Posts Tagged ‘Savvy Team’

139 Things to do in Prince Edward County

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018
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We are always asked for travel tips. One destination in particular is Prince Edward County.  Just a short 3 hour drive from Ottawa or 2 hours from Toronto, it’s an easy daytrip or a weekend getaway.

This region, surrounded by water, is turning heads as Canada’s fastest growing wine region.  And it is not all about the wine either! “The County” has been named as Maclean’s Magazine’s Canada TOP 10 Places You’ve Got to See in 2014.  The town of Picton, Bloomfield, Milford, Wellington, Cherry Valley and all the points in between was hopping four years ago…and now there’s even more reasons to visit; our list is just a start.

Our 101 Things to Do in Prince Edward County was so popular that we’ve refreshed and updated for the second time.  To help you discover all the neat things that are going on in The County, we got the Savvy Team together (over a glass of wine of course!) & jotted down our favorite things to do in Prince Edward County.  Then we had a contest on Instagram and Facebook asking for hidden gems in the area…and went to the best source – the locals who live there for their secret spots.  Here is the list for now….and if we missed something that needs to be included, don’t be shy….Let us know by email, Facebook or Instagram.

How far down the list can you get? 

Start the car…and get rolling!

1. Visit North America’s largest dry stone bridge at Karlo Estates. And if you’re lucky, you’ll meet Spencer – one of Karlo’s winemakers – in the vineyard or in the cellar. (Spencer with a glass of his soon-to-be-released Rose, shown in photo right) 

2. Visit the Oeno Gallery at Huff Estates. Be sure to take advantage of their sculpture celebration happening from May to October 1st.

3. Want your wine tours to have a more rustic feel? Check out the historic barns at The Old ThirdClosson ChaseKarlo EstatesThe Grange of Prince Edward County and Hinterland Winery.

4. Sample amazing aperitif and dessert wines (and ports) – Sandbanks WineryHillier CreekKeint-He WineryKarlo Estates

5. Taste some of the best Canadian-made sparkling wines at HinterlandHuff Estates , Rosehall Run, Casa-Dea Lighthall Vineyards.

6. Cheese Please!  All weekend long at the Great Canadian Cheese Festival (usually in June).

7. Sample County wines at great local restos – East & MainBlumen Garden & The Hubb.

8. Nothing goes “feta” with wine than cheese, so be sure to pop into Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co. for some artisanal cheese.

9. The infamous Toronto’s Drake Hotel  now has a County location – Drake Devonshire.  Stay over or go for dinner.

10. Indulge in poutine and milkshakes at the Dari Bar in Wellington.

11. Enjoy some great apple cider & lunch of lamb burgers The County County Cider. (Owner, Jenifer Dean, serving her famous cider, in photo right

12. Need some coffee before OR after sampling wine? Miss Lily’s Café or the Bean Counter in Picton.

13. Find your favorite mantra pinned to the wall in the Cherry Valley General Store (hint: they’re all about slowing down to smell the roses!).

14. Stop by one of many veggie stands – Laundry FarmsHagerman FarmsCherryvale Organic Farm.

15. Sit on the porch at a B&B or your weekend cottage and read Geoff Heinrick’s book A Fool & Forty Acres.

16. Pop in to the Agrarian Cheese Market & Speakeasy, featuring craft brews on tap, great ciders, wine and killer cocktails with live music on Fridays & Saturdays.

17. Take a cooking class at From the Farm.

18. Dining delight at Countylicious– twice a year, 8 restos offer a prix fixe culinary celebration for $30 or $35 plus grats & tax.

19. Get inspired by sustainable growing while you chat with Lee & Bryan at Keint-He Winery.  They’ll help you pronounce that!

20. Hop on your bike & ride the back roads while exploring Canadian history along the Loyalist Parkway.

21. Take in Terroir Wine Festival at the Crystal Palace (Early June).

22. Plan for a beach day at Sandbanks Provincial Park.

23. Feel those rhythm mc-blues as you attend the PEC Jazz Festival (Mid August).

24. Discover new music talent from across North America at The Acoustic Grill in Picton.

25. Dive into the fantastic water sports at West Lake.

26. Take a billion pix of the gorgeous stain glass windows & hang out in the hammocks at Closson Chase ….then indulge in their wines.

27. Spend a Sunday afternoon on the patio at Huff Estates Winery listening to live musical talent. (Be sure to get a taste of their new wood-fired pizza! Photo on right)

28. And for more live music, enjoy some dinner-side entertainment at East & Main Bistro.

29. Red White & Blues festival at Rosehall Run features music in the vineyard. (September)

30. Meet the dogs & owners at Three Dog Winery. Or you can practice your downward dog at their built-in yoga studio

31. Get limbered up for the Full Moon Yoga Festival (August)

32. Hear James call his Chardonnay vines ‘Bella’ at Long Dog Winery.

33. Stock up on your picnic goodies at Chef Michael Hoy’s Weekend Market at 106 Bridge Street in Picton.

34. Start your day “sunny side up” with bacon & eggs at Picton Harbour Inn. Declared by Grapevine Magazing as the top breakfast joint in PEC.

35. Harvest parties at Sandbanks WineryHalf Moon Bay Winery Broken Stone are fun for the entire family.

36. Book a getaway room at The ManseNewsroom SuitesThe Inn at Huff EstatesMerrill Inn or the Cottage at Angeline’s.

37. Take an early morning walk on the ‘secret’ beach (at the bottom of Cold Creek Road).

38. Go apple picking at Campbell’s Orchards.

39. …or cool off with ice cream at Slickers.

40. Did you know that Hinterland Vineyards has peach slushies for the kids?

41. Visit the old-time school house at the Ameliasburgh Historical Museum.

42. Drinks & Dinner at Merrill Inn – guaranteed delicious!

43. What the heck is Wassail?  Ask around about this pre-Christmas festival where you sing for your drink.

44. Do a County Chardonnay-a-thon trying every Chard you can find.  Be sure not to miss Lighthall, Stanners, Exultet, RosehallKarlo….is just a start.

45. Pull a pint of Pumpkin Ale at Barley Days Brewing Co.

46. Maple in the County is a great spring weekend getaway

47. Check out the cideries that are popping up – 401 Cider Company, Apple Falls Cider, Clafeld Cider House, Kings Mill (in Stirling – near PEC), County Cider Co, and The Hard Way (in Bath – near Glenora Ferry)

48. Visit the Lavender Farm when the lavender is in full bloom (June/July) or take in the lavender from across The County at the Lavender Festival

49. Chat with Pat at Del-Gatto Estates .…where he lives la dolce vita!

50. What was that on the barn?  A Barn Quilt!  It’s a THING in The County & there are over a 100 of them.

51. They say one person’s trash is another’s treasure, so why not start your hunt at the many famous antique stores in Prince Edward County.

52. Discover a lost world of treasures at the County Spring and Fall Antique Show & Sale

53. Follow the Arts Trail & meet incredibly talented artists along the way.

54. In the summer, sip Rose wines as you tour around the Wine Trail – see how they all are different – different grapes used, hues of pink…and tastes!

55. Catch a movie at the Regent Theatre.

56. Visit the gallery at Small Pond Arts to see Milé Murtanovski’s paintings made with wine. The gallery recently reopened so be sure to make an appointment!

57. Unwind one of the few classic drive-in movie theatres in Ontario: Mustang Drive-In

58. Take a break for wine touring & leisurely shop on Bloomfield or Wellington Main Streets.

59. Meet the newest cider maker in town – Ryan Monkman.  In his ‘spare time’ he works for 8…yes eight!…other cideries to help them make world class hard cider – the craft way.  In addition to working with others, his FieldBird Cider is truly unique.

60. How about a visit to Dead Peoples Stuff? (antique store).

61. Lunch al fresco at Casa Dea Estates Winery, Huff Estates or The Grange.

62. Go house hunting – it does not cost anything to dream!

63. It might be a wine region, yet there is a distillery – Kinsip House of Fine Spirits – that is a must visit.  Especially for their Canadian Pine Vodka, Loyalist Gin, rums & whiskies too. (Photo on right) 

64. Watch the sunset over Hubbs Winery or let Batista – the winery owner – chat your ear off until the stars come out!

65. Enjoy classical music in a small church during the Prince Edward County Music Festival (September)

66. Make annual family traditions by renting one of the many of the Sunrise Cottages.

67. Drop by Highline Mushrooms to buy fresh gourmet mushrooms.

68. Homemade donuts like my grandfather would make await at Schroedter’s Market at Huff Corners – at Hwy 62.

69. Spend an hour or two checking out City Revival – a high end consignment shop.

70. Marvel at the Lake On The Mountain– it’s mystical up there. After you have figured out the geographic phenomena, head to the pub for a drink.

71. Stop at Black River Cheese Co. in Milford to try…and buy…all kinds of cheese.  Savvy Cheese Sommelier, Vanessa Simmons recommends: Maple Cheddar & fresh curds (TIP – when you put curds in the fridge, they lose their squeak)

72. Where else can wines be as easy as Not Red, Almost Red and Not White? At Sugarbush Wines.

73. Did we already tell you about North Beach Provincial Park? You gotta go!

174. Go strawberry, raspberry or blueberry picking on the roadside – they grow wild! (July, August, September)

75. Grab some wine after your round of golf at Picton Golf CourseBarcovan Golf Club or Wellington On The Lake Golf Course.

76. Pop in & out of all of the cool shops along Picton Main Street. Treat yourself with a crepe too!

77. Bird-watching!! And don’t miss BirdHouse City. If you can’t get enough birds, be sure to check out the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory. (Trails are open-all-year-round but banding begins August 21).

78. More bird business…count how many birds yo spot at the Prince Edward County Birding Festival (May)

79. Take the scenic route. Drive along the Loyalist Parkway – Hwy 33.  Start in Kingston or Napanee and it will meander all the way to Trenton.

80. Gorge on the farm fresh food at Seedlings (formerly The Hubb) in Bloomfield.

81. Get tickets to TASTE! (late September).

82. The December Busy Hands Craft Sale at Books and Company & Miss Lily’s Café – great sale for gifts.

83. Pop into Rosehall Run Winery for neat locally made gourmet goodies.

84. Play life size chess in the vineyard at Casa Dea Estates.

85. Stop for Italian thin crust pizza at Bergeron’s Estate Winery…and have a glass of wine or cider too!

86. Take photos of Lake Ontario with morning fog near Moonlight on the Lake B&B.

87. Buy Ontario wine…craft beer…and cider too!– not available in the LCBO – shop directly from the makers while you are in Prince Edward County

88. Get married!

89. Running and drinking…drinking and running during Terroir Run (June) or County Marathon (Registration in Sept).Terroir boots logo

90. Taste wine in a converted cheese factory that now houses Exultet Estates.

91. Rent a cottage on the water for a week and really live The County life.

92. Stop at a yard sale.

93. Take the Glenora Ferry – its free & runs every 15 mins (in the summer) or every 30 mins (in fall & winter)

94. Take a workshop at The Red Barns, an artisan’s playground, featuring blown and stained glass, pottery, and iron art.

95. Visit Canada’s first off-grid winery Redtail Vineyard.

96. Browse the books and say hello to Miss Ella Vader, the book mascot at Books & Company.

97. Spend a weekend at Claramount Inn & Spa. H.E.A.V.E.N.L.Y.

98. Stop by Huff Estates and get your picture taken with the giant steel pinecones.

99. Tired of wine tours? Satisfy your craft cravings with breweries like 555 Brewing Co. , Midtown Brewery, Prince Eddy’s and Barley Days.

