DINE’s 2012 Piques

[singlepic id=55 w=320 h=240 float=left]2012 has been the tastiest of times. We have sampled a panoply of flavours and experiences from just around the corner to all the way around the world. Some of our “Tastes and Tells” can be found in DINE 2012 and others in DINE online.

As well as asking “Where have you eaten lately?” we’re also being asked “Have you tried anything new and exciting lately?” From gift ideas to get-away ideas, here are some year-end tasting notes that piqued our interest in 2012…

Green Lane Estate Winery’s 2010 Estate Riesling took top honours at Cuvee 2012 in the ‘Best Riesling’ and ‘Best White Wine’ categories.  Bold fruit with a long finish; its tropical citric bouquet of peach and pineapple linger on the palate with a balanced acidity and minerality. It was a refreshing hit when we served the Green Lane Estate Winery 2010 Estate Riesling at our 2012 DINE launch party in September.

Vintage Ink, a virtual winery, using small select lots to create big character wines, recently released its 2010 Mark of Passion Merlot-Cabernet to the LCBO. Fermented separately, each lot of Cab Franc, Cab Sauv and Merlot were oak-aged for sixteen months and then blended together. Rich plum-y black cherry envelopes the palate with a touch of spice and a soft chewy finish. We broiled two meaty lamb chops with thyme and rosemary to medium rare, and found them to be a balanced and complimentary match of flavour and weight. It was not long ago that a Niagara winery could not even think of starting out with a blend like this, but Vintage Ink typifies this new emerging state of bold red wines from Niagara.

Patera represents the best coffee manufacturers in the world for connoisseurs and coffee lovers alike. Earlier this year we sampled their Arcaffe premium espresso pulled from a state of the art machine that looked like a Porche. It was an exceptional coffee experience which we then served at our 2012 DINE launch party. This is how coffee should be.

Collingwood Whiskey is blended Canadian Whisky, imported and bottled in Kentucky. It is aged three years in American Oak and then mellowed with a stave of hard Sugar Maple wood. Sweet hints of caramel, butterscotch, vanilla and maple make it so smooth and creamy. Warm and easy to drink, we were first introduced to it at The Damn Pub in Thornbury–home to 567 whiskeys and Certified Whiskey Specialist, Stephanie Price.

Stratford, Ontario may be the home of the National Pork Congress, but recently DelMac Farm has been gaining attention for its lamb. At this year’s Savour Stratford they teamed with the famed Church Restaurant for a delectable pulled, braised, curried lamb with pickled red onion and apricot compote on a homemade roll. DelMac Farm’s centre cut steaks, shanks, legs, sausages, ribs, and even lamb bacon, are all the rage at the Stratford Farmer’s Market, and are as tasty as they are generously priced.

Alimento Fine Food Emporium (522 King St W, just west of Spadina Ave) is a clever duo of Italian grocery mart and high-end restaurant, Bar Mozza. It’s a unique spot to sit and eat Italian cuisine or shop for over 140 high-end Italian cheeses, meats, pastas, insalates, desserts, olive oils, pastries, in-house made breads and more. For Alimento owner Marco Contardi, “We wanted to do something new in the city which still kept the strong sense of Italian tradition, so we created a unique hybrid of old world charm of Italy, in our restaurant, while bringing in high-end Italian groceries and pre-made meals to King West.” There’s also a unique olive oil refilling program in which customers pay a $2 deposit with purchase, and return their used glass bottles to exchange for fresh refills at the self-serve station.

The Village of Creemore (“big heart” in Gaelic) boasts that it is “one-hundred years behind the times”. On this old fashioned main street there is no traffic light, and the stop sign means you’ve reached the end of the town. Until twenty-five years ago it was a train stop, now there are lots of resident artists with over sixty galleries and studios. Known for its spring water, Creemore Springs is a central attraction and their lager is a balanced blend of Pilsner Urquel and BudvieserBudvar. Across the road, the 100 Mile Store provides local, organic, and naturally grown foods from Meredith’s Ginger Syrup to the potent Peruvian Maca.

Sara Waxman photographed at TIFF by Jaymz Bee. “She has the coolest cell phone ever!” he exclaims. Actually, it’s a Retro Corded Handset by Luxury Life Brands–and it is very cool. Clearer sound quality than a cell; it’s lighter and more comfortable to hold; and much less stressful than pressing a radiating cell phone next to your ear! While Sara’s gold metallic phone is the Cadillac of receivers, they’re also available in cordless and in seven colours.

Bookmark us for Toronto’s best restaurants, food events, dining trends and news–or share with us your own dining feedback. We hope you enjoy DINE’s recommendations, and we wish you all a new year of good health, good times, and good food! Sara Waxman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *