FALL CORNUCOPIA ARRIVES AT HARVEST COMMUNITY FOODS

I just found out about Harvest Community Foods.  They have both a restaurant where you can eat, plus you can get harvest boxes with fresh veggies delivered to your home.  It looks really good, so I thought I’d pass along this press release about them along.  Enjoy.

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Chinatown grocer and café showcases seasonal share boxes and menu items
 
Vancouver, B.C. (October 29, 2018): Autumn’s colourful produce has taken over Harvest Community Foods, where community-supported agriculture (CSA) boxes are jam-packed with seasonal produce perfect for crafting cozy comfort meals. While visiting Chinatown, guests will be enticed by alluring aromas from the Harvest kitchen, where nourishing new menu items are available for dining in or taking out. Once stepped foot, shelves stocked with local products beckon food fans to browse at leisure. Whether picking up a curated share box, enjoying a bowl of warm ramen or perusing unique artisan goods, visitors are sure to appease all of their culinary cravings at Harvest.
Harvest Community Foods’ CSA program is thriving, and those who haven’t yet explored these crafty share boxes are encouraged to place an order. Each box is packed with seasonal fruits and veggies sourced from local farms, and the restaurant’s weekly newsletter carries simple yet satisfying recipes incorporating many of the featured ingredients. Harvest’s culinary treasure chests can be enjoyed year-round as a single purchase for one week, multiple weeks or an entire season. Boxes cost $33 each, and contain portions for two people. To place an order, catch a sneak peek of upcoming box inclusions, and browse recipes sourced by award-winning Chef / Owner Andrea Carlson, sign up for Harvest’s bi-weekly newsletter.
“Anyone who loves food will fall in love with our fall CSA boxes,” says Gabriella Mayer, chef / partner of Harvest Community Foods. “Each bag features a rainbow of colours, textures, and bold and distinctive flavours. This fall, our guests can expect delicious buttery squash, tart coronation grapes, earthy Chanterelle mushrooms, bitter chicories and radicchio. We’re excited to share all the ways people can play with these star ingredients!”
Those who prefer ready-to-go meals can drop by Harvest and ward off the fall chill with a selection of hearty and healthy bowls. Seasonal menu items include the ever-popular local squash ramen with miso broth, nori, scallions, radish and sesame; and the newly introduced roasted vegetable soba noodle salad, packed with vitamin-rich goodies like beets, carrots, squash, kale and parsnips. Diners can amp up the nutrition, and introduce healthy probiotics, with fresh on-tap kombucha. The house-made bubbly rotates constantly according to what’s in season, with fall flavours including coronation grape and spiced pear. Check out The Province to learn how to make Harvest’s signature rice noodles with hazelnut, smoked chili and greens.

After fuelling up at the café, guests may browse shelved provisions for local, organic and seasonal goodies. One such supplier is Cedar Isle Farm, whose organic grains and flour range from traditional rye to soft white spring wheat and hull-less oats and barley; grain crops are grown and cared for at the family farm in Agassiz, BC, and every product is certified organic.

Harvest Community Foods is open from Monday to Friday from 11am to 8pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 7pm. For more information, visit Harvestunion.ca.
About Harvest Community Foods
At its core, Harvest Community Foods is committed to bringing sustainable fare that is equally delicious and health-conscious to the local community. By carrying locally sourced produce, small-batch artisan products and plenty of vegan alternatives, Harvest aims to encourage Vancouverites to cultivate a close connection to the food they eat and the region they call home. The grocery and restaurant’s design achieves the perfect balance between rustic and contemporary, echoing the aesthetic yet approachable vibe of sister eatery Burdock & Co. Warm, welcoming and bustling throughout the day, Harvest is a place to gather and connect – a true cornerstone of the thriving neighbourhood in which it is located. Harvestunion.ca
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French Wine Connection 2011 Visits Vancouver – Do You Like Organic Wines?

Organic and biodynamic wineries from France were here in Vancouver on November 9 to show what they have to offer to our market. I think organic and biodynamic wines are becoming more well-known and more people are specifically searching for these types of wines.

What are Organic and Biodynamic Wines?

