Culinaire CALGARY’S FRESHEST FOOD & BEVERAGE MAGAZINE Volume 2/issue #2 june 2013
FOOD FIGHT! Our Calgary Chefs & 3 seasons of Top Chef Canada Pasta, Rice & Grains, Summer Sips, Local Brews, Gin for June
NOT SURPRISINGLY, SINGLE-VINEYARD WINES ALSO PAIR WELL WITH GOLD MEDALS.
SANDHILL WINs GOLD & SILVER Chardonnay Du Monde, France Competing against the worldâ€™s best chardonnays, Sandhill received top honours for the third year in a row at the Chardonnay Du Monde. The Small Lots Chardonnay 2011 won gold and the 2011 Chardonnay won a silver medal. These exceptional wines truly embody the Sandhill singlevineyard philosophy. For our latest vintage releases and exclusive offers, go to sandhillwines.ca
BC V Q A O K ANAGAN VAL L EY
Japanese Food, Western Canadian Style
“Quick service” restaurant chain, Edo Japan, is a local Calgary success story; they’ve been satisfying Calgary diners with steaming hot food for 34 years. By Elizabeth Chorney-Booth
It’s All In The Details
Planning a wine-tasting trip this summer? Discover some of the best places to eat in British Columbia’s wine country. By Jeannette Montgomery
Fabio and Chevonne Centini are deservedly proud; they make everything themselves from pasta, crackers, grissini and biscotti to ricotta, pancetta and duck prosciutto. By Fred Malley
Three Years of Food Fighting In The Name Of Calgary If we needed proof that something special is going on in Calgary’s culinary scene, our city represents an eighth of all Food Network’s Top Chef Canada chefs. By Dan Clapson
An Okanagan Wine Tour: The Food Edition
The Renaissance of Big Rock The shackles are off, brewmaster Paul Gautreau lets his imagination run wild to create adventurous new brews with unique ingredients. By Dave Nuttall
Gin is In From the cheapest cure-all to the sophisticated classic martini, gin is currently enjoying a longoverdue resurgence on the local cocktail scene. By Steve Goldsworthy
Front cover photograph by Ingrid Kuenzel, with enormous thanks to Thierry and Marnie at Cuisine et Chateau for letting us shoot in their beautiful new Interactive Culinary Centre. Many thanks too to Calgary’s Top Chef Canada chefs Geoff Rogers (left), Chris Shaften (centre left), Connie DeSousa (centre), Nicole Gomes (centre right) and Xavier Lacaze (right).
Salutes And Shout Outs
Four Event Previews
By David Nuttall
Volume 2/issue #2 june 2013
24 Dandelion Delights
50 Hello Brunello
25 This is How They Roll
By Executive Chef JP Pedhirney
52 Wines Of Summer: Red By Matt Browman
26 Step By Step: Sushi
53 Wines Of Summer: Rosé
By Natalie Findlay
11 Creative Cookbook Reviews
36 Italia Obscura
By Karen Miller
12 30 Days of Eating on The Streets
15 Planning An Eco-Friendly Picnic
By Jocelyn Burgener
20 Chefs Tips (and Tricks!)
By BJ Oudman
38 Soup Kitchen
By Chef Thierry Meret
By Dan Clapson
14 Menu Gems
By Cory Knibutat
4 • June 2013
By Tom Firth
By Janine Eva Trotta
10 Ask Culinaire
By Leonard Brown
40 It’s All In The Flour
By Heather Hartmann
42 New Kids On The Bottle
By Gabriel Hall
By Brenda Holder
By Tom Firth
54 Wines Of Summer: White
By Peter Vetsch
55 Open That Bottle
By Linda Garson
60 Spring into Summer
By Meaghan O’Brien
64 Double Trouble
By Gabriel Hall
66 Something Ah-Rye
By Jeff Collins
Cu inaire Editor-in-Chief/ Publisher: Linda Garson Contributing Drinks Editor: Tom Firth
Contributing Food Editor: Dan Clapson firstname.lastname@example.org
Commercial Director: Keiron Gallagher 403-975-7177 email@example.com
Advertising: Corinne Wilkinson
Design: Emily Vance Contributors: Matt Browman Leonard Brown Jocelyn Burgener Elizabeth Chorney-Booth Jeff Collins Natalie Findlay Steve Goldsworthy Gabriel Hall Heather Hartmann Brenda Holder Cory Knibutat Ingrid Kuenzel Fred Malley Thierry Meret Karen Miller David Nuttall Meaghan O’Brien BJ Oudman JP Pedhirney Janine Eva Trotta Peter Vetsch
To read about our talented team of contributors, please visit us online at culinairemagazine.ca. Contact us at:
Culinaire Magazine #1203, 804 -3rd Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2P 0G9 403-870-9802 firstname.lastname@example.org www.culinairemagazine.ca www.facebook.com/CulinaireMagazine Twitter: @culinairemag For subscriptions, competitions and to read Culinaire online: culinairemagazine.ca
Perfectly placed in the South Okanagan
Our Contributors < TOM FIRTH Tom Firth is a freelance wine writer, wine consultant, wine judge, and Culinaire Magazine’s Contributing Drinks Editor. His work frequently appears in other publications along with his online content at avenuemagazine.ca and others. He can be found at cowtownwine.com and tweets as @cowtownwine. If he ever gets to the point where he thinks he knows everything about wine, he plans to start a new career in interpretive dance.
< CHEF THIERRY MERET After 28 years as a professional chef, Thierry’s combination of gastronomy with history and culture makes him an outstanding teacher and guide. His understanding of simple seasonal ingredients and classic French culinary techniques has earned him international recognition. For 5 years, he shared his passion with students as a culinary instructor in the Professional Cooking Program at SAIT, before opening his Interactive Culinary Centre late 2012, cuisineandchateau.com
< BJ OUDMAN BJ Oudman is a physical therapist by trade, owning a downtown Calgary health care clinic for 14 years. She decided in her semi-retirement at the age of 40 to pursue her passion for food and wine. With a Level 2 certification from the International Sommelier Guild, she has been an investor in the private wine market as well as advising clients. She travels the world between consulting in both physical therapy and wine.
erfectly placed on rich South Okanagan farmland, Tinhorn Creek overlooks the old gold mining creek that is the winery’s namesake. We are environmental stewards of 150 acres of vineyards: “Diamondback” on the Black Sage Bench, and “Tinhorn Creek” on the Golden Mile Bench. Both provide us with the fruit to craft the superb, terroir driven wine that we’re known for. Our top tier Oldfield Series represents the finest of each vintage.
Letter From The Editor who have all done so much to elevate the culinary status of our city, that we’re thrilled to have them join us for a friendly and fun food fight! You can read about their TV experiences inside.
Thanks so much to all of you who have written, called and voiced your approval in person for our new look to celebrate our second year. It’s heartening to hear such positive feedback, and your very kind compliments make all the late nights worthwhile. This issue sees our first front cover with people! Normally we shy away from anything that moves or talks on the cover, opting for mouth-watering dishes or ingredients to tempt you. But the popularity of Top Chef Canada has reached such a peak, and we’re so proud of our participating Calgary chefs
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On the grains front, we’re discovering where to go for perfect pizza and the beverages to drink with it, even if you can’t tolerate gluten. We’re getting to know local brewery, Big Rock, and finding out more about that most British of spirits, gin, a personal favourite for me.
Our theme for June is store cupboard staples - pasta, rice and grains. We have delicious recipes for you to make at home, and local chefs are sharing their tips and expertise to help kick up our home cooking a notch too. We meet Fabio Centini, chef and owner of one of Calgary’s pre-eminent Italian restaurants, as well as offering our suggestions for different styles of Italian wine to enjoy with your meal.
We’re also welcoming the first day of summer this month, and include recommendations for red, white and rosé wines to enjoy outside, as well as where to eat and drink on your road trip to Okanagan wine country. Thanks again for your support and feedback, and to our hard-working contributors and advertisers - all truly appreciated!
We’re learning more about rice too, how to make sushi at home or where to take a class to learn from the masters. Take a peep behind the scenes at local success story, Edo Japan. Did you know that they started right here in Calgary? Me neither until I had the opportunity to meet them.
Linda Garson Editor-in-Chief email@example.com
10 day Luxury Wine And Culinary Tour Of Tuscany
Friday August 16th - Tuesday August 27th 2013 Experience the beauty of Italy, and discover the outstanding wine and food specialities of Tuscany in this luxury tour.
In today ’s busy world, you may not get a chance to pick up every issue of Culinaire. To ensure your copy, go to culinairemagazine.ca to have the next ten issues delivered right to your door. CALGARY’S FRESHEST FOOD & BEVERAGE MAGAZINE
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Salutes... Congratulations to JoieFarm! The 2012 JoieFarm Rosé was selected as the Sweepstakes Rosé Wine, the best rosé wine in show at the 2013 Riverside International Wine Competition in Temecula, California last month. The 2011 JoieFarm Gamay and 2011 JoieFarm PTG were both named Best in Class and awarded Gold Medals. We’ll be watching for their release in September, 2013.
Calgary’s culinary reputation is on the up and up! This year, there are eight Calgary restaurants on Vacay.ca’s “Top 50 Restaurants in Canada” Guide! Highest ranking, Charcut, took 5th place and executive chef Connie DeSousa added yet more to her string of her impressive achievements, winning the
…and Shout Outs Changes could be afoot for craft beers Alberta is at the forefront of the craft beer industry, not for our homeproduced craft beer, but on the availability of non-Alberta produced and imported craft beer. The AGLC contracted warehouse currently lists 2,791 beers available in Alberta! Compare to Manitoba - 660 beers, B.C. 546 products listed, and even the largest liquor buyer in the world, the LCBO in Ontario, only carries 967 products.
Vacay.ca award for Best Female Chef in the nation! Calgary restaurants placed: 5th - Charcut Roast House 7th - Model Milk 11th - Rouge (the only Calgary restaurant on the 2012 list) 17th - Muse (a public favourite!) 22nd - River Café 28th - Q Haute Cuisine 43rd - Teatro 47th - Cucina Market Bistro
…and to Raw Bar, Hotel Arts!
Vacay.ca is an online magazine and the Concierge to Canada. They spotlight the endless vacation possibilities in the country for visitors as well as domestic travellers, and raise awareness for charitable causes. Votes from a panel of 34 judges make up 75 percent of the results, with public votes accounting for the rest.
The Art Gallery of Calgary’s annual May fundraiser, “AGC Cooks”, saw six of Calgary’s top chefs competing to showcase their culinary artistry with a four course meal and wine pairing. Before the event, the chefs were given two secret ingredients (rhubarb and abalone) to use in preparation for two of their courses. Raw Bar Chef Duncan Ly and Sous Chef Jinhee Lee won over the guests and judges, earning them the coveted Media Food Critic Award!
in Alberta; a regular 6-pack of craft beer could cost up to $2.50 more. The “Alberta Craft Beer Alliance’” along with retailers, restaurants and bars have jointly drafted a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister Thomas Lukaszuk with their concerns. The outcome has yet to be decided - we’ll keep you posted.
Granville Island Brewing’s Ginger Beer returns! “Our Ginger Beer was one of our most popular Limited Release options last year,” says GIB brewmaster, Vern Lambourne. “We’ve brought it back now as a seasonal selection and spiced it up with a subtle yet memorable ginger kick that stealthily blends into this lightbodied lager.” “Ginja Ninja” strikes first with its fresh ginger aroma, then follows up with fruity and spicy ginger flavours. The ginger notes are supported by a light malt character. It also plays well with others as the base for a beer cocktail, or paired with a wide range of foods. Try with Teriyaki Beef Wraps or Jerk Chicken.
However this may change soon with a proposal to eliminate the “Small Brewers Markup”, which could mean an increase to 90% of all craft beers currently sold culinairemagazine.ca
By David Nuttall
Carifest Calgary June 8, 2013, 11:00 am -7:00 pm www.carifestcalgary.com/ Sunshine Festival: Free Admission, Shaw Millennium Park, 1220 9 Ave. SW. Carifest Parade: 11:00 am - till end, Olympic Plaza, 228 - 8 Avenue SE to Shaw Millennium Park along Stephen/8th Avenue Afterparty 2013: $30, 9:00 pm, Our Lady of Fatima Hall, 4747 30 Street SE On Saturday June 8, the sights and sounds of the Caribbean will occupy Calgary’s downtown. The day will begin with the Carifest Parade down Stephen Avenue, starting at Olympic Plaza and finishing at the Festival grounds at Shaw Millennium Park. At the festival, vendors of all types will ply their wares while the smells of Caribbean cuisine will fill the air, and Carnival bands from all over Canada providing the beat. The evening ends with a licensed party at Our Lady of Fatima Hall.
CamRA Calgary Foothills Hospital Burn Unit Beer and Whisky Festival and Fundraiser June 8, 2013, 1:00 pm -4:00 pm, The Rhino, 607 11 Avenue SW. Advance admission tickets ($10) available at The Rhino and from CamRA members. Samples tickets are $1 each www.calgaryhealthtrust.ca/ events/?selectMonth=6,2013 One of the two best small beer festivals in Calgary, this annual event keeps getting better and better. Sample an array of beer from kegs and bottles, local beers, not-so-local beers, surprise beers & Scotch. There is a silent auction table, a raffle table and a stellar selection of beer, select spirits, and swag to bid on, with a 100% of monies going to the Foothills Hospital Burn Unit. There are door prizes too. 8 • June 2013
The Greek Festival 2013 June 21-23, 2013 Free Admission Friday: Noon - 10:00pm, Saturday: 11:00am - 10:30pm, Sunday: 11:00am - 8:30pm. Calgary Hellenic Society Community Hall, 1 Tamarac Crescent SW. calgaryhellenic.com/greekfestival/ The Calgary Hellenic Society’s Annual Greek Festival is an opportunity to experience Hellenic culture. It is a festival about music, dance, wine and food, and about saying ‘Efharisto’ (Thank you) to Calgarians for enabling the society to continue supporting youth projects, the development of the Community, and many charitable organizations within Calgary.
The Big Rock Eddies June 27, 2013, 6:00 pm, $75 EPCOR Centre for The Performing Arts, 205 8 Avenue SE Proceeds to One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre and the Calgary Folk Music Festival www.bigrockbeer.com/events/eddies It began 20 years ago when Ed McNally, the founder of Big Rock, was given a quote to produce and air TV commercials. The price was so ludicrous that Ed decided he and his beer
drinkers could do a better job than the advertising agency itself. Once the call for entries was made, it was discovered that people made some very funny commercials and they filled a theatre for a big party to show and honour the winning ads. Today, close to 2,000 people attend the Eddies, while raising funds for local charities in a parody of the Oscars. Attendees show up in limos, walk the red carpet, dressed up in Hollywood Glam amid a sea of little black dresses, feather boas, velvet suits, and shades. Once inside, they enjoy Big Rock beer, watch the show, see the winners, walk around and sample delicious food from restaurants around Calgary, then dance the night away. This is consistently one of Calgary’s best events. With $30,000 in cash prizes for the best video and print ads, the competition for the coveted “Eddie” statuette is fierce - and pretty funny. This year includes a new category for t-shirt design.
Getting To Know You And Your Preferences… As we enter our second year, we want to know more about our readers and what topics and features you’d like to see in Culinaire magazine, so we’d be very grateful if you would fill in our short survey on our website at culinairemagazine.ca to tell us more about yourself. It won’t take more than a few minutes and we certainly won’t be letting anyone else share this information, it’s purely for us to be able to create relevant articles on subjects you want to read about – and we’re offering superb prize draws for all those who let us have their feedback!
According to Family Business, the leading American magazine that lists the world classification of family businesses, Barone Ricasoli is the fourth longest-lived company in the world in the same place and the second in the wine sector. Barone Ricasoli is also the oldest winery in Italy, creating the original recipe for Chianti in 1872, which is still used to this day! All entries will be entered each month for a chance to wine other amazing prizes too! We look forward to hearing from you!
This month we have a magnum – yes that’s right – a 1.5 L bottle of Baron Ricasoli Chianti Classico worth $125 for the lucky winner!
209-10th St NW | 403-283-8988 | www.verobistro.ca
How To Use Lesser-Known Grains By JP Pedhirney
I see grains like Spelt, Rye and Farro at the market. How do I use these grains? Answer: The use of uncommon grains is becoming more and more popular in restaurants today, particularly with chefs like myself, who have become attracted to the grains’ unique flavours and versatile cooking methods. I find that using these grains can be a great, exotic replacement for common ingredients such as rice. Grains can be used in salads, stuffings, risottos, or in soups. There are many varieties of grains, so cooking procedures vary, but generally the process is broken down into two simple parts: soaking and cooking. I soak my grains overnight and cook them in a large pot of water until they are tender. Soaking grains is not necessary, but soaking them overnight can greatly
reduce the overall cooking time by upwards of over an hour. An easy grain to start with is Farro. For 1 cup of Farro, I would use 1½ litres of cold, salted water. Bring your water to a boil and cook the Farro until it is tender. This can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. The Farro will absorb the water and any excess water can be drained away. You will find that it’s very difficult to overcook your grains. This same process goes for Rye, Spelt, Red Fife and other grains you’ll find at the market. Once your grains are cooked and strained, cool them at room temperature on a large baking sheet. Then they can
be stored for 2 to 3 days in the fridge and used periodically for different dishes. Now this is where you can become creative with grains. Since the grains are cooked, they can be used in many applications, either cold or warm. Think of adding grains to your salad to give it texture, flavour, and that ultimate health boost. Try using them as a warm side dish, best paired with poultry or fish. Easy! All you do is re-heat your grains in a saucepan with a little bit of water and butter to warm. Add garnishes like cooked fiddleheads, green onions, and fava beans to excite your palate. Community Natural Foods has a very large selection of grains (even local grains from Highwood Crossing). They provide lots of information about each grain to guide you with soaking and cooking times. Grains are inexpensive, so it gives you lots of room in your food budget to try out different kinds and experiment with them. Red Fife, Farro, and Rye are great grains to get started with. Cooking with these grains will surely get you over your boredom with common grains like rice! Chef JP Pedhirney is a Red Seal Certified Chef. He led the kitchen at Rouge Restaurant as Chef de Cuisine and is now the Executive Chef of Muse Restaurant in Kensington.
