Last weekend we journeyed north to spread some cocktail cheer at a local specialty food shop named Ciboulette et Cie in Midland, Ontario. Somebody else had the same idea and we had a little competition on King Street. Pull on your mukluks and join us for a holiday toast with this festive Thursty Thursday recipe, The Crimson Cup. To learn more about our brand visit www.proofbrands.com. Become a friend on Facebook www.facebook.com/proofbrands and Twitter http://twitter.com/proofbrands to get updates on all of our tastings, parties and events.
1 tbsp. cranberries (frozen & thawed) 2 oz Ocean Spray® Cranberry Cocktail
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add 1½ oz proof whisky, 1 oz. of lemon juice, 1 tbsp. cranberries (frozen & thawed) ½ oz. maple syrup and 2 oz Ocean Spray® Cranberry Cocktail. Shake sharply and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon and cranberry skewer.
Punch bowl size:
1 cup proof whisky
5 oz lemon juice
½ cup frozen cranberries (thawed)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1.89 litres of Ocean Spray® Cranberry Cocktail (full bottle)
In a punch bowl or pitcher add ½ cup muddled or smashed cranberries, 1 cup proof whisky, 5 oz. of lemon juice, 1/3 cup maple syrup and 1.89 litres of Ocean Spray® Cranberry Cocktail. Mix well and add lots of ice. Garnish with frozen cranberries. (www.martiniclub.com)
In summer months, the Midland area's population grows from 16,000 to over 100,000, with visitors participating in its many outdoor activities (boating, golfing and fishing in the summer and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter). It’s no surprise for a town that hosts so many tourists to want to highlight its downtown core. King Street, Midland’s main artery begins at the Midland Town Dock and runs through the local business section. The street is lined with a string of eclectic shops, restaurants and historical murals. (most painted by Fred Lenz).
Recently a new address was added to King Street’s collection of shops. In April André Sanche (recently moved from Ottawa) opened Ciboulette et Cie. Ciboulette is ‘a food shop’, but not just any ‘food shop’, it is the epicurean epicenter of the area. At least this is what André is trying to achieve with all of his extra-curricular activities. Not only does André serve a seasonal menu of prepared home-cooked meals from his shop and runs a thriving catering business, he now offers evening cooking classes, kitchen parties and other special events. (our favourite was the recent open mic night where proceeds go to the local ‘Clean Water Campaign) Sign up to receive the Ciboulette et Cie monthly newsletter for upcoming menus, events and classes. (www.cibouletteetcie.ca)
What we like most about André is his passion for community and local foods. (plus, he’s a really really nice guy and didn’t mind answering our annoying questions)
“We believe ‘Local’ is more than a trend. Like us, it is here to stay. We have deep roots in this community and we believe your food should too. Unlike a supermarket, or a single-aisle store, we can tell you where your food came from – and chances are it's just up the road. By shopping locally and preparing our ingredients and meals right here in our store, we are ensuring that that the environment and local economy will benefit just as much as you and your family.” André Sanche
PROOF: At what age did you become a foodie? Was your family an influence? ANDRÉ: I have always been interested in food. In fact, at a very young age my grandmother promised to send me to France to study should I ever want it. I was always telling my mother how to cut things and present them on a platter. Presentation is half the battle right? But really I didn't start to understand food and have a real passion for it and for it's origins until I went back to school at the age of 24 and met my friend Bruce Wood who was a Chef and a huge advocate for Local foods.
PROOF: What was the first thing that you ever cooked or baked? ANDRÉ: Haha! One of my favourite things even still – soup. I used to make soup from anything and make sooooo much of it! Other than that I would say that I was constantly offering to make cheese platters and vegetable platters. A caterer at heart! :)
PROOF: What is your favourite ingredient to eat and cook with?
ANDRÉ: That's an easy one – pig. Pork is so versatile, tasty, textural and flavourful. You can have tender flaky pork, crisp pork, heavy rich pork... hmmm, I can rhyme off 50 things that you can do with it right now :) – from braising, grilling and my all-time favourite, curing.....mmmmmm.. One of my first real experiences with understanding pork and charcuterie was making my first batch of pancetta with Bruce... I have kept making it and in fact, make it on a regular basis here with Heritage Breed Pork to use in our recipes.
