Thursday, July 27, 2017

Munching my Way through Fan Tan Alley

Fan Tan Alley is a narrow gap between buildings in Victoria’s Chinatown. Formerly the site of opium factories and gambling dens, it’s now home to a variety of small artisan stores, including some wonderful food producers.

The owner of La Tana Italian Bakery says he wants “people in Victoria to taste baked good as they will experience going to Italy. I am happy to use certified organic flours and local suppliers for the majority of my ingredients.”

My ciabatta sandwich was stuffed with goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, basil, capers, and olive oil and was really good. I’ll go back another day to stock up on the mushroom turnovers, Nutella brioches, and Italian cookies.

Dessert was Salted Caramel and Sour Cherry & Crème Fraîche ice cream from Kid Sister Ice Cream. Both flavours were wonderful. They make small batches of ice cream and paletas from scratch.

Last but not least, I picked up some treats to bring home from Pure Lovin’ Chocolate. They use organic, fair trade, 71% dark chocolate for their vegan, gluten-free chocolates. And, best of all, they taste great - especially the Pecan Caramel Cups.

There are lots of benches in and around Centennial Square where you can enjoy a picnic lunch. I was fortunate enough to catch a flamenco demonstration.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, July 24, 2017

bicycle flower planter
Bassano del Grappa, Italy -

Saskatchewan Lacks Organic Regulations
Saskatchewan doesn’t have provincial organic regulations so growers can claim to be organic even if they’re not certified. “I think it’s unfortunate,” Dennis Skoworodko, a certified organic farmer and owner of Our Farm outside of Saskatoon said. “I think protecting the organic label and the integrity of organics is really important.”

All Aboard the Prairie Lily!
Did you know that you could sail aboard the Prairie Lily paddlewheeler while enjoying cocktails, wine, or scotch? Dawn Wreford, Co-op Wine Spirit Beer’s Sommelier and Procurement Manager, who has been holidaying in Italy, will share some of her favorite Italian wines on August 9. July 29 is Cocktails and Sunset, while Aug. 23 is a Scotch tasting.

Güd Eats
The vegetarian Güd Eats food truck hopes to be up and running this week.

Saskatoon: A History in Words and Pictures
Amy Jo Ehman’s latest book is not about food. Instead, Saskatoon: A History in Words and Pictures, focuses on Saskatoon’s history, answering questions Amy Jo had about the city, including why it grew up into a city when so many others didn’t.

Howling Bluff Winery Goes Solar
Howling Bluff Estate Wines is “dedicated to becoming a fully sustainable and earth friendly winery. . . . Howling Bluff uses neither pesticides or chemical fungicides. It uses drip irrigation, not overhead irrigation. It mulches its prunings, putting them back into the vineyard or shipping them to Penticton’s composting plant.” They have started installing solar panels and aim to be a Net Zero winery within the next 5 years.

Supermarket of the Future
Take a look at these trend-setting supermarkets – classy bulk bin options and technology-driven stores with sensor-activated panels providing origin and nutrition information as well as monitors with videos providing cooking suggestions.

Networking Yields Rewards for Women Grape Growers
A study of the champagne industry shows that women grape growers, although they are a small minority facing significant discrimination from male growers, have stronger networks and profit from them.

Award-winning Spanish Wine
 I had the privilege several years ago of a personal tour of the Parés Baltà winery close to Barcelona. Located in a protected natural area, the vines share the land with beehives, wild boars, and a Romanesque church.

The family has a second vineyard, Gratavinum, near Valencia. “Silvestris [at Gratavinum] . . . has been selected as one of the thirty best natural wines in the world by Decanter. . . . Silvestris was created just as it was thousands of years ago: only spontaneously fermented grape juice by wild yeasts, and without any other ingredients or additives. The blend is 85% carinyena and 15% Syrah.”

Parés Baltà wines are available at Ingredients Artisan Market.

500 Plants in a Brooklyn Apartment
Summer Rayne Oakes lives “in a 1,200-square-foot converted industrial space in Williamsburg, which is filled with 500 plants, including a living wall, an irrigated vertical garden constructed out of mason jars, and, in a closet garden, edible plants ranging from the familiar (herbs, greens) to the exotic (a pineapple plant, curry leaves—the latter of which she raves about).”

Harmony in Food and Farming
“If we continue to deny the ‘profound, ancient, intimate relationship with Nature’, heralded by the age of ‘modernism’, then fragmentation and disharmony will continue. The recent Harmony in Food and Farming conference explored “the ways in which the laws and principles of Harmony are affecting the processes of Nature, in relation to the production of vital, healthy food.”

Vegetarian Scotch Eggs
Tips on how to make the perfect vegetarian scotch eggs.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events.

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Victoria Goes Vegan: Vegtoria

The Vancouver Island Vegan Association hosted Vegtoria on July 27 in Centennial Square, Victoria, to “celebrate veganism and all of the ways we can choose to lead a more ethical, healthy and environmentally friendly life.” I spent a couple of hours there and the site was jam-packed with people ordering food and sampling all the different options.

