Fort Berens Estate Winery

Fort Berens wines

Words: Henry Yuen         Pix: S. Yuen

Chinese post: http://taiyangbao.ca/food/415536/

Back in 2012, I wrote a story regarding the wines of Fort Berens, a pioneer winery in Lillooet up Fraser Canyon region where experimental test planting dated back to 2005. We tasted Fort Berens’ first vintage of 2011 from their initial commercial planting in 2009. I remembered very well because for a brand new winery growing grapes in a relatively unknown region, their wines were surprisingly good even back then.

Fast forward to now and deservingly so, Fort Berens Meritage has been awarded this year’s Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Excellence, on top of other awards, a solid proof of how exceptional their wines are. I gave them two thumps up in terms of quality and value. With 20 acres under their helm, Fort Berens Estate Winery best exemplified that BC still has pockets of untapped terroir suitable to growing premium grapes outside of the 5 established growing regions.                  The winery

This time, we were able to taste some of their award-winning wines while touring the brand new facility  - a modern, sleek and hi-tech looking winery.  As we travelled through the winding lanes of Fraser Canyon through Hope, lined with mystic mountains along the Fraser River, it was difficult to imagine these hill side patches of pastures would grow grapes. When we approached Lillooet where the mighty Fraser River met the Thompson River, the valley opened up on both sides and the clouds disappeared quickly leaving the sun to warm up the entire valley. We could see this sagebrush region with dry greyish vegetation on sandy soil welcomed the long and hot summer sun with Alpine breeze cooling the nights; it in fact was ideal for the vines to flourish!

The newly built winery and tasting room features modern amenities to handle the production logistics. Situated upon the knoll overlooking the beautiful 20 acres of vineyards below, the view is breathtaking. There is room to grow but the present focus is on producing quality and delicious wines – let the wines speak for themselves! Led by a dedicated team of progressive and youthful staff to manage the vineyard and winemaking, Fort Berens is in good hands to provide the consistency wine lovers come to expect of quality BC wines, at a friendly price range too!

Fort Berens wine barrelsTasting notes:

Cabernet Franc 2012: Packs a lot of blackcurrants with a bit of clove on the nose, the entry is smooth with black fruits and berries to brighten the palate. Nice treatment due to 12 months in both American and French oak and another 12 months of bottle aging to provide the roundness.

2011 Meritage: A nice blend of 47% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Cabernet Franc sourced from both the estate fruits and the Sundial vineyards in Oliver. Aged in both American and French oak barrels, this wine is smooth with aroma of dry cherries and currants. The mouth feel is juicy and a bit of herb and spices to provide the balance. No wonder it is an award winning wine.

2013 Chardonnay: With lots of citrus and Asian fruits aroma, there is an enticing subtle flinty note indicative of the mineral rich sandy soil of the Lillooet area. 30% is fermented on French oak barrels and the rest in stainless steel tanks, this wine is further aged 9 months in French oak before bottling to provide that hint of buttery smoothness expected of oaked Chardonnay.

ChardonnayFour Seasons hosting Fort Berens Dinner

 

 

 

Foodie on Foot – Hong Kong

Words: Stephanie Yuen    Pix: Henry & Stephanie

A recap of our footsteps during our latest visit in Hong Kong, as heard on our food, wine & travel segment with Deborah Moore on AM1470 past Tuesday.

An evening flight landed us at Lantau Airport at 10:15pm. It did not take long at all for us to zip through immigration and customs. Thanks to the superior transportation system of Hong Kong, when we arrived at Mei Food Estate, it’s only 11pm. A 5-min taxi-ride took us to our hotel, Heritage Lodge located within Jao Tsung-I Academy.

Patio

The fascinating history of The Academy was the main reason why we chose to stay here; very friendly room rate was the number 2 reason; Ginkgo House the restaurant where senior power jiving at its best was the other deciding force.

Heritage Lodge(翠雅山房)

http://www.heritagelodgehk.com

Reception area

There are five 2-storey buildings housing 80+ rooms. Clean, tidy and comfortable, the rooms and facilities are comparable to any 3+star hotel, but at a much wallet-friendlier rate. Located at the upper deck of the compound, the lodge is 2 long flights of stairs from the restaurant and the Academy. Shuttle bus that takes riders to the main road, the MTR station at Mei Foo and the entrance to the Academy runs till 9:30pm daily.

Jao Tsung-I Academy (饒宗頤文化館)

800, Castle Peak Raod, Kowloon, Hong Kong. http://www.jtia.hk

An iconic project under the “Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme” of the Development Bureau of the HKSAR Government.

Antique brick buildings and a zen lotus pond

A lush green urban oasis lies atop Lai-Chi-Kok Hill, the compound has played significant roles in the social history making of Kowloon Peninsula. It was a customs station in 1887, a transfer shelter for Chinese labourers recruited by the British Empire to work in mines in South Africa from 1904 to 1906 that later on became a quarantine quarter.  A decade later, it was used as a prison and in 1940’s, it became Lai-Chi-Kok Hospital. In the year 2000, it was the home for the psychiatric rehabilitation centre.  Finally in 2009, the name “Jao Tsung-I Academy” and its cultural status was recognized and officially granted.  Today, the hide-away Academy is the gateway to tranquility, natural beauty and cultural events. It houses a gallery, workshops, exhibition halls, lecture rooms, activity rooms and a theatre and offers free guided tours.

