January 11, 2017

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Recipe: Braised Pork with Cabbage & Apples

Photo Source: MarthaStewart.com

This easy weeknight recipe comes to us from our resident chef, Claire Tansey. ClubK members can pair this warming dish with their Creekside Estate Winery 2012 Big Red Meritage from the Holiday shipment. Or you can enjoy with the Stratus 2014 Kabang Red.


Slow-cooked pork is rich and fragrant but not heavy. Using the slow-cooker means you can go out for the day and have the house smelling incredible upon your return. To make it in the oven, add about 1 cup of chicken broth to the cabbage mixture. Bake, covered, at 300°F for 3 to 4 hours. Serve this with buttered egg noodles, gnocchi or spätzle.

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
Half a red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 4 cups packed)
3 apples, unpeeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 ½ teaspoon salt, divided
3.5 lb pork shoulder roast

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium. Add onions and cook 6 to 9 min or until dark golden. Place cabbage, apples and 1 teaspoon of salt in a slow-cooker insert. Scrape in onion mixture and toss well to combine. Spread in an even layer. Sprinkle remaining ½ teaspoon salt over pork, then place pork on top of cabbage mixture. Cover and slow-cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until pork is very tender. Serve pork in thick slices with cabbage mixture and its juices.

December 08, 2016

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Food + Wine: Warming Beef Ragout with Sunny California Cabernet


Girasole Vineyards (pronounced jeer-uh-so-lay) organic wines are made from certified organic grapes grown on the rolling bench lands of Redwood Valley in the Mendocino appellation of Northern California.

And while the winery label is relatively new to the field (launched in 2001), founder Charlie Barra has been growing wine grapes since 1945 when he leased his first vineyard at just 16 years old!

Ten years later, Charlie purchased the 175-acre Redwood Valley Vineyards and began working with some of California’s best-known wine growers and winemakers, such as Robert Mondavi and Karl Wente, to establish the area as a hotbed for premium, varietal-focused vineyards.

It’s from this long tradition of thoughtful and careful grape growing that the Girasole Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is born. It’s a vivacious and savoury wine in a lighter style than your typical California Cab; a delicious ray of warm Southern sunshine in our dreary Northern December.

The lively fruit and acidity of this Cabernet make it an ideal pairing for a warming tomato-based pasta dish like this one below from Chef Nathan Young of In the Smoke Cookery in Niagara.


Girasole Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
Get your hands on a case of 6 six bottles for $28.25/bottle. FREE Shipping.
kwäf Exclusive (Nope! Can’t find this anywhere else.)
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Zucchini and Tomato Ragout with Penne Pasta
From Chef Nathan Young of In the Smoke Cookery, Niagara


Photo Source: RecipeHubs.com

This is a warming winter dish for the family that is great for hiding veggies if you have small picky eaters.

INGREDIENTS

1 cooking onion, small dice
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 medium green zucchini, grated with cheese grater
1 medium yellow zucchini, grated with cheese grater
1 lb. ground beef (if desired)
1 cup red wine
1 litre of tomato sauce
Olive oil
3 cups penne pasta- cooked as per box instructions

INSTRUCTIONS

Add olive oil to a large pot on medium heat.

Add onion and garlic to the pot, and sweat down together for 3 minutes.

Add grated zucchini to the pot and sweat for further 2 minutes.

Add beef and brown (about 5 minutes). Once beef is browned add one cup of red wine.

Cook for 1 minute, then add the tomato sauce and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Spoon desired amount over freshly cooked penne pasta and enjoy!

October 31, 2016

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Meet the Taste Bud: Lindsay Groves, Sommelier

Lindsay Groves is passionate about wine education – both as a student and teacher – and is studying for the Master of Wine while leading classes at Humber College as part of the Hospitality and Tourism program.

She has been voted Sommelier of the Year (2007) as well as a Top 30 Under 30 (2008) by the Ontario Hostelry Institute.

Lindsay’s love of wine and research has taken her all over the globe (most recently Chile). But she calls Toronto home, where we’re able to pin her down just long enough to get her seal of approval on your Wine Club and Exclusive Offer wines, and to talk her current wine and food obsessions...


