R E S TAU R A N T S | R E C I PE S | W I N E S | F O OD | C U LT U R E
Smart. Local. Delicious.
Celebrating 20 years at the forefront of local food and drink INDEPENDENT & ISLAND OWNED
NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2019 ISSUE 23-06
y a d i l o H
e u s Is
Celebrate the Season with us We invite you to dine with us this holiday season. Our signature, holiday-inspired menus are sure to please the whole family and give you more time to create memories together.
Friday, Nov. 29 th Saturday, Nov 30
B E A R M O U N TA I N . C A 2 5 0 . 3 9 1 . 7 1 7 1 d 1 9 9 9 C O U N T R Y C L U B WAY, V I C T O R I A B C
Moss St. Farmers Market
Moss St. Marketâ€™s Indoor Winter Market
Starting Nov. 2 Every Saturday 10am to 1pm
Now 1 hour longer & larger!
Garry Oak Room & Sir James Douglas school gymnasium at 1335 Thurlow Road
Moss St. Marketâ€™s
Saturday and Sunday, Dec 14+15 Fine artisans and crafters featuring cards, clothing, jewelry, purses, bags, toys, glassworks, woodworks, pottery, bath products, preserves, chocolates, baked goods, prepared & hot food, winter vegetables, meat, fish, mushrooms, cheese, oils, treats, beer, cider, wine, and much, much more...
This season, share the elegance of High Tea with friends and family in the Garden that Love Built. Four Courses $55.00 per person November 21, 2019 - January 5, 2020 Reservations Strongly Recommended
778-265-6466 Gift Certificates Available
Moss St. Farmers Market
Complete High Tea menu on our website www.abkhuziteahouse.com
Welcome It's the end of the year, and time to reflect upon all the great food and drink moments of 2019. 2020 is EAT Magazine’s 21st anniversary; I have decided that this should be celebrated. So we are bringing back the Exceptional Eats! Readers Choice Awards. As always, we are letting the readers choose the best places to eat and drink in their communities. Why? Because we have always valued the opinions of the people who are out there dining, shopping for food, wine, and beer, taking the cooking courses, going to festivals, and meeting the people who are doing extraordinary things. EAT readers vote with their wallets—they put their money where their mouths are. If an experience is exceptional, they remember and they will go back. The 21st Anniversary Exceptional Eats! Awards Readers Survey is a portrait of who we are as an eating and drinking community. Who gets the buzz this year? What trended up, and what didn't? Which restaurant dish got the most rave reviews? Who’s been following sustainable practices? Where to get the best lunch? Let's be thankful we have so many choices—the ability to eat fresh from the farm or sea, drink a fabulous cocktail or enjoy a BC wine, dine on an incredible sandwich or a more complex dish with hints of many cultures. The polls open Dec 31. Go to www.eatmagazine.ca and click on VOTE. Winners will be announced and celebrated in the March/April issue of EAT. Wishing everyone a Merry Holiday and Happy New Year,
ys a d li o H y p p a H at from everyone
CYNTHIA ANNETT-HYNES EDITOR
Victoria’s Gourmet grilled cheese sandwich mobile food cart, Grilled Cheese Please, now has a permanent fully licensed restaurant space at 1412B Douglas St. Open Monday-Saturday until 10 p.m. and boasting an impressive selection of grilled cheese options, the restaurant is fully licensed and also serves wraps and soups. @grilledcheesepleez
Visit eatmagazine.ca for more articles, recipes, news and events.
A new café where vegan and non-vegan diners can eat together and both find satisfying menu options is coming to Esquimalt this fall. Keep an eye out for more information on Bunny’s Nook on eatmagazine.ca . Aura Restaurant is re-launching with an exciting new concept. Watch for its re-opening in mid-November. aurarestaurant.ca Signs are up announcing the arrival of a new restaurant at 1515 Douglas St. by Vancouver’s Toptable restaurant group. Toptable is best known for Vancouver’s CinCin, Blue Water, and West, as well as Whistler’s Araxi. The new restaurant will seat 130—more details to follow! toptable.ca The windows next door to Hey Happy on lower Johnson Street have also been papered, announcing the expansion of the coffee shop to include the neighbouring space formerly occupied by Escents. heyhappycoffee.com
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER
A new Vietnamese restaurant, Pho Tru, is now open in the former Saigon Harbour location at 1012 Blanshard St. Canoe Brewpub is bringing back its Winterbrau, celebrating local winter brews, for the eighth year on November 9-10. This year they’ve added an additional day to the festivities and have more than 20 neighbouring breweries all pouring their best winter brews. Top that off with complimentary hors d’oeuvres from executive chef Kyle Dampsy and entertainment from Bučan Bučan. $70.75 per person includes admission, beer tasters, and snacks. canoebrewpub.com Visit Cowichan this November to taste incredible food, experience endless adventures, and relax with unforgettable places to lay your head. It’s all wrapped up into exclusive packages and getaways during Eat Stay Play, running from November 1-30. View the different packages at cowichantourism.com. On November 9, the Oak Bay Beach Hotel is hosting A Grazing Tour of Victoria. Enjoy an evening of roaming indulgence as you experience a side of Victoria like no other. Seven distinct Victoria city districts will be transformed into culinary delights, expertly prepared by our city’s top executive chefs. The evening will include a gourmet roaming dinner, entertainment, complimentary parking, photo booth, silent auction, live music, and so much more. All proceeds will go to the Greater Victoria Citizen’s Counselling Centre. Tickets $150. oakbaybeachhotel.com On the cover:
The Sweetest Exchange
Styling + Photography:
Recipe on page 31
The 2019 Craft Spirit Festival is also taking place on November 9, from 6 p.m. -9 p.m., where you can taste the spirits of Vancouver Island’s best craft distilleries at Merridale Cidery and Distillery in Cobble Hill. General admission is $35 and includes a safe return bus ride and a souvenir tasting glass. Tasting tokens can be purchased for $2. Pair your cocktails with canapés from the Merridale kitchen. Spinnakers Liquor Store will be providing a special pop-up liquor store featuring the products of participating distilleries, so you can bring home your favourite new discoveries. merridale.ca If you are heading over to the mainland this holiday season, check out the Vancouver Christmas Market as it celebrates its 10th anniversary at Jack Poole Plaza—home of the Olympic Cauldron— from November 20 to December 24. The city’s authentic German market amplifies and expands its festive offerings with more than 80 huts stuffed with sweets, treats, and treasures. Wander the market’s winding alleys and discover German delicacies: sizzling sausages, warming Glühwein (mulled wine), old world confections, and so much more. Share food and drink in the cozy Alpine Lounge, indulge in winter cocktails and holiday-inspired bites in the WunderBAR’s winter oasis, and venture down Lovers’ Lane—an Instagram-worthy, newly extended 40-foot-long tunnel adorned with 20,000 twinkling lights and mistletoe. vancouverchristmasmarket.com Up island, Tofitians are anticipating the return of the Clayoquot Oyster Festival on November 23. This year’s event will be a one-night extravaganza and include all-you-canslurp oysters, chef-prepared oyster dishes, and dancing. Please note that refunds for tickets can be provided up until one week before the festival date: November 15, 2019. After that date, tickets are non-refundable. Please email email@example.com if you have questions. Ticket fees are non-refundable. $79 @clayoquotoysterfestival After a tremendous success in its first three years, the Christmas Craft Beer Show is back for another round!
New this year, the 4th annual show will consist of a third day of beer, food, and entertainment. This year’s event takes place at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre November 28-30. Get ready to wet your whistle on some of the finest winter ales and ciders brought to you by microbreweries and cideries from across British Columbia and Western Canada. Last year there were 48 vendors on site, while some serious food was being offered on a special menu only available at the Christmas Craft Beer Show. christmascraftbeershow.com November 29-30, Rancho Vignola hosts its annual Vancouver Island Harvest Sale at Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre Friday 9 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.5 p.m. Enjoy cooking demos by chef Heidi Fink, prize draws, samples, and music with Oliver Swain. Taste and explore more than 100 products from Rancho Vignola’s fresh crop of nuts, dried fruit, and seeds. www.ranchovignola.com The Moss Street Market’s 25th annual Holiday Market takes place December 14 and 15, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association buildings (1330 Fairfield Rd.), the Garry Oak Room, and the Sir James Douglas School Gym. The Holiday Market features more than 80 vendors offering locally made crafts, cards, art, clothing, jewellery, household items, PLUS meat, fish, winter vegetables, coffee, apple cider, and much more. mossstreetmarket.com
Gary Hynes PUBLISHER
Pacific Island Gourmet EDITOR
Cynthia Annett-Hynes EDITOR-AT-LARGE
Rebecca Wellman CONTRIBUTING EDITOR/COPY EDITOR
Carolyn Bateman VANCOUVER CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
Julie Pegg SENIOR WINE WRITER
Larry Arnold LAYOUT AND DESIGN
Cynthia Annett-Hynes PRODUCTION
Amanda Batchelor REGIONAL REPORTERS
Victoria, Rebecca Baugniet CONTRIBUTORS
Isabelle Bulota Bill Blair Joseph Blake Nate Caudle Cinda Chavich Jennifer Danter Jacqueline Downey Pam Durkin Gillie Easdon Deb Garlick Kyle Guilfoyle Lillie Louise Major Denise Marchessault Sherri Martin Elizabeth Monk Daniel Murphy Daisy Orser Elizabeth Nyland Adrian Paradis Adrien Sala Shelora Sheldan Johann Vincent Rebecca Wellman REGIONAL/NATIONAL ACCOUNT MANAGER
Susan Worrall ADVERTISING ACCOUNT MANAGER
Parry Bay Sheep Farm Metchosin, BC
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Parry Bay Sheep Farm along with Stillmeadow Farm sells lamb, pork and roasting chicken to restaurants and butcher shops in Victoria and through our on-farm market in Metchosin. We truly appreciate those who “walk the talk” and support local producers. From picturesque pastures to backyard barbecues Parry Bay lambs make people smile. John & Lorraine Buchanan 250.478.9628 instagram: @parrybayfarm firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/parrybaysheepfarm www.parrybaysheepfarm.com facebook.com/ParryBayFarmMarket
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2020 is EAT Magazine’s 21st anniversary. To celebrate, we are bringing back the Exceptional Eats! Readers Choice Awards.
Exceptional Eats! AWARDS
Who has the
BEST food? drinks?
CAST YOUR VOTE! Mark the dates on your calendar Polls are open
DEC 31st – JAN 31st
ENTER TO WIN
Gift Certificate to the Toptable restaurant of your choice. *Details below
*Visit www.eatmagazine.ca and click on VOTE. Once you have completed the poll and survey, you will be entered in the draw for a Gift Certificate for the Toptable restaurant of your choice.
et us know what you think, dear readers! Please do take your time and answer the questions that you want to and can answer. It is important and valuable to celebrate what is happening in food and drink and those who are making it happen. Discuss the Exceptional Eats! questions with friends and family, or simply mull them over with a glass of wine or your favourite libation. Plus, it is fun to fill out compelling polls that could land you a delectable prize.
Thanks for your time, and on Dec 31st - let’s begin. Go to www.eatmagazine.ca - click on VOTE and be heard. It will only take a few minutes and at the end you will be rewarded by being entered into this year’s prize draw. Results will be published and the winners announced and celebrated in our March|April 2020 issue.
RULES • Only one ballot per person • Polls open at 1 a.m. December 31, 2019 and close at midnight January 31, 2020 • To be entered in the prize draw: your name, valid email address, and reader’s survey must be filled out.
AN ENGLISH CHRISTMAS DRINKS PARTY
rounded out the homey buffet. This was also the time to fetch those homemade pickles, preserved from summer’s bounty, out of the larder. No English Christmas drinks party would be complete without homemade sausage rolls. In the weeks leading up to the holidays, my mother would spend an entire afternoon rolling, tucking, slicing, and baking, often while listening to classical music. She made dozens and froze them, always rolling them in quick flaky pastry made from unbleached flour, chilled lard, and a kick of hot mustard powder. She scorned the puffed stuff. Hers, she said, “stand
Where potted shrimp, fish pie, and sausage rolls are the stars of the buffet table.
up much better to the sausage meat.”
“AS CHRISTMAS DAY DAWNED, Austerity Pudding was likely to be made with potato,
minced onion, salt, and pepper. If not, a good butcher will save me the chore. After that, the
grated carrot and apple, as much dried fruit as you could get your hands on, dried egg, flour,
fish pie is pretty simple to prepare. I choose a rainy day with little else to do but cook.
breadcrumbs, cooking fat and a scraping of precious golden syrup or marmalade.”
I still make them that way. If I’m up for it, I’ll use Dad’s passed-down-to-me meat grinder for grinding pork shoulder into sausage meat and season with fresh sage, thyme, parsley,
This season I plan to celebrate with all these English savouries. Sausage rolls just need pop-
So wrote Kate Colquhoun in TASTE, the Story of Britain Through its Cooking.” The paltry
ping into the oven for twenty minutes or so (microwaving does a disservice to sausage rolls)
pudding performed its duty in bolstering the holiday spirit among the working and lower
along with the fish pie. Potted shrimp and mussels can be prepped quickly a day or so ahead
middle classes during World War II’s severe rationing. The landed gentry, although for-
of a party. Everything else can be quickly pulled together.
tunate enough to grow their own produce and raise their own livestock, still had to curtail extravagances. Their estates were being turned into makeshift hospitals. Fuel was scarce. Everybody had to muck in and most folk were happy to do so. Bit by bit after about 1948, war rationing began being lifted. Times would still stay tough for many, but by 1954 at least eggs, milk, cheese, flour, and sugar had made their way back to the larder. Following bombs and blackouts and lean post-war years, it was time to have a bit of fun, especially as Christmas drew near. Drinks parties, or what we over-the-ponders might call an open house (cocktail parties were considered a more formal affair), were in full swing.
