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Toronto

Ontario Winery Profile: Château des Charmes

From Pelee Island to Niagara to Prince Edward County, Southern Ontario’s wine-producing pockets are home to a bounty of vintners that craft high-quality Pinot Noirs, Rieslings, Icewines and much, much more. Every Wednesday throughout the summer, Where Toronto profiles an Ontario winery whose bottles are worth seeking out, and whose vineyards are definitely worthy of a day trip from the big city.

Ontario-Winery-Profile-Chateau-des-Charmes-Estate

This week’s Ontario winery:

CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES
Founded in 1978
Owner: Paul Bosc
Winemaker: Amélie Boury

How big is your winery?
Our annual production is about 60,000 cases.

How many varieties of wine do you produce?
We grow 16 different varieties of grapes on 280 acres, but we make 30 or so different wines.

What are your three most popular wines?
It depends on the season. Barrel-Fermented Chardonnay, Estate-Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon, and Estate-Bottled Aligoté from the St. David’s Bench Vineyard are always crowd favourites.

Tell us about the winery’s background.
 Seven generations of our family have been born into our way of life. “Making wine is not what we do, it’s who we are” is a Bosc family saying. We care about every aspect of the winegrowing and winemaking process, which is why we control it ourselves from start to finish.

Does the winery offer tours?
Tours and tastings are offered daily year-round, though the winery may be closed on major holidays. Tours are offered in English, French and Japanese and range from $10 to $15, and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Is there a retail shop on the premises?
Yes.

Tell us something people typically don’t know or understand about wine production.
 We are all farmers. Making wine is as much science as art.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer someone wishing to have a better experience with wine?
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Enjoy the wine with friends and family. Do you like the taste? That’s what’s most important. If you want to go a bit deeper think about the TLC that went into making the wine—in our case we’ve grown all the grapes ourselves using sustainable agricultural techniques. Think about the soils and the weather when it was grown, the people who took the time and care to craft the wine, and then the memories created when you enjoy it.

• Chåteau des Charmes, 1025 York Rd., St. David’s, 905-262-4219
fromtheboscfamily.com; Facebook; Twitter @Mbosc

Toronto’s Stockyards Development Goes from Chops to Shops

HomeSense at The Stockyards

HomeSense at The Stockyards

The province’s former meat packing district is now the city’s newest retail hub. Located northwest of the downtown core in The Junction neighbouhood at St. Clair Avenue and Weston Road South is The Stockyards shopping centre, a 554,000-square-foot plaza with a collection of big box stores more typically found in the suburbs. Until the early 1990s, the area was known as the Ontario Stockyards and was home to the country’s largest livestock market, which contributed to the city’s “Hogtown” nickname. A massive renovation has transformed the district into an urban market that’s home to Canada’s first new-build Target, as well as discount emporiums Winners and Homesense, The Children’s Place, Old Navy and Linen Chest among others. Open daily.  —Linda Luong

• The Stockyards, 30 Weston Rd., 416-760-8181; shopstockyards.com

Top Chefs Assemble for Taste of Toronto

The participating Taste of Toronto chefs

The participating Taste of Toronto chefs

JULY 24 TO 27  A weekend full of flavour awaits as one of the world’s leading culinary festivals lays out its ambitious spread for the first time in North America. Taste of Toronto, one of 20-plus international Taste events, invites foodies to indulge in a range of small plates from a who’s who of the city’s chefs: Carl Heinrich of Richmond Station (pictured front row, second from left), Cory Vitiello of The Harbord Room (top row, third from right), Geoff Hopgood of Hopgood’s Foodliner (top row, fifth from right) and more than a dozen others. Momofuku’s David Chang (top row, fourth from left) is also coming in from New York. A cooking demonstration stage provides entertainment and education between bites, while a vendor market featuring more than 50 premium local producers—from cheesemongers to juice slingers to maple syrup makers—ensures you can take home some treats, too. Fort York, $30 for admission to one of six lunch or dinner sessions (individual dishes $6 to $10); visit tasteoftoronto.com for more information.  —Craig Moy

Ontario Winery Profile: Southbrook Vineyards

From Pelee Island to Niagara to Prince Edward County, Southern Ontario’s wine-producing pockets are home to a bounty of vintners that craft high-quality Pinot Noirs, Rieslings, Icewines and much, much more. Every Wednesday throughout the summer, Where Toronto profiles an Ontario winery whose bottles are worth seeking out, and whose vineyards are definitely worthy of a day trip from the big city.

