Video: Valentine’s Day Wine and Chocolate Pairings

In the video chat above, Master Chocolatier Derrick Tu Tan Pho shares his tips for pairing wine and chocolate for Valentine’s Day and any other time of the year when you want to indulge. He knows his sweet stuff having won gold at the Culinary Olympics in the categories of sugar, chocolate, wedding cakes and dessert presentation. How did you train for the culinary Olympics? Your secrets to making great chocolate? What is the strangest chocolate sculpture you’ve created? Tell me about some of your specialized tools for making chocolate: induction burners, ganache frames, guitars, robot-coupes, heat guns and automatic enrobers? […]

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Liquor up Your Lover on Valentine’s Day

I’ll be chatting with the hosts of the CBC radio drive-home shows from coast to coast this Thursday and Friday about wines for Valentine’s Day. But we’re going to depart from the usual natter about which wines are most seductive or how to pair them with chocolate. We’ll go straight to the heart of the matter: how do you liquor up your lover on February 14? More specifically, we’ll talk about why wines are getting more alcoholic these days and how does that affect their taste and ours? Is this just a cultural trend of winemakers responding to the market? Is […]

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Weddings: Champagne & Wine for the Happy Couple

This interview with James Tidwell, Master Sommelier was published as one of my columns in Four Seasons Resorts Magazine. James has lots of terrific tips … Champagne is the ultimate drink of celebration, especially at weddings, according to James Tidwell, Master Sommelier at Four Seasons’ Cafe on the Green in Las Colinas, Texas. “Champagne toasts many milestones in life,” Tidwell says, “but one of the most important is the dedication of two people to spend a life together.” We asked Tidwell for his insights on how champagne makes a wedding more memorable at the resort. James Tidwell, Master Sommelier How […]

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Spicy Food & Wine Pairings: Cinco de Mayo, Tex-Mex, Indian Food Matches

What better time to explore wine and spicy food pairings than to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (May 5), the day in 1862 when a rag-tag Mexican army defeated the far larger French forces under Emperor Napoleon III. Sure, you could toast with a cerveza or tequila, but which wine? The growing Mexican wine industry is gaining respect, particularly the region of Baja California, and among the leading producers is L.A. Cetto, creating exceptionally well-priced red wines. But let’s broaden the field, and look at wines from around the world to complement the fiesta dishes that include the diverse and spicy […]

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Wine Writers Behaving Like Critics: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

By Natalie MacLean They called it a tempest in a wine glass: two of the world’s most respected wine writers facing off against one another over one bottle of wine. Of course, there’s nothing unusual about critics disagreeing, even vehemently. But this time, the debate degenerated into a rumble over the definition of wine itself—and the integrity of the critics. In the American corner was Robert Parker, whose wine scores carry so much weight that they move the market. From Britain, was author Jancis Robinson, Master of Wine and columnist for the Financial Times of London. Both have written more […]

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Chicken, Vegetable, Gouda Couscous Recipe with Pinotage

Chicken Vegetable and Gouda Couscous Encourage the warmer weather with a cold dish. Celebrate the longer days by inviting a few friends over for some good food and wine. Don’t know what to make? Fret not, I found the perfect little recipe that tastes great served cold or warm. This recipe for Chicken, Vegetable, and Gouda couscous is so fast and easy to prepare, you’ll have plenty of time to catch up with your guests. Made with Canadian Gouda, it’s the perfect combination of creamy and crunchy and will be sure to chase away any remaining winter blues. If you’re […]

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Beaujolais Nouveau Wines Celebrate Vintage in November

Beaujolais Nouveau wine causes quite a stir on the third Thursday of every November. We spoke about this light red wine from the Beaujolais region of France on CBC’s Ontario Morning today (I’ll post the clip later). Beaujolais nouveau is meant to celebrate the current vintage. It’s harvested, fermented and bottled within weeks and is meant to be gulped now in bistros with friends, not cellared or analyzed. Here are some of my picks from this year’s crop below as well as beaujolais nouveau food pairings. You can also look for nouveau wines from other regions, including Canada, Italy and […]

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Romancing the Score: What do Wine Ratings Really Tell Us?

The biggest problem with wine scores is that they evaluate the obvious: how a wine tastes. What really matters is how interesting the wine makes your dining companion. Now that would be worth rating. Indeed, you have to wonder why we rate wine in the first place. After all, it is just a drink. We certainly don’t rate orange juice or lemonade; we don’t have beef shank critics talking about the region from which the cows hailed or syndicated cabbage columnists talking about how the September rainfall affected the leaf set. Perhaps this scrutiny is a testament to the way […]

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Wine Review of the Week: Sterling Chardonnay by Deborah Podurgiel

Our Wine Review of the Week celebrates summer with this classic Californian Chardonnay reviewed by Deborah Podurgiel. Deborah has completed the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 3, and is now a candidate studying for the WSET Diploma. She’s an active wine blogger in Vancouver, as well as a journalist who writes about food, wine and home decor for various magazines and newspapers.   Summer Barbie parties are great, but how does one manage to have stellar wines without busting the budget? Well, you can rely on word of mouth from friends, or your very helpful and knowledgeable local wine store […]

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Best New Zealand White Wines for Summer Sipping: LCBO Vintages July 5

You can access the 70 wines that I reviewed for July 5 as a text wine list with my complete tasting notes, scores, food matches and the stock for each bottle in their closest LCBO stores. You can also see my wine reviews for June 21. You can add my wine picks to their custom shopping list with one click and access that list on their smartphone. This is one of the benefits of becoming a Paid Member. Inventory stock numbers are usually posted online a day or two before the release based on the LCBO doing so. Here are […]

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