Culinaire CALGARY’S FRESHEST FOOD & BEVERAGE MAGAZINE Volume 2/issue #6 November 2013
AUTUMN, SPICE, and EVERYTHING NICE
Warming food for cooling weather
Port & Bubbles | Beer & Barrels | Cognac & Armagnac
Volume 2/issue #6 November 2013
38 Khao San Thai Kitchen: 48 Roll Out The Barrels… Wooden barrels have been used in Fresh and Authentic brewing for 2,000 years and after Preparing food with spice in
Calgary is a delicate art and, by hard work, one that the Treeyachat and Suntiwan families have successfully mastered.
falling out of favour last century, they’ve recently been rediscovered by craft brewers. By David Nuttall
62 Pass the Port Foot-treading, decanting,
temperature, timing, pouring, passing and glasses - Port is steeped in tradition with many do’s and don’ts for serving like a pro. By Tom Firth
By Laura Lushington
Salutes And Shout Outs
20 Restaurant BYOB: A Primer
44 Tool Shed Shakes It Up
By Linda Garson
22 Soup Kitchen
By David Nuttall
24 Tales from the Table Side
By Karen Miller
By Adrian Bryksa
By Dan Clapson
By Gabriel Hall
By Jesse Willis
46 7 Ways To Spice Up Mac ‘n Cheese
By Laura Lushington
51 Menu Gems
10 Ask Culinaire
26 Step By Step: Samosas
52 Quaffable Calgary
By Executive Chef JP Pedhirney
11 Win & Win! 2 For You! 12 Calgary Food Trucks Rolling This Winter
By Carmen Cheng
13 Spice Sanctuary: The Spice Paradise
By Andrea Fulmek
16 Chefs’ Tips – and Tricks!
By Fred Malley, CCC
By Natalie Findlay
By Tarquin Melnyk
28 The Perfect Party
54 All that Glitters
By Cory Knibutat
By Matt Browman
32 Fall Harvest and Spice
56 Cognac: A Distilled Delight
By Natalie Findlay
By Steve Goldsworthy
34 Cover Spice Breakdown By Dan Clapson
58 From Barracks to Brewery
36 Chai Love Baking By Stephanie Arsenault
66 Open That Bottle
By Kirk Bodnar
By Linda Garson
42 En Primeur
By Erika Tocco culinairemagazine.ca • 3
Letter From The Editor ends, allowing us that extra hour’s sleep. Such a treat for anyone in publishing though it also heralds the impending cooler, even cold, temperatures and long nights. But it’s not all bad news. There’s a lot to look forward to!
The extended mild weather has stretched out early autumn, and we’ve been so enjoying it; even my 12th floor urban ag tomatoes and herbs have been growing and ripening longer than expected. But we’re now past my favourite day of the year – when Daylight Savings Time
In the same way we tend to look to wines from warm climates when it’s cold here for us, we look to cuisine from warmer climates too at this time of year. I particularly love the change from adding fresh herbs for flavour in my food, to adding rich and aromatic roasted and ground spices for an exciting and different effect. They also provide that delicious snuggle factor of warming comfort foods too. Adding spices needn’t mean making your food hotter, but can make for more flavourful dishes; and in this issue we have lots of ‘spicy’ articles,
and information on how and where to include them in your dishes, for those less used to their exotic flavours. We’ll probably be leaning to more warming beverages now too if we’re in more at night, so we’ve been looking at aged cognac and the etiquette of serving port. And on the beer front, we may be looking for fewer hops and more dark, malty styles – and those delicious barrel-aged beers too. I do hope you enjoy November’s Culinaire, thanks to everyone involved. We’ve planned some very exciting developments for next month, so watch out for December’s issue. We know you’ll love it! Stay warm, Linda Garson Editor-in-Chief email@example.com
Taking Reservations For Brunch 209-10th Street NW | 403-283-8988 www.verobistro.ca
Cu inaire Editor-in-Chief/Publisher: Linda Garson Contributing Drinks Editor: Tom Firth
Contributing Food Editor: Dan Clapson firstname.lastname@example.org
Commercial Director & Advertising: Keiron Gallagher 403-975-7177 email@example.com
Website and Social Media: Cory Knibutat firstname.lastname@example.org
Design: Emily Vance Contributors: Stephanie Arsenault Kirk Bodnar Matt Browman Adrian Bryksa Carmen Cheng Natalie Findlay Andrea Fulmek Steve Goldsworthy Gabriel Hall Cory Knibutat Ingrid Kuenzel Laura Lushington Fred Malley CCC Tarquin Melnyk Karen Miller David Nuttall JP Pedhirney Erika Tocco Jesse Willis
To read about our talented team of contributors, please visit us online at culinairemagazine.ca.
Contact us at:
Culinaire Magazine #1203, 804 -3rd Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2P 0G9 403-870-9802 email@example.com www.culinairemagazine.ca www.facebook.com/CulinaireMagazine Twitter: @culinairemag For subscriptions, competitions and to read Culinaire online: culinairemagazine.ca
Our Contributors < Laura Lushington Calling Calgary home all of her life, Laura is a Bachelor of Communication from MRU’s Journalism program, and Start From Scratch web editor. Growing up knee-deep in cookies, ice cream and her Babcia’s Nanaimo bars, Laura’s diet is now full of vegetables and whole grains after realizing how greatly what we eat affects our health. She prefers baking to cooking, and can be found putting muffins into the oven at midnight. Her work has appeared in Avenue magazine and vitamindaily.com. She’s @LauraLushington and at lauralushington.com
< Kirk Bodnar Kirk Bodnar is the Beer Cellar Steward at Charcut Roast House in Calgary, as well as a beer consultant for some of Calgary’s better beer destinations, such as the Pig and Duke. He is also a Certified CICERONE®, BJCP beer judge, history teacher, avid home brewer, and most importantly a father to a future beer geek (hopefully). Follow him on Twitter @beersnsuch and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/beersnsuch
IT FLOWS IN OUR VEINS < Tarquin Melnyk Tarquin Melnyk is a bartender, cocktologist, and lover of culture, history, taste and innovation. Bar Culture gives him that and more. A top three finalist for Canada at the 2012 Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge, and winner of Alberta Cocktail Challenge 2013, he is a proud representative of the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association and a founding member of justcocktails.org, a site dedicated to Bon Vivant culture. A Certified Specialist of Spirits, Tarquin is determined to see Alberta raise the bar - in knowledge, ingredients and global respect.
BRUNCH | LUNCH | DINNER | LATE NIGHT SELECTION OF 120 PREMIUM TEQUILAS AND GROWING open daily at 11am...until late... 587.353.2656 | anejo.ca #2,2116 – 4th Street SW Calgary, AB
and Shout Outs….
Salutes…. Calgary chefs at the Dubai World Hospitality Championships The inaugural Dubai World Hospitality Championships take place in the United Arab Emirates, November 17-19, and of the 8 members of Canadian Culinary Federation’s team “Bocuse d’or Laureate”, Team Captain Michael Noble of NOtaBLE, will compete alongside SAIT’s Andrew Springett.
It’s been a slice! Pizza 73 is wrapping up National Pizza Month with its semi-annual fundraiser: Slices for Smiles. Pizza lovers can contribute by purchasing a special 9” pizza topped with a pepperoni smile for only $4.99 at any Pizza 73 location until November 10. A portion of the proceeds from this smile pizza will be donated to Children’s Miracle Network.
The team members have all formerly represented Canada in the world’s most prestigious culinary competition, the biennial Canadian Bocuse d’Or, in Lyon, France. Canada is one of 12 international teams vying for top spot against South Africa, Egypt, Malaysia, Russia, Slovenia, China, Germany, Wales, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
Congratulations Tyler Harlton Wines! Pinot Gris Viognier from Tyler Harlton Wines of Summerland, BC, not only won Gold in its category but also took Top White overall at the Intervin Wine Awards in Toronto! What’s more remarkable, is that this very limited-release wine had the 2nd highest score of the 1,300 wines entered, and it’s the only white wine Tyler Harlton Wines made last year. Way to go, Tyler!
And congratulations to Carino Bistro! Voted #6 in Air Canada’s enRoute Magazine’s Top 10 list of Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2013: “a JapaneseItalian wine bar that defies logic in the most wonderful ways.” 6 • November 2013
Eatnorth.ca - the go-to online source for Canada’s food scene There’s a lot of Canadian food to be proud of, but there hasn’t yet been one destination that celebrates all that is Canada’s culinary scene, culture and trends - well now there is! Eat North is the country’s newest online culinary site with contributors from across Canada. Co-founders Diana Ng, Dave Wilkinson and Culinaire’s food editor, Dan Clapson, began planning Eat North last year. “I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively across our country over the past few years and the culinary offerings you can find in every little pocket of Canada is nothing short of amazing,” explains Clapson.
Good luck, Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts (CRMR) - one of four finalists for the Business of the Year award for the 2013 Canadian Tourism Awards, presented by The Toronto Star and Visa Canada. Air Canada Business of the Year Award is presented to a tourism business that exemplifies industry best practices in all aspects of its operations. The winner will be announced on December 3rd. See May’s Culinaire for more on CRMR: issuu.com/culinairemagazine/docs/ culinaire2.1__may_2013_
The website highlights everything from dining destinations, up-and-coming chefs, and local farmers’ markets and suppliers, but there’s a lighter side too, with food-friendly lists and a touch of sarcasm to keep us engaged. Eat North officially launched in October, with recipes, features and lots more. There are so many wonderful things to share about our country’s food scene, and we’ll be looking to Eat North to showcase the (edible) best of what our country has to offer. Visit eatnorth.ca
Win a 5-day Trip for Two to Argentina! Wines of Argentina has launched ‘The Wine Caption’, a photo contest specially designed for social networking sites. To enter, take and share your pictures on Instagram with a personal comment on what Argentina and its wines mean to you, using hashtag #thewinecaption. Then add likes, and share the pictures with your friends at thewinecaption.com. The top 10 photos with the most “likes” will be judged by a panel of 4 renowned photographers who will choose the picture they feel best represents Argentina. The picture will become Wines of Argentina’s campaign image for 2014. Entries close November 26. Good luck!
Timely Chai Brew Perfect for our spice issue, Big Rock’s ‘Life of Chai’ is a complex yet whimsical blend of nine spices including smoky, cool cardamom, sultry rose petals and plucky ginger. Four malts and two hops complete this deep and flavourful brew. Carbonation is low and it’s perfect with my leftover Bhuna Lamb from Red Deer’s Astha Restaurant! Available while stocks last in Alberta.
New, but experience shows through… Welcome Posto, the new-born babe in Calgary’s ever-expanding food scene - and what an addition to our city! We already love sibling Cibo, and from parents Bonterra, Chef de Cucina Ben Mills, steps into the limelight. Posto paints by numbers, not only adorning the cosily rustic décor (great
ambience), but in the menu – a choice of 10 pizzas ($15-$22), 10 Piatti (plates, $14-$24), 10 white wines by the glass and 10 red ($9.45-$18.90), including some pretty classy wines – and eleven cocktails. They always say good things come in 3s, and at Posto there’s a choice of 3 Salumi (wild boar prosciutto with hazelnuts, and swordfish bresaola with capers and lemon being 2 of them! Yowza!), 3 openfaced ciabattas and 3 salads. And while we’re talking numbers, Posto has dishes that include my all-time favourite ingredients - uncommon in one restaurant. Think cinghiale (wild boar) √, duck arancini (a brilliant idea!)√, Gorgonzola √, Figs √, truffles √, scallops √, sunchokes √, pine nuts √, swordfish √, arugula √ - 10 faves! Don’t stop at the Squid Ink Ravioli with Lobster, Saffron cream and Shellfish Oil, there’s Beef Cheek with Bone Marrow and Sunchoke to please you – and I suspect, pleased you will be!
By David Nuttall
9th Annual Splash of Red Saturday November 9, 6:00 pm Glencoe Club, 636 - 29 Avenue SW Tickets: $220 The 9th annual Splash of Red is a fundraising event for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary, featuring an incredible dinner with wine, live and silent auctions and dancing to the Dino Martinis. Splash of Red has raised more than $1.8 million for vulnerable children and youth since it started. boysandgirlsclubsofcalgary.ca/events/ splash-of-red
Sky 360 Wild Rose Brewmaster’s Dinner Sky 360, Calgary Tower Sunday November 10th, 6:45 pm Tickets: $125 Watch the world go round while you enjoy a sumptuous 5-course dinner, each course paired with a Wild Rose beer. www.sky360.ca
Bob Edwards Award Gala Thursday November 14, 6:00 pm Palliser Hotel Crystal Ballroom, 133 - 9th Avenue SW Tickets: $375.00 Corporate table package: $4,000 Bob Edwards: Canadian newsman, humourist, editorialist, entrepreneur, and provincial politician, best known as the writer and publisher of the Calgary Eye Opener newspaper from 1902-1922. This prestigious award recognizes a Canadian who personifies his spirit; this year, Conrad Black is the recipient. Each table will have a local creator as table host (author, artist, film-maker or musician). All proceeds support building readers for life at the Calgary Public Library. goodread.myshopify.com/collections/ frontpage/products/bob-edwardsaward-night
Bon Appetit Banff Thursday, November 14 - Sunday, November 24 Various locations in Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta Prix fixe three-course menus, including three options per course, for $25, $35 or $45. See the 31 participating venues at banfflakelouise.com/bonappetitbanff
The Grape Escape Friday & Saturday, November 15 & 16, 5:00 pm-9:00 pm BMO Centre Hall D & E, Stampede Park $65 per evening The annual Grape Escape is brought to you by Calgary Co-op Liquor Stores. Sample wine, beer and spirits from over 60 producers. Tickets at all Calgary Co-op Liquor Store locations. coopwinesandspirits.com/events
Once Upon A Christmas Breakfast Buffet Every Saturday & Sunday from November 23- December 22, 9:30 am- 2:00 pm Heritage Park, 1900 Heritage Drive SW Voted one of Calgary’s best brunches by Where Calgary in 2010. Savour the home-style breakfast buffet at the Wainwright Hotel or Gunn’s Dairy Barn before venturing out to enjoy the festivities of Once Upon A Christmas at Heritage Park. Tickets to the breakfast buffet are sold in advance and will sell out, so purchase yours early by calling Guest Services at 403.268.8500. heritagepark.ca/plan-your-visit/eventcalendar/once-upon-a-christmasbreakfast-buffet.html
Holiday Craft Fairs Tis the season for craft fairs. They pop up all over; in malls, on streets, in parking lots, wherever there is an empty space. More than just places to by pottery, jewellery, paintings, quilts, clothing and other arts and crafts, these markets are also great for foodies. Local and regional farms, ranches, and producers are always present with unique meats, candies, baking, sauces, vinegars, oils, cooking and kitchen utensils and other goodies that you won’t find in supermarkets. Buy for yourself or as gifts, there is always something interesting at these events. Millarville Christmas Market November 8-11, Millarville Racetrack, Millarville, Alberta millarvilleracetrack.com/event/ millarville-christmas-market Artisan’s Fair at Fort Calgary November 11, Fort Calgary, 750 9th Avenue SE, 11:30 am-5:00 pm Free admission - Donation of nonperishable food appreciated fortcalgary.com/visiting/ events/#artisansfair International Christmas Market Weekends from November 15-December 1 Spruce Meadows, 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW sprucemeadows.com/christmas_market. jsp Bragg Creek Artisans 37th Christmas Sale November 16-17, Bragg Creek Centre 10:00 am-5:00 pm Admission and parking is free braggcreekartisans.com/monthlyevents Christmas Market November 16-17, Aspen Crossing, southeast of Calgary on Highway #24 aspencrossing.com/#!christmas-market/ cg80
Book Reviews Modern Native Feasts By Andrew George Jr. Arsenal Pulp Press 2013 $21.95 The title to this book says it all. Taking traditional Aboriginal cuisine and fusing it with modern ideas. My knowledge of history would infer the aboriginals were amongst the first people to “eat local”. With no other choice, they depended on ingredients at hand. Most recipes are based on local, accessible ingredients paired with classical techniques, and with a modern departure, the recipes are transformed. When was the last time you made moose cannelloni?
