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l 2011 | Issue 15-02 | THIS COPY IS FREE


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Spring Teas Sushi Tips . Master Coo


Concierge D Epicure At L Chefs’ Talk Get Fresh . Food Matter Restaurant Eating Well

COVER: Awar Photos by Re Peter Bagi

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eat magazine march & april 2011

Cooking Classes with an International Flavour

Exceptional Eats! . . . . . . . .20 The winners of the 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards

On now at the Thrifty Foods Cooking and Lifestyle Centre delicious Indian and Thai classes. Learn to prepare delicious authentic international cuisine in your own kitchen.

Main Plates M. Tourigny

Spring Tease Recipes . . . . .26 Sushi Tips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Master Cooking Class . . . . .30

Tapas Rhubarb Galette recipe on pg. 28

Liquid Assets . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Island Wines & Drinks . . . .36 Wine + Terroir . . . . . . . . . . .38 Lamb & Asparaus Pairings .40 News from around BC . . . . .42

C. West

Concierge Desk . . . . . . . . . . 07 Epicure At Large . . . . . . . . . .10 Chefs’ Talk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Get Fresh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Food Matters . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Restaurant Reporter . . . . . . 16 Eating Well for Less . . . . . . .17

COVER: Awards results begin on page 20. Photos by Rebecca Wellman, Gary Hynes & Peter Bagi EAT is delivered to over 200 free pick-up locations in BC and through the Wednesday home delivery of the Globe and Mail. Read this QR code on your smart phone to see all the winners of the EE Awards. We use an iPhone app called ScanLife

Editor in Chief Gary Hynes Contributing Editor Carolyn Bateman, Vancouver Contributing Editor Julie Pegg Editorial Assistant/Web Editor Rebecca Baugniet Community Reporters Nanaimo: Karma Brophy, Tofino | Uclulet: Jen Dart, Vancouver: Julie Pegg, Okanagan: Jennifer Schell, Victoria Rebecca Baugniet Contributors Larry Arnold, Peter Bagi, Michelle Bouffard, Eva Cherneff, Jennifer Danter, Jen Dart, Pam Durkin, Gillie Easdon, Jeremy Ferguson, Nathan Fong, Holland Gidney, Tracey Kusiewicz, Kathryn Kusyszyn, Anya Levykh, Ceara Lornie, Denise Marchessault, Sherri Martin, Sandra McKenzie, Michaela Morris, Julie Pegg, Genevieve Laplante, Treve Ring, Solomon Siegel, Elizabeth Smyth, Adem Tepedelen, Michael Tourigny, Jenny Uechi Sylvia Weinstock, Rebecca Wellman, Caroline West, Melody Wey. FOR CONTRIBUTOR BIOS GO TO WWW.EATMAGAZINE.CA/CONTRIBUTORS

Publisher Pacific Island Gourmet | EAT ® is a registered trademark. Advertising: 250.384.9042, All departments: Box 5225, Victoria, BC, V8R 6N4, tel. 250-384-9042 Also visit: 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.

Visit for a list of all upcoming classes and convenient on-line registration. Or call 250-483-1222

Space is limited, reserve your seat today. MARCH | APRIL 2011


Marlisa Hollands Hollands, Sommelier

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Not just a Wine Bar

Open 7 nights Tues 5pm | midnight T ues - Sat 5pm | 10pm Sun-Mon 250.388.4222 1307 Gladstone A venue, V ictoria Avenue, Victoria www

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welcome to EAT


It’s been a busy time in the EAT offices as we’ve been furiously counting votes for the 2nd Annual Exceptional Eats! Readers’ Choice Awards—a mammoth undertaking. Why mammoth? Unlike most awards, where readers are forced to choose from a short-list of predetermined favourites, EAT readers were free to vote for whomever they liked. The result of all this unfettered choice? You were able to vote for the underdog and those businesses flying under the radar got a chance for recognition. But there was a price to pay in the busy offices of EAT. There is no computer program out there that will automatically tally these “freedom� votes, so our hard-working staff broke out the dark roast and, pen and paper in hand, counted each and every single vote by hand. Whew! But we’re done and the list of all the winners can be found starting on page 20 of this issue. Let me congratulate all the winners and thank the dozens of sponsors who provided the prizes for the draw. I’m also pleased to announce that the first ever EAT book, Island Wineries of British Columbia, has been published by Victoria’s own Touchwood Editions, and has hit the shelves of bookstores and retail shops around BC. Although I acted as point person and editorial director on the book, a team of EAT writers did the bulk of the writing—and I’m sure you’ll agree they all deserve a pat on the back for a job well done. As far as I know, this is the first book devoted solely to the wines of Vancouver Island and the Gulf islands. The book is meant to appeal to anyone—from the wine enthusiast or industry insider to anyone casually interested in what’s happening, wine-wise, in our own backyard. Want to tour the wine regions? We’ve provided a chapter (with maps) on that. The history and beginnings of grape growing on the island? Done. Detailed profiles of the top wineries? They’re all there. We’ve even given you descriptions of the unique grape varieties being grown here. But what’s wine without food? I’ve included a chapter on pairing Island wines with local foods—complete with kitchen-tested recipes from local restaurants and chefs. To round off this ode to local wine, we give a nod to the wine industry’s cousins—craft beer, meads, ciders, fruit wines and distilled spirits. I hope you get a chance to look this book over—we hope you like it enough to buy it (shameless pitch) and that you will find the book interesting and useful—a loving testament to a local industry that has come of age and values our support. Cheers - Gary Hynes, EAT editor.



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Letters I very much enjoy Eat Magazine. I pick up my copy at Niagara Grocery in Victoria. It was a surprise and disappointing to me that Kathryn didn't mention Niagara Grocery in the Care-free Gluten-free article. I would think it would have been helpful to your readers to know that thiscommunity owner/operator store carries over 180 gluten-free products. It is a one-stop shop for my family. —Drena Young

The Sticky Wicket & The Clubhouse at The Strathcona Hotel 919 Douglas Street Victoria BC 250.383.7137


CORRECTION: In our Care-free Gluten-free article in the January-February 2011 issue, the name of one of the bakeries wasn't quite accurate. The name is Origin Gluten-Free Bakery (not Origin Bakery). As well, recipes for the bakery's products are developed by both pastry chef Tara Black and co-owner Marion Neuhauser, not just Black as originally reported.

Fabulous features every day of the week!

organic bakery & cafĂŠ

Proudly milling Vancouver island grown wheat Using 99% locally grown and certified organic ingredients 1517 Quadra Street Victoria, BC


Monday to Friday 7:30am to 6pm Saturday 8am to 5pm

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Can you tell we’re blushing with pride?

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Well, we are rather pleased. Our sales were up over 50% for 2010! That made Speedway one of the fastest growing Audi stores in Canada. Thanks Victoria! We’d like to think our success is a testament to our fabulous lineup of Audis and the knowledgeable, attentive service given by our Audi team. In fact, our customers gave us a satisfaction rating of 96% for 2010! Gosh — thanks again. With stunning design, meticulous craftsmanship, and technical excellence, is it any wonder Audi is the fastest growing luxury brand in Victoria, Canada and beyond? See what the automotive press and our customers are raving about. Come to Speedway and experience Audi today.

Foreground from left: Sales Associates Matt Kennard, Kelly Kerr, David Vollet and Tyson Johnson with Vice President & GM Carl Munro (left) and Sales Manager Greg Brady. PHOTO BY GARY MCKINSTRY

Creative courtesy of Boulevard





SPRING CLA Two classes include Let's what Chef Ka the weekend on Mar 22. after the spri ing light and the techniqu meals withou (www.triacul

Culinary intelligence for the 2 months ahead

the concierge desk

by Rebecca Baugniet

For more events visit

March WHISKY AT THE WICK This two-night vacation package is designed for whisky lovers to appreciate The Macallan in the beachfront setting of the Wickaninnish Inn. J. Wheelock, Canadian Brand Ambassador for the centuriesold Scottish distillery, will travel to the Inn to host an afternoon tasting of five premium Macallan whiskies. Later that evening, Chef Nick Nutting and the acclaimed kitchen brigade of The Pointe Restaurant will prepare a four-course Scottish-themed dinner. The highlight of the evening will be the unveiling of a unique and rare bottling from Wedlock’s personal collection for guests to enjoy as a special nightcap. Mar 5 2011. ( ALM WORKSHOPS The ALM Organic Farm (Sooke, BC) is offering a great series of spring workshops: Salad Throughout the Seasons on Mar 19, an Edible/Medicinal Herb Walk on Mar 20, Grow Amazing Tomatoes on Mar 26, and Plant Propagation on Apr 16. Classes are $40 - $55 per person. For complete class details and to register, visit

SPRING CLASSES AT TRIACULINARY Two classes at Triaculinary (Comox Valley) include Let's Just Cook! on Mar 15, based on what Chef Kathy picks up at the market on the weekend. Also offered is Lean and Light on Mar 22. Spring into summer one day after the spring equinox with a day of cooking light and lean. In this class, you'll learn the techniques needed to create flavourful meals without all the fat. (

CERTIFIED ORGANIC ASSOCIATIONS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (COABC): THE NEXT GENERATION CONFERENCE THE NEXT GENERATION is the theme of the Certified Organic Associations of BC annual conference, to be held at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney, B.C., Mar 4-6. The conference will offer a series of practical and interactive workshops covering topics of interest to the general public as well as farmers and processors. In addition to production-oriented topics such as “Livestock from field to plate” and "Innovative cover cropping and conservation tillage systems", there will be sessions on issues such as creating a successful farm apprenticeship program, land ownership options, and energy efficiency on the farm. The workshop program and registration form are posted on COABC’s website at For more information, contact the Conference Coordinator: Lee Fuge. (Email or Phone: 250-385-7974) CALIFORNIA WINE FAIR 2011 Now in its 31st year of touring across Canada, the 2011 California Wine Fair boasts 350 wines from 100 wineries throughout the Golden State. All under one roof, the range of wines includes products currently available in the market to new vintages and varietals that have yet to be released in the Canadian market. 600 guests sample wines, and bid on silent auction items including many of the hard-to-find wines featured at the tasting. Mar 11 at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre. $65. ( CULINAIRE The second annual Culinaire event will provide Victorians the opportunity to savour signature menu items and inspired dishes from an abundant selection of restaurants, lounges, pubs, cafes, specialty food producers, and sip from a fine selection of local and regional wines and craft beers. Proceeds benefit the annual scholarship program at Camosun College’s Culinary Arts Program. For full event details and a current list of who will be presenting visit

for a good cause

6TH ANNUAL DINING OUT FOR LIFE On Mar 24, 70 restaurants from across Vancouver Island will donate $25 of their food bills to AIDS Vancouver Island. Diners will have the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win a cruise from event sponsor Expedia Cruiseship Centres, and Stella Artois will also donate $1 from each of their beers sold in participating restaurants. Visit for a list of participating restaurants.



A Local Story. Eric Whitehead of Untamed Feast watches the forest fire season closely and quietly, planning his next move. A few months later he disappears deep into coastal BC forests and emerges with baskets of fire morels we use in our creations. Wilderness locations and hard hiking. Just one of the stories that make up our plates each day.

Stunning Views Lunch • Dinner • Sushi • Sunday Brunch

250-598-8555 1327 Beach Drive at the Oak Bay Marina 8


PICA SPRING BREAK TEEN CAMP Spring break teen camp 2011 is all about international cuisine. Join us for a week of internationally inspired menus along with a local tour of the Granville Island Public Market & Fishermen's Wharf and Dining Etiquette Workshop and Lunch in Bistro 101 (Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts' student operated restaurant). Includes all supplies and ingredients and Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts' logo apron. Mar 21-25. $450. 2011 VANCOUVER PLAYHOUSE INTERNATIONAL WINE FESTIVAL The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival is one of the biggest and oldest wine events in the world, offering something for every level of wine drinker, collector and trade professional. Winery principals (winemaker, proprietor, senior executive) from selected wineries and countries will be in attendance to pour and discuss their wines from Mar 28- Apr 3. ( EAT MAGAZINE SPONSORED EVENT: WINE'S F-WORD F is for the fabulous and flexible flavours of fortified wines. This is an extremely versatile and exclusive global family, including Ports, Sherries, and Madeiras, as well as the captivating sweet wines from the south of France. DJ Kearney, Chef, Wine Consultant and Journalist, leads this romp through wine’s F-words, joined by the now-legendary panel of chefs: Julian Bond, Executive Chef, Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts; Tony Lawrence, Philadelphia’s A Chef For You; Blair Rasmussen, Executive Chef, Vancouver Convention Centre; and Dino Renaerts, Executive Chef and Owner, Fraîche. You may find yourself using the F-word in a whole new way! Apr 2. ( BATTLE OF THE AGES Taste cheeses from the freshest creamiest chevre, to crunchy, salty, aged, raw milk cheddar. Pair these & 6 more artisan cheeses with a compliment of Matt Phillip's craft brews including a vertical of Phillips Barley Wine and some of their brand new 2011 beers. If you think wine & cheese tasting is a revelation & a good time, beer & cheese pairing will open up a whole new world... of taste & good times. Finish the night with a antipasto selection of cured meats & accompaniments from Ottavio. Thursday March 31st from 7-9pm. Tickets available at Phillips Brewing 2210 Government St. & Ottavio Italian Bakery 2272 Oak Bay Ave. $40/person


FRENCH WINE SCHOLAR COURSE Take your passion for French wines to a new level with an in-depth 8-week course that explores the history and terroir of French


Specializing Spe cializin ng in

»RResidential esidential & Commer Commercial cial interiors riors »SSpace pace planning »Colour consultation »CCustom ustom kitchen design Spice up your kitchen colour!

Sheri Peterson Tel: 250-388-6167 Fax: 250-388-6069

wine regions. Students will have the opportunity to taste many unique wines not currently available on the island and the option to write a final exam to become a certified French Wine Scholar. This class is ideal for anyone currently pursuing Sommelier or WSET Diploma designations. Classes run Tuesdays from, excluding Easter and Victoria Day and are held at the Coast Hotel. (call/email Mark Shipway or, or 1-800-6677288 to register) KAMLOOPS WINE FESTIVAL The Kamloops Wine Festival (Apr 7-15) has grown into a spectacular multi-faceted celebration of wine. Throughout the festival there will be wine information seminars, such as wine pairings and best-value wines, and local restaurants create special menus to complement BC wines. The festival culminates with the signature event, the Consumer Tasting, on Apr 15 at the Kamloops Convention Centre, which features samplings of the best B.C. wines, a special selection of international wines, fine food, cooking demonstrations and entertainment. ( NK'MIP RESORT WINE CRAWL Sip and sample your way through Nk'Mip Resort. Nk'Mip Cellars will pair their finest award winning wines with an exquisite selection of freshly prepared local cuisine at different stations throughout the Resort. Apr 30. WILD FOOD EXPERIENCE On Apr 30, join renowned chef, author and mycologist Bill Jones as he leads you on a unique wild food experience. Forage food display, show and tell, guided forage and a delicious meal to top it all off. $125/person (plus Tax) Contact and reservation Info: Bill Jones 250-748-7450 to book or for further information.




