LCBO Food & Drink Early Summer 2024

Welcome to the Early Summer 2024 issue of LCBO Food & Drink

EARLY SUMMER 2024

COMPLIMENTS OF

Wine critics call it one of the world’s most astonishing wine regions... We call it home. The leading edge of the world’s cool climate wine scene is right here, in our own backyard. From magnificent landscapes to extraordinary wines to spectacular culinary delights, Wine Country Ontario is the perfect getaway.

Plan your adventure today and discover for yourself what makes this place so special.

Scan to plan your adventure today!

winecountryontario.ca

ADVERTISING FEATURE

FROM THEIR FIELD TO YOUR GLASS A classic London dry gin with a fresh, floral twist. Incredibly smooth with a complex, rich flavour and a balanced aroma. LCBO 36494 | $49.95 40% alc./vol. 700mL RAMSBURY GIN

NOT ALL GINS ARE EQUAL(LY MADE)

Ramsbury distillery is one of very select few gin producers who do everything themselves, including growing their own wheat & distilling their own base alcohol. With control over the complete production process - designed to minimise any environmental impact, their gin is not only incredibly smooth & rich, but also finish on a warm feeling.

CELEBRATE SUMMER Welcome the outdoor season with this refreshing and summery twist on a G & T, serving up a crisp and floral match to Ramsbury Gin’s complex & balanced flavor.

ZERO WASTE LOOP

All by-products from the production is reused. Spent grains are fed to the cattle, and in return, their manure along with the ash from the boiler is returned to the fields as a natural fertilizer.

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1 1/2 oz 4 oz 1 oz

Ramsbury gin Fever-Tree Elderflower tonic Rhubarb juice

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Wrap the inside of a highball glass with a slice of rhubarb and add ice. Add Ramsbury gin and rhubarb juice, give it a small stir before topping oö with Elderflower tonic.

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BUILT FOR SUSTAINABILITY

Ramsbury’s distillery sits surrounded by its beautiful 19’000 acre estate in the English countryside, featuring everything from woodlands bursting with wildlife to large rolling fields supporting a fantastic variety of flora and fauna. The distillery was built in 2014 with a sustainability first mindset to leave as little imprint on the land as possible. All grains used to make Ramsbury’s spirits are grown directly on the fields surrounding the distillery - cutting unnecessary transports and allowing unparalleled quality control. The Distillery heats the stills with a biomass boiler powered by the estate’s sustainable woodland, and a solar panel array powers the rest of the distillery and brewery operations.

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Ramsbury Gin’s unique floral notes comes from the quince, grown in the orchard directly next to the distillery.

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All wastewater is funnelled back to the land after being safely purified through a series of wildlife friendly reed filtration beds.

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The Kennet river running through the estate is fed by the same underlying chalk aquifier spring that provides the water going into the spirits, oöering unrivalled purity for both fishing & sipping.

Ramsbury Gin is available at select LCBO stores. For availability please visit LCBO.com .

HANDCRAFTEDTO BE ENJOYED RESPONSIBLY. THE BALVENIE DISTILLERY COMPANY LIMITED. REGISTERED IN SCOTLAND. COMPANY NUMBER: SC138003. REGISTERED OFFICE:THE BALVENIE MALTINGS, DUFFTOWN, BANFFSHIRE, AB55 4BB Represented by PMA Canada Ltd. | www.pmacanada.com

EARLY SUMMER 2024 Contents

Features 58 PORCH PARTY Sophisticated little dishes to accompany cinq à sept aperitifs. BY ESHUN MOTT 64 NEW SIPS FOR SUMMER Choosing just the right drink makes any celebration special. BY JAMES CHATTO 72 ALL FIRED UP Bringing the latest trending flavours to your grill. BY KRIS OSBORNE 78 GIN IS IN The ultimate guide to gin—from cocktails to gifting and garnishes. BY CHARLENE ROOKE

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EARLY SUMMER 2024

ON THE COVER Ready-to-Drink Caesar with Cherry Tomato & Basil Cluster, page 114

COMPLIMENTS OF

Photography by Maya Visnyei

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES TSE FD_ES24_Cover_FINAL.indd 1

2024-03-25 11:30 AM

FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024 5

CONTENTS

91

In Every Issue 12 Editor’s Notes

Departments

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TRENDS Bubble Up Soda syrups and carbonation create summer’s most exciting flavour combinations. BY VICTORIA WALSH SEASONAL Parental Guidance Bake up a brunch treat (and pair with an accompanying bottle) for Mother’s and Father’s Days. BY CHRISTINA FRANTZIS Lighten up your mixed drinks with wine as the star ingredient. BY CHRISTINE SISMONDO SEASONAL Fishing for Complements Canada’s seasonal seafood delicacies meet their match in new beers for summer. BY VICTORIA WALSH DINNER FOR ONE Solo Suppers With very little extra effort, cooking for one becomes a pleasure. BY ERIC VELLEND FINISHING TOUCH Dressed to Impress A great garnish can turn any drink into an entertaining sensation! BY CHRISTOPHER ST. ONGE TWISTS In the Fold Taste how good things can be when you take the taco on a tour of the world. BY MEGAN POWELL Rainbow Connections Sweet treats with all the colours of the rainbow take pride of place. BY MICHELLE RABIN COCKTAILS Wine in the Mix

Inside Scoop The latest bits, bites and sips to keep you in the know. BY ERIC VELLEND

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Recipe Index

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CHEF’S DAY OFF Playing Favourites Innovative Indigenous chef, Zach Keeshig, shares some of his top spots around the province. BY JESSICA HURAS

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY MAYA VISNYEI (TOP AND BOTTOM RIGHT); JAMES TSE (BOTTOM LEFT)

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NEW

WE TURNED UP THE VIBES

NOW WITH 7% ABV

MUST BE LEGAL DRINKING AGE.

