Sunday, June 26, 2005
Canadian Wild Grapes - an Ode
Ode: a lyric poem usually marked by exaltation of feeling and style—and sweetly did the Vikings of yore, brave boatmen of Leif the Lucky, son of Eric the Red, sing as they discovered the wild grapes (Vitis riparia) near L’Anse aux Meadows, Northern Newfoundland. Grapes meant wine, a heady beverage to quaff after a hard day’s rowing and a necessity for a new land to become civilized. Vitis riparia can still be found growing along the rivers of Nouvelle France, from Upper Canada, the Pays Illinois and down into Louisiane, and today makes a foxy wine and great jams.
Glaze a roast with jam prior to putting on the spit. Use the wine to deglaze a pan to capture all those tantalizing juices for your sauces or as a refreshing hearty taste with artisanal cheese at the end of your meal. Grapes can be dried and later used by soaking in spirits to liven up great breads and sweets. Enjoy with me some of the oldest tastes of Canada.