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R E S TA U R A N T S | R E C I P E S | W I N E S | F O O D | C U LT U R E


L O C A L F O O D & C U L T U R E • M A R C H | A P R I L 2 0 1 7. I S S U E 2 1 - 0 2 INDEPENDENT & ISLAND OWNED

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Thomas Loft by Rosenthal

3 F B M  . F B U 3 F B M  P D B M 


16 piece set Regular $275.00 Sale $199.99 Open stock pieces available. Bridal Registry Available Broadmead Village, 130-777 Royal Oak Drive, Victoria, BC, 250-727-2110,

for people who love to cook





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In this Issue




Home Cooking




From albondigas to polpetti, to Swedish and cumin-scented Turkish varieties to the steamed varieties of Vietnam and China.



In coffee, we usually define freshness by the number of days after the roast (consuming within two weeks is optimal). But just as important is the time between the harvest and the roast. 46


“It’s not the biggest meal in the world, but it’s enough to get them through the next four hours,” says Zambri as he hands me a plate of baked penne with prosciutto, Caesar salad and two slices of pizza with broccoli and zucchini.



North America’s main hub for sturgeon research is right here on Vancouver Island, the International Centre for Sturgeon Studies (ICSS) at Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo.




Did you know for certain what you wanted to be when you grew up?



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Notes from the Editor MY FIRST RESTAURANT JOB WAS AS A SERVER AT THE HAYLOFT, A BUSY STEAK PLACE IN DOWNTOWN TORONTO. It wasn’t fancy and often the dining room filled up with rowdy concert-goers before popular shows. For several hours we ran like crazy, hauling humongous chunks of beef to the tables and giant vats of green goddess dressing to the salad bars. It was hard, physical work, and we went through calories like triathaloners in training. Usually, it was total madness and we were often in the weeds.

Love at first bite.

But one thing kept us going—the staff meal. Served around 4:30pm, after we had finished our set-up, all the cooks, dishwashers, managers, and servers would sit down and eat from a communal pot made up of whatever didn’t get used during service the night before. Sometimes that was a big pot of stew, other times it was hamburgers if the ground sirloin steaks hadn’t sold well but mostly it was a meal heavy on cheap carbs, like spaghetti. Staff mealtime was a chance to catch up with fellow workers and restaurant gossip. It not only fuelled us for the long night ahead but also helped us bond. I remember those days fondly and was excited when writer Adrian Paradis proposed an article on the staff or family meal, as it is sometimes called. Head over to page 46 to see how the staff meal is alive and well in Victoria.

Gary Hynes




It’s been reno season for two local food businesses. Bin 4’s downtown location closed for a month for a refresh, and Ferris' Downstairs Grill and Garden Patio will be closing for renovations as of Mar 5th. BIN4BURGERLOUNGE.COM, FERRISOYSTERBAR.COM/FERRISGRILL

Visit for news and events from:

Sad news for the Gorge/Burnside neighbourhood: Pizzeria Prima Strada has closed their Bridge Street location. A new location in Cobble Hill is under construction. “After nearly 7 years we have made the difficult decision to close our pizzeria Bridge Street and focus on a new project beyond Victoria,” says Cristen DeCarolis Dallas, President of Pizzeria Prima Strada. Prima Strada will maintain space on Bridge Street for their head office and production facility. PIZZERIAPRIMASTRADA.COM


Also closing is The Reef on Yates after a 14-year run. The good news is you will still be able to get your ginger beer, Johnny cakes, jerk chicken and freshly made Miss Kitty’s hot sauce at The Rolling Reef located at The Royal BC Museum Food Truck Festival right behind the museum starting May 1.

Sterling Silver Premium Beef is melt-in-your-mouth tender and a Thrifty Foods exclusive. We’re proud of our butcher-quality Sterling Silver Premium Beef. It’s hand selected and carefully aged, then custom cut in stores by our meat department experts. We bet you’ll be blown away by how juicy, n]h\]lΨgXlZe]\Xh\^oeeƇXpiol]\bnbmbh]p]lsZbn]Υ


A new Indian restaurant has opened in Saanich. Fresh Tandoori Flame Indian Bistro is located at 4440 W Saanich Rd. FRESHTANDOORIFLAME.COM Two new Asian eateries in town: FUDO Japanese in the Broad-

Connect with us



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CITY EATS: mead Village, a Japanese restaurant using both local and Japanese imported ingredients prepared by experienced Japanese Chefs. FUDOVICTORIA.COM Chipan is a new restaurant offering Japanese and Chinese Cuisine at 535 Yates St. CHIPANSUSHI.COM Heavenly Crepes on Broughton has closed and signs are up announcing that Casa Nova Cafe and Bakery will be opening their second location in that space. CASANOVA-BAKERY.COM

328 Taphouse and Grill is Colwood's newest eatery, featuring 40 taps and a stone fired pizza oven. 328TAPHOUSE.COM Snowdown House Gourmet & Gifts in North Saanich is hosting a Fir Fest on April 29th. Snowdon House offers an exclusive selection of food products featuring Douglas Fir essence. The herbaceous flavour exhibits floral aromas with subtle pepper notes and a hint of lemon is featured in their fruit-infused vinegar blends, brie toppers and Sparkling Fir Essence – a fizzy beverage can be enjoyed on its own or showcased in cocktails. SNOWDONHOUSE.CA


Cory Pelan, owner of the Whole Beast, has now become part-owner of the Village Butcher. The shops will be integrating some services and production over the next few months while keeping the two brands distinct. WHOLEBEAST.CA, VILLAGEBUTCHER.CA

Signs are up in the former Smoking Lily/Bonspiel location on Lower Johnson suggesting that the Salt and Pepper Fox might be opening up a little pick-up station for their delicious handmade lunches. Keep your fingers crossed. SALTANDPEPPERFOX.COM

Victoria Beer Week is a nine-day festival of events highlighting a broad selection of BC craft breweries while educating Greater Victoria residents about craft beer. VBW is fuelled by events that pair BC craft beer and local Victoria artisan food vendors, with a clear focus on showcasing quality BC craft beer and educating beer enthusiasts. Smaller tastings, seminars and micro-events happen at various venues throughout the week. Mar 3-11. VICTORIABEERWEEK.COM A beautiful new cookbook featuring recipes from chefs across Canada has just hit shelves. Inspired Cooking was made as a fundraising initiative for InspireHealth, a non-profit organisation that provides free supportive care to people impacted by a cancer diagnosis located here in Victoria as well as in Vancouver and Kelowna. You can support InspireHealth by purchasing a cookbook, or by participating in their upcoming Rain Walk on Mar 12. INSPIREHEALTH.CA

The sixth annual Culinaire event will be held at the Crystal Garden on March 23 this year. This event provides locals with the opportunity to savour signature menu items and inspired dishes from an abundant selec-

tion of restaurants, lounges, pubs, cafes, specialty purveyors, and sip from a fine selection of local and regional wine, cider, and craft beer. Partial proceeds provide scholarship awards to the Camosun College Culinary Arts Program and a donation is made each year to the BC Hospitality Foundation. CULINAIREVICTORIA.COM

The Esquimalt Farmers’ Market has been hosting indoor markets inside the Esquimalt Recreation Centre once a month through the winter season. They will have two more – one on Mar 30 and one on Apr 27 before returning outdoors to the Town Square. FACEBOOK.COM/ESQUIMALTMARKET

See the kitchen boys and girls of Ottavio cut the largest wheels of cheese made in the world today. Watch as they crack, cut and slice their way through the world’s oldest cheeses. Learn about the animals and families that have produced these beauties for generations. Taste the history and tradition of the cheese making craft. They will be starting with some smaller wheels of artisan cheeses from Quebec and move through to the Italian king, Parmigiano Reggiano, and up to the 225 kg behemoth, the organic, Swiss mountain Emmenthal. Samplings and specials on all cheeses cut. A great free event for the whole family. Apr 29 OTTAVIOVICTORIA.COM Our Home and Native Land: Celebrating Canadian Gastronomy May 29th, 2017, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Terroir Symposium is an annual a gathering of dreamers, disruptors and international luminaries in the world of food. Alex Hon , Hugh Acheson, Todd Perrin, Ned Bell, Daniel Burns, Amanda Cohen and more. Info & tickets at TERROIRSYMPOSIUM.COM

First, knife skills. Then, knowing how to control heat. Most important is choosing the right product ... the rest is simple.”

J U S T I N Q U E K - C H E F AT G R I G N O T E R , S I N G A P O R E




Pacific Island Gourmet CONTRIBUTING EDITOR







The Moss Street Market moves back outdoors in April, with half-markets taking place from every Saturday from 10amnoon at the corner of Moss St. and Fairfield Road. MOSSSTREETMARKET.COM

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SUPER SESAME SEEDS SESAME SEEDS MAY NOT HAVE THE AU COURANT CACHET OF THEIR fellow seed brethren hemp and chia, but that doesn’t mean they don’t qualify for superfood status. Throughout Asia, sesame seeds have long been revered for their ability to promote health and longevity. It seems this reverence was not unwarranted. Current research suggests the delicate seeds can enhance human health in myriad ways and may even help mitigate the effects of aging. Let’s take a closer look at these über-salubrious little seeds! It’s hardly surprising sesame seeds confer health benefits when you consider their nutrient density. The tiny seeds are teeming with B-vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorous, selenium and zinc. In addition, they boast a good amount of fibre and heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. What’s more, they play host to a unique mix of of polyphenolic plant compounds known as lignans that have been shown to help protect us from a variety of chronic ailments.

Cancer-fighters Cancer is among the foes sesame seeds can battle with impressive force. Researchers have discovered the nutty flavoured treats can help KO breast, lung, gallbladder and skin cancers by inhibiting tumour growth and inducing cancer cell apoptosis (cell death).

Heart-health Regular consumption of sesame seeds won’t just help you stave off cancer—studies indicate it can also help prevent heart disease. Sesame seeds deliver their cardioprotective effect by lowering blood pressure and LDL cholesterol and by preventing atherosclerosis.

Neuro-protective Ready for more good news? Sesame seeds can also help protect your noggin. Emerging animal research suggests sesamin, a lignan derived from sesame seeds, can provide significant neuro-protection by ameliorating the effects of brain injuries, seizures and stroke and by helping to suppress the production of amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.


Clearly, in order to reap sesame seeds’ amazing health benefits, regular consumption is key. Thankfully, there are a plethora of delicious and healthy ways to incorporate them into your regular culinary repertoire. Try adding sesame seeds to your homemade muffin, bread, cookie and cake batters or toss a tablespoon into your morning smoothie or cereal bowl for an extra dose of healthy fats and a pleasing nutty flavour. Elevate the taste appeal of steamed veggies by tossing them with lemon juice and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Or purchase some za’atar—an aromatic Middle Eastern spice blend made from thyme, oregano, marjoram, sea salt and toasted sesame seeds. It adds intrigue to everything from pilafs to soups and stews. The Middle Eastern spread baba ganoush is made from roasted eggplant, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, olive oil—and tahini, a nut butter made from ground sesame seeds. Mix tahini with maple or coconut nectar syrup and use it atop pancakes, toast or your morning porridge. Blend tahini with honey and soaked Medjool dates and use the resulting paste as a sweet spread—it’s scrumptious atop sliced banana. Add sesame seeds to stirfries, marinades, burger mixes or in spice rubs for various meats. Sesame seeds are small enough to be used as a coating for various filets. Or mix one part dry roasted sea salt with 12 parts dry roasted sesame seeds to make the macrobiotic seasoning gomasio. It can be stored in a cool dry place and sprinkled on pasta, grain dishes and more.

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FOOLS, FLUMMERIES AND SYLLABUBS WE SELDOM SEE THEM ON TODAY’S TABLE and that’s a shame because these curious puddings are delicious “afters” (as my Suffolk dad used to call desserts). Thick cream, honey (sugar once cost the earth) and, in the case of a syllabub, hock (wine) and sack (sherry) were the underpinnings of these peculiar-sounding concoctions. Avid cookbook readers will be no doubt familiar with the late Elizabeth David, Britain’s most engaging English cookery writer. Her piece on “Syllabubs and Fruit Fools” from An Omelette and a Glass of Wine is at once insightful and charming. There are no fewer than 16 pages devoted to them in the edition I have. It seems the syllabub was a rather boozy affair in the 1660s—a “fragile whip of cream concealing a powerful alcohol punch,” says David. Over time, though, the ratio of alcohol and cream became the inverse. Ratafias (tiny almond biscuits) or macaroons and fruit eventually found their way into the dish.

It’s believed that today’s English trifle evolved from the syllabub, but the syllabub is still kicking about. Although a delicate dessert, it takes little effort to whip up. David’s own “20th-century” version calls for marinating overnight a “thinly pared lemon and the juice with sherry and brandy,” then straining the mixture prior to making the syllabub. The BBC Good Food (and very good) website offers wonderful modern recipes for syllabub. Should you decide to take a crack at it, I suggest you hand-whisk top-notch high-fat cream (double cream if you can find it). An electric mixer tends to break down the cream/alcohol mixture. How much booze to use? I suggest you follow the half cup rule. But that’s your call. According to David, a fruit fool should be “soft, pale, creamy and untroubled.” Untroubled probably refers to simply folding sweetened stewed-and-cooled fruit into carefully whipped cream. Hardly foolish. The frail pudding’s name comes from the French foulé, meaning crushed or pressed. Some recipes call for blending custard into a fruit fool, but my ideal of the fragile fool is to keep the dish simple. I am no expert on the flummery (the word has Welsh beginnings), a “pale, slippery pudding related to

They might sound like Shakespearean jesters, but these English puddings go nearly as far back as the famous bard. syllabub and custard” as described by Caroline Conran in British Cooking (Park Lane Press, 1978). It is, I believe, the precursor to blancmange, with which I am familiar. My mother made blancmange often when I was a child, and it too was wobbly and delicate. Both puddings bear a strong resemblance to Italian panna cotta. Single cream and milk are bound by egg yolk and gelatin. Almond or vanilla bean is a popular flavour, but a fruity blancmange is nice too. Starch can steal its

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Boysenberry Fool


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way into the pudding in the form of semolina or corn flour (it did in my mother’s version). Set into and turned out of a decorative jelly mould, a flummery (or blancmange) is pretty as well as a tasty addition to any dessert table. Eton mess (as in dining hall; think officer’s mess) and named for Eton College, Windsor (where it first appeared), is crumbled meringues tossed about in cream, sugar and, of course, fruit, usually strawberries. Not being at all a fan of hard, sugary egg whites, I will leave it to the meringue fans to seek out a favourite recipe, although BBC’s Good Food website is a logical place to start. Come spring, rhubarb makes perfect pudding sense. Tart and acidic, it is a natural match for rich cream (or eggy custards) and sugar or honey sweetness. Gooseberry fool is the norm, but David’s rhubarb fool, with its addition of brown sugar, is a “very beautiful dish—and the only way of making rhubarb acceptable.” Rhubarb also makes for a tasty syllabub or, pureed with apples, a flummery (or blancmange). And you could even make a mess of it.


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Get fresh

CABBAGE TOPS Have your bouquet of cabbage flowers and eat it too. PRODUCE SHOPPING IS EVOLVING INTO AN ART FORM, OR PERHAPS more of a sport. The demands made of local markets are known to be rising to Portlandia proportions. Consumers would like to have fresh, imperfect within reason, sustainably grown, Instagram-worthy local crops that are bigger, better and juicier than their California counterparts—at all times. Perhaps global warming will get us there eventually, but while we wait for the fall of the environment to deliver us year-round growing conditions, enter the “cabbage flower,” or “cabbage top.” Commonly confused with rapini, broccolini and broccoli rabe, the “cabbage top” is none of these, but more exquisite than all. Delivering on every front (see sidebar), the cabbage top is one of the few “new crop” local produce items you can buy ahead of the growing season. Purchased in a “bouquet,” it prepares quickly and simply and can stun your dinner guests with interest, visuals and, above all, taste. Cabbage tops are in fact just that: the immature flowering tops of overwintered red or green cabbage plants going to seed. You won’t find a wealth of information online as they are new to the culinary spotlight, but so deserving of it. Available in abundance locally, but typically only in markets buying directly from local farms or at farmer’s markets themselves, the cabbage top is a nutrient- rich delicacy taking the food scene by storm. With a taste that is, of course, cabbage-y, it is milder, only



slightly peppery and intensely sweeter than cabbage itself. Begging for a braising, but also lovely raw, simple preparations most complement the cabbage top: good olive oil, shallots, local garlic and chili flakes tossed into a hot cast iron pan and plated with curls of a hard Italian cheese. This will be the star of any spring dinner. After a winter highlighted by squash and root vegetables, the vibrant flavour of simply prepared cabbage tops is an embodiment of spring and a reminder of all the good that is to come. You can look forward to them as early as mid-March, but be sure to enjoy them before the chefs snatch them all up; their season is limited as they are only harvested until the flowers bloom, and the farmers need their fields for spring crops. Every farmer that grows brassicas, and locally this will be most, will be familiar with the cabbage top. This leaves me wondering how they are only hitting the scene now? Is this the toiling farmer’s best-kept secret? These people without whose hard work we would starve have likely been enjoying this delicacy for generation upon generation. I envision them at the dinner table with their families tucking in to a steaming plate of sautéed greens with a gentle knowing smile on their faces. Maybe less their best-kept secret, and more their just reward. Daisy Orser is co-owner of The Root Cellar Village Green Grocer

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A cabbage top by any other name would taste as sweet. Also known as cabbage shoots, cabbage flowers, brassica shoots, brassica greens and any combination thereof. TASTE: Fresh, green, sweet, mildly peppery TREND: You will see them gracing the menus of many farm-to-table eateries for good reason. But this trend is here to stay. SUSTAINABILIT Y: Locally grown, this otherwise composted delicacy is merely the result of letting already harvested cabbage plants over-winter. PREPARATION: Let their abundant fresh flavour speak for itself by complementing with quality ingredients and serving al dente. SELECTION: These are coming directly from the farm and the season is short so you won’t have to pick through to find the good ones—they ’re all good. Avoid open flowers and woody stems that could turn up toward the end of the season.

