Olives

Mesmerizing Marvels of Mediterranean Cuisine

Rebecca Amoury Rebecca sits above Montfort Castle in the high Galilee, Israel where the Montfort name came.

Mesmerizing Marvels of Mediterranean Cuisine

With so many folks out there having travel plans being foiled due to Covid 19, we thought well… if you can’t get to your planned destination maybe you can bring the destination to you! What do they say, when life gives you lemons make lemonade? For us… a hopeful visit to the Mediterranean was not to be, so since we couldn’t get to the Med, why not bring a little of the Med to us! Starting with one of the Mediterranean’s star features, food glorious Food! Here we’ll introduce you to a brand-new restaurant embracing the delectable, mouth-watering and healthy cuisine of the Mediterranean. We’ll touch upon the incredible diversity the region has to offer. With Twenty-three countries bordering the Med one can only imagine the possibilities for the foodie, from a country’s signature dish to a unique spice, indigenous herb and/or traditional recipes handed down over generations.

Montfort Mediterranean Cuisine, located in Oakville, ON, is a quintessential Mediterranean restaurant with some of the best authentic dishes you can imagine.

Olives
A staple of the Mediterranean, this mural of delectable olives hangs above the open kitchen OLIVES IN DISH The moment one enters, one is reminded of the primary staple of the Mediterranean diet. This mouthwatering flavour is infused into many of the middle eastern dishes prepared for the healthiest appetites! .

Rebecca, or Rabab as she is affectionately known, grew up in the North Galilee Israel, in a town that overlooks Lebanon which we learned is located just a half hour from where the Last Supper was held. Now that is pretty cool! Rebecca’s roots go back many generations in the area with her grandparents and parents having a passionate connection with the land, harvesting grape leaves, lemon and olives trees, growing a variety of vegetables, different herbs and more. Rabab tells us this is where she has many fond memories of harvesting the trees, grinding falafel, and learning to prepare traditional recipes of the Mediterranean which are still being used today at Montfort. She recalls that everything was always so fresh, so delicious, and prepared with so much love and attention.

Jad and Rebecca, Husband and wife team and owners of Montfort Mediterranean Cuisine.
Rebecca Shoufany Amoury and husband Dr. Jad Amoury

“Growing up, I had the opportunity to be a part of the most incredible experience of what the true meaning of traditional Mediterranean cuisine is! Every October olive harvesting and pressing our own olives at the olive press which was in our village”

We learn that the family time together was most often spent sitting at a large harvest table, enjoying one another’s company over food and drink. This she tells us has a lot to do with her philosophy today.

“The Shoufany Amoury family represents the true foundation of Montfort and we stand behind the belief that “food, family and friends“ are a shared richness that is not only a part of our culture, but a way of life that we have been privileged enough to share here in Canada at our restaurants.

Georgia and Susanne enjoying dinner at Montfort Mediterranean Cuisine.
The Wine Ladies enjoying a Montfort Mediterranean Cuisine spread representing multiple regional specialties.

We had the opportunity to sit down with the Founder Rebecca Shoufany Amoury and, over a glass of wine and a variety of mouth-watering dishes, she began to share her story.

Rebecca founded Montfort Mediterranean Cuisine over 25 years ago with “the grateful assistance of my parents Melad and Georgette”. The name Montfort she says was chosen “because it represents a big part of who my family are; “strong mountain ”She recalls on many occasions sitting far above the Montfort Castle from where the name Montfort came, in Galilee, Israel.

After 25 years in one location, they recently relocated reopening in a space where the atmosphere and environment of Montfort bellow out “welcome to the Mediterranean”! And welcome to our place for friends and family to gather and enjoy fresh, delicious, home-made traditional dishes of the Mediterranean.

In 2013, the Montfort family grew after Rebecca met Dr. Jad Amoury in Israel. Jad had been practicing dentistry for 15 years and since coming to Canada has joined the family business at Montfort.

An astute businessman, Jad runs the business and oversees the kitchen, whilston off hours spending time with two young babies, ages 2 and 8 months. How do they do it all?“It’s about passion” Rebecca tells us. Passion for family, for tradition, for the wonderful flavours and dishes of the Med!

