Friday, December 25, 2009

A Local Merry Christmas

If anyone ever thought shopping local wasn’t fun and exciting you just have to get out there and know each experience is a personal reflection of the owners – and they’re all different!

Jon and I dropped into a bakery in Niagara Falls the day before Christmas thinking we were going to buy a loaf of bread. Surprisingly, inside there was a whole host of Italian food items so I began to browse. I wasn’t impressed with the style and quality of bread but I did get a few other things including some cheese. I stood in front of the deli counter and the girl at the cash yelled to another in the back room to come out and serve me –heaven forbid she’d walk the 3-feet to do the job herself.

Out from the back came a rather husky, robust woman, olive skin, dark hair tied back, twice my size with a rather nasty disposition that she was being very careful to keep in check – no doubt for my sake.

“How much is half that block of mozzarella,” I asked and was immediately shown cheaper balls of mozzarella in the cooler in the centre of the room. It wasn’t what I wanted so I bravely challenged her orders and ordered the mozzarella from the deli counter. She grunted as she took it out, claiming it was more expensive. She was a women of definite food opinions and not afraid to show them.

She wrapped the cheese, walked past the girl standing at the cash register and placed it with my other purchases. Then she reached under the counter and pulled out a hand calculator – pushed a few buttons while visually scanning my purchases. “Ok, gimme twenty bucks”, she said.

Jon handed here a $20 bill and she stuffed it into her back pocket before she began to bag my food. I stood there wondering how I could get a receipt since she didn't use the cash register – our eyes met, she smiled rather sinister-like and wished me a Merry Christmas in a firm, deep voice.

The visual signs were all there – ask for a receipt lady and you die! Jon and I left the bakery with our goods and once in the car, burst into laughter. Who knows, she’s probably a very nice lady, just stressed because she hadn’t finished her Christmas shopping – hope we helped.

Merry Christmas and may it be a delicious one…

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wildflower Market and Restaurant

Want a great place to buy local food and to enjoy it made for you? You have to go to the Wildflower in Fonthill. The retail section of the restaurant is full of organic, local and natural products. The restaurant has two identities; first a gourmet deli counter with sexy sandwiches and super salads and then the restaurant with it's relaxing spa-like atmosphere.

Restaurant Chef Joel LaBute's cuisine is heavy on the local. I had White Meadows Farm Pork with The Apple Bin Apples and Just Veggin' Parsnip Chips. It was served with Dave Irish's Greens - yum. I followed that up with Goeshen Farm Lamb Meatloaf, Tree & Twig Parsnip Mashed Potatoes, Dave Irish's Curried Carrots and Victory Gardens Winter Mint Pesto. The menu reads like a culinary geography map of Niagara. LaBute's cuisine is very Jamie Kennedyish and its presented in sexy, clean, very appetizing ways. Ya gotta go!

The Talk of Local Food

Hey, what a great day in Guelph at Ignatius College. Ontario Farm Fresh ED Cathy Bartolic put together an amazing group of Ontario's local foodies to talk about the challenges and opportunities in local food. When lunch was served it was full of vegetables from Ignatius' on-campus gardens - delicious! Ontario Farm Fresh is an organization that assists farm marketers so I can tell you there's plenty of good things to look forward to in the 2010 season! Check them out

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Culinary Inspiration from My Ethnic Heritage

I’m reviving my Italian grandmother’s recipes at a special cooking class on Dec. 13. My grandmother would make the old Italian traditional wine cookies, the hard ‘moscotte’ style cookies. I know no one knows what moscotte are but I’ve revived the concept into modern versions that you're sure to recognize.

Black Chocolate Cabernet Cookies

Toblerone Icewine Shortbread

Niagara Baco Noir Crescents

Chardonnay Curd Meringues

For the class, I’ll be splashing a bit of Cabernet into some black chocolate fudge cookies, a few drops of Niagara icewine in Toblerone shortbread and a smear of Chardonnay curd on light meringues.

The event to be held at Southbrook Vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake, will also feature a cookie exchange. For all who come with their own favourite Christmas cookies, they’ll leave with a beautiful assortment.

The event proceeds will go to the Craig Award, a scholarship program at Niagara College which helps fund innovative agricultural projects so consumers have food choices and agriculture becomes sustainable.

I started The Craig Award with my husband Jon in the name of our late son Craig, who died 10 years ago at age 22. Funds for the award are also being raised from sales of my cookbook, "Niagara Cooks: From Farm to Table."