GIN POPS Gin-inspired frozen treats for cocktail time

EARLY SUMMER 2024 Chief Marketing and Digital Officer, LCBO Vanda Provato

EDITORIAL Editor Jody Dunn Drinks Editor Charlene Rooke Food Editor Eric Vellend Content Editors Jessica Huras, Victoria Walsh

Publication Coordinator Jessie Smith Publication Assistant Piper MacFadyen

ART Creative Director Cathy Cicchini Contributing Art Director David Taylor Senior Designers Emilie Simpson

Graphic Designer Julia Greco Graphic Production Pat Turbach

CONTRIBUTORS James Chatto, Christina Frantzis, David Grenier, Katie Hayden, Jason Hennessy, Andrea McCrindle, Eshun Mott, Kris Osborne, Megan Powell, Michelle Rabin, Shelly Shnier, Christine Sismondo, Stacey Smithers, Michele Sponagle, Christopher St. Onge, James Tse, Maya Visnyei, Genevieve Wiseman PRODUCTION Senior Manager Andrew Lawson Production Assistant Everton Smith Image Editing & Prepress Levon Gosdanian, Enhanced Pixels

SALES Publisher Leslie Bolter

COMING NEXT

Kirby Miller, Beaches Media Services kirby@beachesmediaservices.com

Look for the products featured in this issue in LCBO stores and online at LCBO.com.

AVAILABLE JUNE 26

ISSUE

For general inquiries about Food & Drink magazine or information about LCBO products and policy, please visit lcbocustomercare.com, or call toll-free 1.800.668.5226 or 416.365.5900. TTY Only: 416.864.6898 or 1.800.361.3291. All advertiser applications are subject to the terms and conditions of the LCBO’s advertising agreement. Food & Drink is published five times a year by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Volume 31, Number 4. Food & Drink is printed on paper that contains 10 per cent post‑consumer fibre. Food & Drink is recyclable in communities participating in magazine recycling programs. Publication Mail Agreement No. 40064521 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Food & Drink , 100 Queens Quay East, 9th Floor, Toronto, ON, M5E 0C7 ISSN 1195-5988

Not all of the wines, spirits and beers mentioned in Food & Drink will be available at all LCBO stores. Prices are subject to change without notice. Cette publication est également disponible en français.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE Drinks and tips for creating the ultimate alfresco party bar

ZUCCHINIS GALORE Irresistible recipes for a bumper summer crop

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LCBO NOTES

From our President & CEO

Dear Friends, A good many people in Ontario maintain that summer begins on the Victoria Day weekend, and they celebrate the holiday accordingly. For others, the season starts right now—with the appearance of Food & Drink ’s Early Summer issue, packed with warm-weather entertaining and gifting ideas, in good time for Mother’s Day and the many long weekends that lie ahead. The LCBO is appreciative to be part of your plans, so we’re launching our Just Add Summer campaign before May is even over. Whether you prefer to shop in-store or online, you’ll find a wide assortment of coolers, summer wines, beers and spirits specially curated with customers’ preferences and the coming season in mind. We’re also looking forward to renewing some popular initiatives under LCBO’s Spirit of Sustainability platform, building strong partnerships and working with organizations to support the well-being of our communities. For example, the LCBO continues to be a strong supporter of the 2SLGBTQI+ community and an official sponsor of Pride Toronto through our annual Love Pairs with Everything campaign. From June 11 to 30, customers can give back alongside their purchase to charitable partners who are making a meaningful impact, not just during Pride, but throughout the year. Meanwhile, June is Indigenous History Month, a significant occasion within the LCBO and throughout Ontario. As an organization we honour the history of our province’s Indigenous peoples and celebrate the vibrancy of their communities, while highlighting our incredible partners who are working for the good of Ontario. Over the month of June, we invite Ontarians to learn more about our efforts and our partners’ initiatives on LCBO.com. We take great pride in our partnerships and will continue to uplift the communities in which we live and work with the support of employees and customers throughout the province.

With good wishes for a safe and sociable summer,

GEORGE SOLEAS President & CEO, LCBO

PORTRAIT BY CARLYLE ROUTH

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MADE WITH SUSTAINABLE WINTER WHEAT SOURCED FROM LOCAL FARMS THAT PROTECT NESTING WATERFOWL

LCBO# 15012

® of Alberta Distillers Limited Calgary, Canada.

EDITOR’S NOTES

Summer Kickoff

In addition to the great weather, May and June are full of occasions that give us a reason to get together with family and friends. It’s wedding and graduation season, Mother’s and Father’s Day are both on the calendar; and if you’re lucky enough to own a cottage (or know someone who does) it’s time to open up the place for summer. For sports fans, of course, baseball has begun and both NHL and NBA playoffs are in full swing. Choosing just the right drink, whether to serve or to give as a gift, makes any occasion special. You’ll find plenty of inspiration in our annual roundup of what’s new at the LCBO this summer, starting on page 64. From fresh fla vours (including two from customer favourites Baileys and RumChata) to lighter and lower-alcohol choices and new formats that are perfect for entertaining, you won’t want to miss these seasonal offerings, so get them while you can. Beyond planned gatherings, the casual front porch or backyard hang is another great pleasure of the season. In “Porch Party” on page 58, recipe developer and food stylist Eshun Mott has created several recipes that are just right as light bites to be served alongside a drink before dinner. On the drinks side, Italian sodas (page 31) are trending right now, and simple wine cocktails (page 43) are lower

Starting on page 72, you’ll find five new recipes featuring trending flavours from hot honey to brown butter and dill pickle (plus an exceptional Spicy Margarita starring grilled pineapple) that are sure to inspire you all summer long. No matter the occasion, we hope this issue helps get you into the swing of the season. Have a great summer!

in alcohol and super-refreshing, making either of these choices the perfect thing to offer guests at your next hang. And finally, what would summer be without the barbecue? If you haven’t been grilling through the fall and winter, this is the time of year to dust it off, clean it up and put it back in heavy rotation.

