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Qualicum Beach Scallops on Potato, Garlic and Kale Mash with BC Riesling Cream

“I seek out the local food, because without the experience of food I would not understand the place I’m in.”

YOUR DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO THE FOOD & DRINK OF BRITISH COLUMBIA


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Panko crusted Fanny Bay oysters, herb roasted fingerling potato, apple, fennel and celeriac slaw.

Chef Matt Rissling

IITA T A L IA I A N F IILL M S ER E R I ES ES

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FOCACCIA BLUES Cheer for the little guy in Focaccia Blues as it tells the story of a small bakery in Italy that tries to hold its own against fast food giant McDonalds.

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Gillie Easdon Tracey Kusiew Morris, Tim Ring, Jen Da becca Wellm

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eat magazine Jan | Feb 2010 from the editor

CONSULTING PANEL

Behind the Awards I believe Vancouver Island is an exceptional place to live and eat. Not only do we have an abundance of wonderful eateries, farms, shops and people who are doing wonderful things, but we have an informed and eager audience of eaters ready to support their efforts. Thus, the Exceptional Eats! awards were conceived to recognize excellence in food and drink on Vancouver Island. Consider it a snapshot of where we are at the start of second decade in 2010. But I also wanted the awards to be more meaningful than your typical awards (i.e. best Restaurant to Break-up in?). So, you’ll find questions that reflect on how we eat, about sustainable and ethical foods and even questions on local farms. To come up with the best and most relevant questions, we consulted a panel of Island food experts who contributed their ideas and thoughts (see Consulting Panel for a list of names). Thanks guys. I hope you will participate by going to www.eatmagazine.ca clicking on VOTE and taking the survey. The awards will appear in the next issue. New: EAT now has home delivery to Globe & Mail subscribers on the Island. All the best in 2010 - Gary Hynes

Concierge Desk . . . . . . 6 Island Grain series . . . 8 Epicure at Large . . . . . . 9 Good for You . . . . . . . . 10 Chefs Talk . . . . . . . . . . .11 Local Hero . . . . . . . . . . 12 Cooking Class . . . . . . .13 Victoria Reporter . . . . 14 Artisans . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Food Matters . . . . . . . .18

Eric Akis Author of Everyone Can Cook series & food stylist Gillie Easdon food writer and eater Karen Elgersma Lifestyle Specialist, Shaw TV Kathy Kay Director of the Victoria Film Festival Michelle LeSage Assistant General Manager, Chateau Victoria Elizabeth Levinson Author of An Edible Journey David Mincey Educator and founder of the Bastion Square Farmer’s Market Don Monsour Chair of the Restaurant Association and Chair of Culinary Tourism Gilbert Noussitou Chair, Culinary Arts Ken Nakano Chef & President of the Island’s Chef Collaborative Mark Wachtin Outlets Manager, Ocean Pointe Resort Melody Wey Food blogger Audrey Needs More Wooden Spoons

Cover Recipe . . . . . . . .19 Local Kitchen . . . . . . . 20 Vancouver Feature . . . 24 The BC Food Scene . . 26 Seasonal Foods . . . . .32 Liquid Assets . . . . . . . 33 Island Wine . . . . . . . . .34 Wine & Terroir . . . . . . .36 Neighbourhoods . . . .38

Editor in Chief Gary Hynes Contributing Editor Carolyn Bateman, Vancouver Contributing Editor Julie Pegg Editorial Assistant/Web Editor Rebecca Baugniet

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Since 1998 | EAT Magazine is published six times each year. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Although every effort is taken to ensure accuracy, Pacific Island Gourmet Publishing cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions that may occur. All opinions expressed in the articles are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the publisher. Pacific Island Gourmet reserves the right to refuse any advertisement. All rights reserved.

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Culinary intelligence for the 2 months ahead

THE CONCIERGE DESK

by Rebecca Baugniet

For more events visit THE BULLETIN BOARD at www.eatmagazine.ca

January

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MANGIA E BEVI'S ANNUAL BACIO FUNDRAISER BACIO is Mangia e Bevi's annual fundraiser in support of cancer awareness and research. Throughout the month of January, proceeds from the menu are donated to BC Children's Hospital Oncological Research and Lions Gate Hospital Oncological Clinic. In addition to the regional three-course dinner menu featured throughout the month, this year's BACIO event will end with a special finale dinner on January 31st. The menu will travel through the four cardinal points as follows: January 2-8: NORTH Piemonte and Veneto, January 9-15: WEST Toscana and Lazio, January 16-22: EAST Abruzzo and Marche, January 23-30: SOUTH Campania and Sicilia. CHEESE PAIRING WORKSHOP AT AU PETIT CHAVIGNOL In a single session, Au Petit Chavignol will provide a roadmap for matching various cheese types with the wines that best suit them. On Monday, January 4th, from 6 pm to 8:30 pm, they will introduce cheese basics, including milk types, textures, flavours, how to care for and serve fine cheeses. Then learn about how to approach the wines that you choose to pair with cheese. Sample some of the marriages made in heaven and discover pairings that suit your own personal taste. Cost: $70 per person. Tickets available in store or by phone at Les Amis du Fromage, 2nd Ave store only. (604-732-4218) THE POLITICS OF FOOD Instructor Spring Gillard will lead a four-week course beginning on Saturday January 9th, at the Broadway Campus of the Vancouver Community College. Find out how the food on your plate can affect a farmer half a world away. Through field trips, guest speakers, classroom presentations and discussions, students will explore the entire food system from tabletop to ground and back again. Cost is $399 (16 hours). Visit the VCC website (www.vcc.ca) under Health/Specialty – part-time courses for more information. JANUARY CLASSES AT THRIFTY TUSCANY VILLAGE The Thrifty Tuscany Village is offering three great classes this month. On Tuesday, January 12th, from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm, join Chef Dan Hayes for a look at both northern and southern styles of rustic Italian cooking. Learn about, prepare and eat simple and hearty Italian dishes that can be easily and affordably recreated at home. Thursday, January 14th, the first in a series of four classes with Chef Tara Black runs from 6 pm -7:30 pm, and will explore gluten free baking and cooking. On Saturday January 16th, from 1pm- 3pm Chef Laura Moore will instruct on how to create simple, warming "comfort food" dishes that will satisfy your New Year’s resolutions and your post holiday budgets. Registration Fee for each class: $55. For more information, visit the Thrifty Foods website (www.thriftyfoods.com) or call Eva at (250) 483-1222 or 1-866-7511222.

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EAT MAGAZINE JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

VANCOUVER FARMERS MARKET Missing the farmers’ market? You don’t have to - the Vancouver Farmers Market will be held at Wise Hall from 10 am – 2 pm on the following Saturdays in January and February: January 16th and 30th, February 13th and 27th. 1882 Adanac Street. TASTE BC 2010 Taste B.C. 2010 – A Celebration of Local Food and Drink! is the 16th Annual B.C. Children’s Hospital – Oak Tree Clinic Fundraising event. The Liberty Merchant Company's Taste BC Event will be held on January 19th, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, from 4:30-7:30 pm. For more information or to buy tickets visit www.libertywinemerchants.com. WINTER ICEWINE FESTIVAL From wine masters’ dinners, to educational seminars and a unique progressive tasting, January 20-23 will be a memorable weekend as the Okanagan celebrates its winter wines. Visit www.thewinefestivals.com. FROM FARM TO CUP – AN ISLAND BREWMASTER’S DINNER Saturday, January 23rd at 6.30 pm, enjoy a sixcourse dinner prepared by LURE chef Mike Weaver featuring local, seasonal ingredients such as Qualicum Bay scallops, Fanny Bay oysters, Galloping Goose sausage and Salt Spring Island cheese. Each course will be paired with a different Salt Spring Ale, including some rare and unusual offerings: their Heather Ale, made with local heather flowers and Whale Tail Ale (a North American style ale), among others. Salt Spring’s brewmaster, Murray Hunter, will be in attendance. For reservations, call LURE (250360-5873) or for more information visit lurevictoria.com or saltspringislandales.com. WINTER GARDENING WORKSHOP SERIES IN DUNCAN FULL CIRCLE: How to Grow Winter-harvest Vegetables is a four-part course starting on Saturday, January 30th, 1:00-4:00pm. The course, developed by Carol McIntyre, offers novice and experienced gardeners hands-on methods for growing vegetables that will stand in the garden all winter, providing nutritious organic choices from October to April-May with no weeding, no watering, and no insect control all winter long. 181 Station Street (Cowichan Green Community space). For more information and for payment, register on-line at: www.winter-harvestvegetables.ca or email carol@winter-harvestvegetables.ca

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February CHOCOLATE FEST 2010 This year’s Big Brothers Big Sisters Chocolate Fest will be held at Bear Mountain Resort March 27th. Tickets go on sale February. www.chocolatefest.ca BIGLEAF MAPLE SYRUP FESTIVAL The third annual Bigleaf Maple Syrup Festival will take place at the BC Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan Saturday, February 6th. Last year, the festival attracted over 2,000 people, and featured West Coast maple syrup tasting, education session on tapping trees and mak-

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ing syrup, and other family-friendly displays and attractions. This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s event will also feature a maple cooking demo with Bill Jones. The festival is a partnership between the BC Forest Discovery Centre and Vancouver Island "Sap Suckers." For schedule details, visit the BC Forest Discovery Centre website (www.discoveryforest.com).

local restaurants will be participating this year. Participating restaurants offer three-course menus for $20, $30, or $40 CDN per person and are all paired with BC VQA wine suggestions. To make a good thing even better, some of Victoria's hotels and accommodations will be featuring rates of $79, $89, $99, and $129 CDN. www.tourismvictoria.com for more info.

SEEDY SATURDAY IN QUALICUM BEACH Stop by the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre on Saturday, February 6th for Seedy Saturday. Pick up some seed catalogues, get advice from master gardeners, see food and flowering plants and seeds that will grow in your area and to get ideas from experts in all aspects of gardening. The seed swap is where you can share your saved seeds with other local gardeners or buy seeds they have saved locally. Nurseries from the region are well represented with lots of specimens for you to choose from or just to admire. Admission by donation.

SEEDY SATURDAY VICTORIA Saturday Feb 20th from 10 am - 4 pm the James Bay Market Society is sponsoring Victoriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 17th annual Seedy Saturday. This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s event will be held on Level 2 of the Victoria Conference Centre, 720 Douglas St. Admission is 7$, children 12 and under are free. Keep an eye on the James Bay Market website for more details (www.jamesbaymarket.com).

4TH ANNUAL VICTORIA TEA FESTIVAL February 13th -14th indulge in a wide selection of teas originating from different regions of the world and prepared in unique ways. Experience, learn, sample, touch, smell, and inquire by engaging with all the knowledgeable exhibitors at their booths. Purchase your favourite teas and tea-wares at this one-stop shop for all things tea! www.victoriateafestival.com CHINESE NEW YEAR TEA SAMPLING On Sunday, February 14th, from 11 am to 5 pm, celebrate the Year of the Tiger with fortune cookies and a selection of rare and precious Chinese teas. Stop by Silk Road (www.silkroadtea.com) anytime throughout the day, to enjoy a sampling of some of Chinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very best teas, and take in the ambience of Chinese New Year. DINE AROUND AND STAY IN TOWN Tourism Victoria and British Columbia Restaurant and Food Services Associationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seventh annual Dine Around & Stay in Town will take place from February 18 to March 7. Victoria boasts the second highest number of restaurants per capita in North America. Over 50

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FEBRUARY CLASSES WITH CHEF SONJA LIMBERGER The Fairfield Community Centre is hosting three cooking classes with Chef Sonja Limberger this month. February 1st, is Cooking for Food Sensitivities, February 15th you can learn about Nepalese Vegetarian Cuisine, and February 24th is an opportunity to try making Gourmet Veggie Burgers. Classes run from 6:30-9:30 pm, and cost $49 per person. If you have a food or wine event you would like to see listed in the next issue of EAT, please email editor@eatmagazine.ca and put Concierge Desk in the subject line. This winter, Montreal plays host to 32 top chefs and 18 wine producers during the 11th annual MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Festivalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s SAQ Wine and Dine Experience presented by Air France. Held from Thursday, Feb 18 to Sunday, Feb 28, 2010, this food and wine event promises to be 11 days of pure epicurean delight. Featured: 21 chefs from Portugal, New Orleans as Featured City, the Eastern Townships as Quebec's Featured Region and more. For more info, call the HIGH LIGHTS Info Line â&#x20AC;&#x201D; 514 288-9955 or toll-free at 1 888 477-9955; or visit montrealhighlights.com for more details.

Doing your own thing. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the Clancyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s way.

Clancy of the Overflow is the legendary Aussie literary character, a free-spirited, wandering drover who led a life of adventure. Peter Lehmann has a lot of Clancy in him. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always done things his own way. His Clancyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s range is a nod to doing your own thing. Overflowing with flavour, these easy drinking wines are created especially for those with a bit of Clancy in them.

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www.eatmagazine.ca JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

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GOING WITH THE GRAIN

— by Holland Gidney

Part 2: The second in EAT’s three-part series on B.C.’s grain-aissance.

Some say winter’s no fun... that’s bull. EXPERIENCE THE NEXT GENERATION OF STEAKHOUSE

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Grains of Change “Communities have historically developed around agriculture, social connections, political alliances, and survival by being together.” – Sharon Rempel, Demeter’s Wheats

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rain can be extremely difficult to source locally. Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon’s bestselling book The 100 Mile Diet proved that. Before getting a bag of flour from North Saanich farmer Hamish Crawford, MacKinnon resorted to making a turnip sandwich, with fried slices of the root vegetable standing in for bread. In the West Kootenays, a similar commitment to local eating by Nelson’s Matt Lowe and Creston’s Brenda Bruns led to their co-founding a community-supported agriculture (CSA) project. “When the idea for the grain CSA was birthed, our dream was to see people in our region obtaining one of their food staples from within 100 miles. That in itself seemed like a monumental feat,” writes Lowe in the inaugural issue of the CSA’s newsletter, Grains of Change. Even though Creston Valley farmers once grew prize-winning grain, it took the creation of Canada’s first grain CSA to get modern-day growers producing wheat, spelt and oats for local consumption. The CSA’s first offering of 200 shares was quickly snapped up by 180 individuals and Nelson bakery Au Soleil Levant. It appeared area residents were just as interested as Lowe and Bruns in the idea of 100-mile bread. “Grain was the only staple of my diet that was not coming from the local area, and it’s easy now to sit down to a meal made of 100-percent local ingredients,” says Nelson resident Jon Steinman, who not only became a shareholder but also joined the Kootenay Grain CSA’s steering committee and started documenting the ongoing local grain revolution on his popular radio show, Deconstructing Dinner. The CSA’s first harvest in 2008 produced 16,200 pounds of unmilled grain in five varieties, grown by three Creston Valley farms. This year, some 60,000 pounds will be divvied up among three times as many shareholders who’ve each paid $125 for 100 pounds. “While it might seem convenient to purchase grains or bread products the conventional way at grocery stores and bakeries, having now come to understand the threats facing our food system, accessing my grains locally and ensuring farmers a fair price seemed far more convenient, secure and responsible,” says Steinman. For the second year in a row, CSA members have provided a trio of local farms with a certain amount of fixed income and a guaranteed market for their grain, employing an economic model that’s being used by about 3,000 farms across North America and subverting the idea of grain being bought and sold as a commodity. If you’re a regular listener to Deconstructing Dinner, you’ll hear how much work it’s been to set up the CSA and keep things running smoothly. But participating farmers say it’s a model that works for them, and CSA members are happy with the results as well. “I never knew pancakes, oatmeal and baked goods—like sourdough brownies—could taste so good,” says Steinman, noting that one of the “greatest benefits” is feeling good about the grain he’s consuming because it’s been grown locally. Something else he can feel good about is that Deconstructing Dinner helped inspire the creation of Canada’s second grain CSA. Vancouver-based Urban Grains is a self-proclaimed “pilot project” initiated by Martin Twigg and Ayla Harker. It sold 200 shares to CSA members and then coordinated the planting and harvesting of three acres of winter wheat, two acres of hard red spring wheat, and an acre of triticale. Jim Grieshaber-Otto grew the grain on his hundred-acre Cedar Isle Farm in Agassiz, and it was then turned into flour nearby at Anita’s Organic Grain and Flour Mill in Chilliwack. Each shareholder contributed $90 to the CSA: $80 for 20 kilograms of flour, plus $10 towards the collective purchase of a seed cleaner to process the harvested grain prior to milling. “I think it’s a great model for grain,” says Chris Hergesheimer (who’s taken over Urban Grains’ administration since Twigg and Harker moved to Halifax). “It pays a good price for a crop that is still a fair amount of work to grow…. I think it’s a great way to share the risk and get a great bounty in the late summer. The risk is crop failure, or not getting as much grain as expected. The first year of the Kootenay Grain CSA, each share ended up being 81 pounds instead of the hoped-for 100. But according to Hergesheimer, Urban Grains shareholders are “people who care about food in any capacity and are interested in being part of an experiment and are willing to take the risk as a community.” And, as he points out, “‘failure’ in CSA is really not failure since people came together and tried to make something beautiful and sustainable and real. We need a lot more of that with the challenges we are facing in the years to come.” As the third part in this series will explore, community also plays a very important role postharvest for non-farmers growing their own grain.

