The pantree (550, 220 Lakeland Drive, Sherwood Park, 780-464-4631, thepantree.ca) will be open Sundays on November 30, December 7, 14 and 21 and Thursdays in December until 8pm. They are stocked for the season with several clever gift ideas, such as the Make Cheese kits, which contain everything you need to make feta, mozzarella, cheddar or poutine curds at home, $30-60. Tea Forte has introduced a whimsical limited-edition holiday pattern called Snowflake, available in their Kati cups and Pugg teapots. We like the Urban Accents Turkey Brining kits, with everything you need to prepare a mouthwatering Christmas bird, $20.
Where to find Newget, our fave made-in-Edmonton candy this season? St. Albert Country Craft Fair, November 15-16, Make It Edmonton November 20-23, Santa’s Little Helper, November 30 and Silver Bells event on December 15. Newget delivers locally and ships across Canada, order at newget.ca or call 780-995-1115. The Perfect Pear flavour, creamy white chocolate loaded with pistachios, roasted almonds, sweet dried pear and fresh rosemary, is only available in November and December. Order today!
We are fans of the Cook’s Corner dips, made by chef Maryanne Korn, available at the Bon Ton Bakery (8720 149 Street, 780-489-7717, bonton.ca). Try the smoked salmon spread, delish on a bagel, or the spinach artichoke dip. Maryanne’s favourite is the sun-dried tomato basil hummus. All come in a 250 mL container, $6.50.
Boulangerie Bonjour Treestone (8612 99 Street, 780 433-5924 yvanchartrand.com) now stocks cheeses from the Fromagerie Domaine Feudal in Berthierville, Quebec. Le Noble is a creamy Camembert-style cheese ideal for snacking or with fresh fruit. The Guillaume Tell is bathed in Ace du Vignoble De Lavoie ice cider giving the cheese a winey, apple windfall flavour. La Récompense is surface-ripened 28 days in Brasserie Dieu du Ciel’s Aphrodisiaque beer, which turns the rind a caramel brown, with vanilla, espresso, and dark chocolate flavours.
How to roast an amazing bird: use Brad’s BBQ Rub, ideal for turkey, chicken, pork, even fish or tofu, with just the right amount of heat, salt and savouriness, 300 gm container, $9 at Kitchen by Brad (#101, 10130 105 Street, 780-757-7704, kitchenbybrad.ca).
Congratulations Blue Chair Cafe (9624 76 Avenue, 780-989-2861, bluechair.ca) on 10 years of great food and good music. Their new menu has unusual flavours and ingredients with several items to keep vegans, vegetarians and the gluten-challenged happy.
The brand new Ampersand 27 (10612 82 Avenue, 780-757-2727, ampersand27.com) has two private dining spaces with all the AV and WIFI bells and whistles anyone could desire. The Memory Bank seats up to 30, and the Mixer, seating up to 60, is an amazing space to mingle, mix and socialize.
The Cavern (#2, 10169 104 Street, 780-455-1336, thecavern.ca) feels intimate and sophisticated after dark. Celebrating New Year’s Eve there would feel as though you are in a romantic Parisian boite, rather than downtown Edmonton. Save your money for Champagne and the seasonal four-course menu. Two Seatings, 5:30 and 9pm-midnight-ish), advanced booking required, 780-455-1336.
The gauchos are coming to Calgary. Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse is opening a 155-seat location in Calgary at Centre 10, 521-10 Avenue SW. Visit pampasteakhouse.com for all the details.
Brad Smoliak, Kitchen by Brad (#101, 10130 105 Street, 780-757-7704, kitchenbybrad.ca) has a solution for the same-old office holiday lunch called the Express Cooking Class. Instruction, three courses and a glass of wine for $100/p + gst for up to 10 people. Finding it hard to get together for an evening during the holiday season? What about an Afternoon Kitchen Party? Come to Kitchen for substantial grazing and a glass of wine, and be home in time to watch the hockey game or kid’s Christmas concert. Available from 3 pm onwards, Monday-Thursday, $135/p + gst for up to 24 people.
Wine Tastings, Happenings and Events
Unwined Fine Wines, Spirits and Ales (512 St. Albert Trail #2, St Albert, 780-458-4777, unwined.biz) tasting line up: November 25, The Bold and the Beautiful, Big Reds, $40; November 26, Four Regions Scotch Tasting with Dave Gordon; December 9, Champagne and the Wannabes, $25. All tastings begin at 7:30pm.
The Edmonton Epicurean Society presents dinner on Tuesday, November 25, members $80; non-members $90. Tix, edmontonepicurean.com.
Aligra Wines & Spirits (Entrance 58 WEM, 8882 170 Street, 780-483-1083, aligrawineandspirits.com) tasting lineup: November 19, Sherry, Not Your Grannie’s Drink Anymore, $30; December 3. Brandies and Cognac; Is There a Difference?, $40. Enjoy complimentary in-store tastings every Friday and Saturday from 3 -7 pm.
The pantree (550, 220 Lakeland Drive, Sherwood Park, 780-464-4631, thepantree.ca) is holding a Robbie Burns Dinner with Chef Toll on January 23.