Ciao Calabria!

Ciao Calabria!

January 2016 Green hills, blue water, bright sunshine and the occasional palm tree welcomed us to Calabria in late January. Reggio Calabria, where we landed, sits at the very toe of the Italian boot separated from Sicily by the Strait of Messina and surrounded by the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas. Apart from the millions of … Continue reading

How sweet it is

How sweet it is

While we spend Christmas curled up by the tree, Nick Van Berlo expects to spend the day in his Norfolk County shed packing sweet potatoes. “We’ve got an awful lot of potatoes to get through,” says Van Berlo, a second-generation farmer and winner of the Ontario Produce Marketing Association’s 2016 Fresh Award, whose sweet crop … Continue reading

This kiwi is pure gold

This kiwi is pure gold

I tasted my first kiwi nearly 30 years ago at the Western Fair in London, Ont. The hairy, egg-shaped fruit with soft green flesh and a  tropical flavour, originally called Chinese gooseberry, had just arrived from New Zealand. PR spokesperson extraordinaire Swerling-Puritt was charged with introducing the fruit across the country. Since most of us had … Continue reading

An Ambrosia a day

An Ambrosia a day

When the Brantview Apples & Cider tent goes up at farmers markets and bags of apples appear on the long table, the questions begin. What’s the best apple for pie? For applesauce? What’s the firmest? Sweetest? Tart? Grower Jay Howell and daughter Jen from St. George, between Brantford Ont. and Cambridge Ont., answer questions with … Continue reading

Get personal with squash

Let’s get personal, with squash! Turns out there’s no need to buy a monster squash that requires a machete to open and a week to eat. Instead, sort through the bins of local butternut and buttercup, ridged acorns and bulbous hubbards to find the long, narrow delicata with its pale yellow skin and distinctive green … Continue reading

It’s a corn-u-copia!

It’s a corn-u-copia!

It’s been a tough summer for Ontario corn producers, though you wouldn’t know it from the mountains of sleek cobs heaped in farmers’ markets across the city. Until recently, growers of sweet corn and other vegetables were watering their fields 16 to 18 hours a day just to keep the crops alive and cranking up the AC … Continue reading

Cider Rules

Cider Rules

  Not liking beer has always made social situations a little awkward. At the Queen’s pub years back, I clearly recall pitchers of cheap beer being poured with gusto while I and a few other female students nursed expensive, sickly sweet Singapore Slings and Harvey Wallbangers. I later switched to wine, but a glass of … Continue reading

Go for the crunch!

Go for the crunch!

When asked to name the most under-rated vegetable, MasterChef judge Graham Elliot didn’t hesitate: Celery!   “I love it for the crunch, and for its slight bitter edge,” says the celebrated Chicago chef and restaurateur, in TO recently to promote Walmart’s fresh produce. “You can juice it, shave it into salads, pickle it, garnish a cocktail, … Continue reading

Zucchini Italian style

Zucchini Italian style

At a recent ‘Made in Italy’ dinner, graduates of George Brown College’s Italian program set the stage for a summer of good eating. As chef school director John Higgins handed out cheques from the Italian Trade Agency to students who cooked the winning dishes, he noted that cooking in Italy over the next few months will … Continue reading

Watercress adds a regal bite

Watercress adds a regal bite

Bring on the pomp and circumstance, as Britain prepares to officially celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday tomorrow. After travelling along London’s Mall in horse-drawn carriages and assembling on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for their annual photo op, Her Majesty and Co., along with her loyal Canadian subjects, will surely be ready for a pot of … Continue reading