Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wine Pairing for the everyday #3

Video Games

I’ve been a gamer since the marvel pong broke out on the scene with heart pumping action, or so I’m sure it appeared to a child of the 70’s. So I know firsthand there is zero possibility of pairing a single wine to all games, in that light I’ll pick one genre of game, and still fail miserably in the attempt for all the intricacies that games possess in the present day.

Adventure/Role Playing/Storyline Based

One common element in these types of games is that they tend to prove very frustrating with all the find the right quest giver, make sure you have the magic boots, don’t use iron key on the green door nonsense. So in light of that lets not pick a wine which is too distracting, nor pointlessly elegant nor complex. I assure you these characteristics will be lost on the pallet once you confront the 15 headed, 2 tailed, and otherwise anatomically incorrect monster.

The alcohol content is not that important as many of these games will see your results improve while off your face (or at least it will appear that way.)

White: Flat Rock Cellars Chardonnay 2007 (16.95 CDN) 13% Beamsville Bench, Niagara, ON. This Chard possesses a well structured mouth feel, with medium wood (and the typical vanilla), lush fruit, good mineral and a tad bit of smoke. Easy to drink with some great character if you press pause long enough to notice.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Menu Changes on the way…

As fall prepares to take the stage the menu at Taste will pay tribute to the season of harvest and realized expectations.

The new spaghetti Bolognese will now include a late harvest VQA and dark chocolate with its more traditional elements.

Our daily soups, including our popular Kale Monster, will return to ward off the chills.

Sautéed Atlantic salmon with spaghetti squash, zucchini and fire-roasted red peppers.

And look for chili and jambalaya as the season matures.


This month’s wine tasting: October 14th - 8pm: "Taste of the Harvest"

Thanksgiving menu. Cornish hen with wild rice porcini mushroom stuffing.

What’s Cooking:

Angelo Bean Sausages, Beef Tenderloin and specialty pizzas on the weekend.

David Berman
Food Geek

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Suckling Pig, Kangaroo Burgers, and Ostrich Thigh, oh my!

The weekend was an eventful one here at Taste. We hit the ground running on Friday with a packed Australian wine tasting hosted by guest speaker Doctor B!

The wines: (which are all currently on the menu)

2006 Harvey Riverbridge Shiraz

2007 Harvey Riverbridge Sauvignon Blanc

2007 Billy Goat Hill Estate Cabernet

Admittedly it turned out to be an excuse to bust out kangaroo burgers and ostrich thigh. To my pleasant surprise we had quite a few adventurous types in the house as the ostrich with rapini, peppers and Portobello side was gone before nine o’clock.

Saturday, pardon the pun, was a completely different animal, with a whole suckling pig on the menu for a Viking themed bachelor party. Staying on point I served it with sweet potato and apple stuffing and a side of roasted potatoes.

*The picture was taken in jest. I mean no disrespect for the animal who gave its life to nourish others.

What’s cooking:

On Saturday the 26th, Rack of lamb with red wine reduction, cranberry chutney, and grilled veg. AND Angelo Bean Sausages!


Tuesday 22nd, Mozilla’s private function.
Thursday the inspiring music of Jason Phin!
Friday, a Chilean wine tasting with special food pairings.

David Berman
Food Geek

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chocolate and Wine Pairing!

While cheese and wine and culture might have all evolved together, I have managed to learn one irrefutable truth about chocolate and woman; do not, under any circumstances, attempt to come between them. So in tribute to our clientele, whom are mostly women, we are turning this month’s wine tasting into a wine and chocolate pairing.
I’ll be making my Asathoth chocolate (a blend of 3 chocolates, homemade biscotti, almonds and spices), Nug (A milk chocolate cup with cashew, almond and flaxseed butter filling.) dollops of dark, milk and white chocolates, fudge and straight dark chocolate.
I expect this to be very well attended, so buy your tickets before it’s too late.

What’s cooking:

The $3 Recession Pasta for this Tuesday (The 15th), is my cheese and veggie lasagna.