Gingko House (銀杏館)

http://www.restaurant.org.hk

An ordinary looking restaurant with extraordinary missions and a fabulous food philosophy and practice, Gingko House is an integral part of an amazing senior project strategically designed to provide inspiring opportunities for seniors to maintain and enhance their healthy living and to energize the well-beings of their minds and souls after retirement. The senior project is the turning wheel fabricating jobs, providing training and dispatching resources for seniors. A majority of the staff are capable citizens who used to work in key positions. The project invites them to be productive and to belong. Their ability and willingness to contribute, no matter the age, subsequently lead them to regain their confidence and self-respect. With a central kitchen, an organic farm, two Gingko House restaurants and catering service, participating seniors wake up every day to a friendly environment to communicate and learn; to work and be involved in the community. Though situated within the compound of the Academy and share a mutual support with each other, Gingko House is owned and operated independently. With a unique background - physically, historically and culturally; both the Academy and Gingko House are well-regarded and frequently visited by local communities and foreign groups, especially those in the arts and culture field.

Stuffed gluten puffs with light curry sauce

With the organic farm supplying Gingko House and the catering arms, the restaurants thrive on their healthy menu offering; super-friendly and attentive attitude. Having the legendary Sir Run Run Shaw’s very own chef Mr. Low who won Sir Shaw over with a plate of ‘Canned Spicy Pork Fried Rice’ who now works as the Executive Chef for the restaurants and the catering service, superb food quality with a healthy conscience has been the main reason why folks of all walks and ages become regulars here. Gingko House opens for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.

HK$38 salad & soup buffet at Gingko House

Highly recommended:

1/ Salad and Soup Buffet

2/ Chef Low’s Fried Rice with XO sauce

3/ Dong-Bor Style Ribs

4/ Stuffed Gluten puffs stuffed with mushrooms (vegetarian)

5/ Hot drinks: Lemongrass Tea and Organic Pu-er Tea

Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival, 2014(香港美酒佳肴巡禮)

This is a trade and consumer event that takes place in November of every year. Usually held at Central, Hong Kong, this year’s event was relocated to the Cruise Terminal at the old Kai Tak Airport. Glittering with neon signs, the outdoor venue gave the Wine & Dine Festival a new look and vibrant energy. With non-stop entertainments, 270 stalls, hundreds of international wines for sipping and purchasing; global gourmet cooked by master chefs on the spot, the 3-day extravaganza attracted record-number attendees.

HK Wine & Dine Festival

Shum Sui Po Foodie Tour (香港風味行深水埗)

www.hongkongfoodietours.com

Operated by Hong Kong Foodie Tasting Tours,this 3¾-hour tour was led by a young lady who spoke fluent English. Besides tasting generous portions of nostalgic food: fresh from the oven jumbo Pineapple Bun, fluffy and steamy plain Rice Rolls, 5-spiced brined Goose meat and Pork Hock slices, Tofu pudding, Hand-made noodle with shrimp roes, Chinese cookies in 6 different eateries, the tour guide also took us on a history walk and talk into the livelihood and many facets of this blue-collar district.

Foodie Tour 1st stopTofu pudding with barley

Made In Hong Kong Restaurant

Shop L1-13, Level 1, APM, Millennium City 5, Kwun Tong

www.madeinhorestaurant.com/index.html

A delightful and well-run café-mall restaurant that has no doubt impressed both the locals and visitors such as myself with its open-floor dining room, well-designed décor and professionally-trained staff. The indigenous Hong Kong style café menu offers array of food items familiar to those who grew up in Hong Kong in the 60’s and 70’s. Tasty and well-presented grubs, good price points and generous portions are the reason for line-ups out front.  The rare-found Chicken A La King caught Henry’s eyes and appetite at first glance, silkily creamy but not heavy atop nicely-buttered rice showed the chef’s attention to details. My fully-loaded sizzling hot plate of mixed grill with just the perfect amount of red-wine jus, was served with well-executed baby beans, snow peas and broccoli.   Chicken A La King - Creamy with full-flown flavour

My sizzling plate of mixed grill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tai-O Eco Tour (昂坪與大澳遊)

http://www.discoverhongkong.com/

360 degree of breath-taking viewThe exhilarating 6-hour tour began with the 5.7km cable-car ride across the sea to Ngong Ping Village where the Tian Tan Buddha, Asian’s 2nd largest outdoor Buddha statue, followed by an exploration of the 800-year old Fishing Village Tai-O which took us back in time where living was simple laughter generated by sweat, blood and tear. In an inland log house, the owner showed us how to prepare duck egg yolks for sun-drying and how to make a sweet soup by grinding white and black beans in a clay pot using a big guava stick the fisherman’s way. Needless to say; the owner had a pot of ready-to-eat sweet bean soup set aside for us to indulge.  fish maw and angular squash

We took a boat ride to look for white dolphins beyond the levee but found none, however, the beautiful South China Sea view and the dolphin search put us into lunch mode. The 5-course lunch featuring local seafood in a neighbourhood restaurant meant non-pretentious home-style cooking which rhymed in perfectly with the sea village setting.

fishmongers selling just-caugh fish

268 steps takes you to the huge Buddha statue

Foodie on Foot – Kobe, Japan

Kobe ChinatownWords & Pix: Stephanie Y

For serious foodies, Kobe means one word – BEEF! It indeed was the renowned Kobe beef that drew us in.  We were lucky enough to experience two Kobe beef encounters, for snacking and for a late lunch; all took place in Kobe Chinatown bordering Motomachi, the most crowded, noisiest and tastiest part of town.  Both encounters were sensational and needless to say expensive, the three grades were $3000-yen apart (C$30), glad to say every bite was worthy.

