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Tigh-Na-Mara Wins Food Fight

Parksville, BC – On June 27th, Food Fight! The Battle for Brunch, Variety – The Children’s Charity’s brand new fundraising event, brought together some of BC’s finest chefs in a battle for best brunch. Guests sampled each deliciousvoffering and cast their ballot to declare one chef the Food Fight champ! Close to 300 foodies and their friends enjoyed avgorgeous harbour front view at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Event contenders were the Executive Chefs from LIFT Bar & Grill, MARKET at Shangri-La, O’Doul’s Restaurant and Bar,River Rock Casino Resort, YEW Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel and the Cedar Room at Tigh-Na-Mara SeasidevSpa Resort.

Sweet Potato Waffle with Ginger Peach Compote. Now on Tigh-Na-Mara’s Breakfast Menu.

After the ballots were cast Tigh-Na-Mara’s Chef Eric Edwards was declared the Food Fight Champ! Chef Eric prepared delicious Seared Qualicum Bay Scallop on Warm Nanoose Edibles’ Spinach Salad and Sweet Potato Waffle with Ginger Peach Compote. The Waffle is now a featured item on the Cedar Room’s Breakfast Menu.
“Tigh-Na-Mara has long been a supporter of Variety, and we are very proud to participate in the inaugural Food Fight for Brunch,” says Jenn Houtby-Ferguson Tigh-Na-Mara’s Director of Sales & Marketing. “It is a tremendous honour for our team to be the first ever Food Fight Champs!”

The event raised over $38,000, with almost $12,000 brought in through the live and silent auction alone. All funds will be
used by Variety to support children in British Columbia who have special needs.
Variety – The Children’s Charity raises funds and distributes grants to inspire hope, enrich lives, and build a better future for children in British Columbia who have special needs. Since 1965, Variety has raised over $155 million for children and families in the province.
Centrally located on Vancouver Island, Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort captures the very best of the West Coast.
Featuring 192 unique log-style accommodation units set in 22 acres of forest beside the ocean, a full service spa and award winning West Coast cuisine. Tigh-Na-Mara is the natural choice, rated with 4 Green Keys.

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Stage Wine Bar, Victoria. Photo Courtesy Cornichon.

Victoria’s Secret Tastes

You can hardly say that Stage, a small plates wine bar in Victoria’s Fernwood district, is a secret – still. Not since it earned Eat! Magazine’s Reader’s Choice award for Best Place for Appies and Drinks in March and was also honorably mentioned for 2009’s Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival’s Wine List Awards. En Route magazine also named it “one of Canada’s best new restaurants.”

Tucked away as it is in this Victorian theater district, across the street from Fernwood Inn, which is just down the block from the Fernwood Theater, and you see why Victoria’s city dwellers would hanker after a tapas night on the town where you feel like you could be anywhere – Vancouver, San Francisco, Soho, even.

The evening we dined there was early in the week. At 6:30, the wine bar was nearly empty. By 8:00 it was packed. Once the theater-goers walk the couple blocks down the street after their show’s end at around 10 p.m., it becomes that much more popular. Seating is augmented by a generous bar area to accommodate overflow.

Stage Wine Bar’s exposed brick interior is partly what gives it that urban, hip appeal. It’s also the diners who, my guests explained to me, are part of the contingent of young professionals who increasingly live and work in downtown Victoria and surroundings. “It’s starting to feel a bit like Vancouver,” the twenty-something Victorian explained to me, saying that she and her husband are happy to be living where they are and don’t miss “the city” at all.

Of course, it helps when you have hip hang-outs like Stage tapas and wine bar. The evening I stopped in, there were several wine specials written in chalk on a menu board hung by a nail on the brick wall. I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir from Venturi-Schulze.

Choose from a variety of Vancouver Island Varietals at Stage Wine Bar.

Pinot Noir is one of the most grown grapes on Vancouver Island, also known as “Wine Island.” The server attempted to dissuade me from my locally produced Pinot by suggesting a Malbec. And while I am a fan of Argentine Malbecs, I felt it was my duty to explore the island’s wines while exploring the island. Sometimes “duty” has its rewards. My elegant, medium-bodied Pinot paired well with the local lamb dish I ordered. Oh, and, the “small plates,” – by no means large – are most adequately filling. Click Here for Stage’s Menu.

