by Paige Donner Check out this new video, just dropped today, West Coast time, by Moby and Hollywood Food Voices: “We Need Our Bees A Lot More Than They Need Us” – Moby paraphrasing Einstein “If the bees go, we’re … Continue reading
The Avocado tree is native to Mexico and Central America… The vitamins and minerals contained in this recipe can do everything from speeding cell turnover (to reveal healthier skin underneath) to protecting skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Get plenty of moisturizing vitamin … Continue reading
by Paige Donner What better time than summer to 1. Eat Healthier 2. Spend less time in the kitchen 3. Transform your body to Fantastically Fabulous With these three goals in mind, is it any wonder then that Fast Food … Continue reading
Paige Donner, journalist, blogger, eco-activist, actor/filmmaker and more, returns to the show from Paris to discuss her passion for local food and wine. Donner became more interested in the marriage of regional wines and local food when she was in … Continue reading
by Paige Donner What do panda bears and wine have to do with one another? Now that’s a question I never imagined I’d be posing here on myLocal Food And Wine blog. But, according to the recently released (April 8th, … Continue reading
Be sure to pick up February’s issue of La Revue du Vin de France… British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario wines and wineries are featured in a multiple-page spread. For the Okanagan some beautiful highlights of Osoyoos Larose and also Quail’s … Continue reading
Locally-sourced ingredients and wine pairings from Mission Hill’s portfolio. Highlights include:
- Vine Smoked Arctic Char with berry gel;
- Ocean Wise Shrimp and Sweet Corn Panna Cotta;
- Naramata White Peach Gazpacho;
- Deep Fried Hen’s Egg with chickpea panisse and buttered green peas;
- “AAA” Beef Strip Loin with crispy polenta and truffled cauliflower;
- Glazed French Lemon Curd ‘Bar’ with basil marshmallow and pine nut crunch. Continue reading
Excerpted from From Le Figaro (English)
Monsanto must pay for French farmer’s pesticide injuries
A French tribunal found Monsanto, the leading producer of agro chemicals, responsible for serious neurological effects suffered by a French farmer after his exposure to poisonous pesticides. Monsanto must pay for all damages suffered by the farmer.
This win may set a precedent for other cases. The MSA (mutuelle sociale agricole), the French mutual insurance system for agricultural workers, reported that they receive about 200 files a year from agriculturalists who confirm being poisoned by pesticides.
Bio-dynamic gardeners, followers of the principles of Rudolf Steiner, believe that the movements of all theheavenly bodies, moon, planets and stars have an influence on the growth and development of all plants. So the time you chose to sow, plant or even weed your plants will affect their progress. The moon, the stars and the planets all affect the development of our plants.
At first glance the idea that the stars affect our garden seems quite crazy. But then we do know that the moon can move millions of gallons of water from one side of the ocean to the other every day. We do know also that all living things, including plants and ourselves contain water. So perhaps the idea is not so far fetched? Anyway judging by the number of horoscopes in newspapers and magazines, it seems that many people accept that the movement of heavenly bodies can affect their lives. So why not on plants?
The auspicious time for flowering plants is on ‘flower days’ when the ascending moon is in, Libra, Gemini or Aquarius. And for plants that are grown for their seed or fruit such as beans, tomatoes or courgettes, the best yields will be had by planting on ‘fruit days’ when the ascending moon is in Leo, Sagittarius or Aries.
By now, many readers have probably put these ideas into the ‘interesting, but far too much trouble’ category. And they may be forgiven for wondering if they are being asked to spend all their precious gardening time gazing at the sky before they can venture out to sow their new packet of seeds? But just as you don’t have to be an astronomer to read your stars in the newspaper, neither do you have to be one to plant by them.
Maria Thun publishes a calendar every year for interested gardeners and farmers. In it are marked all the suitable days for planting and sowing for the year. Few bio-dynamic gardeners bother themselves with the complexities of the cosmos, they merely organise their sowing and planting times around the calendar.
Another interesting aspect of bio-dynamic theory is that crops harvested on favourable days will keep better than when picked at other times. Thus, lettuce cut on a leaf day will stay fresher for longer than heads picked at other times. Equally gardeners who store their carrots over the winter are advised to harvest them on root days.
|CHILE AND ARGENTINA|
What do we do in the winter? When the vineyard is covered in snow and wine is aging in barrel, adventures begin. This year, David went adventure motorcycling in Chile and Argentina with Paul Gardner, from Pentage Winery.
While no revolutions were started, much wine drinking was done of South American Tannat (brooding, dark and high tannins), Torrentes (floral, rose petal and fresh) and some rockin’ Malbecs (lush, intense and full). Back to spring winemaking realities now of blending decisions and bottling schedules (with some inspiration from Che).
Director’s Blend Wines
SOON AVAILABLE AT TOP TABLE RESTAURANTS
Blending is more art than science, and this year the Wine Directors of 4 of the leading restaurants in Vancouver and Whistler joined us to create a proprietary blend series — available exclusively in each of these restaurants later this spring. Sarah McCauley of CinCin, Andrea Vescovi of Blue Water Café, Samantha Rahn of Araxi and Owen Knowlton of West came up a number of times to the Naramata Bench to create deeply pleasing red and white blends that are true to the Okanagan. Congrats to Owen for being named “Sommelier of the Year” at this year’s Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival.
It is better to spend money like there’s no tomorrow than to spend tonight like there’s no money.
P. J. O’Rourke
The Association Independent winegrowers of Quebec
(VIQ)officially joined CEVI, the European Confederation of Independent Winegrowers, on the occasion of the General Meeting of April 20, 2011. This widening of CEVI beyond the borders of Europe reinforces the influence of the profession of the independent winegrower and its values, and allows the network of CEVI to get richer through experience sharing.
ADVVQ was founded in 2006 by a group of vinegrowers and winemakers in the aim of gathering the producers of the areas of Quebec and of supporting the spreading of the know-how of this production in emergence. Accordingly, the ADVVQ supports the organisation of regional and interregional meetings in order to exchange on the characteristics of the production in Quebec. Since 2010, the association changed its name for Vignerons Indépendants du Québec (Quebec Independent Winegrowers).
The goal of the association is to promote the elaboration of wines made from grapes entirely grown on the Quebec terroir, by proscribing any addition of raw material coming from outside Quebec (grapes, juice and concentrates), except for alcohols required to the making of fortified wines, according to an exclusively artisanal and nonindustrial transformation.
The association gathers 51 members, representing approximately 35 to 40% of the production of wine in Quebec. In Quebec, more than 630 hectares of vines are in production. There are 4 main regions: Estrie, Montérégie, Lanaudière and Chaudières the Appalachian Mountains (regions of the South-Quebec). The type of vines which are cultivated there are mainly rustic and semi-rustic hybrid type of vines.
In honor of Earth Day, Tesla is partnering with luxury vacation company Jetsetter to offer thoroughly green luxury weekend getaways. Vacationers are invited to stay for a full weekend at one of three top-tier, eco-friendly hotels in North America: The Loden in Vancouver, The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, or the Bardessono in Napa Valley. During their stay, they will get total access to an electric Tesla Roadster for two days. This is the first time Tesla has offered an opportunity like this!
The weekend packages go on sale at noon EDT today, Earth Day, Friday, April 22 at http://www.jetsetter.com/tesla.
Jetsetter operates very similarly to Gilt Groupe. It’s an online community that provides members with insider access, expert knowledge and exclusive deals on the world’s greatest vacations. Sales are valid for a limited time only, and are first come first serve. Those who sign up with Jetsetter to take advantage of the Tesla deal will receive a $50 credit.
West Kelowna, British Columbia (April 13, 2011) – Mission Hill Family Estate Proprietor Anthony von Mandl announces a collaboration with renowned French artist Nathalie Decoster.
Over Fifty Decoster installations will be featured on award-winning Okanagan winery grounds
Von Mandl first encountered these magnificent works of art more than eight years ago when he visited an exhibition at Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte winery in Bordeaux’s Graves appellation. Since that time, he has held a strong belief that an exhibition at Mission Hill would be a memorable event for winery guests, the Okanagan Valley and the Canadian arts community.
“What immediately struck me about Mrs. Decoster’s art were the curved hoops that cradle her human forms to create a strong visual connection between the art and the outside world,” says von Mandl. “These curved hoops are akin to the metal hoops that hold together the precious barrels that age our wines and are essential to crafting exceptional wines.”
Over the years, von Mandl and Decoster have been in regular contact planning the timing of her Canadian debut and the winery’s first exhibition of this magnitude. This year, Over 50 sculptures installed throughout the winery grounds will be enjoyed by guests who stroll the property, visit the wine cellars and taste the various vintages. The Decoster Sculpture Exhibition will be open to the public at no additional charge. The permanent installation of one significant sculpture ensures a lasting legacy for all who visit the winery.
“We hope Mrs. Decoster’s work resonates with visitors as she plays with the notion of sharing dreams to build connections between people,” says von Mandl. “We believe this same connection speaks to what we are trying to accomplish as winemakers. The parallels are undeniable and we invite art lovers, or the merely curious, to visit Mission Hill to discover the magnificent work of sculptress Nathalie Decoster.”
Von Mandl’s passion for the arts traces back to his European roots and earliest, fondest memories of his parents who fostered in him a love of arts, music, cuisine and learning. Mission Hill is a family-owned winery with a dedicated staff who shares its founder’s passion for wine, food and the arts. Their dedication to wine excellence is coupled with a long-term commitment to support the visual and performing arts, essential components of the Mission Hill guest experience.