For on-line reservations, go to or email or call 905-262-4941.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Cooking the 100-Mile Way

On Saturday December 5, 2009 at 1 o'clock Niagara Cooks, from farm to table author Lynn Ogryzlo will be at Chapters in St. Catharines signing copies of Niagara Cooks, perfect for the locavore on your Christmas list.

In addition to showing off the latest edition of Niagara Cooks, Lynn will be talking and telling the stories of local farmers, how to shop for local ingredients, how to make a 100-Mile menu for the holidays and she'll be serving up delicious Niagara Christmas cookies complete with complimentary recipes.

Come out, do some shopping, enjoy some holiday cheer and be inspired to do some of your own holiday baking - after all, it is the season!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday Cookies

My mom was an excellent baker; every Christmas she would put out a magnificent display of her culinary talents with impressive trays of holiday cookies. She always made her famous shortbread that everyone fought over, there were never enough of her mini pecan tarts or thumbprint cookies; her iced cut out cookies was sheer holiday decadence and everyone would wrestle for her mincemeat tarts.

Sometimes she would make her luscious chocolate and mint squares, her festive dried fruit icebox cookies, Italian pitzel’s or anything else that caught her eye that season. She would even craft the most beautiful gingerbread house that adorned our table, begging to be nibbled at throughout the season.

My favourite holiday gift from her was a tin filled with her cookies because it represented a gift from the heart. Holiday baking is more about sharing than about eating. At this time of year these irresistible cookies become icons of enchantment, perfect for gifting, decorating the tree and of course, leaving for Santa.

I try my best to bake during the holiday season but her shoes are big ones to fill. My house is filled with my moms traditional cookies and I’ve also added my own cookie traditions with the Toblerone Shortbreads, Niagara Biscotti and Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies. For younger children, nothing says Christmas more than sugar cookies cut out into holiday shapes and iced with different coloured icing and sprinkled with red and green sugar or multicoloured little candy beads. They’re not only great for eating, but can you imagine anything more festive than a beautiful Christmas tree decked out with sugar cookies?

The kind of cookie you bake is not as important as the flavour. If you like that “melt-in-your-mouth” burst of flavour decadence in a cookie, nothing gives that to you better than butter. I’ve discovered through trial and error however, that cookies made with shortening hold their shape better. It must be because butter melts at lower temperatures, body temperature in fact and that makes the cookie spread out over the baking time. I don’t use margarine, but if you do, never use a whipped margarine, the solid sticks are much better for baking and besides they’re easier to measure anyway.

If you’re a fan of chewy cookies you can melt the butter before adding it to the sugars and of course, cook them a few minutes shorter than the recipe calls for. Brown sugar will give you a chewy cookie while white sugar makes them crisper. If you like your cookies crispy, try using two egg yolks instead of a whole egg.

As children grow up holiday cookies evolve from iced sugar cookies to gourmet and chocolate renditions. A new trend in cookies is making their way into the holiday season; they’re the small round one-bite sandwich cookies with creamy filling mounded between two little puffy cookies. They come in hundreds of flavours and colours. All around the world there are upscale little boutique stores that sell nothing but these little pillows of deliciousness simply called meringues.

Wine in holiday cookies should be a natural for Niagara home cooks who spill a little Chardonnay into a saucepan or Merlot into a roasting pan. Cookies with a vinous flair include Black Chocolate Baco Noir Cookies, Lavender, Raspberry Cassis Cookies and Cabernet Crescents. Even the trendy pillow cookies take on a Niagara flair with framboise cream between two little raspberry coloured cookies and champagne cream in light gold cookies.

Christmas is a hectic time of year, a time when people who usually don’t bake find themselves in the kitchen trying out new recipes. If you are new to baking you can start with some of these easy recipes.

If you don’t have time to bake perhaps this years festivities will include a cookie class. Southbrook Vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Niagara Culinary Trail have teamed up to offer a cookie class creating some delicious holiday cookies that include fine Southbrook wines, delicious fruit wines and some cookies that just taste good with wine. Adult Cookies for the Holidays takes place December 13 at 1:30. I will be teaching the class and will be giving a few lucky people beautiful boxes of holiday cookies for enjoying or gift giving. For more information call Southbrook Vineyards at 905.641.2548.