The Glorious Vegetables of Italy By Domenica Marchetti Chronicle Books 2013 $35
By Karen Miller
Modern Native Feasts embodies lots of the expected game, salmon and trout, and my favourite, bannock bread (who does not like fried bread?) but the book also has pestos, salsas and wraps. You will find both a traditional elk stew (page 93) and “Spicy Elk Wraps” with an Asian flavour (page 91). George Jr. has taught his version of native cuisine across the country. His instructions are helpful and he provides many substitutions. I loved the West Coast version of tourtière with venison (page 96) and Salmon cakes with Wilted Greens (page 116), a great way to use
leftover poached salmon. This book is a wonderful tribute to the ways of George Jr’s ancestors and our country’s bounty.
Marchetti is truly inspired by the subject matter. She describes her first vegetable epiphany at a market, respecting each vegetable, with simple buying, preparing and cooking techniques. The recipes are traditional but she does think outside the box with inspired departures such as “color-coordinated minestrone”.
This book is about vegetables but is not vegetarian and many recipes incorporate meat. The main dishes show how vegetables rule. Tuscan kale frittata is as dependable as it states (page 183). The book contains such an abundance of vegetable recipes, including the staple of every Italian kitchen, canning and even desserts.
The pantry equipment list is a little intimidating but she gets back to basics with the “Simple Tomato Sauce” recipe, a true Italian necessity. The selection of crostini showcases ideas for the perfect appetizer anytime. And something true to my heart, the “Seasons of Risotto”, that is how they cook in Italy!
And last but not least, the photographs, as artsy as they are real, and stunning in vibrant colour. How could you not love vegetables looking like this? 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.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR THE HOLIDAYS. THURSDAY – SUNDAY, 9AM – 5PM Open: MONDAY December 23, 9AM – 5PM Closed: December 24, 2013 – January 8, 2014 CalgaryFarmersMarket.ca 510 77TH AVE SE
2013-10-15 11:49 AM CMYK
Ask Culinaire: Spice Rubs and Marinades By chef JP Pedhirney
What are rubs, brines and marinades and how are they used? Answer: Spice rubs, marinades and brines are some of my favourite cooking practices to use everyday. It’s the opportunity where any cook can be creative in manipulating the texture, tenderness and most importantly, flavour of meat. They can also help transform tougher cuts of meat into a melt-in-your-mouth meal, plus they are easy to make. So, let’s start with brines and marinades. Basic brine is a saltwater solution, usually 3% salt to water weight (the brine should taste like sea water). Its sole purpose is to help retain moisture in a product. It also helps evenly distribute your other seasonings, so that your meat has a consistent flavour throughout. You can add flavours to your brine like maple syrup, honey, crushed garlic or herbs
as well. For example, I make a brine for pork chops using salt, half water-half apple juice, some crushed garlic and chopped rosemary. I let the chops sit in the brine for no longer than 12 hours with amazing results. Brines are best applied when using poultry, pork and fish (only brine fish for a maximum of 30 minutes). A marinade is similar in the sense that most marinades contain salt, but also boast an acidic component, which helps break down meat proteins, making for tender meats. These acidic bases can be a mixture of lemon and oil, red wine and herbs, or tomato juice. In some cases, the use of bacteria found in yogurt and buttermilk, like in tandoori chicken, is used to tenderize as well, giving a unique flavour to your
product. Marinating a breast of chicken in buttermilk with herbs and a little bit of cider vinegar, a day before grilling delicious. Spice rubs are completely different. Most commonly used for BBQ, a rub is all about intense flavour. Use a good rub for cuts like pork shoulder, back ribs and brisket. These cuts tenderize due to the collagen in meat breaking down over long cooking periods, so this allows the meat to absorb those wonderful spice combinations. As for what goes into a good rub, there are thousands of great spice combinations. If you are not interested in making your own, the Silk Road Spice Merchant in Inglewood has some great pre-made spice rubs. Don’t hesitate to look up recipes for brines, marinades and rubs, becoming confident in how these techniques are used will raise the bar in your protein cookery. 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
10 • November 2013
Celebrate The Festive Season With Wine! Britannia Wine Merchants has teamed up with North by Northwest Wine Imports to offer 20 Culinaire magazine readers the opportunity to take part in an exclusive festive wine tasting to celebrate the season, on the evening of December 12th from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. To participate, simply tell us about your “Best Celebration with Wine.” Our judges will pick their favourite top 20 submissions and these lucky people will be special guests at a wine experience that will take place in the new tasting room at Britannia Wine Merchants, 810 49 Ave SW, Calgary. The celebration will begin with a welcome from Linda Garson, Culinaire Editor-in-Chief, Steve Goldsworthy of Britannia Wine Merchants and Jeremy Raaymaker of NBNW Wine Imports. Jeremy will then then take the group on a sensory tour of Central Otago, New Zealand by pouring the Pioneer Series
Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Home Block White, followed by Devil’s Back Bone Pinot Noir from Shaky Bridge Wines for you to enjoy. The fun continues by shifting to Oregon with a tasting of the most uncommon Pinot Noir Blanc and Estate Pinot Noir from Ghost Hill Cellars. Have you ever tried a white Pinot Noir before? Accompanying these six sumptuous wines will be canapés specially prepared by Christopher Bennett of Relevé Gourmet. Yum! To win your place at this one-off special wine tasting, enter now at www.culinairemagazine.ca We can’t wait to hear from you! Good luck! *To take part you must be 18 or older and available to be at the wine tasting on the evening of December 12th.
The Wine Lover’s Coloring Book Louise Wilson $25 By Tom Firth It’s not often that I get to spend time with a colouring book, but when it’s clearly about wine, it’s time to take notice.
even juvenile for serious wine lovers, but it is one of the best ways to learn where your favourite wine regions really are. Perfect for students of wine, or perhaps for people taking wine too seriously.
A novel way for wine lovers and wine students to approach the sometimes daunting geography of wine, the book is filled with maps and short summaries of a wide range of the world’s wine regions.
Win your own copy of the Wine Lover’s Coloring Book!
As a bonus, for a little “hands-on” work, you can spend some time colouring in the region on the accompanying blank maps. It may seem a little simple, or
We have a copy for the lucky winner of our competiton! To enter, just go to culinairemagazine.ca and tell us which is your favourite wine region and why. culinairemagazine.ca • 11
Calgary Food Trucks Rolling This Winter By Carmen Cheng
As temperatures drop, many food trucks (and Calgarians) will begin to hibernate. But these trucks will be braving the cold to feed your cravings for gourmet street eats. Sticky Ricky’s Hearty and full of spice, Cajun cuisine is the ultimate winter warm-up food. Seek comfort this winter with Sticky Ricky’s Gumbolaya (a delicious combination of gumbo and jambalaya), Red Beans and Rice, and Nawlins Fries. Don’t miss out on their Po Boy’s though, Rick’s Oyster Po Boy and Cat Fish Po Boy are some of the best in this city. (stickyrickysyyc.com, @stickyrickysyyc) Tailgate Grill The Tailgate Grill is kept busy over fall and winter attending all the Flames, Stampeders, and Roughnecks games. Which is why this truck was built to be winter-proof. Their menu is quite varied with Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich, Flames Signature Burger and Popcorn Lobster. They will also be adding a gluten free Bison Chili to their all-star line-up this winter. (calgaryflames.com/tailgategrill, @Tailgate_Grill)
Yummi Yogis A new addition to the Calgary food scene, Yummi Yogis was born when three Yogis came together through a shared passion for community and health. Their food, elixers, and even desserts are made from local, sustainable, and nutrientdense ingredients. Made with Chaga, a mushroom known for its healing powers and high levels of antioxidants, their Chai Latte is sure to keep you healthy from those winter bugs. (yummiyogis.com, @yummiyogis) Pimento’s This mobile pizzeria is best known for their thin crust pizzas, but this winter Pimento’s will be offering southern Italian dishes. Chef Mario has concocted an Italian-style poutine topped with black truffles, fresh garlic, bocconcini and white wine gravy. Pimento’s will also be offering delicious desserts such as cannoli and freshly fried Zeppole (think Italian doughnuts). (pimentos.ca, @ChefMarioMobile)
Waffles ‘n Chix Although the South rarely sees cold temperatures, their stickto-your-ribs cuisine is perfect for warming a soul up. Check out the Southern fried chicken and Belgian waffles with white gravy at Waffles ‘n Chix. If that isn’t hearty enough for you, try their Fried Chicken Poutine. Smothered with white gravy and maple syrup, it’s uber satisfying. (wafflesandchix.com, @wafflesandchix) The Happy Truck This bright yellow truck serves a wide range of international cuisine from all over the world including Indonesia, Mexico, and Ukraine. Their lemongrass chicken and peanut satays are famous in this city and Calgarians will be happy to hear they will continue service through winter. (thehappytruck.com, @TheHappyTruck) 12 • November 2013
Carmen Cheng comes from a family of adventurous eaters. There aren’t many foods that she won’t try. She loves to chat about what to eat next on twitter @foodkarmablog.
Spice Sanctuary: The Spice Paradise By Andrea Fulmek
Whether it’s cardamom, saffron, or that spice that you used once for that recipe you cooked way back when, most of us can admit to having one or two spices sitting in our cupboards that aren’t getting much love. Guilty? I know I am. But, not to worry, Trusha Patel, owner of Spice Sanctuary, is not only providing Canadians with quality, organic spices, but she’s also teaching us how to use them in easy, everyday ways. After moving to Canada from the United Kingdom in 2009, Patel just wasn’t getting enough depth and flavour with the spices that she was cooking with. Because her biggest hobby was cooking and creating her own dishes, Patel started searching for wholesome spices and continually found that the quality and purity of the spices that she was working with were lacking. When she realized that sourcing and selling the best quality spices was something that she wanted to pursue herself, the entrepreneur started researching harvesting methods, grades, and spices that she wanted to bring in. “One thing that really struck me was that nobody was providing any transparency on the spices that they were offering. I knew from the beginning that my primary focus would be to ensure that the spices I sold would be pure and organic, and I wanted to make sure that farmers had fair trade practices in place.” Failing to find one supplier that could provide her with the spices that she wanted in the grade that she needed, Patel refused to compromise quality and freshness for convenience and chose separate suppliers to ensure the delivery of top quality products. Though the initial start-up stages proved to be challenging, since Patel knew little about rules, regulations and certifications in Canada, she persevered to find the best quality spices and did everything that she could to support culinairemagazine.ca • 13
her new home. “I knew that I not only wanted fresh, organic spices and that I wanted to provide transparency, but I also knew that I wanted to support local. Everything is packaged here in Canada. I buy in bulk from Europe, India and Sri Lanka, and once they arrive, they are packaged in a certified organic facility in northern Alberta.” The Spice Sanctuary’s “Farm to Pantry Initiative” openly attests to having the shortest supply chain among any other organic spice supplier in Canada. In six steps or less, products reach customers and avoid the repackaging that subjects the spices to oxidizing elements like light and air - both of which attack the volatile oil content in the spices. While preserving the oil content is essential, the Spice Sanctuary is also equally as committed to preserving the environment. Together with The Carbon Farmer, Spice Sanctuary has committed to help with the afforestation project in northern Alberta through the “Plant a Tree for Me” program. For every 50 dollars that is spent online, the Spice Sanctuary will purchase a tree in your name, and spices and blends that are purchased from retail stores also help to support the cause. In addition to growing and running her business with integrity, Patel also finds time to offer cooking classes, which allows her to share her passion and put some common
misconceptions to rest. “I want to eliminate the several myths that spices always have lots of heat, that they are only used for certain ethnic cuisines, and I want to eliminate the question that I get asked the most which is, ‘how long do spices last?’” In my world, that question shouldn’t come into your mind because you should be using them often enough that you don’t need to worry about that,” Patel chuckled. Patel believes that it comes down to education, and considers it her job to give people tips and tricks. “For me, the biggest reward is that people not only like my spices, but that they actually go and use them in different ways,” Patel explained.
Chilled Mexican Avocado Soup Serves 2 Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan 1 organic avocado 1 cup organic spinach 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) filtered water or organic vegetable stock 100 mL almond milk 2 Tbs cilantro leaves, roughly chopped 1 tsp Spice Sanctuary cumin powder 1/4 tsp Spice Sanctuary paprika 1/4 tsp Spice Sanctuary True Cinnamon 1/4 lime, juiced 2 tsp coconut, fresh grated or desiccated 1 tsp Spice Sanctuary Nigella Seeds
1. Cut open and scoop out the flesh of the avocado and place into a blender.
2. Add all the other ingredients apart from the coconut and nigella seeds and blend into a smooth soup. Chill the soup for at least one hour.
3. When ready to serve, divide the soup into two bowls and garnish with the coconut and nigella seeds and some grated beets or sauerkraut (optional) for a refreshing, alkalising starter or lunch.
Less than a year after launching a full spice range in 2012, Spice Sanctuary products are now found at 45 health food and grocery stores across Canada and are used by reputable restaurants and resorts, like Banff’s Rimrock Resort Hotel. While cinnamon, nutmeg, and turmeric are amongst the top selling spices sold by Spice Sanctuary, unique spice blends such as Moroccan Harmony, Indian Super Spice, and Sweet Delight are equally as popular. Aside from Patel’s cooking classes, gift boxes and dinner kits that she offers as part of Spice Sanctuary, the Spice Sanctuary website and online store offers recipes, tips on how to use spices, and even informs us of the amazing health benefits of each spice. Whether you choose to experiment with Sweet Delight spice blend in your morning coffee or sprinkle cardamom onto your favourite sweet potato dish before baking, Patel is always finding creative ways to subtly reinforce that everything can taste nice with a little bit of spice. Spice Sanctuary: 403-389-3743 www.spicesanctuary.com Recruiter by day, writer and foodie by night, Andrea finds nothing more exciting than grocery shopping and baking with chocolate. If dessert could be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, she would be one happy camper.
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Family run restaurants provide us with authentic flavours prepared with love. Three fusion restaurants in the city are testament to how to do it exceptionally. Two are husband and wife teams and one is mother and sons; in the latter, the husband is the official taster and in-house critic.
Fusion done well is a wonderful thing and a hallmark of some of the world’s most flavourful cuisines. Combining ingredients and methods from two or more different cultures and melding them together to create a unique dish may sound easy, but achieving the sublime takes skill and practice to perfect. Fortunately, fusion is well established around the world and very popular. Some, such as tempura, of
Portuguese origin, is so entrenched in Japan’s culinary identity that we assume they created it.
Tropical Delight Noodle House
Serves 4 2 stalks lemon grass 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 large onion, chopped 1 tsp (5 mL) turmeric 1 tsp (5 mL) hot chilli powder 1 Tbs (15 mL) vegetable oil 400 mL can coconut milk 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) fish stock 125 g rice noodles 200 g fresh bean sprouts 1 lime, quartered TT salt Garnishes: shrimp, hardboiled egg, spring onion, snow peas, red pepper, deep-fried tofu.
1. Peel outer layers from lemon grass and finely chop the white bulb. Mix to a chunky paste with garlic, onion, turmeric and chilli powder.
2. Heat oil and fry paste for 5 minutes, stirring. Mix in coconut and stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. If desired, add 225 g cubed white fish fillet, salmon or fish balls and a touch of blaçan shrimp paste.
3. Cook rice noodles, drain and rinse with cold water, blanch beansprouts and snow peas in boiling water for 30 seconds, then drain.
4. Divide noodles and beansprouts between 4 bowls and ladle over the coconut soup. Garnish with shrimp and choice of toppings; serve with lime.
The pan-Asian influence is the most recognizable for Canadians, with many wonderful examples in Calgary to choose from. Early migration, exploration and colonization brought together a diverse group of influences. The French connection in Vietnam is
Malaysian food is one of my favourites and Tropical Delight Noodle House brought back fond, tasty memories. Cheng Liew and wife, Linda Tang, operate this family style, albeit spartan restaurant. You go for the food Linda prepares fresh each day from family recipes. They are open from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Saturday, as they believe in a balance of life and spending time with their young children. They immigrated to Canada in 1988 from Brunei and opened the restaurant 1½ years ago. The hardest task is sourcing authentic ingredients (tiny anchovies) for dishes such as Nasi Lemak. Their Beef Rendang is very different from the Indonesian dry chilli style. It is more European, with melt in your mouth savoury rib meat in a rich reduction of pan juices and little spice. The curries have a decided Indian
widely recognized. Chinese and Indian immigrants brought their traditions to Malaysia and Indonesia to create new regional cuisines using tropical lemon grass and tamarind to flavour curry and chilli dishes. Even the Dutch got in the act and today some of the best Indonesian food in the world is available in Amsterdam. The East Indian influence is also evident travelling west, especially in African countries.
influence, with coconut milk, and you can request the level of heat. The crowning dish is Singapore style curry laksa of Chinese/Malay origin common street food at hawker’s stands along with satay. This savoury, spicy coconut milk broth and vermicelli noodles (you can request thick ones) is garnished with shrimp, fish balls, crab, lettuce, hard-boiled egg and deep fried tofu. We are sharing a quick version of Laksa that Linda Garson makes. Indeed, each household has its own version of this satisfying soup.