100. Find out what all the buzz is about at Honey Pie Hives and Herbals!

101. Buy local ad support local farmers at the Wellington Farmer’s Market (July & August)

And there’s more …

So there is 101 Things  – all new from our last edition of this blog – but there is still some many events and activities to see and to in The County.  Let’s keep going….

102. Get belly laughs at The County’s Summer Comedy Series (May to Sept)

103. Let The County bring out your history buff with a Historic Walking Tour of Picton (July to Oct)

104. See The County from the coastline at Point Petre Wildlife Conservation Area, Sandbanks Dunes Beach, Little Bluff Conservation Area,

105. Winter is a great season for the County too so strap on those snow shoes or skies and head to one of the many trails in PEC.  For a longer trail try the Millennium Trail – a whole 49km to enjoy!

106. Have a getaway for Family Day at the Sandbanks Snow Fest and other family friendly activities

107. Get out on the water in a canoe, kayak or paddle board rented from Twin Birch Suites & Cottages or right at Sandbanks Provincial Park.

108. They say that we’ll spend 29.75% of our lives sitting so why not get outside with a hike in the County.

109. Try not to tip over while you cycle through the County’s best wineries on one of the many bike routes.

110. Put your feet up at The Ferg: a Scandinavian historic house.

111. Feel the beat at one of the areas famous music festivals like the Sandbanks Music Festival (September), Prince Edward County Chamber Music Festival (September), Prince Edward County Jazz Festival (August), PEC Fest (August) or County Pop (April).

112. Let the sweet and silvery voices take you to the south while to visit PEC’s Quinte’s Isle Bluegrass Celebration!

113. Park yourself down at a picnic table in the vineyards at Trail Estates or Traynor Family Vineyards

114. Stop and smell the roses at The County Blooms – The County’s Garden Show

115. Discover your artistic side at Art in the County (June/July) or at the old school Women’s Institute Art and Craft Sale

116. Show you national pride at Canada Day Celebrations in Wellington

117. Feel like royalty as you discover wineries in a horse drawn carriage with The County Carriage Co. (Photo on right)

118. Start practicing you lines to watch the Festival Players Theatre Company Productions

119. Get ready to rumble at the Consecon Soap Box Derby

120. Preserve the history of wine making, brewing, and more at the Ontario Fermentation Festival

121. Get your team together for the Wellington Lions Club Dragon Boat Festival (August)

122. It’s not Burning Man but you will get to camp in the woods and enjoy a line up of amazing performers for 4 whole days at the Country Jamboree (August)

123. Check out the cute pups and tractor pulls at the Picton Fair (September)

124. Get your bike in gear for the Gran Fondo (September). You can choose to a scenic ride of 50, 100 or 150 km.

125. Celebrate the harvest at Milford Fall Fair or Ameliasburgh Fall Fair

126. See The County with an artist’s eye at the PEC Studio Tour or the County Arts Fair

127. Support local at TASTE Community Grown (September) or The Makers Hand

128. Get into the Halloween spirit at Pumpkinfest (late September)

129. Come back at Christmas too for the Picton Santa Claus Parade

130. Ahoy! It’s time to set sail with the County Sailing Adventures. They can host private events or take you on a 2 or 3 hour cruises.

131. Find the plaque in Picton that explains the town’s claim to fame – where Sir John A. Macdonald grew up.

132. Be surrounded by creativity in the Rose Cottage Studio and Gifts in Picton.

133. Rest and recuperate at one of The Open Collaborative’s retreats. Choose from the “Run”, the “Activate”, the “Reset”, or the “harvest”.

134. Shop ‘til you drop at the Quinte Mall

135. Find your equilibrium on a Stand Up Paddleboard with Floating Lotus SUP

136. Get into the great outdoors with a luxury prospector tent at the Fronterra Farm Camp.

137. Find your perfect new outfit at Luna Boutique.

138. Be sure to veer off the highway and visit the newest winery in The County – Moranin Wines (just opened July 2018)

139. And last BUT definitely not the least…have breakfast, lunch and treats at Enid Grace Cafe in Wellington – go early because she makes only enough croissants, muffins, scones & cakes enough for the day.  Once your favorite treat is gone, you’ll have to wait til the next day.

 

 …and the list goes on!  

Even more tips and calendar of events can be found on Prince Edward County’s tourism web site is prince-edward-county.com

Wherever you decide to go – for a day trip, getaway or long weekend – why not work your way through this long list of things to see and do. It’s a beautiful place where you can make great memories of food, wine, great scenery – and more.  Call on our Savvy Sommeliers anytime on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) for tips of places to visit.

Enjoy Prince Edward County!

 

 

 

 

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11 Practical Tips for Cheese Pairings

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017
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Our Sommeliers Vanessa Simmons & Debbie Trenholm was contacted by Laura Brehaut of Postmedia to offer their top cheese & wine pairing tips.  We snipped out the 11 Practical Tips for Cheese Pairings from this article that oozed with great info to share from Debbie & Vanessa as well as other leading Canadian cheese supporters.  Click here for the full article on Postmedia web site.

 

Tip #1 – What to look for…

“With any kind of pairing, you’re looking for balance. You’re looking for harmony in your mouth… You’re looking to make one or both sides of the pairing better,” says Jesse Vallins, Complex Cheese Pairings instructor at George Brown College and executive chef at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Tavern. “You can follow the rules and what experts say (but) at the end of the day, listen to your own mouth.”

 

Tip #2 – Consider intensity…

Vallins offers the example of Le Riopelle de l’Isle – “a big, rich, buttery, triple cream cheese” – made by Fromagerie Île-aux-Grues in Quebec. If you were to pair it with a light-bodied wine, the nuances in the beverage would be lost. Likewise, pairing buffalo mozzarella or ricotta with a bold red would “totally obliterate the flavour” of the fresh cheese.

 

Tip #3 – How much cheese should you buy?

For a tasting of five or more cheeses, buy 30 – 60 grams (1 – 2 oz) of each cheese per person. Round up if your guests are cheese lovers, or if you’re serving fewer cheeses. Round down if you’re serving other dishes, or presenting more cheeses.

 

Tip #4 – What temperature should it be?

Serve cheese at room temperature. Vanessa Simmons recommends taking the cheese out of the fridge at least 45 minutes before guests arrive. As you’re taking the cheese out, put your white and sparkling wines in the fridge to chill, Savvy Company’s lead Sommelier Debbie Trenholm says. While most reds will be stored and served at room temperature, she prefers to chill her Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before serving.

 

Tip #5 – Start with a tasting pour: (30-60 mL/1-2 oz).

“A variety of wine goes a long way. Not every bit of cheese has to have a swig of wine. They should be enjoyed on their own separately and then played together to discover that taste,” Trenholm explains.

 

Tip #6 – “Red wine and cheese is a bit of a fallacy” Vallins says.

“It doesn’t actually work that well and it really shocks a lot of people.” As a rule of thumb, he suggests experimenting with dessert, fortified, sparkling, and off-dry white wines instead. “It’s a lot easier to make a great pairing than it is with reds. To me, the whole phrase ‘wine and cheese’ comes from sweet, sparkling and fortified wine.”

 

Tip #7- Use a separate knife for each cheese.

This will prevent the muddying of flavours. Additionally, make sure that each knife can stand up to actually cutting the cheeses it’s partnered with, especially with firmer varieties, Simmons says.

 

Tip #8 – What order do you go in?

Basic principles of progression apply, whether composing vertical or horizontal flights, or a spectrum of styles: young to old; mild to strong; and blues are always last.

 

Tip #9 – It’s a cheese faux pas to cut the “nose”

The very tip of a wedge of cheese represents the heart of the wheel. It has a very different character than the rest of the cheese and is definitely worth sharing. If you’re cutting from a wedge, slice off the side and be sure to take the accompanying bit of rind, too. If it’s a wheel, cut a slice from centre to rind as you would a piece of cake (if it’s a soft cheese, don’t scoop out the centre).

 

Tip #10 – When do you eat the rind?

If the rind is made of wax, don’t eat it, Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons of Savvy Company suggests. Otherwise the choice is entirely up to the eater.

 

Tip #11 – How should you wrap leftovers?

Simmons recommends only buying what you need: “What’s good this week may not be great next week. It’s more like a ‘just in time’ type of experience.” If you do have leftovers, use cheese, parchment or wax paper, or a reusable product like Abeego. Avoid plastic wrap. You can also put wrapped cheese in a plastic bag or resealable container for a few days. Or better yet, make fromage fort – a French spread made by blending leftover cheeses, wine, garlic and seasonings (see Jacques Pépin’s recipe on food52.com).

 

This wine and cheese pairing, as well as the Top 11 list, appeared in Postmedia newspapers across Canada on April 4, 2017.

Click read the online version on Postmedia web site 

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Wines from around the world for Thanksgiving

Posted by Julie

Friday, September 29th, 2017
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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, what better time for LCBO’s Vintages to focus on drinks to serve with the family gathering with a headline of ‘Family Matters”.

With the family theme in this release, the LCBO is featuring family run vineyards & estates that have been handed down through the generations.  There are some great wine finds to accompany whatever dishes you are putting on your Thanksgiving table but I’m not taking any chances, I’m picking up one of each. to have on hand in case anyone drops in over the long weekend.

And there are some of the LCBO’s In Store Discoveries too that are worth putting in your shopping cart. Hope my tried & tested shopping list helps make your long weekend a breeze.

Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family!

– Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday September 30, 2017

 

Vinum Africa Chenin Blanc 2016

WO Stellenbosch, The Winery of Good Hope, South Africa
$14.95 (Vintages #739995) 12.5% alcohol

Chenin Blanc goes by different names;  in France this white wine it is known as Pineau de la Loire, and in South Africa it goes by the name of Steen. Either way the grape varietal displays succulent flavours of tropical fruit with every sip.

On the palate is a melange of ripe pears and apricots, pineapple and hazelnuts. Full bodied and rich, smooth as silk with a crisp refreshing finish. It’s a beauty and the price point is unbelievable. It’s bound to be a partner to serve with a feast of turkey or roasted ham for sure.

 

 

 

Famille Perrin Reserve Cotes Du Rhone Blanc 2015

AC, France
$14.95 (Vintages  #499509) 13% alcohol

Your first introduction is a delicate floral nose with great aromatic freshness.

This svelte white wine offers light, crisp apple and peach flavours bound by slight mineral notes on the finish.  Lots of finesse and depth for this price point and a perfect marriage with seafood or Mediterranean fare, bruschetta prepared with with heirloom tomatoes would be remarkable.

 

 

 

 

Tessellae Rosé 2016

IGP Côtes Catalanes, France
$15.95 (Vintages # 450817)  13.5% alcohol

This is an all year round Rosé wine. Pale salmon in colour, fresh, crisp and delicate. Ripe strawberries, tangerines and apricot flavours mingle with zesty lemon-lime notes on the finish. Talk about a fruit bowl!

It is a perfect afternoon sipper or to serve as an aperitif with some mild cheese or grilled shrimps, or with a ham for Thanksgiving, one lovely beverage.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Kaiken Las Rocas Ultra Malbec 2015

Mendoza, Argentina
$24.95 (Vintages #50849) 14.5% alcohol

Lavender and blueberry aromas, full bodied and firm, it’s an outstanding Malbec. On the palate of this red wine, there are layers of ripe plums and dark berries, the tannins are ripe and refined. It’s smooth, rich and focussed with excellent length, a Malbec at its finest.

