Monday, October 28, 2013

Flavourful Saskatoon, October 28, 2013

Wild Sage Kitchen & Bar, Regina 
Regina will soon have a new restaurant. Wild Sage Kitchen & Bar will open on November 1 in the DoubleTree Hotel and Conference Centre at 1975 Broad Street. Advance publicity states that Chef Geoffrey Caswell-Murphy will profile the Farmer to Chef relationship using as many locally sourced, artisan and organic ingredients as possible. The chef is East Coast born and raised so I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a focus on seafood.

I'm pleased to see that the trend towards locally-sourced restaurant meals continues in both Regina and Saskatoon.

Seeds of Diversity AGM, Nov. 9 
Seeds of Diversity is holding their annual general meeting at Station 20 West on November 9 from 3-8:30 pm. The event will include a seed exchange, a seed-saving workshop and a gala dinner.

Luscious Desserts 
Never let it be said that I am derelict in my responsibility to seek out all decadent desserts available in Saskatoon.

Dad’s Organic Market is now selling two Gü Desserts – lemon cheesecake and chocolate ganache. These luscious English desserts come in glass ramekins and are delicious.

So, as the Gu website, suggests, “Seek Delight; Give in to Happiness; Pleasure is Everything.

Food History on the Prairies
Culinaria: A Taste of Food History on the Prairies is an online exhibit of cookbooks and information about “food’s development and depth of influence in Canada’s Prairie provinces.” Do take a look. There are numerous old cookbooks, and the curators have scanned not only their covers but many of their recipes.

“Food history is not simply about ingredients and their preparation; it is about the cultural networks and narratives within which every step of the food cycle is embedded, from farm (or wilderness) to table. Although often overlooked in literary, historical, and cultural studies, food offers insight into topics as diverse as cultural and social identity, agricultural history, economics, geography, political movements, and health.”

Veggie Day 
The City of Ghent in Belgium has declared every Thursday Veggie Day in order to address climate change. Schools and public offices serve a vegetarian meal as do many local restaurants.

Fair Trade Bananas
UK supermarkets frequently sell loose bananas for less than it cost to purchase them. The losers are the banana growers and workers but also the environment as farmers can’t afford to farm sustainably: “Producers are not able to invest in, for example, an integrated pest management system if the price is really too low. They are likely to use whatever pesticides they have, even if they are low quality or dangerous. If retailers raise the price, it becomes easier for producers to invest in sustainable production methods."

FairTrade bananas provide growers with collective bargaining power and a better chance of receiving a fair price.

40 Stories of Hope
Around the world, people are working to build a healthier food system. Here are 40 stories of hope.

Photos: Granada, Nicaragua

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products.

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

Monday, October 21, 2013

Flavourful Saskatoon, October 21, 2013

SK Wine Tastings 
Doug Reichel of Fine Wines Sask has a number of upcoming events:
October 24 – Rozendal Winemaker Dinner at Amy’s, Prince Albert
October 25 – Rozendal Winemaker Dinner at Hotel Saskatchewan, Regina
October 30 – Wine Wednesday with Paul Bosc Jr., Château des Charmes, at Temple Gardens Resort & Spa, Moose Jaw
November 5 – International Wines & Local Appetizers at Eddie Webster’s Dining Room, Estevan
December 6 – 5 Food Courses Paired with 5 Wines at Highway Host Restaurant, Rosetown

SK Micro Breweries 
Canadian micro breweries are experiencing sales growth of 15-20%, and Saskatchewan is no exception. Prairie Sun Brewery is Saskatoon’s newest brewery and appears to be doing really well. And Swift Current will soon have two micro breweries.

Bin Brewing Co. prides itself on being all-Canadian. Everything in their brewery was sourced in Canada, from the water system to the energy-efficient lighting. Their beers emphasize local ingredients – barley, wheat and berries.

Black Bridge Brewery has purchased a lot in the Munro Industrial Park and plan to construct a 2,000 litre brewhouse, a taproom with off-sale beer and kegs, and a future hospitality suite.

From Beer to Cider 
My favorite British tipple is cider, so I’m pleased to see that it is becoming more popular world-wide (cider sales grew by over 50% in Australia and the USA in 2011-12).

“The American beer market has changed dramatically with the rise of craft beers. Consumers are experimenting with different flavours, and looking at the provenance of their drinks. Cider is jumping on the back of that, offering a natural background, the direct link with apples. And men and women both like it, which is important because more drinking is in mixed groups." 

“Henry Chevalier of Suffolk's Aspall Cyder pointed out that cider is being sold at the top end of the market in America. Restaurants, he said, include Aspall cider on their wine lists, at $26 a bottle, considerably more than its £2.59 UK price tag. Waiters show the label to drinkers before offering a taste, and they store it in ice buckets.” 

Personally, I’m far more interested in sampling cider from small-scale, preferably local businesses, than supporting international companies and the price of imported ciders horrifies me (check the prices at Wood’s Alehouse and Congress Beer House).

