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The Roots of Modern Cuisine A Taste of the Simple Life in Greece Meaningful Connections in Newfoundland + Burgundy  Peru's Sacred Valley  Sint Marteen

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At Bon Vivant Travel, we know that many travellers are looking for adventures that delight the palate and awaken the senses.


Our team of travel advisors specializes in food and wine journeys around the globe. We create unique and authentic experiences that give you an up-close and personal encounter with local traditions, and the foods and wines of any given area. We believe that to truly experience a place, you need to taste the food and immerse yourself in the culture. What makes our Bon Vivant travel advisors unique is their passion for developing distinctive adventures to suit any food and wine enthusiast. Whether your ideal vacation is sailing the high seas with a master chef or exploring the countryside in search of local artisans, we are here to satiate your appetite.


EDITOR’S LETTER My roots are deep and diverse. I’m a typical Canadian ‘mutt’ with mixed heritage — Ukrainian, German, Scottish and French. When I visit Germany, Scotland and France (perhaps Ukraine one day), there’s a part of me that feels like I am among my people. It makes me feel connected. When we travel, connection matters. It makes us emotionally invested in our own travel experience and in the people that we impact by being at any given destination. Sure, you could just stay at your resort and never venture away from it, but that would mean robbing yourself of a chance to really get a sense of where you are. Travellers are saying more than ever that they want authenticity from their trips. They want to get to know local people. They want to leave with a true sense of understanding about a place. With that in mind, this issue of Bon Vivant has been created with a “back to the roots” theme. Local cuisine provides a remarkable window into the true essence of a country and its culture, how it was shaped, by whom and when. To eat traditional dishes is to taste their past. It is a simple act that builds a connection to the people who prepared them, the ingredients they used and their history. For those who want to travel authentically, food is a great place to start. The writers featured in this issue have been there and done that. They ate and drank in destinations all over the world to gain

some understanding of their roots. In the pages that follow, we take you along for the ride, visiting with a local in Crete, taking a journey to Peru to discover how ancient ingredients are making a comeback, learning about the deep roots of Ottoman cuisine in Istanbul, enjoying a fusion of flavours on the Caribbean island of St. Martin/Sint Maarten, and much more. Closer to home, our writers have done a deep dive into what makes Canada so special and the stories that our food culture tells. Check out our features on celebrating Indigenous cuisine across the country, a freshly launched spice trail in British Columbia showcasing global flavours, and unique alcoholic beverages that reflect a sense of place. Most certainly, this is a truly delicious issue, but it goes beyond just food. There’s meaning and heart behind every story that we hope will inspire you to make travel plans so you can forge your own connections to the people and culture you visit. Not sure where to start your journey? Contact your travel advisor to begin a conversation that can lead to some pretty exciting places. Michele Sponagle editor@ensembletravel.ca

PUBLISHER Ensemble Travel® Group

ADVERTISING Franca Iuele

CREATIVE DIRECTOR AND MANAGING EDITOR Valérie Lenoir

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Lane Atteridge, Jennifer Bain, Lynda Balslev, Christine Clark, Waheeda Harris, Liz Humphreys, Anna Maria Kambourakis, Emily Manthei, Amy McMahon, Chantal Panozzo, Chris Ryall, Joanne Sasvari, Michele Sponagle, Theresa Storm, Renée S. Suen, Hans Tammemagi, Sandra Thomas, Janice Tober

EDITOR Michele Sponagle EDITORIAL COORDINATOR AND STAFF WRITER Isabelle Labrosse

ART DIRECTION Bertrand Richer, Fleur de Lysée

©Ensemble Travel Group. All rights reserved. 2021 Ensemble Travel® Group. Ensemble Bon Vivant® is a proprietary registered trademark of Ensemble Travel® Group. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise duplicated without written permission of the publisher. Ensemble Bon Vivant® is issued once a year on behalf of Ensemble Travel® Group member agencies. Ensemble Travel Bon Vivant 69 Yonge Street, Suite 1403 Toronto, Ontario M5E 1K3 Photos by Getty Images unless stated otherwise. TICO #50022140

COVER IMAGE © AleksandarNakic

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SAMPLERS

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Epicurean News Thirsty for Canadian Culture? How to Shop for Cheese Like a Local in Paris Celebrating Sandwiches as Art in Copenhagen Sipping at Budapest's Famous Ruin Pubs Tasty Road Trips Start Here “Laughter Is Brightest Where Food Is Best” The Sweetest Souvenir

CUISINES OF THE WORLD

24

The Royal Touch

PORTRAIT

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28 36

Memories in the Mountains

CONTENTS

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CRUISING

32

Barging Through Burgundy

HAPPY HOUR

36 44

Beyond Vodka Gin for the Win

LOCAL PERSPECTIVE

40

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A Taste of the Simple Life

A TASTE OF CANADA

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Nature’s Bounty on a Plate Happy Trails Meaningful Connections

DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT

58 60

The Perfect Fusion Peru’s Reclaimed Bounty

ENTERTAINING

64

The Art of Asado

B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 | 5


WELCOME TO THE NEW DIGITAL EDITION OF BON VIVANT In this new magazine, you can view videos about our featured destinations the local traditions, and the people and places that shape them so you can have a glimpse of what awaits you. We have included many interactive features to experience travel from home and inspire you to travel again when the time feels right for you.

Look for these icons inside the magazine:

Sit down, relax and enjoy the ride in our new “virtual” magazine!


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SAMPLERS

EPICUREAN NEWS

WHAT’S NEW IN THE WORLD OF FOOD, DRINK & CRUISING FOOD AND DRINKS DELIVERED WHEREVER YOU ARE

© PRINCESS CRUISES

Whether you’re relaxing on your balcony or watching the sun set from the top deck, having your meal wherever you want has never been more convenient with Princess Cruises’ OceanNowTM. The service allows you to simply order breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks on a smart device it supplies, through the TV in your stateroom, or directly through a crew member. Your meal will be brought right to you — with no delivery charge! Sit back, enjoy your precious vacation time, and bask in the luxury of not having to stand in line or deal with crowds when hunger or thirst hits.

© OCEANIA CRUISES

S A I L I N G W I T H O N E O F T H E G R E AT S

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Oceania Cruises’ annual Jacques Pépin Cruise is set to return July 12 to 31, 2022, and will explore Northern Europe from Copenhagen to Stockholm. Passengers will soak in all the magic of this sweeping voyage that includes every country bordering the Baltic Sea. You’ll visit highlights like intriguing Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, brimming with artistic and architectural beauty. The epicureaninspired voyage will be hosted by the legendary master chef, who has served as Oceania’s executive culinary director since the line’s inception. Guests will be treated to specially designed signature menus, lectures, culinary demonstrations and more.


GLOBAL CULINARY EXCELLENCE

© HOLLAND AMERICA LINE

© AVALON WATERWAYS

The pandemic hasn’t stopped Holland America Line from once again being recognized for its culinary excellence. In 2020, the cruise line received the Wave Award for “Best Onboard Dining” from TravelAge West and the Vibe Vista Award for “Best Wine Program.” It shouldn’t be surprising considering

C U LT U R E , C U I S I N E A N D E V E R Y T H I N G I N B E T W E E N

that eight world-class celebrity chefs are part of its Culinary Council, bringing their collective experience, passion and creativity to dining venues across the fleet. The culinary team is led by Austrian-born, French-trained Rudi Sodamin, whose innovative approach has made him the most decorated chef on the world’s oceans — much to the enjoyment of passengers everywhere.

Whether you prefer to make a dish passed down from generation to generation, mix paints on a palette, enjoy an enriching wine tasting, or paddle through beautiful natural scenery, every day is an adventure on Avalon Waterways’ Active & Discovery cruises. And with Avalon Choice excursions, how you define adventure is up to you. With two new Active & Discovery itineraries on the Moselle and Seine Rivers in 2022, guests can pick and choose their experiences. Perhaps you’d like to visit a famous local brewery in Koblenz, explore the Normandy cheese trail, or meet with the experts of the Confrérie des Chevaliers Fouetteurs, who will help you prepare a classic Chantilly cream.

T R AV E L T H E W O R L D I N TA S T E

© SILVERSEA

Silversea invites cruise lovers to travel deeper with its S.A.L.T. (a.k.a. Sea & Land Taste) program onboard its newest ship, Silver Moon. It’s an experience that will take your tastebuds on a journey around the world. Reflecting the various regions visited, the program will elevate food and drink and make them new ways of connecting deeper to a destination. The S.A.L.T. Kitchen, Lab and Bar will give guests a new appreciation for regional ingredients and culinary traditions before inviting them to venture ashore with global experts for first-hand culinary adventures.

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SAMPLERS

THIRSTY FOR CANADIAN CULTURE? QUENCH IT WITH THESE UNIQUE OFFERINGS By Chris Ryall

Canada’s diverse landscape spawns a treasure trove of travel experiences and an unusual, but flavourful, mix of local ingredients, from lobster shells and lentils to wild mushrooms. Innovative brewers and distillers have tapped into them to create distinctly Canadian craft brews and spirits. Enjoy a taste of Canadiana with these tasty highlights. C R U S TA C E A N E L AT I O N A L E – S A LT B O X B R E W I N G C O . Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

© O'DWYER DISTILLERY

Lobster’s influence permeates daily life along Mahone Bay and the South Shore coastline, and that includes quaffing a Crustacean Elation Ale at Saltbox Brewing Co. Lobster brine and toasted lobster shells are added into the mash. What comes out is a refreshing light beer with a hint of saltiness. This year, Saltbox will be using lobster caught by the Nellie Row, Canada’s first all-female lobster crew. Lobster beer is brewed seasonally and people can’t wait to get their claws on it.

RADOUNE GIN – O'DWYER DISTILLERY

© SALTBOX BREWING CO.

Gaspé, Quebec

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Explorer Jacques Cartier erected a cross in Gaspé in 1534 and it became known as the “Birthplace of Canada.” The Gaspé Peninsula, home to four national parks including Forillon National Park, is a nature lover’s playground with mountains, salmon-rich rivers and verdant forests. In these forests, four kinds of wild mushrooms (chanterelles, yellowfoot chanterelles, honey mushrooms and matsutake) are hand-picked to provide a rich, earthy flavour with notes of pine and juniper for O'Dwyer Distillery’s Radoune Gin. This gin may be the only ‘tonic’ you need.


Almonte, Ontario Almonte, less than an hour southwest of Ottawa, is the hometown of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball. The 19th-century mill town is lined with limestone buildings, craft shops and galleries. In 2018, Dairy Distillery created a new taste sensation distilling milk from its dairy farm to make Vodkow, Canada’s first lactose and gluten-free vodka. What used to be waste is now transformed into a revolutionary vodka distilling process that produces the country’s only carbon-neutral vodka and four Vodkow Cream flavoured liquors. Enjoy the cream of the crop.

LENTIL BEER – REBELLION BREWING CO. Regina, Saskatchewan Something’s brewing in Regina, but this latest rebellion is being allowed to ferment despite the city being home to the RCMP training headquarters since 1885. Saskatchewan is the world’s leading exporter of lentils so why not use them in a tasty hyper-local beverage? Rebellion Brewing Co.’s Lentil Cream Ale contains 20 per cent lentils and 80 per cent barley. Have a glass in their taproom as you ponder visiting Regina’s other points of interest such as Stone Hall Castle, RCMP Heritage Centre, Wascana Centre Park, and the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. High in protein, lentil beer serves up a smooth, light and flavourful taste firmly ingrained in Saskatchewan’s beer culture.

Vernon and Kelowna, British Columbia Creative icons and absinthe drinkers Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh contributed to the popularity and taboo nature of the spirit, also known as the “green fairy” drink. Opened in 2004, Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery is Western Canada's original farm-toflask craft distillery and produces a 60 per cent alcohol proof Taboo Genuine Absinthe. It is Canada’s first genuine absinthe and World Spirits Gold Award winner. This gluten-free absinthe is created from a neutral fruit alcohol giving it a more mellow finish than alcohol made from grain. With two locations in Vernon and Kelowna, Okanagan Spirits is surrounded by Okanagan’s bounty of herbs and rich soils. Sip a glass in their barrel room and get those creative juices flowing. © OKANAGAN SPIRITS CRAFT DISTILLERY

© DAIRY DISTILLERY

VODKOW – DAIRY DISTILLERY

TA B O O G E N U I N E A B S I N T H E – O K A N A G A N S P I R I T S C R A F T D I S T I L L E R Y

ABSINTHE MOJITO

Recipe supplied by Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery Ingredients (1 serving): 1 oz Taboo Genuine Absinthe 1 tbsp sugar 6 mint leaves 1 cup crushed ice Sparkling water 1 lime wheel Directions: In a glass, muddle lime juice, sugar, mint leaves and lime.

© REBELLION BREWING CO.

Add absinthe and stir. Fill glass with crushed ice and top with sparkling water. Add lime wheel as garnish.

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SAMPLERS

HOW TO SHOP FOR CHEESE LIKE A LOCAL IN PARIS By Christine Clark

For lovers of the finer things, there’s nowhere quite like Paris. The wine, the bread, the architecture, the fashion, the cheese. It wouldn’t be Paris without fragrant cheese shops around (nearly) every corner and it would be tragic to visit the city without treating yourself to some fromage. Just keep in mind that, for visitors from North America, cheese shop hours can seem a bit erratic. Most are closed for lunch and all day on Mondays. Make sure to check the hours online before you go. W H AT T O B U Y

CHEZ VIRGINIE

Look for the word “fermier” as you’re shopping. Directly translating to “farmstead,” these are the character-filled, small-batch cheeses difficult to find elsewhere in the world.

18th Arrondissement

Don’t be afraid of cheeses that look a bit fuzzy or mouldy. The French appreciate them in their more natural state, especially since it’s common to leave cheese out at room temperature. It will be delicious nonetheless.

A LARGE SELECTION OF CHEESES IN A PARIS SHOP

LAURENT DUBOIS 4th, 5th and 15th Arrondissements Dubois’ shops are on the must-visit list of every cheese enthusiast and it’s no wonder why. The selection is extraordinary, especially the delicate, pastry-like cheese creations. Think Camembert stuffed with mascarpone and Calvados-soaked apples from Normandie, Roquefort layered with quince paste, fresh goat cheese topped with yuzu, and so on. Dubois, the man behind such artistry, is an “affineur” or expert ager of cheese. As proof, sample his unbeatable Comté (similar to Swiss Gruyère).

Most Parisians shop for cheese to be eaten that day, so no need to feel silly when asking for smaller slices. In fact, if you’re buying cheese for much later than the next day, let your fromager know so they can give you something at a more appropriate level of ripeness.

WHERE TO GO Wandering around Paris will allow you to discover treasures not widely available otherwise. You’ll find cheese, so don’t you worry. But, if you’d prefer to be a bit more strategic about your shopping, here are some favourite shops:

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Virginie Boularouah and her father stock and sell 150 varieties of cheese from across Europe at this charming little shop near Montmartre. Even more impressive — every single one of them is made with raw milk and is aged in house from 15 days to several months. Make sure to also try her otherworldly cured meats.

ANDROUET 10 locations

SAVOURING THE BEST OF PARIS

Before Androuet, the concept of a cheese shop did not exist. You only had access to the cheeses made in your region. But, since 1909, this historic cheese seller has offered the best of France and beyond, and even has a few locations where it does its own aging. If you plan on sticking around Paris for a while, pick up a frequent buyer punch card.


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SAMPLERS

CELEBRATING SANDWICHES AS ART IN COPENHAGEN By Lynda Balslev

In recent years, the Copenhagen food scene has won international acclaim with the likes of Noma and a windfall of Michelin stars. Despite this heady achievement, the Danes remain content to keep things down-to-earth and simple. And there’s no better reflection of this balance than their smørrebrød tradition. Smørrebrød, which translates as “butter and bread,” has a legacy stretching back to the Middle Ages as a Danish worker’s lunch. Over time, this practical staple worked its way into the family meal and onto the holiday table. Today, smørrebrød is ever-present in daily life as a fast-casual bite, a substantial lunch, or the starter to a celebratory meal. COPENHAGEN’S NYHAVN WATERFRONT AREA

SMØRREBRØD IS A POPULAR LUNCH CHOICE IN DENMARK

© COPENHAGEN MEDIA CENTER/THOMAS HØYRUP CHRISTENSEN

Presentations range from minimal to lavish. What they share is a balance of traditional and modern influences, while

© COPENHAGEN MEDIA CENTER/WONDERFUL COPENHAGEN

Leave it to the Danes to elevate the open-face sandwich or smørrebrød to an art form. In a country where understatement and hygge reign, it makes sense that the unpretentious sandwich is a national icon on a par with The Little Mermaid and LEGO.


© COPENHAGEN MEDIA CENTER/NOEMIÉ METAIREAU THE INTERIORS AT AAMANNS 1921

© COPENHAGEN MEDIA CENTER/DANIEL RASMUSSEN

C I T Y H A L L T O L AT I N Q U A R T E R From City Hall Plaza (Rådhuspladsen), enter Strøget, one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe. Meander into the Latin Quarter, home to Copenhagen’s 500-year-old university and Gråbrødretorv, a cobblestone square lined with halftimbered houses and cafés. Here, you will find Aamanns 1921, serving some of the best smørrebrød in town, artfully arranged with traditional and inventive ingredients.

R O U N D T O W E R T O R O YA L G A R D E N S

THE 17TH-CENTURY RUNDETÅRN OBSERVATORY

Continue to the 17th-century Round Tower (Rundetårn) and oldest functioning observatory in Europe. Climb the tower stairs for a city view and then head to Schønnemanns, one of Copenhagen’s oldest restaurants. In the paneled dining room with linen-clothed tables, revel in the ambience of this old-world restaurant serving traditional smørrebrød, such as marinated herring and beef tartare with house-made “snaps,” a small glass of spirits, mostly aquavit, usually served well chilled with food.

© COPENHAGEN MEDIA CENTER/RASMUS FLINDT PEDERSEN

A M A L I E N B O R G T O N Y H AV N Stroll through the King’s Garden (Kongens Have) to Amalienborg, the Royal Palace and Queen’s residence. Follow the waterfront to Nyhavn, the colourful harbour lined with bars and restaurants. Snag an outdoor table at Kompasset, order from their rotating menu of inventive smørrebrød and local craft beer, and watch the passersby.

S T R Ø G E T T O C H R I S T I A N S B O R G PA L A C E Cross Kongens Nytorv, the landmark square, and step back onto Strøget. Stroll past flagship shops to the footbridge leading to Christiansborg Palace. Before crossing, step into the cozy cellar of Slotskælderen, a 100-year-old smørrebrød institution frequented by Danish politicians. ONE OF KOMPASSET'S 10 KINDS OF SMØRREBRØD

showcasing honest, fresh, and local ingredients artfully perched on sliced bread. Who says that Danish sensibilities can’t be expressed on a dinner plate? The best place to ogle and sample smørrebrød is in the open bread shops and restaurants of Copenhagen. Luckily, the compact city centre is eminently walkable since you will want to work up an appetite to enjoy these iconic sandwiches.

TIVOLI TO KØDBYEN Return to Rådhuspladsen and head to Tivoli Gardens, the famous 17th-century amusement park. Pass through its cavernous food hall and choose from an array of modern open sandwiches, such as a teetering pile of fjord shrimp on rye bread at Hallernes Smørrebrød. Continue to trendy Kødbyen, the meatpacking district where butchers, baristas and bartenders rub shoulders. Order a meaty smørrebrød at Fleisch, a combined restaurant, bar and butchery in a hip industrial setting. B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 | 1 5


SAMPLERS

SIPPING AT BUDAPEST’S FAMOUS RUIN PUBS By Amy McMahon

In recent years, Budapest has emerged as a true highlight of Europe with its history, grand architecture and lively gastronomic scene. The bar culture, in particular, is marked by a phenomenon unique to Budapest ̶ the ruin pub. These run the gamut from clubs to wine bars to craft beer rooms and restaurants. Each has been created in ruins, such as abandoned factories or residential buildings. Here are a few highlights. SZIMPLA KERT

ÉLESZTÖHÁZ

The original ruin pub, Szimpla, is distinctive for its kitschy décor and community events. Built into the crumbling remains of the former Jewish ghetto, the rooms are spread around several levels of open courtyard that turn into a dance floor on wild nights. Whatever you imbibe — be it wine, cocktail or hookah — make sure to buy Szimpla’s unique signature bar snack — raw carrots.

Élesztö, in a former glass factory, features a craft beer room, a wine and tapas bar, a coffeehouse and more. While here, try some traditional Hungarian sausage or salami, alongside local wine or beer — all at their best at Élesztö. HAVING LUNCH INSIDE A RUIN PUB

Kertem is a seasonal courtyard located inside City Park. The drinks and the atmosphere are simple, yet relaxed, with a Balkan food truck on the property. This is the place to try a Hungarian wine spritzer — fröccs — and a Balkan burger, while enjoying a warm summer evening.

MAZEL TOV Located in the city's bustling Jewish Quarter, Mazel Tov defines itself as an entertainment garden, displaying an old Budapest ghetto wall at the end of its courtyard. Inside, the food is Middle Eastern, so expect hummus, falafel, couscous and many types of salads. And make sure to order from the extensive pálinka menu, a traditional fruit spirit with origins in medieval Hungary and Transylvania.

SZIMPLA KERT, THE ORIGINAL RUIN PUB

A GRUND A Grund is a beer garden that will appeal to all. Here, you’ll find laser tag, foosball, a children’s play area and a large dance floor. A Grund also has a great happy hour, which includes deals on Budapest’s most famous beers, Dreher and Soproni.

ENJOYING ONE OF BUDAPEST’S FAMOUS BEERS

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KERTEM


DELIGHT IN

EVERY BITE For Foodies & Eaties 2022 CULINARY-THEMED RIVER CRUISES

Who says healthy cuisine can’t be inspiring? On an Avalon Waterways river cruise, you can take an indulgent vacation without drifting from your healthy habits. You’ll appreciate the choice to eat healthy at every meal with our Avalon Fresh® options. With the freshest ingredients from local farms and suppliers, we serve clean, surprising flavours with a dash of innovation. Whether you’re looking for an energizing juice at breakfast, an artfully crafted salad at lunch, or a high-protein plate at dinner, Avalon Fresh allows you to fuel your ventures— and nutritional values—day or night.

A Culinary Experience in Burgundy & Provence 8 days | Port-Saint-Louis to St. Jean-de-Losne | March 29, 2022 A Culinary Experience on Rhine & Rhône Revealed 8 days | Port-Saint-Louis to Amsterdam March 29, 2022 Bites, Brews & Views of Holland & Belgium 8 days | Amsterdam to Brussels | August 8, 2022 A Culinary Experience in Grand France 15 days | Port-Saint-Louis to Paris | March 29, 2022

Ask about our Wine Appreciation, Beer Tasting and other themed river cruise vacations, and our current promotions. 3280 Bloor St. W, Centre Tower, Suite 400, Toronto, ON M8X 2X3, TICO#1893755/50015835


SAMPLERS

TASTY ROAD TRIPS START HERE

SURREY’S NEW SPICE TRAIL AIMS TO PUT THE CITY’S DIVERSITY ON THE GLOBAL CULINARY MAP By Sandra Thomas

The earthy scent of coconut, highlighted by the pungent aromas of turmeric, coriander and cumin, permeates the dining room of Kerala Kitchen in Surrey, a suburb of Metro Vancouver. Before even taking in its red and gold ambiance, it’s those tantalizing smells wafting from the kitchen that make it immediately obvious why Kerala is one of the highlights of the City of Surrey’s new dedicated Spice Trail.

An initiative of Discover Surrey — and a passion project of its new executive director Ange Chew — the goal of the Spice Trail is to put that city on the culinary map for local and international visitors alike. She hopes they will find Surrey an affordable urban alternative to Vancouver and believes getting the word out about its vibrant culinary scene is the way to start. The new Spice Trail website has been broken down into Surrey’s six neighbourhoods — North Surrey, Fleetwood, Guildford, Newton, South Surrey and Cloverdale — and by ethnicity, vegetarian options, and style, so you can plan your trip easily.

MY SHANTI

But, it’s not just restaurants included on the Spice Trail. Specialty grocery stores, like Lucky Supermarket, have also been added to this self-guided tour. Here, visitors will find a delightfully, delicious introduction to exotic produce and meats not found at your typical Safeway, including entire goats wrapped in linen, and pigs’ trotters as large as ham hocks.

This tiny hole-in-the-wall is located within an industrial park — and is worth the effort to find. The same “aunties” have been making the samosas since its inception almost 18 years ago. Tip: try the butter chicken samosas.

So far, more than 30 restaurants and stores have enthusiastically jumped on the Surrey Spice Trail. Here are a few of the highlights:

1 8 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1

Celebrity chef Vikram Vij opened My Shanti in Surrey as an homage to the “personal and culinary journeys” he has taken with friends throughout India, with each dish chosen to represent the uniqueness of a particular region’s cuisine.

KERALA KITCHEN Executive chef Sujith raj Rajasekharan cooks the authentic dishes of Southern India he grew up with, including a variety of dosa, curries, biryani and thalis.

