Check out our Advisor picks and whatever else we think you may find interesting. Suggestions welcome.....
When we had a Sake tasting at Firefly for staff recently, I approached the tasting with trepidation. My memories of sake were of drinking a warm, musty alcoholic beverage from a small ceramic cup 40 years ago in Vancouver's old Japan town. I wasn't expecting much, needless to say, even like it. What a surprise! Sake has joined the ranks of wine in its variety of styles, tasting notes and prices.
There are literally hundreds of different kinds of Sakes just as there are wines. Like wine, Sake is a fermented beverage, using as the base material rice, instead of grapes. However, Sake has a more delicate flavour than wine, is generally higher in alcohol than wine and doesn't have the natural acidity that wine has.
Unlike wine, Sake is actually brewed like beer. The four ingredients that are used to make Sake are rice, yeast, water and rice Koji (Koji is actually a kind of mold that is used for the breaking down of the starch in the rice into simple sugars). Just like the winemaker, the role of the Sake Master is of utmost importance in the making of Sake.
The most wine-like of the Sakes are called Junmai Daiginjo and can range from $50 to over a $100 a bottle! They can be paired with Japanese fare, such as sashimi and sushi, but also go incredibly well with non Japanese food. Junmai Daiginjo could easily accompany chicken, pork, seafood and fish dishes. The particular Daiginjo we tasted called "Eau du Desir" had notes of citrus, Asian pear and apple. As a wine drinker, this would definitely be a Sake I would purchase and pair with a dinner just as I do wine.
In just an hour of Sake tasting led by an expert, I learned more about Sake than I had during my whole lifetime.
Come experience the world of Sake. We will be holding a tasting at our "Table Commune" on Thursday, May 30 from 7-9 pm and tickets are $30. The session will be led by a Sake Sommelier), Iori Katioka, who owns a number of Japanese restaurants around Vancouver.
Cote Rotie, Kanazawa, the Great Sonoran Desert..... What is the common thread that links these three places together?
Cote Rotie is one of the oldest vineyards in France and a famous appellation in the Northern Rhone. Cote Rotie is known for producing wines often considered to be the best in the Rhone. The primary grape is Syrah which is often co-fermented with a little Viognier.
The Great Sonoran Desert stretches from Mexico all the way up to the Okanagan Valley and the Osoyoos/Oliver areas are located in that great desert.
Kanazawa is a city that sits on the Sea of Japan bordered by the Japanese Alps. It is also the surname of Richard Kanazawa, the winemaker and owner of Kanazawa Winery, located in Oliver, BC, part of the Great Sonoran Desert. Richard is making Kanazawa Raku, it is one of the six featured wines at our "Taste of BC ". The grapes for the wine were grown in Osoyoos and Richard produced this wine in a Cote Rotie style, co-fermenting 85% Syrah grapes with 15% Viognier. Raku has flavours of dark berries, spice and candied fruit supported by firm tannins. It is delicious on its own but also pairs well meat dishes and charcuterie.
At our "Taste of BC" on Thursday, May 16, we will be trying a range of wines which will be paired with small delicious bites . We are looking forward to seeing you there!
I was recently asked by a customer "What beer can I pair with a pulled pork sandwich?".
Good question I answered. I'm no beer aficionado, but I do like beer quite a bit, I work here at Firefly, where we have a great range of beers, and I also like pulled pork, so I think this is something I should know. Thus began this very blog post.
Pulled pork is very savoury, usually with some sweet onions and garlic, and maybe a sauce? You could have any number of sauces with your Pulled Pork sandwich, bbq, tomato, spicy, the list goes on, and all of these different sauces will change the flavour just a bit. So what goes well with Pork and any of these sauces??
Pale Ale is the answer I've come up with. An American style would be best because it is less malty and more hoppy than the English style, however, in saying that, an English Pale Ale would also pair well if you had some spice in the sauce you used with your pork.
Some excellent examples of Pale Ales you might like to try from our Beer Cooler are:
Howe Sounds Garibaldi Honey Pale Ale - Howe Sound, BC - This is a thirst-quenching beer, it goes well with spicier foods, so if you're using that spicy hot tomato sauce with your pulled pork sandwich this is a great accompaniment.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – Chico, California - a traditional style American Pale Ale that uses whole cone Cascadian hops. This beer is piney and citrusy with aromas of grapefruit, a great addition to any sauce/ style of pulled pork sandwich.
Spinnakers Original Pale Ale - Victoria, BC - This is lightly hopped, straw coloured, effervescent pale ale. It has a delicate hop aroma and a balanced, slightly sweet finish - again making it perfect with all pulled pork options.
Not a beer fan? That's okay, wines pair well too. Almost all reds will go well with a Pulled Pork Sandwich; however, medium bodied wines work best. Try a bottle of Kettle Valley 2008 Merlot from the Naramatta belt of the Okanagan Valley or Cotes du Rhone Villages - Arc du Rhone 2010 blend of Grenache Noir and Syrah.