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epicure at large

— by Jeremy Ferguson


Crispy, crackly, rich and flavourful—the lowly skin of a beast can be a wondrous delicacy. Last Christmas dinner was prepared by my brother-in-law Ian Clemens, a banker and a chef of surprising enterprise and stamina. He began with torchon of foie gras, bolstering the sentiment that the fatted duck liver is the cocaine of cuisine. He followed with turkey. I don’t much like turkey: my sensitive ears curl up at the flatulence that rocks Canadian homes with seismic fury on December 25. But this was an Island turkey roasted with considerable affection, and a good one as turkeys go. My chunk of bird arrived in a mantle of skin, golden-brown, as crisp as a potato chip, and mighty tasty. I tore into it with a crrrunch that turned heads at the table. Then I returned the rest to the serving platter and begged for more skin. A few years ago, my wife and I spent a few days at Les Prés d’ Eugénie, the spa and restaurant complex Peking Duck owned by chef Michel Guerard, two hours south of Bordeaux. Guerard is the chef who created Lean Cuisine and is appalled by what the American food industry has done with it. Les Prés d’ Eugénie, a Rélais & Chateaux property, covers 16 hectares. It’s a theme park dedicated to sybaritism and set among lawns and palms and jaunty nymphs. Guerard operates four restaurants. The main building, dating to 1862 and used as a Nazi headquarters during the Second World War, houses the main restaurant, where a brigade of 25 chefs toils in two separate kitchens. But we liked his Ferme Aux Grives, his “country” restaurant, better. We arrived to find a suckling pig turning golden-brown on a spit in the massive stone fireplace. The skin of this fantastical suckling pig was served in planks. How could the skin of a pig emerge so wondrous a delicacy? Tojo’s, Vancouver’s famous Japanese restaurant, does a fabulous business in B.C. rolls. The secret of the B.C. roll is salmon skin crisped on the barbecue grill. This is a prime use of a west coast resource: B.C. is not exactly short of salmon skin. Expertly scaled and with just enough fat for a crisp-and-soft consistency, salmon skin stands alone. I grill salmon fillets over charcoal, and as it cooks, pull the skin away well before it turns into a chip. The skin can be a tad acidic, but that’s the fatty omega-3 acids that are so good for us. And did you know salmon skin’s good for the dog? The oils, apparently, improve a pooch’s complexion. The ritual of Peking duck ranks as one of the great, ancient, classical dishes of Middle Kingdom cooking. Nobody knows how to roast a duck like the Chinese, who have for centuries understood the harmony of fire, fat and flesh. In Hong Kong’s New Territories—the buffer zone between the city and the People’s Republic—at Shatin 18, the restaurant in the Hyatt Sha Tin hotel, duck rules the roast. Chef Nelson Zou’s Peking duck is the best I’ve ever encountered, a five-course procession in which the bird’s skin is honoured as best bite. Such a skin—so crisp, so crackling, so fragrant, so flavourful. Little wonder the restaurant goes through 30 ducks a day. My wife opts for a French treatment. She buys Brome Lake duck breasts at Thrifty’s. She brines them in a solution of kosher salt, brown sugar and rosemary. She places them skin-side-down in a medium-hot pan until the fat is rendered and the heavenly skin turns crisp. Then she finishes them in the oven until the flesh is melting and pink under that crust of skin. Of all the skins of all the birds in all the world, duck is the champ. I’m for skin, but not in every case: I ate an armadillo in Guatemala once; its skin was like breaking into a Brinks truck. There was zebra skin in Tanzania; I feared the stripes would get in my food traps. Yubiki is a salad made from cold, blotched fugu (pufferfish) skin served in Japan, and I wasn’t crazy about that, either. And, oh yes, that guinea pig I ate in the Peruvian Andes in a traditional Inca dish called cuy? The skin had the consistency of an old canvas suitcase.

BC Cult Winery at the Marina Restaurant April 14, 6:00pm join John Skinner of Painted Rock Winery at The Marina Restaurant for a five course paired dinner, 250.598.8555 for reservations. ($95 inclusive of tax & gratuity, limited seats). For more on Painted Rock:




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"What do you eat for breakfast and where do you like to go” Sheena Hogan Haro’s Restaurant (The Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa), 250.655.9700. "I always look to my own back yard in Sidney. I can never go wrong with the Beacon & Eggs Meat Lover's Scramble served with local sausage, crispy home fries & hollandaise. It makes for a great start to the day!" David Mincey Camille's Restaurant, 250.381.3433 Paige and I like to go to the Sunnyside Cafe on Esquimalt Road. A tiny little place with no kitchen to speak of. Fantastic breakfasts all cooked in front of you on a series of hot plates! Friendly staff, outdoor patio, ridiculously fast service, just a short walk from our house and the food is amazing. What more could you want? Jena Stewart Devour Food, 250.590.3231 Growing up with the WASP family roots my favourite will always be porridge. Yup, I love it. It keeps me going in the kitchen for hours at a time. I am picky about porridge, so I never order it out-- just mine. No brown sugar, good maple syrup, apples and pecans or what ever we have on hand. I wake up looking forward to it. Genevieve Laplante Sips Artisan Bistro, 250.590.3519 I love breakfast! A good friend of mine recently taught me how to make Venezuelan style arepas and I'm in love with them. Arepas are little pockets made from corn flour, fried, baked and then can be filled. I love them with scrambled eggs, avocado and smoked chili sauce. They warm your hands as you eat them. They're super easy to make and if anyone wants to know how, let me know! Anna Hunt Paprika Bistro, 250.592.7424 I am terrible: I very rarely remember to eat breakfast, but I do enjoy a breakfast sandwich from Relish when downtown in the morning. Peter De Bruyn Sticky Wicket Pub and Restaurant, 250.383.7137 Lady Marmalade is a great place for breakfast. The cinnamon bun French toast was truly spectacular, decadent and over the top. Going out to eat needs to tantalize the senses and not just simply fill the stomach. Matthew Rissling The Marina Restaurant, 250.598.8555 The breakfast sandwich at Demitasse on Broad St. is killer (fried eggs and mayo are always good together) and of course the Marble Arch on Tillicum Road is my go-to Chinese/Canadian greasy spoon. I tend to go for pretty simple fare—eggs over-easy, buttered toast, ham or bacon and coffee. Garrett Schack Vista 18, 250.382.9258 Breakfast is my favourite part of the day. It’s about the only meal I eat sitting down! At home it’s usually some sort of cold breakfast cereal, or sometimes some scrambled eggs and toast, but most importantly a strong cup of black coffee! When I go out its always the Blue Fox! Large hand cut hash browns, perfectly cooked bacon and over-easy eggs! Great breakfast and great service—thanks Ros! Laurie Munn Cafe Brio, 250.383.0009 I usually don't go anywhere for breakfast because I spend the mornings with my daughter Sadie. Although you can't beat a Sausage McMuffin with egg and hash browns from McDonalds. At home I usually have a pot of coffee and a bowl of fruit with yogurt, and Sadie is fond of ‘bucket’ eggs (hardboiled) and fishy crackers (cheddar goldfish). Weekends are usually pancakes as they are Sadie’s favorite. Christabel Padmore Chuleta by the Little Piggy, 250.483.4171 I get pretty testy when asked to queue first thing in the morning, so for the most part my husband and I take turns making breakfast at home. I usually make huevos rancheros and he makes a British fry-up. That said, when we’re in the mood to go out, we go for dim sum, usually at Don Mee’s or the Jade Fountain. Dim sum is also a fun choice for Little Piggy staff parties. Lisa Ahier Sobo, 250.725.2341 Farmer Ben’s eggs fried with chopped onions and chilies at my stove before I get hit with lunch tickets. Brock Windsor Stone Soup Inn, 250.749.3848 I go to Saison Bakery most sundays for awesome pastries, breads and breakfast goodies. It has only been open less that two years but is a definite Vancouver Island foodie stop. It's a vineyard as well! Ben Peterson Heron Rock Bistro, 250.383.1545 I usually eat breakfast at work, on my feet. I’ll eat a Breakfast Buddy (McMuffin-style breakfast sandwich) or some granola/yogurt/fruit combo. I like places that are inconspicuous but scrumptious like Dish Cookhouse and Diner or Paul's Motor Inn. However, cooking up a feast at home for my special lady is my favourite.

fresh flavours, casual comfort, genuine service

brunch isn’t dead, it just slept in

Come in to Haro’s at The Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa every Saturday and Sunday beginning at 11 for Chef Sheena’s favorite new brunch creations. The menu includes everything from traditional Eggs Benny to "Haro's Rancheros", plus all of our regular all day menu items. A great day begins at Haro’s. Make your reservation now! Call 250.655.9700 Brunch served from 11am - 2pm every Saturday & Sunday Complimentary Underground Parking • MARCH | APRIL 2011


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What could be more seasonal and local than dandelions? Their jagged-edged leaves, flower buds, fuzzy yellow flowers and roots offer unique culinary possibilities. Although some people curse their tenacious proliferation, dandelions are valuable food plants with numerous medicinal properties. Those who consider them a nuisance may be surprised that this perennial herb is widely cultivated. The greens have become so popular they are available in local farmer’s markets. And while the fluffy white parachute-shaped seeds that form a dandelion’s puffball head aren’t edible, they are useful for creating new plants and making wishes. Dandelion roots should be harvested in the summer or fall when their bitterness peaks. They can be eaten as a cooked vegetable. Or roast and grind the roots to make a caffeine-free coffee substitute that tastes similar to chicory coffee. Brew the root grounds on their own, combine them with chicory, brew them with coffee or add dandelion root coffee to hot chocolate. In the early spring, try tender new dandelion buds, the sweetest parts of the plant. They can be used as a garnish or added to salads and soups. The golden flowers should be harvested when they are fully opened. Make your morning scrambled eggs sunnier by adding buds and flowers. For dandelion flower fritters, dip flowers in a batter made of 1 beaten egg, 1 cup milk and 1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. Drop battered blossoms into hot cooking oil in a deep fryer and fry until lightly browned; drain on paper towels. To make dandelion blossom syrup, boil 4 cups dandelion flowers in 4 cups of water. Cool and steep overnight. Press liquid from the flowers and reserve. Add a chopped unpeeled orange and 4 cups of sugar to the liquid. Simmer several hours until the mixture is reduced to the consistency of honey. Use the syrup in baklava, on pancakes or in any recipe that calls for syrup.

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

Tea Artistry Silk Road Teas are created and blended in Victoria. Tea can be rich and pungent or delicate and subtle. The Silk Road art of tea blending ensures that the character of the plant retains its essential harmony and is enhanced by the ingredients with which it is paired. Select botanicals from around the world, as well as the West Coast, are carefully cured and prepared to yield a superb tea experience. 1624 Government St. Victoria Chinatown

Dandelion wine is made with dandelion flowers, honey, water, yeast, oranges and/or lemons, ginger or cinnamon. Raspberries, strawberries or golden raisins are alternative additions. Tender young dandelion greens, harvested in early spring before the plants flower, are deliciously bitter (think chicory or escarole). Use them raw in salads with lamb’s lettuce, watercress, endive or with sweeter salad greens. Their bitterness marries well with bacon or chorizo, sautéed shallots and garlic in a salad drizzled with walnut oil balsamic vinaigrette. Older greens, harvested after the plant has flowered, should be blanched to remove their bitterness before using them in cooking. Dump the bitter water, and blanch them a second time. Sauté or steam the greens and use them in any recipe that calls for leafy greens. Try cooked greens in vegetable ravioli or lasagna, in a warm salad with seared scallops, sautéed shallots and roast potatoes, or with sautéed squid and chilies. The nutritious leaves are high in the antioxidant vitamins A, E and C. They are a good source of B-complex vitamins and are high in magnesium, iron and copper. Dent de lion (lion’s tooth) is the French word for dandelion. Its alternate French name, pissenlit, meaning “wet the bed,” and its vulgar English name “piss-abed,” refer to its diuretic properties. Crème de pissenlits (cream of dandelion soup) is a traditional French recipe. Trim, wash and blanch 6 cups dandelion greens in a pot of boiling salted water. Drain thoroughly. Chop greens and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add greens, the cleaned, sliced white parts of 2 large leeks, 6 cloves of garlic minced and 1 diced carrot and cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes. Add 4 cups vegetable stock and simmer 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Whisk in 2 1/2 cups milk or 2 cups half-and-half cream and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened. Puree the cooled mixture in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard. Serve garnished with flower petals and buds and float a few dandelion flower fritters on each bowl of creamy green soup. MARCH | APRIL 2011


food matters

— by Julie Pegg


Cooked with patience and attention, risotto delivers.




My initial experience with risotto in a backstreet osteria in Venice didn’t look promising. I had serious misgivings about the grainy grey puddle topped with a green/black blob of—what? And what was I supposed to eat it with? Spoon? Fork? Finally I dug in. My doubts were needless. I was bowled over by both texture and flavour. Rice, firm yet creamy, melded seamlessly with the delicate broth, red wine (to which, I presumed, the risotto owed its murky appearance) and aged Parmigiano. The blob was earthy, barely wilted spinach. The silky, nutty dish was delicious. Once I returned home, I ordered the dish again. It looked nice but tasted like tomato-laden glue. Then again, that was more than a dozen years ago and certainly not Venice. Risotto, which did finally make its way across the pond, is easy enough to make, although it can be tricky to master. When you’ve nailed it once, however, making all manner of risotti is as easy as AVC (Arborio, Vialone Nano, Carnaroli) … It’s much ado about the rice, you see. Risotto owes its roots to the more northerly regions of Italy, where rice outgrows wheat, mainly in the Po Valley. Short grain rice, due to its high starch content, allows for a suitable absorption of liquid. The ideal rices are Arborio, Vialone Nano and Carnaroli. Workhorse Arborio “superfine” is the most economical but cannot withstand overcooking. Expensive Vialone Nano turns out a superb risotto but can be a little temperamental in the pan. Therefore, some measure of finesse is necessary. Carnaroli (my favourite) balances the two. It costs a bit more that Arborio, is more forgiving than Vialone Nano, and delivers perfect creaminess while the grains remain al dente. No matter which of the three you choose, with a little practice and patience your risotto will result in a sublime marriage of starch and broth. Basic risotto, like pasta, cozies up to a number of vegetables—particularly wild mushrooms, but squash and fennel are also popular, and here and there fish or meat. I find tomato is best left to the noodle. The broth may be beef, chicken, fish (for seafood risotto) or vegetable. (Venetian Risi Bisi—a soupy mixture of rice and peas—relies on the water used to boil the peas.) As the days turn warmer, risotti made with tender asparagus, petits pois or tender spinach are superb. Slivers of fried pancetta make a nice addition. Although Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is de rigueur in risotto, I find grating a milder cheese such as fontina or asiago into the mixture gives spring risotto a lift. Crumbled sheep feta, along with a splash of fresh lemon juice into pea or asparagus risotto, is a splendid alternative to Italian cheeses. I like to make risotto at home, rather than order it in a restaurant. For one thing, few chefs (note I did not say all) can afford the 25 minutes of TLC that risotto requires. I find it far more pleasant to spend that time (and far less money) sautéing vegetables, toasting rice, going with the rhythm of adding and stirring broth, gauging the risotto’s progress, sipping on a glass of wine as aromas waft about the kitchen—maybe nibbling a couple of olives, perhaps chatting with a guest or my husband, who has offered kindly to toss the salad. Putting together risotto is very soothing and social that way. Variations on the theme of preparing risotto are many. The following tips have, for me, worked very well. The rice pretty much does all the work to deliver a full-bodied, creamy, al dente risotto. I use olive oil, forgoing butter. Shallots or leeks deliver a less strident note than onion and/or garlic in spring and summer risottos. I splash a bit of room temperature wine at the beginning and add the remaining wine the recipe calls for along with the final ladle of broth. Finally, I blend in the cheese and never finish the dish with cream. Salt, pepper and fresh herbs (if using) are added at the end. A good quality purchased broth, diluted with a cup or so of water, is best unless homemade stock is completely free of “bits.” Often thought of as a side dish (particularly for osso bucco) or first course, a fine risotto, cooked slow and low, needs no other actors. Allow it to be the star of the stage.



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chocolatier + patissier + cafe coming soon to alberni street MARCH | APRIL 2011


restaurant reporter Wild spring salmon with piperrada and roasted potatoes; scallops baked with Serrano ham, creamed leeks and truffle oil.

Cold smoked albacore tuna with preserved lemon, marcona almonds, green olives and arbequina olive oil.

A slice of European coffee house culture at Tre Fantastico Pictured: The Charcuterie Board.