C A F É M A D R A S ( S I M P LY C U R R I E S )

C H A C H A ’ S TA N D O O R & G R I L L Co-owner Harchet Kalra had a vision to open a space where really great Indian food meets Western culture. Chacha’s was born using his uncle’s traditional recipes, with the addition of a liquor license and modern decor. Even the music is fusion — think bhangra dance mix, but featuring Calvin Harris and Bruno Mars.


TAKE A BITE OF THE SPICE TRAIL WITH THIS RECIPE CHEF VIKRAM VIJ’S MOM’S CHICKEN CURRY Vij says his culinary empire all started with this simple family recipe, a favourite of his mother who used to prepare it for him to sell as take-out before he opened his first restaurant. Makes: 6 servings Total prep time: about 90 minutes Ingredients ½ cup (125 ml) canola oil 2 cups (500 ml) finely chopped onions (2 large) 3-inch (7.5-cm) stick of cinnamon 3 tbsp (45 ml) finely chopped garlic 2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped ginger 2 cups (500 ml) chopped tomatoes (2 large) 1 tbsp (15 ml) salt ½ tsp (2.5 ml) ground black pepper 1 tsp (5 ml) turmeric 1 tbsp (15 ml) ground cumin 1 tbsp (15 ml) ground coriander 1 tbsp (15 ml) garam masala ½ tsp (2.5 ml) ground cayenne pepper 3 lbs (1.4 kg) bone-in chicken thighs 1 cup (250 ml) sour cream, stirred 2 cups (500 ml) water ½ cup (125 ml) chopped cilantro (including stems) Preparation In a large pan, heat oil on medium heat for 1 minute. Add onions and cinnamon, and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another 4 minutes. Add ginger, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala and cayenne. Cook this masala for 5 minutes, or until the oil separates from the masala. Remove and discard skin from the chicken thighs. Wash thighs and add to the masala. Stir well. Cook chicken thighs for 10 minutes, until the chicken looks cooked on the outside. Add sour cream and water and stir well. Increase the heat to medium-high. When curry starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times, until chicken is completely cooked. Poke the thighs with a knife. If the meat is still pink, cook for 5 more minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Cool curry for at least half an hour. Transfer cooled chicken to a mixing bowl. Peel chicken meat off the bones. Discard bones and stir chicken back into the curry. Just before serving, heat curry on medium heat until it starts to boil lightly. Stir in cilantro. © ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF DISCOVER SURREY

To serve: Divide curry evenly among six bowls. B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 | 1 9


SAMPLERS

“LAUGHTER IS BRIGHTEST WHERE FOOD IS BEST” THE IRISH PROVERB RINGS TRUE AS THE EMERALD ISLE UNDERGOES A FOODIE REVOLUTION By Lane Atteridge

With millennia of agrarian history under their belts, a new generation of Irish chefs are serving up historic flavours with modern ideas and can’t-miss food experiences. Discover for yourself why the Emerald Isle has become a rising culinary destination worthy of your attention.

© SEAN BREITHAUPT FOR DIAGEO

Irish fare is often miscast as the culinary “plain Jane” of Europe. But over the past few years, Ireland has seen a food-focused renaissance. Meat and potatoes and hearty stews are making room for gourmet tapas, aperitifs, and sweet chili coconut stir-fries. And for one small town on the southern shore, this revolution of cuisine has been brewing for years. The picturesque fishing town of Kinsale in County Cork is rich with history, charming cottages, and great food, and was recently named the “Top Foodie Town” by the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI). At the heart of the small town’s lively culinary scene is the Kinsale Good Food Circle (GFC). For over 40 years, the GFC has rallied restaurants to come together and up their culinary game. “We’ve created a place where people are coming to us for a food experience, not just coming to Ireland and eating along the way,” says Liam Edwards, owner of the Jim Edwards Restaurant and former RAI president. Today, a new generation of chefs are breathing life into Kinsale’s dining scene. Its restaurants thrive off the abundant produce that Ireland’s rolling green hills are known for. “If it’s not local, it’s not on the menu,” he explains.

“We let the main ingredients do the talking,” Edwards said. “We were known for pints of Guinness, leprechauns and good Irish music in the pubs, but we want people to be no longer surprised about how good our food is.” There are endless reasons to visit Ireland, but the thrill of delving into its culture through cuisine is one of the best. Landmarks and historic sites can give you a great glimpse into its traditional roots, but there’s something about sitting down and sharing a meal that goes beyond sightseeing. Food is the main ingredient that connects us all, and that’s especially true here. 2 0 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1

© FÁILTE IRELAND/DONALD MOLONEY PHOTOGRAPHY

The country’s long history of agriculture and high-quality produce is attracting chefs from all over the world. Think international-fusion dishes ranging from Chinese to Indian, seasonal menus to showcase fresh produce and healthy vegetarian dishes.


SAVOUR EVERY MOMENT

OF T RAV E L

Iconic sites, unique moments, and culinary experiences – all in the same tour.

SHADES OF IRELAND

ITALY’S TREASURES

MARITIMES COASTAL WONDERS

STARTING AT $2,999*PP 10 DAYS • 13 MEALS *Price based on November 7, 2022 departure

STARTING AT $4,299*PP 12 DAYS • 17 MEALS *Price based on March 26, 2022 departure

STARTING AT $4,499*PP 11 DAYS • 16 MEALS *Price based on October 2, 2022 departure

Raise a pint of Guinness and discover the charm of the Emerald Isle’s rolling green hills, dramatic coastlines, and captivating cities.

Vineyards, olive groves, and cities that float. Incredible history, indelible culture, and unforgettable cuisine. This is l’Italia at its most iconic.

Learn how to cook mussels on Prince Edward Island, and experience the picturesque beaches and fishing villages of the Canadian Maritimes.

Watch Collette Tour Manager Luciana Lyons talk about a beautiful family-run farm and winery that we visit on our Italy’s Treasures Tour >

*Pricing is per person, land only, double occupancy, and varies by departure date. Travel Industry Council of Ontario Reg. #3206405; B.C. Reg. #23337 B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 | 2 1


SAMPLERS

THE SWEETEST SOUVENIR

FROM SLOVENIA TO NEW ZEALAND, HONEY IS CREATING A BUZZ WORLDWIDE AS APITOURISM SOARS By Waheeda Harris

Prized for centuries as a natural sweetener, honey is not only one of the world’s oldest sweet treats, but has also been part of the natural medicine cabinet used by healers to treat cuts, burns, coughs, colds and indigestion. Today, honey, created by bees using local floral nectars, makes for the sweetest of souvenirs, giving a whole new meaning to the expression “a taste of place.” Encouraging honey devotees to explore destinations in pursuit of the natural elixir, apitourism is flourishing in Italy, Greece and Canada, welcoming tourists to tastings on farm tours and the fine art of beekeeping. With a lengthy history of beekeeping, Slovenia has been a strong proponent of apitourism and boasts the highest percentage of beekeepers per capita in the European Union. As the first country to proclaim May 20 as World Bee Day, it was honouring one of its own on his birthdate — Anton Janša, a noted 18th-century bee expert and beekeeping teacher for Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa. Beyond Slovenia, many countries around the planet produce various types of honey, from kitchen staples to the rarest of elixirs.

A WIDE WORLD OF HONEY Alfalfa, clover and wildflower are some of the commonly seen types of honey on grocery shelves or at farm stands. Rare varieties include Tualang honey, produced by a giant honey bee using jungle flower nectar in the Malaysian rainforest; sidr honey, sourced from the sidr trees in the forests of eastern Yemen; and honey from Pitcairn Island, a tiny pollution-free South Pacific island with a population of 48. Turkish Peri Bali, often called elvish or fairy honey, is considered the world’s most expensive honey, recently priced at 5,000 euros per kilogram. Sourced from caves in the northeastern region of Turkey, the scant supply has made this specific honey a rare commodity. Turkey is the world’s second-largest producer of honey, while China takes the top spot with almost 500,000 metric tons per year. © CIRIL JAZBEC

‘ U N - B E E - L I E VA B L E ’ S O U V E N I R S

BEEKEEPING IS AN ART IN SLOVENIA

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A tasty way to experience the flowers of a destination’s landscape, honey makes for a great souvenir to take home or gift. And properly sealed and stored, it can last for several


PASSING BEEKEEPING SKILLS FROM ONE GENERATION TO THE NEXT

HONEYBEES HARD AT WORK

years. Make sure to read the label or ask a vendor for raw or unpasteurized honey. Here are some popular options to try: Manuka honey, New Zealand. The Maori refer to the manuka bush as taonga, translated as ‘treasure.’ Sourced after the two- to six-week period when the Manuka shrub blossoms, this honey is a light shade of yellow which naturally darkens over time. It has an earthy, somewhat herbaceous flavour, and has become one of the world’s most popular thanks to its high antimicrobial properties.

BEE HIVES, HILL BAY ISLANDS, NEW ZEALAND

Miel de Galicia, Spain. Sustainable beekeeping is a hallmark of this northwest region of Spain, where honey is produced in the protected Sierra de los Ancares Mountains. Reflecting a spectrum of shades from pale yellow to deep amber, this honey’s notable flavours include eucalyptus, blackberry, chestnut and heather. Tupelo honey, southern United States. Sourced from the flower nectar of the Tupelo tree, a type of lime tree that flourishes in the swampy areas, it has a unique amber hue with a distinct green shade because of the Tupelo’s flower pollen. Honey devotees love its bold flavour.

Leatherwood honey, Australia. In Tasmania, the leatherwood trees bloom every summer, which gives this honey a highly aromatic quality. Bright yellow in colour with a soft butter consistency, it is easily spreadable at room temperature and has a spicy taste. Health-conscious honey lovers appreciate it for its high levels of antioxidants and immune-boosting properties.

RAW TASMANIAN HONEY

© TOURISM AUSTRALIA

Slovenski med, Slovenia. The indigenous Carniolan bee is responsible for the country’s own supply as well as that for most of Europe. Prized for its very low water content, Slovenian honey has flavourful notes, courtesy of trees like acacia, linden, chestnut, fir and spruce.

B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 | 2 3


CUISINES OF THE WORLD

THE ROYAL TOUCH By Janice Tober

Ottoman cuisine makes a comeback in Istanbul to please modern diners

W

hen you land at Istanbul airport, you’re surrounded by the modern face of the city: glass, steel and shops laden with brand-name wares. But as you make your way into the city, there’s a good chance you’ll pass ancient stone fortifications, intact Ottoman-era palaces and mosques. You might see the Bosphorus Strait, the body of water that was part of the famed Silk Road. It’s easy to imagine the grand empire that existed here for close to a millennium.

“French cuisine became a dominating influence in the 19th century, leading to local cuisines being deemed unfashionable and unsophisticated,” says Priscilla Mary Işın, a Turkish food historian and author of Bountiful Empire: A History of Ottoman Cuisine. “The same happened in Istanbul. In the 1970s, upmarket restaurants never served Turkish dishes. You couldn’t even get Turkish coffee in a grand hotel. Now traditional food is enjoying a comeback.”

A big part of Istanbul’s history is rooted in its Ottoman heritage, a multicultural, multifaith empire that existed from 1299 to 1922. Many of the city’s top tourist attractions, like Topkapı Palace, showcase what it was like to live large as a sultan. Lately, there’s a growing hunger locally to delve into the Ottoman culture through recipes abandoned decades ago.

Chefs leading the way in following this food trail aren’t foraging for food, but for recipes. While traditional Ottoman dishes are still made by home cooks, many of the more complex recipes prepared at palaces were lost.

© KEMPINSKI HOTELS

Executive chef Sezai Erdoğan of the Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul, inspired by the hotel’s former life as an Ottoman

2 4 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 ZERDE FLAVOURED WITH SAFFRON


palace, wanted to create an authentic menu for the property’s Tuğra Restaurant suitable for royalty and hotel guests. Like other local chefs, however, Erdoğan found it difficult to find original Ottoman recipes. He and his team scoured palace vaults for dishes created for sultans, their families and privileged court visitors. “We worked with prominent food historians and experts, researching archives of royal libraries, to create a palace-worthy restaurant of Ottoman cuisine,” Erdoğan explains.

W H AT T E M PT E D PA L A C E PA L AT E S ? Turkey’s wealth and power during the Ottoman period attracted people from all over the region and beyond. Merchants from Persia and the Middle East, Asia, Africa, the Mediterranean and the Balkans brought in exotic goods and spices to Istanbul’s markets and many lived in this central trading hub straddling Europe and Asia.