I came across my great grandmother’s handwritten recipe for ginger beer recently. I plan to brew a batch. Her recipe is, in parts, indecipherable, so I fished out my old Beatrice Potter cookbook. Fresh root ginger, sugar, yeast, water, a smidgeon of cream of tartar (optional), and two or three days’ rest in the bottles is all it takes until a zippy, spicy, non-alcoholic beer ensues. Perfect on its own or for mixing a Dark ‘n’ Stormy or a Moscow Mule. Very likely a homemade custard, jam, and cream trifle will grace the dessert table, along with a few mince tarts, perhaps. There will be no Austerity Pudding.
Tipples and treats circled the dining rooms and lounges once again. The Cookery Book by
Wishing you a holiday home filled with warmth, a table filled with comforting fare, and
Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume, flecked with French influences, became the culinary
friends and family around to enjoy.
bible for “every social occasion” among the upper classes. For many of the working classes, however, the fare stayed unpretentious and firmly British. My Dad’s Aldeburgh seacoast family got fish right from the boats and fish shacks (which are still there), and gleaned vegetables from their winter garden. They celebrated with savoury potted North Sea shrimp, those sweet, salty, buttery morsels so meltingly good on a slice of toasted granary bread. Chilled mussels were napped with salad cream or curry mayonnaise. The main event was fish pie—fresh cod fillets and, again, those wee shrimp bathed in parsley sauce beneath a blanket of crisp-crumb-topped mashed potatoes. Crisp crudités (celery, carrots, tiny turnips, were dipped into a bowl of coarse salt or, even better, dunked into hot cream spiked with salty fish. The ingredients were (mostly) accessible, seasonal, and local. English cheeses, certainly Cheddar and maybe a wedge of pricey Stilton, along with water biscuits or cream crackers
cabbage wedges, radishes, and cucumber)
Good for You
This holiday season, get in the spirit of the season with these healthy bevvies.
A MEETING PLACE OF FRIENDS
RAISING A GLASS TO TOAST LOVED ONES is an enjoyable and practically de rigueur activity during the holidays. Whether or not it’s a healthy one is open for debate. Some recent studies suggest even moderate amounts of alcohol can raise your risk for developing certain cancers. However, not all alcoholic beverages pose the same threat. Some “soft” liquors like beer and wine have a much weaker link to cancer than their more “spirited” brethren (hard liquors), and furthermore, previous research suggests moderate intake of these less alcoholic brews may actually provide health benefits. So what’s a health-conscious foodie to do? Don’t fret. You can maintain your health and still enjoy the festivities by drinking in moderation and choosing to fill your glass with the following tip-top tipples.
THANK YOU TO OUR VALUED PARTNERS WHERE COOLSHANAGH IS SOLD
Red Wine A plethora of studies have shown that, when consumed in moderation, red wine can help lower cholesterol and fight hardening of the arteries and heart disease. The ways in which red wine keeps your ticker primed are complex. There is more than one chemical compound at work, and some of these compounds, like the flavonoids resveratrol and quercetin, have numerous heart-health benefits. In fact, they do more than just protect your heart. Some studies have also suggested these antioxidant compounds can improve brain health and insulin sensitivity.
10 Acres Kitchen Agrius Bard & Banker Boom & Batten Cascadia Liquor
Cork & Barrel Hanks *A Restaurant Irish Times Oak Bay Marina OLO Restaurant
Penny Farthing The Vic Pub Co. The Wickaninnish Inn Vessel Liquor Vis à Vis
Interestingly, there are some red wines that supersede others when it comes to their flavonoid content. Cannonau di Sardegna wine, which hails from Sardinia (North Americans will know this grape by the name Grenache), is a full-bodied red that is garnering attention worldwide—for good reason. It contains two to three times the level of heart-healthy flavonoids as other wines. Pinot Noir, Cannonau’s popular cousin, is an equally superior choice as it has the highest singular concentration of resveratrol of any wine. To reap the benefits of these delicious wines, just remember to limit yourself to one glass per day and enjoy them at dinner time—just like long-lived Sardinians do.
Mead If you’re not familiar with mead, you should be; it is actually the oldest fermented beverage known to humankind—predating both beer and wine. And there are some compelling reasons to add the brew—a.k.a. “honey wine”—to your holiday drinks list. Scientists have discovered that honey, mead’s main ingredient, is loaded with compounds that confer some amazing health benefits. For instance, research has shown that chrysin, a flavonoid found in abundance in honey, has the ability to inhibit the proliferation of, and induce apoptosis (cell death) in, cancer cells. In addition, researchers have also found that the consumption of natural honey reduces cardiovascular risk factors, particularly in individuals who already have an elevated risk for cardiovascular disease. A variety of mead known as Metheglin, which has warming spices like cinnamon and cloves added to it, is particularly splendid during the festive season!
Beer What science has uncovered about this iconic bevvie may surprise you. Some intriguing studies have found that drinking beer may help prevent the crippling bone disease osteoporosis. That’s because beer is an excellent source of silicon, a nutrient that stimulates the production of collagen, a substance that keeps our bones strong and our joint cartilage flexible. What's more, preliminary animal studies suggest xanthohumol, a flavonoid found in hops, may help improve cognitive function. In plain English—it helps keep your noggin sharp. The caveat? These health benefits were seen with moderate intake. So go ahead, raise a glass—not several—and wish your loved ones the best of the season.
E a t , D r in k & B e M erry Din n e r ~ Mo n to Sun from 5pm
106 Superior Street | 250.380.0088 | IlCovoTrattoria.ca 7
Eating Well for Less
THE ROAD TO SOOKE
Three little West Coast Road eateries with one big thing in common: good food.
Little Vienna Café Bakery, Café, and Marketplace 6726 WEST COAST RD., SOOKE NEAR OTTER POINT RD. 250-642-6833 | LITTLEVIENNABAKERY.COM
The weekday breakfast and lunch dishes are simpler, but also well executed. The classic ham Eggs Benedict for $12.95 is served on top of a buttered and toasted slice of baguette, and the seasoned roast potatoes on the side are so good, they almost steal focus from the star of the plate.
The Vienna Deli Sandwich for $8.95 is enjoyable because of its excellent ingredients: bread that came out of the oven a few hours earlier, chunky turkey breast, ham, provolone, and a hint of Dijon. For $4.25 you can add soup or salad. My cream of tomato soup was velvety thanks to the full fat cream in it, proof the chef has a European mindset! Have you been wondering what a schnecke is? It’s the German word for snail and is also an evocative name for a sweet spiral of croissant dough flavoured with cinnamon, the bakery’s best seller. Little Vienna Café is also a hive of activity around year’s end due to holiday orders of their Apple Strudel and Kaiser Kuchen. The strudel is fat with crisp apples, and the Kaiser Kuchen is so moist with dates it is reminiscent of a British steamed pudding. Come for breakfast, and leave with holiday baking—sounds like a good day.
Strudels, schneckes, crêpes, eggs benedict, and hearty sandwiches—Little Vienna Café definitely offers a taste of Europe in Sooke. The Dejeuner Crêpe for $14.95 is only available Saturdays from 8:30 to 3:00, so plan accordingly because it is worth the trip. This dish has some surprising flavour combinations to great effect. Three paper-thin crêpes are folded over ham and an omelette-style egg, and finished with a skilfully prepared lemon cream sauce. I wouldn’t usually think of linking cheese and lemon, but the judicious sprinkling of smoked Cheddar on top of the concoction adds some umami, topping off a complex dish.
DEJEUNER CREPE (HAM AND CHEESE WITH EGG)
Road to Sooke Café 6929 WEST COAST RD., AT THE PRESTIGE OCEANFRONT RESORT, SOOKE 250-642-0805 | ROADTOSOOKECAFE.CA
Seaweed in my latte, mushroom in my coffee, an unusual feta in my sandwich— now I know why my helpful server at higher-end Wild Mountain sent me to Road to Sooke Café for brunch. This café has only been here one year under the energetic ownership and management of April Crooks, and it’s easy to see why Sooke residents approve. The Breaky Bun for $8 has leapt onto my list of favourites in the region, with tomato, bacon, egg, and avocado oozing out of a fresh housemade sourdough bun that is firm enough on the outside to provide a framework, but soft enough inside to squish down and embrace the filling.
Muffins and cinnamon buns are featured here as well. The Orange and Almond muffin has surprising bites of orange pulp and crunchy slivered almonds, and is not overly sweetened. The cinnamon bun has assertive but balanced dashes of salt—it’s like the bun equivalent of Roger’s salted caramel. But of course you want to know about the seaweed! The drink is called Kumugwe, named after a First Nations god who lives in a house under the ocean. A latte made with coffee from Sooke’s Stick in the Mud, it has a sprinkle of dried Alaria winged kelp from Sooke’s Dakini Tidal Wilds. It is not there as a gimmick: it adds a discreet and enjoyable herbal note to the drink. You can also be virtuous and have some powdered mushroom called chaga in your coffee—a mushroom currently being studied for its cancer-fighting properties. But fear not. You can also simply have a coffee or a tea. The menu is small, but the flavours are big at Road to Sooke Café.
Like the Breaky Bun, it is the quality of the ingredients that makes the Smoked Salmon Baguette for $12 special. It’s a risky venture to add strong flavours to a fish dish, but chef nails it in this sandwich, sprinkling on a complex feta from Haltwhistle Cheese in Duncan with a very light hand, as if it were a sprinkling of fleur de sel. The hot-smoked salmon is from Sooke, the microgreens and tomatoes are local when possible, and
like all baked goods here, the bread is freshly made.
CINNAMON BUN, SE AWEED L AT TE, AND BRE AKFAS T BUN (CHEESE BAGEL WITH AVOCADO, MELTED CHEESE, RUNN Y EGG AND FRESH GREENS)
Hara Sushi SUSTAINABLE, ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY INVESTMENT SOLUTIONS
6661 WEST COAST RD., UNIT 105, SOOKE 778-352-4272 | FACEBOOK.COM/HARASUSHISOOKE
Everywhere I went on my Sooke adventure, locals spoke with deep fondness about Hara Sushi, as they did for my other two choices. The space is small and serene, with pretty hanging lanterns, and the menu manages a balance between affordability and extra touches. Classic sushi, rolls, and cones are, of course, available, but I chose to try a few dishes that go beyond classic. For instance, with the Midori Roll for $12.95, the green tea is on your plate as well as in your cup. This inside-out roll has a centre of cucumber and grilled eel, with thin slices of avocado draped over top, dabs of wasabi mayo, and a dusting of tea powder providing a little tang. An appetizer called Kani Nasu for $7.95 also stands out for its elegance given that this is a sushi place in a strip mall. Little discs of Japanese eggplant are fried in tempura batter and then provide the base for balls of a warm mix of local crab meat and crunchy tobiko, the teeny tiny roe of flying fish. The house salad seems to be an adaption for Canadian clients who like large servings of vegetables, and I was pleased to have this on the table as it has interesting Asian components. The large plate of greens for $13.95 includes cubes of firm tofu and mango and is topped with lacy shredded carrots and beets. Mixed in is that classic Sooke snack food, sea asparagus. The sesame dressing is similar to one you would usually get on spinach but is pumped up with some extra lemon and tamari. On a cold winter’s day, the spicy Korean soups might catch your attention. They range in price from $13.90 to $15.95 for the seafood one. Mine was served piping hot in a pottery bowl and was resplendent with pinks and reds from the shrimp and chili sauce. Suddenly a Sooke getaway over the holidays is feeling like a good idea.
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MIDORI ROLL (WITH AVOCADO SLICES ON TOP) BBQ EEL (UNAGI), CUCUMBER, TOBIKO, AVOCADO WITH WASABI MAYONNAISE AND GREEN TE A POWDER
10 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
so so close close you you can ALMOST ALMOST taste taste it.
Get Getactivity activityideas ideasat: at: tourismcowichan.com tourismcowichan.com
Canada’s“Provence” “Provence”isisso sodeliciously deliciouslyclose. close. With With farm-fresh farm-fresh local Canada’s local produce produce available year-round and world-class food artisans offering creative available year-round and world-class food artisans offering creative culinary culinary delights, you’re just a short flight, ride, or drive from a region filled to the delights, you’re just a short flight, ride, or drive from a region filled to the brim with treats to sip and savour. Arrive hungry; you’ll go home satisfied. brim with treats to sip and savour. Arrive hungry; you’ll go home satisfied.
WINTER WONDER SQUASH Hearty and nutrient-dense winter squashes like spaghetti and butternut are cold weather comfort food. NOT TO BE CONFUSED with summer
is a whole different story), I have had these two
squash—zucchini, pattypan and the like—
on rotation for a long time:
winter squash is what we are enjoying now. Harvested in the autumn, but coined “winter squash” for its staying power through the cold season, this staple is reliable, hearty, delicious, and nutrient dense; what’s not to love.
SPAGHETTI SQUASH: I love these simply baked and scooped/shredded, then smothered with fresh garden pesto (homemade is essential), or topped with roasted or fresh local tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with a good Parmesan, then roasted for another
little into which winter squash we love the
hot minute. Some moms made chicken soup and
most here in Victoria. I thought I had a pretty
meatloaf, my mom made home-grown spaghetti
good idea from being in the produce business
squash with prettily arranged, multicolour
for more than 20 years, but the numbers still
cherry tomatoes over a bed of her amazing and
surprised me. My personal favourites are not
very garlicky pesto (being raised vegan, I added
“the people’s” favourites. Though my faves
the Parmesan once I flew the coop). A childhood
definitely fluctuate, and I’m talking about taste
comfort food for me, and one I will never ever
not appearance (which squash are the prettiest
tire of—but can’t seem to rub off on my kids.
