Culinaire #2:8 (jan:feb2014)

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COMFORT FOOD AND DRINKS TO WARM THE SOUL Hot & Cold Winter Brews | Blogging & Apps | Wayfayrer: Vancouver



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Features 32

The Boys Of Briggs With wicked charcoal-cooked comfort dishes, Briggs have mastered casual dining at very affordable prices. by Laura Lushington



7 Food Trends For 2014 New food trends for a new year by Dan Clapson

44 Guide to Date Night Dining Choosing the right restaurant by Laura Lushington

14 The Colours Of Tea The five main types of tea by Linda Garson 15

The Naked Tea Party Organic fine teas in Kensington by Cory Knibutat

22 The Anatomy Of A Food Blogger Dissecting the food blogging world by Andrea Fulmek 26 4 Apps For Every ‘Foodie’ Next level food-focused technology by Chelsea Klukas 30 Comfort(able) Pairings Guidelines to help you choose by BJ Oudman 40 Cup a’ Giuseppe Where did the cuppa’ Joe go? by Matt Browman

Wayfayrer: Vancouver A jumping off point for you and your palate, making dining a breeze in this west coast city. by Dan Clapson


Find Your Best: Coffee Shop Which will suit you best? by Stephanie Arsenault, Dan Clapson, Diana Ng and Vincci Tsui


Flavours of Naramata Bench A snapshot of wineries and their wines by Tom Firth


Great Coffee Isn’t Just For Breakfast Coffee, Roasters, and Cocktails by Tarquin Melnyk

58 Ales For A Winter’s Night Beers for round the fire by David Nuttall 66 Open That Bottle Anthony Chalmers, Bear’s Den by Linda Garson


Islay: The Whisky Isle Hard to get to and utterly charming, this little island boasts eight active single malt distilleries. by Andrew Ferguson

Departments 6

Salutes and Shout Outs


Event Previews


Cookbook Reviews


Ask Culinaire


Chefs’ Tips and Tricks!

24 Step-By-Step Fermenting 28 Soup Kitchen 36

8 Ways To Spice Up Beef Stew


Menu Gems Front cover photography by Ingrid Kuenzel, with thanks to Briggs Kitchen + Bar for the delicious Chicken Pot Pie, and Bonnie Huang for her hands and phone.


Letter From The Editor to see most of the businesses damaged in last year’s floods restored and refurbished, and open for business. There’s a lot happening at this time of year to keep us smiling through the long nights. We have suggestions to help with your Valentine’s Day dinner, as well as your Robbie Burns night celebrations. And as we’re still in the depths of winter, we’ve been looking where to find warming, hot drinks and comforting food.

In with the new indeed! It’s going to be another exciting year in Calgary for food and beverages in 2014, from the new openings and changes we know of already. It’s encouraging too

We love those dishes that warm us from the inside out, and are often associated with nostalgic memories of home when we were growing up. We’ve lots of recipes for you to make at home, and ideas of where to eat in restaurants for these types of dishes, as well as in our city’s vibrant and growing pub scene too.

Thanks for all your kind feedback on our new look and our new, redesigned website. We’re thrilled with the additional content, recipes, and webonly stories and competitions. Do visit and take a peek around if you haven’t already. While you’re there, enter to win a Chef’s dinner for two with cocktail pairings at Briggs Kitchen and Bar, and a signed bottle of Benromach 10 year old Single Malt from the world-famous producer of aged whisky. I hope you enjoy our winter issue. We’re looking forward, knowing that the days only get longer, lighter and warmer from here! Linda Garson Editor-in-Chief


SeaSonal TreaTS and everyThing SweeT

PoPPinG the Cork on BuBBLeS

Gift Guides for Foodies, Wine Lovers, Beer Lovers & Spirits Lovers


in with the new and out with the old

Comfort food and drinks to warm the soul Hot and Cold Winter Brews | Blogging and Apps | Wayfayrer: Vancouver

In today’s busy world, you may not get a chance to pick up every issue of Culinaire. To ensure your copy, go to to have the next ten issues delivered right to your door. Makes a great gift too! Order today—only $30+gst.

CALGARY / FOOD & DRINK / RECIPES Editor-in-Chief/Publisher: Linda Garson Contributing Drinks Editor: Tom Firth Contributing Food Editor: Dan Clapson Commercial Director Keiron Gallagher & Advertising: 403-975-7177 Digital Media: Laura Lushington Design: Emily Vance Contributors: Stephanie Arsenault Matt Browman Andrew Ferguson Natalie Findlay Andrea Fulmek Chelsea Klukas Cory Knibtat Ingrid Kuenzel Laura Lushington Fred Malley CCC Tarquin Melnyk Karen Miller Diana Ng David Nuttall BJ Oudman Chef JP Pedhirney Vincci Tsui

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

Contact us at: Culinaire Magazine #1203, 804 -3rd Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2P 0G9 403-870-9802 Twitter: @culinairemag For subscriptions, competitions and to read Culinaire online:

Our Contributors < Dan Clapson

Dan Clapson is a food writer and columnist in Calgary. He writes regularly for a number of publications and online sources including Avenue, up! Magazine, Flavours and Food Network Canada. In fall 2013, he co-founded Eat North, a food-focused media outlet specializing in Canadian cuisine. He believes culinary culture can be truly appreciated by approaching food from every angle, and his own appreciation of this is reflected in his writing and on his popular blog, Dan’s Good Side.

< Chelsea Klukas

Chelsea Klukas is a Creative Professional in Calgary and an active member of Calgary’s Tech and Arts scene. She writes regularly about technology, food, and culture for a variety of blogs and publications. Chelsea considers herself a seasoned expert on both eating and drinking, and has frequent anxiety when her refrigerator runs low on duck fat.

< Ingrid Kuenzel

At three years, Ingrid moved from Germany to Calgary. Hailing from architectural and design roots, she has toured many European historical sites, vineyards and breweries with a camera in one hand and most often a coffee, wine or beer in the other. In addition to a twenty-year real estate financing career, she works as a freelance photographer specializing in all the things she loves; great food & drink, the people that make it and where you find it. You’ll find her at or @ingridkue.

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

Salutes … Acknowledgements:

Congratulations to Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts (CRMR) who have won the ‘Business of the Year’ award at the 2013 Canadian Tourism Awards. Special Acknowledgement goes to: Robert Easson Linda Ford Jeannette Montgomery Martin Yuill Dona Sturmanis

“This award belongs to each and every person that makes up our company. We have a very dedicated team in place and their contributions have led to this accolade,” says Pat O’Connor, owner of CRMR.

Also to: Tim Feeny and Darren Hull for the beautiful work on the cover photo/videos. Rania Peters and Quails’ Gate Estate Winery for accommodating our photo shoot on their beautiful vineyard. The amazing cover cast who travelled from around the valley to make the 7 am photo shoot. Our friend Gio for all the lattes that kept us inspired.

The Awards are presented to reward those people and organizations that have gone above and beyond to offer superior tourism experiences in Canada.

Best Local Cuisine cookbook in Canada The Butcher, The Baker, And congratulations to ‘The&Butcher, The Wine Cheese Maker The Baker, The Wine and Cheese Maker’ JENNIFER SCHELL


author Jennifer Schell, on winning ‘Best International Gourmand Cookbook Award’ for Best Local Cuisine Book in Canada. Authored by food and wine columnist Jennifer Schell, ‘The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker - An Okanagan Cookbook’ celebrates the Okanagan Valley’s best chefs, farmers, artisans and winemakers. As the cover shot depicts, An Okanagan Cookbook not only contains wonderful recipes but stories of the cast of talented people behind the menu, their passions and how their relationships have created a unique Okanagan cuisine. With over 160 contributors, including a combination of our celebrated chef’s recipes and those from the farm, this book is a delicious read that introduces the reader to the people and traditions of the Okanagan Valley that is quickly establishing itself as a culinary destination. “The Okanagan Valley is the ultimate seasonal pantry producing top quality vegetables, fruits, cheeses, and wines. Jennifer provides tribute to many of the best farmers and winemakers through her masterful insight of using successful recipes to showcase these superb ingredients with wonderful local wine pairing suggestions. Life in the Okanagan is truly delicious!” Sid Cross, Honorary President of The International Wine & Food Society, Judge for The Canadian Culinary Championships, Co-Founder The Chefs’ Table Society of BC.

The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards are the “Oscars” of cookbook awards, and the Okanagan cookbook will now go on to compete against winners in the same category in other countries for the title of The Best in the World. Results will be announced in May at the annual Awards event in Beijing, during the first Beijing Cookbook Fair. “As the owner of a cookbook shop, I am delighted to promote this thoughtful book, encouraging people to appreciate how the Okanagan is evolving into a full on food & wine destination.” Barbara-jo McIntosh, proprietress of Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks.

“Jennifer Schell has captured the passion and dedication of the local chefs, farmers, artisans and winemakers who together have made the Okanagan a culinary destination. The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker is a who’s who of the Okanagan culinary scene.” Claire Sear, EAT Magazine “This book offers readers a glimpse into the magic of the Okanagan and the amazing chefs, artisans, winemakers and others that make the valley such a vibrant culinary scene. A must read for any BC food lover!” Eric Pateman, Edible Canada

Published by An Okanagan Cookbook ISBN 978-0-9917498-0-5 | $29.95


I would like to thank Alison Love and David McIlvride from Spatula Media + Communications for their amazing support and contributions to this book. Many thanks to Kirk Myltoft from Gecko Design & Advertising, our book designer, who dove in with great creative and many late nights. Thank you to Mark Walker for your support, wisdom and encouragement. Thanks to my brother Jonathan, who went without his precious camera this summer to allow me to photograph this book. My husband Mark, who’s never-ending support and tireless proofing deserves a medal. Mom, thank you for sharing family recipes. To my Dad, Opa and Grandpa - you are the inspiration behind this book. I am so very proud to be a farmer’s daughter.


CRMR Wins ‘Business of the Year’ Award

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and Shout Outs … Earliest Icewine Harvest for Okanagan

packed snacks are a great alternative to conventional chips!

Good news for BC wine enthusiasts! An early Icewine harvest following on the heels of the earliest wine grape harvest on record in the Okanagan, means the 2013 crop will be another world class Icewine vintage.

New restaurants for Calgary in 2014 We’re full of anticipation for the exciting restaurants opening up this year!

Later this year, Chef Michael Noble’s new project, ‘The Nash Restaurant’ and ‘Offcut Bar’, will open in the historic old National Hotel, on 11th Street SE in Inglewood.

Harvesting in November makes a significant difference, as 25% of the crop can be lost for each additional month’s wait for frigid temperatures to arrive, but both JacksonTriggs and Inniskillin report excellent quality and quantity of their Okanagan Riesling Icewine grapes this winter.

We’ll soon see the new Goro + Gun in the former space of West Restaurant’s Scotia Centre +15 level. Modeled after the popular ramen bars of Japan, Goro + Gun will bring

The culmination of the knowledge Chef Noble has gained in 34 years as a Chef, The Nash will have the scent of wood smoke in the air, but all other details are under wraps!

New Superfood Snacks Completely moreish, new Hippie Snacks Coconut Chips from Left Coast Naturals contain just three ingredients for an addictive snack that’s sweet, salty and crunchy all at the same time. Made from slices of whole young, mineral-rich coconut roasted in small batches, these nutrient-

an energetic slurping experience to lunch, happy hour and dinner in downtown Calgary!

And 2 new liquor stores Welcome to 5 Vines, a new liquor store in Keynote, by Sunterra Market on 12 Avenue SE. Focusing on food-friendly wines and craft beers, on Tuesdays they’re pairing wines with Sunterra’s monthly food features. And to the 4th Highlander Wine & Spirits store, Seton, just off the Deerfoot by the South Heath Campus and next to Save-On Foods, at 19489 Seton Crescent SE.




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January-February Events After the Holiday Season, things actually pick up in January and February. There’s Robbie Burns Day, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day and some of Calgary’s biggest and best wine and beer festivals and charity events. 3rd annual MS Whisky Festival

January 16, 6:00 pm-9:00 pm Jack Singer Concert Hall Lobby, 201 8th Avenue SW Tickets: $95 Master Classes: $20 Sample whiskies from around the world to support multiple sclerosis. Also 3 Classes with Master Distillers to learn more about whisky in an intimate setting.

Bill Brooks 16th Annual Prostate Cancer Benefit

January 24, 7:00 pm Hotel Arts, 119 - 12 Avenue SW Tickets: $300 This year, Bill Brook’s all-inclusive evening of entertainment, dancing, dining and cocktails has a Broadway theme.

38th Anniversary Burns Club Supper

January 24, 5:45 pm MacLeod Hall, Telus Convention Centre, 120 9 Avenue SE Tickets: $175 In celebration of the life and works of Robert Burns, the ticket price for this evening includes a traditional four course meal, with haggis and all the trimmings, wine, single malt Scotch whisky, a commemorative glass and traditional entertainment.

Great Italian Wine Encounter 2014

January 30, 6:00 pm Gala Auction, Fairmont Palliser Crystal Ballroom Tickets: $500 Wine critic/author Matt Kramer hosts 18 of Italy’s greatest winemakers, with over 50 of their outstanding wines and great food, to raise money for the Calgary Health Trust to help eradicate leukemia, lymphoma and bone marrow cancer.

15th Annual Wine Stage

February 1, 7:30 pm Gasoline Alley, Heritage Park, 1900 Heritage Drive SW Tickets: $125 Sample some the world’s finest wines, paired with the culinary creations of Calgary’s most celebrated restaurants at One Yellow Rabbit’s annual fundraiser.

Sien Lok Society 45th Annual Chinese New Year Gala

February 8, 6:00 pm Regency Palace, 3rd Floor, 328 Centre Street SE Tickets: $88 The Year of the Horse officially begins on January 31. A multi-course Chinese feast, dancing and live entertainment help advance Chinese Canadian heritage as well as raise funds for other projects.

Vintage Valentine’s Day Dinner

February 14, 6:00 pm Selkirk Grille, Heritage Park, 1900 Heritage Drive SW Tickets: $89.95 Voted in 2009 by Where Calgary Magazine as one of the top 3 Canadian regional restaurants, executive chef Jan Hansen’s creations will inspire romance.


Flavours of BC’s Naramata Bench

February 20, Jack Singer Concert Hall Foyer, 205 8 Avenue SE Tickets: $95 An evening with distinctive wines, farm fresh food, live music and a silent auction. All proceeds support Alberta Theatre Projects.

2014 Year of the Horse Gala

February 21, 5:30 pm Regency Palace Restaurant, 328 Centre Street SE Tickets: $98 for members, $128 for non-members 10-course traditional Chinese dinner, silent auction and live entertainment. This fundraiser is all-inclusive to support 4 student scholarships at Mount Royal University and the University of Calgary, and the work of the Hong Kong Canada Business Association.

Winefest Calgary

February 21-22, 2014 BMO Centre, Stampede Park, February 21, 7:00 pm $80.00 February 22: 2:00 pm $75.00. Evening: 7:00 pm $80.00 Includes wine samples, hors d’oeuvres from Calgary Stampede Catering and local restaurants, a Riedel wine glass and an event guide. You can also purchase your favourites at the on-site wine store.

20th Annual Bottlescrew Bill’s Beerfest

March 1, 2:00 pm-5:00 pm Bottlescrew Bill’s Old English Pub, 140 - 10 Avenue SW Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Includes snacks, a brochure and 20 beer sampling tickets. Extra tickets $1 each. This annual fundraiser for the Mustard Seed Street Ministry involves tasting 75+ beers from over 25 Breweries in a carnival atmosphere.

