Captivating Canadian Creations!

The intrepid Travelling Gourmet finds good food, wines and lots of VICE at the Canadian High Commissioner’s residence…

MAKING time for my good friend, His Excellency, David Sevigny, Canada’s High Commissioner to Singapore is always a pleasure. Accordingly on 2, August , 2011, I made my way to his official residence as he had kindly invited me to attend a special East meets West Dinner.

1832: The smartly uniformed Police Officer carefully checked my credentials before allowing me into the imposing mansion complete with an impressive swimming pool.

David and his lovely wife greeted me and bade me to try something very special at the Bar. The High Commissioner is one of the nicest gentlemen you could ever meet in your life, whose humility is only outdone by his considerable charm. In the landscaped garden was a small but efficient outdoor Bar. I discovered my friend, Richard Gillam, mixologist extraordinaire. Rick was carving and chiselling away at a huge block of ice the size of 2 and one half microwave ovens. It was an Iceberg! From Newfoundland, these ‘Bergs’ are 100,000 years old, and so pure that 21st Century instruments cannot detect any impurities. Amazing but true!

Let’s get into VICE!

“Have a Viceberg!” Richard suggested.

 

“I don’t mind if I do!” was my reply. Vice Ice Wine from Canada (of course!) on the rocks…or rather on the Iceberg, was so mellow and slinky smooth like a ravishing Italian model I knew in Milano.

An unusual view Of Richard Gillam in action! Note the huge Iceberg, Yes, it is a real Iceberg!

I ran into John, Senior Vice President of Marina Bay Sands and I took the opportunity to tell him how much I enjoyed tasting the cuisine of Guy Savoy, one of MBS’s  Celbrity Chef restaurants. John was pleased and remarked, “I’m glad you like it!”

Back to Richard’s al fresco Garden Bar and he suggested I try colourful Summer Blast cocktail. Concocted with fresh forest berries. it was an offer I could not possibly refuse. Another old pal appeared, Michael “O” for Orpwood, whose company Liquid Luxury brings in the VICE Canadian ice wine  and other luxuriously liquid beverages! Somehow all my good friends around the world are called Michael. Michael’s shapely and charming colleague, Adela, provided me with lots of VICE; I mean Ice Wine! What were you thinking…? {:-)

More VICES!

Soon it was time for another VICE…the VICE Martini with ginger ale from England and a grapefruit twist instead of lemon. Why! Simply because the flavour and aroma profile works better. Sipping my Martini, shaken not stirred, I observed the elegantly dressed ladies in provocative low cut black gowns & felt like Commander Bond…James Bond.

Climbing up the marble steps to the residence, I entered to be greeted by 2 lifesize cut-outs of a smiling Mountie (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) in his red jacket. The stage was set for a grand dinner, and the polished mahogany table was decorated with the Canadian and Singapore flags. On my right was spritely Ron Stamp, the President of Iceberg Water.

“How did you get the idea to sell Iceberg water?” I asked innocently.

“Well, Michael, it all started in a bar over drinks, and a coupla guys were talking about how the Saudis wanted to tow an iceberg over to Arabia..and one guy said: why not put it in bottles. That’s what I did and it worked!” Ron replied happily. I like Ron. He is unpretentious with a very positive, happy aura and thinks out of the box like I do.

The Travelling Gourmet & Mr. Iceberg Water himself!

I went to spy on my good friend, Chef Wolfgang Ranner of the Conrad Centennial hotel who was busy plating the first course. “Wie geht’s? Ist die Vorspeise lecker oder?” I asked.

“Na, Ja!” was his short reply as he put more lightly seared Albacore tuna on a pristine plate.

Pan-seared Albacore Tuna with Tangerine Peel Sake Gelee!

Tuna  or Thunnus alallunga can grow to a weight of 45kg! It has 2.1g if healthy Omega-3 Fatty Acids per 100g, and it was well crafted by Chef Wolfgang so it was still rare & pink inside and the zesty Sake geleee went with it a treat! My Vice Martini also paired well with the tuna from the unpolluted waters of British Columbia in Canada. I tasted with the fish a dry Mission Hills SLC 2007 Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon blend with a dry finish of fresh grapefruit from Canada. I preferred this to the other white wine which was a very typical Chardonnay -Quali’s Gate Reserve Chardonny 2007. The trend in the world of wine is now moving away from Chardonny. There was a time some 15 years ago when everybody drank Chardonnay whether they liked it or not. Now there are members of the ABC Club…Anything But Chardonnay Club {:-)

 

Atlantic Lobster with Chilli Mango Salsa & Ophiopogon Root served with Petit Salad tossed in Hawthorn Berry Vinaigrette by Chef Wolfgang

As Richard Eu, boss of Eu Yan Sang which provided the herbs for the dinner, always says, “Food is medicine and medicine is food!” I agree completely. Eat more of this and you may never need to see a Doctor again. I adored the naturally sweet, fresh, crunchy Atlantic lobster flesh so delicious…and…exotic Ophiopogon Root to keep your alimentary tract in good nick. I loved the hint of sweet Hawthorn berry beloved as a sweet snack by kids which gave that nuance of honey to the lobster. The ‘King of Seafood” has just 0.6g of fat but 352mg of Potassium which has aphrodisiac properties, per 100g!

