Culinaire is a free food and beverage magazine tempting tastebuds, engaging appetites based out of Alberta. Sharing their secrets are chefs, sommeliers, brewers, mixologists, restaurateurs, and local food and beverage experts. Culinaire serves up features on dining in, dining out, wine, beer, spirits and cocktails.
Now Alberta has become firmly established as an ideal location for breweries and distillers, what’s next for our province’s local beverages? Could it be cideries?
can be made in any brewery from bought apple juice, or brewed under contract,
but to make craft cider you need to own your own cidery and brew in small
batches from apples, with little to no carbonation. And we’re just starting to
see a revival…
Alberta’s first craft cidery opened last summer – Calgary’s Elite Brewing & Cidery, who source all their fruit from B.C. and make small batches of around 1,200 litres, and switch them up once they’re gone.
produce three different ciders each month, all dry and extra dry, and averaging
6.2 percent ABV. The only constant is Kitty Hawk Extra Dry, a deliciously
refreshing and easy to drink cider with yeasty undertones, that was so popular
with the locals, it had to stay on the list.
world away from standard sweet ciders, currently you’ll find: Area 51 County
Harvest, a new invention trial keg that is apple-y, fruity, and with vanilla
notes; Rising Sun, subtle and bright with blackberry, raspberry and cranberry;
and Bunker Buster, a mouth-wateringly crisp and refreshing raspberry cider.
Fill your 32 oz growler for $11 and $16 for 64 oz, or drink (and eat!) in the
Launched last November,Lekker Cideruse only Pacific Northwest apples, pressing them in situ and bringing the fresh juice back to Calgary to be fermented.
Seven varieties of Yakima Valley dessert apples are pressed to make each cider. Dry Hopped Bru starts dry and then the tart sweetness of fresh apple juice comes into play, complementing the citrus from the hops. CSPC +809840 473 mL $5, +817204 (355 mL) $4
watch out for new flavours and styles: heritage series unfiltered Pippin’s bru
made from only Newton Pippin apples CSPC +814493 $9-$10, and
Eiland Guava Bru blended with fresh guava. CSPC +817205 (355 mL) $4
Alberta’s newest cidery, SunnyCider, has a fruit donor program for wasted urban apples, pears, cherries, and berries, and turns them into cider. It’s about community and neighbours, and we’re excited for their new facility opening this month in Calgary on 14 Avenue NE.
you can buy Batch #1 in Calgary and Edmonton liquor stores; it’s a totally
apple-y cider made from Granny Smith, Red Delicious,
Gala, Spartan, and Mac Okanagan apples and comes with a swing top, an orchard
in a glass. CSPC +815921 (500 mL) $12
Perhaps one of the best known craft cideries in Calgary, Uncommon Cider is making a wide range of products including the very tasty blend of apple and haskap – showcasing what a little fruit can do with cider. CSPC +795421 (500 mL) $12-14. Uncommon is perhaps best loved for their fruit drives which also source fruit from Calgarians in support of the Calgary Food Bank.
Ask just about anyone
to pass the EVOO and they’ll know that you’re talking about the Extra Virgin
It’s the primo pick
for many, sitting on the counter at-the-ready to be used for cooking,
dressings, marinades and more. It’s hard to compete with the virtuoso of EVOO,
but Canada does have an oil that rivals even the best olive oil.
With origins reaching
as far back as pre-WWII when engineers were striving to reserve fuel and find
grease for machines, they turned to rapeseed oil. It doesn’t mix with water
whatsoever, so it made for a great oil to grease steam engines.
At the end of the
war, there was a surplus, but it tasted horrible and was so bitter that even
animals wouldn’t eat the rapeseed meal. Canadian scientists in Saskatchewan and
Manitoba worked tirelessly, and used traditional selection methods to breed a
plant that would produce a healthy, edible oil product; and so Canola was born.
