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NOV/DEC 2015




20 Gift ideas to wow your host!

y a d i l o H e u s s I ‘Black Tie Casual’ table by designer Lana Lounsbury




The West Coast’s best getaways

Festive and stylish ideas from top designers

Modern artistry from an ancient source

BMW Victoria

The Ultimate Driving Experience®



The BMW 3 Series sedan embodies the philosophy of unique dynamics, recurring beauty, passion, dedication, inspiration and vision that drive the conception of any BMW model. The exterior design conveys striking colour and trim combinations guaranteed to draw eyes while you rest comfortably in the luxurious driver oriented interior. Offering driving dynamics with many facets including optional Adaptive M suspension, SPORT Mode, variable sports steering, and the BMW coveted TwinTurbo power engine that ensures outstanding driving pleasure. Catering to your desires and expressive character, the BMW 3 Series comes in both sport and luxury lines with an extensive range of customizable features to suit your every day driving needs.


BMW Victoria

A division of the GAIN Dealer Group

95 Esquimalt Road | 250.995.9250 |



European models shown for illustration purposes only.*Starting from price of $38,285 based on the 2015 BMW 320i Sedan with automatic transmission with a MSRP of $35,990 and includes freight & PDI ($2,295). DOC fees ($395), Tire Levy ($20), Environmental Levies ($100), license, taxes, insurance and registration and if applicable PPSA (up to $45.48) are extra. ©2015 BMW Canada Inc. “BMW”, the BMW logo, BMW model designations and all other BMW related marks, images and symbols are the exclusive properties and/or trademarks of BMW AG, used under licence. See BMW Victoria for complete details. DL 10135 #31009



10 Mile point

5388 paRkeR avenue

1339 hovey Rd.

4041 palMetto pl.




Beautiful Tuscan-inspired home on a quiet & private, manicured property overlooking the Cordova Bay Golf Course! Gorgeous finishing with separate studio space, incredible outdoor terrace, ocean view & just steps from the beach too!

Beautifully sunny, level and totally private 3.53 acre property at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac close to parks, trails and amenities in popular Central Saanich! Unique ‘Santa Fe’ inspired home plus 1917 sqft barn, paddocks, pond, & pasture too!

spectaculaR new 5 bedroom luxury home on a totally private 1 acre property with ocean views! Gorgeous finishing inside & out plus garage parking for 5-6 vehicles & steps to beach, parks & trails...and minutes to Cadboro Bay Village!

glen lake


noRth saanich

1035 loch glen pl.

3891 saanich Rd.

1825 MaRina Way



$1,838,000 dazzling lakefront paradise! Custom 6670 sqft home on a quiet and private cul-desac close to absolutely everything! Southfacing with beautiful finishing inside & out, 3-car garage, expansive terraces, lakeside gazebo and private boat dock!

supeR little 2 bedrm plus den home w/tons of options! Totally renovated main lvl plus full unfinished basement ready for an income helper! Huge 387sqft enclosed pool could be a fantastic shop or studio plus workshop & lots of parking!

elegant and spacious custom home on a sunny, private, south-facing 1/2 acre property on prestigious Marina Way! Lovely design & finishing, circular drive, with 3-car garage, tons of storage, ocean views & close to marinas & Sidney!


Independently Owned and Operated




Festive Flavours

These fabulously dressed-up tabletops from three of Victoria’s top designers will inspire your holiday entertaining.

Local chefs dish on their holiday traditions — and share recipes



you’ll definitely want to try.

40 Bringing the Joy



The Spirit of Giving

Secrets in the Stone

Nourishing the desire to help others also helps ourselves —

Andreas Kunert and Naomi Zettl of The Ancient Art of Stone create extraordinary works from an ancient, timeless material.

body, mind and spirit. BY KERRY SLAVENS


20 unique and local gifts to dazzle your host this party season. BY ATHENA McKENZIE

80 The West Coast’s Coziest Winter Escapes B.C.’s West Coast offers rustically luxurious escapes. Wile away chilly days by the fire or storm-watch from your deck. BY KERRY SLAVENS

We’re taking the Boredom out of the Boardroom

Imagine it. Design it. Love it. Inspired furnishings for exceptional living. Personalized options to express your unique style. Complimentary design services with our talented designers.

Shot on location at the Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino BC.

2655 Douglas St Victoria BC 250.386.7632



at Fairmont Empress

13 WilloW Stream Gift CardS... perfeCt for everyone on your liSt.




86 JOE DANDY Men’s holiday style guide

Enter YAM’s Boost Your Holiday Baking Giveaway contest to win a fabulous prize.

By David Alexander



Plush décor, sparkly lighting, wintry style, Cowichan flavours and City Culture

26 LIVING SMART Bedroom bliss


By Athena McKenzie

Astrocolor’s Christmas tunes




46 OUTSTANDING HOMES An amazing Arts and Crafts renovation By Athena McKenzie

Christmas confections By Gillie Easdon




Ho-ho-holiday beers

find your enerGy Give the Gift of health this holiday season | 250 995 4650



Stephen White of Dance Victoria

By Adem Tepedelen

By David Lennam


88 BOOKMARKS Holiday reading and gift books By Carolyn Camilleri


Highland model shown for illustration purposes only. Vehicles may not be exactly as shown. *Starting from price of $16,595 is based on the 2015 Jetta 2.0L Trendline, 5-speed manual transmission with a MSRP ($14,990) and freight/PDI ($1605). DOC ($395), environmental levies ($100), license, insurance PPSA fee (up to $45.48, if applicable), registration ($495), options, any dealer or other charges, and applicable taxes are extra. Visit Volkswagen Victoria to view current offers. “Volkswagen”, the Volkswagen logo, “Trendline” and “Jetta”, are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG. ©2015 Volkswagen Canada. DL 49914428 #31186

Volkswagen Victoria A Division of the GAIN Dealer Group 3329 Douglas Street | 250-475-2415 |

The 2015 Jetta. More aggressive stance. More premium features. $20,600* from More value than ever. Starting 8


YAM-3rd-2.39x9.58-VW-2015.indd 1

2015-09-18 12:12 PM

EDITOR’S NOTE By Kerry Slavens



or this Holiday Issue I wrote a feature called “The Spirit of Giving” (page 34) in which I interviewed some amazing people (including a real-life genie) who each, in their way, is a granter of wishes. Writing about wishes reminded me of when I was a young girl living in a small town. Back then, each Christmas season brought the catalogue “wish books” from Eaton’s and Sears. I anticipated those books and, once they finally arrived each November, I’d spend snowy days combing through their toy sections, working on my wish list before giving it to my mother, who sent it into the great unknown, ostensibly to the North Pole. Leading up to the big day, I’d painstakingly imagine myself opening my gift. The reason I so diligently visualized my hoped-for gift was because I, like every kid in our little town, knew that sometimes you didn’t get exactly what you wanted because the “elves” (whom I later learned were Sears and Eaton’s shippers/ receivers) would occasionally send the right size dress in the wrong colour, or a coat two sizes “Throughout my too big, or a doll that didn’t giggle like she was wish book years, I supposed to. So the grownups would package it all up, send it back and then you’d wait for weeks learned a couple of or even months for a replacement. very important things Throughout my wish book years, I learned a about wishes.” couple of very important things about wishes. As far as I could tell: 1) the kinder you were to others, the better chance you had of getting your gift; 2) the clearer you pictured your gift, the more likely you would be to receive it, unbroken, in the right size and colour, and; 3) allowances always had to be made for the elves in the shipping departments. If they didn’t quite fulfill your wish, you simply had to forgive them (what choice did you have?) and try again — or wish a brand new wish. That wishfully determined yet pragmatically forgiving approach is still the way I live my life, even though I no longer receive wish books (and online shopping just doesn’t do quite the same thing for me!). These days my wishes tend to focus more on travel than toys and giving rather than getting. I know the old saying “if wishes were fishes we’d all cast nets,” but I refuse to give up on the notion that a wish is a worthy and magical thing. George Eliot, one of my favourite writers, once wrote, “It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are still alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger for them.” This holiday season, while we are making wishes for ourselves, is also a great time to pay it forward and make wishes come true for others. As you’ll see in “The Spirit of Giving,” granting wishes might be the most fulfilling thing of all. I wish you all a merry holiday season. ­— Kerry Email me at YAM is on Facebook and tweets @YAMmagazine



he VIBE Awards, Vancouver Island’s premier housing awards program, are owned by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of Vancouver Island (CHBA-VI).

It showcases the high quality and calibre of Vancouver Island’s home building and renovation community, highlighting the commitment and dedication to the building excellence and high standards that CHBA-VI member companies strive to uphold. “Consumers can be confident in hiring a VIBE Award winner or finalist,” says Parm Bhalru, CHBA-VI VIBE Awards Committee Chair. We invite Builders, Renovators, Designers and Professionals in the Residential Building Industry on Vancouver Island to enter. Entries will be judged by a distinguished panel of highly qualified

“What a spectacular inaugural awards night! The projects from the best builders and renovators on Vancouver Island were completely deserving of the fantastic show.”

judges, selected for their individual expertise. For more information, including categories and criteria, sponsorship opportunities, and the online entry form visit

2016 VIBE AWARDS CALL FOR ENTRIES: Opens November 12, 2015 Closes February 1, 2016 Finalists and winners will be celebrated at a black tie awards gala on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling CHBA-VI at 250-755-1366.



Vancouver Island

“Truly a top notch event for the Island residential building industry!”



PUBLISHERS Lise Gyorkos, Georgina Camilleri EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Kerry Slavens



EDITORIAL DESIGNER Janice Hildybrant ASSOCIATE EDITOR Athena McKenzie CONTRIBUTING DESIGNER Jo-Ann Loro CONTRIBUTING WRITERS David Alexander, Carolyn Camilleri, Adrienne Dyer, Gille Easdon, David Lennam, Adem Tepedelen, Mike Wicks



CONTRIBUTING AGENCIES ThinkStock p. 11, 29, 61


GENERAL INQUIRIES LETTERS TO THE EDITOR TO SUBSCRIBE TO YAM ADVERTISING INQUIRIES ONLINE FACEBOOK YAM magazine – Victoria TWITTER COVER Victoria designer Lana Lounsbury layers lush greens with elegant place settings to create an inviting table for holiday entertaining. Photographed by Jeffrey Bosdet

Published by PAGE ONE PUBLISHING 580 Ardersier Road, Victoria, BC V8Z 1C7 T 250-595-7243

Printed in Canada by Transcontinental Printing. Ideas and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of Page One Publishing Inc. or its affiliates; no official endorsement should be inferred. The publisher does not assume any responsibility for the contents of any advertisement and any and all representations or warranties made in such advertising are those of the advertiser and not the publisher. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, in all or part, in any form — printed or electronic — without the express permission of the publisher. The publisher cannot be held responsible for unsolicited manuscripts and photographs. Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement #41295544 ADVERTISE IN YAM MAGAZINE YAM magazine is Victoria’s leading home and lifestyle magazine. Established in 2009, YAM was created for people who want to live well, live smart and make the most of their lifestyle. For advertising info, please call us at 250-595-7243 or email






250.595.3888 | 805 Fairfield Rd

GIVEAWAY! Looking to take your baking to the next level? With these fabulous cookbooks from Penguin Random House Canada and stylish baking tools and accessories from Penna & Co., you’ll be set to impress, whether you’re making dessert or edible gifts. For contest details and recipes, visit Entry deadline is Friday, December 4, 2015.

Behind the Scenes While you won’t find his name on the masthead, our “secret baker” Graham McDonald created the festive treats shown here in our baking contest photo and the delectable coconut cake in “Bringing the Joy” (page 40).

’ TIS THE SEASON... • Have a dazzling night on the town and support a great cause. Visions — the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s annual gala to benefit Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals on November 21 at the Fairmont Empress — features a four-course dinner, exclusive entertainment and a spectacular auction. • And get into the spirit of the season at Jingle Mingle on December 3 at the Fairmont Empress. The holiday party, which features live music, signature cocktails, enticing treats and a curated silent and live auction, supports the BC Cancer Foundation.

Love all things local? Like us at /YAMmagazine

Join the conversation at /YAMmagazine

Get inspired at


Beautification Destination

Your secret is safe with us.

805 Fairfield Road, Victoria, B.C. 250.595.3888



It’s our job to take care of you at both locations!



FESTIVE FIREWORKS To create this Miss Jazz fascinator with its whimsical burst of ostrich feathers, couture milliner Lynda Marie drew on a memory of an evening in NYC, overlooking the sparkling lights of Central Park. “We drank champagne on the patio and listened to Billie Holiday at full volume … I kept pinching myself to make sure I was really there, that it wasn’t just some fantastical dream ... I likened myself to the character of Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby. It felt so surreal. It felt jazz!” Makeup: Erin Bradley Hair: DM & Company








A collection of our favourite things

There may or may not be snow on the ground this winter, but you can create your wonderland indoors with shimmering chandeliers and soft greys.