Angelo Bean sausages will be up for this weekend on the Patio!


Wine and chocolate wine tasting on September 16th.

David Berman
Food Geek

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Summer Waning

As we push into the tail end of a summer that never was, café Taste is humming along. Wine tastings, private patio parties, anniversaries and every manner of booking have us on our toes. It’s always exciting to see the efforts of one’s labour bare fruit.

I am personally very excited about the new cheeses in house:

Peau Rouge: A hard Quebec cow’s milk cheese that is intensely savoury, nutty with notes of fruit and smoke. When me and Jeremy first tried this at Glen Echo Fine Foods I knew we had to have it on the list. Delicious!

Jensen Cheddars: 3 generation cheese makers are behind all the cheddars we now have in house. The extra old goes wonderfully with any of our bigger reds.

Asiago: An Ontario made asiago that lives up to the traditional flavour profile. Firm, sweet, salty and nutty.

Figaro: One of the standouts from the Ontario Wine Fair. A soft bloomy-rind cheese that is leaf-wrapped for two weeks. A complex cheese that will certainly hold your interest.

Lighthall Tomme: Another beautiful cheese from 5th Town cheese makers in Prince Edward County. This internationally award winning cheese is firm, savoury with notes of wood, earth and smoke.

Blue Haze
: A proprietary cheese from Provincial Fine Foods. The blue cheese in produced in Quebec and brought to Provincial’s smoke house north of Toronto. Roquefort mold, semi-soft and aged 3 months.

Douanier: A Quebec cow’s milk cheese, soft rind with a morbier line. A mellow semi-soft cheese which still holds your interest and pairs nicely with most whites and less tannic reds.

What’s cooking:

The $3 Recession Pasta for this Tuesday (The 1st), is Grilled Chicken Spaghetti in my homemade tomato sauce.
My 100 ingredient Jambalaya on the weekend. Miss it and you’re out of the will.
Angelo Bean sausages on the Patio on Sat!


4 different wine tasting events this month AND our wine list now represents the winners of the people’s choice awards from the Ontario Wine Fair!

David Berman
Food Geek

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wine Pairing for the Everyday #2


It occurred to me, now that we are in an era of the eternal political campaign, we should be prepared when the inevitable day comes. I suppose there are two paths to take on this. One, to pick a serious wine that will attempt to match up with the intricacies of the Technicolor gumbo we call an election campaign… except far more palatable; or two, you could be of the opinion that “Government is the shadow cast by business over society.” (Dewey)… And take most of the math out of the equation. Sorry, I’ll stop with the micro political epiphanies and return them to where they belong, 30 television spots.
As luck would have it, I’ve got a wine that will satisfy the oversimplifying political junkie, AND the apathetic serial shoe shopper on voting day.

Possessing several degrees of complexity yet never taking itself too seriously, Flat Rock’s Twisted Red 2007 has got the nod from me.

Damn it, I just can’t help myself…
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of liberty must undergo the fatigues of supporting it." (Paine)

Wow, 2 quotes in the same blog… I’m so learned.

What’s cooking:

$3 Recession Pasta Tuesday (The 17th) going old school with my meatballs and spaghetti!
Burgers and Angelo Bean sausages on the Patio on Sat!


Prince Edward County trip still has tickets available! Buy yours today.

David Berman
Food Geek

Monday, August 10, 2009

Niagara Wine Tour Afterglow

Prepping cinnamon buns bleary eyed from a dinner party the night before, where the vino was poured by the litre, I was impressed I had all my digits left when Julye and me hit the road.

