Join In August 20th in Whistler Blackcomb for the 2016 Great Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival

Great Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival

Great Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival

What’s Cheese Rolling, You Ask?

It’s when a flock of Canadians chases an 11-pound wheel of cheese – slipping, tripping, and tumbling towards the finish line. The first one across gets the cheese + 2 ski season passes to Whistler Blackcomb. You can race valiantly or simply take in the action, but one way or another get ready for an incredible day!

Wear Your Cheesiest Costume

Don a big smile with your silliest costume and you could win one of 3 fantastic prizes including gift cards from local restaurants, gift baskets from sponsors, and more! Costume contest host and Just for Laughs comedian Ivan Decker will reward the best individual, team, and child costumes. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

Get a Taste of Canadian Cheese

Explore the wonderful variety of cheeses Canada has to offer at theCanadian Cheese Market, discover pairing tips and tricks at a cheese seminar with expert David Beaudoin, and try fabulous new recipes featuring Canadian cheese at a cooking class with Chef Ned Bell.

Attend the Après Cheese Party

When all the races are over and the 2016 Cheese Champions have been crowned, head on over to Black’s Pub & Restaurant for the Après Cheese Party.

Treat yourself to a special selection of dishes featuring mouth-watering Canadian cheeses while you enjoy the spectacular view. And if you’re one of many lucky attendees, you may go home with some amazing prizes and giveaways!

Event Details

Saturday, August 20th, 2016 – 11am – 4pm

Whistler Blackcomb, BC (view map)

REGISTERING FOR THE RACE

To race with other grown-ups, teens, or kids, you can register for FREE starting at 11:00 am at the festival entrance (where you exit the Excalibur Gondola). Come early as it’s first-come, first-served. (Protective gear will be provided.)

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BCWAS 8th Generation Vineyard Event April 21

Come out to the BCWAS 8th Generation Vineyard wine tasting on Thursday April 21 and experience more BC wine.  There are so many BC wineries around now.  I am in particular VERY interested to try their Riesling and Pinot Noir, as I did a BC Riesling Review last year, and this year I am now starting my BC Pinot Noir Review. Here is the tasting announcement from the BCWAS.

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Join us for a fun tasting with Stefanie Schales of 8th Generation Vineyard!

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        Photo credit 8th Generation.

When Stefanie and Bernd Schales decided to call their winery “8th Generation” they really meant it. Their families have been making wine in Germany since 1783 – that’s a lot of history!

Stefanie studied architecture while Bernd followed the family tradition by becoming a winemaker. He studied at the State Academy for Viticulture & Oenologie of Weinsberg in Germany, and went on to make wine in Germany, New Zealand and South Africa.

After immigrating to Canada from Germany, Stefanie and Bernd purchased their first vineyard, in OK Falls, in 2003. In 2007, they bought the winery in Summerland. Our BCWAS September bus tour has been there twice, and each time the stop was one of our highlights!

8th Generation makes Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Meunier Rosé, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Syrah as well as two frizzante-style bubblies and their flagship Riesling.

Stefanie and Bernd with the 9th generation.                  Photo credit www.spiegel.de.

Stefanie is bringing 12 wines with her, so we’ll get to taste almost everything! 

Wines being poured include:

·         2015 Integrity frizzante

·         2014 Confidence frizzante

·         2014 Chardonnay

·         2015 Riesling Classic

·         2014 Riesling (Best Riesling in Canada at the All-Canadian Wine Championship)

·         2013 Riesling Selection

·         2015 Riesling Selection tank sample

·         2015 Pinot Meunier Rosé

·         2012 Pinot Noir

·         2014 Cabernet/Merlot

·         2013 Syrah

·         2015 RedOne

 

And because we know how much you love your wine and cheese, we’re also going to have a few platters from Les Amis du Fromage.