Vancouver Island Varietals

There are four basic grape varietals that thrive on Vancouver Island. They are Pinot Noir, the island’s most planted red variety, and, notoriously temperamental, also known as the “heartbreak grape”; there is Marechal Foch which is cold-tolerant and yields jammy flavors; there is Ortega, named after the Spanish philosopher, one of the first planted vines on the Island which gives grapes that yield a bright floral aroma and citrus flavors; and there is the ever popular Pinot Gris, also planted extensively in both Alsace and Oregon, that the Island has embraced and developed two distinct styles from, the coppery-hued Oaked Gris and the crisp, light Unoaked Gris.

Vancouver Island also makes a home for Meaderies (two) who make their honey wines from “herds” of bees, Cideries (two), and Breweries (several). In fact, Victoria had a brewery before it had a lighthouse! The Wine Islands have 150 years experience making brews and micro brews.

If you’ve dropped down into Victoria on a day-trip, then Saanich Peninsula’s Wine Route is the most accessible by car and is only about an hour’s drive from the city. Some of the wineries to see: Chalet/Muse Winery including their Bistro Muse open Th-Sun; Victoria Spirits, Vancouver Island’s first artisan distillery; Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery, British Columbia’s first meadery and it boasts an ocean view; Starling Lane Winery, also noteworthy for 19th century charm; Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, organic “hard” cider, open year-round; Malahat Estate Vineyard grows all the Island’s main varietals and is the highest vineyard on the island; and Church & State Wines which was the Island’s largest winery but has since moved their operations to the Okanagan. It is suggested that you pack a cooler with you to keep your purchases from the wineries from getting too heated as you make your rounds.

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Victoria’s Secret Tastes – Take Two

The Bengal Room at Victoria’s Empress Hotel

Bengal Room

Another not so secret Victorian spot is the Bengal Room at the Empress Hotel. Whenever you see a picture of downtown Victoria, invariably it is focused on the Legislative Building and the Empress Hotel, two of Victoria’s most recognizable landmarks.

Tucked inside the Empress is the large leather couched, tapestry-walled, tiger-motiffed Bengal Room that transports you immediately into the Victorian Era upon entrance. They do have mint juleps on the menu, with freshly muddled mint, if you’re there on a warm, summer afternoon. If you’ve popped in for a nightcap, try their “Bengal,” a hot coffee drink with Kahlua, Grand Marnier and Bailey’s (notice the and, not or).

View of Inner Harbor, Downtown Victoria

Breakfast At Victoria’s

If you’re up in time for breakfast, you’ll have a big, tough decision to make. Pancakes with fresh, stewed local berry compote accompanied by organic island turkey sausage is one choice at Aura restaurant. You could also go for their in-house made organic granola – so good guests frequently request if it’s available for purchase at the gift shop (not yet).

Aura took its seat in the exquisite Inn at Laurel Point where Chef Brad Horen continues with his “locally-sourced, organic ingredients” philosophy while outdoing himself with his innovative cuisine. Horen blends Japanese and European flavors with local ingredients fresh from Vancouver Island and the west coast. He and Sous-Chef Patrick Gayler both have spots on Culinary Team Canada for the 2011 World Cup in Luxembourg and 2012’s World Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany. Horen is active in the Canadian Culinary Federation and was a mentor on the Food Network’s Next Great Chef.

The view from Aura Restaurant, looking out its floor-to-ceiling window/walls onto Victoria’s Inner Harbor, will prove one of the most memorable of your stay in Victoria. They serve lunch and dinner and host wine tastings, such as the Naramata Bench Spring Releases 2010.

Baker Cliff Leir, Fol Epi, Victoria

Another breakfast – or snack – choice is Fol Epi, a bakery which sports an on-site stone mill and outdoor oven. Artisan baker Cliff Leir bakes his organic, heritage and whole grains into succulent baked goods such as quiche, pastries, pizzas and baguettes. Caffe Fantastico next door serves up aromatic coffees and both offer spectacular views of Victoria’s Inner Harbor. Fol Epi was voted by Eat! Magazine readers as their favorite bakery in Victoria. Both businesses are housed in the developing Dockside Green which is 15-acre mixed use community development that will be the world’s First LEED Platinum community.

Notable: Taste Victoria upcoming this Summer For more info: http://www.victoriataste.com/

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Kurtis Kolt took home Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival Sommelier of The Year Award 2010 during last week’s festival.

Kurtis Kolt was awarded the Sommelier of the Year Award at the 2010 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival.

Read More on Cherries And Clay, Kurtis’s Blog >>>

He is the General Manager at Gastown, Vancouver’s Salt Tasting Room and has been in the Vancouver wine and food industry for the better part of two decades. He is a passionate supporter of BC wines, and has been at the forefront of introducing them to Vancouver consumers. He is certified by the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, The Wine Academy of Spain and is credited in the Winemaking program at UC Davis.

