Picnic Wines

September brings us the last days of summer and the year’s final opportunity for sun-drenched picnics. But how do we choose a suitable wine to ease us out of fancy-free summer and into the formality of fall? Why not go regional or, at least, Canadian? You’ll cut down on the greenhouse gas emissions required to transport the wine, and you’ll support our growers and producers. Local Pairings “Three of my favourite picnic wines are Niagara Rieslings from Henry of Pelham, Strewn, and Vineland Estates,” says Ottawa wine expert Natalie MacLean, author of Red, White, and Drunk All Over and a […]

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Wedding Wines

Summer is a time of celebration. Social calendars that seemed so barren just a few weeks ago are suddenly swollen with backyard barbecues, graduation parties, family reunions, tailgate excursions and impromptu get-togethers of all kinds. Oh, and did we mention weddings? June is traditionally a big month for weddings, which, when you think about it, are simply summer parties in nicer clothes. For all of planning that goes into a wedding — invitations, reception, rehearsal dinner, rings, flowers, formal wear, photography, music — it’s easy to overlook an important element that can play a role in setting the mood for […]

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Summer Drinks

Top 10 summer drinks Cool down on a hot day with this summer’s tastiest thirst-quenchers. 1. Unisex coolers “Bottled cocktails, wine cocktails or premixed drinks are always hot in the summer, especially because they are getting better,” says Konrad Ejbich. Though coolers have a rep as a fruity drink women favour, the trend this summer, he says, is ready-to-drink concoctions like Absolut Cut and Hydra, which appeal to both sexes. “They’re going unisex,” Konrad says. 2. Strong flavours No more flavours for the faint of heart — now, it’s all about serving up big tastes. Ranging from pomegranate to guanabana, […]

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Slow Food/Personal Chefs

Breakfast in a gulp, lunch on the go and dinner on the run. Life in the fast lane seems to have bypassed the slow, ancient pleasures of the table. However, an aimable group of gastromes hopes to put an end to our nuke-it-and-eat-it culture. With a charming chiocciolina (small snail) as its mascot and a philosophy that advocates the defence of pleasure, Slow Food, an international organization with 30,000 members in 35 countries is helping members rediscover the flavours of regional cooking and fresh local produce. The group believes that small doses of sensual pleasure preserve us from the fast […]

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Wine Dinners

There’s nothing like the holidays to inspire the inner host or hostess inside you to get to work. Planning a holiday party is easy; good friends, good food and good wine are all it takes to turn a cold winter evening into a night full of warm memories. “A wine dinner is a wonderful theme for a get-together with friends,” says Natalie MacLean, author of Red, White and Drunk All Over (www.nataliemaclean.com). “It can be either a fancy, multi-course meal or a casual potluck where everyone contributes. A variety of wines for the dishes is what makes it fun.” Choosing […]

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Sumptuous Pinot Noir Dinner in Niagara

  While in Niagara, I was fortunate to indulge in a Pinot Noir tasting dinner at Peller Estate Restaurant, one of the best restaurants in the Niagara region. Chef Jason Parsons chatted with me in the busy kitchen about his philosophy of fresh, local and wine inspired cuisine. Here’s the menu: the wines and dishes were matched deliciously well! CHEF’S SIGNATURE CHIICKEN LIIVER PARFAIIT Pinot Noir, Plum Preserve ~ Andrew Peller Chardonnay “Sur Lie” 2007 LOBSTER LIINGUINI Icewine Poached Lobster, Alberta Parmesan, Chardonnay “Sur Lie” Cream Sauce   ~ CHESTNUT ROASTED DUCK Spiced Autumn Ragout and Pinot Bacon Sauce ~ […]

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