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The beautiful new tasting room at the winery..             Photo credit: 8th Generation

Date:  Thursday April 21, 2016

Time: 7:30-9:30

Place: our regular venue, De Dutch Pannekoek House, Vancouver Convention Centre West, located in the western corner, lower (seawall) level, near the Olympic Torch.

Price:  Members: only $39/ Guests: $55

Click here to sign up: http://www.bcwas.ca/latest-news/join-us-for-a-fun-tasting-with-stefanie-schales-of-8th-generation-vineyard

Directions:

Transit:  It’s a short walk from both Burrard and Waterfront Stations.

From Burrard Station: walk down (north) on Burrard to the new Convention Centre.

From Waterfront Station: walk west to the new Convention Centre.

You can either walk west along Waterfront Rd to the Olympic Torch, then go across the plaza towards the water and down the stairs, or, follow the seawall along in front of the Convention Centre until you come to the restaurant.

Driving: You can park under the Convention Centre West. Follow the signs for the seaplane terminal. Use the doors closest to the Tap & Barrel. Parking can be expensive, though. You may be able to find cheaper parking a few blocks away.

As always, we recommend that you take transit, and we will provide you with a free ticket home.

2016/2017 BCWAS membership: Join us now, and your membership is good until the end of March 2017. Only $40 for a whole year of our fun and fabulous events! Click here to become a member of the best wine club in town. http://www.bcwas.com/membership.html

Questions? Contact us at events@bcwas.com.

Please note: There are no paper tickets for our events. Once your purchase is completed you will be added to our attendees list. Please check in when you arrive.

Please make sure you have a safe way home. Take transit, call a cab, or ask a friend to be a designated driver. We will have free transit tickets on hand for those who take BC Transit home.

Please note that we are unable to provide refunds. If you purchase a ticket but cannot attend the event, please let us know with as much advance notice as possible and we’ll try to re-sell your ticket, but we cannot guarantee this.

Vancouver Foodsters Mac and Cheese Challenge on Now!

For those of you who loved Mac and Cheese as a child, but are now grown up and need an adult version of Mac and Cheese, try out Vancouver Foodster’s latest challenge.  As I viewed some of the presentations below, I think a glass of wine would be the right pairing.  A Sangiovese, Chenin Blanc, or maybe a Riesling could work in many cases.  Press release is below.

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Vancouver, BC –After a successful poutine challenge comes more comfort food and the focus on the noodle, here is our 1st Mac & Cheese Challenge featuring 10 restaurants in Vancouver that runs from March 20 – April 10, 2014.

Participating restaurants are showcasing Mac & Cheese dishes that were specially created just for this challenge and all will be offered in all of these restaurants from March 20 – April 10. Some of the restaurants have offered their own twists using different types of noodles, while others have added different types of ingredients and flavours, one of which used a local craft beer.

Starting with this challenge, we will now have 2 sets of winners. The People’s Choice winners will be selected by the public who are invited to visit any of the participating restaurants and order the Mac & Cheese dishes and then decide on which ones they think are worthy of winning the challenge by casting their votes.

For this challenge we have 4 media judges and they are:

Cassandra Anderton
Writer and Broadcaster for many publications including her own http://goodlifevancouver.com
twitter: @goodlifevan
Sean Neild
Food Blogger and Photographer. Food Writer for the Eat St. blog on Food Network.ca  and his own flavortownadventures.com
twitter: @YVRBCbro
Thor Diakow
Breakfast Television’s entertainment guru on City in Vancouver.
twitter:@thordiakow
Sherman Chan
Food Blogger for his own shermansfoodadventures.com
twitter: @Sherman38

These are just some of the unique Mac and Cheese dishes in this challenge

Burgundy Restaurant

Stewie's Cheesey Adventure

Stewie’s Cheesey Adventure

Stewie’s Cheesey Adventure

Price: $14

Created by: Chef Stewart Ehrecke

Description: Fresh Macaroni, goat gouda, parmesan, garlic cream reduction, panko crust, tomato chutney

 

Milestones Grill & Bar

Howe Sound my Orecchiette?