And there were so many food options! I was happy to be able to pick up two varieties of vegan cheese from Miyoko’s Kitchen. Made from organic cashews, it is so flavourful!

The Very Good Butchers had huge line-ups at the festival and at their store across the street at Victoria Public Market for their burgers and take-home products. I decided to go back during the week when they’re less busy.

Salt Spring Island Kombucha is so good (they’re also at Moss Street Market). They have all sorts of interesting flavours (Wild Rose, Elderflower Ginger, Lavender Mint) available on tap or in refillable bottles.

I had chik’n and chipotle mini burgers from The Vegan Bite for lunch. The filling was excellent, but the buns weren’t what I expected. Apparently they’re a vegan, gluten-free version of a Brazilian snack, Pão de Queijo.

Dessert was chocolate gelato from Green Cuisine, one of the principal sponsors of Vegtoria. Yum! Green Cuisine is a vegetarian/vegan buffet restaurant in Victoria that also retails some of its products; I’m familiar with their wheat cutlets and tempeh.

In addition to the food, there were all sorts of displays – everything from vegan shoes to vegan children’s books.

The Fur-Bearers and various other organizations were also on hand and there was musical entertainment and speakers.

Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants in Victoria
Victoria has a number of vegan/vegetarian restaurants. I’ve eaten at all of them but Bliss (I had samples at the festival) and they’re all worth visiting.
Be Love
Café Bliss
Green Cuisine
Vegan Hippie Chick Café
Venus Sophia Tea Room & Vegetarian Eatery

Monday, July 17, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, July 17, 2017

Earth Bound Bakery Changes Hands
Oh, Trent. You brought great organic bread and pastries to Saskatoon. Thank you – and have fun in your new adventures!

Venn Coffee 
There’s a new coffee shop just off Broadway. The door and patio for Venn Coffee (803 Dufferin Avenue) are in the alley between Amigos and Bike Doctor. They’re serving Scandinavian-inspired pastries researched and executed by Night Oven Bakery.

New in Saskatoon 
Here are some more new places that sound like they’d be worth checking out.
Lynn’s Road Petals ‘n Edibles is selling locally grown flowers at the Ideas Inc. market around the corner from the Saskatoon Farmers' Market.
Hometown Diner on 20th Street is serving all-day breakfast and lunch.
There are some new ice cream places as well – Fable Ice Cream on Avenue H and The Wholesome Roll (check out their alcohol-spiked ice cream at Silver’s Local Market).

Designing Dignity in Food Banks 
The Toronto Vegetarian Food Bank “was founded on the premise that people who live below the poverty line shouldn’t have to abandon their core values in a time of vulnerability. The food bank, which relies on donations and fundraising, is a contradiction of the idea that “beggars can’t be choosers.”

“For Katie, on long-term disability for Crohn’s disease, a gastrointestinal disorder with symptoms that can be partially managed through diet, the food quality here gives her a bit of a boost to deal with a difficult situation. “I never thought I’d be in this situation of having to rely on food banks,” she says. “I just want something that will nourish me and give me a little bit of pride.”

Non-Dairy Cheese Industry
Market Research Futures says the global non-dairy cheese industry will reach $3.5 billion by 2023. Europe is a leader with Germany representing almost 26% of the market. Research firms are predicting a bright future for all plant-based foods.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, July 10, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, July 10, 2017

Toad Lane Market
If you’re looking for fresh, local produce straight from the farmer/producer, head over to Early’s Farm and Garden on Lorne Avenue on Thursday afternoons from 2-6 pm. You’ll find familiar faces from Grandora Gardens, Kaleidoscope Vegetable Gardens, and Country Lane Market. Other farmers will be joining them as the summer progresses.

Urban Agriculture in Saskatoon

Celebrating Women Farmers
A Tanzanian television show is celebrating its women farmers in a talent contest that pits 16 contestants against each other in challenges involving cooking, planting trees, and making tools.

Venus Sophia Tea House & Vegetarian Eatery, Victoria
Venus Sophia Tea House & Vegetarian Eatery near Victoria’s Chinatown combines some of my favorite things – tea, vegetarian food, and yummy desserts. They have a large collection of their own organic tea blends and many of the desserts are gluten-free. It’s such a warm and inviting atmosphere for a visit with friends.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Twitter or by email (top right corner).

Monday, July 3, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, July 3, 2017

Pike Lake Farmers’ Market 
The Saskatoon Farmers’ Market is holding a Pike Lake Market every Thursday at 10 am from June 29 to August 31.

Saskatoon Berry Festival, July 22 & 23
Don’t miss the Saskatoon Berry Festival at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market on July 22 & 23. There will be a black box chef challenge, a charity pie sale, pie-making classes, and a saskatoon berry waffle bar brunch. Local restaurants will be competing to win an award for the best saskatoon berry dessert.

Veggin’ at the Lake, July 27 
Join Chef Jenni at The Local Kitchen on July 27 and pick up some excellent vegetarian recipes for lakeside barbecues or camping trips.

