Tuesday, October 23, 2012


At the forefront of Canada’s culinary tourism movement, British Columbia provides food and wine lovers with highest quality products to experience the very best of local cuisine.


What can I say? If you love good food and wine, a trip to BC is a must. I felt like a local myself being greeted by the friendly restaurant staff and the opportunity to meet the chef or owner at a number of the dining establishments added tremendously to the experience. To top it all, the ice wine at the end of the meal is totally acceptable indulgence!


I was exultant at my arrival in Vancouver for the first time and was recommended a visit to Granville Island. So I hopped onto a small electric water taxi and puttered along False Creek. Edible Canada was one of those places that I had to simply try, so stopped for my first meal there and to my joy I discovered it wasn’t just a store or a restaurant, but a culinary journey and experience that brought more things to see and do along the way! I began with my lunch at the bistro; the menu was inviting and full of fresh flavours and the true commitment to sustainable ingredients and local choices seemed evident. After making myself comfortable at the nice wrap around patio I ordered my lunch. Crisp cut fries, topped with gravy, cheese and poached eggs, it looked gorgeous. I lost no time in making contact with the dish; the fries did not become a soggy mess, the toppings spread evenly on the fries, it was the most delicious ‘poutine’ ever, Simple and beautiful it married amazingly well with my ‘white wine sangria’.  Stomach happy I took a stroll through the retail store…and got lost amongst many wonderful spices, sauces and other terrific goodies to explore and yes the store offered only local, fresh and exciting items. Next was a tour of the Granville Island market, which was a great combination of serious Gourmet and the souvenir shops. I was left salivating; as a tourist my options were limited to carry things home!


FAST FACT- Edible British Columbia (now Canada) was created by Eric Pateman in the spring of 2005. Eric is a Vancouver native with a lifelong passion for food and wine. He has worked in the hospitality industry for over 15 years both as a chef and hotel consultant and has rated restaurants for the Mobil Travel Guide.



If you want to experience tranquillity, relaxation and consume glutinous delights whilst taking in some of the most beautiful scenery in BC this is the place to stay! Needless to add this is one of the most visited flower gardens in North America. I immediately grabbed the seats by the window which overlooked the Italian Garden so I could admire the stunning flowers plus it makes for a good vantage point to watch everyone coming and going through the garden. Though on offer is a full menu for lunch and dinner, I opted for the famed High Tea and I was not disappointed at all. The tea menu ran the gamut from their own special Gardens Blend of Black tea blend of Darjeeling, Black Hunan and Gunpowder, to teas with hints of fruit and flowers and the common Earl Grey and English breakfast. I went in for the Gardens Blend, highly recommended by my server, which came along with seasonal fruit, warm savouries, sandwiches, scones and pastries served on china cake stands. The smoked salmon sandwich with a maple Dijon cream cheese was a sheer delight. The scones with the true Devon shire style clotted cream and strawberry jam were the star of the show. That said I would be doing injustice If I do not talk about the quiche which was a perfect amalgam of Gruyere and buttery crust….and yes the homemade sausage roll was simply divine. The surprise was a small box of loose tea that I got to bring back home with me as a souvenir. My cousin who has tried the High tea umpteen times ordered the seared wild BC salmon fillet ‘panzanella salad’ which was no less spectacular. The Dining room is raucous most of the time as it is well patronized.


FAST FACT- Mr and Mrs Butchart named their home ‘Benvenuto’, the Italian for ‘welcome’, and they basked in the joy their gardens gave to others. Until numbers made it impossible, tea was served to all who arrived. In 1915 alone, it is reported that tea was served to 18,000 people.

I was overwhelmed with joy when I discovered the third floor terrace of The Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver which houses a secret garden oasis. The heady scent of lavender and rosemary lead me to these gates where I strolled on the paths, picked fresh herbs, sampled a wild berry, observed the visiting birds and also saw a real honey bee hive sanctuary!!! Here I found Executive Chef Dana Hauser Chef’s grazing the garden space for ingredients for that day’s dishes…now this is what I call Farm to Table! Dana ignites her devotion to fresh, sustainable, seasonal ingredients harvesting and using everything from the garden in her kitchens. Nurturing the very elements which constitute her culinary creations, and a philosophy around fresh food innovation, Hauser constructs signature dishes that combine the rooftop ingredients into authentic West Coast flavour. I tried that evening a ‘Honey Basil Collins’ along with ‘freshly picked rooftop tomato, lettuce, chives, and herbs salad’ and I couldn’t help asking the chef to share a couple of recipes….am yet to come across such a talented chef!

FAST FACT- In Vancouver, more than 60 varieties of herbs, edible blooms, fruits and vegetables are grown throughout the , With Vancouver's mild climate, the bounty is grown year round and is a significant contributor to reducing energy, emissions and showing the Hotel’s commitment to decreasing negative impacts on climate change.  The herb beds were created in 1991 on the sunny south-facing terrace balcony, and have been reinvigorated in 2012 under the guidance of Executive Chef Dana Hauser.



Yield-Makes four
Lb: lbs Peas; 1 onion: chopped; 1 tsp.: sugar; 1 Tbsp.: butter; 1 leek: chopped; 1 Tbsp.: mint chiffonade; 1 tsp.: lemon juice; 1Litre: Chicken or Vegetable Stock;
Salt and pepper: to taste.

1.    Sweat Onions and Leek in butter over Med Heat.

2.    Do not brown.

3.    Add Peas, sugar & lemon juice with cooked onions and leeks to Blender. Puree until smooth.

4.     Add Chicken Stock in increments to achieve desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh mint.

This soup can be served hot or cold. Reheating of soup will cause it to lose its vibrant colour

Yield- Makes 24 bars
2 cups: Rolled Oats; 3/4 cup: Wheat Germ; 3/4 cup: Sunflower Seeds; 3/4 cup: Pumpkin Seeds; 156 Gms: Brown Sugar; 165 Gms: Honey; 55 Gms: Butter; 7 Ml: Vanilla Extract; 200 Gms: Dried Fruit.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

1.     Toss oats, wheat germ and seeds and toast until golden.
     2.     Heat the honey, sugar and butter to a boil.

3.     Stir in the vanilla.

4.     Pour over toasted mixture and add the dried fruit.

5.     Mix thoroughly and press firmly onto tray.
Published in TLF