By Karen Miller
desserts but not obscure enough to scare off a dedicated baker. Freeman even adopts tried and true basic cake basics from a master, Rose Levy Beranbaum. The magic is in the inspiration from the artwork. Some pieces are true to the original (the Mondrian cake), others take creative license in their interpretation (the Warhol gelee).
Modern Art Desserts Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art Caitlin Freeman Ten Speed Press 2013 $29.95 This is an amazing story of real inspiration and dedication along the lines of Julie & Julia. Serendipity plays a role but with a very happy ending - this book! Browsing the pictures, they look stunning but complex. Freeman does however make us believe we too can create the masterpieces. This is about patience and attention to detail, yet it starts with the basics. There are a few specialty tools and ingredients required for some of the
The desserts created are art in their own right, and fit right in to Blue Bottle Cafe in the rooftop garden of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art where Freeman works with her husband. She shows respect and awe for how lucky she is to be in this environment. It’s like having your cake and eating it too!
Everyday Delicious Atco Blue Flame Kitchen 2013 $15 Reality is going from creating masterpieces in a museum to creating food everyday. This is not a cookbook with many anecdotes, but it is one with the history of the Blue Flame Kitchen behind it. Known as the go-to place for answers to kitchen dilemmas, I was
expecting the basics, so I was surprised by how current and fresh the recipes were. The recipes are tested by chefs and home economists in the Blue Flame Kitchens, and your concerns, whether finding the ingredients or having the right equipment, are well addressed. There are some great make-ahead recipes (try the Freezer Ground Beef Base) and interesting turns on classics (try the Nicoise Sandwich) but the true value in this book is that the recipes work. I tried a number of recipes on a moment’s notice and each one turned out remarkably easy and appetizing. This is a true testament to the efforts put in by the Blue Flame Kitchen. This book provides inspiration to make a meal more than ordinary, something all of us can use occasionally. Go to www.culinairemagazine.ca for ‘Everyday Delicious’ Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad recipe. Karen Miller is a lawyer by trade, giving her a knack for picking apart a cookbook. She has taught many styles of cooking classes and was part of the Calgary Dishing girls.
30 Days Of Eating On The Streets By Dan Clapson
Now the warm weather is officially here, it’s time to hit the ground running - in shorts and sandals of course - and find some satisfying street food. From eggs bennys and juicy burgers to sweet gelato and Vietnamese subs, keep your lunch hour exciting with this 30 day list of street food around town. 1 Perogy Boyz - Always a go-to comfort food, the ‘Nacho Perogies’ from these boyz come piled high, filled with sausage and topped with cheese, sour cream and salsa.
fried chicken, warm waffles, white sausage gravy and a sweet little drizzle of maple syrup.
2 Alley Burger - The original ‘Alley Burger’, with its rich sausage patty, cheese curds and a fried egg, is definitely an all-season kind of meal.
7 Carne - It’s Friday, so skip out of work a little early, grab some ‘Bacon Mac’ for lunch made with bechamel, smoked bacon cheddar and Monterey Jack and meet your pals for a beer on Stephen Avenue.
3 Cheezy Bizness - The ‘Hot Mess’ may not be the tidiest thing to eat over the lunch hour, but you can’t go wrong with a combination of chorizo, banana peppers and pimento cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich! 4 Jelly Modern Doughnuts - Everyone knows and loves their signature ‘Bacon Maple’ doughnut, but try one of their savoury doughnut sandwiches - similar to a fluffier brioche - for something a bit out-of-the-box this week.
8 Tailgate Grill - A Calgary Flames fan? Eat your ‘I miss Iginla’ sorrows away with lunch from the team’s official food truck. Their ‘Flames Style’ Philly Cheesesteak will have you feeling better in no time, champ! 9 Shogun - This Japanese-style truck keeps their fare uncomplicated, quick and filling. The ‘Beef Teriyaki’ with hot udon noodles and stir-fried vegetables hits the spot.
5 Sticky Ricky’s - No need to jet down to New Orleans for a getaway. Embrace the creole side of things with a ‘Fin Blacked Po’ Boy’. Smoky, spicy seasoning, tangy slaw, chipotle and Cajun mustard in a torpedo bun.
10 The Noodle Bus - Not that we’re hoping for a lot of rain this month, but when it comes - and it will - a big bowl of ‘Satay Beef Pho’ from this truck is the perfect thing for a rainy day.
6 Waffles ‘n Chix - Have a touch of the south for lunch with the Chix’ crispy
11 Mighty Skillet - Kick start your day with a ‘Fist Fulla Benny’, back bacon,
12 • June 2013
wilted greens, egg and hollandaise in-between a toasted English muffin. Great for a breakfast on-the-go. Makes Monday mornings go by much faster, we assure you. 12 The Naaco Truck - After a winter hiatus, this popular Indian fusion mobile is back serving up tasty naan-wrapped meals. Make sure to check them out on the Midway next month, dishing out healthy options during the Stampede! 13 Subs ‘n Bubbles - The ‘Korean Pork
Bulgogi’ sub from one of our city’s newest trucks makes for one spicy, flavourful lunch. Make sure to wash it down with a ‘Coconut Mango’ bubble tea. 14 Blam!wich - This truck is back on the road for the season with a brand new menu, but the old faithful, ‘Bacon Storm’ is here to stay. A revved up version of a ‘BLT’ and, really, who doesn’t love bacon? 15 Fiasco Gelato - You’ve made it halfway through June and almost have the beach body back again, right? Well, it’s time to reward yourself with a scoop - or two - of Nutella Gelato.
Mongolian grill-onwheels with almost as many stir-fry options as there are colours in the rainbow. Match and mix ingredients like tofu, shanghai noodles and coconut to your appetite’s content. 20 Eats of Asia - The seasonal food stand at The Millarville Market cooks up Asian street food, like braised pork belly in steamed buns and sticky Vietnamese chicken wings. Absolutely, 100% worth the drive.
16 Red Wagon Diner - Looking to embrace your inner carnivore? Red Wagon’s ‘The Traditional’ is just the thing for you. A pile of tender Montreal smoked meat, topped with house-made mustard and sandwiched between rye bread. Yum!
21 Holy Crepe - Anything but your standard crepes, this truck kicks it up a notch with choices like “The Eden’, a veggie lover’s dream chock full of artichokes, feta, tomatoes, onions and tzatiki.
17 Fries ‘n Dolls - A balance of sweet and savoury is always a beautiful thing, like the dolls’ ‘Sandra D’, sweet potato fries coated with cumin, sugar and cinnamon with a warm berry compote.
22 Aglio e Olio - Handmade gnocchi or their namesake spaghetti dish may not exactly scream ‘summer’, but there’s bound to be a cooler day where you’ll be craving comfort food like this.
18 Rocky’s Burger Bus - This vintage burger joint - or, bus rather - may be a bit out of the way, in the southeast industrial area, but the ‘Double Cheeseburger’ here is well worth the trip.
23 Avatara Pizza - A slice of pizza is always a fail-safe meal option, but where this truck really stands out is with their gluten-free, vegan and lactose-free options, ensuring that there is a pizza for just about anyone from here!
19 Jane Bond Mongolian - A
24 Braizen - The gourmet offerings on this truck always hit the spot. Try the ‘Jerk Chicken Sandwich’ with a fresh, sweet pineapple salsa. Definitely summer in a bun!
25 JoJo’s BBQ - Even if you’re in a suit and tie, a ‘Sloppy JoJo’ - brisket, pulled pork, bacon gravy, and homemade barbecue sauce - is worth possibly staining your shirt for. 26 Steakout - If you’re downtown and craving some steak, you can usually find this truck stationed in the parking lot of Mountain Equipment Co-op on 11th Avenue SW. Just follow your nose. 27 Vasili’s - It’s hard to miss this baby blue, pegasus-decaled mobile eatery. Speaking of pegasus’, go for the ‘Pegasus Sliders’, a duo of mini Greek-style burgers. Sadly, no actual pegasus meat though! 28 Los Compadres - Grab an order of top sirloin tacos, ‘Bisteck’, then soak up the sun and finish off your lunch with the cinnamon-sugary goodness that is a fried churro. 29 YYC Shawarma - Who doesn’t love a good shawarma wrap? In addition to the standard shawarma offerings, this newer food truck also offers Indian dishes like butter chicken too! 30 Pimentos - Classic Italian fare like a Margherita pizza is always welcome on a warm summer day. It’s just too bad that you couldn’t get a glass of red wine to go with the meal here!
Menu Gems Where to go for pasta, rice, grain and legume dishes? We asked our trusty contributors to share their favourite picks in our city’s restaurants… Beef Satay Soup, Pho Hoai Vietnamese Noodle House, Chinatown
Arancino, Borgo Trattoria
Cured Pork, Sausage & Duck Clay Pot Rice, T.Pot
Drunken Noodles - Thai-Sa-On
Rabbit Ravioli, Il Sogno
Penna a la Vodka, Why Not Italian!
Miso Ramen, Shikiji
Frutti di Mare, La Vita e Bella.
Spragg Farms Pork & Rabbit Meatball Pappardelle, Cucina
Organic Chickpea Fritter Sandwich, Boxwood Cafe
I am yet to find a Beef Satay Soup to equal this after a 10+ year search. The ultimate comfort food, rare, shaved beef cooks slowly in broth that shows depth of flavour through the heat. Ample vermicelli noodles make it a meal. It’s a go-to when a cold is imminent. Matt Browman
Clay pot rice is one of the oldest Cantonese dishes. Water, rice and meat/vegetables are heated, infusing the rice with the essence of fatty meat. Cured pork, sausage & duck clay pot rice at T.Pot in the northwest is my choice. Dig down to get at the fought-over crispy rice. Gabriel Hall
Maybe it’s not fair to have someone’s Nona hand-making every noodle, but at Il Sogno, it doesn’t matter. The pasta is exquisite and the rabbit raviolis are sinfully good. Perfectly cooked pasta is filled with tender rabbit, finished in a roasted red pepper sauce. Cory Knibutat
Shikiji at 1608 Centre St N is really good for lunch or dinner. I like the miso ramen that arrives steaming and full of flavour, not to mention filling. They do great udon and soba and the lunch special comes with a choice of donburi (Japanese rice bowl dish). Fred Malley
The Pork & Rabbit Meatball Pappardelle with red pepper, tomato, and espelette is outstanding. I live close by and am often there on my nights off. Chef John Michael pays so much attention to detail, and executes this dish perfectly. JP Pedhirney
When I’m dining Italian, risotto balls are the make-orbreak for me. The perfect balance of al dente rice, creamy texture and crispy exterior is not easy. I never thought I’d say this, but Giuseppe’s balls are the best way to start a dinner at this popular eatery on 17th Avenue. Dan Clapson
My standing order when visiting Sam at Thai-Sa-On. A vegetarian variation of his mother’s Drunken Beef, it is a delicately layered sensation of spice and depth. The noodles get “drunk” when cooked in red wine. Beware the very hot green chilis. Match with Auslese Riesling. Steve Goldsworthy
Why Not Italian! has been going strong in Strathcona for over 15 years. I’m obsessed with their Penne a la Vodka. The creamy rose sauce is spicier, and studded with chunks of garlic and ribbons of basil. I’m trying to make my own vodka sauce more like it, without success. Heather Hartmann
This is a decadent dish of black linguini, tomato sauce, scallops, prawns, mussels, clams, onion, garlic and grape tomatoes. The squid ink oil used to give the homemade noodles their fantastic colour really comes through in flavour. Perfect with a chilled pinot grigio. Janine Eva Trotta
Boxwood’s Chickpea Fritter Sandwich with Greens and Cilantro Salsa Verde is the perfect vegetarian sandwich, with crunch and fantastic flavours. The first time I had it I went home to try and recreate the dish, a sure sign of goodness! Karen Miller
Planning An Eco-Friendly Picnic By Jocelyn Burgener
No one will go hungry, but how can we go green? While Mother Nature can provide picture perfect picnic sites, how do we confine our eco-footprint to the size of our picnic blanket, or, dare I say, less? Omar Khayyam wrote in the early twelfth century: “A Book of Verses underneath the Bough A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread – and Thou” And I assume the jug was recycled! Once you’ve decided to have a green picnic, remember: “Location, location, location.” Choose a place you can walk or cycle to. Minimize driving by using a city map, which indicates local parks and
on a warm June afternoon. Whether it’s potluck, a romantic interlude, or a family reunion, eating outdoors is a special occasion. Well-provisioned, with recipes, from exotic appetizers to decadent desserts, and everything in between.
picnic areas. Try your own back yard, or better still, spread that blanket on your front lawn and meet your neighbours.
you have to carry IN what you need, and carry OUT what is left over.
Another way to make a gentle impact on the environment is by reducing noise. Pay attention to the volume when playing music or following sporting events. The traditional wicker basket says: “We are on a picnic!” Keep a set of dedicated dishes and cutlery handy. Avoid paper. Assigning children a colour helps keep track of whose cup is whose. For hikers, sectional backpacks are available. Stuff in your jacket or sweaters, they’ll double as a cushion. Unless you can find a site with valet parking, getting away from it all means
5 Steps to an Echo-Friendly Picnic Picnic Locally. Choose a neighbourhood park
There is something delicious about a picnic
Keep in mind that reducing excess packaging is another way to contain your eco-footprint. Reusable containers can be stacked for easy storage. Leave your picnic site tidy. Use on-site recycling bins and waste containers, and take everything else home. Picking up litter is not only good for the environment, it’s common courtesy! So enjoy the long days with family and friends as you picnic throughout the summer. Just remember to think of your eco-footprint as you spread out your blanket. A former MLA, Jocelyn was Director of Public Affairs for the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and ran her own consulting business. She finds clarity in chaos and humour in everyday life.
Picnic Baskets. Pack re-usable picnic dishes, avoid using disposable items.
Reduce Packaging. Use reusable containers.
Keep the Volume Down. Whether sports or music don’t break the sound barrier.
Tidy Up. Don’t leave any garbage, recycle, use waste containers on site.
Japanese Food, Western Canadian Style By Elizabeth Chorney-Booth
Walk into a food court at any major mall in Alberta and you’re bound to see some familiar signs: at least one mass market burger joint, a greasy deep-fried Chinese place, a sub shop, and a few of the other usual high-fat, low-flavour suspects. What you’ll also likely see is an Edo Japan. With 71 locations in Alberta, Edo Japan has become a familiar face in the world of quick service food, but as countless Edo fans can already tell you, the popular chain doesn’t serve up your typical food court eats.
Edo Japan is so ubiquitous in Alberta that many people assume it’s a large American chain or that it’s been imported from Eastern Canada, but the company actually has its roots firmly planted right here in Calgary. The restaurants come by their signature style of Japanese Teppan-style cooking honestly — the company was founded in 1979 by Reverent Susumu Ikuta, an honest-to-goodness Japanese Buddhist minister. Ikuta wanted to bring a fresh style of cooking to Calgarians and he started with the restaurant format that many of us still associate with Edo, a simple food court kiosk in Southcentre Mall. Since Ikuta opened that first food court location almost 35 years ago, the brand has grown by leaps and bounds, though the concept of simple Teppan-style cooking has remained essentially the same. In 1999 Ikuta left the company and self-described “restaurant mechanic” Tom Donaldson
was hired as Edo Japan’s President and CEO. Donaldson immediately got to work tweaking some of the elements of the business that didn’t work and made the most significant change in 2002 when he opened Edo’s first stand alone “street” location. By 2006, Donaldson was so confident in Edo’s potential for continuing success, he bought the business from the founders and is continuing to grow it through franchises as well as the handful of restaurants that he still fully owns himself. Donaldson’s pride in Edo is based primarily in one thing, the most important thing — the food. With plates of Edo’s two signature dishes, Teriyaki Chicken and Sukiyaki Beef, sitting in front of him, Donaldson points out the key differences that separate Edo’s food from the other fast food options available in a mall or suburban power centre: it’s steaming hot and the vegetables are bright, crunchy and fresh.