Ontario-Winery-Profile-Southbrook-Vineyards-Building

This week’s Ontario winery:

SOUTHBROOK VINEYARDS
Founded in 1991 in Richmond Hill; 2005 in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Owners: Bill and Marilyn Redelmeier
Winemaker: Ann Sperling

How big is your winery? 
Of the 15- acre property, 57 acres are planted with vines. There is still a substantial stand of forest, and a large pasture/hayfield that supports the flock of sheep that are integral to the biodynamic farm practices.

Among Southbrook's offerings: Triomphe cabernet franc rosé and a Poetica series featuring poetry on the label

Among Southbrook’s offerings: Triomphe cabernet franc rosé and a Poetica series featuring poetry on the label

How many varieties of wine do you produce?
We grow nine varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay, Semillon, Muscat and Vidal.

What are your three most popular wines?
Southbrook Vineyards is best known for robust red wines made with the varieties native to Bordeaux, such as our Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, as well as rich and well-balanced barrel fermented Chardonnay. Our Connect White and Red wines are the only certified-organic VQA wines available throughout the LCBO as “General Listing.”

Tell us about the winery’s background.
Southbrook Vineyards grew out of a mixed farm, pick-your-own, and country farm market operation in Richmond Hill, where the Redelmeiers have been established since the 1940’s. Originally, grapes were purchased from Niagara and processed at the farm north of Toronto. Fruit wines were also produced using Ontario-grown berries. In 2005, the Redelmeiers purchased an existing vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and began expanding the vineyards and converting the practices to follow Organic and biodynamic principles. In 2008, the Jack Diamond-designed hospitality centre was opened, and in 2009 the first certified organic and biodynamic wines produced in Canada were released from the 2008 vintage.

Does the winery offer tours?
From May to September we offer a menu of daily tours such as Southbrook: We Hardly Knew Ye, A Southbrook Structured Tasting, Can You Say Cheese?, Earthly Infused Food Pairings, and Franc’s and Food. Tours range from $5 to $25, which includes food and wine pairings. Advance booking is recommended; 48 hours is required for some tours.

Ontario-Winery-Profile-Southbrook-Vineyards-GrapesIs there a retail shop on the premises? Yes.

Tell us something people typically don’t know or understand about wine production.
As the leader of our production team, Ann Sperling considers herself a winegrower, meaning that the quality of our wines is founded on the skilled work we perform in the vineyard to grow ripe, healthy fruit. We keep our yields per acre far below the industry standard, and support the health of the vines from the soil up by using fertility from our sheep, spraying natural plant and mineral teas, and avoiding all synthetic inputs. Our goal is to allow each individual vine to express the character of its place, or terroir, and then capture that essence in the bottle.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer someone wishing to have a better experience with wine?
Gather friends and family around a table, relax, take time, share favourite foods, open the wines you enjoy and don’t worry about the details.

• Southbrook Vineyards, 581 Niagara Stone Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905-641-2548
southbrook.com; Facebook; Twitter @Southbrookwine

Leaves of Trees Leaves Your Skin Looking Lovely

Leaves-of-Trees-Toronto

In this age of mass production, it’s refreshing when something is made by hand rather than machine. So committed is Roohi Qureshi to making environmentally and socially conscious choices that she’s opened Leaves of Trees, a modern-day apothecary that carries all-natural soaps, lip balms, deodorants, body butters, lotions, scrubs and argan oil. Qureshi, who’s also a doctor specializing in occupational health, creates small batches of each of her products in store, formulating them with unrefined shea, cocoa butter and Moroccan argan oil, and infusing them with essential oils such as eucalyptus, lavender, rose cardamom, frankincense or pink grapefruit. Tuesday to Saturday. —Linda Luong

• Leaves of Trees, 177 Queen St. E., 647-889-7664; leavesoftrees.com
Map and reviews

Get Luckee at Susur Lee’s New Dim Sum Restaurant

Duck, rice donuts and shrimp cheung fun are among Luckee's popular menu items

Duck, rice donuts and shrimp cheung fun are among Luckee’s popular menu items

Still best known for bringing highly stylized Asian-fusion fare to Toronto, chef Susur Lee sticks more or less to his roots with Luckee, his new venture that traffics in refined interpretations of traditional Chinese dinner and dim sum dishes. The former’s region-hopping menu proffers the likes of Hong Kong-style steamed sea bass, Shanghai ham with osmanthus honey, and Cantonese ginger fried rice. The dim sum carte is more compact than those of typical Chinatown eateries, but nonetheless hits all the expected marks: har gow, sui mai, cheung fun, spring rolls and more, presented in the meticulously artful fashion that we’ve come to expect from chef Lee.  —Craig Moy