Kobe beef encounter #1

Kobe beef bowl

It was the young man yelling and waving a cardboard with the food pictures and the phase “Kobe Beef” that stopped us, we then noticed the line-up in front of the street corner where an  open kitchen was located.  The kitchen was the restaurant and the street was the dining room – our definition of true street food! Approximately 40gm of Kobe beef was served in burger form; sliced, sauteed and put on rice; or strip of loin, grilled and cut on rice.  Y$1200 gave you the AA-equivalent grade, $1500 AAA-grade and $1800 champion-grade. Our chosen AAA-grade beef was grilled to our desired doneness, medium rare, sliced to ¼” thick, served with chopped green onion and the beef jus on rice.

Kobe beef encounter #2

Kobe Beef restaurant

In a tiny but comfortably arranged restaurant offering nothing but Kobe Beef  that were grilled and served like steak. Though there’re only 25 seats, the restaurant was one of the quieter eateries in this neighbourhood. Perhaps not too many folks were willing to cough up that kind of money for a piece of steak; or likely because the restaurant charged 5% on top for paying with your credit card, even when the bill was a 5-digit one.  The “set” came with a bowl of soup made with the beef jus, a nice salad and a bowl of rice.  The same three grades applied here and the price ranges similar but since this was a real western-style restaurant, the dollar figures tripled.  For Y$8800, Henry chose the 120gm Champion grade which came certified. I was not quite ready to pay C$88 for a steak dinner hence opted for the next grade which still cost me $5500 (C$55). Both beef dishes came with pan-fried vegetables and were beautifully plated.  Along with the salad, the soup, the beef sets were substantial enough.

Beef-biting notes:

Champion-grade Kobe beef is without a doubt, heavenly! Supreme marbling knits in the al dente mouth feel. The ‘oh mine’ thrill upon entering the mouth echoes with the crisp yet moist; meaty yet buttery euphoria your palate will remember for a long time. Each bite gives you the first bite umami that keeps making love to your senses.

Kobe beef

AAA-grade Kobe beef worked fine medium rare since a little bit of chewing will expand the flavour profile and enjoyment. The thick slices of beef carried a melt-in-your-mouth texture but charred outer layer and the tender core layer combined to create a demanding depth.

If your wallet does not object, go for the champion grade and order it ‘rare’ – the only way to embrace the divinity of  the flavour and texture granted to Kobe beef to the fullest. We both agree the 120gm set of Kobe beef is good enough to satisfy the indulgence, however, the qualitative pressure beef bowl is produces as good as the well-plated beef set in the restaurant. But of course, if you so desire, do go all out.

Salute to “The Girls”

Words: Henry Yuen

So many worthwhile fundraising campaigns are lobbying for our dollars, it requires a bit of vetting on our part in order to ensure our contributions render maximum value to the charity. When 100% of your donation goes to the BC/Yukon Region of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, it’s a no brainer to support it. How do you do that? What about starting with a bottle or two of BC wine? By buying a couple of BC wines with a fun and fitting name “The Girls”!

The girls!

Take a look at the bottle; it has a shape and style of its own. Study the label designs; you will be intrigued by the curvy outfits and coordinating colour tones. The designing team did a witty job playing around with a little bit of naughtiness and the catchiness of the name.

While “The Girls” is the label for this pair of wines, each one has her own descriptive way of showcasing the varietals: The Vivacious Rosé and the Voluptuous Red. Lighter and easier to drink, rosé has always been associated with glee and balmy. Red wines, on the other hand, are rich and luscious. It won’t work if Rosé was voluptuous and the Red vivacious! The good news is, both wines are ready to be enjoyed immediately.

Tasting note:

Vivacious Rose: The grapes are sourced from the Okanagan with Merlot as the foundation with 24 hours of skin contact to give this wine the lovely pink hue. The nose has enticing bouquet of raspberry and strawberries. Nice juicy feel with a hint of grapefruit and melon wakes up the palate and lingers on the finish. Six months in the bottle before release gives this wine the depth on the palate. Refreshing and uplifting, this well-made Rose is delightfully fit for any occasions.

Voluptuous Red is a balanced blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Kept in new French oak for eighteen months, the aroma of cherries and blackberries is attractive and engaging, followed by cloves and other tantalizing spices to tease the palate. This medium to full-bodied wine is structured to pair well with or without food.

Under the tutelage of consultant James Cluer MW and the collaboration of a team of winemakers, these two new wines were produced at Harry McWatter’s TIME Estate Winery located in South Okanagan who is also distributing the wine.

Bill Lui, the creator of The Girls brand, commissioned the wines for a good cause but in the end the winemaking team also created a couple of fun and versatile wines that it is hard to resist. So it is a win-win situation where there is mutual benefit for a good cause.

Not a lot of cases were produced so go to http://charitablewines.org to find the list of BCLDB and private wine store   locations or go to http://twlcanada.com to order these wines directly.  What are you waiting for?

2014 Cornucopia

This is the season when skiers, snow-boarders and winter outdoor sports fans are in high alert. They all are paying extra attention to what Whistler is up to. Once the mountains are opened for the season, off they go.