Black Chocolate Cabernet Cookies

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour

3/4 cup (180 mL) cocoa powder

1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking soda

1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt

½ cup (125 mL) butter, softened

3/4 cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

3/4 cup (180 mL) packed brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (125 mL) Cabernet Sauvignon or dry red wine

1 cup (250 mL) dark chocolate, broken into chunks

Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl. In a bowl of an electric mixer combine butter and sugars until fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and wine and beat until well mixed. Slowly add the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the chocolate. Place a heaping tablespoon of dough for each cookie about 2 inches apart from each other. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Niagara Holiday Biscotti

½ cup (125 mL) butter

1 cup (250 mL) sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract

2 cups (500 mL) all purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 mL) baking powder

dash of salt

1 cup (250 mL) Niagara walnuts

½ cup (125 mL) dried cherries

Preheat oven to 325F (160C). Beat the butter, sugar and eggs in a large bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking powder and salt together. Add dry ingredients to the whipped butter mixture and stir only to incorporate. Add the walnuts and died cherries.

Shape the dough into 2 logs on a baking sheet. Flatten the logs into ¾- thickness. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300F (150C). Slice the log into 1-inch slices and place each slice on its side. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, turn the cookies over and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Butter Tasting

If you've heard of wine tastings and cheese tastings, then it won't come as much of a
surprise to learn that food tastings are now the rage. A few months ago I did a Parmesan tasting and yes, I included the grated, fluffy white stuff you find in the grocers deli counters all the way up to the real Italian stuff and locally made. Yes, we do have a locally made Parmesan cheese. Paron Cheese is on Highway #20 about a mile from the Centennial Parkway intersection (but way on top of the mountain).

Anyway, Paron Cheese came out on top with not their Parmesan but with their grated Montasio! That's right, they beat out the imported varieties. The flavours of the top Parmesans are complex, earthy, robust and rich compared to the cardboard, gritty, pasty imitations. So when I did the butter tasting last week, it was no surprise to find the unexpected results.

In Canada we’re surrounded by a sea of commercial butter made with the milk of the high yielding, low fat Holstein cows. And why not? Canadians are obsessed with hating fat, but here lies the first problem. Canadian cream is a skinny 35% compared to the European 48% and it’s the butterfat content in cream that seduces us into loving butter. So how can our butter compare when we’re starting with inferior raw ingredients?

It's hard to find a selection of butters in any area in Canada. You can find imported French butter in Quebec and Belgian butter in Ontario, but butter doesn’t seem to spread itself across the country very well. For example you’d never find a pound of British Columbia’s delicious Foothills Creamers Butter in Ontario or a Quebec Lamothe Cremerie butter in Saskatchewan. So I gathered what I could from specialty food stores in Niagara, Toronto and Buffalo and this is what the results were.

Butter Tasting Notes

These butters were tasted blind at room temperature to encourage them to release as much flavour as possible. The Ontario prices are listed for comparative purposes only. They were rated out of a 10 point scale, 10 being the highest score (scored on aroma, flavour, body and price).

Unsalted Butter

President’s Choice Normandy-style, Cultured butter, Ontario, 26% fat, $3.99, ½ lb (7.98/lb). Rated: 10

Bio Organic made by Fromagerie L’Ancetre, Quebec, 27% fat, $5.39, ½ lb ($10.78/lb) Rated: 10

Lurpak, an imported butter from Denmark, 35% fat, $3.99, ½ lb ($7.98/lb). Rated: 8

Plurga, (red wrapper) an American made European-style butter, 35% fat, $5.99/lb. Rated: 8

Organic Meadow cultured, unsalted butter from Guelph, 26% fat, $9.99/lb. Rated: 6

Life in Provence, French imported, AOC butter, 36% fat, $5.99, ½ lb ($11.98/lb). Rated: 5

Lactantia. My Country, Swiss flavoured, cultured unsalted butter, 26% fat, $5.99/lb. Rated: 4

Salted Butter

Hasting’s Whey Butter from Sterling Creamery, Sterling, Ontario, 27% fat, $6.99/lb. Rated: 10

Peller Estate Winery Butter, Ontario, $ priceless. Rated: 9

D’Isigney Burre, French imported, AOC butter, 38% far, $7.49, ½ lb ($14.98/lb). Rated: 8

For the whole butter story with detailed tasting notes, look for the January issue of Tidings Magazine or go to - while you're there, click on the Paris story on the right hand side and read of my amazing award winning journey to Paris this summer.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Dancing in the kitchen means leading with the left. That and plenty more sharp advise is what Knife Master and Chef Greg Willis of Kitchen Made ( taught a small group in my home today. We learned how to chop, slice and dice our way through vegetables. And yes, at the end we all enjoyed the salad we'd made.

