Scroll through the selection of content below completed specifically for the food and drink industry and IT services. Follow the links to read the whole story.

Clients & Samples

  • GlobalTill, in development: editorial calendar, blog posts

4 Reasons Single Sign On Is Revolutionary

This latest capability courtesy of cloud technology is something you’ll want to think about adopting whether your plans for your future business growth are extensive or not. It will grant you the extra time you need to tackle your goals.

SSO is a way of using a single set of credentials to access all the applications you and your employees need to use. Most companies now encourage staff to work in the cloud and from mobile devices. So, SSO offers the convenience and security of doing business from anywhere, anytime. Read the rest

5 Ways To Drive Profitability

Alex Taylor, Chief Operations Officer of Tri Pac Inc., knew everything was going to be different the day after he returned from his latest business trip to Europe.

“For years, it was a nightmare. I would do the best I could using my mobile phone. However, it’s nearly impossible to do much more than email with that. When it comes to doing accounting, finance, invoicing, full spreadsheets … it was very challenging. That’s why it would normally take two weeks to get back into the swing of things. I had so much paperwork to catch up on after a one-week trip,” he says. “I’ve missed everything for that week, plus I still needed to get caught up on my regular work load once I get back.”

However, that all changed after subscribing to a customized cloud-hosting package with iNSYNQ. “This time, it took me one day to get caught up,” reported Taylor. “Being able to do the work while I was traveling meant I didn’t have the panic attack the day before getting back to the office. I didn’t have the mountain of work to make up.” Read the rest

Business Continuity – The Story of Holden Business Services

Stop what you’re doing, and take a look around your office. What’s in your workspace – computers, filing cabinets? All of it loaded with customer data and business records. What if a natural disaster threatened to wipe it all away? How would you protect the vital parts of your business?

Becky Holden, owner of Holden Business Services in North Carolina found herself in exactly that predicament.

On September 7, 2018, news broke that Hurricane Florence was packing Category 4 winds and heading right for the Carolina coast. On September 11th, mandatory and voluntary evacuations were announced in both North and South Carolina. The 130-plus mile per hour winds and estimated rainfall of two feet put a large swath of the Carolinas in danger. Read the rest

DJ Tutorial – How To Use EQ

I could say that this tutorial is just for those of you who are new to DJing. The truth is that reviewing techniques, equipment, understanding standard DJ terms, and anything else involved in DJing is important for longtime DJs, too. Perfecting your skills and then keeping them up-to-date is as important to DJing as the equipment you use. Read the rest

How To Prepare For Tax Season Now

I don’t know a DJ who wouldn’t want to spend as much time as possible spinning tunes and watching the crowd dance. But, business is business, and that means that DJs have to take a break from gigging to take care of their businesses.

Marketing, maintaining and purchasing equipment, paying the bills … all are part of what a DJ has to do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to succeed. They may not be the most exciting part of running your own business, but they’re certainly as vital as the music itself. Read the rest

How To Keep Sightlines Open In Your Kitchen

Kitchens have become so much more than places to cook meals. They have become a gathering place for the whole family and all your friends.

So, how can you make sure that the space you spend so much time in is comfortable?

Sightlines are best explained as empty space. It’s the ability to stand in one part of the kitchen and be able to see all the way to the other side. Sightlines are all about unobstructed views. One of the biggest culprits in broken sightlines is the range hood – not so much the wall-mounted variety, of course. Read the rest

Achieve Your Best Health – Aromatherapy In Your Very Own Steam Shower

A friend of mine had an unfortunate experience recently. She was gingerly elbowing past a fellow traveler on a flight home when she dropped the small vial of oregano oil she’d been holding in her hand. The vial broke and the liquid spilled onto the floor. The whole cabin smelled like a pizzeria for the rest of the flight! Read the rest… 

6 Tips On Financing Your Bathroom Renovation

So, you’ve decided that this year will be the one where you turn your existing bathroom into that dream home spa. Gone will be the old, chipped bath-shower combo. Instead, you will soon be relaxing in your very own steam shower-whirlpool bathtub combo. Enter modern elements, like wood engineered to withstand moisture, a plant wall to improve indoor air quality, and a heated marble floor. Don’t forget some chromatherapy lights and aromatherapy dispensers for the ultimate bath-steam room. Read the rest

