A smooth Spanish wine, a smoking campfire cocktail and organic, fair-trade, homemade ice cream are among Victoria’s mouth-watering offerings.
Ask an Oenophile
The Expert: Sahara Tamarin, co-owner and general manager at Ulla Restaurant in Victoria’s Chinatown
The Dish: Celery root and garlic ravioli, $12
The Pairing: Parés Baltà, Blanc de Pacs, 2010, Penedès, Spain, $47
I’m a big fan of Parés Baltà. It’s a family-owned winery in the Penedès region of Spain, with traditions that date back to the 1790s. Since 2004, it has been producing certified ecological and organic wine. They have bees to pollinate the vines and their own flock of sheep to help fertilize the soil – after the harvest, of course. What I like best is that the winery has two women as its winemakers.
The Penedès region is actually best known for making cavas – Spain’s answer to Champagne – which makes this Blanc de Pacs especially cool. It’s made from parellada, xarel-lo and macabeu (traditional cava grape varietals), but it’s still, not sparkling.
This wine has a beautiful mineral quality, and a really great mouth feel. It’s got good acidity, and it has a bit of body and some viscosity in the mouth as well. There’s a nice aroma of pear and apple, even a little peach pit.
The minerality really helps to underline the earthiness of the celery root in our ravioli, while that crisp clean apple-ness works so well to brighten those notes in the herb purée. But the really beautiful thing is how well it cleanses the palate for the next bite. It’s fresh and clean on the finish. It’s unlike any other wine I have in the restaurant, and I love introducing people to it.
– as told to Alexandra Barrow
Clive’s Classic Lounge in the Chateau Hotel Victoria has lots of buzz around it lately, much of it thanks to executive barkeep Shawn Soole, the only bartender in Canada recognized as one of 10 International Bartenders of the Year by the annual Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. (Clive’s itself made the top 10 in the competition’s World’s Best Hotel Bars.) When asked for one of his more daring concoctions, Soole didn’t disappoint. Served smoking and glowing in an old-school, shrunken-head-style tiki mug, the Cannibal’s Campfire is a tasty spectacle. Here’s the how-to: Mix 2 oz Mount Gay rum, ½ oz Islay whisky and 1 oz Earl Grey tea syrup with 1 oz of grapefruit juice. Shake with ice and strain over fresh, crushed ice into a Tiki mug. Garnish with a grapefruit twist and a charred swizzle stick for a smouldering effect. $11, clivesclassiclounge.com –A.B.
We All Scream for Ice Cream
Tucked five minutes off the Island Highway in Cobble Hill, Organic Fair Farm is the brainchild of husband-and-wife team Kent and Marisa Goodwin — and a must-visit for homemade chocolate and ice cream. The duo, who are keen environmentalists, designed their farm and manufacturing facility to be fully organic, fair trade and sustainable, with mouth-watering results. Here, homemade ice cream is made simply, with organic milk, cream, eggs from heritage-breed French chickens and organic fair-trade sugar imported from Costa Rica. All of the farm’s 19 flavours, such as orange-saffron with candied almonds, rose cardamom pistachio and lavender-honey with lavender sponge toffee, are blended using ingredients from the backyard. Enjoy your frosty treat in a homemade waffle cone or homemade, gluten-free meringue shell. $5.50/double scoop, $10/pint, organicfair.com –A.B.