Building a Food Policy for Canada 
The Government of Canada recently brought representatives of various groups to consult on a Canada food policy. There were many positive aspects to the event but also concern that the federal government’s focus on increasing food exports would detract from ensuring food security for Canadians.

Moss Street Market, Victoria 
Moss Street Market is Victoria’s most popular market. Vendors are expected to “make it, bake it, or grow it and sell it” and farm vendors must be organic. It has a powerful mandate that I believe the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market would do well to consider:

“To strengthen the foundation of healthy community by offering a safe, relaxing and enjoyable place for families and individuals to come together. 

To stimulate and support our local economy by providing a venue for organic market gardeners, backyard growers, home produced food, crafts and artisans. 

To create an opportunity for community groups to convey information to their neighbours concerning important local, social, political and environmental issues. 

To encourage the continuing transition towards ecologically harmonious methods of food production, striving to work with, rather than against the natural system, and 

To have fun!”

Vegan Hippie Chick Cafe, Victoria 
I had some great take-out food – pad thai and dessert – from the Vegan Hippie Chick Café in Victoria. The owner, Karen Rousseau, is a “vegan mom, environmental activist and lover of nourishing plant-based food.” She’s chosen to only serve raw food so the pad thai consisted of zucchini noodles with a cashew sauce. It was absolutely delicious!

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Roses, Government House Gardens, Victoria, BC

 Victoria's Government House Gardens are overflowing with roses. Words can't do them justice.

It is perhaps fortunate that the rose gardens are enclosed or this visitor might cause havoc.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, June 26, 2017

Rozendal Vinegar
12-year aged Rozendal Botanical Vinegar is now available online from Doug’s Wines. Our family’s favorite is hibiscus, but you can try them all in a special introductory offer.

Looking for a local craft beer? Check out this interactive map shows the location of craft breweries and distilleries across Saskatchewan.

Güd Eats 
Güd Eats, Saskatchewan’s first entirely plant-based food truck, is now in operation. They pride themselves on offering crave-worthy plant-based eats.

Flavourful BC 
I’m in Victoria, BC, for the summer. I visited the Very Good Butchers this week, and I’ll be back again. They are a family-owned, plant-based butchery. They use 100% vegan, organic ingredients and local products whenever possible. Their “Roast Beast” slices were firm and tasty.

I’ve been looking for an authentic vegan equivalent to the cheese I love and have finally found one. Miyoko’s Kitchen makes cultured nut products. Their Aged English Smoked Farmhouse is sharp and smoky and absolutely delicious. I’m looking forward to trying some of their other flavours. Unfortunately, distribution is limited in Canada. They’re available at Morningside Bakery on Saltspring Island, Pepper’s in Cadboro Bay, Victoria, and supposedly can be ordered online from or

The End of Fairtrade?
Sainsbury’s, a large British supermarket chain, is planning to pull out of Fairtrade and establish its own corporate system for branding “fairly traded” products. Tea farmers in Africa are concerned, asking why there is a need to change a system that’s been working well for 25 years, ensuring farmers receive a fair price for their product as well as providing social and environmental benefits. Fairtrade certification has also provided consumers with a guarantee of a certain fixed standard. Now that corporates are going it on their own, consumers will be forced to trust the corporation rather than an independent certification.

Beyond Meatless Mondays
Here are five excellent ideas for getting more plant-based food on North American plates, including training more chefs to cook less meat.

Past & Future of Urban Grocery Shopping 
Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America by Michael Ruhlman chronicles the history and evolution of grocery stores. Topics range from supermarkets and niche stores to online delivery and food deserts.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Twitter or by email (top right corner). The Facebook Page is currently broken.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, June 19, 2017

Urban Agriculture Film Night, June 23 
Join the Saskatoon Food Council at 7 pm, June 23, for films about urban agriculture, food, and craft beer.

Our Farm on Broadway, July 1 
The first Our Farm market will be from 8 am to noon, July 1, in the parking lot of St. Joseph’s Hall – lots of lovely, local, organic veggies.

Wine Tasting, July 6
Join Jerome Chomos, a member of the International Sommelier Guild, on July 6 at The Local Kitchen to taste and learn about 5 wines that are perfect for summer sipping. I’ve relied on Jerome’s advice for years now.

The Next Great Food Business
The Local Kitchen and Square One have a launched a competition for the next great food business. The application deadline is August 15.

Story Behind Risotto 
Risotto, a quintessentially Italian dish, and yet the Romans only used rice medicinally and it was the Arabs during their tenth century occupation of Sicily who began growing it for food. By the 1920s and ‘30s, however, the Fascist regime tried to impose risotto as a national dish. For more about risotto’s history, check out this article.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Saltspring Island's Saturday Market

Salt Spring Island Market - everything is grown, produced, or made on the Island. Here are just a few of the lovely treats available.

Elderflower Cordial

All sorts of homemade bread

A fairy door for a fairy house (you'll find lots on the Island)


Just one of many tasty treats!

Such talent!


And, if you can't get enough of market photos, here are some from the Salt Spring Island Tuesday Market two years ago.