August 25, 2011

proof rum, true blue, Vol. 48

In August, there is always an abundance of fresh local summer fruit. Countless roadside stands are now selling wild blueberries, pies and jam. On Saturday we met the girls from the Wild Blueberry Association of North America while at the Brickworks Wild Blueberry Festival. We sampled their delicious berries and walked away with this winner recipe. We are wild for their Blueberry Baselito. To learn more about our brand visit ‘Like’ us on Facebook and Twitter to get last minute updates on tastings, parties & events.

 Wild Blueberry Baselito 4 basil leaves • 2 teaspoon sugar • 2 tablespoons sparkling water • 1 1/2 ounces frozen Wild Blueberries 
• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice • 1 1/2 ounces proof white rum • 1 basil branch • garnish - 2 Wild Blueberries and small skewer
Combine basil leaves and cane sugar into an Old Fashioned glass and add sparkling water. Mix ingredients lightly with pestle. Add Wild Blueberries, crush and mix a second time.  Fill the glass two-thirds full with crushed ice. Add lime juice and proof white rum and stir well. Thread Wild Blueberries onto skewer. Garnish glass with Wild Blueberry skewer and basil branch. Makes 1 cocktail.


The Wild Blueberry Association of North America (WBANA) is an international trade association of growers and processors of wild blueberries from Québec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Maine, dedicated to bringing the wild blueberry health story and unique wild advantages to consumers and the trade worldwide. To learn more about wild blueberries visit (

Try some Van Dyk’s wild blueberry juice from Nova Scotia. It is available at most health food stores. See their site for more drink recipes. (


Wild Blueberries deliver a potent antioxidant punch! 
In fact they have the highest antioxidant capacity per serving, compared with more than 20 other fruits.

They are one of only three berries native to North America and they thrive in the glacial soils and northern climate found in the fields and barrens of Downeast Maine and Canada. Unlike the highbush variety, cultivated blueberries, Wild Blueberries have grown naturally for thousands of years. These lowbush blueberries are primarily spread by underground runners, which give rise to new roots and stems.

Naturally suited to acidic, low-fertility soils and challenging winters, Wild Blueberries are a low-input crop requiring minimal management. The berries are grown on a two-year cycle. Each year, half of a grower’s land is managed to encourage vegetative growth and the other half is prepared for harvest. In May, growers import a billion commercial bees to aid the native bee population in pollinating the barrens and fields – including bumble bees and honey bees.


On Saturday, Evergreen Brickworks attracted a huge crowd at their Wild Blueberry Festival. The event was buzzing with wild blueberry samplings, live music and culinary celebrities. Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann of Earth to Table were there signing books.  

We sampled several great dishes at the Farmer’s Market’s Wild Blueberry Feast. Blueberries took centre stage at every food stand. Even Buddha Dog was topping their dogs with a blueberry reduction. Sunshine Wholesome Market had them lined up for smoothies.

Chef Brad Long was serving a full menu of wild blueberry inspired dishes at his new Brickworks restaurant, Café Belong. (

Slice Pies
Although this company is not located at the Brickworks. you may want to visit their website for a little slice of heaven. ( Slice Pies has created The Tipsy Blue made with blueberries, proof whisky and a spicy cinnamon kick, along with some other fabulous treats. The best part is – they deliver!

After getting our fill of wild blueberries, we toured the kilns.

This 52,000-square-foot area houses three long tunnel kilns and six single-track drying tunnels, now all covered in colourful graffiti 
and unique art installations.

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Mainly sunny and a high of 23 degrees
Sunday: Sunny and a high of 27 degrees

August 18, 2011

proof whisky, What a peach!, Vol. 47

Nothing says August better than biting into a sweet and succulent Ontario peach. Okay, quite a few things do, but – after visiting Niagara last Sunday, we were really, really inspired by this summery tender fruit. Here’s a peachy punch recipe to enjoy on a lazy, hazy summer afternoon. To learn more about our brand visit ‘Like’ us on Facebook and Twitter to get last minute updates on tastings, parties & events.

proof & the giant peach (single) •  1 ½ oz proof whisky • 1 tbsp lemon juice • ½ tsp fresh ginger • 4 oz Ceres peach juice • ginger ale • mint & peach slices for garnish
To an ice-filled glass add proof whisky, lemon juice, fresh ginger, peach juice and stir. Top with ginger ale and garnish with mint and fresh peach slices. Serve immediately.


proof & the giant peach (pitcher) • 1 bottle proof whisky • 2/3 cup lemon juice • 3 tbsp fresh ginger • 48 oz Ceres peach juice (1 bottle) • ginger ale • mint & peach slices for garnish
To an ice-filled pitcher add proof whisky, lemon juice, fresh ginger, peach slices and stir. Top with ginger ale and garnish with mint. Serve immediately.


proof peach pops • 1 cup ripe peaches, mashed • 2 oz proof whisky • 4 oz simple syrup • 2 cups plain yogurt

Peel and slice peaches and add to a bowl. Using a potato masher, crush peaches. Add proof whisky and simple syrup. Mix in yogurt. Pour mixture into a popsicle mould or paper cup (if using cups freeze halfway and add wooden sticks before returning to freezer) Freeze until completely solid, about 5 hours. Remove moulds and serve.


We day-tripped to Niagara on the weekend in search of some fresh Ontario peaches for today’s recipe.


Not only did we discover several bountiful fruit stands, we came across this little gem in the middle of Virgil.

At the Pie Plate Bakery & Cafe, the first choice of ingredients is always local and everything is made from scratch. This hidden gem located in the Village of Virgil, uses locally-sourced produce in the creation of its tastebud-pleasing assortment of Niagara fruit pies, pastries and desserts.  

