Wild and Wine-y Dinners at Fraîche & Cin Cin

Left: At Fraiche -braised yak with mushroom bread pudding. Right: At the Whitehaven CinCin dinner - seabass escabeche

New Talent at Fraîche Goes Wild

Jefferson Alavarez, the new EC at West Vancouver’s Fraîche, loves all things fresh, seasonal, sustainable—and especially wild. His new winter menu is focusing heavily on wild game and seafood, including one I’ve never tried before. Hills Foods has just added yak to their offerings, and Alvarez was the first to introduce it onto a restaurant menu.


If you’re like me, and have never tried yak before, not to worry. The flavour profile is rich, but not overly gamey, with a texture that still has a bit of chew, even after six hours of braising. Chef Alavarez served his braised yak with a wild mushroom bread pudding and green beans. Another standout was the smoked sturgeon (farmed and Ocean Wise, from Sechelt’s Target Marine Hatchery, producers of Northern Divine Caviar). Sided with braised salsify in an apricot white wine sauce, it was a hearty, rich and elegant dish—perfect for cozy winter meals.


Whitehaven Arrives at Cin Cin

This family-owned winery from the Marlborough’s golden mile in New Zealand (Whitehaven) is not widely available throughout B.C. as of yet, but you can find their Sauvignon Blanc at BCLS for under $20, and one can hope for more selection soon. At a recent dinner at Cin Cin, winemaker Sam Small introduced a small group of media and buyers to some top selections, including the 2009 Pinot Gris, a rich, straw-coloured quaff with lovely balanced acidity and intense aromatics. Cin Cin’s new EC Todd Howard created some inventive pairings, like the seabass escabeche with carrots, garlic and coriander that went with the Gris. Another great match was the braised rabbit with sage-infused Tagliatelle, porcini and house-made ricotta, that was paired with 2009 Pinot Noir, a deep ruby glass that was light on the palate, and full on the nose.

Written By:

Anya Levykh was born on the shores of the Black Sea, in what was formerly the USSR. The cold, Communist winters were too much for her family, and, before she was four feet tall, they had left for warmer climes in the south of ...

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