Wings and Wine

Wine pairs with everything. This adage may be disputed by many but if you are not too stuck in your ways and are up for an adventure, there are many  pairing events you can venture out to. Everything from candy and cheese to oysters and curry but the one elusive pairing has been chicken wings…. until now.

Just in time for all of those Super Bowl parties to come this weekend, I attended a wine and wing pairing event held by Just Wine.  Hosted at our local Fergus & Bix Restaurant and Beer Market who, as their name might suggest has a passion for Craft beers. They also however have an amazing menu of hand crafted items and a commitment to providing a quality wine selection making it the perfect location for an Every Day Foodie experience.

image

We explored 6 different wines and 3 different wing flavours all the while discussing the do’s, don’ts and best suggestions for pairing everyones favourite game day appetizer with wines to open up your options!

image

Here are my results:

  • Korean Bulgogi Wings – paired best with bubbles, the sweet umami in these wings was a table favourite when paired with a slightly sweet Prosecco.
  • Jerk dry rubbed wings – paired amazing with an earthy Pinot Noir.
  • Del Rio BBQ dry rub (think Tex-Mex) – paired great with the California Cabernet Sauvignon blend and also with the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

An event like this is a great chance to chat with a Sommelier in a casual setting and if you ever have the chance to meet our host for the night Certified Sommelier Tracy-Lynne MacLellan, she will wipe away all of your fears of learning from that stuffy wine expert. She is open and welcoming, passionate about wine and food pairings and the least stuffy “wine snob” you will ever meet.

image

With great food, wine and conversation here are a few more tips that I picked up that might help you surprise your guests (and yourself) on game day:

  • Remember you are matching your wine to your wing sauce not the chicken.
  • Make sure to try your sauces/seasonings once they have been baked or cooked as the flavour changes drastically.
  • Match your spicy wings with a lighter fresher slightly sweet wine. Try a Riesling for your white drinkers and a Pinot Noir for your red drinkers.
  • Match your mild and sweeter wings with a Sparkling wine or a Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Match up your BBQ wings with a Carmenere or Syrah.
  • If you are looking to keep the heat going, match your spicy wings with a bigger bolder slightly spicy red like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Carmenere.
  • When in doubt, choose Champagne!

Give something new a try next time you are eating or serving wings and don’t forget the few friends that love to sip their wine while partaking in the best game day munchie.

image

Remembering that matching wine with wings is the most acceptable way to leave fingerprints on your wine glass. I am Your Every Day Foodie.

 

 

Advertisements

Sip ‘N Slurp

Oysters…there are a few different thought processes on them, you have tried them and love them, you have tried them and hate them or they are too slimy and scary to try so you have never tried them. I am from thought process number one, I have tried them in many different ways and love them.

image

Now that we have tried Oysters in all their glory came the trouble of what do you pair with oysters for drinks. Beer? Cocktails? Wine? With those questions rattling around in our heads we came across the perfect solution, an Oyster and Wine pairings event held by Co-op Wine and Spirits in conjunction with Rodneys Oyster House. Here is what we learned in this glorious evening of sipping and slurping….

image

Oysters, oysters, oysters, there are so many varieties and types! Every oyster looks a bit different from the outside and although they look very similar inside each oyster has its own texture and flavour. Tonight we were eating our oysters raw with just a bit of fresh lemon and fresh grated horse radish to pick up the true taste of the oysters. After learning a bit about oysters our first lesson of the night was how to taste the wine with the oyster. First sip the juice known as the “liquor” then take a sip of your wine, from there go ahead and slurp down the oyster and make sure to follow it up with more wine! Something to note is that if you are using sauces for your oysters you should pair your wines to the sauces instead of the oyster.