Lindsay in the vineyards of Chile, October 2016

1. Describe your perfect wine moment
Last summer at our wedding. Sitting at a restaurant in Santorini with our closest friends and family, drinking Assyrtiko and eating fresh seafood, watching the sunset. Don't think it gets much better than that.

2. What’s your absolute favourite wine and food match?
Champagne and anything. One of the best experiences I had was actually drinking a bottle of Dom with fish and chips in the UK. In a pinch, I guess oysters will do.

3. Finish this sentence: “More people need to taste…”
Where do I begin?
More Ontario! We are so lucky to have such awesome stuff in our own backyard! My absolute favourites are Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Gamay. And don't forget our kick-ass traditional method sparkling.
Indigenous varieties. There are so many cool, lesser-known varieties on the market now, especially when looking at Italy, Portugal, Spain, Eastern Europe, etc. Get out there and try something new; often the more off-the-beaten-path grapes and wines provide killer value and have a great story behind them. Live a little!
Sherry. (See answer #5 below).

4. When you're not drinking or tasting wine, what do you do?
If I'm not tasting wine, I must be sleeping. Why else would I not have wine? Just kidding. Aside from wine, my passion is travelling. I also adore teaching, and feel so lucky to have the opportunity to introduce students to the world of wine. When I am not doing these things, I am probably at home, cuddling with my puppy Daisy.

5. What are you drinking right now?
Right now, I am drinking a Manzanilla on a patio in Jerez, nibbling on olives and calamari. Sherries are amazing, and some of the most versatile food wines in the world. I don't know why more people aren't drinking them, although I am secretly and selfishly happy that there are more for me (insert grinning devil emoji here).


This is the second in our series introducing you to the team who help us make sure you get only the best wines in every ClubK shipment and kwäf Exclusive Offer:
Meet Dick Snyder

September 27, 2016

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In the Kitchen with Claire Tansey

Claire Tansey is a recipe developer, culinary teacher, writer and lover of delicious food. She was most recently the Food Director at Chatelaine and she makes regular appearances on CityLine, inspiring people to enjoy cooking so we can all lead happier, healthier lives. She has opinions about food — and wine. Claire believes cooking is something we should do not as an obligation but for pleasure. In the end, it’s all about good times and good flavours. (And, perhaps, Champagne…)

We're excited to welcome Claire to the kwäf team as our resident chef. She'll be creating amazing recipe pairings for our ClubK wines, like this One-Pan London Broil that is the perfect quick fix for a weeknight dinner when you're pressed for time (and who isn't?)

Read on to find out Claire's guilty pleasure wine and food pairing, and her idea of the perfect wine moment.

 

1. Describe your perfect wine moment.
The one I'll have this evening after closing down my office for the day. It'll be something cold and white and I'll probably drink it standing on the sidewalk chatting with neighbours while our kids play. Perfection.

2. What’s your absolute favourite wine and food match?
Champagne and salty snacks — the trashier the better. Something like Cheetos snack mix or Chicago Mix popcorn. It's a brilliant flavour match but it's also fun to Instagram a swish bottle alongside decidedly un-fancy quickie-mart snacks.

3. Finish this sentence: “More people need to taste…”
Grüner Veltliner. Why isn't this silky white more well known? It's super food-friendly but also great for after-work refreshment.

4. When you're not drinking or tasting wine, what do you do?
Cooking, teaching people to cook, or thinking about cooking. Or washing dishes.

5. What was the last (latest) wine you tasted and loved?
I'm crazy about Champagne but not so crazy about the price. I love French crémants, particularly Château de Montgueret Crémant de Loire. For less than $20 you get the same yeasty, fruity sparkle of Champagne but with way more intrigue (and the bottle is gorgeous).

September 23, 2016

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Recipe: Go Nuts for this Perfect Wine and Food Pairing

Roasted carrots with spiced butter on a baking sheet by Claire Tansey
It’s Thanksgiving and you need wine. What you need is Chardonnay, quite possibly the world’s most versatile white food wine.

Our resident chef Claire Tansey has designed the perfect side dish for a lean-to-medium weight, crisp Chardonnay. Her Roast Carrots with Spiced Butter and Nuts throws all the right flavour elements into the mix.