Book Reviews The Kinfolk Table Recipes for Small Gatherings Nathan Williams Artisan 2013 $35

This is an elaborate, yet simple, story with a collection of recipes from home cooks around the world. It reflects not the “art” of casual entertaining, but the joy. The common thread is that the people themselves are important, so Williams introduces each of the contributors visited in food enthusiast cities such as Portland, Copenhagen and Brooklyn.


The book is calm and pretty and deserves time to be devoured. It is about the rituals, and making time to savour the moments. The pictures are “artsy” and not really about the food, but show people at ease with trusted meals in their kitchen spaces. All the recipes are enticing because they come with a story. The author grew up in Alberta; his mother and grandmother still live here and use comfort and food to bring people together. Take this book and rethink the reason and the way you

Ricardo - Slow Cooker Favourites Ricardo Larrivee Harper Collins Publishers Ltd. 2013. $35

Not usually the last to adopt a trend, I recently bought my first slow cooker and have become increasingly intrigued with its benefits. Ricardo has approached this subject in exactly the same fashion – intrigued, yet wary and cautious. The result is a book filled with lots of information about the slow cooker and the process, with favourite recipes adapted for slow cooking. Not all recipes allow you to throw everything

entertain. Those you share with will thank you. in the pot and then leave on low for 6 or 7 hours. Many require browning prior (some newer slow cookers allow for this to be done directly in pot). Others just use the slow cooker as an alternative vessel (See Date and Lemon Chicken Tagine p. 48). I really like the detail on how to avoid the inevitable repertoire of “stew like” dishes (brownies anyone?). This book will provide inspiration to think outside of the box with a slow cooker! 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. THURSDAY – SUNDAY

9AM – 5PM

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Ask Culinaire by CHEF JP PEDHIRNEY

My food budget is tight after the holiday season. How can I save money?

Answer: Lets face it; food is becoming more and more expensive everyday. It’s a simple realization that as the price of fuel and energy continually increase, so will the price tags at our grocery stores. If it costs the producer/farmer more to produce and transport goods, then an increase on our end is only natural. That being said, our trips to the grocery store and market can sometimes lead to bankrupting receipts, which many of us, especially after the holiday season, can’t afford. However, high food prices are arguably here to stay, so arming yourself with some culinary wit before you enter the supermarket, might help knock off some dollars at the check out. First and foremost, avoid premade foods such as pizzas, pastas, microwavable dinners, etc. and make

as much as you can from scratch. Buying pre-made food is convenient, but that is literally the only advantage. For example, it’s easy to spend $5 or more on a bottle of salad dressing, so take advantage of the ingredients you already have in your cupboard - perhaps left over items from entertaining during the Christmas season. A simple salad vinaigrette is three parts oil to one part vinegar. Try adding some left over fruit for flavour, such as pears or apples, which can be pureed in a blender with your vinaigrette mixture. When choosing meat, try to avoid prime cuts such as strip loin, tenderloin, or rib eye. Alternatives, such as off-cuts, tend to have more flavour anyway. These include beef eye-of-round for roasts, beef short rib for a tender and meatier flavour, and chicken thighs. You can also

Arming yourself with some culinary wit before you enter the supermarket, might help knock off some dollars at the check out. 10

buy your protein whole. For example, a whole chicken will cost half the price of pre-butchered chicken breasts. This will give you the most bang for your buck! You’ll have breasts, thighs, wings and the bones for stock to make a soup. There are a ton of great resources online. If you search YouTube, you will find multiple videos, on how to prepare items from scratch. For example, “how to butcher a chicken” or “how to make a salad vinaigrette”. All in all, taking some extra time to make your food from scratch, will save you cash, bring you closer to your food, and make you a better home chef!

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 • 11

7 Food Trends For 2014 by DAN CLAPSON

A new year brings with it a hunger for change. Whether it’s your workout regime, the new ‘it’ colours for an ensemble, or what you’re ordering at a restaurant, trends factor into many aspects of your life. Culinary items, like a perfectly flaky croissant or a juicy roast chicken are classics. They never have (or will) go ‘out of style’. Not unlike the music industry, some trends can be more of the flash-in-the-pan variety, while others work their way into our everyday cooking. In January, food trend predictions come in from far and wide. If you’re reading online or flipping through a large-scale publication targeting the whole of North America, it’s important to remember that what’s filtering into the New York dining scene is not necessarily going to show up in our city. That being said, we’re a burgeoning culinary (dare I say) mecca, so there should always be something new and interesting on the horizon.

Sorry kale, you’ll always be deserving of the limelight to me, but here are a few new trends, in no particular order, that I’m looking forward to embracing in 2014. 1. Sustainable Seafood - Ocean Wise certification is gracing more and more Calgary menus lately, and that is a beautiful thing. Down with the tiger prawn, and three cheers for more environmentally friendly alternatives like spot prawns, humpback shrimp and octopus. Grocery stores like Calgary Co-op are also doing a fantastic job of helping keep customers informed with sustainability when it comes to seafood on their shopping lists.

In January, food trend predictions come in from far and wide

2. Oyster Culture - Malpeques, raspberry points and beach angels may not all be household names, so better start brushing up on your oysters and their flavour profiles now. Popular oyster-centric chain, Rodney’s is set to open up their first Calgary location in a few months, only adding to the number of places (Catch Oyster Bar, National, etc.) that are filling up with oyster fanatics. Learning to shuck oysters is an easy skill to master and always makes for a fun party at home with friends. Couple this with the ocean sustainability and you’ll be the trendiest shucking oyster-lover in the city! 3. Vegetable-Forward Menus - Muse hopped on the vegetable train in late 2013, offering Calgary’s first vegetarian tasting menu. While we may never be able to kick our steak and potatoes, chefs and diners alike will be falling in love with vegetables like rabbits to a harvest of carrots. With the offal trend somewhat subsiding, I’m looking forward to sitting down to eat a smattering of well-prepared vegetables instead of sweetbreads, livers et al. This year, cauliflower shall be king!

4. Juicing - Continuing with the vegetable mentality, fresh juice is also having a resurgence of late. When the weather warms up, you’ll be able to find Blender Bender, one of the city’s newest food trucks serving up an array of fresh juices. With updated technology, at-home juicers have become much more easy to use and, most importantly, to clean, which was always the biggest hassle. Get your daily dose of fruits and vegetables in one glass. How do blueberries, sweet potatoes, spinach, tomatoes and ginger taste together? Well, you’ll never know until you try!

6. Hunting - The interest in hunting is slowly growing among ‘foodies’. No longer just for mounting stag heads in man caves, load up that rifle, practice those archery skills, or just tag along with an expert hunter this year to get your game on; whether that be geese, deer or pheasant. Farm-to-table has always been a nice concept, but for 2014 I’m more interested in a Forest-totable mentality when it comes to my dinner.

5. Tacos - Now, I’m not talking about the hole-in-the-wall sort of taco joint, those we should all love unconditionally. I’m talking about well-composed tacos, filled with chorizo, fish, braised meats (even tongue) in a hip, cool atmosphere. It’s really nice to see influences of South America filter in, in forms other than a subpar burrito loaded up with rice and beans with a side of salsa and sour cream. If you find yourself in Edmonton, stop by Tres Carnales for arguably some the best tacos in the province.

There should always be something new and interesting on the horizon

7. Fermentation - Not necessarily the most appetising word, but this ancient way of preparing ingredients is becoming more and more popular with restaurant chefs and avid home cooks. Items like dill pickles, fermented sausages (which have graced the menu at Model Milk) and, of course kimchi, are all examples of the deliciousness this procedure can result in. Try your hand at fermenting with our ‘how to’ on page 24! 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 listening to 80s rock or 90s boy bands. Follow him on twitter @dansgoodside!

The Colours of Tea by LINDA GARSON photography by CORY KNIBUTAT

There are over 3,000 varieties of Tea. It is the most widely consumed drink across the world after water. One of my hopes and predictions - for 2014 in Calgary, is that we’ll gain a better understanding, and therefore a great appreciation of quality tea. As a tea junkie myself, I’m thrilled to see new tea shops springing up in our city,

White, green, black and oolong tea are all from the leaves and buds of the Camellia Sinensis plant, with differences arising from the growing conditions of soil, altitude and climate, as well as how they are processed.

Green Tea is most popular in China and Japan. The leaves are allowed to wither slightly after being picked, then oxidation is stopped by heating; pan-frying in China and steaming in Japan. When brewed at a lower temperature with less steeping time, green tea will develop caffeine but only 10-30% of that in coffee.

Oolong is slightly more oxidised than green tea, and usually the tea of choice for connoisseurs. It often goes through an additional process of shaking or bruising that releases distinctive flowery flavours. Oolong tea is often perceived as a slimming tea as it is thought to raise the metabolism.

Black Tea leaves are allowed to wither and are fully oxidised, losing moisture and absorbing oxygen. This blackens the leaves and develops caffeine and tannin, but also reduces antioxidants. When brewed correctly, black tea will have a robust flavour and higher caffeine content, around 50-65% of that in coffee.

offering us choices to take home and make ourselves as well as enjoying in the store.

White Tea can only be harvested a few weeks each year as it’s the young shoots of the plant. It is minimally processed, and not oxidized. This means it retains, and so is generally higher in, antioxidants and when steeped for a short time, doesn’t develop as much colour or caffeine.

Many thanks to The Tea Factory on 4th Street SW, for their teas, patience, knowledge and kind assistance with the photography for this article.

Rooibos is from the plant Aspalathus linearis and is traditional in South Africa. It is sometimes called ‘red tea’ or ‘red bush’. Rooibos is oxidised and prepared like black tea, but contains no caffeine. It has a full, smooth and slightly sweet flavour and is attributed with aiding digestion, some allergies and nervous tension.

The Naked Tea Party story and photography by CORY KNIBUTAT

How does a small, independent business become successful? In any market, you need to establish your brand by identifying something that others are not doing, and that consumers can recognize as your own, to set you apart from competition.

It doesn’t matter what tea shop you frequent, it’ll have cute décor, friendly staff, and a few customers browsing a wall full of premium tea blends that the friendly staff will be more than happy to pop the lid off to wave at your face. The Naked Leaf in Kensington, owned and operated by Jonathan Kane, adopts some of the aforementioned tea shop customs but the backbone of his business model is to immerse himself in Calgary’s culture, celebrating the creative spirit of the community and reflecting it back to his customers. Opening in the fall of 2008, when most people only associated premium tea shops with larger chains found in upscale malls, such as Teopia, now Teavana, The Naked Leaf established it’s reputation in Calgary as a go-to source for quality organic loose-leaf teas that franchised stores didn’t offer. “For our one shop, we have 12 suppliers,” Kane says. “I’m trying to find the best quality and things that no one else has. Of

Kane’s 5 Favourite Winter Tea blends 1. Maple Chai – warming spices, great on it’s own but really lovely with a shot of Baileys.

2. Spiced Green Tea – fresh, but also richly spiced with cardamom and pepper.

3. Imperial Feng Qing – thick, rich, earthy black tea.

4. Milky Oolong – naturally

creamy. It tastes like buttered popcorn. This is a great one for snuggling up to the fireplace with a good read.

5. Japanese Roasted Herb Blend – caffeine free with a

nutty, toasted almond flavour and a


sweet finish.

course we have Earl Grey, but people really come from all over the city because our Earl Grey doesn’t taste like everybody else’s Earl Grey.“ “We have some of our own blends that are made exclusively for us now. So that’s been exciting,” Kane adds. Using The Naked Leaf’s Maple Chai as an example, Kane will work with a blender, telling them what kind of flavours he’s looking for. They’ll send roughly 10 variations of the blend back to Kane, based on his description. “I sample them and say, ‘I like the strength of the maple in version two and the chai spice blend in version four better,” Kane says. “Can we put that together? Then they’ll send me about three new samples, either I’m happy with that or it needs a little more whatever,” Kane added. “Then they send one or two. So it’s a big process; it takes usually weeks or a couple months to get right.”

Kane has strived from day one to be a purveyor of fine tea.

The Naked Leaf name, derived from selling organic teas that are free of any additives, artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, was also a catchy way of educating customers about organic teas and why they are important. “Unlike organic fruit, for example, where you can wash it or peel it; with tea, you’re putting it in the water, so there is no way to get rid of it (additives), so they’re going into your cup and then you’re drinking it,” Kane says. “So that was important for me to do as much as we can.”

“People are impressed by the tins,” Kane says. “We only print 100 of each image and when they’re gone, they’re gone, and we let a new artist have the space. The selection on display is always changing every few weeks.” Kane wants you to truly understand what goes into your tea and enjoy the process of making the perfect cup, taking the time to enjoy every spice and floral note of the tea as you open the tin. He wants you to enjoy the warmth of the steam dancing under your nose drawing you in for your first, cautious sip and take note of every flavour

“If I can do organic and still have quality products, why not?” As a small business, you can’t spend large amounts of money on advertising and branding so word of mouth is the best way to boost your presence in the community, but you need something worth talking about. For Kane, he envisioned incorporating the works and designs of local artists to help showcase his tea. The artists Kane enlists design everything from the tea tin labels to chocolates, hand cream, body wash and soap made with herbal tea; even the ceramic tea-pots and kettles are designed by local craftsmen.

as it washes over your tongue, allowing you to steal moments of your day to yourself to enjoy your cosy beverage. “It’s still educational,” Kane says. “I like where we’re at but there are always places to grow. We’ve got a nice clientele who are looking for those really unique teas that you can’t get at the other stores.” Look for The Naked Leaf to grow in their new Kensington Road location, where they are neighbours of Higher Ground Café. “It’s beautiful, there’s a fireplace in it and hardwood floors; it’ll be lovely.”

hits the spot with 12 Calgary loCations

watch our flood story

Having worked in restaurants since he was 14, Cory translated his passion for food into his journalistic ambitions, meeting the people who make it and finding out what inspires them.

Chefs' Tips Tricks! story by FRED MALLEY CCC photography by CORY KNIBUTAT

Smoked Short Rib

Winter menus usually feature comfort foods, rich in flavour and often invoking memories of mom’s or grandma’s kitchen. Going beyond nachos and wings is necessary nowadays for pubs in this city to differentiate themselves, and encourage patrons to grab a seat there over the establishment just down the street. We chatted with the people behind the food at three pubs, and it is heartening to note that the chefs are all trained as cooks and have their trade qualification papers.

Smoked Chuck or Short Ribs 2.5 kg chuck flat, cleaned and cut in 5 cm (2 in) cubes or 3 Kg bone-in short ribs

Pig and Duke For a celebration of all things porcine, try out the Pig & Duke at 1321 12th Ave SW. One of the few downtown locations with ample parking, you walk in to a space that is all pub, with dark wood everywhere and a comfortable ambiance. Owners, Stephen and Joanne Lowden take pride in being part of the Connaught neighbourhood, treating regular customers as family. There is always a promotion, whether their riff on a holiday dinner, golf tournaments or sports excursions. The meatloaf is one of the signature dishes here that can definitely satisfy two average appetites. Chef Evan Robertson is happy to point out, “We butcher our own pigs and almost all the menu is made from scratch. We support local farmers and buy fresh!” The philosophy is to ‘keep the customers happy and looking forward to something’. Daily specials keep things interesting, with 28-day aged prime rib on Saturday. ”It’s worth the time and expense to dry-age prime rib,” Robertson points out. With over 80 brews, 25 beers on tap, half of them craft, and constantly evolving, you can

enjoy a different brew almost every day of the year. Here’s the chef’s recipe for smoked short ribs or chuck flats. They are fork tender, with a subtle smoke and hint of sweetness evident because salt is not a prominent addition. The plate is finished with ample fresh root vegetables, making a satisfying and hearty meal. If you’re using bone-in short ribs, buy an extra 500 grams. For most of us who do not have a smoker, substitute half the paprika with smoked paprika. This is a two-day process that feeds 8 generously. You can also pan-smoke the meat for 30 to 45 minutes, using your BBQ outside.