I’d pair this with braised short ribs and a mushroom risotto.

 

 

 

 

Tarima Monastrell 2015

DO Alicante, Spain
$14.95 (Vintages #310151) 14.5% alcohol

The heady nose on this red wine is almost electric with savoury and dark fruit.  Blackberries and blueberry flavours dance on the palate just bursting with flavour.

Look for dark, slightly spicy berries with a pinch of licorice on the finish. Great smooth aftertaste that integrates soft tannins, and juicy fruitiness.

It is absolutely delicious. Begs for something from the grill!

 

 

 

MAN Family Skaapveld Shiraz 2015

WO Coastal Region, South Africa
$13.95 (Vintages #71332)

I did not have the opportunity to taste this particular Shiraz, but I wanted to offer another bottle in my price point since the above was such incredible value. I mean…a Shiraz from South Africa at $13.95?

The Man Family website states that “Skaapbeld” refers to the grazing land for sheep that adjoins their Shiraz vineyards. And it has won more than one award, so I will be popping a bottle of this into my shopping cart and giving it a try.

 

 

Grand Total = $99.70

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6 wines for under $100!

Posted by Julie

Friday, September 15th, 2017
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In Niagara Falls, every August, the judging for the Intervin Wine Competition takes place. These wine awards are designed to recognize the very best of international wines available to Canadian consumers.

Although the 2017 results will not be released until November it is fitting that LCBO Vintages is showcasing Ontario wines and Flagship In-Store-Discoveries (FISD) in this release.  Most of these “Flagships” are too pricey for my budget, but I had no difficulty finding some other gems at incredible price points.

My go to wine is always Ontario. This province has the VERY best of everything: from farm to table food, to sports and entertainment; our wine selection is unbeatable and incomparable. Harvest time will soon be here and I hope you’ll be inspired to pick up a few bottles you’ve not tried before. I can almost guarantee you may find a new favourite.

Here’s to Ontario wine shopping, a place to stand, a place to grow, Ontario-ario- ario !

That jingle never grows old!
– Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday September 16, 2017

 

Creekside Marianne Hill Riesling 2015

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario
$20.95 (Vintages #443572) 10.5% alcohol

Stunning and expressive, well deserved for the Gold Medal winner at the 2017 National Wine Awards of Canada.

I can’t wait to see what other accolades may be in store for Creekside and this gem. Beautifully balanced with flavours of green and yellow apples, peaches and flinty wet stone which shows in many Niagara escarpment Rieslings.

Light-weight with gentle fruit flavours, a perfect afternoon wine to sip or to try with crab cakes, sushi or lighter lunch fare. Mellow and delicious.

 

Featherstone Four Feathers 2016

VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario
$14.95 (Vintages #341586) 12.5% alcohol

I have written previously on different Featherstone Estate Winery wines and this one is so lovely I could not neglect it in this release.

The blend of  Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc brings out the very best in each of these varietals. Slightly off-dry, delicate and aromatic, well structured and layered with flavours of apples and stone tree fruits that decorate the palate in one lovely wash. It has a lingering fruity finish.

Perfect for salads, grilled shrimp or fish tacos; an easy sipper and a wine that has something for everyone.

I cannot imagine anyone who could not like this wine.

 

 

Firebird Legend Pinot Grigio 2016

PGI Vulcansti, Moldova
$12.95 (Vintages #74351) 12% alcohol

The very odd time I feature a wine that I was not able to taste and this is one of those. Moldova is a country sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania in the Black Sea basin where the vines grow.

Historically, there are over 112 thousand hectres of vineyards and over 30 types of varietals so I assume these folks must have achieved some finesse somewhere along the lineage.  One website boasted tropical fruit flavours with zippy acidity, so for that price point, for me, it is worth a try.

 

Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rosé 2016

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$17.35 (Vintages #172643) 12%  alcohol

Not just any Rosé, this blend of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Gamay makes a lively entry with it’s handsome cranberry colour and aromas of ripe cherries and a pinch of white pepper. On the palate are impressive strawberry and watermelon flavours.  It’s driven by lively acidity and some rhubarb on the elegant finish.

Bone dry which makes it a perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken, salmon or just on its own with some soft cheeses.

Always a class act.

 

13th Street Red Palette 2016

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$15.95 (Vintages #244558) 13 % alcohol

13th Street Winery has to one of the prettiest wineries along the Niagara Escarpment I think. Not only is there a spacious tasting room with floor to ceilings windows, but upon entry, the long spectacular table gives it an art gallery feel. The bakery farmhouse next door also makes it a worthwhile stop for lunch or to grab an outstanding butter-tart.

This Red Palette blend is so juicy; bursting with red cherry and ripe raspberry flavours with just a hint of green savoury spice on the finish. Medium bodied, the varietals of 62% Merlot and 38% Cabernet Franc make it a perfect accompaniment to turkey, ham or salmon (I am already thinking about Thanksgiving!). Well rounded and perfectly balanced with soft tannins and a hint of smokey acidity on a decent cherry finish. You could partner this alongside just about anything from fish to pork/veggie kebabos or mild Thai take-out. Simply delicious.

 

Traipiche Fina Las Palmas Gran Reeserva Malbec 2014

Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
$16.95 (Vintages # 186668) 14.5 % alcohol

Malbec is Argentina’s signature grape and no one grows it better than Traipiche. At altitudes higher than the CN tower, Trapiche was one of the first Argentinian wineries to enter the international scene. In 1889, the winery received its first international award in Paris.

Dark and inky in colour, rich and expansive on the nose your senses are fillled with luscious black and ripe red fruits that flow through on the palate. Everything Traipiche produces is worth picking up and their wines are a great price point. This Malbec is full-bodied and not for the faint-hearted, structured with layers of blueberry and ripe plum favours, some spice and tobacco on the finish. It’ll be forever in memory with braised short ribs and spicey sausages.

I can’t wait to pick this up and head to the butcher.

 

Grand Total = $ 99.10 
6 wines – now that is VALUE !!

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We’re now delivering BC wines!

Posted by David

Thursday, August 31st, 2017
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There was big news this past Canada Day – we announced that we’re going national! We now deliver wines from coast to coast to your doorstep.  Yes….you can now receive wines from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and all the wine regions in between delivered to your home or office.  Be Savvy and subscribe to Savvy Selections wine of-the-month club and our Sommeliers will introduce you to some amazing Canadian wineries, the owners and of course….outstanding wines.

This month in Savvy Selections, we feature our first BC winery – Noble Ridge Vineyards and Winery – a multiple-award winning winery from the Okanagan region. 100 per cent estate grown, Noble Ridge enjoys a micro-climate providing both north-facing and south-facing vineyards. Their full-bodied, richly flavoured wines will make you want to book a quick trip to BC!

 

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find 3 of our favourite Noble Ridge picks. We love the elegant style and powerful flavours of these wines!

2013 Reserve Chardonnay –Lush tropical fruit and citrus flavours
2014 Reserve Pinot Noir – Supple and fruity with deep berry aromas
2014 Reserve Meritage – This powerful Bordeaux-style wine will knock your socks off!

 

Wines with style

Noble Ridge has a wide selection of wonderful red and white wines that will excite your palate and meet your budget. This is a great opportunity to try some fantastic wines that aren’t available at the LCBO!

Call on us at any time you would like additional bottles of your favourite Noble Ridge wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.  Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca.

Cheers!
-Debbie & Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing…

Noble Ridge Vineyards and Winery

Presented by Sommelier David Loan

Imagine you’re on a family vacation, when your spouse announces that he wants to change the direction of his life and yours. That’s what happened to Leslie D’Andrea, Co-Owner and CEO of BC’s Noble Ridge Vineyards and Winery. “In 1998, Jim and I were on a three month sabbatical through the Mediterranean with our kids when Jim turned to me,” Leslie remembers. “He said he HAD to own a winery. And he wanted to make premium quality wine!”

Leslie continues by recalling, “We came home and started to look through Europe, Ontario, and the West. And after a few false starts, we found this property on January 1, 2001 and bought it a month later.”

 

Unique terroir

Jim and Leslie were impressed with the property’s unique situation. Winemaker Benoit Gauthier described it as, “a unique combination of everything: the land and the climate. It’s really good to have the two slopes of the ridge;  all of the reds are facing south where they get the heat and the sun, and all of the whites face north where they can develop acidity.”  Benoit explains, “The soil is sandy and drains well, meaning we get smaller, more flavourful berries.”

All about the curtain

It isn’t just about the terroir though. The team at Noble Ridge implemented a lesser-used trellis system, called the Geneva Double Curtain. It brings the shoots out into a double canopy so the fruit gets better airflow and sunlight. “We could get twice as much fruit with the Double Curtain,” Benoit said. “But I reduce the fruit to half so we can ripen the grapes really well per each vine.”

“By knowing the vineyard really well, I can select from the individual vineyards and ferment each batch separately, then do a high power blending,” he said. “That way they get the tannins and acidity I want.” Benoit said that he enjoys the end of harvest. “I get the best quality of fruit possible and I choose it for the most powerful and best quality wine,” he said.

 

Cross-border shopping

“One of the things we forget about is that we live in this very beautiful part of the world,” Leslie said. “We try to keep our guest areas close to the vines. We want our guests to walk through the vineyard and enjoy a picnic here. And we hire the very best staff to work here!” she said.

Leslie said that she likes the fact that interprovincial alcohol restrictions are slowly being lifted. “Direct to customer is our favourite way of selling,” she said. “It’s better for us and it’s better for the consumer. Working directly with our consumers is the smartest way and it’s growing.” All of us in the Savvy Team are ecstatic with the changes too because it means that we can broaden our scope to showcase even more hard-to-come by wines from coast to coast.

 

A day in the vineyard

Asked to describe his day at the winery, Benoit said he split into two parts. “Right now, it’s all about the position of the vines,” he said. “We’re positioning shoots and doing canopy management to ensure good airflow and exposure to the sun.  This afternoon in fact, we’re trial tasting our next vintage of The One,” he said, referring to Noble Ridge’s multi-award winning sparkling wine.

Leslie pipes in saying they have some exciting projects coming up. “We’ll have a sparkling rosé made from our Pinot Noir fruit in a couple of years. We’re working on it now from our 2016 vintage,” she said. “And we’ll be bottling some port in March, 2018!”

 

Let’s raise a glass to Leslie, Jim & Benoit and thank them for creating these special, fantastic wines!

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

For your Savvy Selection this month, we’ve chosen three wines – one white and two red – which show the power and finesse of the Okanagan Falls appelation.  Each one demonstrates the micro-climate and terroir of this beautiful wine region, enhanced by talented winemakers.

 

2013 Reserve Chardonnay, $29.90

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Winner of a number of awards, including a Gold Medal at the prestigious 2016 Pacific Rim International Wine Competition, this full-bodied Chardonnay was was fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged for 14 months in a mix of old and new French Oak. No malolactic fermentation took place, so the natural acidity remains.

This is a ripe, rich Chardonnay with flavours of lemon curd, green apple, peach and pineapple. The bright acidity balances the vanilla notes, leaving a long, soft tropical fruit finish.

Suggested Food Pairings: Perfect for your summer BBQ, this will pair beautifully with chicken or seafood. Try it with rainbow trout and a mango salsa. (recipe below).