Indonesian Kitchen Indonesian Kitchen is Ibu Kartini’s third successful restaurant in Calgary, open for dinner Tuesday to Thursday, and lunch and dinner on weekends. Her two sons grew up in the business, capable of taking over at sixteen to run the restaurants in mom’s absence.
Safari Grill Africa is rich with fusion cuisines, often with an East Indian influence. Ali Moledina is the gracious host at Safari Grill where wife, Salima, cooks. Emigrating from Tanzania in 1988 they arrived in Calgary in 2005. Mishkaki is evident on the menu, with several types of BBQ meat skewers. The Afrique version (chicken) is reminiscent of satay, the cumin spice coming through. Salima marinates hers in peri peri sauce that in no way resembles the fiery red, herbaceous Portugeuse version. Hers contains toasted cumin, garlic, ginger root, turmeric, zheera powder (Dattani Food Market), a touch of Scotch Bonnet and yogurt to make a paste – Tanzania meets India. The Mishkaki kuko (chicken) is tandoori style and the mildly spiced Ng’ombe (beef ) exhibits the tang of yogurt. Order some chipsi – French fries with masala (tomato and spices) or pili pili (lemon and chillies). Fire grilled, you jazz them up with house-made side sauces including jalapeño in mild vinegar. Salima does not use the seeds of any chili peppers. Hearty and soul warming. And you have to order the addictive beef short ribs.
Jalapeño Sauce Mix well together 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced with 1 tsp (5 mL) each vinegar and water
Kartini exudes genuine warmth and clearly understands the Indonesian foods she serves with the delicate balance of spices. She is quick to point out that spicy does not mean hot. Her roots are in the Sundanese tribe of Bandung, West Java. Indonesia is famous for rijsttafel (rice table) and you can recreate it by taking a group to enjoy a variety of authentic dishes. The Lemper Ajam is banana leaf wrapped rice and chicken with delicate flavours of lemon grass and ginger. Nasi goreng is a staple, characterized by kecap manis (sweet soy sauce). Kartini uses a gluten-free brand you can purchase at the restaurant, along with many spice blends to recreate dishes at home. She cooks from scratch. Order Satay Ajam (chicken), Sapi (beef ), Kambing (lamb) or Udang (shrimp) with peanut sauce. Her Krupuk (shrimp crackers) are crisp and the most flavourful I’ve encountered here. Round out with Beef Rendang and sip on Bandrek, her warming ginger and brown sugar tea.
Nasi Goreng Serves 2 2 cups (500 mL) cooked rice, chilled 2 large eggs ½ cup (125 g) raw shrimps, shell removed 1 small sliced raw chicken breast 3 Tbs (45 mL) cooking oil 4 cloves crushed garlic ¼ cup (60 mL) onion, finely chopped 2 green onions, chopped ½ cup (125 mL) carrot julienne 2 Tbs (30 mL) sweet soy sauce 1 Tbs (15 mL) soy sauce TT Salt & pepper
1. Heat 1 Tbs (15 mL) oil in a frying pan or wok. Fry eggs sunny side with a pinch of salt, then set aside (for topping). 2. Heat wok or frying pan with 2 Tbs (30 mL) oil, sauté onions into the hot oil until golden. Add crushed garlic then mix shrimp and chicken to fry. Mix until the meat is cooked. Add green onions and carrot, stir for a minute. 3. Add soya sauces, salt and black pepper and cook on high heat until sauce caramelizes. 4. Add cooked rice and toss continuously until the rice is hot. Serve with egg on top. Tropical Delight Noodle House 4604 – 12th Street NE 403-261-1811 Safari Grill 225 – 28th Street SE 403-235-6655 safarigrillcalgary.com Indonesian Kitchen 3917 - 17th Avenue SE 403-272-7234 indonesian-kitchen.com 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.
It takes great grapes to make great wine…
Using the exacting standards of the French appellation d’origin controlee the very best vineyard blocks-defined by the unique soils, slopes, orientation, and climate are used to make the very best pinot noir and chardonnay from the estate, perfect on their own or with fine cuisine the world over.
Sonoma-Cutrer was founded as a vineyard company producing sought-after grapes for premium wineries. By the 1980’s the decision was made that the truest expression of quality and terroir for their grapes would be to assemble a group of experts to produce the best possible wine directly from the estate and Sonoma- Today, Sonoma-Cutrer’s flagship wine, Russian River Ranches, is the number-one-selling Chardonnay in Cutrer as we know it was born. Some of America’s finest restaurants according to the Using the most modern winemaking techniques annual Wine & Spirits magazine Restaurant Poll, 17 available, the wines quickly achieved the status normally out of the last 19 years. For many wine consumers, reserved for old European winery estates, becoming the name Sonoma-Cutrer is synonymous with superb what some call-“America’s Grand Cru”. chardonnay.
Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay
Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
With aromas of jasmine coupled with tropical fruits of mango and pineapple, layered with hazelnuts and almonds, finishing with lime and lychee, the wine dances on the nose and palate. The delicate balance of fruit and oak make a wine perfect for casual sipping or elegant dining.
A pinot noir that bursts with plush berry fruits of cherry, raspberry, and blueberry notes with spice, earth and subtle tones of chocolate and coffee. Made with a combination of new and older French oak barrels, the wine is neither filtered nor fined to bring all the nuance of Sonoma’s terroir to the glass.
Suggested Food Pairing-Oaked chardonnay is sublime with poultry or seafood such as sea bass or halibut-especially when finished with cream or butter.
Suggested Food Pairing-Pinot noir goes with almost anything from salmon to duck or almost any cheese.
Recent Accolades for Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay
Recent Accolades for Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
91 Points-Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide
Best Pinot Noir-San Diego International Wine Competition
88 Points-Wines & Spirits Magazine
Gold Medal-Pacific Rim Wine Competition
Please enjoy our wines responsibly.
Sonoma Cutrer is a registered trademark. © 2013 Sonoma Cutrer Vineyards.
Restaurant Byob: A Primer By Adrian Bryksa
It has been several years since the Alberta government allowed consumers to bring in their own bottles into restaurants, and since then I have heard stories of hits and misses where some diners have indicated that the experience with bringing their own special bottle (also known as “corkage”) was sublime and others indicating an experience akin to that of a discount airline; the kind that offer £15 fares on one-way flights. Clearly, if there were a time for restaurants and their patrons to get on the same page, it is now. We asked Calgary-based sommelier, Brad Royale, about the do’s and don’ts of bringing your own wine to dine. “The key is to call the restaurant first and see if they offer the service,” says Royale. The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission provides a handy online search that allows licensees that offer the service to be referenced. “Once this is established, then determine if there is a bottle limit and what the rate per bottle may be.” This is crucial as some restaurants may carry the license to support BYOB but choose not to support it. Getting the rate established early is also paramount; most horror stories relate to patrons being surprised by a rate they weren’t anticipating. Royale suggests that corkage rates are usually linear with the quality of the restaurant and that diners should realize they are paying for a service. “At $25 per bottle for example, a high end restaurant will cover the cost of glassware, washing, labour of service and polishing, and breakage.” In turn though, restaurants need to be aware the diner is paying for a service and failure to deliver is unacceptable. Paying for corkage means that the server or sommelier should be attentive to your wine needs including offering refills when your glass is empty, offering
advice like suggestions of decanting or cooling of wines ahead of service, and provisioning clean glassware. If any aspect of the service is lacking, customers should bring up concerns to the server/sommelier who, in most cases, will do their best to rectify the situation. There is no sense paying for wine service out of glasses that are streaked/smell like wet dog, or if you have to refill your own glass. You could do this at home with some delivery or take-away food for free. From an etiquette perspective, Royale offers this advice “Try to bring a wine that the restaurant doesn’t stock. If the restaurant doesn’t normally offer corkage, ask to speak to the sommelier directly; sometimes, maybe, perhaps, something can be worked out for special bottles.” With that, Royale suggests offering a taste of the wine brought in to the server or sommelier, as he categorizes his colleagues as a “curious bunch” who, like their customers, are oenophiles just the same. There are also times where restaurants offer free corkage and patrons need to know what their responsibilities are when restaurants take care of this cost. Tipping, for example, is important and patrons should include a tip on the bill with the corkage fees included when they are paying. If the corkage is free, guests should include some or all of the value of the wine along with the bill in the tip amount. Other acts of good
faith include buying a bottle off the list when bringing your own wine is free, or at least enjoying a glass from the glass pour list as a sign of support. Remember that restaurants don’t have to offer this service, so being that great customer who tips accordingly and supports the establishment’s beverage list will go a long way. We hope this set of tips helps to seek out establishments that support bringing your own wine and that for your next special dinner, you grab that special wine you’ve been holding on to that will help make the occasion perfect. This privilege is one that not all North American restaurant patrons can enjoy, so take advantage of it and show your support. The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission webpages regarding corkage and restaurants supporting it can be found at www.aglc.ca/liquorlicenseelistapp Always relevant and never compromising, Adrian is one of the voices behind yycwine.com and has freelanced for Wine Spectator, New York and Good Bottle of Wine, London, England.
Royale’s Suggested Calgary Restaurants Supporting Corkage: Teatro
http://teatro.ca/ 403-290-1012 $35 Corkage
http://www.shikiji.ca/ 403-520-0093 $10 Corkage
River Cafe http://www.river-cafe.com/ 403-261-7670 $20 Corkage, Free on Sunday - 1 bottle per table
7711 MACLEOD TR SW
TASTE THE ALBERTA HARVEST THIS FALL
Hundreds of Fresh Products Endless Possibilities Open Every Thurs-Sun 9-5
Soup Kitchen By Dan Clapson
Potato, Apple and Roasted Garlic Velouté Serves 3-4 Total cook time 45 min 2 shallots, minced 3 cloves garlic, minced 4 red potatoes, peeled and 1 cm cubed 2 apples, peeled and 1 cm cubed 5 cups (1.2 L) chicken broth 1 bulb roasted garlic 1 Tbs garam masala 2 tsp smoked paprika 1 cup half and half 2 Tbs butter salt and pepper olive oil
1. Start by cooking down the minced shallots and garlic with some olive oil in a medium pot for 5 minutes.
2. Add in the chopped potato, apples and chicken broth. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce to medium heat and let simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
3. Place the contents of the pot, along with the roasted garlic into a blender or food processor and purée until very smooth.
4. Return to pot, add remaining in ingredients and let cook for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
22 • November 2013
Much like dusting off your toques and scarves in preparation for the temperature dip, fall is the season to start sprinkling those big and bold spices into your dinners again. When the first frost hits and you find yourself chilled to the bone, it’s always nice to look forward to a big, piping hot bowl of soup when you get home from work. Whether it’s a touch of Indian with some garam masala or some fragrant cinnamon (I know, who puts cinnamon in a soup? That’s crazy talk!) to bring the flavours all together, here are two fantastic soups you can rely on to keep you nice and cosy.
Autumn Pork and Spinach Soup Serves 4 Total cook time 1 hour 450 g ground pork 1 yellow onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 4 large carrots, 1 cm sliced, approx. 5 cups 2 Tbs butter 2 cups (480 mL) vegetable stock 1 – 400g can fire-roasted diced tomatoes 2 cups (480 mL) water 1 Tbs tomato paste 2 red potatoes, diced 2 tsp chilli powder 1 ½ tsp cinnamon 3 cups fresh spinach olive oil salt and pepper
1. Brown the ground pork in a large pot with a spoonful of olive oil. Once the pork is completely cooked through, remove from pot and set aside for now. Discard any remaining liquid.
2. In the same pot, cook the onion and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the sliced carrots and butter and let cook for another 5 minutes on medium-high heat.
4. Pour the vegetable broth into the pot, reduce to medium heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. Use an immersion blender and puree until smooth.
5. Add in the next 7 ingredients and continue to cook for 30 minutes. 10 minutes before serving, stir in the fresh spinach and season to taste with salt and pepper. Dan Clapson is a freelance food writer and columnist in 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!
Tales From The Table Side Story and photography by Gabriel Hall
When many diners head out to a new restaurant for a meal, they often pay a bit more attention to the food, the ambiance and the service - the mystical trifecta of traits which make up a memorable dining experience. Unbeknown to many, the wait staff is also intently observing them. A well trained front of house staff: managers, waiters, bartenders, hostesses and bus staff interact and respond to customer’s wishes and desires in order to cater to the individualized needs and create a pleasurable experience. Yvan Toulouse, general manager at MARKET Restaurant on 17th Avenue, not to mention a 25 year veteran of the service industry, has worked at all levels of the business in almost a dozen different countries. His experiences range from prim and proper, “penguin suit” restaurants to relaxed German gasthäuser, and have laid the foundation
for a wealth of knowledge from which to draw, in order to create a welcoming dining atmosphere. “There are a lot of people in this industry who can do the job. What’s different is how you do it. It isn’t just asking, ‘How is your food today?’ It’s about genuinely interacting with your guest,” says Toulouse, as he relates his philosophy. Toulouse admits he can teach someone how to carry trays, knowledge of wine and the techniques of service, but he can’t teach someone how to smile, be passionate, personable and observant.
It’s no surprise that the intimate (and required) interaction between customers and staff leads to interesting stories; the weird, the heart-warming, and the painful, all of which make life in the front of house entertaining, creating some great post-service tales. When asked about one such time, Toulouse recounts, “The weirdest thing which happened to me was in Luxembourg. I was working in a very high-end restaurant in a boutique hotel. One night an older guy nonchalantly walked into the restaurant, sat down and started to order dinner. The
problem was that he was stark naked. When the server went up to speak with him he was almost incoherent. It ended up that he was a guest at the hotel, so we called the police, put him in his room and called his wife. We found out that the guy skipped his medication and had some wine.” Some of the best stories are often about the people you work with. Toulouse has built some great relationships during his years in the industry and the loyalty gained always returns ten-fold, “MARKET is my first real general manager job. During the opening of the restaurant, I was desperately worried as to how I was going to pull everything together; how I was going to hire all the staff. It’s a search to find the right type of person. I’m not looking for professional servers; I was looking for genuine people with a great attitude. A month and half after I was working on opening Market, I started to receive a lot of email from friends and former staff.” Toulouse feels genuinely humbled that his former staff were willing to leave their established positions and support him in an unknown venture, based solely on his relationship with them and the atmosphere he wanted to create in the new restaurant. “They knew my style and liked the environment I wanted to build. I felt very appreciative of them and their trust in me.” Of course working in the restaurant business isn’t all fun and amusing stories. Toulouse definitely has his share of frustrations working in an industry where personalities often clash and differences of opinion can place constant strain on relationships. He remembers when he was ordered to treat his staff badly and to act unscrupulously, “At one restaurant long ago, [My boss] would tell me what to do, how to do it, what to say [to certain people]. The most disgusting thing was that after I disagreed with him, he went behind my back, said these things to the staff and told the employees that it was
me who did those things. What saved me were my established relationships with my staff.” In the end, Toulouse couldn’t find it in his conscience to continue in an environment which he found discourteous, “I gave my notice and moved on” he simply says. As much as critics, yelpers and customers tend to overtly or covertly rate the staff that attends to them, patrons should remember that the staff is often taking note of the diner in return. Great guests, or staff, are talked
about as often as the unruly ones, and one can be sure that funny, frustrating or uplifting stories will be remembered and traded when the industry gets together at the end of their shifts. To be a fly on the wall during those conversations... Gabriel Hall is a freelance 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.
Step By Step: Spicy Samosas
Story and photography by Natalie Findlay
Samosas are filled with a mix of warm spices, a touch of heat and a pinch of tartness, producing a well-balanced flavour profile that makes you just want to keep eating these unassuming triangles. Try these as appetizers at your next party! Recipes all make around 15 large samosas to feed 8 people, or 30 appetizer samosas for a crowd.