Howe Sound my Orecchiette?

Howe Sound my Orecchiette?

Price: $8

Created by: Chef Jason Rosso

Description: Chorizo and double smoked bacon in a creamy cheddar cheese and beer sauce. Featuring Vancouver’s own Howe Sound IPA.

Gramercy Grill

Hoisin Duck Confit Mac & Cheese

Hoisin Duck Confit Mac & Cheese

Hoisin Duck Confit Mac & Cheese

Price: $14

Created by: Chef Dennis Huang

White cheddar Macaroni & Cheese with a topping of five spice, star anise, hoisin duck confit with green onion

Lift Bar & Grill

Ocean Wise Crab Mac & cheese

Ocean Wise Crab Mac & Cheese

Ocean Wise Crab Mac & Cheese

Price: $12.00

Created by: Chef George Koay

Fresh West Coast Ocean Wise Dungeness Crab Meat with Macaroni and Fresh Mascarpone and Podano Cheeses. Topped with Panko bread crumbs.

The full list of participating restaurants can be found here
http://vancouverfoodster.com/2014/03/20/vancouver-mac-cheese-challenge/

Voting: The public is invited to order these Mac and Cheese dishes at the participating restaurants keeping in mind this criteria – originality, creativity, uniqueness, traditional, non-traditional, price, value and most importantly taste. People can vote the same day after trying the Mac & Cheese creation and they can vote once a day throughout the promotion. People will be encouraged to Vote for their favourites from March 20 – April 10, 2014
http://vancouverfoodster.com/mac-and-cheese-challenge/

With a smartphone, customers will be able to vote from their table in the restaurant right after they have eaten the Mac and Cheese creation. 

We will announce the winning restaurants and their mac and cheese dishes on April 11, 2014.

Dine Out at Home in Vancouver – A Delicious Dinner

Spaghetti sauce with yellow and green bell peppers

Today’s Dine Out experience is at home, Chez Karl’s place. On today’s menu is:

  • Cow and Goat’s Milk Melange cheese
  • Spaghetti sauce with green and yellow bell peppers
  • Clementine oranges

The appetizer, the Melange cheese, comes from Trader Joe’s in Washington state.  If you have never heard of Trader Joe’s, it is an organic grocery store chain.  The one I went to was in Bellingham, WA.  This is a hard cheese, white, with no rind.  It has a bit of the sharpness that you can get from goat’s milk, but is still very mild. Low amount of salt.

To pair with this cheese and the main course, I opened a bottle of Portia Prima, Ribera del Duero, DOC, 2007, Spain.  I picked up this bottle at the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival last year.  It is made from the Tempranillo grape. Opening it and pouring it it in my glass with great anticipation.  It was opaque garnet.  Dark cherry, plum, leather, vanilla and some leafy aromas.  Full body with soft mouthfeel and low tannins.  Tobacco, cherries, plum, cassis and some vanilla, oak and leafiness.  There was some chocolate in the mid palate.  Long length with a peppery finish.  A very nice wine that has a good balance between fruit, tannins and acidity.  The Melange cheese just melted together with this wine.  It was an excellent appetizer pair.

Portia Prima DOC, Spain 2007

The spaghetti sauce was served on top of Trader Joe’s mixed cheese multi-coloured tortellini. The spaghetti sauce was full flavoured, but not spicy.  Made with ground beef, tomatoes, green and yellow bell peppers, long thin strips of onion, garlic and chopped celery and seasoned with marjoram and a bit of the Portia Prima wine. Marjoram  is related to oregano, but has a bit of a sweetness to it.  The richness of the spaghetti sauce tasted nice with the richness of the Portia Prima.

After a heavy main course, it is nice to finish it off with some fruit.  The clementines are from California. About the size of a golf ball but very sweet and without any seeds.  I’m satiated.  I hope you have a great dinner today too, whether it is at a Dine Out Vancouver restaurant or at home.  Cheers.