Cellaring:  Drink at 8º C within two years.

 

 

2014 Reserve Pinot Noir, $29.90

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: To get the best flavours and ripeness from their Pinot Noir, Noble Ridge starts in the vineyard. They are one of the few wineries in BC growing Pinot with a trellis system known as the Geneva Double Curtain, which encourages more sunshine and fresh air to reach the fruit clusters. The wine was aged for fourteen months in French Oak barrels, 20 per cent new oak.

This is a complex, medium bodied wine which will stun your palate with candied fruit, red licorice, and sweet spice. The dark cherry flavours dominate, though, balanced with the soft, medium tannins and medium acidity. There’s a hint of balsamic here, too, and we finish long with black cherry and vanilla.

Suggested Food Pairings: There’s lots of oomph! flavour here and it will stand up well to red meats. Try it with beef shish-kabobs in a balsamic marinade (recipe below).

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, this could be cellared for up to 5 years. Serve between 14-16º C.

 

 

2014 Reserve Meritage, $34.90

This big Meritage was a hit at our recent Savvy Oh! Canada event, where guests lined up hoping to get a taste before we ran out (and we did!).

This Bordeaux-style blend is made up of 74% Merlot; 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cab Franc, and 2% Malbec. It was fermented for 15 months in French (75%) and American (25%) oak, of which 40% was new. The wine was subsequently bottle aged for an additional 14 months prior to release.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Dry, powerful, graceful: the adjectives roll off the tongue as the wine races along it. Loads of dark cherry flavours with hints of Okanagan sage, dark chocolate, leather, and plum. The tannins are supple but big, balanced by the medium acidity.

Suggested Food Pairings: Roast beef or a rack of lamb would pair nicely with this, but we’d like to have it late in the meal, seawith smoked and aged cheeses and Sprucewood Handmade Cookie Co’s savoury shortbread, available with your Savvy Selections order.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this can cellar 5-7 years. Serve at 17-18º C.

 

 

 

What a view!
Photo credit: The Okanagan Falls Winery Association

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

 

With Noble Ridge Reserve Chardonnay…
Rainbow Trout with tropical fruit salsa

Recipe and photo: Epicurious.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
4 1/8 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 cup diced pineapple, peeled and cored
1 cup diced peeled pitted mango
½ cup diced red bell pepper
½ cup diced red onion
5 cups mixed baby greens
4 rainbow trout fillets (5- to 6-ounce), skin on

 

Method

Whisk 4 tablespoons oil, lime juice, sugar, ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon Creole seasoning in small bowl to blend. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper. Combine pineapple, mango, bell pepper, and red onion in large bowl. Add half of vinaigrette; toss to coat. Toss greens in medium bowl with remaining vinaigrette.

Brush trout fillets with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with remaining 4 teaspoons Creole seasoning, about 1/2 teaspoon per side, then salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add trout fillets and cook until just opaque in center and browned, about 2 minutes per side.

Divide greens among 4 plates. Place trout fillets and salsa alongside.


 

With Noble Ridge Reserve Pinot Noir…
Beef Shish-kabobs with balsamic marinade

Recipe and photo: Melskitchencafe.com
Serves 4

Ingredients

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2-3 pounds sirloin roast, cut into 1-inch cubes (or same amount of chicken breasts, cubed)
1 red onion, cut into squares (optional)

Method

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Measure out 1/3 cup of the mixture and set aside for basting later.

Add the rosemary to the remaining marinade. Place the beef or chicken in a large, gallon-size ziploc bag and pour in the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for 4-8 hours (or as little as 20 minutes, although the flavor won’t be quite as pronounced).

Preheat a grill to medium heat.

If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak in cool water for 15-20 minutes. Thread red onion onto the skewer followed by meat and then a few red onions to finish off.

Whisk the reserved basting sauce to recombine. Grill the kebabs, turning every couple of minutes and basting with the sauce, until the beef is cooked to desired doneness (chicken should be cooked all the way through), 10-12 minutes.

Transfer the kebabs to a platter or plate and tent with foil to let rest for 5 or so minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

 

 

With Noble Ridge Reserve Meritage…
Rack of lamb with garlic and herbs

Recipe and photo: Epicurious.com
Serves 8

Ingredients

For lamb:
2 (8-rib) frenched racks of lamb (each rack 1 1/2 lb), trimmed of all but a thin layer of fat
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

For herb coating:
1/2 head new garlic or 3 large regular garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Special equipment: an instant-read thermometer

 

Method

Brown lamb:
Heat a dry 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until hot, at least 2 minutes. Meanwhile, pat lamb dry and rub meat all over with salt and pepper. Add oil to hot skillet, then brown racks, in 2 batches if necessary, on all sides (not ends), about 10 minutes per batch.

Transfer racks to a small (13- by 9-inch) roasting pan.

Coat and roast lamb:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir together garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, and oil. Coat meaty parts of lamb with herb mixture, pressing to help adhere. Roast 15 minutes, then cover lamb loosely with foil and roast until thermometer inserted diagonally into center of meat registers 120°F, 5 to 10 minutes more. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes. (Internal temperature will rise to 125 to 130°F for medium-rare while lamb stands.)

Cut each rack into 4 double chops. 

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Fabulous Fromages from Quebec

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017
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This month’s Savvy Cool Curds, the only cheese-of- the-month club in the country dedicated to featuring hard-to-come- by lovingly handcrafted Canadian artisan and farmstead cheeses celebrates SUMMER with Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde. For backyard BBQs, cottage country, lake living, patio parties, regional road trips or lazy hazy beach days, #CdnCheese is the easiest, effortless, “whey” to snack, feast or entertain this summer. Grab some good friends, pick a place, crack open a local craft brew, artisan wine or cider and kick back with your Savvy Cool Curds. As temperatures soar, who wants to work any harder than that?

In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

… Very special and hard-to- find artisan cheeses including:
La Galette de La Table Ronde 250g
Le Fou du Roy 200g
Le Ménestrel 200g
Fleuron 200g
…and a box of savoury treats from Sprucewood Handmade Cookie Co.

 

Looking for more fabulous Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde Cheese?

Would you like more cheese from this month’s Savvy Cool Curds? Just call our Savvy Team & we’ll arrange a special shipment for you (if it is still available that is!). Put us on speed dial – Savvy Cool Curds Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or cheers@savvycompany.ca

Cheers!
Vanessa & the Savvy Team

 

Introducing…

Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde
by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier

A road trip almost ten years ago lead me to Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde in the Laurentians of Quebec, while I was exploring the famous Routes des Fromages fins du Quebec. All this time later, I return regularly as one of my must stops along the way to Montreal, along with a few neighbouring cheesemakers because of the awesome cheese, and the warm hospitality I always receive from owners France Dion and Ronald Alary (in photo below).

It’s an all out family business at the Fromagerie, as a 4 th generation dairy farm, dating back pre-1950’s, with Holstein (and a few Jersey) cows and in 2003, the cheese factory. And today they have an abundance of popular products that can be found across Quebec and in Ontario, while others are only available locally at the shop. If you visit, the fragrant aroma of fresh cheese and milk will immediately strike you as you walk in the door. I highly recommend soft cheeses Le Nymph and La Courtisan and, of course, their flagship all mushroomy all the time Rassembleu. France and Ronald have a special touch with soft and semi-soft cheeses.

All For One

The name Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde (the cheesemakers of the round table) stems from a family gathering, akin to that back in medieval times of the Knights of the Round Table. The Alarys were seated at a big round family table and discussing ways to viably keep their children involved in the farm and family business (and making money) and thus a Fromagerie where fine organic cheeses could be made was born.  All of the cheese names since relate back to that theme.

Rassembleu is the idea of gathering around a table and the others are for key roles held at court way back when. All of them are quirky but fitting, given the cheese, and the history of their makers. All the cheese production and aging happens on the property. One aging room houses over $100,000 worth of cheese at any given time! Ronald also has a partnership with neighbouring cheese house Fromagerie Fuoco for production of their mouth-watering buffalo milk products.

Committed to Organic

Long before cheesemaking the Alary family had been committed to organic as dairy farmers. Certified organic as of 1999, the same holds true today. Only the fresh, organic milk from their farm is used in their cheesemaking. A traditional process combined with modern day technology allows them to meet the rigorous standards of Quebec Vrai official certification, while producing their fine cheese and being committed to local. “Canadians want Canadian cheese” says Ronald. “They want to know where their food comes from and they will seek it out”. No pesticides or chemicals are used on the property, animals are hormone-free and a special ten-metre barrier separates their farm from neighbouring acreage.

Ronald and family are expanding their horizons, always experimenting. They expect growth in the cheese factory with some renovations over the coming years and a perhaps a new cheese on the block in the future, something much more bold and incredibly robust than any of their current products but we can’t say more than that! Stay tuned for more, or visit them this summer and ask about the secret! Savvy Cool Curds subscribers are always welcome for a tour!

 

~ Cheese Tasting Notes ~

Below are Vanessa’s tasting notes and photos for each cheese in your Savvy Cool Curds, along with additional tidbits of interesting information, suggested food pairings & recipes to try too!

La Galette de la Table Ronde

La Galette de la Table Ronde is an award-winning fan favourite from this cheesemaker. Aged less than a month before distribution, these small, beautiful wheels are enjoyed best at 4-6 weeks as they begin to relax & become ripe/runny.

Tasting Notes: Galette is a pasteurized organic cow’s milk cheese with a delicate soft, bloomy washed rind. Find it rich and creamy, sexy and sinful, especially if you keep it for an extra week! Enjoy lots of mushroomy with a little tang on the finish.

Suggested Pairing: Perfect for two to enjoy on your next picnic with fresh raspberries/blueberries/figs, local honey, topped with fresh market jam or hot pepper jelly on baguette or seed crackers. Pop the cork on a chilled Viognier or Pinot Gris and you’ll be sure to impress!

 

Le Fou du Roy

Keeping along the theme of ancient times, Le Fou du Roy (translated to the King’s Jester) is finalist in a
number of cheese awards and one of La Table Ronde’s most consistently perfect cheeses.

Tasting Notes: Le Fou du Roy is a semi-soft, washed-rind, farmstead, organic cow’s milk and truly a “stinky cheese”. It’s a gorgeous little wheel of just more than a kilo, with a perfect, apricot rind and golden paste interior. Aromas and flavors abound of butter, fresh hay, roasted nuts, and toast.

Suggested Pairing: Grilled artisan sausages (like Seed to Sausage Apple Sage, Caramelized Onion/Peppers or Maple Walnut) come to mind as a perfect partner for Le Fou du Roy. When almost cooked, split down the middle, line with Le Fou du Roy & your fave fixings & crack open a local seasonal microbrew, something hoppy, toasty or nutty.

 

Le Ménestrel

Ménestrel is one of La Table Ronde’s newest cheeses, named after medieval singing musicians. It’s made only occasionally during winter and spring months and ramp up production into end of summer/fall for the following winter/spring. Each wheel is an approximate 6-7 kg of cheesy goodness, aged for 9 months or more. Watch for special releases at Christmas time of reserved 1 or 2-year wheels at the cheese factory. A must for the cheese lover on your list as flavors become more intense over
time. Caseus D’Or (Gold) winner in 2015; this means out of all the cheeses judged, in all the categories it took top prize

Tasting Notes: Ménestrel is a washed rind cheese that has been pressed and cooked, made with pasteurized organic milk from Holstein cows. It has a pale straw to copper colour rind with a smooth paste, which tastes of butter, cream, nut and dried grass.

