Monday, February 29, 2016

Flavourful Saskatoon, February 29, 2016

Eat, Think, Vote, Mar. 14 
The Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership, in collaboration with the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market, is hosting Eat, Think, Vote at 7 pm, Mar. 14. Participants will have a chance to sit with the candidate(s) of their choice for an informal discussion of food security. All political parties have been invited.

Zak Organics
I’m looking forward to trying Saskatchewan-grown and -produced Zak Organics, a crunchy pea snack in 3 flavours: smoky BBQ, garden herb, and sea salt & lime. They’re currently available online or at SaskMade Marketplace.

Understanding Clementines 
I ate a lot of Moroccan clementines when I was in Wales, so I was interested to read about the history of citrus fruit, all of which have evolved from the mandarin, the pomelo, the citron, and possibly the padeda.

Organic Canadian Wineries 
Here’s a useful list of Canadian organic wineries.

Bake Bread While You Sleep 
This is a very different way to make bread from the Yemenite Jewish community.

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, February 22, 2016

Flavourful Saskatoon, February 22, 2016

Home Delivery 
A shout-out to Dad’s Organic Market. Their home delivery service can be so helpful and they phone to discuss any questions or substitutions.

Petra Market Offers Syrian Refugees a Taste of Home 
It’s good to hear that Petra Market is providing Syrian refugees and other Saskatoon newcomers with a welcoming place where they can purchase familiar foods. I visited it a few years ago and really liked it.

Want to Make Your Farmers’ Market More Accessible?
I thought that this was an interesting article about making your farmers’ market more accessible so that it serves more than the “educated, white Whole Foods” crowd. Location isn’t a problem for the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market, but I wonder if the recent increase in beer, wine, and spirits producers sends the wrong message.

Healthy Habits Food Swap 
I thought a healthy habits food swap was an interesting idea. This one is being held in conjunction with the Hastings Park Farmers’ Market. There are lots of details explaining how it’s organized.

Healthy Fast Food 
I’m intrigued by the idea of healthy fast food that leaves to one side the snobbism of Michelin stars and Gold Medal Plates. Instead, the focus is on tasty food that people can enjoy and is good for them. I really hope this Watts food truck is a success.

“Our cheeseburger and our veggie burger are really, really addictive,” says Choi. “That’s the biggest thing we were looking for: that addictive factor.” ….. “One of the things about food in our country is that it’s been completely denatured,” says Patterson. “If you look at food from Mexico to Thailand, to China, to India, they cook with spices. They cook with deep, rich flavours, acidity, fermentation. None of that is in American cooking. We have meatloaf and gravy. We have burgers. We have food from which the soul has been removed.” 

I’m looking forward to watching Michael Pollan’s Cooked on Netflix.

In an interview with Pollan, he says his approach is investigative not prescriptive: “My assumption was that in the mere act of caring about provenance, our food would get better because the opacity of the food system is what protects it from reform. We as journalists have this perhaps touching belief that if people have the right information, they’ll make the right decision.” 

Saving Our Skins: Building a Vineyard Dream in France
In Grape Expectations, Caro Feely told the story of how she and her husband bought a vineyard in France. In her second book, Saving Our Skins: Building a Vineyard Dream in France, she shares how she and her family made a go of it and started making money.

Producing great wine wasn’t enough. To make ends meet, they offer wine tours, holiday cottages, vineyard shares, and sell their waste product to another business. Feely says, “if we wanted to be in this wine business, we had to be rebels. We had to stand out and change the rules to suit us, rather than succumb to the rules of a game set by large buyers, a game doomed to be lost by small producers.”

In addition to diversifying their business, the Feelys try to share with others the importance of purchasing wine, like theirs, which is organic and biodynamic. It’s a great read if you enjoy wine and support entrepreneurs and organic food.

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, February 15, 2016

Flavourful Saskatoon, February 15, 2016

Slice of History, Feb/Mar
There’s a fabulous photography exhibit of Saskatoon’s bygone bakeries in The Gallery, Frances Morrison Library, from Feb. 10 to Mar. 17. Oh, for the days when bakeries delivered their product by horse-drawn wagon.

City Centre Produce Market, Feb. 25
The next City Centre pop-up produce market will be on Feb. 25 from 10 am to 4:30 pm at the Community Service Village on 25th Street East.

Seeds of Time, Feb. 25
The Saskatoon Food Council will be showing the film, Seeds of Time, at 7 pm, Feb. 25, at Station 20 West. The film tells the story of Cary Fowler’s efforts to protect biodiversity and food security.

Seedy Saturday, Feb./Mar.
If you’re a gardener, you won’t want to miss Seedy Saturday/Sunday in various locations around Saskatchewan. In Saskatoon, you can attend Seedy Saturday on Feb. 27 at Station 20 West and Seedy Sunday on Mar. 20 at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market.

In addition to choosing seeds, Seedy Saturday/Sunday is a great opportunity to connect with community groups and attend some interesting presentations.

