German Night – Passion For Pork – Kassler Pork and Cabbage

Kassler Pork with Cabbage, Onions and Apple

Whenever I drive out anywhere near Pitt Meadows, I stop at Hopcott Meats and grab a bag or two of groceries. They’ve got a section in the freezer of sale items, it’s a good way to save a little money and pick up some cuts or meats you may not normally be drawn to. My last visit I ended up with chicken breast (unusual for us as we’re thigh people), steaks and some Kassler Pork from the pork section as well. Hopcott works with local pork farmers to source their pork, always look for that Western Canadian pork (BC Pork and Alberta Pork) and support your local farmers! #porkambassador

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Kassler or Kasseler is salt cured and slightly smoked cut of pork and it’s traditionally served with sauerkraut and potatoes, so I figured I’d do a little bit of a similar things once I got home. For some reason I thought I should use my food processor to shred the cabbage, onions and apples, but after having several arguments with the functioning of this TOOL I used a knife. Last month the whole blade came off and now the adjusting width for the blade thingy is not working. I’ll be looking into this as maybe it’s just me and I’m doing something wrong, but meanwhile I am cursing this device.

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So…here’s the recipe for 2 people. I plated the above, but if you had some mad skills, it could look like the featured image. Either way it will be tasty.

Ingredients

1/2 green or red cabbage shreeded
1 small or 1/2 larger onion chopped
1 apple thinly sliced
2 tbsp oil (olive, flax, canola work fine)
2 Tbsp grainy mustard – we use Maille
2 Tbsp Edible Artisan Cranberry Apple Sage Jelly
1 cup Apple Cider – Taves is great
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Kassler chops

Add 1 tbsp oil to large, deep saucepan (I used a wok) and add onion, cabbage and apple. Cook on medium heat for 10-15 mins until wilted stiring off and on. Add in mustard, jelly and cider and bring to boil and then turn heat to low for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile brown pork in 1 tbsp oil and then add it to the cabbage mixture part way through cooking.

I made a few baby potatoes to accompany and we’d been snacking on some carrots so I felt we’d had enough veg for the day, but a cucumber salad, pickles, frisee or greens would be nice additions.

Serve with a nice Dopplebock, Central City just happened to have one in our beer advent calendar, or a perhaps a Gruner Vetliner if you have one on hand (which I will for next time!).

The Naramata Inn Welcomes Ambrosia Restaurant and Lounge by Chef Victor Bongo

Chef Victor Bongo to Take on The Food Program at The Naramata Inn

It may not be wine touring season quite yet, but it’s just around the corner, and each year there’s a few more spots to both wine taste and dine at.  For one, we’ve just heard there’s going to be a new face behind the fires at the Naramata Inn, Chef Victor Bongo. Knowing Chef Bongo, he’ll be sure to add some of his international flair to the region.

I first met Chef Bongo at the Canadian Chefs Congress in Duncan in 2010, where he was representing the Yukon Territory, and I’ve had the pleasure of sampling his cuisine many times. Once again at Kitsilano’s Establishment, and many times while attending a variety of events he was cooking at, including the launch of his latest cookbook.

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Bongo has recently been cooking at a pop up at Rooftop in Vancouver, but he’s packing his knives and heading to Naramata to open Ambrosia Restaurant & Lounge come spring. Bongo describes the restaurants style as “Unique signature global fusion cuisine; plates packed with flavor and whimsy presented beautifully in a casual/semi-formal and welcoming environment.”

There will be three spaces and themes at the Inn and here’s a bit of information from the release:

Ambrosia Restaurant is located on the main floor in the classic and dining rooming seating 91 guests with a patio that seats 17 for a total experience of 108 seats. The semi-formal dining room has two seating’s at 6pm and 8:30pm. You’ll see plated meals consisting of appetizers ($16 – $22), Mains ($26 – $40) and Desserts ($8 – $12) along with a small classic cocktail list and a healthy wine list with unique wine library of local producers expertly matched.

Ambrosia Lounge will is housed on the lower floor and will showcase west-coast décor and a nouveau prohibition style wine lounge that serves up Chef’s signature global fusion tapas. Ambrosia Lounge seats 68 guests and will operate from 4pm to 12am daily with Happy Hour running 4pm to 6pm. The menu is designed for sharing, and will include medium tapas ($8 – $15), large tapas ($16 – $30) and desserts ($8 – $10) along with a unique artisan cocktail program, uniquely appointed wine list and craft beers program.

