Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year!
All you need is Love and my personally recommended products for the holidays. Keep these on hand and you’ve got a fabulous menu for entertaining right here. Great cocktails, a cool main course, amazing cookies for dessert and a round of wine and chocolate tasting. I call this: Instant Dinner Party.
La Presserie Artisanal Cold Pressed Cocktail MixesWho wants a Mojito, Strawberry Daiquiri, or a Margarita? My guests think I’ve been taking mixology lessons. These frozen mixes are made with raw fruits and herbs, are unpasteurized, vegan, gluten free and with no preservatives. Each one is as delicious as a lovely summer day. They come six to a case, and each bottle makes two drinks. They contain no alcohol, so I just followed the recipe on the bottles to make cocktails. Or, you can add a bit of club soda for a Mocktail. Entre nous, (between us,) this is the best Strawberry Daiquiri I’ve sipped in recent memory. lapresserie.com
Nutterie Discovery BoxesIt’s as easy as cracking open a tasty pistachio. Order your choice of a Discovery Box from Nutterie, an eco-concious, sustainable Canadian online marketplace that offers a vast variety of healthy snacks. All their dried fruits, seeds and nuts are ethically sourced from local farmers. My Discovery Box has big bags of crisp mini pretzels, a variety of all my favourite mixed fresh nuts, corn nuts, and pistachios. Each item tastes freshly made, and is only mildly salted. Besides being a classic cocktail-hour necessity, I have been enjoying each of these healthy items as between-meal snacks with a Granny Smith and some Cheddar. www.nutterie.com
La Presserie Artisanal SoupsThey’ve done it again. These Asian inspired soups that are a meal, and have become staples on our diverse culinary menus. Surprisingly, they are even more tasty than they look in the package, and the flavours are as authentic and fresh as if they’ve just been served to me in a restaurant. Japanese-style Ramen noodle soup, Vietnamese-style Pho noodle soup, aromatic Thai-style Tom Yum Lemon Grass soup and my fave, Tom Kha Kai are all prepared with home-made vegetable broth, are 100% plant-based and made right here in Canada by La Presserie. I was skeptical, but as soon as I prepared the Tom Kha Kai, (4 minutes) the classic Thai soup, and the air was perfumed with coconut, lemon grass, and Jasmine rice, I checked the wrap to make sure I knew where to order more. In my opinion, this is the best new product of the year. lapresserie.com
Aunt Beth’s Whisky CookiesLeave these cookies for Santa, and I can promise that you will be extremely well-gifted. Beth Havers, with over 20 years of experience in the spirits trade, is internationally recognized as being a trail blazer in her field, as well as being pretty classy at Axe-Throwing. Now, she has pivoted to becoming a cookie-baker. A most noble profession. And what cookies they are. You have not experienced the ultimate cookiedom until you have taken a bite out of a vegan Canadian Club Rye and Ginger cookie, or a nibble of Singleton Speyside Big Short cookie. My favourite is Jameson’s Espresso Yourself and I marvel at each delectable bite. There are 250 grams of whisky cookie greatness in each package. auntbethbakes.com
The Grange of Prince Edward WineryThe Grange Estate is home to some of the most significant vineyard plantings in Prince Edward County. Now, led by top viticulturalist, Mike Peddlesden, the Grange of Prince Edward Winery has been working on an extensive rejuvenation of 40 acres of vineyard rows on their 135 acre property in Hillier, Ontario. Their dedication to “low-intervention” shines through in their three new releases that capture the essence of the Grange’s terroir-driven wines: 2022 elegant County Chardonnay, 2022 robust County Pinot Noir, and 2022 juicy, delicious County Gamay, all from their Farmers Series. They make for an interesting wine tasting. grangewinery.com
Green & Black Organic Chocolate BarsNot all chocolate bars are created equally. Green and Black is real organic chocolate in a league of its own. They have always been a favourite at my table for the sophisticated variety of flavours and degrees of chocolate intensity. While I will always choose dark, some in my family won’t touch it and prefer milk, while others prefer the white chocolate. (I gently melt the white chocolate and drizzle it heavily on a plate of raspberries.) But now, here is something new. This new line of Smooth bars have been thoughtfully crafted to attract the dark chocolate lovers, while providing a perfectly balanced intensity of the finest organic and ethically sourced sun-dried cocoa beans for a deliciously smooth, less bitter dark chocolate. Who can ask for a more delicious compromise than that? GreenandBlacksCanada
Braun MultiQuick 9 Immersion BlenderWe live in a time when our electronics have become our addictions: cell phones, laptops, curling irons, and for those who spend some time in the kitchen, the immersion blender. Kitchen counter space is precious, and there is simply no room to keep all the appliances we love right here at our fingertips. The latest release from Braun is the compact MultiQuick. With its attachments, it can chop, slice, dice, mash and more. Whip up a souffle, blend a Smoothie, beat a cake batter, mash potatoes, chop onion, and in minutes you can say, “Dinner’s ready.” Tuck it right next to your coffee maker and you’ll be surprised at its versatility. This lovely little machine does everything in the kitchen except kiss the cook. braunhousehold.com/en-ca
Sara Waxman, OOnt, is an award-winning restaurant critic, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and has eaten her way through much of the free world for four decades, while writing about it in books, newspapers and magazines. She is the Editor in Chief of DINE and Destinations magazine.