TOUCHES OF ICE 1. Go for an elegant glow with this dazzling Harlow Crystal chandelier (, from $1,610) 2. This Frozen Suspended Lamp of matte nickel metal and transparent crystal bows is handmade in Florence by Patrizia Garganti (, from $7,392) 3. Add a hint of winter whimsy with this TorreTagus dotted white bird from Parc Modern ($24) 4. This Pirete Carbon cushion from local designer Iván Meade comes in faux suede with 100% silk piping ($185) 5. Lounge on this pewter-hued velvet Camille chaise from Chintz and Co. ($999)

A TASTE OF THE COWICHAN The Cowichan is becoming the gin capital of B.C. At De Vine Vineyards, it’s the grapes that make their Vin Gin and New Tom gins so divine, along with the added local organic, wild-gathered botanicals that create a smooth West Coast taste. The region is also becoming a cheese capital. The organic, hand-crafted, small-batch cheeses from The Happy Goat — the Cowichan’s home to 109 goats (and counting) — are receiving rave reviews. Mandolin cheese from The Happy Goat is like a “savoury, herbal, baked cheesecake.” Try it with light marmalade, stuffed into large Manzanilla olives or blended with lemon zest and nettles as ravioli filling.



Evergreen Swizzler YAM


• 1 1/2 oz local gin • 1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse • Pine liqueur to taste • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice • 1/2 oz simple syrup Shake with ice and strain over crushed ice in a Collins glass. Garnish with rosemary or Douglas fir sprig.



Feel free to mix it up when it comes to wintry fashions this year. A little bit artsy, a little bit exotic — why not? 1. This Lizzie Fortunato purse is your global style go-to, made of Italian leather, hand embroidered and beaded in India, created in New York (Bernstein & Gold, $550) 2. Stay stylishly warm in this cashmere Panorama Blanket from Kit & Ace ($368) 3. Add sparkle with this blue-glass-and-pewter bracelet by Anne-Marie Chagnon (line available at Provenance Fine Things, Sidney)




BE HERE NOW “For me, art is a passion,” says Kimberly Kiel, whose work is represented by The Avenue Gallery in Oak Bay. “In the creativity is an experience of the spiritual: the rare opportunity to be absolutely in the present moment. A celebration of the joy and colour of life.” Beautiful Life, Kimberly Kiel, 20" x 40," oil on canvas (The Avenue Gallery, $1,480)

Giveget and


the Christmas Gifts from Market Square Shops. | 560 Johnson YAM MAGAZINE


CITY CULTURE By David Lennam

One Scrooge You Won’t Humbug What if Ebenezer Scrooge wasn’t such a greedy One Percenter? What if he had heart?





f Charles Dickens had written A Christmas Carol today, instead of 170 years ago, it’s likely that the curmudgeonly Scrooge would be a One Percenter, that despised brand of ruling class we like to schlump all our ills upon. Perhaps a senior manager with Goldman Sachs. That guy from Bear Stearns. Or Donald Trump. His notorious “Bah! Humbug!” may have become a riff on “Greed is good.” And like The Donald, Ebenezer Scrooge (just saying the name conjures up a certain moral ugliness, doesn’t it?) has been perhaps unfairly vilified to a degree we’re comfortable with, handed a bum rap by audiences keen to hang it all on a despicable miser right out of Molière. Real fourth circle of hell stuff. Don’t blame Dickens. Once we stopped reading him (C’mon, who’s actually read A Christmas Carol?), we assumed film versions of Scrooge were accurate. The lugubrious Alastair Sim and George C. Scott and, um ... Bill Murray. Even that “Give like Santa, save like Scrooge” from those annoying Canadian Tire ads. But, dammit, Scrooge isn’t that man. Listen to Belfry Theatre artistic director Michael Shamata, who’s bringing back his acclaimed A Christmas Carol to Victoria from December 1 to 20. It will be the 12th remount of the seasonal classic for Shamata, who originally wrote the adaptation of Dickens’ novella in 1991, while he was

artistic director at Theatre New Brunswick. His Scrooge, you see, has a heart. You’ll have to look closely, because it’s not much more than a lump of coal, but it beats! “Maybe he’s not the person we always imagined. The heart is there,” says Shamata. “He just shut it off as a young boy when (his childhood crush) Belle rejected him. It’s not like it’s dead, and that’s what gives it so much humanity.” Scrooge as a real person. Not a caricature of sour and lonely. A thoroughly peaceful man, writes Dickens, guilty of no true crime and who has robbed no one. Shamata continues. “If Scrooge isn’t just a skinflint, but somebody we recognize as a human being — and not a stereotype — then there are those moments where we identify with him. We get it.” Shamata says Scrooge justifies his actions, and those justifications are the same as those many business people use today. “He pays his taxes and contributes to organizations that benefit charities. He’s a member of the community. He does his bit. It’s fun to not make him this conservative miser or stereotypical mean guy. He can be

played that way, but he can also be played as a practical businessman. Practical, though unsentimental.” THE DEBATABLE SCROOGE Shamata’s isn’t a rogue appraisal of Scrooge. Recent debate amongst academics (yes, it’s a hot topic of debate) suggests Scrooge, a financier working on the Victorian equivalent of Wall Street, might be considered an economic hero, paying his fair share of taxes, employing workers and financing the Industrial Revolution. Even Cratchit, they maintain, is getting paid market wage. Scrooge is merely some kind of fiscal conservative, miffed at having to give money to “make idle people merry.” However you want to paint him, Scrooge, played with both a growly gravitas and light-hearted beauty by Tom McBeath, is one of literature’s and the stage’s great deep and complex characters. He rages like Lear, facing his own death. And he is humbled into redemption by ghosts and memories.

165 Craig Street | Downtown Duncan | 250.746.4333

A GHOSTLY LOVE STORY Shamata, who also directs his adaptation, makes love and redemption prevalent as Scrooge gets that all-too-rare second chance we all want. Well, love and redemption plus ghosts, some very dark places and memorable scenes that put a lump in the throat. Tiny Tim’s body laid out in bed, stiff and dead. The little funeral procession. Everyone crying. Scrooge’s brutal rejection of the one love in his life. We’re stabbed in the heart when he casts that ring onto the pavement. And then watching Scrooge watch himself as a younger man on the dance floor, happy, in love, with everything ahead of him. It’s a play of raw energy and emotional wallop and certainly ranks among the very best shows the Belfry has ever presented. Shamata even hinted that the Belfry may stage this A Christmas Carol every second year from now on. And, to that news, God bless us every one. A Christmas Carol is at the Belfry Theatre from December 1 to 20. :: YAM MAGAZINE


South Island

Sidney Experience Christmas in


emember when holiday shopping brought a smile to your face and a bounce to your step? If so, check out Sidney as your “go-to” holiday hub. The annual Sidney merchants Open House will be held Friday, December 4, 5pm to 8pm. There will be FREE horsedrawn carriage rides (4pm to 8pm), traditional storybook Christmas carolers, beautiful shop windows, and just about the best customer service you could imagine. Without doubt, it will be a night to remember! Be sure to pick up a Passport to Christmas (inside the Sidney Christmas Wish Book), collect 12 stamps from various merchants and be entered to win 1 of 3 grand prizes! For the little ones there will be a gingerbread house scavenger hunt with prizes from local toy, candy, and bookstores. All season long in Sidney you can enjoy a full line up of festive activities, including horse-drawn carriage tours on Saturday and Sundays in December from noon to 4pm, as well as traditional carol singers each weekend from 1pm to 4pm. Enjoy a festive ride through downtown Sidney and take in the charming, holiday ambiance. Be sure to pick up a hot beverage and something to eat from one

of Sidney’s lively coffee shops or restaurants before you depart. Add to the holiday magic by attending one of the many holiday concerts at the Mary Winspear Centre or the Peninsula Players traditional pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk. Plan to visit one or more of several Christmas craft shows, the popular Teddy Bear exhibit at the Sidney Historical Museum, and Christmas in the Village at Heritage Acres where children can take in train rides and visit with Santa. The Mary Winspear Centre is a collection point for Toys for Tots and will once again feature the Festival of Trees display and a LEGO Christmas village display. The Community Arts Council showcases the Artisans Gift Gallery at Tulista Park on Fifth Street, a perfect place to select a beautiful hand-made gift for that special person on your holiday gift list. Pick up a copy of the Sidney Christmas Wish Book & Passport, which details all the activities and events taking place in Sidney and on the Peninsula. It includes recipes from local business owners and the gingerbread house scavenger hunt map. You will also find a sample of offerings from Sidney retailers highlighting unique products and gift ideas to make your holiday shopping fun and easy! Visit for a complete listing of all of the above-mentioned and other events and check out the unique offerings of Sidney’s downtown! To book a carriage tour call 250-883-3651.

EvEry dEtail Paints a PicturE sHOWn: rinGs in .925 stErlinG silvEr, luMinOus crystal & GEnuinE culturEd PEarl

© 2015 Pandora Jewelry, LLC • All rights reserved • PANDORA.NET

2536 BEACON AVE SIDNEY, BC 250.656.5676


Great Food Anytime Whether it’s a light meal at midday, an afternoon snack or a hearty dinner, Smitty’s satisfies every time! Serving great food in Canada since 1960, in Sidney since 1985.

250-656-2423 2306 Beacon Ave. in Sidney

101-2537 Beacon Avenue (in the Cannery building), Sidney 250.656.5606 |

(Next to the Best Western PLUS Emerald Isle)

Closest Best Western to Butchart Gardens & BC Ferries • Minutes to BC & Washington State Ferries and Victoria International Airport • Easy 25-minute drive to Downtown Victoria • Long-term rates with kitchens available for winter season • Pet friendly • High-speed internet • Whirlpool, sauna, fitness equipment • Licensed family restaurant on site

Best Western PLUS Emerald Isle Motor Inn 2306 Beacon Ave., Sidney BC 250.656.4441 • 1.800.315.3377

Each Best Western® Hotel is independently owned and operated. Best Western and the Best Western marks are service marks or registered service marks of Best Western International, Inc. ©2010 Best Western International, Inc. All rights reserved.


We’ll help find a gift for everyone on Santa’s list!



BOOKS, CALENDARS, GIFT CERTIFICATES, & MORE ... Beacon and Fourth in Sidney Open 8am - 9pm Every Day!

BC’s Biggest Selection 102-2537 Beacon Ave Sidney 250-655-7732




By Gillie Easdon

Forget sweet-induced guilt. These melt-in-your-mouth confections from local artisans are good for the soul.

Christmas Confections



henever I spot After Eights, so inviting in their little dark sleeves, two things happen: I salivate and I cannot get the “Chopsticks” version of The Night Before Christmas out of my head for days. My mom played that when I was a small nut-noshing, sugar fiend of a child in Victoria. After Eights, candy canes and extra-large Toblerones with honey and almond nougat were my sweet beacons, inextricably linked to Christmas delight. These days, although my Pavlovian response is still firmly intact, I find my tastes bending more towards elevated, locally made, divine confections to enjoy, provide and gift. Forget visions of sugar plums, fluorescent candy canes and festive nuts. Set the perfect winter tone with Tout de Sweet’s local organic chocolate-peppermint marshmallows, apple-cinnamon caramels, fruit nougat and caramel-wrapped marshmallow “carmellows.”

THAT’S SO SWEET “It’s a kid’s right to have a sweet, and if you are going to give them candy, it should be high quality and not turn their mouths blue,” declares Jeanette Miller of Tout de Sweet Confections as she wraps fresh salted caramels. She meticulously crafts 100 per cent nut-free, corn syrup-free, organic candy in her charming Fairfield store. “Marshmallows were the original confection,” she says, “but a proper marshmallow is quite different than what we are used to.” She hands me a soft, powdered square. It is a subtle vanilla, supple and luscious, not what I was expecting. I pause with it in my mouth, rolling it around, exploring. “Candy has become a feeding frenzy. Savour it. It is a treat; teach kids (and adults) to treat it like one.”

Jeanette Miller, of Tout de Sweet Confections, assembles Neapolitan Mallows, which contain her handmade vanilla, strawberry and chocolate marshmallows.

Tout de Sweet is a blessing for those with allergies, both mild and severe. Every few days, Miller encounters more and more people seeking out candy that they/their child/ their friend/their family member has, until that moment, never been able to enjoy. This has become an unexpected niche, and the gratitude has been rewarding, as there are a lot of people with allergies. CONFECTION AND CARE Chocolate and candy making in Canada became popular in the late 1800s, usually in the back of stores as small mom-and-pop ventures. Confection is a time-honoured tradition in Victoria, made especially famous by Charles “Candy” William Rogers who opened his green grocer on Government Street in 1885. While Rogers originally ordered his candy from San Francisco, the entrepreneur soon discovered chocolates were selling much better than groceries, so he developed his own recipe for the hand-wrapped chocolates that have made Rogers’ Chocolates famous worldwide. There’s no doubt confection is a wonderful treat, dessert or part of a meal, but it also makes an easy, impressive and memorable gift. Try your hand at the Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows (see page 22 for recipe), or support one of the local artisan confectioners. It is always touching to be gifted with something unique, well-crafted and, of course, delish.