About Nathalie Decoster
Decoster lives and works in her converted factory studio in Paris. Her early work with decorative art studios led her to perfect her sculpting technique with an old-school master and the development of personal creations with new skills and materials. The essential mediums of her work include steel, bronze, aluminum, stainless steel and concrete. She employs vocabulary recognizably her own. An “art brut” figure is her messenger represented in minimalist geometric structures which convey philosophical messages about the human condition. With a dash of humour, she makes us conscious of the absurdities in our modern human lives. Helping us identify with these themes presents a password to serenity. Visit nathaliedecoster.com for more information.
About Mission Hill Family Estate
Mission Hill Family Estate is world renowned for its award-winning wines, stunning setting, architecture, and Cuisine du Terroir-influenced Terrace Restaurant. The winery’s vineyards are located in five distinct growing regions of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. Reflective of the origin and unique character of the Valley and meticulous ‘Vine to Bottle’ program, Oculus, its signature Bordeaux-inspired wine, represents the pinnacle in premium winemaking. Proprietor Anthony von Mandl and winemaker John Simes produce elegant internationally acclaimed wines with New World flavours and Old World refinement from this incomparable wine valley. Visit missionhillwinery.com for more information and follow Mission Hill Family Estate on Twitter @missionhillwine.
Vancouver, BC, April 1st, 2011 – The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival announced this year’s trade competition winners at the 8th Annual Awards Lunch on Friday, April 1st, 2011. “The trade competitions give the Festival an opportunity to honour and celebrate those professionals who have developed and enhanced the extraordinary wine and food culture of our region,” says Festival Executive Director Harry Hertscheg. In honour of the awards, guests enjoyed lunch prepared by culinary talent Blair Rasmussen, Executive Chef to the VCC, and toasted winners with wines from Spain, this year’s Festival theme region.
SPIRITED INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL (SIP) AWARD The Spirited Industry Professional Award annually honours an individual who has made a significant contribution to the sales, service or promotion of wine in British Columbia. The sixth annual SIP Award goes to internationally acclaimed food and wine critic, Jurgen Gothe. Gothe has seen his columns run in over 100 publications over the past few decades, and is currently the weekly wine columnist for the Georgia Straight. After 23 years hosting CBC Radio Two’s DiscDrive, Gothe retired as the station’s only double-gold-medal winning program host. Today, he does weekly spots for CBC on everything oenophilic, and can also be found on The Peak FM airwaves commenting on BC’s local flavours.
SOMMELIER OF THE YEAR AWARD
The 11th annual Sommelier of the Year Award recognizes outstanding wine knowledge and wine service. This year’s award goes to Owen Knowlton for his 500+ wine list at West restaurant, which also took one of the most coveted accolades in the trade competition: the Platinum Wine List Award. Driven to provide West guests wine that is high in value and quality (with a splash of boutique bottles and sommelier favorites), Knowlton has been sipping, spitting, and perfecting his wine knowledge over the last decade. The Sommelier of the Year is awarded based on votes by key members in the industry and is also included in the May Restaurant issue of Vancouver Magazine.
WINE PROFESSIONAL CHALLENGE
The Wine Professional Challenge gives sommeliers and wine professionals a chance to compete for the coveted Puddifoot Award. Currently in its sixth year, competitors were required to rotate around 5 judging stations and speak for 3 minutes on topics related to technical and varietal distinctions, flight tasting and customer service. This year, the challenge winner was Jay Whiteley of Hawkswort
Vancouver’s top chefs vied for gold on Wednesday night at Fetzer Great Beginnings, Flavours of the City. Chefs from Bearfoot Bistro, One Hundred Nights at OPUS Hotel Vancouver, Cibo Trattoria, DiVino Wine Bar, Sandbar, Diva at the Met, Prestons, Terminal City Club, and Uli’s Restaurant all vied for top prize from a panel of judges that included the city’s top food and wine journalists. This year’s award for best food and wine pairing went to Diva at the Met Executive Sous Chef Jeff Kang.
QUADY DESSERT COMPETITION
The Quady Winery of Madera California hosted the 23rd Annual Quady Dessert Competition, inviting British Columbia’s top pastry chefs, cooks and students to complement their orange muscat dessert wine, Essensia. At stake was a Grand Prize trip for two to California, as well as Silver and Bronze Prizes and C
WINE LIST AWARDS
Celebrating the best food and wine pairings in the business, restaurants in Metro Vancouver, Whistler, Vancouver Island, the Interior and Alberta have all been recognized for creating wine lists that complement their establishment’s unique menu and concept. Candidates submitted their wine and menu lists, and were then visited by judges who reviewed their programs. The top restaurants were awarded Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, or commended with an Honourable Mention. The Wine List Awards are sponsored by Vancouver Magazine.METRO VANCOUVER
Blue Water Café + raw bar
Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca
Wine Room at Joey Bentall One
Au Petit Chavignol
Salt Tasting RoomSilver
Cactus Club Cafe
The Salmon House
Zest Japanese Cuisine
ShuRaku Sake Bar & Bistro
Poor Italian Ristorante
Lift Bar Grill View
Yew Restaurant + Bar
Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House
Goldfish Pacific Kitchen
Hart House Restaurant (Burnaby)
RimRock Cafe Whistler
Araxi Restaurant + Bar
VANCOUVER ISLAND AND GULF ISLANDS
The Pacific Restaurant (Victoria)
Nautical Nellies Restaurant
Stage Small Plates Wine Bar (Victoria)
Veneto (Victoria)Honourable Mention
The Landing West Coast Grill (Nanoose Bay)
The Marina Restaurant (Victoria)
La Bussola (Kelowna)
Emerald Lake Lodge (Field)
Local Lounge . Grille (Summerland)
Whitetooth Mountain Bistro (Golden)ALBERTA
Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro (Calgary)
River Café (Calgary)
Vin Room (Calgary)
The Ranche Restaurant (Calgary)
Ric’s Lounge and Grill (Calgary)
Ric’s Grill S
ABOUT THE PLAYHOUSE WINE FESTIVAL
The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, Canada’s premier wine show, runs from March 28th to April 3rd, 2011. The Playhouse Wine Festival is one of the biggest and oldest wine festival events in the world. In 2011, the theme region will be Spain and the global focus, Fortified Wine. The Festival features a week of special events including the Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction, wine seminars, wine minglers, winery dinners, and lunches and brunches at fine restaurants and hotels. The Playhouse Wine Festival is produced by the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival Society, which has three mandates: provide an informative, educational and entertaining wine experience for public and trade; be a premier marketing opportunity for the wine industry and Festival partners; and raise funds for the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company. Since its inception in 1979,
VINESTARS OF WINE CELEBRATE 33 YEARS AT PLAYHOUSE WINE FESTIVAL
Meet the industry’s top international trendsetters and principal vintners
Vancouver, BC, February 21, 2011 – To mark its 33rd year the 2011 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival will welcome some of the most progressive winemakers and winery leaders in the world. From pouring at the International Festival Tasting to hosting events, these vin-pioneers are set to satisfy curious neophytes and seasoned oenophiles with personal, one-on-one meet and greets. Appearances from the following wine world celebrities are just a few reasons to partake in the weeklong festivities.
DIVA(S) AT THE MET
What’s it like to be a woman in the grape trade? Vancouver-based sommelier and Playhouse Wine Festival host Daenna Van Mulligen(alias WineDiva), who has a decade-long list of wine tasting critiques in her purse, will be introducing an international group of female winemakers, proprietors and industry headmistresses at Diva(s) at the Met. Speakers include Ann Sperling, of British Columbia’s 86-year-old Sperling Vineyards; Mary Ann Yewen, Director of Freixenet, one of the top selling sparkling wines on the planet; and Mariola Varona, the North American Export Director of the multi-award-winning Bodegas Martín Códax, specializing in the Albariño grape. Among other dignitaries, these wine queens will dish on the coveted wines they represent, as well as the stories behind their successes as principal businesswomen in a traditionally male dominated industry.
With direction from the biggest wine diva of them all, attendees will also enjoy a selection of small bites prepared by Diva at the Met’s Executive Chef Quang Dang. Join this inspirational group of women on Tuesday, March 29th at the Metropolitan Hotel Vancouver, 645 Howe Street, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm.
THE LEGACY OF A SPANISH VISIONARY: MIGUEL TORRES
When it comes to describing Spanish wine icon Miguel A. Torres, “legendary” is an understatement. Arguably one of the most important families in the history of Spanish wine, Legacy of a Visionary is thepièce de résistance of Festival week. Miguel is the fourth generation of Torres to preside over the acclaimed and centuries-old Miguel Torres Winery, a published author several times over, Decantermagazine’s 2002 Man of the Year and Wine International magazine’s 2005 Personality of the Year.
Moderator Anthony Gismondi will be discussing Miguel’s influence and the Penedès region winery, whileguests are guided through a rare and diverse selection of wines from the Torres wineries in Spain, Chile and California.
One of the most anticipated events of the Festival, Legacy of a Visionary will held on Thursday, March 31stat VCC East, meeting room 8, 999 Canada Place Way, from 5:00 – 6:45 pm.
GOOD GRACIOUS GRENACHE!
Join house wine’s Michelle Bouffard and Michaela Morris as they explore the grandeur and the many guises of Grenache. This lesser known, but surprisingly common grape, was baptized as “Garnacha” by the Spaniards and has ties to cheerful rosés, fuller-bodied reds (think: Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Priorato and Rioja), and lusciously sweet elixirs. Prepare to taste some of its finest expressions hailing from Spain, France, California and Australia. Good Gracious Grenache! will be held on Saturday, April 2nd, at VCC East, meeting room 1, 999 Canada Place Way, from 3:00 – 4:45 pm.
MEET YOUR MATCH
Finding the perfect wine is like finding the perfect partner, it takes the right introduction at the right time. Oeno-enthusiasts are promised that proverbial “spark” at this year’s much anticipated, Meet Your Matchevent. Chaperoned by master wine matchmaker and acclaimed wine writer, Anthony Gismondi, sippers will be invited to get up close and personal with the vinestars of the wine biz. These fascinating international winery principals are set to lead tasters first-hand through the intimate secrets of some of the world’s most outstanding wines and wineries. Presented in a format that allows small groups direct and personal interaction with Festival celebrities, each group will have about 6 minutes to taste the producer’s wine, hear their story and ask questions.
Included in the VIP list is proprietor Telmo Rodriguez, one of Spain’s most celebrated and animated winemakers. Telmo sought out forgotten vineyards for the purpose of recovery and cultivation of abandoned indigenous vines to rave reviews, consistently scoring 90+ points. Alvaro Palacios, widely considered to be propelling Spanish wine into the modern era, acquired his first vineyard, Finca Dofí, in 1990, and will be pouring cellared wines for Meet Your Match guests.
Known for his outstanding Syrahs and Cabernets, South African winemaker Marc Kent of Boekenhoutskloof will be returning to the Festival with his much lauded The Journeyman Franschhoek 2005. David Guimaraens, a sixth generation to Portugal’s Taylor Fladgate and Fonseca, is considered something of a winemaking genius at the international table. In December 2010, David released one of the world’s oldest ports, SCION, to a limited group of collectors and connoisseurs, which at 155 years old, may be one of the only wines to have survived the pre-Phylloxera era.
If these wine experts haven’t already satiated your taste buds, the event will also see Stefano Leone, International Export Director of Antinori; Louis Moreau, owner and winemaker of France’s Domaine Louis Moreau; British Colombia’s own Anthony von Mandl of Mission Hill Family Estate; Cristiano Van Zeller of Portugal’s Quinta do Vale Dona Maria; Californian winemaker Rick Sayre of Rodney Strong; Rupert Symington, Joint Managing Director of Symington Graham’s Port; and David Paterson of BC’s Tantalus Vineyards. Meet Your Match is scheduled on Saturday, April 2nd at VCC East, meeting room 8, 999 Canada Place Way, from 5:00 – 6:45 pm.
ABOUT THE PLAYHOUSE WINE FESTIVAL
The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, Canada’s premier wine show, runs from March 28thto April 3rd, 2011. The Playhouse Wine Festival is one of the biggest and oldest wine festival events in the world. In 2011, the theme region will be Spain and the global focus, Fortified Wine. The Festival features a week of special events including the Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction, wine seminars, wine minglers, winery dinners, and lunches and brunches at fine restaurants and hotels. The Playhouse Wine Festival is produced by the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival Society, which has three mandates: provide an informative, educational and entertaining wine experience for public and trade; be a premier marketing opportunity for the wine industry and Festival partners; and raise funds for the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company. Since its inception in 1979, the Festival has raised over $7.2 million to enable Western Canada’s leading theatre company to mount 223 productions and develop extensive community outreach and educational programs.
The Shore Club generously presents the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival.
(London) January 28, 2011 – The North American edition of the Sustainable Foods Summit (www.sustainablefoodssummit.com) drew to a successful close last week, with many participants calling for greater transparency and accountability from the food industry.
Organized by Organic Monitor, the summit brought together about 200 executives at theRitz-Carlton in San Francisco on 18-19th January 2011. New horizons for eco-labels and sustainability were the focal theme of the 2-day summit.The summit explored the evolution of eco-labels – such as Organic, Fair Trade andRainforest Alliance – in an increasingly global food industry.
The advent of international supply chains is leading many consumers to become disconnected from agriculture andfood production methods. Scott Exo, executive director of Food Alliance, echoed the general sentiment at the summit, calling for the ‘de-commoditization’ of food products byproviding greater traceability to consumers. Seth Goldman, co-founder and president of Honest Tea, opened the summit with his keynote on the triple bottom line. By using the example of tea plantations in China, he showed how modernization does not always contribute to sustainability. Since its launchin 1999, Honest Tea has become one of the fastest growing ethical beverage brands in the US.
The first session explored sustainability initiatives in the food industry, with many speakers raising the question, ‘how do you measure sustainability?’ The use of metrics in sustainability performance was explored by Joseph McIntyre from AG InnovationNetwork. Albert Straus, founder of the Straus Family Creamery, shared his company’sapproaches to measuring the carbon footprint of its dairy operations. The importance of offsetting carbon emission was also highlighted by Theresa Marquez from OrganicValley who showed the role of organic agriculture in carbon sequestering. Sustainability in foodservice was covered by Bon Appetit Management Company, which is sourcing locally from small farmers.
Also in the morning session, Kenneth Ross from Global ID discussed future trends in eco-labels. His paper stressed the importance of IT in combating food fraud and providing traceability to consumers. Convergence of mobile and internet technologies is expected to allow consumers to get ecological and social footprints of their food products. The session ended with a lively debate on sustainability indicators and measurement.The second session honed in on ethical sourcing and sustainable ingredients. The opening papers examined the role of Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade standards in lowering social and ecological impacts of food products.
Nasser Abufara from Canaan Fairtrade explained how social enterprise can improve lives of marginalized growers.Using case studies of three of the most traded food commodities, sustainable sourcing was discussed by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Theo Chocolate and Givaudan.
Marketing & distribution innovations were the subject of the third summit session. Leading retailers – Fresh & Easy and Safeway – shared some of their ethical trading and marketing initiatives. Alex Petrov from Safeway showed how its O Organics label had transcended the boundaries of a private label without cannibalizing manufacturer brands.Fresh & Easy, a subsidiary of the global retailer Tesco, explained how it was raising the bar by implementing new ethical codes of conduct. Ellen W. Feeney from Whitewave Foods shared her experiences in developing brands to meet consumers’ needs for healthy and ecological products with the ‘planetary health’ initiative.
The last session of the summit – organic plus strategies – began with an update on theglobal organic products market. Amarjit Sahota, President of Organic Monitor, showed how pioneering organic food companies were integrating sustainability into their corporate ethos and how some eco-labels were converging. Proceeding papers gave case studies of such developments. Equal Exchange stated how companies could intertwine organic and fair trade practices, whilst the Brazilian company Native Organic Products shared its raft of sustainability actions.
Using wine as a case study, the potential of biodynamic foods was explored by Demeter USA and Fetzer-Bonterra Vineyards. Chad Smith from Earthbound Farms closed the session with an interactive discussion onecological packaging for sustainable food products.The third edition of the executive summit raised many questions about sustainability inthe food industry: Will an eco-label ever fully represent sustainability? What ecological and social parameters are most important in such a standard? What are the most efficient methods to measure sustainability? Where is the line between green marketing and greenwashing? How can companies become more sustainable in distribution andpackaging?
The next editions of the Sustainable Foods Summit aim to address such questions. About the Sustainable Foods Summit Organized by Organic Monitor, the aim of the Sustainable Foods Summit is to discussand debate the major issues the food industry faces concerning concerning sustainability and eco-labels. The proceedings of the North American summit (San Francisco, 18-19th January 2011) are available for a small professional fee. More information is available at: www.sustainablefoodssummit.com
Organic Monitor has announced the dates of the next editions of the Sustainable FoodsSummit as…European edition Amsterdam (23-24 June 2011) North American edition San Francisco (17-18 January 2012)
In 2011, Organic Monitor is celebrating 10 years ofencouraging sustainable development. Since 2001, we have been providing a range of business services to operators in high-growth ethical & sustainable industries.www.organicmonitor.com
The winner of the Bocuse d’Or 2011 is Rasmus KOFOED – Denmark
Read More on Local Food And Wine
(23-24 January 2011) Lyon, France Rasmus KOFOED, representing DENMARK, has won the Bocuse d’Or 2011 trophy and €20,000 in prize money.
Second place, Bocuse d’Argent : Tommy MYLLYMÄKI, representing SWEDEN, won the Silver Bocuse trophy 2011 and €15,000 in prize money.
Third place, Bocuse de Bronze : Gunnar HVARNES, representing NORWAY, won the Bronze Bocuse trophy 2011 and €10,000 in prize money.
Several special prizes were also awarded: – Prize for the ‘Best Commis’, awarded by the Bocuse d’Or Winner’s Academy: Kinari KOYAMA, Commis to Tatsuo NAKASU, JAPAN – Special ‘Fish’ prize: Franck GIOVANNINI, SWITZERLAND – Special ‘Meat’ prize: Jérôme JAEGLE, FRANCE – Prize for the best promotional campaign: GUATEMALA – Prize for the best Poster, as selected by visitors via the internet website:
SPAIN As part of the Sirha 2011 trade exhibition, performing in dedicated contest kitchens facing the public at the heart of the brand new Paul Bocuse hall, 24 chefs from all regions of the planet took up a major challenge: that of preparing within 5.35 hours, during an extraordinary show, two perfect dishes using the official products of the Bocuse d’Or 2011: Scottish lamb for the meat dish and Monkfish, Crab and Scottish Langoustine for the fish dish.
All Photos Courtesy of Francis Mainard/ Bocuse d’Or/ Sirha.
To judge the 24 candidates, the jury was composed of 24 influential chefs who are emblematic of each country represented, under the aegis of 3 exceptional presidents: Paul Bocuse, President Founder, Yannick Alleno, Honorary President (3* Chef at the Meurice, Silver Bocuse 1999) and Geir Skeie, President of the International Jury (Bocuse d’Or 2009)
by Paige Donner
“La Garde Robe,” is a closet. Which is about the size of this snuggly little wine bar just off the rue de Rivoli, a hop and a skip from the Louvre.
Wandering in late one night after a meal with friends, there were just enough stools at the bar to accommodate the few of us. The high tables and the low tables towards the back, were all full of revelers who had the appearance of having spent the entire night at the comfy little “closet” swilling vins naturel and chomping on made-to-order plates of cheeses and thinly sliced meats.
La Garde Robe ha a loyal following and locals will name it as one of Paris’s top wine bars. You can get a good glass of red for anywhere between Euro 3,50 and 7,00. Come with a sense of adventure, ready to try something you haven’t before. It might be within a recognizable apellation, but likely you’ll find producers you haven’t yet tried.
Or just come for the ambiance. It’s one of those exquisite central Paris hole-in-the-wall wine bars that you’d never know was there until you purposefully set out to look for it. And on these cold winter evenings when a lighted window friendly beckons you to come in from the cold, well, if there’s still room for you to squeeze inside, you’ll be glad you did especially once you’ve tried a few things you may not have before. This is Paris, after all! You can also buy your bottles to go.
La Garde Robe, 41, rue de l’Arbre-Sec (rue de Rivoli) 75001
by Paige Donner
After the opening private reception for BVLGARI at the Grand Palais, where else would one dine than at Caviar Kaspia, Pl. Madeleine?
The more wisdom (?) I accrue, the more I realize that the world is but one big treasure. The key is to intuit the map that allows you to decipher the secret passages that guide you to the soft, exquisite, and often delicious, hidden treasures.
For the most part, the “hidden” treasures are hidden in plain sight. Paris is full of these. One of the most famous is Caviar Kaspia.
Caviar Kaspia sits discreetly and prominently, on the Place de la Madeleine and has done since 1953. When he founded his business in Paris in 1927, Russian immigrant Arcady Fixon simply wanted to share the culinary best his country had to offer with the city’s glitterati. In those days, when Paris was comfortably settling into its own as the world capital of haute couture, of arts and letters, of the ballet and opera…Caviar Kaspia instantly appealed not just to the Russian artistocracy who were flocking to the city, but also to the elegant society as they retired from their evenings at the Opera or Comèdie Française, to the dancers from the visiting Russian Ballet of Monte Carlo…indeed Caviar Kaspar quickly became the place to dine for Paris’s privileged society.
Private Dining On Place de la Madeleine
Walking up the narrow wooden stairs on the left as you enter the 8eme’s Caviar shop, you begin to feel like you have just fallen down the rabbit hole. For the upstairs dining room is sumptuousness itself. On a cold wintry December night, sipping Cuvée Kaspia champagne, swallowing dollops of Beluga Caviar, and washing it all down with velvety, fiery, iced Russian vodka…well, does it get any better? Oh yes, imagine having the chance to talk to the Bulgari jewels exhibit designer for the Grand Palais Paris show during dinner. Ok, now, can it possibly get any better?
But it does. The service at Caviar Kaspar is the kind that is impossible to train for. Either a person understands graciousness and has the gift of anticipatory intuitiveness, or they don’t. At Caviar Kaspar, the waiters are not just handsome, they are gracious, discreet, present, and anticipate all your desires even if it’s simply to replace your slightly warmed glass of champagne with a fresh, exquisitely chilled one.
The iconic restaurant creates seasonal special menus. Click HERE kaspia_sylvestre for the Menu de la Saint-Sylvestre 2010.Their classic appetizer is the raw smoked salmon served with blinis. But if your palate is searching for lighter and flavorful, the crabe royal du Kamchatka salad is divinity expressed on a dinner plate.
Caviar served on a baked potato is one of the Kaspia signatures. Honestly, it is so easy to forget one’s good breeding when you see something like that in front of you. The impulse is to dive in. Thank the sea gods that they serve the dish with a small flat spoon that is perfectly designed to lift the caviar off the top of the potato and savor it all on its own.
They offer two categories of caviar: wild or “caviars sauvage” and cultivated or “caviars d’elevage.” Of the former category you can try these varieties: Beluga, Oscietre, Sevruga and caviar pressé.
Or you can try: Oscietre Tradition, Caviar d’Esturgeon Blanc, Caviar Impérial Baeri, Caviar de l’Empereur, Caviar de Printemps.
As the Parisian purveyors of caviar, they follow a few rules of etiquette for serving and tasting caviar. These are designed to release the fullest flavor and experience of caviar’s subtle tastes.
They allow the caviar to “decant,” or aerate for at least 15 minutes before serving on a small mountain of ice. Avoid allowing the tiny grains of caviar to have contact with anything metallic, which is why it is always served at Caviar Kaspar with the small spoon made of either porcelain, glass, or mother of pearl. Always allow yourself the time to roll the small eggs around in your mouth before biting into them to help release their fullest flavor. Always serve with neutral accompaniments such as blinis or baked potato. The drink to pair the meal with is champagne or chilled Russian vodka.
The small dining room that accommodates up to 18 people that is just off to the left of the main dining room has a hidden cache of pictures of top models dancing on its table tops. Which is a good reminder that although caviar is a serious gastronomic delight, we needn’t be so serious about it that we forget to delight in the sheer raw exquisite pleasure of the experience. Snow. Place Madeleine, Paris. Bulgari jewels. Grand Palais. Caviar Kaspia. Champagne. Delightful company. Gracious service.
The world is indeed full of treasures!
by Paige Donner
Rarely do you get such a glimpse of how basic an element wine is to French culture than at something like the Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants. At an event like this one, you really get the feel of how wine is actually a basic food group for the French. It’s not a luxury or something that needs to be “mastered” but rather as elementary to daily life and basic needs as is water.
As a tourist or even as a resident foreigner, this Wine Salon is something I plan trips around and mark on the calendar months in advance. Held this past weekend at the ginormous Expo center that is Porte de Versailles in Paris, I had the chance to sip and taste new and just released vintages from over 250 independent wineries and winemakers from all the regions of France. The question was not a matter of access (entry cost 6 Euro) or accessibility (all the wineries were pouring). The question was whether I had the stamina to last a whole day. If I were a real pro, I would have gone over the course of each of the consecutive five days and prolonged the learning and the enjoyment, the listening and the tasting, stretching it out for every last drop.
The Salon des Vins des Vignerons Independants is something that everyone even remotely interested in wine must attend at some time. As a window onto wine and French culture, it’s unsurpassed. It’s also no-frills. And it’s held twice a year – in the Fall and in the Spring. The only people I envied as I roamed the alphabetized aisles, were those who were savvy enough to have come with their rolling suitcases which they packed full of bottles and cases of France’s most excellent and affordable wines.
Here’s a sampling:
Champagne Philippe Martin
They are located right in the heart of Champagne just between Reims and Epernay in Cumieres. They grow their chardonnay and pinot noir grapes on 10 hectares and produce 6 crus.
Cuvée de Réserve Brut – dry, frothy bubbly. At 14.40 Euro per bottle at the Salon it stands up to any of the internationally known brands.
Millésime 2002 – aged and made with pinot noir grapes as well as chardonnay, the richer, fruitier grape is detectable as soon as the elixir hits your tongue. At 22 Euro per bottle, you can see why I wish I’d had my rolling suitcase with me.
Domaine Gerard Metz “The power of harmony”
The Salon tipplers tended toward the Alsatian wines, I noticed. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that Paris had just seen its first snowfall of the season this weekend. It’s easy to think of a spicy Gewurztraminer and heavy spaetzle and sausages when it gets cold outside – all things that come from Alsace.
Gewurztraminer Vielles Vignes 2009 at 9 Euro per bottle this tending toward almost sweet gewurz tasted of the grape. In the sense that I almost felt like I had popped a whole grape into my mouth and was drinking of it, and a splash of alcohol.
Gewurztraminer “Cuvée Mégane” 2009 This guy was just shy of a late harvest wine. Its gold color spoke of its autumn, rich flavors even before it made itself known in the mouth. It sells for 13.50Euro per bottle.
Bourgogne – Chablis
It’s just too novel when you come to the realization that these wines you’ve long loved come from an actual place. In this case, Chablis.
Moreau Naudet at 5, rue des Fosses, Chablis offered Petit Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru and Chablis Grand Cru on offer. He ages his white wine for 24 mos. in barrel.
Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons 2007 was smooth and classy; its light golden color reminded me of summer in California. 26 Euro
Chablis 1er Cru Montmains 2008 had lively acid playing throughout the mouth. Well-balanced and a white you can keep for a few years and still enjoy. 26 Euro
Domaine Millet “Intensement Chablis”
The winery is in Tonnerre, still within Bourgogne. The Petit Chablis L’Angelus and Petit Chablis were noteworthy, all 2009. They also had their Chablis Vieilles Vignes and Chablis 1er Cru Vaucoupin for sale and to taste. The maturity of the old vines tend to be the wines I gravitate towards. www.chablis-millet.com
Côte du Rhône, St. Joseph
Domaine du Mortier, Saint Joseph by Didier Crouzet. What’s a wine tasting if you don’t indulge in a bit of the sacred St. Joseph? Part of the geography of Côte Rôtie, a St. Joseph can take good care of you through the Winter. On 10.5 acres Mssr. Crouzet cultivates his vines of character.
Domaine du Mortier, St. Joseph, 2008 A little light. Not often found in this wine or appellation, it can offer a more drinkable alternative to what is usually paired with a good steak or winter roast.
Domaine du Mortier, St. Joseph, 2009 is a considerably more powerful wine. 2009 vintages, like the 2010 harvest, will have legs for years to come. Dark fruit, some wood, wine with a backbone.
In this cluster were three domains that are run by the same winemakers and which are all independent. The majority they’ve brought to market this year have won a medal or an award or even a “coup de coeur” from the Guide Hachette des Vins 2011.
Domaine de Fussiacus Pouilly-Vinzelles 2008. These grapes are from 30-40 year old vines. This lovely tinted yellow gold nectar won the Medaille d’Or Paris et Macon 2010. It was selling for a mere 10.30 Euro.
Domaine Chateau de Chaintre Bourgogne Blanc 2008 is the one which you’ll find in the Guide Hachettes des Vins 2011 listed as the Coup de Coeur. It is burgundy chardonnay and its well-balanced, proper notes and aromas make it a perfect choice for a dinner with family and friends.
Domaine de Fussiacus Vielles Vignes Pouilly-Fuisse 2008 had a nose of citrus and a delicious mouth of calcaire and mineral hints. Another one of those wines I wish I’d bought a case of. 15.10 Euro per bottle.
From this region down near Perpignan which is still part of Languedoc-Roussillon you will find wines that have the garrigue in their molecules.
Abbaye de Fontfroide
A husband and wife winemaking team, Nicolas de Chevron Villette married his wife, Laure d’Andoque de Seriege, whose family has owned the Abbaye de Fontfroide and the vines that surround it for centuries. They have a tasting room, a restaurant and they offer vacation stays. It is also just 15 km. away from the region’s only 3 Michelin star restaurant run by France’s Best Chef 2010.
Abbaye de Fontfroide Cuvée Deo Gratias 2007 A finessed red wine that speaks of the region and the terroir. The nose is aromatic, the mouth hints of the garrigue.
Abbaye de Fontfroide Cuvée Oculus 2009 Though this is a white, it boasts a nutty mouth and an aromatic nose. At 7.10Euro a bottle, it is an elegant wine to serve at table with roasted poultry and new potatoes for example.
Abbaye de Fontfroide Cuvée Deo Gratias 2009 The grapes are Roussanne, Marsanne predominantly and the juice is new barrel aged. 12.90 per bottle. www.fontfroide.com
TODAY’S SPECIAL is a heartwarming comedy with a culinary flavor starring Aasif Mandvi (Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Last Airbender), and renowned Indian actress and best selling cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey.
Samir (Mandvi) is a sous chef who dreams of becoming the head chef at an upscale Manhattan restaurant. When he is passed over for a promotion he impulsively quits and lets his co-worker Carrie (Jess Weixler, TEETH) know that he intends to go to Paris and apprentice under a master French chef. Dreams must be put aside though after his father Hakim (Harish Patel, RUN FAT BOY RUN) has a heart attack and Samir is forced to take over Tandoori Palace, the nearly bankrupt family restaurant in Jackson Heights. Samir’s relationship with his parents and his heritage is immediately put to the test. He has been estranged from his father since the death of his older brother, and his mother Farrida, (played by legendary cookbook writer and actor, Madhur Jaffrey), is consumed with finding a wife for her remaining son.
While Samir is being forced to forsake his dreams, he is desperately trying to master Indian cooking to salvage the family business. Luckily, he crosses paths with Akbar, a taxi driver, passionate chef, and worldly raconteur (portrayed by the icon of Indian cinema, Naseeruddin Shah, MONSOON WEDDING). Akbar inspires Samir and teaches him to trust his senses more than recipes; to stop measuring his life, and to start truly living it. With Akbar’s guidance, Samir has a chance to rediscover his heritage and his passion for life through the enchanting art of cooking Indian food.
TODAY’S SPECIAL is produced by Nimitt Mankad’s Inimitable Pictures and Lillian LaSalle’s Sweet 180 (Loggerheads, Sweetland). The film is directed by Sundance alumni David Kaplan (Year of the Fish) and is written by Aasif Mandvi and Jonathan Bines (Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel).
Rating: R. Running Time: 99 minutes.
Also…some Tips for A Healthy Holiday Kitchen:
|French Cuisine at Unesco! [Courtesy Paris Daily Photo]
You probably noticed it if you came to France, food plays a really large role in our culture. Everyone knows how to cook – at least a little – and when you go to any restaurant you expect the food to be good! Of course things have changed (a lot of restaurants use ready made dishes now), but the demand for quality is still there. So I guess it’s no that surprising that, as you may have heard, Unesco officials just declared “French cuisine” as part of the “intangible cultural heritage of humanity” (read more on the NYT)! It’s probably a little far fetched, but it’s good for our nation self esteem. And to illustrated this, here are some zucchini roulés. What’s good, must also look good 😉
Everywhere where Thanksgiving is celebrated, we have a favorite recipe that each of us takes out, dusts off, – often from our Grandmother’s recipe book – and cooks up each year to share with our friends and loved ones.
And while Thanksgiving has become a Food Fest for most of us, it is firstly a celebration of gratitude. With gratitude as the cornerstone ingredient for manifesting abundance, this is, then, a powerful recipe: Thankfulness + Good Food = Abundance.
Thanksgiving is also a time of sharing. Back on Plymouth Rock, it is significant to remember that the Mayflower Pilgrims would not have survived that first winter had it not been for the Native Americans sharing their knowledge and abundance of the land and native foods such as corn and beer. (Yes, beer!)
So, yes, Thanksgiving is a time for families and food. It is also a time of sharing and gratitude. So…what was your grandmother’s favorite recipe? Mine was whipped yams baked with mini marshmallows. I think I’ll start practice cooking it now again in preparation for the big day…!
Help for the Holidays
If your family is one of the many struggling this holiday season I would urge you to research the non-profits in your area that can help meet your needs. I have listed just a few of the many valuable organizations serving the residents of the 23rd Senate District.
- FOOD Share, Ventura County
- Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles
- Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Los Angeles County
- Manna Conejo Valley Food Bank, Ventura and Los Angeles County
- Valley Food Bank, San Fernando Valley
21st Annual Malibu Pie Festival
Kara Seward with her pie entry for Malibu Pie Festival, October.
The Malibu United Methodist Church hosted their 21st Annual Malibu Pie Festival last month. The proceeds from pie sales and silent auction items went to support the church’s youth and family programs and service projects. I am proud to announce that my staffer for the Malibu area, Kara Seward, entered her family’s blueberry pie recipe and won third place in the Fruit Pie category. Congratulations to all the entries!
By Paige Donner
Corsica, off the French south coast, produces delicious dry white and subtle rosé wines that are best drunk chilled, young and fresh as an aperitif or to accompany light meals of seafood, salads, tapas.
Wine of Corsica is the common appellation to all the wines of Corsica, with the following AOC classifications related to either the soils or the villages in which the vineyards are grown: Ajaccio, Calvi, Coteaux du Cap Corse et Muscat du Cap Corse, Figari Patrimonio, Porto-Vecchio, Sartène.
While Corsica is definitely “south of France,” it does not fall under the newly minted branding of “Sud de France,” a term that is being used by the region of Languedoc-Roussillon as they voyage forth once again onto the world export stage with their wines and other agricultural products.
Corsican wines are one of those “well-kept secrets.” The island, which the French call “L’île de Beauté,” produces some great wines but they aren’t exported much overseas…yet. Set in the Mediterranean Sea, many of the island’s wines originate from Italy. The sun’s reflection on both white rocks and the Mediterranean brings even more energy to the vine which, combined with low yields, will eventually produce a very concentrated grape.
- Cap Corse Wine This white wine is pretty rare and much appreciated by winelovers. Many agree that it is the best white wine in Corsica.
- Sartene Wine This is an excellent wine, and the red San Michele is definitely a must-taste. These are fruity and warm Corsican wines.
- Patrimonio This wine is as famous as the classic Corsican appellation and its quality is constantly growing. Corsican reds and whites are increasingly famous even out of the island. Patrimonio rosé wines are also fine wines. Patrimonio wines have a pretty strong character that originate from the soil, which is composed mostly of clay and limestone. This Corsican wine is full-bodied but still light and fruity.
- Ajaccio The Ajaccio French wine boasts the distinction of being the most elevated wine region in France. Most of its vineyards are located 500 m and above. This Corsica wine benefits from the warm weather, and the sea air provides it with a very particular flavor too. This French wine fully benefits from the Corsican environment thus it is light coloured, fruity and has a pronounced pepper flavor in the mouth. The Ajaccio soil is mostly granite.
They also have excellent beaches in Corsica!
May long weekend was one of those where the sun cooperated with the clouds and both were in harmonic concert with the calendar. Which is to say, May long weekend was spectacular for wine tasting afternoons.
The Naramata Bench always invites,…perhaps it’s the lake views, the easy meandering route – in via one road, out via the same road – or, just maybe, it’s the wines themselves that consistently beckon.
A quick easy snack of Eggers at The Bench specialty market and cafe’ as I started my journey provided fortification for the enjoyably foreseen alcohol consumption. Most days I spit, today I had decided to swirl. There’s something grand about being on vacation in wine territory and not the designated driver…
The few outdoor tables at The Bench Market hosted clusters of Gelato lickers and some chowing down on their more substantial wraps and sandwiches. The little specialty cafe’ that sits at the doorway to the Naramata Bench is such a fun place to poke around. I love looking through their tray of Naramata Handmade Seeds and imagine what it would be like to plant some Cape Gooseberry, perhaps some Togo Trefle, or even some Gigantesque or Ste. Lucie. All the seeds are “open-pollinated, grown in Naramata by natural chemical-free methods.” At $3.00 per packet, they make great gifts and garden projects. You can also find Okanagan Harvest Cake here. It comes vacuum-packed so you can take this deliciousness home for savoring later if you wish (and if willpower permits).
The Naramata Bench can be as much a treasure treat hunt as it is a wine tasting trail. With this thought, the first stop was in at Poplar Grove where they make, and sell, cheese and wine. The ever popular Poplar Grove boasted a packed tasting counter. The clamor for cheese could be heard even above the soft patter of the wine sippers. Fairly early in the day still, there were only three rounds of their Naramata Bench Blue cheese left. Fortune smiled on me that day as I was handed one of the precious rounds. Seems their 20% off sale on the cheese had precipitated a cheese run throughout the day.
But, first things first, so I made my way through their tasting flight. Outstanding is their Cabernet Franc ’06. They hold their wines longer than anyone in the valley and this Cab Franc lives up to its, “Black Forest Cake In A Bottle,” reputation. Ripe, red fruits, silky cocoa. Their Ogopogo label also caught my eye from a design perspective but once you taste their ’06 Cab Franc it’s kind of hard (sorry!) to remember what came before that. As I worked through my purchases, I was delighted to see that the cheese came out to only $6. That was the deal of the day.
Back out on the main road I saw that the Marichel Vineyards’ sign was proclaiming they were open. I had been wanting to stop in for some time, even just to take in the iconic Okanagan Lake views from their patio. Funny, but the definitive pictures you mostly see of the Okanagan are actually of Vaseux Lake and not the Okanagan.
Twice in the course of an afternoon, fortune blessed me as the sun was high overhead and the views from Marichel Vineyards patio were, well, iconic Lake Okanagan. Marichel’s exquisitely trimmed vineyards that sit on the “Bench,” or bluff right there delight tribes of quail. It would be easy enough to spend a whole afternoon just watching the quail and their little quail babies weave through the manicured vines and talk to Richard and Elizabeth Roskell, Marichel Vineyard owners and winemakers.
Marichel’s ’07 Syrah is melt in your mouth good. If Syrah could be a dark chocolate in a bottle, this is it.
Marichel’s tasting room is like one you’d find in Argentina. The comfortably-sized room opening up onto the outdoor veranda is furnished with a tasting table, a big wooden picnic table with benches that invites you to have a seat, take a moment, and enjoy the experience of tasting wine. The Roskells were the first on the bench to plant Viognier, so their vines now are 11 years old – and beautiful!
Their property features a gulch on it which serves to divide the acreage into “eight little different vineyard blocks, with different soils even,” explains Elizabeth. She remembers all too well when she and her husband Richard were out auguring the soil with a pickaxe to get the young vines in. She laughs and says that, yes, they are always open, it’s just that often they are in the vineyard working. But they enjoy very much meeting and hosting people for tastings; It’s just best to call ahead if you want to be sure to be greeted at the gate.
Their Syrah is well worth making the appointment for. Richard has planted six different Syrah blocks, and they expect each to be signature different. As you gaze out their veranda onto the golden afternoon sun-drenched lake you see a lone pine tree on the bluff, that is where they’ve planted their Sunset Block of Syrah.
On the afternoon I stopped in Elizabeth was pouring Marichel Syrah ’07. As she poured the dark berry hued wine into the full, stemless tasting glass I could already see that I was in for a treat. I cupped the glass in the warmth of my hand and swirled the ripe juice to aid its flavor release. I could almost feel it melting in the glass. Elizabeth was telling me how one of her pastimes is baking and that she makes a dark chocolate cake where she soaks the cherries in this Syrah before cooking them in the cake.
Time to taste: Marichel’s ’07 Syrah is melt in your mouth good. If Syrah could be a dark chocolate in a bottle, this is it. Its nose, ever so slightly brisk, belies the full-bodied maturity of the vintage, hints of leather, a whiff of Autumn leaves. The mouth is full, velvety, smooth, round, well-balanced, specialized, with red fruits and a Godiva dark chocolate finish.
A few moments at Marichal Vineyards and you’ve carved into memory indelible images of Naramata taste, sight and sunshine.
It’s said that laughter is the best therapy, so a must-stop was Laughingstock Vineyards. A table with crazy fun hats was on display to greet tasters. But really crazy hats, and big mirrors, to try them on and see which ones fit. Hats came in varietals like a WWII fighter pilot with goggles, Jimmi Hendrix afro wig, pointed Merlin’s hat, Argentine Bolero, a witch’s black hat, a chicken-o-your-head hat…and more.
“It’s to remind us not to take ourselves too seriously,” stated the lady pouring Laughing Stock’s tasting flight, explaining that it’s only for special occasions that they put out the hats.
Not to miss in their flight is their Portfolio ’07 which is a blend of 56% Merlot 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 6% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot. Vines magazine calls it one of Canada’s “icon wines.”
Out in mid-June is their Pinot Noir ’09. Looking forward to trying it as they did not release a Pinot Noir for ’08. Also worth noting is their Syrah, with a Viognier blend, will be out soon. Now that sounds interesting…
Lunch on the patio at Hillside Estate Winery is a Bench landmark. Their new chef began back in April and even simple dishes of steamed mussels in a red sauce with some dipping bread can showcase why it’s so great to be alive.
Hillside Estate Winery is one of the only wineries in the Valley to do a Muscat. They are also the only winery in all of Canada to do a Muscat Ottonel. The original owner of Hillside Estate Winery brought her 6 vines of Ottonel over in her backpack from Czechoslovakia. “She probably would have gotten into trouble, had she been caught. But she wasn’t, so now we have this beautiful Muscat and thousands of Ottonel vines,” explained the tasting room pourer.
Kathy Malone is their winemaker and I wouldn’t leave Hillside without trying their, Muscat Ottonel ’09, ’07 Reserve Merlot and also their ’09 Gewurztraminer. The tasting room at Hillside Estate is always going to be full on weekends, so just hang in and press on ’til it’s your turn at the tasting bar. Then dig in and enjoy.
A day of laughter and wine wouldn’t be complete without a sojourn at Therapy Vineyards and Guesthouse. Therapy Vineyards’ winemaker, Steve Latchford, makes a Malbec that’s been getting people talking. He uses grapes grown down in Oliver. On the Naramata Bench, they have 7 acres under cultivation, though the property is so impressive, down there at the end of the Bench, that it’s easy to think they have vast more under cultivation. Their Malbec is the first wine in Canada to feature a hockey player on the label. Go figure!
People flock in for the Freudian Sip; Aged eight months in French Oak gives this Chardonnay a strong spine. Their “Pink Freud,” rose’ is also a crowd pleaser. Therapy Vineyards is one of the few wineries on the Bench that has a Guesthouse. It’s a tough choice between there and the Naramata Heritage Inn And Spa. On a sunny summer weekend, it’ll probably just come down to whoever has the first, or last remaining, opening.
Mission Codename: The Wisest of All
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Revisit Brooks Winery and secure an allocation of their prized ‘Ara’ Riesling.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Brooks Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 ‘Ara’ Willamette Valley Riesling
Winemaker: Chris Williams
Backgrounder: Oregon’s Willamette Valley, just south of Portland and along the Willamette River is well known for Pinot Noir and other Burgundian varietals but the Alsatian varietal Riesling also thrives here. Its deep and fertile volcanic soil, cooler climate most directly effect viticulture. Most of the vineyards in this area are planted in the valley’s and hillsides along the river. Today’s wine comes from a unique winery – with a unique heritage.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Pale and clear straw yellow that becomes almost watery clear along the meniscus. When swirled, randomly spaced legs start off wide and thin as they glide down to the wine below.
Smell – Medium in intensity with bright aromas of tart grapefruit and lime citrus as well as green apple. A touch of white flower, light minerality and subtle sweet exotic spice emerges as this wine opens.
Feel – Medium-bodied and smooth with a nearly dry, mineral texture that is framed by its bright and crisp acidity.
Taste – Layers of fresh grapefruit, lemon and lime along with tart green apple meld with notes of exotic and sweet baking spice, slate minerality, a touch of grassy herb and a tiny hint of classic petrol.
Finish – Medium in length and extremely clean with crisp and bright acidity longing the citrus and green tree fruit that fades leaving a tangy tart zest on the palate that invites another sip.
Conclusion – The 2007 Brooks Winery ‘Ara’ Willamette Valley Riesling is a delicious, fresh and crisp wine that will find itself the perfect accompaniment to a variety of foods, including the zestiest and spiciest creations from your kitchen or local Thai delivery. Bright and fresh with balance between its fruit and other classic aromas and flavors. We paired this lovely wine with pulled pork barbecue sandwiches
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Chris Williams
WINE EDUCATION: Hands-on
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF:none
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY:I think it’s very important to always show the vintage as part of Terrior.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: Eat, Drink, and be merry!
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: Brooks is 1998 Willamette Valley Riesling, Chris Williams’ 2004 Ara Riesling
Below is a recent interview conducted by Agent Red when we featured the delicious Janus Pinot Noir.
AGENT RED: Greetings, Chris. We are thrilled to be showing your wine today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
CHRIS: And thank you, it’s always a pleasure to find a new audience to show my wine to.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
CHRIS: It was really more about a friendship I formed with Jimi Brooks that lead me into the business. From there my appreciation for wine grew quickly.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
CHRIS: That would have to be Jimi. I learned everything from him including to always encourage yourself to try new things.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
CHRIS: Myself, but always with a consumer in mind!
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
CHRIS: the 2007 Janus is a wine I’m very proud of. I feel it was a standout in the vintage for me with perfumed aromatics, a very elegant mouthfeel, and finishing with nice soft tannins. A wine that will stand the test of time!
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
CHRIS: I recently had it with a beef cheek Reuben and it was fantastic!
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Willamette Valley so special?
CHRIS: For me it’s really about the people, the sense of community really shows through!
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
CHRIS: Just finished bottling my 2009 whites and now I’m tending to the Pinots.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
CHRIS: A lot like life, you have to always be open to new things to really find your true pleasures.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Brooks Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley can be seen in this satellite photo.
Want to dig deeper into the issues of food and farming? Click on the links below to find more information relating to sustainable local food systems. Enjoy! Read More on Food Down The Road, Kingston and Countryside.
- Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
- Close Range by Annie Proulx
- Bad Dirt by Annie Proulx
- The Devil’s Larder by Jim Crace
- The Garden of Reading by Michael Slung
- Fertile Ground by Janette Hasse – Combines detailed information for growing your own vegetables in a small, efficient, and productive garden with dozens of recipes and ideas for eating seasonally and locally in a northern climate. Arranged in monthly chapters, an article about a food related issue accompanes each section. Available at Tara Foods, Novel Idea and Sigrid’s Natural Foods for $27.00.