Tre Fantastico | Parkside Victoria Resort on Humboldt Street | 250.590.8014 Rebecca Wellman


When you hear “Caffe Fantastico” what do you think? Artisan roasted coffee or funky & eclectic coffee shops? Maybe you think of sitting outside sipping the perfect Americano at the Cook St Village location on a warm summers day. But how about a pincha of beer, or perhaps chocolate mousse and a glass of red wine? Well it seems that Caffe Fantastico has stepped up their game once again and are offering a slice of European culture at their newest location at the Parkside Resort. Christy and Ryan Taylor have continued in the vein

Ferris’ Upstairs Oyster Bar | 536 Yates St.| Sundays 5-11 p.m.| 250-382-2344 | It’s Sunday. You want something. Maybe you’re not quite done with the weekend. Or maybe Sunday is your Friday and you’re just starting your weekly break. You want to go out, enjoy great food and a drink, perhaps find something new, exciting even. But on a Sunday? Victoria’s culinary options are limited on the seventh day. But there is somewhere you can go, somewhere easy, welcoming and tasty. Bienvenidos Seville Sundays at Ferris’ Upstairs Oyster Bar. Spanish guitar strumming in the background, I’m curled into a black sofa. The warm lighting, aged exposed brick and high ceilings set the tone for at least a couple of hours spent wrapping my lips around more than a few of the 28 tapas selections, a glass of wine or a sherry perhaps. This handsome room is easily one of the most welcoming and “stay-a-while” venues in Victoria. We started with the banderillas of cippolini onions with Pedro Ximénez syrup, then moved on to dried apricot and manchego cheese, salt cod brandada with sherry vinegar and Arbequina olive oil, and scallops baked with Serrano ham, creamed leeks and truffle oil. The brandada was delectable and delicate and served with crostini. We opted for the spoon instead of the toasts. The tepid, gentle, lush cod dip revealed itself better without the dry crunch in the way. The banderillas were pretty to look at, but to get the best bite, you needed to cut a piece of each ingredient off the skewer, so it turned out to be more fiddly and pedestrian than hoped. The scallops, plump and firm and nestled in the rich leeks, won this round.



The truffle oil was as understated as it can be, and scrumptious. The Serrano ham, presented like a bright comb in a flamenco dancer’s hair, was crisp and salty. Then we reclined with our wine. No need to talk. I love this room. Again, the Spanish guitar clacks its beauty. Why isn’t this place packed on Sundays? ¿Por qué? This shouldn’t be a well-kept secret. It should be a bit of solid, fast-flying, satisfying gossip. And so, what’s next? The papas bravas with spicy tomato sauce and smoked paprika aioli. Oven-roasted wild prawns with smoked paprika, potatoes, chorizo and olive oil. Fanny Bay oysters baked with espelette chili and lemon. Beef short ribs braised with mushrooms, pancetta, fresh sage, brandy and cream. Did I mention they don’t have a kitchen up there? Just a few burners? I will sit at the bar and watch next time. The papas were delicious, but not as fine as that smoked paprika aioli. I could swim in that. The wild prawns were enormous and juicy, and when eaten with the chorizo—oh my. We skipped the potatoes they came with. The baked oysters were good, but quite lemony. The beef short ribs were deep and winter-comfort-food yummy, but that was not what I was in the mood for. Not in Seville. I wanted more fish and seafood and cheese and wine and music. The space itself invites and incites you to stay and wait until you are hungry again to try more. That is rare in Victoria. Take yourself to Seville. Just for a Sunday. –Gillie Easdon

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of design and aesthetic, which started at their Dockside location and infused it with some downto-earth elements. Beautiful slabs of Live Edge wood for tabletops, solid walnut upper bar and floor to ceiling windows that flood the café with gobs of natural light. A perfect setting for a casual drink and some bistro inspired food. Dishes like roasted beet salad, Red Devil ale sausage with grainy Dijon, a charcuterie board and fresh pastas are just some of the tasty bites coming out of the kitchen. This is the kind of food that pairs perfectly with wine and beer. We’ve seen the “small plates” concept become very popular lately but where can you get a small charcuterie board and a glass of red for $10? Or pincha of Driftwood Ale (6 oz glass) & house-made pretzel for $3? The idea behind Caffe Fantastico’s new café concept, Tre Fantastico, was to do exactly this. Offer a beautiful space, great small bites and a selection of beers & wine at reasonable prices. With coffee also being a very prominent feature this ties into the “Tre” concept of focusing on three drinks. Whatever draws you into Tre Fantastico I think you’ll discover that you’ve found your new favourite café. —Peter Bagi

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Sura | 1696 Douglas St. at Fisgard | 250.385.7878 Douglas at Fisgard houses an enticing row of Asian restaurant: one Korean, one Thai and one Vietnamese. The northernmost is Sura Korean Restaurant and its best bargain, among several good options, is the bibimbob. I am thrilled by this find. Bibimbob is a rice bowl topped with, in one version, thinly sliced beef, shiitake mushroom, glass noodles, and shredded cabbage, carrots and lettuce, crowned with a glistening fried egg. This is an inherently flavourful mix of ingredients, but Koreans then add a sauce—sesame sauce or hot sauce—and toss it all together. What’s important about bibimbob is not just the contents, but the bowl it’s in. If you order the “dol sot” category of bibimbob, you get a dark stone bowl so hot the rice crackles and the food is still hot half an hour later. An added charm here is the traditional side dishes included in the price: the famous Korean marinated cabbage called kim chi, touted as a cancer fighter; spinach in ponzu sauce, a delicate mix of soy and sesame; bean sprouts lightly salted with sea salt and tossed with sesame oil; and potatoes slow-cooked in a sweetened soy mixture. Brace yourself: they bring refills of the side dishes and all lunch menu dishes are under $11. The menu also includes a vegetarian bibimbob. For a leisurely dinner, the barbecue

organic bakery now open sundays! freshly baked bread, croissants, pastries, pizzas & sandwiches tuesday to saturday 7:30am - 5:00pm sunday 8:00 am - 4:00pm 101-398 harbour rd, victoria b.c.

Cont’d on the next page MARCH | APRIL 2011


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Classic living is an easy read.

Eames® walnut stool and Eames lounge chair and ottoman

A comfortable chair. A convenient side table. Ample light. All you need to

Rebecca Wellmam

make your corner of the universe a window on the world. Call or visit our showroom. Or go online. And settle in for a good

(l) Prime rib beef ribs marinated in Korean BBQ sauce. (r) Lemon Chicken at Sura Rebecca Wellmam

long read.

589 Bay St, Victoria | 250-384-2554 Visit us online

combinations for two to five people look intriguing. They work out to $20 or under per person and include a broad variety of dishes, such as dumplings, soup, salad, lemon chicken, tempura and seafood pancake. And that’s before the meat even comes. For this kind of meal, you are smart to reserve so you can get a special table designed for barbecuing.

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Rebecca Wellmam




Create your dream registry at Muffet & Louisa.

Create in-stores & online, Victoria, 1437 Store St. 250 382-3201 Sidney, 2506 Beacon Ave. 250 656-0011

Yellow curry with chicken and prawns, green beans, onion, carrot, green onion and coconut milk served on rice at Sod-Sai Thai

Sod-Sai Thai | 1692 Douglas St. at Fisgard | 250.388.9517 Next is Sod-Sai Thai whose decor and food are simple and fresh. On the lunch menu, rice dishes and pad thai hover around the $9 mark, and curries go up to $11. All lunch menu dishes provide a balanced meal eaten on their own, but a lovely combination if you’re sharing with a group would be the basil rice, Panang curry, Phad Phed and yellow curry. The Panang curry, a colourful jumble of green beans, red peppers, grated carrot and the protein of your choice, has a rich and creamy coconut-milk-based sauce. The peanut flavour is a welcomed topnote for the creamy base. A good complement is the Phad Phed, a Cont’d on the next page



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sweeter curry with no coconut milk. The basil rice, with cauliflower, cabbage, red pepper, broccoli, and onion, is perfect for those craving their veggies. I learned during my visit that pad thai is not the first go-to dish for Thai people – curry and rice are. Apparently it’s Westerners who drive the demand for pad thai, and I am among them. This one, while sweet for my palate, was enticing to my young daughter. Same with the spring roll. I found it bland; my daughter wanted more. A highlight of the meal for me was my first foray into Thai iced tea. Roasted tea is blended with condensed milk, creating a deep russet-coloured beverage. Be adventurous here—after all, it’s only $2.50. The atmosphere is cheap and cheerful, with lovely fabric on the tables and intricate mirrors in the back room.

Rebecca Wellmam

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(l) Fresh salad roll with pork and shrimp. (r) Family dinner: hot and sour soup with shrimp, veg and tamarind flavored broth; fillet sea bass marinated, cooked in clay pot with rice noodles.

Green Leaf Bistro, 1684 Douglas St. at Fisgard, 250. 590.8302

Rebecca Wellmam

A week after eating here, I am still dreaming of the vermicelli with stir-fried lemongrass chicken. The chicken is redolent with lemongrass, used not as an accent but as an assertive seasoning. The dish comes with a rice vinegar sauce, which I was hesitant to use until I realized it wasn’t going to drown out the fragrant lemongrass. Another stand-alone dish worth trying is the Vietnamese savoury crêpe on the appetizer menu. I was expecting a dainty French-style pancake and what I got was a massive, 12-inch crêpe fried golden brown and stuffed fat with bean sprouts, shredded pork and a few shrimp. Pho, the traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, was fine but not a standout like the lemongrass chicken. What did stand out was the fact that for $4 they do a children’s pho. Thank you, Green Leaf Bistro, for your consideration (I can hardly spoon noodles into my own mouth let alone get them into a small bowl for my child). The real showstopper for me was the Family Dinner, a prosaic name for something very special indeed. A waft of cilantro preceded the arrival of the tamarind-based hot and sour soup, the dinner’s first course. Next came a caramelized filet of sea bass in a hot clay pot at $20.95. It was black and sticky, sprinkled with pepper, and came with a choice of noodles or rice. My enjoyment was marred only by the ensuing competition between me and my husband over who would get the most. Despite the low prices (most items on the dinner menu are under $10), the food presentation is lovely. Get here soon.

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Join us at Cascadia Liquor Stores for an Island Wineries of British Columbia book signing and a tasting of local wine. Saturday, March 5, 2-4pm at Cascadia Quadra Village, #4 - 2631 Quadra Street, Victoria, (250) 590-1940 Saturday, March 19, 2-4pm at Cascadia Colwood, Hatley Park Plaza - 2244 Sooke Road, Victoria, (250) 478-1303 MARCH | APRIL 2011


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Rebecca Wellman

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You voted for your favourites—the best places to eat, dine, and shop for food and wine on Vancouver Island—and here are your results to all thirty-two questions. Taken together, they make a delicious snapshot of a moment in our culinary times. There are no losers; we all win by shining the spotlight on a robust and healthy food scene on the Island. Our neighbours can only drool with envy. Not only do we get the mildest climate in the country but we also have some of the best food products around for our chefs, vintners and brewers to create with. In looking over the tally of votes it’s immediately clear that ours is a not food scene controlled by big corporate enterprise with profits sent to head offices

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Specialty Food Shop or Deli Ottavio Italian Bakery & Delicatessen (GOLD) Charelli’s Cheese Shop and Delicatessen (SILVER) Blair Mart (BRONZE)

You are totally transfixed by the wall of olive oil selections. What store are you in?


• The Market on Yates & Millstream • Mediterranean Speciality Foods (Lakehill Grocery)

• Italian Food Import • Plenty Epicurean Pantry

Ottavio Italian Bakery and Delicatessen (2278 Oak Bay Ave.) has been providing the city with specialty items since 1997, now offering more than 200 artisanal cheeses, unique cured meats (including their famous house-cured prosciutto), tasty prêt-à-manger options in the freezer, and imported goods. Their licensed café and terrazzo is always bustling; their annual events, such as the Big Cheese Cut (April), Festa Italiana (June) and Oktoberfest (September) entertain and educate, while their active participation in local projects such as the Victoria Downtown Public Market Society and the ICC’s Local Food Fest bolster the food community. Charelli’s Cheese Shop and Delicatessen (2851 Foul Bay Rd.) opened in 2003 and has been inserting a little slice of Old Europe into Victoria ever since. Known almost as well for the friendly and helpful service as for their excellent cheese and deli selections, this is also a popular spot for lunchtime sandwiches and prepared cheese platters. Charelli’s offers catering, gift packaging and other culinary services as well as culinary exploration and education in their C-One Tasting Room. Blair Mart (924 Pandora Ave.) is Victoria’s undisputed downtown destination for Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and even some South Asian foods. With housemade samosas, baba ganoush, hummus, etc. this specialty grocery store satisfies a lot of cravings, and rivals a overseas market with its enticing displays.

Rebecca Wellman


let’s eat in

in far away places, but, like peas in a spring risotto, it’s a food scene where small, independent, local businesses dot our communities and neighbourhoods, satisfying our appetite for eating and drinking local. We’ve organized the results into four groups: eating in, eating out, drinking and finally, giving credit to those who inspire us. You’ll find some of the questions are different this time around—because isn’t this year different from the last? These are our food and drink heroes. Thank them, support them, and enjoy them— indeed, we are all very lucky to live on this island. —Prepared Gary Hynes with assistance from Gillie Easdon and the EAT contributors.

Grocery Store

Place for Solo Dining

SMALL The Root Cellar (GOLD) Red Barn Market (SILVER) Niagara Grocery (BRONZE) LARGE Market on Yates/Millstream (GOLD) Thrifty Foods (SILVER)

Pig (GOLD) Stage Wine Bar (SILVER)

You’re not a fan of HONOURABLE MENTIONS big-box shopping. • Plenty Epicurean Pantry Pick a store that • Ambrosio Markets deserves merit. • Peppers Foods • Fairway Market

Restaurant of the Year Brasserie L’ecole (GOLD) Zambri’s (SILVER)

Cafe Brio (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Markus’ Wharfside • Stage • Bistro 28 • Ulla • Camille’s • The Superior

Local Farm Produce

wild salmon (GOLD) local cheeses (SILVER) artisan bread (BRONZE)

Moss Street Market (GOLD) Root Cellar (SILVER)

Place for Lunch

Red Barn Market (BRONZE)

Hernande'z Cocina (SILVER) Pig (BRONZE)

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • local farm produce • charcuterie / sausages • blackberries • oysters • craft beer

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Sun Wing Greenhouse • Madrona Farm • Michell Brothers Farm • Dan's Farm

Relish Food and Coffee (GOLD)

Pleasure for the taste buds, easy on the wallet, where are you going for lunch these days?

Butcher Shop

Best Take-Out/Delivery Pizzeria Prima Strada (GOLD) Foo (SILVER)

Little Thai Place (BRONZE) You plan to eat in and stop to pick up (or have delivered) a prepared meal. Who gets your hard-earned cash tonight?

On Saturdays, you like to drive to the farm stand. Which one has your loyalty and respect?

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Noodle Box • Baan Thai • Fujiya's Japanese Foods • Cooks Day Off

Slater's First Class (GOLD) The Village Butcher (SILVER)

Island Meat (BRONZE) Artisan butchers are in a renaissance period. Where do you go for that unique cut of rare breeds pork or the finest quality charcuterie?

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Choux Choux Charcuterie • Glenwood Meats • Ronald Orr & Son Family Butcher • Quadra Village Halal Butcher Shop

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Zambri’s • Pagliacci's • Foo • Pizzeria Prima Strada • EdGe

Restaurant Cooking Local Cafe Brio (GOLD) Markus' Wharfside (SILVER)

Devour (BRONZE) You go to this restaurant because they cook with local seasonal ingredients very very well. Which one is it?

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Brasserie L’ecole • Foo • Relish • Zambri’s • Pizzeria Prima Strada

Neighbourhood Resto Stage Wine Bar (GOLD) Pizzeria Prima Strada (SILVER) (BRONZE)

Local Food Product

A dear friend is in the area for the first time. What local food or local ingredient from our Islands do you have on hand to tempt them.

Table for one? Stool at the bar? What restaurant do you go to when dining alone?

5th Street Bar and Grill

let’s eat out

Consistently excellent food, fantastic service, welcoming and wonderful ambience. What restaurant can you always say that about?

Hernande'z Cocina (BRONZE)

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Brasserie L’ecole • Zambri’s • Rebar • Spinnaker’s • Stage Wine Bar • Bistro 28

What is your favourite restaurant that's within walking distance in your own neighbourhood?

