Reviews and Such Food

Manitoba Holiday Treats – Part 2

Last week I dipped into the basket of Manitoba holiday goodies that I received. While it was tempting to finish everything in the basket in a couple of days, I have managed to show some restraint. Today I’m going to write about a few more of the individual items in the basket. I plan on following that up with a couple of posts of recipes that make use of some of the larger items.

Manitoba roasted coffee
The trio of coffee varieties from Green Bean Coffee. A great beverage to serve during your Manitoba holiday parties.

I’m going to start today with the Manitoba producer that I’m most familiar with and that is Green Bean coffee importers. Although I don’t know Derryl Reid very well, he was one of my early connections at various social media events. I’ve had several opportunities to try his product since then. Sometimes because they’ve been featured in swag bags at various food events, and sometimes because I like to stop by their stand at the St. Norbert’s Farmers market.
Our basket contained four different varieties of coffee. Each one of these makes about a twelve cup pot of coffee. The four packs were split between two medium, one dark, and one light roast. These four packs alone would make a great little gift basket.  Add a mug and you’ve got a perfect gift for an office gift exchange.
The first pot I made, I used the Prairie Sky House Medium. This is a great anytime blend. I enjoyed mine with a baguette and some honey.

Manitoba Holiday Snacking

The baguette and honey that I enjoyed was also Manitoba themed. Although not part of the basket, I picked up a baguette from Le Croissant. This has become a Wednesday morning tradition for me as I make my way to St. Philip’s for the day. Once I got to the church, I made my pot of coffee and sliced up the baguette.

Manitoba made honey
There were a couple of sample packs of Wendell Estates honey in the basket. The jars make a great Manitoba holiday treat. 

In the basket was some honey from Wendell Estate. Despite the fact that Wendell Estate has been around for over 60 years, I hadn’t heard of them until I received this basket. Clearly I don’t get out enough. The basket contains a 340g jar of honey along with two little sampler units. I used one of the sampler units on the baguette. I’ve kept the other, and I think I’m going to take the jar to my mom the next time I visit. The honey is raw, which takes a bit of the sweet edge off of it. Also, the design work on the labels make this product as visually pleasing as it is tasty.

Holiday cookies
The pistachioretti from Picolla Cucina are a great, gluten-free snack.

Keeping with the sweet thing, one of the items in the basket was a bag of Pistachioretti from Piccola Cucina. These bites size treats are:

  • All Natural, preservative free
  • Free from gluten, dairy, grain, soy, corn , yeast
  • Low in saturated fat & cholesterol
  • Artisanal – Handcrafted
  • Almond super food main ingredient
  • No added fat, fillers, or flour
  • Manufactured in a dedicated gluten free facility

There is only one thing missing from that list. Incredibly tasty. As a priest, I try to be aware of food issues that may affect whether or not my parishioners are or are not able to join in around the table for after church coffee. A couple of those parishioners eat gluten free. These macaroons are great for them. As an added bonus, they taste so good, that even those members of the parish who don’t have gluten issues loved them. These macaroons can be served to anyone and I’m quite certain almost everybody will love them.
As a priest, Sundays require a lot of energy. Fortunately, last Sunday, I was able to replenish that energy with a couple of GORP bars. GORP bars are clean energy bars. Designed to give you a pick up in the middle of a busy day. I first hear of GORP bars through Jennifer Ward Barber, aka The Hippie Triathlete. I’ve been following Jennifer’s blog since I got to know her during her days working at the Ellice Cafe.

GORP (Good Old Raisin and Peanut) bars are designed to give you energy without filling you up. I can say that they certainly did that for me. Best of all they taste terrific. They will not only satisfy your energy needs, but will also nicely fill a craving for something sweet. There are definitely no empty calories in this product. GORP bars retail for about $3.50 each, but one of these is a much better buy than an entire box of store bought power bars.
I’m going to finish with the most substantial item that I’ve tried so far, and that is the 500g package of pepperoni from Danny’s Whole Hog. I’ve tried Danny’s BBQ at the Red River Ex, but this is the first of his retail products I’ve had. I really enjoyed it. There is just enough heat in the product to leave a little warmth in your mouth when you finish (of course that’s by my standard, which is generally more heat tolerant than average). Plus, even though I ate the entire package in a relatively short space of time, I didn’t get any sort of greasy feeling when I was finished. These would make a great stock stuffer for anyone who likes their snacks on the meaty side.

Whole Hog Pepperoni sticks
Danny’s Whole Hog Pepperoni sticks. Meaty, heaty, and nicely salty.

Having worked my way through all these items, I can’t wait to start dealing with the rest of the basket land seeing what dishes I might be able to come up with from the remaining items.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.