Culinaire #9.8 (March 2021)

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

a i l n Issu a t I r e! Ou

Tu tto Italiano Oil and Vinegar | Italian Wines | Charcuterie | Craft Lager | Fritters

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contents 10

Volume 9 / No. 8 / March 2021

departments 6

Salutes and Shout Outs


Book Review


Off The Menu


Chefs’ Tips and Tricks

News from Alberta’s culinary scene One Loaf at a Time/ One Bowl at a Time

Pubblico Italian Kitchen’s Spaghetti Carbonara



Cucina Italiana

40 Etcetera...

What’s new?


42 Open That Bottle Marcus Purtzki of Made By Marcus


Acid & Fat

Two Italian mainstays: olive oil and balsamic vinegar by Lexie Angelo

20 On Board

Brie & Banquet’s Italian and local-themed charcuterie board by Linda Garson

25 March Spirits

Dreaming of a getaway and local connections? by Tom Firth and Linda Garson

and Sweet Fritters: ON THE COVER 26 Savoury Footloose and fancy free We love picking the cover shot each year for our Italian issue! Thanks very much to Chef Antonio Tardi for his elegant and refined Braciola Napoletana, from his home town of Naples, and to photographer Dong Kim for his beautiful capture of it before it was plated!

by Natalie Findlay

28 Finding the Cure:

VDG Salumi embraces the art of Italian meats by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth

30 Step By Step: Bomboloni

Fresh, sugary doughnuts and Nutella! by Renée Kohlman

32 From Far and Wide…

Let’s Eat!

Bringing Nonna’s Kitchen to Alberta by Sabrina Kooistra

34 Double Take: Mac and Cheese One dish… two different recipes! by Linda Garson

36 Craft Breweries Reclaim Lagers

A cherished craft “newcomer” by David Nuttall

38 Making The Case For Vino Italiano by Tom Firth

March 2021 | Culinaire 3


Thanks so much for your emails on our paired take-out dinner packages like these excerpts; they make it all worthwhile:

New, newer, newest…


CAN’T REMEMBER ANOTHER time when necessity has created so many innovations, so much lateral thinking, and new opportunities for the hospitality trade. Sadly, we’ve seen fallout too, but some closures have created space for regrouping, rethinking, and planning new concepts or locations – and we’re excited to see the rise and return of those we miss. We’re constantly amazed at the quality of new, local products and those we’re still discovering that have been well-kept secrets for years too - see “Etcetera…” (P.40), and there are many more that we couldn’t fit in this issue. If you are making something delicious found in our stores, markets, or easily online, then reach out! We also have some new features: this issue sees the first in our series, “Double Take” (P.26), where we’re including a recipe for a classic dish from an Alberta

eatery as well as a recipe from another chef or restaurant for a different take on the dish. Having eaten both dishes myself this month, I promise you they’re both super delicious. And we’re proud of our new “On Board” (P.20), where Alberta charcuterie professionals show us their best, and help us understand the thoughts behind their creations. I hope you enjoy them!

Linda Garson, Editor-in-Chief

“We just wanted to thank you for an amazing dinner last night. The package from Winebar was absolutely fantastic. The food and wine pairing was perfect. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed preparing and plating all the food together. It was a lovely date night at home.” Blessings, Audra C “All we can say is WOW. That was an amazing pairing of Italian wines and superb Italian food from Pubblico. Each wine was wonderful. I have never had a pinot grigio like that. So different to a typical North American one. The red was bold and paired so elegantly with the carbonara! Thanks so much for fitting us in.” Matt G

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

Alberta / Food & Drink / Recipes

Editor-in-Chief/Publisher Linda Garson Managing Editor Tom Firth Multimedia Editor Keane Straub Sales Denice Hansen 403-828-0226 Design Kendra Design Inc Contributors Lexie Angelo Elizabeth Chorney-Booth Natalie Findlay, Dong Kim Renée Kohlman, Sabrina Kooistra David Nuttall, Keane Straub

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

Our contributors Renée Kohlman

Renée Kohlman is an award-winning cookbook author, food writer, baker, and recipe developer in Saskatoon. When not working on her second cookbook (Vegetables: A Love Story, due Fall, 2021) she’s writing for The Saskatoon StarPhoenix and others, and in her garden admiring her sweet peas and coaxing her cats down from trees. Renée hopes one day to go hiking in Iceland, eat a croissant in Paris, and have a dishwasher in her kitchen.

Discover 125 years of Cecchi’s History

Dong Kim

A freelance photographer and consultant, Dong splits his time between Edmonton and Calgary. Although he shoots a wide range of subjects, his passion lies in photographing food and capturing stories from the food community. An avid traveller whose itineraries often revolve around learning about a culture through its culinary scene, Dong shares many of his travels and food encounters on Instagram at @therealbuntcake.

Lexie Angelo

Contact us at: Culinaire Magazine #1203, 804–3rd Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2P 0G9 403.870.9802 @culinairemag @culinairemag For subscriptions and to read Culinaire online:

A food and lifestyle writer passionate about contemporary cooking and urban cuisine, Lexie is a traveller and adventure-seeker always in search of the hottest trends in food and drink. Whether wandering the street markets of Kyoto, sipping drinks at tabernas in Madrid, or dining at the Michelin star restaurants in Copenhagen and London, she explores global cities for unforgettable flavours. Follow her travel and culinary adventures on twitter @angelolexie

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

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SA LUTE S & S H O UT O UT S Register now for The Edmonton Intercultural Centre’s new series of FREE virtual cooking classes, “Cultural Fusion: World Flavors”. Learn a range of cuisines including Bengali, Ethiopian, Turkish, Chilean, Philippine, Vietnamese and more, 5-7 pm every Thursday to May 6. The British Columbia Wine Institute is the voice of the B.C. wine industry, and to better reflect the value-add agricultural industry, they’ve changed their name to Wine Growers British Columbia. Too many Canadians with developmental disabilities are unemployed despite their wiliness to work, and Paul Constance has a goal to change that and build 10,000 careers! He’s opened Lil E Coffee Café in Calgary’s Sun Life Plaza on 4 Avenue SW, to create opportunities for meaningful and productive employment. MondayFriday 7:30-1 pm. Edmonton’s Old Strathcona is home to the new Palette Café, at 10047 80 Avenue. Open daily 9 am-6 pm, Franz Castro-Wunsch and Miranda Amey’s new vegetarian and vegan café serves up smoothies, salads, Buddha bowls, and soups, for take out or dine in. Brayden Kozak has opened his fourth Farrow location in Edmonton’s Wishbone space at 10542 Jasper Avenue. Now you can get your fill of sandwiches and baked goods downtown for breakfast and grab ‘n go lunches. Daily 8 am-3 pm. “Flavour to the people!” Jane Bond BBQ’s fun, and crazy good new Urban Shack Fried Chicken, has a choice of 12 (yes 12!) dipping sauces for your super crunchy, 12-spice battered, boneless, and skinless birds. Choose 4-piece Bird Meals, 8 or 16-piece Bird Attack meals, or gluten-free “Wings ‘N’ Dip”. Takeout and delivery only, from 11 am daily. Orders: While you’re there, don’t miss their new Marketplace to pick up frozen smoked meats, ready meals, sauces, and sides – they’re really good! Edmonton has three new ghost kitchens for pick-up and delivery. Café Amore has 6 Culinaire | March 2021

launched Flying Burrito YEG, featuring Chef Cristobal’s menu of burritos, quesadillas, and skewers inspired by his Chilean roots. Sister restaurant, Black Pearl Seafood Bar’s Chef Radouane has created a diverse menu of tacos for the new Taco Box YEG, and inside Crash Hotel, Rub’d Smokehouse is the city’s newest take-out BBQ joint! In addition to their outlets at Fresh & Local Market & Kitchens, ExpatAsia and A Touch of India have teamed up to open Curry Queens, sharing premises with Marda Loop’s K-Thi Vietnamese, at 2133 33 Avenue SW. Their clever take-out concept involves slow-braising their completely delicious North Indian, Thai, Korean, Malaysian, and Indonesian curries, then blast-chilling and vacuumsealing them, so they heat there in minutes using sous-vide, or you can do it at home. There’s a wide choice of meat and veggie frozen curries too! 11 am-9 pm, lunch specials Tuesday-Friday noon-2 pm. Closed Mondays, Alberta-farmed, online meat service, Bessie Box, has grown to include doorstep deliveries in Edmonton two days a week, and now limited quantities of EH-Farms’ specialty Mangalitsa pork are available to order too! Pizza-loving, Calgary hospitality veteran, Chuck Mendelman, has opened family Eau Claire Pizza, serving up 12” pan-style, thick crust pies. Head Chef Nabeel trained in high-end Dubai resorts, and his pizza menu showcases a multicultural, diverse choice of toppings

from chicken tikka to nachos, made with local cheese and meats. WednesdaySunday, noon-8:45 pm. Executive Chef Jiju Paul, former Executive Chef at the Edmonton Expo Centre, is now leading the team at Fairmont Hotel Macdonald! There’s no stopping Calgary chef Cam Dobranski – he’s launched Cream Puff Emporium, delicious, designer cream puffs in mix-and-match packs of 4, 6, 9 or 12, made from scratch and baked daily. Pick up Thursday-Sunday at EATCROW, Kensington, pre-order at Ramsey’s plant–based and zero-waste vegan café, The Dandelion, has new owners - Nourish Bistro in Banff, and is now sister to The Coup. If you’ve eaten at Nourish, vegan or not, you’ll be rightly excited! With only three tables, they’re mostly take-out until we can dine on the big patio with its fire pit, and enjoy ex-Coup chef Stephanie Kimmel’s superb menu, and her house-made oatmeal cheese and smoky harissa – the house spice that coats her addictive fries, and flavours her ridiculously good Mom’s Moroccan Soup. Southern fried “chicken” seitan is light and fluffy, and some of the best we’ve had – try it on Wing Wednesdays! Most items are, or can be gluten-free; desserts are by Canela Bakery; and alcoholic drinks are available in cans, with organic kombucha on tap. 9 am-8 pm, closed Mondays.


One Loaf at a Time/ One Bowl at a Time: The Recipes That Brought Us Together While We Remained Apart During COVID-19, CJ Katz, $30


NE LOAF AT A TIME/ONE BOWL AT A TIME - and one year later. We’ve

all experienced a year like no other that we’re not likely to forget soon, but now CJ Katz has created a time capsule of our kitchen escapades in her latest cookbook. And it’s cleverly two books in one: Volume 1 features “The Baking That Brought Us Together”, yet flip it over and you’ll see Volume 2: “Soups, Stews, and Bowls of Comfort”. Based in Saskatchewan, Katz has been in the culinary world for over 30 years, writing about food, photographing it, and judging it for awards; and for the last 15 years, she’s been the culinary host and TV chef of CTV’s Wheatland Café. She published her first book, TASTE: Seasonal Dishes from a Prairie Table, in 2012, winning the World Gourmand

Cookbook Award for Best First Cookbook (English Canada). With families stuck at home, many of us rediscovered our kitchens - as evidenced by the flour and yeast shortages last year - and knowing the need for connection (and new recipes to try!) Katz created an online forum for home cooks around the country to share ideas and recipes. This book is a result of that forum, featuring 95 recipes from 61 contributors across seven provinces. As you’d expect from Katz, every recipe is accompanied by bright colour photographs, and many of the chefs too. Some of whom may be familiar to you, like Hotel Arts chef Curtis Straub, whose Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies (P.70) are quick and easy to make (and sound delicious!), as does (mostly) retired

John Gilchrist’s recipe for his Pasta All’Amatriciana (P.59). I suspect I’ll be trying Lydia’s Potato and Green Onion Buns (P.17) and the Potato Hamburger Buns (P.19) that are so on trend for burgers right now. And how can we resist Laurie Wall’s Kick-Butt Bison Stew (P.81) when she says, “do a happy dance ‘cause you’re going to be eating the best bison stew EVER for dinner!” The cooks’ stories and anecdotes interwoven with their recipes will make you smile and maybe a little sad too, but Katz has built in a feel-good factor with $2 from every book sold going to the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation.