8

EAT MAGAZINE JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

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EPICURE AT LARGE

— by Jeremy Ferguson

Spiny and Briny Sea otters love it, and hip chefs are putting it in everything from grilled sandwiches to vichyssoise. Sea urchin wins no beauty contests. Its explosion of poisonous quills might scare off a porcupine. But sea otters adore it, which explains the goofy look they flash at eco-tourists in urchin-rich B.C. waters. Smart foodies also display an urgin’ for urchin. Urchin’s flavour is every bit as arguable as that of foie gras. Canadian author Taras Grescoe, encountering the urchin in Spain’s Basque country, describes “a winey, umami flavour” not one bit to his liking. Julia Moskin, writing in the New York Times and closer to the mark, describes “the flavour of caviar, the trembly texture of panna cotta and the briny but bracing strangeness that comes with eating live oysters.” Mostly, we know urchin “tongues”—gonads, in fact—as uni, a topping for sushi in Japanese restaurants. As sushi, it works well, its salty-sweet nuances not undermined by sushi’s icky, sticky vinegared rice. Most of the world’s sea urchin goes to Japan. Voracious sea otters, however, are taking a literal bite out of the market, and ecologically speaking, this is just as well because the urchins would otherwise devour our kelp forests. The Japanese never had a monopoly on uni’s alchemy. From the Mediterranean to the South Pacific, the urchin is routinely eaten raw by coastal folk, almost always with nothing more than a squirt of lemon. Newfoundland fishermen call them whore’s eggs. Vancouver Islanders should be used to the small, delicious red urchin native to shallow Pacific waters. It boasts fabulous longevity, living for up to 200 years. In fact, its marvellous immune system is under study in the battle against infectious diseases in humankind. The only threat to the species would, I think, be putting it under the protection of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Red urchins thrive on our north and west coasts, but some of the oldest and largest in the world, up to 19 centimetres (7.5 inches) in size, frequent the waters between us and the mainland, the Salish Sea. These show an enviable virility. They reproduce equally well from ages one to 100. One might see why certain cultures go crazy for urchin. To the Japanese, it’s an aphrodisiac, Viagra de la mer. Yet it hardly appears in Chinese cooking. Its flavourless first cousin, the sea cucumber or sea slug, is another matter. Healthwise, a single tablespoon of urchin delivers 20 per cent of our daily ration of vitamin B12. More interestingly, urchin is a major source of anandamide, a cannabinoid neurotransmitter. Uh-huh, it can theoretically produce a similar affect to a serious toke. It activates the dopamine system in the brain, the trigger for our pleasure circuits. Did I mention the goofiness of a sea otter’s smile? For a cannabinoid picnic, find a beach at low tide, where urchins can be seen clinging to the rocks. Use gloves to pull them away. Weirdly, urchin spines become soft, almost cuddly in the hand. Slice the urchin in half. Scoop out the golden gonads, five of them. No cleaning, no cooking required. Welcome to nature’s finest all-you-can-eat buffet. A New York Times article this past May postulated urchin as the Next Big Thing. In one Miami tapas bar, the chef wows patrons with pressed sea urchin sandwiches. She slathers Cuban bread with soy-ginger butter, stuffs it with sea urchins and presses it on a hot griddle until it’s crisp on the outside and melting inside. Gazing across the American foodscape, the author sees urchin melding impeccably in soups and sauces, mayos and custards, risottos and pastas. The predicted urchin stampede has much to do with innovative methods of harvesting, processing and distribution. The celestial gonads from “urchin fields” in B.C., California and Chile are extricated, cleaned, brined and exported in a jiffy. They’re seasonal, at their best September through April. They come packaged in plastic trays containing anywhere from one to three dozen pieces. Fresh urchin isn’t sold in Victoria, except occasionally at Fujiya, and restaurants (other than sushi houses) haven’t yet caught the wave. Not so in Vancouver, where at Bluewater Café and Raw Bar, Frank Pabst pops the urchin into cucumber vichyssoise. At Coast, chef Josh Wolfe sides his smoked salmon app with greens in a sea urchin-walnut oil vinaigrette, then gilds his gastro-lily with a garnish of gonads. Another Wolfe fave is sea urchin crème brûlée, but only when chef gets the urge. My wife and I stage monthly food raids to Vancouver. We beeline to T&T, that supermarket of Chinese adventurism, for fresh sea urchin. Trays with a dozen or so segments sell for about $13. My wife experiments—the woman is incapable of following a recipe—with American celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s recipe for sea urchin bruschetta. For no longer than it takes to grill rustic bread, she marinates the fresh urchin in olive oil, ponzu, onion, lemon and coriander. She slices the toast into fingers and sets the buttery urchin atop. She serves the dish with lemon and coarse grey sea salt. One bite and we’re through the gates of paradise, cannabinoid neurotransmitters a-fluttering.

www.eatmagazine.ca JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

9


L3 a iola

Ristorante

GOOD FOR YOU — by Pam Durkin 3189 Quadra St. Next to the Italian Bakery

Call for reservations: 388-4517 www.lapiola.ca info@lapiola.ca

The Best of Italy and Vancouver Island

Cucina Tradizionale Gastronomia Locale

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EAT MAGAZINE JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

New Kid on the Block Goat’s milk is healthy, delicious and easy to digest. Sorry, Bessie. “Mooove” over cow’s milk, there’s a new “kid” on the block—literally. One of the fastest-growing categories in the dairy industry is goat’s milk and all its derivatives: goat cheese, yogurt, butter and even ice cream. B.C.’s own burgeoning goat milk industry is a testament to the trend, which is being spurred on by health-conscious foodies looking for products that deliver both outstanding nutrition and taste. Goat’s milk certainly delivers on the nutrition front. Gandhi was reputedly able to rapidly return to vitality after his prolonged fasts due to his reliance on the beverage. What’s behind its health benefits? Goat’s milk contains impressive amounts of protein, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, riboflavin, copper, magnesium, iron and the amino acid tryptophan. While this nutritional profile is similar to that of cow’s milk, goat’s milk possesses some unique properties that give it the nutritional edge. Unlike cow’s milk, there is no need to homogenize goat’s milk—its fat globules are much smaller and will remain suspended in solution. Additionally, the chemical structure of goat’s milk is very similar to human milk and it is teaming with health-giving enzymes. These factors make goat’s milk much easier to digest than cow’s milk, especially in the case of compromised intestinal function. Many people who cannot tolerate cow’s milk consume goat’s milk without any problem. Recent research into the composition of goat’s milk has uncovered even more impressive reasons to partake. Scientists have discovered it contains an abundance of anti-inflammatory compounds called oligosaccharides. They have also noted the milk is rich in CLA, a fatty acid that can reduce blood sugar and improve the action of insulin. Perhaps the most significant finding comes from a team of researchers at the University of Granada in Spain. They discovered goat’s milk could help prevent diseases such as anemia and bone demineralization, due to its positive effect on mineral metabolism. But what about its reputation for having a musky, “barnyard” taste? Good quality goat’s milk actually has a slightly sweet, slightly salty taste that is quite delicious. Goat’s Pride Dairy in Abbotsford produces a refreshing, organic goat’s milk that will dispel the barnyard myth on first sip. I like to add it to squash- and tomato-based soups for a creamier, more full-bodied taste—but I also enjoy drinking it cold accompanied by a fig newton or two.

CHEF We as cheap Comox

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Of course you can also enjoy the taste and nutrition of goat’s milk in its various other forms. Canadian cheese makers are now making goat’s milk versions of many familiar varieties such as cheddar, mozzarella, gouda, brie, camembert and cream cheese (aka chèvre). According to Ofri Barmor of Okanagan-based Carmelis Goat Cheese, most Canadians prefer “a mild, creamy goat cheese such as chèvre.” As for goat cheese’s delectable factor, consider this—a Canadian goat cheese from Quebec was recently named the “best cheese in the world” at the 2009 World Cheese Awards. Depending on the variety you choose, there are many delicious ways to use goat cheese in your recipes. I’m fond of goat mozzarella in grilled cheese sandwiches (using raisin bread makes this treat even more divine) or crumbling chèvre into salads or on top of pea soup. Goat yogurt is yet another goat milk product gaining popularity. I love its slightly tangy flavour and find it pairs beautifully with honey and dried fruits. It also makes a wonderful base for savoury dips—all you need do is add a piquant herb or two. I’ve yet to try goat’s milk butter, ice cream or gelato—but that is definitely something on my culinary “to do” list. Thankfully, many of B.C.’s small boutique dairies (a list follows) are making such choices a reality. Hilary’s Cheese Company (Cowichan Bay) Salt Spring Island Cheese Company Happy Days Goat Dairy (Salmon Arm) Carmelis Goat Cheese (Kelowna) Farm House Natural Cheese (Agassiz) Goat’s Pride Dairy (Abbotsford) Woolwich Dairy (Orangeville, Ontario) Le Cendrillon, La Maison Alexis de Portneuf (St-Raymond-de-Portneuf, Quebec)

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CHEF’S TALK — by Ceara Lornie We ask the chefs: “Where do you go for cheap eats” Comox Aaron Rail Avenue Bistro 250.890.9200 For cheap eats in the Comox Valley, I go to the Saigon Noodle House on Cliffe Ave. The fragrant herbs and chilies are invigorating and refreshing and the soup warms your bones on a cool day. Jon Frazier Atlas Cafe 250.338.9838 I am in agreement with Aaron from Avenue Bistro; Saigon Noodle House is the best kept secret in the Comox Valley. Try the 14C! Noodles, pork, fresh vegetables. Yum! Lisa Metz Tita's Mexican 250.334.8033 Like most everyone else in Courtenay we go to the Saigon Noodle House. Fast, cheap, fresh, healthy real food, and an ethnic experience with exotic flavours. Courtenay just doesn't have much that fits the bill. I always order the dishes that have plenty of fresh raw vegetables, bean sprouts and branches laden with asian basil leaves. Real food on the go! Victoria Matt Rissling the Marina Restaurant 250.598.8555 My favourite place for cheap eats is the Marble Arch Restaurant at 3400 Tillicum Rd. This place is right next door to my house, and is pretty typical of any 'Chinese/Canadian' restaurant you might find in any small prairie town. They even have a proper lunch counter! The line is wide open, clean and organized. The food is simple but made fresh right in front of you. Nothing pre-cooked, pre-battered or frozen. Breakfast all day? No problem. Fries (fresh!) and gravy? Fried egg sandwich at 3:00 in the afternoon? Great! BBQ pork fried rice? Delicious! Truly a gem in the city, and full of regulars every day for lunch and dinner. Truly good value as well, with a meal for four around $30 with some left for lunch, and a $4 breakfast. Alberto Pozzolo La Piola 250.388.4517 My parent's house is my first choice. The price is cheap and the food is supreme. For me food quality cannot be cheap so La Piola and Zambri's top my list (pizza and pasta dishes) for value, as does a pork wonton noodle soup at Wa Lai Yuen in Chinatown. Lawrence Munn Cafe Brio 250.383.0009 For good and cheap fod there is no disputing that Hernandez is the king of the ring-- five organic pork tacos with handmade tortilla for five bucks? Try and beat that. You can't, so don't bother. Ben Peterson Heron Rock Bistro 250.383.1545 I've got two fave spots right now, both recently opened. Foo serves wicked Asian street food. Dish Diner and Cookehouse in Sidney across the street from Slegg Lumber serves homemade North American comfort food-- everything from fried chicken to 'in-house smoked' brisket sandwiches. Both offer affordable grub in a no-frills, relaxed atmosphere but what separates them from many similar places is how the passion and expertise of their chef-owners shines through in every scrumptious bite. Garret Schack Vista 18 250.382.9258 How could anyone deny the value at Pig BBQ Joint! Knowing what goes into each sandwich, the time in the smoker, simmering beans, sauces and marinating cabbage-- it's a steal at five bucks a sandwich! While you're in there get a glass of house-made iced tea for .75 cents leave a quarter on the counter and you still have only spent six bucks.

razor sharp honed cutting edge. simply an outstanding knife. perfectly balanced, effortless slicing.

crafted in Solingen, Germany since 1814.

Peter Zambri Zambri's 250.360.1171 Hernandez, Saigon Night, Haultain Fish and Chips, my own kitchen anytime I want. Joseph Lake (Sous Chef) 250.391.7160 Westin Bear Mountain My favorite place for cheap eats is Pho Vy on Fort Street. The apperance may be a little deceiving but the food and price more than makes up for the décor. A large bowl of pho, a side of salad rolls and a Vietnamese eced coffee can all be had for under $20.

Save 20% on Block Sets

*sale ends January 31st, 2010 exceptions may apply, see in-store.