PHOTOS COURTESY DAISY ORSER
Since lovability cannot be disputed, I dug a
from farm to fork.
BORN, RAISED & GRAZED IN BEAUTIFUL B.C.
12 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
DELICATA: Some say it’s boring, but I love the mild flavour and the fact that you can eat the skin (peeling squash is lame). Lately Adam has been roasting it with olive oil and
O OT TT T AV AV II O O
za’atar and sometimes a splash of maple syrup. We make a big batch, often eating it right off the pan, and have leftovers to toss in salads the following day. The more maple syrup,
ITALIAN BAKERY & DELIC ATESSEN ITALIAN BAKERY & DELIC ATESSEN
the more likely our boys are to eat it. So those are my favourites. You, however, unanimously and deeply love butternut squash. A squash I buy only once every few years and find predictable and a touch overused, it is without a doubt, and by a landslide, the local favourite. Is it because it is the sweetest of the winter squash? Is it because butternut soup graces every winter menu of
Bringing Bringing cheese cheese and and charcuterie charcuterie to to the the party party since since 1997. 1997.
every restaurant in one form or another, making it familiar and soothing? Is it because your mom grew it in her garden, or had a favourite recipe, making it familiar? At The Root Cellar in 2018, we sold 31,815 pounds of butternut squash. That’s more than the three next most popular varieties combined: spaghetti (a strong second at over 17,000 pounds), and Acorn and Kabocha varieties (each at over 7,200 pounds). To put this into perspective, 31,815 pounds is the weight equivalent of more than 12 Honda Civics. That’s a lot of butternut squash, and we are only one little store serving our community. What gives? Are you all whipping up butternut squash risotto for the kids on weeknights? I will lie awake with the not-knowing. Whatever winter squash you favour, as always I strongly suggest waiting for the local season, generally beginning in September, and enjoying them throughout the winter when at their finest. Choose squash that are heavy for their size and have firm skins. Don’t judge the odd blemish. They did grow in the dirt amongst rocks and things that
P H O N E : ( 2 5 0) 5 9 2- 4 0 8 0 | V I S I T U S : 2 2 7 2 O A K B AY AV E , V I C TO R I A , B C , V 8 R 1 G 7 P H O N E : ( 2 5 0) 5 9 2- 4 0 8 0 | V I S I T U S : 2 2 7 2 O A K B AY AV E , V I C TO R I A , B C , V 8 R 1 G 7 O T T AV I O V I C T O R I A . C O M
aren’t always so gentle on their flesh, but be sure to avoid any soft spots. Then stop eating them when the season turns. Any winter squash you buy in the summer will either be imported or will have been in storage for ages. Take the hot season off; who wants soup in July anyway. Eat all of the amazing veg that our summer growing season has to offer, and let yourself miss it again so that the first squash of the season doesn’t signify only the end of summer, but the beginning of those warm, nurturing, squash-based
ORGANIC CRAFT BAKERY
meals we very clearly love. Daisy Orser is co-owner of The Root Cellar Village Green Grocer
Winter squash grows beautifully in our region and of the hundreds of varieties, there is a generous selection cultivated by our island farmers: •
Pumpkins (Blue, Orange, Sugar, Cinderella)
Rouge Vif D’etampes
and many more
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas... Comox Valley Courtenay
Cowichan Valley Cowichan Bay
Okanagan Valley Summerland
Dining in Titanic Style Re-living the high life on the high seas in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. W OR D S + PHO T OGR A PH Y
t Titanic Belfast, staff in vintage white waistcoats and ruffled aprons circulate among the linen-topped tables, pouring tea and delivering dainties on tiered trays. I’ve arrived for the Titanic Tea, a Sunday specialty at this busy Belfast museum devoted to the infamous ocean liner. I’m sipping the same French Henri Abelé
champagne served to diners on the Titanic’s first and last voyage and nibbling finger sandwiches, tiny scones, and sweets—Chocolate Caramel Delice and Victoria Sponge—while a jazz singer croons old classics. I imagine passengers in the First Class Dining Saloon, the largest room on the ship with seating for more than 500, supping in similar style in 1912. If you’re a “Titaniac,” Belfast’s Titanic Quarter is ground zero, and this new, interactive, multi-media museum is a must. Looking a little like both the towering ship’s hull and the silvery iceberg that marked its demise, the museum chronicles the story of the famous steamship, from its construction at the Belfast docks to its sinking off the coast of Newfoundland, and the discovery of the rusting wreck on the ocean floor more than 70 years later. With more than five million visitors to date (and up to 3,500 at any one time), Titanic Belfast is Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction and the largest Titanic exhibition in the world. It offers a small taste of what was known as “the ship of dreams” when it set sail for America, and is just one way to get your Titanic fix while visiting Belfast. Titanic Hospitality Though the tragic demise of the Titanic has become the stuff of cinematic legend, for those trans-Atlantic travellers more than a century ago, the trip was the height of contemporary luxury. This was the gilded age of Downton Abbey, when ultra-wealthy families travelled by ship and rail. Names like Guggenheim and Astor were on the passenger list of the RMS Titanic, and the ship was as well-appointed as the world’s best hotels. Fine dining was an important selling point. So it’s not surprising that the chef was well-paid, second only to the captain of the ship. There were several kitchens on board, a butcher shop, a bakery, and more than 500 stewards, bakers, cooks, and waiters in the “victualling crew,” creating 6,000 meals a day. When she began her voyage, the ship carried 75,000 pounds of fresh meat, 1,000 sweetbreads, and 8,000 cigars. The first-class dining room was designed in Jacobean style, with detailed plasterwork on the ceiling, deep pile carpets, and chairs upholstered in green leather and tapestry. The damask table linens were produced in Belfast’s linen mills, with 45,000 napkins on board for the journey.
14 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
TITANIC BELFAST MUSEUM
It’s not difficult to imagine the well-heeled male passengers puffing cigars in the smoking room, their fashionable wives ensconced in the horseshoe-shaped sitting room, enjoying the classical music played by the ship’s orchestra. But what exactly did they eat? While there were
Titanic Belfas t museum, Titanic Tea ser vice ever y Sunday af ternoon, beneath the
menus appropriate for
replica Titanic Grand S taircase, in the event space on the museum's top f loor
each cabin class, the
food for first-class travellers reflected the Escoffier-inspired fine dining of the day and the best imported ingredients. The menu for the last luncheon, April 14, included Consommé Fermier, Fillets of Brill, Chicken à la Maryland, Mutton Chops, and a buffet featuring potted shrimps, Norwegian anchovies, Virginia ham, corned ox tongue, and various cheeses, from Stilton and Edam to Camembert, Roquefort, and Gorgonzola. Dinner was served just hours before the ship hit an iceberg and sank that night—an elegant affair with courses ranging from fresh oysters and foie gras to poached Atlantic salmon with mousseline sauce, filet mignon, chicken Lyonnaise, roast duck, and lamb. Even passengers in third class had a tasty last meal, including vegetable soup and roasted pork, freshly baked breads, and plum pudding. The Titanic had specialized rooms for storing beer, oysters, and wine. Halfway through their last supper, first-class guests were served a palate-cleansing Punch Romaine of wine, rum, and champagne, and the meal was capped off with desserts ranging from chocolate éclairs to French ice cream. Tasting Titanic Today If you’d like to dine like a first-class Titanic passenger today, visit Rayanne House, a small hotel set in an historic home in the posh Holywood suburb of Belfast. Chef Conor McClelland has researched the historic Titanic menus to create a nine-course, Taste of the Titanic dinner, all served on reproduction bone china to replicate the first-class experience. McClelland is literally cooking the Titanic’s “last supper”—nine of the 11 rich, French-style dishes from that last menu, inThe Jack and Rose cock tail at Titanic Hotel, Drawing Room Two bar, Belfas t
cluding his asparagus and
16 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
Hilden Brewing makes a Titanic Quarter Irish pale ale to wash it all down, and although the distillery is now defunct, you might find a rare bottle of Titanic Irish Whiskey at The Friend at Hand, a bottle shop and museum dedicated to the local spirits. Titanic’s Canadian Connection When the Titanic hit an iceberg just four days into its maiden voyage, more than 1,500 of the 2,200 passengers perished. The story went around the world, and continues to capture our imagination today. But while thousands worked building the luxury liner in Belfast, it wasn’t always celebrated. The disaster was in fact seen as a black mark on the local shipping industry. And because the ship sank 640 km off the coast of Newfoundland, the story became a sad chapter in Canadian history, too. The Halifax Maritime Museum of the Atlantic’s Titanic exhibit details the ship’s tragic demise and the local effort to recover the dead, many brought to Halifax, where some 150 are still buried in city cemeteries. In St. John’s, Newfoundland, the Ryan Mansion has a Titanic connection, too. The intricate Titanic display, Ryan Mansion boutique hotel, S t. John's, NFLD
staircase and wood panelling inside the historic home was created by the same craftsmen who fitted the ship’s grand staircase, and the boutique hotel offers Titanic-themed getaways, complete with a six-course dinner based on the last menu. The Drama Never Dies The Titanic was a marvel of engineering, the largest manmade object ever constructed, and deemed “unsinkable” by its makers. And though its tragic end may not conjur up the “luck o’ the Irish,” as Joyce Anderson reminds me with a T-shirt celebrating her Titanic boat tour company: “She was alright when she left here!” I can raise an Irish whiskey to that.
Drawing Room Two bar at Titanic Hotel, Belfas t, was once the Harland and Wolf f shipbuilder s' drawing room where Titanic and other ships were desig ned watercress salad with roast squab, poached salmon mousseline, pan-seared filet mignon with foie gras, and spiced peaches in chartreuse jelly. If a Titanic-inspired cocktail is more your style, head to the Titanic Hotel Belfast, and it’s impressive Harland and Wolff Drawing Office Two bar, where designers inked the elaborate plans for the Titanic and hundreds of other ships. Order the Jack and Rose, inspired by the fictional characters in James Cameron’s blockbuster film (an exotic Jack Daniels sour with a shot of rose liqueur on the side). Or have the white rum, Pinot Grigio, and Prosecco Punch Romaine. Though we’ve immortalized those famous “upstairs” travellers, the Titanic was also carrying hundreds of “downstairs” immigrants in third class, making their way to America to make a new life. So a simple meal featuring the local Irish potato and green onion mash (champ), porridge with whiskey and cream, or griddled soda bread (farls) is another way to celebrate Titanic food and drink in Belfast.
Stay Warm with Blue Grouse Enjoy Soup Saturdays, local foodie items, and our award-winning vegan wines. 2182 LAKESIDE ROAD, DUNCAN, BC | BLUEGROUSE.CA 17
Rebecca Wellman’s Holiday Gift Guide 2019 EAT Magazine’s editor-at-large shares a dozen of her favourites. The holidays are for giving, yes? That might mean gifts under the tree, stuffed into stockings, brought along as hostess gifts, or just because. This selection of some of my favourites are mostly made and definitely available from various locations on Vancouver Island as well as online. Some are small and sweet, others are a splurge. In any case, I won’t judge you if you take the “one-for-you-one-for-me” approach to gift giving, as I often do!
Saltspring Kitchen Co. gift packs
Cedar and Salt
I have my eye on their new hot sauces: three
A beautiful homage to the in-
different kinds packed into a sweet little gift
gredients found within Vancouver
box: habanero, curry and orange; morita,
Island’s forests, fields, farms, and
espresso and chipotle; pineapple, turmeric,
sea, this cookbook created by Emily
achiote. Don’t stop there, though. A great
Lycopolus and DL Acken is filled
selection of their popular jams, jellies, and
with simple and elegant recipes and
preserves come in gift boxes, too.
Wayward Distillery Krupnik Krupnik is a traditional Polish sweet
liqueur of grain spirit and honey. I
These little delights make a fantastic
tried this for the first time last year
stocking stuffer or hostess gift. Their
and fell in love. It’s warm, it’s spiced,
unique array of flavours and colours
and it goes just as well over ice as it
(Blueberry orange blossom! Crème
does blended into a cocktail. Don’t
brulée! Champagne!) will definitely
want to bring yet another bottle of
prompt the “one-for-you-one-for-me”
wine as a hostess gift? Bring one of
attitude to gift giving.
these instead. WAYWARDDISTILLERY.COM 2931 MORAY AVE. COURTENAY
Food Stories – a Cookbook for a Cause Giving in more ways than one, this is about giving to and giving back. This beautifully written and photographed book features 20 chefs from Vancouver, Tofino, and the Comox Valley, their recipes and their stories. The best part—100% of net proceeds will be donated to meaningful food charities in Vancouver. Written and curated by Hakan Burcuoğlu, a Vancouver filmmaker and co-founder of the web-based magazine, The Curatorialist. FOODFORALL.CA/STORE
18 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
BONMACARONPATISSERIE.COM 1012 BROAD ST. VICTORIA
Lioli tote bags Love.It.Or.Lose.It. refers to the attention we need to be paying to our one-and-only planet. Created by a lovely lady who cares deeply about our environment, this is hands down, my favourite market bag. I always have at least two of these in my car. They are big, sturdy, have lots of pockets and you can wash them! AVAILABLE AT: THE WESTCOAST PANTRY, VICTORIA PUBLIC MARKET, 1701 DOUGLAS ST. CAPITAL IRON, 1900 STORE ST. ZERO WASTE EMPORIUM, 1728 DOUGLAS ST. DUCHESS AND DUKE, 1824 GOVERNMENT ST.
