Lucky Dip – Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Maybe Ricky and Julian (and pretty much every hard-drinking Nova Scotian) aren’t so dumb after all – rum is the hot “new” drink, and yes, you can have it with Coke. [Globe and Mail]

If you’ve been following the news in Toronto about how a Halloween party store has had multiple bomb scares during their busiest season, and wondering why on earth anyone would do such a thing, maybe it’s the same freaky sense of competition that compelled two Domino’s managers in Florida to set fire to a rival pizza joint. [Jacksonville.com]

Tomorrow is International Stout Day (yes, it’s a real thing). Celebrate in style with a tasty chocolate version of the beloved elixir. [Toronto Star]

Fried chicken, a presidential scandal and how what we eat might stereotype us. [Slate]

“Cooking is the showy side of domesticity.” Why men like to cook more than scrub the floor. [Globe and Mail]

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On the Shelf – Good Stuff We Found in March

It’s been a while since we ran an On the Shelf column. I’m not sure why – it’s not like I haven’t been shopping. But in the past month I’ve come across some great finds that I just had to share.

Dark Chocolate with fragments of Rose – Chocolats Yves Thuries
Available at: Domino’s, St. Lawrence Market, $5.99
This is exactly what it appears to be, a 70% dark chocolate bar with little nibs of candied rose. I’ve not heard of this chocolatier before but this is a really nice chocolate with a bright sheen and a good snap, although the flavour, logically, takes a backseat to the rose. There’s also mint and lavender versions of this confection, and the lavendar one is very pretty, and not at all soapy or overpowering.

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Thinking Outside the (Heart-Shaped) Box

I kind of hate Valentine’s Day. In a world where we should all be saying “I love you” any chance we can get, or where buying a partner flowers or candy should/could be a regular occurrence, there’s just way too much pressure to fill one particular day with a year’s worth of romance and caring. And because most people are out of practice when it comes to showing others that they care about them, they fall back on “tradition” (aka. the tacky and clichéd). So while, in truth, I don’t have too much problem with a heart-shaped box of assorted chocolates (I actually like the orange creams), so much of what falls into the standard Valentine’s Day gift list (a dozen red roses, champagne, romantic dinner for two) sort of makes me retch. Or at least roll my eyes and groan – and not in a good way.

Now while I can’t help readers with the other issues aside from advising that a gift that suits the recipient’s tastes is better than a gift that is simply “traditional” (ie. buy a cool plant or a bouquet of their favourite flower instead of those tacky roses; skip the teddy bear unless the giftee is under the age of 10; and wait until Sunday and go for a lovely brunch instead of getting shafted on an overpriced V-Day dinner…), I am able to recommend some non-traditional sweets and candies that show a lot more thought and creativity than a gift picked up at the gas station.

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Where Can I Find – Red Fife Flour?

multipleflourThe “Where Can I Find?” column is a new bi-weekly feature here at TasteTO starting this week. We’ll research and track down hard to find items and let you know where they’re available. Got a question for the “Where Can I Find” lady? Drop us a line.

I see red fife flour showing up on restaurant menus that have a local food theme, but where can I get this product to bake with at home?

The hot ingredient this summer is most definitely red fife flour. Restaurateurs and bakers from Jamie Kennedy and Marc Thuet to St. John’s Bakery are using this wholly Canadian product, and articles about the history and near extinction of the grain are popping up in a variety of publications from MacLean’s and Toronto Life to Edible Toronto.

The short version – red fife wheat was first planted near Peterborough in 1842 by David and Jane Fife, and it became the backbone of the Canadian wheat industry, giving Canada the nickname “granary of the world”. Immigrants were given free seeds to encourage them to settle on the prairies and become farmers. Over the years, red fife fell out of favour as other varieties derived from the red fife strain became more popular because of shorter growing times and higher yields. The original strain was on the verge of extinction by 1988 when a seed-saver activist named Sharon Rempel got her hands on a pound of seed and planted it in Keremeos, British Columbia.

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