500 g all purpose flour Â˝ tsp salt 2 Tbs (30 mL) vegetable oil Â˝ cup (120 mL) water for sealing
finger to help you form a cone with the dough; add the filling to the centre of the dough.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a fork. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for approximately 5 minutes. Let rest, covered, for 20 minutes. Knead dough for another 2 minutes and let rest another 40 minutes or until ready to use. Dough will be soft and smooth.
with water and press together to completely seal the dough. Give the edges another press to make sure everything is well sealed.
3. Smear the open ends of the dough
4. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and keep in the fridge until ready to fry.
5. In a heavy pot, heat a few cms of oil 1. Divide dough into 80 g portions (size
of a golf ball) and shape into balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one ball of dough at a time.
2. Cut dough in half. Smear some water along the edge of the cut side of the dough and fold in half. Press the edge to seal. Using the thumb on the pointer
on high heat. Fry a few samosas at a time making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Turn and continue frying until both sides are browned. Remove from pot and drain on paper towels. Keep warm in the oven. Note: 80g balls make 2 large samosas. 40g balls make 2 smaller appetizer-size samosas.
Beef Samosas 1 onion, peeled and shredded (use a grater or food processor) 450 g ground beef 4 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed into a paste ½ tsp (2.5 g) amchur powder or fresh lime juice 2 g ginger, peeled and grated 1 tsp garam masala ½ tsp coriander ½ tsp cumin 1 tsp salt 1 tsp ground black pepper to taste hot green chili pepper, minced 1/4 bunch cilantro, finely chopped for cooking canola oil 1 batch dough, recipe below. Can also use rice paper wrappers or phyllo dough
1. Heat a medium-to-large pot over medium-high heat and add 1 Tbs (15 mL) canola oil and the shredded onion. Cook until translucent approx 3 minutes. 2. Add ground beef and cook another 3 minutes; breaking up the beef into fine pieces. 3. Add garlic, amchur or lime juice, ginger, garam masala, coriander, cumin and salt and pepper. Continue cooking until meat is fully cooked. 4. Drain oil from meat using a fine hole strainer and dry on paper towels. 5. Return to bowl and stir in cilantro. Cool and reserve. Note: Can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for 2 days or in the freezer for 3 months.
You can also make samosas for dessert. These are great on their own or with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
Dessert Samosas 1 green apple, peeled and cored 1 red apple, peeled and cored 1 pear, peeled and cored 2 peaches, cored, rough chopped 2 Tbs (30 g) golden raisins 1/2 lemon, juice 1 anise seed 1 g mace 4 g cinnamon 1 g chai spice blend 5-6 grates fresh nutmeg 1 g fresh ginger, grated pinch sea salt pinch black pepper, finely ground 55 g walnuts, roughly chopped 275 g mascarpone cheese
1. Add everything except peaches, walnuts and mascarpone to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Add peaches and 2 Tbs (30 mL) water to the pot. Cook another 15 minutes. Turn down heat as water evaporates and stir more frequently. Cook until mixture is on the dry side. 2. Check flavour and adjust seasoning, adding sweetener if needed. Remove from heat, let cool. Remove anise seed. 3. Once cool, fold in mascarpone and walnuts. Note: if making ahead of time do not add walnuts and mascarpone until ready to fill your dough.
Vegetarian Samosas 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed 1 clove garlic ¼ tsp fresh ginger, grated pinch amchur or few drops fresh lime juice Scant ½ tsp thyme I tsp garam masala ½ tsp black pepper Scant ½ tsp salt Scant ½ tsp coriander Scant ½ tsp cumin ¼ tsp turmeric ¼ cup (60 g) corn kernels ¼ cup (60 g) green peas to taste hot pepper
1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil on high heat. Add potatoes and bring to a gentle boil. Cook approx 18 minutes. Strain, return potatoes to the pot and to the heat to cook off the remaining moisture (another minute or so). Turn off heat. 2. Sauté minced garlic for 3-4 minutes until soft but not browned. 3. Measure all spices into a bowl. 4. Mash potatoes with a potato masher until smooth, then add spices and mash again. Fold in peas and corn. Note: can be kept in the fridge for 2 days or frozen for 3 months culinairemagazine.ca • 27
The Perfect Party:
Finding The Ideal Local Caterer For Your Holiday Season By Cory Knibutat
When it comes to holiday parties and corporate events, there’s a whole pile of planning, then there’s the fun part: socializing, drinking - and let’s not forget the food! Whether you’re planning a special night in with family and friends or an elaborate office party, choosing the appropriate caterer for your event won’t be too daunting if you know what you’re looking for and prepped with the right questions.
Taste First: Chris Shaften Ideal for: Refined special events and holiday dining for small groups and dinner parties (5-15 people) Chef Shaften’s name may ring a bell to regular viewers of Top Chef Canada, and to others for his time working at The Ranche, or as the executive chef of FARM (also see June ‘13 Culinaire). Showcasing seasonal, quality Albertan ingredients is a belief Chef Shaften firmly adheres to, and brings with him into the catering world as a private chef. Clients have the option to choose three, five, or seven course meals prepared inhome and tailored to their needs using the absolute freshest, local ingredients found at the markets, that day. “It’s not extremely expensive; it’s actually quite reasonable,” Chef Shaften says. “It’s no more expensive than going to one of the ten or so higher-end restaurants and having three courses and a glass of wine. I think for a special occasion, anyone can afford it.” Chef Shaften finds the clients who usually book him are people familiar with dining out regularly, or in the case of families with younger children, they used to dine out often but it’s not as accessible anymore.
ten different food items at a corporate function. One of the favourites is miniature fish & chip cones with fresh halibut, and people aren’t expecting it but we’ve got the ovens there to pull it off.” Red Tree handles weddings as well, but corporate Calgary loves to entertain their clients before summer holidays in June, and as a result, that is Red Tree’s busiest time of year along with the holiday season.
“When it’s 20º below out and you have the option instead of driving to a restaurant and only being able to have one glass of wine, but rather bring the experience of a fine-dining restaurant into your home,” he explains. Bringing a fine-dining service to someone’s kitchen doesn’t necessarily mean dinner service pans out exactly like it would in a restaurant, as Chef Shaften found out early on. “If you’re paying somebody money to come cook in your house, you need to have that professional respect, but by the end of the meal, a lot of the time some people drink a few bottles of wine and they get a bit [tipsy]… but I enjoy it though (laughs).”
Red Tree Catering Ideal for: Corporate and private functions. (40-1,000 people) Red Tree Catering, in Marda Loop, has built their brand specializing in corporate events with seasonal menus offering a wide range of food to their clients, perhaps becoming best known for their light and playful hors d’oeuvres packed with exciting flavours, and presenting food in engaging ways that clients may not expect. “We understand that when you’re on the floor and you’re having a glass of wine, you want to put something into your mouth that’s full of flavour,” says Red Tree’s Susan Pataky. “You’ll see maybe
“Generally a month’s notice for bookings is recommended,” Pataky says. “Most people have us already booked but we can pull things off with two weeks notice if it’s catering.” When booking your own caterer, Pataky recommends you pay special attention to the way food is prepared; whether it’s prepared fresh on site or if it’s brought already cooked. “People love it when we cook in their homes,” Pataky said. “They love that interaction way more than corporate. In a house party it often turns into a kitchen party. We’re used to it. Kitchen parties are mandatory.”
Guest Tips: Do’s & Don’ts For A Catered Party Guest: Do: - Be respectful of serving staff. It’s always nice to see. RT Pataky - Let your hosts know about allergies and intolerances ahead of time to better plan a menu. - Use the service cutlery and not your hands to pick up food. “I can’t believe how many times I see someone bypass the tongs and dive right in with their hands.” Sorrenti - Just enjoy yourself. “The experience is about them not me. I want to facilitate the enjoyment of their experience; to relax and feel at home.” Shaften
Don’t: - Don’t try to make menu changes on the fly. Menus were established long before you showed up. RT Pataky - Don’t take several things off the tray at once. - “My favourite is using the food table as a place to put your dirty plate or glass. We spend time making a table look nice and present the platters and everything and then we’re constantly cleaning dirty plates off of it.” Sorrenti - “People forget etiquette sometimes. When you’re in someone’s kitchen and a catered chef is working hard to make a platter of food beautiful and a guest comes in and grabs off the platter. You have to grin and smile and replace it.” Gomes By Cory Knibutat
Nicole Gourmet Ideal for: Elevated private events as well as corporate functions (8-700 people) Nicole Gomes worked her way up the ranks in the early years of Catch, and then in 2006 became the opening chef at Mercato for a year before launching her upscale catering company, Nicole Gourmet. As you may know, she recently competed on Season 3 of Top Chef Canada, which only helped boost her company’s profile among Calgary’s catering elite. “We do boutique catering,” Chef Gomes explains. “Our clientele is anywhere from 8 people to seven hundred but our average is 100 to 200. Our busiest time of year is definitely mid-September to December.” What sets Nicole Gourmet Catering apart from most other caterers is their ability to customize menus and concepts to every client: their strength lies in their versatility. “We have 110 per cent flexibility,” Gomes points out. “We’re a custom caterer.
We do have menus. Our menus are our most featured items; we sell them a lot but then, because my clientele is repeat business and 98% word of mouth, they generally know I’m a custom caterer. So if they have a certain theme in mind or a certain feel or a certain clientele coming to an event, then we tailor that menu to them.” She continues, “I think caterers sometimes forget what the definition of catering is: to customize and to do what a client wants; and that’s our philosophy.” Gomes says her best catering experiences tend to happen at the private events, with higher-end clients, where the stakes and rewards are equally high. “We were cooking in Turner valley for 9 businessmen that were having a retreat and they were sleeping in Teepees and we had no power and whatnot,” Gomes said. “Those types of catering [situations] are a challenge but when you pull them off, we’re like, ‘Holy moly, I can’t believe we pulled that off!’”
like weddings and birthday parties,” Paddy Sorrenti says. “We like big 200 – 300 person open-houses, office receptions, grand openings and product launches.” The busy season for Sorrenti’s typically falls during Stampede and Christmas season, with clients often booking six to twelve months in advance, though steady trade events fill out their year. “During the Stampede Centennial year in 2012, we did 30,000 meals in 10 days,” Sorrenti points out. “That was at about 35 events. One of the days was so busy we almost had a quarter of those meals in one day.”
Sorrenti’s Catering Ideal for: Corporate events ranging from simple breakfasts to hors d’oeuvres and holiday events (200-1,000 people) From the foundation of Sorrenti’s restaurant, established in 1979, Jordan Sorrenti transitioned from restaurateur to caterer in 1995, building his family business before handing over the reins to his son Paddy Sorrenti, eight years ago. Since then Sorrenti’s Catering has become one of the most sought-after corporate caterers in the city. “We try not to pursue the personal stuff
According to Paddy, a strong indicator of a good caterer is a quality referral. “Catering is one of those things where you are known for reputation,” he explains. “Most people, especially in corporate, they’ve had the luncheons and they know us from that.” “We booked at a Christmas gig because some woman had our beef on a bun and thought it was the best thing ever, so she booked us for her Stampede party for 1,000 people,” recalls Paddy. “That was a hell of a beef on a bun, I guess (laughs).” 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.
Fall Harvest and Spice Story and photography by Natalie Findlay
Wars have been waged over them. Explorers crossed thousands of miles of open ocean in hopes of trading them. Cultures are built on their unique combinations.
Scented seeds, barks, and roots have titillated our senses since the discovery of fire. Yes, itâ€™s undeniable that spices are intertwined in the roots of our history. This is the season to get to know your spices. As we hunker down during the cold winter months, spices have the magical effect of warming our homes and our stomachs. The slow cooking of winter stews and soups allows for spices to blossom and cling to each morsel, to savour the essence of itâ€™s flavours. If you are new to cooking with spices, winter gives you a great opportunity to build your repertoire. Winter spices work well with each other so you are pretty much guaranteed success. The most important, and only rule is: spices are
powerful. Their scent is an indication as to the power they hold - remember wars have been fought over them. A pinch of each spice can go a long way. It takes them a while to open up and deliver their full impact, so taste along the way. Remember to write down your favourite combinations so you have them for next time, because once you reach the perfect flavour profile, it is like gold. Here are some winter spices to start to play with: allspice
Before starting to cook with your spice, you can create your own fragrant home scent. Take a cup of water in a small pot and add your favourite smelling spices. Perhaps, cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom and a quarter of an orange and let it sit on the stove on low. The gentle heat will coax the fragrance out of the spices and fill your home with the heady smell of comfort. The perfect thing on a chilly fall day! Treat yourself to this mulled cider when you need some warming up this month. You can’t help but relax and enjoy a mug (or two) with friends or on your own as you watch the snow fall and snuggle into your favourite book on a Sunday afternoon. Nap optional. Maybe winter won’t be so bad after all?
Mulled Apple Cider and/or Mulled Wine 3.5 L fresh apple cider or 3 bottles of red wine 2 oranges 40 cloves 3 cinnamon sticks 1 tsp cinnamon, ground 1 tsp mace 6 grates fresh nutmeg 9 allspice berries 1 tsp pink peppercorns 1/4 cup (50 g) honey 1/2 cup (125 mL) brandy, optional
1. Pour cider or wine into a large, heavybottomed pot and place over medium heat.
2. Stud the oranges with whole cloves. Add the rest of the spices to the pot. Let the flavours come into their own over the next hour, longer if possible as this should be a relaxing and easy recipe that sinks into your soul. The spices will come alive if you make it in advance and refrigerate a day or two. If not, make early in the morning and enjoy all day. If you are adding brandy, add it just before serving. Preference: if you leave the whole oranges in over 24 hours you will get a tartness added to the under-notes of the cider.
Your Signature Apple Sauce Makes approximately 1 1/3 cups (325 g) of apple sauce. This is a guideline on how to make basic apple sauce, with suggestions to make it your own. 450 g apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/2 cup (125 mL) water
1. Place apples in a heavy-bottom sauce pan with a splash of water and turn the stove to high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir frequently. 2. Add your favourite sweetener if the apples need it. Cook apples until tender.
3. Mash the soft apples with a fork for a chunky texture or puree for a smooth texture. Let cool. Refrigerate. Serve warm or cold. Will last 1 week in the fridge.
Here are some ideas to complement your sauce: Sweet - cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, pears, cranberries, orange, pecans, vanilla, walnuts, Calvados, honey. Savoury - red onion and rosemary make a great chutney seasoned with salt and pepper, with a touch of bourbon and a cube of butter added at the end. This makes a fantastic accompaniment to pork. Make it your own with your favourite additions and flavour profile. 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.
Green Peppercorns - These peppercorns are unripe vine berries. They are also used to make the everyday black pepper that we all know and love. In this case, the green little guys are dried, but you can easily find them brined or pickled as well.
Cover Spice Breakdown
Bay Leaves - I grew up believing that if you found a bay leaf in your dinner, then you were granted a wish. I don’t know if that is true, but try to remove these leaves after cooking. Their mild flavour, not unlike thyme, is more noticeable when they’re dried.
By Dan Clapson Photography by Ingrid Kuenzel Pink Peppercorns - Much more tender than their green or black counterparts, pink peppercorns can be easily crushed with the back of your knife, so no need for an extra grinder. Leaving coarse in a vinaigrette will give you bursts of sweet peppery goodness in every bite.
It doesn’t matter what your go-to cooking style is in the kitchen, everyone needs a little spice in their life. If you can name all of the spices on our front cover and know exactly what to do with them, good on you! But, in case you’re a little unsure with some of the more unfamiliar fragrant cover models, here’s a breakdown of what exactly each of them are and what you can do with them. Who knows, you might just find a new spice to add to a holiday favourite after reading this! Or, we hope so anyway...
Juniper Berries - If you’re a fan of gin, then you are no stranger to the pungent flavour of these ‘berries’. If you want a winter-y twist on simple syrup, toss a handful into the pot along with your sugar and water.
Ground Ancho Chiles – Fresh, you’d know this spice as a poblano pepper, one of the most popular peppers when it comes to Mexican cooking. This finely ground version adds a subtle kick to anything from a fresh pico de gallo to your scrambled eggs on a Saturday morning.
Yellow Curry Powder - Although this typical spice mix usually contains a mix of Indian spices like turmeric, fenugreek and cardamom, you’ll find yellow curry powder in more dishes in North America or the United Kingdom than you will in India or parts of Asia. A few teaspoons of this will always add a warming touch to any cream or squash-based soup.