© KEMPINSKI HOTELS

THE BANQUET SERVICE TEAM’S ATTIRE HAS BEEN TAILORMADE FOR THIS EXPERIENCE

© KEMPINSKI HOTELS

THE RICH ARCHITECTURE INSIDE TOPKAPI PALACE

CUTLERY DESIGN, INSPIRED BY ANCIENT CULTURES

The eclectic mix of cultures influenced local cuisine. “As a multicultural empire, the cuisine reflected this diversity,” says Işın. “For instance, desserts soaked in syrup were popular in medieval Middle Eastern cuisine and were taken up by the Ottomans, who invented many new ones — baklava being the best known.” As these new, mysterious ingredients made their way into the royal palaces, recipes were designed to impress and show off the sultan’s wealth. According to historians, it took more than 1,000 kitchen staff and meals were eaten off solid gold plates. “The Ottomans were extremely inventive in their cookery and took their food very seriously,” Işın adds. “An elaborate version of wheat porridge called aşure made at the Ottoman palace for Muharrem in 1870 included raisins, dates, pine nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, black-eyed beans, broad beans, haricot beans, chickpeas, musk and rose water.” B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 | 2 5


© KEMPINSKI HOTELS

ÇIRAĞAN PALACE KEMPINSKI ISTANBUL

© KEMPINSKI HOTELS

FRAGRANT SPICES IN AN ISTANBUL MARKET

The sultan and his extensive entourage generally preferred foods richer and sweeter than what we eat today. Lamb and game birds, like quail and pheasant, were the chicken of the day — common and plentiful. They were seasoned with spices, such as clove, cinnamon and anise. Imperial tastes also meant meat dishes were adorned with fruit like pomegranates and apricots. Since the sultan controlled the spice routes throughout the region, the royal Ottoman kitchens were full of flavourful spices and tasty goods to turn an ordinary piece of lamb into a complex dish spiced with cinnamon, cardamom and fennel, accompanied by nuggets of juicy plums.

HANDMADE ITALIAN CARAFE AND GOBLET WITH PLANT MOTIFS

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After the decadent Tulip Period (1718-1730), recipes evolved to feature more savoury ingredients, incorporating yogurt and tomato-based dishes into the gastronomic mix.


SUNSET OVER THE BOSPHORUS AND THE SÜLEYMANIYE MOSQUE

B E A S U LTA N F O R A D AY ( O R AT L E A S T A D I N N E R ) The Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul hotel, found in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district on the banks of the Bosphorus, was built in 1871 by Sultan Abdülaziz. Tuğra is the hotel’s signature dining venue and takes its name from the word ‘tuğra,’ which, loosely translated, means ‘sultan’s signature.’ Located on the first floor of the former palace, Tuğra features lovely views over the Bosphorus to the city’s Asian side. On the menu, you’ll find dishes that include herbs, nuts, honey, spices, lamb, rice and saffron which, according to chef Erdoğan, are the main ingredients of Ottoman cuisine. Written descriptions include the origins of each menu item and which sultan favoured it. One typical Ottoman dish is the braised beef dolma over rice with roasted veggies, shallots and homemade pickles, a robust recipe that dates back 500 years as a favourite of the Janissaries, the elite guard of the sultan’s household. Another is the phyllo-wrapped duck with pistachios and almonds, finished with lavender honey jus and caramelized fruits, first served in 1539 at Sultan Süleyman’s circumcision celebration for his sons. Tuğra’s signature dish is the Testi casserole (also chef Erdoğan’s favourite). Cooked and served in a clay pot (historians believe that the world’s first clay pot was made in Anatolia around 7,000 BC), it is cracked open by your server. Out comes a delectable mixture of tender lamb, tomato, potato, shallot, earthy wild mushrooms and peppers. After these, there is plenty more to fill your plate. After testing your stomach’s limits in Istanbul, whether for one day or 10, take a moment to breathe in deeply before you depart it. You may get a faint whiff of spice before leaving one of the world’s last great empires.

Get a bird’s eye view of Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul, the only Ottoman imperial palace and hotel on the Bosphorus.

INSIDER’S TIP Other Istanbul hot spots where you can eat like a sultan Asitane is one of the first restaurants in Istanbul to focus on Ottoman cuisine. Try the Mahmudiyye, a sweet, sour and lightly spicy chicken stew, or the chilled almond soup, made with both sweet and bitter almonds, brought to life with pomegranate and grated nutmeg. Deraliye is a popular spot located in the central Sultanahmet neighbourhood. This eatery specializes in Ottoman cuisine from the days of Süleyman The Magnificent. Diners may also sign up for a cooking class. Old Ottoman Café & Restaurant offers a casual setting to try traditional recipes in the city centre. The huge platters of charred meat, stuffed vine leaves and dips suit the family vibe in the restaurant.

B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 | 2 7


PORTRAIT

MEMORIES IN THE MOUNTAINS By Chantal Panozzo

2 8 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 CHEF SVEN WASSMER

© GRAND RESORT BAD RAGAZ AG

How a celebrated Swiss chef has turned high-end dining into a down-to-earth experience


© GRAND RESORT BAD RAGAZ AG

WINE CELLAR OF MEMORIES RESTAURANT

© GRAND RESORT BAD RAGAZ AG

WHITE ALPINE SHEEP FROM THE BERNESE OBERLAND WITH MEADOW HERBS AND FÖÖLA BREAD

© GRAND RESORT BAD RAGAZ AG

ALPINE MILK WITH CUCUMBER, ONION AND FIR OIL

I

n July 2019, Memories opened in the Swiss spa town of Bad Ragaz and Sven Wassmer began another chapter — without the two hard-earned Michelin stars awarded to his former employer. When chefs, even well-known ones, open a new place, those stars must remain behind.

THE RESTAURANT'S KITCHEN IS VISIBLE TO GUESTS

© GRAND RESORT BAD RAGAZ AG

What you can’t see from your unadorned table also matters, so imagine this: Wassmer, wandering the steep slopes and deep woods of Bad Ragaz. There he is, in all types of weather, foraging wild fruits, herbs, and mushrooms — the best of which end up on his diners’ plates. Saying he has an appreciation for produce is an understatement.

WELCOME TO MEMORIES RESTAURANT

© GRAND RESORT BAD RAGAZ AG

That didn’t worry Wassmer, who was awarded 18 GaultMillau points in 2018. Despite his early accolades, the young chef is humble enough to serve guests the food he cooks — and also to put his kitchen in the midst of Memories’ dining room.

Wassmer is a guy you might have a drink with — if he wasn’t so busy. He operates his kitchen with such precision it almost appears as if his crisp, white-collared team is performing surgery instead of preparing hay kombucha.

Discover the Alpine buckthorn, also known as the lemon of the mountains. It has a wonderful acidity and a delicate, floral flavour — as well as being extremely rich in vitamins.


BAD RAGAZ

My hay kombucha’s amber liquid is served in a plain bowl. On its inner rim is a small hay bouquet. I hold the bowl up to my mouth and inhale. I’m immediately transported out of the dining room and into to the surrounding Alps while the flavour of a freshly picked apple swirls around in my mouth and a surprisingly spicy aftertaste cleanses my palate.

INSIDER’S TIP Swiss wines you need to try

For the next course, all that matters to Wassmer is that my carrot tastes like a carrot. But a funny thing happens when a chef makes a carrot taste like itself, it’s no longer a carrot. You have a culinary piece of art.

You’ll need to visit Switzerland if you want to sample its wines since the vast majority of them are not exported. Here’s a list of wines recommended by sommelier Amanda Wassmer-Bulgin.

“The longer I cook, the more I leave out,” says Wassmer. He sets the “Carrot from Pratval” in front of me.

Weingut Donatsch, Pinot Blanc, Malans

The carrot, cooked whole, is sitting on a bed of Alpine barley, as if it hasn’t quite left its mountain garden. But if I hadn’t known any better, I would have thought I was eating sweet potato. This carrot is melodious and it melts in my mouth. We’re far from the final course, and yet this carrot could have been the 9-course meal’s sweet finale.

Weingut Donatsch, Pinot Noir Unique, Malans

Wassmer wants all of his diners to “taste again, as if they’ve never tasted before.” We could stop the meal now and he would have succeeded. But luckily we didn’t. Because then I would have missed the miniature Alpine herb bouquet tied with a single chive, and the sourdough bread, made with only flour, water, and salt. I would have also missed the “white mountain sheep from the Bernese Oberland” placed on a bed of herbs from the meadow of its origin. And then I would not have been served drinks by Wassmer’s wife and Switzerland’s most famous female sommelier, Amanda Wassmer-Bulgin. Finally, I’m glad I didn’t miss the encore — pickled Alpine flowers set atop a meringue that resembles the Cloud Nine that I feel I’m floating on after this meal. Such an experience, however minimal the intention, is hard to forget. To that notion, Wassmer simply smiles. After all, his restaurant is called Memories for a reason. 3 0 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1

Gentle on the aromatics, but a refreshing white that suits every occasion.

You’ll think you’re in Burgundy, thanks to the pronounced bright red notes of wild strawberries and layers of violets. Weingut Obrecht, Completer, Jenins Offers a vibrant, mouth-watering acidity and rich, broad texture. It could easily replace a red in a menu. Demeter Biodynamic, Weingut Hansruedi Adank, Brut, Fläsch The best sparkling wine in Switzerland. Peter Wegelin, Chardonnay, Malans An exceptional local Chardonnay. Lean and taught structure with a Chablis-esque mineral streak. Think juicy candied lemons with a salty finish.


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CRUISING

BARGING THROUGH BURGUNDY By Liz Humphreys

Set sail for sublime views and culinary delights on the unsung canals of France’s premier wine region

HISTORIC TOWN OF AUXERRE ON THE YONNE RIVER

T

he fluffy fish dumplings — a combo of pike, egg whites, choux pastry and thick cream — float in a rich, velvety crayfish sauce. The generous chef at L’Eternel in the French hilltop town of Vézelay has piled extra crayfish on top. I’ve never tasted the famed quenelles Nantua — made, I am told, by simmering the crayfish shells with onions, carrots, fish stock, white wine and plenty of butter. The light-as-air dumplings melt in my mouth, and taste even better when washed down with a glass of the local pinot noir. Beyond the meal, the scenery’s not half bad either. Vézelay is an adorable UNESCO World Heritage Site, and I hike up its steep streets to see the evocative 3 2 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1

9th-century Romanesque Basilica Sainte-Marie-Madeleine. The church, thought to hold the relics of Mary Magdalene, became a popular stopping point in the 11th and 12th centuries for pilgrims venturing to Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain. As I walk back down Vézelay’s cobblestoned streets, now in their modern incarnation of galleries, clothes stores and cafés, I glimpse vineyards planted all the way up to the town’s edge that remind me where I am — Burgundy. But this isn’t the hyped Burgundy of Beaune and Dijon fame. Instead, Vézelay is one of the stops on my six-day cruise down the Canal du Nivernais, which might be Burgundy’s best-kept secret.

Experience barge cruising the scenic River Saône and Canal du Centre in Southern Burgundy.


© BOURGOGNE-FRANCHE-COMTÉ TOURISME/ALAIN DOIRE

A SAMPLING OF THE ONBOARD EXPERIENCE

The 174-kilometre long waterway snakes through Western Burgundy, connecting the Yonne River in the north to the Loire River in the south. Along the way, the canal meanders past charming villages, pastoral countryside and — this being Burgundy, after all — lovely places to eat and drink. I’m cruising the canals on a barge once used to transport cargo, since transformed into a boutique passenger boat that accommodates up to 14 guests. The boat navigates narrow waterways where traditional vessels simply can’t fit. Since it sails at a relatively leisurely speed, and needs to slow down even more every few hours to pass through the many locks along the way, I’ll have plenty of time to get out and run on the greenway alongside the canal to work off all the delicious food I’ll be eating — at least that’s my hope. Little do I know we’ll be served multiple types of cheese each and every day along with unmissable French desserts.