Ok, each of us had a cutting board and knives and we practised everything from how to hold the food and not chop off your fingers to preping techniques that included chiffonading, julienning and dicing. All we need now explained Chef Willis, is another 6 months of practice and we'll be wielding a knife like a master!

Topics of discussion between sips of the apricot-icewine cocktails focused around qualities that make a great knife for what you want to do, how to buy the best knife for the job your doing and fitting the best size for your hand. We chatted about the best cutting boards, what to look for in a steel, we even got into discussions on flatware versus holloware.

So what does dancing in the kitchen have to do with anything. Well, I've never really noticed it before but in the kitchen we lead culinary activities almost exclusively with the left. We hold food to be cut with the left, hold pots with the left, even wash dishes in the left hand side of the sink. What we do with the right is cut the food, stir the pot and dry the dishes. Everything starts - or leads with the left.

So for all you foodies that are reorganizing your kitchens, remember you need to organize so that you can easily lead with the left!

Want some help? Reach out to Chef Willis -

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dazzling Vegetables

What a fantastic weekend in the Waterloo region. The colours are turning brilliant, the air is brisk and the farmers' markets are filled with my favourite vegetables. I love fall root vegetables and so I was amazed to find Charbrie's Restaurant in uptown Waterloo. Executive Chef Lance Edwards does a killer job with my favourite vegetables.

I was touring around and met Trevor of Hurrle's Country Farm Market. This is a great market that let's you know where the food comes from with little signs. On the far east side of the market there's a giant 100-Mile map that pinpoints the source of the food. It was Trevor that recommended Charbrie's.

The restaurant has a calm, welcoming atmosphere and the prices are mid range. Jon and I started with the Charcuterie plate and a glass of wine. It was a great starter to wind down with, on the side there was pickled watermelon rind and pickled beet greens; wonderful tartness to counter the richness of the pork and pate.

On Charbrie's menu you'll notice a few odd red apples on some of the menu items. These apples identify the local dishes. Chef Edwards works with many of the local farmers in a loose co-op sort of way. He places a few orders, the farmers consolidate the orders and Edwards meets one farmer half way for his entire order. It's an informal network that's incredibly dependable and it works.

I had the Apple Cider Pork. It was wonderfully tender with just a touch of sweetness and fennel flavours on the outside and as wonderful as that was I pushed it aside for the vegetables. The smoked corn hominy was amazingly fresh and full of robust fall flavours and the roasted squash chimichanga was a great invention. Creamy, luscious flavours of feather light, sweet squash wrapped in a soft tortilla. These two vegetables are worth the trip to Waterloo.

Jon had the Lamb Piperade from Taylor Farm. Just as exciting was the braised red cabbage that sat on roasted sweet potato mash and served with ramp mustard that Chef says he picked himself from the back end of Hurrle's farm.

I love it when I discover a chef through his/her food. I'm not one to follow a chef because of his reputation, instead I love to seek out the great chefs that work behind the scenes. Those that deserve accolades because of their sheer, delicious talent.

Edwards claims that his kitchen is about 75% local and it's exciting to see that he can create such a delicious, inspiring, exciting and creative menu with local produce. His menu changes with the seasons; Sprin
g, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Can't wait to go back to try the Winter menu. Charbrie's Restaurant, 15 King St., Waterloo.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Have you heard about it? Have you tasted their food? Have you gone to Ballygiblin’s?

It’s a modern little restaurant with a boutique feel, casual attitude and some outstanding food. It’s in a beautiful little country village called Carleton Place just southwest of 

Ottawa and if you’re inclined to take in the country, there’s a charming stone inn on the main intersection with a cozy outdoor patio that’s perfect for people watching in the sleepy little village.

It’s the quintessential country experience and Ballygiblin’s is located among the quaint shops on the main street decorated with pretty hanging flowers. Surrounded by farms and fields, Executive Chef Roger Weldon cherry picks the best producers and lines up his menu to reflect the best flavours the region has to offer.

He has an obsession for planning his menu’s from what he can find from local farmers. I met Roger at Alpenblick Farm where he introduced me to one of his food sources before dinner.