The Art of the Cocktail, Feb. 27
Bartender Ian Miller will introduce you to cocktails through the years from 7-9 pm, Feb. 27, at Saskatoon Co-op Liquor.

Boreal Bistro, Prince Albert
Prince Albert will soon have a new restaurant. Chef Kevin Tetz plans to open the Boreal Bistro in Prince Albert’s Quality Inn and Conference Centre in mid-March. Kevin has been travelling around the province serving meals to families and groups for several years. When he lost his “day job” as a food service work with Correctional Services, he decided it was time to open his own restaurant.

Wolf Willow Winery
The cherry fruit wine from Wolf Willow Winery in Outlook is now available from SLGA.

LB Distillers
I’m delighted to know that Lucky Bastard is now selling their products, which are not only locally made but also contain local fruit, at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market.

Wine under Attack
There are a lot of things that we enjoy that aren’t particularly good for us – cake and candy, salty snacks, alcohol. The UK government recently introduced new guidelines for alcohol consumption that severely restrict the recommended levels and made some inflammatory statements about the risks associated with alcohol. For example, England’s chief medical officer said, “I would like people to make their choice knowing the issues and do as I do when I reach for my glass of wine and think, ‘Do I want my glass of wine or do I want to raise my risk of breast cancer?'” 

I’m inclined to agree with journalist Simon Wolf who says, “I don’t wish to deny that there may be a link between alcohol consumption and some forms of cancer, but this statement lacks any context or balance. One wonders if Dame Sally asks herself the same question before applying a deodorant containing aluminium, eating some tasty charcuterie or consuming food or drinks that contain artificial sweeteners – all substances where a plausible link between ingestion/usage and cancer has been demonstrated.”

All things in moderation is my guiding principle.

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).

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Cake or Bears? Take Your Pick

I admire clever advertising, whether it’s wine labels or restaurant signs.

These ones in Shrewsbury for Stop Café, the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery’s restaurant, are funny and clever. It’s inexpensive advertising, and it works. Plus, I had a really excellent lunch with superior service.

I asked if I could have a small bowl of soup alongside my quiche. Not only did they accommodate my request, but they didn’t charge me for the soup, which came with a bun and butter.

On the other hand, the Loopy Shrew’s signage drew me in the door, but I didn’t stay. The server had to be reminded that she should take my order, and they’d run out of the advertised soup of the day and an alternate wouldn’t be available for another hour. And this was at 12:30 pm – why didn’t they realize they would run out and start a new batch sooner?

The final sign is for my sister in law who was a Saskatoon police officer for 25 years. In this case, however, Cop refers to the location, which is Shrewsbury’s Wyle Cop (top of the hill in medieval English).

Monday, February 8, 2016

Flavourful Saskatoon, February 8, 2016

Adopt a Plot at the Garden Patch
Registration is now open for teams of green-fingered gardening enthusiasts (or not so green but eager to learn) to adopt a plot at the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre’s Garden Patch.

Coteau Hills Cheese
I was very sad when Herschel Hills Cheese shut down, so I’m delighted to see that Coteau Hills Creamery will be opening soon in Moose Jaw. I look forward to trying their cheese.

Urban Ag in London, UK 
London isn’t known for its urban agriculture, but a new generation of farmers is starting to change all that by transforming the city’s underground tunnels, industrial warehouses, and rooftops into urban acreage.

I’ve often wondered how I could use za’atar, a Middle Eastern herb or herbal mixture that combines Syrian oregano, sesame seeds, sumac, and salt. Yotam Ottolenghi’s za’atar recipes include a Levantine flatbread, amaranth-stuffed mushrooms, and a pâté/dip.

Barolo Wine – Truth or Fiction? 
There’s more than one version of how Italy’s Barolo wine switched from sweet to modern classic – take your pick. Barolo is one of the wines in an upcoming tasting at Boffin’s Restaurant, Innovation Place.

British Sweets
Millionaire’s Shortbread and Chocolate Biscuit Cake are two popular British sweets. Biscuit Cake is made with crushed tea biscuits and was apparently a great favorite of Princes William and Harry when they were young.

Millionaire’s Shortbread has been described as a gourmet Twix bar; the origin of its name is a mystery.

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).

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Last Invasion Tapestry, Fishguard, Wales

The Invasion 
In February 1797, the British mainland was invaded for the last time. 1400 French soldiers landed just outside of Fishguard in west Wales. The plan was to proceed inland and invade Bristol, drawing the British Navy away from another assault in Ireland. They then planned to turn around and “liberate” Wales from “English tyranny" (French Revolution, 1789).

The plan failed – completely. 190 part-time British soldiers, with help from local residents, captured the soldiers and forced them to surrender.

It was an amateur battle with many amusing episodes, and they are all captured in The Last Invasion Embroidered Tapestry.

One French soldier fired at a clock because he thought someone was hiding in it.