Vegetarian Fine Dining
I’m delighted to learn (Thank you, Sarah!) that Muse Restaurant in Calgary is now offering 5- and 8-course vegetarian tasting menus. Let’s hope a Saskatoon restaurant will follow their lead soon.

Heritage Food Recovery
Here’s a good news story for a change. Over the past 25 years, over 640 foods have been rescued from obscurity and returned to the North American foodscape. To find out how, download Conservation You Can Taste: Best Practices in Heritage Food Recovery and Successes in Restoring Agricultural Biodiversity Over the Last Quarter Century.

Food Rituals 
In my opinion, the only way to eat a macaron is one layer at a time. And obviously I’m not alone in having ritual ways of eating my food. Researchers have determined that people who follow ritualized behaviours report “greater enjoyment of subsequent food consumption experiences”.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products.

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

Monday, October 14, 2013

Flavourful Saskatoon, October 14, 2013

Slow Food Salon, Oct. 20 
Slow Food Saskatoon is hosting a Slow Food Salon from 7-9:30 pm, October 20, at City Perks Coffeehouse. A conversational salon is an ongoing gathering of people who share a passion for ideas. Conversational salons can be frontiers for social and cultural change. Less formal than facilitated meetings, salons feed the human need for connection and rely on natural synergies.

 The topic for the October salon is: What does Slow Food mean in the Saskatchewan context? What is our local agricultural/food wisdom? What should we protect? What should we taste? How can we connect all the wisdom and resources in our local community to strengthen our food system?

Slow-Cooked SK, Oct. 26 
Stop by SaskMade Marketplace between 10:30 am and 4:30 pm on October 26 and pick up some easy recipes and tasty samples.

And, if you live in Regina, be sure to visit SaskMade Marketplace in the Cornwall Centre from November to January.

Home Delivery 
I’m relying on family and friends to do my shopping while I recover from surgery, so I was delighted to find a couple of great home delivery services this week.

Bottega Trattoria is now delivering pizza. The vegetarian pizza was great with a chewy crust and lots of toppings, including sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, artichokes and broccoli.

Barbara Harder-Lutz, the Cake Witch from Rosthern, brought me a wonderful selection of cherry truffle brownies, apple strudel, chai biscotti, pumpkin orange spice cake and lemon cranberry pound cake. She is planning to start a weekly home delivery service to Saskatoon, so be sure to like and follow her on Facebook.

Boffins Club 
If you work at Innovation Place (or even if you don't!), be sure to check out all the special events at the Boffins Club, including wine and beer tastings (with food pairings) and cooking classes.

Food Not Bombs
Food Not Bombs Saskatoon served up a salvaged vegan Thanksgiving dinner on the corner of 22nd Street and 2nd Avenue this past weekend. If you are interested in helping out, join their Facebook group and help cook most Saturday afternoons at 2 pm at the Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op.

Photos: Todos Santos, Baja, Mexico

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products.

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

Monday, October 7, 2013

Flavourful Saskatoon, October 7, 2013

Hey, folks! I’m back at my computer but still not out in the coffee shops and restaurants, so be sure to send me news of any events or great places to eat so that I can share the information.

Citizen Café and Bakery
A new coffee shop is emerging at the former site of Caffe Sola. Citizen Café and Bakery, at 16 – 23 Street East, will open in November and plans to serve quality espresso and from scratch baking that is vegan and gluten-free friendly.

Food Truck Boom and Bust
Food trucks are all the rage, right across North America, but it’s not a sure-fire winner. The Modern Drive Through Food Trucks explores some of the challenges faced by food truck owners in Vancouver, including municipal regulations and location.

Why Did Cavemen Die Young?
I don’t understand the current craze for the Paleo Diet. Does it mean you should cook your meat outside over an open fire? And cavemen certainly weren’t eating cake and chocolate or drinking wine, so I’m not interested.

As a result, I was interested to read this article expressing concern about the Paleo Diet. Experts fault the lack of dairy and grains and the potential risks to heart health due to high meat intake and point out that there has not been enough research to know if it actually promotes weight loss.

Bananas Don’t Come Cheap
Bananas are one of the cheapest fruit options in North American supermarkets. But that’s because there’s a hidden cost that will someday slap us in the face.

Large monoculture plantations in South and Central America all grow Cavendish bananas, a variety that was initially resistant to the blight that wiped out the Mont Michel bananas between 1906 and 1960. But there are new strains of blight, and the Cavendish bananas are now dying off as well.

There are hundreds of varieties of bananas, many of which are much tastier, but the multinational corporations grow just one variety to keep the price down. Didn’t we learn the value of varying our crops from the Irish Potato Famine?

Costa Rica has done a great job of setting up parks and preserving natural areas, but they also grow a lot of bananas – 25% of the United Kingdom’s banana imports in 2007 and top exporter to the United States. Unfortunately, the monoculture crop is susceptible to pests, so the banana plantations are heavily sprayed, with the pesticide runoff steadily making its way into Costa Rica’s conserved waters, harming the caimans and indicating that other aquatic species are also at risk.

Photos: Cordoba, Spain

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products.

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