Ambrosia Patio seats 60 and operate  from 11am to 7pm. When the lounge opens at 4pm the entire happy hour and lounge menu is available to guests on the patio. The Ambrosia Patio offers a unique BBQ Pit with Chef’s signature marinades and rubs at a cost of $25 per person and includes 1 portion of local artisan proteins from and unlimited gourmet sides.

Victor Bongo

Before the New Year I was invited to a menu sampling while the photographer did a photo shoot for the new menu. I did my best to capture some of what’s coming your way should you stop in at the Inn for a formal meal.  This year’s resolutions involve working on my photography (again) so it was great to watch a pro and take note of some tips for the future.

Victor Bongo

Chilled White Asparagus and Truffle Bisque with black truffle, crab and avocado remoulade and golden sturgeon caviar.

Victor Bongo

Chipotle Braised Lamb Cheek Tortellacci with Scallops, roasted chanterelle mushrroms, Frangelico sauce, sweet pea and roasted jalapeno puree, summer truffle

Victor Bongo

Arctic Char and Golden Caviar Tartar with Avocado wasabi mousse, mango habanero sauce, toasted sesame seeds, miso and squid ink sauce and crispy nori

Victor Bongo

Pan Roasted Arctic Char with sweet pea mint risotto, lemongrass and ginger creme fraiche and candied lemon maple butternut squashVictor Bongo

Moroccan Pistachio Crusted Lamb with plantain and habanero pepper puree, butter and red wine braised asparagus, Gruyere potato pave and lamb jus

We’ll be looking forward to stopping in at the Inn this season. Maybe we’ll have to spend a night there before our wedding. Pre-wedding honeymoons are a thing, aren’t’ they? Well they should be. It’s really a darling place to stay with its heritage-style rooms and amazing lake views. I’ve had the pleasure once at Christmas a few years back and always meant to return. We’re wishing Bongo luck on the opening and we’ll see him and his crew very soon. Victor Bongo

Safety First for 2017 – Winter Tire Testing With Kal Tire

Winter Tire Testing Proves Vancouver Road Conditions Call For More Than All Seasons This Year

Sometimes we talk food, sometimes, wine and sometimes cars and driving. Since we opted out of owning a car, we’ve had the opportunity to drive all sorts of different models and compare everything from seat comfort to the effectiveness of anti-locking braking systems and fancy headlights. We’ve become acutely aware of tires and have driven on a number of different tire types, from summer passenger to all seasons and winter. One official road test we’ve done involved side by side comparisons of summer and winter tires, in summer driving conditions (see Driving Tips with Carl Nadeau, Michelin), and it was obvious the winter tires must come off for summer or performance and safety suffers vastly. This time we tested out 3 seasons and winter tires, both new and worn.

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The Course Part 1

Kal Tire invited me out to take the driver’s seat to experience first-hand the differences in the performance of new versus worn winter tires and a new versus worn three-season tires on a driving course in Pitt Meadows with winter-like road conditions. To prepare for the drive event, dry ice was placed on the road to lower the road’s surface temperature and then shaved ice was placed on top of the cold surface to replicate the same type of snowy conditions that a driver would encounter when braking or cornering on a snowy road surface. We also drove on a track that that was not snow covered, but was cold and wet due to rain.

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Worn tirer….obviously.

As you can imagine when driving with the worn tires, both winter and three seasons, there was far more slipping on corners, and even skidding (yikes) and when the brakes were slammed fully on the snow, the car slide far further than with the new tires.

The surprising thing for me, though, was the new three season vs the new winter tires. With the colder roads, even the snow free parts, the three seasons lacked the grip that the winter tire exhibited and when the tires hit the snow, the winter tires stopped many feet ahead of the three seasons, sliding far less horizontally as well, even when both were brand new.

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Checking Tires Out

In the past I’d relied on the all seasons to get me through, well, all seasons. I wasn’t into spending a lot of money on things as boring as tires, and thought that it really didn’t make a ton of difference, but really, I was so very wrong. With Vancouver’s weather in January remaining both cold and snowy, and the forecast continuing on for a few months, I’m encouraging you to check your tires and re-think them, if they are all season, as it could mean a literal difference between life and death.

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We recently drove up to Sun Peaks and on the way home a huge truck came towards us far over the line on our side of the road. The car, the Acura MDX, had a new set of solid winter tires on, and those, combined with the superior handling of the vehicle, kept us on the road, although I wasn’t entirely sure there for a minute.

If you haven’t got them yet, get them winter tires now, or please stay off the roads, even just around Vancouver. There’s a long road ahead of us this season.

*Post sponsored by Kal Tire, but, as always, all opinions are my own.