James Wolfe Fernwood Inn 250.412.2001 Best place for cheap eats is the Vietnam Gardens in Esquimalt. Chef Ken--check him out! Cory Pelan La Piola 250.388.4517 I love Pig BBQ Joint for a pulled pork sandwich and a pickle on a stick. Jeff Hetherington is Victoria’s reigning king of the quick, cheap nosh. I’ll often ask one of my servers on his/her way into work to grab some sandwiches, pickles and fried chicken for the staff and myself. Brilliant for staff morale. Other notables include the Pink Bicycle (mutton burger and truffle fries) and the Indian Food Market at Quadra and McKenzie (Good Indian food, ridiculously cheap

www.muffetandlouisa.com 1437 Store Street 250 382-3201 2389 Beacon Ave 250 656-0011

www.eatmagazine.ca JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

11


LOCAL HERO

— by Rhona McAdam

Bob Duncan

—Rebecca Wellman

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EAT MAGAZINE JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

Most of us have never tasted an apricot. Really tasted one, ripe from the tree, with all the sweet, complex flavour it was intended to have. Bob Duncan wants to give us all the opportunity to know what an apricot—and any other tree fruit he can get to grow here—is supposed to taste like. And to have the widest possible choices in what he believes are just about the most beautiful gifts we have from nature. You do notice something a little different when you pull up to his North Saanich home. For one thing, there’s a greenhouse attached to the front of his house, which in these autumn days is a bit misty. In it you glimpse a flash of orange. Then when you go around back, past the fig trees and kiwis, you start to understand what he means by diversity: an astonishing mix of shapes, sizes and colours of trees greets you, even now when the leaves are off and most sensible plants have tucked themselves up for the winter. If it’s a cold day, you might notice a tree growing against the back fence, decorated with Christmas lights and what at first Bob Duncan with his fruit trees appear to be … lemons? Bob enjoys the shock local people get at seeing a lemon tree growing outside and is quick to point out the concessions he makes to climate: “Most citrus trees are hardy to about -6 Celsius, but the fruit freezes at -3, so I have Christmas lights on the tree with a thermostat that comes on at -2, and I’ll cover the tree with Reemay, which traps the heat given off by the Christmas lights. Pretty low-tech and low-energy solution to the freezing issue.” He got into fruit trees after he retired from a career as an entomologist with the Canadian Forest Service. “It was just a natural progression. I’ve always been interested in gardening and growing plants of all kinds, but I’ve always had a specific interest in fruit, and the challenge of being able to produce a wide diversity of different types.” Diversity is the operative word, as he offers more than 300 varieties of fruits: 200+ kinds of apples and some 30 different citrus plants. (His wife, Verna, reaps the ingredients for her jam-making business.) Several of the apple varieties are unique to Victoria, grown from local seedlings. He and Verna travel widely each winter, researching Mediterranean and subtropical fruits that can withstand the generally mild frosts we get on Vancouver Island. “In fact our biggest challenges are not so much winter cold as lack of summer heat,” he says. Once he has samples, he propagates them and makes sure he can get them to fruit before he sells them to anyone else. He has a dazzling variety of different fruits—figs, cherries, pomegranates, medlars, oranges, lemons and limes, quince and olives. Olives? “Olives are hardy to about -10 Celsius, which we seldom get here, though we did get that last winter. I have several olive trees, and there was no damage to them whatever.” The great thing is, if you grow your own fruit, you’re not dependent on those flavourless supermarket apricots. “They don’t ship particularly well, and the growers think they have to pick them too early, so the average consumer never gets to eat a fully tree-ripened apricot.” Local interest in food security has helped build his market, which is mostly homeowners wanting a few fruit trees for their own consumption. And as he stocks these modern orchards, Bob is fulfilling his aim of promoting fruit’s vast diversity and heritage: “It’s important we’re not growing just one kind of fruit, but rather many, many varieties.” Bob and Verna Duncan, Fruit Trees & More - Custom Propagation Nursery 250-656-4269, www.fruittreesandmore.com

COOK

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An Island Bison Dinner Class with Cosmo Meens at Terralicious It can be a challenge, when you are writing up a calendar of all the food and wine related events happening in Victoria, to curb the impulse to attend each and every one. Lack of time and money, and my expanding waistline (an occupational hazard, I suppose) are the main deterrents. But when I heard about the series of dinner classes offered at Terralicious this fall showcasing island ingredients, I knew I wanted to attend one. Island bison was the obvious choice for me, since it is a relatively new ingredient on my radar. Up until last year, I had rarely seen bison as a choice on a menu, and I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t remember ever seeing it at the butcherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s or in the grocery store. When I moved to Victoria, I noticed it popping up all over the place â&#x20AC;&#x201C; bison burgers in restaurants, bison jerky for snacks, ground bison at the grocery storeâ&#x20AC;Ś Ever so tentatively, I began introducing it into my familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s diet, excited to have a healthier option to offer the meat-loving contingent in my household. I was eager to attend a class that could teach me more about this island ingredient. Bison has a lot going for it; is a much leaner, nutrient-rich meat than beef, boasting 30% more protein and 25% less cholesterol than beef, as well as anti-carcinogenic properties. It has a slightly gamier taste, as one would expect from an essentially wild animal. Bison is grass fed, unlike most of the beef available to us, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s local. Terralicious is the gardening and cooking school operating out of the farmhouse on Haliburton Community Organic Farm. The kitchen is not a fancy one, but it is cleverly designed for small classes, with a camera located over the stove so students can observe stovetop techniques on a large screen near the seating area, and a mirror positioned over the prep counter, so everyone can easily see what is happening. The island bison class was the last in this particular series, and most of the students in attendance were regulars. One brought a long wooden votive holder, and lit candles. Wine was poured, and we took our seats to watch Cosmo prepare the bison. He used a rib cut, bought at Slaterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, originating from the Island Bison Ranch in Black Creek, here on Vancouver Island. Cosmo explained that he had intended do a roast for us, but after looking at the nicely marbled meat, decided to cut it into steaks. Let the meat tell you what you should do with it, was the message. He had covered the steaks in a fragrant rub with a hint of lavender, packed them up snug in a Tupperware, and left to absorb the rub for several hours prior to the class. Using bacon fat left over from the first class, he seared the steaks, poking at them with his finger to test doneness (â&#x20AC;&#x153;you have to trust my hands to feel good about eating here,â&#x20AC;? he told us unapologetically â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and indeed, everyone seemed very trusting). Cosmo worked quickly, although he managed to entertain and answer questions with ease along the way. He transferred the steaks to a hot oven after pulling out a large casserole filled to the brim with a mushroom, walnut and blueberry stuffing. The class took place on American Thanksgiving, and this was the chefâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nod to the occasion. Learning that our host, Dayle Cosway is American, we all wished her a Happy Thanksgiving, and watched as a substantial mounds of the stuff were piled on top of farmpicked greens. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think I was alone in contemplating how stuffing really deserves to shine in its own right like this, especially one as flavourful and satisfying as Cosmoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. Once we had devoured the stuffing salad starter, we returned to watch Cosmo finishing the demi-glace and red wine reduction were whisked up with cream to create a luxurious sauce for the bison. Any health benefits to eating bison over beef may have been counteracted by topping it with this velvety gravy, but no one complained. In fact, it was quite the opposite, with the regulars reminiscing and ranking their favourite classes in the series (the raw food one was close to the top, while the scallop evening was also remembered fondly). â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m just a glorified dishwasher.â&#x20AC;? Not the most convincing statement, having just prepared a gourmet meal before my eyes, but thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what Cosmo Meens answered when I asked him what his background was. I may be new in town, but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been here long enough to know that this is the chef who started Mo:LĂŠ, CafĂŠ Bliss and most recently, the Village Family Marketplace. When pressed, he did confess to putting in time in the line at Pagliacciâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, and being mentored by John Hall (Cassis). Cosmo has handed over the chefâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reins at Mo:LĂŠ, preferring to spend time with his family and tend the orchard on their new property, Footstep Hill Farm in Saanichton. You can visit Fresh Coast TV to see what else heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s up to. At $45 per class, this experience offered incredible value. I have previously attended dinner classes that cost twice as much, and the wine wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t included. Keep your fingers crossed they bring this series back - with chefâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tips, a stunning dinner served at a long table covered in crisp linens by the fireside, good conversation and local wine, these classes fall among Victoriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best kept secrets. www.terralicious.ca/ www.islandbison.com/i

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Weekend Pass: $20 advance â&#x20AC;˘ $25 5 door Satur day 12-5pm Saturday Sunday 10am-4pm for info and ticket outlets: www.victoriateafestival.com stival.com 250-370-4880

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1 0 0 % O R G A N I C | FA I R T R A D E | L O C A L LY OW N E D & O P E R AT E D

Anteadote â&#x20AC;&#x153;Come oh come, ye tea-thirsty restless onesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the kettle boils, bubbles and sings musically.â&#x20AC;? -Rabindranath Tagore Tea is the perfect antidote to chilly weather and winter colds and flu. Visit www.silkroadtea.com to find out more.

www.silkroadtea.com 1624 Government St. Victoria Chinatown

www.eatmagazine.ca JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

13


RESTA

EATING WELL FOR LESS

CONT”D FRO $3.24, why w pery slices o egg that wa grilled organ and served i and in fact ev goods have moist sour c is rich, soft, and I wish yo lattes made Saanich. An $2.38, and a The café is o

—by Elizabeth Smyth

Paprika Bistro | 2424 Estevan Ave | 250.592.7425

Shizen S

Rebecca Wellmam

Cowichan Bay duck and mushroom pie with baby kale, petite carrots and parsnips at Paprika Bistro

Broken Paddle Café | 4480C Happy Valley Road (near Metchosin Road) | 250.474.2999 Another surefire strategy to get budget food is to simply go to modest places. Broken Paddle Coffee House in Metchosin has a modest but good menu, at modest prices, in a small, informal space that’s warm and comforting. This is a community gathering place, where locals come in the morning to get their Broken Egger. And at

14

EAT MAGAZINE JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

Rebecca Wellmam

Table d’hote menus, many of them only offered during the winter by local restaurants to keep themselves running until the more lucrative summer season, are my favourite way to sample a higher-end restaurant. Using Smyth-math, the meals can work out to budget ones. Take Paprika Bistro’s table d’hote menu, for example. An appetizer, main, and dessert all come to $26 – let’s call it $12 for the entrée, and $7 each for the appetizer and dessert. For food this elegant, this is a “run, don’t walk” scenario. The first choice is between the soupe du jour, a roasted butternut squash soup garnished with toasted hazelnuts, and an equally delightful organic green salad with a delicate Concord grape vinaigrette. The mains are both masterpieces. The Cowichan Bay duck and mushroom pie I cracked open like an egg made of pastry, releasing the steaming stew made with local chanterelle mushrooms. This entrée was rounded out by a bed of baby kale scented with butter, and petite carrots and parsnips. The salmon entrée was equally consistent in quality. The risotto clearly had plenty of the most important ingredients – the time and patience to slowly stir and allow the rice to absorb the flavours, in this case of the white wine, stock, onions, and mushrooms, resulting in a redolent base for the juicy pink salmon fillet. The dessert of Warm Financier Cake was a rich almond cake inflected with lemon, served with spiced ice cream and caramel sauce. There’s a small catch to enjoying this kind of affordable elegance – this deal is offered only if you are in the restaurant between 5:00 and 6:00. You won’t exactly be suffering if you’re there after 6:00, as the menu has many other delicacies on offer (house-made sausage leaps to mind), but you must be there before 6:00 any day of the week to enjoy the table d’hote menu. The time may not be chic, but the bonus is the bread comes hot out of the oven.

250.381.8

At Shizen the menu, I ple like us fe the menu?). hokey, it is a golden on th tuna, high q masago. The high quality ish, this is ad ation for you is the Highla tions of flavo spicy mayon thinly sliced Tabasco and with its mea ophone Islan tuna on the ange masag enticing – a


RESTAURANT REPORTER: VICTORIA

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CONT”D FROM THE PREVIOUS PAGE $3.24, why wouldn’t they? The English muffin is top-notch, soft and springy, with peppery slices of local andouille sausage and sprinkles of green onion adding zest to the egg that was imported from, oh, up the road. Lunch for $6.95 is another draw. The grilled organic chicken with roasted vegetables sandwich is moistened with pesto and served in slices of whole wheat Panini flatbread. The vegetables in the sandwich, and in fact everything else, are from Bilston Creek Farm, again up the road. The baked goods have the best quality to price point ratio I’ve seen in a long time. The plump, moist sour cherry bran muffin is $1.71. I mean, come on. And the date square for $2.90 is rich, soft, fat, and buttery. At 12:30, I was lucky enough to get it hot out of the oven, and I wish you the same felicity. All this goes beautifully with americanos, mochas, and lattes made with Level Ground organic fairly traded coffee beans, roasted in West Saanich. And finally, I appreciate not being gouged on drinks. A San Pellegrino is $2.38, and a Dole juice is $1.25. Again, come on. It’s clear why the locals flock here. The café is open from 7:30 to 3:30 Monday to Friday, and 9:00 to 3:30 on Sundays.

Shizen Sushi | 1706 Government St, near Fisgard |

Rebecca Wellmam

e carrots

ad (near

dest places. u, at modest a community gger. And at

Rebecca Wellmam

local restauason, are my e meals can mple. An apand $7 each lk” scenario. sh soup garsalad with a he Cowichan eleasing the rounded out . The salmon the most imce to absorb ms, resulting nancier Cake e cream and gance – this You won’t exdelicacies on ore 6:00 any chic, but the

fresh flavours, casual comfort, genuine service

The sushi pizza and the highlander at Shizen Sushi

250.381.8228 At Shizen Sushi, you want to start with the secret stuff that’s off the menu (why off the menu, I don’t know. Counterintuitive marketing device? A strategy to make people like us feel in the know and therefore important? Or just not enough time to reprint the menu?). The first poorly kept secret is the sushi pizza for $8.95. Though it sounds hokey, it is absolutely delicious. A round of sushi rice is deep-fried until it’s crisp and golden on the outside, but still soft inside. It is then topped with a creamy mix of spicy tuna, high quality Japanese mayonnaise, and the teeny little flying fish roe called masago. The round is cut into eight adorable triangles centred around a mound of high quality shaved ginger – a far cry from the cheap orange stuff. With its spicy finish, this is adult food, but I did ask the obvious question, and yes they will do a variation for your child with plain instead of spicy tuna. The second not-so-secret secret is the Highlander Roll, one of the most unique, improbable, and successful combinations of flavours I’ve had in a roll. This roll is stuffed with avocado, prawn tempura, and spicy mayonnaise – nothing wild so far. It is then topped with beef tataki, which is thinly sliced, briefly seared meat, and drizzled with a teriyaki sauce jacked up with Tabasco and garlic. Finally, it is garnished with curls of green onion. This is a manly roll with its meat and its spice, and it’s a fair price at $10.95. Also $10.95, the near homophone Islander Roll is the same basic roll, but draped with salmon on one half, and tuna on the other half, then decorated with curlicues of seaweed and colourful orange masago. It is beautiful to behold. At Shizen, the space is calming and the food enticing – a perfect place to either eat quickly or to linger.

start a new tradition with us Prime Rib Sundays Your choice of soup or Caesar salad. Alberta AAA Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Fresh Vegetables. $29.95 - Every Sunday evening in Haro’s from 5pm.

For reservations: 250.655.9700 • www.sidneypier.com www.eatmagazine.ca JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

15


ARTISAN FOOD

—by Heidi Fink

Lard Times It has zero trans-fats, is lower in saturated fat than you think and a great source of oleic acid. Welcome to the new fat revolution.

Rebecca Wellmam

Left: A crock of lard. Right: Chef Heidi Fink with her apple pie.