Tanya Pidsadowski has
been with the Alberta Canola Council for 5 years, and is dedicated to engaging
with the public to educate us on the benefits of adding Canola oil to our daily
routines. She has a degree in human nutrition and has been farming with her
husband for 25 years.
She shared her wealth
of knowledge to enlighten us on the full value of appreciating this locally
grown, healthy product that supports a sustainable agricultural economy. “Can”
as in Canada and “ola” as in oil, is grown all across our beautiful country by
Canadian farmers and it’s processed in Canada too. It’s on every shelf in every
grocery store, but is it in your pantry?
Canola oil is a
beautifully balanced, nutritious oil. It’s rich in omega-6 and omega-3
essential fatty acids, low in saturated fat, and is a source of Vitamins E and
K. But it’s not just nutritious, it’s extremely versatile too.
Its mild flavour
allows it to be an exceptional carrier for other flavours, making it a great
choice for salad dressings, marinades, cooking, even baking. If that wasn’t
enough, it also boasts a high smoke point so it can stand up to the heat of
searing and frying. And it’s very affordable. You can use that oil for
Looking for an oil
that can contend with EVOO in flavour, aroma, and colour? Cold-pressed canola
oil is a high-quality local product that celebrates the prairies. Many believe
that you can detect the terroir of cold-pressed Canola much like that of wine.
Highwood Crossing and Mountainview Farm both produce a premium canola oil that is cold-pressed (meaning the seeds are not heated and do not come in contact with any other products). In contrast to mainstream Canola seeds that are warmed slightly to encourage oil extraction and enhance the crushing process. Cold-pressed Canola oil is best used as a finishing touch and in dishes where you can appreciate and applaud the flavour of the oil.
Canola is remarkably
stable, making it useful in a variety of food products, like mayonnaise, coffee
whitener, cake mixes, and bread. But it can also be found in places you’d
probably never guess.
It’s an effective
component in printer ink, airplane de-icer, dust depressants, and plastic wrap.
The canola meal that remains after the seed has been pressed and the oil
extracted, makes for nutritious livestock feed and fertilizer.
And if you’re a mindful
consumer (and we’re sure you are), then you’ll be pleased to learn that local
farmers are committed to protecting the land. There are 14,000 Canola farmers
in Alberta alone producing some of the best Canola in the world.
They employ agronomic
practices to bring soil back to a nutrient-rich state so that the land is
healthy enough to produce superior crops year over year. This crop efficiency
means there is less tillage of the soil allowing the ground to capture and
sequester more carbon thereby releasing less into the atmosphere.
practices allow for high-yielding, nutritious crops with a tiny environmental
footprint. Canada has such superb, safe farming practices that we produce far
more than we can consume. Canadian farms export 90% of the Canola we grow
injecting billions of dollars into our economy.
Canola oil is a
nutritious local product that celebrates and honours our land in a safe and
profitable way. Its widespread utility makes it useful in countless
applications. It’s budget-friendly and widely available so everyone can enjoy
it. And Alberta produces exceptional artisanal varieties too.
I’m ready to swap out
my EVOO for Canola oil, are you?
Simple little touches, like garnishing eggs with microgreens or serving up strawberries and melted chocolate for dipping are all easy (and affordable) tricks Mauro Martina, chef and founder of OEB Breakfast Co. in Calgary, says will make your brunch extra special.
The perfect accompaniment for eggs with hollandaise sauce, try Martina’s recipe for truffle squash ragout!
craft noun- an activity involving skill in making things by hand. verb – exercise skill in making (something).
Oxford English Dictionary
They started appearing on Alberta liquor
store shelves a couple of years ago, viz. specialty spirits, beers, ciders,
meads, and wines from local producers. Alberta had not seen new distilleries
since the mid-1970s, and no one knew what mead is, other than it was seemingly
the Vikings’ favourite drink, so this was indeed a shock to a couple of new
there had been a trickle of new craft breweries since 1985, and the occasional
fruit winery and meadery popped up here and there, but distilleries always
seemed to be in the realm of the multinational corporation. Let’s face it; they
advertise on television, in magazines, at sporting events – almost everywhere. This
is not a game for tiny three or four person enterprises.