Food and wine fancies are doing more or less the same, except that they know exactly when to head out there. They are likely gearing to go up Whistler in 2 weeks as we speak, in time to attend the 18th Whistler Cornucopia. This year, the ultra-popular fun-filled food and wine festival has been extended to become a 11-day long merriment. From November 6 to 16th, overriding 2 weekends!

#4 Four Seasons hosting Fort Berens Dinner

There is really no need for me to dwell into the details of the many seminars, wine-pairing and winemaker’s dinners and tasting events, such as the award-winning Fort Berens Winery dinner at Sidecut Restarant at the Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts. All you have to do is log onto the website: http://whistlercornucopia.com . Just be reminded, some of the events are already sold out!

The Blue Grouse of Cowichan

Blue Grouse Quill 2012 White WineWords: Henry Yuen

We labour through the long ferry lineups and spend hours to get to Vancouver Island for what? The answer is quite simple, and one that British Columbians should be proud of. Blessed by Mother Nature, the charm and beauty of Vancouver Island is unparalleled! We may whine along the way, but once there, we praise ourselves for making the trip – yes, it’s worth it!

Whether or not you are there as a tourist, visiting friends or families; there are lots of things to do to resonate with canvases of natural settings. While doing nothing is not a bad way to take in the tranquilizing beauty; exploring other parts of the Island will make your stay more fulfilling. For me and many like-minded Island visitors, it’s the vibrant food and wine scene that calls us there. The Slow Food movement and the Farm to Table initiatives are only some of the concepts that Vancouver Island has progressed soundly. Local farmers, artisan cheese makers and specialty food producers have no doubt been one of the top reasons foodies cross the strait.  Do not forget about the wines and wineries there! Go to Cowichan and you know what I am talking about.

#3 - vines

Island wineries do not take a back seat to those in Fraser Valley and Okanagan anymore at all. The total acreage of vineyards might not compare to the Okanagan but the quality is definitely on the upswing. Some plantings on the island dates back to the seventies so wineries have been able to work out the kinks to make the necessary improvements. So what’s the verdict?

Located in Duncan in Cowichan Valley, the Blue Grouse Winery has vineyard operation dating back to 1977. Current owner the Bruner Family shifted in 2012. They did not come from the farming industry but their love and passion of wine, their adoration of the majestic landscaped Cowichan, along with their determination and full-swing dedication in making great wines are solid foundations to build on. “Old Island vines, new classic wines” is the vision and description of this 45- acre winery. The site currently has 7 acres of vineyard in operation. Winemaker Bailey Williamson is a local British Columbian who grew up in Burnaby. He moved to Victoria in 1993 and began pursuing a serious career in the food and wine industry. His wine-making path started with entry-level jobs at several wineries. Bailey was the assistant winemaker at Road 13 Vineyards before coming over to Blue Grouse as the winemaker.

Tasting notes:

2013 Pinot Gris – I like the freshness and fruity note of this Pinot Gris. 100% harvest from Cowichan Valley, the green apple, Asian pear and hints of pomero aroma is enticing and the juicy finish refreshing. A bit on the lighter side, this wine is no doubt versatile enough for a variety of Asian appetizers such as cold plates, warm salad and crunchy tempura.

Blue Grouse 2013 Estate Pinot Gris & Estate Orgega2012 Quill Red – A blend of 47% Cabernet Foch, 21% Marchel Foch, 21% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Libre sourced from both the Cowichan Valley vineyards and Okanagan vineyards. This red is barrel aged which provided the smoothness and smokiness for a medium bodied finish that is fun to drink. Easy enough for sipping on its own, but with enough substance and character to pair with Antipasto as appetizer, Tomato-based pasta, wok-fried roots and squash, baked pork chops and ribs.

Quill 2012 red

2012 Pinot Noir – 100% Pinot Noir grapes from the Cowichan Valley. Plum and cherry made up the predominant aroma laced with soft tannins and a lingering finish. Enjoy it with roasted lambs, beef stews and braised ox-tails. This nicely-done Pinot expresses the terroir of the Island wine region fully.

By the look of things and their wines, the future is promising for Blue Grouse whose acres of land are suitable for planting selected qualitative grapes. They have the capacity and strong potential to increase the vineyard acreage, which will surely raise the over all profile of Vancouver Islands as a prominent wine region in Western Canada.

Kim Crawford 2013 Wines

Words: Henry Yuen (Chinese post: http://taiyangbao.ca/author/henryyuen/ )

Being an integral part of the country’s economy, the agricultural sector of New Zealand is a huge one.  Together with the food and forestry industry, they generate over 70% of the total export earnings. New Zealanders realize these as the pivots in maintaining the stronghold of the population and their well-beings; needless to say, they embrace and support the industries dearly.  There is a concerted effort by the New Zealand wine industry to ensure high quality wines are produced to excel in the export market and indeed, 80% of New Zealand wines are exported today. Inarguably, the wine industry has been an essential part of the overall GDP generator, crafting quality wine is the inevitable strategic initiative to ensure economic vibrancy.

Since the first planting in 1973 in Marlborough, It becomes a well-known fact that New Zealand produces outstanding and alluring Sauvignon Blanc. “Do what you do best” is seemingly the shared philosophy there. If the terroir is best suited for Sauvignon Blanc, they will then pour out the best effort to this varietal to produce the world’s best. Current data tells us almost 70% of wine produced in New Zealand is Sauvignon Blanc. Surely, they have been showing the world they mea1nt what they say by coming up with a number of top of the world Sauvignon Blanc!