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E RECEIVED AN EMAIL recently requesting a recipe for one of Rome’s most popular pasta dishes – Spaghetti Carbonara. “Before the lockdown, I went to a restaurant in Marda Loop and likely tasted one of the most delicious pasta dishes I’ve had in a while. I do love carbonara and I’ve tried many in the city, however this one was wonderful. I have ordered this a number of times, thankfully Pubblico has curbside pick-up and delivery, but I would love to try to make this at home. Any chance you can get your hands on this recipe for me? I’m sure others would find it just as enjoyable as I do. Thank you in advance, Julia R, Calgary” Well, we can vouch for how delicious this carbonara is as it was one of the choices for our February Vine & Dine Online paired dinner packages. We loved it too! Thanks so much to Pubblico Italian Kitchen’s Executive Head Chef, John Andrada, for sharing his recipe with us!

Pubblico Italian Kitchen’s Spaghetti Carbonara Serves 4-6

1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano, with extra for garnish 4 large eggs 2 Tbs Italian parsley, finely chopped 3 Tbs (45 mL) extra-virgin olive oil 110 g guanciale, cut into small cubes 6 Tbs julienned shallots 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 splash of chardonnay or dry white wine To taste Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper 450 g dry spaghetti 8 Culinaire | March 2021

1. In a large pot filled with water, add enough salt until it’s as salty as the sea, and turn the heat to high. 2. Using a small bowl, whisk together Grana Padano, eggs and parsley, set aside. 3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add extra virgin olive oil and guanciale, cook until crispy. 4. Lower the heat, stir in shallots and garlic, cook until caramelized then deglaze with the wine. Simmer for a minute or till alcohol is burnt off. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Turn heat off. 5. Once the pot of water comes to a

rolling boil, add the dry spaghetti and cook till al dente, roughly 6-8 minutes. 6. Drain, then add the hot spaghetti to the skillet on low heat, making sure each strand gets coated with the sauce. Remove from heat, Add Grana Padano, egg, parsley mixture and mix until eggs thicken. 7. Serve in a warm bowl garnished with more Grana Padano and parsley. If there’s a dish in a restaurant in Alberta that you’d love to make at home, let us know at, and we’ll do our very best to track down the recipe for you!

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C H E F ’ S TI P S & TR I C KS



HEN IT COMES TO ITALIAN FOOD, it’s all about what you put into each dish, and the extra special touches of truly Italian products will level-up any pizza, pasta, soup or sauce. Those labelled Denominazione d’Origine Protetta (Protected Designation of Origin), or DOP, means they are from Italy, and adhere to quality standards and traditional methods of production only found in Italy. This month, six chefs from Calgary and Edmonton share not only mouth-watering dishes and their favourite DOP products found in Alberta, but also divulge a few secrets behind Italian cooking. You won’t find these in any store: a dash of time and a handful of consideration, when simmered with joy, are what make Italian dishes buonissomo, and you’ll be saying sono pieno come un uovo – “I’m stuffed”; literally ‘full as an egg’ – in no time! Chef Darnell Japp, owner of CHEF’d Catering, is bringing a new level of in-home dining to Calgary and the surrounding area. A lover of Italian food, one of his favourite memories is truffle hunting in Italy. “We got to go to the truffle hunter’s grandma’s house and have an eight-course truffle lunch,” Japp recalls. “It is something I will never forget, and I want my guests to feel the same way.” While truffles can be pricey, Japp says many ingredients used in Italian cuisine are inexpensive and easy to use. “Things like pizza, risotto, caprese salad, and pasta with chili and garlic, are all quick, easy, and tasty.” Japp suggests choosing something you want to learn to make and watching a few videos on the process. Then, make yourself a grocery list and head to the market. Any quality Italian market boasts a wide selection of pasta, produce, meats, and cheeses, and any other authentic

10 Culinaire | March 2021

Italian ingredients you might need. “When it comes to DOP [items] it’s nice to know you’re getting a consistent, quality product.” For Japp, that includes fresh DOP burrata cheese. “It’s a personal favourite for sure!” His recipe for mushroom bruschetta features it, and we’re certain it will become one of your favourites, too!

Mushroom and Burrata Bruschetta Makes 4

1 cup (250 g) thinly sliced fresh mushrooms, any kind 2 Tbs (30 mL) good extra virgin olive oil or butter 1 small shallot, finely diced 1 -2 Tbs (15-30 mL) balsamic vinegar To taste salt and black pepper 4 slices sourdough bread 1 garlic clove, halved 1/3 cup (80 mL) basil pesto

150-200 g fresh burrata Fresh basil leaves for garnish 2-3 Tbs (30-45 mL) pine nuts, toasted Coarse sea salt, for garnish 1. Sauté mushrooms on high heat with olive oil and butter until slightly brown, add shallots and caramelize slightly, deglaze with balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. 2. Toast sourdough bread, rub with garlic and lightly spread basil pesto. Top each with mushrooms and a quarter of the burrata. 3. Garnish with basil leaves and pine nuts, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and coarse sea salt before serving.

Chef Antonio Tardi, who founded the culinary consultancy Parcotto and Kenuna with his wife, Monique, was born and raised in Napoli, Italy, where he grew up watching his mother cook. When cooking, he draws from his childhood, calling it “the food of memory, remembering the simple gestures, the flavours, the smells of the meals [my mother] cooked for the family.” For Tardi, Italian cuisine is colourful and joyful, while at the same time elegant and refined, and made with simple ingredients. “Italy has an interesting culinary culture which expands from north to south,” Tardi explains. “You will find lots of stories, tradition, ingredients, and people behind any dish, which makes them so great.” Extra virgin olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, and San Marzano tomatoes are pantry staples Tardi says you must never compromise. Protected Designation of Origin products are preferred; however, he also recognizes the importance of sustainability. “I also like to support local farmers here in Canada.” Chef Tardi’s Braciola Napoletana fits the bill perfectly when it comes to supporting both local and Italian producers: simple ingredients coming together to create both elegance and excellence.

Beef roulade

Braciola Napoletana Serves 4

Tomato Coulis

3 Tbs (45 mL) extra virgin olive oil 1 garlic clove, whole 398 mL can of whole tomatoes (cherry if possible) 3 or 4 fresh basil leaves To taste salt and pepper 1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat oil and add the garlic clove. Cook until golden brown. 2. Remove garlic from pot and add canned tomatoes, basil, and salt. 3. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to low, simmer for 30 minutes. 4. Remove from heat, cool, and use a blender or hand blender to blend until smooth. Set aside.

1 clove, chopped Handful parsley, chopped ¼ cup (50 g) toasted pine nuts ¼ cup (50 g) raisins, soaked in water or white wine for 1 hour and strained ¼ cup (50 g) Pecorino cheese, shredded 454 g top sirloin sliced 0.5 cm thick (4 slices) Kitchen string or 4 toothpicks To taste salt and pepper 3 Tbs (45 mL) extra virgin olive oil 1 garlic clove, whole 1 small bunch of fresh thyme 1. In a small mixing bowl add chopped garlic, parsley, pine nuts, raisins, and pecorino cheese. Mix well and set aside. 2. Lay beef slices flat on cutting board, sprinkle with salt and pepper. 3. Divide cheese and parsley mixture evenly between slices and spread over surface of each. 4. Roll up each slice into a cylinder and secure with kitchen string or toothpicks. 5. Season with salt and pepper. 6. Heat 3 Tbs oil in frying pan on medium heat. Add whole garlic clove and thyme. 7. Pan fry beef roulades for 2 - 4 minutes per side. Once cooked, remove from pan and allow to rest for a few minutes before slicing. Serve with tomato coulis and a dusting of pecorino cheese. March 2021 | Culinaire 11

Corinna Murray’s Personal Thyme Catering has been serving the Calgary area since 2002. As both chef and owner, Murray focuses on specialized dietary requirements, as well as boutique catering. The versatility and simplicity of Italian cuisine is why Murray finds it so appealing. “It doesn’t require extensive equipment or cooking ability,” she explains, and adds that a lot of the ingredients are ones that you probably already have in your fridge or pantry. Just as we know how important it is to support local in Alberta, using DOP products ensures the support of Italian producers. Among those available in Calgary, Murray’s favourite is Red Cow Parmigiano. “I use Parmigiano Reggiano a lot in my cooking, both at home and work. I find its pleasing, nutty flavour holds well with so many dishes, adding body and a subtle saltiness.”

Pasta e Fagioli Serves 4

2 Tbs (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving ½ cup (120 g) pancetta, diced 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced 2 medium carrots, finely diced 2 medium ribs celery, finely diced 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ cup (120 mL) white wine 6 cups (1.5 L) low sodium chicken broth 1 tsp salt ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper 2 - 398 mL cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained ¼ cup dried lentils, rinsed (green or brown) 1 cup (250 mL) canned San Marzano tomatoes with their juice, chopped 4 bay leaves 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary 3/4 cup dried pasta (elbow macaroni or ditalini) 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves 1/3 cup freshly grated ParmigianoReggiano, plus more for serving 12 Culinaire | March 2021

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Cook pancetta until the fat begins to render. Add the onion, carrot and celery and increase the heat to medium; cook until the onions become translucent. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. 2. Add the wine and cook until it has nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, salt, pepper, beans, lentils, tomatoes, bay leaves and rosemary. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are just tender. 3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer 1 cup of the bean mixture and a little liquid to a blender. Remove the center knob so steam can escape. Hold a paper towel or kitchen towel over the opening to

prevent splatters. Purée until smooth and set aside. 4. Add pasta and stir to incorporate. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite. Remove and discard bay leaves. 5. Stir the puréed bean mixture into the soup. Cook briefly, until the soup is heated through. 6. Remove the soup from heat and stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and more cheese, if desired.


This soup is best served immediately; as it sits, the pasta and beans soak up the broth. If the soup gets too thick, you can thin it with a bit of broth or water.

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca Serves 4

4 tsp (20 mL) anchovy oil 8 Tbs (120 mL) good quality extra virgin olive oil, divided 7 garlic cloves chopped ½ red chilli deseeded 7 anchovy fillets, chopped 4 tsp capers ½ cup (120 mL) white wine 160 g cherry tomatoes halved 160 g black olives roughly chopped 680 mL bottle Italian passata To taste salt and pepper 400 g spaghetti (Chef Pizzulo suggests De Cecco or La Molisana) ½ cup grated Pecorino cheese Handful parsley, chopped

1. In a saucepan large enough to add pasta, over medium heat start cooking the garlic and chili in the anchovy oil and half of the olive oil. Add anchovies and capers. 2. Deglaze pan with white wine, add cherry tomatoes, olives, and passata. 3. Cook on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. 4. Cook spaghetti al dente according to package directions, drain, and add directly to sauce and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. 5. Finish with parsley, Pecorino, and the remaining olive oil.

