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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 | C U L I N A RY T R AV E L YOUR DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO THE FOOD & DRINK OF VICTORIA & VANCOUVER ISLAND

magazine CHRISTMAS DESSERTS

ISLAND GRAIN REVIVAL

November | December l 2009 | Issue 13-06 | THIS COPY IS FREE

NEW LOCAL FOOD HERO RESTAURANTS, WINES & NEWS

eat this tourtière! pg.25

100% food & wine

HOLIDAY ISSUE Local | Sustainable | Fresh | Seasonal

“Revolutions have started when the price of food becomes unaffordable.” — Sharon Rempel

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Concierge Island Gra Epicure at Artisans Local Her Good for Y Chefs Talk Victoria R Holiday D Cover Rec Local Kitc What’s in Food Matt The BC Fo Liquid Ass Island Wi Holiday W Contribut

Community Victoria: Ka Tofino | Ucl Contributo

Gillie Easdon Tracey Kusiew Morris, Tim Ring, Kira R Rebecca We

Publisher P Advertising Lorraine Br 250.384.90 All departm

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Box 5225, V www.eatma

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eat magazine Nov | Dec 2009 Concierge Desk . . . . . . 4 Island Grain series . . . 6 Epicure at Large . . . . . . 9 Artisans . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Local Hero . . . . . . . . . . 13 Good for You . . . . . . . . 14 Chefs Talk . . . . . . . . . .15 Victoria Reporter . . . . 16 Holiday Desserts . . . .20 Cover Recipe . . . . . . . .25 Local Kitchen . . . . . . . 26 What’s in Season? . . . 29 Food Matters . . . . . . . .30 The BC Food Scene . . 32 Liquid Assets . . . . . . . 41 Island Wine . . . . . . . . .42 Holiday Wines . . . . . .44

from the editor With 2009 drawing to a close I’d like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a merry holiday and happy New Year. I would also like to thank readers, advertisers and contributors for their continued support. Without you EAT would not exist. I feel very fortunate that there is a such strong sense of community on Vancouver Island—the many events and festivals I attended this year certainly confirm this. I am as committed now to supporting the local food and cuisine scene as when I was just a newbie editor, full of idealism, starting up the magazine. My goal was, and still is, to produce a 100% local food and wine magazine (owned and written by locals). My door is always open to fresh ideas on how I can continue my support. Give me a call, send an email or stop me on the street (after all we’re not too big city that we won’t be running into each other). All the best in 2010 - Gary Hynes

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

Community Reporters Victoria: Katie Zdybel, Nanaimo: Su Grimmer, Comox Valley: Hans Peter Meyer Tofino | Uclulet: Kira Rogers, Vancouver: Julie Pegg, Okanagan: Jennifer Schell Contributors Larry Arnold, Joseph Blake, Michelle Bouffard, Jennifer Danter, Pam Durkin, Gillie Easdon, Jeremy Ferguson, Nathan Fong, Holland Gidney, Laurie Guy, Mara Jernigan, Tracey Kusiewicz, Ceara Lornie, Sherri Martin, Rhona McAdam, Kathryn McAree, Michaela Morris, Tim Morris, Colin Newell, Julie Pegg, Genevieve Laplante, Karen Platt, Treve Ring, Kira Rogers, Elizabeth Smyth, Adem Tepedelen, Michael Tourigny, Sylvia Weinstock, Rebecca Wellman, Katie Zdybel

Publisher Pacific Island Gourmet | EAT ® is a registered trademark. Advertising: Lorraine Browne, Jesse McClinton, Paul Kamon, Gary Hynes 250.384.9042, advertise@eatmagazine.ca All departments Box 5225, Victoria, BC, V8R 6N4, tel. 250-384-9042, fax. 250-384-6915 www.eatmagazine.ca eatjobs.ca epicureandtravel.com Since 1998 | EAT Magazine is published six times each year. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Although every effort is taken to ensure accuracy, Pacific Island Gourmet Publishing cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions that may occur. All opinions expressed in the articles are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the publisher. Pacific Island Gourmet reserves the right to refuse any advertisement. All rights reserved.

the gourmet sleepover $119* This is the most delicious deal of the season. Package includes a one night stay in a luxurious OceanSuite and the chef ’s 5 course tasting menu in the SeaGrille. Victoria’s number one rated spa resort. *Gourmet Sleepover: $119 per person / per night / plus taxes / double occupancy Valid for BC residents only until December 22 2009 Reservations 250-544-2079 849 Verdier Ave, Brentwood Bay

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www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

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Culinary intelligence for the 2 months ahead

THE CONCIERGE DESK

by Rebecca Baugniet

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

November West Coast Chocolate Festival Running until November 10th, the West Coast Chocolate Festival is back in Vancouver after a one-year hiatus. With the participation of the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, Horizons Restaurant, ChocolaTas, Schokolade Café and others, chocoholics are sure to get their fill. To view the complete event schedule, visit the festival website (www.chocolatefestival.ca)

10th, from 6 to 11 p.m. Come watch competitors from across North America vie for the coveted ‘Shuck-King’ belt while you enjoy live entertainment (March Hare Band), great wine, gourmet canapés, silent and live auction. Proceeds benefit the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund. Tickets are $150 per person available at Joe Fortes or via fax (604.669.4426) with credit card info.

Meet Canada’s Chef-at-Large Barbara Jo’s Books to Cooks is hosting two events with Michael Smith November 2nd. The dinner is already sold out, but tickets are still available for the reception (5 pm). Guests will watch Chef Michael Smith demonstrate a recipe and speak about what inspires his cooking. The cost is 45$ and includes refreshments and a copy of his new book, Best of Chef at Home. Call 604-688-6755 to register.

Wild Edible Mushroom Workshops Develop skills for identifying edible mushrooms at one of The Land Conservancy’s Beginner’s Wild Edible Mushroom Workshops. Led by TLC member and biologist, Jessica Wolf, each workshop costs 40$ and will run for three hours. They are offered from November 6th9th and will be held at the Wildwood Ecoforest. Reserve a spot by calling Jessica Wolf (250-722-2292) or visit the TLC’s event calendar page: http://www.conservancy.bc.ca/.

Following 2007’s Taste of Italy and 2008’s Taste of France comes 2009’s A Taste of Britain on November 7th. This annual black-tie fundraising dinner, dance and auction supports the work of Our Place Society. The event will be held at the Crystal Gardens with dinner prepared by the Chefs of the Empress Hotel and live entertainment provided by The Accousticats and Britain’s The Sutcliffes. To purchase tickets, call Our Place Society 250-388-7112 ext. 237 or visit www.tasteofbritain.ca/tickets.html.

O Bistro & Lounge Jazz Nights – November 4, December 2 & 16. Tempt your taste buds with our new small plates menu. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tel: 250-294-7500 500 Oswego St. @ Kingston St. www.oswegovictoria.com

EAT MAGAZINE NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2009

Winemakers Dinner at Muse Winery

Fresh with Anna Olson

Masutake Feast

Meet Anna Olson for refreshments at Barbara Jo’s Books to Cooks on November 10th at 6 pm. Cost is $60. Call 604-688-6755 to register.

Join Bill Jones at Deerholme Farm for a pine mushroom dinner featuring grilled quail rolls with pine mushroom and apricot compote, soba noodles with pine mushroom and squash salad, and more. The dinner will take place Saturday, November 21, 2009. Cost is $90 per person and includes recipes. Call 250-7487450 to book, or for more information visit the events page of the Deerholme Farm website (www.magnorth.bc.ca/events.htm).

Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House presents the 7th Annual Slurp & Swirl – A Wine and Oyster Celebration, and the Western Canadian Oyster Shucking Championship on November

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Celebrate gourmet food coupled with fine wine at Whistler from November 12th-15th. Sit in on fascinating seminars with wineries, critics and wine professionals, or attend winemaker dinners where sumptuous multi-course meals are paired with a variety of wines. Swirl, sniff, & sip a selection of vintages at various tasting events or take a Chef's Trip to the Farm. Visit the Whistler Cornucopia website to buy tickets and see full event details. (www. whistlercornucopia.com)

A two-day festival celebrating the art, craft, and tradition of the cocktail. This event is a fundraiser for the Victoria Film Festival. Visit the VFF website for complete schedule details. (www.victoriafilmfestival.com) November 7th8th, at Victoria Arts Connection – 2750 Quadra Street.

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This much anticipated event is a sell out every year. The evening begins at 6 pm on November 14th at Muse Winery, with the opening reception and appetizers served with Muse wines. The evening continues across the street at the Deep Cove Chalet Restaurant where a five-course dinner is paired with Muse Wines. Price per person $135. Reserve by contacting Muse Winery 250-656-2552.

Art of the Cocktail

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Get in the holiday spirit with Silk Road’s Holiday Cheer Lounge Night, Thursday November 26th, from 5 to 9 pm. Sip on a tea cocktail, enjoy tasty nibbles, and be pampered with free mini spa services while you kick off your holiday shopping. The staff will be on hand, offering samples of holiday teas and recipes for entertaining. (www.silkroadtea.com)

This annual event provides a perfect gift choosing opportunity for the special ones on your Christmas list. Visit Muse Winery December 12th and 13th for an annual event that allows you to meet the artists, and enjoy work by sculptors Craig Benson and Paul Harder, painter Barry Tate, photographer Dave Hutchison, glass artist Pauline Olesen, goldsmith Terry Venables and kelp weaver/sculptor Grant Warrington . The winery will also have on hand a wonderful selection of wine gift baskets perfect for clients, hostesses and friends. The Tasting Room will be open throughout the show, so you can leisurely take in the art with a glass in hand.

atch competivie for the covou enjoy live d), great wine, e auction. Pronal Fire Fight0 per person or via fax info.

Toast the Holidays Find out how to use different teas to make tea punch, mulled teas, tea martinis, tea infused spirits, tea sangrias, and dessert drinks at this Silk Road event on November 28th, from 2 to 3:30 pm. Cost is $12 per person. (www.silkroadtea.com)

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Truffle Dinner at Deerholme Farm

The James Bay community School Centre is holding a Cooking with Chef Sonja workshop December 2nd, from 6:30 to 9 pm. Learn to make some healthier gourmet holiday sweets such as Halvah Shortbread, Cashew Crunch Balls and Mince Apple Tarts, all without refined sugar or wheat. The workshop is $42 per person. Call 250-389-1470 to register, or visit www.jamesbaycentre.ca for more details.

Another tempting feast with Bill Jones, this one highlighting truffles. Menu items for this December 12th dinner include truffled deviled eggs with artisan smoked bacon, fresh egg pasta with butter, fresh truffle and artisanal Parmesan cheese, and terrine of scallops and prawns with a black truffle aioli. $125 per person including recipes. Call 250-748-7450 to book, or for more information visit the events page of the Deerholme Farm website (www.magnorth.bc.ca/events.htm).

Christmas with Wild Goose

Holidays at QuailsGate

The BC Wine Appreciation Society is celebrating Christmas on December 3rd with Wild Goose Vineyards, voted Pacific Northwest's 2009 Winery of the Year. Roland Kruger of Wild Goose will be bringing a great selection of his wines to help us end the year. You just may find a new turkey wine! Visit the BCWAS website for more details (www.bcwas.com)

November 1st to December 23rd Chef Roger Sleiman will be cooking seasonally inspired menus prepared fresh daily at the Old Vines Restaurant quailsgate.com, 250-769-4451

Healthy Holiday Treat Workshop

Get ready

Art of the Cocktail This month’s inaugural Art of the Cocktail is a two day celebration of the art, craft and tradition of the cocktail. On November 7th and 8th, Victoria will see distillery ambassadors, representatives and lounges offering samples of their sophisticated cocktails. At the main Tasting Room events, guests can sample cocktails and spirits while catching tips from guest mixologists, authors and reps on the main stage. Events include a competition for the Best Mixologist in the Pacific Northwest, and numerous workshops including Whisky What Becomes a Legend Most, Molecular Mixology, Cocktails of the 1890s and Making your Own Mixers have been booked. Notable guests include Kevin Brauch from the Thirsty Traveler, Charlotte Voisey, Global Ambassador for Hendricks Gin, Ron Cooper of Del Maguey Single Village Tequila, and Bridget Albert, author of Market Fresh Mixology. The Festival is a fundraiser for the Victoria Film Festival, and local mixologist extraordinaire (and head of the classic-cool cocktail bar at Clive’s) has been tapped as Director of Mixology. Check the website for the current schedule of events. WHEN: November 7 & 8, 2009 WHERE: Victoria Arts Connection 2750 Quadra St. TICKETS: Event tickets are available in advance only - online or at 1215 Blanshard St., Victoria (Film Festival office). Tickets for the Tasting Room are $35. Tokens for samples are $1 and are only available at the event (cash only). WEB: www.artofthecocktail.ca

Thrifty Foods Cooking and Lifestyle yle Centre ng offers informative and entertaining cooking classes for aspiring chefss of all abilities. te Register for a class now and create a delicious holiday season. Visit thriftyfoods.com/lifestyle for a list of upcoming classes and online registration. Come hungry. Tasting is a part of every class.

visit thriftyfoods.com www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

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GOING WITH THE GRAIN

— by Holland Gidney

Could there be a grain-aissance underway in British Columbia?

Part 1:

TO GROW OR NOT TO GROW Given much thought to your porridge provenance? Wondered who grew the wheat that went into your bread? What about the barley in your beer? Despite our collective consumption of 315 million kilograms of grain products each year, British Columbians generally don’t give much thought to the origins of the grains we consume on a daily basis. In fact, it may not have crossed your mind that grain is even grown in B.C., or that non-farmers are involved with growing it. Over the next three issues, EAT magazine takes a look at small-scale local grain production in B.C.

by Gary Hynes

Harvesting grains by hand at Makaria Farm near Duncan 6

EAT MAGAZINE NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2009

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“Revolutions have started when the price of food becomes unaffordable.” – Sharon Rempel, Demeter’s Wheats When the price of flour doubled overnight in early 2008 and bakeries were forced to jack their bread prices by as much as a dollar a loaf, people were upset. Wheat and other grains may be staple foods but they’re also globally traded commodities, with prices influenced by supply and demand—in this case, a combination of poor harvests and increased demand worldwide. Food affordability should concern British Columbians, but food security is equally important, particularly when it comes to grain. A Ministry of Agriculture and Lands analysis of 2001 food production and consumption statistics found that B.C. farmers were producing only 43 million kilograms of food-grade grain, or 14 percent of what’s consumed annually in the province, compared with 57 percent of our dairy, 43 percent of vegetables and 159 percent of fruit. But it didn’t used to be that way. “The ‘high-tech’ grain-growing operations on the Prairies are a pretty recent event in the history of cereal grain production,” says Chris Hergesheimer, who wrote his master’s thesis on small-scale grain production in southwestern B.C. Historically, he learned, many B.C. communities were self-sufficient in cereal groups, with grain “commonly grown” in southwestern B.C. as recently as the 1940s. A century ago, Delta, Surrey and Chilliwack were still producing thousands of tons of wheat, oats and barley, and in a part of New Westminster, “now characterized in part by big box stores, industrial parks, junkyards and car lots,” farmers were getting a respectable 40 to 50 bushels of wheat per acre. But around the time of the Second World War, when strict Canadian Wheat Board regulations came into effect, most B.C. farmers gave up on grain in favour of more profitable agricultural pursuits such as planting orchards in the Okanagan or establishing dairy farms in the Fraser Valley. This is why B.C. farmers now produce only a fraction of the grain we bake into bagels and brew into beer. Today, 85-90 percent of the grain we do produce is grown in the Peace River District, B.C.’s largest regional district, which encompasses 40 percent of the province’s Agricultural Land Reserve and shares a climate with the best grain-growing regions of Alberta. There’s lots of room for Saskatchewan-sized wheat fields, and grain farming is taken seriously here. Janet Banman of the B.C. Grain Producers Association says the most common crops grown in this area are barley, wheat and oats, which are pooled for commercial sale (the first two falling under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Wheat Board). The only other part of B.C. with a reputation for grain is the North Okanagan, where much smaller farms in places like Armstrong, Enderby, Sorrento and Clinton are growing a lot of spelt, plus rye, barley, oats and buckwheat, most of it organic. Elsewhere in the province, there isn’t significant production of food-grade grain. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be grown, as farmers on Vancouver Island are proving. “Grain is in the group of crops that do reasonably well,” says Saanichton farmer Mike Doehnel, who’s been doing growing trials to figure out which varieties do best. This year, in addition to his specialty—malting barley for beer—he grew seven different kinds of hard red spring wheat, six of them heritage varieties. “I actually find that growing wheat here is easier than many places,” ex-Prairies farmer Hamish Crawford told James MacKinnon and Alisa Smith when he supplied them with flour from his Saanich Peninsula farm after their 100-Mile Diet had been grain-free for seven months. He’s one of several Island farmers growing grain for bakeries like North Saanich’s The Roost, Victoria’s Fol Epi and Wild Fire, and Cowichan Bay’s True Grain Bread, which all prefer local wheat. “Grain grown on the Island resonates with people,” says True Grain co-owner and miller Bruce Stewart. Right now, only 1 percent of what he mills on-site is locally produced, but if the supply were to increase, he “would buy as much organic Island-grown wheat as possible.” To that end, Stewart was a partner last year in the planting of 15 acres of Red Fife at a nearby farm. Unfortunately, a wireworm infestation meant the yield was just one tonne— only enough for 2,000 loaves—which is why the bakery’s special 4.92 km loaf is only available on Saturdays. Agriculture is risky business, especially organic agriculture, so despite a suitable climate and an established market, it’s unlikely Island producers will ever be able to meet the demand for local grain cost-effectively. “Costs for growing, harvesting and storing cereals conventionally may range from $400 to $900 per acre…. Cleaning, bagging and storing can add another $150 to the cost per acre, while costs for marketing and distribution can be added on top of that,” writes Doehnel in his 2007 barley and wheat trials report. On the Prairies, grain can be grown for as little as $150 an acre. Metchosin farmer Tom Henry attributes the difference to economies of scale. “Prairie farmers, because they are so large, buy seed, fertilizer and fuel at bulk prices. We don’t get the same discount,” he says. CONT’D AT THE TOP OF THE NEXT PAGE

www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

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Henry is one of the biggest growers on Vancouver Island, yet he planted a mere 44 acres of grain this year (two acres of Red Fife wheat, seven acres of barley and 35 acres of hard red spring wheat). By comparison, it’s not uncommon for a farmer in Saskatchewan to have 5,000 acres of wheat. If both farmers make $20 an acre profit, the Prairie farmer earns $100,000 while Henry pockets just $880—or “zilch” if the crop fails since he doesn’t qualify for crop insurance. “That isn’t enough to warrant the financial and time investments,” he says. However, Henry will keep growing grain because it’s in demand. Even though it would be cheaper for the bakery to source certified organic Red Fife from Saskatchewan, Wild Fire remains one of his biggest customers. But other farmers are more hesitant about joining the grain revolution. “Carrots are worth ten times as much,” says Brock McLeod of 10-acre Makaria Farm in Duncan. “On a small farm, it’s tough to make grains work [commercially].” Despite the difficulty, the Duncan farmer is considering planting grain to sell through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), following the lead of two groups who will be profiled in the next installment of this series.

New Website Provides Local Food Headquarters for Vancouver Island

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EAT MAGAZINE NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2009

Vancouver Island’s local food movement moves forward with new website from Chef Bill Jones and EAT Magazine editor Gary Hynes. From the wines of the Cowichan Valley to the cheeses of the Gulf Islands, to the bread and coffee of Victoria, Vancouver Island’s culinary scene has grown to be one of the richest in the world. Reported on by some of the world’s best culinary and travel magazines — Gourmet, Saveur, Travel & Leisure— the island is both visited by traveling epicureans and home to chefs, artisans, and eaters with a passion for excellent locally-crafted food. Gary Hynes and Bill Jones have created a leading-edge website that serves as meeting ground, map, and guidebook all at once —a local foods headquarters for Vancouver Island. VancouverIslandLocalFood.com is a place for all epicureans to get wise to the island’s distinct culinary areas, artisans, and ingredients. By clicking on a particular region, you can find names and maps of neighbourhood restaurants or top-notch farmers’ markets. Says Jones, “If you’re on a mission for figs or planning a weekend of wine tastings, you can search the website by product or design a route based on the site’s suggestions —bike, hike, or drive, it’s up to you.” Food community events and issues will be posted as well in case you want to take in a small town’s spot prawn festival or learn about a village’s pursuit of the Slow Food life. “We encourage readers—both eaters and professionals—to post on VILocalFood. Let everyone know about your latestest discovery,” says Hynes. Recipes featuring local ingredients posted by chefs and readers within the area further broaden the scope of the site. The soul of the project is its allegiance to supporting local producers and sustainable ingredients. “In sourcing locally, we support Vancouver Island’s economy, lessen our impact on the environment, and increase the transparency of companies” says Hynes. A true community project, Jones and Hynes encourage local food businesses to participate by becoming a Community Member —this ensures businesses with a section on the homepage which can be linked to their own website and used for blogging or posting news for keeping eaters on the up-and-up. Writers and contributors are also encouraged to get in touch. Whether you’re a budding farmer or wine enthusiast, the website serves to connect islanders to each other and to their land by providing a modern-day piazza —a place to learn, discuss, and celebrate the art of eating well. —by Katie Zdybel www.VancouverIslandLocalFood.com

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A MOROCCAN MEMOIR Christmas in the desert: goodbye snow and turkey; hello spit-roasted lamb and polygamy.

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Discover the art of Barossa winemaking. The Queen of Clubs or ‘Gambler’s Card’ represents the great gamble that Peter Lehmann took when founding the Barossa winery in 1979. The Queen now has many faces; each one uniquely modelled to represent the individual style of the wine within. Once you discover the consistent quality and flavours of our Art Series wines, you will see that we have Barossa winemaking down to a fine art.

The PEOPLE, STORIES & WINES TH AT M A K E the BA ROSSA FA MOUS www.peterlehmannwines.com

www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

MARTINS5690_EAT1

Food land

Humbug. Turkey is foul fowl, if you ask me. Not because of the legendary post-feast flatulence that rocks Canadian homes with seismic fury from Tofino to Dildo, Newfoundland, every December 25. I have a problem eating a bird so dumb it can drown in a puddle, that’s all. This excuse is as good as any to run off to Morocco for Christmas. A magic carpet would be just fine for the flight over, Ali Baba. I love this Arabian Nights cuisine that melds the cumin and coriander of India, the olives and olive oil of Italy, the phyllo pastry cherished by Turks and Greeks and the indigenous bounty of lemons and dates. And I’d bet Rick and Ilsa, the lovers essayed by Bogey and Bergman in Casablanca, would agree. We fly from Paris to Casablanca and motor to Meknes, the Moroccan capital during the reign of Moulay Ismail, the sultan who ruled for 45 years and fathered 500 sons. He also had an unsettling habit of having his enemies sawn in half from the top down. Which, I have to suppose, is better than the other way around. We’d signed up for a bus tour that would take us over the Atlas Mountains and deposit us in the desert for Christmas insha’ Allah, Allah willing. We negotiated a snow-lashed pass worthy of Tibet. We descended into a palette of toasted desert hues—red, bronze, copper, rust, gold, peach and amber tumbling together under a Kodachrome sky. We pause for lunch by the ruin of Ait Ben Hadou, a ghost city used for the filming of The Last Days of Sodom and Gomorrah, a Biblical epic in which God zaps Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt. Even God likes a little salt now and then. We eat a lunch of salad tossed with cumin, tagine of chicken with lemons and olives and a drizzle of the fiery sauce called harissa. We drink Gris de Boulaouane, a heady vin gris from vineyards on the Atlantic coast. Then we drive on to Ouarzazate, which is pronounced “Where-za-zat?” A sign in the middle of nowhere informs us we are 52 days from Timbuktu by camel. In Morocco, a man may have four wives. Since I already have one and I’m not greedy, I appoint two more from the bus: Chizuko, a diminutive Japanese, and Cassandra, an American who recalls Raymond Chandler’s line about the sort of blonde who made the bishop kick a hole in the stained-glass window. My three wives and I prove inseparable, when wife number one entertains my madness. When at last Christmas Eve arrives, we are deep in the desert. The wives and I sprawl on divans around a low brass tabletop in a tent. Still awaft in my head is the Moroccan recipe for mutton I’d purchased years ago. It begins, “Choose a young sheep, fat, but not too big ... dig a hole about four feet long …” Salt and cumin arrive in silver bowls, to be taken by the pinch. The opener is harira, the aromatic mutton broth infused with lemon and coriander. Then comes bastilla, the flaky pigeon pie starter that is the hallmark of any meal of importance in these parts. My wives and I, we toast polygamy with more Boulaouane. Trumpets ought to be blaring. Waiters charge from the kitchen with mechoui, a whole baby lamb, for each table. The lamb is herbed and spit-roasted to delirious succulence. Its tender flesh cascades from the bone at a glance. We eat with our fingers, gingerly circumventing the testicles, especially the wives. Inevitably comes the couscous. Semolina is a pasta, oddly enough, a faux rice and a gastronomic signature among the Berber tribes of North Africa. The four of us consume a steaming pyramid of the stuff heaped with chicken, vegetables and raisins. Finally comes fresh fruit, voluptuous fruit, with mint tea and that delightfully Moroccan benediction: the servers sprinkle us with orange water. The wives, they are girls again. As dinner ends, the wives and I decide to walk under the desert sky. It sags with fat stars. We are talking about Christmas. “The first Christmas Eve must have felt like this, in the utter quiet of the desert,” says wife number two. “Maybe there’ll be a Santa in a jellaba and turban and a sleigh pulled by eight tiny camels,” quips wife number one. “Maybe there’ll be an omen,” says wife number three. “Maybe the Wise Men with frankincense and myrrh.” And lo, from the shadows appears a finger. It points at me. And a voice booms, “Behold. It is the three wives man.”

9


ARTISANS — by Tim Morris

knives and w that. In order the tools and At Vancouv are taking th

ANATOMY OF A KNIFE On Salt Spring, Seth Burton crafts extraordinary kitchen knives

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Seth Burton made his first knife from the leaf spring of a ‘56 Chevy pick-up 15 years ago. As I watched him craft knife number 1412 at his Saltspring Island workshop, there is a sense of quiet excitement as he cuts, forges, hardens, grinds and polishes yet another piece of steel into a finished 10 inch chef’s knife. Knife number 1412 grew out of a dusty black three-foot-by-six-inch chunk of stainless steel that despite its humble looks is a long way from that first leaf-spring metal. Stainless steel comes in many grades and this is called CPM S90V. It’s expensive; that slab was US$500, more than three times the cost of the other high quality stainless found in top kitchen knives; and it’s hard, which makes it good for holding an edge but takes up to three times longer for Burton to grind and finish. The V stands for Vanadium which adds to wear resistance and toughness allowing the blade to take and retain a very sharp edge. I spent two days at Cosmo Knives, in his wooden, unheated barn-like shop watching the chef’s knife grow in his hands from a rough cardboard template to a finely honed and gleaming instrument. The chef’s knife is one of – if not the most – fundamental tools in any kitchen. But it may also be one that many cooks really haven’t been trained to use well and equally important, maintain well. Tony Minichiello at Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver watches his students – and friends – to see how they use and care for their kitchen knifes. It’s his litmus test. “Show me somebody with a sharp knife and that’s a real foodie expert. Show me somebody with a dull knife that’s in a drawer somewhere and when they open it they don’t even know where it is … they have to look for it … that’s somebody who’s not doing much cooking at home.” To make his point, he holds up a loosely held newspaper and slices through it with ease. When he teaches cooks – both professional and non-professional - one of the first things he does is assess the knives and skills of each student. Over the years, he’s noticed how much more important a good knife has become to the students. Equally prevalent is the influence of Japanese knife makers. “I noticed every time a foodie takes this course, and they’re serious, they have a Japanese knife.” He ascribes this to size, feel, the grip and the quality. Many of the tradition European knife makers used to make bigger blades with bigger grips suitable for bigger chefs; although they are now adapting to a changing consuming market. Minichiello says the impact of Japan cannot be underestimated when it comes to kitchen

—Tim Morris

—Tim Morris

Seth Burton checks the progress of knife #1412

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knives and what he calls, the sense of craftsmanship they convey. “And I think people need that. In order for people to view their cooking seriously they have got to feel that if I have the tools and I know how to use them, I’m going to end up cooking much better.” At Vancouver’s Gourmet Warehouse, Caren McSherry sums it up simply. “Japanese knives are taking the lead against European knives.”

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—Tim Morris

—Tim Morris

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On Saltspring Island, it’s not immediately obvious, but Japan has been one of the major influences on how Burton crafts his blades. His high-ceiling shop is dimly lit. The walls are lined with long sanding belts hanging on hooks like so many overcoats waiting to be picked for the task. Fine grit, some a bit used, coarser grit. Along other walls are small knives, kitchen knifes, outdoor knives in various stages of completion. In another room there’s an industrial sewing machine for making sheaths and engraving tools for etching custom designs and his logo on the finished blade. There is a home-built propane fired forge, an anvil and hammer that would not be strange to a 16th century blacksmith, pneumatic air hammers, electric kilns and five grinders – one of which he specifically built after being invited to Burton begins grinding #1412 visit some master knives makers during a trip to Japan. But long before that trip, Burton had become convinced knife making was his passion. In 1983, his mother who is an artist, transplanted Burton and his brother to Saltspring from England. He was 11 at the time and remembers carving knives out of wood – all the time. At 16 he thought he’d be a woodworker and took a joinery apprenticeship but didn’t like it. A latent interest in metal and knife making reemerged. A retired blacksmith on the island was renting part of his shop and “he’d come up every day and light the cold forge.” He made a few knives starting with the one from that ‘56 Chevy leaf spring. Then came a trip to New Mexico in 1998 to pick up some of his mother’s paintings and a chance meeting with a well-known knife maker named Jay Fisher. It was only an hour and a half, but the influence was significant. “That’s when I realized people did it for a living. There was a knife world out there.” Burton says Fisher set him on a course. “His quality is incredible. He puts so much integrity into each part of he knife. That’s one of the reasons why I love it. Just the whole process. All the difference machines and materials I get to use. Also the strive to reach the perfect knife. The strive to excellence.” Burton was hooked. He came back to Saltspring and with the help of a friend invested $4,500 in a grinder to add to the metal working and blacksmithing tools already in place. Making a knife is not simple. It starts with a template of the type of knife he wants to make. As I watched, Burton outlined what he called an all purpose chef’s knife with a Japanese flair to it onto the CPM s90V plate and then used a plasma cutter to get the first outline. That produced a rough hewn piece of metal with an upward curve that initially looked more like a piece of scrap than the start of a $400 kitchen tool. In the dark shop there is a glowing tube of white heat from the mouth of a small forge mounted about four meters off the floor. It is eye-level to Burton who holds the knife in tongs and rests it inside. Two propane jets pour gas into the pipe raising the temperature to a 2,100 to 2,300 degree Fahrenheit range. Different metals require different heats and Burton uses the colour of the red metal as his guide. Experience and online research have taught him different steel qualities. As it sits in the flames, some of the hardest steel in the world is turning to malleable putty. He pulls it out and begins the delicate and irreversible step of hammering it into something that more resembles the knife that is hidden in the steel at this point. Think of rolling out dough and pressing one side away. Too thin and it is fragile. The key, he tells me, is not to work below a critical temperature which gives him about a 30 to 45 second window to shape the blade before it goes back into the forge. He initially uses the pneumatic air hammer and then works on the anvil for more controlled finishing blows. He works on the hot metal and draws out the taper in the blade, brings down the bevel and reduces the thickness along the cutting edge. The upwards curve in the knife slowly straightens under his controlled blows. The blade gets reheated, hammered, reheated until CONT’D ON THE NEXT PAGE

www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

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At the end of two days Burton is happy with knife 1412 which he’ll post on his Web site or take to the Ganges farmers market where he sells a lot of his product. It now looks nothing like the rough hewn piece of metal. “It feels good. It’s one of my newest favourite knives. The whole shape… 10 inch... I’m happy with the way it turned out.” It’s a lovely tool. But once this or any kitchen knife leaves the shop, it’s over to the cook to know how to use it and keep it as sharp as the day it arrived in the kitchen. To learn more about Cosmos Knives visit www.cosmoknives.com To watch a video on Seth Burton making knife #1412 go to www.vancouverislandlocalfood.com and click on Food Video.  * For breaking news on Seth’s latest venture visit www.eatmagazine.ca (hint San Mai Stainless Damascus)

LOCA

LEE

—Sherri Kostian

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the curve has gone and Burton is happy with the shape making sure it doesn’t get too thin for fear of warping. Now comes grinding. His shop has five different grinding wheels and reams of long sandpaper belts that he changes depending on how the shaping is progressing. He chooses from the belts hanging off the hooks like someone going through a rack of ties; a finer grit for one stage or maybe a belt that has already been used a bit to take away its harshness. It’s not obvious, but a trip to Japan has influenced this stage of his knife making. While on a trip there three years ago and he found a translator who helped arrange visits to several knife makers. In his quiet soft spoken way he describes meeting a traditional sword and knife maker who turned out the lights, handed Burton a towel since traditionally you should not touch a blade with bare hands, and pulled out a sword that his father had made. He told Burton to look in to the steel, into the grain... “To me, it was my most amazing day I ever had. I came out of that place so emotional, especially after he pulled out the sword.” Burton also came back to Saltspring determined to adapt his belt grinders to the larger wheels he found in Japan. He ordered two 24 inch wheels from a shop Chicago -the only place that could make them. The bigger surface is almost flat and for him the advantage is that it produces a longer hollow grind. “The cutting edge is thinner for a longer time and sharpening is easier.” At this knife is taking shape as he grinds off the hard stainless steel. He uses sight, sound, the feel of heat on his thumb as the belt removes the steel and even the water as he cools the friction-heated blade. He grinds freehand as opposed to resting on a table. “I feel there’s more control. You can move with the flow of the blade more, the flow of the shape of the blade. … At the beginning it’s trickier. But in the long run, after you get the experience … I feel I have more control.” He knows it’s ready when the edge is even and fine. “I used to measured it all the time… now just know its there.” At this stage the knife has its profile and rough grind. Next comes heat treatment to make the steel tougher. Burton wrapped the blade in a special foil, added argon gas to reduce oxygen, sealed it tight and then placed it into his electric kiln heated to 2125F. The steel has to be hardened to change the molecular structure to make it harder. The blade is quenched in oil and then tempered with two lower temperature heat treatments. Burton has since worked on a new way to heat treat his blades without the expensive stainless steel foil. It is an outgrowth of something he saw in Japan but which he has adapted; painting a clay-like coating on the blade instead of wrapping it in the sealed foil package. The second day was spent fine grinding and polishing the blade. He cut out and ground a bolster and used a carbon glass composite called G10 to make the tough handle, grinding the handle down to its finished shape, constantly stopping and testing for the right feel and grip. The final steps are etching on his logo, custom art work for special order knives and then the final sharpening after he has finished working on the blade. Knives are gauged many ways and one determination of hardness is the Rockwell scale. This one came in at 58 to 59, but Burton says because of the high quality stainless used, and its Vanadium content, it holds an edge better than some with a higher Rockwell rating. A knife like this doesn’t come cheap. Expect it to be in the $350 to $400 range. But you don’t have to spend that to come up with good knives and there is more choice now than a few years ago. Back at Gourmet Warehouse in Vancouver, McSherry will help a customer the best knife that’s best for them. A lot of it is how it feels. Bringing out the same style knife from four different companies, she’ll say “ ‘Now you hold it. You tell me what feels comfortable. What you like.’ They steer themselves into what they like. I can’t tell them. They have to feel it.” Right now Japanese knives are enjoying a following. Minichiello at Northwest Culinary Academy goes farther with his buying advice when shopping at a good kitchen supply store. “Don’t be afraid to bring a carrot or a piece of celery. They should lend you a cutting board to practice. It they don’t... walk away. It’s like going to a car dealer and buying a car off the lot and you can’t test it.” And he says it’s not just the knife you’re buying, but a way to sharpen it and a cutting board… preferably wood.

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— by Rhona McAdam

Nowadays it seems many people know about food issues such as sustainability and security. Yet we’re still unaware of those who’ve been blazing the West Coast food trail for the past decade and more. One of those trail-blazers is Lee Fuge. If you ask about her own accomplishments, she’ll demur; but ask her about FoodRoots, the organization she co-founded, and you’ll hear genuine passion. FoodRoots, not for profit co-op distributor, is the brainchild of three parents: Fuge; Susan Tychie, co-founder of delivery system Share Organics; and Peninsula organic farmer Bryan Hughes. “We wanted local, open, democratic ownership, and we wanted the organization to be embedded in the community.” While Fuge is now deeply rooted in that community, when she arrived in Victoria from Calgary 13 years ago, she found it an impenetrable job market, despite ample natural food retailing credentials. So she commuted instead to Vancouver to manage the East End Food Co-op. After a year and a half she’d had enough. “Twice a week shifting from the pace of Vancouver to the pace of Victoria, and having homes in two places; relationships and Lee Fuge work in two places. It’s hard to establish yourself in either community if you’re only there part-time.” Once she returned full-time to Victoria, she forged her own food security path through involvement with organizations like the Vic West Community Association, the International Women’s Catering Co-op and the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable (CR-FAIR). She, Tychie and Hughes often shared concerns about local food supply. “For years, lots of people had been saying the farmers should do this and the farmers should do that and the farmers should do the other thing; but basically the farmers were doing all that the farmers could do.” And then it struck them: they could create the link that brought small farmers and urban consumers together. From its 2006 inception, FoodRoots broke new ground, documenting the pocket markets concept in a toolkit posted on the website that would allow urbanites to experience farmers’ markets in office buildings, shopping malls or rec centres. Fuge’s FoodRoots ambitions are adamantly inclusive: “sharing resources, information resources included, so that people in other jurisdictions can do similar things.” Like any new idea, pocket markets have had ups and downs, and they’re still working out the kinks. Markets in rec centres suffered from lack of marketing budget, those in government offices from security and insurance restrictions that prevented the public from shopping there too. Others, like those at Mayfair Mall and Fernwood (in the Cornerstone Café) are thriving. In other projects, FoodRoots has hosted “sustainable feasts,” sometimes partnering with groups like The Land Conservancy and Slow Food to provide delicious local educational banquets. In December, they’ll again be inviting people to buy, give or donate seasonal food boxes. The latest enterprise is an online buyers’ group. “When the whole natural foods movement started in the ’60s, it started with buying groups, because people couldn’t find the products they wanted on the conventional store shelves. So I see what we’re doing as a sort of revival of the old co-op food movement, and re-localizing food.” All the food on offer is either organic or naturally grown, and fairly traded where possible. Most, particularly in summer, is local. The orders are collected at the FoodRoots warehouse, which the group shares with LifeCycles and Share Organics—“a co-operative, a privately owned business and a food security-focused non-profit sharing space,” marvels Fuge, adding, “We think of ourselves as the food security hub for Victoria.” FoodRoots’ annual farmers’ meeting embodies Fuge’s passion for transparency. “It’s a networking opportunity for the farmers, but more important, we tell the farmers what we bought from off-island so they can see the gaps and opportunities.” She aims to bring small producers up to the table as equals, offering them “the same kind of relationship that large growers have with their wholesalers.” Fuge’s overall aims are modestly heroic. “We need to stay focused on educating people about the availability of local foods, encouraging them to buy local, explaining to them the multitude of reasons that buying local is good, not only for their health but economic and environmental health, and the health of the farmers and farmland.”www.foodroots.ca

Chef Matt Rissling

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EAT MAGAZINE NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2009

They define the holiday aroma and enhance health. While spices are integral to cooking year round, certain spices are an indelible part of holiday baking. Cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg form an aromatic quartet that strikes the dominant note in a host of festive favourites, from pumpkin pie to eggnog. In addition to enhancing our food, these popular spices can also enhance our well-being. Scientists have discovered they each confer some unique health benefits. Let’s take a closer look. CINNAMON In ancient Egypt, cinnamon was considered more precious than gold. Modern science is proving the Egyptians to be very astute. Recent research suggests cinnamon can help kill virulent bacteria, stabilise blood sugar, quell inflammation and prevent blood platelets from clumping together. In addition, Germany’s Commission E, a governmental regulatory agency, has approved cinnamon as a treatment for appetite loss and indigestion. During the holidays, it’s easy to reap cinnamon’s health benefits, as the spice shows up in everything from pumpkin pie to mulled wine. My favourite festive cinnamon treat is the delicate German cookie called Zimtsterne (cinnamon stars). Victoria’s Rheinland Bakery makes a particularly scrumptious version of this European classic. CLOVES Medicinally cloves have been used for millennia to treat bad breath, dental pain, parasite infections and athlete’s foot. India’s traditional Ayurvedic healers use cloves to treat respiratory and digestive ailments. And now there is scientific evidence to support all this faith in the humble clove. While pomegranates and blueberries have garnered a lot of attention for their antioxidant content, scientists have recently discovered the unheralded clove outranks them both. A teaspoon of clove powder contains 25 percent more antioxidants than a cup of pomegranate juice or a half cup of blueberries. In addition to cancer-fighting antioxidants, cloves contain manganese, omega-3 fatty acids and calcium. For me the mere scent of cloves evokes memories of my mother making mincemeat tarts—the best, (of course) I have ever tasted. Since mom is no longer with us, I now get my “best” clove experience by savouring the divine mincemeat tarts from Oak Bay’s Village Patisserie. GINGER Mentioned in the writings of Confucius and in the Koran, ginger has long been heralded

as a digestive aid. Indeed, its best-known medicinal use is quelling nausea and indigestion. However, recent studies suggest ginger may be a powerful weapon against more serious problems like cancer and heart disease. Gingerol, the main active compound in ginger, has been shown to offer protection against colorectal and ovarian cancer. It also protects your heart by preventing blood clots. But ginger’s benefits don’t end there—it’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory and is endorsed by the Arthritis Foundation as an effective remedy for pain. In fact, ginger is so concentrated in healthy phytochemicals that you do not need to consume much to see beneficial effects—a inch slice per day of the fresh “root” is what experts recommend. During the holidays you can reach your ginger quota by indulging in one of the season’s de rigueur delights—gingerbread. Village Patisserie and Patisserie Daniel both make heavenly versions. NUTMEG Like other members of the holiday spice quartet, nutmeg has long been lauded for its medicinal powers. In Elizabethan times, it was considered standard treatment for impotence, diarrhea and insomnia. Current scientific evidence suggests nutmeg is saturated with cancer-fighting antioxidants and contains specific substances that can protect our cells from radiation-induced DNA damage. But who needs an excuse to use a spice whose aroma is as delicious as its taste? Nutmeg combines well with other holiday spices and complements egg and cheese dishes, as well as seasonal vegetables like squash. My cravings for the aromatic spice are satisfied by my yearly pilgrimage to Vancouver’s Notte’s Bon Ton Bakery, where I load up on their fabulous Leckerle cookies and their unrivalled plum pudding. I readily confess to being quite fond of Thrifty’s “good as homemade” pumpkin pie too. Non-irradiated spices can be purchased at Plenty in Victoria (www.epicureanpantry.ca) or from South China Seas Trading Company in Vancouver (www.southchinaseas.ca).

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CHEF’S TALK — by Ceara Lornie We ask sous chefs: “What are you looking forward to cooking this winter?â€? Zoe O'Doherty The Marina Resaturanant 250.598.8555 Hmmm... that is a tough question as winter is my favorite time to cook. I look forward to practising my Malaysian lamb curry. I don't get to make it very often because I have to go to Vancouver to get the ingredients. There's nothing better then staying inside on a cold rainy day submerged in the intoxicating scents of exotic spices, stewed meat and fragrant coconut rice. It fills not only our apartment, but most of our little Fernwood apartment building as well. Thanks for asking, thinking about curry has made me hungry. Good thing I have left over Chinese take out in the fridge! Rory Leek Smoken Bones Cookshack 250.391.6328 I'm looking forward to busting out the slow cooker. For me winter is all about comfort food. Stews, casseroles and soups bring me back to my time living at home. Wild mushrooms and winter squash are on my list of favourite ingredients so I'll be in heaven the next few months! Paul de Ridder Atlas Cafe 250.338.9838 I am looking forward to cooking with local inspired produce and proteins that will keep you warm and your taste buds alive. I like local free-run stuffed chicken breast filled with Little Qualicum brie cheese, roasted garlic and fresh basil with a roasted red pepper cream sauce. Or, jalapeno glazed 10 oz AAA Sterling Silver ribeye steak and grilled smoked corn salsa. If I run low on ideas I can refer to the North Island Vancouver chefs association new cook book Island Inspirations full of great local recipes. Mike Dunlop Vista 18 250.382.9258 I'm looking forward to cooking anything that is not on are summer menu. After doing a seasonal menu for so many years my body just knows when to change the menu. I get all twitchy and bored and look for anything new to do at this time of year, especially mushrooms of all kinds. We made a dedication to not use any mushroom in the summer so now it's time to use mushrooms again! Heather Standish Tita's Mexican Restaurant 250.334.8033 We get these fabulous plump BC raised organic Cornish game hens. We inject them with a blend of good tequila and white wine, then slow roast them on a bed of onions. The smells that fill the whole restaurant... my mouth is watering just thinking about it! We serve the chicken with this amazing green pipian sauce made from roasted jalapenos, toasted sesame seeds, tomatillos and a touch of anise. The flavours are unlike anything else I've ever eaten. I have dreams about this dish on a regular basis. Jenna Landry Heron Rock Bistro 250.383.1545 The holiday season is always my favourite time to cook. Apples, squash, brown sugar, sweet potato, sage and slow braised meats are an exciting thought every year. And fresh local ingredients make all the difference! Julian Obererlacher Fairburn Farm 250.746.4637 This winter I'm looking forward to hunting my first deer. I just got my hunting license and I want to go through the whole process—hunting, butchering and finally, eating it. Bruno I. de F. Trigo CafĂŠ Brio 250.383.0009 We will be getting some rabbit from a producer on the island any time now – that's a great treat! I'd also like to bring tripe back onto the menu. It makes a tasty heart- warming dish prepared with chick peas or navy beans, especially if served with ale! The scarce availability of produce makes winter more challenging. But pears, winter squash,cabbage, root vegetables (beets, turnips or the more unusual parsley root) are my favourites.

Haisai Followers of Ontario chef Michael and Nobuyo Stadtländer will want to know he has opened a new restaurant called Haisai. Located not far from their celebrated Eigensinn Farm, Haisai will be open for dinner Thursday-Sunday by reservation; and for lunch Saturdays and Sundays. The restaurant is licensed. Ingredients will be sourced closed to home from local farmers, fishers and gardeners in the Georgian Bay and Niagara escarpment areas Haisai is also a bakery offering bread and pastries from local grains and prepared foods to go.

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RESTAURANT REPORTER: VICTORIA

The Terrasse Dining on Cook Street

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—by E

Café Mar

G. Hynes

James MacIntyre at 1Fish 2Fish call 250-298-6877 for winter hours

Foo | 769 Yates St. | 250-383-3111 | foofood.ca Foo is where you should go when you are aching to be back in Indonesia, ogling rice padi upon rice padi, or Thailand, dizzy with beauty and tastebud-tied for mere pennies. Foo is where you should go when you have not yet travelled but want to be transported somewhere exotic, succulent and satisfying. Or if you just want a lovely tuck-in. Co-owner Sterling Grice (Brasserie L’Ecole) and co-owner/chef Patrick Lynch’s (Sanuk, Monsoon) combined adventures, interpretations and zeal for travel communicate thoughtfully and thoroughly in this excellent addition to Victoria’s culinary portfolio. The prawn and pork lettuce cups reminded me the most of authentic Asian street food. First of all, upon sight, it was impossible to gauge what meat lay mashed into the steaming mess of coconut cream, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf goodness. Second, it was messy. I scooped a pile into a lettuce cup that managed to drip down the length of my arm and I did not care because it was fantastic. The collective effort was tactile, hot, sloppy and delicious, though I would probably skip it on a first date. The butter chicken, slow-cooked thigh in Indian-spiced tomato cream sauce, gave me pause. The flavors were rich, subtle and delicate. The coriander and smoked chili fry bread was a crisp yet warm pillowy way to sop up every last bit of the decadent sauce. It was one of those dishes that reminded me why sometimes it is nice when there is not too much heat; your attention can really focus on nuance. The laksa with local fish had fresh halibut dumplings, handmade, tender and remarkable. The slippery Shanghai noodles writhe in a yellow curry coconut broth with fresh cilantro, Thai basil and lime. The balance of flavours was wonderful. Patrick Lynch is adept at conscientious gastronomic appropriation; he introduces fall-off-the-bone short ribs to chow mein with broccoli, and his spin on paneer is refreshing. The paneer cheese dumplings include sultanas and almonds and they are deep-fried, wading in a sumptuous puddle of gorgeous masala. The crispy husk of the dumpling that opens onto a smooth and scrumptious inner world is a little gift. The next time your nine to five is getting you down, and the winter rain and wind are mocking the travel guides and dusty photos you have demoted to the back of your closet, go to Foo and order four dishes. Works a charm, I promise. I have tried it more than once. Foo is open seven days a week, and all dishes are $11 or less. Nice. At this time, they are not licensed, but they are in the process. 769 Yates St., Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 5:00-10:00 p.m., and Sunday, 5:00-9:00 p.m. — by Gillie Easdon

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EAT MAGAZINE NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2009

Rebecca Wellmam

Rebecca Wellmam

Chef Patrick Lynch with Laksa with Local Fish (seasonal fresh fish dumplings, market veg and Shanghai noodles in a yellow curry coconut broth with fresh cilantro, thai basil and lime).

If you’ve walked through Cook Street Village lately, you may have noticed a little more activity in the parking lot adjacent to Bubby Rose’s Bakery. What started with Red Fish Blue Fish’s satellite operation, 1 Fish 2 Fish, back in February, has grown to a cozy cluster of street carts. A sign on the wall reads “The Food Court is Expanding,” and looking around I can tell that someone has a vision. “You’re late,” the vendor at 1 Fish 2 Fish tells me when I answer his question about why I am scribbling notes in front of his neighbour’s cart. “We were up to eight in the summer. There was a smoothie place and a bubble tea cart.” I ask about Buna, the cart opposite his, which is closed this afternoon but has a board up advertising Ethiopian coffee, falafel and baklava. (I can’t help but think that’s a lot of cuisines for one small space.) He’s not sure. “They closed for a family vacation. Maybe they’re just doing weekends now.” I’ve already had lunch but am curious about Caffè Fantastico’s latte after reading about it here in EAT earlier this year. I take my mug out through the back door of the Village Food Court and find a little table under a tree from which I can observe the late lunchhour millings around this developing outdoor section. Sitting in the corner of the L-shaped lot that links McKenzie to Cook Street, I realize I didn’t spend nearly enough time out on a terrasse this summer. As a transplanted Montrealer, I have a deep appreciation for the outdoor dining and wining experience—from curbside cafés to little neighbourhood restaurants hiding a diminutive courtyard out back with twinkling lights in the trees. In fact, there isn’t a meal I wouldn’t rather eat outside, if the weather is right. I study my surroundings, notice the parking lines painted on the tarmac and decide that this parking-lot-turned-patio has some twinkly terrasse potential. This could be nice, I think. With a little work, it could be really nice. And a little work is happening, slowly but surely. There are signs of construction on site, and the vendors report that while finishing the stairs is the top priority, there is also talk of a stage in one corner. James, who is manning the cart at 1 Fish 2 Fish, mentions the need for a covered setting and possible heat lamps to see the kiosks through the rainy months, although both he and Jesse (of Jesse’s Grill) think they will close down from December to February. Permits to install some such structure are currently under negotiation between Marc Fagen, the property owner, and the city. I speak to the other Jesse, on duty in the Mean Bean, Bubby Rose’s coffee outpost, which he says will be open year-round. If you’re stopping in for a bite at Bubby Rose’s, you can still pay for your coffee with your food inside but will then be redirected to the Mean Bean to get the coffee part of your order. Gaia Living Foods, a new cart promising raw, vegan and organic foods, may already be open by the time this is published. With a solid selection of high-quality street fare and more imminent improvements to the setting, the kiosks of Cook Street are well worth a visit, and my guess is they will be even more so once the reality catches up with the vision. —by Rebecca Baugniet

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—by Elizabeth Smyth

Café Marrakesh | 2551 Quadra Street near Kings | 250.412.0774

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Your staff will love you. Book your holiday party today. (L) Lamb with prunes and almonds (made with a blend of 75 spices!) (R) Moroccan chicken with olives and lemons Café Marrakesh, in Quadra Village, has introduced me to some flavours completely new to my palate. The first of these is pickled lemon, yes pickled lemon. A half pickled lemon is simmered with free-range chicken and black olives; the flavours in the lemony sauce and juicy chicken come almost exclusively from this delicacy. I was lucky enough to have this dish one day as the lunch special for a mere $9.95; on the dinner menu it’s $17.95. The other surprising flavor combination was lamb sweetened with honey and seasoned with cinnamon and other spices. This lamb was surrounded by plump prunes and raw almonds, and the flavours melded beautifully. It’s on the dinner menu for $17.95, which is fair considering its uniqueness, but maybe you’ll get lucky one day and get it as a lunch special. The lunch menu again steps forward as a really great budget option; every single main course is under $10. Most of those are couscous dishes, with choices of vegetables, chicken, lamb, and fish. The vegetable couscous has a rough charm, with large chunks of roasted carrot and turnip atop a bed of deeply flavourful couscous. Moroccan tea is an important addition to the meal; this green tea is steeped with brown sugar and mint; be sure to ask for the sugar steeped with the tea and not on the side for the true authentic flavor. The décor at Café Marrakesh can most kindly be described as quirky. Opulent accents like burgundy and gold cushions on divans contrast with carpeting and a low ceiling that are tres suburban rec room, altogether creating an unintended student vibe. Somehow, though, these contrasting elements are part of an atmosphere that is casual, warm and welcoming; my husband and child mellowed out on the divan with a game of Trouble between them, going back to it between courses, and we all enjoyed a very relaxed and delicious meal.

INN AT LAUREL POINT 680 MONTREAL STREET T 250.414.6739 WWW.AURARESTAURANT.CA

Topo’s Restaurant | 1218 Wharf St, near Pandora | 250.383.1212 On the other end of the glamour scale is Topo’s Restaurant, in a dramatic historic building with warm brick walls, sexy lighting, and a picture window with a partial harbor view. Despite the elegance of the space, Topo’s is stepping up to the problem of recessionary times with a four-course prix fixe menu on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for only $23.50. The way I see it, that comes to $6 a course. The week I went, the menu offered an “Antipasto” of fresh apricot with marscapone and blue cheese, Which tasted less exciting than it sounded, and then a “Primo” of local roasted corn soup or Mista salad with fresh basil dressing. Of these three items, even though it sounds the least glamorous, the salad was the best, with its fragrant dressing and asiago and parmesan so freshly grated its delicious smell wafted towards me before it even made it to my place setting. The “Secondo di Pranza” course had two pieces de resistance. The classic manicotti dish was a crepe filled

www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

17


with ricotta, spinach, garlic and herbs; I appreciated the abundance of spinach in the mix, and I appreciated even more the perfectly proportioned tomato and béchamel sauce it was baked with – the creaminess was perfectly balanced with the slight tang of tomato. The halibut dish was more nouveau cuisine, and was a delight to behold as well as taste. Golden brown, oven-seared halibut was wrapped in prosciutto and set atop four crab and prawn ravioli and crisp and moist yellow beans and then garnished with luscious slices of figs and a scattering of pine nuts. Setting all this off was a fascinating and opulent beet reduction, perfumed with balsamic vinegar. Beautiful. For dessert, or the “Dolce” course, the Pavlova was another deconstructed dish, with a wild berry compote mounded beside a swirling island of meringue, and garnished with Cape gooseberries. More classic was the luxurious warm chocolate fudge cake surrounded by dainty puffs of cream and accompanied with a scoop of delicate ice cream. The menu will be different each week depending on what’s fresh, but no matter what’s on offer, it’s clear the chef knows how to sear and present fish as well as create Italian classics.

Merridale Cidery | 1230 Merridale Road, Cobble Hill | 250.743.4293 EXCELLENT FOOD BEAUTIFUL VIEWS WORTH THE DRIVE!

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EAT MAGAZINE NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2009

Merridale Cidery in Cobble Hill is a comfortable mix of casual and elegant, being a spacious and airy chalet surrounded by apple orchards, forest, and distant mountains. It goes without saying that the first order has to be a flight of the ciders they make, ranging from full-bodied and dry to sweet and rich. How else will you know what to drink with the entrees? OK, I’m being disingenuous, because the menu conveniently pairs cider suggestions with the foods, but I’m sure you can come up with your own excuse for trying every cider. Be sure to have a soup course after your cider course – both soups were standouts. The parsnip and apple soup was a creamy, soft green with a subtle parsnip flavor that dances with a slight tartness of apple at the finish. I wanted more, and I officially don’t like parsnips. This is a regular menu item; the soup of the day I tried was just as good and very creative – chilled Roma tomato, orange, and oregano. These were $6 for a cup and $8 for a bowl. The Merridale Platter, with a variety of dips and spreads, is fun to try, and costs $25 for two people. The meaty liver pate is seasoned with Cowichan Valley red wine and thyme from the garden, and the creamy artichoke dip has a delicate taste of curry. A sweet onion jam and tart, lemony red pepper humous round out the dips. But above all, do not leave without trying the Scrumpy Chicken Pot Pie for $14. My server tipped me off, and I will be forever grateful. Cowichan Bay chicken is poached in cider, and swims alongside mushrooms and local vegetables in a sauce concocted from Merridale’s Traditional Cider, cream, and Dijon mustard. This rich, steaming stew is topped with a crown of puffy pastry, which makes it feel like a present being unwrapped. This is an entertaining place to visit, since there is a also a self-guided tour of the cidery. They are open for lunches, and in the winter are open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays for dinner. It’s wise to call ahead, as sometimes the beautiful space gets booked for weddings. Check www.merridalecider.com for directions.

Rebecca Wellmam

Rebecca Wellmam

Chef Ryan Bradstock at Topo’s prosciutto wrapped halibut, crab and prawn ravioli, yellow beans, figs, pine nuts, beet reduction, balsamic.

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Ken’s Cafe | 5303 West Saanich Road | Open 7 days a week. www.kenscafeatprospectlake.ca

(L) Scrumpy chicken pot pie. (R) Janet Docherty at Merridale Cider’s La Pommeraie Bistro.

Locals | Unit C, 368 8th St., Courtenay | 250-338-6493 | www.localscomoxvalley.com. The name could hardly be more literal: Locals is a local restaurant focusing on local product—in this case, the impressive bounty of the Comox Valley—for local people and itinerant foodies. Where other chefs dream of such a feat, portly, smiling Ronald St. Pierre, ex-Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa, actually pulls it off. And with style and largesse: he salutes local producers— Tannadice Farm for vegetables and meats, Island Bison for buffalo, Christine’s Quackery for duck, Prontissima for pasta—at every turn. Locals offers fish—eight species including ling cod and sablefish—in five ways from steamed to stir-fried with Thai green curry. An amuse is a briny little Miyagi oyster with a splash of shallot-chivecranberry vinaigrette, not the ubiquitous dollop of butternut squash so beloved of budget-slashers. The tour-of-the-ocean starter is Appy’s Taster Platter ($16), with buttery Island scallop tataki, explosive Whaletown Bay oyster, shrimp and crab rice roll and, oddly, insipidly smoked tuna loin on brioche. Seared albacore loin ($14) reveals the St. Pierre modus operandi, the nicely seared tuna served with a brace of vegetable sushi rolls, soy ginger dip, chili oil and cashew coriander pesto. The plate is massive; mains are instantly superfluous. Tellingly, the wasabi is the real thing, farmed in the Comox Valley by Springs

Wasabi, not the counterfeit horseradish and food colouring common in Victoria sushi houses. A main of beef tenderloin morsels ($24) atop Prontissima egg fettuccine and drizzled with white truffle oil proves more than the sum of its parts, an ensemble triumph. Bison tournedos ($29) bring juicy, deeply flavourful Campbell River bison medallions wrapped in double-smoked bacon, charbroiled, set atop a bed of perfect French lentils and garnished with caramelized onion and lavender confit. It’s a wonderful dish, probably worth the trek from Victoria, but also gargantuan—didn’t we say something about St. Pierre largesse? Oops, no room for dessert, notably crème brûlée taster and chocolate truffle cake (both $9). A wine list tilted to Okanagan and Island labels leads to Wild Goose Blanc de Noirs rosé ($34), its strawberry-rhubarb notes reminiscent of Tavel, and silky, mouth-filling Cab Sauv ($38) from the local Beaufort Vineyard & Estate Winery, which, incidentally, marched off with gold at the 2009 All Canadian Wine Championships. For lunch, jump at the smoked bison sandwich ($15), house-smoked bison brisket and Natural Pastures Parmadammer cheese grilled on multigrain rye. Wash it down with suds from Surgenor, the Comox Valley brewery. –Jeremy Ferguson

At 60 years young, Ken van Gylswyk has a whole lot of great food to dish up – and this was his thinking when his catering contract at the Commonwealth pool ended with the closing of the Waveside Café. And not wanting to put his feet up, he tackled the gargantuan effort of renovating the old Prospect Lake Market into a countryside diner. With results! Andrea and I sit on one of the 2 patios while plates of all-day breakfast and lunch items fly by. In a couple of visits I sample the pancake breakfast; impossibly light cakes cooked to perfection and served The Uitsmijter at Ken’s Cafe with a side of locally produced sausages – My wife checks out the hamburger which is more meat-loaf like than the average pre-fabricated patty. Ken’s menu secret is the Dutch selections, an example being the Uitsmijter; a mouthful with rustic brown bread, lettuce, ham, two eggs, tomato and slivered onions at the impossible price of $7.50. According to a devoted employee, Sofia, Ken has made a café that is as much community meeting place as it is rural roadside diner – it has the menu of the inner city coffee shop but a country spirit like nothing you will find downtown. —Colin Newell

WINTER WARMER WINE PICK

Quails’ Gate – Tawny NV Okanagan Valley, $30.00 for 375ml

Web Wine Editor TREVE RING shares her latest discovery. I had a great tasting at Quails’ Gate recently, and while I could easily write on multiple QG wines, my web column is called WINE (sing. not plu.) of the Week for a reason. Hmm – so how to chose? There’s the floral-meets-green apple crisp Chenin Blanc 2008 (the 2007 vintage was the only white wine served to Obama during his Ottawa visit earlier this year), and the Stewart Family Reserve Pinot Noir 2007 (an incredibly smooth, refined and earthily elegant wine). Well, this little fortified beauty was 8 years in the making, only 800 cases were released last year, and the next time the cycle comes around won’t be for another few years. So that’s reason enough! Call to action – try now! Plus the fact that this very unusual wine has stuck in my mind for over a week – and has me kicking myself for not picking up a bottle for my cellar. Started in 2000, this 100% Gamay Noir was fortified with spirit and carefully cellar aged in French oak for 60-84 months. Pointed aromas of orange oil, rancio and aged cedar lead to silky and rich butterscotch, honeyed citrus, candied fruit and herbs. Nice acid throughout, with medium sweetness (I’d guess 5 on the sweetness scale) and light tannins. This wine will continue to gain complexity over the next few years and would be delightful with roasted nuts and dried Okanagan fruit. And if you don’t buy some soon – don’t say I didn’t warn you. For more web wine picks visit www.eatmagazine.ca

www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

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EGGN WARM

Holiday Desserts, Modernized Classics The holiday season is upon us and it’s time for indulging a bit! Our festive meals of classic roasted turkey, prime ribs of beef and other favourites, always end with a show-stopping dessert. From traditional steamed plum pudding, to cream and custard filled trifles to rich pumpkin pies, these desserts have always played a special end to that holiday meal. For a change of traditional festive fare, here are five desserts that will spruce up your meal, a few old-time favourites that have been modernized and a couple of new sweet inspirations. Happy Holidays! —BY NATHAN FONG

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EAT MAGAZINE NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2009

Tracey Kusiewicz

EGGNOG PROFITEROLES ã|à{ WARM SPICED CHOCOLATE SAUCE

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Traditionally, profiteroles are filled with vanilla ice cream or pastry cream but these have been updated with a holiday favourite of eggnog. A rich pastry cream made with eggnog and lightened with whipped cream is served with a Mayan style spiced chocolate sauce. Serves 8 to 10

tes Eggnog Pastry Cream • • • • • • • •

6 Tbsp (90g) sugar 4 Tbsp (60g) cornstarch ¼ tsp (2ml) nutmeg 2 large egg yolks 2 large eggs 2 cups (500ml) eggnog 3 Tbsp (45ml) rum (optional) 1 cup (250ml) whipping cream

In a mixing bowl, mix together sugar, cornstarch and nutmeg. Beat in eggs and mix until smooth. Heat eggnog over medium heat until scalding but do not boil or it will curdle. Pour a small amount of the hot eggnog into the egg mixture and mix until smooth, then slowly add the rest, mixing well. Return to saucepan and cook, stirring often, until it reaches boiling point and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Pour into a heatproof bowl, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Whip cream until stiff peaks form; fold gently into chilled eggnog mixture. Cover and chill. Poke a small hole in the bottom of each profiteroles; pipe in eggnog cream with a pastry bag fitted with a π-inch plain tip. Alternatively, cut a third off the top of each profiterole and pipe in the filling and cover with the top. Chill before serving. Serve with Spiced Chocolate Anglaise. Profiteroles • • • • •

1 cup (250ml) water ½ cup (125g) butter 1 Tbsp (15ml) sugar 1 cup (250g) all-purpose flour 4 extra large eggs

Preheat oven to 400F (205C) In a saucepan, slowly bring the water, butter and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately add all the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and forms a ball. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing until well incorporated before adding the next egg. Place mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch plain tip. Pipe into small rounds, about 2 Tbsp each, onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, keeping 2- inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375F (190C) until they are dark brown and sound hollow when tapped, about another 15 minutes. Place on cooling rack and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Spiced Chocolate Anglaise

Tracey Kusiewicz

• • • • • • •

2 cups (500ml) chocolate milk ½ cup (125ml) whipping cream 2 tsp (10ml) cinnamon 1 Tbsp (15ml) chili powder (optional) 3 Tbsp (30ml) cocoa 1/3 cup (80ml) sugar 6 egg yolks

Bring the chocolate milk and whipping cream to scalding point. In a mixing bowl, mix together until well blended the cinnamon, chili powder, cocoa, sugar and yolks. Slow whisk in a small amount of the hot chocolate milk until blended then slowly add the rest. Pour mixture back into the saucepan and gently heat just to boiling point. Do not boil or mixture will curdle. Reduce heat and cook slowly, stirring until it thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Immediately remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a cool bowl. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

FRESH MANGO tÇw MACADAMIA NUT TRIFLES ã|à{ LIME SYRUP The English Trifle has always been a popular holiday dessert with liqueur infused cubes of cake enrobed with fruit preserves, mousse or pastry cream, and slathered with mounds of whipped cream. In this updated recipe, I bring a bit of sunshine and tropics to the holiday season with a twist of this classic, by introducing a macadamia nut cake soaked with a rum-kissed lime syrup and layered with fresh aromatic mangos and a light yogurt and whipped cream “mousse.” Serves 10 to 12 • • • • • • • • • •

1 ½ cups sugar ½ cup lime juice 2 Tbsp rum (optional) 1 ½ cups plus thick Greek style or strained yogurt 1 ½ cups lightly whipped cream 3 ½ Tbsp icing sugar 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract Macadamia cake (see recipe below), cut into cubes 4 large mangos, sliced ¾ cup unsalted macadamia nuts, chopped

For the lime syrup place the sugar, lime juice and cup water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Allow to cool. Stir in rum. Whisk together the yogurt, cream, icing sugar, and vanilla until well combined. Place half the macadamia cake cubes into 12 individual serving dishes or one glass bowl. Drizzle with half the lime syrup and top with half the mango slices, then half with the whipped cream mixture. Repeat the layers ending with the whipped cream layer on top and sprinkle with macadamia nuts. Macadamia Cake • • • • • • •

1 cup unsalted macadamia nuts 6 eggs, separated 1 cup sugar ¾ cup plain yogurt ½ cup canola oil ¾ cup all purpose flour 1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350F. Plghtly grease and line the base of a 9 x 12 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Finely grind the nuts in a food processor. Place the egg yolks in a mixing bowl with half of the sugar and beat until pale and very thick. Mix in the yogurt and oil, then fold in the ground macadamias, flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peak stage, then slowly beat in the remaining sugar and beat until stiff peaks form and the mixture is glossy. Gently fold half the egg whites into the macadamia batter, then gently fold in the remainder. Pour into the baking pan and place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly golden. Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turing out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

21


EASY BAKED PLUM PUDDINGS ã|à{ BRANDY SAUCE I’ve never been a fan of the traditional steamed plum pudding as I’ve always thought it as a very heavy dessert served after a heavy holiday dinner…especially made the old fashion way of including suet into the batter! With this modernized classic, I’ve updated the recipe by baking a lighter style fruit and spice cake and infusing the warm cakes with rum…the only traditional kept is the ubiquitous brandy sauce! Serves 8 to 10 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

1 ½ cups raisins ½ cup candied peel ½ cup currants ½ cup glace fruit (apricots or cherries) ¾ cup (6 oz) unsalted butter 1 ¼ tsp baking soda ¾ cup brown sugar 2 Tbsps marmalade 4 Tbsp brandy 1 ½ cups all purpose flour 2 ½ tsp baking powder ¾ tsp cinnamon ¼ tsp clove ¼ tsp allspice ½ tsp nutmeg 1 ½ tsp cocoa powder 2 eggs, lightly beaten Brandy Sauce (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease ten 7 to 8 oz muffin tins or ramekins. Place the dried fruit, butter, baking soda, sugar, marmalade, 1 Tbsp of the brandy and 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then allow to cool. Sift together the flour, baking powder, spices and cocoa. Add the eggs to the cooled fruit mixture, then add the flour mixture and stir together. Spoon into the tins and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the rest of the brandy over the puddings while still warm. Serve with brandy sauce. Brandy Sauce • • • • • •

2 1 4 2 4 1

cups milk vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped Tbsp sugar Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 4 Tbsp cold milk Tbsp butter Tbsp brandy

Place the milk, vanilla bean and seeds and sugar into a saucepan and bring to a gent boil. Still in the starch mixture and keep stirring until thickened. Stir in butter and brandy.

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE A gingersnap and pecan crumb crust lines this rich holiday-spiced cheesecake, topped with caramel coated pecans. An irresistible alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie. Serves 10 to 12 Crust: • ¼ lb (about 20 to 24 small) gingersnaps • 1/3 cup pecan halves • ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Filling: • ¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar • 1 tsp cinnamon • ¼ tsp ground allspice • ¼ tsp ground ginger • ¼ tsp ground cloves • 1 lb cream cheese, at room temperature • 3 large eggs • 1 cup pumpkin puree Garnish: • ½ cup pecan halves • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter • 2 Tbsp sugar Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan. To make the crust, process the gingersnaps and pecans in a food processor until crumbly. Add the brown sugar and melted butter and pulse for a few seconds to combine. Transfer mixture to the springform pan and using your fingers, pat the mixture into the bottom and evenly all the way up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. To make the filling, mix together the brown sugar and spices. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the brown sugar and spice mixture, beating until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin and beat until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the chilled crust and smooth the top. Place into preheated oven and bake until set, or until a knife inserted into the middle of the centre comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. To make the garnish, set aside 10 pecan halves and coarsely chop the rest. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add all of the pecans, sprinkle with sugar and cook, stirring, until the sugar melts and the nuts are toasted and caramel coated. Transfer to a plate and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Just before serving, sprinkle the chopped pecans over the cheesecake and arrange the halves evenly around the perimeter. Serve with whipped cream or brandy sauce.

CRANBERRY, CITRUS AND GINGER SEMIFREDDO with SPICED RED WINE SAUCE This is a wonderful Italian frozen dessert that has a texture similar to that of a frozen mousse. A rich creamy filling spiked with orange liqueur infused dried fruits and nuts make this a special holiday dessert, garnished with a lightly spiced red wine sauce.

• • • • • • • • • •

½ cup (250ml) dried cranberries ½ cup shelled unsalted pistachios ¾ cup (180ml) Orange liqueur such as Triple Sec or Cointreau ½ cup (60ml) candied citrus peel, coarsely chopped 8 eggs, separated 1 cup (250ml) sugar pinch of salt 2 cups (500ml) heavy cream ¼ cup (60ml) crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped 1 recipe Red Wine Sauce (see following)

In a small saucepan cover the cranberries and pistachios with orange liqueur. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, set aside to let the cranberries and pistachios infuse and rehydrate for hour; mix in candied citrus and let mixture sit for another 30 minutes. Line an 8-cup (2-liter) loaf or terrine pan with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Beat together the eggs, and gradually add in sugar and salt in a heavy bottomed pot or on top of a double boiler until thick and glossy. Set aside to cool slightly. Beat the cream to soft peaks. Gently fold the egg mixture into the cream, fold in the cranberries and candied orange peel mixture and crystallized ginger. Carefully transfer mixture into the prepared pan and freeze until firm, 8 hours or overnight. To serve loosen the semifreddo with a knife and unmold. Slice with a hot wet knife. Drizzle plate with red wine sauce and top with a slice of semifreddo.

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½ cup espresso coffee ½ cup coffee liqueur 2 Tbsp brandy vanilla orange custard (see recipe below) one 7 to 8 inch round sponge cake, cut into ½ inch slices Chocolate Cream (see recipe below) Finely grated dark chocolate or unsweetened cocoa

Mix together the coffee, liqueur and brandy. Using a large glass bowl or small glass serving dishes, add a small amount of the vanilla custard at the bottom of each dish, top with a layer of cake slice. Moisten the cake generously by spooning over the espresso mixture, followed by a layer of chocolate custard. Repeat the cake soaked with the espresso mixture, and top with vanilla custard. Repeat until all the layers until all the cake and custard has been used, finishing with a layer of custard. Chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight covered. Dust with chocolate shavings or cocoa before serving.

VANILLA-ORANGE tÇw CHOCOLATE CUSTARD CREAM • • • • • • •

6 egg yolks ½ cup icing sugar 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour 3 cups milk 1 tsp orange liqueur 1 tsp orange zest 4 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped

Place the egg yolks and icing sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until pale yellow and creamy. Add the flour and beat until well combined. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium high heat and bring almost to a boil. Remove from heat and gradually pour into the egg mixture, while steady whisking. Pour mixture back into saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until custard has thickened. Remove from heat and divide the custard into two separate bowls. Whisk orange liqueur and orange zest into one bowl. Whisk in chocolate to the other bowl and mix until melted.

Slow Food Movement Picking Up Speed on Vancouver Island On a perfect late summer’s day in September, I drove up Rose Lane in Saanich and parked beside the entrance to Haliburton Community Organic Farm. I saw a sign that said Terralicious Garden and Cooking School, a large Slow Food banner hung up on the fence, and knew I had found the right place. I glanced over toward a small group, huddled around a picnic table, carefully examining an impressive array of tomato varieties. Although I didn’t know anyone in the circle, I was warmly welcomed, handed a toothpick, and invited to start tasting. What followed was a memorable afternoon that included a demonstration on saving seeds, a tomato dish potluck (with iced tea and freshly baked bread to accompany it) shared outside in the sun, and a guided tour of the farm. It was my first real acquaintance with Slow Food, and immediately I understood why they use the term ‘convivium’ to describe themselves. The experience was, in a word, convivial. One of the people I was soon introduced to was Don Genova, known to many as the voice of CBC’s Pacific Palate and Food For Thought, and now the new leader of the Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands Slow Food convivium. He kindly agreed to answer some questions over the phone last week. Don’s first encounter with the movement was in 2002, when he was traveling from Germany to Rome, and decided to stop in Turin for the Salone del Gusto, the annual Slow Food salon of taste. He officially joined the organization in 2005, when he moved to Vancouver Island, and was appointed as new leader of the contingent earlier this summer. Don jokingly asks me how long I’ve got when I inquire what his new position entail, but trims it down to

the central objectives of guarding the spirit of the convivium, spreading the good word of slow food, and overseeing the administration of the group. Don reassures me that ‘slow food’ doesn’t necessarily designate food that takes a long time to prepare. He describes a speedy and delicious lunch he recently prepared at home; a quesadilla made with local cheese and fresh tomatillo salsa (“5 seconds in the food processor”), and stresses the focus should be on where the food comes from, as opposed to how long it takes to make it. As such, the main role for members to play, he says, “is not just a matter of being conscientious but of being pro-active and actively supporting those producers. We shall be ‘co-producers’”, clarifying that the term from the Slow Food manifesto implies that as you discover something, you tell others about it, thus participating in the dissemination of good, clean and fair foods. The group now stands seventy-five members strong, with an additional six on the executive. Don is quick to say how lucky the group is to have the two founding members of the Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands convivium sitting on the executive; Dr. Sinclair Philip, Sooke Harbor House owner and Canada’s representative to Slow Food International, and Mara Jernigan, owner of Fairburn Farm Culinary Retreat and Guesthouse, and currently the president of Slow Food Canada. When asked how Slow Food has influenced his work as a food writer and broadcaster, Don explains that “Slow Food has been part of how my journalism has changed over the years. I’m more interested in talking to farmers and producers who are trying to lead a more sus-

tainable food life”, than writing what he calls “service articles” that report on décor changes or new chefs at high end restaurants. My next Slow Food event is the Victoria premiere of Food Inc. The convivium has sponsored the showing, and the theatre is packed. I asked Don if he thinks things are better here in Canada than what we saw depicted in documentary, which clearly illustrated the extent to which big business has overtaken health concerns and sustainable food options in the United States. While he doesn’t see any major strides occurring on a provincial or federal level in this country, he does think things are getting better on a local level. He cites cases such as the City of Vancouver’s proposed bylaw to allow urban chickens, the City of Duncan deciding to no longer purchase eggs from battery hens, Cowichan Bay becoming a Cittaslow, and the impressive response he witnessed last summer when the CRD offered plastic composters at a reduced rate as encouraging examples. Another example might be the next function he mentions, though still in the planning stages. Aiming for January, the convivium is organizing a fish symposium modeled after the one Don attended in Genova in 2007, with the intention of bringing together a panel of experts, chefs and local politicians to look for solutions to the challenges facing fish, their producers and consumers. At a time when so much of the news pertaining to food production appears bleak, the Slow Food movement does offer a penetrating glimmer of hope. I’m looking forward to the next gathering. —Rebecca Baugniet


BOOKS

COVE Everyone Can Cook For Celebrations

Tour tÇw Yu

AUTHOR: Eric Akis PUBLISHER: Whitecap Books The fifth book in Eric Akis' Everyone Can Cook series tackles special occasions with panache. Like the other titles in the series, Everyone Can Cook for Celebrations, Seasonal Recipes for Festive Occasions, the Victoria Times Colonist food writer, food consultant and chef, skillfully guides reluctant cooks, this time through all the steps necessary to get a beautiful feast on the table. The book is divided into eight colour-coded, seasonal chapters, from winter parties to summer long weekends and fall feasts. Each section ends with suggested menus, offering tips on what to prepare in advance, and how to bring it all together at the right time. In addition, all the recipes, including ones that might seem daunting to a novice cook, such as the Roast Leg of Lamb with Mint Pesto Crust or Roast Turkey with Herbes de Provence and Butter offer "Eric's Options" as a sidebar, providing the reader with a sense of being coached through any tricky parts. Eric Akis' comprehensive cookbook boasts over 140 recipes and is designed to take the stress out of preparing delicious meals for special occasions.

This is a tast making it, b use a storements, such Preparation

Available at fine bookstores around BC.

W

ELCOME TO CADBORO BAY VILLAGE shop.

Ambrosio Markets & Deli is Victoria's true European style market with specialty grocery items, a deli complete with Saanich free-range meats, first grade produce, and a bistro with house-made lunches and Lavazza Espresso Bar. Everything in one, with a focus on the slow-food movement. Come in to prepare for the Dec. holidays and allow us to help you with your corporate or personal gift baskets and food platters. Taste A World of Difference - our motto true and true...

dine.

relax. Olive Olio's is a popular neighbourhood coffee house and bistro featuring daily lunch specials, assorted savouries, pastries, and imported confections. Enjoy Italian gelato and sorbetto on our garden patio. Take out available.

Olive Olio's Pasta & Espresso Bar 3840 Cadboro Bay Road, Victoria (250) 477-6618

Ambrosio Markets & Deli 2560 Sinclair Rd., Victoria (250)-479-2322 www.ambrosiomarkets.ca

For Good Measure Premium Bulk Food offers three convenient ways for you to enjoy Victoria's freshest selection of high-quality bulk, natural and specialty food. Visit our store in the Cadboro Bay Village, we are open every day. Shop online at www.forgoodmeasure.ca and pick up your order all packed and ready to go, or shop online and have your order delivered. For Good Measure Premium Bulk Food 3831 Cadboro Bay Road, Victoria (250) 477-6811 www.forgoodmeasure.ca

24

EAT MAGAZINE NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2009

The Cadboro Bay Peoples Compounding Pharmacy provides trusted and reliable pharmaceutical care including free prescription delivery, full service post office, online photo finishing, greeting cards, cosmetics and every day needs. We now provide compounding services! Medication compounding combines yesterday's art of pharmacy with today's science and technology. Using our specialized skills and knowledge, we can work with you and your physician to design and prepare individualized medications to meet your unique needs and your pets too! Peoples Compounding Pharmacy 3825 Cadboro Bay Road, Victoria (250) 477-2131 www.peoplesdrugmart.com

Michael Tourigny

The Cadboro Bay Village offers something for everyone. Shop at the many clothing, book, gift, grocery and liquor stores; sample the fare of local cafes, bars, and restaurants; and discover the diverse range of professional services. It's all here. By the bay.

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Preparation time: 40 minutes, Cooking time: About 75 minutes, Makes: 8 servings • 2 Tbsp olive oil • 1 medium leek, white and pale green part only, cut in half lengthwise, washed & thinly sliced • 1/2 lb. brown mushrooms, thinly sliced • 1 3/4 lb. ground pork • 3 Tbsp flour • 1/2 cup chicken stock • 1 tsp minced fresh thyme • Pinches ground cinnamon and cloves • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley • 2 small to medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes, boiled until just tender, drained and cooled • Dough for double-crust, deep-dish pie (see below) • Egg wash (1 large egg beaten 1 Tbsp milk)

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Place the oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the leeks and mushrooms. Cook until tender and the moisture has evaporated from the mushrooms, about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove the heat. Place the pork in a pot and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently to make the meat crumbly, until the pork is cooked through. Mix in the flour and cook 2 minutes more. While stirring, slowly pour in the stock. Simmer the mixture 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in mushroom/leek mixture, thyme, cinnamon, cloves, salt, pepper, parsley and cooked potatoes. Cool the mixture to room temperature; cover and refrigerate until needed. (The filling can be me a day in advance. Do not put hot filling into the crust.) Roll out the bottom piecrust and set in your pie plate. Tightly pack the filling in to it. Brush the edges of the crust with the egg wash. Roll out the top crust and set it over filling. Crimp the edges to seal. Brush the top of the tourtière with egg wash. Cut a small hole in the centre of the tourtière to allow steam to escape. Refrigerate the tourtière at least 20 minutes to firm up the pastry. (The tourtière, if kept refrigerated, can be made to this point several hours in advance of baking.) Preheat the oven 425˚F. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350˚F and cook 30 minutes more. Rest the tourtière 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

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Markus’ Wharfside Restaurant

Dough for Double Crust Pie • 3 cups all-purpose flour • 1/2 tsp salt • 1 1/4 cups cold vegetable shortening, cubed • 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed • 1 large egg • 1/3 cup ice cold water Place the flour and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Cut the shortening and butter into the flour until well incorporated. Beat the egg in a small bowl; mix in the water. Pour over the flour mixture. Mix until a loose - it will be very moist - dough forms. Set the dough on a floured work surface. Flour your hands and shape the dough into a ball. Cut the dough into two equal pieces. Press each piece of dough into a 1/2-inch thick disc. Individually wrap each piece and refrigerate until needed.

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

www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

25


Local

Kitchen Recipes and food styling by JENNIFER DANTER Photography by GENEVIEVE LAPLANTE

Succulent Braised Pork 26

EAT MAGAZINE NOVEMBER | DEEMBER 2009

Do D


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Double Duty Dinner Party

This is a clever way to stretch your dinner party dollars. Cook one fabulous meal to impress your guests, then transform leftovers into another meal for casual entertaining. Start with Succulent Braised Pork for a formal sit-down, then turn the leftovers into a creamy pasta dish laden with seasonal veggies for a laidback night. Dish up Chevre Cheesecake Pots with Cranberry-Blackberry Compote and save some of the compote to form the base for Blackberry-Cranberry Fizz cocktails.

R

Dinner Party Entrée

SUCCULENT BRAISED PORK This is based on a traditional Italian recipe where the pork is slow cooked in milk. The meat is meltingly tender and the sauce takes on a slight caramel taste and thick velvety texture. The cooking is a little finickity and requires attention, but well worth the work. The key is to turn the meat often and really scrape up the stuck-on bits – they are full of flavour. Serves 4 plus enough for a 4-serving pasta dish. • Boneless pork butt or shoulder roast, 41/2 to 5 lbs, rolled and tied (no skin) • Knob of butter • Garlic cloves, sliced, 3 • Whole fresh sage leaves, 5 • Smoky bacon, 2 strips, chopped • Island Farm homogenized milk, 3 cups • Island Farm whipping cream, 2 cups Pat pork dry with towels. In a large, wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, melt a knob of butter over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown on all sides (if roast is too long for pan, cut in half ). Reduce heat as necessary. Remove pork to plate and set heat to medium-low. Add garlic, sage and bacon. Stir often until garlic is golden, 8 to 10 min. Pour in 1 cup milk. Bring to a boil. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up and stir in brown bits from pan bottom. Add pork, fat-side down. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 min. Halfway through cooking remove pork from pan and scrape up bits stuck to pan bottom, then return meat to pan (fat-side down) and continue cooking. (TIP: Place a baking sheet near stove – remove pork to that when scraping and stirring.) The milk will split during cooking, but don’t worry about that. It’ll come together later on. Once it has cooked for 30 min, pour in another cup milk and flip pork over. Return to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 30 more min. Repeat turning, stirring and scraping halfway through. Pour in cream and remaining cup of milk. Bring to a boil, then cover and slow roast in preheated 300F oven, occasionally turning meat over and scraping up bits until pork is very tender, about 2 to 21/2 more hours. Place pork on a board and cover with foil. Pour sauce into a blender and scrape in any brown bits from pan bottom – don’t be afraid to use some elbow grease! Add to sauce and whirl until blended. Thickly slice meat and serve with a spoonful of sauce – it’s very rich. Save leftover meat and sauce for the makings of a pasta dinner. GREAT GARNISH: Toss orange segments with a chopped shallot and Brussels sprout leaves. (Peel individual leaves from sprouts.) Toss with a little olive oil, white wine or rice vinegar and pinches of salt and fresh thyme.

Cont’d on the next page

www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

27

PORK


SHREDDED PORK ã|à{ PAPPARDELLE Double Duty Entrée

This is takeX2 for the Succulent Braised Pork and more of a throw-together than an actual recipe, as your portions will vary. But here’s the basic idea: Shred leftover pork, then heat in leftover sauce. Sauté mushrooms in butter and oil (work in batches for optimum browning) then add chopped kale and cook until wilted. Drizzle in a little water to help steam the kale. Boil pappardelle noodles until al dente, then drain well but reserve some of the pasta cooking water. Toss all together and thin sauce with some of the reserved pasta water, if necessary.

Dinner Party Dessert

CHEVRE CHEESECAKE POTS This is a cross between a crustless cheesecake and butterscotch pots du crème. The chevre is very mild here but does add tang. Be sure to serve with biscuits in place of the missing crust for dunking and top it all off with the sweet-tart Cranberry-Blackberry Compote (see below). For easy mixing bring cheeses to room temperature before using. Serves 6 • Salt Spring Island natural chevre, 140-g package • Island Farm cream cheese, 1/2 cup • Island Farm sour cream or full-fat plain yogurt, 1/2 cup • Dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup, lightly packed • Egg yolks, 2 • Whole eggs, 1 • Vanilla extract, 1 tsp • 6 to 12 amoretti or polenta cookies or gingersnaps (optional)

specialty foods

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

From Our Family to Your Family All the Best this Holiday Season Where experience

Cranberry-Blackberry Compote This doubles as a topper for Chevre Cheesecake Pots and makes a base for a fancy party cocktail too. A generous splash of Cowichan Blackberry Dessert Wine adds sweetness to otherwise tart cranberry compote. If you’re feeling flush, serve the remaining dessert wine with the Cheesecake Pots or save it for the cocktails. Makes 3 cups. • Fresh or frozen whole cranberries, 3 cups • Dark brown sugar, 1 cup • Babe’s honey, 1/2 cup • Cowichan Blackberry Dessert Wine, 1/4 cup In a large saucepan, stir cranberries with brown sugar, honey and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered and stirring often, until most of the berries pop and foam settles. This will take about 5 to 10 min. Remove from heat and stir in dessert wine. Sauce will thicken slightly as it cools. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate up to 5 days or freeze leftovers up to 3 months.

makes the

Double Duty Cocktail

difference

BLACKBERRY-CRANBERRY FIZZ

2577 Cadboro Bay Road,VICTORIA

592-0823

28

Using an electric mixer, beat cheeses until smooth. Beat in sour cream, then sugar until evenly mixed, occasionally scraping down side of bowl. Beat in egg yolks until mixed, then whole egg. Mix in vanilla. Batter will be runny. Pour into 6 ramekins, filling 3/4 full. Place ramekins in a roasting pan and pour in boiling water until it reaches half way up sides of ramekins. Bake in preheated 300F oven until edges are firm but centres should be slightly jiggly, about 30 min. Remove from oven and let cool (still in water bath). If making ahead, cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving and spoon Cranberry-Blackberry Compote overtop.

EAT MAGAZINE NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2009

Dollop a spoonful of Cranberry-Blackberry Sauce into martini glasses or champagne flutes. Add either soda water (well chilled) for a non-alcoholic cocktail or sparkling wine and a good drizzle of Cowichan Blackberry Dessert Wine – that is if there is any left! Once the bottle of dessert wine has been opened, it will keep well in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days. Finish cocktails with a wide strip of orange peel, if you wish.

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GET FRESH —COOKING WITH THE SEASONS — by Sylvia Weinstock

GARBURE Garbure is a traditional, slow-cooked soup made with seasonal vegetables. It was the daily fare of the Gascony peasants of southwestern France, who cooked it in a large cast iron pot hung over an open fire, adding more vegetables to the thick concoction every day. Salt pork and preserved goose were also customary ingredients. An annual festival in Anglet, France, put on by the Confrèrie de la Garbure (Brotherhood of Vegetable Soup) honours garbure, and the dish is served in many restaurants in southwest France. This hearty, rustic dish can be adapted to suit your taste and pocketbook. If you can afford it, stir in some foie gras when you add the duck confit meat; this will give the soup a velvety texture. To economize, use more veggies and beans, use less expensive cuts of meat (ham shank, pork, bacon or sausage) or make the soup strictly vegetarian. Vary garbure with the seasons: use fresh herbs, beans snap peas, green peas, kohlrabi and ripe tomatoes in summer, add fresh fava beans, nettles, dandelion greens and baby veggies in spring, and emphasize root vegetables and dried beans in winter. Beets and celeriac could be added to the following recipe this season. Chabrot is an intoxicating custom associated with garbure. When all the solids have been eaten, each diner adds some red wine to the broth remaining in their bowl and sips the liquid from the bowl. Make sure to use enough stock so each diner can sip after they sup. (Serves 8-12)

Baby turnips have a mild, sweet flavour and don’t need to be peeled. Choose small turnips that are heavy for their size (lighter, older turnips have a woody texture). Cabbage is nutritious, healing and versatile. Try cabbage rolls, made with ground beef, rice, onions, brown sugar, tomato paste and raisins, or bigos, a layered casserole made with cabbage, bacon, veal, pork, lamb, beef, sausages, onions and apples, slow-cooked in stock. Dried beans are lower in sodium than canned beans and have a firmer texture, but they require overnight soaking. A pantry stocked with a variety of canned beans provides convenient, instant inspiration for stews, chiles and dips. Leeks have a mild, sweet, nutty flavour. They are delicious sautéed or braised or made into creamy vichyssoise, a cold potato-leek soup. Celeriac, a.k.a. celery root, can be cooked like smashed potatoes, or used in casseroles. Try Crema de Cepa de Apio, a creamy Creole celery root soup served on cool Caribbean winter nights.

THIS MONTH’S SHOPPING BASKET RECIPE

• 4 oz. pancetta, cut into ½" cubes (or 1/4 pound of bacon, cut into ½" pieces) • 1 medium onion, finely chopped • 4 garlic cloves, minced • 4 precooked confit duck legs (or thighs) • 3½ liters unsalted chicken stock • 1½–2 lb. savoy or Napa cabbage, cored and chopped • 3 carrots, sliced into coins • 3 stalks celery, diced • 2 baby turnips, chopped

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• 2 leeks, outer leaves removed, white part only, chopped • ½ lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1" cubes • a small bunch of green beans, chopped • 1½ cups dried cannelloni, navy or kidney beans, soaked in water overnight and drained • A bouquet garni of thyme, rosemary, sage, bay leaf, parsley stems and leeks • Salt and pepper to taste • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Place several sprigs of thyme, rosemary, sage, a bay leaf and several parsley stems inside a 3”long piece of leek and tie the bouquet garni with kitchen string. Heat a large heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pancetta (or bacon) and cook, stirring, until golden brown. Remove pancetta (or bacon) and set aside. Leave the fat in the soup pot. Reduce heat to medium, and add chopped onions and garlic, cooking and stirring them in the pancetta (or bacon fat) until soft. Remove the skin from the confit duck legs and shred the meat. Discard the bones. Add duck to the onion/ garlic mixture and combine. Add chicken stock, cabbage, carrots, celery, turnips, leeks, potatoes, soaked beans, green beans and the bouquet garni. Bring the soup to a simmer, then cook it, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until the vegetables and beans are tender. Stir the reserved pancetta (or bacon) into the soup. Remove the bouquet garni, season to taste, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately. Serve with garlic bread. Serves 8-12.

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www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

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FOOD MATTERS — by Julie Pegg

a wonderful and Renee a Wildfire burn As for my o burble and b results need Fast, a bread

A MICHE IS A BOULE IS A PAIN DE CAMPAGNE French country breads are on the rise.

S

EAT MAGAZINE NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2009

Transilv

Rebecca Wellmam

30

Tracey Kusiewicz

Rebecca Wellmam

Erika Heyrman of Wild Fire Bakery with her miche

andwiched between the Long Horn Saloon and Slough Food in crook-in-the-road Edison, Washington, is the artisan bakery Breadfarm. Husband-and-wife team Scott Mangold and Renee Bourgault bake stunning country breads, but my favourite is the stone-ground miche, which has developed somewhat of a cult following in the area. I pop in en route to a Whidbey Island campground and have to scurry because the bakery will undoubtedly be down to its last loaf by noon. Weighing in at a hefty two kilograms, miche is sold by the quarter, half and whole. This substantial but basic sourdough will endure throughout my three-day trip tucked away in its paper bag. Sliced thick, thin or simply ripped apart, it is my perfect camping companion. I need little more to while away a lingering sunset or a blazing campfire than a stack of unread New Yorkers and local cheese, charcuterie and wine from Slough Food. The term miche was and is slang for a woman’s backside or, I am told, her breasts, due to the bread’s voluptuousness. A French colleague muses, too, that while most of France simply refers to any round loaf as “boule,” the term “miche” was coined in the north. It makes sense. In 1932, Normandy boulanger Pierre Poilâne fashioned France’s now flagship miche (www.poilane.fr) at his Parisian bakery and scored it with a sweeping “P” on its crispy crust. Seventy-seven years later, there is still a Poilâne bakery at 8 rue du Cherche-Midi in Paris. (A second location is at Boulevard de Grenelle, and in 2000 a third shop in London’s posh Westminster was launched.) The gorgeous two-kilogram hunk of wholegrain has an earthy, nutty and open crumb. Urban Fare flies in Poilâne at a price as big as the bread. Breadfarm’s miche comes darn close to the Parisian benchmark. Not only am I transported back to Paris, I’m biting into a slice of Gallic history. This type of pain de campagne dates back to when French peasant women milled whole meal and turned out giant round loaves made of the coarse flour, water, salt and natural leavening. The women fired the boules (balls), often weighing four to eight kilos, into the hearth’s embers or hauled them to the town’s huge communal wood oven where the local boulanger would bake several at a go. The lifeblood of farming families, chunks of miche were dunked into humble potages. Workers took to their fields with the hearty bread, sausage, cheese—and wine in tow. Sadly, I find true miche hard to come by at home. Why, I wonder? I pose the question to author Peter Reinhart (The Breadbaker’s Apprentice, Ten Speed Press). “Four and a half pounds of French rustic bread is a lot of wheat for the average western family,” the bread guru tells me in a brief phone chat. “When it comes to rustic breads, white flour Italian breads, baguettes excepted—are the norm—smaller, easier to approach, easier to slice. “You know, ciabatta really is just watereddown miche,” adds Reinhart, whose Apprentice boasts a picture of a Poilâne-style miche on its cover. “But,” he concludes, “with whole grains and fibre high on the health list, wholesome breads are on the rise.” It seems so. In September, Terra Breads’ head baker, Mary Mackay, led a sold-out sourdough baking class at Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks featuring Yoke Mardewi’s book Wild Sourdough: The Natural Way to Bake, New Holland Publishing. Chris Brown (of Vancouver’s Artisan Rise Bakery), a baker par excellence of Italian-style breads, agrees that it just may be time for a French Renaissance. Rose Concepcion of MIX Bakery has come up with a farmer’s loaf, oblong, instead of round, that slices evenly and is “kinder to the gums.” “Customers enjoy hearty breads but find authentic miche “too chewy,” she says. Still, Concepcion fashions several kinds of boules. Most popular is Zoe’s super grain—full of grainy goodness but easy on the bite. Not an ounce of French blood courses through the veins of Transilvania Peasant Bakery’s Floran Moldovan. However, his signature peasant bread (he makes just three—whole-wheat sourdough, sprouted wheat and a light rye—in his wood-fired brick “igloo”) is the closest to Breadfarm miche I’ve come across in Vancouver. Dense yet springy, his sourdough whole-wheat resembles a fat baguette. “I would prefer to bake round peasant bread, but folks prefer uniform slices.” The native Romanian shrugs. “I go with the flow. Besides,” he says with a laugh, “I can fit more loaves in the oven.” Boules, baked on request, make an excellent gift. Moldovan was firing up an eightpounder for a wedding present on my visit. For Okanagan Grocery’s Monica the Baker, her organic “campagne” is all about natural starters. She gets down with five-year “Naomi,” an organic white flour starter, and “Arnold” a rye ferment whose origins reach back a hundred years (it’s common among bakers to give their starters names). Her passion for bread is palpable, and she kindly couriers one cup of each starter with instructions for maintaining its bubbly health so that I may replicate her most sought-after loaf. My attempts are edible—barely. They lack that important fifth element—mastery. I have yet to get the “feel” of my bread. They are sour, heavy and flat. Renowned Victoria breadmaker Cliff Leir of Fol Epi bakery tells me his early efforts were much the same (this makes me feel better). Like Monica, he’s big on keeping up a lively starter. From the silo behind the bakery, he handmills Saskatchewan’s Red Fife and wood-fires up, by all accounts,

Cliff Leir


a wonderful bit of dough, which sounds to me like pretty authentic miche. (Breadfarm’s Scott and Renee are huge admirers of Leir and his former partner Erika Heyrman, who still keeps Wildfire burning with very fine bread.) As for my own efforts, I’m not about to give up. Feeding and watching Naomi and Arnold burble and bubble was exciting, the thwack of bread bashed on the counter therapeutic. The results needed, well, more kneading. With the aid of Reinhart’s new book Artisan Breads Fast, a bread-baking class with Chris Brown at Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks, Transilvania’s

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organic whole-wheat flour, Monica’s starter, Leir’s wonderful tips, and Scott and Renee’s inspiration, I’ll return to the task. I may even try my hand at baking a miche in campfire embers. TIP: Miche and other pains de campagne can be frozen (best unsliced) then thawed, or refreshed in the oven after a few days. Simply spray the crust with water and place in a 350425°F oven for a few minutes.

Bakery Locations:

the-road Edim Scott Manourite is the in the area. I use the bakefty two kilourdough will hin or simply ngering sunarcuterie and

Victoria Fol Epi 101–398 Harbour Rd., (Dockside Green) 250-477-8882 Wildfire 1517 Quadra St., 250-381-3473

Tracey Kusiewicz

Transilvania Bakery’s Floran Moldovan

Rebecca Wellmam

s, due to the simply refers nse. In 1932, poilane.fr) at -seven years n is at Boulehed.) rumb. Urban close to the Gallic history. d whole meal avening. The ’s embers or uld bake sevble potages. w. on to author nds of French me in a brief xcepted—are ust wateredmiche on its some breads ed a sold-out ok Wild Sourver’s Artisan be time for a f, oblong, inty breads but ds of boules.

Breadfarm Edison, Washington (just off Chuckanut Drive, south of Bellingham) 360-766-4065 www.breadfarm.com

Cliff Leir of Fol Epi

Okanagan Monica the Baker Okanagan Grocery 2355 Gordon Dr. (Guisachan Village), Kelowna Bakery: 250-826-2811 www.okanagangrocery.com

Vancouver Rise Artisan Bakery, 604-731-0739 (phone orders only) Trout Lake Market in season Note: Chris Brown’s baking class is November 28. Go to www.bookstocooks to see if space is still available. Transilvania Bakery 3474 West Broadway, 604-3195623 MIX Bakery 4430 West 10th (Point Grey), 604-221-4145 www.mixthebakery.com

kery’s Floran t sourdough, dfarm miche embles a fat ces.” The namore loaves up an eight-

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MIX Bakery’s Super Grain www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

31


What’s happening in VANCOUVER ? November begins in fine style when Manuel Ferreira teams with up with Sandra Oldfield of Tinhorn Creek Winery to present a multi course dinner to complement the exceptional Oldfield’s Series – the 2006 Merlot, the 2006 Syrah and the 2008 2Bench, as well as other special Tinhorn Creek wines. The dinner takes place November 6th, at Le Gavroche in Vancouver. $95.00 p.p. Please call 604-685-3924 to reserve your table

The Quest:

FISH & CHIPS

Wish to earn a wine diploma? The fall/winter schedule for WSET (accredited wine courses) in Vancouver has been posted on line. For course info and registration log on to www.finevintageltd.com Whistler is all set for Cornucopia, the mountain’s famous fall wine and food extravaganza November 12-15. There is a wide array of events, from free seminars to wine pairing dinners and themed tastings—and it’s a great way to party. Info and tickets for Whistler’s Celebration of Wine and Food are available at whistlercornucopia.com The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, which runs April 19th to 25th, 2010. Food and wine events will celebrate the wines Argentina and New Zealand. Better brush up on your tango!

Ingredient of the Month Bosa’s has two new cheeses in the dairy case under their own Italissima brand. One resembles a softer, spreadable, bocconcini—great on grilled ciabatta with slices of fresh tomato/and or fresh herbs. The other puts me in mind of Spanish queso fresco (fresh cheese) or blanco--ideal for putting in oozy dishes like quesadillas, chille rellenos—or adding to lasagna, or for stuffing in manicotti or lumachi (large shell pasta). These bland cheeses are marvellous vehicles for carrying other flavours. Use in place of regular mozzarella or Monterey Jack. —by Julie Pegg

Tracey Kusiewicz

Immediately following the wine festival is Dine Out Vancouver 2010--April 26 to May 6, 2010 (instead of its usual January run). Welcome back to those hard-lost post holiday pounds!

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

EAT MAGAZINE NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2009

Where else to eat them but off the wharf in a charming fishing village?

When the world is too much with me, and I need a vacation but have only a few hours to spare, I am lured to the quaint fishing village of Steveston. True, condos now stand where the fishermen used to mend their nets. And the dockside attracts a steady flow of tourists. But I still love this historic hamlet for its thrift stores, chandlery/hardware (I found ship’s galley hooks perfect for my condo kitchen), tiny boutiques and the Net Shed for an egg- andspud breakfast. The fishing boats bob on the Fraser River, and I stroll the dock to see what fish is fresh that day. Friday to Sunday is when the boats are best, but there’s nearly always fresh prawns. And now in its second year, the bustling Sunday Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market is held in Fisherman’s Park (3rd and Moncton). But what’s a trip to Steveston without fish and chips? Dave’s (3460 Moncton; 604-271-7555), the Steveston original, dishes up more-than-passable fish and chips in the tiny nautical-themed dining room or from the take-away kiosk. Batter avoiders can order their fish grilled or pan-fried. For suds lovers, there’s draft beer to go. Blue Canoe (3866 Bayview St. on the wharf; 604-2757811), garners kudos for a just-right combo of view, booze and all-round seafood dining. The menu stretches beyond tasty fish and chips to include mussels in Thai broth, clams, crab and avocado sandwiches and other seafood treats. The 100-seat patio is always packed on sunny afternoons and a fine place to while away an hour or two. Shady Island also draws a crowd to its wood patio and takeaway window (112-3800 Bayview St. on the wharf, 604-275Richmond’s best fish fry? EAT’s Vancouver 6587). My go-to, though, is PaJo’s on the Wharf (604-272-1588) editor loves ‘em at Pajo’s on the Wharf a genuine fish-and-chippery. Paper cones overflow with generous portions of thick, firm-fleshed halibut, pearl-white cod (my fave) or coral-hued salmon, crunchy battered (lightly on request) in fresh oil. Piping hot chips have wonderfully mealy centres. My husband hunkers down with a small order and an extra side of fish (one-and-half pieces) under an umbrella at one of the wood Muskoka chairs equipped with a round holder for the cone. Pass on the deli-style coleslaw in favour of mushy peas—or order a side of those too. Kiddies have their own special menu. If a beer is calling you—sorry. Settle for pop, juice, coffee or tea. Judging from the permanent line-ups, no one seems to care a whit. There’s another PaJo’s in nearby Garry Point Park. Hours according to weather and season.

DRESSED UP & READY TO GO!

32

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What’s happening in COMOX VALLEY ?

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A sizeable crew got a preview of how pleasurable it is to enjoy the harvest and “eat local” on July 26th. Chef Ronald St. Pierre and the crew at Locals restaurant [364-8th Street, Courtenay 250.338.6493, www.localscomoxvalley.com] hosted a Table Champêtre (check the Locals blog for a description of what this is and why Chef Ronald wants to make this a regular thing in this foodrich part of the Island) at Tannadice Farms [3465 Burns Road, www.tannadicefarms.com]. We feasted on Cortez Island oysters, Little Qualicum scallops, Black Creek vegis, Courtenay pork, chicken, and beef, (to name a few of the many local producers featured – it was a great showcase for local food product) and toasted it all with libations from Surgenor Brewing Company [861 Shamrock Place, Comox 250.339.9947 www.surgenorbrewing.ca], Bluemoon Winery [Greaves Crescent, Courtenay 250-338-9765 www.bluemoonwinery.ca], and Averill Creek Vineyard [6552 North Rd, Duncan 250-709-9986 www.averillcreek.ca]. A friend was moved to tears: “It’s all so beautiful and delicious!” I’m looking forward to what this team does in 2010 – Bring it on Chef Ronald! In the meantime, fall is a great time to be eating pretty much anywhere in the Comox Valley Campbell River region. In Willow Point, former manager at The Tasting Room [#4 - 2253 South Island Highway] Michelle Mustvedt just bought the business with her husband Jonathan Adamo. They’ve renamed it Jonny’s Bar & Lounge and are creating a “lounge type feel,” inviting folks to come in for drinks, sushi rolls, and appetizers. It’s a beautiful space – I’ll be stopping in on my way to the Angler's Dining Room at Dolphins Resort [4125 Discovery Drive 1-800-891-0287 / www.dolphinsresort.com] where new executive Chef, Steve Lopez is hosting fall “specialty dining packages.” In Comox, Carol Spencer of Wild Flour Organic Artisan Bakery [221A Church Street in Comox [250-890-0017, www.wildflourorganicbakery.com] is helping the new owners of the bakery get into the swing of things. She’s also organized some fall cooking classes a mystery guests....hmmm... Down the road, the kitchen has been delivering consistently great food, and bartender Freddy confirmed that Avenue Bistro [2064 Comox Ave, 250-890-9200 www.avenuebistro.ca] really is THE PLACE I want to practice my new-found b-tending skills. (I also think it’s cool that I get – more or less – regular postings about “fresh sheet” times from @avenuebistro on twitter). In Courtenay, Kathy Jerritt is seeing great success with her first “full moon dinners” at Tria Culinary Studio [located at Natures Way Farm 4905 Darcy Road 250-338-9765 @triaculinary / www.triaculinarystudio.ca]. Full disclosure: I do some work for these folks, and my son has picked a few blueberries for the farm – and I think that the trio of Kathy, Marla Limousin (Natures Way Farm), and George Ehrler (Bluemoon Winery) are doing amazing things. Heather at Tita’s Mexican Restaurant [536-6th Street, Courtenay 250.334.8033] tells me the menu’s been revamped recently, retaining lots of old faves, and introducing new items like local Halibut Tacos and Cheese Stuffed Plantain Slices in Mole sauce, for example. Most items are now served as “small plates” with a broad selection of side dishes to choose from for big appetites. As always at this time of year, copious amounts of fruit from the patio garden inspire ever-changing margaritas. I miss Orbitz Pizza (it got burned out – literally – and owner/chef Marty Campbell is doing interesting things in Nanaimo with good food and ...bowling?), so I’m very happy to hear that Shelley Bouchard and husband, “Mad Chef” Kevin Munroe (formerly of the Kingfisher, Atlas Cafe, and most recently the Pier Pub & Bistro), are opening the Mad Chef Cafe at the old Orbitz location [492 Fitzgerald Avenue]. Their slogan: "...insane food...with attitude..." Chef Steve Dodd is counting on a long September summer as he invites all and sundry to check out the first-come-first-serve patio/blender combos at Bisque [14th and Cliffe Ave. 250-334-8564). Nightly specials highlight the Valley’s freshest products, tastes, and spirits. The pitch to "gourmands" by David Innes & Lucille Doucet at La Pause Bed & Breakfast [540 Salsbury Road, Courtenay 1-866-703-4725 www.lapausebb.com] piques my interest in being a tourist in my own town. With the help of the new co-owners Chef Drew Noble is creating a bit of a stir at the “new” Old House Restaurant [1760 Riverside Lane, Courtenay 250.338.5406] . Menu homages to the glory years, special wine events, and cooking classes – I’m looking forward to a real taste test. Atlas Café [250-6th Street, Courtenay 250.338.9838] has just revamped its website, with a “people page” featuring some of the many wonderful characters (staff and customers) who make this place the standard by which I judge other eateries. Over the summer, when it got really, really hot, one local foodie suggested hot (spicy) food as answer. Allyson Hamilton told me (@hammygirl) that her local faves are: Drunken Prawn at Kinaree Thai Cuisine [526A Cumberland Road, 250-898-8639] (she always ask for "really hot"); the “wonderful spicy” Thai soups at Pho Maple Noodle [11-468 29th Street, Courtenay 250-338-8868; and although she hasn’t “met a dish [she] didn't like,” the Chicken Vindaloo is her current choice at The Great Escape [2744 Dunsmuir Street, www.greatescape-cumberland.com, 250-336-8831]. Thanks Allyson. You can keep me up to date on your new food finds with a tweet to @hanspetermeyer or @eatmagazine —by Hans Peter Meyer.

Call to Receive 25% Off Rates (Nov or Dec) Escape to Abigail’s Hotel this season and experience our urr Chef’s creations! from downtown This boutique style B&B is located locat ated just steps ffr rom downtow wn Victoria’s famous ffaamous attractions, aat ttractions, museums, theat theatres, atres, fine ffiine rest restaurants, aurants, and aannd parks. par arks. Includes Includ udes gourm gourmet rmet breakfasts breakfa fasts personally presented by the Ex Executive xecutive Chef, f, plus evening hors hors d’oeuvres & par parking. arking. Annual Christmas Baking Class lass with Chef Victoria on Dec 12, 2, 2009. Book Now! 906 McClure Street, Victor Victoria ria BC · 1-800-561-6565 · www. www.abigailshotel.com .abigailshotel.com

Gourmet Oceanside Dining with one of the best views in the Pacific Northwest

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www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

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EAT MAGAZINE NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2009


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What’s happening in NANAIMO ? Ah, the festive season. All 60 days and counting. Once I see my first Canadian Tire TV Christmas commercial, at Halloween, my thoughts turn to turkeys, parties, celebrating, food & drink and shovelling snow (you do remember December 2008 right?) Many times I am asked by friends for my top choices for celebratory dining spots in my EAT Buzz Nanaimo coverage area. So, herein, are my picks for the best restaurants from Cowichan Valley to Qualicum Beach and the Southern Gulf Islands. What constitutes inclusion on my list? Consistency, menu innovation, local, seasonal and organic, a wellcrafted wine list, knowledgeable well-trained staff and people at the helm who truly care about their craft. Wesley Street Restaurant in the Old City Quarter of Nanaimo [#1-321 Wesley Street, Nanaimo, Tel: 250-753-6057] is always on the list and has earned the creds. Chef Josh Massey leans to a menu of West Coast flavours executed with contemporary punch, panache and imaginative splash. Great wine knowledge may be had via owner and gracious raconteur Gaetan Brousseau, who is a great part of the experience of the place. His wife, Linda Allen, now runs their other successful tres yummy enterprise, Mon Petit Choux Bakery [101-120 Commercial Street, Nanaimo, Tel: 250-7536002]. The Masthead Restaurant in Cowichan Bay [1705 Cowichan Bay Road, Cowichan Bay, Tel: 250-748-3714] sits in a heritage building, on the waterfront, in the quaint seaside village of Cow Bay. Masthead owner Luke Harms and wife Denise Morrison and Chef Matt Horn are a formidable team of pros who bring creative thinking and deft execution to everything they do. This place consistently delivers and the stars align. Hastings Country House, Salt Spring Island [160 Upper Ganges Road, Salt Spring Island, Tel: 250-537-2362]. Chef Marcel Kauer does the “regionally-inspired” culinary ballet beautifully. His classic European training brings continental elegance to the plate and palate, and the remarkable wine list will take your breath away, not to mention what it will do to your credit card. This is truly five-star dining and everything about the experience is world-class. Bistro 161 in Duncan [161 Kenneth Street, Duncan, Tel: 250.746.6466] is a menu of multicultural surprises that will wow at every swirl of the spoon or fork. Fresh, innovative and elegantly simple, owner/Chef Fatima Da Silva and Chef Chris Szilagyi know their stuff and tango a clever foodie duet in the kitchen. Everybody wins. Their food will always impress, while breaking some rules along the way. Bless the innovators for they shall inherit our praise. The Mahle House Restaurant in Cedar [2104 Hemer Road, Nanaimo (Cedar), Tel: 250-7223621] is a charming, pinkish, heritage house plunked into the countryside outside of Nanaimo. Much of what appears on your plate was either hauled in from the gardens outback or sourced from the farmer around the bend. There is a beguiling old-world ambience to the room with clever, sometime curious, always exceptional local offering from Executive Chef Maureen Loucks and owner Delbert Horrocks. Front of house, wine and hospitality come via Tara & Stephen Wilson, family members and future owners in training. I do have a few other notables that I cannot overlook. Giovanni’s in Qualicum Beach [4-180 Second Avenue West, Qualicum Beach, Tel: 250-752-6693] is a “white table cloth” top-nosh spot in the region. They know their pastas and will never disappoint on that score. Service is efficient and engaging and the atmosphere oozes. And for the pure romance of a Greek Island you cannot do better than Asteras Greek Taverna [347 Wesley Street, Nanaimo, Tel: 250-716-0451] in the Old City Quarter. This place, pure and simple, does an exceptional job at doing what they do best – making you very happy with a plate full of great Greek food, good service and a big glass of Greek brandy…on the house. Well, for me anyway. Flirt and see what happens.