COMING SOON Watch for the next issue of Food & Drink . Our Summer issue will be in stores and online Wednesday, June 26th.

JODY DUNN Editor, LCBO Food & Drink

@lcbofoodanddrink

lcbofoodanddrink

LCBO

PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMES TSE

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ADVERTISING FEATURE

JUST ADD FRENCH WHITES TO SUMMER French white wines are as deliciously diverse as summer soirées (and guest palates, too!). An oaked Chardonnay is a full-bodied classic while unoaked Chablis is a lighter expression of the style. Sauvignon Blanc, a bone-dry, citrusy chiller, is perfect for hot summer nights while Gew ü rztraminer is a sweet, floral wine, best suited for a spicy-fare rendezvous. Sparkling Cremant brings the same festive fizz as Champagne but at a more pleasing price point. You can’t go wrong with these lively French whites for summer entertaining.

Learn more about French white wines.

Pierre Sparr Gewürztraminer 373373 l 750 mL l D – 15 g/L Reg. $19.95 l Now $17.95 l Save $2.00 A golden pour that exudes lychee and rose aromas. Expect a sweet fruit centre with pleasing spice. Great with Asian fare.

Bailly Lapierre Réserve Brut Crémant de Bourgogne 991562 l 750 mL l D – 9 g/L Reg. $24.95 l Now $21.95 l Save $3.00 Expect delicate citrus, toast and biscuit notes in this fresh floral sipper from Burgundy. A fine partner to seafood.

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Cave de Buxy Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise ‘Buissonnier’ Chardonnay 32567 l 750 mL l XD – 2 g/L Reg. $23.15 l Now $20.15 l Save $3.00 A clean, fruity expression of the varietal that offers grapefruit and honeysuckle notes. Ideal with seafood and grilled vegetables.

La Chablisienne Les Vénérables Vieilles Vignes Chablis 215525 l 750 mL l XD – 2 g/L Reg. $32.95 l Now $29.95 l Save $3.00 Aromas of granny smith apple lead to sweet apple, mineral and citrus tastes. Perfect with grilled sole.

Les Jamelles Sauvignon Blanc Pays d’Oc 465146 l 750 mL l XD – 2 g/L Reg. $16.95 l Now $14.95 l Save $2.00 This is a summery delight for its lively fresh-fruit character. Serve with grilled prawns or leafy salads.

Featured products are available at select LCBO stores. Prices subject to change without notice. Price offers in effect from May 26 to June 23, 2024. *VINTAGES Essentials Collection is always available at many LCBO locations.

The latest bits, bites and sips to keep you in the know. BY ERIC VELLEND Inside Scoop

Tegroni DRINK OF THE SEASON

The Negroni—equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth—is arguably the most riffed-upon drink on the planet. One of the tastiest versions swaps tequila for gin, creating a Tegroni (page 132). The grassy, vegetal notes of tequila—blanco or reposado are both terrific—bring a new dimension to the drink, and instead of an orange twist, we use grapefruit, which has an affinity for agave-based spirits.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON HENNESSY; FOOD STYLING BY CHRISTOPHER ST. ONGE; PROP STYLING BY GENEVIEVE WISEMAN

FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024 17

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THE BLUEPRINT The Spritz Family

While the Aperol Spritz has become the belle of the bar, we prefer the bolder version made with Campari. Either way, the 3:2:1 spritz ratio (3 oz sparkling wine, 2 oz modifier, 1 oz soda) is flexible and adaptable, yielding a whole range of refreshing, spirit-free cocktails. Just gently mix the ingredients in an ice-filled wineglass, garnish and you’re good to go! Find recipes on p. 132.

SPRITZ

CAMPARI

JEREZ

PINK

LAMBRO

Lambrusco

Rosé crémant

Prosecco

Cava

SPARKLING MODIFIER SODA EXTRAS GARNISH

Crème de cassis

Lillet Blanc

Campari

Fino sherry

Berry soda water

Pink grapefruit soda

Plain soda water

Sparkling lemonade

For a less sweet, less bitter substitute for Campari, try Martini Fiero ( LCBO 16079, $30.05 ).

1/2 tsp (2 mL) simple syrup, 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters

1/2 oz simple syrup

2 tsp (10 mL) lemon juice

None

Strawberry half

Pink grapefruit wedge

Long, thin lemon twist

Pimento olives on a cocktail pin

SEASONAL SIPS WHAT’S BREWING

As summer approaches, beer drinkers crave lighter brews, both in style and alcohol. Fortunately, brewers are down with this shift, offering a wide range of seasonal suds for sipping. Here are four Ontario-made faves.

Bench Brewing Ball’s Falls Session IPA LCBO 481515, 473 mL, $3.55

Blood Brothers Mighty Eagle American‑Style Lager LCBO 37763, 473 mL, $3.75

A low-bitterness IPA built for summer, with juicy hops bringing peach and citrus flavours. Creemore Witbier LCBO 32715, 473 mL, $3.80 Crisp and dry, this cloudy, Belgian style wheat beer has classic flavours of banana, citrus and cloves.

Clean, bright and refreshing, its stars-and stripes can is perfect for expats celebrating Memorial Day on May 27. Waterloo Mango Passionfruit Radler LCBO 38043, 473 mL, $3.25 The latest radler from Waterloo is a tropical thirst-quencher, and at 2.5 per cent alcohol by volume, it’s a perfect low‑buzz option.