Turn Up The Heat

With a Diploma of Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institution of Manilo-Rossi in Italy, and experience working in Michelin Star restaurants cooking French, modern European, and Italian cuisine, Chef Michele Pizzulo is more local these days, running his private chef business in Calgary. According to Pizzulo, using freshpicked ingredients from his garden, such as cherry tomatoes and eggplant to make a simple dish that elevates their flavours, is what makes Italian food so popular. “Italian cuisine is simple and delicious,” he explains. “With a bit of knowledge and practice, anyone can cook Italian food.” Tastes and scents often trigger the most powerful memories. Pizzulo recalls, “I remember growing up in Italy. On our way to the beach we used to stop and have for breakfast [freshly made] buffalo mozzarella, or just simply eating a tomato just picked from the garden. I can never forget those memories!” These memories of Italy, combined with years of tradition, make things like DOP Buffalo Mozzarella from Campania, and San Marzano tomatoes important elements of Pizzulo’s cuisine. “The taste, the origin and history have been preserved, and the production is the same as our grandparents used to do years ago. While spaghetti alla puttanesca originated in Naples and is traditionally made without anchovies, Pizzulo’s recipe uses them to give it what he calls a “Lazio twist.” Squisito!

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Aside from the chef’s hat, Calgary Chef Mike Pigot also dons that of a culinary consultant, hospitality entrepreneur, and business partner with Pasta La Mano, which produces a selection of high-quality sauces, as well as a variety of artisanal pastas. So, it’s no surprise that he knows a thing or two when it comes to Italian cuisine. It’s the idea of comfort that Pigot says makes Italian cooking so appealing. “It pulls you in and holds you there. It’s like a long hug from a loved one.” And, like any comforting dish, it’s all about how it’s put together. “[Italian] is truly a cuisine where you want the ingredients to shine without much alteration,” says Pigot. “It’s simple done right.” If you’re making pasta from scratch, be sure to let your dough rest, and select the best flour. And nothing can compare to using the best tomatoes when making sauces. “You cannot beat a DOP San Marzano tomato,” Pigot explains. “They have a beautiful sweetness, balanced acidity and a great tomato intensity.” With a wide canned selection available in the province, adopt Pigot’s process, and don’t skimp here, especially when recreating his recipe for Amatriciana Sauce.

Amatriciana Sauce Serves 4

2 Tbs (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil ¾ cup (170 g) pancetta, finely diced 4 garlic cloves, minced 1 small shallot, peeled and minced 1 tsp Calabrian chilli, chopped 1 Tbs (30 mL) fresh oregano, minced To taste kosher salt 796 mL can San Marzano tomatoes, puréed 10 basil leaves, chiffonade 14 Culinaire | March 2021

1. Place a large saucepan on mediumhigh heat, add your olive oil and pancetta. Cook for 6-9 minutes until pancetta is golden brown 2. Reduce heat and add garlic, shallot, chillies and oregano, lightly season with kosher salt. Cook for 3-5 minutes until garlic and shallot are translucent. 3. Add in puréed San Marzano tomatoes and cook for 15-20 minutes on medium heat until the sauce thickens and is well combined. 4. Add in your basil and reduce heat to a low simmer. Adjust seasoning as needed.


700 g fresh tagliatelle pasta Salt ½ cup (120 g) Pecorino Romano, finely grated 1 Tbs (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

1. Bring to boil a medium to large pot of well-salted water. Add in pasta and cook according to package directions. 2. Drain pasta, reserving 1 to 2 Tbs of pasta water. 3. Add pasta and pasta water to your amatriciana sauce. 4. Add Pecorino Romano and stir in. 5. Finish pasta by stirring in 1 Tbs (15 mL) of extra virgin olive oil 6. Plate up and garnish with a little more pecorino and some chiffonade or torn basil.

Tip: adding a teaspoon of semolina flour to your pasta water increases the starch content and makes for a silkier sauce.

We’re so pleased to offer live Vine & Dine pairing dinners again! We’re working on 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. Your safety is still is a priority at our pairing dinners, and we have a clean slate from our dinners last year. Our promise is that we’ll only offer live events where it’s completely safe, and you can relax and enjoy the evenings. The restaurants we work with not only meet AHS regulations but try to exceed them. Please check regularly, and email if you’d like to be included in our fortnightly updates to hear about dine-in and take-out dinners before the rest of the city. They do sell out rather quickly! One-off Special Live Fine & Dine Dinner at Hotel Arts Thursday March 11. Our superb, upscale, paired take-out packages from Chef Quinn Staple at Hotel Arts have all been hugely popular, and now we’re thrilled to offer a special 4-course pairing dinner for one night only in our private dining room. We’re also offering a 4-course take-out package too for those who aren’t able to join us!

A historic producer, yet open to innovation, and has re-interpreted Appassimento with modernity and originality to make its five Amarone wines and Campofiorin, the original Supervenetian.





Vine & Dine Pairing Dinners at Pubblico Italian Kitchen Sunday March 20, Tuesday 23, or Monday 29. Our paired take-out dinner packages last month from Pubblico Italian Kitchen all sold out, and now we’re excited to enjoy three live evenings here in Marda Loop in our own dining room, with a new 6-course pairing menu! One Night Only! Premium Take-out Paired Dinner Package from Bonterra Trattoria Thursday March 25. Our Christmas in Italy 4-course paired dinner packages sold out in just a few days, and now we’re delighted to announce our Spring premium take-out paired dinner package. 4 superb courses, each carefully paired to complement the dishes, and a video too. They will go fast! Paired Take-Out Packages from the new Jane Bond BBQ Marketplace We offered a delicious, 3-course paired BBQ package last year from Jane Bond BBQ, and now we’ve planned one from their new Marketplace of homemade frozen ready meals, with a fresh starter – and it includes a whole jar of some of the best Caesar dressing we’ve tasted!! Menus and restaurants change regularly, so check out our March live and take-out paired dinners, and email to reserve yours.

An exceptionally versatile wine, good with pasta dishes dressed with rich sauces (meat or mushrooms); grilled or roast red meat, and game. Ideal with well-aged cheeses.

Very well balanced, and excellent with red meat, game, quail, and richly flavoured dishes. Also enjoy with well-aged cheeses, such as parmesan, pecorino and gorgonzola, or on its own as an after-dinner wine.

Vegan Friendly: Masi do not use any animal by-products or allergy-causing products in the production of their wines.

From co-owning a family restaurant nominated as one of Canada’s 10 best, to opening her private chef business, Amy Kellock’s love of the culinary arts is evident, and she’s imparting her knowledge and skill upon students in the Foundations of Cooking program at Edmonton’s NorQuest college. When it comes to Italian cooking, Kellock says “[it] starts with fresh ingredients, cooked long and slow with love.” She adds, “Love is always my number one ingredient.” Most importantly, don’t get discouraged. “If at first you don’t succeed, laugh it off, rethink what went wrong and make it again another day. Practice makes perfect and perfect is relative.” While olive oils, balsamic and other types of vinegars, and imported dried pasta are on Kellock’s list of great DOP products available in Alberta, “one must use real Parmigiano Reggiano when cooking anything that calls for parm!”

Grilled Tuscan Pizza with Red Wine Pizza Sauce Serves 2-4

Homemade Tomato Sauce

3 Tbs (45 mL) extra virgin olive oil 1 medium onion, diced 8 garlic cloves, minced ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (adjust to taste) 1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped 2 - 798 mL cans San Marzano tomatoes, puréed 1 tsp sugar Salt to taste 3 Tbs fresh basil 1. Slowly warm the olive oil in a heavy bottom saucepan. Add onion, garlic, chillies, and oregano. Simmer gently until onions are translucent. 16 Culinaire | March 2021

2. Add puréed tomatoes, sugar, and salt. Add half of the basil and simmer for one hour. Add the rest of the basil and adjust seasoning to taste.

Red Wine Pizza Sauce

3 Tbs (45 mL) extra virgin olive oil 1 shallot, sliced 1 Tbs fresh oregano, chopped ½ cup (120 mL) dry red wine 1 cup (250 mL) Homemade Tomato Sauce To taste salt and pepper 1. In a heavy bottom saucepan heat oil slowly. Add shallots and cook them low and slow until they are translucent. Add oregano cook for 1 minute longer. 2. Add red wine and let reduce to a little less than half. 3. Add homemade tomato sauce and simmer until sauce is nice and thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.


1 premade pizza dough* 1 Tbs (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil 1 garlic clove, sliced Fresh basil leaves Arugula or spinach Assorted toppings (zucchini, kalamata olives, arugula, spinach, etc) Grated cheese blend: any combination of

Fontina, Pecorino, Taleggio, Parmigiano Reggiano, aged Provolone, Burrata, Smoked Cheddar, Gruyere, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella Toasted pine nuts 1. Preheat grill to 400º F. Prep grill for direct high heat, making sure grill surface is well-cleaned and seasoned. 2. Thinly roll out pizza dough. Grill on both sides on direct heat, about a minute or two on each side. Cool on a rack to keep the crust from getting soggy. 3. Lightly brush olive oil over the entire grilled crust. Rub thinly sliced garlic over the service. 4. Spread red wine pizza sauce all the way to the edge of the dough. 5. Sprinkle with torn basil leaves and arugula or spinach. Top sparingly with toppings and finish with cheese and pine nuts. 6. Bake at 400º F till golden and bubbly. Enjoy!

* See for Kellock’s pizza dough recipe 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.

Will your products be winners in 2021?

Registration opens March 31st, 2021! Celebrating Alberta’s Best Beverages The Alberta Beverage Awards celebrates the very best wines, beers, spirits, mixers, meads, and sake available to Albertans. Visit to enter your products!

Registration Deadline June 25 Judging Takes Place July 19-21 For more information, contact competition director Tom Firth:


March 2021 | Culinaire 17


Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar



n the heart of Italy, chefs and locals alike balance both acids and fats to achieve a range of savoury flavours in their regional dishes. Fats like prosciutto, extra virgin olive oil, and burrata cheese can carry flavours or create textures in our food, from crispy to creamy. Acid, on the other hand, creates an essential contrast to umami flavours and includes everything from bright notes of citrus to the biting zing of vinegar.

A Taste Of Tradition

A thirty-minute train ride from Emilia-Romagna’s regional capital, Bologna, lies Modena. It’s a city famous for a centuries-old acidic ingredient synonymous with Italian cuisine: traditional balsamic vinegar. Nicknamed ‘black gold’, this thick, shiny and syrupy vinegar is made from white trebbiano and lambrusco grapes, and cooked for nearly 30 hours in a copper cauldron over an open fire. Like wine, it is matured in wooden barrels, but rather than aging in cellars, the vinegar is housed in attics to help with evaporation and fermentation. The process is painstakingly long, taking no less than twelve years for the harvest to move to successively smaller and smaller barrels until it achieves its distinct flavour, and is given its certified status as Balsamic Vinegar de Modena. The resulting product is a dark, rich, and viscous treacle that acquires a sweet and sour taste, with a heavy aroma and bouquet that is unlike any other. It can be used as a sauce, a garnish, or even consumed as a liquor. Balsamic vinegar is often drizzled over wedges of Parmigiano Reggiano, tossed with spinach-stuffed tortellini, or nestled underneath thin slices of salmon carpaccio. On both hot 18 Culinaire | March 2021

Courtesy Consortium of Producers of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

and cold dishes, it’s added just before serving in order to keep the unique aroma and taste intact. When looking for balsamic vinegar at your local market, it’s important to check the label when purchasing a certified traditional balsamic vinegar. There is a wide range of quality when it comes to balsamic vinegars, and many of the cheaper varieties contain additives such as caramel to replicate the darkness and sweetness found in the original. Balsamic Vinegar de Modena is a heavily regulated and protected DOP product, and no additives or shortcuts are permitted.