The Wineries (I apologize for not describing the wines, but I was the DD)

Chateau De Charmes
We hit the ground running with this as our first stop. Impressive in stature and detail, the estate’s happening was deconstructed by our host. The tour included an overview of the winery, production facilities and an instructive tasting.
Overall bus intoxication rating: 0

Cat Tail Creek
Being the purveyor of one of my favourite wines, their 2007 Merlot, I was excited to see the facility and people behind it. Being one of the oldest wine growers in the Niagara region, but only having become an actual wine maker in the last 4 years they bring the energy of a new venture with the knowledge of many years of farming.
Overall bus intoxication rating: 4

Henry of Pelham
This tour turned out to be my favourite as their new wine cellar is visually stunning. Located 20 feet under the surface with 20 feet high ceilings it has a feeling of the Fort Knox of wine. After a few vintages were passed around we were off to a light lunch at their “ballroom”.
Overall bus intoxication rating: 6

Flatrock Winery
The gradual slope of the vineyards below eventually melted into trees, which gave way to lake Ontario. With the winery situated atop the hill, it proves to be an inspiring place to drink, and I can only imagine work!
Overall bus intoxication rating: 7.5

My wrong turns: (At the behest of Julye. Keeping in mind I drew a map)…
Missed the Exit at Glendale Road
Wrong turn off Glendale Road
Wrong turn on Pelham Road
Wrong turn off Pelham Road
ANOTHER wrong turn on Pelham Road
Wrong turn into someone’s driveway.

What’s cooking:

  • $3 Recession Pasta Tuesday (The 11th) will be Fettuccini with roasted chicken breast and capers in a white sauce.

  • My Green Lasagne will be available later in the week.

  • Events:
  • Prince Edward County trip now has 4 stops! Norman Hardy has jumped aboard! We couldn’t be more excited. We have also secured a coach with washroom facilities for the long ride. The trip is on the 6th of September so buy your ticket now.
  • The in house Wine Tasting of August 12th still has spots left.

  • David Berman
    Food Geek

    Thursday, July 30, 2009

    Niagara Bus Tour is Nigh!

    The tourism industry might be in the tank, but the wine lovers are certainly alive and kicking. With over a week to go we sold out of the bus tour. We sold so many tickets in fact that I’m driving the staff down in my car. Wow, me the designated driver, someone take a picture.

    8:30-8:40 AM Guests arrive @ Taste and get espresso'd up w. our house-made cinibuns
    8:45 Departure!
    10:00 AM @ Chateau des Charmes for VIP cellar tour and tasting
    11:45 AM @ Cattail Creek VIP Tour and tasting.
    1:30 PM @ Henry of Pelham for tour (lunch @ 2:15)
    4:00 PM @ Flat Rock - terroir/facility tour
    5:00 PM Leave for Toronto for BBQ @ Taste.
    6:30 PM David looks longingly at his first wine of the day.

    Wow, I’ve got several friends that are graphics designers… They must be so proud.

    What’s cooking:

    • Pasta Primavera will be our $3.00 recession pasta on Tues. 4th.
    • Angelo Bean Sausages and the Taste Burger will be available on Friday 31st only.
    • Our new goat cheese and fire roasted red pepper dip will be hitting the menu this week too.
    • Roasted garlic and cheddar bread made with wine flour will be appearing soon.


    • Our Prince Edward County trip is official. We’re heading out on the 6th of September and hitting Sandbanks, The Grange and Huff Estates! We’ve already received a lot of attention on this trip, and couple that with no one else is doing bus tours to the county from Toronto and we expect this to sell very well.
    • And yes we’ll be also hitting the Niagara Wine Festival!
    • Thanksgiving Prix Fixe.
    • Our next Wine Tasting is August 12th and spots are still available.

    David Berman
    Food Geek

    Friday, July 24, 2009

    Wine Pairing for the Everyday #1

    Furniture Building.

    First off, a couple of precautions: using power tools while under the influence of alcohol is not recommended by the author, café Taste or anyone that still has at least 20% of their gray matter still in reasonable working condition... And please work in a well-ventilated area as some woods are treated with toxic finishes.