Rosewood Estates Winery Origin ChardonnayThe sweetness of the carrot, the nuttiness of the roasted butter, the ginger, cumin and allspice — these are all part of the flavour profile of Chardonnay. And the nutty crunch of pecans (or walnuts) add both taste and chomp. It’s a texture-and-flavour experience!

For the ultimate pairing, try the Rosewood Estates Winery 2013 Origin Chardonnay. Order today and get it in time for Thanksgiving!


Roasted Carrots with Spiced Butter & Nuts
From Claire Tansey's Kitchen

This recipe makes a great side dish for whatever your traditional Thanksgiving main may be—whether roast beef, turkey or something else altogether!

Recipe type: Side dish
Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp butter, at room temperature
¼ tsp each cumin and ground ginger
Pinch of allspice
2 lbs carrots
1 tbsp canola oil
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
Lemon wedges

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Mash butter with spices then transfer to a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a small cylinder. Twist both ends (like a candy wrapper) and chill while carrots roast.

Peel carrots and slice in half lengthwise or in quarters if they are bigger than 1-inch in diameter. Transfer to prepared sheet and drizzle with oil. Toss to coat, then sprinkle with salt. Roast 20 to 25 min or until tender. Slice spiced butter and immediately lay overtop hot carrots. Sprinkle with pecans. Serve with lemon wedges.


Claire TanseyClaire Tansey is a recipe developer, culinary teacher, writer and lover of delicious food. She was most recently the Food Director at Chatelaine and makes regular appearances on CityLine, inspiring people to enjoy cooking so we can all lead happier, healthier lives.

September 06, 2016

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Recipe: One-Pan London Broil

One-Pan London Broil dinner featuring steak, potatoes and asparagus
On busy weeknights there's nothing quite so magical as a one-pan supper. This particular one feels luxurious thanks to the steak and potatoes while also being delightfully easy to prep—and clean up! Bonus: it pairs wonderfully with the cheerful Red Tractor 2013 Cabernet Merlot (coming in the Fall 2016 ClubK shipment!)

During the fall I like to use broccoli or cauliflower in place of asparagus; it just needs a few extra minutes to get tender. Flank steak is genius under the broiler, but it can end up looking a little grey, so either dim the lights or add the gremolata-stlye parsley garnish for maximum appeal.


Whenever cooking under the broiler keep a very very close watch on things. Some broilers are hot and fast, others are slow and easy, and dinner can get burnt in the blink of an eye.

Recipe type: Main course
Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

1.5 kg baby potatoes
1 large bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed
1 tbsp canola oil
½ tsp salt, divided
500 g flank steak
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Zest of 1 lemon

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Slice potatoes in half and place on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, toss well to coat then spread out in an even layer. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt and season with fresh pepper. Roast 15 min or until almost tender and slightly golden.

Take the pan out of the oven and make a space in the middle of the pan. Move oven rack to the highest rungs. Preheat broiler.

Make several shallow cuts in one side of the steak in a diamond pattern. Place steak in the space, cut side up, on the pan. Sprinkle with half of remaining ¼ tsp salt and season with fresh pepper. Broil 5 min, then flip and broil another 5 min for medium-rare. Remove steak to a cutting board to rest.

Place asparagus on the pan (with potatoes) and toss a bit to coat with oil from the pan. Sprinkle with remaining salt and broil 3 to 5 min or until tender and golden.

Slice steak very thinly against the grain and sprinkle with chopped parsley and lemon zest.


Claire TanseyClaire Tansey is a recipe developer, culinary teacher, writer and lover of delicious food. She was most recently the Food Director at Chatelaine and makes regular appearances on CityLine, inspiring people to enjoy cooking so we can all lead happier, healthier lives.

September 01, 2016

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Meet the Taste Bud: Dick Snyder, Wine Pro

As co-founder of kwäf — with decades of wine writing (and tasting) under his belt — Dick knows his way around a bottle (of wine). He holds a Wine and Spirit Education Trust diploma — Level 4 toward a Master of Wine designation — and has been a fixture of the wine and food scene around Ontario through his magazine and website CityBites.ca. He also writes for such illustrious publications as Zoomer, enRoute, The Globe and Mail and Harry. Dick has travelled to some of the world’s famous wine regions, but can usually be found drinking his way around the globe at his favourite restaurants, or while strumming a Telecaster in his backyard. Dick is our resident writer and co-curator of our wine offers. “Wine writing should be fun,” he says. “Both to write and to read. I want people to learn something, but not to feel like it’s a rigid lesson. Anyway, learning is always more fun with a good wine by your side.”