Handmade Ethical Local Traditional





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H A N K S * A R E S TA U R A N T :

Albondigas (ground lamb with cumin, coriander and mint - fresh tomato sauce

45-day dry-aged beef with hand-chopped mortadella (smoked and served with a vinegared

& grated manchego cheese)

tomato cream sauce)



Spicy umami-rich meatballs with a sunnyside egg, stir fried and pickled vegetables with sweet

S p i c e d b e e f m e a t b a l l s - c u m i n , c o r i a n d e r, c i n n a m o n , g i n g e r, g a r l i c

patato noodles, Korean chili sauce



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Meatballs a circular exploration. STORY by Shelora Sheldan PHOTOGRAPHY by Sherri Mar tin

BRUSSELS WITH MUSCLES. THE MEATBALL, THAT HOMEY COMFORT FOOD CLASSIC, IS LOVED the world over. Poetry has been written about the tasty morsels, and annual festivals celebrate its delicious spherical wonder. It goes by many monikers: albondigas, kofta, polpetti, keftedes and bola-bola, to name a few. It was born out of humble times, as a way to stretch a dollar, of making do with what was on hand. It became a wildly popular dish in the 1960s, showing up on every appetizer platter—think porcupine and Swedish meatballs—and in a Chef Boyardee can.

Brilliantly fresh cuisine by the ocean.

In fact, people have been rolling and forming animal protein for millennia. The earliest known Arabic cookbooks describe a dish of seasoned lamb rolled into orange-sized balls and glazed with egg yolk and saffron—which sounds amazing! The ancient Roman cookbook, Apicius, includes many meatball recipes, and a Chinese recipe for “Four Joy Meatballs” boasts a history dating back to the Qin dynasty (221to 207 BC). In Quebec, they are the main component of a traditional dish called ragout de boulettes of ground pork, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg simmered in a gravy thickened with toasted flour. In England, they are called faggots, traditionally made with pig’s heart, liver, fatty belly meat or bacon, all minced together with herbs and breadcrumbs. I’d also like to throw the Scotch egg into the meatball ring, but I may have my detractors. Ground sausage meat is wrapped around a boiled egg, rolled in breadcrumbs and fried, essentially a meat ball. A hard-cooked egg is also found in meatballs in Mexico, and at regional Chinese restaurants in Vancouver, the Shanghai Lion’s Head pork meatballs, about the size of a tennis ball, are stuffed with salted egg yolk.

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In Jerusalem, meatballs are celebrated by absolutely everyone—traditional Jews, fervent Christians, Palestinians and funky fusion chefs—says chef and author Yotam Ottolenghi in his book, Jerusalem. In the book he includes several versions of meatballs and kofta (the two terms are interchangeable), using combinations of lamb, beef or veal seasoned with chili, allspice, cinnamon, fresh herbs and baharat spice blends. The beauty of the ball is in its simplicity. Ground protein, be it pork, lamb, poultry, beef, veal—alone or in combination—wild game or seafood, is enhanced with herbs and spices, rolled and cooked. The meat or seafood can be stretched, or bulked up by adding a filler such as milk-soaked bread or crumbs, partially cooked rice—porcupine meatballs, anybody?—lentils, ground chickpeas, chickpea flour, etc. Add an egg to bind it all together. This also produces a lighter, more buoyant end result. You can keep it simple or make it fancy, taking inspiration from the world’s spice markets with additions such as preserved lemon, mint, oregano, toasted pine nuts and sundried tomatoes. Really, you could add almost anything to the mix and they would taste great. Make them small for the cocktail hour or tapas, or rolled large for the ultimate meatball sandwich or for dinner bathed in a delectably rich tomato sauce, with or without noodles. They can be roasted, poached, smoked, pan-fried, deep-fried, braised or prepared sous vide. It’s that kind of adaptability that has given the meatball such wide-ranging appeal, for both adults and children. It’s on a regular menu rotation in my house albondiga-style, using equal amounts of beef and pork mixed with ground cumin, onion and grated zucchini, and poached in a light, Mexican-inspired tomato sauce spiked with chipotles en adobo. 13

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You can still indulge in the iconic and very retro Swedish meatball at Ikea. Last year, they served almost three million köttbullar from their two Vancouver cafés, plated with very authentic lingonberry jam. At La Stella Trattoria, Nanaimo’s only wood-fired pizzeria, chef Ryan Zuvich keeps the meatballs “super classic” in an Italian-American way, with a few chefy twists. First he hand-grinds the meat, a combination of brisket and pork shoulder, a technique that Zuvich says offers the kitchen more control over the final product, such as achieving the right texture and grinding in more fat when needed. Once formed, they’re baked in the wood-fired oven for a hint of smokiness, and three racquetball-sized polpetti are the result, served over house focaccia, nestled in a robust San Marzano tomato sauce and topped with chopped parsley and a snowy cascade of Parmesan. You won’t miss the spaghetti. For brunch service, they’re elegantly presented over creamy polenta and crowned with a poached egg.

“In all of the restaurants I’ve described, meatballs are the best sellers. ” Albondigas are one of most popular tapas at Victoria’s Bodega Bar, where chef Brian Bekkema takes a page from Spain’s culinary history for inspiration. Ground lamb is blended with cumin, coriander and mint, all reflecting the Moorish influences that are very prominent in Spanish cuisine. No fillers are added, just pure lamb flavour with wonderful notes of spice and herbs. Served with a tomato sauce, they make a great nibble alongside one of Bodega’s sherry flights, and with no breadcrumb filler, make a great gluten-free tapa choice. At Stage, meatballs get an exotic turn from the spice trade. Cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, chili and cloves are only a few of the seasonings ground together with beef trim gleaned from their tartare, striploin and bavette. Bread is soaked in double cream overnight and added to the mix, giving the resulting meatballs lightness. Once formed, they’re baked in their house red wine tomato sauce, which also has hints of cinnamon, and served over housemade tagliatelle noodles. This is chef Greg Caspersen’s take on classic spaghetti and meatballs! A regular consumer of the dish once exclaimed, “These are like no meatballs I’ve ever had.” Indeed. At Hanks, a Restaurant, Clark Deutscher uses flavourful, 45-day dry-aged beef with hand-chopped mortadella for their meatballs. They’re smoked and served with a vinegared tomato cream sauce finished with fresh sage. Jamie Cummins of Relish looks to the umami flavours of Asia for his breakfast meatballs. Meatballs for breakfast? Absolutely! Cummins takes an exacting mix of Cache Creek all-natural beef cuts, five in total, for a “pure beef flavour” that balances the strong flavours added to the meat mix. Those are fish sauce, chili in many guises (especially the pungent fermented Korean gochujang chili sauce), and that wonderful fermented cabbage condiment, kimchi, made in-house, of course. Three deliciously funky and spicy umami-rich meatballs are topped with a sunnyside egg and served with a colourful array of vegetables, stir-fried and pickled, on top of either a crispy sesame rice cake or over rice noodles. His customers love it, and rightly so. In all of the restaurants I’ve described, meatballs are the best sellers. It’s recognizable on a menu and entices customers for its familiarity, comfort food connotation and nourishing goodness. Hopefully, you’re inspired to try your hand at making and forming your own meatballs, if you haven’t already, or indulge in some of the versions made around town. From Sweden to Mexico, Italy and Spain to Asia and beyond, hand-ground meat or not, in sauce or without, meatballs can be rolled into endless permutations. For breakfast, lunch or dinner, with sauce or in broth, in a casserole or a sandwich, you’re only limited by your imagination. As Jamie Cummins notes, “Everybody loves a meatball.” What’s not to love?



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We’re part of a pretty incredible community and take pride in sourcing the freshest seasonal ingredients. Bring your friends and family for a local feast made with love.

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Spotlight on James Bay

From left to right:



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FROM THE WONDERFUL, HERITAGE ARCHITECTURE TO BREEZY OCEANFRONT WALKS TO GREAT DINING; VICTORIA’S JAMES BAY DISTRICT IS A VIBRANT NEIGHBOURHOOD FOR BOTH VISITORS AND LOCALS ALIKE. By Jill Van Gyn stroll through James Bay reveals everything one needs to know about our sweet little city. As the oldest residential neighbourhood in Victoria, James Bay holds within its bounds the life and breath of what it means to live in the capital of B.C. An outsider might characterize Victoria as the City of Gardens, a coveted tourist destination, a seaside reprieve from the bustle of the mainland or a centre for power and policymaking in British Columbia. But if we were to strip away every other area in Victoria and were left only with charming, historical James Bay, we would still have the essence of Victoria.


HISTORY James Bay is the epicentre of the city’s history and is treasured today for the wealth of heritage homes

preserved from the colonial era. The Vancouver Island Colony became a highly sought-after residence for many of the Hudson Bay Company elite because of its fair weather and access to trading ports. James Bay history truly starts with the ancestral lands of the Songhees First Nation, who had long inhabited the tiny peninsula. The small parcel of land was the traditional territory of the Swengwhung tribe whose descendants are part of Songhees First Nation. The land was traded to the Hudson Bay Company along with other land for a paltry £75. Evidence of their burial grounds can still be found, marked by a traditional mortuary pole that stands to this day at Laurel Point. James Bay was home to many well-known early residents such as a young Emily Carr, HBC chief factor and later

colonial governor of B.C. James Douglas, banker A.D. Macdonald and the Dunsmuir family before they built Craigdarroch Castle. Also notable was the home of wealthy industrialist W.J. Pendray, who built a Queen Anne-style mansion in 1895 complete with monogrammed stained glass windows that remain intact to this day. These days, the Pendray house is better known as the Gatsby Mansion, which features The Pendray Restaurant, a great spot to take in an afternoon high tea and surround yourself in the trappings of days of old. The oceanfront neighbourhood was the most fashionable place to live in the mid-to-late 1800s with it sprawling lawns and topiaries and intricately designed houses built in Italianate, Edwardian vernacular, Craftsman and Tudor styles.



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James Bay was not only home to the elite but also to the workers and servants who tended to the needs of the HBC and their ilk. Remember, this was the time of the Wild West and things weren’t always buttoned up. The Bent Mast, for example, which today is a popular neighbourhood bar and restaurant and a well-loved haunt for locals, was a raucous brothel and rooming house that featured a risqué erotic art gallery. The heritage movement of the 1970s saved many character homes that had managed to escape the wrecking ball of the 1950s post-war redevelopment era. It was during this time that we started to see those hard-cornered, non-descript apartment buildings so characteristic of mid-century architecture. These apartment buildings, however, made James Bay all that more inclusive to the growing city population. The area is one of the most sought after rental areas in Victoria for its accessibility to downtown, its communityoriented lifestyle, and its proximity to kilometres of shoreline. From grand heritage houses, to modern west-coast style family homes, to coveted first-time apartments, James Bay has become an attraction for both locals and tourists for its rich community, narrow, tree-lined streets and colourful, well-cared-for character homes that many of us, at some point, have dreamed of building our lives in.



Victoria is built on its individual communities and James Bay has one of the deepest community identities of any of our eclectic neighbourhoods. Many a childhood memory was constructed on visits to its various corners: the Beacon Hill petting zoo, walks on Dallas Point with the family dog to watch the kites soar high above violent winds, the tours through the hallowed halls of the Legislature. And who hasn’t watched the massive cruise ships come into port or thought it would be cool to grow up to drive a horse and carriage or lead a pack of kabuki bikes through the park (and let’s be honest, it still kind of is) and many of us held summer jobs in one of these coveted positions.

o James Bay Neighbourhood Spotlight would be complete without a nod to Blue Crab Seafood House. Located in Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA, Blue Crab Seafood House sits like a welcoming beacon on the edge of Victoria’s lively inner harbour. For twenty five years it has been one of Victoria’s most loved destinations for succulent seafood, fabulous harbour views, and uncompromised service.


winter menu features hearty 3-course meals that are a spectacular value. Springtime challenges the culinary team to create a new menu daily based on the morning catch. Summer welcomes tourists and locals alike for more casual fare on Blue Crab Seafood House’s waterfront patios. In autumn, the harvest is celebrated with a refreshingly local menu featuring ingredients from farms and waterways around Vancouver Island.

“Blue Crab Seafood House is unique because it gives guests the opportunity to be in an incredible room with stunning views while enjoying some of the freshest seafood on the West Coast of Canada” says Executive Chef Gabriel Milne, who joined the culinary team in 2016. “As a Chef, I think this is an exciting time to be working in Victoria. The food scene is moving away from the old grade. Restaurants are starting to push the boundaries.”

With access to private waterfront dining space within Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA, Blue Crab Seafood House can offer a unique to Victoria venue for private parties, weddings, and corporate events. So, whether it’s for a champagne brunch with girlfriends, a quick and delicious lunch out of the office, evening cocktails with a crowd, or a special dinner date, Blue Crab Seafood House is sure to delight the senses and leave guests totally satisfied.

For those of us who grew up here many of our first culinary memories were also made in James Bay. A trip to the Beacon DriveIn for soft serve often marked the end of an epic Sunday out in the park or down on the breakwater. Or maybe we had an outing to Fisherman’s Wharf to feed the seals (watch your fingers) and marvel at the colourful houseboats, which inevitably ended with a deliciously greasy basket of Barb’s fish and chips. The Ogden Point Breakwater seemed like a dangerous and adventurous place to a kid–whose father hasn’t taken them out to the lighthouse in a mild storm making you feel like you were walking into the eye of a tornado and could be swept out to sea in a heartbeat? And then all that awe and fear of the stormy open ocean would be smoothed over in an instant by being bundled into the Breakwater Café for a hot chocolate and a slice of cake. James Bay is the place of our childhood and gave us a profound sense of pride to live in Victoria. As grownups we still take our children The cycle continues as parents take their children to these spots to relive and pass on these formative memories, but we also return to James Bay for our own purposes–the food.

Blue Crab Seafood House is no different. With menus that change with the seasons, there is always something new and creative to try. The

146 Kingston Street, Victoria BC, 250-480-1999,



James Bay has grown into a wonderfully varied culinary landscape. Waterfront locations, character-home-lined streets and sprawling

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parklands have offered up a perfect environment for intimate and eclectic dining experiences. On the James Bay side of the Inner Harbour, well-appointed hotels attract tourists and locals alike with stylish restaurants ranging from comforting pub fare to world class dining. The Pacific Restaurant at the Hotel Grand Pacific is a great place to start for some relaxed and casual dining as you plan your day around the Inner Harbour. Aura at The Inn at Laurel Point capitalizes on local ingredients and selective lists of libations drawn from wineries, breweries and stills from around the province. And Blue Crab Seafood House at The Coast Victoria Harbourside Hotel boasts some of the best seafood in the city, reminding us of the bounty at our shorelines. Tourists from all over the world dock at our shores, and the city’s hospitality and civic pride can often be reflected in the fantastic food we serve our visitors. James Bay has increasingly becoming a destination for those of us who live out of the downtown core. Nourish, set in a refurbished Victorian home at the corner of Quebec and Pendray, makes you feel as if you’re in the living room of a good (and very fashionable) friend and is one of the most comforting dining experiences around. With a dedication to truly local ingredients and well-crafted, healthful meals, Nourish is ideal for dining with friends.

And where would we be without Finest at Sea? Offering only wild seafood caught by in-house fishers, Finest at Sea, on Erie across the street from Fisherman’s Wharf Park, is often seen as the standard when procuring fresh seafood for our dinner table. Il Covo Trattoria on Superior has one of the most interesting dining settings in James Bay. The high-beamed, vaulted ceilings, chandelier lighting and foliage-covered patio offer an intimate Italian getaway right in the heart of the neighbourhood. Finally, for absolutely unparallelled views of our cherished Inner Harbour, the Steamship Grill in the old Steamship Terminal on Belleville is the place to go for cocktails on the patio in the spring and summer months. James Bay is a growing and vibrant community, truly the heart of our city. It is where we started and where we draw our inspiration. Victoria is known as one of the most sought-after cities in the world to live in and James Bay is an example of why that is. If you grew up in this city, you know this is where you will return to time and again to remind yourself why you live here. And if you are a transplant, it is likely James Bay that made you fall in love with us in the first place.


rattoria - "an Italian style eating establishment serving classic home-cooked Italian cuisine in a warm and welcoming neighborhood atmosphere" is the perfect description being part of the James Bay community. Located in a 100 year old heritage building, Il Covo Trattoria opened in June 2014 and is family run and authentically Italian. You can enjoy casual, rustic Italian food and feel like you've walked in off the street in Italy into a warm old world trattoria, as many of the staff are Italian. With the owner hailing from Genova, Italy, the menu consists of family recipes and northern Italian classics such as Agnolotti con Sugo di Noci and Gnocchi Pesto.


Daily features are chosen from all regions of Italy... depending on the passionate inspiration of the Chef and kitchen that day! You'll enjoy house-made pastas, focaccia bread, classic desserts, sauces, antipasti and more. With attention to detail, each dish is beautifully presented using local ingredients, along with herbs and edible flowers that are seasonally grown in the restaurant garden. The owners wanted guests to experience an Italian family dining experience and offer a 'Family style' dinner which has become a house favorite. The Chef chooses shared courses each evening for guests enjoyment which is served traditionally Famiglia.

and creative craft cocktails with a focus on the season, along with a selection from local distilleries and breweries. The thoughtfully chosen wine list features Italian, international and BC wineries. During the summer season enjoy dining al fresco in the popular Italian inspired garden patio. Il Covo is a memorable and unique Italian dining experience perfect for special occasions, intimate dinner dates or parties. Come and enjoy a taste of Italy! Buon Appetito! 106 Superior St, Victoria, BC, (250) 380-0088

Behind the bar is an offering of classic Italian beverages 19

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What’s Good Here? Going to the source for great menu choices. B Y A D R I A N PA R A D I S

We’ve all been here there. Staring at a menu with too many good choices while not having enough stomach. The solution? Seek advice from someone in the know. It always helps to ask your server, “What’s good here?” Here is a look at nine James Bay establishments and the advice of those on the inside.

Joeann Budzyn – Server at Pendray Tea House in the Gatsby Mansion FAVOURITE DISH: I really enjoy our clotted cream. We make it in-house and it complements our scones very well. They have been labelled “surprisingly” good. You see them and they look like they could be too dense, or the shell is too tough. But once you break one open, it has a really soft centre. FAVOURITE DRINK: We have quite a variety of teas here. For teas with no caffeine, I always go for the crème caramel. It’s a rooibos-based tea so it’s naturally sweet. It’s kind of like having a tea cream soda. It’s really popular with children because it’s more of a sweet-spice palate.

