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20 of Our Favourite Food and Drink Stories From 2023

In 2023, we ate at plenty of B.C. restaurants—from pop-ups to revered stalwarts. We visited a cocktail lab in downtown Vancouver, wineries in the Okanagan, and apple orchards on Bowen Island and in the Yukon, then we ventured even farther afield to sample, sip, and savour in France and Argentina. Here are 20 of our favourite stories about food and drink from the past year.

A New Preserves Shop on Granville Island Spreads the Flavours of B.C. on Toast

Lee Murphy smiling in Preservatory Provisions and Toast Bar

“Similar to composers who see music as colour, Lee Murphy imagines hues when conceptualizing flavours. Red, orange, and pink swirl in her head for the beet preserve, and she envisions blue and purple for a blueberry lavender syrup.” Read more.

Bacon, Sausage, and Jerky⁠—The Festive Role of Preserved Meats in Lunar New Year

Photo © Govan/Adobe Stock.

“In the West, jerky may be associated with rough-and-ready cowboy fare, but in Chinese tradition around the new year, preserved meats have a special place as a gift, delicacy, and symbol of plenty.” Read more.

Savouring Fettercairn’s Lesser-Known Scotch Whisky in the B.C. Gulf Islands

“Oak is top of mind today. Well, that and barley, fresh sea air, and terroir. I’m here to celebrate three expressions of single malt from Fettercairn, a Scottish distillery almost 200 years old, yet undeniably less familiar to whisky drinkers than its Whyte & Mackay stablemates, The Dalmore and Jura.” Read more.

On the Steveston Waterfront, a Thai Chef Blends Alchemy, Gastronomy, and Tradition

Photo courtesy of Baan Lao Fine Thai Cuisine.

“For her elaborate multi-course tasting menus, Nutcha Phanthoupheng draws heavily on her scientific background, her childhood experiences, and her training in traditional Royal Thai cuisine to craft a parade of meticulously plated dishes using ingredients ranging from Vancouver Island–raised water buffalo to hand-roasted wild crickets.” Read more.

The Canadian Brewers Taking Dealcoholized Beer Mainstream

Photo by Amy Romer.

“When I ask Gary Lohin how he makes his low-alcohol beers, his eyes light up: this is his happy place. He uses a membrane technology, a bit like a reverse osmosis system, which filters a fully aged beer to remove the alcohol along with some water from one vat to another.” Read more.

The Community and Camaraderie of the Traditional Restaurant Staff Meal

Photo by Katie Cross Photography courtesy of Collective Hospitality.

“Members of the team require a full belly before a demanding shift, but breaking bread together also has other benefits that are less tangible but perhaps even more important. Once service begins, staff have little time to chat, so a family meal can be one of the few occasions for getting to know colleagues.” Read more.

Botanist’s Cocktail Lab Blends Science, Mixology, and Alchemy

“The point is the flavour, and the lab equipment simply allows an added measure of control over the cocktail’s ingredients. Some of the ingredients are inventive, maybe even a tad nerdy—exactly what you’d expect from a couple of guys who have unrestricted access to a cocktail lab.” Read more.

Two Restaurateurs Are Breathing Life Into Old B.C. Eateries

“The first time I walked through the space, I knew that there was so much that we could do to make it into a more modern operation but keep the classic history and beauty of the restaurant.” Read more.

The Restaurant at the Edge of the Arctic

Photo by Cathie Archbould.

“As we paddle briskly across the current toward the wild north bank, it’s hard to believe I’m on my way to visit an apple nursery—one of the northernmost in the world.” Read more.

Making the Most of Malbec in the Highlands of Argentina

Photo by Dave Lauridsen Photography.

“I didn’t meet the amazing Catena sisters when I first went to Mendoza in 2007, but I did visit their winery. An extraordinary structure, pyramidal and tiered, Catena Zapata sits in the shadow of the Andes nearly 1,000 metres above sea level, surrounded by vineyards, some higher still. It looks like something out of an adventure story and is, in fact, designed to recall ancient Maya architecture.” Read more.

The Okanagan Is B.C.’s Wild West of Natural Winemaking

Photo by Chiara Milford.

“On a four-acre patch of land overlooking Okanagan Lake, a man is doing crazy things. At least, that’s what his neighbours think. Jay Drysdale’s Naramata Bench vineyard has been a decade-long experiment in how to make wines differently. Bella Wines—named after Drysdale’s beloved bulldog who was, apparently, anything but beautiful—produces exclusively natural sparkling wines from B.C. grapes.” Read more.

Noodles, Broth, and the Art of the Pop-Up

“The couple have been running ramen pop-up dinners at cafés and restaurants in Vancouver for over a year and half. The business concept was the natural extension of a relationship that grew over bowls of ramen in Osaka.” Read more.

A New Generation of Caribbean Chefs Are Bringing Roti, Oxtail, and Jerk Back to Vancouver

“Dana Mohammed also thinks the nature of the cuisine is a barrier for many potential restaurateurs. Her oxtail, for example, features eight spices and requires a multi-stage process of searing, sautéing, and then slow cooking for nearly three hours.” Read more.

Adventurer, Entrepreneur, Environmentalist⁠—Mott 32’s Malcolm Wood Balances Doing Good and Doing Business

Photo by Grant Harder.

“For Malcolm Wood, Mott 32 is a stage on which he performs nightly to a thousand receptive palates, including famously meat-loving Chinese diners. Each performance is an opportunity to change minds.” Read more.

The Okanagan’s Red Barn Takes a No-Rules Approach to Experimental Wine

Photo courtesy of Red Barn.

“At Red Barn, the best part about it is that there are no rules. Year-to-year I can make completely different things.” Read more.

The Overlooked Flavour That Makes Sichuan Cooking Tingle

Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada.

“Crunch one of the dried husks between your teeth, and an unusual sensation—unlike any other food on Earth—spreads through your mouth. First a flash of bright fruity aroma and a spicy crack akin to black pepper, and then a growing, humming, numbing tingle. Food writer Harold McGee compares the sensation to touching your tongue to a nine-volt battery.” Read more.

Bowen Island’s Library of a Thousand Apples

Photo by Courtnee Pirozzini.

“The Riley orchard contains nearly a thousand varieties—though to call it an orchard conjures a false image. The Riley collection is more like a library, the apples planted in dense diagonal criss-crossing hedges called cordons, the trunks only two feet apart, held up by wooden frames resembling shelves of books.” Read more.

The Flying Brewer of Hornby Island

Photo by Jennifer Armstrong.

“Neither of us has any business background. I just applied common sense to everything, and my aviation background of filling out ticky boxes and being able to do government paperwork helped, because there’s been a lot.” Read more.

Cognac and Armagnac⁠—Tracing the Origins of France’s Great Brandies

Illustration by Lehel Kovács.

“Armagnac farmers have been making their spirit far longer than their Cognac cousins: in the 15th century, they’d fill a barrel to pour at a daughter’s wedding.” Read more.

British Columbia Whisky Comes of Age

Photo courtesy of Shelter Point Distillery.

“The 12-year-old whisky—some of the oldest spirit in British Columbia still resting in a barrel—has silently witnessed a transformative decade for the province’s distilling industry.” Read more.

Read even more stories about food and drink.


Post Date:

December 29, 2023