When having or serving oysters and you are not sure what to have, go with a bubbly. As with most things you can never go wrong opening a bottle of bubbly and tonight we matched beautiful real Champagne with the beautiful small and delicate “Savage Blonde” oyster. We had the Pol Roger Champagne Brut which was just sweet enough to cut through brine of the oyster. This was a pairing I would go back to again and again!

image

Next we tried a bit of a bigger meatier oyster. The Duxbury Prime oyster was a little meatier than our first oyster and paired beautifully with the Chateau St. Michelle Reisling.

image

Our next oyster was the cadillac of oysters. Considered the steak of oysters the Cotuit oyster really was big and meaty with a bit of a mushroom taste and a much stronger brine taste to it. Wonderfully delicious, it paired excellently with the J. Moreau Et Fils Chablis (a great white wine made with Chardonnay grapes but completely unoaked). The fresh citrus base of this wine was a perfect accompaniment to this meaty beast of an oyster. With this wine pairing we also had the Lameque Verte oyster, still a meaty selection but the brine was much less salty and had a bit of a sweeter end that again matched perfectly with the Chablis.

image

Our only Pacific coast oyster of the night was the Fanny Bay oyster. A special treat due to the breeding issues that BC coast oysters are having. This can be a two bite oyster depending on which one you get. Another big meaty oyster but with a sweet taste it was one of the favourites of the night. It paired excellently with the big and bold Jolivet “Attitude” Saviognon Blanc.

image

Through the night we also paired a Village Bay oyster with a dry Sherry, the biggest shrimp cocktail I have ever seen with a dry rosè “Fragile” by Orin Swift and finished off the night with a great smoked salmon and cream cheese pancake matched up with a 50th Parallel Pinot Noir.  (Somehow those managed to get eaten before I could snap any pictures!)

The overall learnings for us were that there are more Oyster varieties than you can ever imagine and they cover everything from light and delicate to big and meaty. Fresh grated horse radish is not near as sharp or spicy as its processed counterpart, try is out and you might find that you enjoy the light peppery flavour! When you are pairing a wine to these look to pair acid with acid, pick fresh whites with a citrus base to cut the brine and bring up the sweetness. If you are using sauces, pair to the sauces and if you are using a hot sauce stick to a sweeter wine to cut the heat. Overall this was a great night of fun and education for us and we are looking forward to a lot of shucking in our future!

Learning the art of sipping and slurping, I am Your Everyday Foodie.

Weekend Uncorked

Canmore Uncorked is a week long food and drink event that showcases the best restaurants and drinks that Canmore has to offer and has been voted Canada’s Event of the Year through the Canadian Tourism Awards. The festival includes several signature events such as a long table dinner, bistro tours, progressive dinners, and beer, wine, whisky and spirit festivals. Over the week many of the restaurants offer set price menus for lunches and dinners that range from $12 to $40. At the beginning of the festival or at any time you can pick up a festival passport and collect stamps at each venue you visit. If you are not there to eat there were also several set price experiences where you could try samples of vinegar and oils, chocolate and meats rather than having a full meal.

We decided to spend the weekend and enjoy several of the festival offerings. On our way from Calgary our first stop was Mad Dog Cafe at Dead Mans Flats. Their Canmore Uncorked offering was their signature spicy candied bacon cinnamon roll with a coffee for $5. This was an amazing way to start our day and after taking a look around they also have an amazing offering of meals that includes a huge array of curries. This will definitely be a regular stop for us any time we are heading into the mountains.

image

Back on the highway our next stop was at Valbella Gourmet Foods. Just off highway 1A in Canmore this little meat shop offers not only a vast array of fresh and cured meats but also has a little deli and offers freshly baked breads and buns. Their Canmore Uncorked offering was a charcuterie salami and a package of Bundnerfleisch (a cured thinly sliced cured beef) for $10. Although we did find it hard to leave without purchasing a few extra treats including house made bacon onion jam and a huge bag of beef jerky.

We then headed towards main street Canmore. With plenty of free parking and lots of shops and restaurants to explore it makes for a great day in the sunshine wandering from shop to shop in a beautiful environment. Here we tasted vinegars and oils at Evooloution, explored many shops and eventually stopped for lunch at The Wood Restaurant. The $12 sandwich of the day was amazing, a Montreal smoked meat wrap with fresh vegetables and sweet potato fries. Another stamp added to our passport we headed to the Coast Hotel to participate in the Wine Festival.