We begin the cruise in Auxerre, a medieval town with a cathedral displaying mesmerizing, multicoloured stained glass windows. After a short sail to Vincelles, where the boat docks, we drive for half an hour to reach the Chablis countryside, home to Burgundy’s fabled chardonnay vineyards. At Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard, our charismatic host serves us five wines, including two vintages of the Domaine’s well-regarded chardonnay, paired with local cheeses. The winery was one of the first in Burgundy to take up organic farming in 1997, and today, it grows a large portion of its grapes organically and biodynamically. The next day, we set sail for Accolay. While the village itself is of little note, it’s only a half-hour bus ride away from Noyers-sur-Serein, often called France’s prettiest village. I’m charmed by this wine-growing town’s 15th-century half-timbered buildings, wisteria-filled flower baskets and

VÉZELAY WITH ITS FAMOUS BASILICA SAINTE-MARIE-MADELEINE

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© BOURGOGNE-FRANCHE-COMTÉ TOURISME/ALAIN DOIRE

© BOURGOGNE-FRANCHE-COMTÉ TOURISME/CORINNE VASSELET

TERROIR CUISINE

CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE

VINEYARDS NEAR VINCELLES

NOYERS-SUR-SEREIN

picture-perfect squares. But here’s what really excites me: We’re in Noyers on a Wednesday morning — market day! Food stalls overflow with farm-fresh fruits, veggies, fish, meats and cheeses, and there’s a pleasant buzz as locals do their weekly shopping. I pop into the Maison Paillot charcuterie and wine shop to try a local specialty — gougères, delicate French cheese puffs. Run by butcher Denis Paillot and his two young sons, Pierre and Vincent, Maison Paillot not only sells Burgundy classics like country-style pâté with Burgundy marc liquor, but also addictive bread, baked daily, and a fabulous selection of local wines. They also run the popular Restaurant Les Millésimes, specializing in homemade regional dishes such as Époisses pie, made with smoked ham and potatoes. Though the food has been fab, Burgundy isn’t Burgundy without a little more wine. Our barge group heads over to wine cooperative Bailly Lapierre, which has made sparkling wines since 1972 in a little village called Bailly — the birthplace of AOC Crémant de Bourgogne. An underground quarry houses the winery’s tasting cellar, so I’m thankful for my jacket as temperatures are constantly cool. But a few sips of the bubbly quickly warm me up. 3 4 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1

FRANC-COMPTOIS CHEESES

© BOURGOGNE-FRANCHE-COMTÉ TOURISME/ALAIN DOIRE

© BOURGOGNE-FRANCHE-COMTÉ TOURISME/ALAIN DOIRE

© BOURGOGNE-FRANCHE-COMTÉ TOURISME/ALAIN DOIRE

ROCHERS DU SAUSSOIS

GOUGÈRES

Though the barge continues to interesting sites like the 12th-century feudal Château de Bazoches, even better than the places we stop in along the way might be the fabulously talented onboard chef, Tadek Zwan. I quickly become used to breakfasts featuring baked goods like melt-in-your-mouth pain au chocolat or madeleines from the pâtisserie in whatever town we’re docked, along with bowls of fresh fruit, freshly baked quiche and cheese. While buffet lunches are a bit simpler and lighter, the multicourse dinners are where the chef really shines. Each night, I’m served a selection from France’s greatest hits, like French onion soup, coq au vin, quail Gaston Gérard (with Dijon mustard, white wine and cheese) and rosemary- and mint-marinated lamb. Desserts range from floating islands (fluffy meringue in a pool of vanilla custard sauce) to tarte tatin (apples and caramel) to a brilliant pain perdu (the original French toast). And, oh yes, cheese after cheese — Comté, Reblochon, Brillat-Savarin. On the last day, when we sail past some of the finest scenery of the trip — the craggy cliffs of Rochers du Saussois. I sip champagne on the barge’s roof deck with the new friends I’ve made and reflect on the meals that will compel me to return.


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HAPPY HOUR

BEYOND VODKA By Emily Manthei

EL KOKTEL BAR

© EL KOKTEL BAR

Bar hopping in Warsaw reveals a city ready to take its place as one of the world’s best new cocktail destinations


W

hen an old friend opens a cocktail bar, it’s time to pay him a visit.

Hubert Olczak knows cocktails better than anyone else I know. He fell for them while judging a nationwide best bartender contest in 2011. Since then, he has been travelling the world comparing cocktails made by master mixologists in destinations like Hong Kong and London. But those served in his hometown of Warsaw have become his favourites and he was keen to show me why. “Cocktails here are among the most surprising and creative that I’ve ever seen,” he says. “Poles are creative rule-breakers, and that’s the craziness of the Polish nature.” With my interest piqued, I headed to Warsaw ready to bar hop to the places making it a new go-to spot for top-notch cocktails. Leisurely sipping your liquor is a recent phenomenon in Poland, where traditional bars are focused more on serving shots of vodka. Mixed drinks played second fiddle. But in Warsaw, things started changing in 2005 with a bar called Paparazzi where bartenders learned to make classics. That’s where Paweł Rodaszyński, then a young bartender, first became inspired. Today, he is one of Poland’s leading mixologists and the co-owner of El Koktel. From behind the bar, Rodaszyński opens the seasonal menu and presents it to Hubert, who was keen to introduce me to this unpretentious, dimly lit spot because of its reputation for serving up some of the city’s very best cocktails. Hubert orders the mysterious sounding, Darkness, a twist on a classic, presented in a black stone cup. Rodaszyński was an early cocktail advocate, but by 2014, Warsaw’s creative cocktail scene had really erupted. “People became more interested in quality craft breweries, third

WHISKY DAISY COCKTAIL

© FILIP BONDER AND ALEKSANDER SKWERES

© FILIP BONDER AND ALEKSANDER SKWERES

BACKROOM BAR'S VINTAGE LOOK

wave coffee, and cocktails,” he explains. Along with this shift, bars transitioned from pre-club stopovers to evening destinations with bar owners creating unique settings and focusing on hospitality. As Olczak and I make our way through a back alley and descend some basement steps, an underground lair opens on a wooden bar, carved with gothic motifs. Weles Bar is Olczak’s next pick, named after a Slavic god, known in Polish mythology as “lord of the night, defender of music and magic.” “Our cocktail list focuses on regional, herbal flavours, and our cocktails are mostly gin and vodka based. We only serve vodkas from Poland,” says the head bartender, Maciej Chludziński. A Warsaw native, Chludziński loves the community in the city’s hospitality industry. “If you’re going for cocktails, you know you’ll see friends. And you know where to find the cocktails you’re in the mood for because each bar delivers something specific.” We also hit up Kita Koguta, which means “cock’s tail” in Polish, for its rum-based tiki creations, as well as Woda Ognista, a bar that oozes retro charm. Finally, it’s time to see Hubert’s Backroom Bar. Although he has never worked behind a bar, he has used his expertise from the barstool and his days spent as a marketing rep for Absolut Vodka to curate a special experience. “When I travelled, I came back to Warsaw sharing ideas and inspirations with bartenders,” he says as we come to a darkened, dead-end street. Around the corner, a few smokers stand outside an unmarked wooden door. Inside, vintage New York jazz, funky Art Deco wallpaper and dark, velvet curtains perfectly set the mood. Groups gather around intimate tables chatting with servers. Hubert explains

B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 | 3 7


WARSAW'S OLD TOWN

that the bartenders are also servers so they can share their expertise — usually reserved for those seated at barstools — with everyone. Our server for the night is Karol Rychlewicz, Backroom’s managing bartender, who explains his approach to cocktails. “I am really into classic recipes, like the ones we find in old bartender books,” he says. His eclectic, rare cocktails are supported by ingredients made in house, including sloe gin, Swedish punch, hop-infused gin, and Polish vodka with spices and honey. It was well worth the trip.

All of the highly regarded bartenders I met thanks to Olczak love to focus on the craft of making exquisite drinks with their own unique flair. The one thing they agree on is that bartending is still just 10% mixology and 90% socialization. It’s the latter that drew me to Warsaw in the first place. As Rodaszyński told me, “Sometimes we spend a lot of time describing flavour and aroma, but it’s just as important to get the cocktail and spend time with the people around you.”

BLACKROOM'S BESTSELLER, THE PERU COCKTAIL

INSIDER’S TIP When in Warsaw Whether you’re in this capital city for a few hours or several days, here’s what not to miss:  Trakt Królewski (The Royal Route), a network of five streets connecting many cultural buildings and monuments

© FILIP BONDER AND ALEKSANDER SKWERES

 The Museum of the History of Polish Jews (POLIN), located in the former Jewish ghetto of World War II  Royal Łazienki Park, the biggest park in the city, and its Palace on the Water  The Chopin Museum and the many venues hosting Chopin concerts Bonus: Make sure to chase the many black benches with buttons on them throughout the city for a chance to hear the famous composer’s music. Talk with your travel advisor for more suggestions!


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© ANNA MARIA KAMBOURAKIS

LOCAL PERSPECTIVE

ANNA MARIA, HUSBAND, VASILI, AND GUESTS

A TASTE OF THE SIMPLE LIFE By Anna Maria Kambourakis

How one woman’s passion for a Greek island inspired her to make a life-changing move and share farm-fresh cuisine with others

“Y

ou mean, I can just eat it off the tree?” “Would you prefer if I put it on a styrofoam tray and wrap it in plastic?” I respond.

I’m not surprised when I get questions like this from guests to our property. I had asked the same ones nearly 30 years ago when I first came to my family’s village in Crete. Bemused and often sarcastic responses were a constant from my cousins who couldn’t understand that, while I was a blood relative, I knew so little about food and life on Crete. 4 0 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1

At age 9, I ate my first fruit directly from a tree — an apricot, plucked from a branch while standing on a donkey to reach a ripe one. “Check for worms,” my cousin reminded me as I opened the fruit along the seam. The furry skin of the apricot tickled my lips and tongue. That first bite was an explosion of flavour. This is what food is supposed to taste like. The apricot was sweet and tart and like nothing I had before. Every meal that summer was better than the next. Potatoes fried on an open flame in thick golden olive oil and topped


with sea salt were far superior to the soggy fries I had at home. Here, I knew the source of all my food — olive oil from my great-grandfather’s trees, salt collected from the rocks at the beach and potatoes from the garden. A switch flipped in my brain. I became a voracious eater, much to the pleasure of my aunts who delighted in feeding me. It turns out I wasn’t picky. I just needed food to taste good. My quest for the rest of that summer was to chase smells and flavours as new fruits and vegetables ripened in the Cretan sun. The earth graciously rewarded me with fresh almonds, peaches, cherries and prickly pears. All these new flavours were a build-up to the agricultural climax of the summer — fresh figs. The fig leaf smell had teased me since June. When the skins finally turned from green to yellow in September, I knew it was my moment. I peeled back the fig skin and broke it open to expose the vibrant ruby concentration of seeds. Its syrupy sweetness and seeds popping with every bite sent me into a frenzy. When the summer came to a close, I returned home to the U.S. with its bland foods and microwaved meals. I tried in vain to replicate a traditional Cretan salad, but the flavours never came close. I was left longing for the following summer when I could return to Crete. I had a nagging feeling it was where I belonged.

It remained a daydream until 2013. I was newly engaged to Vasili, a fellow Cretan-American who shared my passion for Crete. After our wedding on the island, our guests

CRETAN RURAL LANDSCAPE WITH OLIVE TREES

© MARKETING GREECE

Years passed, and visits to Crete became sporadic as life went on. I began studying wine as soon as I was old enough to drink legally. In every new wine, I would smell aromas that would transport me back to the island. Fresh fig in Zinfandel, apricots in Albariño, and jasmine in Riesling made me nostalgic for those childhood summers in the village. I longed for its simple life. Moving to Greece during its latest economic crisis was not rational, but neither was working oneself to exhaustion and never enjoying life.

RESTAURANT IN THE OLD TOWN OF RETHYMNO, CRETE

FRESH FIGS

B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 | 41


CRETE IS ABUNDANT IN FRESH PRODUCE

left and we stayed. My husband began working on his grandfather’s vineyards abandoned since the 1970s and I started learning everything I could about Cretan wine. In my eight years of wine studies, Crete, despite being the oldest winemaking region in Europe, was never mentioned. After a few years, we decided our best bet to make our mark was to start our own company offering food and wine tours. Tourism made the most sense since we are both native English speakers. We also wanted to show people the Crete that we knew, beyond the beaches and resorts, including its cuisine.

Discover how food is a way of life, with an emphasis on simplicity, sustainability, fresh local produce, respect for tradition and (most importantly) warm hospitality.

Today, visitors we take to the Cretan countryside are overwhelmed by the endless views of olive trees. More than 50 per cent of the land is planted with them. Olive oil is the basis for the entire Cretan diet. Cretans do not drizzle olive oil, we bathe our food in it, including a typical Cretan salad I first loved as a kid. It has tomatoes, cucumbers, mizithra cheese, onions, sea salt, and oregano, but no lettuce. The pool of olive oil at the bottom of the bowl is perfect for dipping fresh bread and absorbing all those flavours. Local olive mills are open to guests, where they can see the oilmaking process. Quick note: Learn from my mistake, do not eat an olive straight from the tree! Another local delicacy is Cretan honey. The bees have over 300 unique flora and fauna to choose from, but prefer the wild thyme that grows in the mountains. The best way to try Cretan honey is on a Sfakiani pita, a thin pie filled with goat and sheep cheese, fried in olive oil and topped with honey. Or add it with Crete’s famous thick and creamy yogurt. The ultimate foodie experience is visiting an apiary and tasting honey directly from the honeycombs. 4 2 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1

VINEYARDS ON THE ISLAND OF CRETE, GREECE


BEEHIVES IN A MOUNTAINOUS SETTING

Crete is the oldest winemaking region in Europe and is currently experiencing a boom in quality. There are 11 native grape varieties found on Crete, like Liatiko (red) and Vidiano (white) — each with their own unique flavour profile and expression of Cretan terroir. One of the pleasures of wine tasting in Crete is finding aromas in wine that match the environment like wild herbs, blossoms, apricots, and even fig. There are more than 50 wineries on Crete eager to welcome guests to their rustic tasting rooms. Farm-to-table restaurants are not a new concept in Crete, it’s the way things have always been. It’s not unusual to see a little old lady preparing traditional dishes in the back

while her children or grandchildren serve guests in the front. Food is often sourced from the gardens and livestock of the owners. The twinkle in a Cretan’s eye when they present their guests with cheese made from the milk of their own sheep or raki, distilled grape spirit they’ve made, exemplifies the pride they take in their food and hospitality. As we lead our guided tours around the island, I delight in seeing my guests’ faces as they eat their first fresh fig straight from the tree. Their eyes widen and I know exactly how they’re feeling. And who knows? Maybe it will inspire them to go back to their roots and live the life they’ve always dreamt of, too.