A Royal History

Today, balsamic vinegar can be purchased everywhere from speciality

Italian markets to your big chain grocery store. However, early makers of the product, dating back to the early sixteenth century, refused to sell it - a 1919 treaty forbid the practice. Instead, the vinegar functioned as either an inheritance or a precious gift, often given to nobles who consumed it during their banquets. The oldest vinegar makers used to bestow barrels as part of dowries to demonstrate wealth, and producers regarded their craft as a tradition, not business. However, this led to complications during attempts to regulate the product over the years, resulting in situations that jeopardized the quality of the product from those who didn’t adhere to original practices. It wasn’t until 1979, when the

Courtesy Consortium of Producers of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

Consortium of Producers of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena was founded, that traditional balsamic vinegar achieved any regulatory protection. Now, traditional balsamic vinegar is a mainstay on the gastronomy scene in Italy and abroad. Flavourful acids, especially balsamic vinegar, are lost without their culinary companion: fat. Italy produces some of the most delicious and unique fats, which are all governed and certified for their authenticity.

The Simple Olive

Olive oil is not only a must-have in the kitchen, but it also remains the staple of the Mediterranean diet. Nowadays, we may use it as a cooking oil, but it has been used since ancient times as an elixir, a food, and even an ointment with healing properties. Take a drive or train ride between towns in Italy, and you will find the olive tree is a dominant feature of the Italian landscape, with its sageshaped leaves and oval-stoned fruits. Across the country, olive oil has been cultivated since Roman times. Low altitudes and valleys create microclimates that protect the crops

shattering the pulp cells, they release droplets of oil. The entire process is done “cold” at temperatures no higher than 27° C, to preserve quality and flavour. Dark bottles protect the oil from harmful light exposure - as unlike wine, olive oil does not get better with age. At home, when you’re shopping for a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, plan to use it straight away. Peppery and robust oils are great for serving crudo - drizzled raw, over vegetables or pastas. Varieties that are bright green in colour are excellent for vegetables like cauliflower, legumes and chickpeas. Other oils have sweet and bitter flavours, which are ideal for fish, meat or game. When choosing oil for frying, sautéing or browning, it’s best not to go for the

Many of the cheaper varieties (of balsamic vinegar) contain additives such caramel to replicate the darkness and sweetness found in the original from cold winds, resulting in ellipticalshaped fruits that are fig-like, ranging from blackish to even purplish green in colour. When harvested in October through November, the olives are brought to a mill for extraction that is done by mechanical means. The oil itself is actually embedded within the vegetable tissues, so by crushing and

most expensive bottles. Even though extra virgin olive oil has a generally high smoke-point, it can lose its aroma and delicate flavours in the cooking process. Quick-fried fish, prawns or croquettes are best done with neutral-tasting oil such as sunflower, canola or grapeseed, which can withstand even higher temperatures.

The Jewels Of Italy

Meats, cheese, olive oils and vinegars are the jewels of Italian cuisine. For the average home cook, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar may seem like simple condiments, but these two pairings have been cultivated from centuries of ancient knowledge and tradition. Many traditional balsamic vinegar barrels are highly coveted, with some dating back to 200 years old, and still in use today. Each resulting batch is said to contain properties from the previous generations, adding to flavour and complexity. Evidence of olive cultivation is deeply rooted in Italy, as discovered in Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna’s River Lamone Valley, where a rudimentary olive press dating back to Roman times was found in the local church crypt. Since those times, olives and grapes have transformed into the foundations of Italian culinary heritage and have made their way overseas to modern grocery stores and speciality shops for us to enjoy.

Lexie Angelo is a food and lifestyle writer in Calgary. She is a traveler and adventurer always in search of the hottest trends in food and drink from around the world. Follow her on twitter @angelolexie March 2021 | Culinaire 19





atie Eyre is the founder and creative lead of Brie & Banquet Wild Catering Co, and a colour and flavour-obsessed, rebellious food stylist, relentlessly supportive of small, local food crafters. Her boards are like a blank canvas: “As long as you have the best and most beautiful inclusions, you know it will taste great, and then you can just play,” she says. Eyre’s guide for her boards is at least three cheeses (hard, medium and soft), two meats, a pickled item, olives or tapenade, a jam or jelly, fresh fruit, cucumber and crunchy things. “Always include something tangy, something juicy and something crunchy,” she adds. Her beautiful boards stand out for their wild abundance, bold colours, and lots of interesting texture - plus a focus on local products. Eyre’s charcuterie board includes: CHARCUTERIE: Genoa Salami: named after Genoa in Italy, where it is believed to have originated. It’s oily, garlicky, with a fermented flavour, and peppercorn crunch. Prosciutto: almost everyone’s favourite charcuterie board meat. Italian dry-cured ham, melt in your mouth buttery texture, salty, smooth, and absolutely delicious. CHEESE: Gorgonzola: a blue cheese named after the town of Gorgonzola, in the metropolitan city of Milan. Perfect with honey, sweet jams and jellies, and unsalted nuts. Asiago: also originating in northern Italy, and known for its glorious pastureland that produces incredible savoury cheeses. Pairs beautifully with pickles and dried fruit. Goat Cheese (Dancing Goat Farm, Acme): a marinated goat cheese with a luscious base of “Waltz” soft goat cheese topped with Italian country-style olives and pistachios. Slather on a cracker or fresh bread. Margherita Vegan Cheese (Flora Fromage, Calgary): a soft, fermented cashew cheese with Sicilian inspired flavours of sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. Rich and romantic, for vegans and lactose intolerant. Canadian Brie: because every Brie & Banquet piece includes their namesake cheese!

ACCOMPANIMENTS: Fresh Edible Flowers: A Brie & Banquet signature, Eyre always includes edible flowers chosen for their unique flavours. Raspberry Vanilla Jam (Preserved Foods Boutique, Bragg Creek) 20 Culinaire | March 2021

Italian Grissini Breadsticks Artisan Olive Sourdough (Yum Bakery, Calgary) Fresh Fruit: Sicilian blood oranges, juicy grapes and beautiful fresh figs.


We're not just another delivery service.

We're the Best of Calgary Foods.

Delicious, local and direct to your door — shopping for food has never been better. Top-drawer food delivery service that brings 24 of Calgary’s culinary legends and artisan foods together under one umbrella and delivers them straight to your door.


est of Calgary Foods (BOCF) is an easy way to shop for some of the city’s best food and drink. It’s a one-stop shop for all your favourite local shops… but without all the driving… or mask wearing! BOCF is Calgary’s first owner-operated food and beverage delivery company. It’s a consortium of 24 local food artisans and beverage purveyors that have joined under one umbrella to provide Calgarians a unique boutique food and beverage shopping experience featuring over 1,000 different products available for home delivery. With the click of a button, you can order fresh produce, ready-made meals, baked goods, ethnic foods, cheese and dairy products, meats and butchered items, sweets and desserts, oils and sauces, pastas, honey, coffee, kombucha, craft beer, spirits, wine and more. The concept of BOCF was born during the first COVID lockdown. Small businesses quickly realized they needed to do something radical to ensure they didn’t become one of the countless businesses that have closed since the pandemic began. Sharla Dube, owner of the Cherry Pit and member of BOCF, observed that “many small businesses were not allowed to stay open, while multi-national chains had lines into the hundreds.” She harkened it to being like “witnessing a modern version of Marie Antoinette’s ‘let them eat cake.’ Small business was starving.” The lockdown served as a catalyst for a host of local businesses to mobilize to sell their products through a digital platform. There were obvious benefits for uniting with other like-minded entrepreneurs. Janeen Norman, President of BOCF and partner in family-owned Alpine Sausage, believes that when operating “alone small business can be vulnerable, together we can be strong. We are now able to take back our power, by-pass huge commission

striations and become self-reliant.” BOCF began home deliveries in November 2020 and saw a quick surge in demand in December. Right at the onset, partners realized the benefits of the partnership - from expanding their reach while keeping their operating costs at acceptable levels. Cherie and Art Andrews of Chinook Honey were concerned about the costs associated with opening another store or kiosk but found the digital platform and home delivery model to be a great alternative to another bricks and mortar location “[Best of Calgary Foods] helped us expand our reach in every corner of the city helping our business grow.” There are many benefits to BOCF’s customers and environmental ones too. Consolidating the deliveries through

one hub has resulted in convenience and societal benefits as well. Michael Wenzlawe and Jamie Parker from Calgary Heritage Roasting Company were thrilled about their smaller environmental impact through this unique model: “We loved reducing the carbon footprint into one delivery while bringing [Calgarians] the best food and beverage in the city.” With the diversity of offerings provided by the merchants and the convenience of home delivery, BOCF continues to grow in popularity for Calgarians in all parts of the city. As the days grow longer heading into Spring, visit the site to see the new additions from the artisans, particularly for early harvests and specialty items over the Easter Holiday.

22 Culinaire | March 2021


Tres Marias

March 2021 | Culinaire 23


Alpine Sausage provides

locally sourced, quality free-range, hormone and antibiotic free meat and poultry products with a Danish influence and contemporary tastes from deli-meats to charcuterie, jerky, burgers and more.

Calgary Heritage Roasting Company brews up a bold assortment of smooth easy drinking coffee in sustainable ways.

Cherry Pit showcases the fresh

fruit and vegetables of over 20 local growers including hard-tofind items like fiddleheads, figs and microgreens.

Chinook Honey and Chinook Arch Meadery

Chinook Honey and Chinook Arch Meadery serve up hives of nature’s gold with great honey, honey-made products and mead.

2 Greek Gals prepares authentic Greek Food including ready-made meals, classic frozen dishes, dips, chips, pita bread and more.

Glamorgan Bakery might

be famous for their cheese buns but they’ve been baking so much more, like pies, breads, desserts and pastries for over forty years.

Gull Valley Greenhouse

offers up fresh, locally grown farmto-plate produce from their familyowned-and-operated farm in central Alberta.

Lakeview Bakery has been

providing delicious and nutritious breads, buns and desserts for the past 30 years including gluten-free, low-carb, diabetic, organic, dairy-free, yeast-free and egg-free baked goods.

Lambtastic Farms features

ethically raised and hormone freerange premium lamb products (and duck too).

Noble Premium Bison offers

premium bison meat sustainably ranched-raised on Canadian grasslands with no hormones or

antibiotics. Eat Better. Eat Bison. Noble’s ranch-to-plate philosophy promotes care at every step and compromises nothing.

Peasant Cheese offers Calgarians the opportunity to nibble your way through a wondrous selection of cheeses and charcuterie. Pie Cloud embraces everything pie from sweet offerings to savoury and the sublime, with everything made from scratch using the best ingredients possible. Primal Soup Company has

Tres Marias serves up authentic

Mexican cuisine with fresh tortillas, salsas and meals to go. Made from scratch with local, organic and natural ingredients.