What is the Mediterranean diet?

Twenty-three countries across 3 continents border the Mediterranean Sea. Although all of the Mediterranean diets share common characteristics there are slight variations depending on the region.A typical Mediterranean diet consists of plenty of vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes and fruits. Olive oil is the predominant fat and thank goodness…wine and homemade Arak often accompanies meals!

To our own experience on this day at Montfort Mediterranean Cuisine Although the countries of France, Spain and Italy have garnered much of the “Mediterranean “attention, today as you may have surmised Rebecca and Jad are eager to explore several of the eastern countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Israel, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt to name a few are represented on a beautiful spread Executive Chef Fouad sets down before us.“Chef Fouad,”Jad informs us “hails from Egypt, studied in France and in Holland. 

Palm Trees
Mediterranean Palm Trees PALM TREES evoke warm climate, calm breezes and relaxing moments...

Let the tasting begin! We begin with an appetizer plate “Maza” which is a selection of four appetizers, (you are free to choose your own) baba ghanoush, humous, kibbeh and falafel. Each of these represent a different birth place including Israel, Lebanon, Greece and Egypt, although all are a key staple around the Mediterranean with slight variations. A delicious starter to be sure. After a plate of delicate, delicious fried calamari, seasoned withMontfort Mediterranean spices and drizzled with a reduced balsamic vinaigrette, the main course, a Mixed Grill featuring their signature dish, Montfort Chicken, Chicken Shawarma, Pork Souvlaki and Kafta arrived. All juicy, flavorful, tender and with fragrant and flavourful herbs and spices… where am I? Could it be the eastern part of the Med? No… alas, we are not permitted to travel, but this is definitely the next best thing! 

Woman picking lemons off the tree Rebecca harvesting lemons in her parent's garden located in the High Galilee, Holy Land

Let the tasting begin! We begin with an appetizer plate “Maza” which is a selection of four appetizers, (you are free to choose your own) baba ghanoush, humous, kibbeh and falafel. Each of these represent a different birth place including Israel, Lebanon, Greece and Egypt, although all are a key staple around the Mediterranean with slight variations. A delicious starter to be sure. After a plate of delicate, delicious fried calamari, seasoned withMontfort Mediterranean spices and drizzled with a reduced balsamic vinaigrette, the main course, a Mixed Grill featuring their signature dish, Montfort Chicken, Chicken Shawarma, Pork Souvlaki and Kafta arrived. All juicy, flavorful, tender and with fragrant and flavourful herbs and spices… where am I? Could it be the eastern part of the Med? No… alas, we are not permitted to travel, but this is definitely the next best thing! 

Marvels Of Mediterranean Cuisine
Marvels of Mediterranean Cuisine

In closing we have to applaud Rebecca and Jad for having the courageto push forward with the launching of the new Montfort Mediterranean Cuisine during these challenging times. Jad, as the operations Manager took a bold and savvy step, by being an early adopter in creating their own apps for Montfort for takeout and delivery. This allows their local customers to order online, earn loyalty points and receive an automatic credit of $5.00 with each download.This has helped the restaurant immeasurably, allowing for greater sales, and pickup and delivery costs to be minimized during Covid 19.Before we part ways Rebecca wants to make it clear that she credits the continued success of Montfort to her loyal customers, many of which have become good friends and are like family.As she maintained throughout our chat “I’ve learned that fresh quality food is just as important as the service, atmosphere and presentation but most importantly Pleasing my guests just like they are family is the key to a successful restaurant.”If you would like to experience the delectable and diverse foods of Montfort MediterraneanCuisine, please visit their website.www.montfortrestaurats.com

Bravo Rebecca and Jad!

Montfort App
Montfort App
Pina Colada

If you like Piña Coladas! …. la la la…National Piña Colada Day, July 10,2020

Perfect weather here in for an icy cold tropical drink at cocktail hour! 