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Fernwood Inn • Heron Rock Bistro • Spinnakers • Bistro 28

Place to Feed a Kid Pizzeria Prima Strada (GOLD) White Spot (SILVER)

Crumsby's Cupcake Café (BRONZE) You have kids. You want to eat out with them because this should be a beautiful thing. What restaurant “gets” it?

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • 5th Street Bar and Grill • Ferris' Oyster Bar & Grill • Pagliacci's

Restaurant Dessert Goat cheese cake with preserved sour cherries, fennel biscotti- Stage Wine Bar (GOLD) Chocolate truffles - Cafe Brio (SILVER) Crème brûlée - Brasserie

L’ecole (BRONZE) Sweet! Tell us at which restaurant you had an ending to a meal that rocked your socks. And what was the dessert?

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Chocolate cake, rice crispy crunch, hazelnut cream and brittle - Ulla • Maple tart, pecan crust, whipped cream - Bistro 28 • Warm ginger cake -The Marina MARCH | APRIL 2011


let’s drink

Steak Frites, red wine & shallot sauce, Roquefort butter at Brasserie l'école

Best Wine Store PRIVATE Everything Wine (GOLD) Cascadia Liquor (SILVER) Spinnakers Spirit Merchants (BRONZE)


What shop has the most comprehensive wine selection and has the most knowledgeable staff and best customer service?


• Hillside Liquor • Cook St Village Liquor • The Wine Barrel Gen Laplante

The best bite of the year. What restaurant dish made such a lasting impression that you wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to your B.F.F.? Name the dish and the restaurant, please.

Best Plate of the Year Steak Frites, red wine & shallot sauce, Roquefort butter - Brasserie l'école (GOLD) Spaghetti aglio olio peperoncino - Zambri’s (SILVER) Preserved lemon risotto, pan seared West Coast scallop - Stage Wine Bar (BRONZE) HONORABLY MENTIONS

Crispy chicken roll, Israeli couscous, carrots, bacon, chanterelles, chicken jus - Ulla Local mussels, caramelized onion & fennel, maple chipotle cream sauce - Bistro 28 Brio Family Meal - Cafe Brio Margherita pizza, Fairburn Farms mozzarella di bufula, fresh basil - Pizzeria Prima Strada

• Vintage Spirits • Victoria Westshore • Blanshard Square

Everything Wine With a name like that, it’s hard to miss. True to form, this wine warehouse has access to thousands of bottles (some of which are exclusive to the chain in BC), plus wine accessories, a staffed tasting bar, and full roster of tastings and events – many of which are free. A temperature controlled vintages room for finer bottles, and staff members with advanced wine education push this to the top. Plus you can view the entire inventory online, and make purchases for delivery or pick up. Cascadia Liquor Even losing a store with the Uptown redevelopment hasn’t hurt this local chain. Keyed in specialty and restricted listings (hello Blue Mountain!), and respected and savvy Sommelier Pam Sanderson at the helm fill the shelves with gems. Regular tastings, local representation and community involvement keeps the stores fresh and relevant. Spinnakers Spirit Merchants Specialty whiskies? Check. Rare Island wines? Check. Rare and pricy International bottles? Check. All this plus a searchable web inventory and online store? Fantastic. Overseen by buyer/manager (and EAT columnist) Larry Arnold, you know you’ll always find something special tucked away in the shelves. Fort & Foul Bay It’s hard to go to Fort & Foul Bay without running into someone you know. From restaurateurs, to wine teachers, and from foodies to non-industry folk, the selection has a little something to suit all tastes. As a specialty store, F&FB gets in the big releases, and in good quantities. Their updated website lets you see at a glance what’s in stock, and the majority of staff is in some form of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) training program.

HONOURABL • Cowichan B • Pinot Noir • Pinot Noir • Ortega - Blu

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Dish Under $10

Best Mobile Eatery

Place to Buy Beer

Innovative Beverage

Tacos de Pollo - Hernande'z Cocina (GOLD) Pulled Pork Sandwich - Pig (SILVER) Vietnamese Ginger Caramel Chicken - Foo (BRONZE)

Puerto Vallarta Amigos (GOLD) La Taquisa (SILVER) Mr Tube Steak (BRONZE)

Spinnakers Spirit Merchants (GOLD) Cascadia Liquor (SILVER) Cook St. Village Liquor (BRONZE)

Heatherdale Ale - Salt Spring Island Ales (GOLD) Victoria Gin - Victoria Spirits (SILVER) 24-Mile Blueberry Pail Ale Phillips Brewing (BRONZE)

You’ve got a ten-spot. What’s your best bet for a bite? Where and what?

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • BBQ Wild Salmon Tacones -Red Fish Blue Fish • #20 or #34 - Pho Vy • Chicken Club with Brie Relish Food & Coffee

Food carts are here. Which one tops your list?

Place for a Snack Attack Pain au Chocolat - Fol Epi Bakery (GOLD) Cinnamon Bun - Bubby Rose's Bakery (SILVER) Lemon Tart - Pure Vanilla Bakery & Cafe (BRONZE)

Place for Appetizers and Drinks Stage Wine Bar (GOLD) The Tapa Bar (SILVER)

Veneto Tapa Lounge (BRONZE) Just a drink and nibblies. Or maybe two drinks. And a few more nibblies. You don’t want to leave yet. Where are you?


HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Clive's Classic Lounge • Ferris’ Upstairs • The Mint • Bengal Lounge • The Oyster • Cactus Club

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Galloping Goose. Sausage at Moss St. Market • Pizzeria Prima Strada mobile oven

Hankering for that naughty perfect pastry, gelato or other delight? Where will you go? What will you have there?


HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Gelato - Ottavio Italian Bakery • The Elvis - Pink Sugar Cupcakes • Almond Croissant Patisserie Daniel • Fruit Tart - Wildfire Organic Bakery

A true foodie HONOURABLE MENTIONS knows craft beer. • Phillips Brewery What store knows • Hillside Liquor Store theirs? • Swans Beer & Wine Shoppe • The Strath Ale, Wine & Spirit Merchants


Was there a local wine, beer, cider, tea or any other drink you tried this year that surprised you with its originality? Tell us what it was and which company made it.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Rumrunner - Sea Cider • Belle Royale - Driftwood Brewery • Oolong Tea with Fresh Grand Fir Needles - Silk Road


Fernwood Inn (BRONZE)

Discovery Coffee (GOLD) Habit Coffee (SILVER)

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Bard & Banker • Swans Brewpub • Irish Times • Penny Farthing • The Beagle

Caffe Fantastico (BRONZE) Coffee. Coffee. Island owned and operated—where do you go to buy, and drink, that sublime nectar?

So many event festivals, classes and seminars o food and drink which one real did it for you?


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Spinnakers (GOLD) Canoe Brewpub (SILVER)

Drinking beer is a highly social activity—and pubs come in all shapes and sizes. Which one do you like best when you want to hoist a pint or two?


HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Serious Coffee • Bean Around The World • Street Level Espresso • Black Stilt • The Stick Coffee House

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Local Wine Brandenburg No.3 - Venturi Schulze (GOLD) Célébration Brut - Starling Lane Winery (SILVER) Damasco - Zanatta Winery (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Cowichan Blackberry - Cherry Point Vineyards • Pinot Noir - Averill Creek Vineyard • Pinot Noir - Alderlea Vineyards • Ortega - Blue Grouse Vineyards

You’re heading out of the country (or to another province) and want to take a local wine to impress your hosts. What do you bring?

Venturi Schulze Courageous, confident, eccentric, uncompromising, distinctive. That sums up the owners, and the wines. Giordano, Marilyn and their daughter Michelle are hands on to the nth degree. Industry stalwarts, they’ve been farming and making 100% estate grown wine on their Cobble Hill site since 1987, sans pesticides. Their whimsically named wines (The Bad Boys, Terracotta, Brandenburg No. 3) are as memorable to the ear as they are to the palate. Starling Lane Good things happen in threes. Three couples - Ken and Sue Houston, John and Jackie Wrinch, and Jerry and Sherry Mussio - each established their vineyards on the Saanich Peninsula in the early 1990s. By 2004 they banded together, establishing Starling Lane Winery. Their deep, rich and flavourful Marechal Foch will make any Foch fearer into a fan. Zanatta Vignetti Zanatta proves that there’s a bubble out there for everyone. With sparkling wines in numerous styles, flavours and personalities you can find one to suit. Loretta Zanatta and Jim Moody’s flagship bubble, Glenora Fantasia, is made from the rare and obscure Cayuga grape. Picnics at their picturesque Cowichan Valley Winery restaurant, Vinoteca, feature bountiful local farm fare. Pioneers in the Vancouver Island wine industry.

let’s give credit | people | groups | food heroes | trends Food/Drink Experience of the Year

Group, Association, Business or Gang

Feast of Fields (GOLD) The Great Canadian Beer Festival (SILVER)

EAT Magazine [shucks. thx- editor.] (GOLD) Island Chefs Collaborative

Defending Our Backyard



Lifecycle Project Society (BRONZE)

So many events, festivals, classes and seminars on food and drink— which one really did it for you?

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Heidi Fink cooking classes •The London Chef cooking classes • Fernwood Bites • Victoria Tea Festival

Who raised your awareness and gave you a deeper appreciation of food issues in your community?

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Victoria Downtown Public Market Society • Farm Folk City Folk • CAMRA • Food Roots • Slow Food

Top Trend of 2010

Worst Trend of 2010

Eating local food (GOLD) Cocktails (SILVER)

Pork belly, pulled pork (GOLD) Cupcakes (SILVER)

Small plates/half portions

Sliders (BRONZE)

(BRONZE) What was your favourite local food trend?

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Food carts • Charcuterie • Downtown farmers markets • Traditional, simple food • Eating less meat, more vegetables • local, free-range meat • Vancouver Island salt • Sustainable fish • Chocolate-covered bacon

What was your least favourite local food trend this year? (feel free to rant)

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Foam on food • Small portions • HST • No reservations policies • Cilantro • Lame food words - gastro, deconstruct • Being asked “Are ya still workin’ in it?” at restaurants • Nutraceuticals/Bio Yogurt/ Engineered Foods • Chocolate-covered bacon

Award winning wine selection paired with globally inspired menu offerings from Canada’s only Iron Chef Champion, Rob Feenie

2010 winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence Road 13 Rockpile available at all Cactus Club Restaurants.

2010 MARCH | APRIL 2011


Lifetime Achievement Award

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Acer Fine W WINNER Ju

Greg Hays

Bubby Ros WINNER Ka

Greg Hays has been raising the bar on Victoria’s food and wine scene for close to 30 years. This is the man who started the legendary Herald Street Caffe in 1982, went on to redesign, rebuild and reinvigorate the Marina Restaurant and, most recently, dream and bring to life one of Victoria’s best-loved restaurants, Café Brio. Since its opening in 1997, the restaurant has accumulated a well-deserved collection of accolades, receiving top honours from Zagat, Fodor’s, Frommer’s and Where to Eat in Canada, as well as glowing reviews in Gourmet Magazine and Condé Nast Travel. In 2003, together with his wife and business partner Silvia Marcolini, Greg received the prestigious Provincial Restaurateur of the Year Award for Fine Dining from the BC Restaurant and Food Association. Greg is also known for his wine pricing innovations, first implemented at the Herald Street Caffe. The $10 mark-up on all wines makes higher-end bottles more accessible— definitely a worthwhile and appreciated measure when facing the ever-changing yet always impressive wine list that Café Brio offers. With this award, we honour Greg for his longstanding and ongoing commitment to supporting the region’s ingredients and wines. Bravo! —R.Baugniet

Butchart G WINNER Ci

Carrot on t WINNER Se

Cascadia L WINNER M

Devour Foo WINNER N

Endless Pa WINNER Ch

Fernwood I WINNER Ka Heidi Fink WINNER D Rebecca Wellman

Local Food Writer Eric Akis (GOLD) Pam Grant (SILVER)

Heidi Fink (GOLD) Gary Hynes (SILVER)

Elizabeth Smyth (BRONZE)

Shawn Soole (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Andrew Moyer • Dan Hayes • David Mincey • Larry Arnold • Denise Marchessault

Whose writing makes you sit up and take notice?

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Heidi Fink • Gillie Easdon • Treve Ring • Don Genova • Elizabeth Levinson • Jeremy Ferguson

Ulla Restaurant (GOLD) Relish Food & Coffee (SILVER) Zambri’s Atrium (BRONZE)


Sea Cider WINNER Ka

Silk Road – WINNER Lo

Sips Artisa WINNER Er

HONOURABLE MENTIONS • Pig Atrium • NOW- Noodles of the World (Duncan)

Spinnakers WINNER Da

Stage Wine WINNER Da • Simon Holt (Nanaimo) • Moon Under Water



Rocky Cree WINNER Ca

Sooke Harb WINNER Kr

Best New Restaurant, Shop, or Café

Best new addition to the food and drink scene on the Island in 2010?

Muse Wine WINNER Ka

Ottavio De WINNER Ki

The Foodie’s Foodie Award

Who, in the food and beverage industry, do you turn to for advice (on food and beverage, people). A stalwart. Let’s fete him/her now!

Lifestyle M WINNER La

True Grain WINNER N

Wickaninn WINNER Bo

the EE sponsors and the prize winners Acer Fine Woodworking - 2 Bamboo Trays WINNER Julie Akeroyd

Serving You Is Our Pleasure.... All Year Through! Quality meats,

Bubby Rose’s Bakery & Café – Gift Certificate WINNER Karen Cooper

Poultry, Cheeses,

Butchart Gardens - Admission & High Tea for 2 WINNER Cindy Bendall

Specialty Products & Condiments

Carrot on the Run - Gift Basket WINNER Sean Fenzl Cascadia Liquor – An Expert Guided Wine Tasting at Home for 12 WINNER Meg Dunning

2577 Cadboro Bay Road,VICTORIA


Devour Food – Gift Certificate WINNER Niki Sacoutis Endless Pawsibilities - Gift Basket WINNER Chivonne Graff

1715 Government Street 250.475.6260

Fernwood Inn – Gift Certificate WINNER Kasia Waissmann Heidi Fink - Culinary Tour of Chinatown for 3; Cooking Class WINNER Denise Hogue WINNER Brandy Patterson Rebecca Wellman

Lifestyle Markets – Gift Certificate WINNER Lani Caldwell

Dinner 5:30 - 11 pm Tuesday to Saturday

Muse Winery & Bistro - Gift Certificate WINNER Karen O'Mahony Ottavio Delicatessen - Ottavio T-shirt & Apron WINNER Kim Smith




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Rocky Creek - Wine Tasting Experience WINNER Catherine Holt Sea Cider - Long Flight & Platter for 2 WINNER Katie Tomlinson Silk Road – Group Tea Tasting WINNER Lon Temereski Sips Artisan Bistro - Dinner for 2 WINNER Erin FitzPatrick Sooke Harbour House - 1 Night Stay, Breakfast & Dinner for 2 WINNER Kristina van Vloten Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub - Chefs’ Table for 2 w/ Wine/Beer Pairings WINNER Dan Macdonald Stage Wine Bar – Gift Certificate WINNER Danielle Topliss



True Grain Bread - Gift Certificate WINNER N. Moen 250-389-1856

Wickaninnish Inn - 1 Night Stay, Valet Parking & 3-Course Dinner for 2 WINNER Bob Tyrrell

2001 Douglas Street - Unit F MARCH | APRIL 2011


local kitchen


rhubarb 26



tease Halibut + Rhubarb THIS TIME OF YEAR is such a tease – the air is alive and electric with aromatic breezes and the signs of growth are everywhere. The promise of fresh, out-of-the-earth produce dangles before us like a golden carrot - but it’s still too early for grand bounty. Plus, there’s still a slight chill in the air that requires the comfort of a warm hearty meal. This menu celebrates the promise of spring: the start of halibut season, hardy garden herbs are rebounding, delicate asparagus spears are poking up and even early rhubarb is starting to show. Spring clean the root cellar and use up the last of those last wintry vegetables! RECIPES ON FOLLOWING PAGES