One perennial winner is the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. Having elevated from cottage winery status to Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines in less than 15 years is what I say impressive.

Kim Crawford Wines

I recently tasted Kim Crawford 2013 vintage wines, here are my wine notes.

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – Harvested from the Mairau Valley of the Marlborough appellation from vines of 14 years and more, this wine opens with a bright tropical fruit and citrus aroma laced with grapefruit and pineapple. The smooth mouth feel is weaved with crispy and refreshing vibes, a hint of minerality brings out its acidity and vibrancy. If you want to sample the superior quality and characteristics this New Zealand varietal is famous for, this would be it.

Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2013  – Another fine representation of the Marlborough appellation is the Nobilo Region.  All 100% Sauvignon Blanc sourced from different blocks of vineyards of the Awatere and Wairau Valley.  The harvests from the different blocks were kept separate throughout the winemaking process to preserve their distinctiveness before blending. The result is a complex wine but tantalizing with freshness. The floral aroma and a light earthy hint bring in good complexity. It has a round mouth feel on the palate;  adequate citrus, pineapple and summer fruit notes render the zesty, easy drinking harmony.

While the superiority of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is hard to beat, it doesn’t mean other varietals always have to take a backseat and remain anonymous in the wine scene. The Monkey Bay 2013 Pinot Grigio from the Hawkes Bay region is an example of the diverse landscape of New Zealand welcoming to other varietals too. Light, pale straw in colour, it is the result of the non-skin contact treatment when pressing. The result is a refreshing and vivid Pinot Grigio with subtle dry apple skin and preserved peach aroma. It is round on entry with lots of fruit and a touch of floral note in the finish. It is off dry and a good contrast to the Sauvignon Blanc.

New Zealand’s wine history may be young in comparison to the Old World wines, but the progression is no doubt fast paced and significant enough to turn heads in the international wine scene. Try these wines while they are still in the very competitive price range in BC. Once they get more awards and wider recognition, the rising demand could pose new brackets on their now reasonable pricing.

Beyondchopsticks on AM1470

Beyondchopsticks with Deborah Moore

Showtime: Tuesday, October 7th @10:30am

Contents:

A) Okanagan Wine Festivals and BC Wine Awards

Drawn by lush vineyards, misty lakes and harvesting energies surrounding the wineries, September has always been my favourite month to visit Okanagan wineries. I had one more reason to do so this year – judging the British Columbia Wine Awards.

There were a record-breaking number of 540+ entries in this year’s BC Wine Awards Competition. As a new member of the panel of 9 judges, I expected to face tough challenges, but found myself having much fun and learning tons about BC wines and the wine-judging process. Conversations with fellow judges, every one of them masters in the field; and the hardworking souls behind the Festivals and the Awards humbled me. After 3 days and many flights of sipping and spitting; numerous bottles of water and slices of breads, we selected 5 Platinum, 3 Gold, 113 Silver and 122 Bronze medals.

Judging captain Sid Cross getting ready

Celebrating its 34th year, the Fall Okanagan Wine Festivals is the oldest wine festivals in BC. The 10-day long festival is the best way to present the best of Okanagan. From terroir to bottle, from farms to tables, the food and wine events spans across the lakes and valleys. This year, the Festivals unveiled with a bang – The Premier’s Wine Award presentation at the welcoming party. There are still tons of delicious food and wine to be had and gleeful events to participate for those who decide to join in the fun this weekend.

The annual British Columbia Wine Awards Reception kicked off the Festivals and was highlighted by Premier Clark’s handing out the very first Premier’s Wine Award in person on site. The winner of this prestigious award, selected amongst the 5 Platinum-awarded wines is:

See Ya Later Ranch Rover - Premier's Wine Award

See Ya Later Ranch Rover Shiraz – Viognier 2012. Remaining Platinum wines are:

  • Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2012
  • Quails’ Gate Syrah 2012
  • Silkscarf Winery Viognier 2013
  • SpierHead Winery Pinot Gris 2013

For full results for this year’s awards, visit: http://www.thewinefestivals.com/wine_awards/british-columbia-wine-awards.

**Premier’s Wine Award was selected from all Platinum medals, and based on the judges’ consensus, The Best Wine in British Columbia was named the Premier’s Wine. This wine represents varietal consistency and a combination of superb grapes and winemaking.

B) Sustenance Festival – Making Connections, Building Relationships

Since 2009, Sustenance has been an annual festival of the Vancouver Park Board. Sustenance is all about food, art, sustainability, celebration, discussion, and food security. It’s dynamic, creative, delicious, educating, and timely.

A city-wide festival with local food-inspired workshops, cooking classes, exhibitions, talks, walks, dances and more – all taking place in community centres and public spaces throughout Vancouver.

Chef Karen Barnaby cooking at Sustenance Festival

Now to October 19

http://www.sustenancefestival.ca

 

 

 

 

 

C) Game and Wild Mushroom Festival

Now in its ninth year, the Game and Wild Mushroom Festival takes place October 15 to November 2 with three or four course prix fixe menus featuring wild, local mushrooms, deliciously rich game meats such as elk, red deer and speciality foods.

