Renaissance of the Farmers’ Market

Photo courtesy of The City of Brampton
Photo courtesy of The City of Brampton

This article was 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. Continue reading “Renaissance of the Farmers’ Market”

My Barolo

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This article was originally published in Tidings Magazine.

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. Continue reading “My Barolo”

How To Write About Food And Drink

_FRY8808 Canada Day is almost here, and like me, you’re probably planning to indulge in some celebratory food and drink. For most of us, simply enjoying whatever happens to be in front of us doesn’t seem to be enough anymore. Instead, we all have to whip out our phones and start snapping pics. And why not? Documenting that awesome fare will ensure that it lives forever beyond the boundaries of memory.

Let’s be honest. Many (maybe even most) food and drink photos or descriptions do not exactly leave one’s mouth watering. Quite the opposite, actually. There are even some chefs who have gone so far as to ban photography in their restaurants altogether! But, don’t worry. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re describing your meal in a Facebook post, on Instagram, in a blog or in a magazine article. If you keep these four tips in mind, you will always leave your followers hungry for more. Continue reading “How To Write About Food And Drink”

Grab A Book And Eat It!

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Ambrosia salad, gumbo, fruit pizza and mimosa. Not your typical dinner party fare. But, this isn’t your typical dinner party. This party is actually a book club gathering.

Book clubs show no signs of being a passing fad. Even years after Oprah encouraged her followers to band together, read and discuss, libraries continue to host clubs and recommend books. And why not? As a friend of mind (and avid book clubber) once told me, “It’s like being part of a community.” The key to these micro communities is the book, of course. But, you can’t deny (at least, I can’t) that food is also a vital part. Continue reading “Grab A Book And Eat It!”

Back to Work…

Not that I’ve actually been on vacation or anything so fun and relaxing. I’ve spent the last month or so focusing on “mining for new clients”, as they say. Who are they? And how does one go about the mining part? That’s what I’d like to know. That’s the art of marketing, and marketing yourself, in particular, I suppose. How many of you find that last one a bit of a challenge?

On another note, I have some great news. Over the past year, Tidings Editor-in-Chief and I have been developing ideas that will take both print and online versions of the magazine onto bigger and better things. We will be rolling them out slowing over the course of 2014. You’ll notice the first change with the new year’s first issue – a name change! Continue reading “Back to Work…”

The Dirty Truth About Winemaking

Some days I think I am insane to move from straight winemaking into the business side of things … I believe if you keep moving forward with your passion, eventually you will reach your goal. At least I hope so! Kevin Panagapka, Owner/Winemaker 2027 Cellars

Just imagine making your own wine. Sip and savour it while you gaze out over your very own expanse of vineyards. Host parties, eat great food, be one with the land. It’s certainly an idyllic thought. Winemaker Adam Delorme at The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery concurs. “Every spring you get to witness the miracle of life in the vineyard.” But reality isn’t always so picture perfect. Unpredictable weather, fickle consumers, the cost of equipment … all of these and more can wreak havoc on so noble a pursuit as winemaking. From an outsider’s point of view, it might seem that passion is all you need to make it work. Yet, John Bookwalter, Owner/Winemaker of Bookwalter Winery, admits that knowing how to make money might indeed be as necessary a talent.

So, should you throw caution to the wind and open your own winery? Do you have what it takes to succeed? I asked 12 wine producers to spill the nitty gritty truth about the wine biz. Continue reading “The Dirty Truth About Winemaking”

Crave

jeffreywVariety is indeed the spice of our lives, and this allows us to really diversify with minimal additional effort. –Joel MacCharles

Let’s call it the persistence of imagination. We’ve all seen it, if not actually experienced it. It’s that unquenchable desire that drives a person to turn a passion for food, such as a love of chocolate, into something that explodes beyond the boundaries of their own kitchen walls. Maybe it’s a special jam recipe or homemade wine. Whatever the creation, before long others end up craving it, too. What begins as a simple food experiment meant to sate a personal hunger turns into something bigger — maybe even something lucrative. Connecting with people who relentlessly pursue the dictates of their taste buds is truly inspiring. There’s a vibe. Soon, their endless pursuit of flavour will have you believing that anything is possible. But who are these people? And why do they bother going to such lengths when all they need do is walk into a grocery store and find loads of products that are already there? Dan Luciani, a technology expert by day, Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison, who run wellpreserved.ca, Angelo Bean, the Sausage King, and Jefferson Alvarez, executive chef at Vancouver’s Fraîche, had a ready answer for me: when passion takes hold, there is no turning back. Continue reading “Crave”