PROOF: Why did you choose to open your shoppe in Midland? What did you love about the area? ANDRÉ: First thing first – my wife is from the area and Midland was the best choice in terms of avoiding a city. We had just left a city and wanted to live somewhere smaller. Midland in itself presents both a challenge and what I believe is opportunity. The first challenge is the demographic. People have seen Midland as a stagnant area for such a long time and unemployment is very high. Being able to bring something of quality, that may be a little more expensive, was really seen as a challenge. But at the same time, I see that as an opportunity. It is un-adultered, or explored by the culinary world. I am of the first in the area. As far as I'm concerned, this leaves us with so much opportunity and room to grow. Who else is crazy enough to set up shop here :) the true opportunity however, lies in the fact that the area is so rich in culture (especially french) and food! Farmers’ fields as far as you can see! Tonnes of small scale farmers, just looking for a venue for its products and we are more then willing to help them showcase them.
PROOF: Would it be possible for anyone living in the area, to follow a balanced 100-mile diet? Is there enough variety of locally produced food?
ANDRÉ: I think that someone living in the area could get quite a bit of food within 100- miles. There are definitely some items that they would need to source from outside, but would be able to get a fair majority. Now come winter.... it may be a different story. I do think however, that with very little effort people would be able to at least add 10-20% of their diet coming from a local source.
PROOF: What percentage of your food comes from a 100-mile radius? ANDRÉ: I don't track where all of our food comes from. Where we can we make an effort to focus on local and-or seasonal foods in our menus. In the summertime quite a bit of our food is local if not at least Ontario and in the winter we try to use as much seasonal veg and meat as possible.
PROOF: You have only been open since April – do you think that you have already made an impact on the town or the locals? ANDRÉ: From what we have seen and hear, we have been sought after for quite some time. People have been looking for a place where they can buy fresh, wholesome and quality foods.They are looking for a place that sees these as priorities and wants to offer excellent customer service in the mix.
PROOF: Describe your long-term goal for Ciboulette et Cie. ANDRÉ: Well, my ideal is really to create a place where the locals, tourists, farmers and producers can come to showcase foods, both in our retail store, café space and Culinary Studio. I would love to be able to expand our teaching and help bring farmers that much closer to the people of the area. Show them that good food isn't and shouldn't be foreign. It's something that is within reach, affordable and really, really easy to do.
PROOF: Who are your food-heroes and why? ANDRÉ: I have to admit that one of my favourite Chef's is Jamie Oliver. I am not a big fan of 'TV' chefs, but Jamie always uses his food for social progress. He has taken cooking and uses it as a tool to better his community. Teaching people how to cook is empowering them. Showing them that local, quality foods go a lot longer then anything packaged or full of preservatives. If we are ever able to expend our Culinary Studio into programs like that, we will then know that we are completely successful.
PROOF: Your focus is on local, but if you could travel on a food journey anywhere in the world where would you go and why? ANDRÉ: Italy – hands down! It’s a place where fresh, local cuisine is the norm. It is also a place where there is so much variety. Good food is ALWAYS in season and differs so much from region to region! SIGN ME UP!
PROOF: Which culture's dietary example should we follow, in your opinion? ANDRÉ: Mediterranean – sImple, clean and fresh. Great combination of freshly caught fish (protein) local vegetables, cheeses... Eat little, lots and often! Thanks André – we really love what you are doing for the community.
Thanks André – you’ll be seeing us again. :)
Anyway, back to the competition...when we asked someone why King Street was lined with neon-orange pylons, they told us that the annual Santa Claus Parade was to overlap our tasting. Well, Santa may have stolen our thunder for his actual appearance, but we had an enormous before and after crowd come into the shoppe for André’s hot chocolate and proof’s Hot Apple Crisp cocktail. We also had an awesome view of the event. If anything the parade only brought the locals out from their hibernating burrows. Thanks Santa!
After spending our day with André and his awesome team, we headed over to Cellarman’s Ale House, which is located just up the street. They stock proof whisky on the back bar – just another reason to love them. www.shopmidland.com/cellarmans/
If you have not yet had a chance to visit the Lowes Christmas Market – you must! We were there for opening night and it was magical. We watched the beautiful lights ignited while being serenaded by the Canadian Tenors. The beer gardens and drink areas are plentiful.
Don’t miss us this weekend (Saturday, December 11th) at McEwan at the Shops at Don Mills www.mcewanfoods.com. We will be serving drinks and quality snacks from 12pm-4pm.
Saturday: Variable cloudiness and a high of 3 degrees. Sunday: Snow and a high of 1 degree.