Morgana Braveraven – Server at Il Covo Trattoria

ight on the Inner Harbour, The Pacific

Tea is available throughout the year, and is a

Restaurant & Terrace offers the sort of

modern twist on a traditional afternoon tea.

FAVOURITE DISH: Picking my favourite was a challenge because I have so many, but my number one is the Pappardelle ai Funghi. It’s a fabulous flat noodle, like a ribbon, that is very tender in a garlic cream sauce with mushrooms. It’s like the chocolate cake of pasta. Not the kind of thing you can eat every day because it’s very rich, but it’s absolutely fabulous.

West Coast cuisine that Victoria can be

Along with the tea list, curated with the help of

Carina Pogoler – Bartender at Il Covo Trattoria

proud of. Located in the Hotel Grand Pacific, the

Silk Road Tea Company’s resident Tea Master

restaurant brings together local, sustainable

Daniela Cubelic, guests enjoy treats showcasing

ingredients; an award-winning wine list; and a

Victoria’s local, regional culinary influences with

waterfront patio that’s hard to beat.

items such as Free Run Organic Egg Salad on


Smoked Salmon Rye Bread Pudding, Seared Led by Executive Chef Rick Choy, The Pacific’s Tuna with Tomato and Bacon on Brioche and culinary team has created a menu highlighting Lemon Raspberry Mousse Cake. And at $44 per B.C. seafood and traditional meat dishes in person, the value will leave you more than bistro classics with a West Coast twist. Combine impressed. Vancouver Island’s seasonal ingredients with modern flavours, and expect to find items such

The Pacific Restaurant & Terrace is open seven

as a Juniper and Black Pepper Venison Tataki;

day a week, from 6:30am to 10:00pm. The

or a Crispy Skin-on Salmon served with braised

Pacific Lounge is open 4:30pm – 11:00pm

tomato, fennel & guanciale, served with house

Sunday – Thursday, and 4:30pm – 12:00am

made lobster roe pasta.

Friday & Saturday. Live music is featured on Friday and Saturday nights, 8:00pm – 11:00pm.

The Pacific Restaurant also offers a selection of Bookings can be made by calling 250-380-4458, different afternoon tea experiences throughout or via the year, celebrating different seasons and special occasions. The West Coast Afternoon

463 Belleville St, Victoria, BC

FAVOURITE DRINK: My favourite cocktail, I would have to say, is the Bocca di Rosa. It’s an odd choice because it’s almost never ordered, I think because people are surprised by all the ingredients. It has Campari, vermouth, Grand Marnier, Cointreau and vodka. That’s a long list of ingredients, and some are things people would not normally put together. But the end product is just a little bit orangey, and a really amazing cocktail. I think people should venture out and try it more often.

Katharine Palmer - Server at Blue Crab Seafood House FAVOURITE DISH: I eat the scallop risotto probably three times a week. It includes local scallops, perfectly prepared, from Qualicum Beach. There is a combination of parsley, tarragon and chive that makes for an indescribable flavour.

Karen Whyte - Bartender at Blue Crab Seafood House FAVOURITE DRINK: Our Blue Crab Caesar is one of our most popular CONTINUED


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NOURISH KITCHEN & CAFE ourish Kitchen & Cafe moved into the city about a year ago from our original garden location. Our 'new' 1889 heritage house is nestled in James Bay with several unique rooms creating something a little different. Besides the Dining Room, the first floor also holds our Cafe, offering quick, healthy options including our beloved bone broth bar. The second floor is a special spot where Cafe customers often linger. It's used most often as a retreat space for freelancers, students, & coffee {or cocktail} dates - it is also used for workshops, classes & private events. Oh, and that garden space Nourish used to live in is still a special little place of ours - now our sister location - Charlotte & the Quail. 225 Quebec Street, Victoria, (250)-590-3426,


teamship Grill and Bar takes you back to the time of hand shaken cocktails, fresh caught local seafood and the service reminiscent of the steamship era. Step outside to Victoria’s most stunning harbour view, with a capacity of 150 people, while dining on the heated and covered patio overlooking it all. We buy local with an emphasis on fresh, west coast seafood and premium BC wines, craft beer, and spirits.


470 Belleville St., Victoria, (778) 433-6736,


PENDRAY TEA HOUSE IN THE GATSBY MANSION othing feels more like Victoria than the iconic Gatsby Mansion. Located in the heart of Belleville Street, this magnificent Victorian era manor now serves as a boutique hotel and Afternoon Tea House for those in search of a little old time romance. The Gatsby Mansion is over 100 years old, and elegantly accented with landscaped topiary gardens, wandering pathways, and lovely fountains.


he Breakwater Café and Bistro is a West Coast-inspired James Bay hub. Located on scenic Dallas Road, the restaurant boasts the best ocean views in the city. Come enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner accompanied by friendly service in a warm and inviting atmosphere. Our café operates counter service from 9am-4pm, then switches over to table service and casual dining from 4pm-11pm. The Breakwater is proud to feature a variety of local products and talent; we offer an array of local beers, wines, and showcase local musicians for live music every Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 8pm. When the summer arrives, head downstairs to the Kraken food truck and licenced patio for fish and chips, or join us every Friday for Bites, Brews, and Bands on the Barge.


199 Dallas Rd, Victoria, (250) 386-8080,

Located inside The Gatsby Mansion, enjoy a delicious traditional Victorian Afternoon Tea as you watch the ships come and go from Victoria’s Inner Harbour. The Pendray Teahouse, offers a selection of hand-picked TWG gourmet teas, as well as elegant tea plates filled with assorted sweets and sandwiches. The Gatsby Mansion makes for the perfect location for this well-loved British tradition, followed by a stroll along Victoria’s Inner Harbor. 309 Belleville St, Victoria Reserve by phone 1.800.663.7557 or email us at


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drinks. It’s served as a double, and you get horseradish and a prawn. We make it by hand so it’s not a pre-mix. I think quantifying how spicy people like their Caesar is really important. Introducing a lot of Americans to the Caesar, from the Bloody Mary, is great. Bar none, I don’t think I’ve had one person in 23 years who didn’t like it as much as a Bloody Mary.

Sam Watson – Bar Manager at Breakwater Café & Bistro FAVOURITE DISH: Our Pacific lingcod is absolutely delicious. It comes on quinoa with a spicy coconut curry broth. It’s a good size portion of lingcod with micro greens on top. In the summer, it’s a nice light dish to eat outside. You don’t want bangers and mash or something to weigh you down, and the coconut curry sauce is really different. It’s a white cream sauce, but it has a little bit of a kick to it that balances out the coconut. FAVOURITE DRINK: I would have to go with the Fat Tug. It’s won gold, I don’t know how many times, across Canada. It’s a draft IPA from Driftwood Brewery and it’s a killer strong beer, just over 7 percent, so you can’t have too many of them. It has a ton of citrus hops and grapefruit flavour. It’s become a staple of Vancouver Island and it goes with everything.

Dave Martin – Server at AURA at Inn at Laurel Point FAVOURITE DISH: A good showcase for us is our rockfish. It’s a panseared Pacific snapper over coconut beluga lentils, which are a little larger than regular lentils. It comes with a nice julienne of daikon and carrots and a Malaysian coconut laksa broth. It really reflects the Pacific Rim theme that inspires us at the hotel. inest At Sea was founded in 1977 by commercial fishermen and owner, Bob Fraumeni. Bob’s passion for the sea blossomed at a young age while fishing out of Gonzales Bay and grew into a vertically integrated commercial fishing company producing 100% wild, sustainable, British Columbian seafood. Finest At Sea supplies discerning chefs both locally and around the world with our premium quality, sashimi grade seafood delicacies.


In 1986, Bob founded the Canadian Sablefish Association, commited to and invested in true stewardship of Canada’s sablefish resource, through innovative scientific research as well as continuous stock assessment. Bob also sits on many other sustainable fishing counsels in order to insure and protect our oceans for all future generations.. Our robust fleet of 15 commercial fishing vessels, anchored by our flagship the Ocean Pearl, are fitted with state of the art processing technology which ensures the highest quality

seafood available in the world. Fishing the pristine waters around Haida Gwaii and off the coast of ancouver Island, our fleet delivers Fresh or Frozen At Sea Halibut, Sablefish, Salmon, Albacore Tuna, Lingcod, Spot Prawns and Rockfish. Proudly delivered to and available at our Seafood Boutiques in Victoria, Kerrisdale and Granville Island, our catch is filleted, smoked or custom processed onsite by our professional and knowledgeable staff. Finest At Sea also offers canned products, hot and cold smoked fillets or candy, and an extensive variety of delectable deli items prepared from the freshest local ingredients. We invite you to visit one of our three Finest At Sea food carts offering mouth watering eats such as our famous smoked tuna tacos!. We are proud to provide Wild, 100% known origin, sustainable seafood products 7 days a week to our local community and beyond, Sea you soon! 27 Erie St, Victoria, BC (250) 383-7760

George Ko – Bartender at AURA at Inn at Laurel Point FAVOURITE DRINK: The Hey Sailor is very popular this time of year because it’s still chilly outside. It’s a hot rum mix made from scratch. Starting off with butter in a pot, we add cinnamon sticks, cloves, Chinese five spice and nutmeg. That’s all stewed together with real maple syrup, apple juice and Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum. It’s a very warm and comforting drink and great on a cold night.

Liam Burton – Server at Nourish Kitchen & Cafe FAVOURITE DISH: The flat iron steak is really nice. There is a little harissa spice so the preserved lime yogurt is a cool contrast. We have a lot of good dinner dishes, but I always end up ordering that one. We don’t have steak knives in the restaurant. The flat iron is tender enough, if you cook is properly, that you don’t need it. It doesn’t come with your standard sides either—the sprouted lentils are really refreshing.

Erin Maher – Sommelier at Nourish Kitchen & Cafe FAVOURITE DRINK: I really like our wine list because it’s all natural, organic and biodynamic. So I know it’s all made really well and I can feel good about what I’m drinking. My favourite right now is the Claus Preisinger Basic. It’s from Austria and it’s a blend of two kinds of




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Meet the young, up and coming culinary talent at AURA

or the past five years executive chef Takashi Ito and chef Ryan Harney have been creating meals at AURA at Inn at Laurel Point with an Asian influence much like the subtle Asian influence of the Inn’s architecture and interior design. “I like real food. Taste must come first,” chef Ito explained as we visited one recent afternoon. “We are creating good food with twist and fun while respecting ingredients’ character and essence. I like my chefs to have fun in the kitchen too,” Ito added with a sly smile. To that end, Ito recently recruited two, young yet experienced chefs to complete a team of five culinary leaders, which includes Ryan Harney, previous restaurant chef now promoted to chef tournant. New restaurant chef Manpreet Sethi and pastry chef Kimberley Vy have joined Ito’s kitchen at AURA and have already influenced the restaurant’s menu with dishes inspired by their Asian roots. The Singapore-born and bred Sethi started cooking at the Four Seasons in Singapore, moved to Toronto’s Four Seasons then become sous chef at Oliver & Bonacini restaurants before joining AURA’s kitchen brigade last year. “I like to tell a story on the plate,” Sethi explained after joining Ito and Vy at the table. “Each dish should tell us who we are.” Sethi has created a foie gras appetizer with a rare ingredient called “kaya,” derived from the pandan leaf. It is traditionally used in a breakfast dish in his native Singapore. “On a recent trip home to Singapore, I brought back an extra suitcase of ingredients, including pandan leaves that I can’t get here.” Pastry chef Vy chimed in that pandan is a screw-pine leaf that they use on the dessert side in both Vietnamese and Chinese cooking. Kimberley Vy grew up in tiny Brooks, Alberta, but her mother and father’s Chinese, Vietnamese and Laotian heritage inspire her dessert creations. “The kitchen is at the heart of my family, and we share food as a way to show love. When my mom calls me on the phone, the first thing she always says is, ‘Did you eat yet?’” Vy remembers joining her mother’s 5 a.m. shift in the kitchen of Ace’s Cafe in Brooks.


“My mom would take me to work when I was a preschooler. I was always in the kitchen, and after high school I attended the Baking and Pastry Arts Program at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary. I carried on working at establishments such as the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Vintage Chophouse and the Calgary Zoo. I was making everything from scratch and cooked for the Royal Reception for William and Kate during their honeymoon tour of Alberta.” Vy moved to Victoria to work with Ito after passing a very rigorous, two-day test in the kitchen at AURA. They hit it off personally, and Vy now feels her baking is a lot more playful and free to express her Asian influences. Asked to offer an example of her heritage’s influence on her current baking, Vy cites the current menu’s Thai tea mousse, with almond butter cornflake crunch, Thai milk tea mousse, lemon mascarpone ice cream and tamarind fluid gel. “Our De-constructed Strawberry Shortcake dessert includes kinako, a roasted soybean powder as a sweet topping and pickled strawberries, shiso leaf jam and miso-candied peanuts. This was inspired by our Japanese-influenced baker.” “We’re both enjoying the freedom to improvise on traditional dishes from our Asian heritage,” restaurant chef Manpreet Sethi added. “I’ve only been on the west coast for six months, and I’m excited and looking forward to joining chef Ito this spring visiting Vancouver Island farms. I want to visit local sources for fresh ingredients. On our rockfish dish, I’m using fresh local red snapper with a broth derived from a traditional noodle bowl called laksa. I play on my Singaporean roots by adding pistachio-crusted coconut lentils and black sesame powder to the laksa broth instead of noodles.” AURA’s main menu changes seasonally in June and October, with a fresh sheet weekly that gives the chefs an opportunity to be creative with currently available local ingredients. The 68-seat patio opens in May, and the chefs assured me that the sunshine and fresh air will influence their offerings as well. —by Joseph Blake AURA AT INN AT LAUREL POINT, 680 MONTREAL ST., 250-414-6739 BREAKFAST: 7-11 A.M. LUNCH: 11:30-5 P.M. DINNER: 5-9 P.M. HAPPY HOUR: 2-5 P.M.


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obscure varietals, but it’s really plush, bright and concentrated. It’s almost like a syrah.


Joshua Rivera – Server at Steamship Grill and Bar FAVOURITE DISH: The local Pacific blackened snapper is amazing. You get a good piece of snapper on a nice rice pilaf, and seasonal vegetables. Right now it’s green beans and golden beets. You don’t often get to eat golden beets so it’s something different. Everything is local and it’s absolutely delicious.

Ryan Hawkins – Bartender at Steamship Grill and Bar FAVOURITE DRINK: Favourite cocktail, in my opinion, is our Maker’s Mark old- fashioned. It’s a pretty traditional cocktail, so it’s done the same way in most places you go. In ours, we use Maker’s Mark bourbon and brown sugar in the base instead of cane syrup or simple syrup, so it will be a little less sweet. It’s got some warmth to it, but it’s a fairly strong, boozy drink as well. If you put too much simple syrup in there, you lose the taste of the bourbon.

Rose Brewer – Retail Manager at Finest At Sea FAVOURITE PRODUCT: My favourite is our cold-smoked tuna. It’s our sashimigrade tuna that we catch off our boats, and then it’s cold-smoked in our smokehouse out back. People think of tuna as being dry, but when it’s coldsmoked, it’s buttery. It’s frozen-at-sea albacore tuna that we cut on our bandsaw while still frozen. By the time it’s thawed, you’re eating it. The cold smoke keeps that sashimi-grade texture, rather than it drying out in a high heat smoke.

Yvonne Boy – Food Truck Manager at Finest At Sea FAVOURITE DISH:We do a seafood chowder, not a clam chowder, with smoked fish and whatever we have in the retail case. There’s nothing weird about it because I really like classic chowders. We do our own fish stock, and all the fish is what we processed in-house. Generally it has halibut, lingcod, smoked salmon and shrimp along with potatoes, carrots and celery in simple creamy goodness. It’s really hardy and I never get sick of it.

Takumi Kitamura – Restaurant Chef at the Pacific Restaurant & Terrace FAVOURITE DISH: My favourite would be the miso sablefish. I’m from Japan and sable fish is traditional Japanese food so it reminds me of home. Everything melts in your mouth. Sablefish is a fatty fish, but combined with the sesame rice and pickled ginger vinaigrette it makes for a combination of sweet, fatty and sour that works really well together.

Cory Burden - Bartender at the Pacific Restaurant & Terrace FAVOURITE DRINK: The one I like the most is the Winter’s Calling. We take hickory chips, ignite them with a blowtorch so they smolder, and put a highball glass over top to catch the smoke in the glass. You get a really nice smoky flavour on the glass itself, and then essentially we make an old-fashioned. We use infused bourbon and bitters, but the most interesting part is the actual fire. It’s like a drink by the fireplace.

McLean’s Specialty Foods Turns 25 Eric and Sandy McLean are celebrating an extraordinary achievement. For 25 years, McLean’s Specialty Foods has been serving customers in Nanaimo and beyond from their shop on Fitzwilliam Street in the Old City Quarter. McLean’s Specialty Foods will be familiar to longtime EAT readers as they were one of the first businesses to sign on to support the magazine back in its early days. McLean’s is known for their Sandy and Eric McLean in their Nanaimo shop large selection of imported and local deli products specializing in over 150 cheeses, antipasto, British and Scottish foods and lately, a growing selection of middle eastern, North African, and Spanish products. Spain’s famous sheep-milk Manchego is one of the stores most popular cheeses. “When we first arrived in Nanaimo from Vancouver,” says McLean, “there was nothing and residents had to go to either Victoria or Vancouver to find specialty deli items. Some friends were running a cookware store and we helped out with the tastings. I had been working in food wholesale in Vancouver and had some experience selling gourmet foods. The tastings were a big success and we saw a hole that needed filling so we set up shop.” At the same time, the Food Network had just debuted and was kick-starting a huge interest in foods. It was a classic case of being in the right place at the right time. Along with the deli and specialty foods, McLean’s has a popular lunch cafe, which showcases the products they sell, and features on-site baking and freshly prepared soups. Occasionally, they will hold special events like the recent Robbie Burns day that featured haggis and was so popular the cafe had three sold-out seatings. “Our approach to business is simple,” says McLean. “Don’t BS the customer. The customer is always right and our staff is trained to help each person find the product that’s right for them. We want our customers to trust us and be happy.” Most of the twenty-fifth anniversary activities take place the first week of April. Look for plenty of food treats, prizes (including an Italian gift basket), and bagpipes. And, of course, lots of McLean’s finest food items, personalized expertise, and great customer service.