OLD WORLD – a crisp Cava sparkling wine from Spain would go well – bright apple and mineral rich bubbles to cut the strong flavours (cheeses, bacon, garlic) and cleanse the palate. Plus bubbles makes anything better – especially brunch.

great big halibut pie Recipes and food styling by JENNIFER DANTER • Photography by MICHAEL TOURIGNY • Wine pairing by TREVE RING

NEW WORLD – a mid day meal like brunch suits a lighter red. And a fruity Pinot Noir from a cooler climate, like New Zealand’s Martinborough, will retain the grape’s earthy cherry notes while expressing naturally higher acid due to the growing conditions. MARCH | APRIL 2011




Creamy in texture and delicate in flavour, this is a fishy version of shepherd’s pie. Loaded with fresh halibut and a mix of early spring and late winter goodies, it is the perfect pie for the changing of the seasons. Serves 10

I love the casualness of a galette. It’s not as tricky as a double-crust pie and the rustic look is very forgiving of spills and tears in the pastry. Plus the open centre makes a great showcase for the ruby rhubarb. A hidden layer of honey-infused cream cheese creates a luxurious sweet counterpoint to the tart rhubarb. Serves 10

3 large potatoes, peeled and chopped 6 cups homogenized milk 1 rutabaga or 2 turnips, peeled and chopped 2 lbs halibut or 1 lb halibut and 1 lb smoked fish* 1 small bulb fennel, thinly sliced 1/2 cup butter 2 to 3 leeks, sliced 1/3 cup flour 1/2 cup chopped parsley or cilantro 1 Tbsp spicy mustard (Try Myres Island Gourmet Mustard) Plenty of chopped fresh thyme 4 hard cooked eggs cut into quarters Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain well, then mash. Stir in about a 1/2 cup milk to moisten and season to taste with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, bring remaining milk just to a simmer. Add rutabaga. Cover and simmer until almost tender, about 8 minutes. Add fish and fennel; simmer until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Strain liquid into a large measuring cup and set veggies and fish aside. Melt butter in Dutch oven (don’t need to clean) over medium heat. When foamy, add leeks. Sauté until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in flour. Gradually stir in milky liquid a little at a time to form a smooth sauce. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, mustard and thyme. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Crumble fish into chunky pieces and place in a large casserole dish. Add veggies and eggs, then pour sauce over top. Gently stir to mix as best you can. Spoon mashed potatoes overtop – be sure it reaches sides of dish. Using the tines of a fork, rough up the mashed topping. Drizzle with a little melted butter, if you wish, and bake in preheated 400F oven until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. *With a possible reduction in quotas this year, halibut may be more expensive. To make this pie more budget savvy, use a mix of fish. Try halibut cheeks instead of pricy fillets. When in season, use scallops or spot prawns. Asparagus 101 Choose straight stalks with tight, bright green tips. Snip bottom ends and if stalks are thick, use a peeler to remove tough strings. Refrigerate upright (a wide-mouth mason jar works well) with a little water in the bottom. Cover with a plastic and store up to 4 or 5 days. For salads, blanche in boiling water, then dunk in ice water to cool quickly and maintain colour.


1 1/4 cups all purpose flour 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp (2 ml) ground nutmeg 3/4 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes 4 to 5 Tbsp water Filling 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature 1 egg 1/4 cup honey 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 large bunch rhubarb stalks (about 1 1/2 lbs) 1/3 cup honey 2 tbsp cornstarch 2 Tbsp butter, melted Pinches of coarse sugar (optional) In a bowl, using a fork, stir flour with salt and nutmeg. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter to form coarse crumbs. Sprinkle water overtop and stir with a fork. Once mixture starts to come together, useyour hands to gently form into a ball of dough. Pat into a disk, then wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before rolling. Preheat oven to 400F. Beat cheese until smooth. Stir in honey, then egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir rhubarb with 1/3 cup honey and cornstarch as best you can – it will be very sticky. Roll out dough to form a large circle – about 14 inches. Don’t worry if edges are uneven. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (pastry will overhang edges of sheet). Scrape cheese mixture into centre of pastry and spread to within 2 inches of the edge. Arrange rhubarb overtop. Fold the edge halfway over the filling, pleating and crimping as you go. Brush dough with a little melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place in oven and reduce temperature to 375F. Bake until pastry is golden and fruit is tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. For extra sweetness and a little shine, drizzle more honey over rhubarb centre while it’ s fresh out of the oven and still warm. Dish up with yogurt or whipped cream.

On this Farm there are some Wine Chicks... Revealing the Best of BC wines Check out the Spring releases

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MATTICK’S FARM Open 7 days a week

5325 Cordova Bay Rd. 250-658-3116

Our service can best be described as “Knowledgeable, yet not pretentious… …approachable, with a hint of sass!”





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Kei Nireda of Miku Restaurant, Manabu Honda of Toshi Sushi, Shiro Okano of Shiro Sushi

Vancouver may have more sushi restaurants per capita than Tokyo. Here’s how to. —By Jenny Uechi Sushi is to Vancouver what curry is to London—ubiquitous and one of the culinary treats visitors to the city should not miss. With hundreds of sushi restaurants to choose from, however, it can be hard to tell which places serve genuine sushi and which serve haphazardly glued fish and rice. I asked three local sushi chefs to share their personal pointers on how to distinguish good sushi. “I look for the taste of the sushi rice,” says Kei Nireda, head chef of Miku Sushi on Coal Harbour. “People here like sushi vinegar sweeter than in Japan, but rice should be wellcooked and flavourful throughout. There’s Japanese- and Californian-grown rice, but I find Japanese rice to be moister, with a gentler texture.” When teaching others how to make proper sushi, Nireda explains that he squeezes a handful of rice for nigiri (individual sushi piece) and holds it in the middle between two fingers. “Ideally, the rice should hold for about 10 seconds before falling apart. If it holds longer, it’s packed too tight.” And if a restaurant serves pink ginger, don’t get your hopes up, he warns. Pink means poor quality. He describes all-you-can-eat places as “unthinkable” if you’re looking for real sushi. Pointing to the restaurant’s opalescent ceiling, Nireda says that the restaurant’s name, Miku, means “beautiful sky” in Japanese, and that his ideal sushi would be the kind of fresh food people would consume while overlooking a gorgeous view. It’s a fitting description, given modern sushi’s roots as a stall food consumed in the open air. At Toshi Sushi, a small Mount Pleasant restaurant packed with diners on a nightly basis, chef Manabu Honda offers a tip to customers looking for freshness. “You won’t be disappointed if you go to a busy restaurant because their ingredients are being sold fast,” he says, working busily with his sushi knife. From behind the counter, he holds up a “definitely fresh” hikari-mono (shiny-skinned fish), its scales shimmering in the light. “We cut fish differently, depending on the ingredient,” Honda explains. “Thin-sliced tuna isn’t tasty, so we cut it thick, while white fish is harder to chew, so we serve it thin. Any proper sushi chef should know this.” At Shiro Sushi on Cambie Street, owner and chef Shiro Okano says balance is key when looking for well-crafted sushi. “It’s not great sushi just because they give you lots of fish,” he says. “The best sushi strikes a good balance between fish and rice.” Okano is a veteran of the local scene who trained under Koji Shimamura, the sushi pioneer who introduced many locals to raw fish during the 1960s. He says Vancouver has abundant options for both local and Japan-imported ingredients, but customers miss out because many sushi chefs don’t know how to handle and maintain fish. To gauge the food quality, Okano suggests ordering saba, or mackerel, which requires seasoning because it goes bad quickly. “Saba should have just a hint of saltiness,” Okano notes. “If it’s too vinegary or salty, it’s over-prepared.” Motioning me behind the counter, Okano elaborates on another key ingredient—nori. He holds up a sheet of nori to the light, and the black-hued seaweed turns a deep forest green

(cheap nori is green from the start). “See how it’s even all across?” he says, fingering the smooth texture. “This is nice nori—the cheaper kind is rougher and has clumps throughout.” While some sushi buffs insist on Japanese chefs, Okano feels that nationality is less important than character. “Do they keep a clean workspace, do they study a lot about sushi? It boils down to the person’s character.” Vancouver’s sushi has come a long way from the days when Okano’s mentor had to offer free fish samples to attract customers and assure them it was safe to eat. Today, however, he fears the explosive popularity of sushi is linked to the global dilution of traditional Japanese cuisine. “You see a lot of East-West fusion items now, like cheese in sushi. It’s fine as a menu item, but not Japanese cuisine as it was meant to be,” he says with a sigh. As the number of sushi-literate customers increases, perhaps the Vancouver sushi scene will experience a second boom—this time with quality to match the enormous quantity of restaurants in the city. Miku, #2 – 1055 West Hastings St.; Toshi Sushi, 181 East 16 Ave.; Shiro Sushi, 3096 Cambie St. MARCH | APRIL 2011


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TREVE’S WINE SUGGESTIONS Sage Butter: Bright, juicy and earthy Piedmont Barbera Tomato Pepper: Sangiovese or Chianti, with red fruit, soft spice and higher acid Lemon Sauce: Verdicchio, with a citrus zestiness and herbal notes.


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What's more comforting than a bowl of gnocchi with a rustic tomato and red pepper sauce?

Text and food styling by DENISE MARCHESSAULT Photography by CAROLINE WEST

I’ve rediscovered gnocchi thanks to a cooking adventure with my young daughter. Who knew homemade gnocchi could be child’s play? Gnocchi (pronounced N'YOH-kee) are light little pillow dumplings; nothing like the dense dough I once associated with this dish. Years before I had had the misfortune of ordering a heavy gnocchi dish smothered in a glop of cheese sauce that left my tummy in a stodgy knot. I swore off gnocchi right then and there. Now, all these years later, I’m making up for lost time with this versatile little gem of a dumpling. Gnocchi complement just about every sauce or pesto imaginable. They are delicious with a hearty ragù and a pleasant surprise in a light vegetable broth. They can be served simply, sautéed with butter or dressed up with vegetables, meat or cheese. These satisfying morsels add a soft and comforting texture to just about any meal. They can be served as an appetizer, entree or side dish. What’s more, they’re easy to master, fun to prepare and can be frozen until needed (think easy entertaining).

‘I’ve included three easy sauce recipes to adorn your gnocchi.’

Gnocchi with a luscious lemon sauce, roasted tomatoes and caramelized fennel.

There are countless recipes for gnocchi with varying shapes, textures and cooking techniques. Ingredients can include potato, semolina, breadcrumbs, ricotta cheese, walnuts, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach and rice, to name a few. Gnocchi à la Romaine is a hearty version made with semolina and prepared much like polenta; the dough is poured onto a sheet pan, chilled until set and cut into shapes. Parisienne Gnocchi is made from paté à choux, a sticky dough shaped with the aid of a pastry bag. My favourite version, however, is much easier: hand-rolled potato gnocchi. The process is straightforward: combine warm cooked potatoes, processed through a rice or food mill, with egg and enough flour to form a light dough. The dough is then shaped into long ropes and cut into bite-size morsels. The little gnocco (singular of gnocchi) can be left as is, smooth like a little cushion, or pressed against a fork or a wooden gnocchi paddle to create textured ridges for the sauce to cling. (Gnocchi paddles are likely the least expensive gadget you’ll find in a kitchenware store; at about $4.50 a pop, they’re hard to pass up.) The gnocchi are then poached in salted water where they rise to the surface within a few brief minutes. You will want to arm yourself with a slotted spoon the minute you drop them in the water. Once, after rallying a hungry crowd in the kitchen, I dropped the gnocchi in the simmering water and, distracted by the noisy camaraderie (or perhaps the second glass of wine), I lost sight of my slotted spoon. By the time I recovered it, there was nothing left to retrieve from the water, which had turned murky with disintegrated potato. Once the gnocchi are cooked, they can be lightly sautéed in butter. Some prefer their gnocchi sautéed golden brown, while others prefer them pale. Either pale or golden, they’re ready to be tossed with your favourite sauce. Gnocchi can also be placed in a baking dish, covered with tomato sauce and baked in the oven or topped with a cheese sauce and gratinéed under the broiler. I’ve included three easy sauce recipes to adorn your gnocchi – a classic sage butter sauce, a rustic red pepper and tomato sauce that outshines any bottled variety, and a luscious lemon sauce with roasted tomatoes and sautéed fennel. Play around with your own sauces; gnocchi pairs well with just about everything. Just remember—when you’re ready to poach those little nuggets: slotted spoon in one hand, wineglass in the other. FIND THE RECIPES ON THE FOLLOWING PAGES MARCH | APRIL 2011


Potato Gnocchi With Sage Butter 6 - 8 servings or 12-14 appetizers Ingredients 1 Kg Russet potatoes (about 5 large potatoes), washed but not peeled 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 tsp salt 1 egg, lightly beaten Equipment A ricer for processing the potatoes. If you do not have a ricer you can use a food mill, or cheese grater, but a ricer makes the lightest gnocchi. A slotted spoon or small sieve for removing gnocchi from boiling water. A gnocchi paddle, optional (but a lot of fun)

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The potatoes can be baked or boiled in their skins, until tender. Baked: Place (whole) potatoes on a rack in a preheated 375F oven until tender, about 45 minutes. Boiled: Place the (whole) potatoes in a large pot of cold water. Bring the potatoes to a gentle boil and cook until potatoes can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 45 minutes. When the potatoes are cooked enough to work with, peel them. While the potatoes are still warm, press them though a ricer, food mill or cheese grater. Place the milled potatoes in a large bowl. Add the whole egg and about half the flour. Mix together with a fork until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough onto your work surface. Pour the remaining flour on a work surface near the dough. (You may not need all the flour.) Using your hands or a pastry scraper, gradually incorporate just enough flour to form a soft, pliable dough. Gently knead the dough until soft, about two minutes. Divide the dough into 8 portions and roll each portion into a rope about ¾” thick by 12” long. Line up the “ropes” and cut into 3/4” pieces. You may leave them shaped as is for a rustic look or you can press them against the tines of a fork or a small wooden gnocchi paddle. (The indentations help the capture the sauce.) Lay the pieces on a floured baking sheet, with enough space between them so that they are not touching. (At this point you can freeze them on a baking sheet until solid, then transfer to plastic freezer bags and store in the freezer for up to one month.) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and, with a slotted spoon nearby, gently drop the dumplings into the boiling water in batches of about two dozen, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. As the gnocchi float to the top remove them with a slotted spoon and continue cooking the next batch. If not using immediately, the gnocchi can be tossed into a bowl of ice water, drained and tossed with a bit of oil. They can be stored in a plastic container in the refrigerator this way for up to three days. When you’re ready to serve, simply reheat the gnocchi in a saucepan with a bit of sage (or plain) butter.

Melt half the butter in a large sauté pan over high heat. Cook the butter until it begins to foam and turn brown. Add half the sage leaves and reduce the heat to medium. Continue to cook until the leaves are crispy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the leaves and add about a cup of gnocchi to the butter and swirl in the pan until the dumplings are coated and heated though. Repeat with the balance of the dumplings and sage. Serve in warmed bowls. Sprinkle with parmesan and garnish with the crispy sage leaves.

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Tomato Pepper Sauce Ingredients 3 pounds of ripe tomatoes (approximately 10 tomatoes), quartered 2 red bell peppers, cut in half, seeds removed 7 cloves garlic, unpeeled 4 sprigs fresh thyme

4 sprigs rosemary 1/4 cup olive oil 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 1 tsp Kosher salt

Equipment A food mill or a food processor. The food mill provides a more rustic texture and its built-in sieve captures the vegetable skins, which means you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need to peel the tomatoes, peppers or garlic before processing.

