Chef’s Talk: Favourite BC Apples

Lewis Birch – CinCin Ristorante, Vancouver, BC     604.688.7338

My favourite BC Tree Fruit apple is the Ambrosia because they are sweet and great to cook with. Staying true to my English roots, I love making apple crumble – perfect for when the nights are beginning to cool. And it’s a straightforward preparation. Simply peel, core and cut the apple into eighths, then caramelize them in a pan with some sugar, cinnamon and star anise or five spice. Deglaze with apple juice, or, if you have some on hand – Calvados. To make the crumble, combine a handful of toasted chopped almonds with sugar, butter and flour. Strew the apple mixture with the crumble dough and bake in a 350º oven for about 20-25 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Serve with your favorite vanilla ice cream, and if you want to be a Brit for a day, whip up some vanilla custard too!

Jonathan Chovancek – Bittered Sling Extracts, Vancouver, BC     604.773.6977

Hyslop crabapples make the absolute best seafood sauces. They have a natural balance of sweet and sour with a slightly tannic quality to their skins, and their high pectin lends a brilliant depth when juiced and lightly heated. At Bittered Sling, we use crabapples to make our seasonal Boreal Crabapple bitters. Its spicy botanical notes work wonders in a variety of cocktails and are the perfect addition to salad dressings, vinaigrettes and sauces with dried fruit, as well as light cookies and pastry glazes.

Thomas Haas – Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie, North Vancouver & Vancouver, BC     604.924.1847

Like the Boskop from my native Germany, I like Ambrosia and Braeburn best as they are both excellent to bake and cook with! I believe that apples benefit from a slow and gentle baking or cooking process. Tart Granny Smith apples are excellent when paired with caramel, like in a tart tatin. Ambrosia and Braeburn are excellent for a delicate galette or strudel, or even in a cake tenderly cooked in a syrup made from Riesling and hints of Calvados and vanilla.

Dan Hayes – The London Chef, Victoria, BC     250.590.1865

I would say Ambrosia, which I had never tried until I moved to B.C. from across the pond. It’s versatile – great to eat and cook with. Often the best thing is to forget the chef altogether and eat an apple straight off of the tree, but if you want to showcase the flavours of an apple the simplicity of a tarte tatin is the perfect way. You also can’t beat a lunch of  farmhouse cheddar, sliced crisp apple, good chutney, bread, and a pint of cider – It’s the perfect autumn picnic.

Aaron Heath – Araxi Restaurant + Bar, Whistler, BC    604.932.4540
My favourite apples to cook with are Granny Smiths because they hold together well and do not dissolve under heat. They also have a great tang. I love to use them in apple tarts, that I make with house made puff pastry. Almost needless to say, my apple tarts are best enjoyed with Tahitian vanilla ice cream! And in terms of my favourite eating apples I would have to go with Ambrosia + Jonagold. There is no better combination than these freshly sliced apples served with a sharp aged cheddar.

Jenny Hui – The Lazy Gourmet, Vancouver, BC     604.734.2507

“My favorite BC Apple is the Honey Crisp. I love to eat them on their own or even dipped in my home made caramel sauce. If I am baking with apples, I toss them with some Granny Smith apples to make The Lazy Gourmet classic Mile High Apple Pie.”

Michael Kalsaris – Re-Up BBQ, New Westminster, BC     604.553.3997

Pig and apple have a great affinity for one another.  I like Granny Smith in a green apple gastrique, when used as a glaze for pork belly that has been braised with onion, green tomato, and star anise. The acid cuts the richness of the pork belly, and slides in with all of the umami in the braise to add an aromatic top note.

Faizal Kassam – Cibo Trattoria and Uva Wine Bar, Vancouver, BC     604.602.9570

At the moment, I am loving Royal Gala apples. I am using them to make hyssop-caramel apple jam with fresh herbs and the fennel-scented buds of the hyssop plant. The jam can be enjoyed on grilled bruschetta or as an accompaniment to a selection of cheeses – such as Gorgonzola, Brie, Smoked Cheddar, Tallegio – like we feature at Cibo and Uva.

Stuart Klassen, Delta Grand Okanagan Resort, Kelowna, BC     250.868.5673
Having been raised in Kelowna, I always enjoy a Macintosh apple. I have even bitten into a Macintosh as it was still growing on the tree – a little weird perhaps, but at harvest time, that’s the freshest it can be! I love to polish up a Mac, with its colours of brilliant red and vibrant green. The Mac also offers a crisp crunch with a slight tang to its flavor. Though it is not my favourite for baking, when it is used fresh on a salad, it provides a perfect balance of sweet and sour. Enjoy a Mac – ‘tis the season!

Kazuya Matsuoka – Minami, Vancouver, BC     604.685.8080

“My favorite BC apple is the Fuji because it’s fresh, crisp, and sweet. I am very familiar with its characteristics, having used it many times back home. While I normally enjoy it in its natural state, I also use it in my apple raisin yuzu chutney, which I pair with a roasted pork chop or soy braised pork belly. The combination of sweet and sour with the fatty elements of pork make for a very nice and balanced dish.”

Ali Ryan – Spinnaker’s Brewpub & Guesthouses, Victoria, BC     250.386.2739

There are just too many fantastic apples available from BC to pick just one to talk about.  My favourite eating apple is the Pink Lady – it looks like the perfect Snow White apple and it’s crisp, sweet, sour nature is a delight. It’s also wonderful raw in a celeriac remoulade.

Wayne Sych – Joe Fortes, Vancouver, BC     604.669.1940

“I love Granny Smith for making apple sauces or compotes for grilled or roast pork. My favourite snacking apples are Fuji and Royal Gala, I also like to julienne these and put them into a spinach salad with fennel, goats cheese and candied almonds with a honey lemon vinaigrette. I have a go-to recipe from a friend of mine for Okanagan apple muffins with a streusel top, for these I like to use Ambrosia apples. And for apple pies I like a combination of Granny Smith and Royal Gala.”


To learn more about BC apples visit BC Tree Fruits



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