Nutmeg - Grating a touch of fresh nutmeg can be beneficial for many savoury and sweet dishes. It has a very distinct taste. Not unlike sarcasm, too much of this spice and it can be less enjoyable.
Fenugreek Seeds - This spice is partially responsible for that lingering smell that seems to stick to you after cooking certain Indian dishes. You’ll find fenugreek hanging out in most types of daal (a lentil stew) and spice mixes.
Star Anise - It’s as beautiful to look at as it is to taste in baking, meat dishes and even liquors like Sambuca. Widely grown in China and parts of Japan, star anise is also a popular ingredient in the common garam masala spice blend.
Tonka Beans - If you’re looking to experiment a little bit with the sweet side of baking, then these dark little beans are the spice for you. They are extremely fragrant with a combined scent of vanilla, cinnamon and cloves. Grate them as you would nutmeg, or toss a couple in a cup of hot chocolate or steamed milk for a boost of flavour.
Pequin Chillies - Although we’ve been brought up to believe that the smaller the pepper, the bigger the heat, when it comes to pequins, that’s not really the case. A little bit smoky, a little bit citrus-y and all-round cute. Who wouldn’t love these guys?
Cinnamon Sticks - As common as the sticks and their ground equivalent may be, cinnamon has been a spice of choice for thousands of years. Mentioned in the Hebrew bible, as well as by Greek and Roman scholars. A spice truly fit for a king! Green Cardamom Pods - Less smoky than its black counterpart, the green cardamom pods have a Extra-Coarse Sea Salt - Not much beautifully sweet smell and exotic flavour. Adding this spice to anything from cranberry sauce or cheesecake explanation needed here. Aside to your morning coffee makes for an out-of-this-world from the aesthetic look, these taste experience. salty gems serve the exact same purpose as the standard fine grain sea salt in your kitchen. They’re just better looking!
Mace - Now, this is one sexy-looking herb. Definitely not a common ingredient in cooking, this reddish and waxy looking item is actually the outer layer of the nutmeg seed. Not surprisingly, it has a more mellow, but similar taste to nutmeg. Also, an essential ingredient in traditional haggis! Who knew?
Chai Love Baking: Getting Creative With Chai Tea In Your Kitchen Story and photographs by Stephanie Arsenault
Originating in India, chai is a delicious blend of black tea and spices. The word, chai, however, simply means tea in Hindi, and masala chai is the spiced variation that has become so well known around the world. Here in Canada, chai includes everything from teabags filled with tea and spices, loose-leaf teas, and flavoured concentrates and powders. There’s no exact recipe for preparing chai; it varies throughout the globe. So why not step outside of the box (or the kettle, so to speak) and use it in other forms? These two recipes use black tea with chai spices, adding an exotic, aromatic element to otherwise simple
baked treats. Warm up your home by baking up a batch or two of each on a chilly autumn day. These cookies are easy to make, way too easy to eat, and will fill your home with the warm, heady aromas of spiced chai.
Chai Tea Crackle Cookies Makes 36 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda ½ tsp baking powder ¼ tsp sea salt 2 tsp cornstarch 5 chai teabags* 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 cup + ½ cup granulated sugar, separated ½ cup brown sugar 1 large egg 1 Tbs (15 mL) milk 1 ½ tsp (7 ½ mL) pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 375º F and line three large cookie sheets with parchment paper. 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cornstarch; set aside.
3. Empty the contents of the tea bags into a food processor or coffee grinder. Process until the tea becomes a coarse powder; transfer 2 tsp of the powder to the dry mixture from step 1, and transfer the rest to a small bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients to incorporate the tea. 4. Using an electric mixer on mediumhigh speed, beat the butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, and the brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2
It’s the time of year for everything pumpkin, and this moist, dense loaf has the perfect blend of tea and spices to complement the in-season gourd. Consider yourself warned: this loaf won’t last long in your kitchen, so it might be in your best interest to make a double batch.
Wholesome Pumpkin Chai Tea Loaf Makes 1 loaf
minutes. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat just until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix just until blended; the dough should be slightly dry and crumbly.
5. Add the remaining ½ cup of granulated sugar to the small bowl with the chai powder and mix. Using your hands, form walnut-sized balls of dough, and then roll them in the chai sugar. Place 12 balls of dough, evenly separated, on each parchment-lined cookie sheet. Press down firmly on each of the balls of dough with the bottom of a glass, so each ball is about half of its original thickness. 6. Bake the cookies in batches until lightly golden in colour, about 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool completely on the pans, and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. * If you prefer to use loose-leaf masala chai, substitute about 1 teaspoon looseleaf tea per tea bag in the cookie recipe. For the pumpkin loaf recipe, grind the leaves and spices down in a food processor or coffee grinder so they do not affect the texture of the loaf. Stephanie Arsenault is a food and travel writer and photographer based out of Calgary. She’s a lover of baked goods and beer, and never leaves home without a camera. Follow her on Twitter at @globaldish.
1 cup all-purpose flour ½ cup whole-wheat flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda ¼ tsp sea salt Contents of 2 chai teabags* ½ tsp ground cardamom ½ tsp ground cinnamon 1/8 tsp ground cloves 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) pumpkin puree ½ cup oil (120 mL) vegetable, canola, or grape seed 2 large eggs ½ cup granulated sugar ½ cup brown sugar 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350º F and grease a standard loaf pan (or line with parchment). 2. In a large bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, tea, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves together; set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk pumpkin, oil, eggs, sugars, and vanilla together. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and pour the pumpkin mixture in. Stir, just until combined, and transfer to the prepared loaf pan.
4. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.
Khao San Thai Kitchen: Fresh and Authentic Story by Laura Lushington Photography by Ingrid Kuenzel
Quick! What’s the first Thai dish you can think of? For most of us, it’s probably Pad Thai, Green Curry or Tom Yam soup that comes to mind. And that’s not surprising according to the owners of Khao San Thai Kitchen.
started formalizing two years ago when they would meet at least once a month to talk about menu ideas, funding and locations. Weekends started to fill up with viewings of possible kitchens until suddenly last year the space the oncepopular tapas bar JaroBlue occupied became available. “One day this [restaurant] came up for sale online and they only had it on the market for two days,” says Treeyachat. “We came in, looked at it and the next day put down the down payment. Then we thought about it, ha ha ha. ‘Are we going to quit our jobs? Are we going to do it?’ It was just like that. And, then we did it!”
When Samphan Treeyachat and Rungroj Suntiwan met fourteen years ago, there were only a handful of Thai restaurants in the city. Suntiwan had already been in Canada for three years and was enrolled in SAIT’s professional cooking program, during which he worked at well-loved Thai Sa-On on 10th Avenue SW. On his second day in Canada in 1999, Treeyachat’s uncle brought him to the restaurant for some “home” cooking. Realizing the two were close in age, Treeyachat’s uncle introduced the pair. The rest is history. “There weren’t many Thai students at the time, maybe less than ten. So when the new guy comes in, you know right away!” says Suntiwan. Treeyachat followed in Suntiwan’s footsteps, eventually completing both the cooking and hospitality management programs at SAIT. He even got a job on the service side at Thai Sa-On too. The duo remained friends while moving on to work at different restaurants - the Calgary Golf and Country Club for Treeyachat and the Glencoe Club for Suntiwan. Keeping in touch, Treeyachat says they would always fantasize about opening their own restaurant one day. Plans
Judging by the smiles on their faces, it was a good decision. Their pre-planning and experiences in other Thai kitchens proved useful as the menu and serviceminded mantra came together easily. “I was always thinking about the food we were going to serve,” says Suntiwan, who runs Khao San’s kitchen. “I knew to keep to dishes Canadians would recognize, but to make them authentic.” Pad Thai, Green Curry and Tom Yam soup were instantly on the menu as well as other favourites from all-over Thailand. But, the pair added dishes with similar flavours like Tom Kha, a coconut milk-based soup, and Braised Short Ribs in Massaman Curry, a Canadian-spin on a traditional Thai curry. They even
developed a Salmon Panang Curry, something you definitely won’t be finding in other Thai restaurants in the city. Yet Suntiwan knew a big part of preparing these authentic dishes would be recreating the freshness one would experience in Thailand. Luckily for diners today, it’s much easier for Suntiwan to find the ingredients he needs right here in Calgary than it was fifteen years ago - even if they do come from over 12,000 kilometres away. He frequently visits Asian grocery stores like Lucky Supermarket to find his fragrant, essential ingredients of lemongrass, coconut milk and shrimp paste. Next to freshness, Suntiwan focuses on ensuring all of Khao San’s dishes are bursting with flavour. By carefully combining spices and herbs, Suntiwan creates an intensity on the plate that becomes addicting. This is because both partners agree that Calgarians’ taste buds have certainly evolved past the standard ‘steak and potatoes’ staple the city has always been known for. “In the fourteen years that I’ve experienced the Thai cuisine [in Calgary] it has changed, “ says Treeyachat. “Before, the curry [here] was bland because restaurants were afraid. But, right now I would say it is very close to the curry you have in Thailand.” That said, adding spice and heat to
Khao San’s dishes has become a delicate art for the restaurant — one that involves the cooperation of both the all-Thai-raised kitchen and service staff, including the duo’s wives. Treeyachat and Suntiwan say that together with their staff they have to work to combat one big misconception about Thai food: its spiciness. “Many people think Thai food is spicy,” says Treeyachat who runs the front-ofhouse. “We have to explain to them that 50 per cent of our food isn’t spicy at all.” For example, Pad Thai isn’t supposed to be spicy but have more of a sweet flavour. If you want to add spice and heat to your meal, Suntiwan encourages guests to use the complimentary quatro of chilli sauces, which grace every table during service. “People come in and ask for their Pad Thai to be spicy,” he says. “Actually, no! Ha ha ha. We serve Pad Thai, and then you can adjust your own spiciness. You can make it as spicy as you want.” Adding their own spice doesn’t seem to bother Khao San’s guests once Treeyachat’s service team explains the
menu and Thai flavours to them, turning many into repeat customers. “We’re really proud that we can keep them coming back,” says Suntiwan. “Some of our guests have never had Thai food, but they try it and they come back. That proves to us our food is good.” Sitting on a reused banquette from the space’s JaroBlue days, the lively duo seems to enjoy this quick mid-day break from the fast-paced restaurant world. The lunch crowd has gone back to work and for a minute they get to recount the past decade and a half over a pot of coconut green tea. “Right now we work hard,” says Suntiwan. “There are two families [involved in the restaurant]. Sam’s wife works with him out front and my wife works with me in the kitchen. So, most of the work in the restaurant is done between the four of us.” And there’s more work to be done. Just a year and half in and they are figuring out ways to expand the business by staying open later for those with midnight munchies, and attracting more people to try Thai food whether by coming in
for a sit-down meal or ordering takeout. However, the base is there. Khao San Thai Kitchen has become a go-to place to eat in Calgary’s food community and its name just might have something to do with it. Khao San in Thai means ‘raw rice’ – the base of Thai cuisine. “It’s our staple,” says Treeyachat. “We start from scratch. We start from a little grain of rice and build it up from there.” Built it they have, from beginning as new Canadians learning English as their second language, to completing highly regarded culinary programs, Treeyachat and Suntiwan really are living the Canadian dream. Khao San Thai Kitchen 1314 - 17 Ave SW. 587-353-2668 khaosanthaikitchen.ca @KhaoSanThaiKitc Laura Lushington is a freelance food and lifestyle writer. Born and raised in Calgary, Laura is a recent graduate of Mount Royal University’s Bachelor of Communication – Journalism program. Follow her at @LauraLushington or lauralushington.com
Stir Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts Serves 2-3 300 g sliced chicken thigh or breast 1/3 cup fried cashew nuts 3 cloves garlic, minced 5 - 7 dried chillies, chopped 2 Tbs red and green spur chilli, sliced ½ cup water chestnuts, peel and boiled ¼ cup spring onion, cut into 3 cm pieces ½ cup all purpose flour ¼ of an onion 2 Tbs (30 mL) vegetable oil 1 Tbs (15 mL) roasted chilli paste 1 Tbs (15 mL) tomato sauce 2 Tbs (30 mL) oyster sauce 1 Tbs (15 mL) soy sauce 1 Tbs (15 mL) sugar 1 Tbs (15 mL) sesame oil ½ tsp salt
1. Heat vegetable oil in a wok and add dried chillies. Fry until fragrant and then leave on a plate to cool.
2. In a bowl, mix the flour and chicken. Heat the oil in a wok on medium heat then stir-fry the chicken until light brown. Set aside cooked chicken to cool.
3. Heat the vegetable oil and add in the garlic. Stir-fry over medium-high heat until fragrant, about ½ minute. Add the fried chicken, onion and water chestnuts. Stir-fry for 1 minute.
4. Add remaining ingredients except the spring onion to the wok. Continue to stirfry for 2 - 3 minutes on low heat. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Place into a dish and garnish with spring onion.
Rungroj Suntiwan’s Pumpkin Curry With choice of meat or vegetable: Beef, Chicken, Pork, Tofu, or Prawns. Serves 2 1 Tbs red curry paste 1 cup pumpkin slices ½ tsp salt or 1 Tbs (15 mL) fish sauce 1 tsp sugar 1 stem sweet basil leaves ¼ cup bell pepper, sliced ½ cup (120 mL) coconut milk 2 Tbs (30 mL) vegetable oil Choice of meat/vegetables
1. On medium heat, bring the coconut milk to a boil in a pan.
2. Heat oil in a wok, then add red curry paste and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add your choice of meat or vegetables and stir until meat is cooked.
3. In the wok, add the boiled coconut milk and pumpkin slices. Simmer for 2-4 minutes to soften the pumpkin.
4. Add fish sauce, sugar to taste. Toss in sweet basil leaves and sliced bell peppers. Serve with steamed rice.
Your chance to win a special dinner! Yes, you can win a special dinner at Khao San for two very lucky people! To win, we just want to know your first experience of spicy food. Who cooked it? Where were you? Who were you eating with? Did you enjoy it? Go to culinairemagazine.ca and let us know about your spicy food experience, to be entered in the competition. The story that Khao San likes the best will win this fabulous dinner experience! Good luck, we can’t wait to hear from you!
The Art Of Buying Wine Futures By Erika Tocco
What is En Primeur? Also called futures, it is the sale of an unreleased wine today, and receiving the finished wine roughly two years from now. The act of buying wines in this way is actually very simple and requires less effort on the consumer’s part in this process than you may expect. Let’s address the basics, like how does this work? In the spring after the harvest, wine merchants and trade organizations travel to Bordeaux to sample wines of 6-8 months that are still in barrel. If the wines are destined to be part of a blend then the winemaker will try to craft an approximate example of what the finished product will be, although this is not 100% guaranteed. The component wines to make up the blend change over the course of their allotted ageing time period in their respective barrels and there is a chance that the final blend will be a little different from the winemaker’s expectations (during the en primeur offering). That being said, each house has a style that they adhere to, so they don’t taste completely off the charts. Each wine is then evaluated and then the various chateaux decide on the amount of wine that they would like to release for sale and the price they would like to get for the to-be finished wines. The visiting firms dealing in Bordeaux futures then decide upon which wines they would like to represent and sell, and then present offers to clients for purchasing.
Bordeaux’s Big Bell Clock
So what kind of wines can you buy en primeur? The regions that offer “futures” are California, some parts of Italy, Bordeaux, Burgundy, The Rhône Valley and Portugal. While it is normal to
Advantages of buying wine en primeur: • It isn’t just for high-end collectors anymore and almost every producer is getting on the bandwagon. You can find wines in every price point to suit every need. • The wines are less expensive than you would normally pay when they hit the shelf in retail stores. Usually 2530% cheaper and there are no hidden costs. see these regional offerings in Europe, Bordeaux futures are most common in Calgary. Examples of some retailers here in Calgary that offer en primeur are Willow Park Wines & Spirits, Richmond Hill Wines, and J Webb Wine Merchants. Stores can also offer alternative types of shopping experiences that are similar to buying en primeur. What is popular around town is the concept of “wine clubs” where clients have the buying advantage over the everyday consumer that simply walks in a store and purchases wine. They will receive notifications and participate in tasting events where they have the option to purchase sometimes limited amounts of wines at competitive prices. J Webb for example has the reputation of having the longest career in futures here in Calgary (they began their en primeur campaign in 1986) but also host a burgundy club. Their burgundy program is aptly named “Clos Encounters” which was started in 2006, and the focus is to bring a unique selection of top burgundies to their clients by hosting several buying tastings throughout the year. Keep your eye on Metrovino too; even though they don’t have a futures program they always have tastings that
people can attend with rarer wines to taste and purchase throughout the year. Willow Park, which is the largest wine retailer in town has a futures program which is pretty substantial and worth checking out.