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A TRIP TO WINE COUNTRY IN

henryofpelham.com

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SEASONAL SIPS Blush Hour When the air warms and the flowers bloom, food editor Eric Vellend stocks his cellar with plenty of fresh, food-friendly rosé. Here are his top picks to celebrate rosé szn.

SHOP & EARN

EARLY SUMMER DEALS

While shopping at the LCBO, you can earn Aeroplan ® bonus points on every purchase (one point for every $4) plus extra on limited-time promotions. Here is a trio of ready-to-drink beverages to help rack up some points. They’ll bring fun flavours to your summer cooler, and the offer is good until May 25. For more information, including other offers and how to sign up, visit LCBO.com/aeroplan.

Botter Oggi Pinot Grigio Rosato DOC delle Venezie LCBO 17901, $10.95 “If you’re hosting a crowd or on a tight budget, this Italian rosato is your best bet. Light, delicate and floral, it’s a terrific pre-dinner sipper.”

Muga Rosé VINTAGES 603795, $17.80 “This has become my default rosé since it’s always available at my local LCBO store. It’s a real crowd-pleaser— peachy, citrusy and crackling with acidity.”

Absolut Berry Vodkarita LCBO 36575, 355 mL, $3.25 5

Lolea No2 White Sangria LCBO 24492, $15.95 80

Coldstream Peach Iced Tea LCBO 31480, 473 mL, $3.25

The Beach by Whispering Angel AOC Coteaux LCBO 31710, $23.95

“I actually prefer this to the pricier Cave d’Esclans rosé by the same winery. It’s still pale, dry and crisp, but also fruitier and more fun.”

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PRIDE OVER THE RAINBOW

If you’re looking for 2SLGBTQI+-inclusive areas to explore in Ontario this summer, Prince Edward County, Thunder Bay and Windsor Essex Pelee Island are all Rainbow Registered tourist areas. For more information on these destinations and other welcoming and safe 2SLGBTQI+ food, drink and travel experiences across Canada, visit rainbowregistered.ca.

Aeroplan ® is a registered trademark of Aeroplan Inc., used under license. The Air Canada maple leaf logo ® is a registered trademark of Air Canada, used under license.

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9 THINGS Summer Essentials

From eco-friendly dinnerware to picnics to go to the best charcoal, our editors roundup nine things for better eating, drinking, travelling and entertaining this summer.

1 Peak Perch If you haven’t tried

3 It’s Lit One of the best brands of charcoal is made right here in Canada. Maple Leaf 100% Hardwood Lump Charcoal (8 kg, $26.99, canadiantire.ca) burns clean and slow, while imparting a wonderful flavour. It’s the charcoal of choice at Toronto’s iconic Barberian’s Steak House, helmed by F&D contributor chef Jesse Vallins. –Eric Vellend

Ontario yellow perch yet, then put it on your summer bucket list. It’s best coated in flour or cornmeal then pan-fried in butter and served with a squeeze of lemon or nestled into a mayo slathered brioche bun. Look for it at fishmongers like Steelhead Food Co. (steelheadfoodco.ca) in Port Stanley. –Victoria Walsh

2 Basket Ball Online market Farm2Door (northsimcoe.farm2door.ca) curates Georgian Bay picnics with local goodies including trout pâté, Ontario cheese and charcuterie, and Belicious honey-sweetened soft drinks from around $75 for two people. Rent a picturesque wicker basket with real plates, cutlery, glasses and napkins, or request a cooler bag. –Charlene Rooke

4 Frozen in Time A Thunder Bay institution, Merla Mae ice cream par lour (merlamae.ca) has been around since the 1950s, which is obvious from its drive-in-style building, where you can still cruise up and order a milk shake. It’s only open during the summer months, when they offer up dreamy soft-serve, scoops and plenty of nostalgia. –VW

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8 Brand New Bag

5 Moveable Feast Looking for an elevated and individualized twist to a charcuterie board when hosting your summer soir é e? Serve i ndividual cups, boats or boxes of artfully arranged meats, cheeses and accou trements. Toronto caterer Olive & Fig (olive-fig.com) offers customization options (including vegetarian, gluten- or nut-free) from $185 per 10 people . –CR 6 Ready to Ware Toronto designer Xenia Taler’s cups and bowls score points for both func tionality and design. Made from reclaimed bamboo, they’re durable, eco-friendly and dishwasher-safe. The bold prints make them an eye-catching addition to backyard barbecues and other alfresco events. –Jessica Huras (xeniataler.com) whimsical plates,

Whether you’re going on a picnic, heading to the cottage or attending a backyard barbecue, arrive in style with the LCBO’s new Puffer Cooler Bag (L CBO 38633, $12.95 ). The brightly coloured carrier is leakproof and insulated, ensuring your drinks stay colder longer. There’s even a side pocket for stor ing keys, sunscreen and other essentials. –EV

7 Going Grey

If you’re looking for a fun day trip or weekend getaway, check out Grey County (visitgrey.ca), the picturesque region on the southern shore of Georgian Bay. You can hike the Bruce Trail, visit one of the many cideries, including Thornbury Craft (thornburycraft.com), and experience the local cuisine at farm-to-table destination Down Home by Sumac & Salt (sumacandsalt.com). –EV

9 Heat Wave Made in Thunder Bay, Heartbeat Hot Sauce Co. Camp Sauce (177 mL, $12, heartbeathotsauce.com) was inspired by memories of Ontario camping trips. Featuring Scotch bonnet peppers, dates, maple syrup and malt vinegar, this sauce has a smoky sweet heat that’s terrific with summer staples from hot dogs to grilled corn. -JH

OLIVE & FIG PHOTO: SELINA WHITTAKER; GREY COUNTY PHOTO: CAMIELLE STEWART

FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024 23

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Mango Lessons Whether you like but tery Ataulfo or aromatic Sindhri, spring is the season to enjoy the best mangoes from all over the world. Since you often have to commit to a box to get the good stuff, check the F&D Archives for ways to use them up in good time. For a five-ingredient, no-cook appetizer, try Cool Mango Coconut Soup . Our spicy, zesty Mango Salsa is terrific with many proteins off the grill, including fish, chicken and pork. And for dessert, check out the easy, yogurt-based Mango Mousse (right) served with sesame wonton crisps.