Rub Combine 2 Tbs (30 mL) each paprika, salt and dry parsley. Add ½ tsp (2.5 mL) each brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, dry oregano, ground black pepper and mustard powder. Braising liquid 1/3 cup (85 mL) mesquite seasoning salt 2 cups (500 mL) amber ale 2 cups (500 mL) house made BBQ sauce (see our July ‘13 issue or 8 cups (2 L) brown veal or beef stock

1. Coat the meat with the dry rub, and marinate overnight in the fridge. 2. Smoke the meat at 200° F for 2 hours (or cook in the oven if using smoked paprika)

Pig and Duke is a celebration of all things porcine

3. Bring the braising liquid to a boil and

pour over the meat. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 300° F for 3 to 4 hours or until fork tender.

4. Remove the meat and reserve. Strain

and reduce the braising liquid by 2/3 to use as sauce. 19

Habanero Pineapple Jam 1 large pineapple, peeled, cored and diced 1 Kg sugar 1/3 cup (75 g) chopped habanero peppers, cored and seedless (wear latex gloves) 1 1/3 cup (330 mL) water

1. Place all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and simmer until syrupy. 2. Purée with a wand blender. If using a food processor, be extremely careful as the jam is hot. 3. Hot pack in sterile jars. Vagabond Brewery You are struck by the high ceilings with full windows on this corner location, and the clean, industrial look softened with repurposed wood tables and counters. Dale Neisz is the chef at Vagabond Beer Works, located at 1129 Olympic Way SE. He works closely with managing partner, Lee Borschowa, to provide clients with interesting offerings that enhance the craft beers they brew and serve. Their own ‘nano’ brewery opens in January, allowing them to add to their already established in-house line-up, including the Vagabond Chuck, with its clean, light, hoppy finish. Dale’s philosophy is “providing the familiar but with a twist, we care about what we do,” he says. With a west coast influence, everything on the menu is made in house from fresh ingredients. Whether it’s the bragging rights $100 burger, (it will feed two generously or makes a great starter for four) with ground brisket (tons of flavour) as a base and foie gras or whole wings that are spice-rub marinated and smoked in-house, the food has flavour. Dale marinates the chicken breasts overnight in buttermilk to tenderize and provide moisture. Marinating the wings overnight coated in spice rub allows the flavour to penetrate. He likes to make preserves to accent the dishes, as it allows him to customize the flavours. 20

One of the more popular items on the menu is the ‘Angry Hawaiian’ thin crust pizza. Experimenting for lunch one day, the chef used his Habanero Pineapple Jam with ham and cheese curds to make a moderately spicy and smoky delight. What stands out on this and the other dishes is the reserved use of heat; you can still enjoy the beer, tasting both. Part of their fresh focus is to cook food when you order it. You can enjoy a lobster corn dog with berry compote, buttermilk and spice-marinated chicken on waffles, or

my favourite and Dale’s too, addictive pork cracklings dusted with aged cheddar. Bet you can’t eat just one. The chowder is another standout - a very chunky meal in a bowl. Monday night’s feature is a whole barbequed pig; arrive early to get the crisp skin. Dale is sharing his jam recipe here.

Bottle House The pub with the best view in town is Bottle House Pub & Eatery at 102 10th St. NW. The south wall of windows faces the river and downtown skyline. Clean, modern lines accent the space. Former regional manager for the Joey Group, David Zimmerman, heads up the place and you will see him out front and in the kitchen. He describes the menu as ‘casual ingredients at a high level’. The menu is a hybrid of pub and casual fine dining. He says, ‘we never sacrifice on ingredient quality’. Beer is sourced from Village Brewery, and he keeps two seasonal beers on tap. The menu is not large, but you can enjoy pan-seared salmon with citrus beurre blanc, a flat bread or try the rosemary lemon fries with asiago and Himalayan salt. Not your average pub food. The price points are very reasonable, with most entrees under $20 and appetizers ranging from $6 to $12. David is gluten-free and vegetarian friendly. 403.228.4442

A great sharing dessert is the Granny Smith apple fritters. They come with crunchy almonds, cinnamon mascarpone and salted caramel. David’s caramel recipe is easy to make.

David’s Salted Caramel Sauce 2/3 cup (150 g) sugar 3 Tbs (45 mL) water 3 Tbs (45 g) butter 1/3 cup (80 mL) 35% cream, warmed Finishing salt

1. Combine the sugar and water in a 403.206.9585

saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook, without stirring, until it develops a medium-dark golden colour.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and cream. 3. Sprinkle a few grains of finishing salt

on the caramel after drizzling.

Fred currently validates Individual Learning Modules for Alberta Apprenticeship, for the trade of Cook. Chair of the Canadian Culinary Institute for five year), Fred actively mentors and examines chefs across Canada. 403.206.9565

The Anatomy Of A Food Blogger:

Dissecting The World Of Food Blogging

You know those people who take out their phones at every meal to snap photos of their food? Well “those people” (or some of them, anyway) are changing the way that we look at, and even choose our food.

story by ANDREA FULMEK photography by INGRID KUENZEL Bonnie Huang

Before the creation of food blogs most of us turned to our friends for restaurant recommendations, and our grandmothers for tried and true recipes for a delicious dinner. Now, however, many of us trust the opinions of food bloggers like we trust our best friends. We rely heavily on these food-focused websites to shape our edible decisions. With social media like Twitter and Instagram making it easy to share photos as well as reviews of dishes and recipes, an increasing number of Canadians are sharing their cooking experiences with a snap of a shutter, a click of a button and 140 characters.

Many of us trust the opinions of food bloggers like we trust our best friends Despite the blogosphere growth spurt that has taken place over the past few years, Bonnie Huang, one of Calgary’s top bloggers and founder of Scrumptiously Fit Food, explains that food blogging is simply her way of sharing her perspective on things that she is passionate about: fitness and food.

component to blogging, but part of the intrigue and rising credibility of food blogs is that we get to know the person behind the reviews and begin to connect with the blogger. “Food bloggers have to be willing to reach out to you through their website or through social media,” Jadavji Jessa points out. “Interacting with readers is key, and photos are also very important.” While this interaction, as Jadavji Jessa explains, is key, writing and culinary reviews themselves are often very subjective and force us to understand things in a similar way to how the writer experiences it. With photos, however, readers are encouraged to judge things for themselves and truly determine if the dish is as visually appealing as the writer may have made it out to be. Additionally, we are not forced to predict how a recipe will turn out or guess what someone’s 5-layer chocolate cake may have looked like when we are presented with photos—we have it right in front of our eyes. While we may care about the food that bloggers eat and how lovely their chocolate

cake may have turned out, without an invitation into the food bloggers’ world and without photos to accompany a blog post, reading a food review is, well, rather unexciting. Though food blogging can be overlooked and undervalued, the impact that food bloggers have on food establishments is undeniable. With increasing numbers of Canadians referencing online food reviews before dining out, this form of online media undoubtedly influences where people want to eat and where they definitely do not. Whether or not one bad review can actually make or break a business, Huang explains that it’s important for readers to take negative restaurant reviews with a grain of salt. “A bad review can [potentially] be detrimental to a food establishment and

Without photos to accompany a blog post, reading a food review is, well, rather unexciting

“When I started writing, I never had a goal of being ‘popular.’ Blogging was simply my way of sharing my thoughts and ideas, and a way to catalogue some of my recipes,” explains Huang. “I wanted to help people understand what is healthy and what is not.”

it’s important to remember that everyone has their own perspective. People will say to me, ‘You are so nice and only write nice reviews!’ but I try to be constructive instead of destructive. Maybe the restaurant was just having an off day.”

Similarly, Fareen Jadavji Jessa of Food Mamma, who calls her love for blogging a “creative outlet,” finds that food blogs are great when you need a little inspiration. “Sometimes it’s so easy to make the same thing over and over again, and food blogs are great for inspiration; not necessarily with the food itself, but with experiences too.” she says.

On Huang’s encouraging note, the powerful influence that food bloggers have on businesses throughout the city also means that positive and consistent reviews allow good businesses to flourish. Every positive review means that we are able to gain insight into a dish we may order or a recipe we may try for ourselves. Does this mean we are becoming less adventurous? Well, not exactly. With Calgary now a culinary frontrunner in Canada, some extra encouragement and insight into the overwhelming number of food establishments, means that we are simply making informed food decisions.

Those “experiences,” which are the backbone of every successful blog post, allow us as readers to connect with the writer. Sharing thoughts and information with readers is undoubtedly a huge

“Sometimes it’s so easy to make the same thing over and over again, and food blogs are great for inspiration.” Fareen Jadavji Jessa


Step By Step: Let It Sit - How To Ferment story and photography by NATALIE FINDLAY


For many people, the best salty, tangy crunch inside their fridge is that of their grandmother’s homemade pickles. As undeniably classic as preserving is to our Canadian culture, it’s a brand new year, so why not embrace an interesting way to work with ingredients that you already know and love?

Fermentation requires equal measures of faith, technique and openness. The process of the recipe will help, but you have to leave the door open for the natural process of exciting some bacteria (the good stuff) while lowering other bacteria (the bad stuff), and not holding the precise outcome of the taste too close to your fork. Leaving things up to the bacteria means the end product won’t be exactly the same every time.

always add more spice to the mixture once opened. 800 g Chinese cabbage (or any cabbage you prefer), roughly chopped 400 g bok choy, roughly chopped salt 2 carrots, grated or thinly sliced 30 g fresh ginger, peeled and grated 5 garlic cloves, grated 45 g Korean chilli paste 10 g Korean salted shrimp, minced 1 bunch green onions 10 g sugar 2 Tbs (30 mL) fish sauce

Many inventions are the result of happy accidents, and have paved the way for food discoveries. Fermentation doesn’t have a specific origin but it has been owned by many historic cultures. Our ancestors have built fail-safes that have allowed us to get our required nutrition, and preserving has been an important part of this process. Fermentation allows us to incorporate lots of good, healthy bacteria into our digestive system to help us fight off those bacteria that can cause us harm. There were lots of possibilities for bad bacteria to enter our system through the ages. Does that mean that since we have modern medicine on our side, we can disregard what we’ve learned from our ancestors? I believe that we are still responsible for our digestive maintenance, and fermentation allows us to take charge. I’m sure you know of many ways that you are adding fermented products into your present diet: beer, yogurt, pickles, wine, cheese; there are many. Sauerkraut is one of the most well known. Kimchi is a great Korean relish that basically kicks up sauerkraut with the use of Korean red pepper. Kimchi is not hard to make, but you need to allow for the fermentation process to take place naturally. You can’t rush Mother Nature, so your active time is limited in this process. Here’s a great recipe to start with. I’ve given lots of tips along the way. Give it a try, your gut will thank you. Kimchi is a great addition to rice dishes, soups and stews. You can use this recipe as a base and tinker with the ingredients.

1. Place the cabbage and bok choy in

a large bowl. Combine 5 g salt for every 3 cups (750 mL) of water and stir to dissolve before pouring over the leaves. The proportions should equal 3 L of water to 20 g of salt. If 3 L of water does not cover the cabbage, then add another 3 cups (750 mL) and 5 g salt until the majority of the leaves are submerged. You can use a plate to help submerge them if needed.

2. Let sit at room temperature 4 to 8


Makes 3 x 500 mL jars

Kimchi is a generic term for any spicy, Korean, fermented, pickled vegetables. There are two ingredients that add a more authentic taste - Korean red pepper powder or kochukaru, and Korean salted shrimp, known as saeujeot. Both of these ingredients are readily available at any Asian specialty grocer, but if you can’t find either, leave out the shrimp and substitute your favourite hot pepper powder (eg: cayenne) or paste in lieu of the Korean red pepper powder. But come on, be a little more adventurous this year! Note: there are many heat levels of peppers. If you are using a new product it might be wise to error on the side of less spicy, rather than having to throw away a product that you have taken the time to make. You can

hours, then pour the leaves into a colander to drain the salt water. Return the leaves to the bowl and add enough fresh cold water to cover. Let sit 10 minutes. Drain leaves through the colander again. Now that the greens have been cured, they are ready to ferment.

3. Place the rest of the ingredients in a

bowl and stir to combine. Pour mixture over the cabbage and bok choy and incorporate everything together.

4. Using tongs, add kimchi mixture to sterilized glass jars and cover. Let jars sit in a warm room above 24º C for 24 hours. Refrigerate kimchi for up to one month. Note: for best results allow kimchi to incorporate the flavours for at least 72 hours before consuming.

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. 25

4 Food Apps

Every Self-Proclaimed ‘Foodie’ Should Have by CHELSEA KLUKAS

Ask the average Calgarian to describe their basic needs and it’s likely they’ll respond with food, shelter, and smartphones. While not exactly an essential need, smartphones have become increasingly useful, whether you’re finalizing business deals or replying to a friend’s tweet. Many of us are familiar with using our smartphones to look up restaurant locations and reviews, but these four apps take food-focused technology to the next level. Olson Recipe Maker

For iOS and Android: $3.99 Food Network star Anna Olson’s “Recipe Maker” is a unique spin on the been-theredone-that recipe app genre. Rather than presenting a set list of recipes, this app creates custom recipes based on ingredients that are already in your kitchen. Olson Recipe Maker also provides over 60 minutes of original video tutorials from Michael and Anna, guiding through various cooking techniques. I tried the app out myself with ingredients in my own kitchen. While the app was unfortunately unable to create a recipe from beer, ketchup, saltine crackers, and three cheese rinds (it must have been a glitch because I make meals from this all 26

the time), it offered a helpful list of “20 Essential Ingredients” to keep stocked in your kitchen. A later and more successful try with chicken, onions, and jalapeño generated a chicken chilli recipe complete with videos on making perfect tomato sauce and pan searing. Olson Recipe Maker also features a built-in shopping list function. Saved recipes can instantly be added to a grocery list, as well as the “20 Essential Ingredients” to stock in every kitchen. For chefs who like to experiment but still need a bit of guidance, Olson’s app is a useful way to learn new cooking techniques.



Tastemade is an app for creating and sharing food videos, aspiring to “connect the world through food”. Unlike co-ed beach volleyball, food may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of exciting video content. With the massive number of video and motion apps that are available, I was sceptical about the concept.

It’s no secret that the best-quality produce is fresh, seasonal and local, but sourcing it isn’t always easy. Farmstand strives to “connect every community with locally grown food” by providing a list of nearby farmers markets. Each listing includes the ability for user-generated updates on weekly deals and real-time tips on the best of the market’s offerings.

For iOS, Free

For iOS, Free

Within a few minutes of downloading Tastemade I was watching surprisingly highquality videos of food from all over the globe. From traditional Peking duck in old Beijing, to a German-themed “wurstfest” in Texas, the variety and quality of the usergenerated videos were captivating. The app guides users through the process with step-by-step stages including introduction, environment shots, meal shots, and final review. Title fonts, editing tools, and ambient music are provided. Like Yelp on steroids, this well-designed app makes it easy to create and share polished videos of food reviews and discovery.

For those already accustomed to tweeting and instagramming their market visits, this app encourages users to photograph and share their market finds. Browsing your local market’s feed can provide inspiration and motivation to cook with the best seasonal produce. The app not only lists local markets but also provides times and dates when they are open, which is helpful for pop-up and seasonal markets.