Just in case you are not familiar with these terms, “Organic” wines are wines that are produced from grapes that have been grown without the use of any artificial fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Also in the wine making process, no sulfites may be applied as a disinfectant to the wine bottle.  Biodynamic wines use organic principles, but go even further, into using special preparations (fertilizers) to apply to the vines, no copper sprays are applied to the leaves of the grapes to prevent powdery mildew, and various vineyard tasks are undertaken according to the phase of the moon.  There is much more to biodynamic wine making and viticulture than this, so I refer you to this Wikipedia article on biodynamic wine making.

White Wine Picks

  • Domaine Renaud Boyer Bourgogne 2009 and Saint-Romain 2009

    Domaine Renaud Boyer Bourgogne 2010, Burgundy, France. (organic) Light stone fruit and honey nose. Cinnamon upfront on your palate with red apples mid-palate.  Light body, dry with medium acidity and medium length.  Very nice.

  • Chateau Pouchaud-Larquey 2010, Entre-deux-Mers, France.  (organic) This organic wine won a Silver Medal at the Concours d’Aquitaine des vins issus de l’agriculture biologique 2010. Although the grape varieties are not listed, I would guess that this is a Semillon / Sauvignon Blanc blend, as these are the customary white grapes of the Bordeaux region. This wine had a light stone fruit nose.  High acidity with peach and other stone fruits, and citrus flavours.  It was very fruity with a medium body.
  • Chateau de Lagarde “Cuvee Prestiage” 2009, AOC Bordeaux Superieur, France. (organic) Another Semillon / Sauvignon Blanc blend. Medium lemon in colour.  Honey, stone fruit and oak aromas. Round mouthfeel with medium minus acidity.  Lemon, oak and sweet spice on the palate.  Medium plus length. Very nice.
  • Caves Jean Bourdy Cotes du Jura varied vintages

    Caves Jean Bourdy Cotes du Jura 1959, Jura, France.  (biodynamic since 2006)) The Jura region is along the eastern border of France. How often do you get a chance to try a 42 year old wine?  I never have.  This is a very cool climate wine made from the Chardonnay grape.  The wines are aged in 4-5 year old barrels and undergoes malolactic fermentation.  This wine was pear skin with a brownish tint. Oxidized nose with honey and caramel aromas.  Medium minus body, with high acid, green apples and caramel flavours.  Wow, a very interesting wine.

  • Caves Jean Bourdy Cotes du Jura 2003 “Vin Jaune”, Jura, France.  (biodynamic since 2006) Vin Jaune is also new to me, yet very familiar. If you have tried a fino sherry, Vin Jaune undergoes the same process.  This wine is produced from the Savagnin grape. After fermentation the wine barrels are filled up to the top and allowed to evaporate, reducing the volume in the barrel and a creating an air pocket at the top of the barrel. As the wine oxidizes, it grows a film of yeast that is similar, but not the same as the flor growing on fino sherry. Limpid lemon colour.  Very much a dry sherry / cognac nose.  Also some caramel aromas.  Medium body with oak, citrus, tar, apples and spice.  Very interesting.
  • Chemin de Bassac ISA White, 2010, Languedoc-Roussillon, France. (organic) This is a Roussane / Viognier blend.  Light lemon colour.  Light lemon and stone fruit nose.  Very fruity. Dry but tastes sweet from the fruit.  Citrus, apples and stone fruit flavours.
  • Domaine du Closel Savennieres Le Clos du Papillon 2007, Loire Valley, France. The LoireValley produces Chenin Blanc wines in many styles from still, to sparkling, to dessert.  This wine is a still wine.  Pale lemon, with caramel and oxidized fruit nose. Cinnamon, citrus and oak flavours.  Round mouth feel. Quite elegant.
  • Agence CLVD O by Gilles Louvet Chardonnay 2010, Southern France. Nice colour.  Lemony gold. Light tropical fruit nose. Medium body, round with undertone of acid.  Red apples with some sweet spice and vanilla. Elegant.
  • Lescarret Zacmau 2010, AOC Gaillac (South west), France.  This is made with a little known white aromatic grape called mauzac.  This wine has a nice pear and honey nose. Round with medium minus body, honey, peach and apples.  Medium acidity to keep the wine refreshing.  A real surprising wine and one I would look for.

Red Wine Picks

  • Domaine de Petit Roubie Syrah

    Chateau Pouchaud-Larquey 2009, Bordeaux, France. This is a Bordeaux blend.  Deeper garnet in colour.  Cherries and some meatiness on the nose. Fruity dark fruit with cassis, some tar and vanilla. Dry with medium tannins.