Fitness Fridays – On Cloudflyer Runners

The On Running Shoes were recommended and I’ve been super happy with my choice. These shoes are lighter, while still providing more cushioning, and I felt the impact decrease while still feeling stable. I’ve been running faster ever since, no lie!
On CloudFlyer Runners
I’ve got the Cloudflyer runner ($179.99) which is great for all types of runners looking for a supremely cushioned and stable shoe that retains a light and agile running feel and weighs only 9.8 oz. The science behind the sole is that when you hit the ground, the highly rubber elements cushion both vertical and horizontal forces for a soft landing. Once on the ground, the Clouds lock firm to provide a solid foundation for a natural and powerful takeoff.  I’m now training regularly and feel super suported. Watch for more on running from me in 2017 as I up my mileage and test out more equipment.

Food Trends and Hopes For Vancouver in 2017

Let’s take Food Trends Further Towards Sustainability and We Can All Eat Better

What do I wish for in 2017? Sure, I’d like to see more wild game on menus, fewer macarons and perhaps more great casual dining with a focus on local, but food security for all would be my real number one. We can move closer to food for all this year with just a little more thought around the very subject of food, and it’s hell trendy too! Sustainabilty has to be a trend in our world, not only from a food perspective but in every way we live, or we won’t have the soil we need to grow food, or the environment to support it. Fortunately most food trends have been moving in right direction, so let’s all further embrace these particular trends and continue to make a difference in 2017.

Food Waste – We are reducing food waste and will be paying more attention as the price of food increases. From veggies to meat to that leftover pasta, let’s use those odds and ends. It’s about the carbon footprint people, not just dollars down the drain and into the land fills.

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Pickling/Fermenting – You know what helps reduce food waste? Pickling and fermenting. We’ve known this for centuries, but we’re doing it a lot more now. There’s a ton of fermentation courses out there, and heaps of books on it! It’s also pretty cool to reach into the fridge and grab a jar of pickles that you made yourself. Maybe you even know the farmer that grew said pickles; even better. Check out “The Art of Fermentation“, the bible on this subject.

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Community based food events – A number of very dedicated and special people come to mind when I think about events over the past few years that build community around food. These events are gaining momentum through 2017 as we all want experiences, no matter what generation we are. Examples include:

  • Across Vancouver, networks of committed people are focusing on food justice and resilience at the neighbourhood level with the Neighbourhood Food Networks (NFNs). Each Network provides community-based food initiatives and programs. You’ll find bulk food buying clubs, gardening workshops and community kitchens. Here’s where you’ll also find that fermentation workshop!
  • At UBC Farm each year Meeru Dhalwala and Mary Mackay produce the Joy of Feeding, an event featuring home cooks from different ethnic backgrounds who share their dishes, traditions and stories. From Russia with love!
  • Greasy Spoon Super Series – Fundraiser For A Better Life Foundation –  This monthly series sees Vancouver’s top chefs create their own unique spin on diner fare. The dinners raise awareness and support food security in the DTES, all while bringing people together to eat over a reasonably priced well though- out meal.

Gut Health – From bone broth to kombucha to kefir and just good old regular yogurt, people want to feel good and will turn to food to help them more. Fermented food strike again here too as there’s massive benefits to the digestive system from consuming anything prepared in this manner, plus food waste is vastly reduced. Check out my friends and client, Home on The Range Organics and their Bone Broth Bar at 235 East Broadway for more.

sustainable seafood

Sustainable Seafood – Let’s make sure what we are eating comes from fishermen that respect the sea and ask questions, and talk to fishermen, chefs and seafood shops where we buy from. Follow Chef Ned Bell on his sustainable seafood journey and shop with seafood purveyors that get it.

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Vegetables, Veganism and Sea Veggies– Vegetarians and vegans are all around us and it’s great! We are getting better vegetable dishes and chefs and home cooks are more creative. Add some sea veggies to your plate and you’ve also added not only a cool factor, but a ton of nutrition as well. Check out vegan chesse as well, in Vancouver, Blue Heron produces amazing non-dairy cheee!.

Grains and Pulses – It was The Year of The Pulse in 2016, and kudos to all that helped get the message out and put those lentils and more back on our plate. I look in my cupboard and see many more pulse-based goods. These items deliver a reasonably priced nutrition-packed protein and are also great for those who need to be gluten free. Another bonus is that they are Canadian-grown; check out the Alberta Pulse Growers for more information and recipes.