For iOS and Android, Free

While the Calgary information is still limited, this easy-to-use app has potential to be the next big trend among tech-savvy locavores.

While not a food app, Snapseed is a musthave for food photographers. Most mobile photos can use a bit of enhancement but the default filters on instagram are often too harsh (because really, how often does a vintage blue tint make something look more appetizing?). Snapseed offers the basic adjustments in contrast, saturation, and brightness. The real magic, however, is in the “Selective Adjust” function. Rather than adjusting an entire image, snapseed allows you to adjust the contrast, brightness, or saturation in a selected area of the photo. Other handy tools for food are the “details” filter for extra sharpness and the “centre focus” function to blur out edges. This app also includes Google+ functionality and one-click social media sharing. It’s a well-researched fact that food tastes better when your friends in cyberspace are jealous, and snapseed ensures your instagrams look exceptionally delicious.

Chelsea Klukas writes regularly about technology, food, and culture for a variety of blogs and publications. 27

Soup Kitchen by DAN CLAPSON

January is a tough month for our stomachs. We are all equal parts exhausted with the holiday goodies and feasts, but still want something comforting when it’s cold outside. Finding sustenance in a dish doesn’t always mean ‘butter and cream’ so here are a couple of recipes that trend on the lighter side of things, while keeping you nice and warm at the dinner table! Creamy Broccoli and Sausage Soup Serves 3-4 Total cook time 40 minutes

225g Spolumbo’s Italian sausage (casing removed if applicable) 1 yellow onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, chopped 3 red potatoes, 1 cm cubed, approx. 4 cups 4 cups (1 L) chicken broth 1 1/2 cups (360 mL) water 3 cups broccoli florets, loosely chopped 1 lemon, zest and juice 1 Tbs white wine vinegar 1/2 tsp ground cloves salt and pepper olive oil

1. Heat some olive oil in a large pan on

medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until completely browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set on paper towel to absorb any excess oil. 28

2. Lower to medium heat and in the same pan, cook down the onion and garlic. Cook for 15 minutes or until well caramelised, adding small spoonfuls of water as needed if the onion is sticking to the bottom of the pan. 3. Place the potatoes, broth and water

in a large pot and bring to a boil on high heat. Let boil until the potatoes are fork tender, approximately 10 minutes.

Spoon contents of pan into pot and purée the soup until silky smooth using an immersion blender.

4. Reduce to medium heat, add

remaining ingredients and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle out to serve with warm bread and wool sweaters!

Simple Cauliflower Soup with Cranberry Onion Chutney Serves 4 Total cook time 50 min Soup: 1 head cauliflower, loosely chopped 1 small celery root, peeled and 1 cm cubed (approximately 2 ½ cups) 4 cups (1 L) chicken stock 2 cloves garlic 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp ground coriander seed salt and pepper Chutney: 1 cup dried cranberries ¼ yellow onion, thinly sliced ¼ cup (60 mL) water

stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

1 Tbs red wine vinegar 1 Tbs lemon juice 2 tsp ground black pepper 1 tsp salt

3. For the chutney, combine all ingredients

1. Place the first 4 soup ingredients in a

medium pot. Bring to a boil on mediumhigh heat. Reduce to medium heat and let simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

2. Puree contents of pot until very smooth either using an immersion blender or standard blender with a heat-safe pitcher. Add in remaining spices and let soup continue to cook for another 30 minutes,

in a small pan. Bring to a simmer on medium-high heat and let cook for 10 minutes. Use a food processor or magic bullet to lightly purée the cranberry mixture. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

4. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with a spoonful or two of the cranberry onion chutney.


c il a nt ro FOOD & DRINK

113 - 8th Avenue SW

747 Lake Bonavista Dr SE


340 - 17th Avenue SW

338 - 17th Avenue SW

Comfort(able) Pairings by BJ OUDMAN

Romeo and Juliet, peas and carrots, and peanut butter and jelly-classic matchups require no additional explanation. The same goes for “no-brainer” wine and food pairing such as oysters and champagne, clams and chablis, and grilled Alberta steak and malbec. But what about pairing wine with comfort food, that miscellaneous repast that usually consists of a hodgepodge of ingredients?

Comfort food means different things to each individual, but if you exclude popular ethnic influences (how many people now have Vietnamese pho on their top five?), there remain some common North American favourites. As for pairing wine with them, there are no hard and fast rules to follow, but perhaps a few guidelines and suggestions will help you narrow down your bottle selection. First thing to remember - if you are eating comfort food, go ahead and pick your comfort wine to drink with it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with sipping a glass of gewürztraminer with a cheeseburger if that is what soothes your soul on a cold day or when you are just feeling blue (and if that is the colour of your cheese, it might be a good pairing indeed). Some people cannot be bothered to think about their pairings - they drink their favourite wine with anything they eat.... period. But for wine geeks or those that take their wine and food seriously, there is more to consider. Look at the main ingredients or flavour profile of the dish to see if a component stands out; also be aware of any ingredients that could clash. Another


consideration - since comfort food generally isn’t fine dining, it generally doesn’t warrant opening your best bottle of Bordeaux, no matter how well dressed you are (but go ahead if you can - we won’t judge). A thick, juicy, hand-crafted burger tops the comfort food list for many of us. The main ingredient is usually beef, but then add the fixings–lettuce, cheese, barbecue sauce, aioli, mustard, pickles, bacon, and tomato for your fully loaded behemoth! The protein can handle tannins, but the creamy, spicy and fermented elements can create pairing havoc.

Try Chasing Lions 2010 North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon ($22) from the Stag’s Leap district of Napa - 82% cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot, and 8% petit verdot. A full-bodied wine with plenty of berry flavours and mild tannins, it is well balanced and not overly complicated. If you prefer white wine with your burger, try Noble Tree 2012 Chardonnay ($20) from Sonoma, California.

How many people gravitate towards ordering-in pizza when they have no time to cook? All pizza has a crust, the sauce is more often than not tomato based, but from there…the sky’s the limit. Savoury meat, chicken, and vegetables topped with a mountain of gooey cheese. And then just to throw you off, a touch of sweetness from pineapple?

Velenosi 2012 Lacrima di Morro d’Alba DOC Querciantica ($19) is made from 100% lacrima, an indigenous varietal from the Marche region in Italy. A people-pleaser wine low in tannins, enough bite to balance the tomato sauce and a palate of floral and spice notes to complement any array of toppings thrown at it. The flavour profile of the pecorino grape also works well with pizza, and not just because of the name. If you can, choose a slightly older vintage or let it sit on your shelf for a year before opening, to develop some licorice notes before you uncork it with a pizza. Try Umani Ronchi 2012 Pecorino for $20.

Another favourite dish to warm your soul on a cold winter day is a bowl of chilli. Although not always hot in spice, it is full of layered flavours, starting with the meat (beef, game and sausage are common) enrobed in a seasoned tomato sauce and topped off with beans, corn, sour cream and cheese. Robust foods pair well with full-bodied reds, and garnatxa (more commonly known to North American consumers as garnacha or

grenache) from Spain has the smokiness and spice to stand up to a savoury chilli. Artazuri 2012 Navarro DO ($18) has great acidity, but you are met first with a nose full of intense dark berries, violets and black pepper that continue on to fill your palate with pleasant jamminess.

Last but not least, is chicken soup - a dish so amazing that it soothes the common cold, inspires books (why is there not yet a Chicken Soup for the Wine Lover’s Soul?) and is a staple of kitchens all over the world. The main component is chicken, swimming along with vegetables and herbs in a flavourful stock. A light bodied red complements the chicken yet does not clash with the herbs. Sokol Blosser 2011 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir ($40) is vinified organically to let its Oregon terroir speak.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with sipping a glass of gewürztraminer with a cheeseburger if that is what soothes your soul

At the end of the day, do what is important - enjoy both what is on your plate and whatever is in your glass! BJ Oudman is a physical therapist with a passion for food and wine. She travels the world when she has time between consulting in both physical therapy and wine.

The Boys of Briggs by LAURA LUSHINGTON photography by INGRID KUENZEL

When I sat down to interview Brad Taylor, Xavier Lacaze and Darren Lexa at Briggs Kitchen and Bar, I have to admit I was nervous. First of all, Lacaze has cooked in many notable Calgary kitchens such as Muse Restaurant and Home Tasting Room, as well as a top 5 finish on Top Chef Canada, season two. Then there’s Taylor, who spent 23 years at Earl’s and Joey Restaurants in roles such as director of operations, and last but not least Lexa, most recently a regional chef at Joey. All three have been a big part of my dining experiences at these establishments while I was growing up, and to this very day. But when I walked into Briggs, I instantly knew I wasn’t meeting with three restaurant ‘hot shots’; I was just having a drink with the boys of Briggs. Although it was too early for beer, we settled on coffees as Taylor, Lexa and Lacaze dove into the story of how Briggs came to be and where they hope it will go. Taylor and Lexa had worked together for many years throughout their careers at Earl’s and Joey restaurants. Of course, over time, they had jokingly talked about branching out on their own. Always focused on the task at hand, Taylor and Lexa let their independent ambitions fade to the background until 2012 when Taylor left the Joey Restaurant Group with the intention of taking a few years off to be with his son and family, and to travel.

“We think that we can get great stuff on the plate at a reasonable cost. And, I think as restaurateurs we owe that to Calgary.”

Those few years reduced into a few months when Lexa received a call from Taylor, who was antsy to get back into the business. “He called and asked how serious I was about our previous conversations,” says Lexa. “I was in Winnipeg at the time, but wanted to get out to Calgary and do something on our own.”

party. Impressed by his food, even though Lacaze says he served Taylor and his guests a Dairy Queen ice cream cake, Taylor knew that “X”, as they call him, was a highly sought after chef. Simply put, Taylor says he realized he wanted to bring Lacaze’s food to the masses.

Over the next few months, the two made trips to Calgary to visit sites and make concrete plans. It was in the fall of 2012, that Taylor approached Lexa about inviting Lacaze on board to be a concept chef and partner in the business.

“The idea of it started to crystallize,” Taylor explains. “If we matched somebody with fine dining talent like Xavier with our abilities to run restaurants, then we could put something together that was indestructible, to a degree. Some place where people get to experience the finer things in life but they don’t have to have white linen tablecloth and big average cheques to do it.”

Lacaze, when he was executive chef at Muse, had catered Taylor’s fortieth birthday


chicken wings to the side dish of smoked mushrooms. Briggs also has a large seafood contingent on its menu, with the signature paella being a satisfying comfort dish to share with friends, and a crispy flatbread that should round out any meal here. And don’t forget to leave room for dessert — I hope the meringues on their lemon pie, dusted with white chocolate shavings, are one of the last bites I eat before I die.

Appealing to a broad-spectrum of guests, being fun, energetic and approachable became Briggs’ mission statement, and the groundwork began to take place. “I never thought someone would approach me to do a restaurant like this knowing I did the frou-frou stuff at Muse and other fine dining places before,” Lacaze admits wholeheartedly. “I was excited and I just wanted to see if it was feasible. I always thought you had to have 12 components and be very complicated in a dish, where you can actually be very simple and very good.” But first a boy’s weekend was in order. Having never met, Lexa and Lacaze joined their mutual friend Taylor on a trip to Chicago to team build, and of course, eat. The three ate in over 20 restaurants in 36 hours to get educated, inspired and bond. This trip, and others taken by Taylor to Chicago and Bellingham, Washington, led the trio to experience how cooking over solid fuel (wood and charcoal) was becoming a bona fide method to base menus and food on. By fluke, on another business trip, Taylor came across the Josper Oven — a combination grill and oven that cooks 35 per cent faster than a traditional grill and uses charcoal. So impressed with the lunch that he was served from the oven, Taylor had Lexa and Lacaze fly in to test the food from it too. All three loved the results. Briggs Kitchen and Bar now houses two made-in-Spain Josper Ovens that, through

trial and error, the two chefs decided would run mesquite charcoal. Together, Lacaze and Lexa, began developing a menu that revolves around the oven’s capabilities to cook at high temperatures and therefore reduce the need to add on extras. “It was an amazing challenge,” says Lacaze. “It took me back to the roots of cooking, like cooking under a fireplace. I had never done that before. “We burnt a lot of stuff, including ourselves, but learned a lot. Personally, I learned how to simplify the food I was doing before to something more approachable, still with great flavours. It (the Josper Oven) made us trim down the extra sauces and textures. We can now take a great product, cook it nicely and finish it with salt, oil and a bit of herbs. We don’t hide it or mask it with extra flavours on top.” With a recently updated menu, the two chefs have perfected their Josper techniques and use it for everything from

The restaurant has also expanded its brunch menu, serving morning classics along with breakfast perogies and house-cured salmon tartine. The New Year will bring a focus on brunch, with bowls of carefully crafted punches to accompany the eggs benedict. Anyone else feeling like a Sunday, Funday? “We’re excited to be a part of a new direction in food and beverage in Calgary, “says Taylor. “We think that we can get great stuff on the plate at a reasonable cost. And, I think as restaurateurs we owe that to Calgary.” “We want to be that place where people can come in, have wicked stuff, eat Xavier’s food and get out of here for around 20 bucks — and do it wearing whatever you want. Jeans and a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops, come see us.” Briggs are at 100, 317 10 Avenue SW, Calgary 587-350-5015 @briggskandb Laura Lushington is a recent graduate of Mount Royal University’s Bachelor of Communication – Journalism program. She’s @LauraLushington or

5. Using a food processor, mix together

the egg yolks and now cold mushrooms until smooth. Add the mayo and Dijon and mix again until smooth. Check and adjust seasoning. Transfer into a piping bag tied at the top and keep cold.

6. Before serving, lightly season each egg white and stuff them up to 1 cm over. Garnish with a piece of bacon scrap, quickly reheated. Pair with Braida Il Fiore from Italy $25 or Brasserie D’Achouffe La Chouffe beer from Belgium 330 mL $5.25

Garlic and Sweet Pea Soup with Lemon Sour Cream Serves 6 to 8

4 cups (1 L) cream 2 cups (500 mL) vegetable stock 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 4 garlic cloves, chopped 1 Kg green peas frozen 110 g washed baby spinach 1 cup (250 mL) sour cream 2 Tbs chives, finely chopped 1 lemon, zest To taste salt and pepper

1. In a large pot bring the cream,

vegetable stock, garlic, salt and pepper to a boil.

2. Add the green peas and bring back to boil. 3. Blend with the spinach until smooth, continuing to add more spinach to each batch that is blended. Mix, season and place on iced water immediately to chill if not served right away. 4. Mix sour cream with chives, lemon

zest and seasoning to taste. Pour on top of each soup when serving.

Pair with Heggies Chardonnay 2011 from South Australia $24

Devilled Eggs

Serves 8, 3 pieces each 12 eggs, hard-boiled 275 g white mushrooms, sliced 2 Tbs (30 mL) olive oil 2 Tbs (28 g) chopped shallots 2 Tbs (28 g) unsalted butter 12 egg yolks 2/3 cup (160 mL) Mayo 3 Tbs (45 mL) Dijon mustard To taste salt and pepper 24 pieces cooked bacon scraps, to garnish

1. Place eggs in a large pot in one layer and cover with cold water, bring to a boil. Boil for 9 minutes and refresh under cold water until the eggs are completely chilled.