Read More on The Globe And Mail >>>

Kurtis’ managing and wine-directing experience has launched two local restaurants, Main Street’s Aurora Bistro and Gastown’s Salt Tasting Room onto the international culinary map… Both restaurants won gold as Best New Restaurant in the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards and were named one of Canada’s Top Ten New Restaurants by enRoute Magazine in their respective years. Along with receiving a Gold Award for his much-acclaimed wine program at Salt Tasting Room from the Vancouver International Wine Festival, Kurtis has received the Premier Crew Service Award from Vancouver magazine. He’s also not half as serious as all of this makes him sound.

Read More from Andrew Morrison on Scout Magazine >>>

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House Wines, Two Trained Sommeliers

House Wines is co-owned by Michelle Bouffard, and Michaela Morris, both trained Sommeliers. 

house wine advocates wine pleasure without pretense, where wine is demystified and laughs are guaranteed. Find out more about house wine and the services they provide.

Michelle Bouffard

Michelle Bouffard, Sommelier, co-owner House Wines

Michelle grew up in Québec where she studied classical trumpet and performed, taught and conducted music. She moved to Vancouver in 1996 to finish her bachelor’s degree in classical music and learn English.

In 2003, she completed her International Sommelier Diploma with top marks and today she teaches for the International Sommelier Guild. Michelle continued her wine education with the completion of the internationally recognized Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s (WSET) Diploma Program in 2007. Her first year was funded by a scholarship awarded by the Vancouver Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier.

Michaela Morris

Michaela Morris, Sommelier, co-owner House Wines

Michaela  earned her bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and French from the University of British Columbia, funding her studies by working in fine dining restaurants. A one year exchange program led her back to France where she discovered the wine region of Burgundy.

It was there that she decided to pursue a career in the industry. She enrolled in the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) classes and was awarded a scholarship by the Vancouver Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier for the WSET’s Diploma Programme. She successfully completed the program in 2005 and is currently a guest lecturer for the WSET Diploma.

April/May 2010: New Zealand the Green

“The picture perfect wine producer continues to redefine its story.” Just in time for the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, Michaela & Michelle provide a primer on New Zealand’s wine regions and share their favourite outdoor, cultural and gastronomic experiences.

Michaela and Michelle conducted a seminar at the recent 2010 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival called “Get The Dirt On New Zealand Terroir.” They gave an overview, compiled from their 3 weeks of travel to the country late last year, on the main 8 wine-growing regions of the island nation south of the equator.

During last week’s festival, The Globe And Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, did a profile Q&A on each of them. Here is a slice of excerpt from both…

Globe And Mail Q&A With Michaela Morris

What wine are you most excited to taste at the festival?

MM: With hundreds of wines to taste, it is impossible to choose just one. I look forward to indulging in plenty of wines from Argentina and New Zealand but always like to make time to visit the German tables. There are usually great off-the-beaten track surprises. Bürgerspital Estate from the region of Franken is definitely on my list. Beyond their Riesling Spätlese, they are also pouring a Gewürztraminer and a Scheurebe as well as a Rieslander Beerenauslese.

Q&A With Michelle Bouffard by Globe And Mail

What wine are you most excited to taste at the festival?

MB: Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée NV from New Zealand to satiate my bubble craving and Zorzal Pinot Noir to transport me to sunny Argentina.

You’re going to a dinner party tonight. You have $20 to spend on a bottle of wine from the BCLB. What would you buy?

MB: 2008 Schloss Reinhartshausen, Riesling Dry, Rheingau, Germany, $19.99. I love introducing people to dry Riesling. Its low alcohol content is a bonus. It allows you to drink a few more sips.

Read More On The Globe And Mail, Vancouver >>>

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Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

“The true decision-makers of wineries and the wine industry from around the world are all together, so the side meetings and boardroom discussions are more fruitful than any other festival in Canada, which of course, is incredibly valuable.”

CANADA [participating wineries] /BRITISH COLUMBIA

Artisan SakeMaker at Granville Island, Averill Creek Vineyard, CedarCreek Estate Winery, Church & State Wines, Ex Nihilo / Celebrity Cellars, Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery, Gray Monk Estate Winery, Herder Winery & Vineyards, Mission Hill Family Estate, Osoyoos Larose, Peller Estates, Poplar Grove Winery, Quails’ Gate Winery, Sandhill, Sumac Ridge Estate Winery, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards

CANADA / ONTARIO Mike Weir Wine

The 32nd annual Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival being held April 19th – 25th, 2010 will feature Argentina and New Zealand as the Theme Regions.  Rosé is the Global Focus.

