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

A currant affair

A currant affair

It’s taken more than 30 years to make my first summer pudding. I first tasted this classic British dessert at a Mississauga dinner party. Though the ingredient list is absurdly simple — a bucket of currants and other summer berries, sugar and sliced white bread — the result is an impressive red mound oozing rich, … Continue reading

Do you caravanserai?

Do you caravanserai?

    We were on our way to the Zein-o-Din caravanserai for the night, the Iranian equivalent of a stagecoach inn, a place to rest, dine and break up the long trek through the desert. Unlike travellers traversing the Silk Road centuries ago, when the inn was built, we arrived by bus instead of by camel. But we did see a few of the shaggy long-legged beasts in … Continue reading

Jazzed in Yazd

Jazzed in Yazd

  We pulled into the large parking lot in front of Tehran’s imposing central station with more than an hour to spare before our evening train. Posters of ayatollahs Khomeini, (left), who died in 1989, and Khamenei looked down on us benevolently. Inside, chaos reigned as families began or ended their New Year journey in Tehran. So many women wore … Continue reading

Use your (veggie) noodle

Use your (veggie) noodle

Oodles of new vegetable noodles added a splash of colour to the recent Canadian Produce Marketing Association expo in Toronto, highlighting one of the summer’s top food trends. “Foodles (‘fun noodles’) are one of the hottest-selling items we’ve ever launched,” says Noel Brigido, vice president of Mississauga produce processor Freshline Foods, whose packaged veggie noodles are … Continue reading

Tehran for a day

Tehran for a day

  “So who had friends and family tell them not to come to Iran because it’s too dangerous?” our guide Mahdi asked. All 11 of us put up our hands. Yet in my years of travel in foreign countries, I’ve never felt safer or more welcome. Perhaps it was his time in the military during … Continue reading