Other soldiers became ill after undercooking the poultry they had stolen.

The French imagined there was a large British army coming to meet them when they saw local women in traditional red shawls and black hats marching round a hill.

The Tapestry 
The Tapestry was commissioned by the Fishguard Arts Society to commemorate the event’s bicentennial. Designed by a professional artist, Elizabeth Cramp, and with advice from three other professional artists, the tapestry, which is 30.4 meters long and 53 centimeters deep, was stitched by 77 local people.

The stitches are mostly the same as those used by medieval embroiderers with some parts worked in outline while others are solid.

The Tapestry is an outstanding demonstration of community collaboration and art. Housed in a gallery next to Fishguard Library, on the second floor of the Town Hall, it’s worth more than one visit to take in the wealth of detail.

Information obtained from: 
The Last Invasion of Britain, BBC Wales 

Pembrokeshire Virtual Museum, Last Invasion Tapestry

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Cardigan, Wales: Higgledy-Piggledy Streets, a River, and a Castle

Cardigan is a short bus ride to the west of Newport through green fields and valleys full of sheep. It’s a small shopping centre, and little remains of its illustrious past as one of Wales’ most important ports.

Town Centre
The town is laid out higgledy-piggledy, with streets full of odd twists and turns. There is one long, narrow high street winding its way from one end of the town centre to the other. Stray off this shopping street, however, and you’ll find twisting roads leading nowhere and an unexpected cluster of shops in what may once have been an inn’s inner courtyard.

It doesn’t appear to be a rich town. Many houses are in poor condition, and there are no splashy retail parks or dazzling window displays. But there are a variety of businesses and two larger supermarkets on the outskirts of town.

Not to be missed is Bara Menyn Bakehouse – a lovely bakery and café on one of the narrow side streets.

Cardigan, at the mouth of the Teifi River, was founded in 1110, shipping everything from corn and tar to salt, prunes, and limestone.

By the 1800s, many people immigrated to North America from Cardigan – hence the founding of Cardigan, New Brunswick.

The estuary began to silt up in the late 1800s making it difficult for large ships to enter the port and the railway arrived in Cardigan in 1886. Twenty years later, there were few signs of the busy, profitable port it had once been.

You can still see some of the old warehouses and there are lovely views downstream. It’s unfortunate that there are no riverside paths.

Cardigan Castle 
Cardigan Castle dates from the early 12th century and was the site of Wales’ first Eisteddfod (Welsh festival of literature, music, and performance) in 1176. It was largely destroyed by Cromwell’s soldiers during the English Civil War.

Very little remains of the original castle, but it’s been recently renovated and reopened and is well worth visiting for its gardens, castle walls, and the exhibits in Castle Green House.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Flavourful Saskatoon, February 1, 2016

Newport's butcher shop - excellent fresh fruit and vegetables

The Changing Politics of Organic Food, Feb. 11 
Lisa Clark, author of The Changing Politics of Organic Food in North America, will be speaking at Innovation Place from 3-5 pm, Feb. 11.

Raw Chocolate Workshop, Feb. 13 
Intuitive Path Superfoods is hosting a raw chocolate workshop including raw chocolate body painting (!) from 2:30-4:30 pm, Feb. 13.

Cooking on a Budget, Feb. 16 (Swift Current) 
Sarah Galvin is offering a free Cooking on a Budget class at 5:30 pm, Feb. 16, in Swift Current. Email to register.

Flavour 101, Mar. 8 (Swift Current) 
Sarah Galvin will share her knowledge of how to add flavour to your food at 6:30 pm, Mar. 8, in Swift Current. Sarah says herbs and spices are just one way to add flavour. Your choice of fat, stock, and vegetables also makes a difference.

Student Iron Chef Competition 
Working in teams of four, with help from a Marquis Chef, students competed in the campus Iron Chef competition on Jan. 28. The event is designed to break up the monotony of the dining hall menu and give students a chance to cook their favorite dishes. Chef McFarland says he particularly enjoys the students’ pride and creativity.

Una Pizza + Wine 
I’m looking forward to trying out the pizza (and the wine!) at Una Pizza + Wine.

Bakery For Sale
Good Spirit Bakery is for sale, equipment included.

Rockstar Chef 
Chef Thomas Brown has launched a new catering company called Rockstar Chef, operating out of Prairie Sun Brewery.

Big Is Not Necessarily Better 
A multinational cider company in Somerset, England, is closing its doors while just down the road Thatcher’s, a fourth-generation family business, is expanding. Martin Thatcher says, "We make cider just the same way as my grandfather did. We use Somerset apples: my favourite is the Somerset Redstreak, which we juice and then ferment. No concentrates, no added sugar, just juice." 

Somerset has over 60 small cider makers. One of them says, “We're part of a change in how people like their food and drink. Everyone wants to know where stuff comes from, how it's made. I don't really think you can become the size of an enormous cider maker and still make cider the way we make it, it's not physically possible." 

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).