Preheat oven to 375. In a baking dish or a roasting pan (approx. 10â&#x20AC;? x 12â&#x20AC;?) combine the tomatoes, peppers, garlic, thyme and rosemary. Drizzle with the oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with the Kosher salt. Toss lightly to coat the vegetables and herbs with the oil. Roast the tomatoes and peppers for approx. 50 minutes, turning over the vegetables halfway through the cooking. The tomatoes should be soft and the peppers charred. Discard the herbs. If using a food processor, remove the skins from the tomatoes, peppers and garlic. Process the roasted vegetables and their juices through a food mill or food processor. Transfer the processed vegetables into a saucepan and warm until heated through. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt and balsamic vinegar, if needed. Spoon over warm gnocchi. Makes approximately 3 1/2 cups of sauce

Lemon Sauce 1/3 cup unsalted butter 1/3 cup flour 2 1/4 cups chicken stock, preferably home made (plus more if required) 1 cup whole or 2% milk 1/2 cup 35% cream

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese 1 1/2 tsp salt if using homemade (salt-free) stock or 1/2 tsp if using packaged 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (or more to taste)

The sauce Melt the butter in a small saucepan (approx. 5 ½â&#x20AC;? diameter) over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the flour and butter mixture is golden coloured. Remove from heat. This mixture, referred to as a roux, can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. In a separate, larger saucepan (approx. 8 ½â&#x20AC;? diameter), heat the chicken stock with the milk and cream. Whisk the roux into the stock, until the mixture comes to a simmer and starts to thicken; this will take a few minutes. Continue whisking to ensure there are no lumps. The sauce should be thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Add the lemon juice, cheese, salt and crushed red pepper. If the mixture is too thick, add a bit more stock. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning with additional salt and/or lemon juice if required. Serve a generous spoonful of sauce over warm gnocchi and serve with roasted tomatoes and sautĂŠed fennel, if desired.

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Roasted Tomatoes 1 pint cherry tomatoes (approx. 2 cups) 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil 1 Tbsp freshly chopped rosemary

1 Tbsp freshly chopped thyme 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

In a bowl, combine the herbs with the oil and salt. Add the tomatoes and toss until evenly coated. On a baking tray lined with foil or parchment, spread the tomatoes out as a single layer, cut side up. Roast until tender, about 12 - 15 minutes. Sauteed Fennel 3 fennel bulbs, sliced thinly 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan until the oil is shimmering. Add the sliced fennel bulbs in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan. SautĂŠ the fennel a few minutes on each side until tender and golden. Drain on a paper towel and season with salt while still warm.

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liquid assets —by Larry Arnold

Markus’ Wharfside Restaurant

Vancouver Island’s best kept secret

(250) 642-3596 1831 Maple Ave. Sooke

APERITIFS Aperol, Italy, $22.00-25.00 Aperol is an Italian aperitivo! It is the colour of burnished orange and is flavoured with bitter orange, gentian root, rhubarb and a hodgepodge of misshapen shaped roots and bitter herbs. It is sweet and bitter with a paltry 11% alcohol and is insanely popular in Italy. It is a great way to start an evening; you sit, you drink, you enjoy the moment! Try over ice with a splash of soda and a slice of orange. Salute!


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Reservations | 250.592.7424 dinner nightly from 5:30pm | 2524 Estevan Ave | Victoria | BC



Cedar Creek Riesling, VQA 2009, Okanagan, $17.90-20.00 Deliciously fresh with an enticing bouquet of tropical fruits, peaches and orange peels! Nicely balanced with crisp acidity, concentrated fruit flavours and a kiss of residual sweetness to round the edges. Blue Mountain Pinot Gris 2008, Okanagan, $20.90-23.00 Blue Mountain is a family run winery located in the south Okanagan overlooking scenic Vaseaux Lake. Producing one of British Columbia’s best Pinot Gris; this vintage does not disappoint. Partially barrel fermented and aged for 7 months in French oak the 2008 has elegant floral aromas, a firm structure with concentrated citrus flavours and a dry crisp palate. Gehringer Brothers Classic Ehrenfelser, VQA 2009, Okanagan, $14.00-16.00 The variety is a crossing of Riesling and Sylvaner created in 1929 by German plant breeders at Geisenheim in Germany. Its flavour profile is very similar to Riesling but with softer acidity. Ehrenfelser tends to perform better in dodgy vintages than Riesling but unfortunately has a bit of an image problem with consumers, but then again, so does Riesling! Go figure! Soft, fruity and utterly delicious with lovely apple and peach flavours nicely balanced with a hint of sweetness!

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RED WINE Heartland Stickleback Red 2008, Australia, $15.99-18.00 Stickleback ain’t no city wine, pardon my English! It is a big, brawny blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Dolcetto with a dollop Lagrein to get you wondering. Aged for 12 months in a combination of American and French oak, Stickleback is bright ruby red with aromas of sun-kissed earth, tobacco, blackberries and spicy oak. Richly textured with layers of ripe fruit flavours and a long persistent finish! Paul Autard Cotes du Rhone 2009, France, $21.20-24.00 The 2009 vintage is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Counoise. It is bright and vibrant with bramble, plum, black pepper and spice aromas, sweet fruit flavours, a patina of soft tannins and a long supple finish. Very highly recommended! Clos du Val Carneros Pinot Noir 2006, California, $34.99-38.00 Very Burgundian I thought to myself upon tasting this California gem. Perhaps Gevrey, it certainly has the structure! The nose is bursting with raspberry, black cherry, and spice aromas but it is the plush texture and complex layers of ripe berry flavours and subtle oak nuances that really impress. Full-bodied with nicely integrated oak and silky tannins! Delicious!!! Viu Manent Carmenere Reserve 2009, Chile, $20.00-23.00 Viu 1, at seventy bucks a pop, is arguably one of the best Malbecs produced in Chile today! The Carmenere Reserve at a mere twenty is cheap in comparison but not lacking in attributes. The 2009 Reserve was recently awarded the Carmenere Trophy for best wine in its category at the prestigious International Wine & Spirits Competition held in London! Need I say more? Inky black with dark fruit, mocha and herbal aromas, concentrated and powerful with rich berry flavours, well-integrated oak and a firm tannic structure. A keeper! Santa Cristina Chianti Superiore DOCG 2008, Italy, $18.99-21.00 There’s a lot going on here, with layers of red cherry, spice and dusty earth aromas. Medium-bodied, with soft fruit flavours nicely balanced with good acidity and a rasp of fine-grained tannins. Wooden Nickle Lodi Petite Sirah 2009, California, $29.99-33.00 This is one big fruit bomb! Soft and lush, with a silky texture and gobs of sweet, juicy cherry, blackberry and plum flavours. Not a whole lot of finesse just a whole lot of fruit! VALUE RED Viu Manent Estate Collection Malbec 2009 Chile $13.00-15.00 This violet hued beauty from the sunny vineyards of Chile’s Colchagua Valley is all a thirsty aficionado could ask of a bottle of wine. Medium-bodied with ripe raspberry, plum and mocha flavours, a rasp of fine-grained tannins and a long firm finish. Very fresh, very tasty.

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Full marks for your appreciation of 4-diamond Dining in Victoria.

Experience the Island Wineries of BC with Chef David Mincey In celebration of the new book Island Wineries of British Columbia, join us for an evening dedicated to the unique wines that can only be found on the islands off the west coast of BC. Sommelier and EAT online DRINK editor Treve Ring will be your host as you sample offerings from local winery owner Andy Johnston of Averill Creek.

In the restaurant world, 4-diamonds means the very best. So indulge your taste for the finer things in life and join us at The Mark for an exquisite dining experience.

Chef David Mincey of Camille's Restaurant will be creating a special West Coast menu to pair with each wine being offered, while Treve explains the unique flavours of our island wines, how to pair these wines with our distinctive cuisine, and how Island Wineries of British Columbia can lead you on your next wine-tasting adventure. Don't miss this exquisite evening of fine wine, gourmet food, and a brand new book on our wine-island paradise. Friday, March 25th, 2011, 6 PM Cook Culture, 1317 Blanshard St, The Atrium Building, Victoria, BC Tickets are available in person at Cook Culture or online at and follow the “Cooking Class” links. Tickets: $65, includes a copy of Island Wineries of British Columbia Must be of legal drinking age.

For reservations call 1-800-663-7550 or visit us online at

Fine Dining at t h e H o t e l G ra n d P a c i f i c MARCH | APRIL 2011


DRINK UP the Islands —by treve Ring A NEW BOOK CELEBRATING the wineries, distilleries, breweries and cideries of Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands hit the shelves this spring, edited by publisher and editor Gary Hynes, along with a small but mighty pack of EAT writers. Island Wineries of British Columbia is a colourful and informative read chronicling the history, grapes and characters making up this unique Island terroir, along with stunning photography and recipes to match. I enjoyed researching my chapters for the book so much and became even more aware of the wealth of new enterprises happening on the islands that the idea for this new column, DRINK up the Islands, was born. Here, and in future, you can keep current on what’s new from Island wineries.


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

De Vine Vineyards Though they quietly started selling wine last summer, this Saanich Peninsula winery has been flying so far under the radar, they qualify as foot traffic. John and Kathy Windsor, together with their family, are running the soon-to-be-certified-organic operation, while veteran vintner/distiller Ken Winchester consults as winemaker. Though their ’09 Pinot Gris sold out in a blink, their ’09 Pinot Blanc can still be picked up. Damali Winery Another new project in the works is Cobble Hill’s Damali Winery. The Damali vineyard was planted in 2006 and had its first crop of Castel Grapes in the fall of 2009. In the summer of 2009, four new varieties were planted as well as some cultivated blackberries. In October, they received KEN WINCHESTER approval for a winery licence, and their first wines are to be released in the spring of 2011. They also produce artisan infused vinegars, have a busy working lavender farm and operate a B&B on site. And you thought you were busy! Newly released & ready to DRINK Venturi-Schulze Brut Naturel KS Cuvée 2008. $34 - $38 Dry, fine, bottle-fermented sparkling mystery cuvée These are true Island originals—the family and the wine. I make a point of tasting as much of Venturi-Schulze’s products as possible. As with fine art, appreciation is subjective, but few wineries celebrate and honour the terroir as much as they do. Their new barely rosé is a “secret” cuvée of four varieties, two red and two white, and is as food-friendly as they come.

Fiamo’s Draft Prosecco Last year, Victoria’s industry hotspot Fiamo began selling Prosecco on tap. Yes, just the way we’re accustomed to seeing beer being sold. The restaurant’s exclusive KeyKeg system allows staff to pull it from the tap at the bar and serve the popular Italian sparkling wine by the glass. No wine bottles = less waste. The KeyKeg container is lightweight and completely recyclable = green. And the customers (and bartenders) love it = success. FOR MORE ON FIAMO VISIT

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If you’re like me, you’re always on the hunt for new wines to try. The Opimian Society might just be the cellar key you’re looking for. Founded in 1973, Opimian ( is a nonprofit wine purchasing cooperative with nationwide purchasing power. Members (20,000 and growing) have access to this master cellar, regardless of their province of residence. Opimian wines are exclusive finds and not available through provincial liquor boards. Wine clubs are not a new phenom, but certainly not the norm in these government-barricaded waters either. According to Globe and Mail wine columnist Beppi Crosariol, the Society is “a quietly influential national wine-buying club that has done more than any politician or self-congratulatory liquor-board bureaucrat to catapult the adult-drink trade in this country out of the Dark Ages and into the 21st century.” Members pay an annual fee (ranging from $114-125 depending on province) to gain access to the ever-changing catalogue of international wines, from the simple to the sophisticated. All wines have been tasted and selected by Master of Wine Kenneth Christie, and complete tasting notes and cellaring advice are included for each selection. There is no minimum order and wines are delivered to your door. Here are a couple of recent wines that arrived in the mail (so convenient!): —Treve Ring Briar Ridge Trio 2007, Hunter Valley & Orange, Australia True to name, this is a threesome of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Verdelho. Citrus crisp, with an oily texture and pleasant finish. Vina Echeverria Casa Nueva Reserva Syrah 2005, Molina, Chile Jammy blueberries, smoky cherries, black pepper and leather.




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Ales Wines & Spirits from around the world value brands to classics MARCH | APRIL 2011


wine + terroir —by Michaela Morris and Michelle Bouffard


Centuries ago, wines were “fortified” with brandy to make them more resilient to travel. Today these super-charged tipples are perfect when you’re feeling in need of a little fortification yourself. Does the word “port” conjure up a smoke-filled cigar room full of retired gentlemen? Do you think of sherry as a sweet tipple reserved for your granny? If you’ve managed to make the leap into drinking either, do you still think of them as reserved for special occasions only? Banish all of the above. The time has come to redefine port, sherry and their charming lookalikes and embrace them as fashionable, food-friendly and ideal for everyday drinking. Port and sherry belong to a category called fortified wine, meaning grape spirit (brandy) is added to the base wine. If added during fermentation, it’s referred to as the port method. The alcohol kills the yeast, leaving the wine sweet. If added after fermentation, it is known as the sherry method. In this case, the wine is dry unless sweetened after fortification. But why on earth add brandy to wine? Centuries ago, it was used to stabilize and strengthen wine for travel. The British and Dutch mastered the technique, shipping wines from the hotter climes of Spain and Portugal to satiate the thirsty masses abroad. Years of fine-tuning led to myriad types of fortified wines with countries such as France, Australia and South Africa adding their own offerings to the mix. That boost of alcohol results in wines that are at least 15 percent or more. They can be heady stuff but most welcome when you need some fortification yourself. The key is to have them with food or on a full stomach. There are absolutely brilliant matches of sweet fortified wines with dessert, but they don’t need to be confined to the sweet course. Sweet or dry, they’re fantastic served as an aperitif with salty snacks and delicious with a plate of cheese. With the main course, stick to dry fortified wines; they can be surprisingly satisfying. Perhaps the most widely loved fortified wine is port. Made in Portugal’s Douro Valley, it’s always sweet and typically red and full-bodied. Ruby is a well-priced, all-occasion type of port. Made from a blend of different vintages and aged for a short time, it is deeply coloured, bursting with ripe berries and ready to drink upon release. Combined with your favourite chocolate bar, it will satisfy your sweet tooth on a Monday night. At the other end of the spectrum, vintage port is the Cadillac. Pricey and complex, it’s made from the best grapes of a single vintage in a declared year (unanimously acclaimed vintage). Bottled and released after spending two to three years in wood, vintage port requires decades of aging to show its full potential. When you finally crack the bottle, decanting is highly recommended as it will throw a sediment. Worth the splurge for significant birthdays or anniversaries and the ultimate treat with chocolate fondue. Vintage port too rich for your blood? Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) is a great alternative. Made from a single vintage but typically undeclared year, they offer great value. Unlike vintage port, you can drink LBVs young (try with blue cheese). A perennial favourite is the Quinta do Crasto from Portugal’s Duoro Valley. Much lighter in colour, tawny port is aged for an extended period in wood before release, imparting an intriguing nuttiness. It is made from a blend of vintages, and ages shown on the label such as 10, 20, 30 and 40 years are an approximate average. Served slightly chilled, a glass of tawny port can be totally refreshing on a warm summer evening. Better yet, enjoy as an aperitif with salty roasted nuts. The French have long embraced tawny as a nerve-calming end-of-day drink whose sweetness stimulates the appetite. Call us old-fashioned, but our fortified wine of choice is sherry. Made from a blend of multiple vintages and aged in barrels for a number of years, sherry can have pleasant oxidative flavours. Fino sherry is an exception. Its pungent character has more to do with a type of yeast called flor. During the aging process, flor forms a thick film on the top of the wine protecting it from oxidation. The outcome is a wine that is pale straw in colour and bone-dry with a salty tang and persistent notes of almond and olives. Though considered an acquired taste, we have witnessed many converts upon the first sip, especially when accompanied by the right food. Almonds and green olives are classic pairings, but marinated white anchovies