• Accessibility. You have a wide range of selection. There are large assortments of wines that are made in smaller quantities therefore you get items that are usually no longer available afterwards. • Easy, no fuss shopping. Who doesn’t like easy shopping? And you can do it online or over the phone.
Some Recommended Picks
• Relationship establishment. We all like to make new friends. What better kind of friends to make than the ones that know your palate and can place items directly in front of you to make your shopping easier and faster??
Chateau Marsau 2012 Cotes de Francs, Bordeaux $26, Richmond Hill Wines
• Investment opportunity. If you do allocate some money aside for collecting more rare items, then this is your ticket. Again, retailers can help you establish a collection/wine cellar that can be very rewarding.
Chateau Larrivet 2012 Haut-Brion, Pessac Leognan, Bordeaux $45 Richmond Hill Wines
Alter Ego 2011 Margaux, Bordeaux $80 Willow Park Wines & Spirits.
Erika is senior wine director of Vin Room. She began as a chef, and completed WSET levels 1-4 during her nine years in the Okanagan working for wineries. She is a WSET educator, wine writer and wine traveller, and graduate of Level 1 Master Sommelier program.
Tool Shed Shakes Up The Calgary Micro Brewing Scene By Jesse Willis
It’s hard not to get excited about beer when you’re sitting across the table from Graham Sherman, co-founder of Tool Shed Brewing. Sherman practically levitates off his seat when he describes the inspiration that lead him, along with his business partner Jeff Orr, to launch Tool Shed.
Although their beers have only been on the shelves and on tap in Alberta since August, they’ve already created quite the stir among media and beer geeks alike. The two met while working on contract in Afghanistan where they provided communications solutions to the Canadian Military. Shortly after their return to Canada they decided to try their hand at home brewing; they set up shop in Sherman’s tool shed and the rest, as they say, is history. Rather than purchasing a basic home brewing kit, the pair built a state of the art brewing system in the tool shed. They also enlisted the help of Graham’s younger brother Garrett, a brewer at the highly regarded 4 Pines Brewpub in Manly, Australia. After some early trial and error, they started bringing samples of their batches to local chefs and beer nerds; the feedback was outstanding. To better understand the industry, Sherman and Orr embarked on a tour through the vibrant micro brewing scenes in British Columbia and Montana. They were inspired, energized and determined to set up their own microbrewery in Calgary. That dream, however, was promptly defeated as they faced the multiple restrictions and formidable red tape surrounding brewing in Alberta. Unlike British Columbia, Alberta requires a brewery to have a minimum production capacity of 5,000 hectoliters (or half a million liters) of beer per year. This lofty requirement, coupled with the
44 • November 2013
prohibitive costs associated with opening an operation of that size, make the prospect of entering the micro brewing market daunting at best. The duo changed directions. Instead of building their own brewery, they realized the potential of using existing breweries’ unused capacity; meaning, they would provide a working brewery with specifications and recipes and work in tandem to produce their own craft while simultaneously bypassing the restrictions associated with setting up their own brewery. After being turned down by several of the larger local Alberta breweries, Sherman and Orr found the solution to their problem at Dead Frog Brewery in Aldergrove, British Columbia. The boys scraped together funds from family, friends and their life savings to purchase a canning line, establish their branding, and begin working closely with the team at Dead Frog to create their first line of beers.
Although Tool Shed uses Dead Frog’s facilities, Sherman explains that the beers remain uniquely their own. Sherman and Orr bring in their own yeast, grains and hops, and made the decision to produce their beer in only cans or kegs, instead of bottles. Emphasizing the importance of delivering their product as fresh as possible, Sherman explains, “Our beer never sees light or oxygen until it hits your face.” The initial release of Tool Shed features three beers that will be available yearround and make up the bulk of their production. These include a flavourful red ale dubbed Red Rage (my favourite of the three), an easy drinking cream ale called People Skills and a boisterous IPA known as Star Cheek. In addition to the three flagship beers, Sherman and Orr intend to release a series of small production seasonal offerings to keep things exciting. The first of these
seasonal brews, a barrel-aged coffee stout, is currently in the experimental stage and will be a one-off release. In the end, Sherman and Orr’s persistence paid off and sales have far exceeded their expectations. Beer geek and home brewers have rallied behind the brand, creating a firestorm of publicity via Twitter and Facebook. Tool Shed’s initial success and the subsequent media frenzy have helped to renew public interest surrounding micro-brewing in Alberta pressuring the provincial government to re-evaluate micro brewing restrictions. Alberta has the opportunity to join the beer revolution sweeping the rest of North America instead of continuously lagging behind. The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission is currently reviewing such restrictions, however, it remains to be seen whether meaningful change is on the horizon. Ultimately Sherman and Orr would love to build on their success and realize on their dream of establishing a brewery in Calgary. In the meantime, local beer lovers will simply have to cross their fingers and wait for change. Thanks to Tool Shed they don’t have to do so empty-handed.
Jesse is co-owner of Vine Arts Wine and Spirits. He also serves as wine director at Taste Restaurant and has previously served as an instructor with the International Sommelier Guild. Follow Jesse on Twitter at @willisonwine and online at vinearts.ca culinairemagazine.ca • 45
7 Ways To Spice Up Mac ‘n Cheese By Laura Lushington
Ooey and gooey, mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Growing up, it was a quick lunch from a box but now our taste buds crave a gourmet version. Mac and cheese is an easy meal to make on a cold fall night and even easier to take from simple and cheesy to extraordinary and flavourful. 1. The best way to give your mac and cheese a bit of a kick
is to play with the types of cheese you use. Think about combinations you’ve had before or play around with two or three types in a recipe. Feel free to adjust individual amounts, but be sure to stick to the total amount of cheese in a recipe. Try: • • • • •
Sharp cheddar Blue cheese Provolone Parmesan Mascarpone
• • • •
Goat cheese Brie Pecorino Romano Fontina
2. If you like to add a bit of heat to dishes where traditionally there is none, then mac and cheese is the perfect base to your spicy tastes. If you’re adding dried spices, add them into the sauce with the flour. Or, if you’re adding your favourite hot sauce, throw in as much or as little as you like with the cheese as it’s melting. Try: • ½ tsp dried red pepper flakes • ½ tsp cayenne pepper • Sriracha hot sauce
3. It’s true, bacon makes it better. Adding 100-150 g of bacon or pancetta can up the flavour of any mac and cheese. Cook the bacon (not too crispy!), drain the extra fat, chop it up and add it in to the completed mix before topping with extra cheese and putting the whole dish under the broiler. 46 • November 2013
4. If your recipe calls for any spices or herbs, use fresh versions for a deeper, more vibrant flavour. Throw in 2 tsp of fresh parsley, thyme or rosemary (or 1 tsp of two!) into the sauce. Alternatively, add 2 Tbs of fresh basil just before the final topping.
5. Chef Claire Cameron recommends adding in 2 Tbs of
Garam Masala into the sauce with the dry mustard. Garam Masala is an Indian mixture of spices often including cumin, coriander, cardamom, black pepper, cloves, ginger and nutmeg.
6. Reduce the guilt of eating cheesy carbs by layering in some vegetables. You’ll not only increase the nutritional content of the mac and cheese, but you’ll add amazing flavours that will complement the cheeses.
Try: • Sautéing 2 cups of sliced onions and 4 cups of mushrooms in olive oil. • Roasting zucchini, butternut squash, red and yellow peppers and onions. Chop into 2 cm pieces, coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes at 400º F.
7. Combine a few of these tips! There’s nothing stopping you from adding hot sauce and vegetables or mixing up the cheeses and adding Garam Masala. My favourite combination is adding pancetta and fresh herbs.
My Grandmas Mac ‘n Cheese (sort of)
Best in Class Judges Selection Top Value
Local chef and Medium Rare Chef Apparel’s go-to gal, Claire Cameron, shares her simple mac ‘n cheese recipe with us. “My grandma would make this for me at least once a week when I’d go over to her house after kindergarten. I just swapped the cheeses for more “natural” ones than she may have used. Ha, ha, ha.”
Serves 4-6 500 g uncooked macaroni or mini shells 8 Tbs butter 6 Tbs all purpose flour 1 tsp dry mustard powder Whole nutmeg 5 cups (1.2 L) whole milk 250g Gruyere cheese, grated 250g white cheddar, grated 250g Asiago, grated
1. Turn broiler on and butter a large ovenproof baking dish (9x12” should do).
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt and then cook pasta to almost al dente. You want a bit of a bite still left in the noodles. Drain.
3. In another pot, heat the milk to steaming. 4. In the now empty pasta pot, melt 6 Tbs of butter and add flour and mustard. Whisk for about a minute, you want to be able to smell the nuttiness from the flour and it will darken a tiny bit in colour.
5. Slowly add the steaming milk, whisking the whole time. Bring to a boil; grate a couple grates of the nutmeg into the sauce, whisking the whole time on medium heat.
6. Once the sauce has thickened (will coat the back of a spoon) remove from heat and stir in the Gruyere and cheddar cheeses, season with salt and pepper.
7. Place back on medium heat and stir in the cooked pasta, you want the whole mixture to be really hot. Pour the mixture into the buttered baking dish and top with the remaining butter and grated Asiago.
8. Place the filled baking dish under the broiler until brown and crispy. Let it rest for at least 5 minutes before diving in.
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Roll Out The Barrelsâ€Ś By David Nuttall
When one thinks of beer for the autumn months, usually darker, maltier beers come to mind. Sales figures support this and show that brown and black beers sell about 10%-20% more in the colder months than in other times of the year. For some seasonal beers, this is the only time they make their appearance.
Oktoberfest/Marzens and Pumpkin beers are typically only released in the fall. These smooth, malt driven, sometimes spicy beers are usually only made once a year and are available in limited amounts, and aren’t available year round. Fortunately, there is a “new” style of dark beer that is becoming more popular with brew masters and the public: barrel-aged beers. In a classic case of “what’s old is new again”, wooden barrels have dominated brewing throughout most of history. With the exception of ancient peoples keeping their beer in earthenware jars and the modern era where first cast iron, and later stainless steel (and sometimes copper), became the primary storage vessels, wooden barrels have been in use in brewing through most of the last two millennia. Wood was the material used in all receptacles of brewing, from the brew kettles, mash tuns, fermenters, storage and lagering tanks to the kegs. If the truth be told, historically, brewers have always had a love-hate relationship with wood. Since beer requires some cooking and boiling at some point, wood becomes awkward to work with, requiring difficult and timeconsuming indirect heating. Wood is also not airtight, so a certain amount of evaporation takes place during storage, and it may allow for oxidation or unwanted airborne (and sometimes ground-dwelling) foreign elements into the beer. Likewise, wooden barrels are difficult to clean and maintain. They are also flammable; many breweries have suffered major losses or destruction due to fires. Throughout history, breweries often shut down in the warmer months in hopes of avoiding this fate. Because of these issues and more, most beer was made to be consumed as soon as possible. One exception are lagers. Because brewing in the summer was banned in Germany, beers made in the winter were stored (or lagered) in caves to keep them cool so they could be consumed throughout the summer months. Certain beers, the marzens,
were stored until Oktoberfest began in September. Because of the way they were made and the characteristics imparted from the wooden storage vessels, all lagers were mainly dark beers until the mid-nineteenth century. When refrigeration became efficient and more commonplace, stainless steel tanks became the norm for brewing and storage in the twentieth century, the need for wood dropped off. The expense and fragility of wooden kegs led to their demise by the 1950, replaced by the lightweight metal ones we see today. Since then, wooden barrels stayed pretty much the home for wine and some spirits - until the craft beer revolutionists rediscovered them. Only in 1992, did an American craft brewer begin to age beer in bourbon
barrels. Since, by law, bourbon barrels can only be used once by the original distillers, they are the most plentiful. However, since then, almost every kind of barrel has been used, from wine to rum. To be sure, aging beer is an expensive proposition for the brewery. Not only do barrels cost money and take up precious space in the brewery, but also the aging of the beer ties up inventory for long periods- and cash flow is important in an industry that usually ships its product to market within weeks of production. Naturally, this cost is passed on to the consumer, so barrel-aged beers are not cheap. Still, one cannot deny the smoothness, depth and complexities that arise when one blends the essence of the barrel’s former inhabitant, the wood (usually, but not always, oak) and
the beer. The character of the beer will also be affected by evaporation (the so-called Angel’s Share), the tannins and degree of charring of the wood, the continued fermentation within the barrel, the length of aging, and other influences. Leading the Alberta barrel-aged beer market is Innis and Gunn from Edinburgh, Scotland. Legend has it Innis and Gunn beer was “born by accident” in 2002 when a Scottish distillery was on a quest to season some of their oak casks with ale. Master Brewer Dougal Sharp created a brew to store in the barrels for thirty days before the liquor was placed in for aging, at which point the beer was to be discarded. However, a good Scotsman doesn’t like to waste alcohol, so it turns out the workers at the distillery had been drinking the aged ale, and told Sharp how good it was. He perfected the brew and in 2003, a new style of barrel-aged beer was born. Since then, what is now called Innis and Gunn Original (330 ml bottle, $4) has become the most popular British beer sold in Canada. In the ensuing decade, Innis and
Gunn has produced rum, spiced rum, Irish whiskey, and bourbon barrel aged beers. To honour their success in the Canadian market, for the past five years they have released a special Canadian edition around Canada Day. Mostly different ales matured in Canadian Whiskey Barrels, for 2013 they matured the ale in Canadian Black Cherry wood and then finished it before bottling with a touch of maple syrup to give it a sweet, full bodied and toasty edge (330 ml bottle, $6). Also look for their new Oloroso cask, which should also be on shelves now. While darker malt beers like stouts, porters, bocks, barley wines, et al are usually flavoured for barrel aging, there really are no boundaries as to what kind of beer can be matured and in what barrel. Today’s brewers are not just going retro; they enjoy experimenting with the depth and character of beers they can achieve through more than simple fermentation alone. There are dozens of beers that have been barrel-aged available now in the market and expect to see more in the future. Here is a small sampling of some of the more unique ones. The Bruery White Oak - A California brewery that enjoys messing around with styles. This beer is 50% ale and 50% wheat
ale aged in bourbon barrels. The result is much crisper and lighter tasting (despite its 11.5% ABV) than other bourbon barrel aged beers, with a vanilla finish. 750 ml, $19 Phillips Twisted Oak Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale and Twisted Oak Rye Barrel-Aged Bock. This Victoria, BC, brewery started their Twisted Oak Stillage Series with the Scotch Ale. Aged in bourbon barrels, the beer becomes full of coffee and tobacco notes. The Bock has less of those bitter flavours, with more hints of vanilla. 650 ml, $7.00 6.8% ABV 8 Wired Grand Cru 2011. A brewery from New Zealand that has three barrel aged beers in our market. The Grand Cru is a Belgian-inspired ale aged in pinot noir barrels for more than a year. The red wine character certainly shines through, with a very sour finish. 375 ml, $13.00 Minerva I.T.A. The “I” is for Imperial, the “T” stands for tequila. This Mexican beer is an American strong ale aged in tequila oak barrels. It has more of a citrusy and piney flavour than most barrel aged beers. The tequila flavour is very subtle, and the caramel notes give it a nice smoothness. 660 ml, $4.00.