Chef’s hef’s Choice The Sticky Wicket Featuring a three course menu every night $20

For your dining pleasure, we serve only &HUWL¿HG $QJXV %HHI Š

CLUBHOUSE

The Sticky Wicket & The he Clubhouse at The Strathcona cona Hotel 919 Douglas Street eet V Victoria ictoria BC 250.383.7137 7137 www.strathconahotel.com www ww.strathconahotel.com

16

EAT MAGAZINE JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

Last week, when I sent out an e-mail offering a great source for some organic, free-range pork fat that can easily be made into homemade lard, my inbox saw a good response. Surprised? I wasn’t. We are currently in the midst of a fat revolution. Since I started my own love affair with lard seven years ago, I have noticed a small but steadily increasing number of articles touting both the culinary and health (yes, health) benefits of lard. Finally, we’ve learned from the murky past of flavourless, hydrogenated vegetable oils and their attendant trans-fat-induced health problems. We have started to move on. Or back, I should say, back to that perfection among edible fats: lard. Here’s the thing: lard is better for you than shortening and better for cooking than vegetable oil. And unlike shortening or vegetable oil, lard is a whole food, a naturally saturated fat that is very stable at high temperatures and won’t turn into trans-fats as it heats. More than that, lard is lower in saturated fat than most other commonly used solid cooking oils. Lard comes in around 40 percent saturated fat. Compare that to butter’s 60 to 65 percent, hard margarine’s 45 percent, and palm oil’s 80 to 90 percent, and lard’s image is looking up. Even better, most of the remaining fat in lard’s make-up is oleic acid, the very same kind of monounsaturated fat that has made olive oil so famously good for you. So lard is essentially fifty percent olive oil. Who knew? Best of all, lard has a full, rich flavour that incomparably improves the taste and texture of any number of homemade foods. Use it in any recipe from pastry and biscuits, to quesadillas and Italian meatballs, and you will instantly have a food “ah-ha!” moment. I am, of course, talking about the real deal: homemade lard, not the possibly suspect and partially hydrogenated lard for sale at the local supermarket. Homemade lard, especially lard from naturally raised pigs, is good and good for you. It has all the health benefits listed above, plus zero trans-fats and the best flavour. Homemade lard has a taste, richness and superb mouthfeel you can’t buy off the shelf. However, I’ll admit that my love of lard has nothing to do with its heart-healthy oleic acid and everything to do with its wonderful cooking and baking properties. Specifically, I make my own lard so I can make the best pie crust. And I really mean the best. Most of us have heard of the legendary lard pie crusts our grandmothers used to make. There is nothing like the rich flavour and shatteringly flaky crust made from home-rendered lard. In the space of one day, from pre-lard to post-lard rendering, my pie crusts went from very good to nothing short of magnificent, perfectly tender and flaky with an amazing

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Rebecca Wellmam

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flavour brought by the mingling of sweet butter and savoury lard. And with homemade organic lard on hand, I can also make a host of other lard-enhanced treats, including beans and tortillas such as I haven’t eaten since my last trip to a tiny Mexican village. And I can feel good about feeding these yummy foods to my family. But “how do you render lard?” I have heard this many times over, with the word render spoken in a tone of perplexity and wonder. Making lard is not difficult. Rendering is the process of separating and clarifying the pure lard from the fatty connective tissue of pork fat. You’ve probably done it already without realizing it. Every time you cook bacon and pour off the fat, you’ve rendered some lard (although don’t try making a pie with it). To make a big batch of plain lard, you simply chop up some pork fat, place it in a pot with a cup or two of water and slowly heat it up. By the time the water has evaporated, enough of the lard has started to render out that the remaining solid fat can slowly poach and render at low heat without risk of burning. Let it bubble gently, unattended, until you have a big pot of melted fat with some light brown cracklings floating in it. Strain this into a shallow tray and let cool. Portion and store in the fridge or freezer. The hardest part about the actual rendering process is dealing with the smell of deep fried meat that permeates your house for a day. More difficult is tracking down sources of good-quality pork fat. Happily, I have relationships with at least two local pig farmers who are happy to sell their beautiful, organic, snow-white lard to an eager customer. Ten pound orders minimum, please. In the interest of the best possible bang (in terms of lard flavour, cooking qualities, and percent yield) for your time and effort, I recommend using the fat from the leaf and the back, appropriately named either leaf lard or back fat. These are the most neutral-flavoured and best quality fats to come from the pig. We all secretly dream of a time in the future when yummy “bad” foods become health foods, or at least “not-so-bad” foods. Well, here we are now, in that dreamed-of future. I urge everyone to get behind the lard revolution.

Basic Lard Pastry Makes enough dough for one double-crust pie, two single-crust pies or two galettes. 2 cups (12.5 oz) all-purpose flour, measured by the dip-and-sweep method* 1 Tbsp sugar 1 tsp salt ¾ cup (6 oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes ½ cup (4 oz) cold lard, cut into small cubes 6 to 8 Tbsp very cold water (OR a mixture of half vodka, half water) * Make sure flour isn’t compacted by stirring it a few times with your measuring cup. Then, dip it into the flour, overfilling the cup and use a knife to sweep excess off the top, creating a perfectly level cup of flour.

TABLE TAB L E TAL K, h hosted osted b byy Plenty ty & Terralicious TTeerraliicious Join us the first ffiirrsst Wednesday Wed dnesday of of each month (starting ((sstartingg FFe February ebruary ry 2010) 0) to sample gre great reat ffo food, ood, od share preparation and growin growing ng tips, tip ips, and discuss dis iscuss ffo food ood and sustainability. susstainability ty. F or m mo ore re inform at ion vvisit i si t:: ww w. t errral ralii cio uss.ca .ca www.te ci ou w ww. epiccu u re rean p an a tr y.ca www.epi anpantr organic · fairr trade · ethnic · artisan · local

Food processor method: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Process for a few seconds to combined evenly. Remove the lid, scatter the butter pieces over the flour, replace the lid, and process again, using 4 to 6 one-second pulses. Add the lard and pulse a few more times, until the fat is cut into the flour properly. The fat pieces should range in size between small peas and cornmeal, with more smaller pieces than large ones. But make sure to leave some large pieces and some dry flour; these two things help with the flakiness. Transfer the flour mixture to a bowl. Toss with fingers to ensure an even balance of fat to dry flour. Hand method: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the cold butter pieces and use your finger or a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour. Rub the butter pieces gently between your fingers, coating them in flour, until they are half the size. Add the lard pieces and continue cutting in until the fat is the right size, ranging in size from small peas to cornmeal. There should be more smaller pieces than big. To finish either method: Slowly sprinkle in the water, one tablespoon at a time, using a fork or rubber spatula to mix the dough. Stop after 6 tablespoons of water, no matter what the dough looks like. Turn the dough onto the counter. The dough will be very dry and crumbly at this point. Use your hands to gently gather the dough into a ball, using gentle pressure to make it hold together. If the dough is still too dry, sprinkle on a tablespoon more water and mix the dough with your hands again, until you can form it into a ball. In rare cases, you will need the final tablespoon of water. (If using the vodka-water mix, you can be more cavalier about adding liquid because the alcohol in the vodka won’t form any gluten). Divide the dough in two and form each into a disk. This dough can be used immediately or wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated or frozen for later use.

www.epicureanp pantry.ca 1034 Fort Street | 250·380·7654 250 0·380·7654 | www.epicureanpantry.ca

Serving You Is Our Pleasure.... All Year Through! Quality meats, Poultry, Cheeses, Specialty Products & Condiments

2577 Cadboro Bay Road,VICTORIA

592-0823

www.eatmagazine.ca JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

17


FOOD MATTERS — by Julie Pegg

COVE

The New Iron Age

Quali

Cast iron can tolerate hellish temperatures and lasts for generations. Julie Pegg explores why this original non-stick cookware is enjoying a renaissance.

ghynes

Poussin (Cornish Hen) pan roasted with apples, sage and thmye in a cast iron skillet

The Cast Iron Pan: A Brief History The popularization of cast-iron cookware in Britain dates back to 1709. Charcoal (carbonized wood) was fuelling the bourgeoning iron industry. Sadly, it was also denuding forests. A Quaker and fabricator of malt-kilns, Abraham Darby, extracted or “smelted” iron from iron ore using coke, a cleaner form of coal, in the town of Coalbrookdale, Shropshire. Darby adapted an existing charcoal furnace into a coke blast furnace. Until Darby came along, goods were individually cast, brittle, unwieldy and expensive to manufacture. The inventor also developed and patented the process of sand moulding, which allowed the mass production of iron pots that were thinner, yet solid and cheap. (Coalbrookedale is said to be the cornerstone of the Industrial Revolution. Darby’s grandson, A. Darby III, is credited with building the first cast-iron bridge. But that is a story for another publication.) I found little about cast iron’s rise in North America other than the fact that the colonials were mad about it. The cookware reached its heyday in the 1800s. Foundries such as Griswold, Wagner, Erie and Lodge sprang up. Lodge is the oldest (and perhaps only) family-owned manufacturer of raw cast-iron cookware in North America. (Their enamel-coated line, however, is imported from China.) My McClary Dutch oven, a proud Canadian, hails from the longgone London, Ontario, firm of J. & O. McClary, founded in 1851. So treasured were these iron pots that grandmothers included them in their wills. Evan Jones (American Food, Random House, 1974) writes, “Outdoor cooking was in the American blood.” So the pot as well as the pig went on the fire. (A cast iron pot can be covered with coals.) James Villas’s essay “Understanding Fried Chicken” (American Taste, Arbor House, 1982) lists a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with lid (and a fire extinguisher!) in his 12-item, no-substitutions litany of necessary equipment for the making of fried chicken.

18

EAT MAGAZINE JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

Michael Tourigny

M

y version of chili relies on a mélange of cubed (never ground) meat; roasted fresh plum tomatoes; soaked and pre-boiled Phipps Farm beans from California; New Mexican chipotle, anaheim and hot chili peppers pummelled into a paste; and a bottle of beer. It slow-simmers in a McLary No. 8 Drip Top cast iron lidded Dutch oven, which seals in and delivers flavours most pricey stainless pots can’t match. The meat nearly collapses into a thick “gravy” while beans remain firm-tender. I love my cast-iron pot almost as much for what it does as for the ingredients it holds. Cast iron is an alloy, one of the elements of which must be carbon to harden the mixture. Simply put, a “flask” is made of sand and placed in a frame around a mould or cast into which molten metal is poured. Unlike more malleable and pure wrought iron, which can be forged, cast iron must be made in a foundry. Before the advent of steel, cast iron was the core of the kitchen. My grandmother did the laundry in what she called a cast iron “copper.” She boiled water for tea in a cast iron kettle and relied on her cast iron cauldron to cook for a family of nine on a cast iron wood stove. My grandfather was a wrought iron worker and the village farrier (in Aldeburgh, England). The forge was adjacent to the house. To hurry the morning’s porridge along, the sons (there were five) would take turns scurrying the pot of water over to the forge to give it an extreme blast of fire. (An iron pot can withstand hell without cracking, providing it holds some liquid.) My vintage arsenal, hunted out at flea markets, garage sales and thrift shops, includes, besides the Dutch oven: a rare Wagner No. 8 skillet with lid that turns out beautiful braises and fabulous cornbread; an equally prized Wagner griddle that sizzles bacon to a perfect balance of fat and crisp; four mini-fry pans; and a Norwegian Jotul aebleskiver pan, which also delivers fluffy mini-Yorkshire puds, biscuits and moist muffins. (Aebleskiver are poufy pancakes, named for the apple that is placed in the bottom of each section before the dough is added.) I recommend you seek out one or two of these workhorses for their sturdy virtues. The covered skillet and Dutch oven brown and sear meat perfectly and seal in big tastes. Cheap cuts of meat and humble vegetables reach a depth of flavour unmatched by the best stainless. Few modern pots maintain such even heat. But cast-iron needs (and deserves) respect. Both new and vintage pots need a good greasy massage and a bit of heat treatment before you use them for the first time, and periodically after that (called seasoning). The Lodge brand gets kudos for its new bare cast iron cookware and comes pre-seasoned, but all castiron pots are bound to need a lube job at some point in their lives. Seasoning the pan imparts a non-stick surface and prevents oxidation. So fear not if grandma’s pan or that garage sale find is covered in rust. (Just ensure it has no cracks.) A scrub with a mild detergent, or coarse salt, and a stiff brush will remove all traces. Season your new or vintage find by rubbing it with a saturated fat. Lard is ideal. Don’t worry. It won’t leach into food. Place the pot upside down in a 250°F oven on a cookie sheet, to catch drips, for at least an hour. The grease seeps into the metal’s expanded pores, creating a non-stick surface. Certain foods may require a splodge of oil to prevent sticking (eggs come to mind). A few more tips: for heaven’s sake, use oven mitts to take the pan off a burner. Cast iron handles get hot. It’s also wise not to put cold water into a hot cast iron pan, lest it crack. There are two thoughts about washing pans. If used frequently, a rubdown with oil (and I also use some coarse salt) protects the pan and builds up its “non-stick” coating. If you choose to wash the pan each time, you will need to re-season, but not necessarily with lard. Unless the pot has rusted, always use a mild detergent. Two YouTube videos—How to Season and Protect Your Cast Iron and Cast Iron: The Seasoning—are excellent guides. For me, cast iron ware embodies hearth and home. Yes, I imagine kitchen walls of yore covered in grease, smoke billowing about the room and a struggling mother scrambling to fill the pot and rumbling tummies with humble potages. And the bloody hard work it must have been to wrestle those 10-to-fourteen pounders into and onto a wood stove. But there is the romantic notion too—folks gathered about a fire, slurping down beef and lamb stews, succotashes and pepper pots, gumbos and chowders cooked in a cauldron. Cast-iron cookware is the cooking icon. Take good care of your pot. It’s a bit of living history. It could last a hundred years. Bequeath it to your grandkids.

Qualicum Be In this recipe earthy mash

Preparation t

• 6 leaves of f • 3/4 cup chic • 1 1/2 lbs. BC • 4 large clove • 2 Tbsp melte • 2 Tbsp warm • Salt and wh • 2 Tbsp olive • 20 large Qua • 1/2 cup dry • 1 1/2 cups w • 2 Tbsp whol • 2 green onio

Cut the leave 1/4-inch strip cook until jus Place the p medium-high until they are Preheat the lic stays in the the melted bu per. Transfer Season the high heat. Ad Remove sk Set 4 shallo medium-high simmer and r tard, salt and Divide and Top each m serve.


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Qualicum Beach Scallops ÉÇ Potato

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Qualicum Beach Scallops on Potato, Garlic and Kale Mash with BC Riesling Cream In this recipe, succulent, quick-cooking Vancouver Island scallops are set upon on an earthy mash and drizzled with a decadent cream sauce. Preparation time:30 minutes, Cooking time: About 25 minutes, Makes: 4 servings • 6 leaves of fresh kale, washed well, tough lower stems trimmed • 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock • 1 1/2 lbs. BC yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled and quartered • 4 large cloves of garlic, thickly sliced • 2 Tbsp melted butter • 2 Tbsp warm milk or vegetable or chicken stock • Salt and white pepper to taste • 2 Tbsp olive oil • 20 large Qualicum Beach scallops, patted dry • 1/2 cup dry BC Riesling wine • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream • 2 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Cut the leaves of kale in half lengthwise. Now cut the half leaves of kale, widthwise, into 1/4-inch strips. Bring the 3/4-cup of stock to a simmer in a wide skillet. Add the kale and cook until just tender, about minutes 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Place the potatoes and garlic in a pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat until the potatoes gentle simmer. Simmer the potatoes until they are very tender, about 18 to 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200˚F. When the potatoes are cooked, drain well, ensuring the garlic stays in the pot. Thoroughly mash the potatoes and garlic until smooth as possible. Mix the melted butter, 2 Tbsp milk or stock, reserved kale and its cooking liquid, salt and pepper. Transfer the potato mixture to a heatproof bowl; cover and keep warm in the oven. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Place the oil in a large skillet set over mediumhigh heat. Add the scallops and cook 1 minute on each side, or until just cooked through. Remove skillet from the heat, transfer scallops to a plate, and keep warm in the oven. Set 4 shallow soup bowls or dinner plates in the oven to warm. Set the skillet back over medium-high heat. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half. Pour in the cream and simmer and reduce until a lightly thickened sauce forms. Stir in the green onions, mustard, salt and pepper and reserve on low heat. Divide and mound the potato mixture in the centre of the warmed bowls or plates. Top each mound of potatoes with 5 scallops. Drizzle with the Riesling cream sauce and serve.

Markus’ Wharfside Restaurant

Vancouver Island’s best kept secret (250) 642-3596 1831 Maple Ave. Sooke www.markuswharfsiderestaurant.com

www.eatmagazine.ca JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

19


local kitchen

cold comfort Recipes and food styling by JENNIFER DANTER Photography by GENEVIEVE LAPLANTE

I love this time of year –

West Coast Parsnip Chowder

the early dark nights, the chill in the air and those

That funky earthy flavour in a parsnip

Melt butter in a very large saucepan over

necessary extra layers

matches well with the smoky sweetness of

medium. Add thyme sprigs, onion and

to wrap up in. These are

candied or smoked salmon. Makes 8 cups

garlic. Stir often, until softened, 6 to 8 min. Add parsnips and stir to coat, then pour in

all happy assurances that it’s OK to hunker

1 large knob butter

broth and milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce

down and cocoon

3 fresh thyme sprigs

heat; cover and simmer until parsnips are

indoors. And really, that

2 garlic cloves, minced

means cooking up down-home hearty fare that’s not fussy – just satisfying.

very tender, 15 to 20 min. Discard thyme sprigs, then puree, soup. Strain through a

1 onion, chopped 4 large parsnips, peeled and chopped 1 L chicken or vegetable stock 2 cups whole milk or water

fine mesh (that will give the soup a velvety texture), then return to saucepan. Bring back to a boil, then add potato and flake in salmon. Simmer, stirring often, until

1 potato, peeled and diced

tender, 10 to 12 min. Taste and season

150-g-candied salmon pieces

with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls or mugs.

What to drink?

@

With the chicken pot pie:

A chardonnay, riesling, gewürztraminer or our favourite — a dry apple cider. Suggestion: Flagship from Sea Cider on the Saanich Penninsula. Soft tannins, lively acidity, dry and with no added sulphites.www.seacider.ca

Big ‘Ol Chicken Pot Pie Best flavours and textures

Classic Pound Cake Big flavours and very rich - add big dollops of a summer preserve and sour cream if you dare. Cont’d on the next page

20

EAT MAGAZINE JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010


West Coast Parsnip Chowder Earthy, sweet and satisfying

an over and o 8 min.

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the next page

www.eatmagazine.ca JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

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Big ‘Ol Chicken Pot Pie For best flavour and texture, roast the chicken on the bone, instead of simmering in stock. It’s a little more work, but well worth the effort. Source Cowichan Bay chicken, if you can. It’s so delicious. Makes 6 servings 2 to 3 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (singles) 3 large carrots, peeled and thickly sliced 1 turnip, peeled and chopped 1 large onion, chopped 1/2 rutabaga, peeled and chopped 2 cups chicken broth 1/4 cup butter 1/2 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour 21/2 cups whole milk or cream 1 small bunch kale, stemmed and chopped 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg Sea salt and pepper Pastry for 10-in deep-dish double piecrust Lightly oil breasts and sprinkle with pinches of salt and pepper. Roast in preheated 400F oven until cooked through, 35 to 40 min. Meanwhile, prepare vegetables. Bring stock to a boil, then working with one type of vegetable at a time (except for the kale), gently simmer until almost tender. You don’t want them crunchy but not soft either. Using a strainer spoon, scoop out veggies and spread out on a large baking sheet. They’ll continue to cook a little as they sit. Once the vegetables are cooked, measure the chicken broth. Top up with enough water or more chicken broth to make 2 cups. When chicken is cooked and cool enough to handle, discard skin and bones and tear or cut meat into small pieces. Melt butter in a large wide saucepan or Dutch oven. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in broth, whisking well between additions to prevent lumps. Then whisk in milk. Gently simmer until thickened, about 5 min. Stir in kale, thyme, nutmeg and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Gently stir in cooked vegetables. (If your pan isn’t big enough, turn into a very large bowl and mix.) Cool mixture before filling pie shell. If making ahead, refrigerate filling overnight.

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EAT MAGAZINE JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

On a lightly floured surface, roll out half the pastry and fit into a 10-in. deep-dish pie plate. Roll remaining pastry, then set aside. Fill pie plate with chicken mixture, then moisten rim of pastry shell with water. Fit remaining pastry over filling, pressing along rim. Trim edge and crimp. Brush pie with egg wash (1 egg yolk stirred with a little milk), if you wish. Make a few slashes in top so steam can escape. Place on a baking sheet and bake in bottom of preheated 400F oven for 20 min. Reduce heat to 375F and continue baking until pastry is golden and filling is bubbly, 30 to 40 min.

Classic Pound Cake Traditionally, mixing together a pound each of butter, eggs and flour made a pound cake. Today that’s pretty much the standard ratio, but using smaller amounts. Because the cake is so rich, you don’t need icing. However, at this time of year I do like to bring out my summer preserves and spoon a little over thick slices of cake. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 cup granulated sugar 1 tsp salt 4 large eggs, at room temperature 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional) 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking powder Your favourite jam or preserves Sour cream or thickened yogurt (optional) Butter a 9-inch loaf pan or line with parchment paper. Using a mixer, beat butter until loosened, then beat in sugar and salt until mixture is very pale and fluffy, at least 5 min. occasionally scrape down side of bowl. Gradually beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in vanilla and almond extracts. Stir in flour, by hand, just until moistened. Pour into pan and place on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated 325F oven until a skewer inserted in centre of loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let loaf rest in pan for 15 min., then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


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Mussel Mania

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FRESH BC Cortes Island Mussels Monday to Friday 4-7 pm

Pint of Granville Island Brew

604.669.9030 | Vancouverdine.com | Granville Island

www.eatmagazine.ca JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

23


GAME ON 11 medal worthy plates

With the world coming to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Games we challenged top Vancouver chefs to put their best toque forward and create dishes to wow our visitors Compiled by Gary Hynes • Photos by Tracey Kusiewicz

Seared Qualicum Bay scallops w/ quince purée, wheatberry, chorizo & sunroot sauté, braising greens & a browned butter quince vinaigrette “Scallops (representing sustainable aquaculture), quince ( lower mainlands orchard heritage), wheatberry (lower mainland's first grain c.s.a - Urban Grains), Farms sunroot Hazelmere (expressing the long standing relationships formed between chef and grower), and Oyama chorizo ( artisan food producers), Glorious Organics braising greens ( small scale local organic growers that are key to our restaurant and our local food system), browned butter quince vinaigrette (Farmhouse butter representing artisan cheese producers).”

1

Spot prawns & UBC winter squash purée w/ Pemberton parsnip chips & Venturi-Schulze balsamic gastrique

2

“In the spirit of cooperation I think that a spot prawn dish is the perfect example of how successful the Chefs’ Table Society has been in encouraging the consumption of high quality sustainable seafood. The use of local winter vegetables and the diversity of local products like balsamic and cider round out the philosophy of the Green Winter Games.”

Trio of Slop vegetable &

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Andrea Carlson, Bishop’s

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Cedar Creek Ehrenfelser

Miso-sake glazed wild BC salmon

3

Braised Sable Fish with Spot Prawns & Pine Mushrooms w/ Oregon Truffle Scented Dashi “Because Vancouver is such a melding pot of cultures I would create a miso-sake glazed wild BC salmon. In a rich buttery broth of coconut milk, garlic & ginger I would cook Qualicum Bay scallops, BC spot prawns & salt spring island mussels with hints of lemongrass. Served over roasted Okanagan grown baby fingerling potatoes.” William Tse, Goldfish

@

Joie Rosé

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Merridale Apple Cider

EAT MAGAZINE JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

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“Growing up in BC I have been surrounded by Japanese culture, this is where I love to tie in BC products. The base to this dish starts with a Oregon Truffle scented dashi; the Sablefish is slowly braised in this, highlighting the succulent moist and oiliness of the Sablefish, it is halfway through the cooking process that you add sliced pine mushrooms and spot prawn. As all these ingredients are slowly steeped together creating a amazing aroma, to me this aroma brings al the elements of BC, Japan and Oregon together. It reminds me of my home.” Don Letendre, Elixir

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Cedar Creek Plantation Chardonnay

“A tasting of farm's produ

Stephane Is DB Bistro M


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“Since Vancouver is a multicultural city, there is not really any culturally deep rooted cuisine in Vancouver or BC, except perhaps for the aboriginal cuisine, but we are not experts in such cuisine. So we would want to showcase what the city or province is all about through ingredients and especially wild ingredients. We would make a dish that tries to incorporate (as part of or along with) as many elements or ingredients from as many different sources including the sea, woods, fields, vineyards, and/or orchards.”

Trio of Slopping Hills suckling pig w/ glazed fingerling potatoes, roast root vegetable & pine mushroom, Vista D'oro walnut wine & quince pig jus

5

Dominique & Cindy Duby, Wild Sweets

7

8

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“If I were to showcase a dish for Vancouver in February, it would be our fabulous sablefish, oven-roasted with some of our amazing chantrelles, some fondant leeks and savoy cabbage. I don't believe many people outside of the west coast know about sablefish and what a lovely, fatty white fish it is.”

Braised Sloping Hills pork belly with king pea tips on jasmine rice “ This dish is from my childhood but not mine alone as it stems from the classic dish Su Dong Po. I use less soy sauce than traditionally and add herbs and red wine. There has been a Chinese presence in BC long before it was even a province. Vancouver's cooking has evolved to combine Asian influences/flavours into much of our cuisine - bringing a balance of east and west, traditional and modern. This dish epitomizes this for me - with deep Asian roots but made in a modern way with local ingredients from a quality local rancher.” Andrew Wong, Wild Rice

9

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Sablefish w/ chanterelles, leeks & savoy cabbage

Dana Reinhardt, SOL Kitchen Consulting

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Okanagan Icewine gelée w/ Fraser Valley hazelnut milk sabayon & pumpkin seeds croquant

A selection of local seafood “I would keep it very simple and showcase a selection of local seafood: boiled Dungeness Crab with warm butter and mayonnaise; steamed Honey Mussels, fresh Oysters on the half shell — Kusshi, Fanny Bay, and Royal Miyagi; BBQ cedarplank Salmon; Clam Vongole; Goeduck Ceviche.” Marc-Andre Choquette, Voya Restaurant and Lounge

10

“A tasting of somes of the best organic farm's product in Vancouver BC .” Stephane Istel, DB Bistro Moderne

@

Mission Hill Perpetua Chardonnay

Pacific salmon with locally farmed root vegetables “Given the time of year root vegetables from our farmers and Pacific salmon would headline. A puree of turnip, potato and roasted garlic, would be whipped and seasoned with sel gris (grey salt), a generous handful of crispy fried shallots and bold coarse pepper. On top would sit the glory of BC, our own Pacific salmon, simply grilled and finished with capers, lemon juice, dill and melted butter. Once again sel gris and cracked pepper to bring the salmon to it's perfect finish.” Caren McSherry, Gourmet warehouse

11

BC spot prawns w/ Chilliwack organic corn & Pemberton asparagus “I would show case BC’s great seafood and organic produce. My dish would be a simple grilled BC spot prawn, on a chowder of Chilliwack organic corn and Pemberton asparagus, with Fanny Bay oyster beignets.” Lee Humphries, Salty Tongue Cafe, Irish Heather Gastropub, Salt Tasting Room

www.eatmagazine.ca JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

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What’s happening in VANCOUVER ?

What’s happening in COMOX VALLEY ?

Vancouver’s media-hyped spots will be jammed with fit and fat-pocketed in the weeks to come. So I’m tucking my generous tush and lean wallet into two great little under the radar West End havens. Mis Trucos (1141 Davie) is a little place where mini-bucks (3 for $6 between 5-7 and 10-midnight) garner Chef Barnholden’s tapas. A garlicky mayonnaised prawn wrapped in crispy bread, olive zipped up with anchovy and hot pepper, foie gras and onion jam crostini to name a few) is enough to keep the wolf at bay, while Johnathan Jame’s cocktails settle jangled nerves. (I love his hand with the Hendricks. Down the street Brothers Michael and Stephen Wiese lay on sauerkraut, sausages and suckling pig mussels or steak onglet and frites at the reasonably priced Franco-German La Brasserie (1071 Davie) where both flags are deliciously represented. Beer lovers sip from a nice selection of French, German and Belgian brews. A decent, affordable wine list suits the comfy menu. (Try the deep and spicy, L’Auster Faugeres from Languedoc-$7/glass)

I know from watching foodies in action that many are using new communications media to stay abreast of what's new and what others are finding tasty. Wherever possible I'll include websites, Twitter handles, and references to Facebook presence in these notes. Follow EAT Magazine (http://twitter.com/EATMagazine) for all the latest. What happens when Courtenay's venerable Old House Restaurant [1760 Riverside Lane, Courtenay 250-338-5406] has a fire? Owner Maureen Fritz-Roberts quickly emailed all and sundry, and soon the news was on the Twitter-sphere. "Everyone pulled together to open the doors for the Christmas season," she says. "There's still fire, but it's restricted to the four beautiful old fireplaces – and of course Chef Drew Noble's stoves." Atlas Café [250-6th Street, Courtenay 250-338-9838] has an expanded website with a daily fresh sheet (see www.atlascafe.ca). Owners Sandra Viney and Trent McIntyre make a point of expressing pride over what Chef Jon is doing at Atlas, and beyond – with the regional Chef's Association and with Chef Paul, teaching at Beyond the Kitchen Door [274B 5th St, 250-338-4404]. Their sister restaurant in Comox, Avenue Bistro has long featured an online fresh sheet (www.avenuebistro.ca), and in recent months has been generating some interest with Twitter (@avenuebistro) and Facebook presence. Avenue is well into a winter menu showcasing the bounty from local seas, forests, and fields. Wednesdays and Thursdays are "Pizza Pasta" nights all winter. Two new kids on the block in Courtenay: Alladin's House of Tandoori in the old Arbutus Hotel - North African/Indian cuisine that my son is pretty stoked on. Recent twitter review: "Neat decor and vibe, great food, great prices." (Thanks for that @leighcarter!) The other new spot just hung its sign over the old Orbitz Pizza place on Fitzgerald and 5th in Courtenay: The Mad Chef. Looking forward to tasting as it's just down the street from me. The folks at Brambles Market [244A 4th Street 250-334-8163 www.bramblesmarket.ca] are in a bit of a foodie corner, shared with Benino Gelato (closed for the winter in Courtenay) and Mudsharks Cafe (booming in this new location). Brambles are Twitter savvy (follow their lively food tweets at @bramblesmarket and on Facebook) and local food focused. Watch for speaker series on local food and food sustainability. For those looking to warm themselves with visions of the sunny south... there's always Tita's Mexican Restaurant [5366th Street, Courtenay 250-334-8033] where they have a winter institution: Monday Margarita night ($15/litre) and Burrito Tuesdays. Tria Culinary [4905 Darcy Road 250-338-9765 www.triaculinarystudio.ca / @triaculinary] will be closed for dining events and classes from Jan 1-Mar 31. Tria's 2010 Full Moon