• Luckee, 328 Wellington St. W., 416-935-0400; luckeerestaurant.com
Map and reviews

The Textile Museum Features Ying Gao’s Sci-Fi Fashion

Science-inspired threads by Ying Gao are on display at the Textile Museum of Canada

Science-inspired threads by Ying Gao are on display at the Textile Museum of Canada

MAY 7 TO SEPTEMBER 1  Sure, we’re all waiting for the jacket with built-in Wi-Fi, or the trousers that can charge smartphone batteries, but so-called wearable technology can be more than merely utilitarian. Ying Gao demonstrates as much at her Textile Museum of Canada exhibition, Fashioning the Intangible. Combining fashion with ideas about architecture, urban environments and multimedia art, the university professor and designer creates garments that incorporate novel materials and sensory systems to playfully highlight the effects of external stimuli on individuals. Featuring such artfully crafted items as diaphanous Science is Fiction garments and (No)where (Now)here dresses that move when gazed upon, the show lends materiality to the immaterial elements of our environment.  —Craig Moy

• Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Ave., 416-599-5321; textilemuseum.ca
Map and reviews

Summerlicious 2014—The Shore Club

The Shore Club

It’s the time of year when Toronto food lovers salivate. Summerlicious is in full swing until July 20. The 12th edition of this city-wide event features more than 200 participating restaurants offering three-course prix fixe lunch ($15, $20 and $25) and dinner ($35 and $45) menus, enabling patrons to try new establishments or return to an old favourite.

This year, L’ouvrier, Weslodge and Rock Lobster are among the new additions, while returning favourites include Bannock, Crush Wine Bar, Nota Bene, Loire and Splendido.

Where Toronto sampled the dinner menu at The Shore Club, a posh steak and seafood restaurant adjacent to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, and within walking distance to such Entertainment District venues as Roy Thomson Hall, and the Princess of Wales and Royal Alexandra theatres.

WHAT WE ATE
The Shore Club
Appetizers of grilled calamari on a bed of baby lettuce with a honey citrus vinaigrette and short rib agnolotti with stilton, shiitake mushrooms and leeks in a red wine jus.

Entrees of New York striploin with a sweet pepper chimichurri and pan seared Atlantic salmon with a sweet citrus passion fruit emulsion. Our sides (from four options) were a warm potato salad and steak house fries.

Dessert of key lime pie and a decadent chocolate brownie with ice cream.

5 QUESTIONS WITH DAVE BILLINGTON, GENERAL MANAGER OF THE SHORE CLUB
The Shore Club
How would you describe the ambience at The Shore Club?
The Shore Club has an elegant, warm and friendly vibe. It’s a great place to enjoy the finest Alberta prime beef and the freshest seafood. Our lunch crowds are dominated by business lunches and meetings, while our dinners are more social with a mix of business, pleasure and symphony- or a play-goers.

What do you like about participating in Summerlicious?
For our staff, we treat Summerlicious and Winterlicious (January 30 to February 12, 2015) as a way to celebrate being part of the restaurant community of Toronto. Our approach is a positive one, as we’re excited at the opportunity to show off our great hospitality and cuisine to guests that may not normally dine with us.

What about the experience at The Shore Club distinguishes it from the other participating restaurants?
We take great pride in our high level of service and food quality, and we don’t compromise these qualities during Summerlicious. Our service and quality of food put us near the top for value during the program.

How do you determine the menu each season for Summerlicious?
Our focus is on determining the best value for our guests, and this starts by sourcing the best quality, in-season ingredients. Once we have compiled this list our talented chef Saku Velummylum puts together dishes that reflect these ingredients.