and fresh tomatoes on crostini is a match to die for. Note that fino should be consumed within a couple of days of opening as it loses its freshness quickly. Serve chilled. Best described as an aged fino, amontillado is a richer, fuller-bodied style of sherry with higher alcohol. After a number of years, the flor yeast dies exposing the wine to oxygen. As it matures in the barrel, amontillado becomes amber in colour and develops a delicate nuttiness. Smoked cod and mushroom soup are fine partners. Though more resilient than fino, amontillado is best consumed within a few days of opening and served with a slight chill. Unlike fino or amontillado, an oloroso sherry develops completely without the presence of flor giving pronounced oxidative characteristics. Dark in colour and substantial in alcohol, what oloroso lacks in elegance, it makes up for in power and richness. We find it inspirational when working late in front of the computer. When it comes to food, Filipino chicken adobo and beef consommé are de rigueur. Oloroso can be served either at room temperature or with a very slight chill. Lustau’s Don Nuño from the Jerez region of Spain is a staple. Oloroso and amontillado are traditionally dry, but many sweetened versions exist. These larger commercial brands have led to the misconception that all sherry is sweet. While some are perfectly palatable, if your preference is for dry be sure to ask. For the sweet tooth, there is nothing better than sipping a decadent PX. Intensely sweet, it takes its name from the grape used: Pedro Ximénez. Grapes are either sun-baked or left to ripen on the vine, concentrating the sugars. Dark and viscous with luscious fig and raisin notes, it is almost too much on its own but poured over vanilla ice cream, PX is a heavenly treat. Once open, it will keep a long time. The Portuguese island of Madeira offers yet another unique fortified wine called Madeira. Hundreds of kilometres off the coast of North Africa, the island made for an obvious port for ships en route to Asia, Africa and South America. Wine from the island essentially cooked during the long passages through the tropics. Its distinctive flavour became sought-after and eventually the process was replicated by storing the wine in heated tanks or rooms. Quality and styles of Madeira vary. Depending on the desired style, the wine is fortified at different times during the winemaking process. Regardless of the sweetness level though, the wine is always “cooked” giving “maderized” flavours such as dried fruit, nuts or melted butter. Look for the names Sercial, Verdelho, Bual and Malmsey. These refer to the grape variety and are the most noble of Madeira grapes. Sercial is the lightest and driest (and most rare) while Malmsey is the fullest and most luscious. What they all share is a bracing acidity. The cooking process renders Madeira the most resilient fortified wine of all. Once you open the bottle, technically it can last for months. Realistically, Madeira is so darn delicious the bottle will be finished before you know it. Beyond Portugal and Spain, Australia has a long history of producing exceptional dessert wine, using both the port and sherry methods. The region of Rutherglen is particularly associated with fortified wines. Unfortunately, not nearly enough of Australia’s sweet elixirs make it to our shelves. A rare gem in BC Liquor Stores is Penfolds Grandfather Tawny Port. Beyond this, private wine stores like Marquis Wine Cellars and Everything Wine offer an interesting selection including Hardys Whiskers Blake, Buller and Seppelt; all of which over-deliver for the money. In exploring the world of fortified wine, we must pay tribute to France. The country’s answer to port is the lesser-known wine of Banyuls. Flavours of plum and dried herbs add an extra layer of interest that might make us opt for a Banyuls over her Portuguese sibling. Chocolate fans, this is your wine. Chapoutier and Domaine de la Rectorie offer great examples. For something more delicate, a fortified Muscat from the Rhône Valley or the South of France does the trick. Light in colour with fresh aromas of orange and marmalade, this makes a lovely aperitif or a great match with lighter fruit dessert. Cont’d at the top of the next page



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Once you open the door to fortified wine, it is difficult to close it. Options are endless and there is still much more to discover. With fortified wine as the global focus at this year’s Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival, it is the perfect occasion to acquaint yourself with this overlooked category. We’ll definitely be in the lineup to get our fill of these rare treats.

FORTIFIED WINE NOTES Osborne, Fino Quinta, Jerez, Sherry, 375 mL, $12.75-$15 (SKU# 121236) Fresh, vibrant and delicate. Mouth-watering flavours of green olives, mushroom and blanched almond. Serve with olives and white anchovies. The perfect introduction to fino sherry. ** Bodegas Hidalgo, La Gitana, Manzanilla, 375 mL, $16.99-$20 (SKU# 124594) Slightly fuller than the Osborne fino but still refined. A natural with macadamia nuts, fiveyear- old Manchego cheese and cured meat plate. ** Bodegas Alvear, Amontillado Sherry, 375 mL, $15.49-$20, (SKU# 112789) Round with generous lingering flavours of hazelnuts. An outstanding value and magic with local grilled sardines. **Make sure to try their fino and PX as well. González Byass, Apostoles, Very Old Palo Cortado, 375 mL, $36-39* Palo Cortado is the rarest and, according to us, the most sophisticated of sherries. It allies the power and fullness of an oloroso with the finesse of an amontillado. It can certainly match a myriad of dishes, but we prefer to sip it on its own to fully enjoy its elegance and complexity. Here you’ll find captivating flavours of roasted hazelnuts, toffee and dried figs. We’ll be lining up at the Festival LDB store to buy as many bottles as we can! ** Taylor Fladgate, 10 Year Old Tawny Port, 750 mL, $39.95-$45 (SKU# 121749) Delicious flavours of toffee, dates and chocolate. Fantastic with hard and blue cheeses, salted nuts or chocolate mousse. **Head to their table for their 30-year-old version. Penfolds, ‘Grandfather’ Fine Old Tawny Port, South Australia, 750 mL, $84.99-$90 (SKU# 440214) The ultimate choice when money is no object and treating yourself is essential. Decadent toffee, orange and caramel flavours that linger on and on and on. Very complex. Second glass, please! Sandeman, Fine Ruby Port, 750 mL, $19.99-$24, (SKU# 23366) Excellent value when seeking a bottle of port on a tighter budget. Intense chocolate milk and sweet plum notes. A great match with chocolate cake. 2005 Dow’s, Late Bottled Vintage Port, 750 mL, $25.99-$29 (SKU# 5333364) Full bodied with deep dark chocolate, leather, plum and liquor de cassis notes. Ideal with Stilton cheese or intense chocolate dessert. An outstanding value. ** Also try their 1999 Quinta do Bomfim Vintage Port and Crusted Port 2008 Quails’ Gate Winery Fortified Vintage Foch, 375 mL, $24-29* Even B.C. has ventured into making fortified wine. Quail’s Gate embraces the hybrid Marechal Foch grape to craft an intense and pleasantly sweet treat. Succulent notes of cigar, prune and dates. Treat your out-of-town guest and serve with local cheeses. ** Broadbent, ‘Rainwater’, Madeira, 750 mL, $26.99-$30, (SKU# 611988) Intense flavours of toffee, dried fruit and orange balanced by great acidity. Serve with hard cheeses or caramel dessert. (We hope to see Broadbent’s brilliant vintage Sercial, Verdelho and Malmsey Madeira in the B.C. market in the near future.) *Available at private liquor store. Prices may vary. ** Taste it at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

More Festival Finds Here are some more wines to seek out and try at the 33rd annual Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival March 28 to April 3: M. Chapoutier (France) 2008 Chapoutier Banyuls Bullers (Australia) Fine Old Muscat Victoria Tawny Fonseca (Portugal) Terra Prima Organic Reserve Port 10 Year Tawny

40 Year Tawny Quinta do Panascal 2001 Graham’s (Portugal) A great table to try different style of port side by side. 10 Year Old Tawny Port 1999 Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Port 2005 Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port The Tawny Blandy’s (Portugal/Madeira) 10 Year Old Malmsey 15 Year Old Malmsey 1977 Bual

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what to drink with that—by Treve Ring


Our online DRINK editor, Treve Ring, asks local wine experts how they would approach pairing dishes and flavours. This time we tackle Baked Spring Leg of Lamb, plus one of the hardest foods of all time to pair – asparagus.

OUR EXPERTS: Mark Shipway (MS) Wine Program Department Head, International Culinary School. Mark studied winemaking & viticulture at the University of Brighton as well taking the WSET Diploma in Wines & Spirits in which he graduated with honours in 1999. Mark has been a regular judge for the UK’s premier International Wine & Spirit Competition and is also contributing writer. Marc Morrison (MM) Maître d’hôtel, Sommelier, Brasserie l’école. Marc was the first accredited sommelier in Victoria and brings to Brasserie l'école his passion and knowledge of wine and extensive serving and management experience. Marc’s concise, ever-changing wine program is crammed with value gems, and he’ll open any bottle in the restaurant if you buy 2 glasses. His cozy slip of a Brasserie is perennially packed, and it continues to be recognized internationally as one of the top restaurants, and best wine lists, in Victoria. Sandra Oldfield (SO) Winemaker and owner, Tinhorn Creek Winery. A native of California, Sandra Oldfield arrived at Tinhorn Creek from Santa Rosa, in time for the 1995 crush. Since then she has taken the production from 1,000 cases to more than 35,000 cases. She holds a master’s degree in Enology from UC Davis (plus Canadian citizenship as of October 2002). Sandra, her husband Kenn Oldfield, and their daughter Melody live in a house perched at the top of the Tinhorn Creek winery vineyards.

Classic Dish: Baked Spring Leg of Lamb with rosemary & garlic, green beans and roast potatoes. MS - This wine-friendly dish is a sommelier’s dream! Generally classic dishes like this one provide a perfect backdrop for classic fine wines from regions like Bordeaux or the northern Rhône. But let’s be a bit rad and go for something Greek (yes they do make great wines in Greece)! Greece’s round, fleshy Agiorgitiko grape (eye-your-yee-tee-ko) has the weight and structure to balance the roast lamb, and its savoury, herb-tinged flavours should echo the dishes seasonings nicely. Look for Nemea appellation on the label - there are a couple available in BC. MM - Bordeaux or Bordeaux blend, preferably one with a large percentage of Cabernet Franc. I really like blends that have a high percentage of Cabernet Franc as I feel that grape's floral characteristic would work well with the rosemary and garlic on the lamb. A straight Cabernet Franc would be too light on its own and needs the body provided by Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Merlot SO - The lamb screams a Pinot noir pairing and I have always been partial to those made in the Russian River Valley area of California. The Pinots from this area as very fruit forward but they also have very complex flavours such as jam, spice and vanilla. These wines have good depth, and are warm and round - great to pair with a succulent roast spring leg of lamb.

Bonus: Grilled Spring Asparagus with butter, lemon and sea salt. MS - In contrast to the lamb, this dish is a much harder one to pair wine with, mainly because the vegetal, slightly bitter nature of asparagus is instant flavour clash material. When I think of lemon, sea salt and anything green, I instantly get images of the Mediterranean and the simple cucina of central & southern Italy. Italian whites are just made to drink with this kind of dish and my top choices would be a Verdicchio from the Marche or a Grillo from Sicily. Key elements are lightish body, refreshing acidity, clean citrus and herbal favours and no oak. MM - Tough One. Asparagus is such a dangerous wine-food (like eggs and artichokes - I think it's something about foods starting with vowels). I've been told that Chinon (a Loire valley red made from Cabernet Franc) pairs well but I think the dish screams for white. I would consider either an aromatic white, such as an Alsatian Gewurztraminer, or a crisp, clean Sauvignon Blanc. I would avoid anything with tannins or lots of oak. SO – I Learned at UC Davis that asparagus is the most difficult food to pair wine with - so thanks for the challenge! Almost no wine goes with asparagus, however you prepare it, but the best I have found is any crisp, unoaked Sauvignon Blanc. My favourite come from Marlborough in New Zealand, and I am particularly fond of the Wither Hills. It really gets your mouth watering for a BBQ meal with grilled asparagus.




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The Buzz




an eclectic emporium of culinary goods

Table Talk at Plenty: Join us on the first Wednesday of each month to discuss short readings about experiencing food and drink. Please visit our website for more information and to RSVP.

1034 Fort Street | 250·380·7654 |

VICTORIA - Talk about Buzz. There was an audible hum coming from food quarters all over the city when The Empress placed a posting for a new Executive Chef on the Fairmont job board at the beginning of February. We soon heard that Chef Takahashi Ito, who had been with the Empress since September 2003, was moving across the harbour to Aura, (Inn at Laurel Point), taking his new position there as Executive Chef on February 28th. Patrick Giller stays on as Executive Sous Chef, while former Aura Executive Chef Brad Horen has moved to Ottawa to take charge of their new convention centre’s kitchen. But who will fill Chef Ito’s shoes at the Empress? No word at press time. We will resume this round of musical chef hats in the next issue. From fine dining to wild dining, then - foraging season is upon us once more, and a great way to make the most of it is to participate in one of the TLC’s Wildwood Edible Wild Plant workshops, offered Apr 9 and 10. ( For a guided forage followed by a delicious meal, Bill Jones is hosting a Wild Food Experience at Deerholme Farm, Apr. 30. ( For edible plants you can have more control over, the Glendale Gardens is offering an informative program that will see you through the seasons. ‘Grow It Cook It Eat It’ starts March 5th and runs for 12 weeks, ending with a Harvest Festival on September 24th. Covering all aspects of gardening, composting and preserving your harvest, the program also includes mentorship from seasoned gardeners and monthly visits to your home garden. The garden’s café, Nourish, will be re-opening March 1st. ( Another garden oasis, The Abkhazi Garden Restaurant, will be hosting a Spring Dinner on March 19th, as well as their annual Easter Brunch on Apr. 24. Call early to reserve. (250 -598-8096) Attractions Victoria’s ‘Be A Tourist in Your Hometown’ promotion, running from Mar 2-6 this year, has a few good deals in the “Eats and Treats” category, including Buy 1/Get 1 Free entrées at Canoe Club and half price afternoon tea at the Empress. Pick up tickets at Thrifty Foods locations or visit the website ( Also at the Empress this spring is a new Pastry Apprentice Program that gives kids a chance to test out their own baking skills alongside the hotel’s pastry chef. The program runs on Mar 27, Apr 24, May 22 and Jun 26. ( Cook Culture is welcoming children (and their parents) into the kitchen on March 26, for a class called Family Nutrition and Meal Planning 101- Bringing the Family Back to the Table, with Chef Dwane MacIsaac (ICC President). For more details, visit the calendar page of their website ( —By Rebecca Baugniet NANAIMO - As we move into the year, the world of food is all a-buzz about 2011 trends. While the mid-island is known to “munch to the beat of its own drum”, here are a few picks for those wanting to get foodie fashionable… Artisan baked goods are more hip than ever and Bodhi’s Artisan Bakery continues to wow locals with creative pastries and hearty loaves made with house-milled flours and healthy flavour enhancing ingredients. If you would like to learn the craft, Chef and Master Baker Bill Clay now shares his artistic secrets in his new hands-on baking classes. Classes will be small so call Bill or Candace soon to book a spot (5299 Rutherford Road, 250 585-6015). Perhaps by design, one of bread’s oldest partners, honey makes a comeback in 2011. This ancient sticky sweet is gaining re-popularity due to its nutritional value and also an emerging interest in regional varieties and taste profiles. A visit to the Jingle Pot Apiaries (2262 East Wellington Rd; 250-753-9619) gives you a taste of Nanaimo North. Here every jar purchased includes a brief informal education about production and taste profiles by Cont’d on the next page