  • Petit Roubie Syrah 2010, Languedoc-Roussillon, France. Opaque ruby.  Nice nose with fried bacon and dark fruit aromas. Lots of fruit.  Blueberries, ripe black fruits and cherries, along with nutmeg spice and vanilla.  Dry tannins.  A real tasty wine.
  • Montirius Le Clos 2007, AOC Vacqueyras, France. (biodynamic) This is a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah. Medium garnet in colour.  Dark fruit, sausage and meaty nose.  Medium body.  Round mouth feel with cherries, dark fruit and some spice.
  • Montirius Terre des Aines 2009, AOC Vacqueyras, France. (biodynamic) This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre.  Medium garnet in the glass.  Violets, cherries and kirsch.  Tons of flavour.

All these wines need a local rep to bring them into the BC market.  So keep your eyes open and check the French wine section.  Maybe one of these organic or biodynamic wines will show up soon.

Some Chilean insights to vineyards and wine

I thought i’d pass along 2 bits of info i learned while i was speaking with wine makers in Chile.

1. organic red grapes appear to have thicker skins and can be more tannic than non-organic grapes (at least for Chile). So different vinification is needed for organic red grapes vs non-organic. The winemaker suggested that less maceration is needed as you would get too much tannins from the organic grapes.

2. deeper soils make softer tannins for red grapes (at least for Chile). For a cabernet sauvignon, it appeared that the deeper soil made softer tannins, and the shallower soil made firmer tannins. So the wine maker, knowing the differences caused by soil depth, vinified the cabernet plots separately and came out with two entirely different wines.

Do u have any stories like this from winemakers around the world? If so, please let me know.

A Taste of LaStella Wines

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} catch(err) {}LaStella Winery is one of the new wineries in the Okanagan, opening it’s doors in May 2007. It has a sister winery, which you may have heard of called Le Vieux Pin. I was recently invited to a tasting of LaStella’s wines in Yaletown and was very impressed with their wines. LaStella operates their vineyards with a cross between organic and biodynamic practices. They also contract grapes from like minded, quality growers (which I will talk about shortly). They also take great care in the production of the wine, from hand-destemming grapes, to using whole berries for fermentation and using small open-top oak fermentors.

LaStella has both white, rose, and red wines. The two white wines I tried was the Leggiero Unoaked Chardonnay 2008 and the Vivace Pinot Grigio 2008. The Leggiero and Vivace grapes come from the Kalala vineyard. For those that have read my past posts, the Kalala Organic Winery in West Kelowna has produced some wonderful organic wines at a great price point. They also told me that they sell some of their grapes to other wineries. So I was VERY happy to see that LaStella is one of those wineries.

The Leggario had nice mango and pineapple aromas. It was medium body, with light acidity, lime and mineral flavours. The Vivace is a gorgeous, refreshing pinot grigio. It has a crisp citrus and pineapple nose. Good acidity, with pineapple, lime, and mineral flavours. Next I moved on to the Lastellina Rose 2008. This is a merlot based rose. It has a nice salmon colour and a ripe strawberry nose. It is medium bodied, with some spice (cinnamon), and strawberry flavour.

There were 3 reds to enjoy. I found out that the reds are all un-fined and un-filtered, which gives you the closest to a barrel sample experience as possible. The red first was the Allegretto Merlot 2006. It was medium garnet in colour. Ripe plums and light oak on the nose. Medium body and tannins, with black cherry flavours. Their premier wine that evening was the Maestoso Merlot 2006. This wine was deep garnet in colour. Ripe black fruit, cigar box and mocha nose. Ripe black fruit, cherries and mocha flavour, with a cherry finish. The tannins were very fine. This is an exceptional wine. Last but not least was the Fortisimo 2007. This wine will soon be bottled, so we were treated with a sneak taste of this wine. The Fortisimo is a Bordeaux blend, with approximately 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc. This wine had a very complex nose and aroma. I unfortunately did not take detailed notes on this wine, but it had many flavour dimensions and a long finish.

What’s upcoming for LaStella? I heard that they have Sangiovese grapes planted and will be harvesting them to blend with other red varietals to offer their first “Super Tuscan“. I joked that maybe it should be a “Super Okanagan“. Either way, I look forward to trying this wine. Enjoy!