49 Below Ice Cream Subscription
Wicked Wanda Pottery
It’s not just for summer anymore. All natural,
I have been a big fan of Erica Arbour-Nevins’ clas-
no additives, no preservatives, this delicious
sic and beautiful style for years and you will see
ice cream can not only be found at a number
many-a-piece of hers in my photo work. She does
of stores in Victoria, they will deliver it right
make the market rounds throughout the year, and
to your door with a monthly subscription!
you can purchase from her website. A beautiful
Imagine tucking that into someone’s stocking.
piece/set of pottery is one of my favourite gifts.
Westholme Tea and Pottery
This year, for a particularly monumental birthday,
I am an avid tea drinker. And not the chamomile
I bought myself something I should have had a
stuff. The dark, rich, deep stuff. Victor Vesely
long time ago. For someone who spends so much
and Margit Nellemann have brought tea lovers
time in the kitchen, I’d never had a really good
the most incredibly beautiful selection of teas,
knife. So, I visited the Knifewear pop-up at the
available from their website, or from a number of
Victoria Public Market and invested in the best
shops in Victoria. Nellemann’s pottery creations
knife I’ve ever had. Knifewear has a huge selection
are truly stunning and make for a gorgeous
of knives to choose from, and you can catch them
one-of-a-kind gift. Be sure to stop in if you are
at the Victoria Public Market again on November
passing through Duncan.
16-17. An amazing gift for that chef in your life.
WESTHOLMETEA.COM 8350 RICHARDS TRAIL, WESTHOLME, BC
KNIFEWEAR.COM VICTORIA PUBLIC MARKET, 1701 DOUGLAS ST
Fredrich’s Honey Every time I head up island, I stop in at Fredrich’s to stock up on honey, soap, candles, and other assorted honey and beeswax items. Since 1966, master
ey is a constant staple in my kitchen; lots of smaller sizes are available, too!) You can buy Fredrich’s at a
FREDRICHSHONEY.CA 2798 CEDAR RD., CEDAR, BC
Larry Arnold’s picks to drink or gift: Stellar’s Jay Mountain Jay Brut Méthode Classique 2015 Okanagan Valley $23.00-25.00 When looking for a good bottle of bubbly for a gift or to celebrate the occasion, one need look no further than the Okanagan Valley or Vancouver Island to find delicious, well-made sparkling wine. Mountain Jay Brut, originally Sumac Ridge Stellar’s Jay Brut, was the first to enter the market with a top-end Okanagan Valley sparkling wine in 1989 and after 30 years, it is still one of the best! The 2015 is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir, made in the traditional method and aged for a minimum of two years on the lees before bottling. Now if this all sounds Greek to you, don’t worry, just pop a bottle or two and let the bubble do the talking! Very classy, with a nice tight bead (tiny bubbles), crisp and clean, with subtle aromas of green apples, citrus and toasted nuts on the nose that persist through the palate! Fresh and elegantly structured with a fine cut of acidity. Wolfberger Crémant D’Alsace Rosé Brut NV Alsace $27.00-29.00 Crémant is basically sparkling wine produced by using the champagne method but the winery is not in the Champagne district. This can be a good thing! One hundred percent Pinot Noir with a coppery-salmon tint and an explosion of tiny persistent bubbles. Very fresh, very dry with cherries, cranberries, apples and spice on the palate. Wolfberger Crémant Rosé is as lovely to behold as it is to consume!
pasta, La Pasta Triestina is the new kid on the that is milled to order, this will easily replace any
100% natural honey products (a litre jar of his hon-
their website and at their own storefront in Cedar.
A beautiful, flavourful and nutritious handmade block. Made of sustainably grown durum wheat
beekeeper Theo Fredrich Sr. has been making fine,
number of shops up and down the island, plus from
La Pasta Triestina
boxed pasta you’ve bought in the past. Once you’ve tried fresh pasta, it is hard to go back. A handful of these packages work great as gifts, and keep it in mind for that easy holiday dinner for guests! LAPASTATRIESTINA.COM AVAILABLE AT THE ROOT CELLAR, 1286 MCKENZIE AVE.
Bérêche & Fils Brut Réserve NV Champagne $74.00-80.00 Wow! It is hard to believe a Champagne of this quality can still be found on liquor store shelves. With only 9 hectares of land, Bérêche is the very epitome of a small, quality driven, family owned, Champagne house. Fermented in oak barrels, this equal blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, including a generous dollop of reserve wine, spends about 3 years on the lees before release. Very pure and refined with subtle stone fruit, citrus and spice on the palate. Powerful and balanced with great intensity and a long savory finish! Chapoutier Bila-Haut Côtes du Roussillon Villages Rouge 2017 France $15.00-17.00 When you feel only Chateauneuf-du-Pape will do, but the choice is between feeding the family or the bottle of wine, consider this lovely blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan from the parched vineyards of the Côtes du Roussillon Villages in the southwest corner of France. Deep garnet red with black cherries, fine herbs and dry earth aromas, a generous texture and layer upon layer of ripe fruit flavours. Very formidable for the price! Chateau Lousteauneuf Médoc Cru Bourgeois 2010 Bordeaux $38.00-40.00 Classic Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, medium-bodied with delicate cassis, blackcurrant and subtle smoky aromas. Good intensity on the palate with gobs of ripe fruit flavours and a lush texture. Well-balanced with soft tannins and a long heady finish!
all the best tools for your kitchen NOW SHOP ONLINE!
FIND THAT PERFECT GIFT Here at The Strath, our experts are on hand to help make selecting that special gift just a little easier. Whether you are looking for a special bottle of Champagne to share at New Years, that perfect six-pack for a family gathering, or a once in a lifetime bottle of Scotch for a loved one - we have all of your bases covered.
#1-6332 Metral Drive, Nanaimo 250.933.1800 www.maisoncookware.com
919 DOUGLAS STREET, VICTORIA • (250) 370-9463
20 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
• 7 DAYS A WEEK 10AM - 11PM
R EPORTER Refuge Taproom Whistle Buoy Brewing Co. The Chocolate Project
WOR D S
Adrien Sala Daniel Murphy Adrian Paradis PHO T OGR A PH Y
Lillie Louise Major Johann Vincent
Refuge Taproom: Come in from the Storm
832 FORT ST, VICTORIA 2 5 0 -3 85 - 4 65 4
R E F U G E TA P R O O M . C A
As Victoria’s food and drink scene continues to expand, Adrien Sala sat down with Refuge Taproom owner Darren J. Ainsley to talk about one of the city’s newest arrivals. The downtown core of Victoria definitely has its zones, from the populated tourist regions of the inner harbour to the taco district around Blanshard and Fort, where La Taqueria, Tacofino, and La Taquisa successfully satisfy a seemingly unending demand for tortilla-based meals. And as the city grows, both upward and in population, more and more folks are stepping up to enhance those zones, which is exactly what Darren J. Ainsley has done with Refuge Taproom. Located next door to Choux Choux Charcuterie on Fort Street, Refuge is a cozy but bright drink spot with modern fixtures, a long bar, raw-edge wooden tables and two nooks at the front where one could read a magazine solo or squeeze in with a group of friends. Formerly a tea room, the long, narrow space is accented by bright artwork and expands all the way into a patio that has a welcoming backyard feel. This is a fresh endeavour for Ainsley, who worked in hospitality on the mainland and in the Interior for 17 years before doing a 180 and spending over a decade as a field engineer. Refuge is comfortable and familiar, which is somewhat surprising considering he moved to Victoria in October 2018. What I mean by that is it’s rare to meet someone new-ish to Victoria who manages to create a space that doesn’t feel out of place in Victoria. But Ainsley has pulled it off. “I wanted to be my own boss,” says the seasoned hospitality worker, who decided to leave engineering and move back into his first passion of food and drinks. “I poked around Vancouver a little bit but really started to focus on Victoria for its low-key approach to most things. I felt like if I was going to start out in the business world, Victoria was probably a good place to do it.”
LILLIE LOUISE MAJOR
Refuge Taproom owner Darren J. Ainsley The arrival of Refuge, which launched in July and currently stays open seven days a week until at least midnight (1:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday), has delivered a great late-night option––especially for anyone who loves local food and drinks. Of the 32 taps on offer, 21 are craft beers, five are cider and six are wine––all of them from British Columbia. And all the spirits come from BC, including Tofino Distillery and LILLIE LOUISE MAJOR
award-winning Sheringham, as well as others from throughout the province, with the exception of the Jameson Irish whiskey he keeps on offer because, well, why not. “Even my shaft mix is locally made,” says Ainsley, who procured the mix from Moon Distillery just blocks away on Bay Street. “I really didn’t want to get those ingredients off a shelf because it goes against what we’re doing here––although the chocolate straws we serve ours with do come from Italy.”
22 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
The menu at Refuge is also very local. Shaped to satisfy food cravings rather than as a full
meal, it’s a mix of small plates, meats, and cheeses that come from as close as next door. The Choux Choux Charcuterie Board has a daily selection of cured meats and cheeses, with crostini made from Bond Bond’s bread and a local Scotch Ale Mustard from Fermentum Foods. Choux Choux also provides a Scotch egg for the menu, and Farm & Field Butchers delivers deliciously marinated olives. For someone who hasn’t been in Victoria for all that long, Ainsley has managed to secure some great products. The taps rotate based on what is available and what his patrons are enjoying like Hoyne and Four Winds, but he has also uncovered micro-breweries that are doing really interesting things, such as Howl Brewing from North Saanich, which describes itself as a “pico” brewery. At the time of writing, there was a blueberry sour from Mariner Brewing in Coquitlam and more great offerings on the go (if you want to see what is pouring right now, the Refuge Taproom website is refreshingly up to date and new products are easily identified). Chatting with Ainsley, it’s clear he has an unrushed yet professional approach. Rather than getting locked behind the bar, he has chosen to remain on the floor. “I have staff take care of everything so I can be the busser, or the host, or the dishwasher––whatever is needed––and just be in the space making sure it’s good.” Calm and warm with a welcoming energy, Refuge Taproom lives up to its name as a haven for folks who want to relax into a nice experience with friends, sipping on beer crafted near-
Kyle M iner Photography.
Kyle Miner Photography.
2401 Millstream Rd. 900-degrees.ca 250 590 4493
by, tasting a flight of locally distilled spirits, or snacking on food that comes from as close as next door.
LILLIE LOUISE MAJOR
Refuge Taproom is f illed with brig ht ar t work and raw-edge wooden tables
New Buoys on the Square
MARKET SQUARE’S LOWER COURTYARD, UNIT 63 -560 JOHNSON ST. VICTORIA WHISTLEBUOYBREWING.COM
Whistle Buoy Brewing Co. is a welcome beacon for Victoria’s craft-beer lovers. You might have already walked around Whistle Buoy without even knowing it. “Market Square can be a tough spot,” says joint owner Isaiah Archer. “There’s so many great businesses down here, but a few vacant units, too.” The Square definitely bears the burden of being “hidden-in-plain-sight,” as the fortress-like building effectively conceals its Europeanstyle courtyard from the steady stream of “Lo-Jo” shoppers. It’s a battle that Market Square’s ownership has thrown itself into with gusto over the past few years, renovating and brightening its physical space, while seeking young, relevant tenant businesses to bring new eyes (and wallets) to a retail court that had faded somewhat over the past decade. JOHANN VINCENT
Whistle Buoy might be the epitome of that ongoing process. Their funky new micro-brewery replaced the long-incumbent beading store Bead World in June of this year. Installing a sun-soaked patio and coastal/nautical tasting lounge has brought a new energy to the space, drawing crowds that might never previously have considered Market Square as a destination. Whistle Buoy’s creation of a casual, accessible space for everyone to enjoy quality provisions is already resonating with their first wave of clientele—and in many different ways, as
Whis tle Buoy is owned and operated by f ive par tner s Lef t to rig ht: Iwan Williams, Colin Cur tis, Mat t Wes t-Patrick, Nina Colovic, Isaiah Archer
Archer notes: “During the week we’re getting a lot of midday to after-work traffic. People are coming to do their work here, like they would in a café—and then also a lot of post-work customers sharing beers with colleagues. We’re a really chill weekend spot too: we encour-
what began as “wouldn’t it be cool?” rapidly evolved into “are we all in?” as their dream
age families, you can even bring your dogs down.”
translated into a business model that actually showed promise on paper. That dream was fuelled by brewer Matt West-Patrick, who had been cutting his teeth in the Spinnaker’s
The concept for Whistle Buoy developed as a group of friends with diverse (yet randomly
brewhouse for several years, with designs to eventually operate his own brewery and
complementary) skillsets bonded through their passion for spearfishing, of all things. But
taproom. Co-founder Iwan Williams applied his experience in both business development and property development, wrangling wild aspirations into tangible processes and financial documents. Archer handles their branding and marketing after studying strategic leadership that focussed on the social and ecological impact of businesses, on both their community and the world at large. The only thing missing was the experience required to actually operate a hospitality establishment. For this they reached out to their long-time friends Colin Curtis and Nina Colovic, who had both garnered years of experience working front-of-house for some of Victoria’s most successful restaurants and bars, before moving back to their East Coast origins. The project proved effective bait to get them back to the island. Curtis joined the team tasked with front-of-house management, while Colovic handles all their HR requirements—and no team member is above slinging suds whenever it’s required. With the full cast assembled and no shortage of energy and passion, they all got to work on putting their plans into action. After eighteen months, much sweat, and many lessons learned, they welcomed the first guests into their newly commissioned brewery and fully renovated lounge. Through a large window beside the bar, you can clearly see that every inch of available brewing space has been claimed by the custom-designed, Island-built brewing system. Whistle Buoy’s initial beer lineup was mindful of their sunny location and focused on lower-alcohol, easily approachable styles. When asked about a house style or general direction for their beer portfolio, the only constant appears to be change. While their Coastality Pale Ale will likely make the cut year-round, there will be a tap dedicated to a changing summer JOHANN VINCENT
and winter beer, and three more taps for rotating, single-batch releases. This past summer’s eclectic hits included Totally Pitted Golden Plum Sour, Main Squeeze Raspberry Lemon Ale, and Gulagubben Scandinavian Ale. Entering winter, expect to see “cozier” beers takeover the lineup, all of which can be sampled in 5-oz flights, glasses (7 oz, 12 oz, 17 oz) and taken home in 1-litre “crowlers” (a huge aluminum can, filled and closed in very limited numbers, to ensure freshness).