Ukrainian Fine Foods offers a wide selection of frozen products for your family to make at home using the best ingredients with no additives, preservatives or msg. Prepare a Ukrainian feast with perogies, cabbage rolls, borscht, perishky and more. Village Brewery brews up

been serving Calgarians happiness in a bowl for decades with their made from scratch gluten free soup.

an array of craft beers, ciders, malt seltzers and non-alcoholic beers to pair up for any occasion with Best of Calgary Foods.

Richmond Hill Wines is one

Wild Tea Kombucha is

of the oldest independent wine stores in Alberta focused on providing their community with the best possible range of wines and products at the lowest possible prices.

Rocky Ridge Dairy specializes in farm-fresh goat milk and organic Jersey milk and cheese products. Rich in A2 protein and easy to digest, from grass to your glass, you have never tasted better. Soffrito offers the finest selection

of single sourced olive oils and vinegars, prepares fresh pasta as well as a host of ready made meals and more.

Sweetsmith Candy Company has been delighting

palates with their array of candies including gluten free, vegan, soy free and keto options.

Tea Trader has been importing

and selling teas for over 30 years in their Inglewood location. Check out their amazing selections to brew up some exotic flavours in the comfort of your home.

Torill’s Table prepares wholesome and nutritious waffle and pancake mixes including gluten free offerings served up with a Norweigian twist.

brewed with love and care right here in Calgary serving up the most delicious raw, unpasteurized, naturallyfermented kombuchas on the market with three different offerings: cocktail-inspired kombucha, lowsugar kombucha soda and new hard kombucha cider.

How to Order: Set up an account at and, with just a click of a button, your order can come to straight to your door in one delivery. Like the service? You can also establish a standing order that gets automatically processed every week. You can add or delete items from your order whenever you want – there is no contract, subscription fee or commitment required. Delivery Process:

Delivery occurs Thursdays and Fridays between 3pm-8pm. Orders must be placed by 11:59pm on Saturday for delivery the following week. Delivery is $10 anywhere in the city. For liquor orders, someone with proof of legal majority age must be present to accept the order. Delicious, local and direct to your door – shopping for artisan foods has never been better.



hether you are getting ready to (hopefully) do some entertaining again when the weather improves, or desperately missing having a winter getaway, it’s a good month to shake things up and capture in some small way an exotic locale from somewhere down south to the true north. Closer to home, we have some incredible tipples with a closer connection including some premium, prepared cocktails.

Siempre Reposado Tequila, Mexico Siempre already makes one of my favourite tequilas available in Alberta, so it was very exciting to see the reposado join the lineup. Aged in oak for six months (as opposed to 24 for the Añejo) it is exceptionally smooth with a lifted spiciness that evokes the holidays - even a little gingerbread, but not too much oak to obscure the spirit. Definitely a sipping tequila. CSPC +840204 About $65-70 Two Brewers Single Malt Whisky Yukon, Canada Released as part of their “Innovative” Series, the 20th release is a single malt whisky – finished in maple syrup barrels. Akin to oloroso sherry casks, the barrels lend a rich, mildly sweet smokiness to the nose and palate, with spicy heat and wisps of cocoa and gingerbread. Very interesting to drink and savour, but also works just as well neat (or with a splash of water), or in simple cocktails. CSPC +832900 Around $100-110

Hornitos Reposado Tequila, Mexico A popular tequila and easy to see why. Plenty of saline and leathery, earthy characters that describe good tequila, but on the palate evokes that classic “kick” so many equate with tequila, but quite smooth and rolls around the mouth with style. An excellent reposado to have on hand when the need arises. CSPC +143040 $43-46 Smooth Ambler American Whisky, USA We love a local connection AND products that benefit charity too. Smooth Ambler, of West Virginia, kindly offered Madeleine MacDonald, hospitality instructor at SAIT, to choose four single casks of their Old Scout Bourbon, with $10 from each bottle going to support the Bartenders Benevolent Fund (BBF) and the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association (CPBA). They’re all cask strength (perfect for your Manhattans) and we really enjoyed CPBA Cask 2, which opens up beautifully with a drop of water, filling your palate with delicious chocolate orange and coffee notes. CSPC +842673 $95-99

Cocktail Concierge Drinksmith Collection, Calgary The website says: “Cocktail Concierge is a bespoke brand of uber high-end bottled cocktails.” And you know what? It’s true! There’s a lot of pre-mixed cocktail offerings available at the moment, but this range is another level. You can easily imagine that you’re sipping in a 5-star hotel lounge, but then founder, Calgary local JD Darnes, has spent more than 20 years mixing drinks for the rich and famous. With this range, he’s not just mixing spirits and bitters etc, he’s actually making the spirits to his specifications – the gin in Chai Negroni is a labour of love, a grape-based eau de vie made from scratch at Bridgeland Distillery in a nano batch of 75 L. And the chai is made with products from two Inglewood stores: Tea Traders’ Assam tea blended with spices from Silk Road. The Negroni is a beautiful amber colour, and you’re greeted by warm aromas of baking spices and sweet mandarin, which follow through to the palate where they’re joined by subtle chai spice and a touch of wood, adding both depth and complexity. Exemplary. CSPC +841166 500 mL $60 Other Drinksmith Collection cocktails include: Agave Old Fashioned Cacao Boulevardier Paper Plane Wild Rose Vesper Smoked Walnut Old Fashioned March 2021 | Culinaire 25

Cod Fritters Makes 7

Fritters Footloose and Fancy Free STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY NATALIE FINDLAY There are few rules when it comes to fritters. Essentially, it’s any ingredient (meat, seafood, vegetable, cheese, fruit) that has been battered or breaded, and fried. Both sweet and savoury mixes come together easily; there is no need to be denied.

Cavolo Nero Fritters Makes 4

½ cup Cavolo Nero (black kale), thinly sliced 1 Tbs parsley, finely chopped 2 Tbs pine nuts 1 Tbs green onion ½ cup Parmesan cheese ½ cup gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour ½ tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt 1 lemon, zest 1 egg 4 Tbs (60 mL) water Olive oil for frying 26 Culinaire | March 2021

1. In a small bowl combine kale, parsley, pine nuts, green onion and Parmesan cheese. 2. In a medium bowl, add gluten-free flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest and whisk to combine. 3. Add the egg and the water to the flour mixture and whisk to incorporate. 4. Add the kale mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine. 5. Preheat a sauté pan on medium heat, add a thin layer of oil to cover the pan base. 6. Scoop ¼ cup (60 mL) of the batter into the frying pan, like a pancake. Cook until lightly browned on each side, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve warm.

½ cup salted cod 2 Tbs green onion, thinly sliced 2 Tbs tomato, finely chopped, seeded 1 Tbs parsley, finely chopped 1/3 cup gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour ½ tsp baking powder 1/8 tsp salt 3½ Tbs (52 mL) water Oil for frying 1. Reconstitute dehydrated salted cod by soaking in cold water for 6 hours or overnight, changing the water 2 or 3 times. 2. In a small pan, place cod and cover with fresh water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook 5 - 7 minutes. Turn off stove. Pour out hot water and let fish cool to the touch. Note: you can speed this up by covering the fish with cold water and refreshing water until the fish is cool enough to handle. 3. In a small pot, preheat oil for frying. 4. Break up cod into small pieces. 5. In a medium bowl, add the cod, green onion, tomato, and parsley and stir to combine. 6. In another medium bowl, add the gluten-free flour, baking powder, salt, and whisk together. Add the water to the flour bowl and whisk to incorporate. Stir in the ingredients from the cod bowl into the flour bowl until everything is incorporated. 7. Once the oil is hot, gently drop about 1-2 Tbs size rounds of batter into the pot. Do not overcrowd the pot. Let fry approximately 2 minutes and turn. 8. Let brown another couple of minutes and remove from the pot and place on paper towel. Serve warm.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip Makes 1½ cups

1 Tbs (15 mL) olive oil 3 red peppers, whole ½ tsp salt ½ lemon, zest Water or olive oil to thin 1. Preheat oven to 450º F or broil. 2. Coat the peppers with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast or broil the peppers until they start to char and the skin gets black, turning to char all sides of the peppers. 3. Remove from oven and immediately place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let peppers cool to the touch. 4. The peppers will have softened and the skin will be easy to peel off. Remove the skin, stem and seeds from the peppers. Place the peppers in a blender, food processor or use a hand blender, and whirl until the peppers are smooth. 5. Add the salt and lemon zest and combine. Add water or olive oil to thin to desired consistency.


This dipping sauce is great on both the kale and cod fritters.

Lemon Ricotta Fritters Makes 13

½ cup (120 mL) ricotta cheese 1 lemon, zest & juice 1 egg 1 tsp (5 mL) limoncello ½ cup flour 1/8 tsp salt 3 Tbs icing sugar 1 tsp baking powder Oil for frying 1. In a small pot, preheat oil for frying. 2. In a medium bowl, mix all wet ingredients (ricotta, lemon zest, egg, limoncello) together. 3. In another medium bowl, whisk all dry ingredients (flour, salt, icing sugar and baking powder) together. 4. Combine the wet into the dry ingredients and stir until the wet and dry ingredients are fully incorporated.

5. Once the oil is hot, gently drop about 1½ Tbs (22 mL) size rounds of batter into the pot. Do not overcrowd the pot. Let fry approximately 2 minutes and turn. Let brown another couple of minutes and remove from the pot and place on a paper towel. 6. Dust with icing sugar and serve.


The use of gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour in some of these recipes is both for those who are sensitive to gluten and they also provide a lighter fritter than using regular all purpose flour (you can substitute for regular flour).

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.

A real good egg. Spring for the good stuff: delightful chocolate confections handcrafted with simple ingredients, no artificial preservatives, and delicious couverture chocolate made with certified sustainable and fair trade cocoa and cocoa butter. Shop in person: Victoria Park • Bankers Hall • Signal Hill • Southcentre Curbside pickup: Cococo Chocolate Factory in Mayland Heights Shop online: chocolate together

Finding the cure: VDG Salumi embraces the art of Italian meats BY ELIZABETH CHORNEY-BOOTH


hese days, hand-crafted cured meats are almost expected on a high-end grazing board, but when, at just 14 years old, Stuart Kirton started exploring the curing process in his parents’ basement, the art of salumi was still largely the domain of old school Italians. Cured meat has always been the Calgary-based chef’s passion and in 2016, with the launch of VDG Salumi, he made it the focus of his career. Since then, the demand for quality, locally made charcuterie has only grown, and VDG has grown right along with it. Stuart Kirton is no slouch when it comes to the world of food — he’s got

28 Culinaire | March 2021

a stack of culinary credentials and has worked at some very prestigious fine dining restaurants — and the call of salumi led him to Italy, where he studied the art of curing in Parma and Sicily. He started VDG slowly, selling his wares to other chefs through the backdoors of local restaurants. In 2017, the company graduated to making 165 g salami boxes that were sold in a small selection of independent retail stores in Calgary. It’s been a nice cottage industry-style business — or at least it was until last year, when VDG seized the opportunity to shift into something much bigger by opening its own larger-scale production facility.