“The big differentiator for us is that it’s hot,” Donaldson says. “When can you go to a fast food restaurant and find hot food? Everyone is selling warm food. Here you get hot food — that grill is 450º F and the tables are 15 feet away from it. And then it’s plated and brought to you right away.” Edo Japan’s Teriyaki Chicken and Sukiyaki Beef may not be as fancy or complex in flavour as something you’d see at a high-end Japanese restaurant, but it’s certainly more appetizing and healthy looking than a bucket of fried chicken or a limp-looking sub. In fact, Edo Japan’s meals don’t look all that different than the type of thing that a home cook would typically make on an average weeknight — simple steamed rice and a lightly seasoned meat and vegetable stir-fry. The difference, of course, being that you don’t actually have to go through the effort of making it yourself.
Which brings us to what Donaldson considers the most important way that Edo Japan has evolved under his stewardship — the evolution of the street location. Donaldson says that the street locations, which have popped up in places like Beacon Hill, Aspen Landing, and Sunridge Square, have moved Edo into a different market, namely the dinner trade. Donaldson watched many of his competitors — be they burger places, taco shops, or even the sub restaurants — move into breakfast, but he knew that Japanese food wasn’t suited for the typical North American breakfast staples of bacon and eggs, so he decided to go in the opposite direction and convince people to come in for dinner. In a city where cheap take-out can be hard to come by, Edo’s street locations have seen a lot of action in the evening when people are looking for a relatively healthy dinner for less than $40. “You’re getting something that you’d be proud to feed your family if you don’t want to take your kids into a hamburger place for dinner,” Donaldson says. “We’re in the middle, bridging that gap between a two-hour evening to go to full service. For $40 you can bring your family of four here and have something that takes 25 minutes and you can feel good feeding it to yourself and to your family.” Donaldson has also been careful with the design of the street locations, making sure that they’re large enough for patrons to sit and eat comfortably without feeling rushed or like they have to scarf down their meal. Looking around the Sunridge Square restaurant during a Tuesday lunch hour, it’s clear the concept is working. There are single people reading
the paper while they leisurely eat, friends and co-workers chatting quietly over their meals, and perhaps most tellingly, a large table of uniformed police officers loudly laughing and smiling as they dig into their stir-fries and sushi. “You’ll notice that our restaurants all have a significant amount of seating,” Donaldson says. “The typical small box restaurants like sub shops or taco shops don’t have much room to sit down. We try to keep our kitchens small and our dining rooms large so that people can enjoy a break from the office or their car or wherever they are during the work day.” Even though the company has existed since 1979, the timing seems right for Edo Japan’s brand of casual food. Donaldson prefers the term “quick service” to “fast food,” (even though he smiles and admits that the two phrases essentially mean the same thing), but there definitely seems to be a trend towards quick and inexpensive food that has less guilt (and fat) attached to it than your typical Big Mac or Dorito-shelled taco. The evolving Edo Japan has more in common with increasingly popular fresher fast food like the American Chipotle chain, Canada’s Mucho Burrito, or even a corner bakery or deli. While Donaldson is hesitant to say that Edo Japan’s growth is due to some kind of health craze (he points out that the more traditional fast food restaurants aren’t exactly hurting these days), he thinks that a segment of people are demanding a certain quality when it come to the
food they put in their bodies. “There’s a lot of talk about health, but people lead with good food,” Donaldson says. “They’re looking for something good to eat. And the supporting actor is healthy — I don’t think healthy is in the forefront, but it’s coming and it’s growing.” And with that trend, Edo Japan will continue to grow as well. Donaldson is approaching expansion cautiously, not wanting to burn out by going too far too fast. The company currently has restaurants in five provinces, though the bulk of them are in Alberta. As the brand continues to get stronger, they may become as ubiquitous in other provinces as they are here at home. Until then, Donaldson is happy to expand Edo Japan’s menu (their sushi, which is surprisingly tasty, is becoming more and more popular) and capitalize on Calgary and Edmonton’s growing demand for something a little bit different.
Lighthouse Café STADIUM SHOPPING CENTRE 2B - 1941 Uxbridge Drive N.W. (Corner of 16th Ave & 29 St. N.W.)
“When I came on the scene, my timing couldn’t have been better because people were starting to look at different kinds of foods and exploring the culinary world,” Donaldson says. “If you look at Calgary in general, the last 15 years have seen a dramatic change to a very thriving restaurant scene, which is amazing. We’ve kind of been on that same wave as far as customers wanting to explore something other than traditional quick service.” Over her 15-year career as a professional writer, Elizabeth Chorney-Booth has written about music, film, business, and food, but ultimately she just likes to hear and share people’s stories.
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Chefâ€™s Tips (and Tricks!) with Pasta and Dough Story and photographs by Cory Knibutat
Brian Diamond, Il Sogno
After a few years working alongside Il Sogno’s previous chef, Robert Fedesoff, chef Brian Diamond has put his own stamp on one of Calgary’s most respected Italian restaurants.
“People think making pasta is really difficult and all it is, is time consuming,” Diamond says. “You could do it in a mixer.”
Diamond’s background was rooted in French cooking, so when Fedesoff asked Diamond to work with him at Il Sogno, he used the opportunity to learn as much as possible. “Working with Robert kind of opened up a lot of new ideas,” Diamond said. “French is fairly rich and heavy with lots of butter, lots of cream, where Italian is fairly light and simple but at the same time, the flavours are all there and everything pops.” Known for the hand-made pasta, Diamond learned everything he knows from 68 year-old Assunta Ferrise, who’s worked at Il Sogno making the pasta for the past twelve years, predating just about every chef who’s worked there.
Spicy Italian Sausage & Caramelized Onion Fusilli Serves 4 1 white onion, julienned A few drops canola oil 6 spicy Italian sausages, removed from casings 1 tsp (5 mL) olive oil 1 Tbs (15 mL) minced garlic 1 Tbs (15 mL) shallots, brunoised 1 cup (225 mL) vegetable or chicken stock 2 Tbs (30 mL) butter 450 g pasta, fusilli or macaroni, cooked
1. Caramelize julienned onion in a bit of canola oil and set aside.
2. Render sausage in a pan with olive oil over medium heat.
3. Once sausage is lightly browned, add shallots and garlic and heat.
4. Add your stock, heating to a simmer, then add butter to become more of a sauce
5. Once sauce thickens slightly, add onions
6. Add cooked pasta to the pan. If sauce is too thin, reduce further. If too thick, add more stock.
7. Season to taste and finish with a bit of grana padano or crème fraiche.
“Work the dough six to eight minutes until it’s a flakey ball,” he adds. “After that it’s just a good kneading until the dough becomes smooth. Work it in a bowl until the flakey stage then take it out to work it by hand. There shouldn’t be much mess after that.” “You’ll be able to tell when it’s coming together after all the wet ingredients are in the flour.” As for people worried about getting dirty, Diamond says to just go for it, “It’s worth the clean-up.” Il Sogno are found at 24 4th Street NE, Calgary T2E 3R7 403-232-8901
Franca and Mario Flaviano, Franca’s Italian Specialties Operating in their current location on the Edmonton Trail for just a couple of years, Franca’s Italian Specialties has become known for their dynamite Italian classics, simply by supply and demand. Years ago, Franca and Mario Flaviano sold Italian-themed gift baskets in their old location, but when coffee and biscotti wasn’t enough to satisfy hungry customers, they began offering desserts, and finally lunches, to keep customers happy.
Franca’s Italian Specialties Gnocchi: Serves 4 1 K Russet potatoes 400 g all-purpose flour 1 egg yolk
1. Bring potatoes to a boil until they are fork tender. 2. Peel away the skins and pass potatoes through a potato ricer when they are still warm. Let cool. 3. Make a well in the cool potatoes and add flour and egg yolk. Mix by hand and incorporate slowly. If necessary, add a bit of water to loosen. 4. Roll dough out 5 to 6 mm thick and cut to size. To get the traditional ridge marks, using the back of a fork and press your index finger into the dough as you roll it up along the fork. 5. Cook gnocchi in boiling water until they float. Remove from water and add to sauce to finish cooking.
Through reputation and word of mouth, Franca’s now offers a full menu during the day and dinner service at night on Saturdays, with gnocchi being the dish they’re most proud of. “Our gnocchi here, we can’t keep up,” said Mario. “Our gnocchi is our signature dish.”
Chef’s Tip: “Don’t work the dough too much,” Mario says. “It’s all about texture, right? If you’re not sure, have a pot of (boiling) water on the side. If you think it’s right, put one in and try it and see if it’s good. See if you have to add a bit more flour and stuff like that.” “Sometimes it doesn’t bind, so when it goes in the water, it just turns into mush. You’ll know you need to add more flour. In the water it takes less than a minute. As soon as it floats you take it out. You have the sauce ready, and you put them in the pan with the sauce and finish them,” he adds. “The secret to good food is good quality product,” says Franca. “Good olive oil, good parmesan cheese, fresh basil. This is important. If you don’t use good cheese on a fresh plate of pasta, you ruin the whole thing.”
22 • June 2013
Franca’s Italian Specialties are at 3811 Edmonton Trail NE, Calgary T2E 3P6 403-277-0766
Joe Nicastro, Ville Firenze
A cornerstone of the Italian restaurant community in Calgary, Ville Firenze continues the tradition established by Joe and Teressa Tudda 22 years ago, now managed by their daughter Pina and her chef husband Joe Nicastro.
“If you have a pasta machine, when you’re mixing the dough, you’ve got to make it as dry as you possibly can,” Nicastro says. “When I say dry, it’s not flour dry, you’ve got to have it stick together but if it’s too wet, you’re going to have problems when it’s coming out (of the pasta machine).”
Going back to his time at Stromboli Inn, Nicastro has cooked just about every type of Italian meal, whether it was the Stromboli pizza or dishes he’s created and become known for, like his signature Portobello mushroom dish. “As for pasta, I don’t measure anything,” Nicastro says. “As soon as I put my eggs in and my flour, I estimate and I know to put more eggs or more flour. As I look at the dough and I feel the texture, I know.”
“If we’re dealing with pasta dough, because there’s no yeast, it’s better to mix by machine. Under 5 minute cook time, and the water has got to be boiling.” Villa Firenze are at 610, 1 Avenue NE Calgary T2E 0B6 403-264-4297
“There is no comparison to anything you do if it’s home-made, he says. “You can’t beat it.”
Domenic Tudda, Pulcinella Domenic Tudda has pizza in his blood. His family name is synonymous with great Italian food in this city, but Domenic learned the traditional Napolitana style in Italy before opening Pulcinella seven years ago in the heart of Kensington. “I’ve been doing this since the day I was born,” Tudda said. “This used to be Stromboli’s Inn. That was my mom and dad’s, so pizza is all I’ve ever done. I’ve done every single type. We don’t mess around.” After earning his masters chef certification studying in Italy, Domenic returned to Calgary with a focus on using only the best ingredients to make the best pizza. He is the only one in Calgary certified by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana. “In Italy, there’s three types of pizza,” Tudda said. “There’s Romana, which is
what everybody does all over Italy, a thin-crust, crispy pizza. Then there’s the focacciastyle, which is a thick crust. Then there’s Napoletana; the hardest to do.” “The whole idea is there’s no fat in the dough,” Tudda added. “No olive oil, no nothing. The fast cook time is to keep it chewy; crisp but more chewy.”
Chef’s Tip: To make pizza dough: “In a kitchen mixer go about medium speed and never too fast,” Tudda says. “You’ll want a smooth texture. The water goes in the mixer first and the flour gets added in slowly. Use cold water, it’s very important,” he adds. “Always add salt and yeast at completely different times. I recommend adding the salt in with the water. Add the yeast halfway through the mix otherwise
you’ll kill it. I would use fresh yeast.” “Be patient with the rolling pin and if it’s sticking, always have flour nearby. Don’t go too thin on a home oven otherwise you’ll end up with a cracker.” You don’t need the cheese to be crispy to know when the pizza is done. “It’s not the cheese, the colour of the dough is going to tell you,” Tudda says. Pulcinella are at 1147 Kensington Crescent NW, Calgary 403-283-1166 Having worked in restaurants since he was 14, Cory translated his passion for food into his journalistic ambitions, not critiquing but meeting the people who make it and finding out what inspires them.
Dandelion Delights By Leonard Brown
There is nothing more evident, more prolific and more reliable than the guaranteed annual worldwide appearance of the Dandelion. In Calgary, it arises from apparent death soon after the ground has thawed out, and besides being the bane of a home owners life, it has resisted all attempts at annihilation, reliably reappearing mercilessly. My philosophy is ‘if you can’t beat them, eat them’. If your lawn is pesticide-free, then you can start plucking the dandelions out as soon as they appear. The plants have long, strong tap roots, so if they are to be eradicated, then the entire root must be removed from the soil, as the plant will re-emerge from broken roots. Wild dandelions are native to Europe and Asia, but are smaller and much sharper tasting than the cultivated varieties now available in supermarkets and farmers’ markets. Historically, Dandelions have been used in culinary, herbal and medicinal treatments. All parts of the plant are of culinary benefit. The leaves can be picked, best when still young as they will be softer and not as brittle. Wash them immediately in very cold water, dry, and store them in an airtight container with paper towel to help
absorb excess moisture. Leaves can be used in salads, in stir-fries or sautéed with spices and other vegetables, in omelettes and in soups. Blanching leaves first in boiling water removes the bitterness. Save this water as it contains nutrients and can be used for houseplants. The flower petals can be used to make dandelion wine, and the roasted and ground roots can be used to make caffeine-free dandelion coffee. Traditionally Dandelion was also used to make the British drink Dandelion and Burdock and is one of the ingredients of root beer. The leaves are abundant in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A, C and K, have a higher beta carotene level than carrots, more iron and calcium than spinach, and are good
sources of potassium and manganese. The bright yellow flowers can be added to salads, creating a colourful zesty bitterness. They can also be deep fried, seasoned and eaten as a snack. Enjoy nature’s bounty. Be aware of the possibility of allergic reactions from consumed pollen, and adverse skin reaction. Dandelions have a high potassium content, so if you take potassium-saving diuretics, be aware that consuming dandelions could be harmful to your health. Doctor’s advice is best obtained. Leonard hails from South Africa, spoiled with exceptional wine, culturally diverse foods and horticultural magnificence. He realized that what was taken for granted elsewhere, had to be achieved with hard work, commitment, patience and passion in Calgary.
This is How They Roll Fun And Dynamic Sushi Schools To Boost Your Summer Curriculum Story by Janine Eva Trotta
When steaks and burgers become a little too well done, what better interactive summer dinner menu than a line up of handmade sushi rolls? The idea of selecting and rolling raw fish to eat at home is daunting to many of us, so several local sushi masters are offering classes that remove this fear with entertaining instruction. Perfect for a creative birthday, team builder, date night or ladies night out, here is a sample of the classes offered this month and returning again in the fall.
Kinjo Sushi & Grill $55
When: June 9 or 30 (Macleod) and June 16 or 30 (Dalhousie) Where: 7101 Macleod Trail SW or 415-5005 Dalhousie Drive NW. To register: 403.255.8998 (Macleod) or 403.452.8389 (Dalhousie) Learn, have fun and leave full is the promise offered at this sushi school Participants make maki, nigiri, and futomaki sushi – totalling 38 pieces per person. Many appetizers are on offer too, including edamame and miso soup, along with sake and plum wine to wash it all down. The class gives a brief look into the history of sushi, and provides fun facts and prizes. “Get hands on training that will stimulate your taste buds and creativity; it’s a sushi party!”
Sakana Grill $55
When: Classes are on demand for groups of 15-20 Where: 116 - 2 Avenue SW To register: Contact Kathy for class dates at 403.290.1118 With four to five sushi chefs and two servers to assist you, you should have no shortage of help in completing your 38-piece sushi roster. Hot sake, plum wine, and other beverages are also provided. At the end of the class, six students are selected to compete for the “Best Looking Sushi” and “Most Original Presentation”. All winners receive prizes, which can include a bottle of sake or plum wine to take home.
Culinary Campus (SAIT) $90
When: June 20 5:30-8:30pm Where: 226, 230 - 8 Ave SW (Scotia Centre) To register: www.culinarycampus.ca Under the guidance of Chef Mori, ‘learn the fundamentals of sushi-making in a few short hours’ – from choosing the right protein to making the perfect rice, and hand rolling a lovely nori roll too.
The Cookbook Co. $90
Where: 722-11 Avenue SW To register: 403.265.6011 ext. 1 Though sushi-making classes halt for the summer they come back for the fall, taught by Zen chef/working partner Hiro Atari. Classes generally run 2.5 hours on a Saturday afternoon. Janine is a journalism graduate from Mount Royal University. She has visited over 25 countries in pursuit of great food and interesting people, and indeed has found them.
By Natalie Findlay
Sushi is the original fast food. The ingredients are few, the materials are minimal, and the flavours are fresh and inexpensive. Did you know that ‘sushi’ arrived in Japan via China in the 8th century? A very different product back then, sushi was made with salted fish (preservation issues) and fermented rice to help prevent the fish form spoiling. The rice was not eaten. Since the Japanese preferred to eat fish with rice, they abandoned the fermented rice and started to eat their ‘fast food’ fresh, changing the dish to closely represent the sushi that we all know and love today. The materials you will need are simply a sushi rolling mat and a knife. The ingredients (I’m going California style here) are cooked sushi rice, roasted seaweed sheets, cucumber, avocado, real or imitation crab, and sesame seeds. The condiments of soya sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger will add authenticity to the final product. Sushi is great for lunch at work or for your kids at school. Just wrap them tightly the night before in plastic wrap and they will stay fresh for lunch the next day. お食事をお楽しみくださいね I hope you enjoy your meal!