Food and service did not always match the décor and splendid sea view offered at West Vancouver’s Beach House at Dundarave Pier. (150-25th Street-off marine Drive). When John Holton took over the reins as GM he proved change is good. Holton lured executive chef Michael Cameron (ex-Pair), pastry chef Steve Hodge (Thomas Haas), and sommelier, Benjamin Howard (Brentwood Bay Lodge) with him. The place hums now with cheery floor staff and the food is very good. We love the extended appie selection. Cucumber dip takes the heat off wok-tossed tender calamari with chilies and cilantro. Plump mussels bathe in garlic, leeks and white wine. Bouillabaisse brims with shellfish in a tomato/fennel broth. Short ribs are juicy. Prices match Earls or the Cactus Club. (Do I detect the latter’s influence on the menu?) **** January is ideal for checking out chef Robert Parrot’s fine Italian cooking at Mangia & Bevi, also in West Vancouver for BACIO a fundraiser for Lion’s Gate Hospital’s Oncology Clinic and BC Children’s Hospital Oncology Research. The forty-dollar/three course menu will change each week to showcase Italy’s different regions. The grand finale, “Mangere, Bere, Vivere” will consist of four courses with wines, plus a silent auction. Judging from the media sneak preview that included a marvlellous swordfish puttanesca, and pork guanciale with lentils, this fare for a cause is worth every penny. ($95 + taxes) (For complete info call 604-922-8333 or log on to www.mangiaebevi.ca). —by Julie Pegg

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EAT MAGAZINE JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

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Feast dates are posted on their blog and website. Book early as these sell out fast! What's keeping Kathy and manager Cari McIntyre busy this winter is their partnership with Wes and Lara Erikson to operate Sushi-Mon Mt. Washington (www.sushimon.ca – they're also all on Facebook). In Campbell River, Angler's Dining Room at Dolphins Resort [4125 Discovery Drive 1-800-891-0287 / www.dolphinsresort.com] is a cozy place to beat winter blues: fireplace, coastal view – and 4 courses for $40 dollars. North Island College's Third Course Bistro [1635 South Dogwood St, Campbell River 250-923-9745 for reservations; Thurs & Fridays 5-8pm; email: TheThirdCourse@nic.bc.ca] will be opening with the second semester Level 3 Culinary students in time for Valentines Day. Reservations are a must at this gem of a bistro as they are frequently booked well in advance. Finally, if you didn't find one under the tree this Christmas go out and get the North Vancouver Island Chef's Association's book of recipes, Island Inspirations. Not only does it capture the North Island best local food knowledge, sources, and secrets (with beautiful images by Island-girl-gone-uptown Jackie Connelly www.jackieconnelly.com), it's also one of the first steps we can take as consumers towards supporting regional food and economic sustainability. Nice when so many good things come together around good tastes. — By Hans Peter Meyer

B e e xc it ed ab ou t f oo d ag ain ... Shop for your favorite local foods at

Brambles Market, 244 A 4th Street, Courtenay BC www.bramblesmarket.ca 250-334-8163

www.eatmagazine.ca JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

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Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s happening in NANAIMO ? Nanaimoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gourmet food scene is growing up. Warrant the entry of MARKT Artisan Deli in the Boardwalk on Rutherford [5281 - 5299 Rutherford Road, Nanaimo â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in the same complex as Bohdiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bakery, arguably the best bakery in Nanaimo]. Bravo to owner Ryan Zuvich for picking Nanaimo to open his deli. He could have safely stayed in Vancouver plying his up-market food alchemy, but Zuvich looked around for a growth market screaming & begging for gourmet plunder (hum, perhaps those were my own screams I could hear), and Nanaimo was the lucky recipient. Zuvichâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trained at the former Dubrulle Culinary College in Vancouver, spent years in Europe at a number of Michelin-rated restaurants, and then a goodly swath of time at various foodie holy grails in Vancouver. Markt is a clever use of the European spelling for the word market. He believes the name will illicit curiosity, questions and pull customers in. The deli specializes in fresh sausages, charcuterie, pates, soups, stocks, sauces and vinaigrettes - all made in-house. He also stocks locallyproduced cheeses and specialty products, while trying to honour a 100 kilometres radius on most sourced products. Also located in the Boardwalk on Rutherford complex is Tea House & Restaurant on Rutherford [5291 Rutherford Road, Nanaimo Tel: 250-729-2376]. This place was something of an institution and known for years for its teas, scones, cinnamon buns, soups & sandwiches. It still does a good job of all of that for breakfast and lunch, but new owner Joo Lee, a diminutive Korean lady holding a degree in Food Sciences & Nutrition from the University of Seoul, Korea, is putting a healthy spin on things. In the evening the Tea House becomes a Korean restaurant. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go in expecting BBQ or vats of â&#x20AC;&#x153;ring of fireâ&#x20AC;? kimchi. Instead, sit down to enjoy Bibimbap (Wikipedia that one), a dish famous around the world and a Korean staple. Lee also serves Bulgogi and other traditional marinated meat and vegetable dishes. Instead of flying through Ladysmith doing 30 klicks over the speed limit, slow down and look for Transfer Beach Grill [422 Esplanade, Ladysmith, Tel: 250-245-1211] on the southbound lane side of the highway, beside a Petro Canada station. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d never have found it without explicit directions, but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m glad I took the recommendation and the time to find it. This tiny blue clapboard heritage building is the home of chef/owner Georgios Liaros, a lively, passionate Greek from a small island off the southern tip of mainland Greece. Liaros is a slave to authenticity. His food is Greek with a salute to regional specialties from his tiny home island. It makes for damn good chow. The calamari (grilled or deep friend) is perfectly executed. The prawns have a rich, illusive blend of spices and are flash grilled to perfection. The spanakopita heaves with spinach and feta; the pastry flakey and buttery. The salads are stonking. The feta and yogurt hail from a special

Nanaimoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Best Gourmet Deli just got BIGGER! take-out gourmet dinners â&#x20AC;˘ specialty coffees â&#x20AC;˘ hors dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;oeuvres â&#x20AC;˘ platters to go delicious soups â&#x20AC;˘ salad bar â&#x20AC;˘ deli sandwiches â&#x20AC;˘ wonderful desserts â&#x20AC;˘ smoothies

6560 6560 Metral Metral Drive, Drive, Nanaimo Nanaimo

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EAT MAGAZINE JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

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Greek-style dairy in Vancouver; thick with luxuriant texture you’ll not get in regular supermarket yogurt & cheese. Try the hand-cut frites as they are done Greek-style with lots of lemon and oregano. The lamb burger is shaved off the roast. The seafood chowder, made daily, always has a different blend of sea critters depending on what was sourced at the fisherman’s wharf that day. It is a very tiny spot so seating is limited, but don’t let that stop you! Good Japanese food is hard to find in these parts. That’s not to say there are not myriad places hanging out the rising sun flag, they just tend to serve boulders of gelatinous rice wrapped around tasteless mystery blobs. When I happened upon Sam’s Sushi Bar [890 Wembley Road, Parksville, Tel: 250-954-2373], I wept real sake tears of joy. Owner/Chef Sam Terada and sushi Chef Kaz Abe really do hail from Japan - what a concept! They make their own tamago the traditional way (seven layers of velvety-egg omelette) and the miso shiru is made in-house. Every day a few inventive rolls are on deck as specials and their sashimi is fresh (some from French Creek Fisherman’s Wharf across the street) and generously portioned. When finished eating, you will say with great satisfaction, “Go-chisou sama deshita.” —by Su Grimmer

What’s happening in the OKANAGAN ? No matter what the season, wine lovers can feel rest assured that the Okanagians are celebrating with a Wine Festival! Formerly known as the Icewine Festival at Sun Peaks, festival organizers have decided to change the name to simply the Winter Wine Festival in an attempt to appeal to all palates – not just those with a sweet tooth. The party kicks off on January 16th and the lineup sounds like fun, fun, fun. Dress up in your winter snugglies, hit the slopes between events and enjoy the best of the season. New events include an au current Bartenders Mixology Face-Off on Saturday, January 23rd for the wrap up party. Expert Mixologist’s (aka awesome bartenders) will demonstrate the versatility of Icewine used in cocktails like Icewine martinis or even Icewine mojitos! To see all of the events and book tickets or a package for the January 16-24th event go to www.thewinefestivals.com or www.sunpeaksresort.com/activities/events/winter-wine-festival.aspx or call 1-877-212-7107. Cuba comes to Kelowna in the form of the Soul de Cuba Café. This new eatery is owned and operated by Cesar Hernandez, who hails direct from Cuba. The menu offers authentic Cuban food prepared by, also native Cuban, Chef Arcenio Verdecia. Hot pressed Cuban sandwiches and traditional Cuban lunch meals of beef, rice and fries, along with black bean soup sound like some delicious comfort food to dive into. Mojito’s are of course on the menu as well! Open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week – with dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. 778-4789529. 101-1180 Sunset Drive Peachland has a new restaurant playfully called Roundeye Sushi. Interestingly this is a Japanese / French fusion restaurant and word has it that the food is not just good – it is GREAT! 5872 Beach Avenue. Summerland’s newest addition focuses on all things local – hence the name: LOCAL Lounge & Grill. This beautiful waterfront venue brought to us by Cameron Bond and his local celebrity father-in-law Harry McWatters (Sumac Ridge Winery Founder). Chef Paul Cecconi, former Chef at Kelowna’s Harvest Golf Club, is sourcing his menu items from some of our very best local suppliers and has created a unique menu with something to please every palate. Located next door to the Summerland Waterfront Resort and Spa on Lakeshore Drive in lower town. Winning in the Best New Restaurant category in Okanagan Life Magazine, obviously the Black Iron Grill & Steakhouse located in the Days Inn in Penticton the carnivore’s place to be! Offering a 100% local only wine list makes us proud. www.blackirongrillandsteakhouse.com 152 Riverside Drive - Phone: 250-276-2447. If you happen to find yourself down South this winter, make time to check out the famous little Best of India Restaurant in Oliver- it seriously as a cult following all over the Valley for having incredible Indian food. 36094 97th Street, Oliver 250.498.0872 The other hot spot, which is nestled into a lovely winter destination in wine country is Passa Tempo Restaurant at Spirit Ridge in Osoyoos. This bistro-style restaurant turns out beautiful, creative, delicious cuisine and is worth the drive. But why not cozy in and book at night at Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa? Luxury rooms, a spa, and the onsite award-winning Nk’Mip Winery – yes please! www.spiritridge.ca Big White Mountain has a new après ski hang out to linger in – Gigi Bistro/Lounge. This upscale urban wine bar will have a select tapas menu and plans to host the hottest jazz combos and DJ's. In the Whitefoot Plaza. —by Jennifer Schell

DRESSED UP & READY TO GO!

For dinner out, a family gathering, home parties or kicking back at the cabin, Tinhorn Creek has the wines for the occasion.  Our vineyards are located on two unique and diverse south Okanagan sites: the Golden Mile and the Black Sage bench. Our ability to blend the grapes from these vineyards and capture the best characteristics of each site sets us apart.  Visit our spectacular estate winery in Oliver, BC and experience for yourself. NATURALLY SOUTH OKANAGAN www.tinhorn.com

1715 Government Street 250.475.6260 www.lecole.ca eat@lecole.ca

Dinner 5:30 - 11 pm Tuesday to Saturday

PRFRP www.eatmagazine.ca JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

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Awarded Four Stars from Mobil Exxon 10 years in a row Restaurant

Where Food is Art

250-480-0883 512 Yates St Victoria Open at 5:30 Wed-Sun For menu and online reservations visit restaurantmatisse.com

What’s happening in VICTORIA ? January is always a time of fresh starts, and we have several to report on in the Victoria food scene. On January 1st, ownership of La Piola transfers to Executive Chef and Managing Partner Cory Pelan, who has been responsible for the revitalization of the restaurant since he took the helm in September 2008. Café Mela is also under new ownership, having been bought by Ron and Nancy Malzon in late 2009. The Malzons will be introducing an exclusive line of Kathryn Taylor Chocolates, as well as more European baking, new breakfast items and a plat du jour. The Falls on Douglas can expect to see Browns Restaurant and Socialhouse moving in in late winter or early spring. (www.brownsrestaurantgroup.com) Also new on Douglas is Il Posto, serving paninis and pizzas made on site. Aubergine Specialty Foods is opening on Gladstone St. in Fernwood, and Pizzeria Prima Strada is scheduled to open its new location on Bridge St. in late January. Owner Cristen DeCarolis Dallas explained that they were originally only looking for storage space for Black Beauty, their portable wood-fired oven (you may have seen her in action at last year’s Feast of Fields or the Madrona Farm Island Chef Survival event). Cristen reports that the space will be quite different from their first location on Cook St, reflecting the industrial feel of the new neighbourhood, and incorporating two long family-style tables built out of repurposed wood. If you have been wondering what happened to Market Square’s Tibetan Kitchen, you’ll be happy to hear it relocated to a sit-down location in early November. (680 Broughton St.) For any food-related resolutions you may have made this New Year, here is your guide for staying informed, inspired or entertained as the days grow longer in January and February. Starting in the New Year, Terralicious and Plenty epicurean pantry will be hosting Table Talk. These lively sessions will take place in the store on a weekday evening each month and will be an opportunity to sample great food, share preparation and growing tips, and engage in great discussions about food and sustainability. (www.epicureanpantry.ca) Terralicious is also starting two new series in February: Food for Health, and a spring detox program with naturopath. (www.terrralicious.ca) The Hotel Grand Pacific is hosting the International Sommelier Guild’s Wine Fundamentals Level 1 course, beginning Sunday, January 3rd. Visit www.internationalsommelier.com for more information on the course. French Mint has some great demonstration classes scheduled for the next two months, including knife skills, bread making, and dessert fundamentals with chef David Mincey (Camille’s). For the complete course schedule, visit the French Mint website. (www.frenchmint.ca) UVic’s Continuing Studies department is offering two informative courses this semester; “Pick and Choose: Navigating Your Way to the Greenest Food Choices”, “Food and the Sacred”, as well as a workshop on “Tapping the Potential of the Bigleaf Maple”. For course and registration information, visit www.uvcs.uvic.ca and download the spring course calendar. The Superior café in James Bay is hosting “Dinner and More Than a Movie”, a Victoria Film Festival food/film extravaganza on February 3rd. Tickets are $35, and go on sale January 11th. (www.victoriafilmfestival.com) Another reason to keep your eye on the VFF website is to find out when you can see the EAT magazine-sponsored showing of “Focaccia Blues”. The schedule should be up soon. The Superior is also continuing its series of food film series with a showing of “Chocolat” on February 10th. Tea aficionados, get ready - the 4th annual Victoria Tea Festival will take place February 13th and 14th at the Crystal Garden (www.victoriateafestival.com). Victoria’s 17th annual Seedy Saturday will happen the following weekend, on February 20th at the Victoria Conference Centre (www.jamesbaymarket.com) Showcasing a wide variety of seeds and starter plants, and with master gardeners on hand to answer questions, it’s the perfect occasion to get yourself into gardening gear. Be sure to get out and take advantage of Tourism Victoria and British Columbia Restaurant and Food Services Association’s 7th annual Dine Around and Stay in Town event, running from February 18th to March 7th. With over fifty restaurants offering three-course meals at bargain prices, it’s a great time to try out that restaurant you’ve been meaning to get to. —by Rebecca Baugniet

