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!