26 • June 2013
Wrap your sushi mat with plastic wrap to prevent the rice from sticking.
Slice cucumber, crab and avocado into thin strips.
3. Cut the roasted seaweed in half. 4. Place seaweed on mat. 5.
Cover the seaweed with the cooked sushi rice, about half a centimetre thick.
6. Flip over the seaweed so the rice is on
Place your ingredients in the middle of the seaweed making sure to fill from one side to the other with ingredients.
Use the end of the mat to roll the end of the seaweed just to cover the inside ingredients, and give it a bit of a tug to pull the ingredients together tightly.
Extend the mat fully so all of the seaweed has been rolled into a cylinder and again give it a gentle tug to make sure everything is held tight.
Unroll the mat and using a sharp knife (you don’t want your sushi to fall apart) slice sushi in half, then slice the pieces in half, and in half again to produce 8 wonderful pieces. 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 custommade cakes.
Foundations of Sushi: Shari by Gabriel Hall When presented with an impeccably assembled piece of toro nigiri sushi, one focuses intently on the delicate pinkish flesh, straddled with streaks of white tuna fat, which melts when it touches the tongue and evaporates delivering the essence directly to your taste buds. For sushi perfectionists, nirvana is when a harmonious balance is reached between the fish, either fresh or preserved with salt or vinegar, the dollop of wasabi between the fish and rice, and the textured vinegar rice below. Top sushi chefs will tell you that the shari, or sushi rice, is the most important component. It is the foundation on which flavours are built and enhanced. There is a complex range of variables to control: • finding a perfect mix of rice is key; many chefs rely on the top quality koshihikari rice • enhancing the rice by infusing a mix of dashi, rice vinegar and salt at near body temperature • and the mixing motion used to preserve, not break, the grains of rice when tossing These are all critical to maintaining a light texture and producing a complementary flavour to showcase the fish. A combination of meticulously prepared subtle flavours is the overriding feature of Japanese cuisine. On your next sushi night, take a closer look and taste into the role that the little bit of carefully prepared rice plays in the enjoyment of your meal. culinairemagazine.ca
Itâ€™s All In The Details Story and Photographs by Fred Malley, ccc
Passion. Fabio Centini fairly oozes passion talking about food, wine and the restaurant business. As executive chef/owner, along with wife Chevonne, they operate Centini Restaurant and Lounge. Fabio and Chevonne are very focused on the client. “It is what they want that counts; you are cooking for them, not yourself”.
nights as a dishwasher and came in during the day on his own time for the privilege of learning to work with food. With an open kitchen, the fear is now the customer who is looking over your shoulder constantly. Fabio credits Atillio Romano Pasquale of Trattorie de Trestevere in Montreal with instilling the mentality, passion and client-centric focus he lives by.
It strikes you as you enter and wander around the restaurant: blonde wood, rich-toned walls, and a world-class art collection. Centini is the only restaurant in Canada making use of the Canadian National Art Bank. The eclectic collection of important Canadian art includes work by Riopelle and Pellan, and alone is worth the experience. The restaurant spaces can be sectioned off for privacy to accommodate corporate board meetings or a gathering of friends celebrating a birthday. Centini accommodates clients for breakfast meetings and receptions, in addition to lunch and dinner. Lunch features 3 table d’hôte menus to make the service quicker for those in a hurry. Fabio is very animated, with a sparkle in his eyes, as he tours me behind the scenes. He is a proud poppa, opening doors and drawers to show the mise en place for the menu. Even the equipment and knife drawers are spotless and organized. He is adamant that you don’t serve food that you wouldn’t eat yourself. Everything is made from scratch and nothing is cooked until you order it; it doesn’t come any fresher than that. Great attention is paid to the fridges, where clear containers hold supplies of fresh pastas, fillings and other preparations. Supplies are monitored daily to ensure
everything is used at its peak. Fabio says, “The squeaky wheel gets oiled, demand quality from purveyors.” Two things helped shape a young man’s focus on fine cuisine. Fear, and believing the client is the show. Growing up in Montreal, he recalls getting cocky when searing eighty portions of osso buco. Taking a short-cut, the chef smacked him on the back of the head, telling him, “Only turn it once, don’t boil it”. As teenagers will, Fabio told him “You can’t do that,” to which he was told, “There is the door.” In those days, he worked
The secret to cooking, according to Fabio, is to “understand the ingredients and how the environment affects them. Be consistent, follow procedure exactly. It’s the details that bring the customer back. A recipe is a starting point and guideline. When you are on-line you must work with your head, your heart and your gut. The customer needs to know the food is prepared with passion, love and caring”. Quality ingredients are a mantra at Centini. The prosciutto comes from Italy, with numbered metal rivets to prove it. Where else in Alberta can you go and have Spanish Serrano ham, at $1,400 per leg, carved from a mahogany stand, tableside? And you can request things not on the menu; if they have the ingredients, they will make it for you. Dishes can be customized if you prefer a different garnish, and gluten-free is on offer for much of the menu, including pasta and bread.
Spending time with Chevonne reinforces the passion the couple share in life and business; the Alberta farm lass went fishing for him in Montreal. Fishing is a pastime, but he is not a hunter. He builds remote-control planes and cars, and they both golf, enjoying Arizona for quick get-aways in the winter. He comments that the best things in his life happened in good wine years; he was born in 1961, married in 1997 and opened the restaurant in 2003. Fabio’s preference is for Old World Italian and Burgundy wines, evident in the outstanding wine list that evolves as he adds good global wines that offer value. I recall an Italian Trade Commission wine tasting last year - he sent me to the other end of the room to sample a rich, buttery chardonnay he was in love with, and then brought onto his wine list to pair with his dishes. Chevonne speaks of the artisanal bread program at the restaurant. She uses her MBA and perfectionist demeanor to experiment and refine her art. According to Fabio, she is a serious baker; she is. You can feel the love as she nurtures
the wild yeast starter that provides the leavening and fabulous toothsome flavour of the breads. Whether it’s rustic whole wheat, walnut scallion or ciabatta, the Biega starter shines. When you taste the breads, you can’t stop eating them, the aroma and textures are satisfying. She makes everything: flatbreads (below), grissini and biscotti. Her cookies fill glass canisters on the bar, and each has its own texture and flavour to complement fresh brewed coffee or espresso. The bakeshop contains many flours: ‘00’ from Italy, pastry, bread, all-purpose, rye, amaranth, chickpea and spelt, among others. Chevonne still checks the recipes she develops for our climate and altitude, to ensure consistency. But that does not stop her from feeding Biega a piece of dough from time to time. She comments, “It’s like having a puppy, you have to nurture it”. Chevonne makes much of Centini’s charcuterie too. The pancetta, duck prosciutto and guanciale are her proud creations. She roasts whole walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds and
cashews in olive oil imported from a friend’s orchard in Italy, with a little salt, rosemary and sage. They see restaurant trends going back to classics and becoming more serious; clean and simple with not too many products in a dish. And healthy. Their biggest challenge is finding good staff willing to work hard and with dedication, passion and ambition. For aspiring culinarians, Fabio speaks of learning the basics: understanding French and Italian cooking principles, learning art, and remembering that it’s always about the client. Centini is located at 160 – 8 Ave SE in the Telus Convention Centre. Dress is from casual to elegant; they welcome everyone like family. Reservations are recommended and if you have specific needs, just ask. Fred currently validates Individual Learning Modules for Alberta Apprenticeship, for the trade of Cook. Chair of the Canadian Culinary Institute for five year (the body that certifies Chefs de Cuisine (CCC), Fred actively mentors and examines chefs across Canada.
Centini Flaxseed Flatbread 1 cup (225 mL) all-purpose flour 1/3 cup (75 mL) whole wheat flour ¼ cup (55 mL) rye flour 2 Tbs (30 mL) flaxseed, ground ¾ tsp (3.75 mL) sea salt ¾ cup (170 mL) water, warm Olive oil for brushing Flaxseed, and kosher or sea salt for topping
1. Mix the dry ingredients in a stand mixer and add the water. Knead with a dough hook until the dough is smooth. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
3. Roll each ball of dough with a rolling pin. If you have a pasta machine, it will make things much easier and enable you to achieve a thinner product. Cut in wedges or strips.
4. Place the rolled out flatbreads on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with flaxseeds and a small pinch of the salt.
5. Bake in a 450° F oven until the tops have golden brown patches, about 3-4 minutes.
2. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and form them into balls.
Centini Olive Oil and Sea Salt Crackers 1 cup (225 mL) all-purpose flour 1 cup (225 mL) semolina 1 cup (225 mL) whole wheat flour 6 mL (1 ¼ tsp) sea salt 400 mL (1¾ cups) water, warm 170 mL (¾ cup) olive oil Olive oil and sea salt for topping.
1. Mix the dry ingredients in a stand mixer and add the water and olive oil. Knead with a dough hook until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. The dough should be just a bit tacky, but not difficult to work with. Add a bit more water or flour if needed.
2. Place the dough in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour to relax the gluten. This will enable you to roll it out more easily.
3. Cut the dough into equal sized pieces roughly the size of a billiard ball and flatten them. Flour your work area, this helps you roll the dough out.
4. Using a rolling pin, or the dough sheeting attachment of a pasta maker, flatten the dough until it is as thin as possible. You can use larger pieces of dough if you have a machine to help you flatten. Keep flouring as you flatten and roll. You may need to cover the dough with plastic and let it rest for a few minutes to relax the gluten during pinning out.
5. Lay the dough on a floured surface and cut into whatever shape you like. Centini use a pizza cutter to make strips about 2.5 cms wide by 12.5 cms long. You can lay the flattened dough on parchment paper on a baking tray and cut the strips right on the tray.
6. Brush each cracker heavily with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.
7. Bake in a 475° F oven until dry and golden, approximately 6-10 minutes. Centini serve these crackers with fresh ricotta or burrata cheese. They keep well, if they last long enough to store.
Three Years Of Food Fighting In The Name Of Calgary Story by Dan Clapson Photography by Ingrid Kuenzel and Food Network Canada
In a world of ‘Real Housewives’ this and ‘Honey Boo Boo’ that, it’s always refreshing to sit back and watch a reality-focused series with some substance. The Canadian Idol craze has long since come and gone and the winners (how many were there again?) are but a mere afterthought in a pop music world ruled by Carly Rae Jepsen. Thank god the reality of the food world is considerably less fleeting and much more appetising to take in. In its inaugural season, back in February of 2011, we saw two competitors representing Calgary in the national kitchen battleground. The first, pastry chef extraordinaire, Rebekah Pearse and, of course, Calgary’s culinary sweetheart Connie DeSousa. The show’s format was simple; sixteen chefs from coast-to-coast were pitted against each other in a string of challenges. They would be eliminated, one by one, until the country saw its first official ‘Top Chef’. Best summed up as a culinary ‘Survivor’ minus the beaches, makeshift shelters and tans, of course. 32 • June 2013
Back then, having just recently opened Charcut Roast House with co-chef and partner in crime, John Jackson, the show couldn’t have come at a better time in Connie DeSousa’s career. If past seasons of the original American program were any indication, leveraging one’s time on a series like this could result in national notoriety and a never-ending stream of business. Sadly, local foodies watched Rebekah “pack her knives and go” after only two episodes. The talented chef satisfied many a sweet tooth with her dessert cafe, Nectar, which used to inhabit
the space that is now Without Papers in Inglewood. Pearse now happily resides in Toronto, lending her culinary expertise and charm to popular downtown restaurant, Luma. Then, there was one...Connie became a stronger contender week after week, as we watched other cheftestants drop off one-by-one. She sailed gracefully into the finale, finishing third place to Rob Rossi and winner, Dale Mackay. If DeSousa’s aim was setting the bar for future Calgarian chefs that would appear on the series, she couldn’t have set it much higher.
Fast forward to season two. France transplant and fine dining chef, Xavier Lacaze was announced to follow in Connie’s footsteps. He was Calgary’s sole chef for the new year and quickly garnered a supportive fan base. Although he did not fare as well as DeSousa from the previous year, he came in at a very respectable fifth place. Whether he was up or down, Xavier impressed local foodies with his level-headedness and refined cooking style.
on TV, seeing Connie go through the experience and then Xavier. I was just excited for the experience...Really, if you think about it, less than 50 [chefs] in Canada have had this opportunity...it’s really cool to look at it that way.”
When the show premiered earlier this year, we quickly saw Gomes, Rogers and Chris Shaften, the third Calgary cheftestant, separate from the pack in terms of personality. The three chefs regularly offered up humorous commentary, rather than the typical fierce “I’m not here to make friends!” competitiveness when it came to the culinary challenges. “There were moments where I considered that some of the stuff I may have said in the sound booth may have been pretty over the top.” Chris points out, laughing, “But, personality aside, it was always most important what I was putting on the plate.”
The talented chef is still commanding attention in the city’s dining scene, set to open Brigg’s Kitchen and Bar on 10th Avenue SW in just a few weeks. “I definitely do not miss the judges table!” explains Lacaze, reminiscing on the roller coaster ride that was his Top Chef Canada experience. “When you’re on top, it’s awesome, but when you’re on the bottom, as I was a few times, it was always a shocker.” A few weeks before the series wrapped up in spring, 2012, auditions began with a brand new batch of chefs for the next season. “I didn’t actually think that I was going to make it.” chuckled Geoff Rogers, competitor from season three. “I know, what the hell, right...? But, once you make it to the producer cut, it’s starts becoming a lot more real...Getting the call...I thought, holy crap, now I get to cook and show them what I actually can do.” Rogers, whom ended up placing sixth this year, continues, “To see it
disappointed if I didn’t get on [this year]. If they called and told me no, I would have just gone on with my life. But, I would have tried again, I tell you that! Ha, ha, ha.”
Boutique caterer/owner of Nicole Gourmet, Nicole Gomes chimes in, “I was going to apply [for season two], but it wasn’t the right time. I thought it would just be fun, really. The money was obviously an incentive, but I just thought that I had the skill level to pull off everything that they would throw at me.” Had she applied with her original intentions, Gomes would have been a welcome addition to the second season, which arguably lacked a prominent female chef. “I wasn’t going to be
Shaften, who was eliminated midway through the season, made Canadians smile weekly with his quirky comments and unabashed public affection for the ladies. “I went in with an attitude of having a really good time. I was imagining that there would be some hot girls and that we’d be having some bikini parties in the hot tub...Ha, ha, ha. I was excited to have a good time and to cook, but I wanted to win!” As charming as Geoff and Chris were on camera, it was undeniable that Nicole grew to be the darling of the current season. Whether it was her now infamous ‘Beaver Balls’ dish or her unabashed love of gin cocktails culinairemagazine.ca
may be biased, but I think these Calgary chefs have all played a pretty damn fine game. The finale of Top Chef Canada, Season 3, filmed on location in Calgary, will feature several members of the city’s food truck fleet, guest judge Jann Arden and much more. Airing at 7:00 pm MDT on Food Network Canada. Tune in, if you know what’s good for you!
Timeline Season 1: Episode 2: Rebekah, 15th place Episode 13 (finale): Connie, 3rd place
Season 2: Episode 11: Xavier, 5th place Episode 13 (finale): Xavier returns to cook off to regain a spot in the finale, doesn’t succeed.
Season 3: post-cooking challenges, people fell in love with her talent and ‘tell it like it is’ persona. Finishing the current competition in fifth place, there was no doubt that Top Chef fans across the country shed a tear or two watching Nicole gracefully depart from the series. Now that a third year of Top Chef Canada is coming to a close, looking at the stats, Calgary chefs have been portrayed extremely well in this national kitchen warzone. We’ve, thankfully, had no ‘villains’ and have offered up one eighth of the total culinary talent to this intense spotlight, with the majority of the chefs making it past the halfway point. It’s no secret to us that the Calgary culinary scene has something special going on, but now it’s undeniable to the rest of Canada too. 34 • June 2013
“I’ve been here for 11 years and I’ve seen [Calgary] grow from not really understanding fine dining to where it is now and I do think it’s still underestimated by the rest of Canada.” points out Gomes, “I love that it’s new, it’s keeping up with the trends and I think our Calgarian [diners] do really understand the ‘trend’...It’s becoming a lot more cosmopolitan. The restaurant scene has blown up and there’s a lot more possibility to come.” Although this city may still not have an official number one ‘Top Chef’ - yet - in its ranks, it can’t be argued that our chefs are leaving a good impression on food lovers from coast-to-coast. Like many situations in our lives, it’s true what they say: It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. I
Episode 7: Chris Shaften, 8th place Episode 10: Geoff Rogers, 6th place Episode 11: Nicole Gomes, 5th place Episode 13 (finale): Top Chef Canada takes the show on the road for the very first time, filming in our own city of Calgary. Airing Monday, June 10th at 7:00 pm. Dan Clapson is a freelance food writer and columnist based out of Calgary. When he’s not writing about Canada’s amazing culinary scene, he is likely spending his time listening to 80s rock or 90s boy bands like 98 Degrees. Follow him on twitter @dansgoodside!