TRADITIONAL CRETAN SALAD

B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 | 4 3


GIN SAFARI AT MR FOGG'S

GIN FOR THE WIN By Janice Tober

From the Queen Mary 2 to London’s best bars, one devotee of the spirit begins a quest to find Britain’s best gin cocktails

I

n 1839, Samuel Cunard originally launched the Cunard Line to carry mail to and from the UK and North America via Halifax. He would never have imagined that, 100 years later, his ships would be carrying some of the world’s most glamorous passengers, from celebrities to royalty, during the Golden Age of transatlantic crossings. I was keen to experience some of that dazzle myself when I boarded the Queen Mary 2 in New York for the journey to Southampton. Then I planned to explore the place that made gin famous — London. I expected the QM2 to be quintessentially British and offer a proper afternoon tea, a full English breakfast and — most importantly for me — a happy hour that included plenty of gin and tonics. I had visions of imbibing these cocktails on

4 4 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1

the windswept deck, wrapped in a blanket on a wooden lounger while watching the ocean waves swell and sway as I sipped. My heart leapt when I discovered Cunard not only has a fine selection of gin, but also its very own private line, 3 Queens Gin from Edinburgh-based Pickering’s Gin. (Coincidentally, it is owned by the great-nephew of a former Cunard captain.) Of the brand’s three gins, my favourite was the more intense Queen Elizabeth, made with botanicals from the Far East, including lotus root, star anise, Kaffir lime leaves and cardamom. It’s ideal for a full-flavoured G&T with a kick of spice. After arriving in Southampton, I made the trek to London to continue my gin discovery tour. The first stop was

© MR FOGG'S GIN PARLOUR

HAPPY HOUR


QM2 IN NEW YORK CITY

© MOTHER'S RUIN GIN PALACE

The Ginstitute, where gin aficionados learn about the history of gin in the UK, from London’s early gin craze to the beginnings of the gin palaces that evolved into the London pubs we know today.

MOTHER'S RUIN GIN PALACE

© CUNARD

© MR FOGG'S GIN PARLOUR

ONE OF MANY G&TS FROM MR FOGG'S EXTENSIVE MENU

And once you get your fill of history and the gin cocktails they serve during class, the fun really begins. With your newfound knowledge, you get to create your own bespoke bottle of gin to take home. Mixing ingredients amongst a group of likeminded individuals, I found the gin-soaked conversation particularly interesting, as we spoke earnestly about the salient features of each ingredient and the potential benefit of adding asparagus to a gin recipe (said to produce a nice mouth-feel). Stoked with knowledge, it was time to take it on the town and discover a few London gin joints that serve a perfect G&T. Here’s where my gin passion took me:

T H E G I N B A R AT T H E R O S E W O O D L O N D O N Get ready to settle in at the comfy, copper-topped bar in the Holborn Dining Room because this is where you’ll find more than 500 gins and over 30 tonics (London’s largest selection). If you tried a different gin-tonic combination every night, it would take over 41 years until you’d have to repeat one.

M R F O G G ’ S G I N PA R L O U R This is one of those places that looks like you might be stopping in for spot of tea, not a G&T. This Victoriana parlour serves up a wealth of rare and hard to find varieties — more than 200. Place yourself in the barkeep’s hands and they will select the best for you, while you soak up the atmosphere.

M O T H E R ’ S R U I N G I N PA L A C E This small neighbourhood joint offers two house-made small-batch gins, brimming with botanicals and fruit. The award-winning Mother’s Ruin Old Tom Gin takes cocktails up a notch with a richer, sweeter profile than traditional London dry gins. The fruity Damson Gin is made from plums picked on the family orchard in Cumbria. If you’re lucky, the bar might even have a limited-edition gin or two on-site, like the rose geranium or fennel.

MR FOGG'S GIN PARLOUR

© MR FOGG'S GIN PARLOUR

T H E B R I G AT M E R C H A N T H O U S E Located near St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Brig is a private bar within a bar. Here you can sample one of more than 400 gins on hand in a wee bar that holds up to four people. The drinks menu is a takeaway treasure, focusing on the history and movement of spirits, and the navy-painted brick walls and drawings of ships brought me right back to where I started my gin journey — the QM2.

B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 | 4 5


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NATURE’S BOUNTY ON A PLATE

SAGAMITÉ RESTAURANT IN WENDAKE, QUEBEC

By Hans Tammemagi

Indigenous cuisine experiences a renaissance as new restaurants pop up across Canada, celebrating First Nations culture and traditions Indigenous cuisine has suddenly become hot in Canada. It’s not surprising since traditional dishes feature hyper-local ingredients, creativity, and plenty of heart. Indigenous people have been following the 100-Mile Diet long before it became trendy. It is just a way of life. Food plays a critical role in connecting people to family and their community. In most cultures, food traditions are passed down from generation to 4 8 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1

generation, but the Indigenous people lost much of that opportunity through colonization and attempts to eradicate their way of life. Thanks to the strength and resilience of Indigenous Peoples, their cuisine has recently undergone a renaissance, with most Indigenous restaurants opening just in the past five years. As portrayed in the video series, Red Chef Revival, this surge is thanks to a new generation of Indigenous chefs working hard to showcase their culinary identity.

Watch the trailer of Red Chef Revival. More than a cooking show, this is a people’s story on a plate.

© QAT-ITAC/AUDET PHOTO

A TASTE OF CANADA


I sought out the SALMON N’ BANNOCK in Vancouver because it was a pioneer in Indigenous cuisine, becoming the first restaurant to offer it back in 2010. I tasted a spicy chorizo sausage from the wonderful game sampler platter — a Haida canoe suspended from the ceiling and First Nations art adorning the walls as a backdrop. Then I spread barbequed salmon mousse on bannock and ladled blueberry chutney onto bison carpaccio. “My bistro offers 100 per cent First Nations’ food, and it’s staffed entirely by Native people,” explains owner and manager Inez Cook of the Nuxalk Nation. “None of our food contains preservatives or additives. Nothing is raised in factory farms or genetically modified. We source all fresh and wild foods so it’s very healthy.” When I remarked that the menu featured many fish and meat items like salmon, elk pot roast and bison ribs, Cook answered with a laugh: “Yes, Natives think vegetarians are just lousy hunters.” SALMON N' BANNOCK RESTAURANT

© INDIGENOUS TOURISM CANADA

© JEREMY INGLETT

SALMON N' BANNOCK SERVES 100 PER CENT FIRST NATIONS' CUISINE

LITTLE CHIEF'S MENU FOCUSES ON FRESH SEASONAL INGREDIENTS AND GAME MEATS

But it goes much deeper, as Bill Alexander, former executive chef at the LITTLE CHIEF RESTAURANT in Calgary, notes: “Our relationship with the terroir… is in tune with Mother Nature. We are taught to respect animals, and eating them is not our right; it’s a privilege.” The Indigenous Culinary of Associated Nations (ICAN), created in August 2019, is another sign of the newfound popularity of Native cuisine. ICAN shares and promotes the many facets of Indigenous culinary and cultural experiences and works closely with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada because tourism and cuisine go hand in hand. ICAN director, Suzanne Reeves, enthused about how vibrant the Indigenous culinary scene is now that young chefs are gaining the confidence and the opportunities to showcase their traditional recipes. “There are more than 60 Indigenous restaurants in the country, either operating or ready to start once COVID ends. Truly amazing is that one out of every three Indigenous youth say they want to become chefs.”

© JEREMY INGLETT

The growing interest in Indigenous cuisine was also evident with the success of Indigenous Chef CookOff, a virtual competition where five top chefs from across the country fashioned appetizing dishes via Zoom. Chefs worked their magic in their kitchens while viewers watched live from their homes.

Indigenous Chef Cook-Off Indigenous chefs whip up a beautiful dish using only the ingredients in their kitchens and a foraged ingredient from their region. B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 | 4 9


If you missed the show, you can still sample the tasty fare prepared by the highlighted chefs, including Christa Bruneau-Guenther, executive chef at the FEAST CAFÉ BISTRO in Winnipeg. A member of the Peguis Nation, she dazzled the virtual audience with her cooked bison skewers with foraged wild garlic, ginger maple and bergamot over a wild rice blend infused with wild chives and sweet grass. At her restaurant, she showcases bison in main dishes like lasagna, chili, shepherd’s pie and meatballs. “Bison is an incredibly important animal to Indigenous people of the prairies, providing much more than just food,” she says.

MR. BANNOCK FOOD TRUCK

© ALANA PETERSON

EXECUTIVE CHEF CHRISTA BRUNEAU-GUENTHER

© INDIGENOUS TOURISM CANADA

In Vancouver, MR. BANNOCK FOOD TRUCK has been giving locals a taste of Indigenous cuisine since 2018, prepared by Paul Natrall of the Squamish Nation. Expect to find plenty of bannock on the menu. The traditional bread is used instead of buns for his homemade burgers and turned into dessert with a generous topping of cinnamon brown sugar, or stuffed with whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate in a twist on eclairs.

5 0 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 FOOD PLATTER AT THE BEAR, THE FISH, THE ROOT AND THE BERRY

© BRENDIN KELLY

BISON ROAST WITH MASH

© INDIGENOUS TOURISM CANADA

Fortunately, First Nations cuisine is becoming more available across the country. In Western Canada, try THE BEAR, THE FISH, THE ROOT AND THE BERRY in Osoyoos. It serves beautifully presented dishes, like beet-cured salmon, made with ingredients sourced locally. Executive chef Murray McDonald has roots with the Indigenous People of Labrador and was formerly the executive chef at the renowned Fogo Island Inn.


© WANUSKEWIN HERITAGE PARK

BISONS AT WANUSKEWIN HERITAGE PARK

With two locations in West Kelowna and Merritt, KEKULI CAFÉ offers light pow-wow music, Aboriginal art and, best of all, Aboriginal cuisine. Its specialty is announced in its slogan, “Don’t panic… We have bannock!” Dozens of flavours are featured, from apple spiced to maple glazed. Kekuli has made more than a million pieces since it opened.

In the heart of the Prairies, plan a visit to WANUSKEWIN HERITAGE PARK, which serves excellent Indigenous cuisine, like bison burgers with a Saskatoon berry barbecue sauce and a slow-cooked bison French dip. The restaurant is located within the national historic site where you’ll also find several tipi circles, buffalo jumps and a 1,500-year-old medicine wheel.

© INDIGENOUS TOURISM CANADA

In Victoria, the SONGHEES SEAFOOD & STEAM truck became the first permanent Indigenous food truck in Canada when it opened in 2016. Decorated with a bold red and green Native design, the mobile eatery offers fresh food sourced from southern Vancouver Island, like wild salmon burgers. It also provides training for First Nations youth to help them get started on a culinary career path.

KEKULI CAFÉ'S SPECIALTY, BANNOCK

© BRENDIN KELLY

INDIGENOUS DANCER AT WANUSKEWIN HERITAGE PARK

Further east, try the POW WOW CAFÉ, which serves delicious Indian tacos made with Ojibwe frybread and more in Toronto’s Kensington Market. When in Quebec, book a table at the SAGAMITÉ RESTAURANT in Wendake, near Québec City, for upscale Indigenous fare like smoked venison and bison, accompanied by the “three sisters” — corn, red beans and squash. Along with topnotch gastronomy, you can experience Native culture at the large Village of the Hurons next door, where there’s a museum and plenty of exhibits to learn more about this special area.

B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 | 5 1


A TASTE OF CANADA

HAPPY TRAILS By Michele Sponagle Sponsored by Tourism Nova Scotia

5 2 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 LUNENBURG, SOUTH SHORE

© TOURISM NOVA SCOTIA/JAMES INGRAM

Lobster, chowder, beer, wine and spirits — all roads lead to deliciousness when you follow Nova Scotia’s food-and-drink themed routes


© TOURISM NOVA SCOTIA/SCOTT MUNN

AVONDALE SKY WINERY

No matter which direction you head in Nova Scotia, you just can’t help coming across delicious things to eat and drink. The Maritime province is renowned for its excellent, multi-faceted culinary scene. With so many great things to eat and drink packed into one destination, visitors may be unsure about how to make the most of every bit and sip available. It’s super easy, courtesy of three-themed trails highlighting the tastiest stops along the way.