Pairing a Loire Valley Red with a Petit Camembert in France

You know that you are having a great day when you have a chance to wander through French shops, looking for wine and cheese to pair together. My trek lead me to select a Pierre Chanau Saumur Champigny 2009 with a Petit Camembert au Lait Cru from E. Graindorge.

Getting to my room, the smell of the camembert filled the room, like freshly baked bread, but this time with a more earthy aroma.  Hunting in the kitchenette for a corkscrew, I feel like a child waiting to open his Christmas presents… And with the corkscrew being found, on to my review.

The Pierre Chanau Saumur Champigny 2009 is produced in the Loire Valley.  This wine is produced from the Cabernet Franc grape. Nice medium reddish purple in the glass.  Some leather, sour cherry, raspberry and oak aromas.  Medium body, dry with oft tannins.  Sour cherry and raspberry flavours up front, with cedar notes showing up mid palate and cherry on the finish.  Medium acidity to make the wine lively.  After letting the wine breathe in my glass, violet aroma and flavours opened up with this wine.  A nice wine to sip.  Not super complex, but not all wines need to be.

The Petit Camembert au Lait Cru by E. Graindorge came in a 150 gram round. Unwrapping the camembert there was a nice white rind.  Cutting into the cheese there were small holes in the cheese. It had a light creamy yellow interior. Quite aromati with an earthy aroma.  Taking a bite it was smooth, with earthy, mushroom, cooked corn, and nutty flavours.  Many different flavours happening at the same time.

The cheese went well with the wine.  Neither overpowered the other. The wine toned down the earthy, mushroom flavours, leaving the nuttiness and creaminess on the palate.

Here is the link if you would like to read more about E. Graindorge and their cheeses. Cheers.

Enjoy some Port and Cheese for Christmas?

With this cold snap here in Vancouver, it got me to thinking about opening a bottle of port and enjoying some cheeses over a couple of evenings. I thought that you may also enjoy such things, so I am giving you a short list of some ports and some cheeses that you may want to try.

Port is a fortified wine made in Portugal by definition.  It is usually quite sweet and typically made from one or more of the grape types: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Cao, and Tinta Barroca. Other countries make a fortified wine and sometimes call it port, just like some countries make sparkling wine and call it champagne.  So when I am talking about port, I am meaning port from Portugal.

I checked out the Everything Wine store website, www.everythingwine.ca to see what port they have in stock in the $25-$50 range (sometimes it is nice to spoil yourself).  Most of the port listed is from Portugal, but there is at least one in the list from Australia (can you spot it?):

Croft Pink Port 750ml Port $29.99
De Bortoli Black Noble 750 mL Port $46.99
Fonseca LBV 2001 Port 750ml Port $38.99
Graham’s The Vancouver Club Reserve Port 750 mL Port $29.99
Graham’s 10 Year old Tawny Port 750 mL Port $39.99
Graham’s 98 Quinta dos Malvedos Port 375 mL Port $36.99
Graham’s 99 Quinta dos Malvedos Port 375 mL Port $36.99
Graham’s Six Grapes Vintage Character Port 750 mL Port $29.99
Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 750 mL Port $28.99
Hardy’s Whiskers Blake Classic Tawny Port 750 mL Port $29.99
Kopke Colheita LBV 1997 Port 750 mL Port $49.99
Nieport Colheita 1995 Port 375 mL Port $44.99
Quinta de Ventozelo Ten yr old Tawny 375 mL Port $32.99
Quinta Do Crasto 2005 LBV 750ml Port $34.99
Smith Woodhouse LBV Port 750 mL Port $37.99
Taylor Fladgate 10 Yr Tawny Port Port $39.99
Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage 750 mL Port $25.99
Taylor Fladgate Quinta de Vargellas 1995 Vintage Port 375ml Port $49.99
Ventozelo 1998 Port, LBV 750ml Port $39.99

You may have noticed different terms for the ports: Vintage, Tawny, LBV.  Here is a bit of info about these different styles of port (Note that there are more styles than just these):

Vintage:  This is port that is produced from grapes from one year (vintage) and deemed to be of exceptional quality by the port house.  Not every year is declared a vintage in the Douro. The decision on whether to declare a vintage is made in the spring of the second year following the harvest. About 2% of the total port production is Vintage.