24 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
The Whistle Buoy experience was always designed to be beer-centric, as implementing a full food program presented spatial and financial problems. But it was always understood that providing customers with a quality dining experience was essential. So they looked to their business mantra, “facilitate positive interaction within our community,” which inspired a partnership with Fernwood’s Little June café. Little June delivers a daily menu of sandwich options (smoked turkey and havarti, plus a rotating feature), a “kitchen sink cookie,” and spiced salted nuts. Whistle Buoy also embraces their surrounding food vendors by encouraging hungry beer drinkers to gather their meals from any of Market Square’s many restaurants and bring them over to dine on-site, at no charge. Whistle Buoy’s lineup of clean, experimental, and highly sessionable beers are a top-level addition to the embarrassment of riches already enjoyed by Victoria’s enthusiastic craftbeer audience. Their casual, quirky tasting room is a welcome splash of colour in Market Square’s continuing makeover—making your next detour through the historic quadrangle well worth your while.
This festive season, discover a new wave of fine wine
DOWN THE HALL, 506 FORT ST. / WWW.LITTLEJUMBO.CA / 778.433.5535
2019-09-25 5:18 PM
The Chocolate Project
VICTORIA PUBLIC MARKET, 1701 DOUGLAS STREET, VICTORIA C H O C O L AT E P R O J E C T. C A
This store-school-museum-laboratory dedicated to the sweet bean is going from kiosk to storefront at the Victoria Public Market. It is standard practice nowadays to know a lot about the origins of your food. If you look at the label of that fancy coffee or local beer, likely you will read about a specific species and area—and maybe even the farm from which it came. However, one food that had frustratingly managed to avoid this trend, until recently, was chocolate. David Mincey, former chef and owner of Camille's (the popular Victoria restaurant closed in 2016), has been working since 1999 to educate people and consumers about chocolate. And since 2013, he has been running the Chocolate Project out of a temporary kiosk in the Victoria Public Market. Now, as I write this in late September, Mincey is slated to open a permanent storefront and learning centre in mid-October at the Public Market. “Mostly what we do here is teach,” he tells me. “The Chocolate Project is primarily a school. And that is why we expanded. We needed more space to do education—teaching, classes, and workshops.” Mincey’s goal as a chef at Camille’s was to be as transparent as possible while working with local farmers and producers—a revolutionary idea in the 1990s. "We wanted to know where all our stuff was coming from,” he says. “We could pretty much do that for everything except chocolate. It drove me crazy as a chef that the only chocolate we could buy was completely non-descript, had no origins, and no information about where it came from or who grew it.” Refusing to settle for chocolate that likely came from a slave trade operation, Mincey began researching to educate himself on the chocolate process and supply chain. After making connections with chocolate farmers, he was able to find international suppliers that could provide good, sustainable chocolate—something that was impossible to buy in Canada at the time. “The more I learned, while researching to find decent chocolate, the more I realized no one else knew anything about this,” he says. “Chocolate is one of those crazy food LILLIE LOUISE MAJOR
products that everyone loves, but people don’t know anything about. If you stop someone on the street and ask them how wine is made, or where bread comes from, they will have a reasonable answer. Ask someone where chocolate comes from, and they will have no idea.”
David Mincey in his new space Feeling a need to share what he had learned, Mincey began holding chocolate workshops and classes after hours at the restaurant. Later, he began teaching chocolate history at UVic. He says people always loved what they were learning, but the inevitable question was still where to buy what they had been talking about. “We started contacting bean-tobar chocolate makers around the world,” he says. “There were people who I had come to know and bars I had come to love. I asked what it would take to get them to send us what they sold.” LILLIE LOUISE MAJOR
For the next few years, the Chocolate Project was a nebulous entity, existing in small display corners of other local businesses like Habit Coffee and Silk Road Tea. Then, when the Victoria Public Market opened its doors in 2013, Mincey started his kiosk in the middle of it all. “It’s already grown a lot,” he says. “We started with two tables; now we’re up to over 400 bars and the largest collection of bean-to-bar artists in Canada. We had packed our real estate with as much chocolate as we could and were out of room. We were at the point where
A display showcasing jus t some of the selec tions available
26 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
we had such a following that we needed our own store.”
While much of what the Chocolate Project did previously will continue in the new storefront, Mincey has expanded the learning experience for visiting chocolate lovers. Blurring the line between store and museum, the store allows visitors to give themselves their own chocolate class through informational posters while tasting chocolate at its different stages of development. In addition, Mincey will be offering more classes and workshops and will eventually have chocolate makers visit the space to do talks and presentations. Mincey is also applying for a liquor license so they can have a single malt scotch and port bar to pair with their chocolate. “Chocolate is a fantastic pairing for single malt scotch and spirits,” he says. “It’s much better than wine.” Mirroring the same trajectory the craft beer or coffee industries took, chocolate has exploded in popularity and interest over the past 15 years. “It’s been super-exciting to see it all unravel,” says Mincey. “Lots of people now realize that they can make their own chocolate, and that’s why we needed more room.” So with plenty of plans for expansion, and now with the space to do it, the Chocolate Project will be worth keeping an eye on for upcoming events. “After many years, it’s time for us to put down some roots,” says Mincey. “It’s like someone going from a food truck to an actual restaurant. For us, it’s the next bit of evolution.”
LILLIE LOUISE MAJOR
David shows of f a cocoa pod
HELPFUL HOLIDAY GUIDE
A Guide to Holiday Protein Pleasures
WOR D S
Is this the year you decide to let someone else do all or most of The Big Dinner? Here’s everything you need to make it so.
hen the holiday pressures of shopping, cooking, and entertaining reach a boiling point, Victoria butchers and caterers step up to take the guesswork—and stress work—out of holiday feasting. This year, we’ve mapped out where you can find some delicious pre-prepped proteins, specialty roasts, sides, and signature savouries to assist you in planning a memorable meal without being tied to the stove. We’ve also compiled a list of where you can go to dine out on the big day, giving you, your oven, and your family a break from the pots and pans. Pour yourself a glass of wine, put your feet up, and plot your shortcut to a holiday culinary adventure. 28 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
Celebrating 32 years, Cheryl’s Gourmet Pantry is Victoria’s tried and true catering business in Oak Bay. Get your order in early and rest easy with Cheryl’s gourmet Christmas menu offering a slow-roasted hormone-free turkey with all the bells and whistles, from root vegetable mash, green beans with caramelized shallots, and whipped potatoes, to cranberry and orange compote, turkey gravy, and sage-andsun-dried-cranberry stuffing followed by a signature mincemeat pie. Don’t miss Cheryl’s traditional French-Canadian tourtière of pork, beef, and veal with the addition of grated apple providing a textural component and touch of natural sweetness (available in individual sizes too). The Pantry’s rich turkey gravy and sage-and-cranberry bread stuffing can be ordered à la carte, or gluten free—and you know you can never have enough stuffing and gravy. Holiday feasters can enjoy several catered options from chef Castro Boateng’s House of Boateng in Langford. If you’re a DIYer, Boateng will have free-range turkeys available from Duncan’s Stonebridge Farms—just call ahead. Or find something comforting or chef-y from his extensive and creative menus of “pick-up” meals, pre-ordered and picked up by December 23. Choose from canapés, platters, soups (such as roasted parsnip and apple), salads, delicious sides, gravies, chutneys, and roasted beef tenderloin. Find specialties such as African arancini with a spiced tomato sauce, and duck confit Wellington served with wild huckleberry compote. You and your guests will be suitably impressed. ISTOCK.COM/ALEKSANDARVELASEVIC
Slater’s First Class Meats, Oak Bay’s long established,
Finest at Sea in James Bay, and Thrifty Foods. The bi-valve
full-service butcher shop, offers an exquisite selection of
also makes a great addition to stuffing, and smoked fish—
locally sourced meats for the holidays. Its devoted follow-
whether it’s salmon or Arctic char—is a welcome tradition
ing begins ordering right after Thanksgiving for Parry Bay
for any appetizer tray.
Sheep Farm’s crown roast of lamb, or pork and smoked hams from Hertel Meats in Port Alberni. While they
This is by no means a complete list. Consider it a starting point.
Don’t Feel Like Cooking?
do offer whole free-range turkeys, they find that they’re
These hotel restaurants have you covered with their annual
preparing more of the popular deboned-and-rolled turkey
sumptuous feasts. Wear your finest Christmas sweater and
roasts. The bonus here is that you get all the bones ahead
leave it all up to them. Just don’t forget to book ahead.
of time so you can roast them, make stock and gravy, and have it ready to heat, freeing up some time on the big day. Specialty orders include pheasant and other game birds. And for an over-the-top specialty, owner Geoff Martin offers AAA Alberta prime rib roast, a spectacular roast that
Dig in to the Inn at Laurel Point’s annual decadent Christmas Day brunch, where seatings are booked between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The buffet groans with all the traditional cravings, such as a chef-carved turkey and roast beef along with a huge selection
includes the spinalis dorsi—the ribeye cap—touted as the tastiest cut of beef. Herb-crusted and served with a red wine jus, this is a carnivore’s dream come true. The meaty duo of The Whole Beast and Village Butcher in Oak Bay is a one-stop-shop indulgence. With the former, get chef Cory Pelan’s smoked ham in boneless or bone-in varieties, ready-to-roast, or the brined and uncooked gammon, all Islandsourced. The vast selection of pâtés and terrines—and their ever-popular chicken liver parfait—will keep a party sated, and with a resident chef tinkering away at the Village Butcher, expect lots of ready-made helpers such as glazes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and gravy. New
of salads, cold seafood, and
The buffet groans with all the traditional cravings, such as a chef-carved turkey and roast beef along with a huge selection of salads, cold seafood, and vegetarian options, and everything you might like for breakfast.
this season are smoked turkeys, in-house. Simply reheat and voilà! All the other right stuffs include the Village Butcher’s take on tourtière, meat pies, sausage rolls, and crepinettes, those wonderful sausage-like meat parcels. The plant-based set can dig in to a Stuffed Beast from The Very Good Butchers. This chickpea and wheat-gluten “roast,” chock full of herbs and spices, surrounds an herb and spiced bread stuffing of mushrooms, garlic, celery, sweet potato, and cranberries. (I’m thinking a miso-mushroom gravy just might be in order.) The monster is enough to feed four to six hungry vegans, and the Butchers can ship most anywhere. Or order and pick up your beast from their location in the Victoria Public Market.
vegetarian options, and everything you might like for breakfast. If that isn’t enough, an immense bread display with pastry and dessert stations will make you weak in the knees. Just save room for a post-brunch stroll in James Bay to enjoy the festive lights.
Cheryl’s Gourmet Pantry 2009 Cadboro Bay Rd . . . . 250-595-3212 Finest at Sea 27 Erie St . . . . . . . . . . . 250-383-7760 House of Boateng 105-2854 Peatt Rd . . . . . . 778-432-2233 Oak Bay Seafood 2024 Oak Bay Ave . . . . . . 778-432-0227 Slater’s First Class Meats 2577 Cadboro Bay Rd . . . . 250-592-0823 The Very Good Butchers 6-1701 Douglas St . . . . . . 778-440-4663 The Village Butcher 2032 Oak Bay Ave . . . . . . . 250-598-1115 The Whole Beast 2032 Oak Bay Ave . . . . . . 250-590-7675
The Westin Bear Mountain in Langford pulls out all the stops starting with a Christmas Eve seafood-focused buffet offset by salads, cheese and charcuterie, pasta bar, and two carving stations offering maple-cured hot smoked salmon and a slow-roasted rib of beef, followed by a dessert
half or full, brined and smoked
The Nice List
section. Christmas brunch on the day means everything breakfast and brunch—two carving stations offering roasted turkey and glazed ham with all the fixings. Dinner on the day continues with beef Wellington and roast turkey along with seafood offerings and dim sum. A long nap after is all that’s needed. The Fairmont Empress leaves no plate unturned starting Christmas Eve with a four-course set menu dinner. On Christmas Day, diners can start early with a dinner buffet commencing at 2 p.m., or book the plated Christmas dinner for the evening. Homebodies can pick up the hotel’s free-range turkey dinner and all the fixings, including stuffing and pan gravy for eight to 10 guests, with your choice of an oven-ready turkey or one gobbler cooked and
Break out the bubbly for the seafood course as oysters in all
ready to carve. Pull up the truck and load it all in. And
their varieties are ready to be shucked at Oak Bay Seafood,
always order ahead.