LOBSTER TRAIL What’s Nova Scotia without lobster? It has some of the most fertile lobster fishing grounds in the world. Your toughest choice during your visit will be how you want to enjoy your lobster. Purists like a good old-fashioned steamed lobster dinner, while the more adventurous may gravitate toward lobster beer (Saltbox Brewing Company, Mahone Bay) or lobster tempura wraps (Salty’s, Halifax). If you’d like to try a favourite dish among those living in the southwestern part of the province, order the creamed lobster, made with butter and whipping cream, at La Cuisine Robicheau in Saulnierville. On this trail, you’ve got more than 40 crustacean-centric options available.

GOOD CHEER TRAIL Innovation and creativity have pushed Nova Scotia’s offerings to new heights, and you’ll find unique adult beverages not found anywhere else. Its signature grape, L’Acadie Blanc, was created especially for local growing conditions, and is a favourite for sparkling wine. Unique reds include Lucie Kuhlmann and Leon Millot. The Gaspereau Valley is home to many top wineries. You’ll also find the Annapolis Cider Company in Wolfville, where you can sample ciders at its tasting bar. Beer lovers can taste craft brews in every part of the province, from Cape Breton (like Big Spruce Brewing) to Halifax (such as Garrison Brewing and Good Robot) to Yarmouth (Heritage Brewery). Artisanal distillers are also earning accolades, too. Try single malt whisky straight from the barrel at Glenora Distillery in the Cape Breton Highlands, or haskap liqueur from Ironworks Distillery in Lunenburg, and the classic gin by Steinhart Distillery in Antigonish that won big at the 2019 World Gin Awards. No matter what you tip into your mouth, make sure it’s accompanied by a hearty, “Sociable!” — the local way to say cheers.

Back in the day, chowders were made from whatever bits were leftover from last night’s supper. Today’s versions have been modernized with luxurious ingredients and unique takes from many of Nova Scotia’s top chefs. That doesn’t mean chowders can’t have a rustic feel. Try the traditional one at the Grand Banker Bar & Grill in Lunenburg, made with cream, potatoes and celery. Scallops, clams, halibut and shrimp are the stars of the bowl. Or sample a hipper version finished with chive oil, fennel fronds, and grapefruit chutney at Founders House Dining & Drinks in Annapolis Royal. If those don’t sate your hunger, look to the other chowders featured on this trail — more than 50!

ONE OF MANY STOPS FOR CHOWDER ALONG THE TRAIL

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CHOWDER TRAIL

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A TASTE OF CANADA

A SPECTACULAR JOURNEY AWAITS WITH ADVENTURE CANADA

MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS By Jennifer Bain

How one expedition cruise company is now bringing together food, culture and local traditions to create understanding around issues that matter

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ogo Island salt fish cakes with mustard pickles were an easy sell. So was moose, braised and tossed with root vegetables and kale in fresh pasta one night, and then worked into barley soup with turnips, carrots and celery another. But chef Lori McCarthy was anxious about presenting pan-seared seal loin to passengers.

The cultural food enthusiast and founder of Cod Sounds, a culinary excursion company, need not have worried. That night aboard the Ocean Endeavour, adventurous eaters who ordered seal from the fledgling Taste of Place menu “cleaned their plates,” and McCarthy realized what a privilege it was “to get a chance to create a story from the beginning.”

The cut was carefully chosen for its tenderness, served with glazed turnips, potato purée and tart partridgeberry chutney. But even McCarthy’s fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians sometimes snub seal, scarred by badly cooked versions from when they were young, and she couldn’t predict how the international guests who were circumnavigating the island with Adventure Canada would react.

For Bill Swan, who co-founded the expedition cruise company and now focuses on partnerships and sustainability, it has always been important to “provoke thought” and “spark conversations” around everything from Indigenous relations and climate change to hunting and fishing customs and food.

“I wanted them to love it,” she remembers. “I wanted them to say, ‘The first time I had seal it was amazing.’”

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I’ve travelled with Adventure Canada and know that meaningful cultural exchanges are at the heart of everything it does. But while sit-down meals (and elaborate tea times) were wonderful, they didn’t necessarily speak to where


Taste of Place will return next year for the Newfoundland itinerary and the Mighty Saint Lawrence route that crisscrosses Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (part of France). And by 2023, it could roll out on Arctic itineraries.

EXPLORING THE SOUTH COAST OF NEWFOUNDLAND

PAN-SEARED FOGO ISLAND COD

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CHEF AND TASTE OF PLACE AMBASSADOR, LORI MCCARTHY

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When Swan worked with McCarthy and others to create Taste of Place, it was to “double down” on using food as a bridge to every other important topic and give food its “rightful place on the stage.” The program was quietly piloted in 2018 and then unveiled in 2019 on the company’s Newfoundland circumnavigation route because the province has strong food traditions.

© COURTESY OF ADVENTURE CANADA

we were. It was the informal cultural tastings of caribou and whale that I will never forget, as well as eating musk ox hot dogs during an afternoon in Nuuk, Greenland, and enjoying a salmon roe, blackberry and whipped topping dessert while visiting the Inuit village of Kangiqsualujjuaq, Quebec.

Lori McCarthy presents a sustainable, traditional, and educational food experience that connects people to the communities through immersive travel experiences.

© VICTORIA POLSONI

THERE ARE MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO CONNECT WITH LOCALS

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COASTLINE OF ST. JOHN'S

When guests gather in the ship’s Nautilus Lounge for the daily recap just before dinner, they’ll learn whether there are Taste of Place dishes on that night’s menu, plus get a head’s up on any food lectures, cocktail demonstrations, foraging walks, or shore visits to food producers and restaurants planned for the next day.

Everything on expedition cruises is subject to change depending on wind and weather, but some things are certain on the next Newfoundland journey. There will be moose, and the story of how it was introduced to the island as a food source and is still hunted as a rite of passage. And there will be hand-line cod (caught using traditional methods) from Fogo Island because it lets McCarthy tell the “old, new and future” tale of Newfoundland’s favourite fish. It will surely be pan-seared and perhaps served with tartar sauce, made from wild beach greens. And she can be confident guests will once again clean their plates.

Passengers will also use placemats detailing how the food program celebrates, engages and educates. They will meet farmers, fishers, foragers, cheesemongers, craft beverage makers and food leaders. They might visit root cellars and dive for scallops (or at least eat them while learning why diver scallops are a sustainable choice).

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BISCUITS AND ELDERBERRY JAM

OCEAN ENDEAVOUR

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TRANSPORTING SHEEP BY BOAT, BURIN PENINSULA

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So, what do you get for taking your time? Absolutely everything. Explore fall in Newfoundland and Labrador.


©Victoria Polsoni ©Victoria Polsoni

©Dennis Minty

©Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

©Barrett & MacKay

©Barrett & MacKay

A Taste of Newfoundland

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Each evening’s specially prepared menu brings you closer to the places you visit each day. Hike the landscape of Gros Morne National Park, then try a helping of moose ragu. Tour the reconstructed Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows before treating yourself to a bakeapple tart. Watch whales and seabirds feeding around majestic icebergs and cap it off with a seaweed gin cocktail. Travel alongside our passionate team of local musicians, historians, scientists, and food ambassadors who teach you more about the delights of delicious Newfoundland.

©Craig Minielly

Join a Newfoundland Circumnavigation, featuring the award-winning Taste of Place culinary program, and savour the scrumptious flavours of Newfoundland & Labrador—as much a part of the landscape as its blustery coastlines and friendly culture! SMALL-SHIP EXPEDITION

Newfoundland Circumnavigation June 12–23 & July 4–15, 2022 From $4,995 to $16,495 USD For more information please contact your Travel Advisor today! Canadian-owned and operated since 1987 Adventure Canada, 14 Front St. S. Mississauga ON, L5H 2C4, Canada, TICO Reg# 4001400


DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT

THE PERFECT FUSION By Theresa Storm

Savour the multicultural culinary roots of Sint Maarten/St. Martin, a unique mash-up of Dutch, French, Caribbean and Indonesia influences johnnycakes — an island specialty — at a picnic table on the front porch. A frosty Amstel Bright, the local brew, is the perfect accompaniment.

It’s dinner time in Sint Maarten, one of the Caribbean’s most-visited islands and a popular port for cruise ships. A line of hungry locals and visitors snakes from the simple, but cheerful, bright yellow-and-red wooden food stand in Simpson Bay’s Kim Sha Marketplace. It’s on the southern Dutch side of this dual-nation island, the world’s smallest territory shared by two countries (France and the Netherlands).

The next day I seek a lolo — a lowcost, local, casual outdoor eatery — on the more laid-back French half of the 88-square-kilometre isle. Around Grand Case and Marigot, these eateries proliferate in brightly painted Creole cottages, at the pier or on seaside covered terraces. I end up beachside at Cynthia’s Talk of the Town in Grand Case, where live music keeps me on my feet while my order of garlic shrimp grills.

My stomach rumbles. “It be worth the wait, ma’am,” reassures a cheerful St. Maartener in line ahead of me. He’s right; it is, and I devour every flaky morsel of a fried red snapper topped with grilled onions and vibrant red and green peppers, rice and peas, and warm fried 5 8 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1

DOUSING CARIBBEAN SPINY LOBSTER ON AN OIL DRUM GRILL

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Smoke wafts from the oil drum barbecue at The Captain’s Rib Shack, releasing intoxicating wisps of sizzling, succulent, butter-drenched spiny lobster, sticky, saucy ribs, and chicken satay brushed with special sauce, an homage to Indonesia’s colonial ties with Holland.

Whether on the Dutch side or French, chefs combine Caribbean flavours with inspiration from the world’s food capitals. The island’s cuisine is a potpourri of melded flavours and cooking styles originating from the multicultural roots of at least 130 nationalities who have settled here: Africans, East Indians, Asians, Europeans, Latin Americans and more. The result of their long cohabitation is


a delicious culinary melting pot stirred by cultural influences — the very definition of fusion cuisine. Little wonder the island is known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, home to more than 350 restaurants, and the French-governed north is chock-a-block with good choices, especially in Grand Case.

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GET YOUR GUAVABERRY LIQUEUR HERE

Just down the road, nestled in the Pic’s tree-clad base, lies Loterie Farm, a nature reserve and adventure park on the site of a former sugar plantation. On a wooden deck covered by sun shades, you’ll find the peaceful Jungleroom, where Canadian chef Julia Purkis creates her signature dish — Caribbean-style curry spinach chicken, which incorporates Indian and Indonesian influences. Back in St. Maarten, taste the Netherlands at Cafe Rembrandt (chicken dipped in Indonesian peanut sauce) or the Ocean Lounge (hearty bitterballen beef balls).

For a memorable historical dining experience, head to world-class bistro Emilio’s, housed in the stonewalled sugarcane boiling house of a 17th-century plantation in the new Rainforest Adventures park. Chef Sydney Prescod blends flavours with a new Caribbean flair, enhanced by an extensive wine cellar.

For a sublime classic French meal, try La Villa Hibiscus on Pic Paradis, the highest point of the hilly island. Here Belgian-born Bastian Schenk, St. Martin's newest master chef, creates delicious French-Caribbean dishes incorporating the homeland’s seasonal foods with local ingredients like wild guavaberry.

Near the water in Simpson Bay’s Sale & Pepe Marina Restaurant, Sicilian chef Davide Zagami creates food art with his seafood dishes fresh from the Caribbean and Sicilian seas, like grouper in a tomato and seafood stew. And, when available as a special, don’t forgo the fresh tagliolini in a creamy pecorino sauce.

“I feel it really embodies the flavour and spirit of the island,” he says, as does the island’s signature guavaberry liqueur. “I also work with the hibiscus flower in savoury dishes and desserts.”

For foodies, one thing is certain: no matter the amount of treasured island time in this two-country gem, it will never be enough.

INSIDER’S TIP Plan a savoury tour of the island

If you want to explore a little further, some cruise lines offer excursions to places like Marigot, Grand Case and spots around the island, including a Sint Maarten Island Tour, allowing you to taste all of the highlights. Call your travel advisor to plan an exploration of island flavours.

© THERESA STORM

© COURTESY OF LOTERIE FARM

Sint Maarten is a popular cruise destination, with ships docking at Philipsburg, the capital city on the island's southern coast. Its waterfront is lined with many restaurants and bars, so you don't need to go far to experience the local fusion cuisine.