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owner/beekeeper Sol Nowitz. Solâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s creamed honey is not to be missed if available. For a taste of the South head to Cedar and Fredrichâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Honey Farm (; 250-245-4214) where you can sign up for a more formal workshop, meet the bees and taste the golden goodness of their special fireweed variety. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not sure who came up with â&#x20AC;&#x153;pie is the new cupcakeâ&#x20AC;? but I do know there is room for both in the sweet tooth spotlight. A Wee Cup Cakeryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (; 250-591-0770) owner Medina Mayes agrees and says she canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t keep up with demand. Maybe itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the heat of the debate that has these sweet darlings selling like hotcakes, but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m guessing itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the fluffy texture (even the gluten free), creative flavours and slatherings of creamy butter icing! Meanwhile in the kitchen at Parfait Gourmet Desserts (www.parfaitgourmetdesserts; 250-740-1775), Pastry Chef/owner Sarah Wallbank prepares pies! Always seasonally filled with gourmet goodness and sometimes gluten free, these pies take on the form of large European tarts and are as visually appealing as they are scrumptious. Both bakeries plan to happily share the sweet tooth spotlight this Easter so you may want to consider making room for both at your festive table. As the weather warms, also watch for Sarahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gourmet tricycle which soon hits downtown streets loaded with another up-coming trendy treat, the gourmet popsicle! I think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s safe to say that FRESH is always in style and here are some new picks from North to South. In Parksville, Chef Sean Norris is taking fresh seafood seriously. His new Oceanwise menu truly puts the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Pacificâ&#x20AC;? in the Pacific Prime Restaurant at the Beach Club Resort. Most notably the dinner starter menu is swimming with local fare and unique plates (; 250-248-8999). In Nanaimo, locals are crooning over Simon Holtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;bistro meets dinerâ&#x20AC;? menu where the fine selection of creative salads appears to be most notable (6582 Applecross Road; 250-9333338.) Fresh fish and veggies are also aplenty at Nanaimoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s newest sushi bar, Nori Japanese Restaurant. Also on the menu are a variety of traditional noodle and grill dishes (203-6750 Island Hwy; 250-751-3377). The focus is on the Fresh Sheet at the Page Point Bistro in Ladysmith (; 250-924-1100) where chef Josh Massey is taking advantage of the nearby bountiful waters and Cedar/Yellow Point farmlands to create casual fine-dining fare. The regular menu also evolves seasonally so check in to see whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new for Spring! Downtown Duncanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s newest gem, Noodles of the World (NOW) will surely impress fresh food fashionistas! In a cozy 30 seat restaurant, Owner/Hostess Sarah Barnes creates an exceptionally convivial and eclectic atmosphere while chef Derrick McFarland (formerly of Shelter in Tofino) serves up a variety of generous, flavourful noodle bowls, all piled high with fresh organic greens. You will feel spoiled! I must also recommend the incredible lettuce wraps and crab cakes with avocado wasabi dip. Reservations are recommended (161 Station Road; 250-597-0313). â&#x20AC;&#x201D;by Karma Brophy Contâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d at the bottom of page 37

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VANCOUVER - The New Oxford, (1110 Homer) is the latest property in Jeff Donnelly’s rapidly expanding fiefdom ( This clubby pubby spot bordering Yaletown, gives a playful nod to famous Oxford University alumni. Joseph Heller, Graeme Greene and an imposing Oscar Wilde at the entrance are juxtaposed, not unpleasantly, with flat-screen TV’s. Toffee-coloured leather armchairs have that “lived-in” look. A fifty-foot bar (stools are covered with that same comfy leather) welcomes the thirsty to a solid array of libations—among them, innovative cocktails, local craft beers and a daily special $4.25 glass of vino. Food is mostly hit with a few misses. Dry-rub Maui ribs were bare bones on my visit. But a steaming kettle of island mussels plumped in coconut curry broth, and a beef carpaccio salad with crispy fried capers hit the spot. A very good grass-fed beef burger with Farmstead cheese is sized to share. All Donnelly Group pubs (currently 11 with more in the works) are certified ocean-wise and green-table members---Most wave allegiance to a British football club. For the “Ox”, it’s Chelsea. The Corsi [family] reputation (Quattro Restaurants, for elegant unpretentious Italian cooking has made its way into the L’Hermitage Hotel. The sleek smart Q4 Al Centro design by BOX Interiors. (MARKET, Coast Restaurant, Yaletown Brewing Company opened its doors in December under Patrick, the youngest Corsi. Above the bar a ten-panel Jason Gogo abstract (the colour “purple” is in fact, grape juice) looks over the lovely open space. Mid-day, business folk and happy shoppers (Winners, Home Sense, the Bay and are a mere credit card swipe away) while away an hour or two with thin-crust pizza from the Wood Stone oven, and stuffed pannini. Prawns, clams and mussels swim in a zippy tomato broth. Polpette (meatballs) taste exactly of what they are—orbs of veal, pork and smoked caciocavallo. Penne with duck sausage is a Q4 Al Centro exclusive. Well-priced wine by the glass comes in sensible 6 or 10 oz. carafes. Dinner is more intimate. Q4 Al Centro will also cater private functions in the L’Hermtage hotel’s fifteen-seat boardroom. Stag’s Hollow winery has added two up-market blends to their portfolio--Cachet 1 2008 and Cachet 2 2009. Owner/winegrower Larry Gerulus and winemaker Dwight Sick introduced the duo to select media at the new Legacy Liquor Store (1633 Manitoba) in the Olympic Village. Cachet 1, a new-wave Spanish-style blends tempranillo and merlot with a good dollop of syrah and a dash of cab. It smacks delciously of dark cherries and exotic spice. Drinking now with a good decant, spicy chorizo, a hunk of manchego or a peppercorn steak wine will blossom after a couple of years in the cellar. Cachet 2 2009 a classic Rhone-style mix of Grenache and syrah get a lift by from a wee drop of marsanne and rousanne (white grapes). The wine is full of brambly fruit, white pepper and dried sage notes. Again, a wine to lay away although impatient imbibers can enjoy it with lamb rubbed and roasted with herbes de Provence and grainy mustard. Sick says he will only make Cachet(s) in good vintages. The limited production Cachet(s) are available for purchase on-line through —by Julie Pegg TOFINO/UCLULET - The seasonal kick-off on the west coast is the Pacific Rim Whale Festival March 19-27th. This year it’s the big 25th annual, and there are quite a number of fun food and drink events happening in addition to all the other informative and interactive events. Just before the start of the festival, the Wickaninnish Inn hosts the annual Whale Festival fundraiser dinner and silent auction gala on March 17. Tickets are $110 per person and include wine pairings and Cont’d on the next page



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dinner. One hundred percent of the ticket cost and silent auction proceeds to go the volunteer-driven festival. 1-800-333-4604 250-725-3100. The first festival food event is the Chowder Chowdown on March 20 (11am-2pm) at the Ucluelet Community Centre. Chefs bring their chowder and square off against one another for favourite chowder honours as voted by the public. Moving on to the sweet end of the palate, Sweet Indulgences is an all-you-can-eat dessert extravaganza on March 21. There will be live music and another vote for your favourite, also at the Ucluelet Community Centre (7-9pm). The 6th annual Martini Migration happens March 23. This event is always a sell-out as local mixologists vie for the best whale festival martini and themed display. At the Tofino Community Hall from 7pm-12am. New this year to the festival is Barnacle Blues at Black Rock Oceanfront Resort. This event is a fundraiser and will feature a raffle auction and music by Jim Byrne as well as savoury delectables by Chef Andrew Springett. Black Rock and Chef Springett are also hosting A Whale Tail of a Wine Dinner on March 26, with Bob Ferguson of Kettle Valley Winery and Roger Dossman of Alderlea Vineyards. The dinner in Black Rock’s wine cellar starts at 6:30 pm and is $120 per person (inclusive). Meet the winemakers at a wine and cheese beforehand at 3pm in the Float lounge ($16 per person). 1-877-762-5011 250 726-4800 For more on the Whale Festival, visit SoBo owners Artie and Lisa Ahier reopened their doors Feb. 11 after a short winter break. Their new menu features Vancouver Island raised meat for the first time. Watch for live music (no cover charge) every Friday in March and April. 250 725-2341. The Spotted Bear Bistro is adding a weekend brunch in March. Chef Vincent Fraissange will be making his own corned beef, bacon and sausage for the Saturday and Sunday brunches. 250 725-2215 The biggest announcement so far this year is for Feast Tofino-Ucluelet, a month-long culinary celebration planned for May. Co-sponsored by Eat, this event will run from May 9 and lead up to the 9th annual Tofino Food and Wine Festival June 3-5. The brainchild of the Tofino-Ucluelet Culinary Guild, Feast celebrates the abundance of locally available seafood as well as the sustainable boat-totable practices espoused by the TUCG and many local restaurants. Feast will have a dine-around component at local restaurants. A weekly featured seafood (salmon, crab and spot prawns) will be the focus of Saturday cooking demonstrations and tastings on the wharfs in Tofino and Ucluelet. Several celebrity chefs have been confirmed to attend Feast events and host dinners, including “Iron Chef” Rob Feenie, Rick Moonen of rm seafood in Las Vegas and many more. Please see the article in this edition for more information. —By Jen Dart

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250 924 1110 877 860 6866 ladysmith bc

THE OKANAGAN - The Okanagan food and wine world is buzzing with the long awaited opening

Festival March ink events hap-

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of Miradoro Restaurant. Located at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards on the famous Golden Mile Bench in Oliver, Miradoro appropriately translates to “golden view” in Portuguese. A partnership between the Oldfield’s, owners of Tinhorn Creek and Manuel Ferriera, owner of Le Gavroche in Vancouver, the scheduled opening is April 1st. Executive Chef Jeff Van Geest (of Vancouver’s Aurora Bistro and Diva at the Met fame) will be at the kitchen helm. Miradoro will be open 10 months of the year for lunch and dinner and serve “market cuisine” in a relaxed fine dining atmosphere. It seats 65 people inside with a 65-seat patio allowing stunning views of our spectacular South Okanagan Valley. Welcome Slow Food Okanagan! Kristen Laprise will be heading up the exciting new Okanagan convivium. or visit their facebook page: Slow-Food-Okanagan Chef Grant de Montreuil, well-known local restaurateur, began producing perfect thin crust pizza shells for sale in Kelowna and area a couple of years ago. With over the top success and high demand, de Montreuil has launched has own pizza joint: Wedge Artisan Pizza in North Kelowna. Offering take out and delivery only – a welcome pizza delivery option for the gourmand. Fernando's Taqueria opened this winter at 279 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. Another creation of dynamo restaurant duo Bernie and Louis of Sturgeon Hall/Bordello’s fame, this Mexican eatery makes seriously good margs. Must try is the No. 34 - an Avocado Cilantro creation. (778) 478-0330. Urban Distilleries is a new small batch micro-distillery that recently opened in North Kelowna. Master-distiller and owner, Mike Urban is producing top-shelf gins, vodkas and rums including their signature "Spirit Bear" line. Open to the public Monday to Friday 9-5 and Saturday 11-5 Christa-Lee and Cameron Bond of Local Lounge ·Grille in Summerland are excited to announce the move of their current small liquor store a new 7,000 square-foot space located next to IGA in Summerland. The market will feature a show kitchen, cooking classes and a retail area with books, wine glasses and other gift items. Kelowna has launched Canada’s newest chapter of Soup Sisters at end of March. Founded in March 2009 by Calgarian Sharon Hapton, Soup Sisters is a non-profit organization that helps coordinate groups of caring women to get together to prepare and deliver homemade soup to women's shelters in their community. Working with culinary partner, Chef Neil Schroeter, who will be donating his time, instruction and new restaurant space to house these monthly soup-making bees, the community response has been heartwarming. Schroeter’s new resto digs are HQ for his Okanagan Street Food catering business will be serving breakfast and lunch. 812 Crowley Avenue, Kelowna Abby’s Spice & Tea Store on Kirschner Road in Kelowna had a bad start a few months back when a horrible fire ravaged their building. On the mend and back in business, owner Abbygale Matvieshen is sharing her passion for spice and tea in a big way. Fresh spice blends, exotic whole spices, imported olive oils, artisan vinegars, and a plethora of beautiful teas await. Over 130 top restaurants from across the country participated in Canada’s Food Day 2010 competing for the prestigious Southbrook Canadian Wine Award. This award is given to the chef whose menu best represents creative, conscientious wine pairing with an emphasis on “eat Canadian, drink Canadian.” We are so proud of our locavorian hero, Chef/Sommelier Mark Filatow of Waterfront Restaurant and Wine Bar in Kelowna who unanimously was awarded Canadian Wine Award Gold. —by Jennifer Schell-Pigott MARCH | APRIL 2011



events + festivals —by Jen Dart

In May, Tofino-Ucluelet hosts a month-long celebration of the local catch. “I can tell people where [a fish] was caught, when it was caught. Stories behind the fish sometimes,” said Tofino fisherman Jeff Mikus. “It adds that personal touch.” Mikus, who fishes spot prawns, salmon and crab in the waters off the west coast of Vancouver Island and brings it to the back door of local restaurants, is the embodiment of the Tofino-Ucluelet Culinary Guild’s boat-to-table philosophy. This year-old association is a collective of chefs and restaurateurs who have banded together to source as many sustainable local ingredients as possible. That means sharing transportation on products sourced from farms on Vancouver Island and the rest of B.C. It also means taking advantage of what’s already here in abundance, like the seafood caught by Mikus, himself a board member and co-owner of the Wildside Grill restaurant in Tofino. Buoyed by an initial fundraising dinner that had local chefs each preparing a course, the TUCG has also helped fund cooking classes and the local school lunch program in an effort to share the products they’re passionate about. And they’re now in the final stages of planning a month-long series of culinary events around the local catch this May. Feast! Tofino-Ucluelet, scheduled to start May 9, is a celebration of local – and sustainable – seafood says Shelter Restaurant owner and TUCG board member Jay Gildenhuys. It’s also meant to be a nod to the restaurants in the region. “What’s amazing about this area, what we all know, is the incredible restaurants we have here,” said Gildenhuys. It’s impressive for a small town, is what many tourists say. It’s unheard of for a small town, says Gildenhuys. “No town this size has this kind of culinary scene. We wanted to do something that celebrates the area’s sustainable fish and recognizes the culinary strength in Ucluelet and Tofino.” Feast! Tofino-Ucluelet will not only showcase local chefs’ talents but will incorporate the expertise of several celebrity guest chefs. So far the confirmed chefs include Rick Moonen of rm seafood in Las Vegas, Canada’s Iron Chef Rob Feenie, Brad Holmes of Ulla Restaurant in Victoria, Peter Zambri of Zambri’s in Victoria, Hayato Okamitsu of Catch Restaurant in Calgary and JC Poirier of Vancouver’s Campagnolo’s. Feast! will run until the start of the Tofino Food and Wine Festival June 3-5 and includes a



dine-around component with $29, $39 and $49 prix-fixe menus available at numerous restaurants. Guest chefs will make appearances for special dinners at local eateries and will also participate in the demonstrations and tastings planned for the town wharfs on each Saturday of Feast! At each of three Saturday festivals—salmon on May 14, crab on May 21 and spot prawns on May 29—chefs and seafood processors will gut, crack, sauté, steam and grill their way through the afternoon, offering tips and tastes to the public. Gildenhuys said B.C. wineries and perhaps even a brewery, as well as various information booths, will also be there to add to the festival atmosphere. Tourism Tofino is touting the event as a collaboration, not only on the culinary side of Tofino, but also with its accommodation and excursion providers. Special “Stay, Dine & Do” packages offered by hotels and marine guides allow visitors to experience the full gamut of what the area has to offer. There is talk of crabbing trips in Tofino Inlet to add to the usual sports fishing and whale- and bearwatching adventures. At press time, Tourism Tofino was a confirmed sponsor, along with Eat Magazine and the TUCG. The culinary celebration is welcome news to Kira Rogers, director of the Tofino Food and Wine Festival. “I think it is really great that Tofino and Ucluelet are bringing more culinary experiences to the table,” she said, “and I’m looking forward to a successful series of local events.” Mikus, who reserves a portion of his catch for his own and other local eateries, is hopeful the personal connection between chef and fisherman will continue to make the difference in what is served in restaurants. The demand is there with locals, he says: “So many people want local product, I have a hard time keeping up.” “We’re lucky living on the Island; people seem more conscious about how food is produced and caught. Where it comes from.” For more information on Feast! Tofino-Ucluelet, please visit and

Jen Dart



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Ucluelet, a month-long series of culinary

Salmon Week Crab Week Spot Prawn Week Food & Wine Week

May 9-14 May 15-21 May 22-28 May 29-June 5

events, launches May 9, 2011. Celebrate the abundance of our local seafood and Highlights include dockside festivals, prix fixe fresh island cuisine — all wrapped up in the month of May menus, land & water events, and ‘Stay, Dine & Do’ celebration of BC’s finest foods & festivals, culminating packages. Acclaimed regional chefs, including Angus with the 9th annual Food & Wine Festival, June 4. An, Rob Feenie, Brad Holmes, Rick Moonen, Hayato Okamitsu, JC Poirier, and Peter Zambri will be making special appearances.

For events, accommodation & activity specials, visit



903 Yates At Quadra 250.381.6000 7 AM-11 PM

125-2401 C Millstream Road 250.391.1110 8 AM-11 PM

EAT Magazine March | April 2011