Proud supporter of local farms, wineries & ocean wise fisheries

Table d'hôte Menu 3 course dinner

Tuesday ~ Saturday 5pm to 6pm

$26

Reservations | 250.592.7424 Tuesday ~ Saturday from 5pm

paprika-bistro.com | 2524 Estevan Ave | Victoria 30

EAT MAGAZINE JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

For the best dressed kitchen Open Monday-Saturday 10-6, Sunday 12-4 1210 Broad Street, Victoria, 250.388.9906

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What’s happening in TOFINO ? Wow, it’s been power outage after power outage in Tofino already this winter - a very stormy start to the season! The time is right for snuggling in front of the fire with a glass of wine or venturing out for a long lingering meal. As I write this, chef Lisa Ahier of SoBo and chef Vincent Fraissange of the Spotted Bear Bistro are basking in their victories for their oyster creations at the 13th Clayoquot Sound Oyster Festival (www.oystergala.com). This annual event celebrates one of the area’s most abundant harvests, as well as the west coast’s equally abundant culinary talents. Oyster lovers come from all over to take part in festival events including cocktail and oyster receptions, special dinners and Lemmen’s Inlet oyster farm tours. For the first time this year, the Raincoast Education Society brought their oyster presentation “Noisy Oysters” into the classroom at Wickaninnish Community School for our youngest oyster lovers. The festival culminated with the Oyster Gala, held Nov. 21 at the Tofino Community Hall. Tofino’s chefs all prepared an oyster creation for the public and the jury to enjoy and vote on. Repeating their 2007 victory, SoBo won the People’s Choice award this year, while new participant the Spotted Bear Bistro won the jury prize. Long Beach Lodge Resort took the award for best presentation. Organizer Mariette Pilon said they were very happy to welcome Chef Andrew Springett from Fetch Restaurant at Black Rock Resort to the festival for the first time. Springett provided appetizers and also generously offered to be part of the jury for the evening. www.blackrockoceanfront.com or 1 877 762 5011 Shelter Restaurant head chef Rick Moore is heading to Whistler for the winter and sous chef Joel Aubie will move into his role during his absence. Aubie, who is originally from the Maritimes, has been a sous-chef at Shelter for over a year. Shelter manager Shawna Gardham says Aubie will be concentrating on winterizing the menu and planning a Valentine’s Day feature dinner. Call 250-725-3353 for reservations or visit www.shelterrestaurant.com. SoBo closed their doors on Nov. 30 for a much needed family vacation. Co-owner Artie Ahier thanked his staff for the one of SoBo’s best seasons yet. The Ahiers are set to reopen Feb. 8 for their 8th year of business. And watch for the long awaited SoBo cookbook in 2010. www.sobo.ca or 250 725 2341 The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn has been offering a daily brunch all winter (eggs benny every day!), and will continue with their Sunday champagne brunch as well. As always, locals and visitors alike are welcome in the resort’s dining room, call 250 725 3100 for reservations or visit www.wickinn.com. Norwood’s in Ucluelet is now offering their winter comfort food menu. This 34-seat fine dining restaurant is on Ucluelet’s main drag at 1741 Peninsula Rd. Chef Richard Norwood, whose menu reflects the time he spent in Europe and Asia, opened earlier this year and is enjoying rave reviews. www.norwoods.ca or 250 726 7001 — by Jen Dart (see Jen’s bio at www.eatmagazine.ca)

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A Trio of Cabbage Dishes Cabbage Beet Borsht In a large saucepan, sauté 1 chopped onion in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over moderately low heat. Stir until the onion is softened. Add 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, 2 cups chopped cabbage and a coarsely grated potato. Stir as you cook the mixture for 1 minute. Add 2 cups beef or vegetable broth, 1/2 cup water, 4 large cooked, shredded beets with their cooking liquid and 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar. Add salt to taste. Bring the liquid to a boil, and simmer the soup, partially covered, for 25 minutes. Divide the soup between 2 bowls. Garnish with sour cream and minced fresh dill.

Holishkes (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls) Combine 1 pound of hamburger, 1/4 cup uncooked rice and 1 beaten egg. Grate in 1 onion and 1 carrot, season to taste with salt and pepper and combine. Blanch 12 cabbage leaves by covering them with boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain the leaves and place a ball of the meat mixture in the center of each leaf. Roll up the leaf, tucking the ends in securely. Place the rolls close together in a heavy frying pan. Mix 1/4 cup of lemon juice, 1/2 cup brown sugar with a cup of tomato sauce and pour over the rolls. Add enough water to cover the rolls. Cover tightly and cook 30 minutes over moderate heat. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 F. Brown on top and turn once to brown the other side. Add water during baking if necessary.

Red Cabbage Cole Slaw Shred 1 large carrot and a 1-pound red cabbage into a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add a small handful of organic red flame raisins, a small handful of dried cranberries and a sprinkling of caraway seeds. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

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32

Fresh Dates. These rare treats are only available from October to March. Fresh dates have a soft, moist texture and a delicate sweetness. As they age, they become firmer, dryer and sweeter. Lakehill Grocery, a specialty food shop located at 3949 Quadra Street, carries fresh dates and a variety of dried dates. Rapini. This pungent bitter green vegetable, also called broccoli raab and Chinese flowering cabbage, has tasty stalks studded with buds that resemble tiny broccoli heads.

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EAT MAGAZINE JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

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Strawberry Rhubarb. Strawberry rhubarb is available from mid-January to mid-April. This hothouse rhubarb has pink to pale red stalks and a more delicate texture than fieldgrown cherry rhubarb. Why not grow your own rhubarb? These hardy shrubs last for decades and produce more than enough stalks for strawberry rhubarb pies in summer and rhubarb chutney and rhubarb jam throughout the winter.

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Citrus Fruit. This is the peak season for tangy, juicy citrus fruits. Beautiful blood oranges are only available from December to mid-April. Try Temple, Mineola, Navel and Valencia oranges. Make bittersweet marmalade with Seville oranges. Clementines, satsumas, tangerines, tangors (a mandarin/orange hybrid) and tangelos are easy-to-peel mandarin oranges. Ugli fruit and uniq fruit are tangerine-grapefruit crosses that are now at their peak of flavour. Luscious pummelo/grapefruit hybrids, such as Melogold and Oro Blanco are only available until April.

Little Yering Soft and rou supple pinot flavours. Gre

Oversized pummelos (a.k.a. Chinese grapefruit) have a delicate sweetness that marries beautifully with fresh crab in a salad made with lettuce, red onions and cucumbers salad. Splash the salad with a dressing made with chiles, fish sauce, fresh mint, lime juice and rice wine vinegar, and sprinkle it with toasted peanuts.

specialty spirits wines from BC & around the globe craft beers expert advice 10 am to 9pm everyday 230 Cook St. Village

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BUBBLY

WHITES Gold Beets. Juicy, tender, sweet gold beets, harvested in the fall in the Fraser Valley, are available from now until spring. Gold beets are available from summer to fall from local farms.

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GET FRESH —COOKING WITH THE SEASONS — by Sylvia Weinstock

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â&#x20AC;&#x201D;by Larry Arnold

BUBBLY Valdo Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Marca Oro NV | Italy | $21.50-23.00 A long time favourite, this tasty little Prosecco is soft and dry with a good core of fruit and plenty of tiny bubbles. Veuve du Vernay Rose Brut NV | France | $15.00-17.00 The price is certainly right and the quality is surprising high. This delightful little rosĂŠ is soft, fresh and utterly delicious. Pale pink with delightful strawberry and cherry aromas, a fine persistent mousse and a lovely clean finish. Segura Viudas Brut Reserva NV | Spain | $14.00-16.00 A perennial best seller in British Columbia, Segura is a cava made by the â&#x20AC;&#x153;methode Champenoiseâ&#x20AC;?. This is not a cheap way to do business but the results are very much appreciated. Subtle and refined, with delicious nutty flavours and a clean crisp finish! Reliable and easy drinking at a price thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard to beat.

WHITES Mouton Cadet Blanc 08 | France | $14.00-16.00 The brainchild of the late Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Mouton Cadet is made from a blend of Semillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle grapes sourced from vineyards in the Entre-DeuxMers appellation of Bordeaux. The brand may be old but the style is anything bu.! Very fresh and forward with pronounced citrus and passion fruit flavours and mouthwatering acidity. Touted as BCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best selling white Bordeaux, one sip and you will know why.

Phone 250 498 4435 www.hestercreek.com

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Little Yering Pinot Noir 08 | Australia | $15.00-17.00 Soft and round with delicate strawberry, cherry and barnyard scents. On the palate, this supple pinot from the Yarra Valley is concentrated with a silky texture and ripe berry flavours. Great fruit with a long finish.

ryday age

Wine Shop open daily at 10:00 am Road #8, just South of Oliver, BC

Domaine Louis Jadot Saint-Veran 06| France | $27.00-29.00 Quite pale with a lovely floral nose, good weight and vibrant fruit and mineral flavours nicely balanced with a refreshing cut of acidity.

Condesa de Leganza Tempranillo Crianza 04 | Spain | $16.00-18.00 La Mancha is the Spanish heartland. Land is cheap, the climate is extreme and Tempranillo, the grape of Rioja, grows well. Could things be better? Medium-bodied with sweet strawberry, vanilla and earth flavours. Fresh and lively with good fruit character in an easy drinking style.

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Jadot Beaujolais-Villages â&#x20AC;&#x153;Combe aux Jacquesâ&#x20AC;? 08| France | $20.00-23.00 Gamay is the grape of Beaujolais and few do it better than Jadot. Not known for its bargain basement prices, Louis Jadot produces a mind-boggling selection of red and white Burgundy but at a recent tasting with a bevy of heavy hitters from the Cote dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Or, this tasty little fruit-bomb from Beaujolais stood out for its lush fruit flavours and penny-pinching price tag. Bright cherry, black pepper and barnyard aromas carry through the palate, medium bodied with some power and a blush of soft tannins. Impeccably made and very juicy! Rosenblum Cuvee Zinfandel 07 | California | $19.00-21.00 Generous and robust with dark berry, earth and spice flavours nicely balanced with a patina of fine-grained tannins. Terre Barolo 2004 | Italy | $38.00-43.00 Yes my friends, I have reviewed many vintages of this modestly priced Nebbiolo and as I have said before: if you seek the Barolo of your father, then look no further. This wine is for you! Very traditional with a no compromise attitude towards new world winemaking mojo. Medium-bodied but at the same time amply endowed with strawberry, tar and violet aromas, somewhat closed on the palate with gripping tannins and surprising acidity. Sounds dicey, tastes great.

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Inniskillin Okanagan Discovery Series Malbec 07 | BC | $25.00-28.00 Shockingly good with intense raspberry, chocolate and spice aromas, dark fruit flavours and a firm tannic structure! From the Okanagan Valley. Who could have known? Domaines Perrin Vacqueyras Les Christins 04 | France | $27.00-29.00 Ripe and fleshy with raspberry, black pepper and spice flavours, medium bodied with an unctuous texture and a fine tannic backbone! Top-notch.

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www.eatmagazine.ca JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

33


WINE ISLANDS

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;By Adem Tepedelen

Venturi-Schulze This family business remains true to itself and true to the land that sustains it. Calling the Venturi-Schulze family Vancouver Island winemaking pioneers perhaps gives the impression that they are of an older generation and their ideas and beliefs are staid. Nothing could be further from the truth. First licensed in 1993, the Cowichan Valley wineryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s husband-and-wife team of Giordano and Marilyn Venturi and daughter Michelle Schulze made a name for itself by, as Marilyn explains, â&#x20AC;&#x153;being true to ourselves and giving people what we say weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to give them.â&#x20AC;? The Venturi-Schulze vision started with the original 15-acre farm purchased in 1987 where their first four acres of vinesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;all vinifera grapesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;were planted. Like others at the time, they were navigating uncharted territory, and figuring out what grapes would ripen properly given the island climate and soil required some experimentation. However, like their fellow pioneers at Vigneti Zanatta and Blue Grouse, they quickly zeroed in on the three Pinots (Noir, Gris and Auxerrois). These have become island mainstays along with some of the cold-climate, Riesling-related crosses like Siegerrebe, Ortega, Kerner and Bacchus. What they then did with these grapes, however, was entirely unique. Winemaker Giordano Venturi was born and raised in Modena, Italy, in an area where, according to Marilyn, â&#x20AC;&#x153;everyone made wine.â&#x20AC;? Immigrating to Canada in 1967, he kept his interest in wine alive by planting backyard vineyards with cool-climate varietals. By the time he and Marilyn started Venturi-Schulzeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the realization of a dream for bothâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;he came to it with a degree of confidence and experience that perhaps some of his peers at the time lacked. And his approach to making winesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and other products such as their highly regarded balsamic vinegar and newest addition, verjusâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;has reflected that confidence. As a result, Venturi-Schulze has not necessarily been known for one specific wine or varietal that they produce year in and year out. Certainly there are some that have been mainstays and are responsible for the wineryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s success and notoriety. One of those is the sparkling Brut Naturel, for instance, an Alsatian crĂŠmant-style sparkler made primarily from Pinot Gris and Pinot Auxerrois grapes and first bottled in 1991. Yet even these vary from vintage to vintage. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our philosophy is basically that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not trying to do the same things every year,â&#x20AC;? confirms Marilyn. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We thoroughly embrace the fact that the seasons can be quite different and you can make wines that are reflecting that season and are really true to what the land and climate are offering. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the beauty of being a small vineyard and making really small batches of wine.â&#x20AC;? Another benefit to keeping it smallâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;they average about 2,000 cases per year of total productionâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;is the ability to keep it all in the family. Daughter Michelle Schulze, the vineyard manager and assistant winemaker, has been an integral part of the operation since graduating from high school in 1994. As the business has grown, she has taken on tasks previously handled solely by her parents. For Marilyn, who now finds herself occupied mostly in

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the winery lab and in dealing with the extensive government reporting necessary to run the business, her daughterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s efforts have been invaluable to Venturi-Schulzeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s success. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She is an enormous part of the operation,â&#x20AC;? says Marilyn. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s amazing. She works extremely long hours. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s done every job here from preparing the land to putting in posts, doing the wiring and planting vines.â&#x20AC;? Venturi-Schulzeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family operation and small size (though the four acres originally under vine has been expanded to 18) belies the fact that their product assortment, year in and year out, is one of the most diverse and interesting on the island. A toothsome mix of sparkling, still and dessert wines, as well as the vinegar and verjus (pure, unfermented grape juice pressed from unripe fruit), many of these products are served at some of the finest restaurants in B.C. and beyond. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m very glad we have a variety of wines, because if you have all of your eggs in one basket, there may be years where you just donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get anything,â&#x20AC;? says Marilyn. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been a good decision for us to maintain about eight good varieties.â&#x20AC;? They utilize those varieties somewhat differently from year to year. Their Pinot Noir and Zweigelt (another cool-climate red variety) from the challenging 2007 vintage, for instance, were used to make a dry white wine called â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Bad Boys.â&#x20AC;? Nevertheless, they believe quite firmly that there is a specialness about their terroir. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As far as Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m concerned, the wines from our property are absolutely distinct,â&#x20AC;? says Marilyn. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s definitely a certain aspect of minerality, which is difficult to put into words, that is quite distinct.â&#x20AC;? As is their entire approach to winemaking. And though it may seem unorthodox to someâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; they seal their sparklers with a cap, â&#x20AC;&#x153;the better to preserve itâ&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Venturi-Schulze has a dedicated following that simply appreciates the quality inherent in whatever product the family put its name on. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want people to know that if theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to drink our wine, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to be the absolute best that we can do,â&#x20AC;? says Marilyn. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mean that everyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to like all of our wines, but theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re gonna know that the grapes are pure and unsprayed and absolutely perfect when they go in the picking bucket.â&#x20AC;? Best Vintages: 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000-2006, 2009 Tasting Room Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., May long weekend until harvest begins in September or October. Charge is $5 per person, refundable with any wine purchase. Web: www.venturischulze.com Phone: 250-743-5630 Address: 4235 Vineyard Rd., Cobble Hill, BC V0R 1L5