426 Fitzwilliam St, Nanaimo, BC (250) 754-0100



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Proudly P roudly sserving er vin ng a w wide ide sselection election of TWG Specialty Teas.

For Reservations call 250-381-3456 | 309 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC | Facebook @ TheGatsbyMansion

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GRAZE grilled flatbread with lamb, feta, pine nuts and fresh spices Baharat 3 Tbsp whole peppercorns 2 Tbsp whole coriander seeds 1 Tbsp whole cloves 3 Tbsp whole cumin seeds 1 tsp whole cardamom seeds (black or green) 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon 4 tsp ground nutmeg 4 Tbsp ground paprika Place all whole spices in a dry cast iron pan, over medium heat. Stir constantly until spices start to emit their incredible scent, and they are warm and toasted, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Place all whole spices in a spice grinder, and grind to a powder. Add remaining spices and blend well. Keeps in a covered jar for several months. Flatbread Again, you can be very flexible. Buy a flatbread from a local Middle Eastern market, use pizza dough, or make your own: 2 tsp salt 1 tsp sugar 1 Tbsp instant yeast 3 cups all-purpose flour Olive oil as needed 4 Tbsp za’atar Blend together salt, sugar, yeast and 1 cup warm water in a large bowl and let it sit until it begins to froth, about 5 min. Add 26


flour and mix until well combined (add more warm water, 1 Tbsp at a time if the dough is very dry). Cover bowl and let dough rise somewhere warm for about an hour. * You may have extra dough, which you can freeze after kneeding. These proportions work well together, though, so make the whole batch. Lamb Topping 1 kg ground lamb 1 large shallot, finely diced 2 red Fresno peppers (or other medium hot), seeded and chopped into thin rounds, optional 2 cloves garlic, minced 4 Tbsp baharat 3 Tbsp currants, finely chopped 2 Tbsp white vinegar 1 Tbsp tomato paste 1.5 cups water Salt and pepper Brown lamb in a large skillet over medium high heat, breaking into small pieces. Drain most of the fat. Add shallots and peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, baharat and currants and cook for 1 minute, then add 1/2 cup water. Cook for 2 minutes. Add vinegar, tomato paste and remaining water. Reduce to a simmer and cook until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. Mixture should be very saucy. Add more

baharat and water if you need more sauce. Season well with salt and pepper. Set aside, keeping warm. When almost ready to cook flatbread, prepare a grill, heating to medium high. Transfer dough to a well-floured surface and knead until soft and silky, 5 to 8 minutes. Cut dough into 4-8 equally sized pieces, and roll each one out to 1/8 inch, not worrying about perfection in length or width, but trying to keep consistency in their thickness. Brush one side of each piece with olive oil and place oil side down on the grill. Brush the top with olive oil as they cook, about 1-2 minutes, until bread begins to brown and puff up. Flip and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes. Remove from grill, brush generously with olive oil and sprinkle with lots of za’atar. Assembly 5 oz fresh feta cheese 4 Tbsp toasted pine nuts Fresh cilantro, chopped Fresh mint, finely chopped 1 cup plain Greek yogurt Salt to taste Top flatbreads with lamb mixture, making sure to use lots of sauce. Sprinkle feta over top, followed by pine nuts, cilantro, mint and yogurt.

“This recipe was inspired by the Middle Eastern spice blend baharat. The combination varies by region and household but generally includes cinnamon and nutmeg, along with a whole lot of other fragrant spices. If you don’t have everything required in the recipe, not to worry. Use what you have, whole or ground, and adjust to your taste.” RECIPE + STYLING + PHOTOGRAPHY

Rebecca Wellman

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The Ethics of Eating: ting: W Water ate ater Stress Stress Second in a Four-P Four-Part art Series We W I Banff e went to a Responsible Investing Conference in B anff a couple of years ago where in one plenary session it Alberta’s was convincingly argued that Albert a’s primary export water.. was not oil, wheat or beef but rather water Water, Alberta, a, is used W ater, a scarce resource in southern Albert extensively to facilitate facilitate the pumping of oil, the raising of cattle and the growing of wheat and other crops, and as years of drought have dragged on oilmen, cattlemen and farmers compete for the resource. Oil and wheat prices are primarily set in the international marketplace but 2/3 of Alberta Alberta beef is consumed in Canada and 97% their production represents 9 7% of W Western estern Canadian domestic supply. supply.1 As water scarcity contributed to a Alberta beef cattle between 2007 2007 25% reduction in Alberta and 2015, there was a corresponding doubling of price same period.2 over the same Albert Albertaa Beef is a microcosm of a larger global problem being driven by scarcity of fresh water water.. As

food production has become industrialized over the last last century, century, it has become very concentrated geographically. geographically. California provides 1/3 of all US US vegetables vegetables and 2/3 of all US US fruits and nuts.3 California also has a serious drought problem and disappearing snowpack. This dis appearing glaciers and snowpac k. T his combined exacerbated shortage with a soon to be ex acerbated labour short age negatively impacts California’s ability to continue to be the produce basket for the continent. (Canada imports 80% vegetables 43% of our fruit and nearly 8 0% of our veget ables US, from the U S, so this is our issue as well.)4 We We expect that we’ll all have to be more mindful of choices Knowing the food c hoices we make going forward. K nowing potatoes that growing 1kg of pot atoes requires only 100 water,, whereas 1 kg of beef requires liters of water 13,000 litres5 may influence some of those c choices. hoices. If Alberta Albert a is short on water, water, our willingness to pay higher prices for beef may have unintended ranchers consequences like encouraging Brazilian ranc hers

We e to burn rainforest making way for cattle grazing. W found this website: www as an interesting resource to consider the impact of decisions we can make as consumers. When W hen we as consumers are faced with a significant cherish increase in price of an ingredient we c herish we must choose c hoose to: 1) Use less 2) Find a substitute or 3) Allocate more of our household budget to food. Victoria, In V ictoria, we’ve seen permanent set menus give way to “carte de jour” offerings, dependent on local sourcing and in-season supply. That’s smart. And supply. That’s sustainable. sustainable.

We’ll W e’ll have some more of that please. Neil Chappell and Graham Isenegger are Investment Advisors Advisors with the Blue Heron Advisory Advisory Group of CIBC Victoria. CIBC Wood Wood Gundy G in V ictoria.


Alberta Alberta Agriculture Agriculture and Forestry Forestry ““Cattle Calves Alberta” ($department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sdd15210) Cattle and C alves on FFarms arms in A lberta” ($department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sdd15210) G Government overnment of A Alberta lberta ”Liv ”Livestock estock P Prices” rices” (h ( ttp:// 3 C California alifornia D Department epartment of FFood ood and A Agriculture ( griculture (h ttps:// 4 Produce Produce Marketing Marketing Association Association ““Canada: Produce Exports” ts” ( and- development/canada.pdf?la=en) development/canada.pdf?la=en) Canada: FFresh resh P roduce – IImports mports and Expor 5 W World orld W Water ater C Council ouncil ““Water Water C Crisis” risis” (h ( ttp:// 2

What are your food choices really costing?

In this simple guide guide,, we explain how we find better companies companie to invest in. Ask us for it!


Your Y ou questions about your portfolio deserve our thoughtful answers. LLet’s et’s start a conversation. Blue Heron Advisory Group | 250-361-2284

nvestor P rotection FFund und and IInvestment nvestment IIndustry Wood Gundy is a division of CIBC World World Markets Markets Inc., Inc., a subsidiary anadian IInvestor ndustry Regulatory Regulatory Organization Organization of Canada. Canada. CIBC Wood s of CIBC and a Member off the C Canadian Protection on A dvisory Gr oup do not nec essarily rreflect eflect those of CIBC World arkets IInc. nc. If you you are are currently currently a CIBC Wood Wood oo Gundy client, client, please contact contact your your Investment Investment A dvisorr.The view World M If Advisor.The viewss of the Blue Her Heron Advisory Group necessarily Markets


EAT Magazine March_April 2017_ISSUU_Layout 1 2/28/17 1:36 PM Page 28


Café Mexico Oak Bay Seafood Farm and Field Butchers 900° Wood-Fired Pizzeria Jenny’s Country Pantry Glenrosa Farm Restaurant


Cinda Chavich Joseph Blake Elizabeth Monk PHOTOGRAPHY

Rebecca Wellman Elizabeth Nyland

T A N G Y, L I G H T & F L A V O U R F U L T H I S PAG E :

Café Mexico’s Ling Cod Veracruz.



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Cafe Mexico

1425 Store Street., VICTORIA 778-265-7880


F R O M L E F T T O R I G H T:

Chef Rigo Salas, the interior of Café Mexico, Shawn Soole infront of the bar.

CAFÉ MEXICO IS A BUSY LOCAL CANTINA with a brand-new look and feel. The café’s roots reach back to the 1980s and the original Tex-Mex trend, when owners Brad and Hilda Olberg served their first big burritos, enchiladas and chimichangas here. A fire nearly ended the popular eatery’s 30-year run in 2015, but Café Mexico has literally risen from the ashes to reopen with a new south-of-the-border tapas menu and what manager Shawn Soole describes as one of the largest tequila and mezcal selections in the country. “We’ve collected so much, so quickly,” says Soole, the local cocktail guru who has set his sights on the premium side of this south-of-the-border beverage. “There’s already 89 agaves and 47 mezcals on the bar. By the end of the year, I hope to have 250.” Since Café Mexico’s original incarnation, Victoria’s taco scene has exploded, with food trucks and downtown eateries offering their west coast take on authentic Mexican tacos. Café Mexico has been redesigned with this popular street food and small plate trend in mind, and chef Rigo Salas is at the helm. Salas grew up in LA and has roots in Durango, Mexico, so

his cooking veers away from old-fashioned American Tex-Mex into more refined “new Mexican” fare. Longtime fans can still order their favourite burritos, enchiladas and chimichangas from the “vintage” menu selections, but the new focus is on sharable plates and local ingredients. The well-priced tapas ranges from a fresh ceviche of marinated fish and crunchy cabbage to scoop up with tortilla chips; steamed corn masa and vegetable tamales; spicy habanero meatballs made with ground bison and pork and served in a rich tomato ranchero sauce; and a big chili rellano stuffed with cheese, battered and fried until crispy and golden brown. We also ordered one of the taco boards, the seared skirt steak arriving in a small cast iron skillet with hot corn tortillas and a variety of additions to wrap up inside: refried beans, salsa, guacamole and Spanish rice. There are other protein choices for this DIY dish (think Shrimp Mojo, Al Pastor Pork, grilled chicken) that are perfect to share or as a main dish. Sated on starters, we ran out of room to try other mains, like the recommended 7 Mares Paella, a rice dish featuring local seafood and chorizo, or the Ling Cod


Veracruz, a BC fish topped with a chunky, fusion-style olive and tomato pico de gallo sauce. The space at Café Mexico is re-imagined, too. Gone are the brightly painted walls and papier-mâché parrots. Instead, high ceilings and exposed brick walls (thanks to the historic Market Square location) enclose comfortable booths and modern steel stools hugging the long bar with its impressive display of unique Mexican mezcals and tequilas. The overall vibe is friendly, rustic and casual, with convivial service, perfectly shaken margaritas and a nice neighbourhood buzz. Mexican food—like other ethnic fare—has evolved as Canadians seek more authentic experiences, and after 30 years, Café Mexico is evolving, too. C I N D A C H AV I C H


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Oak Bay Seafood, 2024 Oak Bay Ave., VICTORIA

Farm and Field Butchers, 1103 Blanshard St., VICTORIA

7 7 8 - 4 3 2- 0 2 2 7 | OA K B AYS E A FO O D. C O M


EATING FISH IN A FISH MARKET MIGHT LACK ATMOSPHERE, but it makes a whole lot of sense for the seafood connoisseur. Fish needs to be fresh, and it can’t be much fresher than the crab and mussels pulled live from the tank or the just-filleted fish from your local fishmonger. Some of my best memories are of dishes enjoyed right where the fish is sold—glistening sashimi wrapped in shiso leaves above the chaotic wholesale fish market in Seoul, slurping oysters and raw geoduck at Taylor Shellfish Farm’s Melrose store in Seattle, or sampling fish grilled over smoky fires on the streets of San Blas, Mexico, just steps from the central square fish vendors. So when I heard Cowichan Bay Seafood was leaving its Hudson Market digs to reopen as Oak Bay Seafood in my neighbourhood, the Pavlovian response was instant. The space isn’t quite as sexy as the open industrial-chic of the downtown market, but there’s parking out front and a few tables inside, where you can enjoy their fish and chips, salmon burgers, fish tacos and steamed Dungeness crab. When it warms up, there are plans to expand to a patio out front and offer regular dining events like annual spot prawn celebrations. Chef and store manager Leana Meyer began her cooking career as chef at Jack’s Grill in Edmonton, spent time at Albion Fisheries and developed the store’s menu over the last four years. You’ll also find her creations in the freezer and at the fish counter, whether it’s octopus poke, crab bisque, spicy cioppino base for seafood stew, salmon cakes or cornmealcrusted oysters. Everything on the menu is offered to eat in or take out. Choose from five kinds of fish for your fish-and-chips plate: halibut, sockeye, ling cod, grey cod or rockfish. It’s all fried in gluten-free batter and served with housemade dipping sauces (chipotle or wasabi mayo and fresh tartare sauce seasoned with tarragon) as well as a colourful red cabbage and red onion slaw with a shot of citrus. I tried a basket of crisp fries topped with a slab of juicy halibut encased in a light tempura crust, as well as a bowl of seafood chowder loaded with chunks of whitefish and salmon and thickened with potatoes, leeks and a touch of cream. They also serve popcorn shrimp, crispy fried oysters and salmon belly bites and, for the more adventurous diner, a unique dish of fresh salmon fins battered and deep-fried, then topped with a spicy tomato sauce to mimic crispy fried “wings.” Oak Bay Seafood market owners Anne and Gregg Best started their Better Fishing Company 35 years ago while commercial fishers in Haida Gwaii and opened their original seafood shop in Cowichan Bay. They still offer their own spot prawns and crab and sell sustainable, Sea Choice-certified fish from local waters, another reason why the fish they sell, whether fresh from the counter or hot from the kitchen, is such a delicious choice. C I N D A C H AV I C H 30 MARCH/APRIL 2017

REBECCA TESKEY OPENED FARM AND FIELD BUTCHERS in December 2016 so she could use both her passion for cooking and lessons learned in a preveterinarian program to provide customers with quality, locally sourced meat from ethical farms. “I was half-owner of the Village Butcher in Oak Bay until I sold my share last July and opened my own place. I love to do my job of sourcing and making great products for my customers,” Teskey explained while taking a few minutes away from her busy shop where she makes use of everything from the animals they butcher. “I make two kinds of ramen broth from pork and poultry, confit from pork shoulder, bacon jam, steak sauce, duck confit and sausages, including date and brandy, plum and brandy and pecorino and arugula. “I really like to serve people and produce interesting things for them,” the young butcher continued. “We make marinated chicken halves, stuffed roasts, lots of products where my customers just have to throw them in the oven and enjoy wonderful meals.” Local sources include pasture-raised lamb from Lorraine and John Buchanan’s Parry Bay Farm and Violaine Mitchell and Tom Henry’s ethically grown heritage pork from Still Meadow Farm. Teskey and her staff of six practice whole-animal butchery to produce a vast offering of organic, free-range products in their new, 1,777-square-foot space in the heart of Victoria’s burgeoning food district at Fort and Blanshard Streets. “I have an amazing staff,” Teskey enthused, “and I’ve learned the importance of nutrition that comes from the ethical treatment of animals.” Besides her pre-veterinarian study, Teskey credits her time working at great restaurants in Northern California for solidifying her passion in how food is grown and raised, and what it can mean to a community. “If I mention the name of the place in Berkeley, it’s the only thing anyone will ever write about,” Teskey joked. “It was an important learning experience, but so was my schooling, my other restaurant experience and my six years at Village Butcher. At Farm and Field, we’re using 200 chickens, one cow, eight pigs, several lambs and mutton, rabbits, ducks and turkeys every week, and we try to respect the animals and our farmers’ labour by using all parts of the beasts. Besides butchering meat, I’m making a lot of quality products in my kitchen, and my staff and I are loving the experience.” JOSEPH BLAKE

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12” Genovese with fennel sausage, Calabrese salami, pepperoni, prosciutto & pesto


Exciting new dining options abound in Victoria’s Western Communities.

900° Wood-Fired Pizzeria + TAX


Like a glowing omen from the gods, the first thing visitors to 900° Wood-Fired Pizzeria in Langford see is a gold, 7,000-pound wood-fired oven imported from Naples. This gigantic orb turns out stellar flat-crust pizzas in 90 seconds flat. These 12-inch pizzas range in price from $14.50 to $19.50. The simplest from the Red Pizza menu is the Doppio Marinara, on which bright red cherry tomatoes are artfully wilted in the high heat so they retain a light, bright flavour. Other seasonings are fresh garlic, thyme and lemon olive oil. The porous, chewy crust is made from a mix of five organic, nonGMO flours. This pizza, like many on the menu, is firmly grounded in the traditional. Chef and owner Adrian Ortiz-Mena has, however, playfully created another pizza that merges the traditional Italian base with the North American love of hearty amounts of meat. The Genovese, for $19.50, has a nucleus of shredded fennel sausage surrounded by discs of Calabrese salami and pepperoni, all topped with shredded crisped prosciutto, lacings of pickled red onion and dabs of vibrant green pesto. The most unconventional pizza I tried is also apparently one of the bestsellers. The Aloha uses high quality ham and fresh pineapple, but what makes it special is that it is finished with extra-virgin coconut oil. This is added with a light hand, giving the pizza an almost elusive hint of coconut flavour.