The 2010 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival is “all about altitude, latitude and attitude,” says Festival Executive Director Harry Hertscheg. The combination of these two very distinct cultures and countries will provide both strength and sex appeal to this year’s festival, while the newfound confidence of Rose’ wine in the global market will add a counterpoint to the Pinot Noirs, Torrontes, Malbecs and Sauvignon Blancs that will be poured.

Each winery that has been selected to participate will showcase products at each of the five sessions in the International Festival Tasting Room. Two afternoon sessions are dedicated to members of the trade including buyers, retailers and chefs.

The three evening sessions expose consumers to the outstanding wineries and wines featured at the Festival. Participating wineries will showcase their products in a range of events over the week – including winery dinners, regional lunches, Sunday brunches, seminars and boardroom tastings, as well as a comprehensive trade program. The 2009 Festival featured 183 wineries from 15 countries participating in 61 events over the course of the week.

The Playhouse Wine Festival, Canada’s “Premier Wine Fest,” is one of the biggest and oldest wine events in the world.

Number of Wines to be poured: 1700

Total Wines in the Festival Tasting Room: 941

Total Number of Participating Wineries:  197

Countries Participating: 14

Number of Events: 61

Projected Attendance: 25,000

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CALIFORNIA      WINEMAKERS DINNER

April 6, 6:30 PM Seasons in the Park Restaurant

Queen Elizabeth Park

Join us for a special California Winemaker’s Reception and Dinner featuring wines from Robert Mondavi Winery.

Nicole Meacham, an International Wines Associate based in California, and Leslie Gadoury, Brand Manager for Robert, will be here to provide insight about each of the wines which will then be masterfully paired with a four-course dinner prepared by Executive Chef at Seasons in the Park, Buddy Wolfe. Seasons features a stunning panoramic view of the city, and is the perfect setting to enjoy this exciting wine selection.

CALIFORNIA WINE FAIR BALLROOM TASTING

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7, 2010
Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre, 999 Canada Place. 7PM

Now in its 30th year of touring across Canada, the 2010 CALIFORNIA WINE FAIR BALLROOM TASTING boasts 350 wines from 100 wineries throughout the Golden State. Under one roof, the range of wines include products currently available in the market to new vintages and varietals that have yet to be released in the Canadian market. Six hundred guests sample wines, and bid on silent auction items including many of the hard-to-find wines featured at the tasting.

WINE 101

Thursday, April 15, 7:00 PM
Buschlen Mowatt Galleries Main Floor – 1445 W Georgia St

What is the difference between merlot and cabernet?

What wines pair best with what foods?

How should I store my wine?

Returning from its SOLD OUT launch in 2008 and again in 2009, Wine 101 is a lively interactive tasting hosted by Sommelier,
Benjamin Howard, from the Beach House Restaurant. It is a “no experience necessary” event designed to enhance yourknowledge and enjoyment of wine. Taste a range of wines from Chardonnay to Zinfandel, from Merlot to Riesling (and many more), and have all your questions answered by knowledgeable professionals!

Tickets: $40  Includes the tasting, and all the questions you can ask.
To purchase tickets

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Friday, May 28th, 2010

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

2 PM – 9 PM

11 AM – 9 PM

11 AM – 5 PM

@ the new Vancouver Convention Centre

New location for 2010! @ the new Vancouver Convention Centre

This Year’s New Location!

The New Vancouver Convention Center

The Eighth Annual EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival will launch on May 28 – 30, 2010 at its brand new home: the recently opened Vancouver Convention Centre – West,at Canada Place in the heart of Vancouver.

Bite of Vancouver

Come for lunch and stay for dinner! Eat in numerous Vancouver restaurants at the same time! When you visit, you’ll discover the The Bite of Vancouver, where Vancouver restaurants will be tantalizing your taste buds with appy-size offerings of their regular menu selections.

Liquor Tasting


Enjoy some of the best wines, beers and spirits from British Columbia and around the world, offered for tasting by the vintners and producers themselves. Sample, compare and ask questions directly from those who know.


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Pacific Kissed B.C. Oysters In Vancouver

Comox Valley on Vancouver Island is not only the where the locavore community was born in B.C. but also where much of the region’s best shellfish comes from.  If you are lucky enough to be in Vancouver during the shellfish season, look for the Pacific Kiss oyster, B.C.’s renowned shellfish that has a sustainably farmed stamp of approval. Pacific Kiss affiliate partners are providing 12 different kinds of shellfish to be served side-by-side.  Participating restaurants are Monk McQueen’s Restaurant and Patio and Joe Fortes Seafood and Chophouse.