Serious business. On the hunt for only good wine. Taste Bud wine tasting #thegoods #ontariowine

A photo posted by The kwäf Taste Buds (@kwafwine) on

 

1. Describe your perfect wine moment.
When the sommelier or waiter brings you a bottle, one that you’ve never tried before, and after a little bit of discussion and banter, she pours that first taste — and it’s everything you hoped for and more!

2. What’s your absolute favourite wine and food match?
I had a tuna steak on a bed of lemon pasta on the Amalfi coast, along with a glass of bone-dry Greco di Tufo from the Campania region. A simple meal with an outrageous panoply of flavours!

3. Finish this sentence: “More people need to taste…”
Gamay, the red grape of France’s Beaujolais region, which is also a grape that does very well in Ontario due to the similar soils and climate. Malivoire is one producer who’s making exceptional Gamay. It’s such a delight to drink. It’s fruity, soft in texture, gently in tannins and versatile with foods like pizza, pasta, lighter meats, and just easy picnic-type snacks.

4. When you're not drinking or tasting wine, what do you do?
I play one of my growing collection of Fender Telecasters, the best guitar ever made in the entire universe. Just ask Bruce Springsteen, Ed Bickert, Keith Richards, Albert Collins… and let’s also mention the great Joe Strummer.

5. What was the last (latest) wine you tasted and loved?
Well, I can’t get enough sparkling wine. And there are surprisingly affordable options — it’s not all about Champagne. I love Cremant de Bourgogne and Cremant d’Alsace, and also Cava from Spain. And if I can get them in pink, all the better! I also love the great Canadian sparklers made by Hinterland, Henry of Pelham, Flat Rock, Tawse and Chateau des Charmes, just to name a few (there are tons more)!

July 26, 2016

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Top 4 Wine Delivery Services in Ontario

kwäf box sitting on front porch

The new LCBO home delivery service launches today for thirsty Ontarians, but is it your best bet to get wine delivered to your home?

Below we break down the four types of wine delivery services in the Province—from cool wine clubs that offer sommelier-selected wines not available in store, to a wine SOS when you don't want to the party to stop but are getting low on supply.

Here are kwäf's picks:

Largest Selection: Tough to compete with the LCBO here. They have 5,000 products available for delivery to your home. Non-refundable delivery fees are $12 and can take up to 4 weeks.

Fastest Delivery: Thirstie app is relatively new to Ontario, but promises 2-hour delivery in Toronto with a selection of mainstream wines and liquors available from the LCBO. For a delivery fee of $10.50, plus recommended $2 tip, you can keep the party going without having to leave your home.

Curated Selection / Wine Club: If you're looking to discover new (not found at the LCBO) wines, or like the idea of 'set it and forget it', then a service like kwäf's is your best bet. You can sign up for a wine club that ships automatically every month or so. Or you can take advantage of expert-approved selections on individual bottles when you need to stock up.

Multi-tasking: Grocery Gateway provides a limited selection of LCBO products available for order at the same time as you take care of other errands. Getting your ingredients and wine for dinner delivered all at once? Not too shabby.

Bottom line is that you don't have to wait in line at the LCBO any longer. Make your life a little easier and let wine come to you. We’ll drink to that!

July 07, 2016

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LCBO Launches eCommerce: Buy Wine Online

Man drinking wine with a laptop computer in his living room.

Many said it would never happen, but in a couple of weeks, the LCBO will be launching their eCommerce site and people in Ontario will be able to buy their wine online.

(Wait a minute. You mean we’re finally going to be able to shop for wine as conveniently as we shop for a pair of pants? Yes! But did you know that you already CAN order wine online in Ontario? Whaaat.)