The wine festival at Canmore Uncorked was sponsored by Culinaire magazine and had a  $45 per ticket price that included all of your wine tastings from an option of over 90 wines. Food was also available at an additional cost of $5 per plate. For three hours we tasted our way through wine after wine and were lucky enough to find several wines that we hadn’t tried before and then found several that we decided to purchase. Luckily they had an on site store where you could purchase your wines at a discount of 15% from the retail price.

image

With our purchases stored away in our hotel room we had some time to enjoy before our 8:00 dinner reservation so we headed out to the patio at Table Food and Drink which is the restaurant attached to the Coast Hotel. Here we enjoyed basking in the sun taking in the beauty of our surroundings and enjoyed another glass of wine and a delicious charcuterie board.

From the Coast hotel it was just a short walk through Canmore to main street where we had decided on the $40 fixe price menu at Murrieta’s Bar and Grill. The dinner had several choices including a choice of appetizer, several main dishes and a choice of desserts. We started our dinner with the cherry coke cocktail and enjoyed a perfectly seasoned and cooked dinner that included crab cakes with a smoky spicy sauce, Brome Lake Duck breast with pomegranate gastrique, braised lamb shank with red wine and cherry jus and for dessert Callebaut chocolate mousse and banana crepes with salted caramel sauce. Overall the dinner was amazing and we would recommend visiting there if you are in the area.

To finish off our Canmore Uncorked weekend we attended the Big Brunch event sponsored by Avenue Magazine. Tickets were $35 each and the event was billed as allowing you to try brunch dishes made by several of Canmore’s favourite brunch spots. Each person was given 8 tickets that would allow you to try at least one sample from each of the 8 stations. We tasted ribs from Iron Goat Pub and Grill, french toast with orange and candied pecans from the Georgetown Pub, chorizo hash in potato skins with fresh salsa and guacamole from Habitat, scrambled eggs with bacon from Table Food and Drink and an amazing breakfast samosa with sweet chutney and curried chicken skewers from Mad Dog Cafe.  And of course for dessert we had amazing cupcakes from Kake Canmore.

image

With our bellies full we turned in our stamped passports with hopes of winning the grand prize of 15 gift cards to various restaurants in Canmore and reluctantly headed home. Canmore has an amazing and diverse food scene that I would encourage everyone to explore in the beauty of the rocky mountains. We are looking forward to heading back soon and are thankful to Canmore Uncorked for the chance to see just what Canmore has to offer. Keep your eyes out for next years festival and make the time to head west and participate in this amazing event.

Taste Around Town

The sun was shining, the temperatures were warm and the setting was beautiful. The perfect night to head west of the city and attend The Taste of Bragg Creek.

This year the event ran a little different than normal. Usually held in the Bragg Creek community centre as a one stop sampling event, this year due to a problem with the centre the event was turned into a mini walking tour of the town. Upon arrival you were handed a map that showed the locations of the participating vendors along with what they were sampling and you were on your way.

image

We started off the evening at the Wild Texan BBQ Company with samples of pulled pork sliders with cole slaw and smoked BBQ ribs with potato salad. Tonight the samples were matched up with two different beer samples from Wild Rose brewery. A tasty way to start, this BBQ joint has been open for just over a year and is run by a great local husband and wife team who used to have booths at several Edmonton area farmers markets and sold out of their product weekly. I would confidently recommend visiting this resturant for a bite of BBQ as their samples made our mouths water and their homade sauce is finger licking sticky and well with the short drive.

image

From there we headed down the plaza to Creekers Bistro. Tonight you could sample a red Grenache wine or a white Chardonay wine along with crab cakes and Turkey tacos. As the weather was so nice we found a great little spot on the patio and enjoyed the most amazing and flavourful Turkey taco we have ever tasted and a great fresh crab cake. After sampling the wares here we have decided that we will also be returning here for a full meal, especially after seeing that they have $4 Tuesday taco nights.

A short walk to the next shopping plaza and we found Roast Coffee & Tea Company sampling their delicious pour over coffee. The owners of this little roastary and coffe house are wonderful and although they were busy they made the time to chat with us and teach us the do’s and dont’s of coffee. Located in west Bragg Creek, I would recommend a visit as they roast all of their own coffee beans and also provide a free delivery service once you have chosen your favorite bean.

image

Continuing on we found Mountain Bistro and Pizzeria where they were sampling a Margherita pizza and Garlic sticks. With a root beer to wash everything down with we settled in on their patio. The Margherita pizza was full of fresh flavours and their crust is the perfect crispy crunchy delight. The real star here however were the garlic sticks. Smothered in garlic, bacon, cheese and the most surprising sweet sauce! We even returned at the end of the night to order a full order of the garlic sticks with the sweet and mysterious east coast sauce to take home. Providing great pizza in a beautiful location I would recommend a stop here anytime.

