Curling up with a good book, a refreshing cocktail, and tasty snacks has become the November trend as we cozily cocoon in our homes while waiting for Covid, an unwelcome guest, to depart the land.
What to Read
All Abroad, A Memoir of Travel and Obsession by Geoffrey Weill
Thirteen-year old Geoffrey received his dream birthday present from his dad: a subscription to the ABC World Airways Guide, with the routings, timings and fares of the world’s airways. The dye was cast for his journey into every nook and cranny of more than 100 countries. Weill is an appreciator. We join him to share his perspective of the thrill and mystery of the journey and the destination. He bears witness to the changes in travel in the last fifty years due to trends and technologies. Geoffrey is a great story-teller and feels at home wherever he hangs his chapeau. Order your copy at https://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/5781.htm.
The Hunter Chef Cookbook, Hunt, Fish and Forage in Over 100 Recipes by Michael Hunter
Michael Hunter grew up in the countryside, where hunting, fishing, foraging and cooking was a way of life for this unique chef. Reading through this book is a culinary adventure in itself. Bison Ribeye with Truffle Parmesan Frites, Pine mushrooms, and Madeira Jus is on my list for the upcoming holidays. There is a surprisingly simple recipe for Smoked Wild Salmon, and a follow up with Eggs Benedict on Smoked Salmon. Have you ever wanted to fry a Dove? Make Wild Boar Bacon? Make a pot of Stinging Nettle Soup? Small game, big game, fresh water and salt water fish recipes are all beautifully illustrated and clearly set out.
An Entertaining Story by India Hicks, forward by Brooke Shields
I met India Hicks when Crabtree and Evelyn created an exquisite product line in her name. Beautiful, charming, and with great presence, she is what one would expect of an author, model, wife and mother of five children and impeccable style icon whose godfather is the Prince of Wales. Not one to hang out in the kitchen, her book of parties features her favorite recipes and her superb ability for entertaining on the beach or formal dining room with a spirit of fun. The book begins, “Let’s Start With A Drink” and continues with cocktail parties, tea time and picnics, lunches, dinners and ends with breakfasts. Beautifully photographed at her estate in Harbour Island in the Bahamas.
What to Drink
There comes a time each day when our mind flits to the idea of a fruity Vodka/Soda cocktail. We’re counting calories and sugary juices are not what we have in mind. Enter SoCIAL LITE. Pop open a can, put some ice cubes in a glass, and there you have it. The original vodka sodas have 4% alcohol, while the BOLD Vodka Soda has 6%. A six-pack may contain refreshing flavours of Vodka Soda such as Orange, Mango Pineapple, Triple Berry and Grapefruit Pomelo, all at a mere 80 calories each. Keto friendly and 100%vegan, made with 100% natural flavours and juices and Vodka crafted by a local distiller. The first sip of Mango Pineapple takes the mind right to the tropics. What a way to say, “let’s call it a day.”
The moment I removed Levenswater from its package, I knew that this bottle contained something special. The luxe crystal flint bottle with a natural cork/black topper holds a Gin that glows with a natural rose hue. A taste tells me my intuition was correct. It is exceptionally smooth and balanced, and I appreciate the complexity of flavours. Notes of light juniper, lavender and coriander give way to cardamom and chamomile. Not all gin is created equal. Alchemist Paul Allemby buys his fresh aromatics in Kensington Market, and has created this elixir using 34 different botanicals. But don’t take my word for it, Levenswater Spring 34 Gin is the worthy Winner of the top spirits competitions around the world.
What to Snack On
Saputo is spreading Holiday Greetings across the land that are as smooth and satisfying as the cheeses in their Holiday Cheese Collections boxes. In each carefully curated box, you’ll find a selection of fine cheeses, beautifully arranged and grouped by theme, with flavours that are sure to spark smiles of satisfaction. And that’s exactly my reaction to the Collection inspired by Italian Cheesemaking Tradition. In the gold gift wrapped box is Bella Lodi, a hard-ripened cheese, a smoke flavoured Caciocavallo cheese and a favorite of mine, Frulano, a firm ripened cheese. Saputo, who have been making fine cheeses since 1954 here in Canada, has done our thinking for us, and given us a thoughtful and delicious solution for our holiday hostess gifts. Included is a handy guide to help us discover and learn about these savoury cheeses.
What to Eat
A round of applause to Scout Canning, and its seafood brand Scout, for establishing a network of small-scale and sustainable fisheries as a commitment to ocean health. They’ve given us what we’ve enjoyed in wine bars in our travels to Spain and parts of Europe: glorious flavourful tapas which are hand-cut and hand-packed. A loaf of bread, a bottle of wine and these luscious and savoury conservas.
- Atlantic Canada Lobster claw, tail and leg meat, cold-pressed sunflower oil, butter, salt.
- PEI Mussels in a smoked paprika and fennel tomato sauce.
- Ontario Trout with Dill: Trout from all-natural underwater streams.
- Pacific Northwest Albacore Tuna with organic EVOO.
- Pacific Northwest Albacore Tuna with basil and parsley pesto.
A 1% donation of profits is donated to 1% For the Planet, an organization which contributes to environmental causes. It is nice to know that we are eating well and doing good.
What to Watch
A Chef’s Voyage is streaming on Amazon Prime, Apple TV and iTunes November 24. The film follows James Beard award-winning Chef David Kinch and his team from their 3 Michelin Star restaurant Manresa in California for a one-of-a-kind collaboration with three legendary chefs at their iconic Michelin star restaurants in Paris, Provence and Marseilles. Clearly the love of food and the passion for extreme perfection in cooking transcends language.
Sara Waxman 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.