A D V E R T I S E M E N T F E AT U R E
With a glass of Woodford Reserve in hand, you are about to enjoy a quality bourbon-the unique result of skill, patience, and tradition. TheÊspiritÊknownÊasÊBourbonÊ canÊbeÊproducedÊanywhereÊinÊtheÊ UnitedÊStatesÊalthoughÊvirtuallyÊ allÊof ÊitÊisÊproducedÊinÊtheÊstateÊ of ÊKentucky.ÊInÊfact,ÊUSAÊTodayÊ recentlyÊreportedÊthatÊthereÊareÊ moreÊbarrelsÊof ÊbourbonÊagingÊinÊ KentuckyÊthanÊpeopleÊresidingÊinÊ theÊStateÊof ÊKentucky. WhatÊmakesÊKentuckyÊtheÊhomeÊ of ÊqualityÊbourbon?ÊAnyÊdistillerÊ of ÊnoteÊwillÊtellÊyouÊthatÊyouÊcanÕtÊ makeÊgoodÊwhiskyÊwithoutÊgoodÊ water.ÊTheÊaquiferÊsupplyingÊ centralÊKentuckyÕsÊBluegrassÊ regionÊsitsÊonÊlimestoneÊbedsÊwhichÊ removesÊmanyÊimpuritiesÊsuchÊasÊ ironÊandÊaddsÊmineralsÊsuchÊasÊ magnesiumÊandÊcalcium-longÊ creditedÊforÊtheÊrenownÊof ÊtheÊ strongÊandÊfastÊthoroughbredÊ horsesÊwhichÊKentuckyÊisÊalsoÊ knownÊfor.Ê UnderÊtheÊdirectionÊof ÊMasterÊ DistillerÊChrisÊMorris,ÊWoodfordÊ ReserveÊisÊaÊsmallÊbatchÊbourbon,Ê proudlyÊclaimingÊtoÊbeÊtheÊoldest,Ê smallest,ÊandÊslowestÊworkingÊ
KentuckyÊdistillery.ÊTheÊhigh-ryeÊ sourÊmashÊisÊslowlyÊfermentedÊforÊ upÊtoÊsevenÊdaysÊinÊsmallÊvats,Ê before ﬂowing to the copper pot stillsÊimportedÊfromÊScotland.Ê TripleÊdistilled,ÊtheÊdistillateÊmovesÊ toÊtheÊtoastedÊandÊcharredÊwhiteÊ oakÊbarrels.ÊFirstÊuseÊbarrels-itÕsÊ the law. Woodford only ﬁlls about 100ÊbarrelsÊaÊweekÊwhichÊwillÊthenÊ beÊagedÊfromÊ6-8ÊyearsÊuntilÊtheÊ complex aromas and ﬂavours are readyÊtoÊbeÊenjoyed.Ê YouÕllÊbeÊgladÊthatÊtheÊbarrelsÊusedÊ in Woodford Reserve were ﬁrst toastedÊonÊtheÊinsideÊtoÊcaramelizeÊ theÊnaturalÊsugarsÊinÊtheÊoakÊbeforeÊ beingÊcharredÊtoÊcreateÊtheÊporousÊ surfaceÊforÊtheÊwhiskeyÊtoÊ interactÊwith.ÊOverÊtheÊyearsÊ gainingÊcolour,Êvanilla,ÊandÊallÊtheÊ otherÊcomplexitiesÊasÊwithÊeachÊ passingÊseasonÊtheÊchangesÊinÊ humidityÊandÊtemperatureÊdrawÊ theÊspiritÊinÊandÊoutÊof ÊthoseÊ porousÊsurfacesÊuntilÊitÕsÊ determinedÊbyÊtheÊmasterÊdistillerÊ thatÊitÊisÊready.
WOODFORD RESERVE. CRAFT BOURBON. SERVING SUGGESTIONS ToÊenjoyÊtheÊrewardsÊof ÊthisÊ patience,ÊpourÊaboutÊanÊounceÊ intoÊaÊrockÊglassÊandÊnoteÊitsÊ colour,ÊthenÊrollÊtheÊspiritÊ aroundÊinÊtheÊglassÊtoÊopenÊupÊ theÊaromasÊandÊtakeÊthreeÊshortÊ sniffsÊratherÊthanÊoneÊlongÊoneÊtoÊ betterÊenjoyÊtheÊmultipleÊnuances.Ê Then, take your ﬁrst small sip, lettingÊitÊcoatÊyourÊtongueÊbeforeÊ swallowing. Think of the ﬂavours andÊtexturesÊof ÊthisÊqualityÊspiritÊ inÊyourÊglass.ÊRepeat.Ê ForÊthoseÊthatÊmayÊnotÊenjoyÊ bourbonÊneatÊorÊonÊtheÊrocks,Ê mayÊweÊsuggestÊtakingÊtheÊedgeÊ off ÊtheÊsummerÊheatÊwithÊtheÊ iconicÊMintÊJulep?ÊTheÊclassicÊ
MintÊJulepÊisÊcomprisedÊof ÊonlyÊ 4Êingredients.ÊBourbon,ÊmintÊleaf,Ê sugar,ÊandÊiceÊ(typicallyÊcrushedÊ orÊshaved),.ÊTheÊpreciseÊmethodÊ mayÊvary,ÊbutÊtypicallyÊtheÊmintÊ willÊbeÊmuddledÊorÊbruisedÊtoÊ release ﬂavours. A simple syrup canÊalsoÊbeÊpurchasedÊratherÊthanÊ madeÊfromÊscratch.Ê TraditionÊcallsÊforÊitÊtoÊbeÊservedÊ inÊaÊpewterÊorÊsilverÊcup,ÊbutÊforÊ most,ÊaÊtallÊold-fashionedÊstyleÊ glassÊwillÊdoÊtheÊtrick.Ê Ê
CRAFT CAREFULLY. DRINK RESPONSIBLY.
1 cup sugar 1 cup water 12 sprigs mint 3 ounces Woodford Reserve 1 sprig mint
For each serving, ﬁll a silver, copper,Êpewter,ÊorÊstonewareÊ julepÊcupÊwithÊbrokenÊorÊcrushedÊ ice.ÊAddÊ2ÊtablespoonsÊof ÊtheÊ mintÊsyrupÊandÊtheÊbourbon,ÊandÊ stirÊgentlyÊuntilÊtheÊcupÊisÊfrosted.Ê GarnishÊwithÊaÊsprigÊof Êmint.
BringÊtheÊwaterÊandÊsugarÊtoÊaÊ boilÊinÊaÊsaucepanÊandÊboilÊforÊ 5Êminutes.ÊDoÊnotÊstir.ÊPourÊoverÊ theÊ12ÊsprigsÊof ÊmintÊinÊaÊ heatproof Êbowl,ÊgentlyÊcrushingÊ theÊmintÊwithÊtheÊbackÊof ÊaÊ spoon.ÊChill,ÊcoveredÊforÊ8-10Ê hours.ÊStrain,ÊdiscardingÊtheÊ mint.ÊYouÊmayÊstoreÊtheÊsyrupÊinÊ aÊrefrigeratorÊÊforÊseveralÊweeksÊ preparingÊindividualÊjulepsÊasÊ desired.Ê
Italia Obscura By BJ Oudman
Alberta’s wine pioneers continue to trail blaze outside the boundaries of familiar grapes and foray into unknown varietal territory - bringing wines from their traditional birthplace to our tables. Italy is home to approximate 3,500 recognized grape varieties, of which about 700 are used for making worthy wines, so it is only natural that Italy is a key player in this movement to bring us an added selection of obscure varieties. Part of this staggering number of varieties is due to multiple clones of some varieties; for example, there are seventy approved clones of sangiovese – found in everything from the common chianti to the less well known morellino de scansano. For Italy, these are not new wines; on the contrary, many are ancient varietals that we are seeing now for reasons such as the expansion of the market. Grapes in Italy are geographically dependent, meaning that some varieties are only permitted in certain regions and, as importers and consumers are looking for new wines, these regions and their grapes are finding their way here. Many of these traditional varieties fell by the wayside for good reason, some were only used for blending, or at best produced rustic wines not suited to modern palates. Improvements in vineyard management and winemaking have made many varietals more palatable to North Americans. And finally, the consumer is better educated about wine and willing to experiment with something outside of cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay. Exploring new varieties can be daunting. It is much easier to stick with what you know, but many of these wines are rewarding and exciting to drink. They are often great value, offering good quality for the price. Experience a different Italy and maybe you too will sense “la dolce vita”. BJ Oudman is a physical therapist with a passion for food and wine. She travels the world when she has time between consulting in both physical therapy and wine.
36 • June 2013
Ask your local wine store for suggestions, but here are some to look for.
White Wines: When thinking of Italian whites, common grapes like pinot grigio and trebbiano first come to mind. The adventurous may know vermentino and verdicchio, but here are a few more to add, either as blends or single varietals: Arneis - the white grape of Italy’s Piedmont region produces light style wine with gentle orchard fruits like pear and apricot, and a hint of almonds on the palate. Spaghetti all’aglio e olio or roast chicken anyone? Almondo Roero Arneis Vigne Sparse - $22 Grecanico – a noble and ancient Sicilian grape, related to Soave’s garganega; bright, fresh and floral, and perfect with tuna carpaccio. Planeta Grecanico - $24 Insolia - hailing from Sicily, it is characterized by richness and viscosity, yet exceptional freshness, with notes of citrus, honey and almonds. Pair with creamy gnocchi or chicken cannelloni. Chiaramonte Inzolia - $18
Manzoni Bianco - from Trentino in northern Italy, this variety is a cross of Riesling and Pinot Bianco with apple, spice and floral notes. Serve with rich dishes like lobster risotto. Foradori Fontanasanta- $23 Pecorino - mostly from Le Marche and Abruzzo, it is known as “grape of the sheep”. High aromatics of peach and pear, and wonderful acidity mean it does pair very well with hard cheese! Umani Ronchi Pecorino Chieti $18 Zibibbo - from the island of Pantelleria, “zabib” translates to raisins; often vinified sweet, a dry style remains aromatic with pear, citrus and flowers. Enjoy with fried fish or as an aperitif. Donnafugata Lighea-Zibibbo - $18
Red Wines: Everyone is familiar with sangiovese and nebbiolo, many have tried aglianico and dolcetto, but wine geeks get excited about sourcing these: Grignolino - from Piedmont, grignolo means “pip” or seed, so expect a lot of tannins in this thin wine; great pairing for charcuterie. Carlin De Paolo Piemonte Grignolino DOC - $27 Lagrein - from Trentino has returned to be trendy. Full-bodied and garnet in colour, it has velvety soft tannins on the palate, making it easier to drink. Match with lamb burgers. Franz Haas Lagrein DOC - $36 Magliocco Canino – a concentrated and rich wine from Calabria, with refined, peppery spice and a dried fruit bouquet, echoed on the palate. Perfect with spice-rubbed beef carpaccio and tartare. Colacino Amanzio - $24 Pignolo - translates to “fussy” as the grapes are difficult to grow. This grape from Friuli is my personal favourite; full, rich and tannic - perfect for braised meats or game! Villa Rubini Pignolo - $60 Bovale - most growers pulled out this tannic varietal from Sardinia to plant more commercially viable grapes; full bouquet of black fruits, cedar, black currants, leather and chocolate. Enjoy with roasted meats or paella. Argiolas Korem - $46 Ruche – another tannic wine Piedmont saved from extinction; sharing characteristics of nebbiolo, it is medium bodied with pepper, plums and red berries on the nose and palate. Pairs well with boar, wild game, or roasts. Da Capo Ruche Del Monferrato - $31
By Thierry Meret
In ancient China, black rice was considered the finest grain and only served to the Emperor. It’s sometimes called “forbidden rice” as it was off limits for the general public. It is very high in nutritional value and has a deep black colour, turning dark purple when cooked. Try Thai black jasmine rice for deeper flavour and colour, as well as for its additional health benefits. Black Rice and Coconut Broth with caramelized red onion and green cabbage rice paper roll Serves 4-6
Black Rice and Coconut Broth 1/2 cup (125 mL) black Thai rice, soaked for ½ hour and drained 1 Tbs (15 mL) sesame oil 1 shallot, peeled and finely diced 2 pieces lemongrass, 2.5 cms long, split and smashed 2 Kaffir leaves, torn 2 Tbs (30 mL) soy sauce 1 tsp (5 mL) chili flakes 1 Tbs (15 mL) frozen ginger, grated 4 cups (1 L) vegetable broth 1 cup (250 mL) coconut milk 3 Tbs (45 mL) fish sauce 1 Tbs (15 mL) cilantro, chopped
1. Place the soaked and drained black Thai rice in a saucepan and cover with cold water at least 1cm above rice, add 1 lemongrass stalk and 1 Kaffir leaf.
2. Bring to a quick boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until the rice is tender, stirring occasionally.
3. Drain the rice; refresh under cold running water and drain. Refrigerate. 4. Meanwhile, place sesame oil into a saucepan and add the shallot, remaining lemongrass and kaffir leaf. 5. Cook on low heat for 2 minutes then add soy sauce, chili flakes and grate 1 Tbs of ginger over.
6. Add the vegetable stock, coconut milk and fish sauce, and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes. Add the cilantro. Assembly
Caramelized Red Onion And Green Cabbage Rice Paper Roll 1 Tbs (15 mL) peanut oil or canola oil 1 Tbs (15 mL) sesame oil 1 small red onion, peeled and diced 1 cup (250 mL) green cabbage, chopped ½ tsp (2.5 ml) sea salt ½ tsp (2.5 ml) black pepper, ground 2 Tbs (30 mL) cilantro, chopped 1 Tbs (15 mL) roasted sesame seeds 1/2 cup (125 mL) cooked black rice 4-6 sheets rice paper
1. Place oils in a saucepan on medium heat and add diced onion. Season to taste and cook for 2 minutes until tender.
2. Add chopped green cabbage and
1. Steam rice paper rolls to reheat.
cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until both vegetables start caramelizing.
2. Warm the soup and add cooked black Thai rice, stir well.
3. Remove from the heat and add the
3. Spoon soup into bowls and top with warm rice paper rolls.
cilantro, ¼ cup of black rice and sesame seeds. Set aside.
4. Soak rice paper, one sheet at a time, in lukewarm water for 20 seconds to soften and place on a plate or cutting board. 5. Spoon a line of cabbage mixture slightly off center, keeping 1 cm clear at ends.
6. Fold the front edge of the rice paper over the filling, and then flip both sides over the top. With the tips of your fingers, continue rolling to form a spring roll. Repeat for remaining rolls. 7. Place rolls on a plate and keep refrigerated.
The origin of Vichyssoise is still open to debate but it seems to have found its roots in the childhood of a French chef who served it in New York around 1924. Louis Diat, back then, reflected on the potato and leek soup of his childhood and how he used to cool it off by adding cold milk to it. A refreshing sensation!
Quinoa Vichyssoise with grilled apple and mint Serves 4-6 ¼ cup (50 g) quinoa, rinsed and drained 2 Tbs (30 mL) olive oil 1 cup (100 g) leek, white part, washed and chopped 1 cup (100 g) leek, green part, washed and chopped 1 tsp (5 mL) sea salt 1 tsp (5 mL) white pepper, ground ½ tsp (2.5 mL) coriander, ground 1 tsp (5 mL) lemon zest (rind only), chopped 4 cups (1 L) vegetable or chicken stock ½ cup mint leaves ½ cup (125 mL) coffee cream (10%), optional
1. Place quinoa in a saucepan and generously cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes or until soft but not mushy. Drain, refresh with cold water and set aside. 2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a saucepan and add the white part of the leek with salt, pepper, coriander and the lemon zest. Cook on gentle heat for about 3-4 minutes until soft. Do not brown.
3. Add the stock, bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. 4. Add the green part of the leek and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
5. Add the mint leaves and half of the cooked quinoa. Turn off the heat.
6. Blend the soup immediately to a very fine consistency. Strain if necessary.
7. Add the remaining quinoa and stir well. Cool using an ice water bath.
8. Add coffee cream and pour into individual bowls. 9. Garnish with a slice of grilled Granny Smith apple. Chef Thierry Meret’s understanding of simple seasonal ingredients and classic French culinary techniques has earned him international recognition. His Interactive Culinary Centre opened late 2012, see www.cuisineandchateau.com.
It’s All In The Flour:
A Culinary Dust-Up Between Three Of Calgary’s Gourmet Pizzerias By Heather Hartmann
Una. Without Papers. Double Zero. Beyond their popularity, what do these gourmet pizzerias have in common? Some cities like New York and Chicago have a whole pizza culture, but Calgary wasn’t one of them until a few years ago. The craze began with Neapolitan pizzas, a style that is so traditional it is regulated by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN). Among many other things, requirements for obtaining the international organization’s seal of approval include the use of a wood-fired oven and specific ingredients including double zero, a particularly fine grind of flour. Today, these three awardwinning pizzerias have each evolved their own style, but the one thing they all have in common is the flour.