Four restaurants, multi-coursed dinners and exotic dining experiences:

La Buca opens for dinner Sunday to Thursday from 5 to 9:30 pm and from 5 to 10 pm on Friday and Saturday. 4025 MacDonald Street. 604.730.6988 or dinner@labuca.ca

Pied-a-Terre opens 7 nights a week for dinner and for lunch on Fridays.

3369 Cambie Street. 604-873-3131 or eat@pied-a-terre-bistro.ca.

Sardine Can near Gastown’s Maple Tree Square offers bar seating, classic Spanish tapas dishes, and an all-Spanish beer, sherry, wine, and brandy list. Doors open every afternoon at 4 p.m. (noon on weekends)

26 Powell Street. 604-568-1350 or tapas@thesardinecan.ca.

The Abbey Already receiving rave reviews, the progressive tavern offers pedigreed food with a modern sensibility. Open daily for dinner from 5 p.m., with Happy Hour daily until 6:30 p.m.

117 West Pender Street. 604-336-7100 or info@abbeyvan.com

Stuffed mushroom at Abbey

 

 

 

 

 

 

D) Canadian Chocolate Awards

The Canadian Chocolate Awards judging is now taking place at Vancouver Community College. Canadian winners will be announced October 9th. All Gold, Silver and Bronze winners of the Canadian Chocolate Awards will go forward to the World Finals in London, UK on November 4–6, 2014. There, Canadian winners will compete against winners from the European, Germany/Austria/Switzerland, Scandinavia and Americas rounds for the 2014 World prizes. info@internationalchocolateawards.com

E) Stephanie’s Cookbook Recommendations:

The Chocolate Tasting Kit by Eagranie Yuh – Everything you need to know about chocolate

The Deerholme Foraging Book by Bill Jones – Wild Foods and Recipes from the Pacific Northwest

Eating Stories published by Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia – A Chinese Canadian & Aboriginal Potluck

The SOBO Cookbook by Lisa Ahier – Recipes from the Tofino Restaurant at the End of the Canadian Road

IMG_7895

Fairchild TV 2014 Summer BBQ Series

IMG_6072

Henry & Stephanie’s Recipes

夏日串燒食譜

We had so much fun cooking on Deborah Moore’s Summer blockbuster TV show “Summer Sizzles”  which was broadcasted across Canada. Days of fun and yummy shoot under the sun, 3 episodes, 6 recipes and dozens of bottles of wines later, we’ve been greeted by strangers asking us about our segments and received emails asking for recipes. Our excuse not to post it earlier? Been away, been busy, been procrastinating…

Better late than never. And here they are.

1/ Nicoise Salad        Served 4

Ingredients

5 medium beets, slice 1/8” off rugged ends, quartered and cut into ½” pieces, do not remove skin.

1 lb. baby octopus, patted dried

1 lb. red nugget potatoes, boiled and quartered

1 lb. baby green beans, rinsed. Heads removed and boiled

1 lb. baby carrots, rinsed. Sliced diagonally and boiled

8 compari tomatoes, rinsed and quartered

10 romaine lettuce, halved

Seasonings:

1 tsp. sea salt

2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano

1 cup olive oil

1 Tbsp. light soy sauce

1 Tbsp. ground black pepper

½ cup vegetable oil

1 cup Italian dressing.

Method

Preheat barbeque to 400F.

In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil on high heat. Add beets and ¼ tsp. sea salt, 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbsp. brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Turn to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until softened. Transfer beets into ice-water and soak for 10 minutes, drained well.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oregano, olive oil, soy sauce and ground black pepper. Add octopus and mix well. Set aside.

Brush vegetable oil evenly onto barbeque. Using a pair of long tong; place octopus onto the barbeque and grill for 2 to 3 minutes. Brush regularly with remaining marinade in the bowl. Turn to the other side. Repeat until octopus turn golden brown.

Distribute lettuce, tomatoes, cooked beans, carrots and beets in a large platter, add octopus on top and serve with Italian dressing.

Summer BBQ - salmon

  1. Grilled Ocean-wise Pink Salmon       Serves 4

Ingredients

1 12 oz. Pink salmon filet, skinned on.

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 cup melted butter

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill

1 fresh lemon, half sliced and half quartered

Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Method

Prehead barbequed to 400F.

Using paper towels, pat dry both sides of salmon. Brush vegetable oil evenly onto one side of the barbeque grill where salmon filet will be placed.

In a small bowl, combine melted butter, ¼ cup of chopped dill and sprinkle of salt and ground black pepper.

Place filet on barbeque, skin-side down. Grill filet for 8 to 10 minutes or until fish is cooked to your desired doneness. Brush better mixture onto fillet regularly. 1 minute before serving the fish, squeeze lemon juice from the quarters onto fillet.

Place grilled fish onto a long plate, sprinkle remaining dill evenly on fish and serve with sliced lemon.

3.Warm Potatoe and Beet Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb. beets, slice 1/8” off rugged ends, do not remove skin.

1 lb. White nugget potatoes, rinsed and quartered

2 cups peas

4 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint leaves

½ fresh squeezed lemon juice

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Method

Cook beets using the same method as in the Nicoise Salad but instead of ice water, just empty cooked beets into a drainer and drain well. Transfer into a medium salad bowl and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, add 6 cups of cold water and potatoes and bring to a boil on high. Sprinkle in some sea salt and 1 tsp. of olive oil. Boil for 5 minutes uncovered then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until cooked through. Using a slotted ladle, add to salad bowl.