7, 0 0 0 - P O U N D W O O D - F I R E D O V E N :

Chef and owner Adrian Ortiz-Mena




Those not attracted to pizza are well-served by the Roasted Vegetable Platter for $13.50, an artist’s palette of mushroom, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, peppers, and onions, dabbed with pine-nut pesto and dusted with Parmiggiano Regiano. Some Sicilian wines that are not available at the liquor store are excellent matches: the Villa Pozzi Cabernet Sauvignon and the slightly effervescent Medora, made from the Grecanico grape. This sexy menu belies the location in a suburban mall, and a meal here will herein be my reward when I make trips to nearby Costco.

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When I go to Glenrosa Farm Restaurant, I feel as if I’m in a Jane Austen novel, enjoying a Sunday country drive, a verdant landscape and a fine meal overlooking a vista. This historic farmhouse invites guests to linger— there is a games and puzzles corner, a shelf of books on the subjects of nature, art and tea rooms, dozens of sheep ornaments to look at, and the actual animals grazing just outside. As in days of old, many of the ingredients on the menu are from their own farm and those nearby. The lunch menu offers cheese plates, a ploughman’s lunch, sandwiches, a catch of the day, and flatbread-style pizza, and prices range from $10 to $17. The inventive Smoked Salmon and Mussels Pizza offers succulent, thick slices of smoked salmon from the venerable Finest at Sea, 10 mussels, leek sauce, capers and smoked Cheddar, and is only $13. The Vegetarian Terrine is the same price and just as inventive: a terrine of beets, potatoes and red onion relish is drizzled with a white miso and pear

sauce (the pear is, of course, from the farm), and some of the vegetables are from the neighbouring certified organic Umi Nami Farm. Unlike in Jane Austen’s time, Japanese vegetables appear in several dishes, thanks to the relationship with Umi Nami. As one example, the Catch of the Day (seared rockfish when I was there) comes with a daikon-carrotChinese cabbage slaw and a winter vegetable salad featuring Japanese kabocha squash. This elegant meal was $15. Glenrosa Farm Restaurant also has a brunch and dinner menu. This is a place to bring family and guests from out of town for a taste of country life.


Smoked tuna with a miso & lemon vinaigrette over garlic & dill mashed potatoes, served with leeks, purple turnips, beets and apple cider vinegar braised curly endive ELIZABETH NYLAND

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Dinner: Tuesday – Saturday 5pm till late


Jenny’s Country Pantry and Tea Shoppe 6596 SOOKE RD. AT CHURCH, SOOKE, 250-642-2425

Wednesday – Saturday 10 – 2pm Closed Sunday & Monday 658 Herald Street – Victoria, BC | 250.590.9251

L E F T T O R I G H T:

Jenny Crandall (centre) with staff, Melton Mowbray Pie ELIZABETH NYLAND

Jenny Crandall singlehandedly destroys any tired tropes about lack of excellence in classic British cooking. Jenny’s Country Pantry and Tea Shoppe in Sooke certainly offers the classics you would find in any village tea shop in England, in particular meat pies and sausage rolls, but these are done to a high standard and with plenty of the seasonings the British used to be accused of eschewing. Her meat pies have an avid following, and queen among these is the Melton Mowbray Pie, a dense and filling tower of pork with an umami surge in every bite thanks to seasonings of sage, white pepper, cayenne and anchovy. While I’m talking about meat pies, it’s important to know that the business makes free deliveries for orders of $50 or more from Victoria to North Saanich; my household relies on the stack in our freezer. The sausage rolls are mostly meat— worth mentioning given some you can buy—seasoned with sage, white pepper and fennel, and encased in flaky pastry. The Macaroni and Cheese is more flavourful than the norm thanks to Dijon and a touch of Sriracha in the sauce, and 34


the herbed crust with thyme and oregano is delicious. But Jenny will also deviate from classics and follow her mood—the deli case is ever-changing, as is the daily menu. I enjoyed a singular sweet and sour meatballs dish. The sauce had a chutney flavour and feel—nicely fruity with lots of tenderized, melty onions. Simple vegetable sides are available too, but they are all elevated in some way. For instance, the garden salad has a basil black pepper dressing, and the potato salad is grassy and bright thanks to plenty of dill. As with her meat pies, Jenny’s apple pie was densely layered, this time with fruit, and served with crème Chantilly on the side. It’s hard to talk about the price of eating in the café because the business is very flexible and customers are encouraged to look at the board and deli case and create whatever combination they want. But as a guideline, a panini is $6.95 and the Mac and Cheese with garden salad is $11.95. The space is modest but has a great view of the ocean, and the staff loves to pack picnics for daytrippers headed to China Beach and other Sooke sights.

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BRASATO AL BAROLO with Braised Kale, Roasted Carrot and Truffle Polenta

The Island’s First Wine Society Social W O R D S : Joseph Blake

P H O T O G R A P H Y : André Rozon

The views were spectacular as we drove down the winding entrance to the resort parking lot that was jammed with visitors participating in the Summit Restaurant’s Wine Society Social, a special 5-course dinner celebration of Italian food and wine. It was an exciting start to an even more exciting evening at one of British Columbia’s top, new restaurants. After checking in and getting dressed for dinner, my wife and I joined Ingo Grady, the esteemed Director of Wine Education for Mission Hill Family Estates & the von Mandl Family Estates. Mr. Grady was pouring Prosecco from northern Italy for guests as they nibbled on executive chef Terry Pichor’s canapés before sitting down to the Summit’s Italian wine dinner. Each Wine Society Social will only host up to forty people to ensure it’s always a relaxing and intimate setting. Guests are encouraged to ask questions and meet people with like-minded interests. Tonight was no exception and the dining room was filled with diners enjoying the top quality wines, excellent food and friendly good cheer. “It’s a privilege to be the initial facilitator of this collaborative effort inspired by the visionary behind Villa Eyrie, Peter Trzewik, president of GAIN Dealer Group”, Ingo Grady told me before chef’s amuse bouche of Kusshi oyster on the half-shell paired with a delicious Aperol Spritz cocktail. Grady spoke between each course, adding,



“Each Wine Society Social will be a unique evening, a meeting place for discovery and celebration of fine wine and food in an attractive setting. Chef Pichor and I wanted to offer a regional spread from Veneto and northwest Italy, the Tuscan coast of central Italy, Piedmont in the northwest to Puglia and the heel of southern Italy.” Chef Pichor described his Winter Vegetable Minestroni as an interpretation of “a traditional wedding soup, an Italian classic that in my version includes Schinkenspeck, basil and herb zeppole. The very aromatic Tenutae Lageder Porer Pinot Grigio from Alto Adige in northwest Italy has a refined, fresh finish.” It was an exquisite pairing, the wine’s clarity and brightness perfectly married to the chef’s richly nuanced broth. It was my favourite offering from a succession of memorable dishes, a thoughtful, well-executed culinary improvisation on a simple, traditional Italian recipe that chef mentioned might have originated in Rome. Chef Pichor’s Duck Egg Ravioli made from Cobble Hill’s Lockwood Farms’ eggs and stuffed with mascarpone, organic maitake mushrooms, duck liver and roasted chestnut butter had an intense flavour that Ingo enhanced with a pairing of Il Bruciato, a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah blend from Guado al Tasso estate near the medieval village of Bolgheri, 80 kilometres southwest of Florence on the Tuscan coast. The wine’s fruit really burst from the glass, mingling with

hints of espresso, milk chocolate, herbs and spices. It was a beautifully balanced pairing for chef’s rich pasta dish and another outstanding example of the Summit’s playful take on a traditional dish, another version inspired by local, seasonal ingredients. For the main course, chef Pichor’s Red Wine Braised Pemberton Beef Short Ribs were prepared overnight in a deeply-flavoured, tomato-sweetened veal stock and served with braised kale, roasted carrots, and truffle polenta. Ingo paired the dish with Tormaresca Torcicoda IGT Salento, a wine from Puglia with bold layers of spice and dark fruit, vanilla and chocolate. Again, the wine and food pairing was impressive and showcased just how much thought had gone into the menu collaboration. At the end of the evening, pastry chef Matthias Conradi came out of the kitchen and introduced his Tahitian Vanilla and Orange Semifreddo, a deconstructed dessert plate of blood orange sorbeto, almond shortcake and a caramelized peach zabaglione. Ingo paired the dessert with a palate-cleansing, low-alcohol Moscato d’Asti by Batasiolo made from a Muscat variety grown in a tiny, hilltop town in northwest Piedmont. The lightly sparkling wine and chef Conradi’s delicate dessert perfectly capped a wonderful celebration of Italian cuisine. The playful execution of a local chef who is extending that tradition with understated creativity inspired by local, seasonal ingredients and our own evolving Vancouver Island cuisine.

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CHEF TALK With Chef Terry Pichor The Summit Restaurant at Villa Eyrie Resort is inspired by the great Italian villas. Since joining the team at the stylishly renovated resort above the Malahat, I’ve helped create a fine dining experience equally inspired by classic Italian cuisine and our seasonal, local ingredients. For our second Wine Society Social, I collaborated again with veteran wine educator Ingo Grady, this time on an Italian-themed meal that Ingo has paired with a handful of superb wines from various regions of Italy. I wanted to prepare dishes that represent original twists on recognizable classics of Italian cooking. Ingo really knows his wine and has been working in the industry a long time. He helped us kick off our Wine Society Social series last December by pairing B.C. wines from Mission Hill Family Estate and CheckMate Artisanal Winery with a special menu of local, seasonal dishes. We continued our collaboration with an Italianinspired feast in February. I’ve worked with him in the past at Sonora Resort, and the ongoing series of Wine Club Socials at The Summit is an amazing opportunity to continue our collaboration celebrating fine food and wine. Executive Chef Terry Pichor preparing dinner at the Italian Wine Club Social

To begin our evening in February, we offered an Aperol Spritz with Mionetto Prosecco DOC Treviso Brut, the most commonly drunk aperitif in Italy paired with an amuse bouche of Kusshi oyster with blood orange mignonette. Aperol Spritz is a traditional ice-breaker and symbol of a lively atmosphere, the perfect way to start this version of our Wine Society Social. Ingo paired Tenutae Lageder Porer Pinot Grigio with my Winter Vegetable Minestroni. The second course, Duck Egg Ravioli, is a more modern Italian dish. The main course, Red Wine Braised Pemberton Beef Short Rib, is my take on an Italian classic. Our pastry chef Matthias Conradi capped our Italian dinner with Tahitian Vanilla Semifreddo paired with Moscato d’Asti by Batasiolo, an ultra-light and gentle spritz that echoed our opening Apersol Spritz.

WINTER VEGETABLE MINESTRONI with Schinkenspeck and Herb Zeppole

As the evening came to a close everyone agreed that the phenomenal wines, spectacular cuisine and good company had made for a truly extraordinary and memorable evening. The Wine Society Social series continues on March 3, 2017 with a focus on the wine regions of France. RSVP today at

VANILLA AND ORANGE SEMIFREDDO with Almond Shortcake and Caramelized Peach Zabaglione

The Summit Restaurant at the Villa Eyrie Resort 600 Ebadora Lane, Malahat, 1-250-856-0188

We plan the Wine Society Socials to be very casual and comfortable, not super-formal. Ingo chats about each wine pairing. He’s a great host. I come out and give a little information about each course, but there aren’t too many interruptions. We try to make it an evening of nice food and wine, and we limit the events to about 40 guests. Our first Wine Society Social was a little more educational. We had lots of guests from that event return for our Italian night, and I think they brought a lot of what they learned with them for our second Social. We’re hoping to celebrate another Old World food culture, France, at our next Wine Society Social on March 3rd.


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A whole fish that is grilled or roasted makes an impressive presentation. If you find yourself blessed with a whole fish, that you have caught yourself or found at your favorite market, follow a few simple steps and it will be spectacular! Whole grilled fish is one of the easiest, most delicious ways to cook fish. Cooked on the bone and in its skin, the meat remains even more tender and juicy and is less likely to dry out during cooking.



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GRILLED ROCKFISH WITH LEMON & HERBS Makes 4 servings 1 – 2-3 lb head-on Rockfish, scaled and gutted 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 1 lemon, thinly sliced ¼ cup chopped fresh mixed herbs 1 shallot, thinly sliced 3 garlic cloves, crushed Green vegetables with salsa verde 1 medium zucchini, sliced into long strips or spiralized 400 g green beans 200 g broccolini

1 cup sunflower spouts ½ cup flaked almonds, toasted, 100 g goat’s feta, crumbled 1 shallot, finely sliced 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs 1 clove garlic, crushed 1 Tbsp capers, drained and rinsed 1 tsp Dijon Mustard ¼ cup olive oil 2 tsp red wine vinegar Pat fish dry with a paper towel then make three deep parallel cuts through the flesh on each side. Rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the shallot, garlic, lemon slices and herbs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Make sure your grill is scrubbed clean to

prevent sticking. You can also use a grill basket to help in turning to make sure the skin doesn’t come off, but two spatulas should also work well.

water and place in a serving dish. Season to taste with salt and pepper and top with zucchini, sprouts, almonds, feta and shallots. Set aside.

Preheat the grill, setting the burners to high.

Make Salsa Verde. Combine herbs, garlic and capers in a small bowl, whisk in mustard, oil and vinegar until thickened. You can also use a blender if you prefer a smoother texture.

Place fish on grill and reduce the heat to medium-low. Grill, turning only once. With two metal spatulas, lift and gently roll fish over to the other side. Cook until flesh is flaky and opaque down to the bone, 8–10 minutes per side. Use a small knife to check for doneness; if it slides easily through the thickest part of flesh, fish is done. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling water, cook the beans and broccolini, approximately 3 - 5 minutes. Remove from the

Place fish on a serving platter and serve with the greens topped with Salsa Verde and fries, if desired. If you are hesitant about grilling a whole fish on a barbecue, simply oven roast in the oven. You won’t need to flip the fish, cook for 20 minutes at 400° F (205° C). Wine Pairing: Try a bone-dry white such as a Muscadet, Gavi or Assyrtiko from Greece. 39

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Coffee “beans” are actually the seeds of the coffee berry, and like any berry, they have their time in the sun. W O R D S : Rob Kettner

C H A R T : Jesse Campbell

Is Your Coffee in Season? GROWING UP IN MANITOBA TAUGHT ME TO APPRECIATE SEASONAL fruits and vegetables. Unlike Vancouver Island, Manitoba has a brief growing season. All of my favourites—blueberries, tomatoes, carrots—came on fast and seemed to leave even faster. Some of my fondest memories are of visiting local farms with my Baba during the summer. With our spoils, she would make me fresh blueberries and cream for breakfast and summer vegetable soup for lunch. As the years passed, my appreciation for eating seasonally grew. It’s also one of the things I love about coffee. There’s nothing like brewing your first Kenyan of the season!

Coffee is a Fruit

have even installed large and expensive freezer units, but this isn’t a financially feasible choice for smaller companies. The truth of the matter is, Father Time catches up with us all, so if you want to experience coffee at its best, drink it seasonally.

The Challenge of Drinking Seasonal Coffees The majority of coffee-producing countries harvest between December and March, which means that for the following couple of months, while those harvesting countries are processing and prepping their coffees for shipping, we consumers experience a lack of variety. At Hey Happy or Bows & Arrows, for example, it’s entirely possible to find only Brazilian and Colombian coffees on their menus throughout February. Even though Brazilian coffees have a reputation for having less character and exoticness than bigger coffees from Kenya or floral brights from Ethiopia, we’d rather experience the natural freshness and subtle details of coffees at their peak, rather than the woodiness and bitterness of age.

There’s nothing like brewing your first Kenyan of the season!

I love apples and I’ve learned to truly appreciate them in the fall when they’ve just been picked—crunchy and sweet with just the right amount of tartness. Though one can still buy apples from January to July at the local grocery store, you can bet those apples have been sitting for six months in a refrigerated room, causing their flavours to fade and turning their crunchiness to mushiness. Coffee is no different, and if you want to experience it at its best, you have to treat it like any other produce, consuming it at its peak of freshness.

We often forget that the beans we roast, grind and brew are actually seeds of a fruit. From white blossoms on a tree to deep red cherries roughly nine months later, the fruit is picked and processed. And like all fruit, there is a season in which it’s best enjoyed. Luckily, there are roughly 27 coffee-producing countries, each with its own growing and harvesting season. That means that if we play our cards right, we can be drinking fresh, seasonal coffee all year around.

Unfortunately, as new coffees arrive in North America, old ones get sold at discounts to roasters who hide them in blends or pass them off as premium. And in some cases, roasters simply don’t have enough knowledge or experience to know when their coffees have declined. A number of roasters have added a harvest date to their bag labels, which is great. Any seasonal roaster should be able to answer the following questions: When was this coffee harvested? What coffees are in season? Is this a current crop coffee? Don’t be afraid to ask!

Two Kinds of Freshness

The Good News

In coffee, we usually define freshness by the number of days after the roast (consuming within two weeks is optimal). But just as important is the time between the harvest and the roast.

Now that you know your favourite coffee won’t taste its best forever, get out and explore new origins. Find out what’s in season and experience those coffees as they were intended. In today’s specialty coffee world, there are thousands of farms, each of which can produce its own unique coffee. Soil, elevation, variety and the farmer’s craftsmanship all play a role in the coffee’s flavour.

After a given amount of time, unroasted coffee will start to lose its lustre. The longer it sits, the more moisture it loses, which leads to flavours of woodiness and bitterness. In some cases, coffee will take on the taste of straw, like the smell of the jute bags in which it has been shipped and stored. Some of the world’s most cutting-edge roasters have attempted to prolong the life of unroasted coffee by various means. Vacuum sealing and GrainPro plastic packaging have made a positive impact and are now the norm. Some roasters


Think of coffee like the fruit it is. Imagine biting into a fresh, crunchy apple fresh from the harvest or a sweet, juicy Saanich Peninsula strawberry at the peak of the season. And now imagine experiencing that same mouthwatering satisfaction in your daily cup of coffee. Rob Kettner is the owner of Hey Happy Coffee in Victoria BC

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Design & Living




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have spent much of my life as a vegetarian, occasionally vegan, and, like many of us, have experimented with my share of dietary fads: macrobiotic, Atkins, Scarsdale, the ice cream diet, to name a few. And while I love wine, I don’t really drink hard alcohol. There is also the small matter of my Jewish background. We weren’t kosher, but pork was not a food substance of my childhood, unless you count those iridescent red Cantonese ribs at Tung Sing in the New York City suburb where I grew up (which, in all honesty, I only recently twigged to as being pork). Or the bacon that my mother, with her remarkable abilities for justification, called the “kosher” part of the pig.



bresaola, guanciale, pâté, kefir, a variety of cow and goat cheeses, preserved egg yolks, salmon caviar, salmon gravlax, scallop crudo, kombucha and infused spirits. Rhubarb vodka, bacon and hot pepper vodka and rosemary vodka are a few of his experimental flavours. He even makes gin by infusing vodka with juniper and local

Despite all this, I now find myself sitting in my friend Matt Powell’s Victoria kitchen anticipating what promises to be the meatiest—perhaps, porkiest—most alcoholinfused spread I have likely had in decades. Mark, my very carnivorous partner, has been eagerly awaiting this meal. My enthusiasm has been a bit more subdued. If I were to go to a restaurant, I would never order tonight’s menu. But this is not a restaurant; this is Matt’s home and he may be one of the finest chefs you’ve never heard of. Thinking he must have some culinary background, I ask about his work history, a topic he is uninterested in discussing. His training and career have nothing to do with cooking; for the record, he’s the VP of technology for an educational software company. But what really piques his interest is exploring the alchemy of food.