Una Pizza + Wine
Without Papers Without Papers is in part a tonguein-cheek reference to the fact that although they are producing Neapolitan-style pizzas, owner Jesse Johnson and chef/owner Angelo Contrada are not certified by the VPN. Having been partnered in Sugo for 10 years, they opened WOP, as it is affectionately referred to, in February 2011 upstairs. Their menu, consisting mainly of pizzas, calzones and salads, has evolved with a local philosophy. When WOP opened, they offered a Parma pizza with arugula. Unable to source arugula locally, they decided to use pea shoots instead, locally-grown hydroponically by a group called the Leaf Ninjas, and the pizza is now known as the Prosciutto Happiness. WOP’s most recent innovations are of the vehicular variety. In October 2012 they launched their food truck, which was active all winter, save a few bitterly cold days, and is now “having days when it outperforms the restaurant at lunch,” says Johnson. They’ve also upgraded their delivery method from a pedal bike with a wagon behind it, to a scooter, which has them considering expanding their current delivery areas of Ramsey and Inglewood. WOP can make any pizza in the restaurant gluten-free, though they aren’t able to offer that option on the truck. They offer reservations for a portion of the restaurant, the rest is walk-in space. Without Papers: 1216, 9 Avenue SE, Calgary 403-457-1154 www.wopizza.ca/
Una has been serving up their selfdescribed California style pizza on 17th Avenue for over three years now. Their only nod to the Neapolitan (beyond the double zero flour) is the use of San Marzano tomato sauce. When developing the restaurant, owners Kelly Black and Jayme Mcfayden wanted to create the feel of a small, San Franciscostyle neighbourhood restaurant. The Mediterranean focus of Chef Steve Smee, formerly of Bonterra and Mercato, fit their vision perfectly. Smee “will not cut any corners when it comes to ingredients, even if that means they’re more expensive,” says Black, noting that there’s no freezer in the building, except for their gelato cooler. Most of Una’s crustier-than-Neapolitanstyle pizza menu changes seasonally (you can’t use much that’s out of season when you don’t have a freezer), with a few menu staples and daily features. Una offers the option of gluten-free crusts, and takeout. They don’t do deliveries, or take reservations. They announce the wait list for parties of various sizes via Twitter @UnaCalgary, so you can time your arrival, but, even if you have to wait, you’re won’t be stuck just standing there. The hostess will take your cell number to call you when your table is ready so you can either stroll 17th Avenue, or have a drink at their Spanish tapas restaurant, Ox & Angela, located a block away. Una Pizza + Wine: 618, 17 Avenue SW, Calgary 403-453-1183 ext. 1 www.unapizzeria.com/
Double Zero The name says it all. Double Zero is onboard the fine-grind flour craze. Managing Partner Chris Molyneux says “the love that goes into the production and handling of the dough makes the magic of the pizza crust.” The thin-crust pizzas on the menu remain mostly consistent, with occasional features. Local ingredients are a big part of their mandate with all their meats, except salami and mortadella, sourced locally, many from Calgary institution Paolini’s. Celebrating their second anniversary, with a second location to open at Chinook Centre in fall 2013, Double Zero is yet another success story in the collaboration of the Molyneux brothers, Chef Justin Leboe, and the Concorde Group, whose other ventures include National Beer Hall, Model Milk, and Clive Burger. Their new location is a twostorey space, incorporating a main-floor market featuring raw ingredients as well as ready-made meals. The second–floor restaurant will maintain a similar menu as the current location. Double Zero’s downtown location offers the unique convenience of free parking for the first three hours after 4:00 pm on weekdays and 24 hours on the weekends in the CORE parkade next door. They offer the option of gluten-free crusts on all their pizzas, and takeout outside of the lunch rush. Double Zero accept reservations as well as bookings for large events. Double Zero: 751, 4 Street SW, Calgary 403-265-9559 www.doublezeropizza.ca/ culinairemagazine.ca
New Kids On The Bottle Story by Gabriel Hall Photographs by Erik Mercer and Cody Willis
I drove by a sign the other day, it was marked, “Baby Duck $7.99.”
person whose interest in wine wasn’t immediate.
It brought back memories of my first trek down the liquor store wine aisle. Seemingly endless rows of neatly aligned bottles featuring labels such as Baby Duck, Blue Nun and Black Tower, punctuated by beige boxes of Hochtaler are emblazoned upon my memory.
My suspicions were confirmed while sitting down with the owners of Vine Arts, one of Calgary’s newest boutique wine markets. Proprietors Jesse Willis and Jeff Jamieson both had similar experiences. Willis initially had little interest in wine when he started working at a small liquor store. When wine agents dropped by with samples he paid little attention to their treatises on wine, preferring to drink bad beer and hard liquor with his friends, as most twenty-somethings would.
As I grew older and occasionally wiser, I noticed wines that were more than just “sweet” and “dry”, or “white” and “red”. Descriptors such as, “floral”, “citrus”, “oak” replaced the one-to-five scale, crept into my field of view. Wines were divided by country and by colour, and eventually titles like “bold” and “full bodied” were scrawled on the bottle sized cubby-holed wine walls at which I endlessly mused over. I suspect that I’m not the only
As the agents continued to introduce Willis to more diverse and better wines, his curiosity was piqued. He started pursuing his ISG certification, teaching about wine part time and working as a wine rep. Willis met Jamieson at Bin 905 and became close friends. After a while, they began to plot their own foray
into the world of wine. This culminated in March of 2012 when Vine Arts first opened their doors. It was not so easy to rent a space and open their doors. Their Victoria Park location posted some inherent challenges to their dreams. “We were battling in Victoria Park…people were wary when they saw an application for a liquor store” Willis recounts, “There’s no sub-set [in the permit system] for a wine store. But we were able to get out and talk to business owners and people in the community, to let them know that we wanted to do something different and unique, to be an asset to the community. Everyone wants to make this community a success and there was an outpouring of support for us once they understood we wanted to be a part of that.” The added benefit of this campaign was the local interest that was built up around the store. The predominantly younger residents of this revitalized area were coming out in support of having more conveniences available to them within the inner city.
It was not only this outpouring, but also their experiences with wine, which caused Willis and Jamieson to reach out to younger customers. Willis states, “We’re both young wine lovers and there are many of our peers who are young and interested in wine. There are many amazing wine stores but no one was specifically targeting the younger demographic” Willis notes, ”Victoria Park is a high density neighbourhood of young professionals; a young demographic in a vibrant community, with a group of people who are willing to learn more and try different things.” Younger generations, who are now discovering wine, rarely feel bound by traditional wine culture. Willis observes, “Both Jeff and I have been in the industry for a long time, we have gotten a lot of support from the industry. People love that we’re young, driven, knowledgeable and unpretentious. I’ve been at the stage where wine is intimidating; it can be overwhelming to walk into a wall of countries and different types of grapes. People have responded well to our space where we organize by style instead of by region or
Now that Vine Arts have celebrated their first birthday, they are expanding their selection so Calgarians can discover the near infinite number of products for the international imbiber. This includes an impressive array of scotch, whiskey and bourbon. They have become known among local bartenders for having one of the best selections of bitters in the city and they are amassing a wide range of micro-distillery gins, vodkas, vermouths and shochu.
grape. It makes things accessible.” The approach of making wine open and accessible has the circular effect of increasing interest, which drives exploration, which creates interest in more unique and accessible products. It is this cycle on which Jamieson and Willis build their brand. Rapidly growing interest has driven their patrons to not just consume, but to learn more about wine, “[Clients] are coming in with an open mind. People want to learn more about what they’re drinking; they’re researching, reading and blogging. Rather than drinking for the sake of drinking, they want the full experience.” To fill this demand, Vine Arts consistently holds classes on wine, spirits and all things related to imbibing culture. Two to four classes a week are held at their location on multiple topics, from an introduction to the basics of wine, to pairing wine with unorthodox foods like donuts. “People have really responded to the education. Our tasting sessions have become very popular” Willis asserts, “It speaks to the quality of people in Calgary right now. People are extremely excited; there is an abundance of energy in this industry. It’s exciting to see.” Willis continues and theorizes on his customer’s motivations for seeking
more information, “They want to walk into the restaurant and feel comfortable choosing off a list. People are becoming much better rounded. It’s forcing people to have a base knowledge about everything. They come in and want to try something new. We rotate our selection so much, no matter how good the last bottle was, they always ask us, ‘what’s new?’ It’s gotten people interested in quality product.” If you were to walk the aisles at Vine Arts looking for a bottle of Blue Nun, chances are you would not find it easily… However, the staff would be able to recommend at least a half dozen bottles in the same vein that would surprise and delight your palate. Their shelves are filled with a multitude of wines from small and mid-sized wineries, covering the spectrum of tastes and stimulating the adventurous drinker who is always seeking the next best thing. Jamieson and Willis go out of their way to build relationships to obtain high quality wines that may not be carried in more conventional stores. Willis explains, “We work with smaller importing agents who we have great relationships with, and that can source out unique and interesting wine. We meet with importers on a regular basis. It’s extremely rare that a wine goes on the shelf which we have not tasted first.”
Willis plans to continue expanding their selection, “Now that we’ve settled in, we want to find unique wines and spirits we can introduce to Calgarians. Jeff [Jamieson] was travelling and met New Deal Spirits, a small distillery in Portland, whom we now carry. We want to get feedback from bartenders and customers who are specialized in one area. We want to pull ideas from those people and listen to that feedback. There are still things we are missing.” We often start off indifferent or oblivious to something we eventually fall in love with. As we start to explore what it has to offer, we find facets that enthrall us, it causes us to seek out similar experiences. My first bottle of Hochtaler might not have been a pleasant experience, but it was that introduction which caused me to learn more about why I didn’t like it and to find out what I do enjoy. Having an innate understanding of the process of discovery, the staff at Vine Arts has created an environment where the newly inducted can develop their knowledge and palates, while experienced oenophiles can explore and be surprised. Calgarians have responded with their overwhelming support, making the trek from all corners of the city to Victoria Park just to draw on the personality and wisdom at Vine Arts. Gabriel Hall is a writer who has traveled to many parts of the world to explore food and culture. His website, www.levoyagegourmand.com and his twitter, @voyagegourmand are living archives of his experiences.
By Brenda Holder
I love to ask people if they realize that in our Canadian Boreal Forest we have enough ingredients to make bread. Yes that’s right, we have water (obvious), flour, yeast, sugar and salt all underfoot. We learnt in past issues how to get yeast and sugar, so now let’s talk about grains. It’s a tad early to collect the grains this time of year, but soon the plants will be ready to give us what they’ve got! Another question I like to ask is ‘where do you think we get flour from?’ Often people will spy the wild grasses growing abundantly in the forest, and this is an absolutely ideal place to get flour, but I like to challenge them a little and ask them to look past the grasses and decide if there is something else that they could use as flour.
Later in the season, the plantain stalk will grow tall, resembling a rattlesnake tail (or in some cases a rat’s tail) and will begin to form little green seeds. Once these seeds mature, they become brown and a little larger. You know they are ready to collect when they easily strip off the stalk when you wrap your hand around them and pull upward gently.
This creates quite the exploration, and it really gets people involved in a deep search to find this important ingredient! I enjoy watching them learn in their own way, and how amazed they are at what they already know, as they get on hands and knees to notice what is underfoot and see the similarities in some of the plants that may produce seeds.
I collect these seeds, rub them between my hands to remove the chaff and then I’m left with a little dark seed that has a delicious nut-like flavour! These seeds can also be used as psyllium fibre replacement, and of course like psyllium, you need plenty of water!
Of course my guidance is needed at times to help them learn which plants may contain toxins, but sometimes people seem to really have a good “instinctive” knowledge on what to look for. One of the plants that produces a wonderful grain, is one I’ve discussed before in my article on Birds in the Wild (October 2012 Culinaire). This plant is known as Plantain also known as White Man’s Foot (unrelated to the banana family). Its Latin binomial is Plantago major, and it’s considered an ugly weed by many. To me there is no such thing as a weed, it is either food, medicine, tools or clothing, and always useful.
Once the little dark seed is extracted you can grind it into flour. I’ve actually found that using a rock to crush it works well too, and though I’ve tried it in my coffee grinder, it didn’t seem to work as well. Perhaps the grains are too small, or maybe it’s time for a new coffee grinder! A Cree/Iroquois Métis, Brenda was born in Jasper National Park. Her company, Mahikan Trails (mahikan.ca) delivers unique programs through Aboriginal Tradition to explore the natural wonders of the Canadian Rockies.
An Okanagan Wine Tour:
The Food Edition By Jeannette Montgomery
Lakes and rivers twist through a tapestry of lush vineyards and fragrant orchards, offset by a desert-like landscape of sagebrush and ponderosa pines. This is the Okanagan Valley and the wine industry here is booming, attracting a host of culinary stars to feed sun seekers and agri-tourism adventurers. From Kelowna in the north to Osoyoos in the south, the Okanagan offers a palette of natural beauty and rich flavours. When pressed to choose a few winery gems to taste from, dine at, or cycle to, a
knowledgeable guide is often welcome as there is plenty to experience – too much to cover fully in one trip - and the following selection of places to see, dine at, or visit is by no means exhaustive. Ultimately, you are your own best compass – but this should help you make a good start. Okanagan Valley wineries are in a stage of exploration and discovery. Come for the wine, stay for the food – and the people, who’ll make your stay a delicious one. Jeannette Montgomery is an Okanagan correspondent for EAT Magazine and wine columnist for CBC Radio West. She lives in BC wine country, with access to plenty of research material - and a large cellar.
Mission Hill Winery
much needed moisture for the agriculture in the region.
Winery Dining Mission Hill Winery is an architectural wonder, with its distinctive, soaring bell tower reaching for the sun. Now in its 10th year, the seasonal plein-air Terrace Restaurant is a popular stop for many. Executive Chef Matthew Batey produces a menu with fresh, locally grown, inseason ingredients. Cyclists will find a bicycle-friendly winery route on the West Side Wine Trail
Kelowna Draped across rolling hills, Kelowna is bordered by rugged mountain ranges and the sparkling waters of Lake Okanagan (lair of the fabled Ogopogo water creature). The lake helps moderate temperatures, adding a cool breeze to scorching summer days and introducing
Mission Hill Winery
in West Kelowna. The (mostly) gentle slopes make for a good afternoon ride and lead to many viewpoints ideal for a pannier picnic. Or, linger over dinner at Quailsâ€™ Gate Winery Old Vines Restaurant. Each dish is expertly paired with a Quailsâ€™ Gate wine; Fraser Valley pork cheeks & Quadra Island scallops meet Chardonnay in delectable harmony. Worthwhile detour: Arrowleaf Cellars, Lake Country.
unpretentious exterior is more than a façade; old world comfort permeates the space from its cellar-door style shop to a sun-soaked bistro patio. Executive Chef Rob Cordonier is known for elegant twist on classic dishes, like the confit duck leg ‘grilled cheese’ sandwich – a local favourite, all summer long.
Naramata Naramata is a quiet village on the southeast shore of Lake Okanagan, best known for a large bench of land extending south to Penticton city limits. Glaciers carved the valley millennia ago, leaving behind rich soil deposits and the spectacular bluffs that make up the Naramata Bench. About ten wineries have a Naramata postal code; the other 20+ retain the “Naramata Bench” label because of the area’s distinct soil.
Winery Dining In a world of trendy names, Hillside Winery delivers what it promises – a winery on the side of a hill. Hillside’s
Although some wineries have steeper drives, cyclists will receive an exquisite wine or food reward. At Lake Breeze, chef Mark Ashton grills a superb sirloin burger with bocconcini and pancetta. Or, for a wine and cheese love story, visit Upper Bench and ask winemaker/ husband Gavin to recommend a wine to enjoy with some of cheesemaker/wife Shana’s handcrafted cheeses. (hint: try the Greybaby)
Worthwhile detour: 8th Generation Vineyard, Summerland
Oliver Now the self-proclaimed Wine Capital of Canada, Oliver was once known for ground crops like cantaloupe and tomatoes. Other agriculture remains vibrant, but the viticulture scene has exploded. A good portion of red grape varietals grow here, thriving in the warmer desert climate, providing wineries around the province with ripe Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah. Osoyoos, Oliver’s neighbour to the south, shares similar growing conditions for those big reds.
nibble on a Neapolitan style pizza. Then, indulge in the grilled albacore tuna with putanesca lianca on spaghetti alla chitarra, or savour a wild & cultivated mushroom risotto with root vegetable mostarda. All while perched on a patio in the sky.
Winery Dining A few years ago, Manuel Ferreira of Le Gavroche in Vancouver partnered with Tinhorn Creek Vineyards and opened Miradoro Restaurant. Next came Executive Chef Jeff Van Geest, known for his sustainable approach to cuisine. Since opening, Manny and Chef Jeff have guided Miradoro to win Vancouver Magazine’s Best Winery Restaurant two years running. Share a bottle of Cabernet Franc with friends while you
Several Oliver and Osoyoos wineries also offer tasty eats: Hester Creek Estate Winery’s Terrafina is in its third season, with a dinner menu that includes crispy duck leg carbonara and ‘market fish’ from local fishmonger The Cod Fathers. This year, Road 13 Vineyards welcomes Vancouver’s Edible Canada to provide seasonal plates and an in-house artisan retail shop. You can cycle in these parts, but be prepared for a few long (and steep) driveways.