Suggested Pairing: Ménestrel is a great snacking cheese, perfect for picnics & shared with great company. Enjoy with a local IPA or medium red wine. Pair with nuts, fruit, and locally sliced charcuterie for an easy peasy cheese board!

 

Fleuron

More intense that its sister cheese, Rassembleu, Fleuron is a unique true Quebec bleu cheese as named for its origin region and made artisan-style, aged two to four months. Named a finalist in the Blue Cheese category at this year’s Caseus Quebec Cheese Awards.

Tasting Notes:  A natural grey/white rustic rind covers this tall cylindrical elegant organic cow’s milk blue cheese, hiding a pale ivory paste with slate-grey veining, concentrated closer to the center of the cheese. Earthy, woody & fungal aromas blend nicely with vegetal, creamy & slight salty flavors.

Suggested Pairing: Fleuron is soft and oozy, for summer enjoy with fresh ripe strawberries or cantaloupe drizzled with local honey, or as a surprise stuffing centre to home made burgers. Pair with bubbles such as Lighthall Progression or a Prince Edward County cider, such as Clafeld Smashed Apple Cider.

~ Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses ~

With La Galette de la Table Ronde…
La Galette de la Table Ronde Smoked Salmon Bites

Adopted Recipe & Photo Credit: recettesdici.com
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 x 225 g (8 oz.) cheese – La Galette de la Table Ronde
24 rice crackers
4 ¼ oz. smoked salmon
2 tsp. mixture of roasted plain and black sesame seeds
1 tbsp. honey

Method

Cut the cheese into 24 small wedges.
Sprinkle sesame seeds one side of each wedge.
Place the rice crackers on a serving tray.
Spread the smoked salmon on the crackers. Add a wedge of cheese, seed side up.
Sprinkle all with more sesame seeds and drizzle honey over the entire plate.

With Le Fou du Roy…
Fou du Roy Bread

Recipe & Photo Credit: fromagiersdelatableronde.com
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

2 eggs
125 mL (½ cup) milk
30 ml (2 tbsp.) olive oil
180 g (¾ cup) flour
5 mL (1 tsp.) baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste
200 g (7 oz.) Le Fou du Roy cheese, shredded
90 g (cup) smoked turkey, chopped

Method

Beat the eggs, milk and olive oil.
Add flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and cheese. The mixture should be as homogeneous as possible.
Crumble in the smoked turkey.
Preheat oven to 200 ° C (400 ° F).
Butter a bread pan and pour in the mixture. Cook for 40 minutes.

 

With Le Ménestrel…
Eggs Benedictine a Le Ménestrel

Recipe & Photo Credit: fromagiersdelatableronde.com
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

15 ml (1 tablespoon) white vinegar
1 pinch of salt
4 eggs
2 English muffins, halved
4 small slices of cooked ham
water for boiling eggs

Cheese sauce:
30 ml (2 tbsp.) butter
30 ml (2 tbsp.) flour
300 ml (1 ¼ cup) warm milk
Salt and pepper
80 ml (cup) Le Ménestrel cheese

Method

Sauce:
In a saucepan, melt the butter. Combine flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring, over medium heat. Add hot
milk, salt and pepper, whisking. Simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring. Stir in cheese and cook for 2 to 3
minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.

In a saucepan, bring to the boil water, vinegar and salt. Lower the heat and simmer.

In a small container, break the eggs and put them gently, one by one, in hot water. Cook for 3 to 4
minutes. Remove the eggs with a holed spatula. Set aside/keep warm.

Roast the English half-muffins and arrange them in two plates. Cover with a little cheese sauce.

Spread a slice of ham and a poached egg on each half-muffin. Cover with sauce. Serve with fresh fruit or small roasted potatoes.

 

With Fleuron…
Blue Cheese Apple Salad

Recipe & Photo Credit: Plaisirs Gourmets
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients

2 large apples cut into bite-size pieces
2 large handfuls of toasted nuts – hazelnuts or walnuts
1 tsp. mayonnaise & 1 tsp. yogurt, mixed
1 piece of Rassembleu (substitute Fleuron)
cut into small dice (approximately 75 g)

Method

Mix just before serving.

Enjoy your Savvy Cool Curds!

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We’re expanding! Now featuring BC & NS wines too

Posted by Susan

Sunday, July 30th, 2017
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In this month’s Savvy Selections to celebrate Canada’s 150th, we are expanding our scope to include wineries from across the country – from coast to coast.  We are SUPER excited to start this wine soaked trip across Canada with the acclaimed wines of Benjamin Bridge from the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. The closest town is Wolfville – home of Acadia University.

This family-owned winery dedicates itself to the production of world-class ‘méthode classique’ sparkling wines (winespeak: Champagne style) and aromatic whites.

The vision of Gerry McConnell, the heart of his late wife Dara Gordon, and the commitment of his twin daughters Ashley and Devon melded to create an unparalleled success in ‘The Valley’. The McConnell-Gordon family, with their noted international consulting team of Peter Gamble & Ann Sperling (you’ll recognize her name from our features with Southbrook Vineyards & Malivoire Wines in Niagara), selected a well-protected micro-climate at the head of the Gaspereau Valley. They turned their attention to producing sparkling wines from classic Champagne grapes, unlike the pioneers of the early wine industry, who planted hardy hybrid grape varieties that could withstand the cool climate rigors. The result – Benjamin Bridge Brut Reserve 2004 outscored Roederer Cristal 2004 in a blinding tasting of 15 sommeliers and wine writers hosted by Canoe Restaurant in Toronto in August 2013!

 

World Class Wines

With their partner grape growers, the McConnell-Gordon family has gone on to make wine with other vinifera grapes, including Cabernet Franc and Riesling. They participated in the creation of the Nova Scotia appellation of Tidal Bay, a standard for vibrant aromatic white wines requiring rigorous adherence to quality, blending and taste. The goal of this appellation – to showcase the excellence of Nova Scotia’s best hybrid white blend.  Yes, you get to taste a sampling of all these in this month’s Savvy Selections!

 

Get ready to pop the cork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

To get the Canada 150 celebration started, we selected:

Brut NVan elegant bubbly wine, reflecting the particular style of Benjamin Bridge, to sip and savour or pair with appetizers, salads and light summer meals.
Riesling 2015 – the sea breeze in a glass, this is silky yet lively and clean.
Tidal Bay 2016 – a blend unique to Nova Scotia, light, bright and refreshing!

 

An optional wine many of our subscribers asked us to include in their delivery is the signature Nova 7 – a lightly effervescent, low in alcohol with clean tangy & sweet fruit flavors that makes it an ideal sipping wine or a match for soft cheese or a lemon tart. This is the only NS wine currently available in LCBO Vintages so we did not include it in the Savvy Selections… however it quickly sells out.  If you can’t find it in Vintages (LCBO product #256289) – let us know and we’ll order it for you… it is hands down delicious!

 

More NS at your table . . . At anytime you would like more Benjamin Bridge wines, call us at 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca and we will make the special arrangements for you.

 

Introducing…
Benjamin Bridge

Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

Gerry McConnell and Dara Gordon’s move to the Wolfville area in the late 1990s, when their twin daughters Ashley and Devon began high school, meant the commute to their law practices included driving through the Gaspereau Valley. On this daily drive, Gerry noticed Hans Christian Jost – one of the pioneers of the Nova Scotia wine industry – planting his Gaspereau Vineyards estate. Through their work Gerry and Dara, had also been to some of South Africa’s acclaimed wine regions, and had tasted some of the excellent sparkling wines from the Stellenbosch appellation. As he drove, the proud Maritimer mused “What would it take to produce world-class wines in Nova Scotia?” That question was about to be answered when in 1999, they purchased the 60-acre Westcott farm. Located at the head of the Gaspereau Valley, on a south-facing slope beside the river, the family quest began to develop and showcase the best of Nova Scotia wines – with Benjamin Bridge the imprimatur on every bottle.

 

The Early Years

It’s said that it takes a village to raise a child. In the case of Benjamin Bridge wines, it could be said that it took a family, experienced committed experts and a willing local industry to launch this unique venture. Ashley , now a Vice President with Benjamin Bridge, laughs as she says “I remember spending summers of high school clearing the fields and planting vines.”

Gerry sought out Hans Christian Jost, who willingly shared his experiences with grape varieties, local growers, growing conditions and the many other factors influencing the wine industry in Nova Scotia.  Recognizing he needed help to implement his vision, Gerry approached renowned Canadian wine consultants, Peter Gamble and his partner Ann Sperling, to advise on the shape the winery should take. With Ashley and Devon’s help, the first 5 acres were planted in 2001, with a focus on grapes for sparkling wines and aromatic white wines. At the recommendation of the Gamble/Sperling team, Gerry approached renowned Champagne expert Raphael Brisebois to meet with them, tour Nova Scotia wine estates, and assess the potential for making world-class sparkling wines.

Impressed with the potential, Brisebois agreed to consult and in 2002, the first experimental sparklings were made to assess terroir, varieties, structure and aromatics. More acres were planted, more experiments undertaken. 2004 was the coolest growing season in a couple of decades, yet the quality of the grapes met Brisebois’ exacting standards – and this vintage later became the winery’s inaugural release.  And the risks that the Benjamin Bridge team was willing to take opened the door for other Nova Scotia wineries to pursue a sparkling wine program.

 

The Unique Terroir

The Benjamin Bridge estate sits at the relatively sheltered, narrow head of the Gaspereau Valley, a mere 4 kilometres from the Minas Basin. At the heart of a cool, maritime climate, the valley benefits further from the massive tidal shifts in the Minas Basin, which bring cool breezes and moisture to the vineyards in the summer, and create an open body of water in the winter that helps protect the more delicate vinifera varieties grown on the estate. The narrowness of the valley and its slight westward tilt mean that ambient temperatures can be up to 2C higher than other sites, providing more degree days for optimal ripening.

While this is a region of high rainfall, the autumn tends to be dry, causing stress in the vines which leads to better development of chemical components that enhance flavours. Fall temperatures extend the growing season, maximizing the aromatic intensity and the bright acidity of the grapes.

The young alluvial soils include deposits of sand, gravel, pebbles and cobbles, unlike the Champagne region, where chalk is dominant. However, at deeper levels, there is a layer of clay veined with sand and gravel that provides a water-holding capacity similar to the chalk found in the Champagne landscape.

This is, however, a cool climate that challenges growers on a regular basis. At times, humidity in the evening can reach 100%, so downy mildew is a key challenge. And the uncontrollable weather is a major factor. For instance, the extreme cold of the winter of 2006 meant a minimal harvest of the vinifera grapes – there was no classic sparkling wine made during that vintage.

The Team

After a long search, Jean-Benoit Deslauriers (in above photo left with Gord McConnell– credit Chronicle Herald)  )was hired in 2008 to join the winemaking team – he is now head winemaker. Jean-Benoit had prior experience with organic and biodynamic viticulture and winemaking in Chile’s maritime-influenced Casablanca Valley, as well as in Monterrey, California, where cold Pacific Ocean currents have a significant influence on growing conditions and create ideal conditions for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

During my phone interview, Ashley and viticulturalist Scott Savoy talked about Jean-Benoit’s unique contribution to Benjamin Bridge:

“Jean-Benoit is a genius at what he does. He brought experience with bio-dynamic winemaking, but also a sensitivity to the terroir and a commitment to letting the grapes speak for themselves – a commitment to transparency of the terroir. There’s a sense of craftsmanship to everything he does. He has embraced the brightness, the acidity, and the freshness of the styles of wine produced in Nova Scotia.”