However, nobody seems to be building any
multi-acre sized distilleries or breweries anymore. Thanks mainly due to
government restrictions enacted in the 1910-20s (at least in North America),
only a handful of hard liquor companies originated in the twentieth century and
new breweries didn’t start appearing until the 1980s.
Boutique wineries began in B.C. around that
same time, but for obvious reasons, Alberta did not become the next Napa
Valley. Nonetheless, fruit wineries arrived early this century and mead has now
become an alternative beverage, even if most people still don’t know what it is or how it is made. Cideries are just
beginning to get their locations built in 2019.
the last century, Alberta had, at most, three distilleries, eight breweries and
two wineries (anybody remember Andrés and Andrew Wolf Wines?). Once the laws changed in late
2013, the explosion began, and the province is now home to 29 distilleries, 110
breweries and 12 estate manufacturers (AGLC-speak for meaderies, cideries, and
wineries) and counting.
advancement in sensible government regulations has helped improve the playing
field and the province’s liquor landscape has changed forever. While Alberta may have come late
to the party, this kind of growth has pretty much been constant across most of
Canada and in almost every state south of us intent on shaking off the shackles
these new ventures are the very definition of craft. Yes, machines do some of
the work, but most operations are manned by less than five people and occupy
spaces smaller than a movie theatre. Coincidentally, the first new distillery
to get a license in Alberta in over 40 years, Eau Claire Distillery in Turner
Valley, is in an old movie theatre
and dance hall.
with many new industries, a large number of other firsts have transpired; first
distillery ever in Edmonton
(Strathcona Spirits Distillery), first meadery (Chinook Arch Meadery, Okotoks),
first cidery (Uncommon Cidery, Calgary), first ever estate winery (Field Stone
Fruit Wines, Strathmore), and every brewery built in a place not named
Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, or Red Deer, is the first brewery
in that town.
is a word that may mean a more personal involvement with production, but it
also defines size. By definition, all craft associations have limits on how big
an establishment can be, how much they can produce, where their head offices
are located, and even who is part of the ownership group.
is all in an effort to separate craft businesses from the conglomerates that
dominate manufacturing worldwide. In addition, craft producers enjoy an
affiliation with their region by not only sourcing as many ingredients as
possible from local suppliers, but also cultivating a relationship with the
community as well.
craft beverage culture has moved beyond just the sphere of alcohol. Craft
sodas, syrups, tinctures, bitters, juices, and more have also arrived. These products
can be sold anywhere, and consumers appreciate their quality and more natural
ingredients. Some have even shown up in national chain supermarkets.
bar and cocktail scenes have had a parallel growth, pairing these craft
alcohols and mixers together to create unique libations. Because they offer a
greater variety of local or unusual ingredients than the mainstream varieties,
mixologists are delving into flavour profiles hitherto unexplored.
regulation changes now allow bars and restaurants to mix liquor products with
ingredients such as spices, herbs, and fruits, to create exclusive house-aged
liquor products. The level of crafting has now migrated right into the
winner in all this is the consumer. The efforts of these companies are directed
to more than just propping up the local economy or trying to make a living – there
are easier ways to make money than starting up a craft beverage business.
However, the people behind them have a belief in, and a passion for, what they
obvious devotion to their craft also provides a kinship with local suppliers, a
rapport within the community, and a connection to the consumer. You owe it to
yourself to try as many locally made craft spirits, beers, meads, wines,
ciders, non-alcoholic mixers, amari, and, yes, cocktails as you can.
won’t have to travel far, the experience will be worth it, and your taste buds
will thank you.
There’s so much to
look forward to come spring – fresh herbs, fully stocked farmers’ markets, and
a diet not so reliant on parsnips and potatoes.