? If you like Piña Coladas! ?⁠

Who’s getting ready for National Piña Colada Day on July 10th? ? Enjoy this fruity drink as you sit back by the pool and soak in the sun ☀️⁠

Barrachina, a restaurant in Puerto Rico, says that “a traditional Spanish bartender Don Ramon Portas Mingot in 1963 created what became the world’s famous drink: the Piña Colada.”

How to make a Barrachina Piña Colada

If you follow Barrachina’s recipe. 

  1. Mix four parts pineapple juice with one part Coco Lopez or Goya coconut cream
  2. Blend for 30 to 40 seconds with 3/4-part water, then put the mixture in the freezer, stirring occasionally until it achieves your desired thickness. (If you want to blend it with a scoop of ice instead, then skip the water.)
  3. Pour your desired amount of rum — Reyes suggested a shot; I suggest a couple — into the bottom of your glass. To make it authentic, use Ron del Barrilito, Puerto Rico’s oldest and most cherished rum.
  4. Pour the slushy mix on top, then decorate with a cocktail-umbrella-stabbed maraschino cherry and pineapple chunk.
National Pina Colada Day, July 10th,2020

Perhaps a Piña Colada Ice lolly is more your speed!

Pina Colada ice lolly recipe from BBC Food.
Pina Colada ice lolly recipe from BBC Food.

Ingredients:
450g fresh pineapple chunks
4 tbsp Malibu
zest and juice ½ lemon
2 tbsp icing sugar
100ml coconut cream, plus 2 tbsp extra for dipping
2 tbsp desiccated coconut

Method:
Whizz the pineapple in a food processor until it is quite smooth but still has some texture. 

Add the Malibu, 2 tbsp lemon juice zest, icing sugar and coconut cream and whizz again to combine. Taste the mixture – it should be sweet and sharp. Add more lemon juice or icing sugar if needed.

Divide between the lolly moulds and freeze for 1 hr until thick enough to hold a lolly stick upright. Push a lolly stick most of the way into each mould and freeze for another 6-8 hrs until solid.

Meanwhile toast the coconut flakes in a dry pan until they are a light golden colour. 

Pull the lollies by their sticks to remove them from the mould. If they are stuck dip the mould in hot water for 10 secs and try again. 

Dip the tip of each lolly in the extra coconut cream then roll in the desiccated coconut. 

Either serve straightaway or wrap each lolly in baking parchment and store in individual airtight freezer bags for up to 1 week.

Enjoy!! ?

Image Credit: thebaker.chic

Penfolds bottles

Penfolds Grange…The crescendo of our “Ultimate Penfolds Experience”

Penfolds Grange…The crescendo of our “Ultimate Penfolds Experience”

Nestled in the foothills of Adelaide with views over looking the city, Magill Estate is one of the world’s few urban single vineyards only fifteen minutes drive from Adelaide, capital of South Australia. Here lie historic vineyards of the iconic wine Penfolds Grange. With sturdy and gnarly Shiraz vines that date back over sixty years. They thrive in rich chocolatey red-brown soils over limestone bearing exceptional fruit for both Grange and Magill Estate Shiraz.

Penfolds Grange 2008

Penfolds Grange, a remarkable wine with a remarkable story. This wine is sought after and relished by wine collectors and aficionados around the world, paralleled to the First Growths of Bordeaux and Grand Cru of Burgundy.  This is Australia’s most celebrated wine, officially listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia. A vinous star that has been described by Robert Parker’s wine Advocate as “the leading candidate for the richest, most concentrated dry red wine on planet earth”.

It all began with British physician Doctor Christopher Ralston Penfolds and wife Mary.

Penfolds Family Tree

In 1844 the couple settled in Adelaide on a vast parcel of land and the inaugural Penfolds wine was created. Recently we had the opportunity to take a step back in time and tour the Magill Estate Cottage, the Penfolds’ home. And learned a little about the family and the history of these storied precious vineyards. We were honoured with a personalized tasting of several Penfolds wines.  A suburb afternoon, punctuated by the tasting of the great Grange.

Old age is much respected in this world, the world of wine.