- Stuffed and Starved by Raj Patel
- Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community by H.C. Flores
- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
- A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright
- First the Seed: The Political Economy of Plant Biotechnology by Jack Ralph Kloppenburg Jr.
- Gaining Ground: Making a Successful Transition to Organic Farming by the Canadian Organic Growers
- Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West by William Cronon
- The End of Food: How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Food Supply—And What You Can Do About It by Thomas F. Pawlick
- The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry by Wendell Berry
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
- Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert
- Simply in Season Chilren’s Cookbook by Mark Beach and Julie Kauffman
- More with Less by Doris Janzen Longacre
- Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
- Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables by Farmer John Peterson and Angelic Organics
- From Asparagus to Zucchini by Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition
- Acres: A Voice for Eco-Agriculture published by Acres U.S.A.
- The Farm Crisis: Its Causes and Solutions, The National Farmers Union’s Submission to the Ministers of Agriculture Meeting (2005)
- The Real Dirt on Farmer John
- Babette’s Feast
- Deconstructing Supper
- Fast Food Nation
- The Future of Food
- The Gleaners and I
- Like Water for Chocolate
- The Promise of the Land
- Food Inc.
For links to other relevant websites, please click on a following category:
- Local Food Directories
- Farmers Markets
- Local Food Stores
- Food Security
- Local Food Programs
- New Farmer Training and Resources
- Education Centres and Courses
- Urban Agriculture and Growing your own Food
- Food Related Events
- Activist and Action Groups
- Preservation Initiatives
- Research Initiatives
- Kingston Community Meal and Food Programs
- Cooking with Local Food
- Ontario CSA Directory — csafarms.netcompass.ca
- Durham Farm Fresh — www.durhamfarmfresh.ca
- Eat Local Sudbury — www.eatlocalsudbury.com
- Foodlink Grey-Bruce — www.foodlinkgreybruce.com
- GTA Local Food — www.gtalocalfood.ca/GTALocalFood/home.html
- Hamilton Local Food Directory — environmenthamilton.org/eatlocal/directory
- Kawartha Choice Farm Fresh — www.kawarthachoice.com/buylocal.php
- Local Flavours (Leeds, Grenville & Frontenac) — www.localflavours.org
- Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association — www.ontariofarmfresh.com
- Waterloo Foodlink — www.foodlink-waterlooregion.ca
- The Eat Well Guide — www.eatwellguide.org
- Kingston Market — www.geocities.com/kingstonmarket
- Farmers’ Market at Queen’s — www.thefarmersmarketatqueens.com
- Frontenac Farmers Market — www.frontenacfarmersmarket.ca
- Farmers’ Markets Ontario — www.farmersmarketsontario.com
- Harvest Ontario — www.harvestontario.com/fmoeast.html
- Desert Lake Gardens — www.dlgardens.com
- Tara Natural Foods — www.taranaturalfoods.com
- Local Family Farms — email@example.com
- Glenburnie Grocery (613-542-6234)
- Be Now Natural Foods — www.benownaturalfoods.ca
- Sigrids Natural Foods — www.explorekingston.com/sigrids_natural_foods.htm
- Just Food Ottawa — www.spcottawa.on.ca/ofsc
- Foodshare — www.foodshare.ca
- Toronto Food Policy Council — www.toronto.ca/health/tfpc_index.htm
- Food Net — www.opha.on.ca/foodnet
- Food Secure Canada — www.foodsecurecanada.org
- Food 2030
- Local Food Plus (Toronto) — www.localflavourplus.ca
- Foodlink Grey and Bruce — www.foodlinkgreybruce.com
- Be A Local Hero (Massachusetts) — www.buylocalfood.com
- Food Routes (USA) — www.foodroutes.org
- Sustainable Table (USA) — www.sustainabletable.org
- Everdale — www.everdale.org
- Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada – Web Courses — www.oacc.info/courses/course_web.asp
- Falls Brook Centre — www.fallsbrookcentre.ca
* New England Small Farm Institute — www.smallfarm.org
- Intervale — intervale.org
- FRILL Community Garden — www.frillgarden.org
- Sunnyside Community Garden — opirgkingston.org/info/groups/garden
- Kingston Horticultural Society — www.ikweb.com/khs
- Kingston Plant Trade — ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/kingston_plant_trade
- Sisters of Providence – Seed Sanctuary — www.providence.ca/seeds
- City Farmer — www.cityfarmer.org
- You Grow Girl: Gardening for the People — www.yougrowgirl.com
- Urban Harvester: Edible Landscape Consultant — www.urbanharvester.ca
- Taste of Kingston — www.whatsonkingston.com/tasteofkingston
- Guelph Organic Conference — www.guelphorganicconf.ca
- International Plowing Match — www.plowingmatch.org
- Canadian Organic Growers (COG) – Ottawa Chapter ECO Farm Day 2008 in Cornwall — www.cog.ca/ottawa/EFD_2008_main.htm
- Canadian Biotechnology Action Network — www.cban.ca
- ECO Perth — www.ecoperth.on.ca
Other – Kingston
- Queen’s Oxfam — clubs.myams.org/oxfam/about.html
Other – Ontario
- National Farmers Union – Ontario — www.nfu.ca/on
Other – Canada
- National Farmers Union – Canada — www.nfu.ca
- Canadian Organic Growers — www.cog.ca
- Equiterre — equiterre.org/en
- ACORN — www.acornorganic.org
Other – USA & International
- ETC Group — www.etcgroup.org/en
- The Ethicurean: Chew the Right Thing — www.ethicurean.com
- The New Farm — www.newfarm.org
- Ontario Farmland Trust — www.farmland.uoguelph.ca/oft/oft.htm
- Rare Breeds Canada — www.rarebreedscanada.ca
- Canadian Association for Food Studies — www.foodstudies.ca/public.html
Organic Research Initiatives
- Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada — www.oacc.info
- St. Paul’s Anglican Meal Program kingston.cioc.ca
- Martha’s Table kingston.cioc.ca
- Partners in Mission Food Bank kingston.cioc.ca
- Good Food Boxkingston.cioc.ca
- Food Sharing Project www.limestone.on.ca
- KFL&A Public Health Emergency and Supplemental Food Access Directorywww.kflapublichealth.ca
- Slow Food www.slowfood.com
- Taste Ontario www.tasteontario.ca/index.html
- Culiblog: Inside the Secrets of the Culinary Elite — www.culiblog.org
- Edible Tulip — www.edibletulip.typepad.com
by Paige Donner
Pinot noir is a very fickle grape, requiring the utmost attention and respect in every phase of the winemaking process. Winemakers are the first to testify to this, claiming that grapes that have been handled too much can end up making wines that lack flavor and harmony.
Clearly, Pinot noir is a risky (and more expensive) proposition for the winegrower, the winemaker, and the wine drinker. But it is precisely this high-stakes gamble that makes pinot noir all the more alluring and rewarding.
There is much debate as to the origins of the variety, although one currently popular theory is that the Pinot noir grape is an offspring of Pinot meunier and Gewurztraminer. This union helps explain the characteristics behind the beloved Pinot noir. As author Stuart Pigot notes in Planet Wine, “Pinot meunier gave Pinot noir its bright, berry aromas and initial charm, while Gewurztraminer its silkiness, extravagance, nobility, and fickleness.”
The name Pinot Noir is derived from the French words for “pine” and “black” in reference to the varietals’ tightly clustered dark purple cone-shaped bunches of grapes. Therefore, Pinot noir refers both to the grape varietal as well as the wine that it produces. The skin of the Pinot noir grape is relatively thin, making it a tricky, albeit rewarding, candidate for wine production.
As mentioned by Karen MacNeil in The Wine Bible, “Winemakers adopt a minimalist approach, and often a percentage of the grapes is not crushed. Instead, whole grapes are put directly into the fermenting tanks, which also helps maximize fruity flavors in the wine. To keep those fruit flavors dominant, many wine-makers are also extremely careful and sparing in their use of new oak for aging.”
Oregon, inspired by the similar climate characteristics of Burgundy, staked its reputation on Pinot noir with much success. Thanks to ocean fog, California has shown that it too has no shortage of spots cool enough to keep Pinot grapes on the vine as they develop fine fruity flavors and texture. Notable Pinot regions in California include Los Carneros, the Russian River Valley in Sonoma and Santa Maria north of Santa Barbara.
Pinot noir is what put Oregon on the map internationally, and is the most planted in the state by far. Wineries in Oregon tend to be small family affairs. Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot gris follow. Oregon has no such thing as cheap, bulk wine. The climate is distinctly cloudy and cool, especially in the Willamette Valley where most of the wineries are clustered. This gentle climate, which highly resembles that of Burgundy, allows for wines of good acidity and balance, moderate alcohol, and an ideal degree of flavor.
Summer Wine Reads: Johnson, Hugh. The World Atlas of Wine, Ed. 4. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994; MacNeil, Karen. The Wine Bible. New York: Workman Publishing, 2001; Pigott, Stuart. Planet Wine. London: Mitchell Beazley, 2004; Robinson, Jancis. Jancis Robinson’s Wine Course. London: BBC Books, 1995.
Here’s all that a day of gathering cooking ingredients, locating a place in which to cook, and finding some regional cooking “advisors,” can be when you’re on The Island:
Book yourself into a farmstead that doubles as a B&B. We found Smith Lake Farms in the Comox Valley to be an ideal setting, especially if we had brought the children with us. Upon check-in we were handed two fresh eggs just gathered from the coop for our breakfast the next day.
