Monday, December 30, 2013

Flavourful Saskatoon, December 30, 2013

Bogart’s Bay Coffee 
Bogart’s Bay Coffee is now available at Dad’s Organic Market as well as Twig and Squirrel’s Wild Goods. They’re a “small, hand operated, charcoal-fired coffee roaster located on a bay of Birch Lake, in NW Saskatchewan.”

Heritage Society Dinner, Feb. 8 
The Saskatoon Heritage Society annual fundraising dinner is scheduled for February 8 at the U of S Faculty Club. The guest speaker is Frank Korvemaker, co-author of Legacy of Stone: Saskatchewan's Stone Buildings. He will be speaking on Heritage Conservation – The Right Project at the Right Time. The Heritage Society can be reached at

Look to the Future 
Fast Company’s top food stories of 2013 include one about the kitchen of the future (e.g. faucets that detect bacteria on produce), a look inside Chipotle’s organic tofu factory, and the three companies that Bill Gates thinks are shaping the future of food.

Food Tank has compiled a list of 14 food resolutions for 2014. They include supporting family farmers, ending food waste, and calculating the true cost of food.

And last, but not least, four ways to fix the fast food industry (e.g. lessons from food trucks).

Chocolate in London
The “chocolate houses of the 17th and 18th century [London,England] were dens of iniquity where noblemen plotted the downfall of kings and gambled their fortunes away. One of the first to open, in 1693, was the Cocoa Tree, its interior reminiscent of a Viennese coffee house, its atmosphere more Machiavellian court. When builders drilled down into the foundations, they found a tunnel leading to a tavern in Piccadilly – providing traitors with an escape route.”

And 17th century hot chocolate “was an extravagant brew infused with citrus peel, jasmine, vanilla, musk and ambergris”.

Unreal City Audio offers a variety of historic walking tours of London, including the Chocolate House Tour. (photo: Unreal City Audio)

A California winery is using the iPad to gather data on soil hydration and nutrient profiles and to automate the fermentation process. “They spend less time collecting data and more time crafting the wine.”

You can create one-minute videos about your favorite food or restaurants with the Tastemade app. The app is specifically designed to guide you through the process and help you create a title slide, add music, and filter.

Copenhagen Goes Organic
Copenhagen has been named the 2014 European Green Capital. They have a well-developed organic food network. 75% of the food served in public-sector kitchens currently comes from organic sources, and they plan to raise that figure to 90% by 2015.

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, December 23, 2013

Flavourful Saskatoon, December 23, 2013

New Year’s Eve 
Earth Bound Bakery and Christie’s Il Secondo are joining forces to serve a multi-course feast on New Year’s Eve. More details are available at either bakery.

Craft Beer & Tapas, Jan. 23 
Prairie Sun Brewery, Wild Cuisine Catering and Garlic Guru are hosting a Craft Beer & Tapas Night on January 23 at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. Six food courses will be paired with three of Prairie Sun’s beers.

Two Stinkers Cheese
Entrepreneurial spirit is strong in the Campbell family. Craig Campbell developed Choo-It cereal, now available in three different formats. His son Jade, who is only 6 years old, has created his own product and was marketing it just last week at SaskMade Marketplace.

Jade has developed a spicy dry rub mix that he uses to prepare a hickory-smoked cheese. Ken Neuman, who manages SaskMade, says that Jade has been well trained by his dad. He shakes hands with his customers and writes out his own receipts.

Night Oven Bakery
Amy Jo Ehman visited Bryn Rawlyk at his soon-to-open bakery and took photographs of the wood oven, which Bryn has been building from scratch. Night Oven Bakery is due to open in January at 629b 1st Avenue North in City Park.

Hummus Appetizer
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to taste Garlic Guru’s hummus. Garlic Guru now sells five different kinds of hummus –roasted red pepper, roma tomato, lime and chili, smokey garbanzo, and extreme garlic & onion. Teresa had made a delicious appetizer, which I’ll be trying out this Christmas.

Take a Tostito scoop, add a little Lime and Chili Hummus, a spoonful of scrambled egg, a little grated parmesan and a pinch of taco seasoning. 

Merry Christmas
With best wishes to you all for a happy Christmas and a joyful New Year.

Christmas graphics: Jacquie Lawson Edwardian Advent Calendar

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).