PANTRY RESCUE LET’S PLAY KETCHUP

It’s easy to get supersized into buying more ketchup than you could possibly need for the summer. Fortunately, it has many uses beyond topping burgers and dogs. Since it’s sweet, sour and savoury, ketchup is considered culinary duct tape—just a squirt will boost everything from tomato sauce to stir-fries. It can be the base of cocktail sauce, as in our Shrimp Cocktail with Spicy Caesar Sauce , and if you want to use it up in quantity, make a batch of smoky Chipotle Barbecue Sauce . Find these recipes at LCBO.com/fdearlysummer24

Find these recipes at LCBO.com/ fdearlysummer24

ENTERTAINING GLASS ACT With the arrival of lighter, fresher summer drinks, perhaps it’s time to level up your glassware (or plastic!) game, too. Try these trendy options. –CR

YES, YOU CAN Can you guess what fits perfectly in this glass? A standard 473-mL beer, cider or ready-to drink cocktail, or a smaller can on ice. They also come in plastic, for safer alfresco sipping. Beer Can Glass , $5.95, crateandbarrel.ca

HAVING A BALL Spotted at molecular cocktail bars, these glass spheres can bring cool snow-globe magic to summer serves. Amp up the visuals with pomegranate seeds, edible flower petals or herb leaves. USEEKRIL Spherical Crystal Ball Cocktail Glass , $22.35, amazon.ca HIP TO BE SQUARE The “square” coupe has officially surpassed curvier stemware as the cocktail vessel of choice. Serve summery “up-rocks” drinks by nestling a king cube or half-sphere of ice in the glass. Retro Fizzio Coupe , $11.00, thecraftybartender.com

SUMMER SHADES In hues evoking summer sky and sunset, these durable plastic glasses are ideal for any drink up to 19.5 oz. Hand-washing is recommended. Glassware Set of 4 ( LCBO 38287, $29.95 ).

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DAYTRIPPER Eating Niagara Whether you’re exploring wine country or heading to the Falls, the Niagara Region offers a wide range of delicious dining experiences. Here are a few of our top picks for the area. –JH

A Short Guide to Cast-Iron Skillets Affordable, durable and dependable, cast-iron skillets have a cult-like following among serious home cooks. Here’s why. Cast-iron skillets are inexpensive and should last a lifetime. They’re oven-safe and won’t warp, even after repeated exposure to high heat. They retain heat better than any other type of pan, and over time the buildup of carbonized oil (aka seasoning) makes the surface effectively nonstick. What are good brands? Lodge is a dependable, widely available brand of cast-iron—look for discounts at Winners and HomeSense. Connoisseurs prefer discontinued vintage brands like Erie, Griswold and Wagner; look for them at antique shops and flea markets. What is so good about a cast-iron skillet? Cast-iron skillets are perfect for outdoor cooking, whether you’re frying eggs and bacon over a campfire or roasting vegetables in a pizza oven. You can also make alfresco smash burgers by heating up a skillet over a grill. How do you take care of them? Contrary to popular belief, you can use a little soap when washing cast iron, though don’t scrub it with anything too abrasive. To maintain the seasoning, heat the clean pan over high heat until smoking. Remove from heat and rub it with a little vegetable oil. Return to heat until smoking again. Remove from heat, wipe away any excess oil and cool. What are the best uses for them in summer?

TREADWELL treadwellcuisine.com

Located on Niagara-on-the-Lake’s main drag, this celebrated restaurant has a skilled hand with its French-influenced, farm-to-table cuisine, while its wine list is among the area’s best, representing local producers, both big and small. Snag a table on the lovely covered patio, or if you’re dining solo, enjoy the action at the eating counter. Chef Jason Parsons and winemaker Katie Dickieson work closely to develop impeccable food and wine pairings in Peller’s fine dining room. Whether you order the tasting menu or à la carte, the signature linguine with icewine poached lobster and black truffle is a must. The patio offers a breathtaking few of the vineyards. FAT RABBIT fat-rabbit.ca Nose-to-tail dining underpins the shareable, genre-defying menu at this new resto-cum-butcher in St. Cath arines. The hot spot’s focus is a wide range of house-made charcuterie and slabs of meat grilled over wood, though chef Zach Smith does have a way with vegetables as well. The quirky wine list is more for Europhiles than locavores. PELLER ESTATES THE WINERY RESTAURANT peller.com

BRUSHFIRE SMOKE BBQ oasthousebrewers.com

This seasonal smokehouse operating out of Niagara Oast House Brewers serves up Texas-style barbecue that’s a natural match for the brewery’s refreshing beers. A great lunch stop on the way into NOTL, the rustic, two-storey patio is a scenic spot for tucking into everything from meat-and-three platters to chicken tinga tacos.

BOOK SHELF COOK IT WILD

Campfire cooking doesn’t have to mean hot dogs and ’smores. In Chris Nuttall-Smith’s Cook It Wild (Penguin Canada, 2023, $40, indigo.ca), the Toronto-based food writer makes the case for gourmet camping. For each recipe, he helps you plan, prep, pack and finish, ensuring happy campers every time.

