FOOD - Culinary trends for Christmas 2012 and...
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Nov 27, 2012  |  Vote 0    0

FOOD - Culinary trends for Christmas 2012 and teaching kids to cook

Culinary trends for Christmas 2012
Homemade pizza and mini desserts with coffee are two of this year’s culinary trends, according to Canada’s kitchenware retailers.
More than 70 specialty retailers from across Canada were surveyed in September and October 2012 by Browne Retail Canada, a distributor of high quality kitchenware brands.

Although many traditional holiday favourites, such as turkey with all the trimmings and holiday pie, ranked high on the list, homemade pizza (like it was made in a real pizza oven) took the No. 1 spot with 55 per cent of retailers choosing it as the hottest culinary trend for the upcoming Christmas season. 

Thirty-two per cent of retailers also chose loose-leaf teas and gourmet salt as a hot trend. They also predicted that decadent desserts such as creme brulee and hand-made caramels would be popular during the festive season.
Retailers were also excited about a Parisian culinary trend quickly becoming popular in North America, “Cafe Gourmand”, the concept of coffee accompanied by mini desserts (fondants, muffins, clafoutis, creme brulee, mousse or crumble).

Survey results
Top 10 Culinary Trends, as chosen by Canada’s kitchenware retailers
1. Homemade pizza
2. Turkey with all the trimmings
3. Loose leaf teas
4. Holiday pies
5. Creme brulee
6. Gourmet salt
7. Moroccan-inspired tagines
8. Cafe Gourmand (bite-sized desserts served with coffee)
9. Handmade caramels
10. Homemade gravy (made from fat drippings)

Family Kitchen
Get your kids into the kitchen.

Cooking is an important life skill and the best way to teach a child is to get him into the kitchen. But according to the registered dietitians at Dairy Farmers of Canada, parents say lack of time and not knowing where to start are barriers to doing so.

With that in mind, the registered dietitians at Dairy Farmers of Canada have launched a new online resource,, where parents can find simple tips, ideas and recipes to help them create a family kitchen and get their kids cooking, while creating an opportunity to bond with their kids.

The site features four videos that demonstrate the importance of kids learning how to cook and shares stories from real parents about how they created a family kitchen at home. 

Until Nov. 30, Ontario residents can enter the online contest at and share their own stories about how they created a family kitchen for the chance to win the grand prize of $2,500 in free groceries (plus five secondary prizes of $500 each of free groceries).
Dray Horse Ale now available
Following the launch of the series of the ‘Historic Beers of Canada’, Black Creek Historic Brewery introduced Dray Horse Ale, part of a line-up of the 12 beers that represent each consecutive decade of Canadian and brewing history.

Dray Horse Ale represents the era of canal building from 1820 to 1829. During this time, many of Canada’s canals were being built. The Lachine Canal was built between 1821 and 1824. Construction of the first Welland Canal began in 1824 and was completed in 1829.

The Rideau Canal was first dug in 1826 and was finally completed in 1832. Construction of the Desjardin Canal commenced in 1827.
The motive power required to pull barges through the recently completed canals of Upper and Lower Canada was provided by large powerful dray horses.

“Dray Horse Ale is a hefty, full bodied brown ale that is very representative of this decade in Canadian history,” said Ed Koren, brewmaster at Black Creek Pioneer Village in a release. “Dray Horse uses 100 per cent Ontario grown hops and malt to produce a rich and robust ale. At five per cent alcohol this flavourful ale is perfectly suited to the fall and winter season.”

Dray Horse Ale is a seasonal beverage available at select LCBOs, selling for $3.95 a bottle (50 ml). To find a participating LCBO near you, search the Dray Horse Ale product No. 309633.     

The Dietitians of Canada just made it easier for Canadians to eat healthy every day.
The group launched eaTipster – a free iPhone app.

“Our new app will address common questions, such as is coconut oil really better? along with tips to increase your vegetable intake, support a healthy weight and more,” said Janice Macdonald, with Dietitians of Canada in a release.

What can you do with the eaTipster healthy eating tips?

• Set daily reminders to receive new daily tips when you want them.
• Each tip is fortified with extra details backed by research.
• Add tips to your favourites to digest later.
• Share tips on Facebook, Twitter, email and by text.
Dietitians of Canada (DC) is the national professional association for dietitians, representing more than 6,000 members at the local, provincial and national levels.