2. Wash and roughly slice the mushrooms. Peel and chop the shallots into 5 mm dice. 3. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add mushrooms and shallots and season generously. Cook 1 minute on high heat, then add cubed butter. Cook for another minute and cool down on a tray. 4. Peel the eggs under cold water

with a strainer (to keep the shells from plugging the sink), and cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the egg yolks and set the whites aside in the cooler until needed.

Your chance to win a Chef’s ‘dinner for two’ at Briggs Kitchen and Bar - including cocktail pairings! Yes, one very lucky person will win this amazing experience at Briggs Kitchen and Bar - and enjoy cocktail pairings with each course! To win, simply go to and share with us your ‘food resolution’ for 2014 and why you’re going to stick with it. The best foodie resolution (it can be anything from a diet change to attempting to be a more adventurous diner this year) will win! Good luck, we can’t wait to hear from you! 35

Ways to Spice Up Beef Stew by LAURA LUSHINGTON

Before you curl up in front of your fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa, you need some dinner in your belly. So why not eat something equally as easy to eat on the couch wrapped in a blanket? (Side note: Snuggies are perfect for this.) The traditional beef stew is hearty dish, great to have ready for friends and family when they come off the ski hill or inside from shovelling snow. Or, if you’re part of the action too, make the stew a day ahead for deeper flavours. 1. Mix up your winter vegetables

3. Beer it up

5. African Beef Stew

Carrots, potatoes and turnips are the typical vegetables added to stews, but there are many other options that can change the flavour and increase the nutritional content.

In most basic beef stews, substitute the water or liquid amount for half beer and half beef stock for a nutty flavour. Flemish beef stews use dark ales.

Using the basic recipe provided, make the following adjustments:

2. Turn it French – Beef Daube or Bourguignon

4. Hungry for Goulash?

Try: • Sweet potato or yam • Rutabaga • Winter squash

Most cultures have their own variation of a stew. In France, it’s called a beef daube or bourguignon. The beef will always be braised in red wine, but the daube will use Herbs de Provence and orange peel, while the bourguignon will usually include mushrooms and pearl onions. 36

Try: • Ale • Guinness • Lager

Goulash is the Hungarian version of a beef stew. Using hot and sweet paprikas and other spices like marjoram, this tomatobased stew is unlike our traditional version. Nonetheless, it’s extremely tasty and a must-try for those who like it spicy.

• Use 4 – 6 beef short ribs, separated, along with 1 Kg stewing beef, cubed • Do not add potatoes, carrots or turnip. • Over medium heat, stir garlic and onions until golden. Add all meat and brown, about 30 minutes. • Stir in 1½ cups (375 mL) crushed tomatoes, 1 tsp cardamom, 1 cinnamon stick and cover with water. • Simmer for 2 hours or until beef is tender. Stir occasionally. • In last 15 minutes, add 2 cups okra, defrosted or fresh, and 1 tsp cumin. Stir. Discard cinnamon stick and do not add cornstarch to thicken.

Grandma’s Beef Stew Serves 4 to 6

1.5-2 Kg rump roast 1 -2 small potatoes per person, peeled 5 large carrots, cubed 1 turnip, sliced 1 large onion, chopped 3 Tbs salt 1/4 tsp pepper 1 tsp. dry parsley flakes 3/4 cup peas (fresh or frozen) 3/4 cup green beans (fresh or frozen) 3 Tbs cornstarch

1. Put roast in middle of roasting pan.

Place potatoes, carrots, turnip and onion around roast.

6. Chili Beef Stew

8. Top with cheese

A few simple substitutions can give any beef stew a southwestern-flair.

Ooey, gooey melting cheese can add a personalized touch to your bowl of stew. Have a few different kinds on hand and let your guests decide their own topping — or try them all!

Try: • Beef stock instead of water • Omitting parsley and use 1 Tbs chili powder • Using celery instead of turnips and potatoes • Adding lima beans and corn instead of green beans and peas

7. Add chocolate Beef and chocolate go surprisingly well together. Add 2 Tbs cocoa powder in with the spices and 50 – 75 g dark chocolate a few minutes before serving for a velvety touch.

Bonus: Toast French bread; rub with garlic and then layer on top of your stew. Top with your choice of cheese and bake until bubbling. Divine.

Try: • Sharp cheddar cheese • Blue cheese • Gruyere

Laura Lushington is a recent graduate of Mount Royal University’s Bachelor of Communication – Journalism program. She’s @LauraLushington or

2. Add cold water to cover potatoes then add salt, pepper and parsley. Stir to evenly distribute spices. 3. Place in oven for ¾ to 1 hour at 400º F. Then reduce temperature to 350º F for 2 hours or until vegetables are tender. 4. Halfway through cooking add peas

and beans. Add more water if necessary.

5. 15 minutes before serving, cut roast

into bite size pieces (2-5 cms). Put stew on top of a large burner and bring to a boil on high heat.

6. Mix cornstarch and 1 cup (240 mL)

cold water in measuring cup and stir into stew to thicken.

7. Let stew simmer on low heat for 15 minutes before serving.


Menu Gems We asked our contributors to pick their favourite comfort food dish from any Calgary restaurant, and they are sharing them with us here.

Warm Mushroom Tart, Avec Bistro

Chili Ramen, Shikiji’s

Zuppa de Pesce, Mercato

Breakfast Poutine, Brasserie Kensington.

Few things are as comforting as buttery pastry filled with a creamy mushroom mixture and finished with parmesan. I would have it every day for lunch if calories didn’t exist! Dan Clapson

My favourite dish on a cold winter’s day is the Zuppa de Pesce at Mercato on 4th Street. The broth is warm and inviting, not too heavy or thick, and perfectly seasoned. The big chunks of seafood and fennel stand out in the soup with just the right amount of tomato flavour. Karen Mlller

With winter in full force, this steaming bowl of ramen at Shikiji on Centre Street N hits the spot. Lots of noodles in a warming, flavourful broth. It will fill you up too, as the portion is generous! Fred Malley

Chef/Owner/Beard Model Cam Dobranski’s Breakfast Poutine comes with cheese curds, hollandaise, duck gravy & a fried egg over top a mound of fresh cut fries that have been crisped to soul-restoring perfection in a Brome Lake duck fat deep fryer. Tarquin Melnyk

Mac ‘n Cheese, Taste

It’s the perfect combination of fatty, salty, and filling, paired perfectly with a cocktail. In Canadian winters it’s important to have extra padding to keep warm! Chelsea Klukas

The Grilled Cheese, Diner Deluxe

There are a number of comfort food dishes at Diner Deluxe that I just love (and let’s not even get started on the Chocolate Sourdough French Toast with Grilled Bananas), but “The Grilled Cheese” is heaven. Two slices of Urban Baker’s rosemary sourdough bread surround an ooey gooey blend of Sylvan Star Gouda, aged cheddar and Oka cheese. Andrea Fulmek

Sandwiches, Sidewalk Citizen Bakery

Warmed up in the oven, the daily-made sandwiches at Sidewalk Citizen Bakery are hard to resist. With both a vegetarian and meat option, it’s even harder to make the choice of which one to get. Check social media for the day’s offerings. They’re rich, comforting and healthy! Laura Lushington

Spicy Bean Jelly Curd, Szechuan Restaurant

When the snow is blowing and your skin is freezing, raise your internal temperature with #26 on the menu at Szechuan Restaurant on 16th Ave NW - spicy bean jelly curd in hot sauce. Served cold, but that does not deter it from creating fire in your belly! BJ Oudman

Mac ‘n Cheese, Farm

I have a soft spot for mac & cheese, but fortunately my boyfriend’s lactose intolerance keeps me from making and eating it too often. I love to stop by Farm for their mac & cheese though - it combines some of Janice Beaton’s best cheeses, with a bit of a spicy kick. Vincci Tsui

on 4th Open FOR LUNCH, DINNER & late night Serving Brunch Sat & Sun 11:30-2:30PM 718 17th Ave SW

403 474 4414



150-1800 4th street sw| 403.453.3670 | Visit Our Award Winning Sister Restaurant


LeVilla Chophouse West

404-1800 Sirocco Drive SW | 403.217.9699

Lunch | Dinner |Private Events

Cup a’ Giuseppe (Where Did The Cuppa’ Joe Go?) by MATT BROWMAN

“Large coffee, please.” “You mean a grand-ay, sir?” the cashier replied with a dedicated smile. “Just a large coffee, regular. Thanks.” “We don’t have large, sir. We have grande or venti.” “I don’t know what that means.” “A grande is sixteen ounces, a venti is twenty”. “Is that the same size as a large?” “OK. I’ll get you a grande. Did you want a blonde, medium or bold roast?” “I want a coffee. In a large cup. With one cream and one sugar.” “Ok. A medium. Did you say to leave room for cream?” “I didn’t want a medium. I wanted a large. Coffee, that is. With one cream and one sugar in it”, my growing consternation as much a function of my caffeine withdrawal as it was the ludicrous nature of this simple coffee stop. “We have a service area just behind you. You can select your own condiments. You’ll see that there is also honey, milk, and skim milk, brown and raw sugar. And by medium I meant medium roast.” “Not really service if you’re fixing it yourself” I mumbled. “Beg your pardon, sir?” “Never mind. How much?” “Two thirty-five, sir. Sorry, did you say that was to stay or to go?” “Definitely to go.” I had $2.00 in my pocket. Figured it would’ve been enough for a large coffee. “Do you take debit?” “We certainly do!”

Saying “Grande, non-fat, caramel machiatto” or “tall, soy, extra hot, chai latte” made us feel good. And so began the re-education of Canadian coffee culture. Twenty-five years ago I could walk into a Tim Hortons, order a medium regular, put down my eighty-five cents and be perfectly satisfied. In 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, Tim Hortons got on base in the early innings, creating consistent expectations to remove the risk of disappointment from a local diner, doughnut shop or hotel. Starbucks then advanced the runnersopening five locations in Toronto in 1996 (one was opened in Vancouver in 1987, however the timeline of culture change is consistent with the Toronto launch), and in so doing was the first to buck the linguistic, flavour, experiential and price expectations. They introduced a different “user experience”: the grand slam of calm, comfortable spaces, a selection of styles

that offered richer brews, the mysterious and high-culture sounds of the foreign words that all led to a premium price. And the language did not apply to cup sizes only. Words like latte, macchiato, or cappuccino, as well as customer options for dairy sources and fat levels (soy, skim, homo/whipped cream), personalization of temperature (extra hot), and flavoured sweeteners (hazelnut, vanilla etc.), all created consumers who fell in step with the cadence of their special-order sounds. Saying “Grande, non-fat, caramel machiatto” or “tall, soy, extra hot, chai latte” made us feel good. Feel a part of something. We shared a secret. And the demand for that consistent, higher quality, more intense experience did not stay in the coffee shops. Home brewing equipment and techniques infiltrated our living spaces and altered our rituals. Water boiling presented options (electric or stove top?), as well as ideal wait times before moistening the grains. The grinder made its appearance on kitchen counters. Is that a cool burr style, hand ground, or helicopter blade? Cones, presses and eventually home espresso machines replaced percolators and coffee makers. That massive tin of frozen Folgers grounds was usurped by single pounds of fresh whole bean with fold-over flaps to remove unwanted oxygen.

Is that a cool burr style, hand ground, or helicopter blade?

More fascinating is how inexplicably quickly consumers not only adapted to, but celebrated the changes. While we staunchly resisted similar waves in wine culture, such as screw caps or partially filled glasses, the bean-town Branch Rickeys prepared their fleet of coffee-slinging Jackie Robinsons to withstand the vitriolic, inflexible, caffeineinduced impatience of gauche jerks like that guy at the top of the page. And it has not stopped there. Since Starbucks, the move has continued towards super premium, neighbourhood coffee houses and local roasters, such as Phil & Sebastian, Gravity, Café Rosso, Fratello Analog or Java Jamboree. Each venue stands alone in style, with specially sourced beans that are roasted to customized specifications. Cappuccinos (note that I dropped the italics as these words are now part of our lingo) are one size and one flavour, while the art of milk-sharing and steaming creates the ideal microfoam. ‘Dialing in’ the shot due to temperature fluctuations and newly opened bags is a constant task, and ‘cuppings’ have become a common assessment technique. A great barrista has taken on cult-hero status for his or her skill in and knowledge of all preparation methods, bean sources and treatments, the effects of location, growing techniques, history and specific farmers. In a way, this most recent step has revoked the customization that Starbucks created and replaced it with a new standard of knowledge: “We’re the experts. Take it from us. What you think is a cappuccino is not a cappuccino. Here. Have one of our cappuccinos and you will never want to customize yours again”. This vanguard

even scoffs at terms such as ‘bold’ or ‘blonde’, for these are not options inherent to the coffee, but proprietary references that are a function of how the beans are processed. And don’t even get them started on ‘macchiato’. The customers’ ownership comes not from the rhythmic utterance of their catechismic order, but from the sense that they share the next secret with the new experts. Ironic, as much of this coffee culture revolution has deep roots in European tradition. These changes do not presuppose an entire population, and indeed likely account for a moderate percentage of total consumers. Folgers still finds shelf space at your grocery store, Tim Hortons continues to open locations, the classic coffee maker still occupies more counter space at home than Aero presses, kettles or ceramic cones.

A great barrista has taken on cult-hero status

However on Monday, October 28th, 2013, reported that: Tim Hortons announced Monday it will roll out a new dark roast coffee in two test markets, the first change to its standard coffee offering in the company’s 49-year history. It’s the Canadian chain’s latest attempt to fend off growing competition from other coffee retailers. The company faces stiff competition in the market it used to dominate, with rivals like Starbucks and McDonald’s luring customers away with darker, stronger brews. Yes. Even McDonalds has adopted the concept of espresso in their coffee. And the next secret? With a change in export quotas that encouraged quantity over quality, the widespread practice of blending high percentages of (lower quality) Brazilian Arabica or Robusto beans into most coffee blends is fading. Instead, modern roasters can source single origin beans that offer characteristics unique to the bean type, or cultivar, and the specific conditions of the place each is grown. Individual aroma profiles, brighter acidity and diverse final purpose suggest that, like wine, we can anticipate millions of ‘estate’ or ‘plantation’ designated coffees from thousands of growing regions around the world. God help our guy at the start. 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.


Best in Class Judges Selection Top Value

2013 BE


2013 JU


E S’ S E L E C T I O

2013 N

Rudera Syrah



Bergsig Pinotage Rudera Robusto


Tel: 403 400-1784 : E-mail:

YOU KNOW WHAT WE CAN DO WITH ESPRESSO. COME SEE WHAT WE CAN DO WITH A LIQUOR LICENSE. Now serving wine and beer at our new cafe in Mission.


Guide To Date Night Dining by LAURA LUSHINGTON

romance/noun/ ro-man(t)s, ro-; ro-/ 1a) a love affair b) sentimental or idealized love c) a prevailing sense of wonder or mystery surrounding the mutual attraction in a love affair 2) a feeling of excitement and adventure.

Choosing the right restaurant for your date can be a challenge. Is it a special occasion? A first meeting over drinks or a night away from the kids? You’ll need to consider the location, atmosphere, and how luxurious and intimate the restaurant is to find the perfect place for romance. Once you’ve made your decision, don’t make the rookie mistake of forgetting to make a reservation. Book your table in advance and show your date you care. ambience/noun/ am-bi-n(t)s, ämbi-än(t)s/ the atmosphere of a place; mood. Whether you’re looking for white linen or a place with a cool and casual vibe, the ambience of a restaurant dictates the feel your date will have. Most importantly, you’ll want to pick an atmosphere that both you and your date feel comfortable in. That said, it’s always fun to try something new together or take your date to a restaurant where you’re an expert in the wines or food. Be their guide and let the romance flourish. The Bear’s Den: With grand cherry wood walls and a fireplace that will warm your heart, The Bear’s Den is straight out of an old Hollywood movie. This far northwest restaurant serves upscale comfort food fit for special occasions. Il Sogno: In the heart of Bridgeland, Il Sogno’s plush red chairs, pressed tin ceilings and gorgeous curtains scream romance. Combined with its decadent Italian fare, this restaurant is sure to please every heart. Laurier Lounge: Nothing is more romantic than sharing food with another person. Dip your way to love with one of the Laurier Lounge’s fondues for the perfect first date. intimate/adjective/in-t-mt/ 1) closely acquainted; familiar, close 2) private and personal.