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35


WINE & TERROIR —By Michaela Morris and Michelle Bouffard

Swee

Sweet Surrender

2007 Errazur This incredib delight your

Winter’s darkness is mellowed by the pairing of sweet wine with almost any dish on any occasion. ous and ardent dessert wine fans will revel in the combination. Viscous nectars can be injected into the dinner with the right pairing. Sauternes from Bordeaux and Sélection de Grains Nobles from Alsace work like a charm with equally rich seared foie gras. Both are made from botrytis-affected grapes in which a “noble rot” dehydrates the grapes and concentrates the sugars. This transforms the flavours into an intense expression of honeycomb and dried fruit. Just as decadent, sweet Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley (such as the appellations of Coteau du Layon and Bonnezeau) paired with duck or goose rillettes is a delectable appetizer. One of our favourite moments to indulge coincides with our daily calcium intake. Pungent salty cheese works like a charm with stickies. This yin-yang contrast is the same principle as bringing together prosciutto and melon. The sweetness and saltiness play off each other endlessly. It takes an intense wine to stand up to those stinky cheeses. Classic combinations of Roquefort with Sauternes and Stilton with port never disappoint. Be innovative and try something new; Cashel Blue from Ireland together with a Tokaji from Hungary is to die for. So is a nutty aged Gouda, like Saenkanter, with vin santo. The Il Poggione, Vin Santo Sant’ Antimo is our latest discovery. There is something to be said for the conventional. When dessert is served, it is hard to resist an accompanying elixir. Get ready for a double measure of sugar. The general rule of thumb for pairing sweet wine with dessert is to choose a wine that is at least as sweet as the dessert. Otherwise, the wine will taste tart and lean; exactly the opposite of what you are seeking in a dessert wine. Surprisingly, chocolate is one of the trickiest ingredients to pair. Rich and intense, it will coat your mouth and linger on your taste buds. This is why we love it so much. Just make sure you choose something equally powerful to match. Fortified wines work best, such as a Late Bottled Vintage port (LBV) or better yet, a vintage port if you can afford it. Banyuls is France’s riposte to port and is absolutely irresistible when served with chocolates made by local star Thomas Haas. Liqueur Muscat, Tokay and port from Australia are all excellent choices as well. Delicate desserts such as panna cotta and fruit tart require more graceful partners. Look to cool climate regions as they typically produce lighter dessert wine. This generalization will go a long way to help you when left to your own devices. Specifically, Beerenauslese Riesling from Germany, ice wine from Canada, Muscat Beaune de Venise from the Rhône Valley, Vendanges Tardives from Alsace and sweet Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley are all tasty treats. When you decide to surrender, sweetness will soothe you. To avoid crashing, frequent dosages are required. Luckily, the choices are endless. For once, we are looking forward to the long winter ahead.

*Niepoort, R Fabulous juic cake! —G. Hynes

In the dreary depths of winter, we are in serious need of something succulent to drink. It’s the only way to endure the bad weather. If you are one of the disillusioned who subscribes to a January cleanse, you might want to reconsider it this year. Why subject yourself to such torture when nature is already doing her best to torment you? There is nothing like a sugar rush to beat the winter blues. Sweet wines are often reserved for special occasions and served with dessert, but there are plenty of other occasions when you can indulge. In fact, anytime is appropriate. It’s 5 p.m. and the sun is already long gone. Dinner may be a couple of hours away, but a pick-me-up is pressing. The European ritual of having an apéritif offers an elegant solution. The French in particular have a long tradition of drinking something sweet before their meal. The idea is to stimulate the appetite. (Any excuse is a good excuse.) Tawny Port, Muscat Beaume de Venise and Pineau des Charentes are served slightly chilled and sipped alongside snacks while socializing and waiting for dinner to hit the table. Call it the French paradox; they’re certainly not concerned about the calories. More room for dinner, please! We have a weakness for Pineau des Charentes, and the recently discovered Château d’Orignac has increased our hunger tenfold. Made in the same region as Cognac, Pineau des Charentes is the ultimate French apéro. It is what is known as a mistelle. Brandy is added to unfermented grape juice, which inhibits fermentation thus leaving a sweet wine. A fantastic drink to serve with foie gras tourchon to encourage the appetite! (Chicken liver pâté will do if you are slumming it.) God love the French. We like to put a B.C. twist on the aperitif and serve ice wine. Why not impress your out-oftown guests at the start of the evening? They might be too stuffed by the end of the meal to fully enjoy this local treat. We have our predictably cold winters to thank for our specialty, but ice wine production is still a risky business. The grapes remain on the vine waiting for the temperature to get low enough to freeze them while everyone hopes the birds don’t devoured them in the meantime. Ice wines are invariably expensive, but the best are refreshing despite their sweetness. A welcome find is Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery’s Lost Bars Vidal Icewine. At $40, it is fantastic value for the money. If you can’t wait until the evening to get your sugar fix, have a dose first thing in the morning. What better way to start the day than waking up your taste buds with something light, sweet and frothy? That’s how we like to spend our Sunday mornings at House Wine headquarters. Whether you are relaxing with the newspaper or entertaining guests around a delicious brunch, bubble is in order. While a mimosa might come to mind first, we propose some interesting alternatives. Light in alcohol with a simple grapey fruitiness, Italy’s sparkling Moscatos are fondly called breakfast wine. They go with all types of food typically found on the brunch table. We will never turn our backs on these trustworthy staples, but lately South America has been vying for our attention. We are head over heels for Familia Schroeder’s Sparkling Torrontes, a new kid on the block from Argentina. Even more off the beaten track is the Fresita from Chile. This sparkling wine infused with strawberries from Patagonia is breakfast in a glass. Sweet wine with a savoury meal may seem like more of a stretch, but the most adventur-

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36

EAT MAGAZINE JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010


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2007 Errazuriz, Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Chile $15-$17 (375ml) (SKU# 427054) This incredible value is a long-time favourite. Beautiful orange and marmalade notes delight your nose and caress your palate. Enjoy with lemon tart. Fresita, Patagonia, Chile, $16-$18 (SKU# 299404) Sparkling wine infused with hand-picked organic strawberries from Patagonia. Skeptical? You’ll be persuaded with your first sip. Bursting flavours of pure wild strawberries; it’s like drinking a smoothie with bubbles. A great way to wake up your loved one on the weekend or Valentine’s Day. Decadent with crêpes aux fruits, French toast and strawberry pancakes. *Niepoort, Ruby Port, Portugal, $17-$20 (375 mL) Fabulous juicy notes of violet, plum and cocoa. Hello chocolate and black forest cheesecake! —G. Hynes

du Layon and

Sweet Surrender Tasting Notes

Familia Schroeder, ‘Desado’ sparkling, Patagonia, Argentina, $24-$27 (SKU# 526517) Nostalgic about our recent trip to Argentina, we were thrilled to find Desado on the LDB shelves. This delicious and quaffable sparkling wine is made with the Argentinean white varietal Torrontés. Frothy and creamy with vibrant orange blossom and white flower flavours. Argentina’s answer to Moscato d’Asti. Seppelt, Tokay DP 37, Australia, $24.90 (available exclusively at Marquis Wine Cellars) When it comes to stickies, nobody can offer better value than the Aussies, especially Seppelt. Rich and incredibly intense flavours of caramel, honey, raisins and black tea. A real treat when poured over ice cream. THAT’s dessert! Will last for a couple of months after opening. Keep in the fridge for better preservation. Can be served warm or slightly chilled. 2004 Quinta do Crasto, LBV Port, Portugal, $27-$30 (SKU# 605048) Scrumptious with dark flavours of plum, chocolate and grippy tannins. The ideal companion for dense chocolate and caramel dessert. Well made and the price is right. Note that port, like wine, isn’t eternal once opened. It usually lasts for five days. Keep in the fridge to slow down the oxidation process.

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De Bortoli, ‘Noble One’ Botrytis Semillon, Australia, $35-$37 (375 mL) (SKU# 554766) Sauternes is an expensive treat. If you can’t afford to splurge, Noble One is a fantastic alternative. Just like Sauternes, the Noble One is made by botrytis-affected grape. Succulent flavours of quince and toasted nuts. A great match with foie gras. 2000 Il Poggione, Vin Santo Sant’Antimo DOC, Italy, $37-$40 (500 mL) (SKU# 125799) A traditional dessert wine from the region of Tuscany, Vin Santo is typically served with biscotti. We propose trying it with aged Gouda. Its concentrated roasted almond and orange notes will seduce you. 2007 Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery, ‘The Lost Bars’ Vidal Icewine, B.C., $40-$44 (SKU# 609974) After trying copious amounts of ice wine at the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival, we were impressed by ‘The Lost Bars.’ The palate offers unctuous flavours of baked apple and honey. The price is equally appealing; about half of what you would typically pay for ice wine. A great match when served chilled as an aperitif with a savoury tart of pear and local blue cheese. *2006 Domaine de la Rectorie, Le Muté sur Grains, Banyuls AOC, France, $38-42 (available exclusively at Liberty Wine Merchants) From the region of Roussillon in the South of France, Banyuls is one of our favourite dessert wines. Grenache dominates the blend. Sweet and savoury notes of plum, crushed raspberries and garrigue make your mouth water. Fantastic with dark chocolate. *Château d’Orignac, Pineau des Charentes, France, $45-50 The perfect apéro to introduce to your guests. Explosive, charming flavours of orange, toffee and walnuts make Orignac the ideal partner with nutty snacks. Beware of its 18 percent alcohol; you might want to abstain from drinking the entire bottle, as tempting as it may be. Serve chilled and drink within four to five days of opening. *1993 Château Pajzos, Tokaji Aszú, 5 Puttonyos, Hungary, $75-85 (500 mL) Wow! It isn’t often we find an aged Tokaji Aszú in our market. Treat yourself and experience the complex lingering flavours of this wine. Stunning flavours of dark honey, raisins and orange. Great on its own or with Cashel Blue cheese. *Available at private wine stores. Prices may vary.

www.eatmagazine.ca JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

37


IN THE ‘HOOD—By Treve Ring

Funky Foodie Fernwood This small community clustered around Fernwood Square is attracting well-priced, casual and creative cuisine.

Mike Colwill and Sarah Colwill (brother and sister) of Fernwood Inn

Linda and George Szasz of Stage

Layered with history, architecture and creativity, and independent in the truest sense of the word, Fernwood is a community unlike any other in Victoria. Bounded by the neighbourhoods of Jubilee, North Park, Fairfield, Downtown, Oaklands and Harris Green, this artistic enclave has attracted alternative realities for decades. A mix of hippies, neo-yuppies, ethnic backgrounds, students, young families, retirees, environmentalists and artisans call this place home, and even the streets follow their own rhythm. Forget linear grids and right angles. Instead embrace the roundabouts, dead ends, community gardens and numerous parks. You’re on funky Fernwood time. The heart of the neighbourhood is a small square bordered by Vic High and the Belfry Theatre. The arts—and the youth—are evident everywhere you look. And the recent restaurant renaissance has responded with well-priced, casual, creatively driven cuisine. Fernwood Inn had a huge part to do in kick-starting the food scene and attracting business to the area. This large, successful pub/restaurant commands the corner of Gladstone and Fernwood. Updated pub fare, burger platters, sharing plates and microbrews fill the menu, and tall-backed benches, large windows (and a warm-weather patio) provide a welcome view over the adjacent square—notably for weekend brunch. 1302 Gladstone Ave. 250412-2001. www.fernwoodinn.com. Across Gladstone is another pioneer in Fernwood’s food scene, attracting attention from far, far outside the ‘hood’s boundary lines. Stage Small Plates Wine Bar was voted one of the top 10 new restaurants in enRoute magazine’s 2008 ranking, and the buzz didn’t start—or stop—there. In fact, Stage had foodies aflutter before it even opened, this being the second restaurant for well-known and respected chef George Szasz (formally of Paprika Bistro). Exposed brick, wood and kitchen, this open room is centred around the large, repurposed maple bar. Locally sourced small plates, cheeses, housemade charcuterie, wine flights and skilled bartenders enhance and complete the scene, keeping this nightly eatery among Victoria’s best. 1307 Gladstone Ave. 250-388-4222. www.stagewinebar.com. Next door on the Gladstone/Fernwood corner is, fittingly, Cornerstone Café. This buzzy coffee shop is packed most hours of the day with people sharing long wooden benches or

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EAT MAGAZINE JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2010

Christabel Padmore and Patrick Simpson of Little Piggy Fernwood

nestled into oversized windows sipping oversized lattes. Owned and operated by the Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group (Fernwood NRG), all proceeds from the café are reinvested in the neighbourhood through the groups’ programs and services. Free Wi-Fi, Discovery coffee and friendly service make it a hit among the locals—especially the Vic High crew. 1301 Gladstone Ave. 250-381-1884 Just down Gladstone (across the street from Stage) is the future site of Aubergine Specialty Foods, not yet opened when I visited in the fall. The window signage promises specialty meats and cheeses, local produce, a coffee roastery and more. Sounds promising—stay tuned! 1308 Gladstone Ave. Crossing the main street of Fernwood Avenue and entering the square leads to more Fernwood flavours. Lucy’s in the Square, like Stage, is the local-centric, casually welcoming vision of a well-known Victoria chef. Jeff Keenliside, recently of The Marina Restaurant, and wife Micki opened this market-café as an extension of their family dining room. Oft-changing comfort-bistro fare makes up the concise menu and also proves a popular draw for weekend brunchers (especially on the square-side micro patio). 1296 Gladstone Ave. 778-430LUCY. www.lucysinthesquare.com. Just a few doors down is a tiny takeout window, the spot to grab authentic Caribbean soul food in Victoria. Stir It Up dishes out a simple menu of Jamaican standards, with jerk chicken a popular standout. The two patio tables fill up quickly, but most diners pick it up to go. 11284 Gladstone Ave., 250-813-1596. And the newest addition to the square is an offshoot of Fort Street’s Little Piggy Catering. Well, this Little Piggy went to Fernwood in early September, and the teeny café/grocery/caterer has been hopping every since. Through a little door and down some stairs, you enter a funky space with soup, dairy, frozen dinners, drinks, pastry, produce, bread and ready-to-eat foods. The small menu is highly diverse, with daily specials featuring flavours from around the globe. Heavy on the local suppliers, low on pretense. D2-1284 Gladstone Ave. 250-483-4171. www.littlepiggyfernwood.com.


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