Christmas Brunch/Dinner Chateau Victoria Hotel 740 Burdett Ave . . . . . . . 250-382-4221 Coast Victoria Hotel 146 Kingston St . . . . . . . . 250-360-1211 Hotel Fairmont Empress 721 Government St . . . . . . 250-384-8111 Hotel Grand Pacific 463 Belleville St . . . . . . . 250-386-0450 Inn at Laurel Point 680 Montreal St . . . . . . . 250-386-8721 Magnolia Hotel 623 Courtney St . . . . . . . 250-381-0999 Ocean Pointe Resort 100 Harbour Rd . . . . . . . 250-360-2999 Strathcona Hotel 919 Douglas St . . . . . . . . .250-383-7137 Villa Eyrie 600 Ebadora Lane . . . . . . 250-856-0188 Westin Bear Mountain 1999 Country Club Way . . . . 250-391-7160 29
The Pacific Restaurant at the Hotel Grand Pacific is excited to be once again offering our unique Ã la carte or three-course Fondue. 7 days a week | 5pm - 10pm Seating is limited, make your reservations now | 250.380.4458 463 BELLEVILLE ST VICTORIA, BC | HOTELGRANDPACIFIC.COM
30 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
Long before marriage and kids and a decent oven, I had
The Sweetest Exchange
entrance to my apartment’s compact kitchen: “Cooking
an artist friend write in large black script above the
Fill your favourite cookie tins with these little morsels chockful of nuts, spices, fruit, and chocolate—perfect for holiday gift giving and community cookie exchanges.
is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” The quote, by American newspaper columnist Harriet Van Horne comes to mind whenever I start my holiday baking. As my cupboards swell with chocolates, nuts, dried fruit, sugars, and flours, my kitchen becomes unconstrained with the joyful flurry of baking. You’ll find recipes for my holiday favourites on the following pages. My mother rarely baked, but I can’t imagine the holidays without her buttery shortbread cookies. Once a year she’d dust off her aluminum cookie press, a contraption that extracted perfectly uniform cookies. She topped each shortbread with a single neon-red candied cherry (near toxic by today’s standards). I stamp out my shortbread with a ravioli cutter and decorate it with pistachio nuts and dried cranberries affixed with a smudge of white chocolate. However you shape or decorate your cookies, the secret to melt-inthe-mouth shortbread is to bake them in a low oven and remove them before they take on any colour. Your gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan friends will appreciate the habit-forming nutty coco bites. Made of sweet dates, almonds, toasted coconut, and dark chocolate, they include just enough flax meal to make you feel a little smug about enjoying them. They require no baking and are utterly addictive. Of course, nothing smacks of Christmas quite like a sugar-dusted snowflake cookie. An adaptation of an Austrian classic, Linzer torte cookies are made of toasted ground almonds and a whisper of cinnamon. Sandwiched with raspberry jam (or whichever jam you wish), these double-stacked cookies are as scrumptious as they are beautiful. You’ll have fun experimenting with different cookie molds. If you enjoy buttery toffee paired with dark chocolate and toasted almonds, you’ll love the snap of almond chocolate toffee. Candy is easier to make than you might imagine, and all you need is a heavy-bottomed pan and candy thermometer to get started. If you’re looking for a quick confection, this recipe comes together astonishingly fast.
R ECIPE + T E X T
Denise Marchessault S T Y L ING + PHO T OGR A PH Y
Not in the mood for a full-on baking extravaganza? Consider hosting a Christmas cookie exchange. It’s a clever way to expand your holiday repertoire without all the work. There are variations on the theme, but the idea is to bake one dozen cookies per guest and have your attendees do the same. Each person comes away with enough variety to last the season, plus a cache of new recipes. No matter how you approach your Christmas baking, cookies make a nostalgic gift that never goes out of style. They’re never the wrong size or colour and always bring an appreciative smile, especially from those who least expect them.
Almond Chocolate Toffee Makes about 1½ pounds
2 cups sliced almonds ½ cup unsalted butter 2 cups sugar ¼ cup water 1 tsp molasses ½ tsp salt ½ tsp baking soda 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I use Lindt 70% dark), melted Special Equipment Candy thermometer Baking sheet lined with parchment or a nonstick baking mat Off-set palate knife, lightly oiled Silicone pastry brush placed in a cup of room temperature water Deep, medium-sized, heavy saucepan Long metal spoon or knife to mix the toffee
Making toffee is easy, but when cooking sugar is involved, it’s important to read the recipe from beginning to end before you start. Then read it again. Toffee is all about timing, so make sure your ingredients are pre-measured and your tools are within reaching distance before you start. You’ll need a heavy-bottomed saucepan, otherwise the sugar can burn. One final caution, sugar doesn’t behave well in humidity so plan accordingly.
Linzer Torte Cookies Makes about 30 two-inch cookies.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread the nuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake about 7-10 minutes until the nuts are golden and aromatic. Set aside. Ensure the nuts are spread evenly on the parchment because you’ll be pouring hot toffee directly onto them.
1 cup whole almonds, outer skin intact ¼ cup granulated white sugar 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling the dough ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon allspice ½ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature ½ cup golden (light) brown sugar, firmly packed Zest from one washed lemon 1 large egg ½ cup raspberry jam ½ cup powdered (icing) sugar Special Equipment 2 decorative cookie cutters, one smaller than the other (for the cut-out) 2 baking sheets lined with parchment or a nonstick baking mat
The jam filling makes these gorgeous cookies irresistibly tender. If you prefer a crunchier cookie, bake them a little longer and add the jam just before serving. 32 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake until lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. When the nuts have cooled, tip them into a food processor with the white sugar and process until finely ground. (Leave oven on for cookies.) In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a standup mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a medium bowl, beat the butter with the brown sugar and lemon zest until the mixture is light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Beat in the egg, ground almonds and
In a deep, medium-sized, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar, water, molasses, and salt. Gently stir to combine, then clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot, making sure the thermometer does not touch the bottom of the pan. Once the mixture starts to boil, stop stirring. Brush down the sides of the pan occasionally with a pastry brush dipped in water to wash down any sugar. This prevents the sugar from crystallizing, which can hinder the process. Cook the sugar until the mixture reaches 300°F. Remove the saucepan from heat and, working quickly, stir in the baking soda with your long metal spoon. The baking soda will cause the hot sugar to bubble up vigorously, so be very careful. Without delay, pour the mixture over the almonds. Use a lightly oiled off-set palette knife to spread the toffee evenly over the almonds. When the toffee has firmed a bit to the touch and is still warm, spread on the melted chocolate. Tilt and rotate the pan to help spread the chocolate evenly. Allow the mixture to cool, then break into pieces. Keep in an airtight container in a cool dry place. The toffee will last several weeks.
the flour mixture until well incorporated. Scrape the dough from the bowl and shape into a squat disk. Place the dough onto a sheet of parchment lightly dusted with flour. Cover with plastic wrap and, using a rolling pin, flatten to about half an inch thick. Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes. (Properly covered, the dough will keep for about 3 days in the refrigerator.) Flatten the refrigerated dough with a rolling pin to about a quarter inch thick. Stamp out the cookies with a cookie cutter and place on a prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Use the smaller cookie cutter to stamp out the centers from half the refrigerated cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges, rotating the pans once to ensure even browning. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Spread a thin layer of jam on the cooled full cookies (good side facing down). Place the cooled cut-out cookies on a sheet of parchment (good side facing up). Place the powered sugar in a small sieve and tap the sieve over the cookies to distribute the sugar. Carefully, so as not to mar the sugar, place the sugar-dusted cookies on top of the jam-layered cookies and press them together. Refrigerate in an airtight container for several days. If freezing, omit the icing sugar until ready to serve. (You’ll need to cover the exposed jam with small pieces of parchment before dusting with sugar.)
1 pound unsalted butter 1 cup powdered (icing) sugar ½ tsp salt ½ tsp baking powder 4 cups all-purpose flour Optional Toppings 2 Tbsp white chocolate, melted ¼ cup unsalted pistachio nuts, chopped ¼ cup dried cranberries, chopped Preheat oven to 300°F. In a standup mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add the salt and baking powder and mix to combine. Add the flour, one cup at a time, and mix until a soft dough forms. Place the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and, using a rolling pin, flatten the dough (through the plastic wrap) into a disk about half an inch thick. Refrigerate at least 40 minutes. Stamp-out the chilled dough with a cookie cutter or ravioli mold and place onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Bake for about 25 minutes, rotating the pan once, until the cookies are firm but not yet browned. The underside of the cookies should be barely golden. (I lift a cookie with a small metal spatula to determine the colour.) Cool on a wire rack. If desired, dab cookies with a bit of melted white chocolate and top with a pinch of nuts or dried cranberries.
¼ cup organic coconut oil 8 oz 70 percent dark chocolate, chopped 8 Medjool dates, pitted, and finely chopped 1½ cups sliced (not slivered) almonds 6 Tbsp flaxseed meal ½ tsp kosher salt 2¼ cups desiccated or shredded unsweetened coconut Preheat oven 375°F. Spread the coconut on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toast until just golden, about 3-4 minutes, stirring every minute or two to prevent burning. Place a medium heat-proof bowl over a saucepan filled with an inch of simmering water. The bowl should not touch the water. Place the coconut oil and dark chocolate in the bowl and stir until melted. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and add the dates, almonds, flaxseed meal, salt, and 1½ cups toasted coconut. Mix the ingredients together until well combined. Using a spatula, scrape the chocolate mixture onto a parchment-lined baking tray and smooth the mixture down with a spatula to about an inch thick. Transfer to the fridge to firm. When the mixture has firmed enough to hold its shape, use a spoon to portion the mixture into round balls, about one inch in diameter. If the mixture is too unwieldy to shape, leave it at room temperature until the bites are easier to shape. (They needn’t be perfectly round at this stage because they’ll be rolled again by hand when they’re coated with coconut.) You can use food-grade plastic gloves or a sandwich bag if you don’t like chocolate on your hands. Transfer to a baking sheet and to the fridge or freezer until firm. Place the remaining toasted coconut in shallow dish or pie plate. Working with one chocolate portion at a time, roll the chilled portions into the coconut and re-shape into balls using the palms of your hands. Refrigerate or freeze. Bring to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Makes about four dozen 1½-inch cookies.
Use your favourite cookie cutters or a ravioli mold to shape your shortbread.
Nutty Coco Bites Makes about 36 one-inch bites.
The mixture comes together quickly so have all your ingredients measured and prepared before you start. 33
A NICER WAY TO ’NOG
very year around the beginning of November, droves of diehard fans flock to grocery stores to celebrate the start of a glorious, yet limited, season: eggnog season. Pounds are gained and arteries narrowed as this cloying concoction is enjoyed by the carton full. Some nog-lovers even substitute it in all kinds of devious kitchen applications: on cold cereal or oatmeal, in biscuit dough, lattes, ice cubes, French toast. What most people don’t know is that the store-bought stuff contains many stabilizers,
WOR D S
thickeners, and corn syrup—resulting in a whopping 170 calories and eight grams of fat per cup. Or, maybe they do know and decide that ignorance is bliss during the relatively short window they have to get their nog on.
I, as you can guess, am not one of these people. I could never acquire a taste for it, being someone who appreciates salty/savoury far more. The jarring sweetness and texture always turned me off and I was sure there must be a better, nay, cleaner way to enjoy those flavours. The answer (spoiler alert) is to make your own. However, one cannot always be bothered to prepare a giant punch bowl of the stuff. Inversely, how does one satisfy a small craving for this elusive nectar that continues to glow on fluorescent shelves humming like angels when the stores are all closed and the season is done? Rewind to 2013. We were developing our December cocktail list at Little Jumbo and decided we wanted to include a flip on the menu (flip = very old dessert-style cocktail using a whole egg). I wanted something festive for the holiday, so I slaved away on a concept that would eventually be the perfect à la minute eggnog from scratch. It takes literally a minute or two to make, and chances are you already have most of these ingredients in the fridge or pantry. All you really need is a cocktail shaker set, or even a durable mason jar.
Krak Nog 2 oz Kraken Black Spiced Rum 3 tsp icing sugar (powdered) ⅛ tsp (or a couple good pats from a spice shaker) of ground nutmeg and cinnamon 2 oz half-and-half cream 1 whole egg Small dash of pure vanilla extract Tools: Shaker tins, strainer, zester or grater Glass: Festive ceramic mug, toddy glass, large tea cup (lots of options for this one)
Method: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake the living hell out of it for about 10 seconds to fully emulsify. Strain neat into glass/mug of choice.
Make sure you use Kraken Black Spiced Rum. That dark molasses profile is crucial, along
Garnish: Fresh grated nutmeg
With its light and fluffy texture and an insane depth of flavour, this eggnog recipe has converted many eggnog naysayers like myself. It still gets asked for during the holiday season at
with the higher 47 percent ABV for a little extra giddy-up!
34 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
with the citrus background are unreal, and you can use it as a sweetener to augment pretty
Botanical Cola Syrup Zest of 4 oranges Zest of 4 limes Zest of 2 lemon 1 tsp powdered cinnamon 1 tsp powdered nutmeg 4 points of star anise 1 tsp dried lavender 2 tsp powdered kola nut 1 tsp ground ginger ½ vanilla bean ½ tsp citric acid 1 L water 1 kg turbinado sugar Combine water with all ingredients except sugar into a pot or large saucepan. Simmer on medium heat for 25-30 minutes. Take off heat and strain, return to the same heat, and add 1 kg of turbinado sugar. Stir until dissolved (about 7-8 minutes), let cool and bottle. Store in refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
A Mulligan for Mulled Wine Contrary to the single-serve Krak Nog, some people simply love the art of pre-batching cocktails and punches for events and large parties. They can’t be bothered to mess around with cleaning cocktail gear while they’re entertaining and just want to throw a ladle into a pot. Fair enough! When the stress of hosting during the holidays can already be ample, it’s nice to have a “set it and forget it” option for the drinks side of things. For this year, we thought we’d take a shot at injecting some international flair into mulled
much any cocktail where you need more depth than just a simple syrup. The key is not skimping on the raw brown crystal (or turbinado) sugar; it is what creates the mouthfeel and the slight caramel flavour that carries all of the other botanicals. Speaking of which, if you are looking for a good apothecary for dried herbs/roots/botanicals, check out Self Heal Herbs on Blanshard at Fort; every bartender in Victoria uses them for ingredients and inspiration.
