LCBO Food & Drink Holiday 2020


Wines in magnums age slower than those in 750‑mL bottles.


Double take Don’t sleep on limited-edition large-format wines, great for gift-­ giving or festive celebrations. Here are options for both the budget-­ conscious and the big spender.

Moët & Chandon Golden Sleeved LCBO 291203, 1.5 L, $149.95 Fruity, complex Champagne dressed up for the holidays in a shiny gold sleeve.

Porta 6 Magnum LCBO 516948, 1.5 L, $24.95 With dark berry fla­ vours and a peppery finish, this red is a party favourite.

CastelGiocondo Brunello di Montalcino LCBO 16822, 1.5 L, $119.95 An age-worthy Tuscan red for the hard-to- please wine collector.

Prosecco Valdobbiadene Sup Belcanto Magnum LCBO 53215, 1.5 L, $39.95 Fresh and vibrant with a frothy mousse, this Prosecco delivers big value for the price.


Red gold LOCAL FLAVOUR Maverick duo grows top-quality saffron in Northumberland County. Eastern Ontario is probably the last place you would associate with saffron, yet Martin Albert and Eric Charbonneau have been producing it on a farm north- west of Belleville since 2016. It all started on a whim.    “A friend told us about a woman growing it in Quebec,” recalls Albert. “Within two weeks we ordered 50,000 bulbs with no proper land to plant them on. People thought we were mad!”    Saffron-producing crocuses need soil with good drainage and year-round sun. The couple found the perfect patch near Warkworth, and True Saffron ( was born.    The plants go dormant during the heat of summer and don’t begin to bloom until mid-October. The flowers arrive over a four-week period, and the

backbreaking work of harvest explains why saffron is the world’s most expen- sive spice.    “We gather the troops, show up to the field, and pick in silence because we need to count,” says Albert. “When you see a flower it must be picked, processed, trimmed and dried that day.”    Each flower yields only three pistils (threads), and it takes 75 to 100 flow- ers to produce half a gram. At $30 per half gram, True Saffron is some of the priciest on the market, but the quality is consistently above Grade 1, the highest ranking for “red gold.”    “This is a labour of love,” says Albert. “Every penny we make we put back into the company. We’re certainly not doing it to become rich.”

How to cook with saffron Saffron may cost a fortune, but just a pinch will lend its vibrant colour and heavenly perfume. For maximum extraction, it is often first steeped in hot water or broth to make tea for many classic saffron-infused dishes such as bouilla- baisse and risotto Milanese. Another method is to grind the threads in a mortar and pestle with a little salt or sugar into a fragrant pow- der. Try this trick in Roasted Cumin & Saffron Cauliflower (recipe at, a quick and easy festive side dish.



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