The Pie Plate country-style bakery and cafe  also serves one of a kind sandwiches, gourmet thin crust pizzas, local wine and a baker's dozen of other treats that will leave you coming back for more. (1516 Niagara Stone Rd.


We hit Jackson Triggs for a little charcuterie and sampling before heading back to Toronto. Ahh, Niagara!

And finally, we leave you with a delicious late summer peach salad created by Johanna Inman

Grilled Peach Salad • 4 cups arugula • 2 sliced firm-ripe peaches • 8 torn basil leaves • 8 torn mint leaves • walnuts, toasted • 4 oz blue cheese  • Olive Oil for brushing on peaches | For the dressing, whisk together: 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
 • 1 teaspoon honey • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard • 1 tablespoon shallot, minced • 1 lemon, juice only • 1/3 cup olive oil • salt and pepper

In a dry pan, toast nuts. Set aside. Brush sliced peaches with olive oil and arrange on grill or grill pan over medium/high heat and cook 1-2 minutes on each side until the peaches are still slightly firm you and you get char lines. Toss arugula, basil, mint, nuts and cheese. Arrange peaches over salad and drizzle with salad dressing.


Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Sunny and a high of 28 degrees

Sunday: Sunny and a high of 28 degrees

Don't forget to hit the Ex this weekend. It opens tomorrow!

August 11, 2011

proof whisky, Aquafest at the Bend, Vol. 46

Looking for a hot place to hang out this summer? Mix up a thermos of drinks and hit the sandy beaches of Grand Bend. To learn more about our brand visit ‘Like’ us on Facebook and Twitter to get last minute updates on tastings, parties & events.

The windsurfer 1 ½ oz proof whisky • ½ oz simple syrup • 1 oz grapefruit juice and 4 oz cranberry juice
To a glass filled with ice, add 1 oz proof whisky, ½ oz simple syrup, 1 oz grapefruit juice and 4 oz cranberry juice. Stir and garnish with lemon.

Located on the shores of Lake Huron, Grand Bend is Ontario’s answer to a Florida beach town. 

With a Key West vibe, beautiful beaches, rustic woodlands, golfing and boating – it’s a great place to spend the summer. 

The main strip, lined with surf shops, beach grills, an arcade and patios is as much alive in the daytime as at night.

If you are not in the mood for the usual beach fare, stop into Midori Sushi for some delicious rolls. We sampled their Big Shooter, Midori and One Love rolls. (33 Main Street, Grand Bend


proof was serving watermelon mojitos and mint divines at the Aquafest festival in Grand Bend.

Purdy’s Fisheries presented the Second Annual Great Lakes Chowder Competition on Sunday with celebrity chef Anthony Walsh. 
 The Globe and Mail wrote of Walsh’s cooking, “Canoe represents the growing national culinary identity, the sense of what Canadian cuisine is and can be.”  Showcasing the home-grown bounty of Canada, Walsh draws on our country’s rich, diverse culture and ethnicity to create magic on the plate. In addition to his work at Canoe, Walsh is also the creative lead for the Oliver & Bonacini portfolio of restaurants in Toronto, and shares ownership in Biff’s Bistro and the Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill chain of restaurants.

Not only does Purdy's supply a lot of fine Ontario restaurants with fresh fish, they operate a few quality eateries of their own. Purdy’s at the Bend Dockside Eatery offers a take out style operation with dock side seating, with a view of the Grand Bend Yacht Club and the Grand Bend Marina. Purdy’s also hosts a small fish house, at 83 River Road, so you may just get to see our Fishermen unload "the catch of the day". They also serve up local ice cream from the London Ice Cream Company and offer flavours such as Moose Tracks, Acadian Vanilla, Pralines and Cream, Black Raspberry Bugaboo and much much more. (

Several chefs, specialty food shop owners and restaurateurs competed in the chowder cook-off.

Placing third in the competition (and using proof whisky in their recipe) were Kyle and Lorraine Deming of Sausage Partners (1378 Queen St. East SP provides quality hand made products, to the individual and to the restaurant industry, with an emphasis on responsible farming and local ingredients.

Peat Smoked Lakefish Chowder with Whisky and Sorrel Butter
3 lbs peat smoked lake fish (catfish, lake trout, whitefish) • 1 smoked pork hock • 2 onions • 
4 carrots • 8 stalks celery • 1 head fennel • 4 potatoes • 1 litre heavy cream • pork stock/fish stock (instructions to follow) • 1 bunch chopped parsley • 2 oz. flour • 3/4 lb unsalted butter • 2 oz. proof whisky  • 2 bunches chopped sorrel

Method: Smoke whole lakefish over peat. Let cool then separate the meat from the skin and bones. Cover the skin and bones with water and simmer for 1/2 hour. Strain and reserve stock. Discard bones. Simmer the pork hock in water until tender (+/- 2 hrs) then strain reserving the liquid. Pick all the meat off the bones and reserve. Discard bone and skin. Dice the vegetables (onions, carrots, celery, fennel, potato) Melt 1/2 lb of the butter in a soup pot and add the vegetables. Cook until they’re tender. Add the flour. Stir well to make sure that all the vegetables are coated evenly with the flour. Add the fish stock, pork stock, and the cream. Bring to a simmer then add the pork and the fish. Simmer 1/2 an hour. Just before serving add chopped parsley and season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Let the remaining butter soften to room temperature. Mix in proof whisky and sorrel until completely incorporated. Wrap the butter in cling film forming a tight cylinder. Refrigerate until firm. Laddle the soup into warm bowls then top the soup with slices of the butter.

You can visit their food shop in Leslieville or sample some of their dishes at The Ceili Cottage, also in Leslieville, Toronto. (  

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Chance of thundershowers and a high of 27 degrees
Sunday: Cloudy with showers and a high of 25 degrees