SKILLET: ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/SERGEY SKLEZNEV

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NEW

SPARKLING SICILIAN LEMONADE

SICILIAN LEMONS

NO ARTIFICIAL SWEETNERS

NON GMO

LOWER in SUGAR

LOWER in CALORIES

LEMON WEDGE

SPARKLING SICILIAN LEMONADE

VODKA

www.fever-tree.com | @fevertreecanada | #mixwiththebest

INSIDE SCOOP

Trendspotting

A roundup of what we’re into this season.

GIFTING Welcome Back, Potter Want a mug big enough that you can wrap both hands around it? Hamilton-based Indigenous ceramicist Rachael Chegahno— the creative force behind Good Stuff Pots (goodstuffpots.com)— offers up just this type of inviting vessel and much more. From show piece salad and pasta bowls to counter-worthy canisters and garlic keepers, Chegahno crafts gorgeous, con temporary ceramics

Odd Couple Mixing absinthe and root beer may sound like risky business, but one sip will convince you that it makes perfect sense. After all, they’re both boldly fla voured, old-timey drinks, so why shouldn’t they get along famously? Created in 2007 by Ellie Winters, the drink went on to become a cult favourite among bartenders and is just now starting to sneak into the broader spotlight. But don’t take our word for it. Give Absinthe & Root Beer (page 132) a try yourself!

that make special, one-of-a-kind gifts.

Give it a whirl in our Spiral

–VW

Cucumber Salad with Peanuts, Cilantro & Fish Sauce Dressing (page 132).

Viral Spiral One of the hottest food trends to come out of TikTok is the spiral cucumber. With a pair of chopsticks and a sharp knife, you can transform mini cucumbers into edible Slinkys. The cut is more than just a gimmick: it allows the cuke to absorb more dressing, while bits of garnish get caught in its accordion-like folds.

KITCHEN HACK Grate Job

Last year, food writer and cookbook author Frankie Gaw went viral with a simple dessert based on Taiwanese shaved ice. He grated frozen strawberries on a Microplane zester into a bowl and topped them with condensed milk, peanuts and sesame seeds. The clever hack has many tasty applications, from grating frozen peaches over an ice cream sundae to making cucumber snow to garnish gazpacho.

28 FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024

TRENDS

Bubble Up Add some sparkle to your cocktail game with seasonal syrups to create Italian sodas that pour on the flavour and make for delicious summer refreshers.

BY VICTORIA WALSH PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES TSE

With the fizzy drink craze bubbling over, it seemed time to reinvigorate the beloved Italian soda. Made from a combo of tasty syrup with flavours ranging from fruity to spiced, and even nutty, plus a simple topping of soda water, this classic easily lends itself to exciting reinventions. We got creative by starting with an interesting homemade syrup as a base, layering in spirits here and there, and topping them with different types of fizzy beverages. These flex ible formulas can also be used to create delicious and complex-tasting mocktails—just drop the alco hol and lengthen with more soda as needed.

SMOKY LEMON & ICED TEA P. 124

FOOD STYLING BY CHRISTOPHER ST. ONGE; PROP STYLING BY ANDREA McCRINDLE

FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024 31

BUBBLE UP

Strawberry Balsamic Soda

The unexpected combo of strawberry and balsamic vinegar is one that chefs have been incorporating into dishes for a long time. Riffing on that culinary concept, this cocktail amps up the flavour of in-season straw berries with a dash of balsamic. 1 1/2 oz Ontario Strawberry Syrup (recipe follows) 6 to 8 oz watermelon-flavoured hard seltzer or sparkling water 1/4 tsp (1 mL) balsamic glaze A basil sprig for garnish Watermelon slice for garnish 1. Pour syrup and hard seltzer into a tall glass filled with ice. Pour in balsamic glaze. Garnish with basil and watermelon slice. Serve with a straw so it can be stirred right before enjoying. ONTARIO STRAWBERRY SYRUP Place 2 cups (500 mL) of halved or quartered strawberries into a medium pot along with 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) granulated sugar and 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until softened and strawberry flavour infuses into syrup, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Using the back of a ladle, swirl and push through a sieve into a steril ized jar. Keep leftover fruit purée in the fridge (up to 4 days) for another use like pouring over ice cream or stirring into yogurt. Makes 1 cocktail

Makes 2 cups (500 mL) syrup for 10 cocktails or mocktails

32 FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024

BUBBLE UP

Salty Pineapple Sangria-Style Soda Adding salt to any cocktail will bring out more flavour. Here, it makes the pineapple pop. Making the syrup in advance means you can simply assemble this summery signature drink for guests with ease. 2 oz Salted Pineapple Syrup (recipe follows) 8 to 10 fruit chunks or berries, such as kiwi or blackberries, or a mixture of both 4 oz sparkling wine or soda 1. Pour pineapple syrup into an ice-filled large balloon wineglass. Add fruit. Top with sparkling wine or soda. Stir and serve. SALTED PINEAPPLE SYRUP Trim half of a fresh pineapple and cut into large cubes. Add pineapple, 2 cups (500 mL) gran ulated sugar and 2 cups (500 mL) water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let mixture simmer until very tender and pineapple flavour infuses into syrup, about 20 min utes. Let cool slightly. Transfer mix to a blender and pulse lightly. Using the back of a ladle, swirl and push through a sieve into a sterilized jar. Add 1 tsp (5 mL) flaky sea salt and stir to mix. Keep left over pineapple purée in the fridge (up to 4 days) for another use, like stirred into yogurt. Makes 1 cocktail

Makes 3 1/2 cups (875 mL) syrup for 14 cocktails or mocktails

34 FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024

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BUBBLE UP

Rhubarb & Orange Italian Tonic

over medium heat. Gently simmer until rhubarb is very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Using the back of a ladle, swirl and push through a sieve into a sterilized jar. Keep leftover rhubarb purée in the fridge (up to 4 days) for another use, like topping ice cream.