In 2009, Dara had wound down her legal practice and was taking on responsibility for the development and operations of the winery, working closely with Jean-Benoit. But a crushing blow occurred with her terminal diagnosis in that year. Ashley and Devon were just completing university, and rushed back to the estate to be with her. Dara transferred as much knowledge as possible to them prior to her untimely death in the fall of that year. The twins took on the role of partner with Jean-Benoit as the winery prepared for the 2010 release of its inaugural Benjamin Bridge Méthode Classique sparkling wines, the 2004 Brut Reserve and the 2004 Blanc de Noirs.

In 2011, Ontario had its first opportunity to taste a Benjamin Bridge wine – Nova 7 was made available for a private tasting in the spring of that year, and that is when I first learned of this Nova Scotia winery. The room was buzzing as we tasted this unknown wine – winemakers from across Canada couldn’t wait to taste it, amazed at the unique flavours and texture, the quality of the wine. I was delighted to see it released by LCBO Vintages in August, where I reviewed and rated it at 4.5/5. But more accolades were to follow, with an outstanding review of the 2004 Méthod Classique Brut Reserve from Beppi Crosariol of The Globe and Mail, who described the wine as ‘a sparkler that rivals Champagne.’ More accolades followed and, as they say, the rest is history . . .

But not really, because Gerry, Ashley, Devon and the Benjamin Bridge team will never be satisfied with the status quo.

While their sparkling wines often spend 5 or more years on the lees, they continue to experiment with other methods of achieving the distinctive creamy texture and richness of the wines, as an example, testing the use of neutral oak with some small batches to see if aging in this medium will produce comparable texture and richness.

Viticulturalist Scott Savoy, who joined the team in 2015, is working with Chris Westcott (who stayed on as vineyard manager after the McConnell-Gordon family bought his farm in 1999) to push the limits of viticulture in the valley. They have implemented a program of high-density planting that should allow them to crop less, while giving the vines the opportunity to ripen wood and set reserves (making them sturdier and more resistant to climate extremes).

They recently purchased the vineyard of Dr. Al McIntyre, who had been one of their principal growers, providing Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc grapes. While they currently have almost 70 acres planted to vine, their goal is to expand that to 90, with the majority being vinifera plantings.

As Ashley says, “It’s a never-ending process of experimentation, risk-taking and incremental change, with the goal of delivering world-class wines that showcase Nova Scotia’s winemaking potential.”  Enjoy this unique opportunity to sample the clean, fresh taste of Nova Scotia, brought to you by Benjamin Bridge and the McConnell-Gordon family!

In photo: Devon and Ashley walking with Jean-Benoit.
Photo Credit: Wines of Nova Scotia

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Savour this unique opportunity to sample 3 classic & unique Benjamin Bridge wines from Nova Scotia – the Méthode Classique Sparkling non-vintage presents a blend of wines from vintages reaching back to 2002, with extended periods of time on the lees; the Tidal Bay appellation wine gives you an opportunity to taste the quality of a blend that includes hybrid grape varieties; the Riesling displays the classic features of a grape variety that thrives in a cool climate.

 

Méthode Classique Brut Reserve NV, $27.95

This sparkling brut is made from a proprietary blend of wines crafted from l’Acadie Blanc, Vidal, Seyval, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. They were all hand harvested from the Benjamin Bridge estate, while the wine spent extended time on the lees (winespeak: on yeast) to achieve the classic creamy texture and richness that characterizes this ‘house’ style.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:  This harmonious blend of vintages and grapes shows lifted aromas of pear, citrus, biscuit, fine herbs and mineral. Underpinned by an expressive honed acidity, its ebullient, creamy texture is accented by the fine, persistent mousse. Refreshing flavours of lemon cream biscuits, grapefruit and lemon zest mingle with subtle notes of sour cherry and green apple. Dry, mid-weight, with a long-lasting slightly pithy finish, this is an impressive signature wine from Benjamin Bridge.

Suggested Food Pairings: Sparkling wine offers such versatility – serve it chilled to whet your guests’ appetites, pair it with a range of appetizers, especially fresh seafood, or enjoy it with poached salmon, grilled white fish, or a chicken Caesar salad.

Cellaring: Enjoy now and cellar up to 10 years.

 

Tidal Bay 2016, $21.95

This wine is a blend produced from unique hybrid grapes (l’Acadie Blanc, Seyval and Geisenheim) known for their resistance to the challenging climatic conditions in Nova Scotia. Wineries across the province producing this wine must meet specified blending requirements: l’Acadie Blanc (the signature grape of Nova Scotia) being the majority grape for the blend, and go through a rigorous technical assessment.

What is L’Acadie Blanc?  It is a Canadian hybrid created in Niagara in the early 1950s by crossing Cascade with Seyve-Villard grapes. While the residual sugar in the wine is relatively high, the vibrant acidity assures that the wine tastes dry.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Displaying an exotic, pungent nose of earthy mineral, tangy citrus and ripe stone fruit, the clean flavours of this light-medium bodied wine are framed by vibrant acidity.   The taste of grapefruit, passionfruit and crunchy apple paired with fine mineral and saline qualities really freshen up your palate.

Suggested Food Pairings: You’ll enjoy this bright, lively Nova Scotia classic wine with a goat-cheese and asparagus quiche, fresh oysters or shrimp, or with pan-fried halibut with a lemon-caper reduction.

Cellaring: Ready to drink now and cellarworthy for a further 5 years.

 

Riesling 2015, $30.95

This is the very first commercial release of a Riesling from Benjamin Bridge. The grapes were sourced from three distinct vineyards on the Bay of Fundy, each lot bringing its unique character from its own microclimate with soils ranging from gravel and clay to deep, sandy loam. The wine is wild fermented, meaning that the indigenous yeasts from the vineyards initiated the fermentation of the wine. Low in alcohol, with a relatively high residual sugar that gives it a nice fruity finish, it nevertheless showcases the cool climate with its clean fresh texture.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The ocean and the land blend on the nose, notes of mineral, sea breeze, quince and citrus dominating. Dry on the palate, the first impression is of the silky texture, quickly followed by the bright acidity underlining the lively flavours of citrus, green apple and mineral. The finish is long and zesty, crisp and clean like a bite of a ripe green apple.

Suggested Food Pairings: Pair this wine with smoked trout or salmon canapés or salad, with stuffed pork tenderloin, or with chicken in all its manifestation.

Cellaring: Enjoy now or over the next 5-7 years.


 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

Do it the Benjamin Bridge way!  Ashley explains, “We often have a ‘cinq à sept’ with friends (like Happy Hour), where we taste wines & have interesting appetizers.”

Consider preparing these 3 appetizers and inviting a few friends to sample all 3 of these fabulous Benjamin Bridge wines at your own cinq à sept.  If you and friends find some new favorites, call the Savvy Team to order more for you. . . Cheers!

 

With Benjamin Bridge Brut NV…
Roasted Mushroom and Brie Tart

Recipe & Photo credit: FoodlandOntario.ca
Serves 4-8

Ingredients

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp dried thyme (or 1 ½ tsp fresh)
½ tsp each salt & freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. mixed fresh Ontario mushrooms
½ C thinly sliced Ontario shallots
Half package (375g) frozen puff pastry, thawed
½ C Ontario Brie cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Ontario parsley or Cilantro

Method

Preheat oven to 400F.

In medium bowl, stir together oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt & pepper. Add mushrooms & shallots; toss to coat. Place in single layer on parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast in 400F oven for 10-15 minutes or until mushrooms soften. Let cool & slice mushrooms. (You can slice the mushrooms first if you wish & roast for slightly less time).

Meanwhile, on lightly floured surface, roll out pastry into 10X12” rectangle. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Fold dough edges over ½” and crimp with fork. Prick dough inside border every ½”. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Gently flattening baked pastry if necessary, top with mushroom mixture, leaving any liquid behind. Scatter Brie on top. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown & cheese is melted. Let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Cut into pieces.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a frothy glass of sparkling!

Watch the recipe being prepared on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym6gdsm5I80

 

 

With Benjamin Bridge Tidal Bay…
Goat Cheese 
Marinated with Lemon & Herbs

Recipe & Photo Credit: finecooking.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

4 oz. log fresh goat cheese, sliced into 6 equal rounds (or you can keep the log whole)
2 tsp loosely packed, freshly grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp finely chopped, drained, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
½ tsp minced capers
1 tsp coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
Sea salt
3 small rosemary sprigs
½ C extra-virgin olive oil, more if needed
Crostini or good-quality crackers for servings

Method

In a small, shallow dish (about 1 ½ C) capacity, preferably straight sided, arrange the 6 pieces of goat cheese in one layer. Don’t worry if some of the cheese pieces crumble; just tuck them into the dish. Sprinkle the lemon zest, sun-dried tomatoes, capers & thyme over the cheese. Sprinkle a little of the sea salt over the cheese & tuck the rosemary sprigs into the dish.

Pour the olive oil over the cheese so it just covers it (use a little more if necessary). Let the cheese marinate in the refrigerator 2-6 hours (you can serve it sooner if you wish). Bring the dish to room temperature (about 45 minutes) before setting it out with a small hors d’oeuvre knife & a plate of crostini or crackers.

Spread a teaspoon or so of the cheese (with some of the marinade ingredients) over a crostini or cracker to serve.

 

 

With Benjamin Bridge Riesling…
The Oceanaire Seafood Room’s Maryland-Style Crab Cakes

Recipe & Photo Credit: Oceanaire.com
Serves 8

Ingredients

2 eggs
1 C mayonnaise
¾ tsp Dijon mustard
1 ¼ tsp Old Bay Seasoning, divided
¾ tsp chopped fresh tarragon
¼ C finely chopped onion (or shallot)
1 Tbsp finely chopped celery
¼ lb (scant 2 C) crustless cubed white bread, cut into small cubes
1 lb jumbo lump crab meat, drained of any liquid
2 Tbsp butter, a room temperature

Method

Heat oven to 400F.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, ¾ tsp Old Bay Seasoning, tarragon, onion & celery to make a dressing.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the bread with half of the dressing, mixing until the dressing is absorbed by the bread and the cubes are slightly broken up. Add additional dressing if the cubes are too dry.

Gently mix in the crab, being careful not to break up the lump pieces. The mixture should hold its shape when formed into a ball with your hand. If it is too dry, add additional dressing until the mixture comes together. You might not use all of the dressing.

Divide the mixture & form into 8 crab cakes. Place the cakes on a greased cookie sheet or sheet pan.

In a small bowl, stir the butter together with the remaining ½ tsp Old Bay Seasoning. Top each cake with a small dollop of the seasoned butter.

Bake cakes until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Serve warm.

 

 

Happy Canada 150!

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Got your Savvy Summer 2-4?

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017
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Summer is FINALLY here! This is our 1st ever Savvy Summer 2-4. The Savvy Brew Crew has been sampling craft beers to consider in this special assortment – yes a tough job, but we survived! Every single beer in this special parcel is perfect for summer sipping.