As industry folks in the know, your kwäf wine team has been sniffing out the best wine deals for flash wine sales and wine clubs with convenient home delivery since 2013. Now that the LCBO is diving into ecommerce with the new shopLCBO.com, we thought we’d take a peek at what the LCBO site will offer. Here's our top 6 of what you can look forward to:

  1. Wine Deals - there will be a weekly flash wine sale. These will be paid placements for wineries, not necessarily a curated selection of the best wines. But, a deal is a deal, right?
  2. Home Delivery - yes, seems obvious, but it's not to the LCBO. They think that 80% of you will want to have your wine orders shipped to your local LCBO and pickup from there. Home wine delivery will set you back $12 (non-refundable) and could take up to 4 weeks, depending on what you've ordered. If you do opt to pick up in store, that could still take up to 7 weeks!
  3. Wine Selection - to start you will essentially just be able to order wine products that are available in the LCBO stores. But they will have a few online exclusive wines to buy.
  4. Vintages Wine Release - the LCBO will offer residual stock from their Vintages Release program.  So, you'll get the leftovers of the stuff that doesn't sell in stores.
  5. Mobile Enabled - The LCBO is touting this as an 'interactive customer experience.' Read, the site is intended to work for mobile wine buying.
  6. Minimum $50 Order - That's right - you must order a minimum of $50 of product.

So there you have it. The pool of wine available for purchase online is about to get a bit deeper and we're here to help you keep your head above the water—and with a glass of the best wine in hand.


UPDATE: This article has been updated to indicate correct delivery pricing and timing, as well as minimum order value.

July 07, 2016

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Top 3 Reasons to Join a Wine Club

Wine club wines being packed for delivery.

Want to join a wine club but not sure where to start? Here are the top three reasons to join a wine club and what to look for when deciding which one to join.

Everybody wants to be in a club. Especially if there’s drinking involved and extra especially if the drinking is of the wine variety. And the best wine clubs give you these three key features:

  • Get access to unique, curated wines for special occasions, last-minute gifts or, you know, Tuesday
  • Wine clubs take the guess work out of deciding what to buy or drink (a pretty label does not always a good wine make)
  • Helps you discover new wines and shares fun, educational tips for helping you feel more wine empowered

The good news is wine subscription clubs are not only legal in Canada but plentiful and accessible online right from the the comfort of your home. With as many as 20,000 Ontarians currently subscribed to wine clubs the question isn’t IF you should join, but why you haven’t already.

As with any decision, it’s good to know all the facts first and with over 200 wineries in Ontario and 500 across Canada each with their own wine clubs, we understand the decision can feel overwhelming. Consider this your Cliff's Notes lesson in wine clubs.

Best to pour a glass of wine before we begin.

  1. Yes you can buy wine from outside the LCBO in Ontario - Online. And have it shipped directly to your house. ‘Nuff said.
  2. Most Canadian wineries have wine clubs - If you want to narrow the search down to wineries making world class, quality wine there is still a big difference in how the various subscriptions work so it’s important to understand things like frequency (when you’ll get your wine) and quantity (how much you’re getting) and what their rules are for opting in and out.
  3. Look for variety, exclusivity, early-access, value and quality - You’re joining a club to reap the benefits and these are a few of the most important to consider. Does the wine club offer its members exclusive and early-access deals? What is the value (savings) of purchasing through the wine club versus through the LCBO? What is the quality of the wine being offered (award-winning, sommelier tested, etc) and what guarantees does the club offer its members to ensure they are happy with the product and service?
  4. Start big, but dig - Some of the largest wine clubs (Peller, Hillebrand, Jackson-Triggs, Inniskillin, Great Estates of Niagara) are a good place to start your research but don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper and explore some of the smaller, more boutique wineries.
  5. Consider kwäf - Canadian wine subscription clubs, like kwäf's ClubK, that are not tied to one winery but offer an array of quality wines take a lot of the guesswork out of choosing one winery and allows you, in a way, to enjoy the literal fruits of many! We work with top sommeliers who taste (and taste! and taste!) the best wines and offer our members only the winners of these gruelling (but, admittedly, enjoyable) rounds of testing. We also have a 100% happiness guarantee (where else can you find that?) and very accommodating club rules that allow members to opt-in and out as your budget allows.