A short list of what Matt is producing on a regular basis would include bacon, duck or lamb prosciutto, venison

When I ask him why he bothers to go to all this effort when so many places in town sell great local product, he looks baffled. “Because it’s simple,” he says. “And fun. And much cheaper. Because we have such good raw ingredients. Because I want to make good food for my family and friends. Because I want other people not to be afraid of doing this. It isn’t complicated. I don’t like complicated. I pay attention to detail, and that’s important. But it isn’t complicated. And it’s been done forever.” Matt tells me this as we are nibbling on a platter of cheeses in the kitchen. Well, I’m not nibbling yet, I’m just observing. On the platter are two blues and one resembling a brie. The blues are veiny. One is quite hard and almost waxy. “Pressed” is how Matt describes it. The other is softer and more pungent. There is a daunting dark blue layer of mould covering each blue (roqueforti mould, he tells me. “Don’t worry, it’s safe.”) and a fuzzy layer of white on the other. Has he noticed my hesitation? The cheeses look remarkably similar to what I would buy at Ottavio’s or Charelli’s, but they were made and aged right here in this kitchen. I’m trying to drown out the sound of my mother’s voice echoing in my head—the one that counselled to never pick my own mushrooms or eat anything past its “best before” date, especially if it’s mouldy. And even more especially, if it wasn’t made by Kraft or Armstrong. I believe him, but furtively ask Dr. Google just to be sure. The oracle confirms both the blue mould and the bloom outside the brie are, in fact, Penicillium moulds, and like most moulds produced in cheese, are not only non-toxic but can actually be good for us. In fact, it seems the roqueforti has natural antibacterial properties. Well, if Dr. G says so. I bite. Not only am I impressed at the flavour, I’m improving my health and learning something.

“Cooking is like painting,” he says. “I find it completely creative and relaxing.” A self-described autodidact—part scientist, part gourmand—he wears the toque in this family of four, all of whom seem open to trying—if not always loving—pretty much anything he experiments with. Matt has made a study and practice of transforming food using methods rarely found in the home anymore. He began cooking when his daughter Lilly was born, wanting to ensure she had the best, most nutritious food possible and not trusting that he would find that in premade packages. Now 19, Lilly and her 17-year-old brother, Harris, are absolutely omnivorous and adventurous, perhaps the most compelling argument I can think of against “kid’s meals.” No picky eaters around here. Over the past few years Matt’s passion has honed in on curing, fermenting and preserving, and some of the results will be showcased tonight. But because Matt is unabashedly, proudly, carnivorous, he’s created a couple of raw dishes for tonight as well: ceviche, which I love, but also a beef carpaccio. Did I really sign up for this? I need to remain curious.


“Making blue cheese was on my bucket list,” Matt continues. “It is dead easy, anyone can do it. All you need is a pot, spoon, milk and cheesecloth. And one evening. After that you need to tend it—check it, turn it—but that doesn’t take much time at all.” But not everyone is thrilled. His goal now is a Cheddar that his wife Janet will like. “She’s not a big fan of blue. I’m working on it.” Excitement in the challenge is written all over his face.


Gulf Island farmer and educator David Asher’s The Art of Natural Cheesemaking is his bible, the “best book ever.” Asher promotes traditionally cultured, organic methods of cheesemaking, a philosophy that led Matt to make kefir that, he insists, literally takes about 30 seconds and 24 hours sitting on the counter. After purchasing his first batch of kefir grain off Craigslist from a guy he called Diamond Dave (I can’t make that up), he now has a constant supply that he uses in smoothies, to make sour cream and, of course, lots of cheese. “We aren’t allowed to purchase raw milk in B.C., so the kefir has the effect of returning the bacteria lost in pasteurization back into 43

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llocal, oc al, organic, or or ganic, and and wild wild ingredients inggr edients

breakfast * lunch * dinner * stay




“MATT CRACKED OPEN HIS ALMOST YEAR LONG AGED GOAT CHEESE â€? milk, making it more like raw milk cheese, much healthier and much more avourful. And really, it’s no more complicated.â€? North Americans have basically bought into the mythology that curing and preserving is complex, time-consuming and highly dangerous if not done by “professionalsâ€? in industrial environments. But this wasn’t always the case, and if Matt has anything to say about it, we will reclaim our rightful inheritance and bring these skills back into our home kitchens, as he has done. What we label “artisanalâ€? may only be a euphemism for what has been done for millennia, and is still done in much of the world. The cheese we are eating creates a pretty convincing argument. Then he brings out the salumi. Now, I’ve mellowed over the years, as many of us do. The food preferences of my youth have mostly been tempered by curiosity and the blessing of location. Living on Vancouver Island, we are surrounded by organic, free-range, pastured, ocean-wise, grass-ďŹ nished, uncaged, line-caught, sustainably harvested, just-as-the-good-lordintended product. And knowing all that, I’m content to try most things. But there are limits, or at least, edges that my enthusiasm and curiosity bump up against. And Matt is pushing them well past the raw beef. The plate is artfully arranged with slices of duck prosciutto, pork belly pancetta and venison bresaola. Meat. Lots of it. OK, it’s preserved. But raw pork? My mother’s voice has become a scream. I’m actually eyeballing that bacon-hot pepper vodka, contemplating a large slug and hoping its medicinal properties will render any questionable critters inert. Or me. “Depending upon what you’re making, all you do is salt it, maybe season it, wrap it or

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hang it,” he shrugs. “Easy! The thing is to start with the best.” His supply and inspiration come from Victoria’s finest; the meat is all local, pastured and exceedingly happy, he swears, usually from Farm & Field or The Village Butcher. He also hunts or is given locally hunted venison. He questions his butchers and charcutiers like Cory Pelan (The Whole Beast) or Luke Young (formerly of Choux Choux). He befriends chefs everywhere. He scours the Internet and reads everything he can. His salumi bible? Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn’s Charcuterie. Mark is happily chewing away, literally in hog heaven. For me, the duck is a no-brainer. I like duck and can fairly easily overlook the pseudo-raw factor. Hey, it looks cooked. The meat is chewy and salty and a bit sweet, and it’s really tasty. I gingerly finger a slice of the venison, then pop it into my mouth followed quickly, before I can think too much, by the pancetta. The bresaola is appropriately lean and dry. I have a harder time with the fattiness of the pancetta. Its savoury, but I just can’t quite get past the raw pork fat thing. Mom weeps. I’m trying to ignore her. Mark is ecstatic. I’m sated, intrigued and even more curious than when we arrived because I can’t quite believe making cheese or salumi this good is as simple as Matt insists. I’m intrigued—but still having a hard time believing these results are that simple. Back in my own kitchen a few days later, I cover the kefir grains Matt gave me with milk. I pack a couple of duck breasts into a thick layer of salt. Together, both processes have required about five minutes of minimal effort and the cost was negligible. The kefir makes itself overnight. With up to three times the amount of probiotic culture as yogurt, I imagine my immune system rejoicing. I pull the duck out of the salt 24 hours later, rinse it, pepper it and hang it in my cool pantry. Another 10 minutes. The duck will dry itself through the week. Phew! I raise a self-congratulatory glass of wine to Matt. A Riesling, made in the Okanagan, not his basement. Some things are still better left to the experts.


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Staff Meals

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Words by Adrian Paradis Illustration by David MacMillan

Some owners believe a daily meal creates a family atmosphere for hard-working restaurant staffers.

TOO OFTEN YOUNG DREAMS OF BECOMING A GREAT CHEF ARE squelched by harsh working conditions in the kitchen. Those working on the line often find themselves underappreciated and working long hours with few to no breaks. It’s no wonder that among others, the Vancouver Sun and the CBC reported last year that cooks are making an exit from the kitchen, leaving restaurateurs in the lurch. I found out first-hand that cooking can be a tough career option, yet early on I was lucky enough to be employed in a restaurant that adhered to an age-old tradition—the staff meal. The practice of sitting down and sharing a staff meal is becoming an atypical practice in the restaurant business. Alternatively, and most commonly, establishments will allow employees to eat the restaurant’s food when they are hungry but offer no standard time or place in which to do so. The result is often employees squatting in whatever space they can find or simply taking hurried bites of a cold meal while continuing to work. While abandoning the staff meal may be done in the name of efficiency and cost-cutting, these efforts could be misguided. “Any restaurant that says they don’t have time to do it,” said Peter Zambri of Zambri’s, “in my opinion, doesn’t have time not to do it.” The day I stopped by to chat at his Yates Street restaurant, he invited me in just as staff were gathering around the bar for hot pizzas and baked pastas set down on wooden cutting boards. “It’s not the biggest meal in the world, but it’s enough to get them through the next four hours,” says Zambri as he hands me a plate of baked penne with prosciutto, Caesar salad and two slices of pizza with broccoli and zucchini. “I didn’t want my staff on the floor going out with an empty stomach and my guys and gals in the kitchen working in an emaciated state.” Keeping true to tradition, Zambri’s staff sits down religiously every day to share this meal. As you can probably guess, the meal is usually pasta or pizza, but Zambri says it will sometimes be tacos, Japanese or, when they are really busy, food from Big Wheel Burger (another restaurant Zambri owns). According to him, going to extreme lengths to make sure his staff is fed is a necessity. “It’s a busy business and you have to be on your game,” he says. “If you’re not on your game, your food sucks.” Similarly, Greg Capersen, the chef from Stage Wine Bar, says that the staff meal brings a team together and they will work harder because of it. “Sometimes they are pretty elaborate, sometimes they are sandwich Fridays,” he says. “When we are portioning

the pork belly, we have lots of trim from that. Pork belly [sandwiches] with tomato sauce, arugula and fried halloumi trim! Those are the good ones.” Like Zambri’s, Stage’s staff meals will vary depending on what product they have. Capersen says in the summer it is all salads and stir-fries, but sometimes it is just a hodgepodge, including one memorable meal in which they turned a flopped beef heart special into a grilled beef heart poutine. “All of these ingredients are good and cooked properly,” he says, “so it will make a good meal, but there is definitely nothing classical about it.” While Shawn Lee, chef and owner of Nubo Japanese Tapas, agrees wholeheartedly about the importance of sitting down together, there is another aspect of the daily ritual for him. “I think staff meals are an adventure,” he says. “We can create whatever and it’s a good experience for all the chefs.” Lee says staff meals provide an opportunity for his chefs to learn something and to experiment with new dishes. If it works, it’s added to the menu. Roughly twenty per cent of his menu at Nubo started as a staff meal. Charmaine Porcella, co-owner of Il Covo Trattoria, also sees the importance of the meal. “We have a time before we open that everyone gathers in the kitchen, grabs their bowls and scoops up from a big pot of pasta,” she says. “I’m like the Italian mama making sure everyone eats before we open.” The day I visited they had a veritable feast of gnocchi, ravioli, tortellini and a semifreddo cake. While carbing up seems to be a business standard, there is something less tangible about the team-building aspect of sharing a meal with co-workers. Porcella told me that the chitchat while sitting around the bar, “brings you all together. It’s team building before the night even starts. To me, we are a small, family-run Italian restaurant and that’s exactly how we feel about our staff. It’s just family here so we eat [like family].” Every one of these locations has their own reasoning for continuing the staff meal. However, each one circled back to this same conclusion, family. For me, the practice of sitting down before service was a necessity for my physical and mental well-being. It was usually a simple meal; often a giant pan pizza that had been proofing above the stove, or baked chicken thighs and salad. However, the reprieve of breaking bread together in a stressful time kept us fed, kept us learning, and elevated our group beyond the level of co-workers and into the status of a caring family. 47

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The Story of Sturgeon The ancient fish may be a monster in the sea, but it’s a delicacy on the plate. story by CINDA CHAVICH photography by TRACEY KUSIEWICZ Chef Jefferson Alvarez with Ash crusted sturgeon, pine oil, corn, scoby & poblano wild mushrooms.


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It’s hardly hyperbole to say that British Columbia’s white sturgeon is an epic fish. It’s among the oldest and most unusual species of fish on earth, the largest freshwater fish in North America. When I say large, I mean mammoth. Images of sport fishers, six abreast cradling an eight-foot specimen before releasing it back into the Fraser River, are not uncommon. Old? How about 200 million years, predating the dinosaurs, and definitely unusual—a boneless, sinewy monster covered in sharp plates of exterior armour, like some strange Gene Simmons of the sea. These rare fish are both endangered and protected in the wild, but thanks to growing interest in ecofriendly, land-based sturgeon farming, for both caviar and meat, sturgeon is now becoming popular on the plate.

Studying Sturgeon North America’s main hub for sturgeon research is right here on Vancouver Island, the International Centre for Sturgeon Studies (ICSS) at Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo. What started with a few white sturgeon, kept in outdoor ponds for biology and conservation study, has morphed into a full-scale aquaculture and aquaponics degree program, where students get a hands-on education in raising these ancient fish. It’s warm and smells like the sea as we enter one of the four large rooms where the young sturgeon are swimming in ten massive fibreglass tanks. Dave Switzer is the sturgeon culturist, charged with caring for the fish and overseeing the experiments with feed, temperature and other variables that provide information to the sturgeon aquaculture industry. Another room holds larger tanks for the “brood stock,” a handful of massive wild fish that provide eggs for new generations. “This is Tyra Banks—all of our girls are named after fashion models—and she’s our biggest fish, more than 100 kg.” Students learn how to harvest and fertilize the eggs and raise the 2,000 to 5,000 fish produced here each year. Fed a diet of fish pellets that look like cat food, the tiny sturgeon reach “market weight” of about 2 kg in two years, while maturity for farmed caviar production is 10. Northern Divine, the organic, land-based sturgeon farm in Sechelt that sells caviar and fish to many B.C. restaurants, received its original stock from VIU, and Switzer says the program could supply fish for similar operations. “We can produce a lot of babies here to support a sturgeon farming industry.” Researchers at ICSS are also discovering that sturgeon are hardy fish perfect for aquaponics, closed systems where fish effluent becomes fertilizer for growing plants.

Last year ICSS began selling sturgeon to support its research. Some is filleted and sold directly to chefs, some is smoked and frozen, some is smoked and canned for sale at the university bookstore. Sturgeon is also prepared by VIU culinary students for the school’s Discovery Room restaurant. But Switzer says they could be selling live fish to new fish farms, too. “I hope someone comes to get our brood stock before we run out of space,” he says. “We have a lot of expertise to share with the industry. I feel it’s only a matter of time before the sturgeon farming business grows.”

Vancouver Island University hot smoked sturgeon is available for $8.95 in the campus bookstore.

Indigenous Sturgeon There are 28 species of sturgeon living in rivers around the world, but in Canada, the white sturgeon is found only in B.C. In the wild, most white sturgeon spawn in three B.C. rivers, the Fraser/Nechako, Columbia and Kootenay. Some have also made their way to the Cowichan and Somass Rivers on Vancouver Island, and “sea monsters” living in our lakes—from the Okanagan’s Ogopogo to the creature of Cameron Lake—may actually be aging sturgeon. The largest reach “monstrous” lengths of six metres (20 feet) and weights of 600-800 kg. Oddly boneless, with a skeleton of cartilage, a sturgeon has rows of sharp plates called scutes running the length of its body, an external armor that adds to its mystique. With a flattened snout,

wide, toothless mouth and long, whiskery barbels to navigate the murky depths, the sturgeon is a fascinating carnivore that can live more than 150 years.

What Came First When it comes to the fresh and smoked sturgeon available in restaurants and fish shops, there’s no question what came first—the eggs. In Canada, sturgeon fillets are a product of the emerging farmed caviar industry, a business that’s boomed in recent years due to collapsing wild sturgeon populations in the Caspian Sea and the ban on wild beluga caviar. There are two Canadian caviar producers, one on each coast. Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon are farmed in New Brunswick at Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar, which also harvests wild Atlantic sturgeon from the Saint John River. In B.C., white sturgeon are raised at Northern Divine, a company producing organic black caviar and fish products on the Sunshine Coast. Farming sturgeon, as both companies do in landbased tanks, is considered sustainable, as no waterways, habitat or other species are involved in the process. But raising fish for caviar means females are often sacrificed for their eggs, and along with males, are ending up on the best Ocean Wise menus across the country. There is also a limited supply of fresh and smoked sturgeon from the ICSS program, which is why it’s on the menu at The Beach Club Resort in Parksville. “We use it as a special, once a week or so,” says Beach Club Food & Beverage director Ian Lane. “We started serving sturgeon about a year ago and it’s just an awesome product. It’s the right fit for us—local, sustainable and a really special experience.” Many fishers have had the thrill of catching—and releasing—a massive white sturgeon in B.C. waters, says Lane, but few get the chance to taste the fish. “It’s very versatile and everyone who’s had it, loves it.”