Pattison Farms of Black Creek in Comox Valley, run by Gerry and Dagmar Pattison, is the stuff of legends. The certified organic farm keeps two gigantic greenhouses under year-round cultivation and grows three kinds of cauliflower, “but none of them are white,” Gerry will tell you. White cauliflower is too mundane for Pattison Farms purposes where Gerry has firmly established himself a niche of growing the absolute best varietals of spinach, tomatoes, heritage apple trees, blackberries and loads more for renowned B.C. Chefs such as Ronald St. Pierre of Locals and John Bishop of Bishop’s. St. Pierre even features a picture of Pattison on the wall of his Courtenay flagship Locals Restaurant.
Out on that quaint country road in Comox Valley it’s not surprising to hear Gerry talk about the farm stand he keeps open for most of the year right at the gate of his property that operates on the honor system. “The most we’ve ever had go missing is two heads of purple cabbage,” he says, clearly communicating that he doesn’t sweat the small stuff. What is surprising to hear is that this unassuming organic gourmand ingredient farmer hosted racks of news crews and a sit-down lunch on the patio and in his backyard/ farm fields when John Bishop launched his cookbook several years back. What you’ll find over and again in the Comox community is that people who know, know; and your best bet is to make friends with those people who are in the know.
Some of those people you’d be lucky to know are the ones who run Beaufort Vineyards. They are an Island culinary destination and have focused their 27 plus years of wine making toward crafting vineyard and winery practices that are people, animal and environment-friendly.
Just a hop skip down the road and you’ll find yourself in Courtenay, the jewel of the Valley. Grab yourself a cup of coffee at Mudshark’s and be sure to pop in next door to Bramble’s Market. Opened last summer by husband and wife Angeline and James Street (www.bramblesmarket.ca) it is B.C.’s only grocery store stocked with 100% local food and products, promoting a “50 km diet” of eat local, something that is actually quite possible to do when you live in the Comox Valley.
The notion of eat local is a popular one throughout the Island. However, as James and Angeline, hard working new business owners, will confide, “The people you would expect to come in and buy from us regularly…don’t. Our regulars are people who drive up in old beater cars but who really love good food. They’ll come for the meats, the cheeses, the breads and the other quality fresh ingredients we keep stocked because they just really love good food… and they know they can count on what they buy from us to taste great.” We stock up for our cooking class that we’ve scheduled for later, with informational assistance from Tourism Vancouver Island.
On our drive South, we pass Wal-Mart, Thrifty Foods, which is locally owned and does stock some local foods, and Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, an artisanal cheesemaker who specializes in “squeaky cheese,” which is really a form of curds and which Canadians love to liberally sprinkle on hot french fries, slather in gravy and call “Poutine,” a veritable national dish. Little Qualicum Cheeseworks also makes a goat cheese that Tigh-Na-Mara’s chef is using for his April “Earth Month”-inspired 100-mile diet menu in the Cedar Room.
We pull up to the Painted Turtle Guesthouse just a block up from the harbor walk in Nanaimo with our appetites barely in check. We’ve heard about the Mon Petit Choux bakery that supposedly does croissants better than anyone this side of Paris. Lucky for us, it’s just adjacent to the Painted Turtle so we tuck into it for a quick pick-me-up and indulge in not just the coffee (fantastico!) and a butter croissant, but also a Brioche that’s filled with pastry crème and fresh blueberries. The organic bread, and in fact all the baked goods, are made using only local ingredients and the roomy interior invites you to hang your hat for awhile. Owner Linda Allen is a throughbred of the Island Foodie Tribe and her other venue, the Wesley Street Cafe’, was rated a top-five Vancouver Island restaurant by Vancouver Magazine.
A sip, a chomp and we’re off. On the second floor of the Painted Turtle there is a spacious communal kitchen that is clean and bright and inviting. There is a comfortable sitting room adjacent to the open walled kitchen that looks out over the boutique-laden Bastion Street from airy corner windows that span from wall to wall.
Carrie and Karen, our cooking “advisors,” are a.k.a. Local Food For Nanaimo and are the resident Local Food Champions and experts. After just a few minutes of talking with them, it seems there’s nothing they don’t know about the local food scene on the Island, in particular in Nanaimo.
Here are some of the facts they readily shared and more can be found on: http://localfoodfornanaimo.blogspot.com
- Nanaimo has 10% of the farmland within the Vancouver Island Health Authority
- The majority of Nanaimo cropland is for grains and 72% of that grain goes to livestock feed.
- The most commonly produced vegetables are sweet corn, pumpkins, broccoli, squash/zucchini, green beans and beets.
- Most commonly produced fruits are grapes, apples, raspberries and blueberries.
- In 2006 there were 41 hectares of fruit farms, 25 hectares of vegetable farms compared to 2,120 hectares of grain farms.
- More Info: http://www.nanaimofoodshare.ca
They boast a wealth of knowledge about local food in the region which is a little surprising given that both young women are trained Marine Biologists and have undertaken extensive research assignments at prestigious facilities such as Rutgers University in the U.S.
But food is their passion and it’s never more apparent as when Karen’s face lights up as she describes to you the last poultry swap she went to which takes place every 1st Sunday of the month. Carrie is just as quick to jump in and tell you about Seedy Sundays where 300-400 people show up to swap seeds and talk to seed experts.
They’ll tell you all this, mind you, as they teach you how to prepare fresh Gnocchi flavored with “Nesto,” the Island Pesto made from Stinging Nettles. Both women regale you with the fun they’ve had teaching kids this recipe, as the youngsters especially enjoy rolling out the dough and splaying the little nubs with a fork. It’s a disarmingly simple recipe and is mostly potatoes, flour and an egg.
Karen and her beau have recently taken to farm living so she’ll tell you all about the over-abundance of potatoes they planted – and are still harvesting – this year and how they’ve learned more than they need to know about “headlamp farming,” (note: headlamp farming refers to farmers who hold down full time jobs and work a farm as a hobby. Meaning, after “work,” you put in your hours in the field. There have been times, she says, when she’s looked up and realized it has gotten pitch dark out somehow….). The Gnocchi is delicious, the Nesto a mild and sweet flavor, the Qualicum cheese salad with tender baby kale greens a fresh delight. The Painted Turtle Kitchen and “Great Room,” a perfect place in which to enjoy it all.
Unbelievably, we still have room for a bit more. So, since we’re in Nanaimo, we head out in search of a Nanaimo Bar. This is a chocolatey, creamy, coconutty bar that you see at nearly every coffee shop in Canada. No one really knows its origins for certain, but everyone knows and has eaten at some point, a Nanaimo Bar. We don’t have to wander far before we find ourselves in what feels like a Vancouver hipster joint, with exposed brick walls and trendy, large pieces of art hanging on the wall. We are in the Modern Cafe’ in downtown Nanaimo. We glance through the menu at the bar noting that the place is packed for an early dinner seating. And then, we spot it, the perfect top-off to our perfect Comox Valley/ Local Food Nanaimo Day: the Nanaimo-tini. And right at that moment, that’s perfectly local enough for us!
By Paige Donner
Culinary Tourism makes perfect sense…at least to us! When you travel for pleasure, at least half your time and itinerary are taken up with decisions like where to eat and what to eat? When you plan a trip around destinations known for their exquisite culinary offerings and wine pairings, you’ve already done most of the hard work before you’ve ever left home. Then all there is to do once you arrive is…Relax and Enjoy!
Spring and Summer mean Blooming Gardens in Victoria and all over Vancouver Island…
The Comox Valley – also on Vancouver Island – is a Must See, Must Do, Must Eat and Drink and Be Merry kind of destination…
Fresh, Local Cuisine And Regional Wines
Locavore Movie Trailer
Just a generation ago, people worldwide traveled less than 10 miles for the food they ate. Now, the average conventionally grown fruit and vegetable has traveled 1500 miles before it rests on your plate.
Many of us have realized that we’re not just sacrificing taste, but our health and well-being as well. Why sacrifice nutrition and deliciousness of the food we eat when the solution is as simple as sunshine – Eat Local!
The Locavore Movement, or Eat Local, is not anything new. It’s just back in fashion. And thank goodness, because it’s what makes good sense… and it’s in very good taste!
A few months ago, Locavore The Movie was released. You can watch a bit of it HERE.
Youth are part of a sprouting segment of the population, including twenty-somethings and upward, who are embracing the Eat Local habit. A recent Washington Post article said,…
They’re part of a growing pool of young, educated, politically motivated workers drawn to farming. Books such as bestseller “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” in which Michael Pollan championed the local food movement, are sparking interest in sustainable agriculture, or small-scale farms that embrace humane and eco-friendly practices. Such operations are getting a boost from Community Supported Agriculture, a system that lets customers pay in advance for a weekly share of a nearby farm’s crop; the number of members participating in CSAs grew 50 percent between 2007 and 2009.
The Organic Consumer’s Association says it’s a matter of social justice, as well as peace, health and democracy. READ MORE HERE.
The best organic food is what’s grown closest to you. Many farms offer subscriptions for weekly baskets of produce. Check with your local farmers to see if they have this CSA service and then sign up! Take a look at this map here at Local Harvest to see where there’s a community farm near you.
At its roots sustainable farming benefits the local community and local economy. It also supports the environment by enriching the soil, protecting air and water quality, and minimizing energy consumption.
According to Sustainable Tables,…
Small, local farms are run by farmers who live on their land and work hard to preserve it. They protect open spaces by keeping land in agricultural use and preserve natural habitats by maintaining forest and wetlands. By being good stewards of the land, seeking out local markets, minimizing packaging, and harvesting food only when it is ready to consume, farmers can significantly reduce their environmental impact. In fact, studies show that sustainable agricultural practices can actually increase food production by up to 79%.
These are all very good reasons to make friends with your local farmers and forage for local food finds!