Menu Gems Our contributors love spicing up their food, and here they’re sharing their favourites… Tuna Meatballs, Posto
My new favourite! What a delight to find seven of these perfectly formed, flavourful and moist tuna balls with mildly spiced tomato and kumquat, topped with shaved Pecorino (ah, memories of Tuscany this summer) and crunchy pine nuts – perfect for sharing with your best friend. If they weren’t your best friend when you arrived at Posto, they will be when you leave, if you ordered these and shared. Linda Garson
Jerk Chicken with Beans and Rice, The Spicy Jamakin
It’s the end of October and I’m sitting at a picnic table in a drizzly 5º C at Symons Valley Farmer’s Market. I’m not shivering, as I have a cup of Americano and a plate of jerk chicken with beans and rice from The Spicy Jamakin. Earnest and complex, spices radiate heat from your core, wrapping you in an invisible blanket and shielding you from the coming winter cold. Gabe Hall
Hot & Sour Soup, Oriental Palace
Oriental Palace makes a Hot & Sour soup that is unmatched in Calgary. It has wonderful varieties of texture and flavour but the spice is superb, causing your tongue to tingle as it teases you, fading slightly on your tongue soon after you taste it, enticing you to finish your bowl, eager for seconds, or thirds. Cory Knibutat
Masoor Dahl, Moti Mahal
When I came home from traveling India, I craved the dahl I had eaten daily. I love my dahl with a bit of spice and vegetables so I jumped for joy when I found the Masoor Dahl at Moti Mahal. The cauliflower is a great addition to the yellow lentils, and is perfect over basmati rice or scooped up with naan. Laura Lushington
Pho Bo Sate, Balô
For myself, a good bowl of pho is one of the best things in this culinary world. My go-to bowl of broth-y, noodle-y goodness can be found at Balo on 13th Ave and 8th St SW. Spicy and rich, it hits the spot every time. Dan Clapson
Hutch Pizza, WO Papers
For spicy, I have been digging the Hutch Pizza from WO Papers in Inglewood. It combines the standard pizza ingredients of tomato sauce, mozza cheese with two types of salami; genoa and calabrese. Also included is pepperonata, or fried peppers, that in combination with the spicy salami set the heat levels of this slice to the next level. Adrian Bryksa
Gai Bhed Med Ma Maung, Chili Club Thai House
The food at Chili Club Thai House has been a favourite for many years; you must like heat in your food. Everything on the menu is bursting with flavour and not heavy. The nuts and pineapple in Gai Bhed Med Ma Maung (Cashew chicken with pineapple, peppers and onion) transport you to another place. Perfect for fall and winter dining. Fred Malley
Ahi Tuna Feature Appetizer, Carino Bistro
A few weeks ago, I had the utterly fabulous feature appetizer at Carino. It was an ahi tuna carpaccio, complete with fresh arugula and thinly sliced parmigano reggiano. The softness of the tuna contrasted sharply with the cheese’s bright acid and the slight bitterness of the soft arugula leaves. Delicious! I love the ingenuity behind the Japanese/Italian fare at this establishment. Erika Tocco
Chilli Goma Ramen, Shikiji
The Chilli Goma Ramen from Shikiji is one of my favourite dishes in the city. Not crazy spicy, but so friggin good! Jesse Willis
Quaffable Calgary By Tarquin Melnyk
As a recent arrival to Calgary, I’ve done my best to discover the city. I even started off by getting off at every single stop on the LRT lines and exploring the neighbourhoods that surround them.
Bartending is the thing that brought me to town. I am obsessed with cocktail culture. It has history, etiquette and so many defined rituals. Bartending is my career, and part of that journey was to become trained in the arts of being a barista. Barista literally translates from the Italian term ‘Bar Man’, or bartender. Traditionally a barista was someone who was proficient in drinks, both hot and cold, alcoholic and coffee-based. With the global renaissance of craft cocktails and fine coffee drinking, we are seeing more creativity here in Cowtown. So as a newcomer’s guide to Calgary I give you the dual discovery of location, and the drinks they inspire with the help of some notable faces in the local cocktail and coffee industry. Phil Robertson is half of the famous coffee duo, Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters. When I shared the idea for this piece, Phil offered, “My favourite
hidden gem (when not hanging out at one of my cafés) is the wine boutique Metrovino. They have a small boutique selection of wines, freakishly knowledgeable staff and they hold tasting events as well.” He went on, “Before I was into coffee, I was super into wine and I still find the appreciation of the two beverages very related. A while ago I set a goal for myself to learn as much about coffee as Richard Harvey (the owner of Metrovino) knows about wine. I’m about halfway there...” When asked which wines he loves to drink, Phil revealed, “Give me a Burgundy Premier Cru, and I’m a happy man. Grand Cru, and I’m over the moon!” Vancouver newcomer, David Bain has just taken over as Head Bartender at the famous Model Milk. His moment of discovery in Calgary came while wandering the city in ever-widening circles. He kept encountering the same
spot and now it’s become one of his favourites. The Century Gardens Park downtown is an example of a design style called Brutalism, which is part of the charm for Bain. The cocktail that it inspires in him is his own twist on a Pimms Cup. When he batches up enough for a party, he’ll use a whole bottle of Pimms, the usual citrus, ginger beer, mint and sliced cucumber - but then comes his signature move. “I add a shot of Fernet Branca to my recipe”, Bain reveals.”Pimm’s cup is one of my favourite summertime drink recipes, and I am willing to wager that you could probably have some in that park and no one would bother you,” David jokes. Colin Tait is a Scotland native who recently returned to Calgary after working overseas in China. He is the Head Bartender of the newly opened Briggs Kitchen and Bar. A resident of Calgary for a total of 4 years, Colin says “Briggs is where you’ll find me most
days”. The beautifully restored space features a craft cocktail list where all the drinks are an incredible $8 max! “This is us killing ourselves to make everybody happy”, Colin kids.
over, and I was awestruck at how huge it really is. Nose Hill Park is like a piece of the highlands hidden away in the middle of a large city. It is visually stunning. From its southern peak look east and you can watch the planes take off from the airport. Look south, and the entire downtown skyline is revealed in all its glory, turn west and you can gaze out at the Rocky Mountains. When I come home from a run on Nose Hill, my favourite afternoon cocktail is an Inglewood Old Fashioned (named for the neighbourhood where Phil &
The Orchard Cask, made up of 1.5 oz Calvados, 1/2 oz Wild Turkey Bourbon, a bar spoon of Laphroig Quarter Cask and a 1/4 oz of simple syrup is his favourite on the list. “It’s like a little taste of home for me” adds Colin with his brogue accent.
Sebastian roast their coffee). I use the Phil & Sebastian Cold Brew, with the outstanding Lemonhart Spiced Demerara Rum and my secret ingredient – Bitters. Old Men ‘Giandu-me’ bitters; Italian style gianduja (hazelnut dark chocolate) inspired. Vine Arts is the best place in town to find unique bitters.
Inglewood Old Fashioned 2 oz – Lemonhart Demerara Spiced Rum 2 oz – Phil & Sebastian Cold Brew Coffee 1/4 oz – bitters, Old Men “Giandu-Me” bitters 1/4 oz – agave syrup 1 orange peel 1 large ice cube, or globe Stir ingredients and strain over large ice cube, and serve in a rocks glass. Express orange oil over drink.
For my personal discovery, it was one that looms large, Nose Hill. No one mentioned it until I decided to stroll
Tarquin Melnyk is a Bon Vivant Cocktologist, Certified Specialist of Spirits, Traveller & Adventurer. Always down to try something new, especially when he can write about it.
A LITTLE SIBLING RIVALRY NEVER HURT ANYBODY
at lake bonavista
c il a nt ro
FOOD & DRINK
113 - 8th Avenue SW
747 Lake Bonavista Dr SE
FOUR SETTINGS, ONE PHILOSOPHY
340 - 17th Avenue SW
338 - 17th Avenue SW
All That Glitters By Matt Browman
Great sparkling wines are more dependent on highly specific conditions and know-how than any other wine style. Canada makes quality sparkling wine in a number of provinces, and we are lucky to have top expressions from Ontario, BC and Nova Scotia available in Alberta. Canada boasts a number of regions that provide an ideal climate for sparkling wine production, where total maturity of flavour and aromatic elements is more important than absolute sugar and acid measurements.
Chardonnay based wines. Where Niagara has higher clay content in the topsoil, it runs along a limestone escarpment. Prince Edward County lies on a massive, ancient limestone plateau with thinner topsoils.
Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula and Prince Edward County share some key aspects. First, the 43 and 44 degrees of latitude in Niagara and PEC are the same as Chianti Classico. Typically, the landlocked situation would shorten the ripening season, however Lake Ontario moderates temperature extremes at the beginning and end. Also, limestone sub-soils have been shown to support the world’s greatest expressions of
The Okanagan Valley is a semi-dessert climate at higher latitude (49 – 50 degrees a là the Champagne region of France) that sees extremes of hot and cold which are again moderated by the lake system. Extremely dry with sandy soils (versus humid with limestone), the aspect, distance from the lake and slight variations in altitude play a role in moderating and lengthening the growing season.
Nova Scotia’s Gaspereau Valley is home to Benjamin Bridge winery; a country leader in super-premium Champagnestyle wines as well light, fresh, fruity charmers. This area offers arguably the most ideal conditions for steady, even, cool climate grape ripening. The Champagne or Traditional method epitomizes Prufrock’s coffee spoons. In the greater world of wine, styles range from 4.9% alc/vol, white, fizzy wines at the light end, to 21% alc/ vol red, fortified Port wines at the other. With everything in between on the colour, flavour, sugar, acid and alcohol spectrum, we have the whole mountainside to identify differences amongst them. However to assess the dry stage for sparkling wine blending is more like cutting a path through the trees. The spectrum of differences is so much smaller that far more precise assessment ability is essential. Finally, a tenuously multi-layered process creates character and consistency. Danger lurks at each stage since the wine is dealt with at the individual bottle level. Each bottle must produce the requisite pressure from naturally produced carbon dioxide. Then they must be aged for yeast autolysis before the finished yeast is removed. Finally, before an Alice-in-Wonderland sized cork is encouraged into a much smaller mouth, the bottles are topped up. Success depends on specialized savoir-faire, equipment, patience and timing.
54 • November 2013
Best of the East
Best of the West
Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Brut, Niagara, Ontario
Backyard Winery Blanc de Noir, Langley, BC
Few North American wineries can boast the historic connection that the Speck brothers of Henry of Pelham have to their land. Created in homage to Catharine Smith, Henry’s wife, the first release of this high-quality sparkling wine came around the 20th anniversary of the Speck’s purchase of the property. A classic pale lemon yellow with superpersistent, tiny, tiny bubbles. Aromas begin ‘gassy’, then lead to orange rind, lemon curd, granny smith apple and warm waffle. Though initially soft, the dry grip catches up and reveals concentrated flavours of baked apple, lime and grapefruit pith on the medium plus finish. $43
An unusual grape source, 100% of the Backyard sparkling comes from Langley, a short forty-five minute drive from Vancouver. With an energetically flip approach to wine and fun, Backyard seems to obsess about relaxing with one’s amigos while enjoying some vino.
Benjamin Bridge 2004 Méthode Classique Reserve, Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia Benjamin Bridge was created thirteen years ago with serious intentions. They hired top consultants in grape and wine production from Canada, England and around the world for quality sparkling wine. Recognizing the enormous potential, they have since set about proving it. Aromas of orange tree fruit flesh (apricot, peach, nectarine), with some flinty smoke complexity. On the palate, flavours of Granny Smith apple, apricot, and a chalky tannic grit persist. Vanilla cone aromatics emerge later. Outstanding length. $75
The pink-orange colour indicates its pinot noir origins immediately. A delightful farm (or back) yard earthiness opens the aromatic assault, with flower petal, strawberry and fresh basil to follow. More mild red berry fruit and Nashi (Japanese apple pear) flavours comingle with the basil, while the (again) softer acidity causes the mere 11.6% alcohol to stand out. $23
Overall, the Ontario offering presents a fresher, crisper, more delicate version with less varied and complex aromatics, though the acidity-alcohol balance is in line with what we want from sparkling wine. Meanwhile the wildly impressive aromatic diversity of the BC offerings is somewhat betrayed by the lower acidities that cause the alcohol to override the experience. Body, brains and experience conspire to create the best examples embodied in those tiny little bubbles: like the proverbial cream, they rise to the top. Along with our promising Canadian production, only Champagne and certain areas of southern England can capably combine these, all of which boast some type or other of that famous limestone. 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.
Cognac: A Distilled Delight
By Steve Goldsworthy
With crisp winter nights upon us, the mind wanders to thoughts of firesides, good books and warm libations. While snow swirls outside, the drink to swirl in your glass is Cognac.
Kings and aristocrats have enjoyed the “spirit of the gods” and its praises have been sung (or rapped) by divas and hiphop gangstas. Winston Churchill calmed his nerves throughout WWII with a fine cigar and a snifter of Hine Rare & Delicate. But you don’t have to be surviving the Blitz or sporting gold chains to savour excellent cognac. Cognac is a specific type of brandy. Like many things French, it takes its name from its birthplace in Cognac, France. In the early 1500s, the Dutch began transporting wine from Cognac. They recognized that wine did not travel well however. So they began to distill it, calling it brandwijn. In 1549, the first brandies, or eau-de-vies, began to appear in Cognac. By the 17th century cognac began being transported in oak casks. It was soon discovered that oak aging improved the taste of cognac considerably. As the 18th century dawned, so too did the popularity
of cognac. Cognac is a controlled designation of origin or appellation d’origine contrôlée with many rules regarding the vinification and distillation process in its production - but it all boils down to a guarantee of high quality. There are six zones within the Cognac producing region: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bon Bois and Bois Ordinaire. Most cognacs are a blend from each region, also called a cru. Fine Champagne is a blend of the two best regions, Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne. Producers may only use certain grapes for making the base wine prior to distillation, utilizing 90 percent ugni blanc with varying degrees of colombard and folle blanche. A small percentage of grapes in the blend may also include sémillon, folignan, meslier St-François sélect, montils or jurançon blanc. The grapes are first pressed and fermented with wild yeast like any other wine. The wine is then twice distilled in
traditional copper stills. The resulting colourless eau-de-vie is about 70% alcohol at this point. It is then aged for a minimum two years in Limousin oak barrels. In that two years, the Cognac evaporates at about 3% each year. Eventually, the alcohol reduces to around 40%. It can continue to age in barrel for a few years or a few decades. Then comes the blend. A master taster or maître de chai, is responsible for consistency and quality. Grades of cognac denote the age of the youngest eau-de-vie in the blend. While there are several out there such as Napoleon and extra, the following are the big three: VS is “very special” with a minimum age of eau-de-vie of two years. VSOP is “very special old pale” and minimum age of four years. XO is “extra old”. Minimum age here is six years, though it can reach an age greater than 20 years.
Some excellent cognacs can be found locally: Chateau de Montifaud is one of my absolute favourites. Traditional to the core they have an impressive line from VS to XO. Prices range from $56 to $110. They also have a three pack of the VS, VSOP and XO $135. Drouet have some superb vintage cognacs that date back to the 1930s. Their Grande Cru is $266. Armagnac is a not so distant cousin of cognac. Like cognac, Armagnac takes its name from the Gascony region it is produced in. It predates cognac as the oldest brandy produced in France, having first been distilled in the early 1400s. With much smaller production, it is less well known, but similar in taste and character. Distilled in column stills rather than pot stills, Armagnac is then aged in oak barrels, much like cognac. Similarly, armagnacs also come in VS, VSOP and XO. You may recognize the distinct “crooked” neck bottle of the Saint Vivant Armagnac. Though there are dozens of cognac producers, the bulk of cognac available in North America is produced by Courvoisier, Hennessy, Martell and Rémy Martin. Other producers include Camus, Delamain, Moyet and Otard.
Meukow has a mellow and approachable house style. The XO is particularly divine at a reasonable $125.
Cognacs range in quality and price. From the delightful Delamain VS ($45.00) to the luxurious Louis XIII by Rémy Martin ($3,000.00). Whether you are a lover of scotch or rum, or new to the world of distilled spirits, there is a cognac and armagnac for you.
Camus is another artisan cognac house. Try and get your hands on the rare porcelain book series, featuring paintings by Monet and Renoir for $250. In the Armagnac world, Castarade offers some excellent vintage selections. The 1972 goes for $180. Comte De Lauvia has two Armagnacs available in Calgary. The 1934 is very limited with a price tag of $945, while the award-winning XO Imperial 12 year is $55.
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.