“It all starts in the vineyards” they say. Our visit which began with our tour guide, the truly eloquent Danielle Flower guiding us throughout the grounds and introducing us to the estate’s old vine Shiraz. Old age is much respected in this world, the world of wine. These smaller concentrated fruit will deliver little in yield yet intense and concentrated flavours in the glass. Where one may drink history. The estate was once comprised of over 500 acres but over time has been diminished to just 12.  These grapes, we learn will contribute to the iconic Penfolds Grange.  Grange, Penfolds flagship wine, the most collectible wine on the continent is a multi-vineyard, multi district blend, yet it has a unique personality, flavour, structure, experience coveted by wine lovers the world over.

The good Doctor, perhaps ahead of his time…

The Penfolds, Christopher and Mary, immigrated to Australia at the ages of 33 and 24 and were supported by their family members on what was approximately 500 acres of land. Doctor Penfolds a believer in the medicinal properties of wine cultivated a portion of the land with plantings of French grape vine cuttings brought over from England. Initially fortified wines were the choice prescription but in time, responding to increased demand the winery expanded in output and selection of varietals planted until 1844 when the winery was officially established. Over the years, under the direction of Christopher up until his passing at age 59 and then under that of wife Mary Penfolds the winery continued to grow and prosper. By 1903 Penfolds was the largest winery in Adelaide.

It is Max Schubert, Chief Winemaker for Penfolds in the forties and fifties who must be greatly credited  to the development of the iconic wine, Grange, originally   called “Grange Hermitage”. It was he, after travelling to Europe and spending time in Bordeaux who created and ultimately became responsible for the development of this iconic wine.

To the tasting room!
And an extraordinary experience featuring a perfect blend of Penfolds offerings.

Penfolds produces a range of wines that come from a variety of regions, whether they are blends, or singular varietal. They also produce estate wines of single vineyard. All the wines however showcase the Australian heritage including the diversity and the great history.

Our tasting included a blend of all of the above.

One of our personal standouts on this day was the 2008
St Henri Shiraz.

Penfolds Danielle

A multi district blend including fruit from the Barossa Valley and Eden Valley. St Henri Shiraz differentiates itself from high quality Australian reds by not relying on any new oak.
Maturing instead in large old 1460 litre vats the wine’s character develops with little impression of oak. We comment on the seductive nose of intense blueberry and blackberry layered with dark chocolate. With a deep rich flavour of more dark fruit and chocolatey notes, it is rich and opulent with a long lasting finish! Drinking window suggestion is 2016-2035. Available on occasion at the LCBO and/or featured at Winemaker’s dinner as recently as October 26th of this year.

We tasted  the 2011 Cellar Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from the Coonawarra, exceptional! And to start the 2008 Yattarna Chardonnay, also multi regional.

The crescendo of our “Ultimate Penfolds Experience” was of course Grange.

Suffice to say an ethereal taste experience. Where wine is not simply a drink, it is history, it is place, it is magical, on this day it is Grange.
Of this wine says Chief Winemaker Gago, “Aromatically captivating/convincing— similar to the 1987 in its formtive years, stronger than the 1997!”
At the conclusion of our tasting, as we sipped on what little treasure remained in our glasses. Danielle shared with us Penfolds’ latest unique and extraordinary offering to its most devoted fans.

This most recent project allows one to purchase their own personal barrel of Penfolds wine for $198,000. Magill Estate will house your barrel under 24 hour/day security. Your wine will be available for you to check in on at any time from anywhere in the world. The custodian of this barrel is invited at any time to taste, assess the wine and determine when and how it should be bottled under the guidance of course of Chief Winemaker Peter Gago.

Gago who started at Penfolds in 1989, is himself a celebrity winemaker, in high demand internationally, only the fourth custodian of iconic Grange. Peter succumbed to his love of wine and as he puts it “the grip of the grape” … we guess was just too great!

Penfolds Grange , 2008

 For those of whom we have whet your appetite, the 2008 Grange is available here at the Tasting Room in the Olde Oakville location. Here we ponder the purchase of one of three remaining bottles priced at $499.00.

Finally, there are a number of Penfolds wines available at varying price points, something for everyone. Note to Heather, one of our favorite consultants, we’ll be back!