Maverick Chefs (series)

Change is tough. There aren’t too many of us who can claim to embark upon it willingly. After all, it’s not very comfortable. You’d have to be strong, courageous … actually a lot like this year’s pick of Maverick Chefs. They know a thing or two about yanking us out of our comfort zone and giving us a shove in the right direction. Take Nevin Fenske and Adam Hynam-Smith, for instance. Rather than keeping their eyes trained on their own kitchen counters, they chose to step out and make the food world a better place.

These two accomplished chefs set their sights on changing the laws and attitudes surrounding food trucks. Once purveyors of little more than hot dogs, French fries and soft-serve ice cream, food trucks are now moveable feasts. Thanks to these two chefs, anyone walking by can get a gourmet meal to go. Read the rest … Maverick Chefs

Ramp It Up

Spring can be so cruel. It brings with it such hope of warmth and colour only to wallop us — usually on the Victoria Day long weekend — with frigid temperatures and snow. No worries, though. It’s just winter’s last gasp, right? Warm temperatures will be settling in soon enough. Anyway, I’ve already hauled out the barbecue, table and chairs from the dusty, dark recesses of the garage. I’m ready for some patio living. A trip to the market, packed with the colours and flavours of spring, is what I’m craving right about now. Read the rest … Ramp It Up

Breaking Ground

The South African wine industry has been on something of a mission over the last 21 years. Beginning in 1994 with the birth of democracy and the rise of a new idea called sustainability ethics, South African winemakers have been showing the rest of the world what it means to tend to the environment, economy and community as a whole, in positive and profitable ways. “As far as we are aware,” reveals Jackie Olivier, global marketing manager of Two Oceans Wines, “South Africa has the only industry-wide initiative of this kind amongst wine-producing nations and it is certainly a significant competitive advantage, helping to build our reputation and credentials.”

Most of us judge wine by the joy it can bring to our palates. Certainly Estelle Lourens, winemaker at Uitkyk Wine Estate, encourages us to do that. “For me, it’s important to give people the wine that they want,” she says, “and to love what they’re tasting. It doesn’t have to be the best quality wine or the most expensive, as long as you love the wine that you drink.” Lourens makes it sound so simple. There is, in fact, a whole lot more going on back at the farm. Read the rest … Breaking Ground

Renaissance of the Farmers’ Market

Originally published in Tidings Magazine

It’s Saturday, eight in the morning, and already the street is buzzing with conversations and activity. I’d hoped to be here early enough to miss the crowds (a pet peeve of mine) and have first pick of the colourful produce. I guess everyone else had the same idea. Ten years ago, you could roll a bowling ball down the middle of Main Street at this hour. Now, people come out early, carrying bags or pulling wagons ready to fill them with the freshest vegetables, the sweetest fruit and the juiciest pies. I’m at the Brampton farmers’ market this morning, and like so many other markets around Ontario, mine is undergoing a kind of renaissance.

Score one for the locavores. Without them working to spread the love for local food over the last decade or so, I doubt the masses would have ever made their way back from the convenience of one-stop-shopping at the grocery store. Here at the market, I can talk to the farmers and taste the food that was grown not far from my home. If I have one pet peeve, though, (ok, another … oh, alright, I have many), it’s that farmers don’t always sell what they grow. Buyer beware is the rule. My favourite one is the farmer who sells piles of English cucumbers nicely wrapped in plastic. Tell me why they need to be wrapped before coming to the market if they were supposedly picked not long before market day. Can we say, “food terminal”? Know-what-grows-when is all the advice I can give. One more thing: look for the MyPick sign at each vendor’s stall. Created by Farmers’ Markets Ontario, MyPick is a verification program that inspects each member’s farm twice a year to make sure they’re growing what they sell. Neat, eh? There are farmers’ markets springing up all over the place. Mall parking lots make a great market locale, and historic buildings, like Toronto’s St. Laurence Market get a new lease on life. Keep an eye out, and you’ll always come across one somewhere on your travels, and not just on Saturdays either.

