Canadian comfort food and wine

Canadian comfort foodI’d love to be able to split myself in two (or more) pieces. Besides the instant weight loss benefits, such a talent would allow me to be in two places, eating two different meals at once. Bliss! Since I can’t figure out how to make that plan work, I’ve discovered the next best thing: get someone I trust to go and eat one of the meals for me! Today, you can read about the wonderful eating experience my colleague Rob Heidenreich enjoyed while I was in Ottawa sampling the delectable wares at Beckta:


Canadian comfort food and wine
by guest blogger Rob Heidenreich

Canadian culinary tradition is alive and well in Beamsville where Malivoire Wine Company’s proprietor Martin Malivoire has initiated a series of themed culinary events designed to showcase his belief that wines are at their best when expertly paired with food.

The first of these events occurred Sunday the 27th of January and featured recipes culled from the traditions of French Canada to create a celebration of “comfort wines for comfort food.” The menu — which featured food chosen by Martin himself and wines selected by Malivoire’s aptly named winemaker Shiraz Mottiar — was rustic and uncomplicated and matched with accessible wines in $20 price range.

First up was Creton, a coarse-textured pork pâté similar to rillettes, served with the winery’s ”Ladybug” rosé. The rich and delicately spiced pork matched well with the dry, clean forward fruit offered up by the wine.

Next, we were served a creamy chowder of cod and potato alongside Malivoire’s 2006 Pinot Gris. In this instance, the wine seemed to do more for the food than the food for the wine. To its credit, the pinot gris was dry and crisp with a refreshing acidity that cut through the richness of the chowder, but any fruit this bottle possessed was unable to stand up to the soup.

The main course was a classic French Canadian comfort food Cipaille (a layered, slowly cooked meat pie) served with Feves au Lard (sweetened baked beans) and a savoury, spiced rhubarb compote (see photo taken by Tim Yao above). This course was perfect cold-weather food; the kind of sweet and hearty meal that warms the belly and brings colour back to chilled cheeks. Two wines were poured to accompany this course: a ’05 Cab/Merlot and the ’05 Gamay. Neither wine disappointed. Without being particularly nuanced, the Cab/Merlot blend exhibited classic vanilla-oak and dark berry Bordeaux flavours and a sweetness that was accentuated by the food.

But the highlight of the meal was found in the Gamay. Described by Mr. Mottiar as “the purest expression of the Beamsville terroir” this wine released a full, complex nose of strawberry, raspberry and vanilla, making for a more substantial wine than one would expect from Gamay grapes. Mr. Mottiar claims that Gamay is the “quintessential Canadian red” and that Malivoire’s example is “the best in Canada and perhaps the world.” While this statement is clearly up for debate, those who are used to Beaujolais-style wines should try this much different expression of the Gamay grape.

Our French Canadian meal ended with maple syrup pie and butter tarts made from a Malivoire-family recipe served with tea and coffee.

The culinary history of Canada is not a long one, but as long as there are people here who are passionate about the quality of the food and wine we’re able to produce, it will be one day. Martin Malivoire and his staff at the winery deserve kudos for offering these events to those willing to make the trip to wine country.

Check out Dana’s romantic dinner from Montreal menu at


3 Responses to Canadian comfort food and wine

  1. Sabrina says:

    Sounds like a fantastic meal and you describe it so well! I will definatley add a bottle of ’05 Gemey to my list of must try!

  2. Martin Kouprie says:

    Rob you really light up a room with the tone in your article, great description of the food and wine. I agree about the Gamay being a quintessential grapes for Ontario wine making. Its early ripening which gives it an advantage against our short summer. Cheers.

  3. danamccauley says:

    Gosh, you guys are making me thirsty! Thanks for your comments on Rob’s great post!

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