No doubt about it, Victoria is a sweet city, blessed with a fascinating variety of artisan confectioners who attract raving fans drawn to their delectable flavours and tantalizing textures, from bean-to-bar chocolate to the salty-sweet teasing taste of toffee. Cottage Bakery & Cafe Sisters Meleah Witthoeft and Katy Allan run Cottage Bakery, tucked away, everbustling, always fantastic. Apart from sumptuous classic seasonal fare, they also have peppermint meringues, eggnog cheesecake and wheat-free chocolate mousse cake. This November and December, they are offering gingerbreadhouse decorating for adults and kids, an entertaining and fun group event. No baking, no assembly and no cleanup, just decorate and take home. Brilliant. 1267 Fairfield Road, Victoria

Real vanilla bean gives Tout de Sweet’s organic lollipops their delightful flavour.


Sirene Chocolate

Amber Isles and her dairy-free mint Melt in your Mouth bars are responsible for my breakup with my lifelong relationship with After Eights at Christmas. Isles is a toffeetier and founder of Vancouver Island’s RockCoast, which specializes in chocolate-covered English toffee. The chocolate slowly melts off as the toffee splinters, crunches and gives way to a flavour bliss state near catatonia. The Smoked Salt Toffee Bark is perfect company while you are wrapping presents, but beware: you will eat all of it. For the holiday season, she also has orange and toasted coconut Melt in your Mouth bars, perfect for you, me, anyone you exchange gifts with — and the office snack table.

At Taylor Kennedy’s Sirene Artisan Chocolate Makers, the philosophy and stalwart commitment to “bean to bar” is unprecedented and unmatched in Victoria. Kennedy works exclusively with Camino Verde farm in Ecuador and Somia Plantation in Madagascar, to create pure, ethically sound, outstanding chocolate. The Dark Chocolat Noir Tasting Pair offers two side-by-side varieties to compare and deepen your appreciation. You are directed to hold the square on your tongue, no biting and no chewing. The tasting notes are also serious, precise and fascinating. Sirene Chocolate is not just chocolate; it is an experience in what Kennedy refers to as “the dialectic of chocolate.”

For retail locations, visit

For retail locations, visit



PUMPKIN SPICE MARSHMALLOWS For this recipe from Shauna Sever, author of Marshmallow Madness (Quirk Books, 2012), you must have a candy thermometer, says Jeanette Miller of Tout de Sweet. “You can replace corn syrup with organic corn syrup, maple syrup or honey,” she adds. “Use a stand mixer, as the time required will burn out your wrist and the motor of your hand mixer. Oh, and it all depends on the weather too! Marshmallow absorbs moisture from the air, so use a dehumidifier if you have one.” Makes about 2 dozen 1 1/2-inch marshmallows The Bloom • 5 tsp unflavoured powdered gelatin • 1/2 cup cold water The Syrup • 3/4 cup sugar • 1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided • 1/2 cup water • 1/4 tsp salt The Mallowing • 1/3 cup 100% pure canned pumpkin purée • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon • 1/4 tsp ground ginger • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract • Orange gel food colouring, optional • 1/2 cup Classic Coating (1 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar sifted or processed with 1 cup corn or potato starch) whisked with 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon Lightly coat an 8" x 8" baking pan with cooking spray. Whisk together the gelatin and cold water in a small heatproof bowl and let it soften for 5 minutes. Stir together the sugar, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup, water and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring the syrup to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 250°F. Meanwhile, pour the remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Microwave the gelatin on high until completely melted (about 30 seconds). Pour it into the corn syrup. Set the mixer to low and keep it running. In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée with the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and vanilla. When the syrup reaches 250°F, SLOWLY pour it into the mixer bowl. Increase speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Increase to medium-high and beat for 5 minutes more. Beat on the highest setting another minute. The finished marshmallow will be tripled in volume. If you want to bump up the colour, beat in a drop or two of orange colouring. Quickly give the marshmallow batter a fold to ensure the pumpkin is fully incorporated. Pour it into the prepared pan using an offset spatula to smooth it into the corners. Generously sprinkle with the Classic Coating. Let set for at least 6 hours. Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan. Invert the slab onto a work surface sprinkled with Classic Coating and dust with more coating. Cut it into pieces and dip the sticky edges in more coating, patting off excess. ::




By Adem Tepedelen

Ho-Ho-Holiday Beers Baby, it’s cold outside. ’Tis the season to enjoy some winter warmers decked out in seasonal flavours like chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon and even cranberry.


he comfort of annual traditions surrounding the holidays plays a central role in the joy people experience at this time of year. We all have fond memories that we want to continue to enjoy and maybe even introduce to the next generation. Though there are many foods and beverages associated with the holiday season, craft beer may not be one of them.

meant for sipping. There isn’t a typical winter beer style, but if a general characterization can be made, these beers tend to be malty (as opposed to hoppy and bitter), dark and possibly having festive seasonal flavours — maybe a touch of cinnamon, vanilla, cranberry or chocolate. WINTER WARMERS Most of the seasonal craft beer releases fall into a sort of generic category of “winter warmers.” A “warmer” is a brew with alcohol by volume (ABV) approaching 10 per cent and sometimes going beyond. Because these beers are nearly wine strength, they’re

STARTING NEW TRADITIONS With the blossoming of the industry during the current Craft Beer Spring, with new breweries opening at a feverish pace, a curious thing has happened to beer. It’s become much more sophisticated. Of course, there will always be demand for “everyday” beer, but craft beer is starting to compete with wine for the role of preferred beverage before, with or after a meal. Not surprisingly, the last two months of the year see some very special releases from craft breweries. This is when holiday beers hit shelves at local liquor stores in great abundance. And, more recently, > The beer Advent calendar from Central City and Parallel 49 contains 22 mystery craft-beer Advent beers and two special collaboration calendars have beers from the two craft breweries. become popular items. They work just like typical Advent calendars, except 24 unique beers are hidden away behind cardboard tabs that get pulled back each day as you count down to Christmas. Locally, Phillips offers its “Snowcase,” and Central City and Parallel 49 collaborated on their own “Mystery Gift Holiday Countdown” calendar last year. Others are available as well. Craft beer is hyper-focused on seasonal releases. Spring is ripe with fruit beers; summer means lower-alcohol, thirstquenching brews; fall is about pumpkin ales and autumnal flavours; and winter is dedicated to rich, hearty, higher-alcohol beers JEFFREY BOSDET/YAM MAGAZINE

meant to be enjoyed accordingly, not in a pint glass, but in eight- to ten-ounce pours. Just like wine, there are specific styles of glassware designed for specific types of beers. The Belgians, who drink a lot of strong beer, are especially particular about this and seemingly have a different shaped glass for nearly every type of Belgian beer. The idea is that the proper glassware enhances the beer. In the absence of the “proper” glass (a tulip-shaped glass for most strong winter brews), a wineglass works just fine. Though some lovely Belgian holiday brews usually show up at this time of year — many packaged in Champagnestyle bottles and sealed



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with corks and cages — there’s nothing better than the freshness of the abundant West Coast brews that we have access to. Hopworks Abominable Ale from Portland, Oregon, is a perfect example of a deliciously malty winter warmer. It pours a gorgeous chestnut-brown colour, has rich caramel and dried-fruit aromas and has a slight sweetness, caramel and brown-sugar notes mingling with some citrus hop notes. At 7 per cent ABV, it’s pleasantly strong but not boozy. SPIKED WITH SPICES Closer to home, there are numerous B.C. brews that have become part of my own holiday traditions. Vancouver Island Brewing’s Hermannator Ice Bock is a strong dark German-style beer that gets some of its strength (9.5 per cent) from freeze-distilling, which concentrates both the alcohol content and flavours. This unique brew (the style is unusual outside of Germany) tastes of figs, dates and rich, dark fruits, with virtually no bitterness. It’s like a fine port. The cheeky Naughty and Spiced Porter from Russell Brewing is made with cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg and tastes strongly of gingerbread, raisins, coconut and baking spices. Similarly spiked with holiday spices is Howe Sound’s popular Father John’s Winter Ale. Most breweries, in fact, release some strong style of beer at this time of year — Russian imperial stout, CARAMEL, barley wine, doppelbock, TOFFEE MALT, Abbey-style ale — VANILLA ... intended for sipping on IT’S LIKE A a cold winter evening. CHRISTMAS If higher ABV beers COOKIE IN ­ aren’t your thing, A GLASS. Granville Island Brewing’s Lions Winter Ale offers pleasant caramel and toffee malt notes complemented by a delectable addition of vanilla. It’s like a Christmas cookie in a glass, and it’s only 5.5 per cent.

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CRAFT FOR THE COLD SEASON The craft-brewing revolution has, in fact, brought many new flavours to the table — both literally and figuratively. Holiday releases, with their complexity and robustness, are perfect for appreciating the level of sophistication craft beer is capable of. They’re the kind of beers you’ll look forward to enjoying when winter arrives every year. :: YAM MAGAZINE


L I V ING SM A RT By Athena McKenzie

BEDROOM BLISS Luxurious fabrics and sleek accents elevate your sleeping quarters to a modern retreat.


f nothing sounds better to you in the winter than relaxing in the quiet beauty of your boudoir, then it’s time to transform that room into a space inviting enough to hibernate in until spring. The key to achieving that covetable look seen in many sumptuous hotel rooms is to introduce touches of texture — from a tufted headboard to soft linens to a shag rug and fur throw. Reduce clutter by rethinking your nightstand: try a floor lamp and keep essentials in an elegant desk. Or go for floating shelves. Using a neutral palette, like black and white, allows an easy transition once the weather warms, when you can add seasonal pops of colour in your pillows and throws.

Use striking wallpaper to create a statement wall to anchor your bed. Hints of metallic and gloss on décor accessories will complement the textural elements.






1 Zuo Relic Mirror (Monarch Furnishings, $569) 2 Glucksteinhome Rhodes sheet set (Hudson’s Bay, $95 to $170) 3 Rasch Gentle Elegance 2016 wallpaper (line carried by, price upon request) 4 Jaipur Luxe cushion ($105 to $135), Designer’s Guild Bellariva Stripe cushion ($165) and Pine Centre Faux Fur Pillow ($66), all Bespoke Design; 5 Elite Blacksmith floor lamp (Parc Modern, $499) 6 Nuevo Living Linus floor lamp (Parc Modern, $249) 7 Shiny rug (Studio Y Design, $1,249) 8 Athena ottoman (Max Furniture, starts at $1,195) 9 ALEK upholstered bed (Luxe Home Interiors, $1,998 for queen-sized) 10 Kartell Louis Ghost armchair (Gabriel Ross, $522) 11 Silver Fox faux-fur throw (Urban Barn, $129)


9 5 8


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Passionate about getting a good night’s sleep? The right mattress makes all the difference. A natural latex mattress encased in organic cotton doesn’t contain the chemicals, such as flame retardants, found in many traditional mattresses. Not only does natural latex foam promote deeper, longer sleep, it helps relieve some pain conditions. These mattresses — like those by Savvy Rest at Resthouse in Duncan — often last two decades or longer, and because they lack chemical treatments, they can eventually be recycled for use in new products.

I N P E R SO N By David Lennam


YAM spends a loungey evening with Stephen White, the man who has helped ignite Victoria’s passion for all things dance.


e’re at Clive’s Classic Lounge, and I let Stephen White choose the bottle. He orders Campo Viejo. I am a vino philistine, so I’ve never heard of it. “From Rioja,” White tells me. “Where?” White spells it out, talks about the variety of grape and the climate of the region in Spain and why it’s so famous. I wait until he’s not looking to take a photo of the label so I can buy it next time. The executive producer of Dance Victoria for the past 15 years — which he’s grown into the third-largest dance presentation series in Canada — knows as much about wine as about dance. Plenty of both. Much of it from travelling to where the temps leve meets the tempranillo. The 58-year-old and his partner in life and business, Bill Hamar, jet off several times a year with a gaggle of local dance patrons to culturally fertile lands where wine and dance explicably mix. They’ve logged 23 trips to Europe, South America and New York, seen the best dance, drunk the best wine and advanced the burgeoning reputation of Dance Victoria as its own moveable feast. “Stephen has been so successful that the Canada Council touts Dance Victoria as the development model for dance companies in this country,” says Bob Milne, Victoria lawyer, arts advocate and former Dance Victoria board chair. Under White, Dance Victoria has presented the widest spectrum of dance — from classical ballets by Royal Winnipeg and the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, to heavyweight modern dance masters like Alvin Ailey and Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, to the cutting edge of Rubberbanddance and Ballet Boyz. THE PLOT TWIST But White watched it all fall apart a year ago. Almost. A move by some Dance


Victoria board members, and a feeling from the then-board chair that the brand needed to be refreshed, started to topple a line of wretched dominoes. There was push and shove and accusations. Suddenly, unceremoniously, White was tossed out. “Anxiety lived in the pit of my stomach for three or four months. When it all happened and the board would not be renewing my contract, it felt like a death in the family.” The most valuable takeaway from the messy ordeal was that White learned how much love is out there for him. The arts community rallied. More than 180 supporters showed up at 5 p.m. on the Friday of the August long weekend, in a room pulsating with energy, to demand White be reinstated.