This recipe is a great way to take advantage of in-season rhubarb and make a stunning sipper. Bitter-tart flavours mingle, making a complex tasting and satisfying cocktail. 1 1/2 oz Rhubarb-Orange Syrup (recipe follows) 1 oz Amaro or a mix of Amaro and Campari (optional) 2 oz tonic Long strip orange zest for garnish

1. Pour syrup and Amaro over a large cube in a rocks glass. Top with tonic. Stir and garnish with orange zest. Makes 1 cocktail RHUBARB-ORANGE SYRUP Place 3 medium, trimmed and thickly sliced rhubarb stalks, 4 long strips of orange zest, 1 cup (250 mL) gran ulated sugar and 1 cup (250 mL) water into a small saucepan. Set

Makes 1 1/4 cups (310 mL) syrup for 6 cocktails or mocktails

36 FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024

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SEASONAL Parental Guidance Looking to impress mom and dad on their special days? Show off your skills in the kitchen by gifting them tasty homemade goodies they won’t believe you created from scratch—ideal for brunch or as the mood strikes.

BY CHRISTINA FRANTZIS | PHOTOGRAPHY BY MAYA VISNYEI

HOMEMADE ENGLISH MUFFINS P. 116

ADD A BOTTLE During the week, tea or coffee is the best partner to a toasted English muffin slathered with melting butter and jam. For a leisurely weekend brunch, how ever, you might want to pair it with Quails’ Gate Chardonnay ( VINTAGES ESSENTIALS 377770, $26.95 ). The gently oaked white from B.C. has complementary buttery notes, and it’s the perfect match should the muffin play a sup porting role in Eggs Benedict. GIFT WITH: Grass-fed butter, locally made jam, vintage butter knife.

FOOD STYLING BY CHRISTOPHER ST. ONGE; PROP STYLING BY STACEY SMITHERS; SURFACE THIS PAGE: ISTOCK.COM/JILLWT

FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024 39

PARENTAL GUIDANCE

ADD A BOTTLE A platter of these gorgeous crullers makes for a fabulous finale to any brunch. You’re going to want something sweet and fizzy to go with it, like Batasiolo Bosc d’la Rei Moscato d’Asti DOCG ( LCBO 277194, $20.95 ). Its zippy acidity cuts through the rich pastry, while the apricot flavours flatter the cit rusy glaze. And at only 5.5 per cent alcohol by volume, it will keep the midday buzz to a minimum. GIFT WITH: Coffee beans from a local roaster, travel coffee mug.

CITRUS-GLAZED CRULLERS P. 118

SURFACE THIS PAGE: ISTOCK.COM/GNEK

40 FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024

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THE BEST TASTING

BEER IS THE ONE YOU’VE EARNED

COCKTAILS Wine in the Mix

Wine cocktails make for satisfying drinks that are often lower in alcohol yet full of flavour. Added bonus: You can make many of them with just a few ingredients that you may already have on hand.

BY CHRISTINE SISMONDO | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES TSE

Watermelon Slushie Fizz

Watermelon is the quintes sential summer fruit, and it’s hard to resist the urge to “slushify” it by blending it up with a little fizz to turn it into a refreshing summer slushie. In this case, we used Spanish cava, a dry, fresh and bright bubble made according to the méthode traditionnelle of letting the second fermentation happen in the bottle—the same way sparkling wine is made in France. 1 cup (250 mL) seedless watermelon cubes 2 oz lime juice 6 oz brut cava 6 ice cubes Pineapple for garnish 1. Combine all ingredients except the pineapple in a blender and blend on med ium speed for 20 seconds or until the drink has an even slushy consistency. Pour evenly into two large glasses and garnish with pineapple.

FOOD STYLING BY CHRISTOPHER ST. ONGE; PROP STYLING BY SHELLY SHNIER

For a flavour twist, J.P. Chenet

Fashion Pineapple Sparkling ( LCBO 19253, $17.85 ) also works remarkably well in this recipe.

Makes 2 drinks

FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024 43

WINE IN THE MIX

This drink also works well with the slightly less sweet Lillet Rosé, so if you can find the pink version of this delicious aperitif, use it instead but adjust the recipe by adding an extra half-ounce of Lillet Rosé and cut the soda water out entirely.

The Left Bank French café society is fuelled by simple and bouncy lower-alcohol cocktails like this highball, which is an easy mix of sparkling Italian lem onade and Lillet—a French aperitif that’s made in Bordeaux by blend ing a small amount of fruit liqueur and herbs with white wine and then aging it in oak casks. Thanks to a touch of bitterness balanced with sweet fruit, it mixes well with just about anything. 1 or 2 small cucumber ribbons for garnish 1 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc ( LCBO 322297, $25.95 ) 3 oz sparkling Italian lemonade 1 oz soda water 1 strawberry for garnish 1. Fill a highball glass with ice and insert cucumber ribbon so that ice anchors it to inside of glass. Pour in Lillet, Italian lemonade and soda water. Add strawberry for garnish.

Makes 1 drink

44 FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024

WINE IN THE MIX

This recipe also works perfectly well with a brut rosé cava or a Prosecco Rosé if there’s no Lambrusco on hand.

Lambrosa With its easy formula of fresh OJ and Champagne, the classic Mimosa is a brunch staple for a reason. That doesn’t mean we can’t play around with it and bring it up to speed with current trends, like this tweaked version that calls for Lambrusco instead of the usual French bubbles. Lambrusco, an Italian sparkling red that’s traditionally served chilled, comes in several styles—some are sweeter, lighter-coloured or fizzier than others, but they’re all great when mixed with a little juice and soda.