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Herbs and Spices – Just as I was typing the word turmeric at few days ago, I looked up and saw my pal, and fellow food writer, Dan Clapson, talking turmeric on Global TV. This is a colourful and health-filled spice and I know we’ll see more of it, along with other herbs and spices that add more than just flavour. Stock up on Ras Al Hanout, Zatar, ginger, cinnamon and more. Make sure you also clear out any spices that have come of age in your cabinet as these are no longer effective from a health or flavour perspective.

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Meat – We are still eating meat, but better meat and it’s key to continue to support your local farmers who are producing meat sustainably and treating their animals right. I’m continuing my work on educating consumers on pork with the Passion For Pork project, promoting Western Canadian Pork, and urge you to ask your butcher and grocer where all your meat comes from.

Trends come and go, but the trends that last are the ones that actually make sense over the long term  and are SUSTAINABLE – there’s that magic word we really need to focus on. What needs to trend right now is understanding our food system is part of a much bigger system, influencing our entire environment and all people around us. Make some good choices in 2017, share more food with those you know and those you don’t, create a community event, cook up some new veggies, use pulses and spices and sustainalbe meat and seafood, and most importantly ask questions and more questions. Let’s push the trend towards feeding not only ourselves well, but others too, both physically and spiritually.

What’s Good This Week – The Last One of 2016

 

How’s the season going for you? If you are like us we’ve been pretty darn busy, but now that the family visits are over and we’re settled in doing home things like making soup with our ham bones, we’ll need to get out and try a few more festive things before the year ends. Over at Vancouver Food Tour we recommended a few holiday activities, CLICK HERE FOR THAT, and here’s a few more. What’s Good This Week.

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Roof Garten pop-up restaurant will be permanently closed after their LAST SUPPER on Fri, Dec 30th 2016, starting at 6pm with a featur!ed menu created by Executive Chef  and our buddy Victor Bongo!

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Half-Priced Cocktails at The Emerald, December 27-30

The Emerald Supper Club and Cocktail Lounge is keeping a festive glow on through the holidays with half-priced cocktails offered from Tuesday, December 27 through Friday, December 30 (5 pm to 1 am).  They even make their own Kahlua! All of The Emerald’s delicious cocktails will be 50% off — including its awesome selection of cheers-worthy classic and signature cocktails (such as the Lavender 75 — with lavender-infused gin, fresh lemon juice and champagne).  View the full cocktail menu and check out the food offerings too at emeraldsupperclub.com.

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New Year’s Eve Happenings – Vancouver Restaurants and Bars

Jack Daniel’s New Year’s Eve British Invasion at The Cascade Room Ring in 2017 at The Cascade Room, December 31

In keeping with The Cascade Room’s UK pub vibes, the Main Street restaurant has planned a British-themed New Year’s celebration, kicking off at noon on Saturday, December 31.

Come in and enjoy brunch (from 12 to 3 pm) and take in the World Junior Hockey tournament on the big screens (starting at 12:30 pm). From 3 to 6 pm, guests can rock out to Rockaoke Live (karaoke with a real live band!), featuring an all UK song list. An honourary countdown to mark New Year’s across the pond will take place at 4 pm.

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Photo Janis Nicolay

Cascade Room will keep the party going through the evening, with a rocking UK-focused playlist, food specials (including Happy Hour from 3 to 6 pm), drink specials featuring Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, and of course — a countdown at midnight (complete with party favours). In addition, Cascade Room’s talented bar team will be creating toast-worthy, UK-inspired cocktails.

No reservations and no cover charge required for the celebration. http://www.thecascadecompany.com/

Burdock & Co

On December 31, New Year’s Eve revelers with plans for a midnight meet-up can start on a delicious note with Burdock & Co’s “New Year’s Lite” seating at 6:00pm & 6:30pm, featuring a menu of lighter plates to set the celebratory mood for the rest of the evening. Guests feasting their way into 2017, can opt for the 8:30pm & 9:00pm seating. Chef Andrea and the culinary team have pulled out all the stops to craft an extensive and exciting multi-course tasting menu. Expert pairings of naturalist wine and a full drink menu are available for purchase at an additional charge. Burdock & Co will be open for brunch on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day from 10:30am-2:00pm, and closed for dinner on January 1.  Time: First seating at 6:00pm & 6:30pm, second seating at 8:30pm & 9:00pm.  Ticket pricing: New Years Lite: $69 per person, plus tax and gratuity Main seating: $99 per person, plus tax and gratuity To reserve: Limited tickets for both seatings can be purchased online at Eventbrite or by calling (604) 879-0077.