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Saskatoon Food Trends 2014

I was asked by Valerie Lugonja, A Canadian Foodie, to comment on upcoming food trends for a composite blog post she prepares every year. Here’s what I came up with. Let me know what you think.

1. What surprised you most about food trends in 2013? 
Buying local food has becoming increasingly popular. Even large grocery chains are beginning to purchase locally.

Four new microbreweries (Prairie Sun Brewery, Saskatoon; District Brewing Co., Regina; Bin Brewing Co. and Black Bridge Brewery in Swift Current) opened in Saskatchewan this year – a huge jump, indicating increased popularity for local, craft beer.

Urban agriculture is surprisingly popular – from school gardens, to community gardens, to the Saskatoon Food Bank’s Garden Patch.

Food bloggers are increasingly working for industry with sponsored posts and giveaways. I believe this will result in bloggers as a group losing their independence and their credibility.

There is a growing divide between celebrity chefs (Gold Medal Plates, television cooking shows) and the provision of healthy, local food to the population as a whole (cooking classes, farmers’ markets). The more we emphasize the former, the less attention we will be able to give to the latter.

2. What do you see as the major food trend(s) locally (wherever you are from) for 2014? 
Support for local food and urban agriculture will continue to grow.

A specialty restaurant offering organic, gluten-free food opened in 2013 (Leyda’s) and has proved popular. Hopefully this will lead to the opening of more specialty restaurants.

Saskatoon is ready for a wide range of pop-up restaurants, supper clubs, and other impromptu food events. Prairie Sun Brewery is already combining hyper-local beer production with monthly launches of seasonal beers accompanied by local music and food. Prairie Sun sponsored an Oktoberfest with beer, food and games this past fall. A Cheese & Beer Festival in February will feature 5 local chefs preparing dishes with 5 local cheeses.

3. What do you see as a major trend(s) throughout Canada and or the US for 2014? 
Meat consumption in the US has been declining for nearly a decade. Restaurants and the food industry will devote increasing attention to meatless/vegetarian/vegan options.

Food waste is a huge issue world-wide. We will begin to address the issue on all levels – production, distribution and consumption.

There will be increased awareness of the risks of monoculture food production due to disease and pests (e.g. oranges, bananas) and an increased emphasis on local food production and greater biodiversity.

Food banks will put increasing effort into providing healthy food (locally-grown fresh produce rather than boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese).

Healthy school food programs will be expanded with an emphasis on healthy food (less fast food fundraisers), cooking classes, and less waste (disposable plates and cutlery, individually-packaged foods).

Fizzy drinks will continue to be popular, but we’ll switch from mainstream pop to specialty brands and do-it-yourself soft drinks.

4. What would your most sincere hope, wish, or desire be to see as a food trend in 2014? 
Saskatoon and Saskatchewan’s restaurant industry will respond to the increased demand for vegetarian/vegan meals with a classy vegetarian restaurant, a vegetarian tasting menu, and/or a greater variety of vegetarian/vegan options.

People will focus on all-round healthy eating rather than fixating on specific trends (e.g. gluten-free) and fad diets (paleo).

5. Any other comments…
Our dreams for the future are always firmly rooted in our values and past experience. So here’s a little background information to help you interpret my thoughts on future food trends. I’ve been a vegetarian for over 30 years. I am convivium leader for Slow Food Saskatoon and a passionate supporter of local food entrepreneurs, the smaller the better. Wanderlust and Words emphasizes local, healthy food and food businesses. My brother and I operate EcoFriendly Sask, which supports and encourages local environmental initiatives through an online publication and small grants.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Flavourful Saskatoon, December 16, 2013

Location of Citizen Café
Oops! I made a mistake. Thank you to the reader who let me know that the soon-to-open Citizen Café and Bakery will be located in the old Dance Street location (18 23rd Street East), NOT in the former Caffe Sola location. They hope to open early in the new year.

Healthy Eating on a Budget
I mentioned last week that lentils are a cheap, nutritious source of protein. A reader pointed out that not everyone knows how to cook lentils. True enough, and it points to the importance of cooking classes at school and in the community. But it also points to the need for a culture change, so our community as a whole becomes less meat-centric and has a more widespread knowledge of alternative protein sources.