The Bear’s Den

The art of distance is crucial to the success of a date. You don’t want to be too close to each other or another couple. The table

care of every little detail. Tasting menus are a great option for dates as it eliminates the need to fret over your dinner choices. Talk about each dish and get to know each other’s tastes.

has to be wide enough to fit your plates and wine glasses easily, but not so large that you can’t hold hands (nudge nudge, wink wink). Farm: This tiny restaurant along 17 Avenue serves delicious and refined local food, yet the décor makes you feel right at home. Sit next to each other at the bar and share a selection of meats and cheeses. Rouge: The spacing between tables at Rouge lets you have an enjoyable conversation without your neighbours overhearing. For a truly private and luxurious dinner, rent out one of Rouge’s many rooms. Sultan’s Tent: Spice up your date with Moroccan food at Sultan’s Tent. A Calgary staple for 25 years, this restaurant always rates as one of the best places to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Muse: Its cosy tables and intimate booths are made for love. Treat your date to Muse’s creative tasting menus full of seasonal and local ingredients. Teatro: With over 900 bottles, Teatro’s wine cellar is the epitome of luxury. Brush up on your wine knowledge beforehand to impress your date. Rush (bar re-opens February): If you and your lover both work downtown, make a reservation at Rush for a date night dinner steps from the office. Its upscale cuisine is highlighted by the restaurant’s sexy décor. setting/noun/ set·ŋ/ 1) the immediate surroundings 2) the place and time in which an event occurs

luxury/noun/ lk-sh(-)re, -zh(-)re/ a means of indulging one’s tastes

Whisk your date away so they feel like they’ve left the city, or have a prime view of it. A picturesque setting can be the catalyst of conversation or the perfect place just to enjoy each other’s company.

Need to impress? Take your date to a restaurant where the chefs let their imaginations run wild. You’ll find innovative food, superb wine lists and staff that take

Use the setting as a starting place but don’t leave it there. If they like the flowers or the view, plan your next date to see something similar or fantasize with travel plans.


River Cafe

River Café: No matter the time of year, River Café is a beautiful place to be. Whether you bask in the foliage of Prince’s Island Park or marvel at the winter wonderland before you, River Café’s views and food won’t disappoint. Sky 360: At the top of the Calgary Tower, Sky 360 has breathtaking views of our city and the gorgeous Rocky Mountains. Point out to each other your favourite spots within the city for a fun date at Calgary’s iconic landmark. Alloy: Reserve a cosy round white booth at Alloy for an escape within the city. Your date might get nervous when you pull up outside the industrial building, but they’ll impressed by the wine room and cherry blossom trees inside.

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Find Your Best: Coffee Shop


There can be a million different reasons why you make plans to head to a coffee shop. For some, it might be that daily jolt of caffeine in the morning, for others it might be meeting ‘Mr Right’ for the 100th time on a first date. Whatever the reason, take this quick test to find out which one of four great, local cafes is a good fit for you.

1. How far are you willing to travel for a good cup of coffee? a) To the ends of the earth! b) A short drive is fine. c) I will go to the best that I can find in my general vicinity. If that means Starbucks, so be it! 2. When I go to a coffee shop, I’m usually there for… a) The coffee, obviously! b) To get some work done, I don’t have an office per se... c) Grabbing a hot chocolate for my kids 3. Aside from the coffee, the most important thing to me in a cafe is… a) Experienced baristas making the drinks. b) Finding the best seat for people watching. c) A quick bite and coffee refuel over my lunch hour 4. When it comes to the coffee beans that an establishment is using, it’s important to me that… a) The person at the counter can fully explain to me different origins, fair trade 46

b) They are roasted on-site. I love the smell of freshly roasted beans! c) It’s a quality roaster being used and that there’s some ethical thought behind them

c) It varies, but always at some point during my workday

8. My go-to drink is… a) A pour-over coffee, but I like to try different roasts for their tasting notes 5. When I’m having a first date at a cafe, I b) Is it bad if I say Earl Grey tea? It’s the need it to offer… perfect thing to sip in the winter a) Latte art so we can have a good starting c) A triple shot Americano, it’s going to point for conversation be a long day! b) Cool music and cool art on the walls to impress my date 9. When it comes to the food at a coffee c) A location downtown. I work a lot and shop, I am happy with… usually meet over lunch a) I’m a coffee purist while I sip, I’ll make my own lunch at home 6. The hours of a coffee shop are… b) Classic coffee shop fare like soups, a) Irrelevant. I make time for my cup of sandwiches and baking, but done well coffee, not the other way around! c) A quick sandwich or muffin to go b) Early morning to late night is great in case I need to really get some 10. How important is it that a coffee shop work done you go to is ‘family friendly’? c) Earlier is better so I can be on time for a) I think when a place becomes more work in the morning family focused (i.e. hot sugary drinks, cookies, etc…) it generally comprises 7. I usually head to the cafe… the quality of the coffee being made a) First thing in the morning b) I haven’t started procreating yet, so b) After work to relax and read a magazine it’s irrelevant c) It would be nice to have a place to take the kids for a treat on the weekends

Phil and Sebastian

calgary’s only downtown destination for

live music 7

nights a week

Phil and Sebastian - For the coffee nerd (mostly ‘a’s)

To you, coffee is more than sustenance; it’s an art. You don’t want a cup of coffee; you want the best cup of coffee, brewed meticulously from the best beans. The engineers-turned-coffee-experts at Phil and Sebastian do exactly that, bringing to Calgary the coffee culture of Seattle and Portland. The room at each location is bright and airy, outfitted with industrial hanging chandeliers of incandescent bulbs, wooden floors and long tables, exuding a sense of craftsmanship. You won’t find coffee blends with names like morning blend or after dinner. No. What you get here is single origin beans, roasted to the right level to bring out the best notes in the varietal, and custom brewed by the cup, by one of the four methods: Clover (with adjustable settings for water temperature and brewing time to highlight the best of each varietal), French press, pour over, or AeroPress (where the coffee is passed through a plunger after being steeped for a few seconds).

In addition to fine coffees, Phil and Sebastian’s attention to detail and support of artisanal ways are extended to its food that’s procured from local producers and suppliers like Sidewalk Citizen bakery and Winter’s Turkeys. With three existing locations and a fourth that just opened its doors in Mission, the perfectly crafted cup of Joe is easy to find!

What you get here is single origin beans, roasted to the right level

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c h e f ’ s Ta s T i n g

p r i v a T e e v e n T s

d r i n k f e aT u r e s

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Caffe Rosso - For the freelancer/creative (mostly ‘b’s)

Back in 2007, David Crosby opened up Caffe Rosso in Ramsay and it has since become a Calgary institution. With three locations in the city, you’re bound to be near one when you’re looking for a spot to hunker down and get some work done. The café in Ramsay (15, 803 24th Avenue SE) is the epicentre of all things Rosso: it’s where the beans are roasted daily, the atmosphere is cosy, and a sense of community has grown since its opening. The Stephen Avenue location sits in the heart of downtown, perfectly situated for those looking for a quick cuppa and a bite to eat between perusing the nearby shops and galleries. The third location, in Victoria Park, on the corner of 11th Avenue and 4th St SE, opened in spring of 2012 and is certainly the most modern of the three. Its openair concept and sleek design is paired with antique wooden furniture and stunning art to create a feeling unlike any other space in the city. All locations are warm and inviting, making it ideal to set-up your ‘office’ for the day.

Caffe Rosso


All three spots offer coffee from beans roasted on-site at the Ramsay location, an assortment of fairly upscale, yet unpretentious coffee shop fare (paninis, wraps, soups, pastries), including a kick-ass breakfast sandwich and an undeniable dose of local passion!

All locations are warm and inviting

deVille - For the downtown worker (mostly ‘c’s)

These cafes embody the downtown, suits and ties, hustle and bustle of Calgary. Where deVille excels is their ability to craft their drinks correctly and quickly. Nothing worse than stopping by for morning coffee on your way to work where you end up having to wait 15 minutes for a coffee, in turn, making you late for work. Whether you’re popping by one of the two downtown locations (Art Central and Fashion Central), you’re guaranteed to have your caffeine without having to tap your watch. The design of both downtown spots is well polished, making it a great choice for an important business meeting with the boss. No wobbly tables at Starbucks for you! If it’s been a long day, deVille can help you relax a bit with a glass of wine, beer or by adding a shot of something boozy into any hot drink. Once the 9-5 grind of the workweek is over, make sure to try their newest location in Bridgeland for more of a ‘restaurant’ experience, with their delicious brunch offerings and the Intelligentsia beans that any coffee lover will approve of.

deVille excels in their ability to craft their drinks correctly and quickly


nights 50th Anniversary Edition PRESENTED BY



Ain’t We Got Fun

Dine on a lavish 1920s inspired four-course plated menu and experience the jazz age with the Roaring Twenties Band!

FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Wearing O’ the Green

Keep the St. Paddy’s Day party going with renowned Celtic band Seanachie. Prior to reelin’, tuck into an Irish themed four-course plated dinner.

Gravity Cafe

Gravity Cafe - For the jack of all trades


(mixed a), b) and c)

Located in the newly renovated Inglewood Art Block, Gravity Espresso & Wine Bar has blossomed quickly into a neighbourhood hub since it opened in early 2012. The café’s extended hours means it sees almost everyone through its doors, from morning commuters looking for their caffeine fix, to friends lingering over wine and cheese late into the evening. A glance at the menu will quickly reveal that Gravity is more than just a café - aside from Phil & Sebastian coffee beans, they have an impressive wine and beer selection. Their food is not too shabby either; their $7 daily carvery lunch special boasts mouth-watering items like Porchetta-style Pork with Salsa Verde, and Whiskey Glazed Ham on Aged Cheddar Biscuit. On Friday nights, Gravity turns into a bona fide British

pub, featuring a Curry & Beer special and live entertainment. Locals love Gravity not just for their food and drink, but also because of their commitment to community. Work from local artists adorn the walls, and they source from local suppliers - like Spolumbo’s, Say Cheese and Pascal’s Patisserie - whenever possible. Owner Andy Fennell can often be found chatting with customers, whether behind the espresso machine or on Twitter.

Gravity is more than just a café…they have an impressive wine and beer selection

All That Jazz

Enjoy a four-course plated dinner featuring the best of the season’s regional fare followed by a performance by jazz legend Bob Erlendson and friends.

Tickets are $69.95 +gst per person per event. RECEIVE A 20% DISCOUNT WHEN YOU BOOK ALL THREE EVENTS.



Wayfayrer Vancouver Making Dining A Breeze On The West Coast by DAN CLAPSON

It’s hard to believe that our beautiful coastal city hosted the Winter Olympics four years ago. While the magic of red and white nationalism has faded from the streets of Vancouver (well, clearly not completely!), the country’s second largest city is still all the better for it. Aside from showcasing our country over ten days filled with sporting events and festivities, it also encouraged the city to refresh city areas, build new structures and, most importantly, expand their skytrain line. Now, taking only 25 minutes to get from the airport in Richmond to downtown Vancouver, it is a waste of your hard-earned money to consider taking a taxi. I’m sure most food enthusiasts are already aware of this ‘problem’, but it’s virtually

impossible to run out of items to treat your appetite to in Vancouver. If it’s your first time arriving in the city and all things culinary are front of mind for you, then here’s a jumping off point for you and your palate. Once arriving downtown, it’s time to head to the hotel! Typically, hotel restaurants are not known for serving fantastic fare, but if you are hoping for some great food just steps from your room, there are more

than a few exceptions. Both Market by Jean Georges in the Shangri-La and YEW inside the Four Seasons excel at their prospective refined cuisines in beautiful settings. Even if you’re staying somewhere a bit more economical, these two are both worth a visit. YEW’s executive chef, Ned Bell, spent many years making his mark in Calgary, so he’s always happy to see an Albertan or two come by for a bite!

Photo courtesy of Four Seasons / YEW

Now, one could spend a week eating in the Gastown area alone, so you need to be willing to meal plan efficiently in this city! While only really about a 10 block radius, this historic part of the city offers over 40 places to eat, with at least half of them being well worth a stop. Starting simple, find hipster coffee shop casual at Salty Tongue Cafe (one hell of a meatloaf sandwich) or well-done bistro fare for lunch at The Flying Pig (order the meat and cheese board to start). Then there’s the award-winning L’Abattoir. Being one of the best-designed spaces in the city coupled with an interesting menu and amazing cocktails, this should be at the top of any avid foodie’s hit list. Last, but not least, the elegant Secret Location has arguably the most beautiful and unique desserts in the city. All conceptualised by pastry chef, Kira Desmond, you will find dessert plates that are almost too good to eat. Speaking of sugar...If your sweet tooth is leading the way, then stopping at Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe is an absolute

must. Thierry Busset, a well-known Canadian pastry chef, runs this sleek cafe where it’s all macarons, pain au chocolat and madeleines as far as the eye can see. The chef’s take on desserts like apple tarts and tiramisu are also equally as alluring. Set mostly in glass cases, you’ll feel like you’re perusing the spoils of a jewellery store while selecting some sweets. If you’re feeling winter weather friendly enough, take advantage of the heated patio while you sip on your latte and tear into a croissant (or two). It’s easy to get sucked into the downtown core and forget about crossing the water to Kitsilano. While Kitsilano is a bit of a better choice during warmer months for the beaches it offers, it’s also breakfast, lunch and dinner-approved! If oysters are your thing, do not overlook Chewie’s Oyster Bar (strapping young men, good food and great oyster selection), The Oakwood (one hell of a burger) or Nook for some well-done wood-fired pizza. In the heart of Kitsilano, you’ll find Fable Kitchen; one of my favourite restaurants in the city. When it comes to an excellent dining experience, all factors need to work together to create something special and that happens at Fable. Informed, but unpretentious service, a warm atmosphere that speaks well to the style of food and,

of course the dishes themselves. The best seats in the house are right up at the open kitchen where you can watch Chef/owner Trevor Bird and right hand man, Geoff Rogers (both Top Chef Canada alumni) lead the team through service. If you’re a weekend brunch-er, than Fable is also for you. Nothing hits the spot quite like a well-crafted Caesar and Fable Eggs when you’re feeling a tad tired from the previous evening. Like most hotspots in Vancouver, a reservation is highly recommended. Vancouver has always been the kind of city to offer vegetarians fantastic experiences that don’t solely revolve around tofu and stuffed bell peppers. In recent years, the city has seen many vegetable-forward establishments open up including The Parker, Heirloom and Acorn, which was named one of the best new restaurants in Canada for 2013 by enRoute Magazine.

Granville Island Market is always a fun place to spend an afternoon addition to its gourmet food shop with their signature flavoured salts. Now, onto the Olympic Village! The area that originally housed all competitors for the 2010 games was a bit of a ghost town a few years ago, but that is slowly changing with the introduction of dining destinations going back to that Field of Dreams mentality: If you build it, they will come.