palm springs UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar

A “Palm Springs New Year’s Fling” will transport guests to sunnier days. At 7:15pm, UVA’s doors will open to a delicious three-course “Clubhouse”-themed menu for $45 per person – and for an additional $20, diners can enhance the experience with expertly paired cocktails created by award-winning Bar Manager Sabrine Dhaliwal. After dinner, the party will begin at 9:30pm, where guests will enjoy pop-up entertainment throughout the night, ranging from live music by the James Danderfer Trio to sabering champagne. For those ringing in the New Year, don’t forget to don your kitschiest poolside ensemble or throw on a tennis tuxedo – anything goes, as long as it captures the spirit of Palm Springs.  Time: Doors open for dinner at 7:15pm; party will begin at 9:30pm.  Tickets: To purchase tickets to UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar’s New Year’s Eve event, visit UVA during regular business hours (11:30am-2am daily) or email Alex@ViaggioHospitality.com. 

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Prohibition

Celebrate the start of 2017 in style at Prohibition, with live entertainment from The Wonders and DJ Myles Bigelow Duo. Start the night with a complimentary coupe of champagne on arrival, and then enjoy our extensive cocktail and drinks menu, including an array of bubbles to toast in the New Year. Time: 8pm-2am Tickets: Tickets are on sale at Eventbrite until 7pm PST on December 31, 2016. For sales after this time, please contact Prohibition directly at (604) 673-7089. 

Cibo Trattoria 

On December 31, Cibo Trattoria will be offering two dinner seatings with multi-course menus inspired by authentic Italia. Guests who join the first seating at 5pm will enjoy a four-course tasting menu for $84 per person, while the 8:30pm seating will feature a six-course tasting menu for $124 per person (suggested wine pairings are available upon request). The menu pays homage to traditional Italian favourites, including savoury raviolo of smoked ricotta, garlic butter and focaccia crumb; and prosciutto-wrapped rabbit loin complemented by carrot purée and roasted sunchoke. Time:  First seating at 5pm, second seating at 8:30pm.  To reserve: To book your spot at Cibo Trattoria this holiday season, call (604) 602-9570 or visit http://www.opentable.com/cibo-trattoria.

caviar Ancora

Chef Ricardo Valverde and team will ring in the New Year with a celebratory menu of caviar creations paired with the best Champagnes, alongside an à la carte menu that features delicious plates like rack of lamb and king crab. Diners who join the first seating at 5pm can indulge before hitting the town, while the 7:30pm seating will feature an exciting countdown party with a live jazz band and Champagne sabering for all. There will be a $20 live music cover charge for the later seating, and reservations are strongly encouraged. Time: First seating at 5pm Second seating at 7pm: includes countdown party and live music *please note that this seating has sold out Tickets: Countdown party has a live band $20 cover charge at the door.  To reserve: To make a reservation for New Year’s Eve at Ancora, visit ancoradining.com or call (604) 681-1164.

Les Dames D’Escoffier – Holiday Suggestions Part Three

Les Dames d’Escoffier Dish on Holiday Gifts

Les Dames d’Escoffier‘s BC chapter members have many holiday suggestions for both consuming and giving. Click here for part one, here for part two and continue reading for part three!

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Dame Mary Mackay – Terra Breads

Dame Mackay owns Terra Breads and we always stop in for the Pannetone, cookies and some gingerbread men at this time of year. Don’t forget to stock up on bread for stuffing, some crackers for the cheese plate and their lovely jams and sauces also make great stocking stuffers.

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Dame Cate Simpson – Earls Cookbook

If you’ve dined at Earls over the years, which so very many have, this cookbook is a walk down memory lane.  The cookbook is $35 (with all profits to charity) and there’s a cookbook bundle with a $50 gift card for Earls and the cookbook for $75.  At Earls!

Dame Ann Kirsebom

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Cranberry & Onion Confit with Grand Marnier 

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Paris In A Chocolate  Luxury Gift Boxes – the perfect give for the person who has everything! Bespoke Grand Marnier® Ganache filled historic cachets. Both the conift and chocolate are availalbe at Gourmet Warehouse.

Dame Cassandra Anderton (me!) – some suggestions from my clients
home on the range

 

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Home on the Range Organics – 235 East Broadway

Duck Pate, Artisan Marmalade, Maple Syrup, Gift Boxes full of all natural beauty products or culinary goodies are just some of the delicious things you’ll find here in Mount Pleasant. You can also pick up Hills Foods Meats here (Dame Tina Hills commpany), try some Kangaraoo sliders for New Year’s Eve!

