Pass the Pomelo

Pass the Pomelo

Whether you spell it pomelo or pummelo, we’re talking one BIG piece of fruit. “It’s hard to get people to try them,” admits Gary Laux, a fourth-generation California citrus grower, “but don’t be overwhelmed by their size — once you get inside, that’s where all the fun’s at.” Laux has been growing the world’s largest … Continue reading

Master of shallots

Master of shallots

Frank Schroyens loves the finer things in life. In 1980, the former Belgian diamond cutter traded his specialized tools for a tractor on a tobacco farm in Southern Ontario. In 1999, Schroyens switched to growing shallots, a crop beloved in Europe. At the time they were unknown here outside the kitchens of Euro-trained chefs. Today, … Continue reading

Root for rutabaga!

Root for rutabaga!

January 25 is a big night for rutabaga as Scots around the world celebrate the birth of their beloved poet Robert Burns 256 years ago. A traditional Burns Night feast stars haggis with bashed neeps and tatties, which translates as ground offal and oatmeal cooked in a sheep’s stomach with sides of mashed rutabaga and potatoes. … Continue reading

Have a Wonderful pomegranate

Have a Wonderful pomegranate

When Harry Connick Jr. sang “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” he probably wasn’t referring to pomegranates, but he could have been. Wonderful just happens to be the name of California’s most popular pomegranate variety, in season from October to January. Bins of shiny red fruit have held centre stage in supermarkets for … Continue reading

Ready, set, roast!

Ready, set, roast!

Walking in the Italian woods can be perilous in the fall, as ripe chestnuts rain down from above and land with a thud. On impact, the tennis-ball-sized pods burst open, revealing three burnished brown chestnuts, two with fat rounded sides and the middle one flat on both sides. From the end of September to November, … Continue reading

Rare tomato an Italian celebrity

Rare tomato an Italian celebrity

In the fertile volcanic soil around Mount Vesuvius, near Naples, grows a plum tomato considered a treasure in this part of Campania. Bright red with a pointed end and dimples on the sides, the oval pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio is harvested in July and August and stays fresh until the following spring, giving pasta … Continue reading

Sicilian wanderings

Sicilian wanderings

Night falls in the village of Porto Palo, steps from the ocean on Sicily’s southwest coast. We got here just in time. Not sure we’d have found the Da Vittorio B&B and restaurant in the dark, and we would have missed seeing the orange and olive groves along the narrow road. Our rooms are  large but spare , a letdown after our  lovely hotel … Continue reading

This buff’s for you

This buff’s for you

With its smattering of palm trees and Mount Vesuvius volcano in the distance, the region of Campania in southern Italy doesn’t look at all like the Wild West, yet 100,000 water buffalo roam its grassy plains. When they tire of roaming, the shaggy horned beasts hang out in a barn, ankle-deep in mud, (it makes … Continue reading

Vera Pizza Napolitana

Vera Pizza Napolitana

I was so excited about eating “real” pizza in Naples, first stop on a whirlwind southern Italian food trip, I didn’t give a thought to what the city itself might look like. Map in hand on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I walked a few minutes from the hotel and ran smack into a wall of … Continue reading

Time for turmeric

Time for turmeric

As a kid in Northern India, Harsh Chawla remembers his mom treating cuts and burns with a mixture of ghee and turmeric. When he returned to his hometown of Chandigarh to be married, family members slathered his face, arms and legs with a golden paste of turmeric and milk to purify and soften his skin. … Continue reading