Here, the city closes off the main thoroughfare to accommodate a growing number of farmers, buskers and food vendors. It’s a happening place. Look around – you’ll see everyone smiling. Maybe that’s why people fill the street every Saturday. The market junkie admiring the flat beans tells me that he looks forward to trying veg that can’t be easily found at the store. My neighbour insists that the warm aromas of artisan-made pies and cookies make her mouth water. As for me, I have no idea what I’m looking for. I’m on a mission to answer the question that’s foremost in my mind right now: what’s new at the market today?

Pumpkin – Orange Muffins
The recipe for these tasty muffins comes courtesy of Andrews’ Scenic Acres and Scotch Block Winery, a 165 acre family farm and winery located in picturesque Halton Hills, Ontario.
Makes 12 muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp each salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 egg
1 ¾ cups cooked pumpkin puree
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp grated orange rind
½ cup orange juice

1. In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
2. In separate bowl, beat egg; blend in pumpkin, oil, orange rind and juice. Pour all at once over dry ingredients; stir just enough to blend. Spoon into large greased or paper lined muffin cups, filling to tops.
3. Bake in 375° F oven for about 25 minutes or until golden and tops are firm to the touch. Let stand for 5 minutes before removing from pans to cool on racks.

Sweet Peas in Wine
This one’s an old family favourite. The only definite is that you have to use fresh-shelled peas. The frozen peas from the store just don’t taste the same.

3 tbsp olive oil
6 cups fresh-shelled peas
1 bunch Swiss chard, washed and finely chopped
1 tbsp basil leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup water
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add peas and Swiss chard. Stir and toss until vegetables are coated in oil. Add basil, mint and parsley; stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add wine and water.
2. Partially cover pan. Let simmer until the liquid has evaporated and peas are soft. If liquid evaporates before peas are cooked, just add a splash of equal parts wine and water.

Tomato Salad
I always look forward to eating a whole lot of this salad all summer long. It’s a great way to use up the truckload of tomatoes I end up buying.

1 garlic clove, sliced in half
4 tomatoes, quartered and seeds removed
1 green pepper, chopped into bite-sized chunks
½ onion, thinly sliced
4 basil leaves, ripped into pieces
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (best quality)
Salt, to taste

1. Rub the inside of the serving bowl well with the two halves of garlic clove. Add tomatoes, green pepper, onion and basil to the bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, stir together olive oil and salt. Pour dressing over tomato mixture and toss gently. Adjust seasoning.

Apple Spice Cake
I’ve been making this one for decades. Not sure where it came from originally! Spicy and sweet, this one works out nicely as muffins, too.

2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1-3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
½ cup butter
1-1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup applesauce

1. Coat walnuts in a little flour and set aside.
2. In another bowl, combine remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
2. In a separate bowl, cream butter, brown sugar and eggs until light and fluffy.
3. Add dry ingredients alternately with applesauce. Stir in nuts.
4. Spread batter into two greased 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 pans. Bake at 325°F for 45 to 55 minutes.

Roasted Harvest Soup
This recipe was inspired by a cajun recipe I learned at a cooking class I took about 15 years ago. Perfect for those cooler nights. Again, it’s a great way to use up some of those extra vegetables crammed into your fridge.

Soup Base
¼ cup olive oil
2 tsp fresh thyme
2 to 3 sage leaves, finely chopped
¼ tsp cayenne
½ tsp salt
3 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
6 to 8 plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
3 leeks, white part only, sliced lengthwise, washed and dried
6 cups chicken stock
½ cup cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Garnish
6 oz hot pancetta, diced
½ small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp butter
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped finely
4 green onions, finely sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Soup Base
1. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, thyme, sage, cayenne and salt.
2. Brush or toss vegetables with the olive oil mixture. Place the vegetables in a roasting pan, and roast at 350°F for 1-1/4 hours, or until they are beginning to brown.
3. Remove from the pan and place in a food processor. Purée completely.
4. Place vegetables into a large stock pot. Add the stock. Simmer for 15 minutes then add the cream. Simmer again for a few minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes longer to blend the flavours.