LOTERIE FARM

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DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT

PERU’S RECLAIMED BOUNTY By Renée S. Suen

Forget Machu Picchu — the Sacred Valley of the Incas is inspiring a newfound love of high-altitude cuisine, made with heirloom ingredients brought back from the brink of extinction by a leading-edge agricultural research centre and a celebrated chef

Like now, as I attempt to guide a teetering pile of cabuya (agave) nectar-sweetened lamb tartare to my mouth. The load is heaped precariously under a quivering blanket of delicate elderflowers on a fragile quinoa-speckled kañihua (grain) cracker. My greediness is rewarded in a bite that bursts with deliciousness and fantastic textures that dance in my mouth. It’s also the second course served at Mil Centro, chef Virgilio Martínez’s ambitious culinary complex in Peru. Despite the stares of guests in the dining room, I’m happy dancing in my seat. I’m in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a strip in the Andes Mountains sandwiched between Cusco and Machu Picchu.

THE INCAS WOULD MAKE A HUATIA, AN OVEN MADE OF MUD BRICKS, FOR COOKING – A METHOD STILL USED TODAY

It’s here where snow-dusted peaks footed by sky-reflecting lagoons frame mesmerizing landscapes and the Urubamba River weaves through Peru’s most productive agricultural region. Rich with character and charm, the valley is filled with traditional towns and ancient ruins spared from globalization. From the colonial village of Pisac with its local craft markets to Chinchero renowned for its intricate traditional textiles, and Ollantaytambo and its grid of cobbled streets, many locals still speak Quechua, the language of the Incas. Trek through beautiful maize and quinoa fields towards the bottom of the Sacred Valley and discover the impressive Salineras de Maras. Active since pre-Inca times, these

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ome moments in travel are triumphant; mine seem to be driven by gluttony.


INCA CIRCULAR TERRACES IN MORAY

open-air salt ponds were built to trap water from an iodine-rich hot spring. Once evaporated, rough piles of naturally pink Andean salt are left behind.

UNIQUE MISKIOCA WINES, MADE FROM OCA AND MASHUA

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They serve as inspiration for Martínez’s inventive Alturas Mater menu at Central, his flagship restaurant in Lima. His menu featuring a modern interpretation of Andean cuisine launched in 2013 helped catapult Central onto the World’s 50 Best list — reaching number four on the survey two years later. Mil takes this focus up a notch, turning its attention exclusively on high-altitude terroir.

A SAMPLING OF INGREDIENTS FROM MATER INICIATIVA TO BE FEATURED ON THE MENU

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Of the many Incan vestiges, it’s Moray I’m admiring at the moment, unobstructed through a picture window from my table. I see the garden space I toured earlier with server Riecel Damian, who introduced me to the wild native vegetation harvested by the kitchen for its tasting menu. Believed to have been used as an agricultural laboratory by the Incans, each terrace level simulates the microclimates found at different altitudes in the Sacred Valley.

Similar to the reverence Machu Picchu garners, the heirloom foods being reclaimed in the Sacred Valley are piquing the interest of gourmands worldwide. As a research centre, Mater Iniciativa’s focus is on the preservation of Peru’s biocultural diversity and heritage by connecting nature and people through food experiences — an initiative led by Martínez’s sister, Malena. Hundreds of native products from the Andes and Amazon are catalogued

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© RENEE SUEN © RENEE SUEN

© RENEE SUEN

CHEF MARTINEZ (RIGHT) EXAMINES A TUBER, WITH MANUEL CHOQQUE BRAVO

LAMB TARTAR SWEETENED WITH CABUYA NECTAR

ROASTED GUINEA PIG (CUY), A LOCAL SPECIALTY IN CUSCO

and studied. The findings are incorporated into dishes served at the roster of restaurants operated by the Martínez family, including seasonally inspired Kjolle, co-owned and helmed by the celebrated chef’s talented wife, Pía León, and Mayo, a bar highlighting Mater’s research results in spirits and beverages.

For heirloom tubers, chef Martínez calls upon Manuel Choqque Bravo, a fourth-generation farmer, conservationist and agricultural engineer from Huatata. Known as “the Potato Whisperer,” Bravo has cultivated more than 380 native potato varieties — namely, out-of-circulation ocas and mashuas from Inca and pre-Inca cultures. He has successfully made natural genetic improvements through manual cross-pollination. His hybrids feature intense pigments, enhanced nutrition, textures and flavours. Besides reviving the revered Andean crop and preserving traditional farming methods, he has given the tubers new value by

The merger of traditional knowledge with modern technology can be seen in the enormous variety of vegetables grown from agrarian terraces, and through the most important Incan staple — the potato. 6 2 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1


As a food enthusiast who goes out of her way to try unique flavours, the plethora of new-to-me ingredients encountered in these novoandina dishes is mind-blowing. From tumbo (banana passionfruit) to cushuro (high-protein algae resembling caviar), I feast on succulent tropical chirimoya (sweetsop relative), ayrampo (prickly pear like) and alpaca. In Cusco, I have cuy — yes, guinea pig. The deliciousness of each ingredient was enriched when I understood its context beyond the plate. “What we do is more related to our culture, how we’re related to nature, our farms, and the ways we produce food,” says the chef. Inspired by the ancestral techniques and stories behind the rescued indigenous ingredients, including potatoes, his signature course, huatia, honours the Andean tradition of roasting potatoes in a soil oven with a tabletop version formed from clay and Maras salt. I come to appreciate that through my gustatory cultural experience at Mil. Every innovative altitude-climbing course I dig into is a bite of an ecosystem within the Peruvian Andes. The more I tasted, the more I craved.

SALT MINES OF MARAS, FEATURING MORE THAN 5,000 CASCADING, SHALLOW POOLS

In the menu’s opening volley, my taste buds flirt with a fava bean-filled oca pancake slathered with a soft caramel-like elderberry butter. I go wild for chuño (naturally freeze-dried potatoes) transformed into translucent candy-sweet chips, and favour protein-rich tarwi (a type of Andean bean) over slow-cooked pork belly. Meanwhile, the four-part Diversity of Corn dish presents the plant in every form and colour. This was eating local on another level. Shining alongside the cacophony of novel flavours is the restaurant’s non-alcoholic extractions, infusions, and a harmonious pairing for imbibers. Spotlighting regional producers, the latter pairs a splash of juicy Miskioca rosé to a refreshing meal-closing corn sorbet, capped with fruity crushed mashua. The latter brings me back to Mater’s research centre across the courtyard. Staring at a table laden with Andean ingredients, I tick off the colourful knobs and flavours I’ve already sampled from my mental checklist. Then my eyes stop on a selection of Peru’s 4,000 potato varieties. It’s a humbling reminder that though I may know more now about Andean cuisine, but it’s still not much.

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developing Miskioca, a range of organic wines made from oca found at top restaurants.

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ENTERTAINING

THE ART OF ASADO By Joanne Sasvari

More than just a way to cook meat, the Latin American barbecue is a social gathering you can replicate at home

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f it’s a sunny afternoon in Argentina, chances are that someone will invite you to an asado. Don’t hesitate for even a minute — just grab a bottle of Malbec and go. The asado is not just a carnivore’s delight. It is one of the easiest, tastiest, most joyful ways to socialize. As with barbecue, the word “asado” refers at once to the food, the way it’s cooked and the social event at which it is enjoyed. The tradition evolved from the mid-18th to the late 19th century when large herds of cattle roamed the pampas, and cowboys known as gauchos herded them on horseback. Beef became a staple of the gaucho diet, typically roasted on metal grates over slow-burning wood fires that infused the meat with flavour. Today, the Argentinian asado is a more genteel, suburban sort of experience. It can be a business lunch, a community festival or a leisurely afternoon with family or friends. The tradition’s popularity goes beyond Argentina’s borders — variations of the asado are enjoyed across Latin America, though it’s called “churrasco” in Brazil and “parrillada” in Mexico and Peru. An asado is also an excellent way to entertain here at home in preparation for your future trip.

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MALBEC VINEYARDS NOT FAR FROM THE ANDES MOUNTAINS


LOCAL CHEESES, PERFECT FOR PAIRING WITH MALBEC

PREPPING THE MEAT FOR SERVING

TRADITIONAL RESTAURANT IN BUENOS AIRES

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Start by building the fire, which should always be hardwood charcoal, not gas or briquettes, and plenty of it. A kettle grill will work fine, but in Argentina, it’s often a large, brick- or stone-lined fire pit. The coals are ready when they are white and the fire looks like it’s almost dying. This can take a while, so guests can enjoy an aperitif and empanadas while they wait. (You can usually find these savoury meat- or cheesefilled pastries at Latin bakeries rather than having to make your own.)

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It typically begins in the early to mid-afternoon and can last late into the evening. Bring a sweater and plan to help out. Although one person should take on the role of “asador,” the person who cooks the meat, everyone is expected to lend a hand. Cooking together is part of the fun.

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GAUCHOS HERDING SHEEP IN EL CALAFATE

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Along with the empanadas, the menu features fresh salads of leafy greens or tomatoes with a simple vinaigrette, as well as salsas to go alongside the meat. Chimichurri is the essential condiment for just about everything; it’s a bright, fresh chopped herb salsa similar to pesto, but made with parsley and sometimes oregano or cilantro. Starchy sides like potatoes are less common. Desserts are light and easy, often featuring a fruit salad, creamy flan or ice cream drizzled with the caramel sauce known as dulce de leche.

INSIDER’S TIP Imagine enjoying an asado in the shadow of the Andes, perhaps in the sweeping grounds of a bodega surrounded by vineyards. Join fellow diners, happy to be sharing a meal together again in a way perfected by Argentinians. Whether you plan on cruising the coast of Argentina or adventuring inland to experience the country’s diverse geography, many locations like Buenos Aires restaurants and sprawling Uco Valley wineries offer their own take on this tradition. Be sure to speak with your travel advisor about booking your experience in advance so you don’t miss out!

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But the star of any asado is the meat, and there are usually several rounds of it. If you have vegetarians on the guest list, add dishes like seitan sausages or grilled tempeh to the menu to make sure they are included in the fun. The meat chosen is rarely the prime cuts — you probably won’t find tenderloin at an asado — but it is the off-cuts that made this a relatively sustainable way to consume meat, rather than a privileged indulgence. Once the coals are ready, start by grilling small chorizo sausages, served on buns to create the snack known as a “choripan.” The next course typically includes blood sausage and organ meats such as sweetbreads, as well as riblets and other small, bony cuts. That’s followed by chicken, pork or lamb, if you like, but always beef, preferably the tougher, more flavourful cuts such as skirt steak, hanger steak or sirloin cap. The meat is seasoned only with salt and cooked for up to an hour over low heat, which breaks down the connective tissues and turns tough cuts into tender ones. By the time the meat is ready, your guests’ appetites will be, too. Put the salads and salsas on the table, fill the glasses with Argentinian wine, then mound the meat on platters and pass them around. As they say in Latin America, ¡buen provecho!

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THE SCENIC, WINDING ROAD TO MENDOZA


HOW TO HOST AN ARGENTINIAN PARTY For any great Argentinian party, there are a few elements that are essential on top of the succulent meat and the people: Malbec wine, delicious sides and music. So gather family and friends and get ready to host the perfect summer party.

THE FOOD First of all, you’ll need to decide on the menu. Wondering which meat to use or how to prepare your grill for the perfect asado?

Join travel bloggers Alex and Marko of the Vagabrothers to learn how to make an Argentina-style asado in your backyard with a DIY BBQ. An essential part of an Argentinian asado and traditionally served with grilled steak, chimichurri is one of the most delicious and versatile sauces you can find. It also perfectly pairs with chicken, fish and grilled chorizo sausages, giving a flavour punch to all of your favourite meats.

RECIPE

Learn how to prepare an authentic chimichurri sauce with this recipe.

Once your menu is selected, you’ll need to select your wine list to pair with the food. It’s always difficult to find a grape that pleases everyone’s palate, but Malbec is a pretty close contender. Fruit-forward, full-bodied, and with soft tannins, Malbec is definitely hard to resist. This versatile variety is not only an easy and elegant accompaniment to a rich meal, particularly red meats, but it also makes for an excellent solo sip (so make sure to buy a few extra bottles).

TIP

To help start your list, here are a few recommendations of the best Argentinian Malbecs.

THE MUSIC The last thing you need to transport your guests to Argentina is some music!

MUSIC

Here is a great playlist of music made in Argentina. B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 1 | 6 7

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THE WINE


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WE PLAN — YOU SAVOUR THE EXPERIENCE Relieve the anxiety of planning your culinary vacation and focus on the fun of exploring, dining and learning. Our team of professional travel advisors will guide you through planning your next food and wine vacation, recommend great locations and even let you in on a few travel tips from their own culinary experiences. OUR PROMISE Stress free travel, so you can savour your vacation.