Granville Market

From Acorn’s Raw Zucchini Tagliatelle with Candied Olives to Chef Curtis Luk’s housemade Dan Dan Noodles, these restaurants are proving that vegetables can be as well received as any slice of meat and just as fulfilling too.

you can taste and sip on while strolling up and down the aisles. Make sure not to leave without ordering a few freshly made doughnuts at Lee’s Donuts. There’s a vast selection when it comes to these pieces of dough-y goodness.

I can’t mention the food without mentioning Granville Island Market. Although a tad touristy, is always a fun place to spend an afternoon. Walking around to taste the different vendors in the public market like the popular pie stand, A La Mode, Dussa’s Ham and Cheese and Granville Island Tea Company are just a few of things

Some of the stand-alone restaurants on the ‘island’ can be a little generic, offering some nice waterfront views with lacklustre food, so if you’re going to have a sit-down meal, make sure it’s Edible Canada. Originally a stand within the public market, Edible has grown to offer tasty fare (Kasu and Birch Syrup-glazed Sablefish anyone?) in

The most recent addition to eateries in the area is Craft Beer Market, with the same extreme offerings of beer and gastro-pub fare, housed in the historic Salt building. Built in 1930, the interior was beautiful to begin with before Craft decided to move in. The wooden beams and skylights on the peaked roof play well with the restaurant’s ‘signature’ exposed draft lines that slide silver throughout the room. Grab a pint and soak up a little bit of Vancouver history. Did that give you enough to go on for your next adventure to the west coast? Let’s hope so!

Richmond Night Market Only 20 minutes from Downtown on the Canada Line, is the acclaimed Asian Night Market, an unforgettable foodie experience! 80 food booths serve up an amazing array; don’t miss Japanese takoyaki and taiyaki, squid pancakes, roasted yams, fresh duck wraps and dragon’s beard candy. Another 250 booths offer everything you didn’t know you needed – jewellery, clothes, and the hottest accessories for you, your phone and your computer.

And with a free shuttle to and from the International Summer Night Market, you can easily do both in one night.

Every weekend from May to October. $2 admission (free under 10 and over 60). Richmond-Night-Market


Tickets $75

It’s the fundraiser with personality! 403-294-7402

The Flavours of Naramata Bench by TOM FIRTH

Perhaps the most distinctive wine region of British Columbia, the Naramata Bench is literally minutes (by foot even) from Penticton at the south end of Okanagan Lake to the north end of the bench, 11 kilometers away. It is home to some of the best wineries in the country.

Naramata is easily toured by bike or by car - though you might want a designated driver.

Most of the Naramata wineries are quite small by international standards, producing far less than 10,000 cases a year, meaning most are boutique style wineries - often family owned and operated. Although certain varieties are more common in the area, many wineries will have vineyard land or contract growers in other parts of the Okanagan, allowing these wineries to work with a wide range of grapes such as syrah, chardonnay, malbec, riesling, and even semillon and muscat.

Out of the 24 wineries on “the bench”, 19 of them will be in Calgary for an event benefitting Alberta Theatre Projects. The Flavours of Naramata Bench event takes place February 20th at 7pm, and will include plenty of wine, a silent auction, and speaking from experience; it’s a lot of fun. Tickets cost $95 and can be ordered at 403 294 7402 or at Not all the wineries on the Naramata bench are represented in Alberta (yet) but what follows is a snapshot of wineries I’ve visited and wines I’ve tasted recently that might just be poured at the event in February.

Poplar Grove 2009 Merlot ($43) There is some great merlot being made in the Okanagan and Poplar Grove is making some of the best. Black plum fruits, spice, and some full but supple tannins rounding it out. If you get a chance, try their excellent pinot gris and their cabernet franc.

La Frenz 2012 Semillon ($30) I’m always happy to talk about unusual varieties, and I’m continually impressed by the depth and style of this semillon. Lots of citrus zing, and some tart fruits, this wine can (and does) age with style. Try their fortified wines if you get a chance.

Hillside 2010 Gamay Noir ($33) I’ve been really enjoying the wines from Hillside in recent years, from their fantastic pinot gris to this delicious gamay noir. Positively bursting with cherry and raspberry fruits, savoury spice and some cocoa bring a great level of balance.

Monster Vineyards 2011 Cabs ($20) A rich blend of cabernet franc with 1/3 cabernet sauvignon, the Monster Cabs is all about fresh berry fruits, cocoa, and some rich vanilla characters. The whole Monster Vineyards (a sister winery to Poplar Grove) line is approachable, easy going, and priced well.

Lake Breeze 2012 Pinot Blanc ($25) A diverse winery with plenty of variety ranging from unusual to common varietals and blends, Lake Breeze makes a stunning pinot blanc, packed with clean tropical fruits, and a little spiciness, winning a Silver Medal at the National Wine Awards.

Elephant Island 2012 Pear Wine ($22) A fruit winery, Elephant Island has impressed me with their bright fruit expressions in their wines. They may get a lot of accolades for their fortified or dessert style wines, but their pear wine is perfectly balanced and incredibly refreshing.

Red Rooster 2011 Chardonnay ($22) I’m always happy to enjoy well-priced, balanced chardonnay and the Red Rooster has plenty of fruit to balance the softer oak characters. With a big range of wines, the Bantam series stand out as wines worth cellaring, while the reserve Meritage is a great blend.

Laughing Stock 2011 Syrah ($42) One of the best syrahs from BC, Laughing Stock is already well known for its Portfolio and Blind Trust wines. The syrah is lush and massive with savoury, meaty characters, black fruit, smoke, and a tiny bit of jam. I’m a fan through and through of their whole lineup.

Van Westen 2011 Viognier ($42) One of my favourite people on the bench, Robert Van Westen is as well known for his heirloom cherries as he is for some incredible wines. His viognier, made in a tiny, rocky vineyard is packed to the roof with floral and tropical fruit flavours.

Therapy Vineyards 2011 Freudian Sip ($25) A juicy, tropical blend, the Freudian Sip is patio wine through and through. With apple fruits, some tropical notes, and a little sweetness to balance the acids, it’s a tasty way to pass an afternoon. If you can, try their pinot noir and even their Super Ego blend.

Kettle Valley 2012 Pinot Gris ($35) Pinot gris, when “cold soaked” can take on a pinkish hue, and some vintages of Kettle Valley’s pinot gris can look like a full blown rosé. Ripe apple and citrus fruits, spice, and more, it’s an interesting expression. Look for their well-made shiraz, malbec, and merlots.

Perseus Winery 2011 Sauvignon Blanc ($25) Perseus winery is relatively new to the scene, so I’ve only had a chance to try a handful of their wines. I have definitely been impressed by their crisp sauvignon blanc with its ripe melon, grapefruit, and mild capsicum notes.


Great Coffee isn’t just for breakfast by TARQUIN MELNYK

How do I start writing about Calgary, and for that matter, Alberta coffee culture? It is an overwhelmingly large story, so I will attempt to focus on different aspects of this rich story that will create an image of the whole. Always from an imbiber’s perspective. The celebration of craft beer, craft cocktails and even sustainably roasted coffee are really all part of one culture. They are connected to the passions of the people providing them, to elevate Alberta as a whole. I’ve recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jeff Birch, owner of Birch’s Beverages, who sell the organic, locally roasted coffee of Paradise Mountain. Jeff is committed to only supporting the highest quality producers and championing their use in the Alberta market. Paradise Mountain’s Master Roaster is Shawn McDonald, the man who was involved with Planet Coffee (Now Purple Perk) in Mission, and has created quite a name for himself in Calgary coffee over the past 2 decades. Paradise Mountain is Alberta’s only certified organic roaster, and has been recognized with distinction by the United Nations Sustainable Coffee Partnership (SCP)

for their work in Chiang Mai, Thailand. As related to me by Jeff, they have literally built up the village for their workers there by providing them sanitation, electricity, education and medical services - all while leaving the forested region intact. They never cut down a single tree to build their farm, instead using the natural canopy to their advantage for what they call “rustic traditional coffee farming.” The coffee beans are shipped directly from Thailand to Calgary, where they are roasted by McDonald. In an interview with Fresh Cup magazine, he declared the Thailand beans as being “the most meticulously grown and prepped, zero-defect coffee I have ever worked with.” One must always remember that outside quality and sustainability, craft ingredients must simply be better. Taste rules everything. As a bartender, people like Jeff and Shawn are my lifeblood. They are the ones working tirelessly to bring in quality products that we can then use to fashion memorable drinks. Someone who shares this vision is Chuck Elves. He is a partner and bartender at the renowned Edmonton hotspot Three Boars Eatery.

I recently caught up with Chuck when he was in Calgary to compete in the Buffalo Trace Bourbon competition, which he just happened to win - taking home top prize with a coffee-based cocktail. Tarquin: “Do you recall the moment that you truly discovered coffee culture?” Chuck: “I would have to say that beer was my first liquid love, but coffee is where I really developed my palate. Coffee also gave me my first taste for the craft of a drink. I love drink creation because it combines both craft and palate development. (Chuck is an avid home brewer, who cut his teeth at Transcend Coffee as a coffee roaster, and is quickly becoming one of Alberta’s premium drink-slingers.) My first immersion into coffee culture was a trip to Portland. I averaged (visiting) 4 different coffee shops over 4 days and was amazed at the differences from place to place and how diverse coffee could be. I was also blown away by a culture that was built on constant evolution and pursuit for perfection. Now, as I’ve found my way to spirits and cocktails, I attempt to bring this passion for betterment to bartending.” Tarquin: “You won the Buffalo Trace Bourbon competition at The Bourbon Room in Calgary. The reward was a trip to their distillery in Kentucky, and you won the competition with a coffee based beverage. How did coffee inspire you with your cocktail?”

Chuck: “I love the complexity of coffee and how it stands up to brown spirits and melds with the Carpano Antica vermouth I used. I also love the acidity that comes out in coffee through the cold brewed process. This acidity creates some great high notes in cocktails.” Tarquin: “What is currently your favourite coffee-based cocktail? “ Chuck: “I really love the “Jarmusch cocktail” at Model Milk in Calgary. The combination of coffee and tobacco syrup is a natural.” Tarquin: “Where should the coffee/cocktail scene in Alberta go next?” Chuck: “Like everything in Alberta, we need to have more people opening places with a focus on (the) passion for what they are doing instead of a passion for making money. The focus needs to be on service and craft rather than just the bottom line.” Tarquin: “I couldn’t agree more, I think it starts with education. It’s a free market and people are going to sell what other people are willing to buy, so we need to continue to educate others, and nothing wins over people faster than something that tastes amazing.” A simple coffee based cocktail that is perfect for an after-dinner digestif.

Cafe Marasca 1oz Alberta Premium Rye 1oz Luxardo Sangue Morlacco Sour Cherry Liqueur 1/2oz brewed Paradise Mountain Organic coffee 4 drops Bittered Sling Plum & Rootbeer bitters

Combine ingredients in mixing vessel. Add ice and stir. Once chilled, strain into a glass with a large ice-cube. Eat some dark chocolate. Sip, savour and enjoy. Luxardo Sangue Morlacco is excellent for mixing with coffee. For those only familiar with the Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, this is a markedly different expression. It is less floral and much richer. It is a deep ruby-red with a flavour that is both sweet and sour, so ideal for complementing with the soursweet notes of a fine roast of coffee. The rye acts as a perfect counterpoint of dry, rich spice. Plum Root beer bitters add some delightful notes on the first nosing and continue to express complexity on the finish of the drink. Tarquin Melnyk is a Certified Specialist of Spirits, always down to try something new.

Skip the Blues this Winter. And head straight for the Greens.

Kingsland Farmers’ Market Is OPEN every weekend, all year long.

7711 Macleod Trail S.

Ales For A Winter’s Night by DAVE NUTTALL

When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s collection of eight mystery stories now called Tales for a Winter’s Night was first compiled in 1908, the book was titled Round the Fire Stories, because he felt the stories would be best read “‘round the fire” on a cold winter’s night. Since there is no lack of those nights around these parts, winter beers are perfect to sip in front of a warm hearth or to enjoy when the temperature drops. Winter beers have been around as long as breweries have been making beer. Historically, they have always been especially popular in Britain, Belgium and Germany. Since most early breweries were attached or close to monasteries, monks often made beers in the late Fall to commemorate the birth of Christ. While many of these beers are still brewed today, there is a whole sect of breweries who make special beers this time of year without any religious affiliation. Naturally, this tradition of winter beers has been adopted by most North American breweries. While each brewmaster has his own recipe, the common themes among these beers are that they are usually dark ales, most are malt driven rather than hoppy, some are spiced with various ingredients, and many are often above 5% ABV. Brewed usually from October to March, these beers are more for savouring than chugging, should be drunk at a slightly warmer temperture than regular beers, and go well with the hearty meals served this time of year. So to salute (?) our multi-month winter, here are some Canadian winter beers well worth checking out, which should be available in stores now. But remember, just like icy roads, they too will be gone when the warm days return.

Undoubtedly the king of winter beers in Western Canada is Granville Island’s LI0NS Winter Ale, celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. Consistently a best seller for the small Vancouver brewery each year, it is a smooth blend of caramel, cocoa and vanilla. Lower in alcohol (5.5% ABV.) than most winter beers, it does have a dash of hop bitterness (22 IBUs) to counteract the toffee sweetness. Available in 6 pack bottles, approximately $15.

Vernon based Okanagan Spring Brewery has being producing its Mild Winter Ale only since 2012. Following the British style of a mild session ale, this reddish-brown beer is brewed with three malts and two hops and has the treacle, caramel flavour with hints of chocolate that many other winter beers have, but its nutty flavour, pronounced effervescence, and 4.8% ABV., make it a bit thinner than most beers mentioned here. Available in 6 pack bottles and cans, $15.

Following the success of Granville Island, two other B.C. breweries have produced similar winter ales. Kelowna’s Tree Brewery has been making its Verticle Winter Ale since 2010. Now available on its own (it was formally in mixed packs only), it is similar to Granville Island’s ale, with its caramel, cocoa and vanilla flavours, but is a little less robust in its hop finish and alcohol content (5% ABV.). Available in 6 pack bottles, $15.

Lest you begin to think that all winter beers are similar, there are as many varieties out

Winter beers are perfect to sip in front of a warm hearth

Spruce Goose Ale is a spiced beer, using fresh tips of Colorado and Engelmann spruce trees combined with a little honey for sweetness. As weird as that may sound, coniferous trees have been used for centuries as a flavouring in beer, often in areas where there was an absence of hops. Although this amber beer has three different hops in it, the unmistakable floral notes and citrusy flavour of spruce come through. Probably the first beer (and maybe the only one) you’ll have this year that reminds you of your Christmas tree! 5.6% ABV.

there as Christmas chocolates. To that end, Edmonton’s Alley Kat has produced a Chocolate Orange Porter which is remeniscent of those big chocolate oranges you find this time of year. Made with subtle use of Sterling and Cascade hops, it is only 16 IBUs but a solid 6.3% ABV. With aromas of roasted malt and flavours of chocolate and Curaçao oranges, this porter is almost a dessert in itself. The label even has a line to fill in a name to personalize the bottle. 650 ml. Bottle, $6.00 If you want even more chocolate flavour in your beer, then Muskoka Brewery’s Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout from Bracebridge, Ontario is for you. This is beer is full of roasted dark chocolate malts, real cocoa, 70% dark chocolate, and local cranberries. This beer is so rich you won’t even notice it is 8% ABV. Drinking this beer at a slightly warmer temperature is like consuming a cup of cocoa. 750 ml. corked bottle, $11. Revelstoke, B.C.’s Mt. Begbie Brewing has produced a brand new beer for the winter of 2013-14. Its Darkside of the Stoke is brewed with specialty malts, oatmeal and roasted coffee. The flavour of this jet black stout reminds one of roasted coffee with milk or cream, but also has undertones of chocolate and some mild hops bitterness. 4.8% ABV. 650 ml. bottle, $6. 60

Many people take milk with their coffee, so Vancouver’s Parallel 49 Brewing Company’s Ugly Sweater fits that to a tee. Named after the kitschy Christmas sweaters that have inexplicably gained popularity once again, this is a milk stout that is slightly sweet but very creamy. Made with lactose (milk sugar), the sweetness balances the roasted malts and masks its 30 IBUs. Six pack bottles, $14. As is their tradition, Calgary’s Big Rock Brewery has produced a mixed six pack for this winter called the Lumberjack Pack, comprising two beers each of three of brewmaster Paul Gautreau’s brand new creations.