For the Garnish
1. Sauté the pancetta on medium heat until crispy. Set aside.
2. Pour off the fat.
3. Over medium heat, sauté the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
4. Add butter to pan. Add Swiss chard, stirring and tossing to cook. Add a little water to pan if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To Serve
1. Reheat greens, if necessary.
2. Divide greens into soup bowls. Pour very hot soup onto the greens. Garnish with the sautéed hot pancetta and green onions.

My Barolo

Sometimes, a visit to a place leaves a lasting impression. Barolo is such a place. The people, food and architecture imprint so profoundly that one’s real home begins to feel distant and unfamiliar. Luckily, experiencing Barolo is easy no matter where home is. Whenever I feel memory tugging at me, I might descend the steps to the cellar and pull a bottle from my collection. We have a few Barolos – two of which are pretty special – a 1961 (an exquisite vintage) and a 1967. The latter wasn’t such a great year, except that it is the one in which I was born. So, I’m sentimental about it.

It’s easy to feel that way about Italy, too. There are so many small towns throughout the Italian countryside that one might pass them off as being all the same. That would just be wrong. Known primarily as the home of some of the most revered wines on the planet, the town of Barolo remains distinctive and endearing. Go see for yourself.

Bread. Better yet, breadsticks. There’s a story that the king who ruled the court of Savoy in the 1600s was so concerned about a guest whose stomach contorted at the mere thought of bread that he ordered his bakers to produce something infinitely more digestible. And so were born grissini. Long, thin and crunchy, you’ll find the best in Barolo.

Grissini bear little resemblance to the boxed breadsticks available in Canadian supermarkets. The artisan-made type has a natural sweetness that pairs perfectly well with prosciutto and a slice of Testun Occelli di Barolo cheese. Bet you can’t stop at just one; I certainly can’t. Make your way down to where Via Roma intersects with Via Gioberti. There, with its green awnings and potted plants is Panetteria Fratelli Cravero. The Cravero family’s hand-stretched breadsticks measuring about 30 centimeters long (sometimes even longer!) are legendary. The grissini come in nine different flavours: those with olives or nuts make me swoon. Don’t leave the Panetteria without purchasing a box of crumbly, sweet Paste Di Meliga. These cornmeal cookies are made from a centuries-old recipe that has since been listed under the Slow Food Protection Act.

You’ll find few restaurants featuring tourist menus here. In fact, you’re likely to find restaurants featuring no menu at all. Whatever’s simmering in the pot is what’s on offer. Braised beef in Barolo, wild boar or rabbit over polenta are local specialties worth the trip up the hill into town. While you’re there indulge, as the Italians do, in Tajarin, the Alba-Style Tagliatelle dish served in a butter and Parmigiano sauce adorned with shaved white truffles and paired with a glass of Barolo wine, of course.

Recipe courtesy of Daniela Di Giovanni of Ente Turismo.

500 g sifted flour
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon oil
A pinch of salt

1. Knead the ingredients. Dip a clean white cloth in cold water, wring it and wrap the dough. Let the dough stand for about two hours, then knead it again and roll it out with a rolling pin so as to get very thin sheets. Let the sheets stand for about ten minutes, then dust them with a little corn meal.

2. Roll up the sheets and cut them into very thin strips to form noodles. Place the noodles loose on a tray lined with a floured cloth and leave them, approximately 1 to 2 hours, to dry out a bit.

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Drop the pasta into the water and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Eat with the locals
– Locanda nel Borgo Antico, 4 Via Boschetti
– La Cantinetta, 33 Via Roma,
– Ristorante del Buon Padre, 30 Via delle Viole

From the top of Barolo Castle, vineyards upon vineyards planted with Nebbiolo are visible as far as the eye can see. Something else is in the air. It’s nothing that can be seen or touched. There’s an aura of mystique that surrounds and envelops this whole area. It’s something that’s inextricably linked to this mythic wine named after the eponymous town.