What are your recommended wine pairings with each of the entrees on this year’s Summerlicious menu?
Braised lamb shank with forked fngerling potatoes, roasted red peppers and harissa mint yogurt—2010 Quails Gate Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, BC

Grilled Atlantic salmon with rhubarb relish, couscous and rapini—2012 Bastianich Refosco Rose, Venezia Giulia, Italy

Stuffed crepe with portobello mushrooms, spinach, ricotta and vegetable terrine—2011 Plumpjack Adaptation Chardonnay, Napa Valley, US

Pan seared Atlantic salmon with a citrus passion fruit emulsion—2012 Chateau Haut-Grelot (Blanc), Blaye Cote de Bordeaux, France

Grilled New York striploin with sweet pepper chimichurri—2012 13th Street Merlot, Creek Shores, Niagara

The Shore Club, 155 Wellington St. W., 416-351-3311; theshoreclub.ca  —Linda Luong

Ontario Winery Profile: Union Wines

From Pelee Island to Niagara to Prince Edward County, Southern Ontario’s wine-producing pockets are home to a bounty of vintners that craft high-quality Pinot Noirs, Rieslings, Icewines and much, much more. Every Wednesday throughout the summer, Where Toronto profiles an Ontario winery whose bottles are worth seeking out, and whose vineyards are definitely worthy of a day trip from the big city.

Ontario-Winery-Profile-Union-Wine-Bottles

This week’s Ontario winery:

UNION WINES
Founded in 2010
Winemakers: Andrew von Teichman and Dr. Allan Jackson

How many varieties of wine do you produce?
Eight

What are your three most popular wines?
Union White, Union Rose and Union Red blends.

Tell us about the winery’s background.
We are a “virtual winery,” which means we don’t have a physical site that people can visit. Union was founded by two wine pioneers with a vision of creating blended wines that offer outstanding value from 100 per cent local fruit. Our sole focus is producing multi-varietal blends as we select the best fruit from each vintage to craft these unique wines.

Tell us something people typically don’t know or understand about wine production.
 That it is farming first and Mother Nature calls the shots!

What is one piece of advice you’d offer someone wishing to have a better experience with wine?
 Serve Union Wines properly chilled for the whites and partially chilled for our reds. The chill brings out the vibrant character of the wines and as they warm up in the glass, their profile evolves as the temperature changes.

• Union Wines, 416-968-7070 ext. 234
unionwines.com; Facebook; Twitter @unionwines

Raid Three Fates’ Closet for Vintage Clothes

Three-Fates-Vintage-Parkdale-Toronto

Have you ever had a friend whose clothes were so enviable that you couldn’t help wanting to raid her closet? Robin Vengroff turns that notion into a business model with Three Fates, her vintage-stuffed Parkdale boutique. Formerly a wardrobe stylist, Vengroff laid the groundwork for her retail concept by selling the items from her own grandmother’s wardrobe. Now she handpicks each item—floral dresses, plaid shirts, kimonos and rompers—from Toronto, Vancouver and California. Also mixed in with the collection are new boho-chic pieces from such designers as Gentle Fawn, Mustard Seed and Pink Martini, plus jewellery from local artisans like Odd Bird, Karatoya Jewellery, Sugar Rush and Nelle Han. Open daily.  —Linda Luong

• Three Fates, 1394 Queen St. W., 416-901-1533; threefatesshop.tumblr.com
Map and reviews

Fat Pasha Serves Up an Israeli-Mediterranean Feast

Fat Pasha (photo: Craig Moy)

Hummus, couscous and roasted cauliflower at Fat Pasha (photo: Craig Moy)

Anthony Rose continues to remake Dupont Street in his image. Joining the chef and restaurateur’s modish diner Rose and Sons and camping-inspired barbecue spot Big Crow, recently opened Fat Pasha serves up a melting pot of Mediterranean and European-Jewish culinary inspirations. Gather a group to share in everything from creamy hummus to date- and olive-laden couscous to the daily salatim platter of small salads, pickles and other veg. For the truly famished, there’s also a house-signature shawarma and mixed-grill feast. Chase it all with a carafe of anise-flavoured arak, and then return for brunch and a spicy shakshuka with lamb meatballs.  —Craig Moy

• Fat Pasha, 414 Dupont St., 647-340-6142; fatpasha.com
Map and reviews

Take in Outdoor Theatre, Film and Music This Summer in Toronto

Shakespeare in High Park's summer 2013 performance of MacBeth (photo: David Hou)

Shakespeare in High Park’s summer 2013 performance of MacBeth (photo: David Hou)

THE PLAY’S THE THING
Grab a blanket, pack a picnic and head to the west end for a summertime staple, Shakespeare in High Park. For more than 30 years, residents and visitors alike have flocked to the park’s scenic outdoor amphitheatre for evening performances of the Bard’s most cherished works. This season, the Canadian Stage presents two plays on alternating nights: the pastoral comedy As You Like It and the bloody tragedy Titus Andronicus. Tuesday to Sunday 8 p.m., pay-what-you-can admission ($20 suggested), or reserve a premium spot for $25; see canadianstage.com to buy tickets.

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