Cookies and banks for Breakfast Clubs of Canada
Buy a decorative piggy bank filled with gourmet cranberry cookies and help support Breakfast Clubs of Canada.
Until Dec. 31, the tin is available at National Bank branches across the country. Profits go toward supporting community-based breakfast programs.

Tins cost $5. Visit for details about this organization.

Stirling Creamery unsalted butter now available
People in the food service industry have been using Stirling Creamery butter since 1925 for burnished breads, pie crusts, mile high cakes and chewy cookies.

Churn84 is an 84 per cent butterfat butter – the first of its kind in Ontario – and boasts a richer, more pronounced dairy flavour, making it “one of the world’s 30 great butters”, according Saveur Magazine.

According to a press release, Churn84 is reminiscent of old-world European butters, where the minimum butterfat content permitted is 82 per cent. In Canada, the standard has always been 80 per cent butterfat. Increased butterfat means 20 per cent less water, great for or both professional chefs and home cooks looking to make picture perfect puff pastry, viennoiseries and other recipes that call for a richer butter. Churn84 Unsalted Applications For the Home Cook:

- Ideal for baking and making pastry dough (croissants, rolls, breads)
- Use for adding sheen to ganaches and savoury sauces
- Excellent for sauteing
- Perfect for making candies and other confections
Churn84 unsalted is available in 250g bars at retailers in Ontario and Vancouver. Retail price typically ranges from $5.49 to $6.49. For a full store listing, visit  

De’Longhi Cool Touch Roto Fryer
Classing up comfort foods is all the rage in high-end restaurants, so why not continue the trend within the comfort and convenience of your own home asks the makers of De’Longhi Cool Touch Roto Fryer, which retails at $159.99 and includes unique tilted rotating basket uses half the oil of traditional fryers; continuous “dip and rotate” design helps deliver a layered flavour and all-around crispiness; easy-clean drain spout and non-stick interior; and convenient detachable timer.

Try this new spin on an old classic:

Whalesbone Catering Mac ‘n’ Cheese
For mac and cheese
4 cups macaroni
2 1/2 tbsp chopped onions
60g butter
60g flour
1 1/2 cup whole cream
4 cups old cheddar, shredded
salt to taste
ground pepper to taste

For breading
1 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1 tbsp dried thyme
30 ml white truffle oil
flaked sea salt

Cook macaroni until it's al dente; drain. Saute the onions and butter on med-high until translucent.

Whisk in flour, stirring continuously for about four to five minutes or until flour is cooked. Whisk in cream, stirring continuously until mixture is thick. Add cooked macaroni and shredded cheese to mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Let set in fridge three to four hours or overnight for best results. Mac ‘n’ cheese should be a firm block.

Shape mac ‘n’ cheese into croquettes and place on lined tray. Set up a three-bowl breading station: one bowl for flour, one bowl for beaten egg and one bowl for bread crumbs and thyme. Bread croquettes and place on a freshly lined tray. 

Once deep fryer reaches 375 F, fry croquettes until golden brown. Let rest to cool slightly before slicing or serving. Finish with a drop of truffle oil and pinch of flaked sea salt.
~ Recipe courtesy of

National Cupcake Day
Register now for National Cupcake Day in support of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and human societies.

The event helps give voice to “voice to thousands of abused, neglected, and unwanted animal in Canada. Together we can fight animal cruelty one cupcake at a time.”
Funds raised from the Feb. 25 event will support the animal advocacy groups.


Enjoy mead
Impress your guests by serving one of the world’s first alcoholic beverages – mead.

Mead, known as honey wine, is made from three raw ingredients: honey, water and yeast. Enjoyed by many of world’s luminaries and royals, Rosewood Estates’ award-winning 2008 Mead Royale is now available at the LCBO Vintages for $15 a bottle.
As third-generation beekeepers, the Roman family, owners of Rosewood, created a  mead using wildflower honey harvested from their own beehives.

Mead Royale is an off-dry, mead with complex aromas and flavours of wildflower honey, Mandarin orange, ripe pears, marzipan and ginger. Barrel-aged in premium French Oak for six months and made with 100 per cent Ontario honey, Mead Royale is best served chilled or as a key ingredient in some of your favourite seasonal cocktails - try it in an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan.