“AN INDICATION, EARLY ON, THAT I WAS MORE OF A PRODUCER THAN A PERFORMER WAS THAT ­ I HAD NUMBERED SEATS ­ IN MY PARENTS’ GARAGE.” “That was pretty awesome. Humbling, actually,” says White. “It restored my confidence and assured me that what we’re doing at Dance Victoria is appreciated.” White emerged from the darkness with a new board, a renewed confidence and a company that rebounded to post its strongest season. Subscriptions up 20 per cent, houses full, record sponsors. “I’ll admit I was very emotional through the whole thing,” White says. “The gig is something I really love and have invested a lot in — not just money, but ideas and programs ...”


“I learned a lot,” says White, starting with a need to pay more attention to his management style. “In the past, I loved the work and my colleagues so much that I tended to approach everything as if we were a big family, and that if an issue ever came up, we’d get through it. Now, I’d say, I’m more of a manager. I still love the people, but I set the agenda.” A MAN FOR ALL REASONS “I’ve always thought of him as being the unelected arts mayor of Victoria,” says an old pal, the writer Robert Moyes. White has been an actor and director, but his forte has always been as impresario, a discovery made when he was a kid in Windsor, performing for neighbours in the family garage. “An indication, early on, that I was more of a producer than a performer was that I had numbered seats in my parents’ garage,” he recalls. He acted in high school, did a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting at the University of Windsor and hustled at auditions in Toronto. But it wasn’t until he moved West, first to take postgrad work at UBC in directing, then at UVic, which he never ended up completing, that he chased down his muse and started working. There was fun. In 1984, White teamed with Mark Leiren-Young and Jim Leard to start a hugely popular live, improvised soap opera called Beacon Hill. His comedy troupe, The 5 White Guys, followed. And there were jobs: as Glynis Leyshon’s associate at the Belfry, as a sessional teaching playwriting at UVic, four years producing the Fringe Festival, managing festivals for the City of Victoria, doing promotions for the CBC and for arts groups coming to town. They all overlapped and were supplemented by 15 years waiting tables at Pagliacci’s. Throughout it, Moyes has found White to



“It’s obvious. Romeo. I know you’re thinking ‘typecasting,’ because I’d be a natural.”

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be an intellectually curious and thoughtful companion. “He doesn’t have any obvious ideology and structure he’s beholden to.” FINDING HIS RHYTHM After taking over from Doug Durand, White ran Dance Victoria from his basement on a $30,000 budget. Today that’s $1.5 million and includes a huge studio facility where they lease studio space to local dance groups, commission C dances, offer residencies to companies, M create festivals like Dance Days and give tens of thousands of dollars each year to Y Canadian dance artists. And they bring inCM the world’s best performers. MY And though he never intended to have a career in dance, not even when ballet wasCY part of the curriculum at theatre school — CMY “It was horrifying; I’m just not naturally coordinated; I’m too cerebral.” — White isK constantly learning about the art form. “I still see as much dance, read about dance and talk about dance as any one person can.” SO ... ABOUT THAT WINE Dance and fine wine. White loves them both, but he’s no oenophile. Still, he and Bill favour a good bottle. They’ve got nearly 300 of them, less rare vintages as they are rare memories. “It’s not a trophy wine cellar,” explains White. “Bill and I kind of buy wine based on experiences we’ve had visiting different wine regions, so they’re more like souvenir items. We pull them out for a Sunday evening dinner and we’ll reminisce about that trip.” “He’s a self-admitted romantic about the wine,” says Moyes, who has joined White every week for more than a decade — and some 500 bottles of wine — to solve the problems of the world and jot down tasting notes. While their wine club began as a collaboration on a play about Samuel Johnson, the project was eventually scrapped. The wine continued. “The only document that came out of it is three volumes of wine notes,” laughs Moyes. Like his knowledge of wine, White’s growing literacy of the dance world could produce its own volumes, which would probably explain why Victorians are getting such a superb tutelage in the art. “Seven years ago I used to be a lot more concerned about not pushing the core audience too far,” says White. “I think what’s shifted for me as I’ve become more educated and exposed to a wider range of activity, certainly in the Western world, is just to ensure the quality is at the highest standard.” ::

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Giving by Kerry Slavens

During this holiday season of giving, YAM talks to some very inspirational people — including, yes, a real-life genie — who are passionate about paying it forward. We also discover why the spirit of giving benefits the giver just as much as the recipient.


ADOPT ME! Born with a genetic disorder that has meant years of intensive medical treatment, Maya understands well the power of helping others. Here, she poses with 10-year-old Toby, an affectionate German Shepherd who was adopted through Broken Promises Rescue five years ago, but unfortunately Toby’s owner recently died. Toby is looking for a loving home that will welcome a well-behaved furry friend.




or Maya’s 10th birthday party, she for the next person in line at the coffee shop, didn’t want a backyard bouncy giving a gift or offering a sincere compliment, castle, a laser tag party or girl-spa giving tends to inspire the recipients of get together. Instead, she invited her that thoughtfulness to pass it on and pay it friends to join her for a party at the Victoria forward. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for THE SCIENCE OF GIVING Animals (SPCA). Instead of presents, she Increasing, we are learning that giving is asked her friends to donate to the animals. not just an action that benefits others, it’s a “She wishes that all animals find a home,” powerful form of self-care, both emotionally says Maya’s dad Jeffrey. “She’s happy to see and physically. The adage: ‘Tis better to give that these animals, often coming from a bad than to receive’ is scientifically proven. situation, are treated so well during this Heidi Sherwood has long studied the transition.” connection between the body, mind and Maya understands the power of giving more spirit as it relates to health. Not only is she than most people, in part because she has seen the owner of Sapphire Day Spa, she is a the effects of it in her own life. At age five, she certified ayurvedic practitioner (Examining was diagnosed with Mucopolysaccharidosis Board of Natural Medicine Practitioners) Type 1 (MPS 1), a lysosomal storage disorder. and a member of the Academic Advisory And she has experienced firsthand the Board for the Holistic Nutrition program at generosity of people who give to charities like Pacific Rim College. The Canadian MPS Society and the Make a “Many studies,” Heidi says, “have Wish Foundation which last year sponsored a determined that giving, in fact, benefits trip for Maya and her family to Hawaii. the givers with a number of health benefits Because Maya lacks but also, importantly a particular enzyme increases happiness. HAPPINESS IS ­ necessary for normal is something cell degradation and NOT SOMETHING THAT There valuable to take away recycling, substances WE CAN COLLECT BUT here.” Studies on the store throughout emotional and physical SOMETHING THAT WE her body, causing benefits of giving GAIN THROUGH ­ progressive damage to include: her heart, respiratory AN ACTIVITY.” • In 2015, the journal system, bones, joints, BMC Public Health — Heidi Sherwood, Sapphire Day Spa vision, and hearing. published a review Seeing Maya, it’s of 40 studies on the difficult to tell she’s not just a healthy young effect of volunteering on general health and girl, but the disease means she can’t lift happiness. The results show volunteering her arms above her head due to her stiff not only improves life satisfaction and joints and she has to avoid contact sports well being, it’s also linked with decreased and trampolines. Thankfully, an enzyme depression levels. replacement therapy (ERT) has been • A 2015 study sponsored by UBC showed developed that, when infused weekly, halts evidence that people who give are happier much of the progression of the disease. than those who don’t. In the study, donating At age 10, Maya has spent more time in as little as $5 helped people feel better. hospital than most of us ever will. Her time in • A 2006 study by Rachel Piferi of Johns hospital has involved tests and more tests, a Hopkins University and Kathleen Lawler surgery, plus Enzyme Replacement Therapy of the University of Tennessee showed that (ERT). people who provided social support to others While it would be understandable if Maya experienced lower blood pressure than those became self-focused because of all of the who did not demonstrate support for others. medical attention she receives; in fact, she has only become more giving, says her dad. A CALLING An inspiration for Maya has been many of Scientists may debate why humans feel the nurses who have provided care to her over the need to be altruistic, but Pamela Saddler the years, giving more of themselves than the of Broken Promises Rescue doesn’t talk of job required. the science of giving. She simply describes “They spend time getting to know me,” she what she does as a calling. “Growing up, I says. “They understand what I like and need was always bringing home strays,” Pamela to make treatments comfortable.” says. “My mom is a huge animal lover so I Maybe, says Maya, one day she will also inherited that.” become a nurse and pass on the care she has Through Broken Promises, a Vancouver received. And that’s just one of the positive Island animal rescue organization, Pamela effects of giving. Whether we are donating and co-director Kathleen Davis, and other money, volunteering time, buying a drink volunteers, help pets — from dogs and cats to

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chickens and rabbits — in the shelter system who are less adoptable due to age, colour, illness or other reasons. They also work to raise awareness of animal suffering. Despite long hours, hard work and sometimes heartbreaking stories, Pamela says she gains far more from Broken Promises than she gives. What sustains her are the stories, like that of Penny, a once-feral dog who refused to let anyone touch her, to the point where euthanization was considered. Broken Promises was able to work with Penny to overcome her fears and find her a loving home. For Pamela, giving her time and energy to the animals isn’t an option. It’s a necessity. “How do you stop? There are hundreds of them, and it’s so rewarding to take them and give them the care and love they need.” Broken Promises spends $10,000 a month on veterinary care alone. The need is great, but Pamela remains passionate. “For me, it just feels like what I’m supposed to do. Some days I think ‘I just can’t do it’ — then I look at the photos and I know I have to continue.” IT WORKS BOTH WAYS In a society enamoured with stories of sacrifice, we may be schooled to believe that our reasons for helping others should be purely selfless. But it’s hard to deny that giving feels good. “It is OK to benefit from giving to another; indeed, we all should,” says Heidi. “It connects us with the pure intention of providing for another. The key is to be mindful and present to the needs of others in order to give them that which will truly provide benefit and promote their own well-being.” Research shows we are biologically wired to feel good when we give to others. In 2006, researchers from the National Institute of Health studied the MRIs of people who donated to various charities. They found that giving stimulates the brain’s reward centre — releasing endorphins and leading to a “high.” Like any high, this one is also addictive. “I always feel like I’m selfish for what I’m doing,” says Joshua Dawson, founder of the I Am Genie Foundation. “To be honest,” he adds, “I’m doing it for myself more than anyone because of the way it makes me feel.” Five years ago, after watching his 53-yearold father die of cancer, Joshua left his home in Montreal and took to the road in an RV. The adventure was the beginning of a wishgranting odyssey that has taken Joshua, his wife Ingrid Thornhill and their children from Montreal to Miami, Miami to L.A. and L.A. to Vancouver, with about 40 stops in between. Soon after the journey began, Joshua and his wife launched their foundation. The concept behind I Am Genie is simple: Joshua grants wishes to people who are fighting

PAYING IT FORWARD There are many people and organizations requiring assistance this holiday season — and all year round. Your act of kindness can be as simple as buying a hot chocolate on a cold day for someone who is homeless or ensuring an elderly neighbour isn’t alone for the holiday dinner. It could be buying a gift for a child in need or delivering a bag of food to the food bank. Or maybe you want to volunteer your time. If you want to help and aren’t sure where to begin, start by contacting an organization whose work you feel passionate about and asking how you can help and what they need. If you have been inspired by the stories of Maya, Pamela and Joshua, here are the websites of the organizations to which they belong: The Canadian MPS Society Broken Promises Rescue I Am Genie Foundation

cancer. Wishes range from meeting settling in Victoria. An I celebrities to skydiving to spa days Am Genie reality show is to money to assist with their health in planning. needs. THE SPIRIT THAT Dressed as an “old-school” blue SPREADS Genie in a latex mask designed A study by Nicholas by a special-effects expert, Joshua Christakis of Harvard certainly turns heads — and makes and James Fowler of the things happen. I Am Genie has University of California, granted hundreds of wishes, worth published in 2010 in more than $1 million. the Proceedings of the Joshua says doing this makes National Academy of him feel connected to his father. Science, reveals that an On his journey, he navigates by act of generosity by one intuition. “I definitely feel led When Joshua Dawson of I Am Genie person inspires those in this — and sometimes I feel dons his mask, he embodies the who witness the act pushed,” he laughs. spirit of giving. His foundation has to behave generously It’s a very different life than granted hundreds of wishes. in the future. This he led prior to his father’s death. generosity spreads from person to person — by Then, he was an entrepreneur and investment three degrees — influencing dozens and even advisor who sold his first business at age 30. hundreds of others, both friends and strangers. “I was egotistical,” he says, “a different person. And so we come back to the story of 10-yearI’d never thought about death but to watch your old Maya, who holds her birthday party at the father die, it’s traumatic. I remember wondering SPCA and thinks of becoming a nurse one day. ‘what is my purpose?’ then feeling his spirit go And Pamela, who devotes her life to helping through me. From that point, changing my life animals who need loving homes. And a blue was not an option. I had to do it.” genie who grants wishes. On October 10, 2015, I Am Genie welcomed Each one of them touches the lives of Deepak Chopra to Victoria for a Wishes others in an ever-widening circle. What starts Fulfilled event. Opening the event, Joshua with one becomes many. The spirit of giving announced that after five years of living without continues. :: a permanent home, he and his family have are



