18 March

Update from Catherine on her Project

We are very sorry to share that Catherine’s dog, Zerrin passed away. Given that this is a sad time for the family (and that Catherine is still recovering from her broken wrist), we all thought it best to put Catherine’s project, Their Stories, on hold for a little while. When Catherine is ready, she’ll be back with further creative work to share.

Zerrin and Brando

Zerrin and Brando

25 December

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from oopoomoo

Best wishes to everyone for a safe and happy holiday from your friends at oopoomoo.

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

31 May

Chain Mail Chicken – Cluckin’ Chuck goes to the Farmer’s Market in Edmonton with Ian McKenzie

If you have been following the adventures of Chain Mail Chicken you’ll know that Chain Mail’s cousins stepped up to the plate after his kidnapping to travel the world in his place. Our first report from the field is from Cluckin’ Chuck who visited the Edmonton’s Farmer’s Market with photographer Ian McKenzie. Cluckin’ Chucks tells us about his adventures below:

A visit to Edmonton’s City Market by Cluckin’ Chuck
While in Edmonton, I had a chance to check out the downtown City Market. I wasn’t too sure about going until I saw the market’s logo. I knew it was the place to be.
©Ian McKenzie

©Ian McKenzie

It was a cloudy, blustery day, but there were loads of people everywhere. You would think most of them had never seen a rubber chicken at a market. Every time I checked out one of the stalls, people would stop what they were doing to watch.
I pretty was impressed with the various vegetable vendors, Doef’s Greenhouses, Edgar Farms and plenty of B.C. fruit.
©Ian McKenzie

©Ian McKenzie

©Ian McKenzie

©Ian McKenzie

©Ian McKenzie

©Ian McKenzie

None of these stalls were selling any of my relatives. If fact, as near as I could tell, there was no chicken for sale in the entire market; a big plus in my books. However, I did come across a stall with cartons of future nieces and nephews from the organic side of the family.
©Ian McKenzie - My future relatives fresh to your plate!

©Ian McKenzie – My future relatives fresh to your plate!

As well. there were loads of craft vendors selling everything from jewelry to clothing. Nothing I tried on fit very well. I did check out a number of colourful wallets at one stall, but in the end, couldn’t find just the right one for my personality.
©Ian McKenzie - Among the crafts

©Ian McKenzie – Among the crafts

I met a lot of people. Apart from those gawking at me, there were friendly folk who said hello. Christine from Shooting Star Ranch seemed to know all about the family and wanted a photo with me.
©Ian McKenzie

©Ian McKenzie

There were musicians performing around the market, and I stopped for a bit and listened to Kyler Schogen playing the blues.
©Ian McKenzie

©Ian McKenzie

It was a satisfying, but tiring morning. I was glad to find a nice little coffee shop to rest and enjoy an Americano and Danish.
©Ian McKenzie

©Ian McKenzie

If you’re in Edmonton on a Saturday, I recommend you leave yourself some time to visit the City Market.
31 December

The Twelve Beers of Christmas – A Belgian Pairing

Sharing one beer a day is getting a bit tough especially when the bottle is only 250 ml (one cup) in size! We wanted to taste Frülia strawberry Belgian Fruit beer but when we saw the small bottle we knew we needed one more Belgian beer to make our tasting complete. So… we grabbed a ‘larger’ 750ml bottle of La Chouffe an Ardenne strong beer. The Belgians have a unique style of beer unlike the ales and lagers of other beer-making countries like England and Germany: ‘lambic’ beers like the Früli ferment differently than other beers (spontaneous as opposed to top or bottom fermentation) which is kind of a cool fact if you are a ‘beer geek’. My relatives who live in Belgium call Früli “a ladies beer” so I figured I had better have Sam pose with that beer instead of me (those relatives are always ready to poke fun don’t you know). Sam took a photo of me with my two favorite things, chocolate and beer (my Belgian roots are showing; that should make my relatives proud!)

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Samantha Chrysanthou

Tasting Notes

Früli – This peachy-brown lambic beer has a ripened strawberry smell and is very fizzy on the tongue. The taste is not very beer-like at all, really. We thought it tasted like a fruit punch with a sweet, frizzy champagne feel in the mouth. Really, this is a great refreshing little drink even for guys. If you like fruit punch, you’ll like this beer. This beer is great to surprise guests with as a dessert just on its own or with the recommended black forest cake!

La Chouffe – this strong blond Belgian beer is golden and murky in the glass with a frothy head. But what got me was the nose. This beer smells like a road-killed skunk! I am not kidding, the pungent fragrance of squished skunk came full force from this beer. It was a bit off-putting, but fortunately the taste redeemed this beer: the fizzy, slightly sour character won us over after a couple of sips. Warning though: this beer packs a wollop both in terms of its size and alcohol content!

29 December

The Twelve Beer of Christmas – Bad Attitude Two Penny

We thought we would try a little bottle of Bad Attitude Two Penny beer from the Italian speaking region of  Switzerland. The cute little bottle hid the big bad taste with attitude!  Thanks again to Vinestone for introducing us to this little winner!

