Sunday, June 27, 2010

Turkish Fig with Walnut Wine - Artisanal Preserve

The only way we were able to, legally, sell our D'oro (fortified Walnut Wine) for the first 5 years, was to incorporate it into a preserve. My first fresh fig experience took place in the backyard of one of my Italian uncles, who grew massive amounts on a postage stamp lot in Burnaby, a city in BC, which, likely, has the most fig trees per capita in North America! I wanted to capture that fresh 'seed crunch' taste of figs and combining it with the richness of the walnut wine, we ended up with a preserve that is as delicious served as a condiment on a cheese board as it is slathered over a grilled pork tenderloin.

Customers are constantly sharing their favorite combinations and pairings of our preserves, and more times than not, it involves the Turkish Fig with Walnut Wine. This past weekend, a lovely lady and great friend, Wendy Taylor, told me her latest creation incorporates the preserve into a vinaigrette she serves over a decadent salad of Arugula, Proscuitto and Blue Cheese....seriously? Can NOT wait to try this!

Other ways of incorporating the preserve...

Fig Loaf - Replace the mashed bananas in banana bread with the same amount of Turkish Fig w/ Walnut Wine for a rich loaf, smear with Mascarpone for a truly over-the-top treat

Panini - Turkish Fig w/ Walnut Wine, Tiger Blue Cheese, Proscuitto

Stilton Cheesecake topped with Turkish Fig w/ Walnut Wine

Balsamic Fig Vinaigrette - Combine Turkish Fig w/ Walnut Wine with Balsamic and Olive Oil for the above mentioned salad.

I'd love to hear if you've done something great with our preserves and if you'd like to share the recipe, I'd be happy to post...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Vista D'oro in a (Wal)Nutshell

We received our winery license, after a three year wait, in 2007. This has been a labour of love and hate, however, I think we are finally getting into a grove and going into year three will make a difference. The learning curve was steep and a manual on 'how to start a winery in BC without losing your patience and mind' could be a bestseller, if anyone is interested in writing it, I am NOT!

We are no longer hosting cooking classes at the farm, just too crazy making our preserves and baking for the farmgate shop. I hope one day to be able to do both, maybe in the 'Old Dairy Barn' once that project gets going....more on that at a later date.

We continue to operate the farmgate shop on the farm, which is also where the wine tasting takes place. We've increased our local offerings and continue to search out the best artisan products BC has to offer, to accompany our own products. Any and all recommendations are considered, if you know of a great locally produced product, please let us know!

The greenhouse is just getting going again for the season, we have great help this year and hope to have enough heirloom tomatoes to make the customers and the kitchen happy!

Enough about work!

We've welcomed a new member to our family this past Christmas, he's actually been in the family for over 12 years and we're lucky enough to be his new caregivers! Jesse, is a majestic Bay & White Quarterhouse Paint, which my cousin Teresa received through the Make-a-Wish foundation while she was going through cancer treatment at the age of 13. Unfortunately, Teresa never got to ride Jesse....we hope she's happy with his new home!

Roxy, my little Westie (read apartment dog) is adjusting well to farm life, pretty sure she was white when she arrived two years ago...Paris, our 'real' farm dog, has no time for her, but Roxy's not giving up, they WILL be friends, just give her a couple more years!

We are down to one chicken, Chicken Little, who lives with my horse, Rico. She roosts above his stall at night and hangs out on his back during the day, likely how she avoided the fate of the rest of the chickens. She's getting a little grumpy in her old age and I now carry a broom when I feed her, she may be tiny, but she's damn scary up close!

That pretty much gets you up-to-date- on farm life, minus all the details, which may or may not get covered in future posts.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Life on the Farm

Blog...everyone's doing media, it's the only way...connect with everyone...these thoughts have been banging about in my brain since I posted my first entry to this blog, in 2006!! It was the one and only entry and, I thought, it was pretty good, I just couldn't quite decide what to write about next. I realized I need deadlines, just ask the editors at TASTE! So, I'm self imposing a monthly post, due by the 15th of the month, yes, I realize this ones already 2 days late!!

I removed the old post, don't worry, saved it for posterity's sake - remind me to check if I'm using that word in the correct context, or Wendy, the blog police, will be on it before you can say edit.

The gist of the post was how we moved to the country to build this dream 'lifestyle' and how it's taken on a whole life of it's own, this 'farming' thing. Basically, no lazy days in the hammock gazing at the view (Vista D'oro); no leisurely rides in the park on my horse, (Rico, the main reason we moved the farm) Note: check with Wendy to see if that's 'ironic'. I seriously thought I'd have time to 'putter' in my garden, it's almost funny in retrospect, almost.

I also didn't realize we'd meet so many amazing people doing what we do; chefs, writers, winemakers, farmers, cheesemakers - people so passionate about food and wine and so much fun to be around. I've learned so much from them and continue to do so on a daily basis. I'll be telling you more about these wonderful people in later posts.

Life on the Farm may not be the romantic notion that so many want and expect it to be, but I wouldn't change it for that dream corporate job; the one with coffee breaks, lunch hours, profit sharing, holidays...sorry lost my train of thought for a minute...ever!

Hope you enjoy my ramblings and random thoughts; if not, please just stop reading...don't leave nasty comments, I'm just way too fragile for that ;)