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Whether you’re attending a sophisticated sit-down dinner or a carefree brunch, or spending a few days as an overnight guest, chances are high you’ll find yourself looking for a host gift this holiday season. Why not distinguish yourself with one of these unique offerings? By Athena McKenzie

g n i g n i r B the

cast iron teapot in a festive hue can be used to serve tea after the meal and then enjoyed for years to come. Silk Road, $130


T his cake stand

— made from the wood of a Linden tree — is a stunning offering, with or without the dessert. Available from, and at the Nöel Market, November 21, in North Saanich, $120


C olourful wine stoppers come in all sorts of interesting designs and can be used in a variety of kitchen bottles. VQA Wine Shop at The Shops at Mattick’s Farm, $10 to $13

Tea towels in luxurious fabrics and rich colours are that rare gift that is both indulgent and practical. The Tuscan Kitchen, $24 each






G ourmet sea salt gets a gifting upgrade

Keep an assortment of these gifty items in your linen closet — then you’ll always be prepared when you get a lastminute invitation.

when presented with a striking salt box. Whisk (Victoria Public Market) Epicurean Salt Box, $56; Vancouver Island Salt Co. Sea Salt, $6 each

A dapted from a traditional basket-making technique, these bowls and plates are made from recycled magazines by artisans in Vietnam, so you’re also gifting a story. Global Village Store, $8 to $12


Perfect for er him OR h

fancy soap and lotion set like the Welcome Home Hands cleansing gel and lotion makes a nice addition to the kitchen or powder room. L’Occitane en Provence, $25 (gel), $32 (lotion)

V intage-inspired milk bottle candles from Salt Spring Island Candle Co. come in an array of warming, seasonal scents. Migration, $25 each

B ring flowers in a vase so your host doesn’t have to stop meal preparations or socializing to put the arrangement in water. Poppies Floral Art, price upon request.



handmade cheeseboard from Love My Local fits any coastal kitchen, especially if it’s in the shape of the Island. Available at Migration, $88

Comes in tty its own pre package!

If you’re looking to bring food or dessert for the meal, check with your host first. Otherwise you risk putting your host on the spot and upsetting the menu.

C hances are good your hosts will want to save, not share, these Circle Canning preserves from chefs Paige Robinson and David Mincey, so best get some for your own pantry as well. Email for Christmas markets

I mpress a foodie with a local luxury:

Venturi Schulze’s 100% estate-grown balsamic vinegar, produced using ancient methods and presented in an ornate hand-painted bottle. Venturi Schulze, $71

All I want for Christmas …

Bette, Peninsula at Norgarden Resident

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M ake an attractive and appetizing contribution to your host’s home bar with an artisanal local spirit, such as Sheringham’s vodka or white whisky. Find retailers at In good Spirits

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25%OFF C onsider a unique item that pairs function and design, like these concrete coasters from local artisan Cold Gold. Out of Hand Artisan Fair, November 27 to 29 at the Crystal Garden, and, $20


A n eye-catching crystal piece makes for an elegant present — fill with a confection for added appeal. The Ladybug Boutique at The Shops at Mattick’s Farm, $45



D eliver the scent

of the season in a whimsical vessel with the Thymes Frasier Fir Pinecone candle. The Country Gift at The Shops at Mattick’s Farm, $46

Give with

a favourite

bottle of vino.

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C reated by metalworkers in India for a Fair Trade society, this cheese serving set features four silver-plated and mother of pearl utensils in a silk box. Ten Thousand Villages, $84

For the s host who ha everything

For the true oenophile, give an Eisch Sensis glass, which helps enhance the wine’s flavour, and a wineglass writer. Penna & Co., $55 (glass) and $14 (wine writers, pack of three)

6’ Vintage Christmas Tree 28999

Battery Operated Wooden LED Stars from 3699

Camp Axe 1799

Vintage Espresso Machine 74999

Decor-Rest Chairs from 79999

Over a dozen designer throws from 2999 ‘The Dude’ 27999

Onesies from 2999

Regency Hampton Cast Iron Wood Stove 2,899 Rugs from 19999




Not all invitations require a host gift. Sometimes, all you need to do is follow up with a thank-you card. If you do bring a gift, make it sincere, thoughtful and personal.

W hile this is a natural gift for your brunch host, consider this crowd-pleaser for any occasion. Enrico’s Winery, $18.50, and for local retailers

G ifting bonus? Your host will want to ask you back for a cheese party when you give these Savoir Faire plates and Swissmar cheese knife. Penna & Co., $22 (plates) and $7 (knife)

Helly Hansen Made in Canada 9999

Because who doesn’ t love maple syrup?




Home Decor






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Biggest and Brightest Selection of Christmas Decor and Lights! Hunter Boots from 15999

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Photography by Jeffrey Bosdet

Arts & C raf ts

Re i m ag i n e d –

Designer Tara Hurst and her husband Michael Zary restore a 1914 character home in Oak Bay, creating an elegant tribute to the style of the era.

Victoria has many examples of Arts and Crafts-style homes, which date from the 1890s through to the 1920s. Architectural details include stained-glass windows and decorative beams, as well as builtins like this inviting window seat, which was recovered by Bespoke Design. Here, Zadie the chocolate Lab relaxes in front of the home’s original fireplace with its seasonal touches conceived by Hurst’s friend and collaborator, florist Clare Day. Above: The entranceway is given period panache with a light fixure from Schoolhouse Electric and handprinted Aranami wallpaper by Farrow & Ball.


ithin moments of viewing her future home in Oak Bay, Tara Hurst imagined hosting holiday get-togethers in the space. “One of the first things I thought was, ‘This is the perfect Christmas house,’” she says. “The dining room was so grand.” The designer and her husband, Michael Zary, had been house shopping for over a year. Coming from a loft in an older character-filled building in Chinatown, they were very specific about what they wanted, which was an Arts and Crafts-style home they could renovate themselves. Arts and Crafts homes embrace simplicity and handcrafted artistry, countering the previous excesses of Victorian architecture and the machine-driven Industrial Age. The movement inspired the Craftsman and bungalow houses popular in Victoria in the early 1900s. “When you’re looking at 100-year-old houses, you find all kinds of crazy things,” Hurst says, laughing.

Hurst calls the dining room the centre of the house. “We spend the most time here, just sitting at the table,” she says. “And whenever we have friends over, it’s where everybody ends up.” The leaded doors on the built-in cabinetry are another quintessential element of Arts and Crafts homes. The cabinetry and original woodwork were given a refresh with a coat of Wimborne White, while the walls were painted Lamp Room Gray, both by Farrow & Ball. The table, from Nest & Cradle, and the vintage Thonet chairs, from Pigeonhole Home Store, complement the room’s character.









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Once they had found their ideal house in Oak Bay, there was much work to be done. The first planned project was the lone bathroom, which they completely renovated to be true to the 1914 house’s original era. Hurst accidentally started another huge endeavour at the same time, when she began stripping wallpaper in the living room. “There were so many layers, the walls started to crumble off, so we ended up taking all the plaster and lathe down,” she says. New walls and built-ins were added, and the existing cabinetry in the dining room, with its gorgeous leaded glass doors, was given a fresh coat of paint. The stucco was also stripped away and the box beams in the ceiling painted. The original floors, with all their history and texture, have been untouched. “Aesthetically, I’ve always been drawn to telling a story. For me, with a house like this, you feel like you’re in a story,” Hurst says. “While I appreciate modernism in design and in my work, there’s something comforting and romantic about living in a home that has that feeling. When you honour the house and the history of the house, you find you can strike a balance between new and old. It can be a beautiful balance.”

To stay as true to the era as possible, Hurst found a supplier in Tennessee who shipped an expertly restored 1920s sink and tub. The look is completed by replica fixtures from Kingston Brass and a brass medicine cabinet from Restoration Hardware.

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The sleigh bed from Restoration Hardware was the first piece of furniture Hurst purchased for the new home. With an eye to the Arts and Crafts era, new built-in cupboards were added.






The traditional panelled doors found throughout the home are true to the original era. While Hurst has painted the cupboards and replaced the refrigerator, a kitchen renovation is the next big project.

Always a good sign.


Marble & Granite for Bathrooms and Kitchens

Florals: Clare Day Flowers & Tara Hurst Bathroom renovation: Jesse Minielly of JTA Construction Ltd. Bedroom cupboard doors and library built-ins: Woodshop 506 Light fixtures and switches: Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

2890 Allenby Road, Duncan BC Duncan 250.746.7257 Victoria 250.384.9717 1.877.746.7257 |



Secrets in the

STONE YAM visits Andreas Kunert and Naomi Zettl of Ancient Art of Stone, internationally acclaimed artists who take their inspiration directly from nature to create extraordinary works from an ancient, timeless material. By Adrienne Dyer





Andreas Kunert of Ancient Art of Stone with a custom mosaic panel featuring carved limestone, beach pebbles and semi-precious pebbles, ammonites and rare crystal balls.

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tone is the most ancient material on the planet, predating even the first living cells. A single piece of sandstone, plucked from a riverbed, tells an evolutionary story millions of years old — a geological record of the weather, floods, fire and all the living things that came and went before we humans even entered the picture. When used as a medium for art, especially in the hands of artists with an intuition for the secrets locked within, stone takes on a magical quality, like a portal into the ancient past. Ancient Art of Stone owners Andreas Kunert and Naomi Zettl are globally known as artists who translate these ancient stories of stones into extraordinary pieces that give new meaning to the word timeless. From megalithic structures like “The Family Circle” outside


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“Love Story,” a mosaic wall commissioned by the Town of View Royal, features sweeping rows of rose quartz and aventurine with a central heart stone from Saskatchewan. Below: A stone entranceway, created for an office, frames the door in chiselled granite and swirls of natural stone.

from around the world, creating fireplaces, walls and garden structures into which he incorporated both standing stones, and intricate mosaics using stones and pebbles of every shape, size, type and colour. Remarkably, he uses no tools to measure or calculate his trademark swirls, which are, in fact, mathematically correct Fibonacci spirals. Although this phenomenal ability has been studied by a Harvard scholar specializing in mathematics in art, Kunert’s focus is always on creating the visions inspired by the stones.

“I can feel in my hands where each stone should go,” he says. Rarely does he set a stone wrong. ENTER THE SOULMATE Kunert’s art took on a more spiritual dimension after he and Zettl were introduced by a mutual friend in 2009. Kunert says Zettl added an essential element that had always been missing from his work: “The understanding of the deeper invisible connection to the material I was so drawn to work with.” Zettl’s unique background as both an

the Nanaimo Ice Centre to intricately whorled mosaic walls, fireplaces and panels comprised of thousands of stones carefully selected and set in place, Kunert and Zettl are prolific artists with a collaborative creative vision that hasn’t yet met its limit. WHEN A ROCK BECOMES A STONE Kunert, a master stone mosaicist, has spent the past 20 years working with stone, first in the quarrying business, then building megalithic stone structures and intricate masterpieces of mosaic art. He says people often ask: When does a rock become a stone? “Rocks are all over the place,” he explains. “When you pick one up and fall in love with it, that’s when it becomes a stone.” His own love affair with stone began in a childhood spent near the Rock of Ages granite quarry in Vermont. Later, as an apprentice stonemason, he discovered his affinity for knowing exactly which stone should be placed where in every project. A deep passion blossomed: he began to travel the world, searching for and collecting stones from places like the Grand Canyon and the Sahara Desert. Forever in search of a greater diversity of slabs, stones and pebbles for his creations, he founded his own quarry in Nanaimo with just a pry bar and a pickup truck. Eventually, Kunert began to translate giant slabs of rock into works of art that somehow had the power to stir the souls of his clients. “I discovered the effect standing stones have on people when clients came to the quarry one day wanting a pond surrounded by standing stones,” says Kunert. “When it came time to place the stones, I just knew exactly where they should be. And when I walked through those stones, I felt something. The stones were a portal; you could tell.” Soon, Kunert was receiving commissions

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artist — she is a sculptor and painter — and a healer opened the door to a new approach for their art and business. “Naomi has a wonderful ability to get behind the veil of people — to discover who they truly are,” Kunert says. Zettl, whose extensive training as a healer includes a seven-year apprenticeship with Cree Elders in her native Saskatchewan, says that in order to create a finished product clients can truly connect with, it’s important to start with a good understanding of the client’s personality. Each project begins with a conversation, not just about dimensions, aesthetics and cost estimates, but about the clients themselves. Zettl and Kunert say they incorporate that understanding into commissioned works so that the finished product resonates deeply with the client. “All of creation has spirit; everything has energy. Our life purpose is to discover our part, our connection to that spirit,” says Zettl, whose training relates naturally to her work with Kunert since, she says, stones of all types have specific healing properties. She incorporates her sculpting techniques as well as her use of fossils, crystals, precious and semi-precious stones like quartz, amethyst and sapphire into their collaborative pieces, like the 650foot mosaic wall in View Royal, which features sweeping rows of rose quartz and aventurine with a central heart stone Zettl brought with her from Saskatchewan. That project, entitled “Love Story,” was the first collaborative commission for Zettl and Kunert. It tells their story: how they met and came together in love and art. The three swirls represent the couple, cradling their

newborn son between them. It depicts their two complex yet complementary personalities coming together as naturally as the stones in the piece itself — soulmates in life and art. The deep emotional connection they feel for “Love Story” is exactly what they strive to create for every one of their clients. “In our work, each stone has significance,” says Zettl. “At the end of every project, we sit down with people to talk about the process and why we were drawn to the particular stones we chose for them.” Whether they’re asked to build a megalithic structure in a secret garden or an intricate fireplace incorporating fossils and the rarest of stones, Zettl and Kunert say they hope to create pieces that speak to their clients’ souls. With increasingly complex new projects like their stone kitchen islands and bars featuring secret drawers and elements of steel, this couple’s collaborative abilities are in high demand all over the world. They are always collecting, searching the world for unusual and rare specimens to include in their works and focusing on creating works of art designed and built to last forever. For Zettl and Kunert, their work is more than a craft — it’s a philosophy of living. Working in sync, they inspire each other and meld their creative forces into pieces that express our deep and inherent connection to the natural world — to our past and to our future. ::

Anchored within slabs of basalt and Ocean Pearl, this fireplace — a private commission called “Harmonic Revelation” — features flowing water-worn and semi-precious stones, with an illuminated crystal ball at its centre, which “emanates inspiration.”