Place peas into the saucepan of boiling water, cook for 3 minutes. Empty into a drainer, drain well and add to salad bowl. Add remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, chopped mint and lemon juice. Toss well and serve.

 

  1. Marinade for BBQ Red Wings

For every 3 lbs. of wings:

½ cup red wine

¼ cup dark soy sauce

¼ cup light soy sauce

½ cup cold coffee

2 Tbsp. Maple syrup

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

2 Tbsp. chili oil or sriracha (optional)

 

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, cover and marinate overnight (or for at least 4 hours) in the refrigerator.

Please note: “Cooking with Dairy” recipes will be posted next.

 

 

 

Happy Moon Festival

Mooncakes

Words & pix: Stephanie Yuen

The beautiful thing about working as a spokesperson for Loblaw is that I get to talk about Chinese traditions, culinary culture and recipes. For instance, I shared moon folklores and reminisced on fun childhood memories with the Vancouver Sun readers on Mia’s article; went onto CTV Morning and Global Noon News and cook with taro roots and fall roots and vegetables – two easy-to-do dishes to be had any time.

The moon festival happening today came early this year. Besides adoring the bright and full moon, we ought to be thankful for what’s been granted to us, in our daily living. For harvesting does not refer only to farmers, it also refers to how we embrace life. A good harvest can be as simple as food on the table, shared with friends and families!

Moon Festival 2014 – Stephanie Yuen’s recipes

 a/ Wok-fried Noodles with Chicken and Garden Vegetables

Serves 4

3 pc T&T brand Dried Shiitake mushrooms

300g T&T brand Fine Dry Noodles (1.8kg box package)

200g Chicken breast, julienned

3 Tbsp cooking oil

2 Tbsp chopped shallot

100g Julienned jicama

2 stalks  Julienned celery

½ red or orange pepper; julienned

½ tsp sea salt

2 tsp T&T brand light soy sauce

2 tsp Chili bean sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp sugar

1/ Rinse mushroom and soak in 1 cup of hot water for 30 minutes or until softened. Remove caps and julienne mushrooms. Set mushroom liquid aside.

2/ Follow cooking instructions on box to cook the noodle.

3/ In a bowl, mix chicken with 1 tsp soy sauce, ½ tsp sesame oil and ½ tsp sugar.

4/ Place wok on high heat, add 1 Tbsp cooking oil, add shallot and brown for 15 seconds. Add remaining oil and chicken, stir and cook for 2 minute on medium high. Add jicama, celery and pepper, stir and cook for 30 seconds. Add noodles and remaining seasoning, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add 3 Tbsp of mushroom liquid. Stir, cover and cook for another minute.  Enjoy!

Wok fried noodles with celery & jicama

Turkey, Taro and Shiitake Stew

Serves 4 on rice

300g turkey breast, cut into ½” dices*

2 Tbsp cooking oil

1 Tbsp oyster sauce

6 pcs T&T brand dry shiitake mushrooms

200g taro meat, quarter first and cut into thick slices**

1 tsp chopped ginger

1 tsp dark rice vinegar

1 tsp cooking wine

½ tsp sea salt

1 tsp sugar

¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro (optional)

1/ Marinate turkey with 1 tsp cooking oil and 1 tsp oyster sauce for about 15 minutes.

2/ Rinse mushrooms and soak in 1½ cup of hot water for 30 minutes. Remove caps and quarter mushrooms. Set mushroom liquid aside.

3/ Heat remaining oil in wok on high heat, add ginger, brown for 10 seconds.

4/ Add turkey, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and taro. Stir well.

5/ Add remaining ingredients, mix well. Stir in mushroom liquid, bring to a boil. Cover and cook on medium for 10 minutes or until 20% of liquid remains.

6/ Add cilantro and serve with rice.

 

*Can be replaced by pork or beef tenderloin.

** Taro skin contains certain enzyme which causes itchiness. Wear kitchen gloves when peeling skin off taro to avoid getting itchy. Once skin is removed, handle the meat normally.

 

 

 

 

Beyondchopsticks.com on AM1470 with Deborah Moore

Close encounter with Thai Cuisine at the Royal Thai Consulate-General’s residence.

First there were beautiful displays of fruit carvings; and then a picturesque line-up of Thai ingredients, herbs, spices and sauces. Next came the authentic Thai dish -cooking demonstration by two big-named chefs from Thailand who were also professional Instructors at Suan Dusit Rajabhat University:  Dr. Naruemon Nantaragsa and Mr. Siriseangphaiwan. They did make cooking Thai cuisine simple and easy!

IMG_7465

According to Dr. Nantaragsa, authentic ingredients are the keys to eccentric Thai dish. These are the must-haves for the two popular menu items found in most Thai restaurants in town.

1/ Pad Thai

Key ingredients: Dried shrimps, palm sugar, fish sauce, tamarind juice, chilli powder and pickled white radish.

2/ Penang Curry

Key ingredients: Coconut milk, Thai basil, palm sugar, fish sauce, Penang curry paste, kaffir lime leaves.

Being only a week away from the Moon Festival, the Chinese Mid-Autumn Celebration (Monday, September 8) was naturally the focus of the September 2nd segment.

