Meet Melanie Wessel With Town Hall

By Leeann Froese

It’s Saturday – that means it’s time to introduce you to a new personality #withTownHall.  This does not mean they work as part of our team, or are our client (although sometimes they are). We just interact with so many amazing people that we want to expand networks and introduce them to you, and you to them.

This week we introduce you to Melanie Wessel Can you please say hello?

Melanie Wessel of Well Seasoned

Melanie works at Well Seasoned, a gourmet food store in Langley, BC.

She has been working extra hard these past many months: the store relocated to a bigger and better space (she’s seen here in the old store),

In addition to the store, the store’s classroom she has been helping with the hosting of many classes and events, and then there is the holiday shopping… shoppers from all over have been flocking to this food lovers’ mecca for goodies to give and entertain with. Good thing Melanie is a true foodie who loves her job, and she’d love to see you visit the store.

Can you please say hello to Melanie with a comment – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Meet Jim Faulkner With Town Hall

By Leeann Froese

It’s Saturday – that means it’s time to introduce you to a new personality #withTownHall.  This does not mean they work as part of our team, or are our client (although sometimes they are). We just interact with so many amazing people that we want to expand networks and introduce them to you, and you to them.

This week we introduce you to Jim Faulkner. Can you please say hello?

Jim Faulkner With Town Hall

Jim is the winemaker who prefers not to be in the spotlight, but rather remain in the cellar doing what he does best: making the celebrated wines for Mount Boucherie Family Estate Winery.

Since he won’t step into the spotlight, we want to shine a light on Jim by introducing him to you… here is is spotted under the shade sails at the winery this past summer.

Jim quietly goes about his business making wines from the smorgasbord of grapes he has access to via the winery’s 300+ acres of family-owned grapes. With something for every palate, the Mt. Boucherie wines are oft-celebrated and receive critical acclaim. When you visit the winery in West Kelowna, ask for Jim and let him know you saw him here.

Can you please say hello to Jim with a comment – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Meet Paul Brunner of Blue Grouse With Town Hall

By Leeann Froese

It’s Saturday – that means it’s time to introduce you to a new personality #withTownHall.  This does not mean they work as part of our team, or are our client (although sometimes they are). We just interact with so many amazing people that we want to expand networks and introduce them to you, and you to them.

This week we introduce you to Paul Brunner aka The Blue Grouch – owner of Blue Grouse Estate Winery. Can you please say hello?

Paul Brunner of Blue Grouse

 

Paul and his wife Cristina purchased Blue Grouse, a beautiful Vancouver Island winery, in 2012. He calls himself ‘The Blue Grouch’ but we think he is a friendly, funny and welcoming man, who isn’t fooling us with talk of being grouchy.

The winery was originally established in 1992. But in 2015, plan your visit: a beautiful new winery building will be open to welcome you. And you will have to come and see for yourself if Paul really is a grouch.

Can you please say hello to Paul with a comment – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

12 Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

By: Amy Chen

Holiday Tips From Our Experts

The holiday season is always a time of celebration and reconnection with friends and family, but sometime there’s too much glee and not enough reality.

Whether it is gift buying, hosting dinners, paying the bills, or vacation planning, the holiday hustling and bustling can leave us in layers of mayhem and stress that we often don’t realize until the party’s over. To prepare for a healthy, joyful and stress-free holiday season, our financial, food, wine and health experts have offered tips to help you get a head start before the New Year.

Our Financial Expert – Judy Poole:

What are your tips to control holiday spending?

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Judy offers three tips:

1. Do what you have said you’re going to do every year! Start early. Okay we’re too late for early, start NOW.

2. Work with your family to set parameters. Maybe, like us, you give “consumables”. Maybe your gifts could be from the thrift shop. If everybody agrees it can be a lot of fun.

3. Set a budget. Stick to it. That’s the beauty of starting early… You actually have a chance of paying with cash.

Our Food Expert – Angie Quaale:

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We (TH) asked Angie a few questions:

What is a fun, must-have tool for this holiday season?

My favourite seasonal tool is a nutmeg grater (photo below). Perfect for topping the NOG, baking, special coffees etc. There really is NO replacement for freshly ground nutmeg.

Well Seasoned-Nutmeg Grinder

TH: What is the easiest dish that will be a crowd pleaser?

Warm roasted vegetable salad with fresh dates & feta (recipe below).

4 small whole red onions peeled and cut in four

4 carrots sliced thick on the diagonal

6 small beets, peeled & cut into chunks

2 small parsnips, peeled & sliced thick on the diagonal

1 kg butternut squash skinned, seeded and cut into 4cm pieces

¼ cup olive oil

100g feta cheese

salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

8 fresh dates – pitted and cut in four

4 tbsp pomegranate molasses

3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

¼ cup cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Put the carrot, onion and squash in a roasting pan.  Add the oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat all the vegetables.  Bake 30 minutes until all the veggies are tender.  Remove from the oven and transfer to a large serving bowl.  Sprinkle on the dates and the feta.  Drizzle with the molasses and additional olive oil if wanted – toss to coat.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and cilantro – serve at room temperature or warmer.

