A Pair Of Gourmands

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Go see your local specialty store

He says:

This week I want to take a minute to tell you about Valoroso Foods, 1467 Sutherland Ave, Kelowna.

I shop at Valoroso every week, and so far I have yet to be disappointed with the products or the service. Every time I go visit the wonderful ladies behind the counter, they are smiling and very helpful.

They have a great selection of olive oils, vinegars, frozen or dry pastas, canned goods, Italian cookies… and they also have fresh specialty mushrooms, fresh figs, fresh basil, and plenty more fresh foods…

I really like their cheese selection, obviously with a strong influence from Italy, but also cheeses from all over the world. If you are looking for a special dinner, go buy yourself some Grana Padano cheese, fresh basil, a few olives, a few sun dried tomatoes, a can of yellow tomatoes, choose yourself a fun pasta and throw all this into a pan for your next meal. Dessert is also available try their biscotti, Tiramisu or Sicilian cannoli!

Oh, and don’t forget to tell them chef Martin sent you!

She says:

As you have probably guessed, Martin does the shopping in our family. I miss being able to visit the specialty shops and find those treasures. When I was a kid we used to visit an ethnic grocery store that had a second floor with all kinds of cool imported things that were a mystery to me…

I used to wander the aisles and read the labels on packages and open the bulk bins, imagining what the things inside must taste like and what kind of place they came from. That was the beginning of my life as a foodie.

Years later, when I was in Europe, I was mesmerized by the market stalls full of all kinds of wonderful things. Every region in every country has its own specialties, its own flavours. I remember the stalls full of olives of all shapes and colours, and cheeses piled high. There were vendors who sold game meats (I won’t mention what they had on display, but it was no shock for the locals). Then there were the fruit and veggie stalls, where the freshest seasonal produce was often piled in geometric stacks that looked like works of art.

I learned the hard way that in France you ask for what you want at the market, even if it is in front of you. The lady at the fruit stall slapped my hand the first time I was there and tried to pick the pears I wanted! She told me in no uncertain terms that once I said I wanted two of them, I should then trust her to pick the best ones. (She always did.) In Greece, I remember the fellow who was throwing the octopi against the rocks on the beach so the flesh would not get tough. All of these vivid memories made the supermarket forever pale in comparison.

Nowadays, there are specialty stores in almost every neighbourhood, and they have things that used to be only local specialties. As the world gets smaller, I am pleased to see that doesn’t necessarily mean that everything becomes the same. Keep your life interesting, and try something new at your neighbourhood specialty store!

Chef Martin’s Tip 27: Playing with nuts!

Nuts are a great source of natural protein, and they can make a dish become alive with very little effort. (Although some are not necessarily great for diets!)

Nuts makes great snacks at the office, but please remember that nuts are not good forever. The best way to find out if you are dealing with fresh nuts is to smell them first. If they smell oily or sour they are perfect for the garbage. By the way, roasting nuts won’t make them good if they are bad, they will stay bad…

If you want to attain best results, roast any nuts before using them for baking or to eat as just like that!

Pecans in a salad with blue cheese dressing make for a great match.

Walnuts are rich in omega3 fatty acids, benevolent fats that combat heart disease. They are one of the few plants in which these fats occur.

Crushed up roasted almonds dropped in a sugar and water caramel mixture will make a great nut brittle - a sweet snack for the kids.

Although not a nut per se, pine nuts make a great stuffing inside a salmon with goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes.

“No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.”
(Julia Child, 1912-2004)

The Chef in Stead - Website For Previous Chef Tips For comments or questions, you can reach Martin at 250-712-4440 or Email.

These are the stores where I shop, go visit them and tell them I sent you...

Hooked on Seafood, 1951 Harvey Ave, Kelowna 860-2541
Discover Wines, 2080 C Springfield Rd, Kelowna 868-3990
Matterhorn Bakery, 103 - 3640 Gosset Rd, Westbank 768-3302
L&D Meat, 103 - 2365 Gordon St, Kelowna 717-1997
Quality Greens, 3717 A Old Okanagan, Westbank 707-1420
Valoroso Italian Market, 1467 Sutherland Rd, Kelowna 860-3631
Kitchen Niche, Orchard Park mall, Kelowna 860-3637

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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