Here is the final product: (the prep is all done beforehand so now it’s easy as pie to assemble a large batch). Below is a per person amount, so just multiply according to guest count.
Kalimotxo (winter edition) 4 oz economy dry red wine of choice (anything with decent tannins and some degree of fruit and spice to complement the cola syrup. To be especially festive, try a Tempranillo from Spain to complement the heritage nature of this drink) 1 oz botanical cola syrup (above left) ½ oz lemon juice ½ oz orange juice 4 dashes Angostura bitters Tools: Large pot on stove or Crockpot, ladle, citrus juicer Glass: Punch glass, large tea cup, brandy snifter (again, get creative!) Method: Add wine, cola syrup, citrus juice, and angostura bitters to a large pot and stir. Simmer on low-medium heat and add garnishes before serving. Garnish: Dehydrated lemon and orange wheels, star anise, cinnamon sticks
wine. Over the years, mulled wine has become a pretty stale offering that often ends up tasting like hot, tetra-pak sangria when the spices aren’t fresh or put together with any due care. At The Nimble Bar Co., we are big fans of a Spanish Basque region classic called Kalimotxo (“Calimocho”). Essentially, it is a classic 3:2 mixture of red wine to cola on ice in a tumbler— with a lemon twist if you want to be fancy. It, by definition, is not overly fancy, though, using (usually) cheap red wine and sparkling cola beverage. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? Give it a try. You will be shocked at how well the two balance each other out. So well, in fact, that it has inspired us to create a “gussied-up” version. It still gets treated like mulled wine, but all the wow factor is featured in the most beautiful botanical cola recipe you will ever taste. This is something that Shawn Soole perfected at Clive’s Classic Lounge around late 2011, and we still use this recipe to this day. The warmth of the spices
If you, or a guest, have a proclivity towards stronger sippers during the cold weather, you can always be naughty and spike the portion with an ounce of your favourite dark rum; you might as well use Kraken if you plan on making both recipes to dual-purpose your ingredients. We hope you put these hot and cold recipes to the test. If we can sway you to have some fun, build some shaking muscles, or work on your syrup game vs. heading to the store, we will have done our job. Nate Caudle is co-owner of the Nimble Bar Co.
The Fab Four
R ECIPE + S T Y L ING
Let these deceptively simple yet stylish appies carry you through holiday entertaining. How fab!
PHO T OGR A PH Y
Other uses for dukkah: • • • •
Coat chicken or fish before roasting Sprinkle over roasted cauliflower or eggplant Top deviled eggs or bagels with cream cheese Serve with soft cheeses
36 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
Big Bat ch Dukkah Take store bought hummus or labneh to new heights with a sprinkle of dukkah, an aromatic nut, seed, and spice mix. 2 Tbsp each coriander and cumin seeds 2 tsp each fennel seeds and peppercorns 1 cup roasted almonds ½ cup shelled pistachios 1 tsp kosher salt ½ tsp chili flakes 3 Tbsp each toasted white and black sesame seeds
In a small skillet set over medium heat, stir peppercorns and coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds until lightly toasted, 3-5 min. Let cool. Using a mortar and pestle, coarsely crush (work in small batches—it’s easier). Place almonds and pistachios in a small food processor; pulse a few times for a coarse grind. Add the crushed seeds, salt, and chili flakes and pulse to mix. There should still be small pieces. Turn into a bowl and stir in sesame seeds. Makes 2 cups. Transfer the hummus or labneh to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil, add a sprinkle of dukkah, and serve with flatbreads and olives. Tip: Store in mason jar and refrigerate up to 2 weeks, or divide into smaller portions; freeze up to 3 months.
No r w eg i
s h k ka Du
N o C oo k Avocado Tartare
Crowd Pleaser Spicy Buttercup Queso
Serve with flatbreads or veggie chips, or spoon into lettuce leaves. A dollop of extra mustard is a must, so have a bowl or Dijon at the ready for your guests. Serves 6-8. 1 large shallot, minced ¾ tsp kosher salt ¼ cup chopped parsley or basil (or a mix) 2 Tbsp each olive oil Freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice 2 Tbsp drained capers, chopped 2 tsp Dijon mustard 1 tsp minced pickled jalapeños 2 avocados, diced Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a bowl, combine shallot and sea salt; let stand 5 min. Stir in herbs, oil, lime juice, capers, mustard, and jalapeños. Gently stir in avocados. Taste and season with pepper. Tip: The advantage to making tartare rather than guacamole is that your avocados don’t need to be perfectly ripe. In fact, they’re easier to dice when slightly firm.
¼ cup raw cashews 1 Tbsp coconut oil 2 garlic cloves, minced ¼ red onion, diced 2 tsp chili powder 1 tsp cumin seeds Pinches of sea salt and black pepper 2 cups packed, mashed squash (use buttercup or butternut) ¼ cup minced pickled jalapeño + 2 Tbsp of the brine 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast 1 Tbsp miso Garnish: chopped parsley or cilantro, pickled jalapeños Place cashews in a bowl; cover with water. Set in a cool place or refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. In a small frying pan, melt coconut oil over high heat. Add garlic, onion, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper; reduce heat to medium-low. Stir often until soft, 8-10 min. Drain cashews; place in a high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix). Add onion mixture, squash, pickled jalapeños and brine, nutritional yeast, miso, and ¼ cup water. Puree until smooth. If needed, blend in a little more coconut oil (melted) or water. If needed, reheat in a saucepan over medium heat. Garnish and serve with nacho chips.
tt e rcu p Qu qu e so a sh , no t c h e e s e!
Tip: To steam squash in the microwave, cut peeled squash into chunks and nuke until tender, then mash.
Easy Ba ke Norwegian Bagel Bites Looks like you slaved all day, but you really just stocked up on pizza dough and cream cheese. Makes 24 balls. 1 block (8 oz/226 g) brick cream cheese, at room temperature ⅓ cup finely chopped smoked salmon, about 6 slices 2 tsp chopped chives 1 lb fresh pizza dough (buy it!) ⅓ cup honey ¾ cup poppy or sesame seeds (or a mix) In a bowl, stir cream cheese with smoked salmon and chives. Scoop into 24 balls. Place on a plate and freeze until firm, 10 min. Meanwhile, divide the dough into 3 balls. On a lightly floured counter, roll each ball into a log about 12 inches long; slice each into 8 pieces, and then roll into balls. Working with one ball of dough at a time, flatten into a 2-inch circle. Place one cheese ball in the centre; pull up and stretch edges of dough to cover; twist ends, then
38 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
Buttercup squash has a bright orange hue that will look just like cheese. Makes about 2½ cups.
roll into a smooth ball. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (helps prevent sticking). Cover with a damp tea towel; let rise 20 min. In a saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Stir in honey until dissolved. Place poppy seeds in a bowl. Carefully lower in 4 to 6 balls at a time; cook until they start to float, about 30 sec. Using a slotted spoon, lift out and shake off excess water. Place in bowl with poppyseeds; roll to coat. Arrange balls on another baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining balls. Bake in preheated 325°F oven for 30 min. Tip: Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days. Separate layers with parchment paper. To take the chill off, warm in 350°F for 20 min.
Han dmade Eth i cal L o cal Tradi t i o n al
CURED AND SMOKED MEATS 2 0 3 2 O A K B AY A V E N U E , V I C T O R I A
THEWHOLEBEAS T.CA C U RED@ T H EWH O LEB EA ST.C A
The Right Stuff Gillie Easdon heads to Tofino to paddleboard, surf and ride badass fat-tire bikes and is struck by how the right meal, bite, or beverage can enhance the experience.
W OR D S + PHO T OGR A PH Y
he words “food pairing” suggest matching flavours in a dish or courses in a feast to wines or beers. But what about the meal or snack you crave after sports or other active pursuits? I don’t hanker for a popsicle after skiing or a massive carbonara after a Yin yoga class. On a recent adventure tour with Tofino Resort + Marina, I was struck by how meticulously the fare complemented all the outdoor activities. My group and I paddle boarded, enjoyed hot springs, rode badass fat-tire bikes, learned to surf, and ate and drank well. All three nights, I collapsed into my cozy resort bed with a mountain of fantastically firm pillows.
Shortly after our arrival, we clambered
dug into the water. Sopping up the broth
onto a 23-foot Grady White, the highest
with even more of the Boule was unforget-
in safety-ranked boats, SUPs (stand up
table. We slurped back two-dozen Quadra
paddleboards) lashed to the sides. As we
Island Black Pearl Oysters—slippery, salty
roared off toward Fortune Channel, Liam,
perfection. The Chocolate Pot de Crème
our guide, also a photographer and free
with salted caramel and fruit Crumble with
diver, explained freedive foraging for sea
vanilla bean gelato was the meal version
urchin, scallops, lingcod and rockfish.
of spotting the solitary bear—a showstop-
Tofino Resort + Marina and the freediving
per. I also delighted in hands-down the
instructors at Bottom Dwellers team up to
best Moscow Mule I’ve ever had. This was
offer courses, including one that has you
precisely what I wanted after working hard
harvesting your own dinner, which is then
“at sea,” and I’ve only mentioned half the
prepared by the resort’s chefs.
dishes we enjoyed.
But we were after a different kind of
On the second day, I enjoyed the West
nourishment. Past the solitary black bear
Coast Seafood Eggs Benedict at Tofino
sighting, Liam dropped anchor, and we got
Resort + Marina’s 1909. Two local soft
on the Cascadia SUPs. For the next couple
poached eggs, a deep orange, sat on a
of hours, I cruised around, tried my hand at
toasted Summit Bread Co. English muffin,
a little SUP yoga, paddled fast on my knees,
the cold-smoked wild salmon delicately
then hard standing up to fight the currents.
creamy. The hand-peeled local shrimp
Just us, an eagle and Clayoquot—serene
were fresh and juicy, the hollandaise had
just the right spike of lemon, and the hash
We returned to the marina, famished, spent, elated, and thirsty. Shelter and the cuisine of Chef Matty Kane was our next stop. In their very dim chalet-vibe loft, the six of us tucked into a feast that matched the beauty and epic adventure of the day.
browns were perfect. The only thing as good as this breakfast was the view of the dawn streaming through the porthole of this subtle, nautically inspired restaurant. Hearty, energizing, local—ideal before a boat trip and a walk to Hot Springs Cove.
Among the many dishes, highlights include
Jeff welcomed us aboard the Stabicraft
the killer Fresh Baked Bread Boule with
enclosed tour boat. A longtime local, he
salted butter, warm, chewy, warm after a
regaled us with far-flung tales of swim-
cold day on the water. The Cortes Island
ming wolves and wave-surfing seals
Mussels with Thai coconut curry and
lobbing themselves unaware directly
cilantro and another order with double-
into the mouths of orcas. We paused at
smoked bacon, white wine, roasted garlic,
the back-floating otters and twisting,
caramelized onions and thyme were
lumbering grey and blue whales. After a
incredible. There’s nothing quite like dig-
40-minute walk to the cove, we made our
ging into a pot of mussels like our paddles
slippery way to lie beneath a hot-but-not
40 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
scalding, sulphur-laced waterfall. Then we relaxed in the pools as the waves smashed the rocks. Our smiles rose. Our muscles softened. We returned to the boat at a much slower pace, breathing in the vibrant bouquet of the old-growth forest. Hot springs are known for their healing benefits, but they make you parched. Heading to 1909 for dinner, I was desiccated. I needed nourishment, something light and thirst-quenching. Multi-award winning chef Paul Moran, a fifth-generation forager, walked us through the meal. It was a pleasure to be joined by former hockey pro and Tofino Resort + Marina co-owner Willie Mitchell. There were a few dishes that fulfilled my body and taste buds’ cravings, namely the Outlandish Oysters, served on the half shell with Japanese mignonette, citrus and fresh wasabi which satisfied my initial need for cold, thirst-quenching protein. The locally caught albacore tuna tacos with white radish, shiso, white soy, lime, crispy bits, and nori aioli were exactly the right size to nourish and sate my state of desiccation and yearning for something tasty. But the Not Your Grandma’s Cabbage Roll with side-stripe shrimp, Pacific scallop and lingcod, golden tobiko, steamed in napa cabbage, charred alder dashi, ginger, radish, sesame was the one for me. The cabbage was steamed and light. The fresh shrimp, scallop and lingcod were exquisite and delicate but crafted beautifully for a both hearty yet light, delicious dish. The next morning, we picked up fat-tire bikes from the Adventure Centre and rode to the Wickanninish Inn on Chesterman Beach. These bikes are meant for off-road riding because they handle soft terrain like sand and gravel well. It was a gloriously sunny September morning. Our meal and sports pairing this time happened in the middle of our biking experience. The Pointe Restaurant is best travelled to by fat-tire bike—you work up an appetite cycling, get to feel a little faux-local, plus you can watch the beach you are going to explore while you eat. I opted for the West Coast Clam Chowder and the Tofino Fish and Chips with
Wes t Coas t Clam Chowder at The Pointe Res taurant, Wickaninnish Inn
a New Growth Pale Ale. The chowder had hand-peeled shrimp, halibut, celery root, and bacon, drizzled with a housemade shellfish oil. Rich and luscious, time stopped while I ate and shared that soup. The Tofino Beer-Battered Lingcod, coleslaw, and housemade tartar sauce were definitely what one should pair with biking the beach. Simple, tasty, local, with batter and fries to fuel the legs and the soul—perfect. After we barrelled, slow-pedalled, and delighted in the beach, we embarked on a quick tasting tour of Tofino Brewing Co., Tofino Craft Distillery (a big shout out for the Jellyfish Absinthe), Picnic Charcuterie (Cacciatorini delish), and Tofino Chocolate
Not Your Grandma’s Cabbage Roll from 1909 Res taurant, Tof ino Resor t + Marina
Chocolate Pot de Crème with salted caramel at Shelter Res taurant
merriment in every morsel For groups large and small, enjoy sparkling harbour views while you dine on our festive menu featuring the ocean’s bounty.