NANAIMO LOVES EAT

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36

EAT MAGAZINE NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2009

“Flying Fish has ran multiple ads in Eat magazine this year and we were thrilled after the first issue when I was contacted and told our ad should have our address so people could put it in their GPS. Flying Fish is known for it’s great jewellery, eclectic furniture and cool gifts. We wanted to let more people know that we have a large kitchen department bigger than many stand alone kitchen stores and decided to advertise in Eat to get the word out. The magazine has put us on the map for food lovers like ourselves, with people coming from all over the island and also from the lower mainland to see what we have to offer.” “With McLean's Speciality Foods, Mon Petit Choux Bakery, Fresh Fish on the Dock, and the new Red Room Market - as well as the amazing independent restaurants that surround us, downtown Nanaimo is a food lovers destination.” “Thank you Eat Magazine and all of our fabulous customers!” —Glen Saunders, owner of Flying Fish, 180 Commercial Street, Nanaimo.

To wrap it up your sanity wh casions Cate Metral Drive, T Tel: 250-390-9

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To wrap it up and put a bow on it, Christmas is always a season for calling the catering pros to save your sanity while wowing throngs of guests. The top three in Nanaimo, IMHO, are Occasional Occasions Catering, 7777 Dickinson Rd, Lantzville Tel: 250-390-2588; 24 Carrot Catering, 6560 Metral Drive, Tel: 250-390-0008 and The Urban Beet Food Co., 6595 Applecross Road, Nanaimo, Tel: 250-390-9722. One last thing, Vancouver Island University is putting on a show-stopper of an over-the-top black tie & tiara gala dinner dance on Friday November 20, 2009. Three hundred folks will feast & frisk the night away while raising money for the university during their annual Festival of Trees fundraising drive. Tickets are available by calling Renee Bohun, Festival of Trees Coordinator, Tel: 250-740-6258. —by Su Grimmer

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www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

37


What’s happening in VICTORIA ?

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November kicks off the holiday season, and with it, the season of fundraisers. Lucky for us, we have some appetizing ways to support local organizations. The first one up is Art of the Cocktail, a fundraising event for the Victoria Film Festival, (November 7th and 8th). With tastings and demonstrations from local breweries and wineries, a wide selection of workshops, and dinners to be held at Vista 18, Aura, Brasserie L’Ecole and Bon Rouge, you may have trouble deciding where to go first. Visit the VFF website (www.victoriafilmfestival.com) to see the complete event schedule. Also November 7th is A Taste of Britain, a black tie fundraising dinner, dance and auction to benefit Our Place Society. The event will be held at the Crystal Gardens and will include live music and a menu prepared by the chefs of the Empress. For tickets, call 250-388-7112 ext. 237 or visit www.tasteofbritain.ca/tickets. November 10th, Sea Cider is hosting Pouring for Parkinson’s, an annual fundraiser for the Victoria Epilepsy and Parkinson’s Centre. (www.seacider.ca). If you have been wanting to compost your kitchen waste but not sure quite how to go about it, a new option is available to residents of Victoria. Pedal to Petal is a bicycle powered compost pickup program that offers weekly or one-time pick-ups. The mandate of these self-described “bicycle loving food security activists” is to take direct action to reduce carbon emissions and landfill waste and to feed the soil. Call 250-383-5144, ext. 1116 or visit www.pedaltopetal.blogspot.com for more information. An exciting choice of fall and holiday-themed classes is being offered throughout November and December. Terralicious Cooking School is offering weekly classes with chef Cosmo Meens, (Mo:Lé and Café Bliss) highlighting a different island ingredient each Thursday in November. Their busy schedule also includes a cookie exchange (December 5th) and a Christmas Season Entertaining workshop with chef Heidi Fink (December 7th). With fun holiday classes for kids too, there is really too much to list, so check out their full event schedule (www. terralicious.ca). You don’t want to miss Ottavio’s Christmas Open House and Oak Bay Gallery Walk (December 3rd, 6-8 pm). There will be an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting, hot roasted chestnuts, and seasonal delicacies on offer. The Superior Café in James Bay has announced a new series called “Straight from the Hip”: twelve evenings of food films and film noir. The series kicks off with a “Like Water for Chocolate” themed dinner (November 2nd), partnering with guest chef Adrianna Ramirez (Adrianna’s Cocina). Enjoy an evening of Mexican food, tequila pairings, learn all about the history of this cuisine, and celebrate El Dia de los Muertos, all in one evening! Other food flicks in the series include “Babette’s Feast” (December 16th), “Delicatessen” (January 13th), continuing until May. Visit www.thesuperior.ca for full listings. New in town are ‘Gomasala’ spice blends, available at Plenty to make your holidays even more aromatic, FOO, on the corner of Blashard and Yates, serving Asian Street fare, and Lully’s Sandwich Bar, on Broughton. Owner Skully White worked at Pescatores and Prime Steakhouse, before realizing his dream of providing the downtown lunch crowd with authentic Montreal smoked meat ($9) in early October. White roasts his own beef, turkey and chicken in the kitchen at Prime, and has a custom-made steamer for the smoked meat on site at Lully’s, so the guy knows his stuff. For chefs and cooks looking for wild seasonal foods, JagaSilk Teabar is now also the headquarters for JagaWild, offering salal berries, hawthorn berries, chanterelles, pine mushrooms, second harvest nettle and more for wholesale or special order. Call 250-721-5242 or visit their website (www.jagasilk.com). —by Rebecca Baugniet

November a in Tofino. Ticke October 1st a or call 1 800 New to Tof ing, this bar is Tofino Tea Ba ham and Ann about more th with a tip, you of tea in China and tinctures, treats from Sw Neptune Potte 250 725 883 Remember Surf (and acro a beautiful pa After years of fiancé Jason S Kaeli have co Café Brio, und a menu of tac natural fruit slu 7 days a wee Spotted Bea Specializing i menu to your all Tofitians. O Canadian guests for the awarded Best find in house fr 725 3100. — by Kira R

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What’s happening in TOFINO ? November and December – a time for storm watching, fine dining and relaxing by a warm fire in Tofino. Tickets for the 13th Annual Clayoquot Oyster Festival (November 19 – 21) went on sale October 1st available at Wildside Booksellers. For more information go to www.oystergala.com or call 1 800 863 4664. New to Tofino is the Tofino Tea Bar, a great little place to go for organic tea, (literally speaking, this bar is 100 square feet!). With organic teas sourced from the Tea Centre (Courtenay, BC), Tofino Tea Bar has more than 40 different kinds of tea, served hot or iced. Owners Cheryl Graham and Anne Klazek, finally decided to showcase their passion for teas after the idea came about more than a year ago. If you buy a tea, you can ‘surf’ for free, on their deck out front, and with a tip, you will get a nice ‘Fun Tea Tip’ from them (mine was ‘There are more than 3000 kinds of tea in China’). For retail you will find Clayoquot Botanicals, a variety of teas, herbal remedies and tinctures, all made locally using plants from the Tofino Botanical Gardens, as well as sweet treats from Sweet T’s Cake and Pastry, handmade art cards by Cheryl, music cd’s by Anne and Neptune Pottery selections (Cortes Island). Open 7 days a week, Tofino’s Tea Bar is worth a stop! 250 725 8833. Remember when Sobo’s purple catering bus was located in its original location behind Live to Surf (and across from Wildside Grill)? Well now you will find a bright orange catering bus, with a beautiful painting of the Virgin Guadalupe, serving fresh Mexican fare, everything under $10. After years of seasonal tree planting, owners with best friend Amy Bockner, Kaeli Robinsong and fiancé Jason Sussman, decided it was time for a change from seasonal bushwhacking. Amy and Kaeli have cooked at Hollyhock Retreat (Cortes Island), while Jason did an apprenticeship at Café Brio, under Chef Chris Dignin. Their passion for fresh west coast inspired Mexican fare brings a menu of tacos, burritos, gringos, tortilla soup and salads, as well as their delicious ‘Freshies’ – natural fruit slushies (local favourite is the Fresh Lime with Tofino Botanical Garden Mint’). Open 7 days a week, Tacofino is open 11am – 8pm daily. 250 725 8228. Spotted Bear Bistro has expanded its services for in house and off site catering (up to 12 guests). Specializing in small private groups, Chef Vincent Fraissange will design a west coast inspired menu to your likings. Don’t forget about Sunday Brunch, and locals night is also on, 20% off for all Tofitians. Open 7 days a week, 250 725 2215. Canadian literary icons Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson were welcomed as special guests for the Annual Writer Inn Program in October. Also, for the third time, the Inn has been awarded Best Resort Dining in BC by Vancouver Magazine. Available 7 days a week, you will find in house freshly-baked artisanal bread, at the Driftwood Lounge. For more information call 250 725 3100. — by Kira Rogers

www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

39


ARTISAN FOOD

—by La

—by Gary Hynes

Gary Hynes

Ottavio Italian Bakery & Delicatessen, 2272 Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria Oyama Sausage Company, Granville Island Public Market, Vancouver

         

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I was flipping though my favourite Italian food magazine – La Cucina Italiana – and stopped to read an article on Lardo di Colonnata. Lardo di Colonnata is a unique delicacy from the northern tip of Tuscany that is gaining in popularity in North America. New York celebrity chef Mario Batali uses it on his pizzas (but refers to it as proscuitto bianco, perhaps hoping to take avoid the ick factor when customers read it on the menu). Lardo has been made for centuries using the same process, in the same region. Almost headed for extinction at one point, now Lardo di Colonnata is the first traditional Italian food to be protected under the Arca del Gusto di Slow Food. Lardo is pork fat (lard) that is cured in marble tubs that have been rubbed with garlic. The lard is immersed in a brine of sea salt and herbs and spices (often including black pepper, rosemary, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, sage, oregano and even aniseed) and cured for 6-10 months. Due to this natural maturation process it is free from preservatives. I wanted to try this generations old artisan product but short of calling up Mario and heading to NYC I wasn’t sure where to find it. As luck would have it, the day after reading the magazine article I received an email from Andrew Moyer from Ottavio in Oak Bay announcing a new product from Vancouver producer Oyama Sausage called Lardo Toscano. I picked up a small slab and brought it home to see what it was like. Traditionally, the way Tuscans eat lardo is too slice it paper thin and eat it on good bread—sometimes unadorned, sometimes with onions and tomatoes. I tried my lardo plain on a warm, toasted, rough-cut, thick slice of Rustic White from Wildfire Bakery. It was delicious – like butter but better. It was creamy—almost silky in texture, mild and slightly sweet with plenty of fragrant herb flavours. But what about all that fat? Can’t be good for you? Actually, good quality pork fat contains a higher percentage of heart-healthy unsaturated fats than butter. Lardo di Colonnata can also be used on top of lean meats such as turkey, pheasant or pork loin. I tried it on top of some salmon filets that I roasted in the oven. The subtle pork flavouring was a perfect match as it didn’t overpower the salmon. Next time you’re looking for something a little bit different try lardo. You’ll not only be continuing and supporting a centuries old tradition but by purchasing the local version you’ll be saving carbon miles.

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EDITOR’S

Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay 07 | California | $30.00-33.00 Most definitely of the fruit cocktail genre, with a healthy dollop of pear, pineapple, mango and roasted hazelnuts on the nose with more of the same on the palate! Medium bodied with an oily texture, a crunch of refreshing acidity and a hint of spicy oak on the finish. Highly enjoyable. Vasse Felix Margaret River Chardonnay 2006 | Australia | $22.00-24.00 Very attractive with a lovely nose, creamy texture and ripe peach, citrus and spice flavours. Somewhat understated but very elegant with a core of fresh zippy acidity and great length. Simply superb.

REDS

PICK

Bisceglia Treje Aglianico Basilicata 2005 | Italy | $26.00-30.00 This blend of Aglianico, Merlot and Syrah from the south of Italy is interesting to say the least! It is very precocious, with explosive fruit and spice flavours and a firm rasp of tannin. Certified organic with a state of the art winery and a winemaker that spares no expense! Top notch! Maison des Bulliats Regnie | France | $16.00-18.00 Regnie, the 10th Cru of Beaujolais is located between Brouilly and Morgon. True to the wines of this region Bulliats is light and supple with a silky texture and gobs of sweet, cherry and raspberry fruit flavours. Delicious served slightly cool! La Mano Bierzo Mencia Roble 2006 | Spain | $14.00-16.00 It is good to see that for the most part Spain has stuck by her bounty of indigenous varietals. Medium bodied with pronounced raspberry, earth and spice flavours, nicely balanced with a plush texture. Highly recommended. Mission Hill Family Estate Compendium 2006 | BC | $30.00-3500 Predominately Merlot with more than a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon (19%), Cabernet Franc (19%) and Petit Verdot (10%) aged in new French oak for 13 months, Compendium is complex and polished with layers of lush fruit flavours on a toasty oak frame. Balanced and refined with a blush of fine-grained tannins and great length. Very highly recommended.

Domaine La Galine Minervois 2007 | France | $19.00-22.00 Not a whole lot of finesse just a whole lot of fruit! Predominately Syrah with a splash of Granache (20%) thrown in for good measure, this robust red from the south of France has lush berry, spice and black pepper flavours, good weight and a long firm finish. Simply delicious! Vecchia Cantina Chianti 2007 | Italy | $14.00-16.00 A solid little Chianti that drinks like a classico! Medium bodied with red cherry and earth aromas, nicely balanced with simple fruit flavours and a soft blush of tannin. Worth every penny. Joie PTG 2007 | BC | $30.00-32.00 Go figure. These two could make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Passetoutegrain, a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, is not exactly the belle of the Beaune, but boy does this wine hit all the right buttons. PTG combines the best attributes of both partners. It is medium bodied with ripe cherry, spice and smoke flavours, a silky smooth texture and a long persistent finish. Very highly recommended! Flechas de los Andes Gran Malbec 2006 | Argentina | $33.00-36.00 This monster from Mendoza will put paid to all those who doubt the potential of Malbec from Argentina not to mention Kosher wine from the planet. Flechas de los Andes is a joint venture between Baron Benjamin de Rothschild and Laurent Dassault, one of the orginal partners in Michel Rolland’s Clos de los Siete project. Coming in at a whopping 15.5% alcohol this incredible uber-Malbec is black as pitch and as dense as a dwarf star. Super concentrated, with black cherry, pepper and earth aromas, this brute will stain the crystal, not to mention everything else it comes into contact with. It does not let up on the palate, au contraire, my pasty little friends; the dense fruit flavours come at your genteel unsuspecting palate in unrelenting waves of deliciousness. Oh, did I say 15.5% Well you would never know it; smooth as your baby’s bottom, with a mind blowing finish! Very tasty but avoid spillage!

SPIRITS Van Gogh Mango Vodka | Netherlands | $45.00-48.00 Hand crafted in small batches, these guys make the best fruit flavoured vodka in the solar system. Tastes like what I imagine a just picked perfectly ripe mango right off the tree ought to taste like but delivers a punch like Mike Tyson. Keep a quart in the freezer and drink with extreme caution; this fruity little elixir could put you down for the count in a couple of rounds!

FORTIFIED Taylor Fladgate LBV Port 2003 Port (half bottle) | Portugal | $16.00-18.00 For every season there is a wine and what better for fall or winter than a LBV. Taylor Fladgate has long been the best selling port in Canada and the 2003 LBV is as good as it gets. Full bodied with ripe cherry, spice and chocolate nuances on the nose, lush dark fruit flavours and a silky smooth texture that belies the grip on the finish.

WITH GOOD CHEER! j

e toast the magnificent, rich farmland of the Saanich Peninsula, and pleasures for the palate it produces. Come raise a glass at Sea Cider, where Kristen and Bruce Jordan's organic orchard and tasting room welcomes visitors year round. Check the website for a calendar of convivial events. A warm welcome and new friends await at Victoria Spirits Distillery, where Peter Hunt and family produce the finest Gin to be found anywhere. Come see the gleaming copper still in action and have the distilling process explained. Let the celebrations begin!