Having made our way around the plaza and tasting many samples that included everything from liquor samples to sausage, cheese and pickles we decided to take a stroll through town to the Bavarian Inn. Here you could sample several wines, a duo of seared scallops with kale salad and a Portuguese sausage with spicy aioli or a sample plate of desserts with traditional Black Forest cake, mini apple strudel and an orange Portuguese flan. This is a resturant that we can’t wait to come back to and try a full meal.

This was a great event overall, we really enjoyed the chance to walk around the hamlet and explore all of the resturants and shops. With the beautiful weather it was fairly busy and there were small lineups at several of the locations however the lines did move fairly quickly. The one dissapointment of the evening was that we were not able to taste the samplings at the Italian Farm House as the resturant was full and had a waiting lineup each time we stopped in.

I would recommend that everyone take the short drive west and discover some of the gems located in the beautiful hamlet of Bragg Creek!

Discovering resturant gems everywhere, I am Your Everyday Foodie.

Friday Night Escape

Friday night we attended The Grape Escape hosted by Coop Wine and Spirits held at the BMO centre on Stampede Park. The very affordable tickets were $65 plus tax and included 12 food tickets and 30 liquor sample tickets.

After investigating the event I wasn’t sure what to expect, would the tickets be hard to handle, would there be enough tickets to enjoy sampling etc. Having heard mixed reviews we decided to see for ourselves, tickets bought and tasting plates in hand we headed in and after about five minutes in the hall all doubts were erased and I was 100% sold on this event.

image

This event was spectacular and a great value for the night running for 4 hours with outstanding sample selections. The Grape Escape really is an event for everyone, the liquor samples cover the whole gambit with something to impress everyone in your group. Samples were one ticket each and included everything from scotch, whisky and every beer imaginable to vodka, tequila, flavoured liquors and wines of all sorts.

image

The food samples for the night were provided by a wide array of Calgary food trucks. At one ticket per sample there was lots to taste however the samples are quite small so I would definitely recommend having dinner before you go. That said, the food trucks really did pull out some amazing samples! Sticky Ricky’s Beef Po’Boy sandwich and Take and Go East African Cuisine & BBQ’s Butter Chicken were the favourites of the night earning many visits from our group throughout the event. Other trucks in attendance included Burger 320 offering a meatball slider, Rule the Roost Waffles offering a chicken spring roll, Shogun Teppanyki grill with teriyaki meatballs and several other trucks to tempt your tastebuds with. As an added bonus there were also a few “no ticket needed” sample tables including an offering by Spolumbos, chips from Old Dutch and a selection of cheeses and crackers from Coop themselves.

image

A great bonus to this event is that you can join the Coop experts for a sit down seminar style tasting. The topics change every hour so make sure to swing by and check out the program schedule to see if there is something you want to experience and learn a little more about! A great chance to rest your feet and take home a little extra knowledge.

image

Each time we attend a tasting event we learn a bit more about what makes our time there easier and more enjoyable. I hope that sharing some of our discoveries here might make your evening at the Grape Escape a little more enjoyable too!

Make sure you have a designated driver or take a cab or transit to and from this event, with all of the hard liquor samples we were very happy after just three hours that we had arranged a ride home!

To make things easier for hands free tasting prior to the event we took apart our food and drink ticket books and placed all of our pre-ripped tickets into lanyard style name tag holders. This meant no fumbling with ticket books and trying to rip out tickets while standing at the sample booths. Take the time to pick up a tasting plate that also holds your wine glass. These re-useable plates can be purchased at many stores for under $5 each or you can often purchase a smaller style plate at the event. So much easier to have everything in one hand and not have to juggle everything while wandering around.

image

This is a huge event, make sure to take time at the beginning and walk around the whole hall. Check things out and get an idea of what you might like to sample. With 4 hours and so many samples you can take your time to really look around before you jump into the fray.