When Real Canadian Super Stores and No Frills display red and gold boxes of moon cakes, and ingredients for cooking a celebrative dinner, you know that Moon Festival (the Chinese version of Thanksgiving) is no longer an Asian celebration but a fun and delicious reason for anyone to bring families and friends together.  Moon cakes are great dessert pastries, to be enjoyed with a pot of tea or your favourite coffee, along with a table full of fresh fruits, candies and nuts, they are the centre piece for the after-dinner full moon celebration in the yard, the patio and even an evening picnic at the park – just go out there and adore the moon and be thankful for a good harvest.

Traditional moon cakes available at The Real Canadian Super Stores and No Frills

A special TWG treat (Urban Tea Merchant Downtown Vancouver)

Come Moon Festival celebration time, a box or two of moon-cakes as a token of appreciation and respect to your parents, the elderlies and all the loved ones may seem boring, may even be a bit too convenient sometimes? What more can you do?

IMG_7509

A decadent and unique “Moon Festival Tea Service” at The Urban Tea Merchant located at Georgia/Alberni @ Thurlow (Tel# 604-692-0071 ) that is.  Decadent is their specially crafted and assembled platter of gourmet delicacies: Miso-glazed sable fish, “Dignitiary’s Tea” chicken cone, chilled prawn ceviche, Fois Gras, fresh tropical fruit and TWG Tea Mooncakes.

Unique are inarguably those Tea Mooncakes – classic shapes of round mooncakes and traditional styles to enhance the celebrative mood but are loaded with tea-infused paste. This year, TWG’s Tea Mooncake edition is called “Red Lantern”, last year was called Silver Moon – enticing and very fitting terms for this Chinese Thanksgiving and get-together celebration. The tea mooncakes are: Red Lantern, Emperor, Constellation and Moonlight are the four flavours. These are limited-time editions available in 3 packaging: 4 and 2 with a special red and white blend of “Red Lantern” tea and the single box.  Check them out soon because they may not be available after September 15.

Moon Festival Buffet for the whole family at Pan Pacific Hotel

For many years, Pan Pacific Vancouver has established its own longstanding tradition of offering a sumptuous Asian-influenced brunch, complete with trademark moon cakes, made in-house by our pastry chef, Hans Pirhofer.

This year, the Chinese Moon Festival Brunch in the Café Pacifica will include a wide range of delights with inspiring salads, a dim sum station, fresh sushi, cold seafood – salmon, snow crab and jumbo prawns, and, of course, our legendary dessert buffet.

Pan Moon Cakes

***Other Events***

5th Tomato Festival at Provence – Chef’s Tomato Menu

Provence Chefs/Proprietors Alessandra and Jean-Francis Quaglia have been giving the season’s wonderful tomatoes the highest note of praise through their creation of Chef’s Tomato Menu. “We are fortunate to have so many heirloom varieties available locally,” says Chef Jean-Francis. “There isn’t any flavour that says ‘summer’ more to me than tomato. The flavours are so intense and each variety is completely different from the other but all are equally wonderful.”

Jean-Francis & Alexandria team up with wholesome tomatoes

Provence Mediterranean Grill’s menu ($45) starts with Tomato Three Ways that includes chilled tomato ‘cappuccino,’ buffalo mozzarella and tomato salad and a Provençal tomato tartlette. Once you’ve polished that off, you must then decide between one of two main courses – how do you choose between Duck Breast Scaloppini or Pan-Seared Mediterranean Sea Bass Filet? Both come accompanied by smoked tomato and bacon marmalade, fiddleheads and sun-dried tomato gnocchi. For dessert, there is Candied Tomato Panna Cotta served with rhubarb honey and a pistachio tuile.

These amazing dishes, from salad to soup, cold and hot appetizers to even desserts, promise to wow your visions and palates. Chef’s Tomato Menu is now being offered at the two Provence Restaurants till Monday, September 22nd.

Provence Marinaside and The Wine Bar (water front @Davis, Yaletown Tel: 604-681-4144 ) and Provence Mediterranean Grill (W. 10. Tel: 604-222-1980)   http://www.provencevancouver.com

Chefs for Ocean

Join Chef Bell to celebrate his return from a successful journey across Canada, at the grand finale event  - a not-to-be-missed food event for a very important cause.

Chef Ned Bell preparing an Asian dishWhere: The Four Seasons Hotel on

When: Friday, September 12 from 6pm to 8pm.

Chef Bell has partnered with like-minded chefs across the country to host 20 sustainable seafood events from coast to coast, and the final event in Vancouver is no different.  Co-hosted with the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program and SeaChoice, Chef Ned will be joined by the following chefs for an evening of decadent seafood tastings, storytelling and celebrations.

  • · Rob Clark, The Fish Counter
  • · Quang Dang, West Restaurant
  • · Frank Pabst, Blue Water Café and Raw Bar
  • · Tim Bedford, Vancouver Aquarium
  • · Dino Renaerts, Bon Vivant Group
  • · James Coleridge, Bella Gelateria

Ticket prices are $40 with free admission for children aged 12 and under.  Event proceeds support the Chefs for Oceans journey and a portion of net funds will be donated to its’ three primary beneficiaries, Vancouver Aquarium’s ocean-friendly Ocean Wise ™ program, SeaChoice and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS).

To purchase tickets via Eventbrite: http://www.cfovancouver.eventbrite.com

Restaurant of the week:

Left Bank – Newest French Bistro on Denman

Stroll down for restaurant review…IMG_7413