Holiday Gift Ideas for 2017

Got food lovers on your shopping list? Click on my annual “Gift this” list for Calgary’s City Palate magazine above to find some inspiration for your gifting this year.

Or, if you are heading to the mountains before the holidays, check out the 17 ideas from businesses I profiled in the Town of Canmore on the Canmore Food Tours blog here.

Celebrate Canada 150 by showering your loved ones with Alberta and Canadian-made. What better way to stay True North, Strong and Free?

Cool thing #55 on this blog.

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Eau Claire’s single malt whisky makes Alberta history

Eau Claire Distillery single malt whisky

Last week, on a bluebird sky day in the town of Turney Valley, Alberta’s first craft distillery, Eau Claire, launched its first, limited edition release of Single Malt Whisky. They call it “farm to glass” whisky and say that it encapsulates the best of Alberta – blue skies, mountain fresh water, malted barley and entrepreneurial spirit. Indeed, they grow their own barley and harvest it with draft horses just a few miles from the distillery. They also use crystal clear waters from the Rocky Mountains and it has taken an amazing entrepreneurial spirit and fortitude to bring this accomplishment to pass.

The rewards? Eau Claire has achieved international recognition for their premium spirits and the Single Malt Whisky was so highly anticipated that their first release of 1,000 bottles has already sold out. Continue reading

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A chance to join a social entrepreneurship and yoga retreat in the Himalayas (cool thing no. 53)

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The Himalayas are a place where it looks and feels like the earth is meeting the sky. Yogis have been drawn here for millennia for the clarity life in these mountains brings.
My friend Esha Chhabra writes about sustainability and social enterprises for The Guardian, Forbes magazine and the New York Times. She has traveled the globe doing so. In the Himalayas, she found women’s groups that she says, “produce skin-loving ingredients on their farms.” She has decided to build her own mission-driven small enterprise to support these women’s groups and is developing a natural skincare company called Alaya.
Read on to find out how you can join Chhabra on an upcoming trip to the source of her inspiration where you’ll learn about social entrepreneurship and do yoga with Himalayan nature as your backdrop.

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Keep your chin up – a tribute to my father

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Dad posing in front of the Acadia – Halifax harbour, 2014

My father, Reginald Keith Robicheau, died last night. He was 79 years old. I cannot make it to his funeral. I will use this space to pay a tribute to his life. I loved him dearly and he was a wonderful Dad to me but I said my good-byes to him while he was alive. When you live so far from home, this is part of the deal.  It’s hard but I’d rather focus on savouring all he gave me.

There are two great lessons he taught me. They are things that he always said to me and my brother Keith and sisters, Susan and Laurie.

“Keep your chin up” – was what he said when he wanted to encourage us. And, “Where’s your common sense?” – came out when he wanted us to question our own behaviour.  Continue reading

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Roast and boast but don’t forget the side action this Thanksgiving

Curried Apple and Celery Salad, Savour it All blog, Karen Anderson

Curried Apple and Celery Salad – photo by Karen Anderson

The frosty mornings have begun in earnest where I live. With each silver plated morning, the leaves on the apple tree outside my kitchen window turn a little more golden. The apples have gone from shades of magenta to crimson rubies.

How can we not be inspired to cook with these darlings of the season? They will keep the doctor away if we will only eat one per day. They will stay true while other fruits fade away like a summer romance. They were juicy while they lasted, but nowhere to be found now. Apples have a place in the crisper from now until their last crunch in late spring.

I’ve blogged about Thanksgiving turkey dinner. I’ve blogged about Thanksgiving sides. This quick apple recipe is a favourite because it is made with ingredients you almost always have on hand. It’ll be amongst the sides on my table next weekend. I’m grateful for another year of good health, another chance to give thanks for the food on my table and especially to give thanks for the the farmers who grew it. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving 2017. Continue reading

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Women Chefs and Restaurateurs – Saturday, September 16 in Calgary. Got tickets?

WCR logo 2017 Canada (1)

Whether you just need a little battery charge or a bonfire under your butt – The WCR – Women Chefs and Restaurateurs conference could light the inspirational spark you seek.

I attended two years ago here in Calgary and enjoyed the camaraderie and humour. Turns out women that excel in hugely demanding food enterprises are funny as H – E – double hockey sticks – on top of all their other talents.

This year’s symposium features a woman I’ve wanted to meet for a very long time – Meeru Dhalwala. Meeru is Vikram Vij’s former life partner and enduring business partner. While Vikram is the best “front of house” restaurateur I’ve ever met, I suspect she’s the reason their restaurant kitchens are filled with women dedicatedly making their incredibly delicious food.

I’ll also enjoy the vivacious Elizabeth Faulkner and my friend, Italian winemaker, Angela Maculan. Hometown favourites Liana Robberecht and Top Chef Canada all-star Nicole Gomes will be there. Tickets are $225.– at women chefs.org/calgary-2017

See you there. These people with purpose and passion really know how to savour it all.

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Rootstock 2017 – This Saturday, August 26 at Flintrock Ranch

Rootstock Alberta organizer Kimberley Cornish says, “Proceeds from this fundraiser further the work of Food Water Wellness in advancing the practice of regenerative agriculture that nurtures a robust ecosystem and healthy soil.” Cornish who is the director of the  Food Water Wellness Foundation is leading this third annual Rootstock to support work being done, “to create an artificial intelligence tool that helps both farmers and researchers understand how soil can potentially be used to reverse climate change, increase biodiversity, mitigate both drought and flood and, most importantly, produce healthy food.”

Watch the video above to learn more about the work this event supports and read on for a sneak peak at this year’s event at Flintrock Ranch in Cowley, Alberta. Continue reading

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