4 oz chilled Lambrusco wine 3 oz chilled fresh orange juice 1 oz chilled soda water 1/2 a small orange for garnish

1. Chill all ingredients, as well as a glass, in the refrigerator for 2 hours, so that everything is nice and cool. 2. Add Lambrusco, orange juice and soda water to a chilled glass. Garnish with half of a small orange like a tan gerine or clementine.

Makes 1 drink

Find a recipe for Porto Pera at LCBO.com/fdearlysummer24

46 FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024

Travel through our regions Meet passionate producers Taste local specialties

A

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Y

L

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U

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R I SM IN QUEBEC

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THE GATEWA

SEASONAL Fishing for

Complements ’Tis the season for a bountiful catch of Canadian seafood, from spot prawns to soft-shell crab. Instead of reaching for wine as your go-to pairing, turn to beer instead. Meet your ideal match among the unique offerings now hitting the shelves.

BY VICTORIA WALSH PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES TSE

SNOW CRAB TARTINES WITH SALTY LEMON VINAIGRETTE P. 118

PILSNER OR LAGER Lighter-bodied lagers and pilsners (a type of lager that originated in Czechia) are known for being sleek and sessionable. They’re basically the archetype of a summer brew. Snow crab (a common sushi ingredient) is known for its subtly sweet flavour, so you’ll want to grab these types of sipping sidekicks since they’re mild and crisp, and won’t dom inate your palate. Pair these lemony bites—or snow crab in general—with local pilsners or lagers such as Side Launch Light Lager ( LCBO 37801, 6 pk, $14.95 ), Wellington Brewery Boot Lite Lager ( LCBO 31952, 473 mL, $3.25 ), Big Rig Hola Cerveza (a Mexican-style lager; LCBO 33212, 473 mL, $2.75 ) or one of the many local pilsners that fill the shelves during summer months.

FOOD STYLING BY CHRISTOPHER ST. ONGE; PROP STYLING BY SHELLY SHNIER

FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024 49

FISHING FOR COMPLEMENTS

SPOT PRAWNS TIP

This delicacy needs to be treated… well, delicately. You need to cook them immedi ately while they’re still really fresh or remove their heads right away. This shellfish carries an enzyme that can cause their texture to become mushy if they aren’t handled properly.

INDIA PALE ALE OR SOUR India pale ales, known for their hoppy core, are a craft brewery staple, whereas sour beers are tart, complex and generally juicy. When it comes to pairing with spot prawns, you can go either way. There are a ton of dif ferent IPA types, but thanks to their commonly pleas ing bitter taste, any will contrast this savoury-sweet seafood well. You can also create a taste sensation by bringing together a myriad of flavours when serving this smoky, sweet dish with fruit-forward and tart sours. Both Burdock Ducks IPA ( LCBO 37781, 473 mL, $4.85 ) and Side Launch Hibiscus Sour ( LCBO 144337, 473 mL, $3.85 ) are great options among many.

SMOKY DOZEN GARLIC CLOVE PRAWNS P. 120

50 FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024

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FISHING FOR COMPLEMENTS

Read about Canadian seafood season and where to find it on page 118. SOURCES

PRETZEL-CRUSTED LOBSTER ARANCINI P. 120

When it comes to lobster, most people think of wine, but beer is a worthy suitor as well. We suggest gravitating toward something hoppy and slightly hazy like a lower-alcohol-by-volume session ale. These beers are typically more available in warmer months. Fragrantly spiced, slightly creamy wheat ales also make an excel lent match for this coveted Canadian crustacean. Both beer styles will complement our salty, fried lobster recipe without overwhelming the seafood. Seek out local cans like Side Launch Wheat Beer ( LCBO 10075, 473 mL, $3.65 ) or Great Lakes Brewery Sunnyside Session IPA ( LCBO 467019, 473 mL, $3.25 ).

WHEAT ALE OR SESSION IPA

52 FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024

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FISHING FOR COMPLEMENTS

SCALLOPS WITH GRAPEFRUIT & LEEKS P. 122

SEAFOOD SWAP

This combination of ingredients also works well with wild salmon or trout in place of scallops (adjust fish cooking time as needed).

SAISON OR FARMHOUSE ALE

Farmhouse ales are often earthy and a little funky. A type of beer that falls under this category is a saison, which means season in French, but traditionally can be enjoyed any time of the year. That said, its fresh, hoppy and often fruity or wild-tasting flavours make it an excellent summer sipper. For this pairing, efferves cent saisons or farmhouse ales in general would make a welcome partner to but tery, rich scallops, while the bitterness in the grapefruit lifts the sweetness in the beer without any of the ingredients overpowering each other. We suggest reaching for brews like Godspeed Brewery Yuzu Saison with Japanese Citrus ( LCBO 18826, 355 mL, $3.95 ) or Burdock Tuesday Saison ( LCBO 37764, 473 mL, $4.50 ), or any other sea sonal releases that arrive on the shelves.

Find a recipe for Oysters & Green Tomato Salad with Spicy Red Tomato Mignonette at LCBO.com/fdearlysummer24

54 FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024

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Early Summer 2024

Summer is here—and let the celebrations begin! There are so many different reasons to party at this time of year. We’re sharing inspiration for the ideal drinks for any and every occasion. We also turn the spotlight on gin and all its many styles—as sippers and in globally inspired cocktails. Meanwhile, this issue’s food stories revel in the fresh flavours of the season. Explore some gorgeously sophisticated ideas for a cinq à sept gathering out on the porch. And, of course, we haven’t forgotten the barbecue—the grill features in an assortment of on-trend dishes. Summer’s started, and the fun is just beginning!

Find our recipe for Roasted Almond Panna Cotta with Rhubarb & Amaretti on p. 131

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES TSE; FOOD STYLING BY CHRISTOPHER ST. ONGE; PROP STYLING BY ANDREA McCRINDLE

FOOD & DRINK EARLY SUMMER 2024 57

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