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XFour Vodka three pack – Legacy Liquor 

Chocolate, lemon and blueberry for your holiday cocktaila, hostess gift or underneath that tree.

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Brockmann’s Crunchetti – Great stocking stuffers or additions to gift bags. Choices, Save On Foods, Urban Fare and more.

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Vancouver Food Tour Gift Certs – Still stuck for gifts for those who have everything? Give the gift of a night on the town with us! Availalbe in all sorts of denominations! http://www.vancouverfoodtour.com/gift/

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Dame Christa-Lee McWaters

Wine from Encore Vineyards – Evolve, Time Cellars and the McWatters Collection!

McWatters Collection

The McWatters Collection was launched in 2011 with a Meritage and Chardonnay, crafted from grapes grown in the south Okanagan Valley. These two flagship wines represent the entirety of the portfolio, and are a legacy to the McWatters name. Low production of these premium wines is determined by the yields in the vineyard.

TIME Winery

TIME Estate Winery launched in June 2013 with a small line of wines crafted by the vinifera grown in the south Okanagan Valley. The TIME portfolio includes both a red and a white Meritage blend, plus a few distinct single variety wines as our vineyard’s intentional moderate yields permit.

Evolve Cellars

Evolve Cellars celebrates the evolution of our British Columbia wine industry with a series of fresh, approachable wines. Bright and fruit forward, these wines are crafted from grapes grown on our estate vineyard and in collaboration with grower partners in the South Okanagan. Through Evolve we raise a glass to our continued journey, and what the next step may bring.

Les Dames d’Escoffier – Holiday Suggestions Part Two

Les Dames d’Escoffier Dish on Holiday Gifts

Earlier this week I wrote a little about Les Dames d’Escoffier and what some of our Dames suggested for holiday gifts. Click here for part one, and continue reading for part 2!

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Dame Mireille Sauve – Dames Wines

Earlier this year Dame Mireille Sauve led a fundraising initiative for Les Dames d’Escoffier BC, by making some dame good wine, and we’ve been drinking our far share of it and have wrapped several bottles up for gifts. Each bottle of #dameswine supports food and beverage education for BC’s dynamic women. The Dames White is a beautiful BC blend of 80% Pinot Blanc from Sperling Vineyard in Kelowna, 10% Riesling from Sperling Vineyard in Kelowna, and 10% Gewurztraminer from Meyer Family Vineyards in Okanagan Falls. The Dames Red can be enjoyed on its own with friends or alongside assorted charcuterie and cheese plates, burgers or stew. A beautiful BC blend of 70% Merlot and 30% organic Syrah, both sourced from vineyards in the south Okanagan. Availalbe online and at select stores such as Marquis Wine Cellars. $25 a bottle.

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Dame Jennifer Schell –The Butcher, the Baker, the Wine and Cheese Maker in the Okanagan 

I’m pleased to say I’ve got a signed copy of this book, and keep it handy as it’s not only full of great recipes, but is also an excellent read. Chefs, farmers, and winemakers unite in this exquisite Okanagan cookbook.Whether it’s a simple soup, a hearty main dish, or a special-occasion dessert, each recipe in this book is written by an Okanagan chef, and inspired by an ingredient that is locally and sustainably produced in the Okanagan. It might be free-run turkey raised on the Hamblett Highland Turkey farm, organic vegetables from the urban gardens of Green City Acres, or brie cheese from Upper Bench Cheese in the Naramata. Add a wine pairing from a local Okanagan winery, and you’ve got a collection of recipes that celebrate the heart and soul of culinary culture in the Okanagan.

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Dame Rossan Ascencio – Original Mexican Gourmet Cajetas

Love these sauces on our homemade ice cream or atop waffles! Handcrafted traditional Cajetas are a caramel sauce/spread made with goat’s milk. What makes Cajeta unique is the fact that it is not caramelized sugar, but caramelized goat’s milk! It’s actually low sugar, low fat, low calorie content and a fantastic alternative for lactose intolerant diets, as it has no butter, or cream in it. OMG-Original Mexican Gourmet’s Cajetas are available in three, all natural flavours: vanilla, rum and espresso! OMG Cajetas are available at fine, specialty retailers, such as The Gourmet Warehouse,  and can be ordered with your groceries through SPUD. www.omgfoods.ca

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Dame Alison Love spreads some OKanagan Love!