The Twisted Antler Dark Ale fortunately does not contain any antlers. It does, however, have five different malts, selected to give the beer a natural dark colour without roasting. Coupled with the addition of black licorice and Columbian coffee, the result is a pure dark ale full of complexity. 6.3% ABV. The last beer, Hibernation Ale is full of ingredients that your average bear forages for just before hibernation. With elderberries, juniper, wild strawberries, dandelion root, birch bark, maple sugar, rose pedals and honey, this herbal brown ale is a potpourri of aromas and flavours. Part floral, part woodsy, part sweet, this is a true celebration of Canadian winter. 6% ABV. All three beers in a six pack of bottles, $15. There are many other winter beers that are also available in Alberta, from both sides of the Atlantic, so look for them too. In addition, look for the return of Village’s Chai Winter Porter, Wild Rose’s Cherry Porter (see November 2013 Culinaire), and special winter ales available on tap at Brewster’s, Banff Avenue Brewing, and Grizzly Paw. These beers will do more than just warm you up; they will give you a reason to not hate winter so much. Perhaps.

Advertisement Feature

The Calgary Zoo is Back! From Ordinary to Extraordinary All the animals are back and accounted for, eager to greet returning Calgarians as they make their way back to one of this city’s most treasured attractions. As a result of the devastating floods in June last year, many of the Calgary Zoo’s familiar venues were damaged to a point beyond simple repair. It took five full months to get water-damaged buildings renovated and restored to show this city they are truly back in business. Venues like Safari Lodge and the Enmax Conservatory, and their highly skilled staff, are thrilled to be able to host banquets, weddings, and corporate functions once again in the newly renovated spaces. “We have some really great clients who love booking at the zoo,” says Sharon Hobbs, Assistant Manager of event sales and Sommelier at the Calgary Zoo. “Most of our December events really stuck with us when we weren’t sure what we could service and what we had to cancel.” The rebuilding process of the Safari Lodge and its kitchens were extensive, as the damage sustained was more than just restoration could fix, and entirely new kitchens were installed. “We were preparing to renovate the space and give it a fresh update, but we didn’t know when that was going to happen,” Hobbs says. “With the floods, it kick-started that project for us, so it’s just a beautiful space now with up to 280 seating for a sit-down dinner.” “It made sense to do the project now since we had to fix the floors, replace tiles and redo walls anyway, we may as well just redo the whole place,” Hobbs adds. “It’s still an African theme but with a more neutral palate now for weddings and corporate events.” Having joined the team just months before the floods, Sous Chef James Nielson is ecstatic to reopen and to show Calgarians the new direction of his menus. He worked under skilled chefs in Victoria and Nanaimo before returning to Calgary, where he was raised, and Neilson uses those influences as he pushes the Calgary Zoo’s culinary vision to exciting new heights. “I’m at a point where I like molecular gastronomy and the science approach of it but at the same time, I love local, sustainable, and using farm-fresh ingredients,” Nielson explains. “It’s finding a balance between the two so it’s not a science experiment. I want to make the food identifiable and relatable.” “The Calgary Zoo can create some pretty amazing culinary experiences and events”, Hobbs adds. “While we are known for our wonderful animals, educational and team-building programs, behind-the-scenes encounters, and our commitment to conservation, the bottom line is the Zoo is back! We are better than ever, ready to host your meeting, special event and even your wedding, and the culinary team is serving up creative and delicious dishes prepared in new state-of-the-art kitchens.”

Visit to book your next event or call 403.232.9300.

Islay: Laphroaig Distillery

Queen of the Hebrides story by ANDREW FERGUSON

Scotland’s West Coast Island of Islay is variously known as the Queen of the Hebrides and the Whisky Isle. The latter nickname is a reference to the eight single malt distilleries active on the island, with plans for at least three more. Remote, hard to get to, and utterly charming, Islay is one of the most friendly and welcoming places, and though I’m a faithful born and bred Calgarian, part of me is also an “Ileach”. Exposed to the open Atlantic, weather can be tempestuous, but when the sun’s shining, there are few places more glorious on the planet. Visitors arriving at Port Ellen will view the island’s Kildalton coast off to starboard as they approach. This stretch of coastline is rocky with numerous small inlets that provided the sheltered anchorage Islay’s distilleries relied on to get their products to market in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Distilleries here have traditionally produced the most heavily peated whiskies on the island. The smoky/peaty style is a side effect of drying the malted barley over a peat fire. The longer the barley is exposed to peat smoke, the smokier and peatier the resulting whisky will be. The town of Port Ellen once had its own namesake distillery, still visible as the ferry pulls in to the Port. Port Ellen ceased production in 1983, but its warehouses are still used to mature whisky from its sister distillery of Lagavulin. The closed distillery’s grounds are also the site of Port Ellen Maltings, which supply most of the malted barley for distilleries on the island. In the last decade Port Ellen whisky has become highly collectible, and its price has been rising almost exponentially in the last few years. The Kildalton distilleries: Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg are each spaced roughly a mile apart heading east from Port Ellen along the southern coast. Laphroaig Distillery, established in 1812, like most Scottish distilleries began as a farm that evolved into a distillery. Many distilleries, like Laphroaig, would have begun production illicitly, their founding date more reflective of when they were caught and forced to obtain a license.

Laphroaig produces a very medicinal malt, owing largely to the unique peats burned while drying its barley. The whisky was once considered so unpalatable by the authorities during prohibition in the United States that it was the only legally available whisky - by prescription! Continuing to the east is Lagavulin distillery, sometimes referred to as the Aristocrat of Islay for its smooth elegant smoke. Lagavulin translates to the “hollow by the mill”, a reference to the sheltered bay where it is located. Officially established in 1816, no fewer than ten illicit distilleries operated on the site as far back as 1742. A legal battle was fought in the 1800s between the owners of Lagavulin and Laphroaig, the latter of which feared the former was trying to copy their style of whisky. Lagavulin, like many Scottish distilleries, was the victim of over-production in the 1970s, which led to a market correction in ‘80s. While Port Ellen was shuttered, Lagavulin’s production was cut drastically to keep it open.

Ardbeg Distillery

Islay people are warm and welcoming, and the place is alive with culture and history. The most easterly distillery along the Kildalton coast is Ardbeg, meaning “little promontory”. Distilling was taking place here as far back as 1798, but was not commercialized until 1815. In its heyday, the distillery was surrounded by a small selfsufficient community, as were most Islay distilleries. Whisky production in the 1800s was very labour intensive, with distilleries malting on site and requiring their own coopers. While much of the abandoned community has been knocked down, some original buildings survive. Ardbeg was very nearly lost, closing in 1981 and reopening with very limited annual production between 1989 and 1997.

from Ireland, creating speculation that the first distillation in Scotland may have taken place near the present Kilchoman distillery. Bunnahabhain is the northernmost distillery on Islay, and quite possibly the island’s most isolated distiller, located on the remote northeastern coast. Situated at the northern end of the Sound of Islay, which separates Islay from the Isle of Jura just one mile away, Bunnahabhain looks across at the imposing Paps of Jura. Self-described as the Gentle Giant of Islay, Bunnahabhain single malt is mainly unpeated, and quite soft, though more heavily peated expressions have occasionally been released.

Moving north to the centre of the island, all roads pass through the town of Bowmore, the island’s capital and centre of life. The Bowmore Distillery is Islay’s oldest, established in 1779, also one of the oldest in Scotland. Situated in the heart of the town, Bowmore is located just off the main street on the shore of Loch Indaal. Its storied No.1 vaults warehouse, which sits slightly below sea level and is prone to flooding during high tides in winter, is very likely the oldest Over the last decade Ardbeg has acquired a cult following unrivaled by nearly any other Scottish distillery. continuously used building in the Scotch whisky industry. A holy of hollies for Scotch whisky enthusiasts, the No. 1 vaults are regarded as one of the finest maturation warehouses for whisky in the world. Bowmore is a classically peated Islay malt, though typically lighter than the Kildalton whiskies, with a prominent saltiness.

Across Loch Indaal on the far side of Islay is Bruichladdich, which has made quite a name for itself over the last dozen years. Another victim of fluctuations in global demand for Scotch whisky, Bruichladdich hung on until 1994 when, surplus to demand, its owners finally closed it. A syndicate led by Mark Reiner, of independent bottler Murray McDavid, bought the distillery in 2000 with an eye to launching the whisky as a single malt. It was tough for the first few years, but the investors were handsomely rewarded for their foresight and hard work. The distillery was purchased late in 2012 by Remy-Cointreau for more than ten times the price paid by Murray McDavid. The classic Bruichladdich is only lightly peated, putting paid to the myth that all Islay whisky is smoky. Their moderately peated expression is called Port Charlotte, and is peated to a level similar to that of Ardbeg and Laphroaig. Staying on the western side of Islay, and a little to the north of Bruichladdich is Kilchoman, Islay’s newest distillery, and its only inland one. Established in 2005 at Rockside farm, this micro distillery has been making a name for itself and bottling worldclass whisky since 2009. The distillery has developed a cult-like following for its young, heavily peated whiskies, remarkable given most are between 3 and 5 years of age. The site of the distillery also has some interesting historical connections, having belonged to the clan MacBeatha. The MacBeathas were doctors brought to Islay

Islay’s eighth distillery, Caol Ila, is located just a short distance from Port Askaig, and is by far the island’s largest. Although available for purchase as single malt, the vast majority of its production is reserved for the Johnnie Walker blends. Visually the least interesting of Islay’s distilleries, its saving grace is the view from the stillroom, second to none in Scotland; its large panoramic windows look out over the fertile Sound of Islay (for which the distillery is named) and the rugged island of Jura beyond. The distillery’s peated barley is the same as that used by its sister distillery Lagavulin, though the two whiskies are quite different in style. Caol Ila typically shows more peat and salted fish, while Lagavulin shows smoke and leather. While classic Caol Ila is peated, the distillery also makes an unpeated expression. There is more to Islay than just whisky. It is a stopover for millions of migratory birds, making it a birdwatchers’ paradise. Surrounded by fertile seas it is home to some of the world’s finest seafood, often travelling less than a mile from the boat to your table. Beautiful and remote, the weather may not always be on your side, but who cares about the weather when there’s all that whisky!

Andrew Ferguson is widely regarded as one of the foremost experts on Scotch whisky in Canada, and runs his own business, Ferguson Whisky Tours. Follow him on twitter @scotch_guy

Port Ellen 12th Release – If you think the 12th release was pricey, the 13th is rumoured to be double! The palate has oily peat, butter-cream icing and faint tropical fruits. $1,425

Bruichladdich The Laddie 10 Year – The first 10 year old distilled and bottled by the new owners is excellent value with lots of layers. Fruity and maritime with lovely honey notes. $60

Laphroaig 18 Year – Very chocolaty for an American oak matured whisky, 18 years in oak has rounded off the edges of its sharp medicinal style. $102

Kilchoman Machir Bay – A marriage of 4 & 5 year old whiskies mostly matured in Ex-Bourbon with a splash of Ex-sherry, the Machir Bay is creamy, smoky and very briny with some dark spice. $69

Lagavulin 16 Year – The distillery’s classic expression is the Scotch that got me hooked. The palate is thick, oily and rich with powerful smoke and juicy fruity. $109 Ardbeg Corryvreckan – The spiciest malt in Ardbeg’s stable is partly matured in French oak adding a layer of depth to the whisky. It is named for the tidal whirlpool in the Gulf of Corryvreckan. $110 Bowmore Laimrig 15 Year – A cask strength version of the Darkest 15 Year, it is less expensive than its lower strength stable mate, and even more flavourful with dark, fruity, chocolaty notes and rich finish. $80

Bunnahabhain 25 Year – One of the most delicate of all Islay whiskies the Bunnahabhain 25 year is one smooth elegant dram. Fruity, salty and very toffee with a long creamy finish. $345 Caol Ila 12 Year – Sweet and malty showing its age, the peat builds quickly and never lets up lending a dark earthy backbone to the palate. $80

Open That Bottle by LINDA GARSON photography by INGRID KUENZEL

In 1983 Anthony Chalmers chose his career, in 1993 he graduated, but it wasn’t until 2003 that he understood what he was doing. At 18, Chalmers wanted to be a limousine driver, ”picking up all those rich and famous people at the airport.” Within two months he was working at the Valhalla Inn in Toronto, not quite driving a limousine, but picking up customers. The following year, he decided that he really wanted to be a server and took a job in Le Café at the Bristol Place Hotel. His career in hospitality had started.

From breakfast server at Sanssouci in Toronto’s Sutton Place Hotel, in the halcyon days when chef was Mark McEwan and Wolfgang Puck was guest chef, Chalmers worked his way up to be manager, earning a salary of $27,000 in 1983. A move to the Mövenpick Group saw Chalmers working with wine director David Lawrason who had just started Wine Access magazine. He took Chalmers under his wing, holding classes in ‘The Caveau’ underneath the York Street location, and pushed him to take his sommelier course. “I just loved it,” says Chalmers, “I started reading and researching; I just dove into it. I thought ‘this is what I want to do for the rest of my career’. I get to drink, I get to socialise, I get to eat good food, recommend wines, but I also understood how ignorant I was ten years earlier, in not knowing as much as I should have known as a professional in the business. I made a conscious decision to say I am going to learn this.” Chalmers was awarded ‘Best Blind Taster’ at graduation as he “nailed every wine, and named every wine. I thought this is meant to be, this is what I should be doing.” In 1996 he was asked if he would like to work at Banff Springs, and was flown out


to meet wine director Peter Blattman. On leaving, was given a package and told not to open it till he was on the plane. It was a job offer. Chalmers packed up and moved out west. He worked at Lake Louise’s Post Hotel, before joining Vintage Group in Calgary, and now The Bear’s Den. “I realise that all the jobs lead to one right place, which is where I am now,” he says. So what bottle is Chalmers saving for a special occasion? In 2001, Banff Springs arranged a wine trip to California. They stayed at Cakebread, Benziger and then Trefethen Winery. At lunch, Chalmers was chatting to owner Janet Trefethen, and she asked what he thought of her wines. He was so impressed with the Halo that he helped find an importer for her wines into Alberta and BC. As a thank you gift, Trefethen sent the Halo label (named for her children, Hayley and Loren) as a beautiful framed picture, and Chalmers took it straight to his favourite tattoo artist. He visits most years to spend time with the family. “I want to buy a bottle every year and keep it to see how it evolves”, Chalmers says. “It’s a label I love from a family I love; their business ethics, their generosity, their hospitality - they are the epitome of success.”

Grand Re-Opening: January 2014 Summer Dates Still Available for Private Events 15979 Bow Bottom Trail SE, Calgary AB | 403.476.1310 |

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