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Three of Victoria’s favourite chefs share their favourite flavour traditions of the holiday season. For one of them, it’s not about the turkey but a simple farmfresh boiled egg!


CHEFS DISH ON THEIR HOLIDAY TRADITIONS Left to right: Castro Boateng, Heather Cunliffe, Stephan Drolet

By Mike Wicks



• 1/2 cup olive oil

• 1 lb Brussels sprouts

• 1/4 cup water

• 1 large apple

• 4 black mission figs, soaked for at least 2 hours

• 1/2 cup red onion, chopped

• 1/4 cup fig soak water • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar • 1/4 cup maple syrup • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast • 2 cloves garlic • 1 tsp salt • 1/2 tsp pepper • 1/2 tsp cumin Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

• 1 bunch kale • 1/2 cup pecans • 1/2 cup fig balsamic dressing • 2 tbsp olive oil Toast pecans in a dry pan over low heat; cool and set aside. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Remove outer leaves from Brussels sprouts and cut in half. Submerge Brussels sprouts in boiling water for 10 seconds and immediately place in ice water. Once cold, drain and set aside. Cut apple into small chunks. Remove thick stems of kale and chop into small strips. Heat olive oil in a skillet and sauté onions and apples briefly. Add Brussels sprouts and continue to sauté until apples begin to turn translucent. Add kale and 1/2 cup of dressing and sauté until kale is wilted. Add more dressing to taste. Serve warm, topped with toasted pecans.

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using pecans. “We soaked the pecans with bacon flavours such as smoked paprika — kind of sweet — marinated them and then dehydrated them so they turned out crunchy like bacon. They were really good.” Heather is keen on winter salads and makes a warm kale salad to go with her mom’s holiday meal. “I lightly sauté the kale and deglaze the pan with some kind of dressing such as maple mustard and add some toasted pecans and pear or Mandarin oranges.” The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without cake, and Heather makes a raw fruit cake that sounds delicious. “There’s no flour or dairy, just a lot of dried fruit.” Making the fruit cake involves foodprocessing almonds and dates and stuff to a gooey, doughy consistency that will hold the rest of the fruits together. Heather’s mom, Rineke, is from the Netherlands, so Heather’s Dutch heritage comes to the forefront during the holidays. “I’m really quite a sucker for Dutch cookies and stroopwafels [a waffle made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramellike or treacle syrup filling] and gingery cookies that have animals and people imprinted on them, called speculoos.” Chocolate is a must, and her oma [grandmother] still gives her a traditional Sinterklaas Eve [Santa Claus Eve] present of a dark Dutch chocolate letter — an H, for Heather.

Everything about it is comfortable. Even the price. It’s one thing to be amazed by the level of comfort in a car, it’s another to be pleasantly surprised by the price.


eather Cunliffe is known for her and her brother’s (Joe Cunliffe) two vegetarian restaurants: Café Bliss, which serves predominantly raw food, and Be Love, focused on sustainable organic cuisine. “We don’t claim to be vegan,” Heather points out. “My values are more around whole food and being as close to the land as possible.” Surprisingly, when asked about the holiday season, Heather says she doesn’t usually make Christmas dinner. “My mom or dad makes a classic turkey dinner.” Although at one time she was eating a raw vegan diet, nowadays she will eat a little meat but is mindful of where it comes from and what the animal has been fed. “So it’s more about the quality of the food rather than what it is,” she says. That’s not to say she doesn’t contribute her culinary skills during festive meals. “I make a very good miso gravy and raw cranberry sauce. I blend up cranberries and orange zest with agar-agar [a vegetarian gelatine substitute produced from seaweed]. It turns a really bright red, darker than it normally is.” Heather is a fan of Brussels sprouts (as are all our chefs). “I think they’re often prepared badly, which is why some people don’t like them. I roast them just with oil and salt, or I blanch and sauté them with garlic so they’re crispy on the outside, squishy on the inside.” Last year Heather made “bacon” bits

The 2015 Passat.

Chef Heather Cunliffe,­ Café Bliss and Be Love

61 2015-09-17 8:44 AM


HEATHER’S RAW FRUIT CAKE Makes an 8-inch square pan • 1 1/2 cups almonds In a food processor, process almonds to fine and set aside in a bowl. • 3/4 cup pitted dates

• 1/2 tsp nutmeg

• 3/4 cup coconut oil

• 1/4 tsp clove powder

• 1/4 cup maple syrup

• 1/4 tsp vanilla powder

• 2 tbsp almond milk or water

• 1/4 tsp salt

• 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon Place above ingredients in food processor and process to a creamy consistency. Add ground almonds and process to combine. Place in a mixing bowl. • 3/4 cup pecans • 1/2 cup walnuts • 1/2 cup hazelnuts Chop nuts into small pieces and add to bowl with mixture. • 1 cup shredded coconut • 3/4 cup raisins • 3/4 cup dried cranberries • 1/2 cup goji berries • 1/2 cup dried blueberries or currants • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots or figs Place dried fruit in bowl with mixture and mix to combine. Press into an 8-inch square pan and place in the fridge to set.



Castro Boateng, ­ Executive Chef

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astro Boateng left Ghana when he was nine and grew up in Toronto. His career has taken him to Scotland, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, before moving to Canada and settling in Banff, and later Victoria. Having an English-born wife, Charlotte, who also spent time in the Caribbean, means the holiday season is a charming mishmash of cooking styles and traditions that speak to culture, family and travels. Africans typically don’t have big breakfasts, says Castro, “but on Christmas Day you would wake up to a nice, farm-fresh boiled egg — that was special. It was about letting people know about fertility … about how precious life is.” Where Castro grew up, the Christmasmorning egg topped toys. “I tell my kids about this and they look at me like I’m crazy, but Kaeden, our eldest, likes the egg on Christmas morning.” Castro recalls his mom making a mackerel stew with spinach. “It’s more dense than a stew, really … more of a paste. It has chillies, nutmeg, lots of ginger … I’m working hard to make it as good as she does.” He says over the holiday season his family likes to cook African food. “Africans always buy food that takes a long time to cook; we don’t buy tenderloins. A lot has to do with economics, but it also has to with it [the cheaper cuts] tasting better. My mom will still argue a nice chunk of oxtail will taste better than beef tenderloin. I kind of agree with her.” In fact, a favourite Christmas dish for the Boatengs is braised oxtail. “We marinate it in allspice, ginger, cinnamon, some heat, garlic and rosemary for a day or two, then sear the meat, add it back to the marinade with parsnips, carrots, rutabaga, tomatoes — and slow-braise it until it falls off the bone. Meat that takes longer to cook will always taste better, and the smell of it cooking all day makes you hungrier.” Although the Boatengs’ favourite holiday beverage is eggnog with rum and nutmeg, Castro will often make a Caribbean-style carrot-and-Guinness drink, using carrot juice, stout, condensed milk, fresh grated nutmeg, fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick and perhaps a little coconut oil. Other traditions for the Boateng family including Bofroat, a dense Ghanaian donut; rum ball; Bailey’s cheesecake; and, from England, Cadbury’s Roses chocolates. Oh, and new pyjamas for everyone on Christmas Eve and Castro’s favourite gift: a special ornament each for the tree.

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CASTRO’S CARIBBEAN-STYLE CARROT-AND-GUINNESS BEVERAGE • 2 lbs peeled carrots (or 1 litre of carrot juice) • 1 cup Guinness • 1/4 cup condensed milk • 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg • 1/4 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated • 2 tbsp coconut oil (optional) Using a juicer, extract all carrot juice and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Combine the carrot juice and the remaining ingredients except the coconut oil in a blender and blend for a minute. Slowly drizzle the coconut oil to emulsify. Chill for about an hour. Shake well and serve on ice (optional).

CASTRO’S CINNAMON-SPICED CASHEW NUTS • 4 cups unsalted cashews • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey • 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon • 1 tbsp powdered ginger • 1 tsp cayenne powder • 1/4 tsp powdered cloves • Salt and pepper to taste



Preheat oven to 275°F. Bring 8 cups of water to boil. Blanch cashew nuts in salted water. Strain the water from the cashews. (Make sure all the water is evaporated.) Toss the nuts in the maple syrup and season with all the spices. Place the nuts on parchment paper on trays; roast in the oven for 1 hour or until the nuts are crisp.

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Stephan Drolet, ­ Camille’s Restaurant

• 1 medium onion, roughly chopped • 2 tbsp vegetable oil • 6 large parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped • 3 apples, peeled and roughly chopped • 1/2 cup dry white wine • 6 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock • 1 cup apple juice • Salt and pepper to taste • Crumbled blue cheese (optional) In a 3-quart saucepan, sauté onions in vegetable oil on low heat, approximately 2 minutes. Add the parsnips and apples to the saucepan and continue sautéing for a few more minutes. Deglaze the saucepan with the white wine until reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper. Add the stock and simmer for 20 minutes or until parsnips are tender. Purée the soup in a blender until smooth; add apple juice to adjust the flavour and consistency.

Port Reduction • 2 cups port • 1 tbsp sugar Combine the port and sugar in a small saucepan and reduce on low heat until syrupy. Pour soup into soup bowls and drizzle with port reduction.


tephan Drolet and his wife Jamie Williams took over 26-year-old Camille’s Restaurant three years ago (he was head chef for two years prior to that). “My parents are Quebecois, and I was born in Ontario. We had FrenchCanadian traditions, and the food we would cook around the holidays used a lot of pork.” When he was growing up, the holiday season for Stephan was all about family. “My mom had 11 brothers and sisters, my father came from a family of five kids, so we were always at an uncle or aunt’s place, or they were at ours. There were always big buffets and if you ask me about the holidays, I’m going to pinpoint one dish right away — tourtière.” This iconic French-Canadian meat pie originated in Quebec and is a traditional part of Christmas. There is no set way to make it and, as Stephan says, “there are as many different recipes as there are FrenchCanadian families.” Many chefs keep their “secret” recipes to

themselves, but Stephan was happy to share his with YAM readers. Having moved away from the family back east, holiday celebrations these days are quieter affairs for Stephan, but the pork theme continues, with ham hocks served on a bed of split peas. “I roast the ham hocks [covered] at 220°F to 225°F in a little water or stock and add vegetables — onions, carrots, whatever — in the bottom to flavour the cooking liquid, basting occasionally. I uncover halfway through cooking to reduce the liquid. Near the end, I’ll baste with maple syrup with some ground spices, maybe clove, nutmeg, chilies. The hocks should be cooked to the point where the meat is just pulling off the bone.” Stephan cooks the split peas with some onions and chicken stock. “Season them and cook until they are just starting to break apart, add some herbs — rosemary, onions, a little mirepoix. They double as a starch. Cook them so they are more of a mash the

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consistency of a hummus, moist but not too moist. Then simply shred the meat on top and circle with the vegetables.” The tourtière is the star of the show though. Amazingly, it’s served with tomato ketchup. “To this day,” says Stephan, “there are probably only three things I eat with ketchup; that’s always going to be one of them.” One dish Stephan simply won’t do without during the holiday season is cretons. “This STEPHAN’S CRETONS • 450 g ground pork • 1 small sweet onion, minced • 2 garlic cloves • 1 tsp oil • 8 cups chicken stock (water can be substituted) • 1/2 tsp cloves, whole • 1/4 tsp chili flakes • 1/4 tsp nutmeg • 1/4 tsp cinnamon • 1/4 tsp thyme • 3 tbsp maple syrup • Salt and pepper to taste

easy, rustic pâté tastes of the holiday season for me,” he says. Cretons, similar to French rillettes, is basically ground pork simmered for hours and hours, says Stephan. “You let it congeal and it makes a country-style pâté. [I use] lots of wintry spices such as cloves and nutmeg — you can play with the flavours. These days I’m apt to add maple syrup and chili flakes, among other things.”