Play it COOL with Canadian Pork Rib Herbal Soup

With Angelica Root to nourish the blood plus Rhemmania Root to ‘cool’ the blood, this savoury soup sans MSG is so deliciously yum-yum! Chef Wolfgang struck again with this palate pleaser. I wanted another bowl but with a superhuman effort refrained from asking for seconds. It’s a tough job being The Travelling Gourmet but somebody has to do it!

Chef Liu’s “Canadia Double Pillow”

MOD-Can (Modern Cantonese) appetizer had Dungeness Crab which I adore with egg white and white fungus for uplifting the YIN element of the body. I liked the red wolfberries which look like raisins only bright red in colour. Unfortunately, although this simple dish had good flavours, it was served cold despite the menu stating  it as a Hot Delicacy.

AAA Grade Alberta Beef with Tangerine Peel & Maple Pork Ribs with Angelica Root by Chef Liu had black fungus too. The Pork flesh had a nice fragant sweetness from the premium Maple Syrup which I liked. The beef was edible but a trifle overcooked. There are more than 5 million beef cows on farms throughout Canada. Cattle farming has been part of Canadian agriculture since the 1600s.

Merlot is one of my favourite grape varieties, and when crafted well it is one of my favourite grape varietals. Legends Estate Winery 2007 Reserve Merlot was smooth, refined and elegant and if it were a woman, it would be Audrey Hepburn, beautiful, and yet with that hint of intrigue and mystery behind one’s first impression. Very nice with the pork and beef!

Diabolically Delicious Desserts!

Bird’s Nest with British Columbia Cherries by Chef Liu was a 21st Century take on the classic Chinese dessert so excellent for the complexion. A nice touch was the slightly bitter apricot seeds.

Wolfgang’s Mousse with Red Dates to strengthen the “Chi”, plus Canadian Cherry with Longan Chocolate Truffle served in mini cones were delectable…but due to the heat in the kitchen they were melting…

We had to eat them fast, very fast!

Yes! Sweets bring out the sweet side in all of us.

What else to match with the sweeties but…Canadian Ice Wine, namely Inniskillin Vidal aged in oak…OMG! it is soooo…good!

It was a truly a splendid evening with superb company, and I must express sincere thanks to HE David Sevigny and his charming wife, Mary for their gracious hospitality and kindness.

With youthful Chef Liu: a balanced diet is a cone in each hand!


As I was departing, the High Commissioner kindly presented me with a 1kg box of air-flown British Columbia Cherries. These are the best cherries I have ever tasted, much better than Bing cherries from USA. They are on average 33mm in diameter and weigh 15g each. Not overly sweet, full of flavour, firm to the bite and with a pleasing zestiness.                 

Gourmet food and great wines are the best medicine! Eat well, drink well and be well!

Enjoy! {:-)

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About thetravellinggourmet

As a renowned Travel, Food & Wine Writer he has travelled the world in a keen & indomitable pursuit of exotic delicacies & fine wines. His articles have been published in over 20 prestigious publications, both local & international. Dr. Lim has toured and trained in Wine Evaluation & Oenology in most of the world's top wine producing areas from France to Australia. The Travelling Gourmet says, "Gastronomy has no frontier. These are the gastronomic voyages of The Travelling Gourmet. My unending mission. To explore strange new cuisines, to seek out new wines and new culinary experiences, to boldly go where no gourmet has gone before...." Have pen, will travel. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any other information storage & retrieval system, without permission from Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet and/or MSN. Material may be works of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents may be true but may also be products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance whatsoever to actual person or persons, either dead or living, events, or locales may be entirely and purely coincidental and unintentional. No part of this website may be used to villify others or for criminal purposes. Interests: Travel, Food, Wines, Cooking, Wine Appreciation, Parachuting, Languages, Music, Reading, Swimming, Hunting, Ballet, Fencing, Archery, Anthropology and more... The Travelling Gourmet is a copyrighted trademark. All rights and photos reserved. No part may be reproduced without permission.
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2 Responses to Captivating Canadian Creations!

  1. Hi Dr Lim! I was glad to have sat besides you that night, it was nice talking with you. And ____ is a real jolly guy! Hope to catch up with you again. 🙂

    Regards,
    Janel

    Like

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