Worthwhile detour: Painted Rock Estate Winery, Skaha Lake (Okanagan Falls)
Hello Brunello By Tom Firth
Brunello di Montalcino is one of those daunting Italian wines for consumers. It’s not as recognizable as chianti, as friendly as valpolicella, or even as rich as amarone. Not helping is that many of the labels for Brunello are at best “traditional’, and the high price means that it is often easy to overlook these fine wines. Brunello di Montalcino comes from Tuscany, from the town and environs of Montalcino, south of Sienna. It’s been produced since the mid to late 1800s, but only in small quantities, making its reputation known only to those looking for these wines. The DOC status granted in 1966 helped, and in 1980 Brunello di Montalcino was the first Italian wine to be granted the highest quality level of DOCG, a guaranteed name of controlled origin, or - this wine is guaranteed to come from a certain place, and taste like it. The grape used in Brunello is a specific clone of sangiovese called sangiovese grosso (or Brunello in Montalcino) and in the warmer, drier area around Montalcino it produces a riper, fuller sangiovese than found in other parts of Tuscany. Yields are tightly controlled and the DOCG wines must be aged for a minimum of 2 years in barrel and a further 4-6 months of bottle aging before release. The small size of the wineries, the small size of total production (around 8.5 million bottles on average with only about 2100 hectares for DOCG wines) and the extended aging requirements, mean that these wines are often hard to find, and expensive. For those getting interested in getting into Brunello, consider starting with Rosso di Montalcino. These standards aren’t quite as high, but the prices are considerably lower, and in some cases the wine is just as good, if not better, to North American palates. The major differences in Rosso di Montalcino are shorter aging requirements and slightly less esteemed vineyards. These wines are ready for the market sooner and don’t require the same amount of time in bottle to be easy to enjoy. Brunellos typically need about 5 years or more in the bottle to start showing their finest, and good bottlings can easily be enjoyed 20 years after vintage. Rosso di Montalcino has a shorter timeline with cellaring not really necessary for best enjoyment. I have no problem cellaring them for a few years, but prefer them less than about 10 years of age. There are a few white and sparkling wines from Montalcino but these are generally produced in such small quantities that they are almost impossible to find. Pairing Brunello with suitable food is a must, and yet it is very easy to find suitable pairings for it here in Alberta. Brunello di Montalcino is a rock-star pairing with thick, juicy steaks on the barbecue, game meats of almost any kind, and can handle even the most robust pizzas or tomato based sauces. It works in part due to its firm tannins that soften protein, but it also has that high acidity which handles a little fat or oil with
ease. Vegetarians can take heart in knowing that porcini mushrooms are an excellent flavour to complement these beautiful wines. Tom Firth writes and consults on wine and is the contributing Drinks Editor for Culinaire magazine. Follow him on twitter @cowtownwine
Wine Picks Argiano 2009 Rosso di Montalcino DOC A great bottle of rosso, bright cherry fruits, a slight smoky note, and a slightly juicy finish work well against firm tannin. A perfect serious wine for your next pizza night or some summer grilling. Maybe a strip loin with a good rub, or a prime rib. ($26) Terralsole 2007 Brunello di Montalcino I’ve been a fan of this producer for some time. Big and chewy, but still with powerful dried cherry fruits and wonderful floral characters. Perfect for red meat, I think it sings with braised meats or slightly spicy dishes. ($75) Il Poggione 2008 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG This was a stunner through and through at a recent tasting. Loved the floral characters with cherry, tar, and tobacco on top of a little menthol and spice. Big tannins start to finish well balanced by black fruits. Enjoy with the best steak you can afford. ($75) Uccelliera 2004 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG This bottling isn’t going to be widely available, but it’s worth looking out for. It’s showing some age, but has barely warmed up. A near-perfect balance of power and elegance, look for wood smoke, cherry, leather, spice, and some dried fruit character. Still plenty of tannins that are surprisingly sleek and sexy and some serious development over the palate. I want to pair it with some game meats, sausages, or meaty pasta dishes. ($88) culinairemagazine.ca
Wines of Summer:
Red, Rosé & White
Wines of Summer: Red By Matt Browman Of course there really is no such thing as a ‘summer’ red. Sure, we associate summertime with hot weather, the casual atmosphere of patio, garden party or lakeside dining, and often talk about how ‘refreshing, crisp whites’ suit the mood. But this is Calgary, thus summer evenings tend to be cool, and we like our steak. We recommend for the fan of the fuller style: Pinot Noir from California – Though typically thought of as a lighter-bodied wine, weight is a function of alcohol percentage. California’s warmer temperatures provide rich wines as well
as thick berry skins, which creates more flavour complexity. Known for a lowtannin, silken texture, the combination makes for big, easy drinking. Barolo, Italy – After sweating it out from a stifling summer run, the last thing you may want is a moisturesucking, tannic beast. But while your wine decants during the shower and change of clothes, the temperature has started to drop. Your garlic-rubbed rib eye is coming to temperature, awaiting the sizzling grill; the night is looking good. Typically expressive with molten stone, floral and berry aromas, Barolo’s severe tannins and acids melt into your meat.
Priorat, Spain – The wine-drinking world is slowly becoming aware of these Catalonian gems. The 100+ year old plantings of garnacha and carignan provide a concentrated, complex, mineral-supported style that falls somewhere between Amarone and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The weight and richness make it drinkable on its own, while the mineral structure lends it to local elk or caribou. Wine and food wanderers are always seeking different wines for different occasions. Enjoy the journey. Matt Browman’s 1980s inception into the restaurant world led to certification from ISG, WSET and the Court of Master Sommeliers, with restaurant, retail, education, journalism and travel experience.
McManis Pinot Noir, California A pinot sure to impress, it offers appealing black cherry and plum fruit, a whiff of pine, and a soft, fleshy texture. Pinot noir goes with almost anything from burgers, salmon, to pork. $20
Poderi Aldo 2007 Conterno Colonello Piedmont, Italy Provides supreme intensity and complexity, with flower petals, blue fruit, marine air, liquorice and truffle, and floral complexity that changes with each sniff. On the palate it is deep and rich, with muscular tannins and vigorous acidity. $160
JM Fuentes 2005 Finca el Puig Priorat, Spain A perfect example of Priorat without blowing the budget. Ripe red and black plum and berries, moist, fresh wild herbs, loamy earth and a soy character, the palate spills over with black plum and herb, while the mineral/acidity line lifts its brooding weight. $40
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Wines of Summer: Rosé By Tom Firth It’s a shame that some wines just can’t shake a reputation. Take rosé for example, these wines really hit the mainstream when white zinfandel captured imaginations and palates in the 1980’s. Sweet or off-dry, if you are being generous, the wine was anything but serious yet helped kick start wine culture on these shores. The downside was that it was perhaps a little too much “fun” and perhaps a little too sweet, and so the consumer moved on.
are fermented until almost completely dry meaning these are wines that are rarely cloying, and have the acidity and structure to pair well with a wide variety of foods. Rosé should generally be served cool to well chilled and are best enjoyed in tulip shaped glasses or white wine glasses. What I like about good rosé is that they can easily be enjoyed just for the sake of enjoying a glass of wine. To my tastes, the best rosés have a little pepper spiciness, and soft raspberry and strawberry fruits-and, just a touch of perceptible sugar.
Pink wines (at least the good ones) are made with red grapes. Since the juice of most grapes is clear, the colour of wine comes from contact with the skins. Red skinned grapes can make white wines, and with just a little skin contact, a blush wine results. Most rosé wines
Domaines Perrin 2011 La Vieille Ferme Rosé Ventoux, France
Based around cinsault, the aromatics of this little rose are fresh, summery, and dare I say, never pretentious? There is a tiny little bit of sweetness, but not enough to take away from the fruit and hint of spice. I’d enjoy it on its own well chilled, but pork, salty appetizers or seafood are great here. $13 Artadi 2012 Artazuri Rosado, Navarra, Spain
One of my favourite rosés of recent years, I love the characters of perfect strawberries, rock candy, and spiciness on both the nose and mouth finishing with raspberry sorbet and a tart note at the end. Not to be served too cold, pair with seafood linguine or shellfish. $20 Taittinger NV Prestige Rosé, Champagne, France Perhaps you take rosé as seriously as I do? This is your wine. Tons of mineral, toast, and apple with raspberry, sliced strawberry, and floral aromas. In the mouth, the mousse is uplifting and brings out all those flavours and more. Serve chilled in flutes on the deck and you’ll wonder how you ever managed without champagne. $85
Wines Of Summer: White Wines By Peter Vetsch If this were a contest, I think I have a head start. What type of wine is better for a hot summer day than one that is chilled, crisp, fruity and refreshing? What better exemplifies everything that is great about the summer season than a cool, clean glass of white? If you have ever sat on a patio by the water drinking a tart sauvignon blanc or basked in the sun on your deck with a vibrant riesling in your hand, you know what I mean. White wine is summer in a glass. There are three main things that make white wine the ideal choice for the
season: temperature, flavour, acidity. Whites are built to be served cold and thus offer soothing relief from scorching hot days. They tend to exude citrus, tropical and mineral flavours, lemonlime, pineapple and grapefruit mixed with fresh rain and bath salts, which dance on the palate and call to mind immaculate beach destinations, sunny havens from the clamour of the outside world. However, they almost never seem heavy or weighed down because of their elevated acid levels. Acidity in a wine scours the palate, stimulates saliva production (making high-acid wines literally mouth-watering), and is the structural element largely responsible for the thirst-quenching flavour
Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, New Zealand This dynamic white provides all the crisp, explosive flavours expected of NZ Sauvignon Blanc – grapefruit, gooseberry, fresh grass – but with additional herbal/spicy character and complexity that simply dazzles. Pair with goat cheese, fish, or vegetarian cuisine. $24 Kung Fu Girl Riesling Washington, United States One of the best values out there, this bracing Riesling combines pristine mineral aromas of slate and river spray with exotic fruity and floral flavours that transport you to a mountain spa retreat with each sip. Serve with spicy fare. $19 Jorge Ordonez Botani Moscatel Seco Malaga, Spain An incredible surprise of a wine that is both wildly tropical and crisply precise, teeming with aromas and flavours and yet impeccably light and balanced. $25
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descriptors above – “tart” and “crisp” and “refreshing”. A chilled high-acid wine will always be a source of refreshment, and a good white will fit that bill and be packed with summery flavours to boot. There are numerous locally available examples of ideal summer whites, but here are three that are perfectly suited to the warmer months and that deliver consistent quality year after year at a very reasonable price: Peter is a local lawyer by day and wine writer by night, pursuing his vinous passion by writing for citylife website calgaryisawesome.com and maintaining his own wine blog at popandpour.ca
Open That Bottle By Linda Garson
“I was selected by the protocol department in Ottawa to serve Princess Anne personally, and served the likes of Tommy Lee Jones, Joni Mitchell, the governor general of Canada and requested by Roy Romanow, ex premier of Saskatchewan, to serve him when he comes to Cousin Niks”, says Garry Findlay, manager of Enoteca Specialty Wines on Macleod Trail. “Who wouldn’t want to be served by this fellow?” With a gregarious and personable nature, Findlay has been in hospitality all his adult life, starting at the front desk of a small hotel in his hometown of Saskatoon, and then at Cousin Niks, a new Greek restaurant at the time. After getting married, he went into the travel business, but when the airlines ended their commission structure, he returned to restaurants. In 2002, Post Hotel in Lake Louise called, and Findlay moved there for three years. “From Saskatoon to the Post Hotel,” he says, “it was a great foundation for learning about wine, the learning curve was fantastic.” Here he served some very expensive wines, the granddaddy being a ‘93 Petrus that the customer insisted he try.
Headhunted by an Italian restaurant, for five years Findlay was able to expand his wine horizons and learn more about Italian wines. He completed his WSET Level 1 & 2, and accepted the position at Enoteca over three years ago. “Running the store is a great education as all the representatives and winemakers come to you, and you can learn so much if you ask the right questions,” he says. So what bottle is Garry saving for a special occasion? It’s not just one bottle - the Ornellaia Collezione contains 6 vintages of the internationally acclaimed Super Tuscan wine, 2001-2006. Only 1,000 of these special cases were produced; each bottle is individually numbered and the presentation case is crafted from the wood of the oak barriques. “A nice man came into the store at the end of 2011, who said that he didn’t drink wine and he’d won this stupid boxed set at his Christmas party”, explains Garry. “He asked if I would buy it, so I told him to bring it in and I’d look at it.” When Garry asked, “what do you want for it?” he didn’t know, so Garry offered him $500, which he was happy to accept. “Coincidentally, Alessandro Lunardi from Ornellaia was in Calgary this week and I told him about the case. I didn’t ask how much it’s worth, but I suspect a couple of thousand dollars,” Garry continues. (He’s close! Harrod’s have sold out, but the price was £1,650 ($2,572). So when will Garry open the bottles? He’s been saving it with the intention of giving it to his daughter when she marries. But then, “Maybe it will be a dowry for my own second wedding”, he jokes. Lucky girl!
The Renaissance Of Big Rock By Dave Nuttall
Way back in 1985, Ed MacNally had a vision that the barley produced in Alberta would be better suited as an ingredient in beer rather than cattle feed. Thus, Big Rock Brewery was born. As the first craft brewery in Alberta, and one of the first in North America, its playing field was wide open. Lilliputian in size next to the Molson, Labatt and Carling Oâ€™Keefe
Brobdingnagian triumvirate, it did find a niche for those few beer drinkers in Alberta who craved the new beers made only with yeast, barley, malt and local Rocky Mountain fresh water. Concentrating mainly on English styles, the company grew through the â€˜90s to become a regional brewery. It became not only the beer of Alberta, but also B.C. and Saskatchewan.
However, with success came growing pains. Brewery plans are not uncommonly driven by accounting departments rather than brewers. Through the late ‘90s and early 2000s, a few new beers were made which attempted to pander to (expected) vast commercial markets. In fact, the opposite happened. Not only did many of these beers fail to catch on with anybody, Big Rock’s core clientele of craft beer lovers began to second-guess where Big Rock was headed. As it grew in size, were they just going to imitate the beers of Labatt and Molson? Even more importantly, craft breweries were popping up all over B.C., Ontario and especially the United States. While Big Rock remained comfortable in its own market, the importation of beers from these new breweries into Alberta gave its consumers a selection of beer unrivalled in any province. Big Rock did okay living on the accomplishments of its consistently selling mainstream beers like Traditional and Grasshopper, but other, smaller breweries were having all the fun, brewing new and exciting beers in unconventional styles, with each new release being gobbled up by the now increasingly beereducated public. Even the accountants began to realize changes had to be made to positively affect the bottom line. Thanks to a new upper management regime and a mindset shift, things began to change towards the second decade of this century. First, they dropped the recent product lines that were failing to capture the public’s attention. Then, they tentatively began producing a couple of beers that came from established beer styles, but made to craft specifications. In 2011, they developed a new series of beers which allowed Big Rock to start making what beer geeks call real beer again. Two of these beers, especially, proved this new direction was the way to go. Wee Heavy (a Scottish Style Heavy Ale) was first introduced as a seasonal in 2011, but has become a member of the
Signature Series (see below). Likewise, Saaz Repulblic Pilz, a Pilsner made with real Saaz hops and as faithful to the original Czech style as one will find from a North American brewery, debuted in September 2012, also became a permanent fixture. Thankfully, these accomplishments greased the wheel of invention in the brain of Big Rock’s brewmaster, Paul Gautreau. As its second longest serving employee, Gautreau has seen the peaks and valleys from several positions within
the company. When he took over the position from retiring Larry Kerwin in 2007, he became Big Rock’s first inhouse trained brewmaster. While you might say his first couple of years were spent treading a little water, he has now been unshackled with Big Rock’s current and future plans. And what ambitious plans they are! Not only to make some new and exciting beers, but also to employ some unique brewing techniques, unusual ingredients, and even different
packaging. In so doing, Big Rock has divided its beers into five series. The standards such as Traditional, Grasshopper, and Warthog are called Big Rock Favourites while the “less mainstream” beers like McNally’s Extra and Black Amber are in the Ed McNally’s Signature Series. Alongside these are the Limited Edition Variety Packs. These consist of established or seasonal beers in combination with new brews. Paul’s Angels came out in the Fall of 2012 with the new Autumn Wheat Lager partnered with returning seasonals, Winter Spice Ale (first available in 2008) and Espresso Stout (launched in 2006). The Swinger Pack is currently on the market with IPA, Grasshopper, SAAZ Republic Pilz, plus two new beers. Paradox Dark Light Ale is a dark ale, measuring in at 3.75% ABV, and is as full flavoured a light beer as you will find produced on this side of the Atlantic. Purple Gas, is a fruit wheat ale made with Saskatoon berries and an uncommon sweetener, blue agave nectar. The Saskatoon berries came to Gautreau while driving past fields of them every day, but their tartness required a sweet balance. Not wanting to rely on normal ingredients, the agave idea popped into his head while he planned a trip to Mexico. Agave nectar is certainly not a normal element in beer, but it supplied the finish Gautreau wanted. These last two beers are part of the newly established categories where the fun really begins for Gautreau. First came the Brewmaster’s Edition in 2011 with the aforementioned Wee Heavy, followed by Dunkelweizen Dark Wheat Ale, Rye and Ginger Ale, and the Saaz Republic. Helles Bock and Rosmarinus Aromatic Ale, a pale ale with a hint of rosemary, were released in
2013. This series uses their pilot brewery (the “la-beer-atory”), tucked away in the corner of the main brewery, to make small batches of innovative brews, which are released three times a year for four months. These beers have more inspired flavours and profiles, which allows Gautreau to be creative and brew beers he wants to make. An interesting conundrum arises when their success warrants a jump to year-round status, like Wee Heavy and Saaz Republic Pilz. Gautreau admits this can be an issue; it’s nice for temporary beers to be popular, but they all can’t be promoted to full-time status, lest you run out of tank space. However, this category does allow Big Rock to bring back some beers from the past. In 2011, they reintroduced Magpie, a rye ale first produced in 1994, which Gautreau tweaked slightly for that release. So, just when you think that might be enough, Big Rock added another series called the Alchemist Edition. Here, Gautreau is at his most imaginative. This will be the home of ultra-premium, limited edition and rare labels, often produced in numbered bottles. They began with Ambrosia Wet Hop Ale, made with fresh Cascade hops that were thrown into the kettle less than 24 hours after they were picked in Washington State. This was followed by the Barghest Barley Wine in late 2012. April saw the release of Erratic StoneFired Ale, a steinbier made by adding super-heated chunks of B.C. granite to the kettle, which burns and caramelizes some of the malt sugars. Patterned after a technique developed in the Middle Ages, when brewers couldn’t put direct flame to a wooden kettle, the result is a slightly smoky beer with hints of dark
toffee. “Brewing this beer was probably the most exciting day I have spent in the Brewhouse….ever!” says Gautreau. “I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but all went as planned and the resulting beer is as uniquely flavoured as the ancient brewing methods we used to brew it.” Only 3,300 numbered bottles were produced of Erratic Stone-Fired Ale, which comes in a 750ml swing top bottle, another new step for Big Rock. At print time, Big Rock was scheduling the release of Cherazz, a Belgian fruit beer.
