Saturday 17 August 2013

Raspberry sandwich

I've never been much of a beer drinker, but thanks to the Baby's tutelage I've been taking an interest in boutique breweries and have discovered that I really like fruit-flavoured wheat beers. And since raspberries are my favourite soft fruit - I spit (not literally) upon your boring strawberries - there was no doubt I was going to enjoy this one. It did help that I drank it sitting outside in the sun on the veranda of our suite on board the Silver Shadow moored at Juneau, watching the little float planes fuss in and out like the taxis they probably were. But it would have been a pleasure to drink even without all that, and I'm just sorry I can't pop back for another.
I'd already tried, in little Skagway, the spruce-tip beer that was brewed by the gold miners to keep scurvy at bay, and liked it, though not as much as the raspberry one. (It was Captain Cook who most notably did the spruce beer thing, by the way, to keep his men healthy. I can't imagine that they would have objected very strongly to their daily medicine, however dubious they might have been about its intended benefits.) The miners could have got their Vitamin C just by eating the actual soft needles off the tree, as I did in Vancouver while out with Lois on my Tours by Locals - but that wouldn't have been half so much fun, of course.
The drink that really made an impression on me though was the Okanagan Valley icewine we tried first at Oru, the fancy restaurant in Vancouver's Fairmont Pacific Rim, and then again at Araxi in Whistler. I've had plenty of dessert wines before - stickies - but never any made by the finger-threatening method of picking frozen grapes at night. They invented the method in Germany, but now Canada makes more than anywhere else because their winters are more reliably freezing. It's served very cold, which tempers the sweetness, and it's a lovely way to end a meal - especially one as memorably delicious and beautiful to look at as our chef's choice at Araxi. Mmmm, Albacore tuna with popping ponzu pearls, crusty seared wild BC salmon, rabbit wrapped in pork cheek and prosciutto, tender rare lamb chop with rosemary confit, and then creme anglaise with gold leaf and lemon tart with raspberries. Glorious!

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