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David’s Tea bundles up the flavours of fall

- October 28th, 2014

David’s Yes We Cran tea. (Jenny Potter/QMI Agency)

The briskness of autumn ushers in a longing for comfort foods and warm, sweet flavours.

David’s Tea has bundled the tastes of the season into its fall collection, which features the flavours of Sweet Apple Cider, Pumpkin Chai, Maple Sugar, Yes We Cran and Snickerdoodle.

We recently got a chance to try some of the teas, which are only available for a limited time, and here is what we found:

Reviewed by Jenny Potter

Flavour: Yes we cran

Taste: Hibiscus-based tea is fruity, warm and bitter – absolutely perfect for fall. As a huge hibiscus iced tea fan, I was afraid this would be more of a summer tea. But the whole cranberries, paired with cinnamon and pumpkin spices, really warms this cup up.

Method: I steeped about a tablespoon of yes we cran in a tea ball for approximately five minutes. Within a few minutes the tea turned bright pink and then a deep red.

Would you try it again?: Yes. I would like to try it as an iced tea, or mix it with green tea for a different flavour combo.


David’s Maple Sugar tea. (Marianne Dowling/QMI Agency)

Reviewed by Marianne Dowling

Flavour: Maple sugar

Taste: The dominant flavours of this “maple sugar” tea were not maple sugar at all – but apple and cinnamon. While an apple and cinnamon tea is nice – it’s not what is written on the package, so I was a little disappointed. I also tried the tea without sugar and milk, in case they were masking the true flavour – but I still could only taste apple and cinnamon.

Method: I followed the package’s instructions and used just over a teaspoon of tea in my mug – but opted to steep it for about 10 minutes instead of the suggested four to seven. I wanted to make sure as much flavour seeped into the water as possible and I drank it hot with a bit of sugar and some vanilla soy milk.

Would you try it again?: I would still try it again because apples and cinnamon are nice in a tea too.


David’s Sweet Apple Cider tea. (Ling Hui/QMI Agency)

Reviewed by Ling Hui

Flavour: Sweet apple cider

Taste: The tea has an intense apple flavour that’s on the verge of being too artificial, but isn’t very sweet. I’m surprised there’s no cinnamon flavouring in this tea, though the tea leaves do smell strongly of vanilla.

Method: I measured one and a half teaspoons for one cup of tea and steeped it for five minutes. I did not add any sugar, though some people might prefer it sweetened.

Would you try it again?: I would try this tea again if I wanted apple cider lite.


David’s Pumpkin Chai tea. (Meghan Mitchell/QMI Agency)

Reviewed by Meghan Mitchell

Flavour: Pumpkin chai

Taste: With the name pumpkin chai, I was expecting the tea to have a more pumpkin-y flavour. Instead, it had an almost creamy quality and tasted of spices and caramel, but was weaker than I thought it would be.

Method: I steeped one and a half teaspoons of tea in a mug of hot water for 10 minutes. I didn’t add any sugar or sweetener.

Would you try it again?: I may try it again, but not if I was in the mood for pumpkin.

4 tips for taking beautiful food photography

- October 16th, 2014

Sure, a picture is worth a thousand words, but how do you truly capture an incredible meal or you latest homemade creation with just smartphone?

You don’t need a high-end camera or expensive editing software to take stunning, unique images that will make your Instagram followers jealous.

What you do need are these tips from Ren Bostelaar, manager of Henry’s School of Imaging who teaches classes on the recipe for mouth-watering food ‘phoneography.’

Get ready to make your followers hungry. :)



1. Light. Light. Light.

Work the light as much as you can. You know those beautiful, morning and evening shots with golden light streaming in? There is a reason why they look magical.

Turn off your flash, it is too harsh. Remember Martha Stewart’s bad food pics? That’s why.

Instead, get as close to a window or candle as possible. You’ll capture the food’s texture and colour better, plus your pics will look sharper and less grainy.


Read more…

Pizza Hut Korea’s Surf-and-Turf dessert-stuffed crust pizza is obscene

- October 14th, 2014

What do you get when you want to cram all food groups into one giant star-shaped pizza? Pizza Hut Korea’s “The Star Edged Pizza.” On this pizza, the ‘surf’ portion is covered by shrimp and calamari toppings, the ‘turf’ portion includes sausage, bacon and steak. Veggie toppings include broccoli, onions, and peppers.