TH: A tip for the holiday season?

Cook once, eat twice. I call it “Planned-overs”. It is a busy time of the year.  When you are roasting a chicken, roast two – same mess, same fuss only you have a few meals rather than just one. Turn the second chicken into sandwiches, a pot pie, soup, salad… Planning ahead is the ultimate holiday stress reliever!

 

Our Wine Expert – Bailey Williamson at Blue Grouse Winery:

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Your top three wine recommendations for…

1. Host/Hostess gift- Pinot Noir to go well with any holiday dinner, especially turkey.

2. Entertain a crowd- Any whites for easy drinking, such as 2012 Quill White.

3. Big meal – Multiple wines with every course, with lots of glassware so I can have different wines on the go at all times. Suffice to say lots of wines and the menu would dictate varietal and style…

 

Our Health Expert- Darnelle Moore at Eastside Fitness:

Eastside Fitness

 

 

 

What are three realistic, simple tips for healthy holidays?

1. Get outside as much as possible. Try for at least once or twice per day! Don’t use the cold, rain, snow or icy conditions to keep you indoors. Even a brisk 20 min walk will be enough to get your blood circulating a little more rapidly through your body, bringing fresh oxygen to your brain and extremities. The cool air will wake you up and refresh you. It does get dark early but this is great time of year to check out the Christmas lights around your neighbourhood. Remember, you don’t have to make this complicated. Walk to the mailbox, the corner store, the bus stop.

2. Christmas treats don’t have to be bad. Cookies and chocolates are part of the season. So are mini oranges, mixed nuts and popcorn! Keep lots of those healthier treats within reach around your home and work place and you will find that you will snack on them too. Also, have lots of cut up veggies and healthy dips (hummus, tzatziki etc) in the fridge ready for when you have the munchies or guests come to visit. Try having a ratio of three healthy (yet tasty) treats on the table to one tray of chocolates and baked goods.

3. Breathe deeply. Set your watch to remind you every 10 mins. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, stop. Raise your hands above your head while breathing in through your nose. Touch your hands together at the top and hold your breath for one second. Lower your arms and breathe out, audibly, through your mouth (like a sigh). Repeat 2 or 3 times. If you have the time and the space, try doing a Sun Salutation at least once per day. www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IUyY9Dyr5w  One per day can keep the doctor, physio, chiropractor away!

 

Now that you’ve read these tips, what are your tips to make it through the holidays?

 

Meet Dominique and Cindy Duby With Town Hall

By Leeann Froese

It’s Saturday – that means it’s time to introduce you to a new personality #withTownHall.  This does not mean they work as part of our team, or are our client (although sometimes they are). We just interact with so many amazing people that we want to expand networks and introduce them to you, and you to them.

This week we introduce you to Dominique and Cindy Duby . Can you please say hello?

Dominique and Cindy Duby

Dominique and Cindy Duby are world-acclaimed chocolatiers and owners of DC Duby Wild Sweets. They have won many international gold and silver medals and have written various critically-acclaimed recipe books such as Wild Sweets Chocolate: Sweet, Savoury, Bites, Drinks, Crème Brulee and Wild Sweets: Exotic Dessert and Wine pairing.

They regularly work with food scientists to research, develop, and implement techniques to create new tastes and textures that improve the palette of flavours which they offer.

After years of being direct-to-customer only, in time for the holidays they are opening a retail pop-up at their Atelier.

At The Atelier you’ll find a small retail counter that offers you a range of truffles and filled chocolates, special barks, hot chocolate, as well as the Dubys’ cook books, granola, assorted pralines, caramels and other luscious bits to go.

IMG_1905Behind the counter, get a peek at the Dubys’ chocolate lab; it’s like a mad science lab of equipment, where they create bean-to-bar vintage chocolate, molecular gastronomy flavour infusions and other interesting applications that lead to some truly unique and amazing flavour combinations.

Examples of these unique flavour combinations include a Parmesan tomato olive mendiant bark, basil leaf infused strawberry fruit ganache, or a cane sugar caramel ganache & Hazelnut praliné cream? These are just a few of unique flavours, but I have to also mention the coconut curry or ancho chili pralines.

They have vintage bean-to-bar house made bars and flavoured chocolate bars, which make great treats and a very affordable luxury for a stocking stuffer or hostess gift.

Open Fridays 3-7pm Saturdays 10-5:30 Sundays 12-5 and by appointment and open 24/7 at WildSweets.com 

Now back to Dominique and Cindy – the masterminds behind this all…

Can you please say hello to  with a comment – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter.