Check out our fantastic Thanksgiving Menu – the menu will be served throughout the day (lunch and dinner) on Saturday, October 12; Sunday, October 13 and for lunch on Monday, October 14. mmmmm

Thanksgiving Menu 2013


Jamaican Squash Soup
with hints of Allspice & Chilies

Seared Scallops
on a bed of Moorish Crunch Salad with Apple, Celeriac, Carrots, Parsley, Radish & a Lemony Tahini Dressing

Toasted Corn, Jalapeno & Aged Cheddar Spring Rolls
with a Seedling Salad & Maple Smoked Paprika Soured Cream

Simple Greens
Grapes, Fennel, Black Walnuts, Candied Hazelnuts & Spiced Pear Vinaigrette

-Shared Platter-

Vik’s Double Smoked Kielbasa, Niagara Gold,
In House Made Pickled Heirloom Carrots & Beets,
Dill Pickles, Sharp Mustard & Crusty Bread
16. Serves one * 26. Serves two


Jason’s Perogies with Braised Cabbage,
Crispy Bacon, Crème Fraiche & Roasted Apples

Turkey & Chorizo Sausage Burger
with Tomato Charred Corn Salsa, Chimichurri Mayo & Yukon Gold French Fries

Kaffir Lime Scented Trout
Served with Coconut Curry Root Vegetable Stew with Cardamon Scented Rice and Poppadum’s

Pappardelle Pasta
with Candied Sweet Potato, Spinach, Pine Nuts, Roasted Onions, Sterling Butter & Toasted Bread Crumbs

Thai Shrimp and Lobster Burger
served with Asian Slaw & Sweet Potato Fries


Pumpkin Cheesecake
on a walnut crust with Cinnamon Syrup

Seasonal Fruit Free Form Tart
with Chantilly Cream and Toasted Oats

Warm Bitter Chocolate Bread Pudding
with Black Pepper Caramel Sauce


A picnic affair

noblemen enjoying a picnic

An illustration of noblemen enjoying a picnic, from a French edition of The Hunting Book of Gaston Phebus, 15th century.


an occasion when a packed meal is eaten outdoors, especially during an outing to the countryside:

Origin: mid 18th century (denoting a social event at which each guest contributes a share of the food): from French pique-nique, of unknown origin


We love a good picnic, whether it a simple baguette with cheeses,  charcuterie and a bottle of chilled wine (also great on the living room floor in front of a fire) or fried chicken with a selection of summery side salads, fresh fruit and zesty lemonade. Here are few tips that we think help zhoosh up any picnic, let us know if we’ve missed any that think add that certain je ne sais quoi:

Add these to your picnic prep list:

if you’ve got a “pic-a-nic basket”, start with that
bring along a blanket or area carpet for the ground
or a retro red gingham table cloth for a picnic table
tealights are great on a twilight picnic
cloth napkins are so civilized
small mason jar for wild flowers
bocce set for in between cloud gazing spells
fabulous sun hat with oversized shades
water with lemon or lime wedges
salt and pepper shakers
silver cutlery (easier to schlep along than china, but if you’re up for it, schlep away!)
The Good Wine

and don’t forget:
bug repellant
ziplock bags to pack up any messy bits

Our delightful Executive Chef, Therese De Grace has pulled together 2 of her favourite picnic recipes here for you. If you try them, let us know!

Toronto Island Pressed Sandwich
My fondest memories of growing up in Toronto (which was more of a town than a mega city at the time) are centred around the family picnics my grandmother would host on Toronto Island.  The food was always the highlight of this day out, particularly the oversized sandwich that was prepared the day before and gingerly cut for us all to share.  The flavours of this sandwiched all melt together into a magical parcel, make sure you use a hearty loaf in order to soak up all the luscious juice from the moist ingredients.

1 large Calabrese loaf
1 cup of pesto
2 cups of marinated artichokes
20 slices of Smoked Provolone Cheese thinly sliced
½ pound thinly sliced salami
½ pound thinly sliced mortadella
3 cups roasted red peppers
2 cups spicy marinated eggplant

Divide bread loaf into even halves, spread pesto evenly over each side.
Lightly crush artichokes with your hands and spread them evenly over the bottom half of the loaf.
Evenly layer provolone, salami, red peppers and mortadella ending with spicy eggplant.
Cap with the top of the loaf; press the sandwich down until flat.
Using cling film tightly wraps the loaf and place on a baking sheet.
Top with bricks or a cast iron pan, refrigerate overnight.

Buttermilk Baked Chicken Chunks

If you haven’t had the pleasure of indulging in cold battered chicken at a picnic you are truly missing out.  The texture slightly changes when the chicken is cold but it is just as delicious.  The recipe listed below is fabulous served hot or cold, this recipe is baked but we promise you … crunch is not compromised.

1 cup buttermilk
1 clove crushed garlic
1 teaspoon Cajun spice
2 chicken breasts cut into 1 x 1 chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup flour
½ cup corn flakes crushed
½ teaspoon of each: garlic powder, onion powder and smoked paprika
Pinch of Salt and Pepper

Whisk buttermilk, garlic and Cajun spice in a bowl.  Pour over chicken marinating overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and brush with olive oil.
In a bowl add flour, cornflakes and all remaining spices.
Toss chicken in flour mixture until coated well and arrange on cookie sheet.
Allow to cook for 8 minutes flipping chunks at the four point mark.
Serve hot or chill and serve cold with your favourite creamy dip.
› by kb on behalf of Nicolette ‹ Continue Reading »

“The kitchen is a country in which there are always discoveries to be made.”
Grimod de la Reynière (1758-1838)

This June marked the second year of The Good Earth’s participation in the Niagara Wine Festival’s New Vintage Discovery Pass program. We LOVE passport tasting programs at The Good Earth because it brings new folks out to the winery to taste our delicious wines, and gives us a chance to offer passport holders a tempting taste of what our Bistro can do. We make a lot of new friends through passport programs, and get a real kick out of chatting with returning guests from last year’s event.

For this year’s New Vintage Discovery Pass, we decided to pour our fabulous 2012 Betty’s Blend, lusty 2011 Cabernet Franc and the brand spanking new and oh-so-sexy 2012 Rosé with a mini-bistro lunch – soup, main, and dessert.


The response was fantastic! Guests could not stop raving about the pairings and many, many bottles were purchased to be enjoyed at home. As a thank you for your support and genuine enjoyment of all that The Good Earth offers, here are the two most-requested recipes from our Discovery Pass offering, courtesy of our Executive Chef and all around good schnook, Therese DeGrace:

Spring Has Sprung Asparagus Soup


3 tablespoons olive oil

3 finely minced leeks

2 minced carrots

3 ribs minced celery

2 medium Yukon gold potato peeled and diced

2 bunches asparagus cleaned and chopped

6 cups baby spinach

Zest and juice of one lemon

3 litres water or vegetable stock

2 ripe avocados peeled and roughly chopped

1 tablespoon hot chili paste

3 cups sour cream


  1.  In a Stock pot over medium heat sauté leeks, carrots and celery in olive oil until lightly browned (about 8 minutes).
  2. Add potatoes, asparagus, spinach, lemon zest/juice and water or stock, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.
  3. When potatoes are soft add avocado, chili paste and sour cream using a blender emulsify until smooth.
  4. Adjust with salt and pepper, refrigerate overnight before serving.  This soup can be served hot or cold.

TGE Savoury Shortbread Cookies


1 cup all purpose flour

¼ cup white sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lightly cracked pink peppercorns

2 tablespoons fresh thyme

2 tablespoons lemon zest

½ cup unsalted butter

1 whole egg beaten with a few drops of water (egg wash)


1.       Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.      Sift flour, sugar and salt.  Add pink peppercorns, thyme and lemon zest.

3.      Add cold butter and flour mixture into a food processor and pulse until it resembles coarse meal.

4.      Form dough into logs and slice cookies into rounds (slightly larger than a toonie).

5.      Arrange on a baking sheet and brush lightly with egg wash.

6.      Bake for 12 minutes, allow shortbreads to cool for 30 minutes before serving.

About five years ago, I had the opportunity to do some food writing for a magazine. Now, despite my equal love for both the written word and for food, I’d never done anything like that before (“but i’m not a PROFESSIONAL writer!” wailed the voice of doubt in my head) so it was a bit nerve-wracking.

Since the piece was for a Spring issue focused on white wine, I decided to write about asparagus. Around the same time, I’d been a little obsessed with hollandaise, specifically the tangy, piquant, mustardy-gastriquey hollandaise I’d had recently at Treadwell’s in Port Dalhousie. Poached eggs, asparagus and hollandaise seemed a perfect fit for the recipe portion of my writing debut. PLUS it was a great match with Sauvignon Blanc, a wine I generally crave come early Spring.

As I was still working in fundraising at the time (read: regular office job), the Easter weekend was a glorious four days long that year. And since my in-laws Easter celebration consisted of a pot-luck brunch on the Easter Monday, everything was poised for a perfect long weekend of recipe testing and writing, culminating in a grand brunchy feast of Norfolk county asparagus, poached eggs and my version of a mustardy-gastriquey hollandaise for all.

Long story short, and the reason that Easter has become so memorable for this non-religious girl, is that I must have made and taste-tested litres of hollandaise that weekend in an effort to perfect my recipe. Which is why I ended up spending 48 hours in hospital, hooked up to a blissful morphine drip, in the throes of a monumental gall-bladder attack.

Six weeks later I had the damn thing out and have been fine ever since, but to this day I never eat that most delicious of sauces (and I LOVE HOLLANDAISE) without a nanosecond of trepidation, and then a good laugh. Because only I would end up in Emergency at midnight on Easter Monday suffering from a crise de hollandaise.

Asparagus with Poached Egg 2

Piquant Hollandaise (Blender Method)

Although it’s a real time-saver, I find blender hollandaise doesn’t get as thick as making it the old fashioned way using a whisk. That said, carpal tunnel syndrome hurts and this method still gives a lovely flavour bang for your buck.

  • 1 1/4 cups sweet butter
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard (Kozliks triple crunch is the perfect mustard for this)
  •  salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in a small pot on stove top until it foams, then remove from heat. Separate eggs and place yolks in blender. Add lemon juice and blend at high speed. Remove the centre insert in your blender lid and slowly and steadily pour in the melted butter while the blender is running. Blend until creamy, season to taste with salt and pepper, then gently stir in grainy mustard. Serve immediately.

A kiwi quest….

I am happy to report that all of the 2012 whites and 2012 rose have made it to bottle! 2012 was an amazing vintage and I’m really excited to share these wines with all of you!  The 2012 reds are soundly sleeping in barrel and the winery is spotless.  You must be wondering what I’m going to do for the next couple months until the vines start growing again.  Well let me tell you…

I’m heading to New Zealand!  I’m incredibly lucky to have Nicolette as a boss because she’s allowing me to flee The Good Earth for a few weeks and have the opportunity to work for another winery in New Zealand.  I’m crazy excited about this.  I’ve always wanted to work in New Zealand but never made it quite that far.  I’ve taken a contract at a winery in Central Otago and will be helping them out during harvest.  I’ve promised Nicolette that I’d blog about my experiences and keep you all updated on my sweet Kiwi adventure.

So stay tuned, there is more to come!

The Good Earth glows in the snowy, New Year's Eve twilight.

The Good Earth glows in the snowy, New Year’s Eve twilight.

I don’t ski, I don’t skate, I don’t like hockey, and I don’t actually own a toque. But there are times when I feel like The Last Canadian Standing because man, do I love Winter. I know I’m in the minority (ESPECIALLY here at The Good Earth – I’ve never worked with such a bunch of summer-worshippers), but honestly, there’s so much to love about the coldest, darkest, coziest and most romantic months of the year.

First of all, Winter is beautiful. All the trees and bushes are bare, so you can actually see the intricacy of their architecture. The gigantic sycamore at the edge of the Good Earth parking lot is unbearably lovely at this time of year, its branches and ridiculously decorative hanging seed pods silhouetted against the vast grey skies. Take a look the next time you visit and you’ll see what I mean.

When we’re lucky enough to have snow, all that delicious white stuff creates a startling backdrop, throwing everything, especially our sweet vineyard, into sharp relief. The starkness can be breathtaking. And the snow muffles sound, which I love – I love the respite from sound that you get in Winter, when everything’s asleep. And I love cold. I’m perpetually overheated, so the falling mercury makes me happy, happy, happy! Finally, I can stop being the schvitziest girl at Good Earth. The best is when it’s so cold that your nostrils stick together when you inhale, you know the cold I mean? Heavenly.

A good, sharp, and above all COLD, Winter day, when the snow stops falling and lies, like my favourite English carol says, “deep and crisp and even”, is the cleanest thing imaginable.

Secondly, Winter is comfy. The darkness comes early, putting you in a home-time mood at 4 pm every day, ready to snuggle up on the couch in woolly layers. And Canadians just look better in Winter. I’d much rather see my fellow Canucks layered to the hilt and toqued up than half-naked as they are in our increasingly hot summers.