But that’s not all.

The crust is stuffed plump with cream cheese and either cranberries or  cinnamon apple nut filling. Kind of like a turnover or Danish. Bomb-diggity.

Pizza Hut's pizza

(Photo courtesy of Brand Eating)

A medium pizza will set you back about $27 or about $34 for a large. A large pepperoni pizza there costs around $20, so you can compare. A few take aways before you watch the Youtube video: Pizza is expensive is Korea. I wish chains stopped marketing food mashups that make you want to barf.

Brand Eating via Grub Street


Winery touring 101: You don’t have to be a snob

- October 9th, 2014

For wine geeks, the changing colours of fall don’t just mean pumpkin pie, pretty foliage and Halloween. Autumn signals grape harvest, which makes it a great time to get out and visit wineries. There are several Canadian provinces with strong wine regions, particularly British Columbia and Ontario.

As a former wine business reporter in Niagara’s wine region, I picked up a lot of winery touring do’s and don’ts along the way.

1. There are no stupid questions. Your first winery visit can be a bit intimidating with all the swirling glasses and technical talk of vintages, barrel aging and wine tasting notes. (I’m still skeptical of people that pick up notes of pencil shavings in their glass. Really?!) Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to ask any question that comes to mind. The majority of tasting bar staff at any winery are glad to answer anything.

2. Hydrate. A lot of winery touring newbs forget to drink water during their visits. Try to balance out every sip of wine with a sip of water. Your body will thank you later.

3. Don’t be afraid to spit. Those little silver buckets – or spittoons – on the bar aren’t there to enhance the decor. Most wine professionals spit during a prolonged tasting to avoid getting drunk and to keep their palate pristine. Just try to be delicate when dribbling in the bucket. Keep the spray to yourself.

4. Try a wine you don’t normally drink. So you think you hate Chardonnay? It’s likely you just haven’t had the right one. Un-oaked, lightly oaked, a winemaker’s skill, the vintage (whether it was a good growing year for that particular grape variety) all come into play when producing a bottle of wine. It’s always good to give that wine you thought you hated another try.

5. Have a designated driver. Unless you spit the whole way along, you’re going to be drinking a fair amount. Those tiny samples add up. Be safe and have a DD or arrange a ride.

6. Bring snacks. Some wineries offer food but many don’t. It’s always a good idea to have a little food with you to stave off hunger and help absorb the alcohol.

7. Buy a bottle, save the tasting fee. Most wineries will charge you to sample wine. However, if you buy a bottle, they usually waive the fee. If they don’t offer this information, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

8. Ask about free or low cost tours. Tours are a great way of getting an introduction to the grape growing and wine making process, plus it normally comes with a few samples, which are often from more premium end and may not be available on the regular tasting menu.

9. Shipping. Generally, wineries ship products within a province. The rules are bit murkier when shipping between Canadian provinces, however. The federal government changed the rules recently to allow wine to be sent between provinces for personal use, however some have not embraced the rules. Best to ask.

10. Compare vintages. Drink a 2006 Merlot and a 2012 version one after the next. You’ll be amazed at the differences. Drinking the same type of wine from different vintages or producers is a great way of bolstering your wine knowledge.

Monique Beech is Sun Media’ digital content director. She spent four years covering Ontario’s wine industry for the St. Catharines Standard.

‘Friends are waiting’: Budweiser commercial has important message

- September 25th, 2014

A screengrab of the Budweiser ad Friends Are Waiting. (Budweiser/YouTube)

Budweiser recently released a commercial which manages to pull at the heartstrings while delivering an important message.

The ad, entitled Friends Are Waiting, draws on the bond between a man and his dog to encourage people not to drink and drive.

“For some, the waiting never ended. But we can change that,” reads the commercial, while a doting dog waits all night for its owner to return.

The commercial was posted to YouTube on September 19 with the caption, “Next time you go out, be sure to make a plan to get home safely. Your friends are counting on you. Enjoy Budweiser responsibly.”

It has already been viewed more than 14 million times on YouTube.

However, it still has a way to go to catch up to one of the most memorable commercials from Super Bowl XLVIII – Budweiser’s Puppy Love ad.

As you may recall, the commercial featured a puppy and horse as best buddies, and has been viewed more than 51 million times on YouTube.