Monday, August 14, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, August 14, 2017

Grandora Gardens

Whites from Portugal 
James Romanow recommends some white wines from Portugal and points out the difficulties wine distributors such as Doug Reichel face in introducing a wider variety of wines to the Saskatchewan market.

Thank you Doug for recognizing that some of us are wine lovers and appreciate the opportunity to sample a wide variety of wines from around the world.

Neighbourhood Grocery Stores 
A market survey indicates that Saskatoon’s downtown population is too small to support a grocery store. And yet, which comes first – the residents or the store? Less people are likely to live downtown if they’re unable to shop locally. Councillor Darren Hill points out that City Park, North Park, Richmond Heights, and Sutherland also need a grocery store and they should be taken into consideration if the City decides to offer incentives for grocery development in downtown.

Prairie Grid Dinner Series
Eat North is hosting the Prairie Grid Dinner series this fall. A team of Prairie chefs, including Christie Peters of Primal and The Hollows, will work together to produce a 5-course dinner in 4 different prairie cities. They’ll be in Saskatoon on October 3.

Afterschool Program Teaches Kids about Food 
The Food Action Committee of Halifax’s Ecology Action Centre has developed Plants to Plates, a 10-session facilitator’s guide filled with fun and educational activities, recipe ideas, and garden activities for an afterschool program to teach kids about food.

Socially Minded Enterprises 
I’m always pleased to see businesses lending their support to social or environmental causes. Prairie Sun Brewery and 9 Mile Legacy Brewing both develop special beers to support local events or causes, such as Meewasin Valley Authority and Wild About Saskatoon’s NatureCity Festival. The Karma Conscious Café and Eatery donates 3% of their sales to a local charity (currently Bridge City Bicycle Co-op).

Further away from home, Huppybar has become the official energy bar of the Arizona Trail. The bars contain mesquite meal as well as Arizona honey, pecans, and cayenne chiles. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the bar go to protecting and maintaining the 800-mile trail from Utah to Mexico.

Inside a Manhattan subway station is the Bolivian Llama Party, one of the few Bolivian restaurants in New York. They’re working with a local charity to raise money to help single mothers in Bolivia find day care so that they’re able to work.

Karma Cafe and Eatery

Peppers of the Americas 
If you love hot peppers and are intrigued by the wide assortment available from Grandora Gardens, you will want to read Peppers of the Americas by Maricel E. Presilla. The book includes photographs, tasting notes, gardening notes, recipes, and history for 180 different peppers.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Terroir Tea Merchant, Victoria, BC

If you are curious about tea but unfamiliar with loose-leaf teas and the wide variety of flavours and aromas that can be found in pure teas as opposed to flavoured teas (jasmine green tea, Earl Grey), then I highly recommend a visit to the Terroir Tea Merchant on Fort Street in Victoria.

Charity and her husband Jason are newly returned to Canada after spending several years in Australia where Charity studied to become a certified Australian Tea Master. Jason is a Tea Specialist with a science degree.

A visit to the Terroir Tea Merchant is a sensory experience. Sniff your way along the aroma bar and compare the smell and appearance of each variety of tea.

Then take a look at the tea plates to see how the leaves from different terroirs and cultivars vary in shape and size. If you’ve only purchased tea bags, you’ll be surprised by how large some of the leaves are once they expand in hot water.

Charity and Jason have worked with a local chocolate expert to match some of their teas with different bars of chocolate.

Last but not least, take a seat at the bar or out on the patio and enjoy a cup of tea. The store also hosts various tastings and special events where you can learn more about specific varieties of tea or methods of preparing it.

The Terroir Tea Merchant specializes in teas from Taiwan, so there are plenty of oolong to choose from, both low oxidation oolongs that smell of lilac and honeysuckle and roasted oolongs with a richer, fuller flavour. Charity and Jason visited and personally selected the teas from Alishan High Mountain ecological farm in Taiwan. There are also limited quantities of tea from Arakai in Queensland, Australia, where the Charity and Jason used to live.

Oolong, a Labour of Love
Nepal’s Terroirs: The Next Darjeeling

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sun and Shade: Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

The gardens at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific are many and varied, from winter-flowering heather to herbs, fruit trees, vegetables, cutting flowers, roses, and bonsai.

You move from sun and hot colours to shady paths, a gently flowing stream, and layer upon layer of green.

Here and there are scattered sculptures, but to really enjoy art in the garden, you should attend the annual Art in the Garden as I did in 2015.

You may also enjoy:
Abkhazi Garden 2017
Roses, Government House Gardens


Monday, August 7, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, August 7, 2017

Farm-to-Table Dinner, Aug. 26 
Farm One Forty is hosting a farm-to-table dinner catered by Chef Scott Dicks on their farm on August 26.

Latte Art Throwdown, Sept. 9 
Venn Coffee is hosting a Latte Art Throwdown from 7-9 pm, Sept. 9. The competition, free pour only, is open to all baristas.

Sustainable Gourmet Dinner, Sept. 16
The Saskatchewan Environmental Society is hosting the 12th annual Sustainable Gourmet Dinner on Sept. 16. Local food is prepared by local chefs and there will be musical entertainment from Laura Beach of Twin Voices.