Food-wise, most of us associate spring
with all things green: arugula, asparagus, chives, spinach, and peas. But
almost every chef will tell you that proteins are the star of every dish, no
matter what time of year it is. This month, we asked four local chefs all about
spring proteins, and picked up some tasty tips for Easter dinner along the way!
Spring is the season Anthony Pittoello,
chef at Modern Steak on Stephen Avenue in Calgary, most looks forward to. It’s
a time of resurgence for plants and animals, which he says means access to a
lot more menu options for chefs, like lamb, salmon, and salsa verde steaks.
“Spring is actually a favourite time of
year for me,” Pittoello says. “There are still some cold evenings, so a dish
like slow-braised short ribs is still relevant, but the warmer days are also
starting to show up, so a nice grilled lamb rack or ribeye are great options as
For Pittoello, spring is a time to
experiment in the kitchen. But when it comes to Easter dinner, he can’t help
sticking to tradition and serves up a crispy ham glistening in his signature
blueberry balsamic glaze.
If you’re also one for tradition, try
Pittoello’s recipe for another Easter favourite, grilled rack of lamb with
this year’s polar vortex now in our rear view, those like Dylan Prins, the new
chef at Red Ox Inn in Edmonton, can’t wait to work with the array of fresh
ingredients that only emerge come spring. While herbs and vegetables always
seem to be at the forefront, Prins says proteins are equally important pieces
of spring menus, too.
easy to forget that with the way supply chains work, proteins are part of
seasonality,” he says. “For example, it doesn’t make sense to eat traditional
autumn meats like goose in the spring. Proteins that really shine in the
springtime are things like rabbit, frog, and chicken.”
you’re cooking for a crowd, frog might not be for everyone. So on special
occasions like Easter, Prins says to go for a roasted turkey, a dish most of us
probably won’t see again until fall. His biggest tip is to brine your turkey in
a five percent sugar and salt solution (and whatever aromatics you fancy), and
let it sit overnight. Brining not only seasons your meat, but will add a ton of
moisture — there’s nothing worse than a dry piece of turkey.
is one spring protein that stands out from all the rest, says John Forsythe,
chef at Yakima Social Kitchen + Bar in Calgary, and we agree. Tender and mild,
lamb is the spring protein. Lamb can
be tricky to cook, but Forsythe has it down to a science that any home cook can
easy method — one he picked up from a chef in Australia — is grilling a butterflied
leg of lamb on the barbecue. The first step is to marinate the lamb overnight
in olive oil, lemon, garlic, onion, oregano, bay leaves, and crushed black
pepper. Crucial to the marinade is not adding salt; Forsythe says to be very
generous with salt when it comes time to grill, but doing so beforehand will
dry out the meat.
it to a solid medium rare, slice, and then cover it with sautéed tomatoes,
olives, and spinach. It’s almost like a hot Greek salad,” he says. “It’s one of
my favourite springtime dishes, there’s virtually nothing better.”
Equally delicious and perfect on the barbecue or in the oven, is Forsythe’s recipe for Grilled Flank Steak. He says it’s great for soft shell tacos or on its own with a chimichurri sauce and a bit of Fleur de Sel garnish.
of lamb is also a spring favourite of Spencer Thompson’s, chef at The Marc in
Edmonton. Wanting a change from the traditional ham and turkey Easter dinners
he grew up with, Thompson switched it up to roasted lamb rubbed in all the
flavours of spring: mint, parsley, lavender, mustard, and garlic.
you can cook a roast beef, you can pull off a roasted leg of lamb,” he says.
“It’s slightly cheaper than a rack of lamb, easy to make, and it’s a showstopper
— my family loves it.”
Another great group share Thompson
loves to make when the warm weather hits, is a spatchcocked, or butterflied,
chicken topped with a fresh, zesty salsa verde. Paying homage to the prairies,
he recommends using local cold-pressed canola oil to really amp up the
Don’t let Cornish hen intimidate you, splitting the hens in half (or spatchcocking) and opening them up like a book helps the chicken cook quickly and evenly. Spatchcocking is a great skill to practice on a small manageable bird and then move up to chicken and eventually even turkey! When combined with the salsa verde, this is sure to be a crowd pleaser!
