Spring Renewal

A Riesling with duck? Why not? Plus: what’s 
old is new in serving trays, and our favourite recipe from Canada’s best cookbook

Ask an OenophileThe Expert: Robert Stelmachuk, sommelier at Vancouver’s Chambar Belgian Restaurant


The Dish: Le canard aux epices: spice rubbed duck breast, butternut squash purée, red delicious caramelized apples, whipped goat cheese and tamarind gastrique, $29


The Pairing: 8th Generation Riesling Classic, 2008; glass $12, bottle $50 


This Riesling, from B.C.’s 8th Generation winery, is a wine we offer by the glass as well as the bottle. I wanted to pair the duck with something accessible as well as something available at a reasonable price point. And I wanted to do a white because it’s a little bit more outside the box; pinot noir is your typical pairing with duck. 


The spice rub on our duck is a little bit exotic – a mix of cardamom, cinnamon and star anise – while the Riesling Classic has got brilliant acidity and great minerality, with lots of green apple. The wine and the rub really complement each other very well: the acidity of the wine balances out the spice aspect of things, the apple flavour is echoed in the caramelized apple on the dish, while the sweetness of the butternut squash purée is complemented by the Riesling’s dryness. 


A lot of people are afraid to ask for help when it comes to wine, but they shouldn’t be. If more people were willing to venture and enjoy both food and wine with an anticipation more of appetite rather than fear they would have way more success.  


as told to Alexandra Barrow l


Elevated Service

Pity the poor serving tray. While the palate of B.C.’s entertaining class has grown more sophisticated over the years – with a wide array of organic and artisanal cheeses, breads, meats and the like finding their way in front of increasingly discerning guests – the plates upon which they’re served receive scant attention. Union Wood Co. hopes to change that. The Vancouver-based design outfit has a new selection of trays that utilize reclaimed and repurposed wood to brilliant effect, producing rustic showpieces – with elegantly distressed steel handles – that are both sturdy and one of a kind. Available at The Cross Décor & Design. $80, thecrossdesign.com – A.B. l

Dish Decoded

Whistler’s Araxi restaurant recently added Best Chef Book in Canada to its mantel for Araxi Seasonal Recipes. We’re keen to try the chilled English pea and mint soup, and you can too: Sauté 50 ml (1/4 cup) of butter, one diced onion and two garlic cloves. Add 1 litre (4 cups) of vegetable stock, bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. Add 750 ml (3 cups) of shelled English peas and cook four to five minutes. Remove from the heat and add 50 ml (1/4 cup) of whipping cream, 175 ml (3/4 cup) of spinach and 4 sprigs of mint. Purée, chill and serve! $45, ​araxi.com – A.B. n