Tawny: is a basic blended port,  which is aged in the barrel before being bottled. This type of port can be aged from 3 to 40 years.  The aging in oak causes the wine to take on a reddish-brown colour and develops a dry nutty flavour with raisin notes.

LBV:  This stands for Late Bottled Vintage. iThis is port that was originally destined for bottling as Vintage Port, but was left in the barrel for longer than had been planned. This type of port is bottled between 4 and 6 years after the vintage. The filtered version of this wine has the advantage of being ready to drink without being decanted, is bottled with a stopper that can be easily re-corked and enjoyed over many tastings.

If you want to try some BC “port”, there is some that you can try from Grey Monk and from Sumac Ridge.

Some ports that I’ve reviewed in the past:

Portugal, Taylor Fladgate, White Port, NV
–  Medium gold colour. Oxidized aroma.  Green, orange marmalade, lemon meringue pie, lime, almond aromas.  Medium low acidity, fuller body and intensity.  Sweet, caramel, citrus, dried fruit, and apricot flavours.

Portugal, Taylor Fladgate, 20 year old Tawny Port, NV – Medium tawny colour.  Pronounced intensity.  Figs, red fruit, dried fruit, red cherry, earthy aromas.  Medium sweet.  Medium plus acidity / body / intensity.  Spices, raisin, red fruit, dried fruit and red cherry flavours.  Elegant.

Portugal, Quinta do Panascal, Fonseca Single Quinta Vintage Port 1991 – Opaque purple colour.  Some deposit in the glass.  Black fruit, dried fruit, orange and oak aromas.  Full bodied, medium sweetness.  Spice, raisin, red fruit, black cherry flavours.  Medium to long length.

Some suggestions for cheese to go with port:
Blue cheeses. Stilton is a traditional pairing with port.  The saltiness and the bitterness of the blue cheese balancing with the sweetness and fruit of the port.
aged cheddar
aged gorgonzola
– experiment with other salty cheeses

I hope this gives you a starting point for your Christmas holiday tipple. Enjoy!

Valentine’s Day, Aphrodisiacs, and Wine

Valentine’s Day is coming up soon. A nice dinner with special wine and food with your significant other i’m sure would be greatly appreciated. But what wine and food to serve?

There are many foods that are purported to be an aphrodisiac:

  • oysters on the half shell,
  • asparagus,
  • cheese, and
  • chocolate.

There are more, but i’ll give you a bit of info on these and some pairings you may want to consider. Oysters are an aphrodisiac due to their shape similar to a woman’s genitals, but also because they contain zinc which which promotes well being. Try pairing oysters with some bubble. You may enjoy:

  • Moreson, Blanc de Blancs Brut Method Cap Classic, South Africa. This is 100% Chardonnay. A very fine bubble. Red apple, citrus, light spice and bready flavour. Long finish. Nice.
  • Cuillier Pere et Fils, Brut Selection Pinot Noir / Chardonnay, France. Fine bubble with green apple and pear aromas. Lemon and pear flavours. This wine was like enjoying a fresh pear. Very tasty!

The asparagus of course visually is a phallic symbol, and visual excitement can be part of being an aphrodisiac. Try pairing it with:

  • Cremaschi Furlotti Pinot Noir from Chile. A wonderful bouquet of violets. Light bodied with some acidity. The floweriness of the Pinot Noir grape is an aphrodisiac in itself.
  • Miguel Torres Cabernet Sauvignon Rose, also from Chile. This one has a bouquet of cherries, which continues on the palate. Some spiciness and a balance of acidity with sweetness.