“Although the pandemic has been incredibly challenging for us and many other people, we grew from nine retail accounts to over 400 last year,” says Mikaela Kirton, VDG’s CEO and Director of Business and Finance Operations (she also happens to be Stuart Kirton’s wife). “And that’s strictly from us managing our operations and growing here in Alberta.” The expansion has come at a good time. Not only has the demand for interesting artisanal charcuterie items grown around the world as people have demanded cured meats that go beyond your standard cold cuts or deli slices, but COVID-19 has meant that more people are taking the time to indulge in luxury food items as they lay low in their own homes. Albertans are getting used to a taste of the good stuff, so to speak, which means many of us are willing to splurge on a 165 g cured sausage, slice it thin, and savour it with a glass of wine while binging on Netflix or video conferencing with friends. There’s no point in scaling up unless the product is something people want, and VDG’s products have proven to be pretty irresistible to cured meat lovers. The fat speckled sausages just look delicious, and VDG is now selling a range of sliced products — including prosciutto, guanciale, and deli pepperoni, and specialty items like orange red wine and fennel salami and grass-fed beef calabrese — as well as those little boxed salamis in varieties like pistachio, tartufo (truffle), and finocchiona (fennel). VDG is also innovative in the way it does business, with a legitimate mandate to give back to local communities. The company is undergoing the process to become a Certified B Corporation, meaning that it will be obligated to consider the well-being of its staff, community, customers, suppliers, and the environment, when making business decisions (other Certified B Corporations include Ben and Jerry’s and Klean Kanteen). They’ve also partnered with Mealshare, with meals donated

Mikaela Kirton - CEO

when customers make purchases on the VDG website, and are also involved with various volunteer endeavours with more partnerships with non-profits on the way this year. Naturally, this dedication also extends to VDG’s actual product — they also do well by local ranchers, using pork from Bear and the Flower and grass-fed beef from Gemstone Cattle Company. Every sausage is GMO-free and gluten-free, not just because that’s what customers are looking for, but because that’s how Stuart has always wanted to craft his products. “Our ingredient list is incredibly simple,” Mikaela says. “Consumers are really smart and want to know where their product is coming from. They’re challenging brands to be transparent and to have authentic ingredients. A lot of meat products have come out with statements that they no longer use fillers, but we’ve never had any of that to begin with.” VDG is holding all of these values close to heart as they’ve expanded. The company’s products are now not just

Stuart Kirton- Founder, VP Operations

available through the website, but also at a wide range of independent grocery stores and health food markets, Italian specialty stores, cheese shops, Loblaw’s City Markets, Co-op Stores (excluding Calgary), Fresen Bros., and Blush Lane locations throughout Alberta. Mikaela says that she’s finding that Albertans in all corners of the province are coming to appreciate the craftsmanship and sense of tradition that drew Stuart to meat curing in the first place. “We’re really about moments and taking the time to enjoy your food and talk to your family and talk about the meat, talk about what you’re eating, talk about where it came from,” she says. “When you go to Italy or, you know, you experienced food from different cultures, that’s really what it’s about. 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.

Step By Step:




f you’re thinking that fresh sugary doughnuts and Nutella are a match made in heaven, you’re not wrong. Bomboloni are primarily associated with the Tuscany region of Italy, and are similar to filled doughnuts. They are called “bombe” or “bomba” because they resemble a small grenade. Also, these sweet treats pack a calorific

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punch, or “bomb”, but oh my heavens they taste so good! What makes these doughnuts different from their American-style cousins is that the filling is visible from the top and not hidden inside. Of course, you don’t have to use Nutella; any thick fruit jam, jelly, or favourite pastry cream or lemon curd will be delicious. Bomboloni carts are popular along

the sandy beaches, where the doughnuts are fried on the spot and filled with the rich chocolate hazelnut spread. I don’t know about you, but I would love to be on a Tuscan beach right about now. Until then, it’s good to know that you can easily make bomboloni in the comfort of your own kitchen. If you close your eyes, you can almost feel the Tuscan sun.

Nutella Bomboloni Makes 12

1 Tbs (15 mL) active dry yeast ¾ cup plus 2 Tbs (210 mL) warm whole milk 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for counter) ¼ cup granulated sugar ¼ tsp salt 1 large egg, beaten ¼ cup (60 mL) salted butter, softened and cubed 6 cups (1.5 L) canola oil, for frying


½ cup granulated sugar 375 g jar Nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread 1. Stir the yeast into the warm milk (should be about 105° F/40° C) and let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes. If the yeast doesn’t froth up, start over with new yeast. 2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir in the dissolved yeast and egg. Knead on low speed for 5-7 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. 3. With the motor running, add the butter, one chunk at a time, beating well after each addition. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, knead on low speed for 2 minutes. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise for 2 hours or until doubled. At this point, you can refrigerate the dough for frying the next day if you like. Just punch it down once it has risen for two hours, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight. Proceed with the following steps. 4. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and work it for a few seconds with your hands. Shape it into a round mound. Lightly flour the top and with a rolling pin, begin to roll the dough out into a rectangle about 2 cm thick. Use a pastry cutter to cut out circles. My cutter is 6.25 cm, but if you want smaller doughnuts go 5 cm; for bigger use 7.5 cm. Re-roll the scraps just once. You should get about 12 doughnuts. Transfer the rounds to a tray. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside to rise in a

warm place for about 30 minutes, or until slightly risen. 5. Pour the oil into a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot. Warm over medium heat until a thermometer reads 340° F (171° C). Keep the oil on low at this point, but be sure to maintain the temperature as much as possible. In batches of about 3-4 at a time, carefully add the doughnuts to the hot oil. I use my hands for this step. Carefully fry the doughnuts, turning them often, for about 90 seconds per side until golden brown. Using a

slotted spoon, remove the doughnuts to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and drain. Add the rest of the rounds to the oil and continue to fry. 6. Place ½ cup granulated sugar in a shallow bowl and toss the hot doughnuts until evenly coated. Set them aside on a clean platter. Be sure to do this step while the doughnuts are still very hot so the sugar clings to them. Let cool completely before filling with Nutella. 7. Once the doughnuts have cooled, use the end of a wooden spoon or chopstick to poke a hole in the side of each doughnut. Make an incision about halfway into the doughnut - you don’t want to poke through to the other side. Scoop the Nutella into a piping bag fitted with a plain tip (or use a Ziploc bag and make a small cut at the tip) and pipe until the doughnut feels full and a little Nutella comes out at the end. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts. Bomboloni are best eaten the day they are made.

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

From Far And Wide, Let’s Eat! Bringing Nonna’s Kitchen to Alberta: Italian-Albertan Stories BY SABRINA KOOISTRA


hi si volta, e chi si gira, sempre a casa va finire – ‘no matter where you go or turn, you’ll always end up at home’ – it’s the soul of Alberta’s Italian culinary offerings and especially those enjoyed this side of the Atlantic. Throughout the early to mid-20th century, thousands left rural areas of Southern Italy, and while farming put food on the table, it wasn’t fulfilling the dreams they had for themselves and their families. With Alberta boasting economic opportunity, they said goodbye to the comforts of home, and braved the jump. Along with their belongings, they brought artisanal, agricultural, and industrial skills that,

32 Culinaire | March 2021

along with grit and gumption, helped them achieve their dreams in cities like Calgary and Edmonton. But one thing remained: family. Settled Italian Canadians welcomed newly landed loved ones with open arms, hot meals, and a place to stay until they could do the same. It’s what historians call “migratory chains” where, through this cycle of love and hospitality, entire families and Italian villages found a new home and a new beginning in the same area. Despite having this circle of support, many still felt homesick. The comforts of home (language, food, and people) were, for many, still too far away. But this didn’t stop some Italians

immigrants from opening restaurants and grocery stores with wood-fired pizza ovens and Italian imports where customers can close their eyes and feel transported. Many of these businesses still exist today as proof that through love and great food, Italy isn’t so far away after all. In the 1950s, Frank Spinelli of the Italian Centre Shop left a farming life in San Pietro al Tangrao, in Campania, southwest Italy, to experience life outside Italian borders. While his plan was to travel, earn some cash, and head home, he suffered a major back injury at his job in a Yukon silver mine. Despite the setback, Spinelli was determined to continue his adventure – a Canadian adventure that would never end – and he was determined to make a go of his new life. He wanted to create a piazza where friends could gather and enjoy lattes; today Edmontonians know this as their Little Italy, where all who visit feel transported to Italy. It’s something Frank’s daughter, Teresa Spinelli, sees in their Calgary and Edmonton locations. “We really are a gathering place… people feel connected to the memories at home,” she says. “It’s just a happy place to be.” With food and gatherings at the core of Italian life, a trip to the Italian Centre Shop is like a pilgrimage – something Spinelli finds some Italian customers get emotional over. Her father listened to customers reminisce about home, the things they used to do and eat, and he worked hard to import those goods. Italian customers could find Italian newspapers and wine grapes that reminded them that home wasn’t so far away after all.

For those who aren’t Italian, the Italian Centre Shop remains a fixture in Alberta’s food scene. On the shelves, you’ll find not just one type of pesto, balsamic vinegar, or olive oil, but dozens. “With the exception of shaker Parmesan,” says Spinelli with a laugh, “the Italian Centre Shop has everything you need to bring Italy home.” For Tony Nicastro of PZA Parlour and Villa Firenze, embracing his Italian roots is one of the most natural parts of his career. His grandparents, Joe and Teresa Tudda, moved to Alberta in 1959 after farming in southern Italy. In 1991, they opened Villa Firenze, an upscale restaurant with rustic flare committed to tradition; it hasn’t changed much since the Tudda’s opened it three decades ago. For five years, Nicastro was removed from the industry and felt a void. “I couldn’t make a difference outside… there was no pride in anything,” he says. Re-encountering the passion and creativity of his relatives drove Nicastro to make his own mark – and he hasn’t looked back. He took the reins of Villa Firenze in 2013, opened PZA Parlour in Calgary in 2016, a “tradition meets modern” pizzeria, as well as a Cochrane location in 2019. The Cochrane location he’s found particularly fun as many of his relatives grew up in small Italian towns. It’s part of Nicastro’s communityminded, hands-on philosophy that’s not only been part of his success, but another way to tap into his cultural identity. You’ll find him chatting with customers to ensure they get the full

Teresa Tudda (left), Pina Nicastro (centre left) Peter Tudda (centre right)

Italian experience – the same experience he grew up with. “When you connect with the food you become part of the family,” Nicastro says. It’s no accident that you’ll feel part of the hundreds of years of family tradition. And isn’t that the essence of Italian cuisine? Pasta exists at the intersection of creativity and history, comfort food and fine dining. It’s a dish prepared and beloved across the world, but at its heart, it’s a reminder of some of the most important things we share: great food and greater people to share it with. Italian cuisine will forever be a reminder that at the table, we don’t get old. A tavola non si invecchia.


Nicastro’s grandparents, Teresa and Giuseppe Tudda

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.

Everyone has gone home a winner at our Culinaire Treasure Hunts; they’ve been so popular that the spots sell out every year, so now we’ve planned a new and exciting World Taste Tour with new treats. And it’s all in one indoor location – no driving across town! You’ll answer questions to learn and enjoy different foods at each stop, and use your new knowledge and skill to complete the Fresh & Local culinary puzzle to win fabulous prizes!


@ culinairemag


It’s another very fun and rewarding day, so grab a partner and sign up as a team of two, or sign up solo at Spots book up fast! IT’S GOING TO BE ANOTHER DAY TO REMEMBER!

