, Spain

Rioja is one of the great, unsung values of the wine world. Where else could you get a current vintage 2013 wine for this price? Made from tempranillo with 5 percent each of graciano and mazuelo, This wine bursts with berry fruits backed by barrel characters and a bit of maturity. Very pleasing to drink, it will also work well with grilled pork, spicy sauces, or roasts.

Kottabos 2017 Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch, South Africa

Bartier Brothers 2018 Merlot Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

A complete stunner of a chenin blanc with honey, lemon custard and spice on the nose with a sleekness of mineral characters. On the palate, a young and slightly more fruit driven expression of chenin with silken textures and an almost plump mid-palate. This will go swimmingly with seafood or lighter poultry.

A well-crafted, top shelf merlot from the Okanagan from the talented folks at Bartier Bros. Deep berry fruits with a pervasive smokiness and spice character overtop of some lovely floral aromas. Rich and yes, still smoky on the palate with tight tannins begging for a big meal from the smoker.

Clos de los Siete 2017 Mendoza, Argentina

Finca La Linda 2018 Malbec Mendoza, Argentina

Corcelettes 2018 Merlot Similkameen Valley, British Columbia

CSPC +128710 $25-28

CSPC +480889 $15-17

CSPC +830877 About $32-33

CSPC +816990 $35-40

A stalwart brand for enthusiasts of Argentinean wines, Clos de los Siete evokes a Bordeaux-esque profile. Ripe fruits with a pleasing earthiness and spice core, well supported by deep fruits, firm tannins, and great balance. Honestly, I had forgotten how much I enjoy this wine. Very easy to enjoy with a nice roast or hearty stew.

CSPC +800172 About $37-39

Its still amazing to me how many of my friends and family ask about malbec recommendations. This is a grape that is still very, very popular. Coming from Mendoza where most of our malbec comes from, and from the very well regarded Luigi Bosca, this wine is bursting with deep fruits, earth and spice, backed by great tannins too. Heck of a buy for malbec lovers.

CSPC +761518 $28-32

I’m a big fan of many of the wines coming from the Similkameen, and this merlot was quite the find as it’s big, chewy, and serious juice. Plenty of deep chocolatey characters with an easy spiciness and earthy, almost smoky flavours to go with excellent fruits. Is a perfect match with good steaks, but would also work very well with a cheese board or the like.

Bellingham The Bernard Series 2017 Old Vine Chenin Blanc, Coastal Region South Africa

Louis M. Martini 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California

Austin Hope 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles, California

CSPC +742261 Around $25-28

CSPC +742056 about $28-33

CSPC +803126 about $70-78

A deeper, more contemplative example of the chenin blanc with lemony citrus aromas, wildflower honey, and a bit of that wool-like character chenin can have (think of Hudson Bay blankets). Deep and expressive on the palate, with some barrel notes lending some vanilla bean flavours and richness on the palate, this is just as comfortable with a steak as with a lobster tail.

A rich, chewy cabernet treading the fine line between serious, more traditional and fruitier styles of the grape. Plenty of cherry and cassis fruits with a mild sense of jamminess or berry preserves, while acids are well placed and tannins are weighty, but exceptionally smooth. I don’t think I’ve ever said this about a cabernet sauvignon, but it’s a relaxing glass of wine. Pair with beef of course, or something with sautéed mushrooms.

Austin Hope is one of the marquee winemakers of the region with his hands on many excellent bottles year after year. This cabernet, which seems to be made from 100 percent cabernet sauvignon, is no exception. Dense and expressive with an intensely floral bouquet and deep, dark berry fruits. A touch of cocoa emerges on the palate bringing out some richer, oak characters. Lots going on here in this full flavoured, riper style of wine. January/February 2021 | Culinaire 39


E TC E TE R A . . . Thai Green and Red Curry Sauces

We’re impressed with Talerngpong Charoenpan (TJ to us!). An engineer in Thailand and now a chef in Canada, he’s launched a range of authentic Thai sauces, gluten- and dairy-free, vegan, and made from scratch – and we absolutely love them! He’s made it so easy for us, freezing them to keep them fresh, so just defrost and add meat, seafood, veggies, noodles – whatever takes your fancy - heat and eat. 500 mL $10, online at gr8-thai-sauce-by-chef-tj.square.site or find him at Crossroads Market. A2 Milk Renegade Craft Cuba Libre, Calgary

