With the festive season upon us, and the myriad of celebrations and cause for merrymaking that it brings, choosing local for your table will be sure to take any occasion to a new and delicious level.
The abundance of locally farmed meats and foul, fresh vibrant produce, artisanal cheese, and the many selections of the finest seafood in the world, will, without a doubt, cater to your festive menu plan with a new-found ease. And let’s not forget the wine! Savour this holiday season with local wines offering the versatility to be enjoyed at any festive gala.
Looking for an accompaniment to hors d’oeuvres? Then reach for a bottle of Avondale Sky Vineyards Tennycape ($18.99) which is a masterful blend of four white grape varieties. It is slightly off-dry, with tropical fruit aromas
and hints of winter spice. It pairs with seafood, appetizers and vegetarian fare. For slightly fuller fare, there is Gaspereau Riesling ($18.99). It is classic and elegant, with notes of apple, lingering mineral and a luscious offdry finish. It makes for a perfect accompaniment to a roast pork, fresh cheeses and seafood dishes. For the main course try L’Acadie Vineyards Passito ($24.99) which is a certified organic red blend made using traditional European grape drying methods. With flavours of dark berry fruit, mocha and its soft tannins, Passito is best enjoyed with roasted game, red meats, or cheese.
Evelyn Friedrich, Sommelier, Coordinator Atlantic Canadian Wine Awards
Deck the Halls with Hops and Barley
This holiday season, reach for rich, dark, full-bodied ales for their festive spices, warming qualities and robust flavours.
Forget fruit cake — liven up your holiday gathering with Garrison’s Winter Warmer Ale (6x341ml, $14.49): its dry sweet blend of cloves and cinnamon and smooth caramel and molasses flavours will warm your guests from the inside out. And while you’re at it, throw in a Garrison Mixed 6 Pack (6x341ml, $13.49), a true party pleaser with a selection of the brewery’s most popular ales, running
the gamut from hoppy to malty to fruity.
If it’s balance you seek during the holiday rush, grab a bottle of Boxing Rock’s The Darkness Cascadian Dark Ale (650ml, $5.20), a dry-hopped Black IPA guaranteed to bring you out of hibernation with a bang. A bold hybrid of the bitter India Pale Ale and roasty, sweet stout, it’s the perfect companion for the darkest winter nights.
Whitney Moran, freelance beer writer
The holidays are time to be merry, entertain and share great meals. As the cold weather settles in and the Christmas lights begin to sparkle, I start plotting; we’ve had a bit of an open-door policy with friends and family at this time of the year.
The goal for me has always been to be able to entertain at the drop of a hat (or is that a toque?) — to be able to whip out an epic cheese and charcuterie board with little to no perceived effort. And there’s no shortage of businesses to help you out with that — Ratinaud French Cuisine or Pete’s, as two fine examples. I also supplement with a couple of seasonal standards I make, that when stored properly, can stretch through this time period — eggplant caponata, olive tapenade, bourbon chicken liver pâté — seriously amping up any spread.
I love Christmas … always have, always will. I have to admit, every Christmas meal has been built around a major piece of protein — crown roast of pork,
oven-braised beef brisket, roasted organic turkey — then it’s a mix and match of roasted vegetables, cheesy sides and sauces and gravies. We’re pretty lucky to live in Nova Scotia where you can source these kinds of things directly — Getaway Farm Butcher Shop, Meadowbrook Meat Market, Oulton’s, Longspell Point Farm, TapRoot Farms — to name a few.
Lia Rinaldo, Managing Director, Devour! The Food Film Festival