To make salsa verde, put dry ingredients and ½ cup (60 mL) of canola oil in a food processor or blender. Blend until ingredients are finely chopped. Add remaining ½ cup (60 mL) canola oil and blend until thoroughly combined.
Lay Cornish hen breast side up on a cutting board. Remove any offal from inside. Insert knife into cavity, and cut the bottom of the hen along either side of the backbone all the way from neck to tail.
Flip hen over, and press down firmly on the breast bone to flatten. Remove the wishbone and rib cage with a knife. Slice down center of the hen to divide into two equal portions (each portion includes a breast, thigh, and drumstick).
Turn your grill on low heat. Rub hen with olive oil, and season with salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Place hen skin side down on grill, and cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown.
Flip hen over and continue cooking for 8 to 10 minutes. Once the internal temperature reaches 165º F and the juices run clear, it’s fully cooked.
Slather the skin with a generous portion of salsa verde and serve.
As the weather warms up, this is a perfect option to throw on the grill. If the weather isn’t cooperating, feel free to try this recipe on the stove top and finish it off in the oven for a fresh taste at any time of the year!
Now the days are getting longer and we’re (hopefully) done with minus temperatures, it’s time for fresh flavours and to get creative with our drinks.
When you think using of herbs in your cocktail, gin naturally comes to mind as a base spirit, so we asked two Alberta cocktail experts for exciting and flavourful gin-based recipes for us to make at home.
Nathan Newman The Derrick Gin Mill and Kitchen in Calgary
You’re probably thinking of citrus, fresh fruits, and crushed ice right now rather than aromatic, umami-rich fungi, so truffle might not be the first thing that comes to mind for spring, but Nathan Newman, owner of The Derrick, has a trick up his sleeve to take the sensuous aroma of truffle – a natural aphrodisiac – and turn it into a refreshing cocktail.
“Pairing with appropriate and pleasant flavours, like elderflower, coconut, and a pinch of salt draws out the tastes, and finish with the perfect spice of fresh dill,” he says. “By arranging unexpected elements to naturally complement each other, the ingredients bloom into a fresh, inspired martini.”
Add gin, St. Germain, coconut rum, and a pinch of salt to a mixing glass and stir with ice to dilute.
Double strain into a Nick & Nora glass already misted with truffle oil
Garnish with a fresh sprig of dill.
You will need a mister to mist the glass with truffle oil, as Newman cautions to use it sparingly and not to over do it.
Jennifer Kerr Wilfred’s in Edmonton
Rosy Cheeks cocktail is given it’s soft spring pink hue by the butterfly pea flower extract reacting to the lemon juice, which creates a fun colour-changing effect.
“The drink begins with Tanqueray Ten gin showcasing its lovely fresh botanical notes of juniper and grapefruit,” says Wilfred’s bartender, Jennifer Kerr. “Floral rose petals and fresh cucumber bolster the best qualities of the gin, while yellow Chartreuse brings a honeyed sweetness, a hint of mint, zesty citrus, and pine needles. The earthy taste of sage provides a lovely contrast to the sweet rose, yellow Chartreuse, and acid from the lemon.”
Combine all ingredients, including the sage leaf, in a shaker, add ice and shake for about ten seconds.
Strain into a rocks glass, with either a large block ice cube if available, or small cubes.
Garnish with a lemon zest twist and fresh sage leaf.
*To make the syrup, combine sugar and water in a 1:1 ratio, add rose petals (¼ cup per litre) and bring to a boil until sugar is thoroughly combined. Allow to cool in the fridge, and once cool, add sliced cucumber (½ cup per litre). Leave overnight to infuse. Strain out the rose petals and cucumbers with a fine mesh strainer.
** b’Lure is a soluble, bright blue concentrated extract from the butterfly pea flower with a mild flavour and a natural sweetness.