On medium heat, sweat minced onion in oil and add garlic. Sweat 1 minute more and crumble in ground pork. Stir ground pork to break it up and cover with stock. Bring to a simmer. When simmering, add dry spices and seasoning. Start with just a bit of salt, so that it doesn’t become overly salty as the stock reduces. Stir often to prevent sticking or scorching. Reduce the liquid slowly to achieve a homogeneous mix resembling oatmeal or quicksand. Add thyme leaves and maple syrup, stir and adjust seasonings to your taste. Tip mixture into a container large enough to hold the pâté in a shallow layer and allow to cool to room temperature before placing in refrigerator. (If you put it in the refrigerator too hot, the thick mixture will raise the ambient temperature of your refrigerator.) When cooled, the cretons will resemble a coarse countrystyle pâté and some fat will have settled on the top. This is normal and delicious but also easily removed if it is unwanted.

Left: “As kids,” says Stephan Drolet of Camille’s, “we would spread the cretons on simple white toast, and the great debate of whether to use prepared mustard or mayo still rages in our household.” He says you should feel free to add dried cranberries to the mayo or any other garnish you might feel inspired to try. Below: For a fresh, modern take on cretons, Stephan serves French Canadian pork pâté with green apple caramel, apple leather and sweet smoked mustard vinaigrette.

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STEPHAN’S CUMIN-AND-FENNELCURED PORK SHOULDER TOURTIÈRE • 5 kg bone-in pork shoulder • 3 to 4 parsnips • 1 fennel bulb • Salt to taste • 2 1/2 tbsp oil • 12 cups chicken stock • 2 carrots, peeled and cut to 1-inch pieces • 2 onions, cut to 1-inch pieces • 1 celery rib, cut to 1-inch pieces • 2 gallons 5% pork brine • 4 tbsp brown sugar • 2 tsp fennel seed • 1 tbsp cumin seed • 2 1/2 tsp black peppercorns • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves



To make a 5% brine, dissolve 1 cup of salt per gallon of hot water. Feel free to add spices or herbs to the brine. Stephan uses fennel fronds. If using, add cumin seeds when the brine is still warm. Allow brine to cool completely (otherwise you’re just making a bad soup) and place pork shoulder in a container, cover with brine and leave 24 hours. Remove from brine and place on a resting tray to allow excess brine to run off. Mix brown sugar, fennel, cumin and coarse ground peppercorns and rub over the entire pork shoulder. Allow to cure overnight. In a large pan, heat oil till it shimmers and sear the pork shoulder on all sides over medium-low heat. Add 1 onion and 1 carrot and celery. Sweat briefly in the pan. Remove pork shoulder and vegetables to a braising tray large enough to hold the shoulder comfortably. Pour out any oil from the pan and scrape out any darkened bits. Deglaze with chicken stock and bring to a boil. Pour stock into braising pan with the pork and mirepoix [roughly copped vegetables] and cover with aluminum foil.

Place into preheated 275°F oven and cook for 4 to 6 hours. Depending on your oven, the times could vary. You are looking for the meat to pull apart easily. Allow to rest in the braising liquid about 20 to 30 minutes when done. While it is cooking, dice the parsnip, 1 onion and fennel. Sweat lightly in a bit of oil and reserve. Remove pork shoulder from liquid and allow to cool until you can handle it. Strain braising liquid into smaller pot and reduce until thickened. Taste periodically to ensure the flavour doesn’t become too salty. Remove from heat and thicken with a little bit of cornstarch if you feel the sauce may become too salty for your taste. Season with Dijon mustard to taste. Remove bones from pork shoulder and break up the meat. Mix pork with vegetables and moisten with thickened braising liquid. Add thyme to mixture and allow to cool. Put mixture into pie shells of your choice, brush top of the pie shell with an egg wash and bake at 350°F until pie shell is cooked fully and contents are hot. ::



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TABLES Get inspired to bring that magical touch to your holiday entertaining with these festive tabletops from three of Victoria’s top designers.

By Athena McKenzie




A mix of festively formal and organic touches creates an elegant backdrop. In fashioning this sophisticated look, Lana Lounsbury and Andrea Bauer of Lana Lounsbury Interiors wanted to contrast the refinement of the elaborate candelabra and the classic white-andgold china with the informality of the fragrant cascade of scented cedar and eucalyptus that runs down the centre of the table. Linen napkins are adorned with sprigs of rosemary and “black ties,” and settings along the side of the table are enhanced by black marble cheeseboards used as chargers. Lana’s table was in a client’s home, where the project included a dining room redesign. Scented cedar and seeded eucalyptus provided by Daisy Chain Florists. Candelabra, table runner and green tumblers from Chintz & Co. Table and chairs from Restoration Hardware; cheeseboards from Pier One Imports.



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SCANDI COOL This modern minimalist table, with its nods to Scandinavian design and function, uses an unexpected colour palette to evoke the season. For event planner and designer Marika Beise of Rock Paper Square, a memorable setting is found in the details. While she didn’t use “typical” seasonal colours, she wanted to bring in the feel of snow and frost with the use of an icy blue. Punches of colour are introduced through a signature cocktail and featured food ingredients — accents of artichokes and rosemary provide texture, smell and visual interest. Candles of varying heights and styles contribute to the warm, intimate ambiance.

Even though your guests may all know each other, make the dinner feel exclusive with customized place cards, like these graphic ones created by Marika Beise of Rock Paper Square.

Shot on location at Chester Fields, Marika’s creativity is displayed on a table by Bensen. The votive candle holders, table runner, bell jar, napkins, marble cutting board and nesting bowls are from Pigeonhole Home Store; the dinnerware and glasses are available at Capital Iron. Additional décor is Marika’s own, including cutlery gifted from her oma. COSM_8871_COSM205_Yam_X1a.pdf



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By dressing up the family table in this light-filled sunroom, Ben Brannen of Bespoke Design has created a kid-friendly atmosphere that embraces the whimsical side of the holidays. Woodland creatures peek around the cheerful floral centrepiece and between the fine strand of twinkle lights. Brannen shows how everyday dishes can be used on your holiday table by pairing versatile solid-coloured plates with neutral napkins and patterned bowls, adding tone and texture to this simple setting. A hurricane glass is an easy DIY seasonal décor piece with the addition of greenery and a candle. Photographed at a client’s home, where a sunroom was added on to the kitchen, Ben’s table features seasonal florals by Thorn & Thistle. Gordon Ramsay by Royal Doulton dinnerware and Nuevo table and chairs are available through Bespoke Design. ::

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The West Coast’s


Winter Escapes By Kerry Slavens

The huge patio of the Bridge House at Point-NoPoint features a party-size hot tub surrounded by private forest.



When winter comes and you crave a relaxing escape but you still want to stay warm and cozy, B.C.’s West Coast offers rustically luxurious getaways where you can wile away the chilly days by the fire or storm-watch from your deck with a hot toddy in hand.

stars for Miss P.’s vision. The resort has been owned since 1973 by the Soderberg family, nuggle down by the fire with a book who have kept its wild spirit while indulging or take to the hot tub on your private in tasteful updates. deck while the winter surf crashes Relax: Feel like staying in? Cozy up in against the Island’s wild southwest coastline your cabin and cook in your own private at Point-No-Point. This historic resort, kitchen (don’t forget to bring supplies with located 64 kilometres from Victoria in Shirley, you). You don’t even have to leave your cabin near Sooke, is a favourite with locals because for spa treatments. Le Sooke Spa’s team of it feels remote without being too far off the professional spa practitioners will come to beaten path. you, or you can visit their new luxurious, Point-No-Point features 25 private beachcustom-built spa. Try the Raindrop Massage front cabins located on a bluff high above the with nine essential oils applied with a shoreline, perfect for storm watching. Each raindrop technique or the West Coast Hot cabin has its own personality. The rustically Rock massage for relaxing warmth. beautiful two-bedroom Grace’s Log Cabin has Explore: Hike the surrounding trails to a stone-crafted, woodseveral nearby burning fireplace and beaches and do make private hot tub with time for a visit to the views from 100 feet private Beach House above the ocean. at the easternmost For larger groups, trail, where you can the four-bedroom, find refuge from the four-bathoom Bridge weather and warm House features yourself by the fire. Japanese-style postOn sunny days, and-beam beauty. relax in Muskoka Located on its own chairs with a good hectare of forested novel or grab a pair of oceanfront, the Bridge binoculars and look House is a private, for wildlife, including luxurious retreat. eagles, harbour seals, The beauty of sea lions, otters, orcas Point-No-Point still and even a few yearhonours the vision round gray whales. of its founder, Evelyn Dine: Definitely Packham, a retired plan for at least a nurse who made it few meals in Pointher mission to return No-Point’s fabulous a clear-cut swath restaurant, where to its natural state. Chef Jason Nienaber Meander through the forested private trails Sojourners along serves up five-starsurrounding Point-No-Point. Above: The resort’s the West Coast Road worthy fresh coastal ultra-comfortable log cabins immediately put still thank their lucky you in a relaxation frame of mind. cuisine.




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All drains and sinks lead to streams, creeks or the ocean. So never flush fats, oils and grease from cooking or leftovers down your drains. Instead, they can be disposed of safely by composting in your collection program or recycling at designated depots. It’s a good feeling to know that you’re helping to keep your marine habitat clean and healthy. For more information visit Purchase any Summerhill product at any of these Metro Liquor locations and enter to win a private 4-course wine dinner for you and 3 friends at the Summerhill Sunset Bistro in Kelowna, BC.

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ocated on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Wya Point Resort is a rare place of serenity and spirit nestled amidst lush old-growth forest on exclusive Wya Beach near the town of Ucluelet. The resort is located on an old village site of the Ucluelet (Yu-klew-ith-aht) First Nation, which owns and operates this award-winning ecoresort with a true reverence for nature. Each of the nine post-and-beam lodges is built to LEED Platinum standards, perfect for healthy relaxation, and raised above the ground so as not to impact the forest floor and root systems. Each lodge has its own house post (similar to a totem pole) carved by Clifford George, a local, traditionally trained wood carver. Relax: Wya Point is more than a resort — it’s a paradise. You’ll sleep well to the scent of cedar and the sounds of the sea, wrapped in cozy down comforters. Since there is no TV or radio (there is WiFi), you can tune out anything stressful. Explore: Wya Point has 15 kilometres of coastline with five pocket beaches of both white and black sand, perfect for shoreline exploring. The resort is also within minutes of the world-famous Pacific Rim National Park. Want more activity? Take a surf class with one of the local First Nation surf instructors or drive to nearby Tofino or Ucluelet to explore these very different seaside towns. Dine: With no restaurant on site, come prepared to cook your own meals. Each of the nine lodges features a full kitchen and barbecue on the deck. If you crave a gourmet dinner out, Ucluelet’s Norwoods Restaurant works with local food artisans and farmers to serve up meals that are often described as exquisite and unforgettable. Chef Norwood’s travel experience is reflected in a menu that is as likely to feature crispy wontons of duck and morels as French-style braised lamb.

This “Tiitzkn” or Thunderbird Lodge, overlooking Ucluth Beach, is centred around a gigantic oldgrowth tree. The Thunderbird is a powerful symbol in First Nations culture, known for its intelligence. This lodge also features a Thunderbird house post carved by Clifford George.

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icture a roaring fire in a manor house with a romantic history, plushly comfortable furnishings, shelves of good books and sunlight or moonlight shining in through leaded glass panes. You have arrived at Hastings House, the perfect setting for realizing any dreams of escaping to an English-style country manor. But for this experience, you only need to go to Salt Spring Island. This five-star Relais & Chateaux seaside resort is located on 22 idyllic acres of flower and vegetable gardens, sheep pastures and lawns. Guests may choose from a variety of accommodations, including a manor house, converted farm buildings or chalets overlooking Ganges Harbour. Each of the 18 guest rooms has a luxuriously distinct decor. One of these, the Post Cottage, was the property’s first building and served as the first Hudson’s Bay trading post on Salt Spring. Relax: Unwind in your own unique suite or sip a G&T by the blazing fire in the Manor House library. Craving deeper relaxation? Book your appointment at Wellspring Spa, ranked as one of the top 100 spas in North America, located in a

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12:20 PM

WHERE TO UNWIND THIS WINTER From sea to ski, YAM picks two spas that combine spa serenity with an awe-inspiring outdoor experience. Oak Bay Beach Hotel & Boathouse Spa, Victoria

Whistler’s jewel is Scandinave, a serenely luxurious day spa fringed by a cedar-and-spruce forest and surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Scandinave’s big lure is its Scandinavian hydrotherapy baths, reputed to cleanse the body, stimulate blood circulation and release endorphins. Luxuriate in the hot baths, with snow falling around you and steam rising in the winter air, then experience invigorating waterfalls and massage the way you like it — Swedish, deep tissue or Thai. Located just two minutes from Whistler Village, Scandinave is simply blissful après-ski.








Scandinave Spa, Whistler



Few things are more satisfying than slipping into the soothingly warm mineral pools on a winter’s day at Boathouse Spa and Baths at Oak Bay Beach Hotel. Relax in the healing waters with the majesty of the Pacific Ocean just yards away. Top your mineral-bath experience with a visit to the Euro-inspired spa, where treatments include nourishing body wraps with organic seaweed and intertidal glacial clay. Finish your day by the fire in the hotel, sipping a seasonal cocktail. Winter wonder, indeed.



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charming cedar-clad barn on the property. Don’t miss the French lavender and sea salt massage. Explore: There’s an entire island to explore (don’t miss Mount Maxwell), but do take time to meander the grounds of Hastings House, including the sculpture garden where you’ll find works by local artists like Robert Bateman and Jill Louise Campbell. The town of Ganges with its tiny boutiques and seaside charm is just a 10-minute walk down the road. Dine: In the morning, enjoy fresh-brewed coffee and home-baked muffins delivered to your door as a warm up to the full English breakfast served in the dining room overlooking the sea. Return after exploring the island for afternoon tea with homebaked scones. Definitely plan for a dinner at Hastings House restaurant where Swissborn and Swiss-trained Executive Chef Marcel Kauer dazzles with a menu of local favourites like Salt Spring Island lamb, fresh halibut, venison and more. This is heaven. :: YAM MAGAZINE


J OE DANDY By David Alexander


Never fear, Joe Dandy is here to take the guesswork out of holiday dressing (no, not the turkey!). Smarten up — this is your holiday party survival guide.


WHAT TO DO WITH DRESS CODES Many hosts will specify a dress code, but if in doubt, ask. There’s nothing worse than showing up at a party and immediately standing out like a sore thumb because you are drastically under- or over-dressed. Here’s what to do with the various dress codes: Black tie or black tie optional. Wow, fancy! This means either a tuxedo or a dark suit, tie and white shirt. You can use the bow tie, cummerbund or pocket square for a bit of colour if you want to stand out. Business formal or semi-formal. This too is on the conservative side — suit, dress shirt and tie. Make it more fun with a vest. Business casual. This is the toughest option to decipher, as the range is wide. You can’t go wrong if you wear casual slacks or khakis, a button-down shirt and blazer. A tie is optional. Or have some fun and wear a bow tie. Casual. This definitely does not mean grabbing your torn jeans and a tank top.




very November and December, capable but fearful men venture into the great holiday unknown to congregate with family, friends and coworkers. So, let’s face the fears: dress codes can be a little daunting when it comes to Christmas parties. From business casual to festive attire — it’s all up for grabs. Take a deep breath and follow these rules to get you through. First, always err on the conservative side: dress up, not down. In fact, this is a good rule for most things in life. If you have bosses, show them you are smart and stylish. If you are the boss, show your team a leader who cleans up well. At gatherings with friends and family, display a bit of style and watch how you go up a few notches in their good books.

STYLE SEASON Stones wool blend sports jacket ($615); Dion silk pocket square ($35); Franco Negretti black sport shirt ($165); Vernizzi Made in Italy leather belt ($165); Riviera washable dress pant ($195). All available at d.g. bremner & company.

YAM MAGAZINE YAM-3rd-2.39x9.58-VW-2015.indd 1

Highland model shown for illustration purposes only. Vehicles may not be exactly as shown. *Starting from price of $26,750 is based on the 2015 Beetle 1.8L Trendline, 5-speed manual transmission with a MSRP ($19,990) and freight/PDI ($1605). DOC ($395), environmental levies ($100), license, insurance PPSA fee (up to $45.48, if applicable), registration ($495), options, any dealer or other charges, and applicable taxes are extra. Visit Volkswagen Victoria to view current offers. “Volkswagen”, the Volkswagen logo, “Trendline” and “Beetle”, are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG. ©2015 Volkswagen Canada. DL 49914428 #31186

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• Overspend on the secret Santa. And then SURVIVAL TACTICS FOR OFFICE PARTIES subtly plant a few clues that it At office parties, stay was you. You’ll be a hero. away from wearing the same STYLISH-DRINK LIST • Be civil. Not everyone is clothing you wear during the You’ve spent time picking skilled at the black art of small workday. If you are a suit kind out your outfit, so why talk and sometimes you end up of guy, mix it up with a velvet ruin it with a drink that conversing with a dud. Either blazer (most appropriate clashes? Here are some way, be gracious; after all, you for this time of year). If you great holiday drink don’t want someone walking are casual, up your style pairings. away pegging you as the bore. with a sports coat. Feeling adventurous? Celebrate the THE GODFATHER • Don’t call in sick the next day. season with something new This is the perfect drink No matter how hungover or in for the formal look; it goes that says style. Unsure or pain you are, show up to work. with a velvet blazer and new to the organization? Ask an air of mystery. your co-workers what the SOME FINAL THOUGHTS • 2 parts Scotch attire usually is, then head to I know some of you might whisky your local menswear store not be too happy with my • 1 part amaretto for suggestions. It’ll save you advice to go easy on the festive some heartache. And always, Best served in an oldChristmas sweater. And I know fashioned glass with always stay away from the these sweaters have been hot big chunks of ice. Santa hat. the past few seasons, but I beg When it comes to surviving you to have a good think as to these parties, it’s best to put whether the image you want SANTA’S WHISKERS your tactics on a little card, to leave with your peers and It takes a brave man to laminate it and stick it in your superiors is of you in a bright wear a ridiculous holiday wallet. After each drink, pull red-and-green sweater with sweater and red hat in it out and review. Here are public. It takes a brave dancing elves on it. Maybe some behaviour suggestions man to drink this. you have a tasteful Christmas to ease you through the • 1 part vodka sweater (perhaps they actually party season and leave exist), but just think through • 1/2 part Calvados your conscience clear and this option carefully before it • 1/2 part agave nectar reputation intact: comes out of the back reaches • 3 sashes of bitters • Stay sober enough. Dear of your closet. Lemon twist and grated reader, this is a big one. If you really need to add cinnamon for garnish; You may want to air your some holiday bling and just throw everyone off and grievances after a few drinks. can’t control yourself, how serve in a brandy snifter. Now is not the time to bring about a tie with subtle festive them up. And alcohol can make patterns? No reindeer with SIDECAR really bad decisions seem good. flashing LED noses! If you’ve opted for all Good rule: just don’t. Keep to these simple rules black, this old-school I’ve put forward and not only • Keep work talk to a drink is for you. will you look amazing at your minimum. This is a work • 3/4 oz Cointreau holiday shindigs, but you’ll be party, but not a party to talk • 3/4 oz lemon juice the life of the party and people about work. Consider it an • 1 1/2 oz good cognac will remember you for your opportunity to get to know good taste. After all, it’s not your co-workers and their A cocktail glass goes best with this outfit. just Santa who’s watching. :: guests in a whole new way.

Starting from

• Eat before you get there. Bread and cheese are great for sopping up alcohol. Arrive on an empty stomach and that first drink might just take you over the edge.

A modern icon that stays true to its roots. The Beetle has always been about fun, and its latest incarnation keeps the streak on a roll.

• Stay away from the mistletoe. Meaning don’t fool around with your co-workers. Monday is coming very soon, and you’ll feel awfully foolish if the entire company knows you made out with your finance manager.

The 2015 Beetle.

Good jeans or chinos, a crisp shirt and a sweater will do you fine. Festive attire. Groan. Really, there is no deciphering this. Joe Dandy sees this as the perfect opportunity for a velvet blazer, white shirt and dark slacks. Others see it as a time to whip out the holiday ties and reindeer shirts. Just remember, you need to come out of this with some dignity.

87 2015-09-18 12:12 PM







By Carolyn Camilleri

There’s nothing like a great book for the holidays to curl up with on stormy days or to give as a gift to book lovers. Here are some picks for this — or any — season.


The Birthday Lunch by Joan Clark (Knopf, 272 pages)

This book zeros in on one week in the life of a New Brunswick family who has suffered the shocking, sudden loss of Lily, a 58-year-old mother, wife, sister, friend and acquaintance. The novel accesses the thoughts and memories of each person, and through them we get the story of Lily and her family. It’s not just a good read: it’s a stunner.

The Night Stages by Jane Urquhart (McClelland & Stewart, 396 pages)

Purveyors of holiday spirits, wines & ales.

Three stories are woven together in this novel. Tamara has just left her married lover, Niall, in Ireland and is fogged in at Gander airport. Kieran, Niall’s younger brother, is a troubled man whose connection to mystical Irish landscapes and legends is captivating. Kenneth Lockhead is the artist who painted the Allegories of Flight mural in Gander’s airport. Each character’s story is wonderful, especially Kieran’s, but how well Lockhead’s actually fits in is worth further consideration.

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David comes down with a rare disorder that robs him of sleep, makes his days a nightmarish, pharmaceutically induced fog and loosens his grip on the carefully woven image he has constructed of himself. He hasn’t always been the nicest guy, but as you learn more, you see where he gets his perspective. It’s an intense, panic-inspiring novel that will give you a whole new appreciation for sleep.

FOR AWARD WATCHERS At $100,000, the Giller Prize is by far Canada’s richest literary award, with past recipients including Margaret Atwood, Mordecai Richler, Alice Munro and Michael Ondaatje. Here are a couple of books by two of this year’s judges.

Far to Go by Alison Pick (House of Anansi, 320 pages)

As a Helen and Stan Vine Jewish Book Award winner and Man Booker Prize finalist, Far to Go has received its share of acclaim. It’s a Holocaust story about an affluent Jewish family in Czechoslovakia in the lead-up to Hitler’s invasion, but there’s a surprising spin: the narrator is the nanny, a Gentile. There’s also a modern element that you should discover on your own.

Independence by Cecil Foster (Harper Collins Canada, 317 pages)

Set in post-colonial Barbados, this story is a fascinating look at a culture in transition. Christopher, a 14-year-old cricket player, lives with his grandmother because his mother has gone to work “over ’n’ away.” His best friend, Stephanie, is in the same position. Written in Bajan English dialect, the language takes getting used to, but it’s easy and adds much to the story’s richness.


This is Happy by Camilla Gibb (Doubleday Canada, 288 pages)

This memoir literally took my breath away with its searing honesty. Gibb holds nothing back as she tells the story of her childhood, her struggle with depression and the devastating breakup of her marriage in the early days of her pregnancy. While it is an examination of her own life, Gibb offers an intensive study of grief and how we process (or don’t process) loss. In truth, I almost couldn’t take it — this is a book that weighs so heavily on the spirit — yet I kept reading because I knew she would survive, rebuild a life and eventually come back to where she is in the first chapter.


The Acolyte by Nick Cutter (CheZine Publications, 304 pages)

The author of The Troop and The Deep (and Rust and Bone and Cataract City under the name Craig Davidson) has raised the “disturbing bar” with this latest thriller. The acolyte is Jonah Murtag, a member of a special police force in a world that has gone radically Christian (and I mean scary radical). While investigating a series of terrorist bombings, Jonah gets a look at what is behind “The Prophet.” Extremely violent — not for the faint-hearted — but also well written and thought provoking.


Reckless: My Life as a Pretender by Chrissie Hynde (Doubleday, 336 pages)

Music by The Pretenders was loved by so many of us growing up in the 1980s. Chrissie Hynde was a role model because of her talent, yes, but also her style and transition from all-American girl to London punk rocker to frontwoman for her own band. A must-read for anyone who dreamed of wearing a red leather biker jacket and those gauzy fingerless gloves. :: YAM MAGAZINE





By mid-November, most of us have heard enough Christmas muzak to put us off our sugar plums. The good news is, that’s exactly when Astrocolor will release its Christmas album, All Lit Up, a melange of “ambient, dubby and jazzy” tunes for the season. These tunes don’t try to steal centre stage but are perfect as loungey background music. Astrocolor is, from left to right, Chris Mackenzie, Andrew Poirier, Piers Henwood, Anand Greenwell and William Farrant, also known as the group Weird Party. Look for the release of All Lit Up from Last Gang Records on November 13.



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Experience the magic!







MCPHERSON BOX OFFICE 250-386-6121 DANCEVICTORIA.COM A glittering production with extravagant sets and costumes brings the classic children’s tale to life. The Victoria Symphony performs Tchaikovsky’s wonderful score. “Magnificent from start to finish.” – Times Colonist








Company Artists in Alberta Ballet’s The Nutcracker. Photo © Gerard Yunker

“There’s a magic and whimsy to it that bewitches the children in all of us.” – Georgia Straight

YAM magazine  

Page One Publishing

YAM magazine  

Page One Publishing