Order now! >>

 

4 Degrees Brewing Company – BRAND NEW BREWERY!

True North of 7 – Live the Northern Lifestyle, $2.95 (5% ABV)

Escape to the outdoors to unlock your inner wildness a place where you can unload and find your true primal self.

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: True North of 7 celebrates the true outdoors experience and is an easy drinking Helles Lager with subtle hoppy flavours and a crisp finish.

 

True South of 7 – The Urban Experience, $2.95 (5% ABV)

Embrace a world measured in city blocks and cross streets, a place humming with power and endless possibilities.

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: True South of 7 was designed with the urbanite in mind and is bolder in flavour and colour, with Amber hues and a smooth caramel flavor.

 

Amsterdam Brewing Company

Ritual, $4.85 (3.9% ABV)

Made with over 30% Appalachian Wheat and Carolina Rye from River Bend Malt House.

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: These Heritage grains contribute a spicy mouth feel to this light-bodied and herbaceous Belgian Table Beer.

 

Left of the Dial Keller, $5.85 (5.0% ABV)

Slightly off-center take on a rustic style. A collaboration with our friends at Birreria Volo.

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: An unfiltered lager made with rye and both traditional and American hops. Stone fruit aromas are followed by an herbal spice from the rye.

 

 

Calabogie Brewing Co.

The White Room, $3.50 (4.5% ABV)

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: This Gose Style beer pours pale yellow with a pillowy white head.  Mouth feel is light to medium. Up front tart from the kettle souring; gives way to a sharpness from the salt and then ending with a crisp, clean, dry finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Enjoy this with BBQ or sea food.

 

Hopped Up On Pils, $3.50 (4.7% ABV)

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: Pilsner. This beer pours a clear light yellow with a sturdy white head. The nose is floral and earthy, over notes of corn chips. The mouthfeel is light to medium. Flavours of biscuits and crackers are balanced by a lemon citrus bitterness from the Helga Hop and Lemon Grass.

Suggested Food Pairing: I’m thinking Tacos and a Patio… See The Ultimate Fish Tacos recipe at the bottom.

 

 

Five Island Watermelon, $3.50 (4.5% ABV)

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: Gose. The beer pours a cloudy pale yellow like its peach brother. The head is a white pillow that dissipates quickly. The nose is a blast of watermelon with the faint smell of cut flowers to back it up. Take a sip…watermelon hits your tongue like a hammer. The super fresh combination of tart, salt, and sweet watermelon are like you’re drinking a “Watermelon Jolly Rancher”.

 

 

Summer Solstice, $3.50 (5% ABV)

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: Pale ale. This beer pours a cloudy translucent orangey yellow.  The head is thick and sturdy, lasting for ever before giving way to a beautiful sticky lacing. The nose is tropical fruit and wet pine forest. The mouthfeel is slightly bigger than medium. The flavour is exactly what you would expect from the nose… Juicy tropical fruit with huge notes of grapefruit, pine, and citrus; all balancing out this hoppy but not overly bitter pale ale.

Suggested Food Pairing: Try “Brewing Great Company” with a big glass of this delicious summer offering, some spicy food and friends…

 

 

Kichesippi Beer Co.

Champions Light, $2.95 (4.2% ABV)

Cheers to the Ottawa Champions Baseball Club for supporting Ottawa Craft Beer since opening day 2015.

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: Kichesippi Beer and The Clocktower Brew Pub worked in collaboration to bring you an easy drinking refreshing summer light beer with flavour.

 

Bristol Stout, $2.95 (4.8% ABV)

Our inspiration for this beer comes from our family who have been farming in Bristol, Quebec since 1925. This 150 acre farm has seen a lot of change over the years but still remains in the family. We first started out with dairy cattle and now are farming soybeans and hay.

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: This stout offers a balance of roasted malts and residual sweetness.

 

Commissariat Old Stock Ale, $3.10 (4.4% ABV)

BRAND NEW! You are the first to get it.  Kichesippi Beer has announced the release of a new beer that celebrates a milestone birthday for one of Ottawa’s oldest cultural attractions. This is an ale brewed to mark the 100th anniversary of the Bytown Museum.

“Our inspiration for this beer was a style that we feel would have been enjoyed back in 1917,” says Kichesippi founder Paul Meek. “The Bytown Museum is definitely a gem hidden in plain sight in our city and we hope this beer will help bring some well deserved attention to the museum.”

Commissariat Old Stock Ale is currently available in a limited run at the Kichesippi retail store, and it will also be available at special events at the Museum over the summer. A larger production run will take place in the autumn in conjunction with the Museum’s official birthday in October.

 

Railway City Brewing Co.

Dead Elephant Ale, $3.15 (6.5% ABV)

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: An India Pale Ale with a full body. Aromas of mild malt and a robust floral bouquet. Tastes of sweet & fruit malts (i.e. apricot & mango), upfront, slight candy & biscuit notes, and grapefruit. A perfume finish.

 

 

Express India Session Lager, $3.15 (4.8% ABV)

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: A light/medium body with aroma of complex hops such as citrus, tropical fruits, and pine. Tastes of lemon, orange, pineapple & mango, pine notes, crisp & light malt background, with a lingering bitterness that isn’t overpowering.

 

 

Crew Craft Lager, $3.15 (4.8.% ABV)

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: This is a premium lager with a light body and aromas of pear & citrus notes and a hint of toasted spice. The taste is sweet fruit & citrus, slight toasted spice, hint of floral hops, and with a crisp & refreshing finish.

 

 

Honey Elixir, $3.15 (5.0% ABV)

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: A brown ale with a medium body and an aroma of sweet, fresh honey, some raisin & fig, and a hint of toasted nuts & spices. Tastes of honey, taffy, and subtle espresso. A balanced hop finish with sweet fruit notes.

 

 

Waller St. Brewing

Hideaway Hefe, $5 (5.0% ABV)

A nice refreshing wheat beer with character, perfect for sunny days!

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: A hazy golden yellow German style wheat – a hefeweizen only slightly out of style. The fermentation profile flavours the ester production over phenol providing that signature “Banana” balanced by an unusual hop addition.

 

Juice Joint Sour, $7 (5.0% ABV)

This is a very refreshing and aromatic beer with an identity crisis. Dry-hopped like an IPA without any real bitterness and with a tangy tart acidity twist.

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: Very refreshing with a big dry-hop character that could be easily be mistaken for tropical citrus juice.  Think the mimosa of beers, only without any actual oranges.

 

French Connection, $10 (4.7% ABV)

Our interpretation of this French saison style respects the light, refreshing purpose of this beer style. We made this beer with Brasserie du Bas Canada. A fun collaboration with our new friends from across the river.

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: Blonde and cloudy the grisette finishes off dry, perfect for the summer heat. The compliment of yeast and hops give French Connection pleasant spice notes and a herbal aroma.  Brewed with European hops along with a mixture of French and Belgian Saison yeast.

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY HIP HOPS! ~

 

Veal Burger with Avocado and Cheese

Serves: 4
Recipe & photo credit: GoodFood

Ingredients

500 g lean veal mince
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons cream

1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon light olive oil
1 tablespoon oil
1 firm ripe avocado, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
4 large squares of olive focaccia
1 small bunch rocket, torn into pieces
Snow pea sprouts
Lime juice

 

Method

Combine mince, salt, pepper, garlic and cream in medium bowl. Mix with hands until well combined. Divide mixture into 4 portions and shape into round patties.

Combine tomato paste and light olive oil in small bowl; set aside. Heat remaining oil in large frying pan. Cook patties 3–4 minutes each side or until brown and cooked through. Remove patties from frying pan, drain on paper towels.

Place patties on a foil-lined grill tray. Top each with overlapping slices of avocado. Brush each with tomato paste mixture. Sprinkle with combined cheeses. Cook under preheated grill for 1–2 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Cut each focaccia in half horizontally. Lightly toast cut sides if desired. Place bases of focaccia on 4 serving plates. On each base, place rocket pieces and snow pea sprouts. Sprinkle with a little lime juice. Place a meat and avocado patty on top of each base, followed by remaining half of focaccia.

 

 

The Ultimate Fish Tacos

Serves: 8-10
Recipe & photo credit: FoodNetwork (Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence)

Ingredients

2 pounds mahi mahi (skinned, boned and cleaned) cut into 1-ounce strips
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons water
2 cups panko bread crumbs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 head savoy cabbage, finely shredded
1 bunch cilantro, leaves picked
1 bunch chives, chopped
3 limes, cut into wedges for garnish

Pink Chile Mayonnaise:
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
3 chipotles in adobo, plus 2 tablespoons of adobo sauce
1/2 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mango-Radish Salsa:
2 limes
2 mangoes, diced
4 to 5 red radishes, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method

Prepare the fish. Cut the pieces of fish into 1-ounce strips. Set up a breading station of flour, lightly beaten eggs with water, and seasoned panko bread crumbs. Season all with salt and pepper. Dredge the pieces of fish in flour, egg then bread crumbs. Once all the fish is breaded deep-fry in small batches in (375 degrees F) oil. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Prepare the pink chile mayonnaise. Put the chipotles in a blender and puree until smooth. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, adobo sauce and lemon juice and continue to process until the mixture is consistent and creamy. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Prepare the mango-radish salsa. Remove the peel and pith from the limes and cut between the membranes to remove the segments. Put these “supremes” into a bowl and squeeze over the juice from the membranes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Season and refrigerate until ready to use. You can also place all of the ingredients into a food processor and puree for a smoother salsa.

To serve, set up the tacos “family-style”. Assemble the fish in a pile on a plate; the pink chile mayonnaise in a bowl; and mango-radish salsa in another. Set a pile of shredded savoy cabbage, cilantro leaves, chopped chives and lime wedges next to the fish. Toast the corn tortillas lightly over an open flame (on your stove top) and serve.

 

 

Asian Chicken Salad with Ginger Sesame Dressing

Serves: 4
Recipe & photo credit: Julia’s Album

Ingredients

Salad dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon powder ginger
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Salad:
6 cups baby spinach leaves, washed, and dried
1 large carrot, shredded
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 of a whole red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds toasted
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken or grilled chicken, sliced

 

Method

Combine all salad dressing ingredients, except for sesame seeds, and using only 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Whisk until emulsified. Taste your dressing and add another 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, if desired, to make it saltier. Add 2 tablespoons sesame seeds to the dressing and mix them in.

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl, except for 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and chicken. Add the salad dressing to the salad and toss – do not add all salad dressing at once: you might not need all of it. Add just enough salad dressing to coat the salad ingredients.

Serve the salad in the individual serving bowls and top with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and sliced chicken.

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Taste the history of Toronto with a Henderson beer

Posted by David

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017
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Henderson Brewing Company has a unique approach to their products: they want to reflect the history, people, and culture of the City of Toronto with their beer. The result is a series of stock and specialty beers with familiar names and labels, and made to be approachable and easy to drink.

We think they’re doing a great job, and we’re proud to offer you this series of delicious beers from Henderson Brewing!

 

Open your Savvy Hip Hops & you will find bottles & cans of…

Ides of March – Truffle Saison
Ides of May – Maple Brown Ale
Food Truck – Blonde Ale
Union Pearson Ale – Imperial Pale Ale
Rube Goldbeer – Belgian Tripel
Old Fashioned – Rye Ale

 

Need more beer?

If you would like additional bottles of any beer featured in Savvy Hip Hops, just call our Savvy Brew Crew & we’ll do our best to arrange a special shipment for you.  Put us on speed dial – Savvy Hip Hops Hotline: 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or cheers@savvycompany.ca

Cheers!
Debbie & the Savvy Brew Crew

 

Taste of Toronto:
Henderson Brewing Company
by David Loan, Sommelier & member of the Savvy Brew Crew

 

What’s in a name? A lot, if you talk to Henderson Brewing’s co-founder and general manager Steve Himel. From their company to their beers, every name tells a story. And that’s the whole idea.

 

Reflections

Steve said he had worked for a large commercial brewery for several years. He often traveled through the U.S., and he noticed something.

“I tasted a lot of beers,” Steve started his story, “so many beers that reflected their city. Portland-style, Boston-style. There was no beer that was  a ‘Toronto-style’. I thought there should be, and suggested it to Mark.”

That’s Mark Benzaquen, who was a well-known brewmaster in Toronto and is one of the founding partners at Henderson.

 

Telling the story of Toronto Beer

“I thought there was an opportunity to kind of get back to our roots,” Steve explained (in photo right).

The first step was naming the brewery. Steve and Mark chose to commemorate Robert Henderson, who opened Toronto’s first brewery in 1800.

“Robert Henderson came to Toronto from Kingston. He saw an opportunity because the garrison soldiers were allowed six pints of beer each day. The beer was shipped from Kingston, so he saw a chance to make it locally. Unfortunately, Robert didn’t have any heirs, so the brewery died with him.”

Steve goes on, “I think that one of things missing from Toronto is the recognition of our history,” Steve said. “We have an honest, real brewing tradition and it’s worth recognizing people like Robert Henderson. It’s his style that we want to channel. We wanted to look forward and backward at the same time.”

 

Inspirations

Henderson Brewing’s labels reflect Toronto in many ways. “We want to take a story that maybe Torontonians don’t know that well and bring that story back to life,” Steve told me. “Our beer names come from five sources: history, locations, events, famous people, and neighbourhood people.  One of the things that I really like with our approach is when I present Mark with a theme and we bring it to life.”

 

Life on tap

The brewery is located in in Toronto’s Junction Triangle district. When you visit, you will see that the taproom is in the heart of the business.   “We intentionally built our brewery around our taproom, so visitors will sitting in the middle of our brewery. We want you to experience our beer, not just taste it.”

Steve, Mark & the brewery team invite all of our subscribers to pop by for a brew.  Roadtrip anyone???

 

You’ll think you’re visiting Hogtown when you quaff these great beers from Henderson Brewing!

 

 

 

 

~ Tasting Notes for the Savvy Hip Hops ~

Usually our Brew Crew provides their tasting notes for the featured beers, but this time havoc ran amuck to that idea.  Sample bottles were broken enroute and time was running short.  So….this month we are providing you Henderson’s tasting notes instead.

 

Ides of March: “The Face of Toronto” Truffle Saison

Celebrating Toronto’s March birthday, this specialty beer invokes the chocolate and spice notes of rich truffles.

Henderson’s Tasting Notes: The use of darker malts as well as cardamon and cocoa nibs blends nicely with the saison yeast to create a crisp session beer.

Suggested Food Pairing: This will go well with ripe, bloomy-rind cheeses like Camembert. Have it with a little baguette, some sliced apple, and a few grapes …ta-da! You have a lovely ploughman’s lunch!

 

 

Ides of May: Maple Brown Ale

BRAND NEW BEER!

Just canned last week in time to be included in your Savvy Hip Hops.  Inspired by Toronto’s signature dish –  peameal bacon sandwich – this beer is made with maple syrup to compliment the salty bacon and sharp mustard.

Henderson’s Tasting Notes: A medium bodied ale brewed with Ontario maple syrup, notes of roasted chocolate and caramel.

Suggested Food Pairing: How could we consider serving this with anything but a peameal bacon sandwich, the meat on a fresh bun with a dollop of good grain mustard.

 

 

Food Truck Blonde Ale

Designed to be an easy-drinking, sessionable ale for everybody, this is one of Henderson’s regular offerings.

Henderson’s Tasting Notes: A light bodied and crisp ale with subtle stone fruit notes. Light straw colour and slight honey on the nose.

Suggested Food Pairing: Contemporary food trucks offer a variety of flavours from around the world and this beer is meant to compliment many of them. We’d love to try it with a Vietnamese-style Banh-Mi! (recipe below)

 

 

Union Pearson Ale – Imperial Pale Ale

The Union Pearson Express train runs right by the brewery, so it’s a natural inspiration for this “always available” IPA!

Henderson’s Tasting Notes: Our Toronto take on the American-style IPA with a creamy finish and notes of strawberry.

Suggested Food Pairing: IPAs are wonderful with grilled meats. Enjoy this with some Garlic and Rosemary Grilled Chicken. (Recipe below)

 

 

Rube Goldbeer Belgian Tripel

Henderson’s tasting bar features a wonderful Rube Goldberg device which, for a small payment, will pour you a beer!

Henderson’s Tasting Notes: Sweet with a light body and a clean finish. A smooth, effervescent triple with fruit and a hint of spice.

Suggested Food Pairing: Belgian Tripels, with their golden colour and dry, sometimes herbal notes, go great with basil. This will be lovely with a fresh basil pesto served over your favourite pasta! (recipe below)

 

 

Old Fashioned Rye Ale

A collaboration with cocktail specialists The Martini Club, this is an ode to the rye whiskey classic.

Henderson’s Tasting Notes:
A strong, spiced rye ale infused with aromatic bitters and botanicals.

Suggested Food Pairing:
The spicy rye in the beer will match nicely with sausages cooked over the BBQ.

Photo credits: Henderson Brewing Co.

 

 

 

~ Recipes to enjoy with the featured Savvy Hip Hops ~

 

With Food Truck Blonde Ale
Rainbow-Stuffed Banh-Mi

Recipe & photo credits: OliveMagazine.com

Ingredients

600g rump roast
1 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp sriracha sauce
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 long, fat sourdough baguette
3 carrots, peeled and juilienned
1 red pepper, sliced into thin rings
2 Lebanese or ridged cucumber, thinly sliced mint leaves or coriander or Thai basil, a handful of each
1 red onion, thinly sliced
125ml lime juice
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 red chilli, sliced

Directions:

Heat the oven 240C. Season the beef with the fish sauce and black pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then lower the oven to to 190C for 25 more minutes for medium rare, or longer if you like. Leave to cool, cover, and chill for at least 2 hours.

Mix the sriracha sauce with the mayonnaise and set aside. Slice the baguette lengthways. Scoop out the inner soft bread so you’re left with a shell about 2cm thick. Spread the spicy mayo sauce in the top and bottom of the bread. Keep the leftovers for serving.

Thinly slice the chilled beef, then add a layer to the bottom of the baguette. Top with the carrot, pepper, cucumbers, herbs, and the red onion. It will be very full, so press the top on and wrap very tightly with clingfilm. Put in the fridge, with a weight on top, for at least an hour.

Mix the dipping sauce ingredients with 2 tbsp water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved then taste, add more fish sauce or lime if you like. Cut the sandwich into four portions and serve with 4 bowls of the dipping sauce and any leftover spicy mayo.

Immediately sprinkle on the diced avocado and plenty of pico de gallo.
Optional: Add dollops of sour cream here and there! Serve immediately!

 

 

 

With Union Pearson Ale
Garlic and Rosemary Grilled Chicken

Recipe & photo credits: Epicurious.com

Ingredients

1 3 1/2–4-pound chicken, backbone removed
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
4 sprigs rosemary
2 heads of garlic, halved crosswise
2 bunches red scallions
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon onion or chive blossoms (optional)

Directions:

Prepare grill for medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place rosemary, garlic, and 1 bunch of scallions in a layer on grill.

Place chicken, skin side up, on top of aromatics. Cover grill and cook until chicken is nearly cooked through, 35–40 minutes (aromatics will be thoroughly charred).

Brush chicken with 1 tablespoon oil and place skin side down, directly onto grates (you can discard aromatics at this point). Grill until chicken is cooked through and skin is crisp, 10–15 minutes longer. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes before cutting into pieces.

Meanwhile, toss remaining bunch of scallions with remaining 1 tablespoon oil on a rimmed baking sheet and grill until tender and lightly charred, about 5 minutes.

Serve chicken with grilled scallions alongside, topped with onion blossoms, if desired.

 

 

 

With Rube Goldbeer Belgian Tripel
Basil Pesto

Recipe & photo credits: FoodNetwork.com

Ingredients

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese

Directions:

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

 

 

 

Enjoy your Savvy Hip Hops!

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Rosé Report: Kacaba’s Rebecca Rosé VQA 2016

Posted by Debbie

Sunday, July 16th, 2017
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To get to the tasting room where this delicious Rosé wine and other wines made by our friends at Kacaba Vineyard, you have to cross what’s known as a Bailey Bridge—a truss bridge invented by the British and first used by tanks to cross the treacherous terrain of battlefields during the Second World War. Ideas of battles disappear when you see the rolling hills of vineyards and the wrap around deck that awaits.

Kacaba Vineyards and Winery ‘Rebecca’ Rosé

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The 2016 Rebecca Rosé is a unique blend of Gamay Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Riesling. It glows with a brilliant raspberry-ruby hue in the glass, while aromas of strawberry jam and spring flowers swirl through your senses. Full bodied, it makes you hungry…and thirsty for a picnic.

 

Complete Wine Deets:
Kacaba Vineyards Rebecca’ Rosé VQA 2016

$18.15
Ontario Wine Region: Twenty Valley (Niagara)

 

Suggested Food Pairing: Croque Monsieur with grainy mustard, or straight-up grilled cheese.  But go gourmet with some creamy Brie or a nutty Gouda.  For something really neat, here is a Whipped Feta, Watermelon & Radish Salad recipe.

 

Feta and watermelon is a winning salty-sweet combo. Be sure to rinse and press your feta before whipping otherwise your feta will liquefy—the finished whipped cheese should have a deli cream-cheese-like consistency.

 

Ingredients

Whipped Feta:

8 oz (250 g) good-quality feta
2 tbsp (30 mL) whipping cream or plain yogurt
4 to 6 tbsp (60 to 90 mL) olive oil

1½ cups (375 mL) daikon radish cut into matchsticks
⅓ cup (80 mL) olive oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
1½ tsp (7 mL) dried oregano
1 tsp (5 mL) coarsely ground black pepper
Salt to taste
3 slices mini seedless watermelon, each 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick, rind removed
1 red cayenne or finger chili, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
Fresh oregano leaves to garnish

 

Directions

Drain feta from brine if necessary and rinse under cool running water. Line a plate with several layers of paper towel, top with feta and weigh down with another plate topped with a can. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Crumble and combine in a food processor with cream and 4 tbsp (60 mL) olive oil; process until smooth. Add up to 2 tbsp (30 mL) oil, if necessary, to achieve a thick spreadable consistency.

Soak daikon in a bowl of ice water while preparing the remaining ingredients. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, dried oregano and pepper. Lightly season with salt (feta is salty). Cut watermelon into irregular 1 to 1½-inch (2.5 to 4-cm) chunks.

Spread an equal amount of feta out in a scant ½-inch-thick (1 cm) layer on six small plates. Divide watermelon between plates. Drain radish and pat dry with paper towels; toss with half the dressing and top watermelon portions with an equal amount of radish. Divide remaining dressing between plates and garnish each with chili and oregano leaves.

Pack in a picnic & enjoy!

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