@ culinairemag




annibale Chef, Kevin Turner, knows that people are looking for comfort food right now and his super creamy mac ’n’ cheese has been a big hit since he added it to his take-out menu last year. “It drives my wife crazy, but using Cheez Whiz give a familiar orange colour for mac ‘n cheese, and a creamy mouth-feel,” he says. “Shane Perrin, (owner of Cannibale and Blue Star Diner next door), asked to try it with the Cheetos as an option, and they give the perfect heat and crunch on top,” he adds.

Cannibale Mac ‘n’ Cheese Serves 4

110 g unsalted butter 110 g all purpose flour 4 cups (1 L) 3.25% Milk 2 cups aged white Cheddar, grated ½ cup Grana Padano, grated 1 cup Cheez Whiz 450 g macaroni pasta, cooked To taste salt and pepper 1 cup Flaming Cheetos, chopped, optional garnish ½ cup cilantro, rough chop, optional garnish 1. Melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until you have a smooth paste. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes. 2. Bring milk to a boil and whisk in butter/flour paste to make a roux. Bring back to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. 3. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve then add to a saucepan. 4. Whisk in all cheeses and season with salt and pepper. 5. Add pasta and heat through. Add chicken broth or water if too thick. 34 Culinaire | March 2021

6. Optional garnish: sprinkle with cilantro, and Flaming Cheetos to add a bit of spice and crunch!

The De Minicos are known for their jars of homemade pasta sauce, and the NE Calgary kitchen, pantry, and pizzeria, but they’re always experimenting with new ideas. “We make pasta frequently and one day (pre-COVID) a customer asked for mac and cheese for our hot table lunch special,” says Alessandro De Minico.

“We decided to add it as a monthly pasta special, and it would always sell out before the end of our lunch rush,” he explains. De Minico’s sister noticed it solidified as it cools, and decided to roll a few into balls, bread them, and deep fry them. After several attempts, she nailed down a recipe and handed out a few hundred samples - and eventually these popular crispy outside and ooey gooey inside, Bacon Mac and Cheese Balls were added to the menu!


Order for delivery or shop for us locally at your favorite grocer.

De Minico’s Bacon Mac and Cheese Balls Serves 4

2 cups elbow macaroni 450 g cooked and crumbled bacon 1 Tbs butter 1 Tbs all purpose flour ¾ cup (180 mL) milk ½ tsp salt ¼ tsp black pepper Pinch garlic powder Pinch cayenne pepper, to taste 2 cups shredded cheese (De Minico’s use ½ cup each of Monterey Jack, Mild Cheddar, Mozzarella, and Parmesan) 2 large eggs Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (substitute Panko) Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying Optional marinara sauce for dipping 1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook 7 minutes or as package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour to create a roux, cooking until bubbly. While whisking, add the milk in a thin stream. Season with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes. 3. Remove from heat and mix in about half of your cheese. Fold in macaroni and cooked bacon, stir in remaining cheese. 4. Spread mac and cheese onto parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 5. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop out the mixture and roll into balls. 6. Whisk eggs with 1-2 tablespoons of milk. Dip balls in egg mixture, then coat in breadcrumbs or panko. 7. Heat oil in a deep pot to 360° F on a deep-fry thermometer. Fry 3 or 4 mac and cheese balls at a time for 3 to 4 minutes per batch, until golden. 8. Drain briefly on a paper towel-lined plate; serve hot with marinara sauce on the side - and enjoy!

Come experience Spolumbos’ warmth and welcome in our home, or let us help you create it in yours. Eat-For-A-Week $100 Special

2 x Lasagna (beef or chicken) 4 x Cannelloni (two x 2 tray) 3 x Barca (one tray x 3) 24 Meatballs (two x 12 tray) 2 x Marinara (two jars) FREEZER-FRIENDLY PACKS



Craft Breweries Reclaim Lagers BY DAVID NUTTALL


Ask almost any beer lover to describe a lager and they will probably say it is a crisp, refreshing, clear, pale yellow beer without any strong flavours. While that describes most of what is mass-produced worldwide, lagers can be and are so much more. Often underappreciated, they have dominated brewing for the past 170 years. From the beginning, all beers were ales, a result of wild airborne yeast settling and fermenting at the top of open vats. As brewing moved into the cooler climates of central Europe through the Middle Ages, brewers began to store (in German, lager) their product in caves during warmer months, thus unwittingly cultivating bottom-fermenting cultures. It took several hundred years before yeasts were understood and isolated, but by the 1870s, over 95 percent of German

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breweries produced lagers. During the period of the mid to late 1800s, millions of Germans immigrated to the USA, some, with names like Anheuser, Busch, Hamm, Pabst, Best, Weinhard, Müller (Miller), Coors, and Schlitz, opening breweries. The six-row barley of North America made ales difficult to brew, so brewers began adding rice and corn to try and emulate the character of German lagers. When Prohibition arrived in 1920, it forced brewers to lighten beers down to 0.5 percent ABV, with an ensuing loss of flavour. After Prohibition ended, only the largest breweries survived, and some say the flavour never came back. As craft brewing emerged in the 1980s, lagers were avoided. Partly because they are more difficult and take longer to brew than ales, and secondly, there was no way tiny breweries could compete on price, distribution, and

Medicine Hat Brewing

Bear Hill Brewing

market penetration with giant brewing consortiums who spill more beer in a day then they would make in a year. In Canada, lagers manufactured by the Big Three national brewers dominated the market, and in Alberta, only Brew Brother’s Black Pilsner (1994) and Big Rock’s Alberta Genuine Draft (1999) stood out. Drummond 2.0 (now Something Brewing, 2009) and Ribstone Creek (2011) became the first

new breweries to debut with a lager, but with very few exceptions, almost all breweries that opened in the 2010s did so without one in their portfolio. However, in the last couple of years, along with sours and NEIPAs, lagers have become a cherished “newcomer” and almost all craft breweries now brew at least one. The next step is educating the public on the many nuances and styles within the lager category, since most people still attribute the word to the mundane beers of their forefathers. 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 him @abfbrewed

Here are some of the many different lager styles brewed in Alberta, although some are seasonals only. A few straddle multiple categories, but all retain that clean, crisp, refreshing profile that defines lagers. Most hover around 5 percent ABV. Oh, also, they aren’t all yellow. American Lager: Ranging from light (<4.5 percent ABV) to premium, often using six-row barley and varying amounts of adjuncts such as corn or rice; think macrobrewery. More flavourful when made by craft breweries, using less adjuncts. Distinguished by light yellow colour, almost no hop aroma or flavour, and little malt structure. Try: Big Rock AGD series, GP Brewing Mercury, Origin Duke, Dandy Lager, Ribstone Creek Lager, Born Colorado Get Lucky, Campio All Malt, Sea Change Death Wave, Brewster’s Mexcellent Cerveza International Lager: Usually brewed with two-row barley, minimal or no adjuncts, and European hops to create a more flavourful beer. Generally made by European macrobreweries and North American craft breweries. Try: Folding Mtn Lager, New Level Hellion Pilsner/Pils: The original Bohemian Pilsner is characterized by Saaz, while German Pils usually use other Noble hops. Today, both are brewed with multiple hop varieties, usually aiming for a floral or herbal profile. Try: Banff Ave. Ride or Dry, Jasper Brewing Crisp Pils, Origin Heritage, Legend Seven Serpens, Banded Peak Mount Crushmore, Town Square Sterling Silver, The Establishment Pilsgnar, Blindman Five of Diamonds, Polar Park Man of the North Munich Helles: Similar to other light coloured lagers, but with a more pronounced malt structure. Try: The Establishment Mellow Gold

Born Colorado Brewing

Munich Dunkel: Toasty bready flavour and dark brown colour come from Munich malt. Try: The Establishment Autobahn Vienna Lager and Golden Lager: Golden colour, commonly made with Vienna malt and Continental hops. Try: Annex Ales Better Days, Medicine Hat Brewing Boomtown, Citizen Señor Citizen, Bow River Riverfest Saxony German Lager, Prairie Dog Prairie Lands Lager Marzen: Marzens (March in German) were brewed in spring anticipating an autumn release. Aging results in a darker, fuller bodied, and more complex beer. Try: High River Brewing Marzen, Origin Homestead Black Lager/Schwarzbier: The darkest lager style employs a small amount of roasted malt, giving it a chocolate/coffee flavour while still retaining lager’s lighter body. Try: Ol’ Beautiful Eternal Twilight, Citizen Tuxedo Black Pilsner Doppelbock: This style can vary from pale to dark depending on the malts used. Decoction mashing creates a rich, full bodied beer with a higher alcohol content. Try: Prairie Dog Supinator (7.6 percent ABV) Rauchbier: A traditional German style utilizing beechwood smoked malt which produces a beer that smells a like a campfire and tastes like barbeque. Try: Town Square Prairie Fire Specialty Lagers: Pretty much any lager made with unusual ingredients or special brewing techniques. Try: Cold Garden Cakeface (vanilla beans), Blind Enthusiasm Extra Special Monk Lager (bottle conditioned), Blindman Foedered Amber Lager (oak aged) March 2021 | Culinaire 37


For Vino Italiano By TOM FIRTH

Trying to get a good grasp of the world of Italian wine is a herculean task for sure. With numerous regions or appellations, sometimes-arcane rules about permitted grapes, of aging standards, and the sheer volume of quality wines available. It can take a long time to get your feet wet - so to speak. Thankfully, the size of the task is offset by the fact that so many of Italy’s wines are simply delicious – no matter the price, and almost as importantly, they are a perfect accompaniment to all manner of dishes, and not just those that are Italian in nature. This month, in 13 wines, I’ve tried to identify some fantastic values in Italian wine, but also a blend of stalwart labels and some that border on the obscure. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! Find these wines by searching the CSPC code at; your local liquor store can also use this code to order it for you. Prices are approximate.

Cantina di Soliera N/V Lambrusco di Sorbara, Italy

While lambrusco might not totally be unknown to most wine drinkers, it’s most often understood as a sparking red wine that is rife with blackberry fruit (yum!), this one from Cantina di Soliera is more of a rosé than sparkling red, but preserves the wonderful taste of blackberries and a floral perfume. Holy smokes this is a good wine… CSPC +807758 About $16-17

Cavazza N/V Durello, Veneto, Italy

This may be a bit of a surprise, but all Italian sparkling wine isn’t prosecco. This one, from the appellation Lessini Durello, is also made from the durello grape. Creamy aromatics with tropical fruits and loads of mineral presence, this wine also sings on the palate with a tart apple fruit, a mild toastiness, and a crispy finish. Would be an excellent complement to seafood – especially shellfish or oysters. CSPC +807696 $20-22

Attems 2018 Pinot Grigio, Friuli, Italy

It’s a shame that we often forget how tasty pinot grigio can be. Especially when it’s chock-full of apple and nectarine fruits, a touch of pear, and some lovely, food-friendly acids like this one. A rather crushable glass of wine, it would go nicely with poultry or lighter seafood dishes, or even some lightly salted snacks. CSPC +743210 Around $20-23

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

38 Culinaire | March 2021

Montemartini N/V Ortrugo dei Colli Piancentini Spumante Brut Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Not familiar with the ortrugo grape? You aren’t the only one, it almost disappeared completely about fifty or so years ago, and in the years since, making a small but persistent comeback. In a sparkling wine, the nose shows off pear fruits and milder green apple and nectarines, while on the palate, softer, creamier flavours and a silken mouthfeel bring it all together. While it would pair well with a number of dishes, it is perfectly content without. CSPC +834225 $19-21

Il Fauno di Arcanum 2015 Toscana Tuscany, Italy

Cembra 2018 Pinot Nero Trentino, Italy

CSPC +753837 $40-45

CSPC +800648 $22-25

A merlot based blend without a drop of sangiovese, this super Tuscan is more like a meritage style blend, but done oh-so-well and still wonderfully Italian. Plum, cedar, cocoa, and cherries dominate the palate, but it’s the perfect acids that make this really hum. Would be dynamite with beefy dishes or those with rich tomato sauces. Stunning.