From Barracks To Brewery By Kirk Bodnar
This past February, Calgary craft beer lovers’ worst fears were realized when Canada Lands Company decided not to renew Wild Rose’s lease in the Currie Barracks, and the brewery was given twelve months to vacate the location. Thankfully, due to an 11th hour agreement on September 25th between the brewery and the developer, Wild Rose has been able to extend their lease for at least one more year. They will still move their main brewing operations to the Foothills Industrial Park, but they will be able to hold onto the Currie Barracks facility, in which they will focus on creating more unique brews that will only be available in their Taproom – which itself, of course, will also be sticking around for the time being! This comes as a huge relief to Calgary’s beer community, as beer lovers will still be able to enjoy the Taproom’s uniqueness that only being located on an old military barracks could bring. The brewery’s location is indeed quite unique, but the distinctive elements actually stem from the location’s rich military history that began back in 1934. Currie Barracks has served many roles since that time. In one form or another, the area has been home to countless regiments, battalions, and squadrons from both Army and Air Force. Not to forget that there once was an airstrip where Mount Royal University now sits, which was known as RCAF Station Lincoln Park, and operated in conjunction with Currie Barracks as well as the adjoining Sarcee Barracks just to the west. After the air base’s closure and the eventual amalgamation of the two barracks into what was then known as Canadian Forces Base Calgary (CFB Calgary) in the ‘60s, the base continued to play a major role as a training center and headquarters to many regular army and reserve battalions. Due to budget cuts and restructuring in the ’90s, CFB Calgary was closed in 1997, with most operations moved to other bases around the country. What remained at Currie Barracks consisted largely of support personnel, reserve battalions, and the Military Museums. The military continued to retain the use of a few buildings, but the rest of the land they formerly occupied was eventually set to be developed for commercial or residential use by the Canada Lands Company – a federal
crown corporation tasked to develop old federal land that is no longer needed for federal purposes. This is where Wild Rose Brewery enters the story. Many of the old military buildings were repurposed as, among other things, art and movie studios, retail stores, schools, a farmer’s market, and of course, the brewery. In 2006 Wild Rose moved from their original location in the Foothills Industrial Park to occupy an old green quonset (building AF23) on Currie Barracks close to Calgary Farmer’s Market’s former location. Besides an increase in brewing capacity and general space, this new Currie Barracks location would allow Wild Rose to open one more element to their business which would prove to be somewhat iconic in the Calgary beer scene – the Taproom. Ryan Somers has been the Taproom manager at Wild Rose Brewery from day one. As such, he has been privy to much of the goings on in the taproom, and has seen and heard a few things over the years, to say the least. Being that the brewery and taproom are located on an old military base adds another level of interesting character (and some interesting characters as well) to the taproom from time to time. “It is very common to see military personnel here for lunch or after exercises in the evening,” observes Somers. “We are the only restaurant located on the barracks now that the farmer’s market is gone so there aren’t too many other places to go for a bite and a beer nearby. It’s very cool to come into a brewery
located on old military soil and see twenty uniformed soldiers eating and drinking – it definitely adds to the charm of the place!” Somers went on to explain a few interesting stories and personal connections he has with the location. In one story he explained that a number of years ago, a television crew from one of the morning shows was in the taproom to do a spot about the brewery. During the broadcast, as they panned the taproom, they focused in on an old black and white photograph on the wall. The photo shows military personnel complete with their horses sitting at a bar drinking a beer. A few hours after the spot was broadcast on television, a woman came in to the Taproom with an older gentleman asking to speak to the manager. She told Somers that she had seen the morning show broadcast, and needed to see the photo for herself – along with her father, who just so happened to be the man sitting on the far right in the photo. The gentleman explained that the men were officers with Lord Strathcona’s Horse regiment, and following mounted exercises the men set off to the Officer’s Mess for a beer. Apparently, when they arrived, he and the other officers proceeded to dismount their horses, just as their commanding officer shouted, “I didn’t tell you to dismount, did I?” The men quickly re-mounted their horses, and proceeded to follow their commander into the Officer’s Mess – on horseback! The photo (which Wild Rose attained from the Glenbow Museum Archives) is a result of those events, and the enlarged version of the photo still adorns the wall of the Taproom. It is these chance meetings or interactions, as well as stories such as this, that Somers would have missed most about Wild Rose’s Taproom.
Brian Smith is the Director of Brewery Operations at Wild Rose. Despite the obvious benefits of the new Foothills Industrial Park facility, such as a brand new, state of the art brewhouse and tanks, as well as increased capacity and storage space, Smith is extremely happy about the lease extension. “I definitely would have missed the feeling you get from the Barracks,” Smith explains. “As far as an urban location is concerned, it is completely unique; you simply can’t build that sort of character into a new building. Our lease has been extended for a year, and then our hope is that we get an opportunity to have a future permanent presence in the Currie Barracks residential development, perhaps in one of the old heritage buildings that will be preserved. Canada Lands has been great to work with and I think that we should be able to make something work for the long term.” So, although not completely set in stone, it appears that Wild Rose’s future in the Currie Barracks will likely be maintained indefinitely. But for the moment, let us focus on the most important element of the brewery – the beer! Wild Rose Brewery will continue to brew some of the tastiest and unique local beers, including their always exciting seasonal beers. For most of us, the annual indication that winter is on its way would probably be some combination of chilly temperatures, falling leaves and white flakes making an appearance, but to the folks at Wild Rose, and perhaps Calgary’s greater beer community in general, the appearance of the now classic Cherry Porter is the true marker of the changing season. For nearly a decade now, when the mercury begins to dip, Wild Rose’s Cherry Porter has provided beer lovers a means of warming up with a bold, yet approachable beer full of rich roasted malt, decadent chocolate and luscious cherry flavours. The beer is painstakingly brewed using whole BC cherries, giving it somewhat of a black forest cake character. Wild Rose Brewery’s Cherry Porter will be available the first week of November at all better beer and wine retailers, and on tap at select locations including their own taproom at Wild Rose’s Currie Barracks location, which may just be around for a while yet!
Wild Rose Brewery’s Cherry Porter is a perfect accompaniment to black forest cake or really any other rich chocolate dessert that may grace your plate. Cherry Porter would also play very well with a simple cherry pie or cherry cheesecake. If you would like to go the cheese route, try a tangy goat cheese with or without cherries added, or maybe an aged Gouda.
finally a membership that is truly rewarding
If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, because of the sweet cherry yet roasty malt flavours in the beer, a blue cheese such as a Gorgonzola or Roquefort may fit the bill amazingly – the beer will definitely stand up to the rich boldness of the cheese, and the sweet chocolate and cherry character will pleasantly contrast the tangy funk of even some of the bigger blues.
Kirk Bodnar is the Beer Cellar Steward at Charcut Roast House in Calgary, as well as a beer consultant for some of Calgary’s better beer destinations. He is also a certified BJCP beer judge. Follow him on Twitter @beersnsuch and on Facebook at facebook.com/beersnsuch
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society available exclusively at Kensington Wine Market
Pass The Port By Tom Firth
Boy, do I love port. It’s easy to talk about the various styles of port, great producers, and even what to eat or nibble with port, but sometimes it’s good to talk about how to serve port. The wine known as “Port” only comes from Portugal and is a style of wine that is strengthened or “fortified” by the addition of a neutral spirit during its fermentation. The grapes are traditionally foot-trodden to extract the greatest amount of colour and flavour from the grape skins, and once around half of the natural sugars of the grapes are converted to alcohol, the brandy kills the yeast, yielding an intense, high alcohol wine with some sweetness. From there, the wine is placed in barrel and after around two years, the wine is selected to either continue to age in barrel (making a tawny port), go into a bottle to age further (vintage port) or age just a little bit longer before being bottled (late bottled vintage ports). Most port is released ready to drink and does not benefit from further aging, but as we’ll see, serving an older port may require an extra step or two. Most port wines (and other similar fortified wines from around the world) don’t require decanting. Older ports such as vintage ports, single quinta, or some crusted or LBV ports will throw sediment as they age - generally after around ten years in the bottle. Sometimes resembling coffee grinds or a reddish/brown goo, it is a perfectly normal part of enjoying older wines. It won’t harm you if you drink it, but most port drinkers prefer to leave the sediment in the bottle rather than having the sediment in their glass. Decanting is the process of transferring the wine from the bottle to a clean container prior to serving, and there are two main reasons why wine is decanted. • Decanting may be done to aerate the wine - usually big red wines that are being served a little too young. The
aerating helps to open the wine up and to soften the tannins, allowing the wine to come into maximum contact with the air. • The other reason is to remove the wine from its sediment. In order to serve a wine without those little bitty gritty bits in the bottom of the glass, you need to decant the wine. The wine is brought from the cellar carefully to avoid disturbing the sediment and gradually poured into a clean decanter, the aim being to pour the wine until the sediment starts to reach the neck of the bottle. A small amount of wine should be left behind which contains the bulk of the sediment. Serve the wine from the decanter and enjoy. The last reason one would have to decant a bottle is that it looks really sharp - something to impress the ladies for sure-but we’ll advise you to stick to the real reasons. What the perfect decanter looks like for you is totally at your discretion, to be perfectly honest you could use a clean jam jar to decant wine. I personally like the ship style decanter with the widely flared bottom, it looks good and works well to both aerate the wine and trap any little bits of sediment you missed. *Fair warning, a cheap one works just as well as an expensive one. Filters and funnel gadgets do work, but if you get a decanter with a wide
opening, you’ll find yourself forgetting that you have them. If you open a lot of older port at home, you may want the screen style filter to make decanting quicker and slightly easier. Cleaning the decanter is best done by hand using some coarse salt and ice cubes for stubborn, can’t be reached, stains inside. Dry it upside down, but make sure it won’t tip over while it’s drying. Like any other wine steeped in tradition, there are do’s and don’ts when it comes to serving port. Being a sweeter, richer wine, port is most often served at the end of the meal. Emily Post, reaching from beyond the grave with the skeletal hand of etiquette, reminds us “the bottle on its coaster stands before the host, the tablecloth having been removed before the ritual begins.” She goes on, “He pours for whoever is on his right - to save this person, seated in the honorable place, from having to wait until last to be served.” Port interestingly is passed always to the left, so the host should pour to the right, then himself, and then pass the port leftwards. Some traditions say the port should never be put down or touch the table, and then others indicate the decanter should never leave the table but be slid around so as not to disturb any sediment.
Fonseca 1986 Quinta do Panascal Single quinta ports tend to mature a little faster than classic vintage ports and this is one of elegance - a little softer than some other styles. It is also one of the most beautiful vineyards in the Douro Valley. With 27 years of age, it’s ready to go and should be decanted. $76
Why port is passed to the left is of some debate, but reasons range from left hand turns being ill omens to keeping one’s sword hand free. In naval tradition, the captain would be seated facing the bow and his left would be “to port”, or simply the tradition stems from the fact that that most people being right handed would find it easier to pour the port with their right hand and pass it with their left-avoiding those hard to get out port wine stains. One thing for certain is that the port shouldn’t stop its circuit of the table, though it is considered poor manners to ask for the port to be passed if it stalls on its journey. The proper way to ask is to ask the offender, “Do you know the Bishop of Norwich?” Why exactly this is the proper etiquette to ask for the port to be passed, or what exactly he has to do with port? No one really knows. If the offending guest answers (like most of us would) that no, they don’t know the bishop, the response should be, “he’s a terribly good chap, but he always forgets to pass the port”. Ba-zing! Take that you non-port-passing dinner guest! Cynthia Opsal, the Brand Manager for the Taylor Partnership here in Calgary, and a leading expert in all things related to port wine, has actually met the current Bishop of Norwich, so if you invite her to dinner and expect her to
bring a bottle of port, you won’t have much recourse if she doesn’t share. The temperature to serve your port depends on the type of port you are planning on serving. White port should simply be served well-chilled - even cold to be enjoyed best. Tawny ports should be served slightly chilled, but otherwise, no fanfare required. The best glass for port if you only occasionally enjoy it, is a smaller, tulip shaped glass (like a white wine glass) rather than those miserable port snifters or cordial glasses. Ruby and vintage ports are best served closer to room temperature - if you live in a drafty old English castle. Cellar temperature will suffice for most (around 16-18º C). If your home is too warm, certainly an hour on your balcony or deck should do the trick. Ports of all types enjoy being served with nuts, hard or blue cheeses and good chocolate. If this still doesn’t persuade you to enjoy a bottle of port, ruby ports keep for about a week once opened, tawny ports up to two months, and sadly, older vintage ports should be consumed the same day you open them - with good company of course. Tom Firth is the contributing drinks editor for Culinaire Magazine and the competition director for the Alberta Beverage Awards, follow him on twitter @ cowtownwine
Dow’s 1985 Vintage Port Another excellent producer, making some of my favourite ports. The 1985 was a somewhat challenging vintage, and in recent years the 1985 is really starting to shine bright. Drink or keep, it’s going to be a good night when you open this. $112
Taylor Fladgate 2004 Quinta de Vargellas A good rule of thumb is that a split or half bottle will age 1.5 times faster than a standard bottle (a magnum will age about 1.5 times slower). Vargellas is Taylor’s flagship vineyard and remarkably intense and spicy. Decant with some vigour to aerate before serving $34 (375ml)
Graham’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port To my mind, the 20 year old tawnies have the best balance of fruit and wood. Tawny ports are released ready to drink and don’t improve further in the bottle. Serve ever-so-slightly chilled to allow the dried fruits, toffee and spice to come through. No need to decant, just pour into a glass and go. $66
Smith Woodhouse 2000 Vintage Port Has it been 13 years already? I remember when this was released thinking that in about 15 years this would be a gem. It’s tasting really, really good these days, with plenty of black fruits and floral characters poking up. I’d still be happy to cellar it for another 15-20 years, but you can open it now without too much guilt. $70
Barros 2006 Late Bottled Vintage Port The LBV’s are what you want to drink while you are waiting for your other ports to age. Barros is perhaps best known for their tawny ports (including some incredible colheita), but their style comes through on this juicy, moderately powerful port. LBV doesn’t need any decanting, though can benefit from some air. $32
Open That Bottle By Linda Garson Photography by Ingrid Kuenzel
In 1980, Sanit (Sam) Chanhao’s family lived in Thailand, by the border with Laos. They were poor and had lost their most precious asset: their freedom. Desperate to escape, Sam’s mother persuaded their local priest to help. He had a colleague at the International School in Bangkok, and reluctantly agreed. Two years later, the Chanhaos arrived in Arkansas - and were turned away. Sam’s parents were Vietnamese, crossing to Laos before Thailand, and America didn’t trust them. But it was meant to be. Carrying Red Cross papers, they travelled to Seattle then to Grand Prairie. “It was very small, only 24,000 people,” says Sam, “but they gave us a very warm welcome. It was great for us to settle there. We had a great time, particularly in the summertime when you can see the light till midnight, and the beautiful yellow canola fields”. Sam was an alter boy in a Catholic boarding school, and he and his brother would finish all the wine after the mass. But he studied very hard. “When you are poor you have to work harder to be accepted.” he says. He intended to become a priest, quoting from Lincoln’s biography, “when I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad,” and it’s still Sam’s philosophy today. Sam’s sisters came to Calgary and ate at the newly opened King and I, then an eatery owned by a Laos couple who weren’t doing too well. They called their mother, ‘Mum, you have to come and have a look!” And the family bought it but in 1982 no-one knew what Thai food was. They changed name to Thai Sai-on (meaning craving delicate and beautiful food.) “It was the best year for Bordeaux and I missed it.” says Sam, laughing. Sam was a teacher’s assistant in an integration school for handicapped kids at the time, and he loved working there. He adopted a handicapped Metis child
with cerebral palsy over 20 years ago, who still lives with Sam. Following his family to Calgary, Sam took over the restaurant’s wine program. First he bought a cooler and proper glasses to show he was serious, and then went to Chapters and bought everything they had on wine. “Robert Parker’s book was like turning on a tap, it really gave me a passion for wine,” he explains. He was amazed at the eloquence and precision. But knowledge alone is no use, so Sam went to every wine tasting, never taking notes, and relying solely on memory. “Out of 10 wines you only like 3 or 4, but that makes it easy to remember them.” To this day, he only tastes for his customers, picking over 60% of wines for his clients. “It gives me so much joy to introduce people to wine. I love the sharing aspect.” So what wine is Sam saving for a special occasion? His joy is the Duclot Bordeaux Collection of 2009; the nine most prestigious wines from Bordeaux, in a handmade wooden case. “It cost $14,000-$15,000 in 2009 and I want to crack it, but I’m saving it for when my ship comes in”, smiles Sam. “Please come in soon! You never know what tomorrow will bring.”
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