Enjoy the smooth finish with both sweet and savoury dishes, such as aged Canadian cheddars, ginger squash soup, pad thai, creme brulee, bread pudding, and holiday spice or honey cakes.
Old Fashioned Royale
2 oz Plymouth Gin
1/2 oz Lavender syrup
1/2 oz Mead Royale
Juice of 1 lemon slice
Lemon bitters
Lemon zest
Split of soda water
In a rock glass place small zest of lemon with lavender syrup, honey mead and lemon bitters; press the lemon peel to extract the oil. Squeeze the juice of one lemon slice into the glass and add 1oz of gin. Stir for 30 seconds then add 1oz more of gin and stir for another 30 seconds. Garnish with an edible flower and a split of soda water.
~ Recipe courtesy of Jordan Stace, Brassaii Restaurant & Lounge

The Honeyed Nut
1/2 oz Rosewood Mead Royale
1/2 oz Disaronno
2 oz Brut sparkling wine/Champagne
Add mead and Disaronno to champagne flute.
Top with bubbly.  

The Queen Bee
2 oz Grey Goose Vodka
1 oz Rosewood Mead Royale
1/4 oz Dry vermouth
Mix as a vodka martini, garnish with lemon curl. Note: Stir, do not shake. It does make a difference to the mead.
The Bees Knees
1 1/2 oz Rosewood Mead Royale
3/4 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
Juice from half a lemon
1/2 oz honey syrup
Mix the gin, lemon juice and honey syrup as a gin sour, top with the mead. Stir and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

The Bee Sting Martini
1/4 oz vodka
1 1/2 oz Rosewood Mead Royale
1/2 oz chamomile and black pepper simple syrup
1 drop lemon bitters
Syrup: using cold chamomile tea, make simple syrup. Add 10 to 12 roughly cracked peppercorns. Simmer until balanced flavours are attained. Strain and let cool.
Cocktail: Chill glass. Gently stir together mead and simple syrup. Dump ice from glass and add Vodka then top with cocktail. Add 1 drop lemon bitters and garnish with curl of lemon zest.
~ Recipe courtesy of Aaron Male, mixologist

Ahhh Do De-Clare
1 oz Jack Daniels
1 1/2 oz Mead Royale
1 tsp vanilla infused honey syrup
1/2 juicy Niagara peach
Cut ripe peach into chunks. Shake all ingredients over ice until well integrated. Pour and top with mint
~ Recipe courtesy of Craig MacLean, Spencer’s on the Waterfront
Mead Royale Martini
1oz 2008 Mead Royale
1 oz vanilla Vodka
3 oz white or red cranberry Juice
Combine ingredients in martini shaker. Squeeze in one lime wedge. Shake on ice in martini shaker and pour into martini glass. Rim half the martini glass with a light touch of honey then dip in bee pollen to keep the trend of the mead. Garnish with blackberry.
~ Recipe courtesy of Todd Banks, Spencer’s on the Waterfront

Wherther’s Original Mead Cocktail
2 oz Rosewood Mead Royale
1 oz Stroh 56 Dark Austrian Rum
1 Large pinch of fresh orange zest
Ice (Cubed)
Combine all the ingredients; Mead Royale, Stroh 56 and orange zest into a glass with cubes of ice. Using a spoon stir the liquid in the glass until it’s ice cold. Enjoy out of this glass (with the ice), or serve it neat (without ice) in a fresh glass.     
~ Recipe courtesy of William Roman, Rosewood Estates Winery

Wine pairing
Enhance your holiday hosting power with wine this Christmas.

Heidi Fielding, the Hospitality Manager at Beamsville’s Fielding Estate Winery, said the right wine is the finishing touch to a great party. Knowing which wines best complement which foods and flavours adds a layer of sophistication to your party, and knowing the perfect wine to serve at every step of the party adds an element of organization and flow, she said in a release.
The following tips are courtesy of Fielding and Fielding Estate Winery.

Cocktail hour/appetizers – “Wine isn’t just for the main course. Picking the right wine to go with your appetizers, or a good wine that can stand on its own, is a definite crowd pleaser. I love serving Riesling as a wine for appetizers or cocktail hour. Its bright acidity makes it stand out in a crowd. It is a definitely a ‘food wine’ and pairs perfectly with so many different appetizers.”

Christmas Dinner
– “…Chardonnay or Pinot Noir are perfect with turkey and all the traditional Christmas dishes. They wines are rich enough without overpowering the flavours and spices. A dry Rose is also a great choice and looks very festive at the dinner table.”

Decadent Dessert
– “Any ice wine is a great choice with dessert. We enjoy ice wines with a Lavender Creme Brulee, but you could also put out a selection of dark chocolate and fruits, which are a simple yet decedent pairing for ice wine.”

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