Here are 5 tips for stretching a tight budget as well as practical suggestions for going organic from Alternatives Journal – including a link to recipes for beans and lentils.

Fermented Food
And, while we’re talking about healthy food, here are 6 reasons why fermented foods are good for you – from energy efficiency to increased nutrient availability and fermented medicine.

Go Nuts!
Did you know that people who eat nuts tend to gain less weight and live longer? This article goes on to say that nuts are full of healthy micronutrients and omega 3 fatty acids. So add a few nuts to your salad or breakfast cereal in 2014. (via Linda – thanks!)

Feast on Words
I bought a wild plum and cardamom scone at Earth Bound Bakery on Saturday, partially because I fell in love with the name. Would I become just a little bit wilder by munching on wild plum?

Similarly, I’m intrigued by the chocolate bar collection at Dad’s Organic Market. Zazubean invites you enjoy chocolate with personality (Cheeky: Be the Sassy Banana). Wild B(o)ar suggests you savagely feast on their single-origin bars. Bissinger’s offers a Banana Pecan Caramel Peruvian Pink Salt chocolate bar (it’s the Peruvian pink salt that captured my attention). And, depending on your mood, you may want to try Giddy Yoyo’s raw chocolate bars.

Check out my Slideshare presentation, Seasoning Your Brand of Food and Wine, for more flavourful combinations of food and words.

Last-Minute Shopping
If you’re still looking for a few Christmas gifts, the Globe and Mail lists 10 tempting treats for the foodie in your life. There’s everything from edible skin care to sriracha candy canes and a catered breakfast in bed.

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, December 9, 2013

Flavourful Saskatoon, December 9, 2013

Slow Food Salon, Dec. 15
Join me at the Slow Food Salon from 3-5 pm on Sunday, December 15, at City Perks Coffeehouse. Our conversation will centre on Food and Festivities: What role does food play in your family’s and culture’s celebrations? Everyone is welcome.

Boffins Events
If you work at Innovation Place, don’t miss the Holiday Baking Class on December 11, Fare & Ale on December 12, and In Vino Veritas on December 19.

Cheese & Beer Fest, Feb. 1
Prairie Sun Brewery is introducing a completely new way of doing business. They not only brew their beer, but they host regular events. Monthly launches of their newest beer combine meals catered by local businesses and musical entertainment as well as sale of 1- and 2-litre growlers.

On February 1, they’ll be holding a Cheese and Beer Festival, and it’s all about celebrating local. Five local chefs will prepare dishes with cheese from three Saskatchewan businesses (Bulk Cheese Warehouse, Herschel Hills, Salayview Farm) as well as a Manitoba and an Alberta cheese producer. I’m sure there will be music as well. I applaud the creativity behind these pop-up events. And I'm glad they share my love of cheese. 

Food Trends 2014
I’m putting together some predictions about upcoming or desired food trends. What would you like to see happen in the local food scene? Please send me your ideas.

Ready-Made Vegan Meals
Here’s an interesting Edmonton business. VegPalette offers prepared vegan meals delivered to your door weekly. Meals are made from scratch, and they emphasize local and organic food. (via Only Here for the Food)

The Price of Healthy
A recent research report in the British Medical Journal says that a family on a healthy diet can expect to pay $2000 more a year for food than a family eating less nutritious meals. They reported that healthy meat and protein showed the highest price difference, and I question that result. Certainly, meat is expensive, but lentils and beans are excellent sources of protein and they’re very inexpensive.

Rediscovering the Deliciousness of the Earth
In this article, Frances Moore Lappe explains the delight and benefits from a plant-based diet: “I have realized that delicious eating is not an indulgence. It is the body’s way of reminding us how we can solve the ecological crises we face. All of us long for good food, and I believe that it’s possible for a groundswell of food lovers to heal the Earth—as millions of us align our taste buds with what the planet and people need."  

Food Ads & Kids 
Should we ban junk food ads aimed at children? If so, what is the best way to go about it? Check out this thought-provoking article from The Economist that looks at the different approaches being taken around the world. Consumer pressure is perhaps the most effective tool we have, so let your healthy food purchases speak for you.

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).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Food and Festivities, December 15, 2013

You are invited to a Slow Food Salon 
Sunday, December 15, 2013, 3 to 5 pm 
City Perks Coffeehouse, 801 7th Avenue North 

Food and Festivities: What role does food play in your culture’s and family’s celebrations? 