Georgia and Susanne
The Wine Ladies

We also had the opportunity to meet Peter Gago in 2008 at an exclusive media tasting in Toronto. Check it out here.

Canada's 150th Birthday Frisky Beaver winery, winemaker Peter Graham.

Canada’s 150th birthday is plenty reason to pop a cork…with wineries from coast to coast!

Casa Dea Estate Winery

PIE Magazine photo shoot with The Wine Ladies, Prince Edward County, Wine Country

Diets Don’t Work! Fads WON’T Work! Non-Food NEEDS to go! Calories DON’T count! Weight DOESN’T matter!

JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, JIMMY LESAGE’S NEW BOOK.

New Life Hiking Spa’s 40 Years of Authentic Wellness

now available on AMAZON and Balboa Press! Purchase on line here now.

Product Description

“In the Green Mountains of Central Vermont is the New Life Hiking Spa, owned and operated by Jimmy LeSage for forty consecutive years. New Life is a program that helps guests awaken themselves to the power of nutrition and fitness. New Life is Jimmy’s forum for including guests on his four-decade journey to authentic wellness. Jimmy shares that journey’s wisdom by assisting guests to translate their New Life experience into their own lifestyle upon return home. Jimmy’s own journey and the impressive body-spirit changes in New Life guests give Jimmy much of relevance to impart about our prospects for well-being as we consider our lifestyle and relationship with food.

Health, fitness, wellness, and quality of life have become such big news that any reasonable understanding is not only confusing. It is downright difficult. At New Life, and now in this presentation, Jimmy travels with you to assure that you will differentiate meaningfully between passing fads and noteworthy trends in wellness.

Jimmy’s journey merits your attention because it, like the well-being it speaks of, is very personal and authentic. We may find that New Life is so personal for Jimmy that it came to pass as much for himself as for all who have or ever will come. New Life has become a laboratory that has endowed Jimmy with a commitment to the healing power of good food and a bit of activity.

Jimmy has transformed New Life into an incubator for practical steps out of the confusion and complication in the bottom-line requirement for existence: food. Jimmy earns your attention because the journey on which he invites you has prepared him thoroughly to inspire you to initiate changes in your own food behaviors.”

Jimmy Lesage, Founder and Director of The New Life Hiking Spa, celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Jimmy to talk about the hiking, the area and good healthy eating. He also debunks some of the old adages about diets out there.

      Diets Don’t Work! Fads WON’T Work! Non-Food NEEDS to go! Calories DON’T count! Weight DOESN’T matter!

Listen to Jimmy Lesage at 3:41 minutes into the radio show.

On this week’s radio show…Vermont…. its vino and stunning heart healthy hiking! New Life Hiking Spa’s 40 years of Authentic Wellness.

Canada's 150th Birthday Frisky Beaver winery, winemaker Peter Graham.

Power Boating Canada Magazine, Toasting Canada’s 150th!

South Africa Wine Tour

South Africa Beckons… Please join us Feb 2017 for a trip of a lifetime!

With Tselane Mokuena, Consul General of South Africa to Canada

With Tselane Mokuena, Consul General of South Africa to Canada

With beautiful vineyards, wines, amazing food, historic sites and a touch of the wild side.

We will soon be embarking on yet another journey, this time to stunning Cape Town and the Cape Winelands, with stops to historical cities and sites including Robben Island, Table Mountain and of course a game reserve!

To find out more and to book you tour with us.

or call 416-768-5375

  

We are thrilled to be heading out to South Africa this February 2017 and would love you to join us!

A spectacular tour that will include personalized visits to stunning wineries own the Cape Winelands. Amazing culinary adventures, an historic Robben Island personal tour, Table Mountain, exciting jeep game-drives, safari tours and much more! explore your sense of adventure with us, please, if you have ever thought of embracing what South Africa has to offer and you like to eat , to drink, and experience life big and bold, come with us!

Power Boating Canada, Jose Cuervo Tequila

Power Boating Canada Magazine features the Magic of Mexico and Jose Cuervo Tequila.