Rubbish Dinner & Movie, Oct. 17
The Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council is hosting a Rubbish Dinner on Oct. 17, creating a gourmet meal and beer from food that is often thrown away. Dinner will be followed by a movie about the food waste revolution.

Vegetarian Restaurants in Regina
If you’re heading to Regina, check out this list of vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Regina.

Canada Food Guide
Health Canada is asking for online feedback on the draft revisions to the Canada Food Guide. It’s an interesting process that takes into account food, health, culture, and environment.

Eat Your Weeds
After reading an article about cooking with purslane in Spain, I was delighted to see it for sale at Metchosin Farmers' Market on Vancouver Island.

Farmers' markets - supporting cultural diversity and a healthy, varied diet (Moss Street Market, Victoria)

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Abkhazi Garden 2017

No trip to Victoria would be complete without a visit to Abkhazi Garden.

The winding paths, unusual plants, and layer upon layer of green overlaid with bursts of colours are pure delight.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, July 31, 2017

Little Quail Ridge Orchards
Dhillon and Sukh of Little Quail Ridge Orchards in Oliver, BC, have been farming a 28-acre orchard for over 15 years – and they’ve been selling their fruit at Saskatoon Farmers’ Market for many of those years. They only sell what they grow and rely on all of us who shop at farmers’ markets to support their families as they don’t sell to packing plants.

Swift Current & District Farmers’ Market profiled Little Quail Ridge Orchards on their Facebook page recently and provided the following information: “Sukh moves to Saskatoon for 3-4 months in the summer to manage the sales there and Dhillon drives their refrigerated semi every week from Oliver supplying Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Swift Current with the freshest fruit possible.” Dhillon’s wife, Parvinder, minds the orchard while he is on the road.

There is currently a second fruit vendor at Saskatoon Farmers’ Market, but a lot of their fruit is sourced from other farms.

If you want to support a farmer rather than a third-party reseller, I encourage you to purchase your summer fruit from Little Quail Ridge Orchards. Little Quail Ridge Orchards is at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market on Saturdays and at Toad Lane Farmers’ Market on Thursday afternoons.

Vegetarian & Vegan Catering 
 Congratulations to Chef Jenni who has launched a new chapter in her business – all vegetarian and vegan catering. Chef Jenni has always been a great promoter of local food that is good, clean, and fair. I’m delighted that she has taken this step and wish her all the best. She’s off to a good start, catering three vegetarian weddings in September.

You can also find Chef Jenni at SaskMade Marketplace where she is the new Assistant Manager.

Cold Brew Coffee 
Dusty Plains Coffee Co. is expanding Saskatoon’s coffee options with a cold-brew coffee made using beans roasted by 33 1/3 Coffee Roasters out of Regina. Their cold-brew concentrate is available at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market.

YXE Eats, Sept. 6-10 
Riversdale is hosting the third annual YXE Eats from Sept. 6-10. Register now for a Black Fox Farm Tour & Tasting, Lovin Lentils with Chef Jenni, Mustard Madness with Scott Dicks, and a Progressive Lunch or Dinner.

Temperance Brewing Co-operative 
Temperance Brewing Co-operative’s beers are now on tap at Silver’s Local Market.

Haskap Berries
When I’m in Victoria, I make a point of purchasing Tree Island Yogurt, grass-fed artisan yogurt produced in the Comox Valley. I was especially pleased to discover that they were producing a special edition of Haskap Berry yogurt – with berries from Northern Light Orchards in Saskatchewan!

Cheap Food 
“Is it time to rename fast food? Does “fast” adequately represent the core appeal of this kind of food? . . . while it sometimes matters that fast food is fast (quick, easy, convenient), what really matters is that it’s cheap. . . . Fast food denotes automatic judgment and stereotyping of the consumers – it becomes their fault for choosing fast over quality. By contrast, cheap food tells a fuller (fairer) story and one that at least acknowledges a harsh economic truth – this type of food (fast, junk, but above all cheap) could be all that broke, harassed people can afford.”

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Munching my Way through Fan Tan Alley

Fan Tan Alley is a narrow gap between buildings in Victoria’s Chinatown. Formerly the site of opium factories and gambling dens, it’s now home to a variety of small artisan stores, including some wonderful food producers.

The owner of La Tana Italian Bakery says he wants “people in Victoria to taste baked good as they will experience going to Italy. I am happy to use certified organic flours and local suppliers for the majority of my ingredients.”

My ciabatta sandwich was stuffed with goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, basil, capers, and olive oil and was really good. I’ll go back another day to stock up on the mushroom turnovers, Nutella brioches, and Italian cookies.

Dessert was Salted Caramel and Sour Cherry & Crème Fraîche ice cream from Kid Sister Ice Cream. Both flavours were wonderful. They make small batches of ice cream and paletas from scratch.

Last but not least, I picked up some treats to bring home from Pure Lovin’ Chocolate. They use organic, fair trade, 71% dark chocolate for their vegan, gluten-free chocolates. And, best of all, they taste great - especially the Pecan Caramel Cups.

There are lots of benches in and around Centennial Square where you can enjoy a picnic lunch. I was fortunate enough to catch a flamenco demonstration.