DesBrisay Dines

DESBRISAY DINES: Juniper Farm’s smashing sauerkraut

Anne DesBrisay is the restaurant critic for Ottawa Magazine. She has been writing about food and restaurants in Ottawa-Gatineau for 25 years and is the author of three bestselling books on dining out. She is head judge for Gold Medal Plates and a member of the judging panel at the Canadian Culinary Championships.

Juniper Farm’s sauerkraut. Photo: Anne DesBrisay

Kale is so yesterday. At least that’s what the smarty-pants people who purport to know these things are telling us.

The it vegetable of last year is losing its lustre. It’s worn us down with its perfect properties. I grow weary of seeing a kale salad (often requiring 68 chews per forkful) on every restaurant menu. With any luck it’s taken its toll on chefs as well…

We are supposed to be ditching kale, apparently, in favour of its cousin. Cabbage is the new sexy veg.

My grandmother would be laughing her head off. She grew many heads every year and dutifully put down the cabbage crop in brine.

But did she ever think to mix it with beets? Or fennel? Or with salted shrimp and fish sauce and menacing little red chilis? If she had, I might have eaten it.

Seed to Sausage store on Gladstone Ave. Photo: Anne DesBrisay

It was the uniformed chef of the Bank of Canada (who knew the Bank had its own chef?) I met while shopping at Seed to Sausage on Gladstone, who made me buy these three jars of Juniper Farm’s sauerkraut. He saw me examining them and insisted they were a fantastic product. Naturally lacto-fermented, he tells me. He now puts the kimchi kraut on everything. Couldn’t say enough great things about them… And so I did as the Bank of Canada man instructed and can now report they are indeed jars of wonder. I am particularly fond of the beet version.

Pick some up for the holidays. Might be quite the thing to rev up turkey. And you can bore everyone at the Christmas table with tales of cabbage being the new kale.

Available at Seed to Sausage, among other fine foods purveyors (including Red Apron and West End Well) or from Juniper Farm, near Wakefield.