Chefs for Sturgeon Sturgeon is the new darling of top chefs looking for local and certified Ocean Wise seafood. At the recent Gold Medal Plates competition in Victoria, North 48 chef Sam Chalmers served sous vide sturgeon with smoked potato, Northern Divine caviar and sturgeon “cracklin’.” Vancouver chef Jefferson Alvarez of Cacao presented a stunning sturgeon plate that included a piece of the dense white fish crusted in ebony ash with a silvery piece of crispy fried sturgeon skin balanced on top. Alvarez has long been enamoured of sturgeon. Whether it’s sturgeon ceviche, seared fatty 49

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1715 Government Street 250.475.6260

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sturgeon liver as unctuous as foie gras, puffed sturgeon skin chicharron or the vesiga (marrow) stripped from the fish’s spine, Alvarez loves working with sturgeon. “When I came to Vancouver from Europe, I found everyone was using the same fish—salmon, halibut, sablefish,” says the Venezuelan-born chef. “Sturgeon was brand new to me, but I wanted to learn about it.” At Vancouver’s Hawksworth, the Vietnamese Lemongrass Sturgeon ($44) is flavoured with coconut, cucumber, cilantro and crispy garlic. Edible Canada chefs smoke the sturgeon and serve it atop an organic kale salad with puffed wild rice, pickled beets, butternut squash and tahini vinaigrette ($23). At Blue Water Café, sturgeon is topped with a pumpernickel crust and served with creamy cauliflower purée and agro dolce sauce (37.50), while at Pier 73 Restaurant in Richmond, they’ve replaced halibut with sturgeon for fish and chips.

Cooking the New White Fish The dense fish is described as “delicately flavoured” and meaty, similar to pork or veal in texture. Because it doesn’t flake like most white fish, it doesn’t fall apart on the barbecue and can be skewered. Some chefs told me it’s best grilled, others favour pan-frying or roasting. Some use it like meat in curries or stews, or raw in sushi and ceviche. Ned Bell, chef for the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program, recommends smoking sturgeon or steaming the fish, Chinese-style. “It’s incredibly dense, similar to swordfish, and it loves to be cured and smoked,” says Bell. “Steaming is a delicate way of cooking it, then adding a sweet, salty, sour sauce.” The ideal is to just barely undercook the fish so it will finish cooking while resting and remain juicy in the centre. “We have grilled, pan-fried, moist-baked in wine/cream and steamed it, served it in soup, with beurre blanc, smoked and served it cold on a platter with a remoulade or avocado lime cream. It’s very versatile,” says Debbie Shore, chef instructor and chair of VIU’s Culinary Institute. She says sturgeon is best cooked “to the just done state. If it’s underdone, it’s chewy, and if it’s overdone it can be dry, as with any fish.” Shore suggests cooking sturgeon for seven to eight minutes per inch as a guideline. Cornel Ceapa of Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar in New Brunswick has lots of ideas for cooking his products: “The wild loins must be treated similar to beef. Age it or marinated at least 24 hours, cook it either medium-rare or braise it. Do not dry it! For ground sturgeon, I’m thinking fish cakes, Asian-style fish balls with ginger and garlic, ‘meatballs’ poached in a spicy tomato gumbo, even fish cakes and burgers.”

Buying Sturgeon Most sturgeon served in Vancouver and Victoria restaurants is farmed fish from Northern Divine. It’s sold direct or through Albion Fisheries wholesale, and at some fish mongers. Northern Divine’s general manager Justin Henry says the company sells 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of fresh fish per week, year round, and produces herbs and watercress in its aquaponics systems. You’ll also find smoked Northern Divine and ICSS sturgeon sold in a can. Acadian Sturgeon sells its wild Atlantic and farmed shortnose or Atlantic sturgeon (whole, fillets, marrow and offal) to chefs across the country, too. You can order their fillets and caviar online from Unlike other fish, pristinely fresh sturgeon is not the best. It should be “aged” for at least a week before cooking. “We age it in the cooler on ice, the muscle relaxes and the texture of the fish becomes softer,” says Henry, adding sturgeon has a very long shelf life. There’s been steady growth in sales and “such positive feedback from chefs” that Henry says consumers will likely see more sturgeon in restaurants and at retail. And with education and aquaponics expertise right here on Vancouver Island, sturgeon may soon be coming to a farm near you. 50 MARCH/APRIL 2017

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STRIDE Spinnakers Brewpub finds new growth among the ashes. W O R D S : Daniel Murphy

P H O T O : Rebecca Wellman

THE SCENT OF BURNING; A GATHERING HAZE IN THE AIR. Anxious lunch customers are reassured by their servers: “Everything is fine.” The unpleasant smell intensifies, haze turns to smoke. Staff address patrons, apologetically instructing them to make their way down to the parking lot with a slight waver in their voices. One customer decides to stay and finish his meal. Small flames start to lick up through the floor by the chimney. He is begrudgingly persuaded outside. Thirty minutes later, the “Oldest Brewpub in Canada” is exhaling whorls of malignant black smoke. The chaos is being broadcast live from at least one bystander’s phone. Sirens, horns. A female staff member has collapsed in tears behind a policed barrier. An obvious crowd forms. Hoses erupt and the air is awash with water, smoke and flashing light.. In Lahaina, Hawaii, Paul Hadfield (Spinnakers founder and owner) takes a seat at a restaurant with his wife. Tiki drinks and a pu pu platter, with a side of postcard sunset. He receives a text message from his daughter Kala (Spinnakers brewer/production manager): ‘Call me when you can. Important.’ He does so immediately, with a pang of fear for the safety of his other daughter as she travels through Mexico. News of a fire, in which no one was hurt, seems a relief. ‘No, Dad, it’s bad. It’s really, really bad.’ Paul spent the next morning assessing the financial impact of an indefinite closure—forecasting, liaising with financial institutions and watching news reports of the event (“surprisingly in-depth and historically accurate”). And as the day progressed, he gained his first hint of the magnitude of Spinnakers’ importance to a far-reaching community. “Two of the first text messages I received were from customers in Toronto and Florida.” Touching down in Victoria after a couple more temperate days to absorb and reflect, Hadfield’s vision for recovery had crystallized. “We needed to let everyone [on the payroll] know that they would be looked after. And we needed to get our revenue streams open. Fast.’ His voice had shifted distinctly from the emotional retelling of the event, to a calculated and methodical path to recovery. “We held a general meeting and assured everyone that they would still get paid, but it wasn’t going to be a free ride. Who knew how to lay tile? Who knew how to paint? Who could stuff insulation?” He is an unlikely field general—warm, expressive and nonchalant—but he mobilized his workforce with Napoleonic effectiveness. Nine days after the entire place was nearly razed by flame, the most heavily affected areas had been contained by a ten-foot, makeshift wall that trapped as much of the smell and aesthetic destruction as possible. This allowed a space in the kitchen to be prepped and used for baking. The provisions station at the front of the building was reopened, serving coffee and tea, and baked sundries. A sharp, acrid scent lingered around the entranceway, like the trauma of the event itself, but over a few days as people came and went, it became less noticeable. Revenue stream: open. Doctored posters depicting a pouting, red-faced, faux-coiffed Hadfield, in the style of the newly elected American president proudly plastered the windows, boasting: The Man Who Built the Wall. Four weeks after “Black Wednesday (Nov 23, 2016),” the lower-floor restaurant also reopened for business. Most customers commented on how lucky it was that the dining area had remained unaffected by the fire. In reality, the damage had been extensive: water had seeped down from the top-floor firefighting efforts, destroying the drywall and insulation. The original fir trim was carefully pried off, washed and treated for intense smoke permeation. The floors were either industrially cleaned or replaced, depending on the extent of the damage. That it went mostly unnoticed is a testament to the efforts of the restoration team. Another revenue stream—and a major one—open.

FATHER - DAUGHTER TEAM Paul Hadfield and Kala Hadfield

The streamlining of all these processes couldn’t have been achieved without Hadfield’s pre-publican career as an architect. In fact, the Spinnakers concept was, in part, a make-work project for Hadfield’s Vancouver-based architectural firm during the economic recession of the early 1980s. The disparity in land prices 51

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between Vancouver and Victoria (even then) was the motivator for Spinnakers’ island location. Coupled with his conviction that waterfront hospitality establishments enjoy the greatest success rate, and Vancouver was excluded as a financially plausible option. This effectively forced his hand in moving his family from a muchloved lifestyle in Vancouver to undertake and guide the Spinnakers project. ‘We traded Whistler for Sooke,’ he smiles, heavy with nostalgia and a hint of melancholy. He tracked down the architect assigned to repairs by the insurance agency and gave him his own prior structural drawings, information from previous remodels and expansions—anything to speed up the process. “We needed a ‘friendly,’” he says of the rebuilding effort. And it worked. While each arm of the business achieved lightning-quick turnarounds to re-opening, the team was still moving frantically onto the next step. The heart of the damage, the upstairs pub and patio, suffered significantly. Studs were almost burnt through in places, the ceiling was tarped inside and out, sections of floor were taped off, unsafe. The wreckage was so thorough in the heart of the blaze, that even General Hadfield couldn’t put a definite timeframe on its reopening. But with the walls and central chimney removed, the room feels so much roomier, freer. Windows that had been boarded up from previous expansions have been revealed, creating a more modern, open-concept space. I ask if any of the forced changes will be embraced moving forward: “No fireplace.”

Celebrating years 25 

A breakneck timeline isn’t new for Hadfield or Spinnakers. The entirety of the original project took a measly eighteen months, from idea conception to opening day. In an industry impenetrable with red tape and arbitrary bureaucratic enforcement, this was a monumental feat in itself, regardless of the brass-tacks task of a full-scale renovation and commissioning an operational brewery to boot. The brewery itself survived the fire relatively unscathed, although all raw materials were lost to smoke and water damage, and all beer in ‘the pipeline’ was destroyed, as it had lost refrigeration and gas pressure. But once the brewing sections of the building were cleared for use, it was business as usual for the brewery staff. Kala Hadfield explains that when the numbness and powerlessness of witnessing the blaze first-hand had subsided, the fallout was a heightened sense of unity among all staff. “We were lucky that we were able to keep [the brewery] working. But when we weren’t brewing, we were out there helping with the rest of the building.” Will this event negatively affect the current trajectory of the brewery, or the pub, moving forward? ‘I can’t say that the business plan has changed, but I do think we all have a greater appreciation for what we have. We have almost a hundred people on staff. There are families that depend on us, and also local farmers and suppliers that we rely on, and vice versa. Spinnakers is a community, not just a building.’ That community responded with a staggering outpouring of support. Spinnakers immediately started receiving letters from patrons with cash wrapped in notes explaining it was “for tips.” VanCity, their primary financial institution, purchased $5,000 worth of Spinnakers’ gift certificates and handed them out to their banking staff. The Island Chef’s Collaborative has organized fundraising events and made donations to Spinnakers staff in lieu of lost wages. “Incredible. It reminds me of what it was like when we first opened,” says Hadfield. Over the three decades since that first beer was poured, Spinnakers has created a network of supporters who have now embraced their chance to reciprocate hospitality and appreciation, however they can. As in the wild, fire has given way to new growth—a welcome outcome from a misfortune. Daniel Murphy is brewmaster at Canoe Brewpub



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The Sweetest Spirit WINTERFELL

Honey makes a distillation with the smoothness and earthiness of a fine demerara rum.

1⅓ oz Toasted Cinnamon Honey Shine ⅓ oz Noilly Prat Rouge ⅓ oz Galliano 1 barspoon Cinnamon Pear Dark Balsamic 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters • GLASS – Small coupe • METHOD - Long stir and strain • GARNISH - Rim with an orange peel

Anything with even a minimal sugar content can be fermented and then distilled. Humans have been doing this since the first caveman found a rotting, fermented piece of fruit, had a few too many and regretted it the next morning. But the dawn of a new spirit style has serious roots here on Vancouver Island—honey spirits. We have two distinct distilleries showcasing the versatility of the sweet nectar of the bees. Wayward Distillation House in Courtenay is at the forefront of the “honey spirit” movement, but things didn’t always go as planned, says owner, master distiller and ex-military engineer Dave Brimacombe. He spent years trying to prove it could work. “Our input cost is astronomical compared to traditional spirits, well over 2.5 pounds of honey per bottle of vodka, but the results speak for themselves. Because our spirits taste so great right off the still, we don’t have to filter, flavour or adulterate them in any way.” Wayward is behind the Unruly Vodka and Unruly Gin labels, along with myriad liqueurs, including one that doubles down on the honey, Brimacombe’s version of “Krupnik,” a traditional Polish honey and spiced liqueur. That honey comes from Golden Clover Apiary in northern B.C., owned by a former Vancouver Islander and third generation beekeeper. Brimacombe explains how the boom in craft distilling has meant that rules and regulations sometimes don’t keep up with the innovations pushing the industry forward. The distillery’s biggest hurdle was getting a classification for its spirits because they don’t conform to any of the pigeonholes that spirits are traditionally placed in. At de Vine Spirits on the Old West Saanich Road, Saanichton, master distiller Ken Winchester sees those pigeonholes as something to stay away from. The long-time rum connoisseur creates a cutting edge product and resurrects age-old styles of spirit making. “I love rum, and I’ve experimented with it for years. Alas, sugar cane doesn’t grow on Vancouver Island, but we have amazing honey here. Honey is a very complex sugar, and very well suited for rum. It has two drawbacks: it’s three or four times the price of sugar, and it’s a very slow ferment, up to six weeks. But it has a smoothness and an earthiness of a fine demerara rum and can carry higher alcohol with no harshness or burn.” They age their Honey Shine amber and spiced rum in once-used bourbon barrels to gain colour and mellowing. The distillery currently gets its honey from Fraser Valley honey farms but has plans to put in its own hives. Jared Wegenast is the head bartender leading the program at Vis-a-Vis in Victoria’s Oak Bay, a small intimate room with a long bar and an everexpanding local spirits list. Wegenast, one of the new “young guns” in town, is taking the lead on innovative cocktails and quality spirits and calls de Vine’s Honey Shine “a very versatile and solid local spirit. You can enjoy it neat, in a spirit-forward cocktail, in a citrus cocktail, in almost anything. It acts similarly to a gold rum and is very accepting to infusions of any kind.” The original inspiration was a cocktail called Winterfell, which consisted only of apple brandy, Galliano and Peychaud’s bitters. “I liked the use of Galliano and Peychaud’s, mostly because the bitters cut through the sweet fat of the vanilla liqueur, tossing in a bit of floral spice. This is the kind of drink that is meant to be enjoyed as a digestif or right before dessert. Sweet vermouth for lower sweet notes, balsamic to add some astringency and additional flavour.”

Pictured: JARED WEGENAST AT VIS-A-VIS Photo by Rebecca Wellman

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These young cooks from Spectrum Community School’s Culinary Arts Program already know that good food is in their future. R E B E CCA W E L L M A N

(L to R) Connor Roos , Kaelee Derosz, Fynn Bosomworth

The Kids Are Alright BY JILL VAN GYN


id you know for certain what you wanted to be when you grew up? At the ripe old age of 15 or 16, were you throwing everything you had into one specific career direction? I will speak for myself here and say that my options were pilot, architect, interior designer or journalist. Was I throwing myself into cultivating any of these career paths? No, I was not. I was dabbling in various forms (minus the flying of planes) by creating crude drawings or writings, getting bored, then watching some Saved By the Bell or heading to the mall, hoping to hell it was all going to work out. The kids in Spectrum School’s Culinary Arts Program are getting knee-deep in what it means to run a full-scale food operation. When I walked into the school cafeteria kitchen, a massive space with equipment fit for running a busy restaurant, the heat was on. The teenagers took little notice of me as they focused wholeheartedly on the tasks at hand. Breakfast had already been pumped out— an appetizing smoked salmon benny—and freshly baked goodies remained in their bakery baskets ready for purchase as snacks throughout the day. On this day, just before the holidays kicked in, the kids were getting ready to offer a full tea service to a First Nations Elders group. 54


They had prepared sweet and savory bannock, delicate tarts and cookies, confections, scones and dainty tea sandwiches. As the students rushed back and forth with fervent determination, I noticed a clock with a note underneath it that read, “Always move with a sense of urgency.” Good advice.

well-trained people and yet there are no undergrad degrees that focus on the culinary arts […] so raising the level of education and training has to be emphasized. On the other end, lots of restaurants have moved to being really small businesses and they just can’t afford to hire really well-qualified staff.”

Chef Lauri Humeniuk, a Red Seal chef who holds a master’s degree in education, runs the Spectrum kitchen on Burnside Road with total efficiency. Baking is pulled from the ovens in the early hours of the morning, breakfast dishes are ready to go and stocks, sauces, meats and accompaniments are already in the preparation phases. The goal here is employability—getting these young people ready for a career in the culinary industry. With complaints popping up all over Victoria about the lack of good cooks in the city, Spectrum is priming its students to come out of the classroom and get into the kitchens, fully prepared and ready to work. Humeniuk emphasizes their discipline as a trade. She is grooming the students for careers as well-trained bakers, cooks and butchers. However, she also understands the industry is facing some serious challenges and hopes her students’ early training will give them an edge. “Restaurants are screaming for

Humeniuk expresses some of the concerns that have been plaguing the restaurant industry for years now. Today, more than ever, it’s getting harder to retain qualified kitchen staff in the ranks below chef and sous-chef. Sprawling restaurants that seat 50-plus people, resplendent with intricate bar services, massive kitchen teams and dedicated sommeliers are giving way to smaller, lower-cost concept restaurants or cottage industries such as meal delivery, pop-ups, artisan food products and shared-use food spaces. These small industries require qualified and well-trained individuals, but soaring rents, minimum wage standards and consumer expectations (that “low-cost concept” means cheap food) are making it a challenge for these small business to succeed. On the flipside of the conversation, the expectations of young chefs entering the industry must also be tempered.

