Peas please!

Peas please!

  At 6 a.m., you’ll find Neil Vader and his oldest son Gavin guiding their combine through fields of tangled vines in Prince Edward County, the big machine collecting fat pea pods and separating the green peas as it goes. By 7, the first load reaches the packing house, run by operations manager Nathan Vader … Continue reading

Magical Umbria

Magical Umbria

    According to our schedule, the day began with a visit to a theatre. Which felt strange on a @Made in Italy agricultural tour, and even stranger as we drove down (yet another) winding dirt road through the woods with no signs to anything. We stopped outside the gate of what turned out to be a … Continue reading

Pick a perfect pineapple

Pick a perfect pineapple

    Let’s start at the top. When choosing a fresh pineapple, no amount of leaf-tugging or counter-sitting will make it riper or sweeter. That’s because this golden fruit, symbol of hospitality, tropical beaches and tiki parties, is harvested ready to eat. “Pulling a leaf is not the best way to determine if a pineapple … Continue reading

Meal kit mania

Meal kit mania

Published May 29, 2018 in the Toronto Star Hate grocery shopping? Too busy to plan dinner or tired of the same old recipes? Have I got a meal deal for you. Meal kits, pre-portioned dinners for two or four that magically arrive at your door ready to assemble in less than an hour, are one … Continue reading

O Porto!

O Porto!

    It’s been a slice, of francesinha! Of course we had to try this famous Portuguese specialty, advertised on every menu in Porto, if only to advise you not to bother! Unless, of course, you grew up loving hot roast beef sandwiches on soggy white bread swimming in gravy. The minder of our apartment … Continue reading

This pear’s got crunch!

This pear’s got crunch!

If you like your fruit crunchy and juicy, pick up an Asian pear on your next visit to the produce section. Plump and round as an apple with golden brown or pale yellow-green skin, a crisp, grainy texture and lightly sweet taste, these ancient pears are ready to eat when you buy them and make … Continue reading

Garlic shows its age

Garlic shows its age

These are dark days in the food world. Along with last year’s top trend, activated charcoal, Google searches for black garlic are trending upward as more chefs and foodies seek out the savoury licorice, balsamic vinegar and molasses notes of these jet-black cloves. Without garlic’s usual pungent bite and a chewy texture like dried apricots, … Continue reading

Gift of a Christmas pear

Gift of a Christmas pear

 Meet Comice, courtesy USA Pears  As I stood in the produce section at Sobeys recently, amazed at the plethora of pears on display from Ontario, Italy, Portugal, South Africa and the U.S., the woman beside me picked up a big brown Bosc and shook her head. “This is going to take a long time to … Continue reading

Nantes one sweet success story

Nantes one sweet success story

Danny Carnevale has no time for “baby” carrots, those peeled, carrot-shaped pieces of mature carrot packed in ready-to-eat bags and marketed to moms. If you want the real taste of a sweet, tender baby carrot, freshly dug from the garden, the owner of Veg-Pak Produce at the Ontario Food Terminal suggests you pick up a … Continue reading

Embrace your inner Brussels sprout

Embrace your inner Brussels sprout

    A  2008 survey revealed that Brussels sprouts were the most hated vegetable in the U.S. Not surprising considering the number of people still traumatized after being forced to eat smelly, boiled-til-mush sprouts as a kid. Today, however, these baby cabbage look-alikes are super trendy, roasted until sweet and nutty on restaurant menus, scattered … Continue reading