In European culture, cheese is said by some to resemble the scent of a woman. Italian culture views cheese as an aphrodisiac, much like chocolate. Some cheeses would be a fresh goat cheese, a brie/camembert, and maybe a bit stronger cheese such as a Quebec Oka. Remember that cheese right out of the fridge has little aroma. Leave the cheese out for a few hours so that it warms up and those aphrodisiac aromas can come out. A few wines:

  • Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rose from South Africa. Mulderbosch rose shows some typical cabernet flavours and aromas, but without the big tannins that one get with a red wine.
  • Amayna Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. Citrus and tropical fruit flavours with some oakiness on the bouquet due to barrel fermentation. The wine had a very round mouthfeel with just the right amount of acidity to cut through the fat in the cheese.

Chocolate contains both a sedative, which relaxes and lowers inhibitions, and a stimulant to increase activity and the desire for physical contact. A red wine and/or a dessert red wine would go well here.

  • Buller Old Fine Muscat, Rutherglen, Australia (dessert wine). Medium dark amber-coloured Muscat has aromas of toffee and marmalade. This Muscat has enough body and flavour to balance with the richness of chocolate (and chocolate cake)
  • Poplar Grove Merlot, British Columbia 2005. Light garnet in colour. Cherry, cassis and leather nose. Big cherry flavour with some vanilla. Medium tannin and length.

I find that the roundness and fruitiness of Merlot and it’s softer tannins make it a nice varietal to pair with chocolate. In my opinion 72% cocoa is about the right amount of cocoa for me. When you get into the 90% range, it gets a bit gritty.

I hope you are able to find some inspiration in these suggestions. Enjoy Valentine’s Day!

A new wine and cheese experience

Every region of France has it’s own unique cheese. In Burgundy, one of those cheeses is the Epoisses de Bourgogne. This cheese has a cream cheese type texture and an orangey, wrinkled rind. The rind is washed with the marc de Bourgogne as it ripens. Marc is the left over juices after squeezing out the fermented grape skins and then distilling these juices. The cheese was semi-firm with a woody / nutty aroma. The aroma was not as strong as the previous cheeses. It had a cottage cheese flavour, with nutty flavoured rind, and a hint of saltiness. Quite nice.

The wine I paired with it was from the Rhone valley. It was the Chateau de Beaulieu, La Chatelaine, 2007, Cotes de Rhone. The blend was 60% grenache, and the remainder unknown amounts of Syrah, Cinsault, Mouvedre and Carignan. This wine was the Medaille de Bronze award from the Concours des Grands Vins de France 2008. It was a deep purple colour in the glass. There were intense aromas of meat, pepper, red and black fruits. The red and black fruit flavours continued on the palette. It was very peppery and had a long finish. Very full bodied, low tannins and good acidity. The fruit and black pepper flavours of the wine complemented the creaminess and nuttiness of the cheese. It was a great pairing. Salut!

Another wine and cheese experience

While in Colmar in Alsace, ii thought I should pair a cheese with an Alsatian style Pinot gris. The wine for this pairing is the Ruhl Mann Pinot Gris 2007, tete de cuvee. To this with the help of a local cheese merchant I selected a Peladron de chevre au lait cru cevenol, a soft goat milk based cheese. The pinot gris was light bodied, straw coloured. It was off-dry, apple flavour and good acidity. The cheese was an adventure. Cheese should be taken out of the fridge and let warm up. Most people recommend waiting a few hours before eating the cheese to bring out the full flavour. There is no harm in leaving it out longer, so it stayed in my room for 24 hrs before I opened the wrapper. It was VERY aromatic. It smelled very much like the durian fruit you can get in asian supermarkets. The interior of the cheese was white and creamy and very runny. The flavour was of durian candy, which is not as intense as the aroma, and has a sweetness to it. To this very big, aromatic, creamy cheese, the acidity of the pinot gris was a great counterpoint, and made the pairing work. That being said, my next wine and cheese pairing will be with a hard cheese. Salut!