RauDZ Regional Table  (of course co-owned/operated by Dame Audrey Surrao) Fabulous gift certificates are available in any denomination and you can pair that gift certificate with jars of Okanagan produce from the RJB line of preserves all handcrafted by the culinary team led by Chef Butters.  The preserve lineup for Winter 2016 includes the popular Blackberry Ketchup regularly served in the restaurant featuring local organic blackberries and tomatoes and perfect on fries, sandwiches and fish tacos .
New this year to the preserve line-up are three custom created mustards. All of the mustards retail for $7. RJB preserves are available exclusively at RauDZ Regional Table. www.raudz.com

Chef Butters is also writing a cookbook that will be available widely Summer 2017.  The cookbook is for the home cook and entitled The Okanagan Table:  The Art of Everyday Home Cooking. Pre-sales of the book at RauDZ Regional Table and also online at www.ChefRodButters.com

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Sandrine French Pastry & Chocolate – A spectacular pastry shop! www.sandrinepastry.com

Put together a little ‘French’ shopping list from this shop! Fois Gras – A French Christmas feast wouldn’t be the same without a portion (or four) of that typically festive fare – foie gras, often served up on slices of bread as a starter or apéritif.  Duck Confit – Although not just for the holiday season, it’s a decadent treat, especially the way the way Sandrine serves it – two duck legs with confit, all pre-packaged for your home cooking. Tourtière – Although tourtière originates in Quebec, it’s become a holiday favourite around the world.  Traditional style with beef and pork, or turkey with spices, a tourtière is perfect for any meal during the holiday season.  Another popular favourite from the freezer at the shop is quiche.  A bit of time in the oven and it’s ready to serve guests or the family, without a lot of time or effort. Yule Log – The French will spare a little room in their stomachs for the traditional Christmas chocolate log or “Bûche de Noël”. More Sweets – Hand-made chocolates, macarons, delicate, light, almond meringues with delectable fillings can provide the sweet part of the menu while handcrafted chocolate trees and pretty jars of jams and jellies make perfect gifts.

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Salted Brick www.saltedbrick.com

Salted Brick always has their shelves and refrigerator well stocked at this time of year for home cooks preparing for the holiday feast or for the perfect gift for foodies. Jars of Tomato Bourbon Jam, Quince Puree, Pear Puree, Chicken Liver Paté, their addictive Salted Brick Salad Dressing, Peanut Butter Duck Fat Chocolate Bars made by Karat Chocolate in Kelowna, small tins of Maldon Sea Salt, and house made pickles!

hot dame gingerbread ladies!

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Dame Jennifer Peters – Nextjen Gluten-free 

With Nextjen GF Flours you can forget experimentation and get back to the enjoyment of Baking & Cooking! All available in 1 lbs bags 7 types to choose from:

All Propose Baking blend (also available in 3 lbs)
Vanilla Bean Cake Mix
Sprouted Buckwheat Pancake Mix (also available in 3 lbs)
Fried Chicken Mix (Deep fry or use Shake & bake method)
Fish and Chip Batter Mix
Tempura Batter Mix
Pizza & Pasta Flour  
New item** Pizza Shells Frozen and ready to top!!

Available at Gourmet Warehouse **Dame Caren McSherry and online ONLINE http://www.gourmetwarehouse.ca/products?search=nextjen

Nextjen GF classes too.**  (also a good gift)
https://www.gourmetwarehouse.ca/books/cc212/gluten-free-brunch-saturday-march-11 CC212 GLUTEN FREE BRUNCH | SATURDAY, MARCH 11 | The Gourmet Warehouse – Kitchen Tools www.gourmetwarehouse.ca

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About Domenica Fiore extra virgin olive oil
We also have this on hand and have several bottles wrapped up for holiday gifts as well! A great hostess gift too! This oil is produced in Orvieto in Italy, with organic olives that are cold pressed within four hours of harvest and bottled in nitrogen-sealed 18/10 stainless steel bottles. Each bottle is also hand labelled and signed with love bythe olive oil producer, Cesare Bianchini for traceability.
For more information, you can go to www.domenicafiore.com
Available in the following stores in Vancouver:
Gourmet Warehouse, Whole Foods, Urban Fare Alberni, Dirty Apron Deli, Zara’s Pasta, La Grotta Del Formaggio Deli, Fresh Ideas Start Here – W.Broadway, Farm To Table Market Ltd, Windsor Meats, Puccini’s Deli

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Dame Shelome Bouvette – Chicha Restaurant Gift Certificates and East Vancouver Foodie Cookbook

Dame Bouvette owns Chicha Peruvian Restaurant at 134 East Broadway, and it’s one of the restaurants we frequent! I was just there yesterday in fact. The ceviche, steak and fries, cocktails, brunch items, and basically everthing is fantastic there, so a gift certificate would be an excellent idea for the food lover in your life.