Thirdly, and most importantly, Winter is when we get to eat hearty, filling, and hibernation-friendly fattening foods. Roasts. Stews. Root vegetables. Starches. Gravy. Meat. Sauces. Pie. Cassoulet. Casserole. Cake. YES. As Margaret Atwood notes in her poem February, winter is “Time to eat fat and watch hockey.” While I admit I’m not that much of a hockey fan, I will happily eat fat until the first crocus blooms in Spring.

You have to make friends with Winter, people. Embrace it. Celebrate it. Find your inner Canadian kid and enjoy the cold weather like you did when you were little. Buy yourself a snowsuit and mittens with strings, if that’s what it takes. And rejoice in the excuse to eat and drink delicious things like The Good Earth’s Potato Bacon Chowder and our fabulous new 2010 Chardonnay. Rich, creamy and delicious, the chowder will warm you and your friends or family inside and out, while the heavenly wine works its magic and makes you care about the cold just a little less.

“Stick to your Ribs” Potato & Bacon Chowder (from The Good Book)

1 red onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 leek, diced (white and light green parts only)
3 carrots, peeled and diced
6 slices bacon
2 lbs mini white or red creamer potatoes, cut in wedges
4 Cups chicken stock (water can be substituted), cold
¼ cup butter
1/3 Cup all purpose flour
1 Tbsp picked fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
6 dashes Tobasco or other hot sauce
1 Tbsp Worchestershire Sauce
3 Cups milk
1 Cups 35% cream
3 green onions (optional)

1 crusty baguette (optional)

salt & pepper to taste

In a soup pot, melt the butter over low heat. Add the diced onion, leeks, celery, carrots and bacon. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until softened but not coloured.

In another pot, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a simmer. Cook until fork tender – soft, but not overdone. Strain.

Add the flour to the vegetable and bacon pot and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually add the cold chicken stock, stirring constantly. Add the thyme, bay leaf, Tabasco, and Worchesterhire sauces. Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.

Add the milk, cream, and cooked potatoes and bring up to serving temperature.

Serve with toasted baguette and a sprinkle of green onions.

This recipe yields 6 – 8 hearty portions.

Never fear, summer-lovers, warm weather will be here soon enough. For now, celebrate all the good things about the coldest months of the year.

I hate to admit it but I am suffering a huge case of the “bah humbug” these past few weeks.  I have struggled to find the inspiration to decorate the property with all the festive touches that say “WELCOME!”.  I have not sat down to make my Christmas list.  I am simply uninspired!  I can’t even tolerate Christmas music on the radio.  Is it the lack of snow?  Am I simply too tired from a long and busy season of hard work?  I just don’t know.  All I do know is that I have to get a handle on this or else I will truly earn the title of Grinch.

Last night, I was floating in my bubble bath at the end of a long day (actually 10 days of non-stop “eventing”) trying to soothe my weary bones.  My bubble bath is my nightly indulgence when I let myself relax and read my magazines.  I picked up my Chatelaine magazine (the French edition…I read it in the hope that it will help me retain at least a smidgen of my French!) and started to read an article about the same Christmas malaise.  The author, a Quebecois comedian, had hit the nail on the head.  He had lost his childhood innocence around this time of year.

It really made me stop and think for a moment.  He was right!  How many people echo the same notion that Christmas only became fun again once there were little children in the mix.  We greedily drink up the wonder and enthusiasm of that little girl or boy when she sees Santa at the parade or sends off a wish list to the North Pole.  They embody the wonder of the season and have the innocence to just believe…and the magic of Christmas happens!

Perhaps it’s time to ratchet back  the adult madness a notch or two.  Instead of working ourselves into a lather of gift buying, gorging ourselves as if famine looms around the corner and decorating our houses as if we were movie sets (and all the while dreading our credit card bills next month) we should just take a step back and breathe.  How many of us truly need more of anything that we receive under the tree?  Perhaps it’s time to take back our childhood innocence; to take a moment and just marvel at the beauty of our sparkling Christmas tree, of the warmth of the hug from someone we love, the coziness of sharing a story with someone …of simply being together surrounded by the love and security only family and friends can provide.  Think back to your most wonderful Christmases and I would bet that what you will remember isn’t the gifts that you received but the wonderful way you felt.

So, I am going to try and suspend my disbelief for a moment and embrace the stories and lore around this season.  We readily believe so many idiotic notions and fads why can’t their be elves feverishly manufacturing toys?  Why can’t reindeer fly on one night of the year?  Why can’t there be a shining star in the East heralding the news of the birth on an innocent babe?  Why can’t I hear angel choirs?  I am going to simply allow myself to be a child again and believe!

Merry Christmas everyone!