Small wineries in Kelowna

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} catch(err) {}Everyone visits the big wineries in Kelowna, like Mission Hill and Quail’s Gate, but there are other small wineries worth a visit. This past week I had the pleasure of visiting:
Rollingdale Winery
Kalala Organic Estate Winery
Camelot Vineyards Estate Winery

Rollingdale Winery is located in Westbank very near to the other big wineries in the area. Rollingdale is certified organic, which I think is getting to be more common in the Okanagan. There was a wide range of wines to taste, from whites to reds to dessert wines. This winery started in 2004, with most of the vineyard area in Okanagan Falls and a few acres around the winery in Westbank. An interesting white was their 2007 Chardonnay / Semillon. This is a wild ferment. Vanilla on the nose. Very tart with green apple flavours. Would be good chilled with shellfish. Their red selection was quite large, with the winery making a 2007 “La Droite” and a 2006/07 “La Gauche” wine following the blends that are used in the Right and Left banks in Bordeaux. The “La Droite” was primary Merlot, with smaller amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. This wine was deep purple in the glass. Sweet cherry / plum nose. Round mouth feel, cherry flavour and firm but not overpowering tannins. For those with a sweet tooth a nice wine was the 2007 Pinot Noir Icewine. Pear coloured. Apple, pear, and burnt matches aroma and flavours. Good acidity to balance the sweetness.

Another certified organic winery I visited on this trip was Kalala Organic Estate Winery, also located in Westbank. I was impressed with all the wines they let me try. As it is now officially summer, I welcomed the Pinot Noir Rose 2007. This wine is light salmon / orangy in colour. Strawberry and cranberry nose. Strawberry flavour with good acidity. A great choice for a patio sipper. An unusual wine that I tried (and bought a few bottles) was their Kalala Cuvee Noir 2007. What made it unusual? The 3 varietals that they used to make this wine: Zweigelt, Blaufrankisch, and Michurinetz. I’ve tried two of the 3 varietals before, but not all 3, and not all 3 blended together! This wine was a deep, bright purple colour. Red fruit, plummy nose. Sweet candy, red fruit, ripe cherry flavours with low tannins. This wine should hold up to full bodied grilled meats. The prices for Kalala’s wines are also excellent. The Cuvee is $14.95 and the Rose is $17.95. Only their Zweigelt icewine broke the $20 mark with a price of $75. They want to keep the prices reasonable to show people that organic wines need not be expensive and can be quite tasty. The Zweigelt icewine 2006 if you are curious, had honey, orange, butterscotch aromas and flavours.

The last winery I visited was Camelot Vineyards Estate Winery. I do not know if this is an organic winery, but I do know that it just opened to the public 2 weeks ago. They produce both red and white wines, but at the moment, only their white wines are bottled and ready for tasting. The reds I saw were still in barrels (both French and American oak) waiting for bottling next year I believe. The 2 whites I tried were a Pinot Gris and a Gewurztraminer. I enjoyed the Gewurztraimer. It was light bodied, with lychee and spice aromas and flavours. I have tasted many very nice Gewurztraimers from the Okanagan the last few years. If you have not had a chance to try a BC Gewurztraimer, you should give it a try.

5 Nations Cup Results

A little over 2 weeks ago the South World Wine Society had their annual 5 Nations Cup. This is a blind tasting, where a white and red wine is tasted from each of Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa. The members and guests of the event rate the wines without knowing which country each wine is from.

Everyone loves Australian wines. They have been #2 in sales after BC VQA wine lately, but they were #1 in BC for quite a while before that. People on the other hand have viewed Chilean and Argentinean wines as being somehow cheap and cheerful wines. This tasting proved to people the exact opposite. The favourite WHITE and RED wine for the evening was from Chile. Argentina’s red wine came in second place. The Aussie red and white wines ended up in last place!

So, if you haven’t tried a Chilean wine, maybe now is the time to go to your favorite bottle shop and picking up one or two? If you want to see which wines were tasted and their rankings, go to http://www.southworldwine.com and scroll down to the middle of the page.

And lastly a few Chilean wines you may want to buy and try:

Novas Organic Carmenere Cabernet, Chile, 2004, $16.99
Montes Alpha Chardonnay, Chile, 2006, $26.85
Viu Manent Malbec Reserva, Chile, 2005 (private stores)
Matetic “EQ” Sauvignon Blanc, Chile, 2005 (private stores)

Enjoy!