My favourite red sangria recipe

Sangria is one of my all-time favourite drinks to make in the summer. If I am ever hosting a party or backyard BBQ, it’s my go-to contribution. It’s relatively simple, refreshing and lots of people enjoy it. Sangria is quite flexible, in that you can use what you have in the house. I’ve tried it using different types of wine, fruit and fizzy drinks, and I always like the outcome. My favourite recipe is this though:


  • Two bottles of red wine (buy something cheap, you don’t really notice quality)
  • Four shots of Triple Sec
  • Two lemons, cut into slices
  • Two limes, cut into slices
  • Two oranges, cut into slices
  • One large bag of frozen mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries)
  • One bottle of lemon-lime pop
  • Ice


Add all of your fruit (fresh and frozen) into a large pitcher. Next add the Triple Sec and wine. It is best to let the flavours soak together as long as possible. Right before you are about to serve, add in your pop and ice and you are good to go.

Does anyone else have a favourite drink that they like to make for parties, or a different Sangria recipe you think I should try? Let me know in the comments!


How to: Create a cheese plate your friends will devour

If you’re anything like me there’s nothing better than a well thought out cheese plate. Cheese is basically its own food group in my world, and I think that no dinner or cocktail party is complete without a proper cheese platter. Anybody can go to a local grocery store and pick out a few blah variations of pre-packaged cheeses. A good host will take the time to go to an actual cheese shop (fromagerie) and pick out a few beautiful cheeses and accompaniments.

To start, you should always attempt to create a plate that has an assortment of textures and flavours, hard and soft cheeses and buttery and sharp flavours for example. You want your plate to be exciting! If you are not overly familiar with the different varietals of cheese you local cheesemonger can be your best friend.

Choosing your cheese:

As I mentioned before, you should ensure a variety of different cheeses end up on your platter. Make sure that there is something for everyone, so something mild, like a brie for the less adventurous and something strong, and exotic for those adventurous cheese lovers you’ve invited over. I like to keep my numbers odd, as it’s more visually pleasing, and I believe five is often a good number. I suggest trying to include at least one cheese each from: Aged (e.g. Aged Cheddar, Smoked Gouda), Soft (Brie, Camembert, Cherve), Firm (Manchego, Parmigano-Reggiano), and Blue (Stilton, Gorgonzola Dolce). As a ball park figure you should normally buy one ounce per person per cheese, but you know your guests best, if you think they will eat more or less, buy accordingly.

Choosing your accompaniments:

While I have no problem eating cheese alone, the proper accompaniments can enhance the flavours of your cheese even more. Make sure not to include too many sides, or sides that are flavoured (e.g. flavoured crackers or sourdough bread).

Carbs – Offer a selection of breads such as thinly sliced French baguette, and an assortment of plain and seedy crackers.

Fruits – I like to offer a small selection of both fresh and dried fruit, such as grapes, strawberries and dried cranberries or cherries.

Condiments – Sweet preserves such as honey, chutney, or caramelized onions.

Extras – While this is not a charcuterie plate, it is nice to include a few salty items to complement the flavours such as salami, prosciutto and almonds.

 How to serve:

Let’s start with the plate itself. Serve all the cheeses on one big board, I think that a wooden platter or cutting board lends an authentic, rustic vibe, which I love. One of the most important things to remember is to never crowd your cheese platter, its looks awful and inevitably, you’ll end up with someone’s fingers or knuckles all over the cheese. Also very important is to never cube or pre-cut your cheese. Set out a separate knife for each cheese. Soft cheese spreads well with a butter knife; firm cheese might require a paring knife; and aged cheese often requires a cheese plane.

Your cheese should be served at room temperature, so it is imperative that you remove it from the fridge about an hour before you plan on serving it. In terms or arranging the platter, you want your guests to start with the mildest and work their way up to the strongest, so make sure to separate your cheese in that manner. Then, make up a label for each cheese, so your guests know what they are eating and where it is from. I then like to spread the accompaniments out around the board to break it up a bit.

Make sure to keep your eyes open for a future post on the best wine and cheese pairings!

For those of you from Edmonton my two favourite cheese shops are:

1.       Paddy’s International Cheese Market: 12509 102 Ave NW, Edmonton AB
T5N 0M4, (780) 413-0367
2.       Everything Cheese: 14912 45th Ave, Edmonton AB, T6H 5T5, (780) 757-8532

Wine: Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio Valdadige D.O.C.

This is my absolute favourite white wine. I discovered it at an Italian Restaurant in Calgary many years ago now, and to this day it is still my go-to wine. For those of you who are not big white wine drinkers, I highly recommend you try this one, it is light and mild and the perfect introduction to white wines. The grape is 100% Pinot Grigio and Santa Margherita is grown and produced in Italy, in Trentino. The taste is very crisp and dry, and it has a mild fruity (apple) taste to it, without being sweet…as I am really not a fan of sweet white wines. As with many white wines, the recommended glass to drink

this out of it a medium-sized, tulip shaped glass, which narrows at the rim. This glass allows for the concentration and collection of a wine’s aroma. If you plan on pairing this wine with food, I recommend seafood, white meats, a nice fruit & cheese plate or salads. It’s great on its own as well.

A new twist on an old favourite

I love the idea of dinner parties. The thought of cooking a full on turkey dinner scares the crap out of me, but I love preparing beautiful party food and appetizers. Nothing beats a perfect charcuterie board or bite sized nibble. I helped prepare an Italian dinner party a few months back in Calgary. We asked all of the guests to bring a bottle of Italian wine, we prepared the rest of the Italian feast. My contribution was a new twist on Caprese Salad, an idea I discovered on Pinterest. It looks just as good, if not, better than it tastes!

What you need:

  • Cocktail sized tomatoes
  • Mozzaralla cheese (Pearls ideally, but you can use any high-quality mozzarella)
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • A dash of salt
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Serving platter (I recommend a simple white one, which will best show off the vibrant colours in this dish)


Using a sharp knife slice the tomatoes in half horizontally. If the tomatoes do not sit on the platter without rolling over, my tip is to cut a small amount off of the bottom of the tomato as well, so that it has a flat surface to sit on. Next stack your mozzarella and your basil in the centre of the tomato, and put the top back on. Repeat this until you have enough to feed all of your guests. Depending on the size of your party I would estimate about three tomatoes per person. When all of the tomatoes are assembled on the tray lightly drizzle your balsamic and olive oil over them, I found it works best to put your finger over the spout so that you can control the flow of the oil and vinegar. Finally, sprinkle a little bit of salt over the dish and viola, you’re done! Now just prepare for your guest to ohh and ahh over your creativity!