Reserve at bluecrab.ca or by calling 250.480.1999
Established 1992 in Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter
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Exotic Cheese and Chutneys Truffles, Olives and Pates Gourmet Oils and Vinegars British, European and South African Imported Foods In Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter
250-754-0100 426 Fitzwilliam Street the bigcheese@ mcleansfoods.com www.mcleansfoods.com
Breakfast - Lunch - Afternoon High Tea - Desserts - Happy Hour
at Adrienne's Restaurant & Tea Garden at Mattick's Farm, Cordova Bay, 250-658-1535
FIRST CLASS MEAT 1983 LTD.
Happy holidays from our family to yours! 250.592.0823 ∙ 2577 Cadboro Bay Road 42 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
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(dark-chocolate-covered salted caramel heaven). Again, travelling by bike, it’s simple to pop into all these places and have room for just a little more. Before dinner at the resort’s waterfront pub, The Hatch, we stopped by Wolf in the Fog for their signature Cedar Sour and famous potato-crusted oyster (the only item that has never left the menu in the restaurant’s five-year history for fear of revolution). In the pre-dinner limbo, this brief respite to connect and settle in was perfect. Not a sport pairing, but it was grand. It was our last night. We dug into a mess of wood-fired pizzas. Communal, warm, savoury, it was the perfect pairing to tie up our few days of sports. My favourite was Paul Moran’s riff on a Hawaiian pizza, but we also devoured a Burrata Margherita, a Funghi, and a Salsicca Zuccha pie. In the morning, I enjoyed yet another West Coast Seafood Eggs Benedict and coffee—THE way to start another great day. We were taking a surfing lesson with Pacific Surf Co. The TikiBus picked us up, and we headed for Cox Bay. The beach was desolate, waves crashing, sun blaring. I tried again and again and again until I managed two brief stand-then-bails. So focused was I on the waves, the board and the adrenaline that I was surprised when I slumped into the TikiBus afterwards to notice I was brain-dead, sore, and hungry. We were on a tight timeline to pack and head home, so I ducked into Shed for a burger and a beer. It was the right choice, another gorgeous pairing: surfing, a burger, and beer. I headed back to Victoria. Body tired and sated, muscles pleased with the exertion, taste buds and belly full, I was struck by how much the right meal, bite, or beverage completed and enhanced outdoor activities, or maybe it was the other way around. Either way, I was impressed and decided that, at the least, I would be buying myself new pillows the following day.
TIRED OF SHOPPING? OUR GIFT CARDS MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY! 919 DOUGLAS STREET - VICTORIA’S ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE
Maple Dijon Roasted
Carrots A spicy-sweet take on the classic winter root. R ECIPE + S T Y L ING + PHO T OGR A PH Y
44 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
Maple syrup and Dijon mustard. The collaboration of Canadian and French specialities brings us tangy, mildly sweet, and earthy roasted carrots. This dish is versatile; it complements any casual winter fare but can also be a dressy side dish for your holiday table. The fresher the carrot, the better, of course, and while I do recommend giving them a good scrub and not necessarily a peel, if your carrots have a particularly thick skin, go ahead and strip it off. Also, if your carrots are quite thick, cutting them in half will help reduce the roasting time.
Quatre épices (Four-Spice Blend)
Not too long ago, I learned about quatre épices, otherwise known as French four-spice blend. (Truth: I am working on a new cookbook that will come out this time next year; I learned about this blend while doing research for it.) This subtle but effective combination of spices is nice to have in the pantry, a great addition to creamy sauces and soups, and will add a certain mysterious depth to poultry and meats.
Heat oven to 400°F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.
1 Tbsp ground white pepper 1½ tsp ground ginger 1½ tsp ground cloves 1½ tsp ground nutmeg
2 lbs carrots 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 3 Tbsp unsalted butter 3 Tbsp Grade A maple syrup 2 Tbsp grainy Dijon mustard 2 tsp four-spice blend 3 tsp fresh thyme leaves, divided Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Scrub, rinse, and dry carrots. Toss with the olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Lay the carrots out onto the sheet pan, taking care not to crowd them too much. (Use two sheet pans if necessary.) Roast for 30-40 minutes (depending on thickness), turning occasionally, until carrots are lightly browned on all sides and cooked through. In the meantime, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, maple syrup, Dijon, and four-spice blend. Whisk to blend and heat through, stirring almost constantly for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 tsp of the thyme. Place cooked carrots on a serving platter, pour maple Dijon sauce over top, and sprinkle with remaining thyme. Serve immediately.
WOR D S
Jennifer Danter PHO T OGR A PH Y
Michele Lafreniere’s Buttata Ceramics
IS YOUR DINNER BEGGING FOR SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL to lounge on? Maybe
in the changing colours of each season and the shapes and textures of the natural world. For
your kitchen table is aching for an artisanal friend, or perhaps you’re looking for a unique
one collection, she developed a luminous speckled glaze resembling salmon skin. “The West
gift this holiday season? If you answered yes to any of those, then you gotta get Buttata!
Coast affects what we eat; the food influences the glaze colours and pots I throw.”
Buttata is the Italian word for “throw,” which in pottery-speak means something akin to
Good food has always been part of Lafreniere’s DNA. She grew up in San Diego in a multi-
the process of shaping clay on the potter’s wheel. It’s also the name of Michele Lafreniere’s
generational family, surrounded by strong women. She has vivid memories of the smell of
bespoke ceramic art business where she sells her hand-thrown plates, cups, platters,
tomatoes ripening on the vine and pungent sweet basil growing in her Nonna’s backyard. “I
bowls, and everything tableware. Each piece is hand thrown and possesses a subtle nuance
could barely reach the table and was making bread, pasta, and Italian sweets on a huge old
resulting from wild chemical reactions in the fiery kiln, making it—like a snowflake—
wooden board at her kitchen table. Domestic creativity planted this notion that creativity
happens in the everyday.”
Her work comes from a love of food, cooking, and the raw beauty in nature. “My pottery is
Now a mother of three boys, Lafreniere finds her everyday activities still following that credo.
inspired by the food I like to eat on it. I think about how the food will complement the shape
She cooks up big family dinners for friends and siblings; her go-to is something her family calls
or colour of a plate, or how the plate’s shape and colour can bring out the vibrant green in aru-
“Sunday sauce,” a comforting sugo splashed over pasta, polenta, grilled meats, and especially
gula or a dewy sparkle in a piece of freshly caught salmon.” Her aesthetics are deeply rooted
kale. Dry beans are often soaking in one of her huge ceramic bowls on the counter, waiting for a
46 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
Michele’s Apple Rum Cake Cake
1½ cups whole spelt flour 1 cup almond flour 1 tsp cinnamon 3/4 tsp baking soda 3/4 tsp salt 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (optional) 3/4 cup oil, such as grapeseed or canola 1-1½ cups granulated or coconut sugar 2 large duck eggs (or use extra-large eggs) 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 3 cups diced peeled apples
¼ cup unsalted butter or vegan butter ½ cup brown sugar ½ cup granulated or coconut sugar Pinch salt ½ cup unsweetened cashew milk or heavy cream 1 tsp pure rum or vanilla extract
For the cake, preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x11" pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. In the bowl of a mixer, beat oil with sugar (use full amount if you like sweet) and eggs until light in colour, 2-3 min; beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture; stir just until combined. Gently fold in apples. Turn batter into the pan and smooth top. Bake for 40 min. Cool on a rack. For the sauce, in a saucepan set over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in sugars and salt until dissolved. Stir in milk; increase heat to high. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add rum. Slice cake into 2" squares. Pour warm sauce over top and serve with vanilla ice cream.
turn in the saucepot. An admitted baking addict, she’s no stranger to weekly batches of homebaked quickbreads, cakes, and cookies. Could hand-thrown cookie jars be far behind? While Buttata’s philosophy speaks to everyday beauty, Lafreniere’s pieces transform a good meal into a great one. Meals are so much more than mere ingredients: plates, bowls, forks, knives, even linens play a big part in creating a memorable feast. “Tableware doesn’t have to be fancy. I have memories of eating gado-gado (a spicy, giant, kitchen-sink-style salad) on a beach in Malaysia straight out of a banana leaf. The leaf wrap was part of the experience. The plate needs to fit the food and the context and the vibe of the place you are eating. It’s as much about the experience as the food itself. It is the intention and use of the dish that adds beauty to the meal.” Find Michele’s pottery at buttata.com or Smoking Lily (Victoria), and 3 singing birds (Whistler), and is in use at restaurants including Olo, Agrius, Hawksworth and 1909 Kitchen in Tofino. Her tableware is made with a food-safe glaze and is microwave and dishwasher safe. Do handwash the more delicate pieces though. You’d be so sad if you broke it!
The Duchesse ďż˝ Potatoes
Many members of nobility have distinguished themselves by the splendour of their tables, without necessarily leaving a name to a particular specialty. But court cuisine has left its mark on the culinary nomenclature, even though many people are unaware of the origins. Among the most famous are Duchesse potatoes. This classic of French cuisine is prepared from mashed potatoes with eggs and fashioned into various shapes, usually rosettes, using a pouch with a star tip. Simple and pretty as a garnish, Duchesse potatoes are very light and traditionally formed in the pastry bag directly on the baking sheet, then cooked under the grill for a few minutes to brown them. Here, Iâ€™ve prepared it as a casserole dish to share for a special occasion.
48 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
R ECIPE + S T Y L ING + PHO T OGR A PH Y
Swirled Thyme, Leek, and Cheese
Duchesse Potatoes Makes 10 to 12 servings
12 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (3½–4 pounds) 4 garlic cloves, peeled 4 leeks (white parts only), washed well, chopped very finely 1 cup butter, melted 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, minced 5 egg yolks 1¼ cups heavy cream ¾ cup sour cream 2 cups freshly grated extra old Cheddar cheese Himalayan pink salt and black ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°F with the rack in the middle. Butter a 10-cup oval dish or an 8-by-11-inch rectangular baking dish. In a large saucepan, cover potatoes and garlic with cold water. Season generously with salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 25 to 35 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and a knife can easily slide through them. While the potatoes are cooking, sauté the leeks in a frying pan with 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the thyme leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain, and allow to cool slightly. Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk together egg yolks, heavy cream, sour cream, and the rest of the butter (melted but not hot); season generously with salt and pepper.
Once the potatoes have cooled down, run them through a potato ricer or crush them with a potato masher, making sure there are no more chunks left. Gradually add the cream mixture, the leeks, and the grated cheese to the mashed potatoes, combining until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer half of the mashed potatoes to the baking dish to cover the bottom, smoothing the top. Spoon the rest of the mashed potatoes, 1 cup at the time, into a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip, then pipe the mashed potatoes into swirls. Repeat. Bake, until golden and slightly puffed, 30 to 40 minutes, rotating the dish once. Just before serving, sprinkle with remaining thyme leaves and black pepper. The dish can be assembled a day in advance, then covered and refrigerated. Increase cooking time by 5 to 10 minutes. 49
THE CAMOSUN CUISINE MACHINE
students how to operate a food truck business effectively, but to bring that knowledge to high school students, too.
The college’s own food truck is a training ground for culinary students, both at Camosun and local high schools.
“By working together in the Cuisine Machine, our first-year Camosun culinary students learn about the fundamentals of a mobile kitchen, about cooking international cuisine, and a bit about business and social media,” says chef Heidi.
THERE ARE A LOT OF FOOD TRUCKS out and about these days, but there’s a good chance you haven’t heard about this one.
The food truck travels to both the Interurban and Lansdowne campuses as well as to various high schools in the area, where the crew will invite the culinary students to join them in the role of prep or service. In the process, structure, guidance, and real-life experience are provided to our city’s future chefs. “Our mandate is community outreach, with a specific emphasis on outreach to culinary and career services at the high school level,” chef Heidi continues. “Creating knowledge, raising the bar for the industry, and being inclusive is what we’re after.” While the truck does live mainly on campus, anyone is welcome to take part. Watch the Camosun Cuisine Machine social media every Monday morning for menus, locations, and hours (typically Tuesday to Thursday for lunch and sometimes Fridays for brunch). They specialize mainly in international street food at a decent, “student-friendly” price.
50 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
So far, the menu has included tacos, shawarma, falafels, Indian curry, burgers, ramen, poke bowls and wraps, and breakfast items such as huevos rancheros, breakfast poutine, and sometimes eggs benny. Watch this fall, for a gourmet grilled cheese and soup menu! Everything is made from scratch, and they always aim to offer vegetarian and gluten-free options. The truck is available to hire for private functions, too. Contact chef Heidi Fink at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. facebook: camosuncuisinemachine | instagram: camosun _cuisine _ machine
In 2018, Camosun College purchased a truck. And with help from several departments that make up the school’s course of studies, the truck was spiffed up by electrical, pipe-fitting and sheet metal students; painted brightly by the graphic design students; and outfitted with kitchen tools and tasty menus by the culinary students. By June 2018, under the tutelage of chef Heidi Fink, Camosun’s “food truck team lead,” they had served their first customer. The name? The Camosun Cuisine Machine. The goal? To teach not only college
EAT celebrates the food, drink, and culture of British Columbia.