    To all the DIYs and adventuresome novices out there who are considering building a table, night stand, bookshelf and the like, I thought I might have the audacity to suggest a beverage beyond beer to accompany you through your project. Oh and don’t forget… a cover for your wine is recommended as you might end up with a bit more oak than you are accustomed to: a coaster, a tool instruction manual, or in a pinch 1 or 2 post-it notes will do.

    We’ll need something to pair with the physicality of constructing furniture and the dexterity needed to apply the old adage “measure twice, cut once.” It should be a wine that doesn’t reside in the high-octane category, refreshing but not completely devoid of character.

    2006 VQA Malivoire Gamay (17ish dollars)

    This wine hits all the requirements: with a nose of black tea, strawberry, and floral notes, it is both light and uplifting. The start is all crisp berries without being sweet. The mid pallet is cranberry, with medium body and mild tannins. It ends with a lively, clean mouth feel. By my measurement, this vintage is worthy of 87/100, and it’s a definite buy for those who are not still hung-up on super large wines. Cheers!

    What’s cooking:

    • My Bovine Exploitation Lasagne, 7 cow cheeses and beef! Available Friday the 24th and Saturday the 25th.

    • This is the second week for our $3.00 Recession Pasta Tuesdays. Get a bowl of Pasta (Tuesday the 28th is chicken pesto with cheese) for $3.00 with the purchase of a wine flight!


    • The Niagara Bus Tour. Over 75% of the tickets are sold, buy yours today… Now in fact!

    • Our next Wine Tasting is August 12th featuring a deconstruction of Niagara! Jeremy will be discussing the many different types of soil all within Niagara.

    David Berman

    Food Geek

    Friday, July 17, 2009

    Ontario Wine Fair aftermath

    It took a while to shake off the cobwebs from the “long days and alcohol” cocktail I was subsisting on, but now that I can see the vineyard from the grapes (?), I can look back at the Ontario Wine Fair 2.0 with pride. Truth of the matter was the economic downturn had left a concern in the air for this year’s event, but in the end, the wine and cheese enthusiasts attended on mass. There is certainly a measure of satisfaction to be had when someone asks when the next café Taste event is, while they’re currently partaking in one.
    The wine representatives impressed all with their knowledge and their healthy stock of 80 wines. My personal favourite was the Sandbanks Foch Reserve 2007. I’ll spare you my technical analysis of the wine and just leave it at I’d actually sit through the entire Star Wars saga back to back for a glass…a large glass.
    As for the cheese, judging by the way Greg was dishing out the Sauvagine and the Blue Haze, they would have to take the cheese crown for the day. Personally I’m more of a Chevre Noir man, but that’s probably more a commentary on the wines I drink than anything else… Which tend to be much like my personality... Dry.

    Chardonnay - Flat Rock 2007
    Gewurtztraminer - Calamus Estates
    Pinot Gris - Norman Hardie
    Riesling - Flat Rock Nadja's Riesling
    Merlot - Lailey
    Cabernet Franc - Tawse
    Cabernet Sauvignon - Peller Estates
    Pinot Noir - Grange Pinot
    Gamay Noir - Chateau des Charmes
    Red Blend - Calamus Red
    Red under $25 - Sandbanks Baco Noir
    White under $25 - Chateau des Charmes Sauvignon Gris
    Red over $25 - Magnotta Enotrium
    White over $25 - Norman Hardie Pino Gris
    other Red - Legends Estate Malbec
    other White - Chateau des Charmes Late Harvest Riesling
    Winery - Southbrook

    Best Quote:This is the best everything ever!” – a patron who probably doesn’t want to be identified.

    What’s cooking this week:

    • Personalized cheese fondues.

    • The Taste Burger will be available in limited quantities on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

    • My "Aristaeus" 16 cheese risotto will also be making an appearance.


    • Niagara Bus Tour, 4 wineries, lunch, bbq and VIP treatment.

    • August wine tasting. It’s the deconstruction of Niagara! Jeremy will be discussing the many different types of soil all within Niagara

    • …and rumours of a Prince Edward County harvest trip! Shhh!

    David Berman
    Food Geek