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They’ve also got a recipe in the new East Vancouver Cookbook, so you could include a copy of this as well!

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Dame Angie Quaale – Chocolate Salami

A popular Italian and Portuguese dessert, Dame Quaale’s Chocolate Salami looks like “real” salami but is completely meatless and filled with decadent flavours of chocolate, toasted almonds and pistachios, orange peel and dried cherries. GREAT hostess gift or stocking stuffer!

#Contest Closed Giveaway – Family Pass for the Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge

 

Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park rings in the holiday season with a brand new twinkling feature!

Congratulations Marie!

Until January 8th you can head to the Canyon Lights to check out the new light feature this year, ‘Fireflies’. Fireflies is an interactive lighting display in the rainforest. Using magic flashlights, guests can awaken waves of tiny lights that glimmer and twinkle like fireflies and then venture onto the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

canyon lights from above

The suspension bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk, the rainforest and canyon has been transformed into a world of festive lights and dazzling visual enchantment. Lights will illuminate Capilano River and the canyon’s cliff face. See the world’s tallest living Christmas tree (153 feet tall and growing!) and search for the glowing owls in the Snowy Owl Prowl. The holiday fun doesn’t stop there! Visitors are invited to sing-along to carols with the holiday band, decorate gingerbread cookies, make Christmas crafts and take family photos throughout the park.

We have a giveaway for a family pass to the park!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Canyon Lights will donate partial proceeds from admissions to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund for fire and burn education in schools throughout British Columbia. To date, Canyon Lights has donated over $222,000 for this worthy program. In addition, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park will continue hosting 12 community nights for local charities including Canuck Place, North Shore Disability Resource Centre, Covenant House, North Shore Neighbourhood House, Easter Seals, Ronald McDonald House, BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, Family Services of the North Shore, Harvest Project, Special Olympics BC, Lions Gate Hospital Foundation, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Lower Mainland and Kids Up Front.

Canyon Lights tickets are valid all day with holiday activities beginning at 4:00pm. Capilano operates a free shuttle to and from Canada Place.

For general information, including the shuttle schedule, please visit www.capbridge.com or call 604.985.7474.

Holiday activities from 4:00 – 9:00pm; Park is open from 11:00am – 9:00pm daily *except Christmas Day when the park is closed.

Holiday Sips From Near and Far

What to Sip this Holiday Season? Some Bubble, Grenache, Syrah or Nero D’Avola perhaps?

We lined up and tasted a few more wines over the last little while and thought we’d share a few of our thoughts on these beauties because we are so very generous and you should have these on your to taste list too!

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Narrative XC Method from Okanagan Crush Pad $25

Tis definitely the season for bubble and this is one that stands out from the crowd. It’s a blend of traditional champagne grapes, 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay; the secondary fermentation took place in the wineries unique charmat tanks; designed to lie on their sides in contact with lees for 90 days, hence the XC in the name. Love sipping on this one around the fire (fake or real) or serving it up as guests arrive. It’s nice and crisp, with green apple, citrus and toast aromas and flavours and a nice length. Quite dry with just a touch of sweetness on the finish.

 

99986Vaporetta – Prosecco Brut No 8 – $17.50

Venturing over to Italy we find this rather fruity and floral bubble with some orchard fruit and honeysuckle aftertastes. A marvelous wine with light seafood dishes and sushi!

 

 

 

 

 

 

645655 0Rasteau – Cave de Rasteau du la Domeliere $21.99

Hailing from the Côtes du Rhône, this GSM blend comes from older vines and has some nice black cherry and licorice aromas along with some cherry and plum notes and a fairly lengthy palate with silky tanins. Great with pulled pork sliders I say!

 

 

 

 

 

144923Sicilia Nero d’Avola – Feudo Maccari SALE $16.50

This is a very flexible wine, one for after yoga perhaps, but what I really mean is that it could pair with a number of dishes and flavours that appear on the table at this time of year. A fuller bodied wine with dark cherry and blackberry flavours and a noticeable minerality on the finish. I am thinking about roast pork here, or perhaps a wine for that turkey dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

Laughinglaughing stock Stock Syrah $33.99

Syrah grows well in the Okanagan and this wine proves it. 2014 was a warm vintage and this Syrah benefited. Partly fermented in French oak puncheons and tanks, smothing out any rough edges, this wine is full of blueberry, blackbery, plum and spice and would be perfect with lamb.

 

Good Life Vancouver is all about the good life in and around Vancouver and often far beyond!