Tenuta di Arceno 2016 Chianti Classico Tuscany, Italy

We don’t see a lot of Italian pinot noirs, but those we do normally come from the northern, cooler parts of Italy like Trentino. Very pale, even for pinot noir, with cranberry and raspberry fruits and a nuanced, floral character over subtle cocoa aromas. Well balanced with tart fruits, the acids will work perfectly with duck, salmon, or grilled pork.

In a 1 L bottle – you know, for those… days getting longer, but still showing excellent quality and value, this Italian malbec shows all the distinct, classical flavours we expect from the grape. Plum and herb with mild blueberry fruit, while on the palate it’s a rather fresh and juicy bottle of red. Should be a barbecue allstar for gatherings big and small.

Le Volte Dell’Ornellaia 2018 Toscana Tuscany, Italy

Scagliola Mati 2018 Barbera d’Asti, Piedmont, Italy

CSPC +821385 $32-35

CSPC +775482 About $18-21

Checking off all the boxes for your chianti needs with tight cherry fruits, plum and wild strawberries to boot and a palate full of fine-grained tannins that accentuate the acids and bring the whole thing right into balance. It can cellar a bit if desired, but most importantly, it’s a good bottle to have on hand if a marinara or Bolognese sauce is in the works for dinnertime…

Jam-packed on the nose, showing off tart cherry aromas with blackberry, currants, and a decidedly floral component. On the palate, a bit more fruit driven than some other Tuscan offerings on this page, but still balanced with a creamy mouthfeel, those lovely fruits, and a softer tannin expression. I’d love to pair this with a roast, or some barbecued steaks if the weather is cooperating.

Jasci & Marchesani 2019 Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo, Italy

Fontanavecchia 2019 Falanghina del Sannio, Campania, Italy

CSPC +805430 $27-30

Honestly, Abruzzo is one of my favourite Italian wine regions and a food lover’s paradise with a variety of cuisines and the wines to match – from alpine meadows to the seaside, bring looser pants if planning a visit. Cerasuolo is rather uncommon outside of Italy, but makes a number of stunning rosé wines. Crushed strawberries and cranberries on the nose carry through on the very dry palate with tight acids and fresh fruits. CSPC +836586 $18-21

La Vita e Bella 2019 Malbec Veneto, Italy

I love trying uncommon white varieties (like falanghina), both for refreshing a sometimes-tired palate, and for simply trying to find fun food pairings. Bursting with lemon and melon fruits with a sleek mineral core, this also has the acids to match up with lighter seafood dishes like sushi, creamy pasta sauces or just enjoying a glass and looking at the snow. A winner too at our 2020 Alberta Beverage Awards, and easy to see why. CSPC +818950 About $27-30

CSPC +811931 About $18-20

Made from 100 percent barbera d’Asti, this is an incredibly versatile variety from Italy matching well with all manner of red meats, charcuterie, and tomatobased Italian dishes. Dried berry fruits and a touch of herb on the nose lead into a zesty palate with spices, earthy characters, and moderate tannins. Very tasty, and an excellent example of the grape.

Pra 2018 “Moradina” Valpolicella Veneto, Italy

Valpolicella is a justifiably popular blend for fans of Italian wine, it’s juicy, berry fruit driven, and often exceptionally well-priced – perfect for occasional wine drinkers and those liking a little more fruit. Pra however is making valpolicella at a whole other level. Cracked pepper, leaner fruits, mild bell pepper, and dried floral notes on the nose and palate with a lengthy finish that is calling out for duck, sausage, or game. CSPC +779679 $27-30

March 2021 | Culinaire 39

E TC E TE R A . . . Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven

We all love gadgets but do you find you soon run out of space on your kitchen countertops for them? There’s a lot of talk about air fryers right now, so we’ve been trialling Ninja’s Digital Air Fry Oven – and we love it! We tried air frying, air roasting, air broiling, making toast and toasting bagels, and as it’s also a convection oven, we’ve baked casseroles and cookies in it too! Now, instead of a toaster oven and an air fryer, we just have one appliance that does it all. $300 at major retailers.

Allpa Microgreens

A prediction in our 2021 Food Trends just came true! We knew that hydroponic farming made sense, and the future was bright for producing vegetables indoors, in cities, 365 days a year without the need for pesticides, but we didn’t know about Allpa – three young university grads with different skill sets, who met by chance and joined forces to produce these super flavour-packed microgreens. Bonus - 5 percent of net proceeds go to charity too! At Sunterra and The Italian Centre Shops.

Something Special Gourmet Antipasto

Something Special has been making gourmet antipasto in Sherwood Park for more than 30 years, but it’s new to us! A mix of ten, easy to identify, chunky cut vegetables bask in a tangy sauce with tuna – but it doesn’t taste the slightest bit fishy so you’d never guess, and there’s a vegetarian version with 15 veggies. has many serving suggestions and recipes too, but we love it just piled on crackers. Around $6 online or at The Italian Centre Shops.

De Minicos Pasta Sauces

Pasta La Mano

New to us too is La Mano, artisanal, fresh handmade pasta and a variety of sauces from Aaron Ellard of Nights & Weekends and Chef Mike Pigot - so you know they’re good!, details the range of filled pastas (oh yum!) and noodles you can order as well as stockist locations, and there you’ll also find details of Pasta Club – where you’ll receive a monthly delivery of two fresh pastas - often unique that month - a sauce, and a recipe from a local chef. Now that’s our sort of club!

40 Culinaire | March 2021

Chef Shirts

We’re big fans of Erin Boukall and her obsession with colour and food. This Calgary culinary arts teacher is also a culinary artist and adventurer, and she now has around 35 designs that can be printed on aprons, tote bags, backpacks, pouches, and stickers, in a variety of colours. As this issue is all things Italian, we’re featuring her pasta shirt, but check out for her veggies, butchery, foods of Alberta shirts and lots more - and to order yours!

We’ve seen De Minico’s sauces in stores, but we didn’t realise they are a hardworking local family, not only making their traditional Italian dishes to serve and for take-out in their northeast Calgary kitchen/pizzeria, but growing the herbs and some of the veggies for their jars of pasta sauce there too! Latest addition is Roasted Garlic Sauce, a rich, tomato-based sauce. Vegan and glutenfree too. Widely available at Co-op, Sobeys,, and on line at 750 mL $7-9

Rök Glacier Spring Water


Here’s a new to us concept – a plant-based milk alternative made of pea protein! Developed in Sweden, Sproud is produced in Canada from yellow split peas, and is available in four flavours: Original, Unsweetened, Chocolate, and Barista – a slightly creamier version created by professional baristas to be frothed for coffee. We like it in sauces too! Lactose and soy-free, and non-GMO, Sproud doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and has a one-year shelf life. 1 L pack $5, widely available.

The Rök Glacier Water can says, “Enjoy the rarest, purest water on earth.” While we can’t vouch for that, we can certainly tell you that they’ve gone to great lengths to protect the renewable resource at Fortress Mountain, and that part of the proceeds are used to return the resort to its former glory, create new jobs, and promote sustainable, responsible economic activity in the local community. Oh, and it tastes really delicious! Available still and sparkling, check out 6 pack $7.

Nonna Said

…if you have eggs, flour, and risotto, you can make anything. And here’s a collection of her recipes from her Alberta granddaughters, Nadia Carinelli & Sara Marghella. It’s a cult favourite with the first printing selling out in just a few weeks and a second printing complete just before the holidays! What a way to honour your nonna and her inspiration to her family, with 108 pages of traditional, authentic Italian recipes from Salerno, her home in Campania, southwest Italy. $20 at Italian Centre Shops.




t’s been a long journey to success for Made By Marcus founder, Marcus Purtzki, and a story of sheer hard work and determination. Born in Nanaimo, Purtzki grew up on Vancouver Island in a German household, with home-cooked meals and European family celebrations around the table, but he wasn’t accustomed to ice cream. “In our town, we only had Dairy Queen but I was obsessed with blizzards,” he says. He studied food science at university, eventually gaining a masters degree in human nutrition, and on searching for a nutritionist job, he was hired by a restaurant in New York just as they were awarded a Michelin star. Knowing how to cook, Purtzki ended up working in the kitchen, really enjoying cooking, butchery, and pastry making. Then he fell in love with macarons. “It’s only a couple of ingredients, but the perfection behind making a macaron was so inspiring for me, I got super obsessed with it. I was waking up early and going to the restaurant to make macarons.” Years, and several jobs later, he decided to go out on his own, and in 2009, his wife’s work as a paediatrician brought them to Calgary. Purtzki was still selling macarons but they only use egg whites and he was throwing all the egg yolks away, so he tried using them to make ice cream. It takes a lot of capital for equipment to make ice cream, and Purtzki was working hard from his basement, so eventually had to make a 42 Culinaire | March 2021

decision to put his time and energy into just one thing. “And that little pivot was a big pivot for us to get rid of the macarons because it was taking so much time,” he says. “I feel like ice cream always will have its day.” He spent three years trying to build slowly, and it was tough to keep driven - a daily grind that people didn’t actually see. “I think they just see that you have a bunch of shops now and you’re growing, but that wasn’t the case back then. There’s been times when I was in that basement, I didn’t know if I could do another day,” says Purtzki. “But never lose sight of your final goal, you look at runners and successful people, and there’s a whole other life that they lived before they were successful.” So what bottle is Purtzki saving and hasn’t opened yet? “It’s a Duckhorn Merlot 2017, and there’s a little bit of a backstory. I love wine,” he says. Purtzki, his father, and his brother took a two-week wine trip to Napa Valley, going first to Oregon, renting a car, and driving all the way down and back. “We spent over a week in Napa and Sonoma, and I loved it. I love

Calistoga - it’s this cute little town.” In 2007 he took another trip to Napa Valley with his now wife. “But I did something which I would never recommend,” he adds. In Calistoga they hired tandem bikes, but didn’t realize the heat and the distance between wineries. Their first visit was to Duckhorn Vineyards, “And at that time my wife was exhausted because the sun was getting so hot. I think she just passed out on the lawn,” explains Purtzki. “But I had my sampling of wines and I really liked it.” They had to get the tandem bike home, and his wife had heatstroke. “On a tandem bike, it’s dead weight if one person is not pedalling, so I pedalled all the way back just by myself. It sounds terrible, but we went through it and we’re still married,” he smiles. “So then my wife actually gave me three bottles from Duckhorn for Christmas, and we’re going to open this next week,” Purtzki continues. “We’re trying to do this thing where we don’t really drink during the week, but we save it for the weekend. So now we have a nicer bottle on the weekend, and we get to celebrate a little bit more.”

Catch the Vibe MODERN OCEAN



A S U S TA I N A B L E F I S H & S E A F O O D H O U S E




TASTE, THAT’S WHY. Please enjoy our produts responsibly.

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