Secret Book Club Reading of Red, White and Drunk All Over

Introduction Are you curious about what’s behind the covers of my book, Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass, which you’ll hear me refer to as “RWD”? In this episode, I’m inviting you to pull up your most comfortable imaginary chair for a secret book club reading of the juiciest bits of RWD, which was named one of the best books of the year by the Globe and Mail, New York Times and Amazon.   Highlights When did I have my first experience with tasting good wine? What were my earliest interactions with wine like? […]

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Wine and Books: Holiday Gifts – Breakfast Television

This past Thursday, we chatted about book and bottle pairings as holiday gifts on Breakfast Television. Words and wine seem like a natural pairing to me … here are my favourites. What are yours? 1. Books are Beautiful The publisher selected 30 classic works of literature and assigned each a beautiful colour. Then the editors organized them in a rainbow of words so spectacular that you’re going to want to line them up on your shelves and just look at them.         Wolf Blass Yellow Label Sparkling Brut, South East Australia, Australia: Green apple fresh with zesty […]

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Video: Pairing Wine & Spicy Dishes from Vij’s Restaurant

How do you pair spicy foods with wine? What happens to the taste of wine when you turn up the heat in a dish? That’s exactly what we’re going to learn from our guests who join us live from Vancouver. Our guests this evening work together to create one of Canada’s best restaurants, renowned for both food and wine. Celebrity Chef Vikram Vij is the author of numerous best-selling cookbooks, has been on hit shows such Chopped, Top Chef and Dragon’s Den. He’s also the first Indian chef to earn a sommelier degree. Head sommelier Sean Nelson became Western Canada’s […]

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Top Restaurants for Food, Wine and Fun

Here are the restaurants I love in various cities. I hope you find this a helpful list, and let me know if you enjoy your dining experience at any one of these. My favorite restaurants in Ottawa, Ontario are Riveria (613-233-6262), Soca Kitchen (613-695-9190), Wellington Gastro Pub (613-729-1315), Fraser Café (613-749-1444), The Shore Club (in The Westin, but not owned by it 613-569-5050), Fauna (613-563-2862),  Taylor Wine Bar (613-730-5672), Sidedoor (613-562-9331), Social (613-789-7355), Eighteen (613-244-1188), Soif Wine Bar (819-600-7643), Earling’s (613-231-8484), The Pomeroy House (613-237-1658), The Albion Rooms in Novatel (613-760-4771), Mena (613-233-6462), Play (613-667-9207), Absinthe (613-761-1138), Navarra (613-241-5500), Atelier (613-321-3537) and Supply […]

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Undercover Sommelier

Unless you count the time I handed out plates at a church supper, I’ve never worked as a waiter. Of course, that hasn’t stopped me from commenting on the service in restaurants—particularly the wine service—as if I knew exactly what I was talking about. Now, to stopper my leaking credibility, I’ve decided to work in a restaurant for a night. Only the best would do, so I selected Le Baccara, an award-winning restaurant in Québec that offers haute French cuisine, with classic service. That would be just perfect for me, I thought—until I realized that as a server, I would […]

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Eat, Drink and be Wary: The Prose & Cons of Wine Shows

The Ottawa Wine and Food Show is the opposite of the Betty Ford Center: lots of booze and free advice, but no beds. (Why isn’t there a napping booth?) It arrives just in time to launch my fall re-toxification program: I come from a long line of hard drinkers, and a summer of sound sleep, diet and exercise has made me irritable. In the exhibit hall, gastronomic gusts waft up and over me from different corners — some carrying alcohol laced with spicy meatballs, others sweat and cheese, new leather and yeasty crackers, perfume and vanilla waffle cones. Sounds, too, […]

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ApéroChic: A Touch Of France in the Heart Of Toronto’s Nightlife

Once a month, ApéroChic takes over a prestigious, hip and happening nightclub in downtown Toronto … and the events never cease to disappoint those lucky enough to be on the exclusive guest list. Two lovely ladies from France, Peggy Harvey and Estelle , who now live in Toronto, created this club in 2011. They’re the masterminds who organize these cosmopolitan post-work soirees with an elegant French twist to bring together on average more than 400 people to each event. Now well-entrenched in Toronto’s social scene, ApéroChic events have become among some of the most must-be-seen evenings in the city. The […]

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Wine and Truffle Pairing: Wild Mushroom Matches for Wine

By Priya and Alex What could be better than truffles? Not the chocolate kind (although those are pretty fantastic too!) but the really decadent kind that are hunted in forests by dogs! Most of us have probably owned truffle oil or truffled salt but how many of us have experienced authentic truffle products direct from a family who hunts them? We’d guess not many! It’s no surprise then, that we were so excited to meet the Truffle Lady aka Wanda Srdoc of www.whitetruffles.ca.  Truffles are her specialty and have been central to her family in Istria, Croatia since the early […]

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Charles Smith Rocks the Wine Scene with Music and Vino

By Melissa Pulvermacher We all think of pairing food and wine, but have you ever thought of pairing music with wine? Charles Smith, a self-taught winemaker, has brought a new element to the world of wine – soul. Smith is undoubtedly a full-bodied personality with a genuine passion for both music and wine. The only way to truly describe the experience of Charles Smith and his wines is to crank rock music and pour yourself a big glass of red or white… or both and just enjoy. During a 1999 road trip, when Smith was managing rock bands and concerts, […]

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Sommelier Secrets on Weird Wine and Food Pairings, and Dream Cellar

In our latest sommelier profile, Jay Whiteley, who has been the sommelier and wine director at several of Canada’s best restaurants, most recently, The Chase in Toronto, shares his favourite and weirdest food and wine pairings, as well as tips on choosing from a restaurant wine list. What was your first wine experience? Learning how to say the word Gewürztraminer. Why did you move from BC, where you were working at one of the top restaurants in Vancouver, to join The Chase in Toronto? I moved for some personal reasons, but also to learn about the LCBO distribution system. Toronto […]

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