VICTORIA Gin Welcomes you to our distillery, weekends in December, for Spirits and Cheer.

victoriaspirits.com

www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

41


Vigneti Zanatta

AW Think to givi

A leap of faith off some gravelly slopes in the Cowichan Valley of Vancouver Island. —By Adem Tepedelen

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Rebecca Wellman

Call it faith or forward thinking, but Dennis Zanatta had a hunch Vancouver Island could produce some great wines. His 120-acre farm in the Glenora area of the Cowichan Valley, southwest of Duncan, was originally a dairy farm and Zanatta was actually in the stone and tile business. But the Italian-born Zanatta, one of 11 children from a farming family near Venice, planted some grape vines for his own use, purchasing them from the old federal research station in Saanich just to try things out here and there. One day in the ’80s, he was approached by a provincial government agent, John Vielvoye, and asked whether he’d be interested in growing wine grapes in an experimental vineyard on his land. Zanatta agreed, providing Vielvoye and his crew with an acre on which they tried various cool-climate vinifera varieties like Schoenburger, Kerner, Siegerrebe, Ortega and Pinot Auxerrois, as well as hybrids like Cayuga, New York Muscat, Seyval Blanc and Okanagan Riesling. When funding for that government program eventually ran out, Zanatta continued to farm the grapes himself and simply allowed the government to take what they needed for their winemaking research station in Summerland. He would make wine with the rest, discovering on his own what varieties suited his land. WINEMAKER LORETTA ZANATTA IN HER VINEYARD AT VIGNETI ZANATTA “Dad was really keen on the results of the Ortega especially, and the Cayuga,” explains his daughter, Loretta Zanatta, who along with her husband, started with the Ortega vineyard, which is our most western vineyard and then he continued Jim Moody, makes the wine for Vigneti Zanatta today. “So we decided to plant five acres of along the same slope and planted Pinot Auxerrois and Pinot Gris. He had the highland those varieties.” Though the Zanatta family wasn’t yet producing wine commercially, Den- cleared—the higher hill with the nice gravely soil—and he put in the Pinot Noir and Muscat. nis, who died in 2008, had definitely passed on his love of wine and grapes to his daughter, He just wanted those slopes planted. He said, ‘Plant it now and it should be good, but if you who first got a degree in plant science at UBC and then studied winemaking—with an em- want to change or the market changes, then pull it out. But at least you have your infraphasis on sparkling wine—with a relative in northern Italy. structure and you’re ready to go.’” Her return to the family farm in 1990 happened to coincide with a change in provincial vineToday Vigneti Zanatta produces about 3,000 cases a year. The bulk of that production is yard estate licensing, so that now only two acres of grapes were needed, rather than 25, to dedicated to their unique and very popular Damasco white wine, a floral, fruity and slightly make and sell wine to the public. The family applied and produced their first vintage of Or- frizzante blend of some of those same varieties Dennis had the foresight to put in—Ortega, tega in 1992. “When we opened, we were the only winery [in the area],” says Loretta, “so it Pinot Auxerrois, Muscat and Madeleine Sylvaner. But they also have several tasty sparkling was really complicated trying to get our wine into beer and wine stores. There was a lot of offerings (including one made with the unique Cayuga grape), as well as other cool-climate ground to break.” varietals. The winery, as well as a restaurant, Vinoteca, and a tasting room all occupy the Nonetheless, Dennis Zanatta clearly saw the potential to grow good grapes on the land Zanatta family’s old farmhouse, and there are currently 30 acres under vine. Not surprisingly, and encouraged his daughter to stick with it. “We started expanding in 1992, before we knew all the grapes used for Zanatta wines are estate-grown. And Loretta, having tasted wines how well it would do,” says Loretta. “Dad had a lot of faith in the industry. There were great made here for more than 20 years, definitely believes there is a distinct Vancouver Island terchanges coming. He was always a real forward thinker. He just started planting east. He

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CONT’D ON THE BOTTOM OF THE NEXT PAGE

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Our service can best be described as “Knowledgeable, yet not pretentious… …approachable, with a hint of sass!” 42

EAT MAGAZINE NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2009

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

Dinner 5:30 - 11 pm Tuesday to Saturday

roir, mostly d her opinion, to do particu “I can tell Okanagan qu tends to be a and have mu have a long g once things slow release October, and those sorts o And thanks fantastic win Pinot Noir gr

Best Vinta Tasting Ro Web: www Phone: 250 Address: 5


he continued the highland and Muscat. od, but if you ve your infra-

production is y and slightly t in—Ortega, sty sparkling cool-climate ll occupy the surprisingly, tasted wines ver Island ter-

Think British Columbia white when it comes to giving wines this holiday season. Like wearing white after Labour Day, drinking white in winter gets a bit of a bad rap. But, when done properly, as in fashion, white wine can be a wonderful benefit to a chilly evening. It’s all about the “fabric”. Zippy Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and no-oak Chardonnay love the salty tang of a fresh-shucked oyster. Fruit-driven Riesling and Chenin Blanc shine with baked ham and Indian curry cozies up to Gewurztraminer. Turkey struts its stuff with a bigger, buttery Chardonnay. Late Harvest and Ice Wines cling nicely to English trifle or sticky toffee pudding. Bubble goes anytime, anywhere.

Great selection of wines, spirits and beers for Fall, Winter and the Holiday Season, now in store. Gift wrapping and beautiful custom built gift baskets. We have your perfect gift solution!

Here are a few suggestions for a hostess or holiday gift, or to take to a dinner party Sumac Ridge 2010 Olympic commemorative bubble, Tribute, gussied up in a blue and silver canister is an ideal festive gift. ($30) while affordable See Ya Later Brut N/V presents apple-and-cream fizz, courtesy of a chardonny/riesling blend. ($25)

Rebecca Wellman

NATTA

A WHITE CHRISTMAS

Move on to melon-nuanced Pinot Blanc or peachy Pinot Gris. Lake Breeze and Blue Mountain Vineyards turn out fine versions of both. Veterans, Gray Monk and Tinhorn Creek, are also worthy of your cash. (All wines around $20)

Ales Wines & Spirits From around the world Value brands to classics

Okanagan Riesling smacks of orchard fruit and tends toward off-dry. Firm and “Flinty” Wild Goose Stony Slope Riesling impresses. Tantalus Old Vines is a thing of beauty, while Joie nailed riesling in 2008. For fruit-driven Chenin Blanc look to Quail’s Gate or widely available Inniskillin. As for Gewurz, we like the dry reticent styles fashioned by Cedar Creek and Arrowleaf. Thirty or so bucks brings you sun-and-oak-kissed Chardonnay from Meyer Family Vineyards Tribute Series or Black Hills (MFV Micro-Cuve, clocks in around $70 but rivals topnotch Burgundy).

Open 7 days 10 am to 11 pm Free delivery on case orders Chilled Wines & Beers

919 Douglas Street Victoria BC 250.370.WINE (9463) www.strathliquor.com

Tinhorn Creek Late Harvest Kerner ($13/200ml) always delivers delightful sweetness. Or fork over $60 for First Nation’s owned Nk’Mip Riesling ice wine, a superb honey-andapricot nectar. Note: Wines were judged to be in good supply at time of writing. Please ask wine shop staff for alternate suggestions if selections are unavailable. Prices and vintages may vary. —BY JULIE PEGG

HE NEXT PAGE

t Street 60 ca ca

1 pm urday

roir, mostly due to what some may feel is a negative: the weather. It’s something that, in her opinion, actually encourages two classic Alsatian varietals, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, to do particularly well here. “I can tell a Pinot Gris that’s grown on Vancouver Island as opposed to one that’s an Okanagan quite quickly,” she says. “The Okanagan tends to be a fruitier wine and ours tends to be a bit more earthy. I find the Pinot Noirs on Vancouver Island are much fruitier and have much more spice to them than the Okanagans. I really believe it’s because we have a long growing season. We may not start up great-guns like the Okanagan does where once things get warm, they get very warm and everything buds out. Here it’s the really slow release of the bud, the slow flowering, slow everything. And it just carries on through October, and with that longer season I think the flavours are developing much better in those sorts of varietals.” And thanks to her father’s tremendous leap of faith that Vancouver Island could produce fantastic wines, Loretta’s been able to prove him right using, among others, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir grown on the very vines he put in more than two decades ago. Best Vintages: 1998, 2000 (for reds), 2005 (Pinot Noir), 2006, 2007 (Ortega) Tasting Room Hours: 12 to 4:30 p.m, Wednesday to Sunday Web: www.zanatta.ca Phone: 250-748-2338 Address: 5039 Marshall Rd., Duncan, B.C. V9L 6S3

DOMESTIC WINE SPECIALISTS OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK WINERY DIRECT PRICES CHILLED WINES ~ AT NO EXTRA COST HUGE SELECTION OF ICEWINE WEDDING & PARTY PLANNING FREE DELIVERY ON CASE ORDERS

2579 Cadboro Bay Road BESIDE SLATER'S MEATS ACROSS FROM PURE VANILLA BAKERY LOTS OF CUSTOMER PARKING

CALL 250.592.8466

FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO WWW.BCWINEGUYS.COM

www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

43


WINE & TERROIR

The HolidayWine Lists

Michaela Morris and Michelle Bouffard offer readers an early Christmas gift—wine lists for every holiday occasion.

Our holiday shopping list is back by popular demand. We’ve got the wine covered for every occasion over the season. Plan in advance and avoid running around at the last minute. With all the time you save, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to sit back and relax with a glass of wine (or two).

Large gatherings Brace yourself; there will be plenty of them. It could be the annual office party or a blowout bash for all of your Facebook friends. Whether you are a guest or the host, cheap and cheerful wines are the way to go. The larger the gathering, the less sure you can be of the menu. A potluck affair guarantees a hodgepodge of dishes, so you need versatile wines to deal with all of the different flavours. Stay away from the obscure and bring/serve something that everyone will like. This year, we imposed a strict $15 maximum on these wines and were thrilled to find plenty for even less. Recommendations: White 2008 Domaine de Grachies, Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne, France - $11.95* This unassuming wine from the southwest of France packs a ton of personality for the price. Reminiscent of summer with aromas of nectarine, fresh herbs and juicy, lemony acidity. A great inexpensive turkey wine as well. Also worth seeking out: 2008 Storks’ Tower, Vino de la Tierra Castilla y León, Spain - $12.99 2008 Lurton, Pinot Gris, Argentina - $13.99 Red 2005 Bodegas Piqueras, Castillo de Almansa, Reserva Almansa DO, Spain - $12.99 What a pleasure to revisit this old staple! Savoury iron and dried raspberry seduce the palate. Very easy to drink on its own, but the tannin structure will love any meaty treats.

Sparkling Cristalino, Brut Cava DO, Spain - $15.00* We tried this wine blind a couple of years ago. What a surprise when we found out what it was! Glad to see that it is finally back on our shelves. Also worth seeking out: n/v Codorniu, Classico, Brut, Spain - $13.99 n/v Hungaria, Grande Cuvée, Brut, Hungary - $13.90

Intimate fancy dinner May the season bless you with a rare evening when you can catch up with an old friend or even your loved one. This is the moment to splurge. Cook a meat you don’t eat often and serve with a carefully selected wine. Some of our favourite matches include duck with Pinot Noir, goose with Pinot Gris from Alsace, pheasant with Sangiovese (Chianti or Rosso di Montalcino), rabbit with aged Nebbiolo (Barolo or Barbaresco if you have the budget) and venison with Northern Rhône Syrah. These all bring back delicious memories. If you don’t have 10 kids underfoot and can’t stand turkey, any of the above combinations would make a worthy Christmas dinner. Recommendations: White 2006 Paul Zinck, Pinot Gris, Alsace AOC, France - $21.99* Bursting with autumn orchard apples. Pure and concentrated on the palate and a long finish. Excellent value from Alsace.

2007 Château de Valcombe, Costières de Nimes AOC, France - $12.99 Lifted floral and wild berry aromas and flavours. Great concentration and surprisingly polished for the money. This is a crowd pleaser, especially if you are looking for something fuller bodied.

Red 2006 Querciabella, Chianti Classico DOC, Italy - $39.99 While this is our pheasant wine, we certainly wouldn’t turn down a glass with duck or rabbit. Sweet spice, cherry and floral flavours are complemented by amazing minerality and a truly elegant structure.

2008 Lamura, Rosso di Sicilia IGT, Italy - $14.99* Made from Sicily’s flagship grape Nero d’Avola, the Lamura is all sweet blackberry, prunes and fig. And it’s organic to boot.

2006 La Spinetta, Nebbiolo Langhe DOC, Italy - $39.99 Has all the heady Nebbiolo aromas that make us weak at the knees. Though young, this Nebbiolo is drinking well now.

Also worth seeking out: 2008 Bodega Norton, Lo Tengo, Malbec, Argentina - $13.99 2006 Canaletto, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, Italy - $14.99*

2007 Château Saint Cosme, Saint-Joseph AOC, France - $50.00* A seductive Syrah from the northern Rhône. Violets, black currant and slightly meaty aromas call out for something gamey like venison.

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44

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Traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings For most of us, turkey dinner is what makes it Christmas. At our table, wine is also an absolute necessity. But rumour has it that this is a tricky meal to pair with wine. What goes with all the weird and wonderful side dishes like bitter Brussels sprouts, sweet yams and tart cranberry sauce? Luckily, there are plenty of options in all hues. When it comes to white, grapes with persistent aromas like Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Grüner-Veltliner, Viognier and Albariño tend to work best. As for reds, stick with those that are softer in tannin such as Pinot Noir, Barbera, Gamay, Grenache and Valpolicella. Offering a red and white choice will ensure everyone’s palate is pleased. You can even add a bit of sunshine by serving a rosé. Recommendations: White 2008 Paul Mas, Viognier, France - $13.99 A delightful inexpensive Viognier with slightly honeyed and ripe peach nuances. Good acidity balances out the richness. 2008 Touquinheiras, Vinho Verde DOC, Portugal – 33.00* Perhaps the most serious Vinho Verde you’ll come across. Made from the indigenous Alvarinho grape. Pungent and lush flavours of peach and apricot. Your guests will be begging for more. Red 2007 Frescobaldi, Remole, IGT Toscana, Italy - $14.99 Crunchy red cherry and firm structure, this is definitely a food wine. Totally solid for the money. 2008 Marcel Lapierre, Morgon AOC, France - $39.90 This cru Beaujolais from Morgon is always a favourite, but the 2008 vintage is particularly tasty. Vibrant cherries and raspberries jump out of the glass. It doesn’t get more charming than this.

Alternative Christmas dinner If turkey simply isn’t your thing or you don’t eat meat, it’s time to create a new tradition for Christmas. Make it a west coast seafood feast. Oysters and crab are a great way to start. After years of putting up with turkey, Michaela was thrilled when last year’s Christmas dinner featured salmon. The meal can still be festive if accompanied by the customary side dishes. As for wine, the guidelines are similar to those for your turkey spread. You can depart from the aromatic whites and go for something like an unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris. In terms of reds, a Pinot Noir from the Okanagan Valley works a treat and is in keeping with the local theme. Recommendations: White 2007 Blue Mountain, Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley - $24.00* White pear and orange, great concentration and a refreshing backbone. Its slightly saline quality makes us crave shellfish. Red 2007 Stoneleigh, Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand - $22.99 Fresh and pure on the nose with very bright acidity on the palate. Not overly complex but honest Pinot Noir at a decent price. 2007 Quails’ Gate, Stewart Family Reserve, Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley - $45.00* Balanced and silky with dark forest berries and earthy flavours. A fine example of Pinot Noir’s possibilities in the Okanagan.

Other booze-buying opportunities Even if you have all of the dinners covered, your list is nowhere near complete. You’ll also want to be prepared for impromptu visits, last-minute gifts and random sugar attacks. Each has a boozy solution. The gift of alcohol A bottle of wine is always appropriate and guaranteed to be appreciated. Even if you are unsure about what to buy someone, it will still seem thoughtful. To demonstrate your sophisticated side to your boss, stick with classics like Bordeaux, Brunello and high-end Aussie Shiraz. These are safe bets. For your honey, spoil them with a wine from their favourite region. (Boys, you know how we love our Burgundies!)

www.eatmagazine.ca NOV | DECEMBER 2009

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F I E S TA WA R E F I E S TA WA R E

Lemongrass

HAUTE CUISINE 1210 BROAD ST., VICTORIA, BC 250.388.9906

F I E S TA WA R E F I E S TA WA R E

F I E S TA WA R E F I E S TA WA R E

F I E S TA WA R E

Recommendations: Red 2004 Penfolds, Bin 28, Kalimna Shiraz, Australia - $40.99 Licorice, blackberry and blueberry notes. On the palate, dense and intriguing, with good complexity and balance and a silky texture. Drinking well now but also has great aging potential. 2004 Altesino, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy - $59.99 A fantastic vintage for Brunello. Make sure you tell the lucky recipient to tuck it away for a few years. For Bordeaux lovers, comb the BC Liquor Store shelves for what is left of the newly released 2006 vintage.

Festive Bubble Whatever you do, just make sure you have plenty on hand. We can (and do) drink bubble all year round; you may recall our “bubble diet” .... If you really need an excuse to drink sparkling, the holidays offer plenty of them. Champagne is an expensive treat, appropriate if you are among people who will appreciate it. It is less suitable for large shindigs where the bubble is free-flowing. Instead, choose from the huge variety of bubbly wines available like Cava (from Spain), Prosecco (from Italy) and Crémant (France’s inexpensive alternative to Champagne). Recommendations: Sacchetto Pinot Rosa delle Venezie IGT Frizzante, Italy - $19.00* This festive pink rosé is simple but very quaffable. It shows off Pinot Noir’s frivolous side. 2006 Antech, Crémant de Limoux AOC, France - $24.99 When you have Champagne tastes on a beer budget, this is a real stunner for the money. n/v Henri Billiot & Fils, Brut Reserve, Champagne AOC, France - $80.00* A fabulous Grower’s Champagne that is worth every penny. Exuberant ripe strawberries, fine mousse and lingering mineral finish. Share with someone special.

Dessert wine The holiday season is a decadent time. You may already be dreaming about the sweet treats like Christmas pudding, sticky toffee pudding, shortbread and gingerbread cookies and all those boxes of chocolate. If you are going to indulge, go big and pair with an equally sinful dessert wine. These elixirs are also delectable with a stinky piece of blue cheese or will satisfy your sweet tooth on their own. Recommendations: n/v Hardys, Whiskers Blake Tawny, Australia - $25.99 Sweet, intense and decadent flavours of toffee, caramel, figs and roasted nuts. A hedonist’s dream come true. Also worth seeking out: 2004 Quinta do Crasto, Vintage Port, Portugal - $65.87 Stocking the liquor cabinet Spirits are just as important as wine over the holidays. Our parents and grandparents use to stock up their liquor cabinets for the season, making sure they had everyone’s favourite libations on hand. This magnificent tradition should be perpetuated. Get ready to entertain friends and family and be prepared for those impromptu visits. Following are our 10 musthaves to quench your guests’ thirst: Torres, 5 Brandy, Spain - $26.60 Baileys Irish Cream, Ireland - $28.45 (for adding to coffee if you are Michelle) Hendricks Dry Gin, U.K. - $41.99 Redbreast, 12-year-old whiskey, Ireland – $54.95 El Dorado, 15-year-old rum, Guyana – $59.99 Grand Marnier, Cuvée Louis Alexandre, France - $78.99 Hangar One, Spiced Pear Vodka, U.S. - $79.99 Oban, 14-year-old single malt scotch, Scotland - $114.95 Clear Creek, Pear Brandy, Oregon - $59.99* Marcel Trépout, Armagnac, France (from 1979 to 1910 – prices vary) This is just the minimum. If Uncle Mario is sure to make his annual appearance and grappa is his tipple of choice, it should be on your list.

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EAT MAGAZINE NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2009

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What makes a JD Farms turkey so special? Turkeys on JD Farms, a family-owned turkey farm in the beautiful Fraser Valley, are fed a natural diet of grain, vitamins and minerals without any medication or animal by-products. The turkeys are raised in spacious, well-ventilated barns with free access to fresh water and a constant supply of fresh feed. Special care and diet create the highest quality and exceptional flavour. Market Stores are pleased to offer them for your festive gathering this holiday season.

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EAT Magazine Nov | Dec 2009  

Celerbrating the food and wine of British Columbia

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