Monthly Archives: January 2013

Arkell’s Best

Bear with me while I  bring you through seemingly unrelated drivel on England, the BBC, country vet James Herriot, and then back to Arkell before making my point.  Hang in there – you already clicked on this url, why quit now? Besides, I talk about my favorite local ale at the end of this story.

Although my penchant for French food and culture has been well documented, what isn’t widely known is my love of England. I feel quite romantic about  historical BBC productions.   I have quoted Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice more than I have quoted the Simpsons and Futurama combined (which is alot), I have opened Champagne to celebrate season 3 of Downton Abbey, and I love James Herriot.

HerriotWhich brings me to my point.  My favorite scenes in All Creatures Great and Small, involve the denouement of almost each episode; the conversations which take place at the Drovers over a pint of best bitter poured out of a pitcher.  The point – Wellington Brewery makes a fine best bitter – Arkell Best Bitter – a real ale, a cask conditioned ale that is low on carbonation and big on taste that I make “my regular” at the Woolwich Arms.  Where other pints are “packed” in the keg with CO2, the Arkell Best Bitter is “poured” through the lines sans gas.  It really drinks like a pour out of a pitcher.  If you want to feel old school “Yorkshire Style” and experience a real ale – next time is the time to do it.



Because I’m over 40 – I barely understand half the stuff going on in Twitter even though I’m as tech savvy as the next guy (who’s over 40 and Tweets). I still don’t know how Al Gore ever found the time to invent both Facebook and Twitter.

mzl.hdhcuhwc.175x175-75However, I do know that BC wines sent me 6 bottles to drink, review, and tweet about this Thursday night.  The hashtag is #ONtastesBC  and I am the ON side of the hashtag. The whole thing is self-explanatory after that I think.

Here’s what I discovered while tasting the wines sent to me.

  1. If you spend $45 you get a GREAT bottle of wine.  Both the Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin and the Mission Hill Quatrain were way better than most things I drink.  
  2. A $25 dollar Organic Pinot Noir helps make a very tasty beef gravy.  During our tasting dinner I made my version of a  Primanti sandwich (Pittsburghers know what I’m talking about). I recently discovered that I am gifted in the art of making gravy and borrowing a half-cup of Eau Vivre Pinot Noir to lend to gravy was a good thing. Smooth wine makes a smooth gravy.
  3. White wine is a good choice to pair with a charcuterie board.  Both the Gray Monk Gewürztraminer and the Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay were delicate but acidic enough to cut through the fattiness of the excellent cheese that “J&A” brought for the dinner.

They were released in Ontario this past Saturday – get  to an LCBO store and check out what our cousins on the other side of the country sent to us.

Locavore or not?

If I drink wine from BC am I a locavore?  I feel like I am – but maybe I’m just a patriot.  I do live in Ontario and the distance between my house and the interior of British Columbia is  1000 miles shorter than the drive from Paris to Moscow! Ridiculous country.

I can’t decide

I do know that there are many good wines from BC coming this weekend to an LCBO near you!

Legal or not …

I can now sleep securely knowing that if someday coffee trading becomes illegal (ala prohibition) I have secured a contact in Guelph’s “underground coffee” movement.

My sources told me that Joe (real name – I don’t change names to protect anyone) was roasting in his garage right here in Guelph. Feeling a little like investigative journalist Geraldo Rivera visiting Al Capone’s vault, my source and I turned left at Exhibition Park and ended up at the covert, underground operation that is Grizzly Bear Coffee. I was please to find that this vault wasn’t empty. Also,  I didn’t waste 2 hours of precious primetime TV.

In 20 minutes Grizzly Joe (not his real nickname) magically turned tiny pale coffee pits into dark, glossy, coffee beans.

raw coffee


It’s nice to know that I’m again ready for the next Y2K scare – thanks Joe.  I’ve started an underground movement to create a secret coffee of the week club.

That’s not “Fun”

French wine guru Georges Dubœuf has released a new Beaujolais on us at the LCBO.  Named “Fun” I thought I would give it a try because after all Georges is the godfather of wine marketing and he usually puts out a good product.

Mr-Darcy-mr-darcy-16523983-314-436My thoughts on the “Fun” times ahead?  I believe Colin Firth said it best  “Tolerable enough I suppose, but not enough to tempt me” (Mr. Darcy Pride & Prejudice).

This wine isn’t bright enough to be FUN and I absolutely am mad at Georges Dubœuf for his latest marketing trick. Naming a beaujolais “Fun” is like naming your new-born daughter “Cute” and then hoping that she turns out that way. Badly done  Georges, badly done indeed (apologies to brother-in-Spain for mixing my Jane Austen quotes).

bouteille_fun_beaujolais_200_419Actually, the wine wasn’t terrible but not Fun enough to buy again.