©Samantha Chrysanthou

©Samantha Chrysanthou

Tasting Notes

Wow! If you like dark, rich, chocolate/coffee malty porters then try this beer. Yummy plus more yummy! This beer is well balanced with a slight aftertaste and a nice kick (8.5%). Lucky the bottles are small; this beer could be dangerous in our house otherwise 😉

29 December

The Twelve Beers of Christmas – Scarborough Fair IPA

Scarborough Fair IPA from Worldtop Brewery in Yorkshire UK is another beer introduced to us by our friends at Vinestone. We were warned that this is a beer full of hop taste. We told them we would be “hoppy to try some” (aargh!)

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

Tasting Notes

This beer has a golden, cloudy hue with a small foam head. Sam says the first sip is perfumey and very hoppy but subsequent sips are less fragrant leaving a clean, hop taste. This is a complex beer with a light but slightly foamy finish. I think this beer would kick but at a summer BBQ especially with hot and savory food. Those UK dudes know how to brew beer!

28 December

The Twelve Beers of Christmas – Sapsucker Maple Porter

After our success with yummy Phillips Longboat Chocolate Porter, there followed a couple of duds of flavoured beer. But we thought it important to try another flavoured seasonal beer (we’re always ready to give beer a chance). And what better beer to try than the 2011 Gold Medal Canadian Brewing Award WinnerSapsucker Maple Porter from the Fernie Brewing CompanyOf course, winning a prestigious award raises our expectations… mmmmm can’t wait to taste!

©Samantha Chrysanthou

©Samantha Chrysanthou

Tasting Notes

This rich, reddish brown porter is chocolaty, sweet, and mild with a hint of maltiness. The taste sits forward in the mouth and does not linger in the throat. Darwin said that ‘the aftertaste lies in the roof of the mouth’ — I’m not sure what that means but it sounds interesting! Darwin was also reminded of the smell of old railway ties (he likes railways so that is a good thing). Overall, I thought a hint of maple could be found in the sweetness but it had less of a maple flavour than I expected. Wayne Simpson bought us this beer. Thanks Wayne! Next time a six pack is on order 😉

27 December

The Twelve Beers of Christmas – HaandBryggeriet (Smoke without Fire)

©Darwin Wiggett - Wayne Simpson professional beer hand model.

©Darwin Wiggett – Wayne Simpson – professional beer hand model.

The great thing about the holiday season is that friends come over for social visits. Wayne Simpson and his wife Candice came over to help us out with the Twelve Beers of Christmas project. Wayne did the taste tasting because Candice is soon to be a mom.

Tasting Notes:

Although Candice can’t drink alcohol, her heightened sense of smell could detect the smokey nose of this beer from 300 paces. As soon as we opened up a bottle of the Norwegian HaandBryggeriet – Smoke without Fire beer, Candice said, “Wayne! That beer smells like your coat!” (Apparently, Wayne had spent the last week around a campfire.) Wayne took a taste of the beer and said, “Actually, this beer does taste exactly like my coat smells! In fact, it reminds me of waking up with my face on the ground next to a campfire.” To which Candice replied: “You’ve certainly done that a few times before!” In the end, Wayne was a fan of the beer if only because it reminded him of those smokey memories of camping days gone by.

26 December

The Twelve Beers of Christmas – Wychwood Hobgoblin

Ed and Catherine Byram came over for Christmas dinner (Turduken, mmmmm yummy). We arm wrestled the two of them into doing a taste-tasting for our series The Twelve Beers of Christmas. Ed chose Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery in the UK (I’ll bet it was the label that got him!). Just a note: Catherine does not drink beer, so it was brave of her to try a strong, rich ruby beer best served with meaty dishes. A good choice, Ed; the Turducken is triple meat so bring on the Hobgoblin!

Two even nicer Canadians

Two even nicer Canadians

hobgoblin

Tasting Notes

Catherine: “I’m not much of a beer drinker but Hob Knobbing sounds fun.”

Ed (takes a sip and pauses for a moment): “Effervescent… slightly sweet with a mild fruity character.”

Catherine: “Wow, Ed, big words!”

Ed: “I like this beer. It’s a bit hoppy and it hangs on your tongue, but it’s surprisingly not bitter.”

Catherine: “It is bubbly, I’ll give it that, but I think I’ll be sticking to Root Beer!”

Ed: “If you’re not going to drink your sample Catherine, I’ll take it!”

Following which, copious amounts of stuffed turducken, potatoes and brussel sprouts were happily consumed by all.

 

25 December

The Twelve Beers of Christmas – Molson Canadian

Darwin and I want to wish you a warm and happy Holiday! And what better way to toast your health than with the unofficial beer of Canada – Molson Canadian? Anyone who is Canadian or anyone who has visited Canada and drinks beer has sampled Canadian. It’s as ubiquitous to Canada as Northern Lights, Tim Horton’s, mosquitoes, deck chairs, hockey, toques, back bacon, moose, black flies, maple syrup, camping, ice fishing, downhill skiing,  Canadian Tire money and Bob and Doug Mckenzie.  And of course this beer is known for its iconic I Am Canadian ads. (So really…who cares how it tastes?) Canadian is to Canada what Apple Pie is to America: ‘nough said. For Darwin and me, the best time to enjoy this beer is with neighbours, family and friends. On Christmas eve, we wandered over to our next door neighbours’ house to engage in another Canadian tradition…the tailgate party! Our neighbours were out of town, but we cracked one in their honour and toasted all Canadians. This beer really shines at -20C, anyway!

Happy Holidays Eh!

Two Nice Canadians

Two Nice Canadians

Winter in Canada

How to Survive Winter in Canada

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