You don’t need to go to Cuba to be familiar with Cuba Libre - a light rum with Coke and a splash of lime juice to cut through the sweetness of the cola - Romero Distilling have blended their sugarcane spirit with cola, and added lime juice for what could be Alberta’s first home-grown rum cocktail! You’re aware of rum and cola when you open the can, and the lime juice follows on the palate. It’s a good job they’re only 5 percent ABV as you may not stop at one! CSPC +841335 355 mL $17/6-pack

Have you heard of a2 Milk? Most cows’ milk contains both A1 and A2 protein types but a2 milk comes from Canadian cows that naturally only produce milk with a2 protein. It seems some people assume they are lactose intolerant but they are actually intolerant to A1 protein type. One of our team is thrilled that their mini-wheats are enjoyable once more! Available 3.25% homogenized, 2 and 1% partly skimmed, at all major grocery stores. 2 Litres $6

Strait & Narrow Pacific Coast Cocktails

Victoria Distillers, in Sidney, B.C. are known for their Empress 1908 Gin (with the butterfly pea flower that changes colour!) and now they’ve launched three cocktails each made with a custom gin from local rhubarb, lavender, or rosemary. They’re refreshing as well as very tasty; you can smell and taste the ingredients! We’re really enjoying Grapefruit Rosemary (+841001), Pear Rhubarb (+841002), and Lemon Lavender (+841003) in the lovely 355 mL cans, around $16/6-pack, $3/can.

Spier Canned Wines, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Well known and respected for their commitment to sustainability and ethical business practices, Spier have now taken the next step and put their premium wines in cans! There are two glasses in each 250 mL can of sauvignon blanc, rosé, and merlot, and not only are they full-flavoured and food-friendly, they’re compact and easily slip in your pocket or purse, recyclable, and carbon-light. Sauvignon blanc SCPC +838786, Rosé +838787, Merlot +838788. $5-6 40 Culinaire | January/February 2021

Loxton Moscato South Australia

We don’t regularly include wine here, but Loxton aren’t regular wines – they’ve developed a process to remove most of the alcohol to leave less than 5 percent, but keep all the flavour and characteristics of the wine. From moscato grapes, you’ll find aromatic notes of rose petals and a tart apple acidity which, coupled with a little spritz, keeps the wine crisp. It’s terrific with charcuterie, and just a hint of sweetness makes it a great pairing with goat cheese stuffed dates, and dark chocolate! CSPC +900513 $10


TRADITIONAL ENGLISH GIN

PIONEERS IN GIN DISTILLING NOW AVAILABLE IN ALBERTA PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

We’re so looking forward to offering our live Vine & Dine pairing dinners again! As soon as it’s possible, we’ll be announcing new dates, new locations, and new menus for you to safely enjoy an evening of good food and drink where you don’t have to do the washing up afterwards. And if things keep improving, we hope it’s not long before you can even enjoy the dinners with friends too. Your safety always was, and still is a priority at our 6-course Vine & Dine pairing dinners, and we have a clean slate from all our dinners last year. Our promise to you is that we’ll only offer live events again when it’s completely safe, and you can relax and enjoy the evenings.

S I N C E 176 2 Please check our website regularly, and email linda@culinairemagazine.ca if you’d like to be included in our fortnightly updates to hear about dine out and take out dinners before the rest of the city. They do sell out rather quickly! For full details of events, to reserve your paired dinner packages, places at a Vine & Dine evening, or a private pairing dinner when regulations allow again, visit culinairemagazine.ca/events. Vine & Dine Pairing Dinners at Shoe & Canoe Our 6-course paired evenings at Shoe & Canoe when they first opened in 2019 and again last year were superb, everyone loved them, so we’ll be offering the evenings we’d planned but had to lose last November as soon as we can! Such a delicious menu! $81.75 ++ Vine & Dine Pairing Dinners at Flower & Wolf Chef Cole Glendinning’s menu of beautifully executed, flavourful dishes,

DISCOVER MORE AT WHITLEYNEILL.COM

cooked with love and ingredients from local farmers, were excellent last year, and we look forward to offering more nights at Flower & Wolf in our own private dining room, for the evenings we weren’t able to run last December. $81.75 ++ Vine & Dine Online Paired Dinner Packages Have you tried one of our online, multicourse, paired takeout dinner packages, with videos yet? These are 4-course restaurant meals from Calgary chefs to eat at home, with small format pairings for each course, and a video with stories to take you through the pairings and flavours. They are all contactless curbside pickup. We’re continuing to offer these paired dinner packages with videos, and menus and restaurants change regularly, so check out our January and February paired dinner packages from some of your favourite Calgary restaurants, and reserve yours now at vineanddine.ca.


O PE N TH AT B OT TLE

...with Jinhee Lee BY LINDA GARSON PHOTO BY DONG KIM

G

rowing up in Korea, Jinhee Lee recalls her father working long hours, and how they would look forward to payday when he would bring home fried chicken as a treat for the family. As she was growing up, she was expected to be a nurse, and so studied hard to get to university and get her degree, and started out working for a cosmetic company, but she soon discovered making coffee and photocopying wasn’t for her. Eventually, some friends persuaded her to try teaching English to young children, and this is what brought her to Calgary. Looking for her path, Lee started the accounting program at SAIT, again finding it wasn’t for her, and ultimately, knowing that her mother might not approve, she took a chance on cooking. It was tough learning a new food culture as well as having to understand French culinary terms, but Lee’s a tough cookie and eventually, with the help of instructor, Simon Dunn, she landed a job in the kitchens at Hotel Arts. Working very long hours and in every department was good training for Lee, especially working with her mentor, Duncan Ly. Rising fast in the culinary world, Lee was winning competitions, appearing in magazines, and when the opportunity arose to join Ly when he decided to open Foreign Concept - she leapt at the chance. She was creating menus, hiring people, but her mother was still none the wiser until she visited – and was not happy.

42 Culinaire | January/February 2021

Lee persevered, working very long hours and loving it, but she was getting worn out from the long restaurant hours and need a break. Top Chef Canada called, and even though she hated speaking in public, Ly persuaded her to go for it and she passed the audition. It was stressful for Lee and she did well, but something had to give, and she went back to Korea for a break. But even when she was there, she was thinking about food all the time, making menus and trying to decide if being a chef was still part of her plan. But some Calgary investors had other ideas, and with Ly’s help, eventually persuaded Lee back to Calgary, into undertaking The Wall Of Chefs, and opening her own fried chicken restaurant. “When I was in Korea I wanted to stay, but when I came back I feel like Calgary’s my hometown,” she says. “I feel so blessed with all the support, love, and care from people.” What bottle is Lee keeping for a special occasion? By late 2016, Foreign Concept was under construction, and Lee was to compete in Gold Medal Plates. But there was no kitchen yet, and apart from Vintage Chophouse’s help in using theirs, she prepared dishes for 680 people at home. With no expectation of success,

she was amazed to win - but it meant making 1,500 plates for the Canadian Culinary Championship in February 2017. With the restaurant open and very busy, it was hard for Lee and her sous, Duncan Ly, to leave, but they prepped as much as possible and left, with tempers running high as they worried about leaving Foreign Concept and stressing over the competition. They won People’s Choice, but there’s a strange phenomenon where chefs that win People’s Choice never win overall, as had happened to Ly before when to everyone’s surprise he took Silver instead of Gold. Then two deductions: 10 percent because someone tried to help, and another for using her own pepper mill. One point makes all the difference, and they were disappointed listening to the results – not Bronze, not Silver… but Gold! Tears flowed from both chefs. A customer came in having followed the contest and cried too when they won, and presented Lee with a bottle of Dom Perignon. Lee is so grateful for Ly’s help and support that she wants to pay it forward and help a younger chef in the same way. At Jin Bar, Chef Hyungjae Lim is Lee’s right hand man, and she’s decided to give him the bottle if and when he opens his own restaurant.


refresh your gin and tonic

Profile for Culinaire Magazine

Culinaire #9.7 (January-February 2021)  

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