Alpenblick is a natural farm.

The animals roam freely so you have to close the gate behind you when your come or go. Roger wasn’t wearing the traditional white chefs jacket but a t-shirt that said “Eat Local”. 

Thought he was a bit cheeky wearing that while he walked among the cows and sheep.Farmers Robert Oechsli and Petra Stevenson raise their animals in a safe, natural way and the resulting meat just can’t be compared says Roger.

Back at the restaurant the large black menu says Ballygiblin’s is “linking pleasure and food awareness and responsibility with agriculture and ecology”. What that means is that Chef Weldon not only knows where his food comes from, but that he selects farms that have respect for the animals and natural food production practices – it leaves a good taste in your mouth.

We started with maple planked brie with market raspberries. It was cheese from Alpenblick Farm, Robert himself makes a small amount of hand crafted cheeses and sells it to a few lucky customers. As far as I know, Ballygiblin’s is one of the few places you can get Roberts brie – it’s worth the effort – it’s not to rich and big in flavour. A refreshing change to the commercial types.

Next we all had burgers! Hand made 1 ½-inch thick beef patties, all natural, fully organic burgers made from Alpenlick farm beef. I had lots of hot peppers just picked from the field, cheddar and sour cream to help with the heat. Difficult to eat, it was piled high and sandwiched between two slices of thick artisan bread – yum! It comes with “made from scratch”, ketchup, maple mustard, sweet relish and house mayo.

Ask about the food and it’s like a guided tour to the neighboring farms. The menu includes interesting tidbits of info like, “Did you know that Roger went to Terra Madre in 2008!” and “Find locally produced foods that have traveled fewer miles from field – market – kitchen. These foods have a smaller carbon foot print or “FOOD PRINT”.” They’re just so in love with local flavours!

Make a reservation, I was there on a Sunday evening and the place was packed! It’s refreshing to find such a delicious locavore restaurant at a comfortable and reasonable price level. They don’t all have to be five-star dining establishments.

Ballygiblin’s – Eat Local, 151 Bridge Street, Carleton Place, ON, 613-253-7400,

Monday, August 24, 2009


Six Thirty Nine is an exciting new restaurant on 639 Peel Street in Woodstock, Ontario. Chef and Owner Eric Boyar is young and deliciously talented. I found Eric in the kitchen on his day off, so I sat at the Chef’s Table and he treated me to a new dish he’s putting on his menu.

The Chef’s Table is a beautiful wooden bar much like a butchers block with 4 bar stools that face the kitchen and large window that brings in the beautiful outdoor gardens. I perched myself at the bar and watched as the chef made a local dish from some fresh rainbow trout he’s just picked up that morning.

Boyar has a passion for flavour and that motivates him to go beyond what many chefs would. The back pantry is filled with baskets and bags of fresh vegetables he just picked up from the market and I love it – his bicycle is leaning up against the cupboards – he’s a wholesome chef who treats his customers to his wholesome cooking! But don’t be fooled, wholesome in my world never tasted this amazing.

He served me a bowl of Truffled Mushroom Soup and Duck Confit, I suppose in a chef’s kitchen you can never be without food. He started to prepare his rainbow trout dish.

Six Thirty Nine Restaurant was a home transformed in 2005 into a modern 28 seat restaurant with a sleek sexiness and welcoming appeal. Boyar is classically French trained and inspired by farms and fresh farm produce from his childhood of working on farms. The duck in the soup came from Everspring farm, the pea shoots from Sleger’s Organic Farm and the mushrooms from a farm on County Road 54.

As Boyar moved around his extremely well organized and neat kitchen one task flowed into another with the grace of movement of a dancer. He was amazing to watch, dusting the skin side off the trout sharing some tips with me. “Don’t dust the flesh side of the fish because crisping up that side tends to dry it out”. He warms a mixture of butter and olive oil in a skillet and lays the fish, skin side down and leaves it to work on the rest of the dish.

He takes some previously blanched vegetables and warms them in more butter and olive oil. He adds some home smoked bacon, chantrel mushrooms and when he’s content with his flipping them around in the skillet, he finishes it off with a tiny bit more oil and a handful of Swiss chard.