(and no doubt his marketing people) guessing, exposed to fresh ideas, so he may change his mind at any time. Finally, Big Rock has become a player again in the craft beer market. Some beers will hit a home run, some, maybe not so much. Still, you can bet these beers will not only stray from the conventional, but will also be unlike anything Big Rock has produced before. You can be sure of that much from the fertile mind of Paul Gautreau.
So what’s next for Big Rock and Brewmaster Gautreau? With almost as many new beer varieties planned for this year alone as they have made in their previous 15 years, one could say they are full steam ahead. In the works are more adventurous brews; from oak barrel-aged beers, to cask conditioned one-off releases. There are plans to plant hops right at the brewery, and estate hop and barley releases. Unique ingredients like Pinot Gris grapes, spruce boughs, black licorice, Italian plums, exclusive chai spice blends and much more may all make an appearance in their beers this year. Or not. Gautreau wants to keep the public culinairemagazine.ca
Spring into Summer:
Refreshingly Full Flavoured Brews! By Meaghan O’Brien
Summer is around the corner, and a variety of fresh and slightly lighter brews are sprouting up in your local liquor store and bars. They are full of crisp flavour to keep even the most curious of palates satisfied.
months. Spring Imp Bock is a medium bodied, strong lager, with German hops, malt and yeast. The nose is reminiscent of summer, with hints of floral bouquets and fresh grass. Pair this one with some nutty cheeses on light rye baguette topped with fig jam or fruit chutney. Spring Thaw Maple Ale is an Irish Red Ale brewed with maple syrup from Ontario’s Wheeler Family sugar bush and lightly smoked malt. A few celiac-friendly brews are also emerging on the market; very refreshing
Two mixer packs are available that are perfect for the summer months, with beers just light enough in body to keep you refreshed. Big Rock’s Swinger Pack and Mill Street Brewery’s Spring Mixer Pack. This features two new brews; Spring Thaw Maple Ale and Spring Imp Bock, each just as tasty in the summer
and ready for you to snag them just in time for the sunny summer. Brasseurs Sans Gluten, the first Canadian microbrewery to specialize in glutenfree beer has a selection of ales that are a must try for all celiacs, and not just for the summer heat! The Glutenberg Blonde, a zesty ale with a unique profile of pepper, citrus and floral, is nicely balanced with a touch of smooth sweetness from millet and corn. Refreshing is an understatement, this one’s a
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must try! Others in the range definitely worth a second sip are Glutenberg Red Ale, Glutenberg American Pale Ale and Glutenberg Belgian Double. Wold Top Yorkshire Brewery’s ‘Against the Grain’, has been coined as the most beer-tasting of all gluten-free and low-gluten beers. Brewed with lager malt, maize, hops and yeast, this beer is well balanced, with a touch of citrus and full-flavoured bitterness. If you’re truly an IPA fan, and miss that hoppiness from beer, reach for their Scarborough Fair IPA. Triple hopped and brewed with Wolds grown malt base and maize, this is a deceivingly delicious and refreshing beer with a just a bit more kick. For questions on gluten-free beers, contact the Calgary Chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association email@example.com 403-237-0304 Meaghan O’Brien is a selfproclaimed beer enthusiast with a passion for hunting down and tasting the most unique brews for her blog, megsbeerbanter.com/. You can find her on Twitter @MegsBeerBanter
GIN Is IN
By Steve Goldsworthy
June 9th is International Gin Day! Gin has evolved from its noble beginnings as a herbal medicine to one of the most popular and diverse spirits of the modern age. Though the classic gin martini has never lost its appeal, gin is currently enjoying an exciting resurgence on the local cocktail scene. There are dozens of gins produced throughout the world with seemingly infinite ingredients. However, the one common flavouring element is juniper. The juniper berry is not a berry at all; it is the female seed cone of juniper trees and low-lying shrubs. And it is the lightly crushed flesh of these coniferous capsules that gives gin its distinct
herbaceous character. Other botanical elements can include citruses such as lemon, lime, grapefruit and bitter orange peel. Spices might include anise, saffron, baobab, coriander, frankincense and dragon eye. Other organic additions might be licorice root, orris root, angelica root, grains of paradise and cassia bark.
Italian monks were concocting distilled spirits with juniper berries as far back as the 11th century. During the Black Death of the 1300s, Europeans used it as â€œtreatmentâ€? for the plague. Dutch physician and scientist Franciscus Sylvius is credited with creating the predecessor to modern day gin, then called jenever (from jeneverbes, the
Dutch word for juniper) in the late 17th century. At that time, numerous Dutch and Flemish distillers began combining malt spirits with juniper, coriander, anise and caraway for European pharmacies. This elixir treated everything from stomach ailments to gout. When the Dutch ruler William of Orange assumed the British throne in 1689, he brought with him many Dutch traditions, including gin. At the time, hostility with France lead to high taxing of French brandy, and the encouragement of locally (and cheaply) produced gin. A period known as the “Gin Craze” spread throughout England in the early 1700s. It became particularly popular among the poor, due to its exceptionally low price. Gin was soon being blamed for several social problems particularly in London, where there were more than 7,000 gin shops in the city alone. England adopted the Gin Act of 1751, which cleaned up the process of distilling and selling gin. Ironically, these so-called improvements included the use of turpentine and sulphuric acid to sweeten the aroma and taste. Thankfully, these “improvements” are no longer found in quality gin. By the turn of the century, gin was produced in pot
stills. The invention of the column still in 1826 enabled distillers to produce the “London dry” style that is still popular today. All gin was sold and transported in barrels, until the Single Bottle Act of 1861 allowed for spirits to be bottled. Gin itself is simply a neutral spirit with approved natural flavouring of which the predominant character must be juniper. Distilled gin is produced by redistilling ethyl alcohol in combination with juniper berries and other natural botanicals. London gin is produced in a similar fashion, with the combination of ethyl alcohol and natural botanicals. It may not contain more than 0.1 grams of sugar per litre, resulting in some London gins to be classified as “dry”. In addition, it cannot have any other added ingredients or colourants other than water.
Here’s a winning recipe from a recent cocktail competition in Calgary: Sloe Gin Martinez 1 oz old Hayman’s Tom gin 1 oz Hayman’s Sloe gin 0.5 oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
0.5 oz red vermouth
The fresh, wild flavour of juniper can liven up any standard cocktail. Besides the classics, gin & tonic, the Collins and the martini, I love a good gin Caesar.
3 dashes of Angostura bitters
Steve Goldsworthy is a free-lance writer, children’s author and screenwriter and filmmaker. He has spent 17 years “learning” about wine while running Britannia Wine Merchants.
Combine ingredients in martini shaker and with ice and shake vigorously. Double strain into a chilled martini glass and serve. Finish with a couple of drops of bitters on top.
Our Gin Picks: Aside from the popular gin brands such as Gordon’s, Tanqueray, Beefeater and Bombay Sapphire, one of my favourite gins is the Hendrick’s Gin ($43) from Scotland. It is unapologetically juniper, with bold splashes of Bulgarian rose and British cucumber. Hayman’s, the longest serving gin distilling family in England and now in their 5th generation, is celebrating their 150th anniversary this year and returning to the Canadian market. Unlike many gins where the flavours of the botanicals come from vapour distillation, Hayman’s infuse them with British wheat grain alcohol for 24 hours. Hayman’s 1850 Reserve Gin is distilled to a recipe from the 1850s, then rested in thirdfill Speyside whisky barrels for three-four weeks, to give a smooth and mellow flavour perfect for martinis ($44). The sloes for Hayman’s Sloe Gin ($33) are picked at the time of the first frost and then left for
six months, to produce a gin that is sweet and bitter at the same time. It is the base of the Royal Wedding cocktail, ‘Sloe Gin Royale’, where it is topped up with prosecco. Old Tom Gin was the style used in the first cocktail era of the 1880s until prohibition of 1920. It has more botanicals, delivering an intensely aromatic nose with a light sweetness, and a richer and more rounded profile than other styles. ($32) Close to home is the family run Victoria Spirits, located on an organic vineyard in Saanich, Vancouver Island. Here, the gins are made in small batches in a copper pot still. Pot still gin is rare but even more rare, Victoria Spirits also produce Oaken Gin, maturing their youthful Victoria Gin in American oak barrels. The result produces a soft gin with vanilla notes and a buttery mouth-feel. 375 mL ($33)
If you want a gin with attitude, unleash the Bull Dog Gin ($40) on your taste buds. This London dry gin hails from Manhasset, New York. Crisp and vibrant it stands out as the perfect martini spirit. The newest gin to hit the Calgary market is the St. George Spirits Gin. There are three unique varieties (each around $46) produced by the California based distillery. Terroir Gin infuses local elements of the terroir, including Douglas fir, California bay laurel and coastal sage. Intensely woody and herbaceous on the palate. The Botanivore is an elegant concoction of 19 different botanicals including bergamot peel, black peppercorn, cilantro, dill seed and Seville orange peel. Dry Rye Gin starts with 100% pot-distilled rye and has a deeper, richer structure, closer to a classic Dutch genever.
The Botanist ($48) is artisanal dry gin made by the Bruichladdich boys on the island of Islay. Of its 31 wild botanicals, 22 are hand-picked and native to the island.
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Double Trouble by Gabriel Hall
A good bar program can greatly contribute to the success or failure of a restaurant. A bad recommendation for wine with your quail and you will have a second look at the number at the bottom of the bill. Drink too many sickly sweet cocktails during dinner and you’ll be paying for it later that night and the next morning. Having one good bartender, who can clearly define and control the bar program is a prized trait of top restaurants. Having two great bartenders who can work together to produce a top-notch program is every restaurant’s, and every patron’s, dream.
Rebecca Davis and Bryon King are two of the city’s top bartenders who have combined their knowledge and skills at one of Calgary’s newest restaurants, Market Restaurant on 17th. Having two great bartenders not only allows a wider and more diverse set of wines, liquors and cocktails to appear on your table, but also promotes innovation and creativity.
styles, they are able to provide feedback on each other’s drinks and providing that feedback helps them improve.
Choosing wines and developing cocktails from a blank slate isn’t as simple as choosing randomly off a list. Much like in the kitchen, flavours have to be combined in just the right proportions to create a pleasing sensation. Difficulties are often encountered when deciding on product and methodology, “Because Market is a season-focused, local restaurant, I couldn’t use cherries or pineapple in winter” Davis says, “I [even] had to fight to use citrus.”
Two strong personalities can also lead to disagreements, but both agree strife can nonetheless bring out additional ideas. Davis explains, “We might make a couple versions, a collaborative version and our own takes on it” King adds, “[Disagreement] doesn’t happen often.”
However, working under constraints such as those can also be a benefit. King chimes in, “[The limitations] challenges you to make a delicious cocktail. It’s easy to come up with a drink if you have a wide variety of product. You become a better mixologist.” The “two heads are better than one” adage applies in this situation. Because Davis and King have different tastes and
Davis notes, “I think men and women have slightly different palates, not better or worse but different. It’s great to have both presences behind the bar.”
Both Davis and King agree that they are seeing a “snowball effect” around cocktails. Customers are interested in exploring different drinks, asking questions and watching how bartenders go about their craft. It’s through this surging curiosity that they can continue to introduce Calgarians to great drinks and strive to challenge their own skills and imaginations.
The Reba by Rebecca Davis This is a take on a French 75, a classic cocktail that honours Rebecca’s love of wine and her start in the service industry, infused with a bit of spice. 1 oz bourbon 1/2 oz maraschino liquor 1/4 oz lemon juice 1/4 oz honey syrup 1 Clementine, diced 1/4 of a jalapeño pepper, diced Sparkling wine
1. Place the Clementine and the jalapeno into the bottom of the glass and add all the liquids. Muddle until the fruit has broken up.
2. Add ice and shake. Double strain the mixture into a chilled champagne flute to remove all particulates.
3. Top off the glass with a dry sparkling wine or champagne. Garnish and serve with a slice of jalapeno if desired.
The Godfather II by Bryon King This re-creation of the godfather shot, Scotch and amaretto, produces a masculine cocktail, highlighted by a bit of King’s signature bar side showmanship. Slice of orange Wedge of lemon 1 ¼ oz Scotch (your choice) 1/2 oz Cointreau 1/2 oz Amaretto 1/4 oz simple syrup
1. Rinse the glass with ½ oz of Cointreau. Place the slice of orange in the bottom of the glass and light the Cointreau on fire. Swirl the glass to caramelize the liquor and develop the burnt orange flavour. Add ice to cool the glass.
2. In a shaker combine ice and the liquid components, squeeze the wedge of lemon into the shaker. Place the top on the shaker and shake to mix. Pour over the ice in the glass with the orange slice and serve. culinairemagazine.ca
Something Ah-Rye By Jeff Collins
Photography courtesy of Jane Louise Cameron Photography package of whole wheat spaghetti out of my kitchen cupboard has both an ingredient list and a nutrition label. The box tells me it contains mainly “whole grain durum wheat semolina” but not where the wheat comes from. On the Alberta Premium label, ADL takes it one more step. In no fewer than four places on the bottle it tells the consumer it is made from “100% rye grain”, then on the back of the bottle, “Canadian prairie rye grain”.
I was standing in the Great Canadian Liquor Store at Sarcee and Richmond, totally perplexed looking at bright red letters on an otherwise blackand-white box that spelled out “The Rye actually made from Rye”. Huh? Isn’t all Rye Whiskey made out of rye? The short answer is “No”. Under American law, you cannot make and market a “straight” rye whiskey unless at least 51% of the grain in the starting mash is rye grain. In Canada, we don’t worry about what goes into the mash; we simply care about what comes out of the other end of the still. Author and rye-whiskey expert, Davin de Kergommeaux, in the latest edition of “Whiskey Magazine”, writes, “Two centuries ago, Canadian flour millers began making whisky from the wheat they had left over. Along the way, someone decided to spice up their whisky by adding a small amount of rye grain to it and a distinctly Canadian whiskey style was born...In Canada, rye is a flavour.” So, my fellow tipplers, you and I have been drinking rye-“flavoured” whiskey all these years!
My chagrin is not shared by Jan Westcott. He is the head of industry association, “Spirits Canada”. He deftly defends putting a “Rye Whiskey” label on a bottle of flavoured spirits of indeterminate origin. “You will have noticed on your bottle of whiskey, if it’s a real whiskey and it’s a real spirit, there isn’t anything on the bottle anywhere that lists ingredients. It basically says this is a whiskey, this is a Canadian whiskey, (like) Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, and that defines what it is.” So as far as the industry is concerned, the label is the ingredient list. The box that left me shaking my head at the liquor store contained Alberta Premium rye whiskey, produced by Alberta Distillers Ltd (ADL) at its 38 acre industrial complex off Ogden Rd SE in Calgary. In response to my e-mail, Rob Tuer, the operations manager at the plant, writes, “Alberta Premium whiskey is made from 100% rye grain which means that both the base whiskey and the flavouring whiskey that goes into making this product are made from rye grain. This is not the case for other Canadian whiskies that do not make this commitment or claim.” Anything else I put in my mouth has much more detail on the packaging. A
Jan Westcott is not optimistic we will see that kind of labelling detail on other brands. “Beverage alcohol products have been exempted from ingredient labelling in almost all parts of the world... Anybody that’s in the business does not want to give that up or lose that.” Alberta Premium is now my rye. I like it neat, in a shot glass, next to a pint of draft Canadian lager. When I pick it up at the liquor store, I know what’s in it, not just what flavours it, and I know I am supporting prairie rye producers. The fact that I can’t discern that in other beverage alcohol tells me there’s something awry. Jeff Collins is a retired Calgary broadcaster living in Delia, Alberta, where he serves on the Village Council, He is an avid target shooter and hunter, and an enthusiastic, if not entirely competent, cook.
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