Go To Vancouver Food And Wine >>>

British Columbia boasts some of the richest shores found throughout the world. There are over 1,000 oyster farmers caringly growing dozens of varieties of world-class oysters along those shores. Eating oysters in B.C. is eating locally sourced, sustainably cultivated food. In fact, when you choose to eat oysters in B.C. you are supporting a small farmer and a rural community.

The Pacific Kiss platter is offering a tasting of oysters, their full flavors offered side-by-side, giving a rare culinary experience to savor and compare the subtle differences in Beach oysters, to deep-water-cultured oysters to those oysters grown by the K’omox First Nations to the tray-cultured beach hardened oyster.  Each of the twelve varieties come from a different coastal region of B.C.  The Pacific Kiss stamp of approval authenticates that the oyster has been grown in a sustainable and environmentally sound way by a registered B.C. Shellfish Association member. Pacific Kiss respects and adheres to both the Sea Kiss and OceanWise programs.

Here is a short video on How To Shuck An Oyster by Nigel McMeans, executive chef at the BlackFin Pub at the Marina in the Comox Valley:

A few more choices for fresh B.C. Shellfish are:

C Restaurant (an Ocean Wise Founding Restaurant Partner)

900 West Lounge – The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver – 900 West Georgia Street – 604.684.3131

A Kettle of Fish – 900 Pacific Street – 604.682.6661

Aqua Riva – 200 Granville Street – 604.683.5599

Aria Restaurant & Lounge – 433 Robson Street – 604.602.1999

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Aboriginal Feast and Wine Pairings. Doesn’t just the sound of that say it all?  The evening of fine dining and entertainment is the brainchild of a partnership between Theresa Contois and chef Ben Genaille, owners of Kanata Cuisine.

Nk’Mip Cellars, Osoyoos, Okanagan

Kanata Cuisine was formed in the last six months when Theresa was noted for her exquisite “front of house” hospitality skills while putting the finishing touches on her training at Vancouver Community College’s Aboriginal Culinary program. Chef Ben Genaille, an expert in Aboriginal Cuisine, and Theresa got to talking and Kanata Cuisine is the result of their pairing strength with strength.

Much like the pairing of Nk’Mip’s outstanding wines with Kanata Cuisine’s tasting menu. If you are one of the lucky ones to opt in for this culinary adventure, your tastebuds and senses await delight.

Randy Picton, Nk’Mip Cellars, Winemaker

Nk’Mip Cellars winemaker, Randy Picton, has chosen versatile pairings for the cuisine, including selections from their critically acclaimed Qwam Qwmt, known in the vernacular as their Q2 selections.

“Qwam Qwmt means the best of our Reserve Tier wines. QQ Chardonnay, for example, is one of our upper tier wines. It starts with the grapes in the vineyard,” says Randy. “I know going into it that this crop of grapes will be giving us our Reserve Tier wines. These wines we put into French oak,” he explains, noting their toasty vanilla and butterscotch essences.

Picton was the pioneer in the Okanagan who began the method of picking the grapes at different times in the harvesting season. “Even three weeks later, so there’s an evenness in the wine/grapes,” he explains. He began at Nk’Mip Cellars, the celebrated first winery in North America to be aboriginal owned, in 2002.

Nk’Mip is known for their Pinots and Chardonnays. Picton is the first to admit that pinot, at least in the Okanagan, can be a “fussy” grape to grow well.  Their $20 bottles of Merlot are very popular choices however the winery is shifting their portfolio focus to upper tier wines. They are capped at about 18,000 cases per year production so they are looking to focus on, for example, a Q2 Riesling and a higher end Meritage that will retail for approximately $50-$60 a bottle.

Kanata Cuisine, Chef Ben Genaille and Theresa Contois

The menu for the Kanata Cuisine Aboriginal Feast includes:

  • *”hot rock” poached spot prawn, cattail heart cream with wild onion oil.
  • *fire roasted corn soup, oolighan oil [used as a dipping oil with bannuck, aboriginal bread]
  • *salmon duo  candied & sausages  nass river/ seaweed bannock crackers
  • *crisp duck glazed halibut, mushroom hazelnut ragout, potato, chives
  • *Rhubarb ice [delightful in both taste and texture]
  • *braised bison short ribs, watercress, parsnip mash
  • *cranberry bannock bread pudding “Indian ice cream” with maple sap ice wine reduction

For more information about the $245 per person dinner seatings, contact Kanata Cuisine.  Kanata * Cuisine.         Nk’Mip Cellars

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