July Wine: Blue Mountain Gamay Noir

No need to look far from home for a delectable ?pairing of island bunny with Okanagan Gamay.? Or try a local twist on ?the British classic with ?salmon Wellington. Ask an Oenophile The Expert: Frederique Philip, ?co-owner, Sooke Harbour House ? The Dish: Juniper and red wine ?marinated Cackleberry Hill Farm rabbit, part of the four-course sample menu, $74.95?

Frederique Philip, Sooke Harbour House
Frederique Philip, co-owner of Sooke Harbour House.

No need to look far from home for a delectable 
pairing of island bunny with Okanagan Gamay.
 Or try a local twist on 
the British classic with 
salmon Wellington.

Ask an Oenophile

The Expert: Frederique Philip, 
co-owner, Sooke Harbour House
The Dish: Juniper and red wine 
marinated Cackleberry Hill Farm rabbit, part of the four-course sample menu, $74.95

The Pairing: Blue Mountain Gamay Noir, Okanagan, 2009, $60


I spent most of my summer holidays with my great grandparents in a little town in the Jura region in France. Most of my time there was spent with the local farmers, taking the cows to the fields in the summer and caring for the farm animals. It helped to define my philosophy toward food. To this day, eating seasonally and using local products grown or raised by local farmers is a must for me both personally and professionally.

Our rabbit, for example, is sourced locally – from Cackleberry Hill Farm in Sooke. It’s a very lean meat, easy to prepare, often by just roasting it whole, the skin brushed with Dijon mustard. For this dish, however, we decided to marinate and braise the rabbit legs with eight ounces of Gamay Noir, which made choosing the Blue Mountain Gamay Noir for this pairing a logical choice. 

The Gamay complements our dish well as it does not overpower the natural mild flavour of the rabbit. There are sweet and savoury notes: currants, plums and cocoa as well as a touch of white pepper. The mild, spicy element of the pepper in the Gamay Noir is a wonderful match with the juniper essence in the dish. Together, the flavours create a wonderful quality on the palate.

Image: Ben Oliver

Tickled Pink

We’re pretty impressed by the Pink Elephant-Tini on offer at newly opened Pink Elephant Thai. It’s hard not to be, considering the martini features Pinky, a premium vodka brand recently introduced to the Canadian market, which is hand blended with violets, rose petals and 10 other botanicals to create a delicate fragrant taste and distinct blush hue. To make your own, mix 2 ounces of Pinky vodka with 2 ounces of cranberry juice and 2 ounces of lychee juice. Add ice, shake, strain into a martini glass and serve. $10, pinkelephant​thai.com

Grab Bag

Quite possibly the best food bag ever (and it’s a fiercely contested title!). Use Lékué’s new Cooking Bag in the fridge, freezer, oven, microwave – practically anywhere in the kitchen. The Cooking Bag is made of platinum silicone, so it’s resistant to extreme temperatures – from minus 60 up to 220 degrees Celsius – and completely non-stick. Its convenient bag design makes it easy to store upright or flat, and a sliding “tweezer” seal across the top of the bag guarantees there are no leaks. Store solids, liquids, large batches or individual portions. But our favourite feature: it’s dishwasher safe. $35, lekue.es

Salmon Secrets

Image: Adam Blasberg

Fishworks owner and chef Shallaw Kadir is known for changing up his menu, but the wild salmon Wellington has remained a staple for the North Shore restaurant since its inception. The secret to the dish’s success? A cranberry-pistachio crust between the salmon fillet and crispy phyllo. Here’s the how-to: Caramelize 250 grams of shelled pistachios in a preheated 175-degree-Celsius oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Essential oils are released just before the nuts begin to burn, so check them frequently. Let cool. Blitz in a food processor with 125 grams of dried cranberries and a handful of fresh sage leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Brush each salmon fillet with a small amount of Dijon mustard and press the crumbs onto the fish. Serves four. $19, fishworks.ca