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The industry still has a long way to go before cooking and other kitchen work become fully legitimized as something other than a transient job or a stepping-stone to a better position. “Cooking is a skilled trade,” says Sterling Grice of Foo Asian Street Food, Foo Ramen and Part and Parcel. “They work long, gruelling hours and make roughly half what the next lowest paid trade makes. This is resulting in existing cooks moving on to other careers, and less new people choosing it as a path. With all the increasing costs, food, rent, etc., there’s very little left. We all eke out a living and are afraid to increase our prices which might send our beloved regular customers next door. Liam Quinn, of the chef-driven lunch delivery service Salt and Pepper Fox, added to this. “When I started out in cooking, I heard the same rhetoric over and over again: ‘We don’t get paid well because we do it for the love.’ That’s indoctrination. The problem restaurants are having with retaining staff stems from the bigger underlying problem: the job kind of sucks.” This is true, despite many-a-chef proclaiming their love for life in the kitchen, the fact remains that it is a physically demanding job that requires long hours, low pay, and the ever-present risk of injury. Quinn, however, remains optimistic. “The future is bright if people keep pushing in a new direction. I think more entrepreneurs are building businesses that offer fair pay for work, and as long as that keeps happening, maybe there will be a shift in the stigma.” Oh, it’s such a big and difficult world out there and these young’uns are right at its doorstep. Fret not. My time spent with these kids gives me hope that they will be just fine. They know what they are up against; their training has provided them with that. While the bright and ambitious teens of the Spectrum Culinary Art Program cut their teeth on every station from dish pit to soups and sauces to frontline service, they have built up a tolerance to the long hours of thankless work, burns, cuts and bruises and the mendacity (and necessity) of inventory and cost control. They have big dreams, as they should, but remain realistic about what their future holds. Right now it’s just about getting down to work and cooking some good food. Starting their careers young and full of passion with the willingness to start at the bottom and remain teachable is their secret weapon.

So, who are these kids? I sat down with a few of them, all 17 years old, on a freezing December morning as they prepared for the school’s annual turkey feast. As they served me fresh fruit, croissants, a full egg and bacon breakfast and endless coffee, I got to know what the future holds for the rank and file of Victoria’s kitchens.

CONNOR ROOS FAVOURITE DISH TO COOK: Anything that requires a sauce Roos was initially inspired by family cooking. “When I was little I would always be with my grandma when she cooked. She would come home from Winnipeg for about six months and we would cook together. When I was 12 or 13, I started cooking simple dishes like chili for my family. I would often stay home and watch cooking shows and try my hand at replicating what I saw on the TV.” Roos is a traditionalist. Currently doing a job placement at Bear Mountain under chef Mark Wadsworth, he expressed his passion for perfecting the mother sauces and French technique. The pace of working in a full-scale restaurant is attractive to Roos, “I love the rush. It’s fast-paced and you have to get stuff done. I can’t imagine having a desk job.” As for the future, Roos want to keep it simple. “I’d like to cook traditional food, nothing fancy. If I opened my own restaurant, it would have to be a place where you could bring your friends to and just hang out.”

FYNN BOSOMWORTH FAVOURITE DISH TO COOK: Pasta Fynn Bosomworth’s fascination with cooking started early in the family home. “Both of my parents are big foodies,” he says. “I used to be a real picky kid, but they would feed me all these amazing things, and over time I started to fall in love with food.” He looked up to his father, who started out as a busboy at Santiagio’s restaurant and worked his way up to chef. Fynn admired the kitchen war stories his dad would come home with so deciding to follow in his footsteps was an easy decision. Having done job placements at Il Terrazzo, Hotel Grand Pacific and Earls, he feels well prepared for the hard work, long hours and fast pace of kitchen life. “This program has taught me work ethic. You can’t just take a break because if you do, you’ll turn around and see 30 chits coming out of that printer.” The young cook is ahead of the curve in understanding the labour issues he is bound to face. “Usually you spend six to seven months at a place working for $13 an hour, so it gets hard to find and keep cooks. I know it has to change to be a passion-funded industry. If there was more involvement and understanding from [consumers] in asking for better conditions, we might be better off.” He has dreams of a slow-food Italian restaurant where courses are spaced out and the meal always finishes with espresso. Going into the industry with such wide-open eyes on the pressing issues of the day may yet lead him to that goal.

KAELEE DEROSZ FAVOURITE DISH TO COOK: Gyoza Spitfire—this is how I would describe Kaelee Derosz. She is incredibly high energy, always quick with an anecdote, and I doubt she enjoys sitting still for any period of time. Baking is her forte and her calling. The sheer joy she exudes when talking about cake decoration is a telling sign that, if baking is her path, she is going to have a heck of a good time. She plans on going to Vancouver to complete her Level 1 and 2 Bakery & Pastry. She envisions herself with a simple diner or a food truck that has an emphasis on baking. “I just love Martha Stuart, how she explains things. I love finding out how things work so when it comes to baking, it’s amazing how you can add all of these specific things and then somehow it rises. Figuring out how it works and how I can make it—it’s just fascinating!” Derosz is really passionate about making good food for the people around her. Her main concern during our chat was making sure I enjoyed the food that the students had prepared. This is the fundamental quality that every young cook requires as they ready themselves for a career in cooking, a quality this young woman has in spades.



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WINES OF THE TIMES: BC SOMMELIERS SHARE THEIR FAVOURITES the Mak N Ming restaurant, shares his love for Chenin from the highly regarded Stellenbosch producer Reyneke. The light is again shining on another classic: Provence rosé. Back in early 2000, wine critics were complaining about the wine’s poor quality. Producers had become lazy, making pedestrian wine that tourists would buy just for the sheer romance of it. Times have changed. Quality has improved, and those delicate and elegant rosés are popular again. Lisa Haley, wine director at L’Abattoir, says she’s never stopped being excited about rosé. “We’ve been serving it all year to great success at the restaurant. Right now, my rosé selection reflects my renewed enthusiasm for France with wines from Provence, Rhône and the Loire.”

WINE IS AS SUBJECT TO TRENDS AS MUSIC, home design and fashion. And one of the best ways to explore new trends is to take a look at what your local sommeliers are drinking. They have their finger on the pulse. I interviewed some of our top influencers and asked what currently excites them. Just as the classic look of Audrey Hepburn transcends time, some wines never fall out of fashion. Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley comes to mind immediately. It’s never been so cool to drink Savennières, Vouvray, Anjou, Saumur or Montlouis-sur-Loire. The combination of quince, camomile and mineral notes with searing acidity is hard to resist. If you find yourself in New York, visit the renowned master sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier of Rouge Tomate. I don’t know anyone who’s championed Chenin more than she has. Taking a twist on a noble grape from a classic region, Chenin Blanc from South Africa should be on your radar. The region of Swartland is particularly exciting. Keen producers are making top-notch Chenin from old, dry-farmed vines. More generous than those from the Loire, their vibrant acidity and lingering minerality impress. Delicious South African Chenin does not stop in Swartland. Roger Maniwa, voted sommelier of the year by Vancouver magazine in 2016 and wine director at 56 MARCH/APRIL 2017

Italy has been in the spotlight for a number of years, perhaps because there are so many characterful indigenous grapes that were not getting the treatment they deserved until recently. Almost all sommeliers I interviewed mentioned Sicily, top-notch Barbera from Piedmont and lip-smacking Soave when talking about what excites them. Soave used to be a synonym for bland, boring white. Those still exist, but the appellation is now crafting some stellar wines from vines grown on volcanic soils. They are among Shane Taylor’s favourites. “Garganega [the grape of Soave] in the right hands can make something magical,” says the wine director at CinCin and B.C.’s Best Sommelier of 2017. “One of my ‘go-tos’ at the restaurant is Ca’Rugate Monte Alto Soave 2009. It is seven years old and has plenty of gas left in the tank.” Sicily is a favourite child with the trade. L’Abattoir’s Lisa Haley and Bryant Mao, wine director at Hawksworth Restaurant, have both spent some time on the island. They fell in love with Nerello Mascalese (red) and Carricante (white) from Etna. It’s surprising how fresh and delicate these wines are. We often say that Nerello Mascalese is the Pinot Noir of Sicily. Carricante is a dream to drink with fresh seafood. Frappato should also be on your radar. Australia has gone through a major makeover in the last decade or so. Remember when, white or red, those wallaby and kangaroo labels were flooding the shelves, charming wine drinkers with their slightly sweet and fruit-driven traits? Kudos to the Aussies. They were as quick to lure consumers with those overt and palate tiring wines as they were to make a complete 180-degree shift. Australia is currently one of the most exciting new world countries. You can find some of the best Chardonnay in the world hailing from the regions of Tasmania,

Yarra Valley, Margaret River, Adelaide Hills and Macedon Ranges. The wines show restraint and display a judicious use of oak, if any. Maude Renaud-Brisson, sommelier at Chambar, loves the elegance of these wines. She has a coup de coeur for the Coldstream Hills Chardonnay 2013 from Yarra Valley. “It’s a brilliant match with our vin blanc moules frites,” she says. Jason Yamasaki, group sommelier for Joey Restaurant Group and B.C.’s best sommelier of 2015, has fallen hard for the new wave of delicate Grenaches. Australia has certainly been among the leaders of that style. “I’ve made a few discoveries over the last little while that have energized my pursuit of specific red-toned, floral, fleshy, yet delicate styles. It is exciting to find those in many parts of the world, including Australia, Spain, France and California,” he says. He recommends the Yalumba Old Bush Vine Grenache from Barossa. It exudes the style he likes.

“Australia has gone through a major makeover in the last decade or so.” With the growing concern about climate change, drinking local has never been more prevalent. Ike Seaman, food and beverage director and sommelier at the Wickaninnish Inn, champions local wines. “Some favourites are those that are terroir-driven and have a clean expression of fruit with a farming focus first. I am excited about Bartier Bros. Semillon, Little Farm Riesling and Stag’s Hollow Grenache.’’ Mark Filatow, executive chef and sommelier of Waterfront Restaurant & Bar in Kelowna, echoes this sentiment: “The wines I am excited about are the lighter-handed reds coming out of the valley. Reds that speak of the grape without having been hammered in new oak.” Filatow has a special affection for the 2015 Orofino Wild Ferment Syrah from the Similkameen Valley. Sometimes what’s hot is simply great wine that is hard to find. “I went to Madeira in 2015 and it was such an eye opener to see the viticulture and vinification for one of the most underrated and age-worthy wine in the world,” says Bryant Mao speaking about Madeira. Indeed. Those of us lucky enough to taste complex Madeira know just how special they are. But a lack of understanding from consumers combined with not knowing how to drink them makes it difficult for importers to sell

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them. Mao made sure to bring some in. “We have a special order from Blandy’s that will arrive shortly. I’m really looking forward to serving the five-year-old dry Sercial. It is perfect for our spring/ summer tasting menu.” One of my personal wishes for British Columbia is that Greek wines become fashionable. For quite a while now, these lesser known wines have been making their mark in world-class cities and we

need to catch the buzz. Assyrtiko, Xinomavro and the new-wave Retsina have so much character and are a thrill to pair with food. By now your resolutions for 2017 might be far behind you. Perhaps it’s time to make a new one. For the rest of the year, I challenge you to try something new every time you have a glass. I promise those sommeliers will not steer you wrong. Santé!

Tasting Notes WHITES 2013 COLDSTREAM HILLS CHARDONNAY, YARRA VALLEY, AUSTRALIA $28-34 Creamy but surprises with its racy acidity, lemon and crisp apple notes and slight nuttiness. The extended mineral finish leaves you craving fresh seafood. Brilliant with the mussels Vin Blanc at Chambar. -Maude Renaud-Brisson. 2015 PIETRADOLCE CARRICANTE ETNA BIANCO DOC, SICILY, ITALY

$15/gl-72/btl (only at

l’Abattoir). Fresh with a medium body and flavours of spring flowers, tangerine zest and white pepper. Dominant notes of smoke that lingers - like drinking from volcanic rock. Perfect with the olive-dusted tuna with smoked egg and tonnato on our menu. -Lisa Haley. Note: The Etna Rosso from the same producer is available at wine stores and highly recommended! $27-31 2014 BARTIER BROS. SEMILLON, OKANAGAN VALLEY, BC, $20-25 Vibrant acidity with hints of lemon and lime zest with focused minerality and a rich mouthfeel. A great accompaniment to our ‘west coast’ food. I think of our marinated Albacore Tuna or the Poached Side Stripe Shrimp. -Ike Seaman. 2015 ZARATE ALBARIÑO, RÍAS BAIXAS, SPAIN, ($72/btl (available only at Hawksworth) 100% Albariño. – The hype with this grape is lingering. Almost Chablis like. Bright acidity with rich stone fruit, peach and pear on the mid palate, with strong minerality. Great with our pan roasted scallops foraged mushroom, pumpkin, caramelized yogurt, cauliflower dish. -Bryant Mao. Note: Look for Pazo de Señorans Albariño in stores,


2009 CA’ RUGATE MONTE ALTO, SOAVE, ITALY 2009, ($64/btl (available only at CinCin) Ripe red apple, bosch pear, and white flowers aromas lead into a complex palate with a long finish. It sees some oak and the balance of fruit, minerality and toastiness is superb.



Fantastic with our Acqua Pazza – Arctic Char in “crazy water”, saffron and chili. -Shayne Taylor. Note: Other Soave producers to look for: Anselmi, Roccolo Grassi, Pieropan & Filippi.

REDS 2015 OROFINO, WILD FERMENT SYRAH 2015, SIMILKAMEEN VALLEY, BC, $30-35 Aromas of fresh ripe dark fruits, slightly floral, wet stone and anise. The palate has ripe plush berries, spice, soft tannins and a great length. I could drink this all day. On our menu it pairs

Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Siegerrebe, Ortega, Foch, Gruner Veltliner, Cabernet Libre, Petit Milo, Bacchus, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot...

well with the Elk Tartare with Gin Aioli. -Mark Filatow. YALUMBA'S 'OLD BUSH VINE' GRENACHE, BAROSSA, AUSTRALIA $30-35 Seductive bright fruit on the nose with harmonious notes of ripe red fruit & distant spices wrapped up in exotic wildflower petals. This plush fruit expression has the power to be a delightful partner to aromatic cuisine. At JOEY, we match it with our new Night Market Curry.

Visit your industry experts at The Strath Ale, Wine & Spirit Merchants to find the perfect local wine to suit your palate.

-Jason Yamasaki .

SAKE YAMAGATA MASAMUNE 1898 KIMOTO SAKE, JAPAN, $45-50 (720ml) Made by a very traditional yet innovative sake brewery in northern Japan (Yamagata prefecture). Temperature is essential with this sake. Expect it to be complex, round and textural with ripe pears, hints of anise and sweet rice. A great match with our Kale & Steelhead Salad. -Roger Maniwa. Note: Roger has been passionate about Sake for a long time, but the buzz amongst the

919 Douglas St, Victoria


sommelier community is more recent. A world to discover!


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Bubbles to BC WHITES

Quality meats, Poultry, Cheeses, Specialty Products & Condiments

2577 Cadboro Bay Road,VICTORIA


TRANSMONTANAS VÉRTICE ESPUMANTE BRUTO GOUVEIO 2007 PORTUGAL $29-31 Good things can often come from unexpected places; this dry sparkler from the lonely solitudes of the Douro Valley in Portugal is a delicious example. Who could know? Made in the traditional method, partially barrel fermented and aged on its lees for 60 months before release, VĂŠrtice Espumante is elegant and reďŹ ned with a ďŹ ne mousse, subtle fruit avours and a long clean ďŹ nish. Top-notch. SOPHORA SPARKLING CUVÉE NV NEW ZEALAND $18-21 Wow, talk about good value, this blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is sourced from vineyards located in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay on the North Island. Bottle-fermented with an elegant mousse and plenty of character. Sophora is full-bodied with a subtle fruit and brioche bouquet and a soft creamy texture with clean citrus-mineral avours and plenty of refreshing acidity. Won Double Gold (94pts) at the San Francisco International Wine Competition in 2014. UNSWORTH VINTNERS SELECTION SAUVIGNETTE 2015 VANCOUVER ISLAND 23-25 If you did not know better and were served this wine blind at your favourite restaurant, in front of all your friends, you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a top-notch Loire Chenin Blanc. A good guess but not right. It is a Sauvignette from the Cowichan Valley and though not a Chenin what a ďŹ ne, delicious bottle of wine it is. The French would describe it as “big-shouldered.â€? Everything about it is big! The nose is a cornucopia of exotic fruit aromas; pear, pineapple, white honey, anise and vanilla. The palate is rich and powerful with ripe fruit avours, great complexity, juicy acidity and a long dry ďŹ nish.

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STAGâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S HOLLOW SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 OKANAGAN $16-18 Clean and fresh with citrus, Asian pear and subtle green pepper aromas. On the palate the fruit just keeps going with tropical fruit and citrus notes nicely balanced with soft acidity. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s easy to like this juicy little Sauvignon Blanc from Okanagan Falls. CHATEAU DES CHARMES ALIGOTĂ&#x2030; ST. DAVIDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S BENCH 2015 ONTARIO 2015 $14-16 A simple dry white, pure and simple. Chateau des Charmeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s AligotĂŠ is clean, balanced and elegant. Lovely.

MARISCO THE NED SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 NEW ZEALAND $15.50-17.50 Located on the banks of the Waihopai River on the south side of the Wairau Valley, The Ned is named after the tallest peak in the Wither Hills range. Beautifully structured and packed with ripe passionfruit, gooseberry and pink grapefruit ďŹ&#x201A;avours, The Ned is richly textured with zingy acidity, a subtle ďŹ&#x201A;inty character and a long, dry ďŹ nish. An incredible value for the money.

REDS ROBIN RIDGE CABERNET FRANC 2013 SIMILKAMEEN VALLEY $21-24 Robin Ridge is a small family-owned winery located in the Similkameen Valley. Dense and gritty, with layers of concentrated blueberry, roasted red pepper and herbal aromas. The palate is concentrated and powerful with ripe berry and herbal ďŹ&#x201A;avours, nicely integrated oak and a ďŹ rm tannic structure. A keeper. ADRIANO SERRANO JOVEN RIOJA 2015 SPAIN $13.50-15.50 This juicy little Garnacha-Tempranillo blend from Rioja is medium-bodied with ripe strawberry and ďŹ&#x201A;avours. Fresh and lively with good fruit character in an easy drinking style. Just as easy on the pocketbook as it is on the palate. Great value for everyday drinking. FARNESE FANTINI PUGLIA PRIMITIVO 2015 ITALY $11.50-13.50 This hearty red from the dusty plains of Puglia is an alluring mĂŠlange of concentrated plum, blackberry, spice and dry earth ďŹ&#x201A;avours. Balanced and full-bodied, with a patina of ďŹ ne-grained tannins and a ďŹ rm persistent ďŹ nish. A very quaďŹ&#x20AC;able everyday wine at a great price.

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LOCAL FLAVOUR Please support the advertisers featured here as their support allows us to offer this magazine free of charge.




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Eat magazine march april 2017  

A Local Food & Culture Magazine

Eat magazine march april 2017  

A Local Food & Culture Magazine