For now the dish is jokingly called Trout a la Eric and it’s an impromptu dish of his favourite ingredients. He pulls warm dishes from his oven and spoons a large smear of cauliflower puree on the bottom. On top of that he adds the vegetable mixture and to my surprise he adds some green and yellow beans he had going in another skillet.  On top of it all, he lay the trout fillet which was now cooked to perfection.

Now wouldn’t all of us love to have a chef cook amazing and brilliant dishes like this for us all. The meal was an interplay of textures and flavours that comforted the palate and soothed the soul. The beans were fresh and clean, the bacon veggies were savoury and warm, the cauliflower puree luscious and creamy and the trout clean with a bright buttery flavour. They all came together in one sophisticated mouthful.

As well as delicious the dish read like a geography lesson; trout from Goossens in Otterville, fingerling potatoes other veggies from Tim Creton’s Vegetable Farm in Tavistock, the beans and cauliflower from the market, pork belly for the bacon from Rudy’s Meats and the sprouts from Slegers.

Six Thirty Nine Restaurant is definitely work the trip to Woodstock. Book the Chef’s Table ahead of time and remember it only seats 4. In the summer they have a 16 seat patio in a beautiful garden.

Six Thirty Nine Restaurant, 639 Peel St, Woodstock, Ontario, 519-536-9602,







Wednesday, July 15, 2009



I just picked up some cherries from the Fruit Shack on Niagara Stone Road and they're absolutely glorious! Big, blackish red, ultra sweet and brilliant. So many of Niagara's cherries fall short of being really good. Don't know why, I'm guessing it's the variety, but the folks at the Fruit Shack grow these beauties under hoops to protect them from rain and give them much needed extra warmth to ripen this variety. The sweet cherry season is almost over, so get them now!

I was walking with Diana DeMarco at Bluemin' Acres on Line 1 yesterday afternoon and she has a bumper crop of blueberries. The same bushes that produce the delicious blueberries in previous years are producing giant berries that are bursting with amazing flavour - they love this weather. While there, Kelly Nemeth from Toute Sweet came by for some berries. She's the ice cream lady in Jordan who mixes the best Niagara fruit with ice cream on a frozen marble slab. This is her with Diana picking out the best blueberries!

Bluemin' Acres open for the season so go down with your own containers and buy them by weight. They're very reasonably priced - in case you're comparing.

I just spent the morning in the kitchen working with these delicious berries. I made sweet cherry mouse and tuile that I thought I could use as a sandwich, but the tuile shrunk, so I'm turning it into sweet cherry pate with the tuile as toasts - it's amazingly delicious!

With the blueberries I made blueberry crumb squares - don't know about the recipe I put together - think I'll have to work on it - too crumbly. I may have to make some ice cream and turn it into a blueberry sunday.

I also have some blueberry cornbread coming out of the oven - yum!

It pays to find the best berries out there. Get some and let me know what you've done with it!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Niagara Cooks is celebrating local cuisine with a casual winery luncheon on the giant wrap-around porch of the beautiful Grand Victorian Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake - right in front of Reif Estate Winery. 

Come and join the fun!

July 18th, the local lunch starts at 12:30 p.m. and goes until approximately 2:00 p.m. and is being prepared by Robin Howe based on recipes from Niagara Cooks. I will be there to tell the stories of the growers and after lunch enjoy a winery tour and tasting.

There are only 6 tickets left so hurry and get yours - call Reif Estate Winery at 905-468-7738.



Select Hors d'oeuvres featuring local produce paired with 2006 Reif Gamay Rose.


Niagara asparagus in individual puff pastry with a Riesling sabayon and parmesan paired with Reif 2008 Riesling.


Local pork medallions with a Merlot reduction paired with Reif 2006 Merlot Reserve.


Lavender crème brulee  with Niagara rhubarb-strawberry compote paired with Reif Select Late Harvest Vidal.

$50 per person




If you love cherries, you have to go to The Fruit Shack on Hwy #55 in Niagara-on-the-Lake. This weekend they'll be picking their big, black, ultra sweet cherries! They're the only ones in the region that I know of that grow such delicious cherries. If you know of any others, let me know!

White cherries can be had at Peach Country Farm Market on Victoria Avenue in Vineland - they're also ultra sweet! If you find any other white cherries, let me know.

Happy eating!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

For all you fiddlehead lovers, tonight was the fiddlehead feast at NorCliff Farm in Port Colborne. A fantastic chef flew in from New York City and cooked up dishes like coconut curry fiddlehead primivera - yum!