Birthday cakes and funeral meats; a Seder meal and a Persian New Year’s dinner; lunch with friends or a family supper. Food is part of our culture and our family life. It brings us together and creates lasting ties.

Each culture and family celebrates differently. Join us from 3-5 pm on December 15  at City Perks Coffeehouse and share your most cherished memories of food, family and culture in a respectful and open atmosphere.

Coffee, tea and snacks will be available for purchase.

What is a salon?
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.

What is Slow Food? 
Slow Food Saskatoon is the local chapter of an international movement that links quality of food with quality of life. Slow Food believes that agriculture and food production should be based on the wisdom of local communities in harmony with their surrounding ecosystems.

For more information about Slow Food, go to

* Slow Food Saskatoon hosts a Salon on the third Sunday of every month. Like our Facebook page to receive notification of future Slow Food Salons.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Flavourful Saskatoon, December 2, 2013

Toffee Porter, Dec. 6
Prairie Sun Brewery is launching their Toffee Porter on December 6 between 11 and 6. Lunch will be served from 11-2 and supper from 5-8 (catered by Garlic Guru). Shoeless Joes will be performing at 8 pm. I really like the rich flavour of porter, so I’m hoping to attend.

In the 1700s, porter was aged for up to a year, so brewers needed very large vats. “One of these vats, owned by Richard Meux's brewery, erupted back in 1814 releasing 320,000 gallons of Porter which demolished part of the brewery, a line of small homes and killed eight people in the wave of beer.” (What The Hell Is A Porter?, Beer Advocate)

Prairie Pie Company 
I picked up a piece of savoury squash, purple onion and goat cheese pie (walnuts and raisins too!) from the Prairie Pie Company at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market. I understand that Mary Uzelman will be offering special seasonal pies and baked oatmeal on a regular basis. And, if you haven’t tried Mary’s individual lentil pies, do. They’re so good. She makes wonderful pastry.

Bulk Cheese Warehouse
Cathy Engel, who does the ordering for Bulk Cheese Warehouse, tells me that all the shelves should be fully stocked by this coming Friday. Bulk Cheese always has a full array of cheese for the Christmas season, so I’m looking forward to visiting and picking up a few extra treats.

Floating Gardens
So, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that Floating Gardens is determined to grow as organically as possible and not use any chemical pesticides.

The bad news is that their tomatoes aren’t very healthy, so after Christmas they are going to have to completely empty and thoroughly clean that section of the greenhouse, which will mean no tomatoes, cucumbers or eggplants for a while. Enjoy those fresh vegetables while you can!

Labelling Local Food 
Good Food Junction has teamed up with Localize and will be labelling all the Saskatchewan and Canada-made food on their shelves.

Organic Fair
Check out this VEGAN milk chocolate bar from Organic Fair. It's made with dried coconut, coconut oil and coconut sugar. Organic Fair is a Vancouver Island company and the only certified organic bean to bar chocolate maker in Western Canada.

What is that? 
Have you ever looked at a food label and wondered what the heck some (or all!) of the ingredients were. Apparently, there is very little real milk in “modified milk ingredients.” “If you’re lucky, the modified milk ingredient in your ice cream is simply powdered milk. More likely it’s casein (factory-extracted milk proteins), or whey proteins, or a butter oil compound, which is comprised of 49% butter-oil and 51% sugar.” (Factory Goop, Adventures in Local Food)

Winter Vegetables 
What a delight to find a thoughtful, loving ode to winter vegetables. This one is for the writers in the crowd who appreciate carefully crafted words:

“The vegetables of summer are easy to love, as it is easy to find young men and women beautiful, to promise commitment before it has been tested, to be happy beneath a cloudless sky. I’m still not sure it’s natural to prefer what’s difficult and unwieldy, to feel affection warts-and-all. But the world is older and slower and more patient than we ever will be. These vegetables keep, and have helped every generation before ours survive long winters. They are part of the great practice of not having what we want, but wanting what we have, and after years of trying – of trying and trying – my husband and I have both come to love, even crave, beets and butternut squash, the hard vegetables of fall. We appreciate their complexity. We find them very good.” (Katrina Vandenberg, Orion magazine)

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).