Side Dish: Chantal Ireland

Holiday eats and treats from local retailers

A fall salad, and a halibut entree with roasted squash and beets, topped with pistou (similar to pesto, without pine nuts) and crème fraîche from the Renfrew Pub and The Coastal Kitchen Cafe.

There’s a wreath on the door made of clippings from the backyard. Cookbooks are open to the entertaining chapters, and the first gingerbreads have already been eaten. Holiday shopping looms.

Skipping the chain stores in favour of giving and receiving experiences is my idea of a great Christmas. Last month we spent a weekend at Seaside Cottages in Port Renfrew and ate at The Renfrew Pub and The Coastal Kitchen Cafe. Chef Loewen at the Pub is putting out great food that will surprise you coming from a pub kitchen, it’s a great mix of pub mainstays and fresh seasonal dishes. We had Salt Spring Heather Ale on tap with prawn tacos, a fall salad and a halibut entree with roasted squash and beets, topped with pistou (similar to pesto, without pine nuts) and crème fraîche. Pulled pork sliders and a vegetarian pizza feature were great too – thin crust and fresh – great with the live music. Combined with a stay or just for a day trip, a meal here would make a great gift for someone you love.

Back in Victoria, The London Chef offers classes this month on holiday baking, in January a Cooking with Julia Child Class, and Thai Dinner Party, all $95. Chef Dan Hayes is hilarious. He’ll have you laughing most of the class. Their pantry features house made stocks and other items, and a fine collection of specialty food products perfect for hostess gifts and stocking stuffers.

Cook Culture has knife skills and holiday baking classes this month for $85 each. If you’re looking for a gift you can hold in your hand, this is your foodie mecca. Abeego reusable food wrap, a kitchen scale, a fish spatula, a reusable silicone baking sheet liner or a Vitamix if you’re going all out, are all fantastic options for the food lover in your life.

Pigeonhole Home Store has a beautiful collection of housewares, linens and vintage pieces for a unique gift, they’ll help you pick something just right. Enjoy the holidays. Enjoy each other, and raise your glasses filled with locally made craft beer, wine, and spirits.

Try it you’ll like it:

Hoyne Gratitude Winter Warmer: A seasonal craft beer that comes hand wrapped and with a beautiful tribute to gratitude on the label. Get it at the brewery or retailers like Liquor Plus, Cascadia, and Spinnakers Spirit Merchants.

Bittered Sling Bitters: This box set of local bitters makes a great addition to your home cocktail bar. From Vancouver’s Chef & Bartender married duo Jonathan Chovancek and Lauren Mote. Find them at Hillside Liquor Store, Vintage Spirits or The Village Butcher.

Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut, for your holiday feasting, Tuesday night in or New Year’s Eve, these are delicious BC bubbles. One of four estate sparkling wines from family owned Blue Mountain Vineyard. Available at private liquor stores. $25

 

Just Posted

Pet-A-Palooza a good reason to ‘pawse’ this weekend in Victoria

Puppies, goats, wiener dog races and more on the grounds of St. Ann’s Academy Aug. 18-19

UVic art display showcases craft of bookmaking

Art of the Book 2018 is in the Audain Gallery at UVic from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Aug. 11

Celebrate local food with Feast of Fields in North Saanich

21st Feast of Fields on Vancouver Island is at Kildara Farms on Aug. 26 from 1 to 4 p.m.

RIFFLANDIA: Local artists thrive under festival model

Bands like Current Swell, one of the 2018 headliners, made their mark at RAP

Baseball’s HarbourCats wind up WCL season with loss to Pickles

Victoria needed a win to make the league playoffs, now looks ahead to 2019

VIDEO: Huge crowd celebrates Sunfest opening night with Canyon, Pritchett in Lake Cowichan

Plenty to enjoy as Sunfest Country Music Festival opened, and lots of folks came out to do so

REVIEW: Ever wanted to be young again? Theatre Skam’s Concord Floral will make you think again

Strong acting in an interesting theatre space, writes Sheila Martindale

Brad Pitt says he has given Jolie Pitt millions since split

Actor Brad Pitt denies Angelina Jolie Pitt’s claim that he has paid no meaningful child support.

WINE LOVERS UNITE: Victoria festival offers numerous tasting options

Parkside Hotel and Spa hosting Victoria International Wine Festival

Farquhar Auditorium updates image for 40th season

The Farquhar at UVic ushers in new season Sept. 22

THEATRE SKAM: Young cast brings Concord Floral to life in vacant downtown retail space

Former office supply store a unique venue for telling mysterious tale of youth with secrets

Schedule released for world junior hockey championship in B.C.

Vancouver and Victoria ready to host, as Canada conducts training camp in Kamloops

Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy visits Prospect Lake

Power To Be annual fundraiser event brings in big personalities

Bard Across the Bridge brings ‘The Tempest’ seaside

Stage set for classic Shakespeare tale in Saxe Point Park this week

Most Read