The king of wines and the wine of kings was not always so. Barolo underwent a pretty miraculous transformation in the 1840s at the hands of royalty. Before then, Barolo was a sweet wine thanks to Nebbiolo’s high sugar content. The Marquise Juliette Colbert-Falletti together with star French winemaker, Louis Oudart, introduced the refined modern winemaking techniques already in vogue in France. The result was a dry and complex wine bursting with aromas and flavours of chocolate, plum and spice that immediately captivated the hearts of European royalty.

Follow the steps down to the depths of Barolo Castle to see the place where the magic happened. The cellars have since been turned into an enoteca (wine bar). Sidle up to the bar to sample Barolo from the neighbouring wineries. Hoping for a souvenir? Shelves displaying countless bottles available for sale stretch the length of the long hall.

The Cioccolato alla Corte del Barolo Chinato (Chocolate in the court of Barolo Chinato) is something you’re sure not to find anywhere else on your travels. This event, taking place in March, is an opportunity to sample exquisite Italian chocolate. If that’s not enough, the festival also gives visitors the chance to pair chocolate with wine. To top it all off, you’ll have a chance to try a drink called Barolo Chinato (Barolo with quinine!). Originally, the mixture was a way to make the malaria medicine easier to swallow. Now, enjoying it as a digestif is all the rage.

Try these
Barolo runs the gamut in price point depending on supply, demand, reputation of producer, scores awarded by critics, whether the planets are aligned…. Regardless, all Barolo is DOCG and adheres to strict production guidelines. No matter which one you choose, you’re still getting a great wine. Look for balanced acidity, notable tannins, and a full-bodied mouthfeel with aromas of tar, roses, leather, tobacco and truffles.

– Fontanafredda Barolo
– Marchesi Di Barolo Barolo
– Paolo Conterno Ginestra Barolo
– Ceretto Bricco Rocche Barolo

Talk about great expectations. How can such a small town possibly live up to the greatness of the wine? I guess it’s easy when history takes the wheel. Barolo should be a tourist trap. Yet, this town of approximately 750 citizens seems to respect and promote its traditions as much as it revels in the popularity of its wine.

You’ll need to drive into Barolo from Alba; but the town’s entrance is as far as your car will take you. Unless you’re driving a cute, new Fiat 500, you’ll find that the streets are much too narrow for most cars. Park it at the entrance of the town and explore on foot. Barolo is a place of stories. There seems to be a museum on every corner. So, pack a pair of comfy shoes and a serious hunger for local history and culture.

The town can be walked in about an hour, including the time it takes to stop in at the many shops that feature local artisans’ work. Hop on a bike and follow the pathways that take you down the hill and through the vineyards. That’s the best way to get a close-up look at the grapes that have made this town famous. The most popular thing to do in Barolo, and the reason why most people visit, is to taste the wine, of course. Come in September for the Barolo Wine Festival. You can sample upwards of 60 Barolos over the course of the three-day event and enjoy live music and dancing to boot. Above all, don’t forget your camera. The ancient architecture and panoramic views from the top are worth the steep climb into town.

What to do
– WiMu (Wine Museum), Barolo Castle
– Museo di Cavatappi (Corkscrew Museum), 4 Piazza Castello
– Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba (throughout October and November), 3 Piazza Medford, Alba

Where to stay
– Locanda della Posta di Barolo, 4 Piazza Municipio
– Cà San Ponzio, 7 Via Rittane
– Hotel Barolo, 2 Via Lomondo

*I purchased the wine myself, but enjoyed with friends!

Spread Thick

Originally published in Quench Magazine

In “Spread Thick”, I asked some great Canadian chefs to share their favourite breads and spreads recipes. I think you’ll agree these are mouthwatering!

  • Jesse Vergen, Smoking Pig Real BBQ and Saint John Ale House (New Brunswick): Sweet Barbecue Pork Butter; Campari and Honey Jelly; Tapenade with Digby Chicks (Cured, Smoked, Dried Herring)
  • Effy Ligris, Kalikori Olive Oil (Quebec): Taramosalata
  • Victor Bongo, Bongo’s Food (Vancouver): Chocolate and Figs Bread; White Chocolate and Cranberry Bread

Read the rest… Quench_April_2014_Mantini

More samples available upon request.