The Grape Escape happens twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Keep an eye out for the fall event as this is was a thumbs up from our whole group. Tickets will go on sale in mid to late summer and can go fast. Coop Wine and Spirits also holds many great and very affordable tastings throughout the year. Take a look on line or in store at the Sips magazine for tastings coming up soon at a tasting centre near you!

For all your escapes, I’m Your Everyday Foodie.

Sweet Sweet Sugar

I recently attended the Pastry Chef Showcase hosted as a fundraiser for L’Arche Calgary and held every other year in Calgary.

The tickets were about $75 per person and included a whole evening of delectable dessert tastings offered from 13 pastry chefs through out Alberta as well as wine, spirits and beer tastings with a side of breads and cheeses to cleanse your palate.

Held this year at Heritage Parks Gasoline Alley the event venue felt grand right from the get go. Greeted with a champagne reception and viewing of some beautiful chocolate sculptures the evening had begun. Although I don’t have a huge sweet tooth the beautiful smell of chocolate as you wandered through made it hard not to reach in and break off a taste!image

With a whole hall full of sweet offerings the question was where to start. The plates were all beautifully presented and the imagination of the chefs know no bounds. Some of the plates included lavendar and chickpea meringue and banana sponge with caramel corn. Pearls of every shape and size made from all kinds of amazing flavours, passion fruit caviar, blue berry pearls and even sage pearls!

image

I have to admit that after about 6 samplings I started to have the sugar shakes. Time for a break with some wine, bread and cheese to break up the sweets. As this event was a fund raiser this was a great time to explore the available silent auction items.

The chocolate work and attention to detail really was amazing to see. Little mini pic-nic baskets full of cream and fruit with chocolate basket covers, basket handle and even a mini bumble bee hanging on for the ride.

image

Back to tastings, I managed to make it through about 9 of the 13 desserts before I had to give in but I gave it a heck of a try! Not having a huge sweet tooth I found my two favorite desserts were a bit more on the savoury side. From The Nash was a fresh carrot gelato sitting on a chocolate genache with sage pearls and aerated chocolate and from Fiasco Gelato a pineapple sponge cake with rosemary and Guava Rosemary gelato.

At the end of the evening all of the people’s choice award votes were counted with the big prize going to the team from SAIT and their Myer Lemon vanilla bean mousse with basil sponge on top of a Streusel cookie.

Another interesting and amazing evening that was proof that not all gastronomical amazements are savoury. I would give this event a two thumbs up and suggest you watch for it again in 2018.

For your foodie adventures sweet and savoury I’m Your Everyday Foodie!

What’s In A Glass?

Wine is wine right? You either like it or you don’t. If you like it almost any wine glass will do and in a pinch any drinking vessel might do.

Last night we attended a Riedel glass tasting at our local Calgary Co-op wine tasting centre. Riedel (pronounced reedel like needle as I now know) is in my mind the premier cocktail and wine glass maker in the world. As an everyday regular person I often wonder when looking at the glass collections in the stores why are there so many? There’s a red wine glass and a white wine glass simple and easy, after that it must just be a ploy.

That’s what I thought until I attended this tasting. With a plate of cheese, crackers, grapes and chocolate we were ready to begin.  We tasted 4 varietals of wine (Riesling, Chardonay, Pinot Noir and Cabbernet Sauvignon) in the glass that was designed for it and in the glasses that were designed for another type of wine. The reactions through the room were great. Lots of oohs and ahs when the wine was in the right glass and lots of sour faces when it was not. By the end of the night there was a lot of cheating going on where the participants were just plain refusing to even taste the wines in the wrong glasses. Now we know, the glass you are using can raise your wine to great heights or sink it and turn it into a bottle you hated. You never know the right wine in the right glass might even convert that non wine drinker in your life.

The evening was both entertaining and informative but I warn you, if you have the chance to try one of these you will want to replace all of your wine glasses and may never look at the resturant wine glass the same!

Well worth the value, the tasting was $100 per ticket (we were able to get some cheaper ones at half price) but the ticket price included your set of four veriatel (grape) specific glasses to take home. The set alone has a purchase price of around $160 plus taxes. As an added bonus all participants of the evening also received 10% off in store purchases at the end of the night.

For any foodie that likes to pair up their wines or just enjoy their wines in general I would highly reccomend attending a glass tasting.

Cheers from Your Everyday Foodie!