A rose is actually a fantastic match with Pulled Pork as it will refresh the palate; try De Vine Gamay Rose 2011, crisp with a snappy finish, from Saanichton BC.
Excited about your new found knowledge? Hungry for a pulled pork sandwich? I know I am.
Here is a recipe care of The Re-Up BBQ, Vancouver BC http://www.reupbbq.com
1 pork shoulder (8-10 pounds, bone in)
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup Re-Up Spice Rub #1
1/2 a green cabbage
1/2 a red cabbage
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup yogurt
3 tablespoons Re-Up Spice Rub #1
4 cups peach and pear juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup bourbon
1 cup apple cider vinegar
4 cups Re-Up BBQ Sauce #1
1 cup Re-Up Spice Rub #1
12 Portuguese buns
Cover the pork shoulder with 1/4 cup mustard and then sprinkle half a cup of spice rub. Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least 8 hours.
Smoke the shoulder over the wood of your choice (at the Re-Up we use pecan chunks) at 250 degrees Fahrenheit until it reaches an internal temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit (about 8-10 hours on a charcoal smoker). Wrap in tinfoil and rest for an hour inside of a cooler or any other insulated container.
While the pork is smoking/resting, peel and grate the carrot, thinly slice the cabbage, and mix together in a bowl to make a coleslaw.
Mix together the mayo, 1/4 cup mustard, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, yogurt and 3 tablespoons of spice rub and set aside. Don't dress the coleslaw with this mixture until your pork is ready.
Mix the peach pear juice, the maple syrup and the bourbon. Set aside 3/4 of a cup (and save the rest for drinking over ice).
Unwrap and shred the pork shoulder, discarding all fat deposits, gristle and bone.
Add 1 cup apple cider vinegar, the BBQ sauce, the bourbon mixture and the final 1 cup of spice rub. Mix well.
Put a heap of pulled pork inside a Portuguese bun, top with coleslaw and enjoy!
Yield: 12 servings
We're teaming up with Gregg Peacock to help him raise funds for the 2012 Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer® , a 250km ride from Vancouver to Seattle with the goal of raising money for the BC Cancer Foundation.
Tickets are $25 and you can buy them online. Doors are at 7pm and you can enjoy wine, beer, cider and cheese until 9pm. We've invited many of our suppliers to pour samples of delicious products and nibble on Benton Brother's Fine Cheese.
The store will still be open Wednesday night, but you can expect to see a lot more people hanging around with a wine glass on Wednesday.
We hope you'll join us, and we wish Gregg the best of luck with his ride!
We agree with Jurgen Gothe's sentiment in his recent article in the Georgia Straight, "Pink's in forecast for spring," however we have to correct him about a few of the wines' availablity ... winery only? We don't think so...
We'd love to invite you in to find some of those pink wines on our shelves! 8th Generation Confidence Frizzante Rosé 2011 has been in our shop for a while, but the quantities won't last much longer. JoieFarm Rosé 2011 is here in both 750ml and larger formats. We proudly carry the entire Clos du Soleil range, including the delicious new Rose 2011.
You can also make your purchases online now, too.
Enjoy the sun and we hope to see you soon!
Spain is such an amazing wine country for value. Take this 2004 Reserva Rioja – it’s had all this time in the bottle to develop and integrate, yet it is still so affordable! Rioja is always a good choice for people who like more developed flavours and aromas in wine, but don’t want to wait to cellar wines themselves.
This wine is medium-bodied, complex and delicious with anything from meat to stews to cheeses.
The beautiful colour was enough to sell me on this wine. But when I tasted it I was further sold on the lovely, fresh strawberry and citrus flavours. This rosé is no white zin – it is totally dry and even has a spiced character. It’s a great pair with duck, turkey, salads, or spice-rubbed lobster tails. And glasses of Tavel add a perfect touch of class to the table.
I have a sweet tooth and this scotch really does it for me. It is extra matured in Sauternes casks. If you’re not familiar with Sauternes, it’s the most delicious dessert wine from Bordeaux, France (and it’s kinda famous – you should try some too). I like to drink this with one ice cube and some very good conversation.
Dare to impress at your next BBQ with this stunner from Argentina. If steaks are on the menu, you can’t miss with this spicy, peppery, smoky, leathery wine bursting with black cherry and cassis fruit. Sauté some mushrooms in butter, crack plenty of black pepper on the beef and you’ll be in heaven. The tannins are smooth enough that you could enjoy this one on its own while you stand on the patio flipping the steaks on the grill.
Wente Vineyards, established in 1883, was the original producer of California Chardonnay. If it tasted this amazing when it was first produced, it is no wonder they continued to make such fine juice. This rich, fairly full-bodied and smooth-drinking wine bursts of tropical fruit flavours, ripe apples, butterscotch, vanilla and more with every sip. It’s a golden reward waiting for the right occasion – time to create one! It would pair well with creamy mushroom risotto, crab legs with butter, or aged Gouda.