Canadian Food Experience Project: Newfoundland Partridgeberry Wine Recipe

A month ago, I joined the Canadian Food Experience Project, writing about my memories of a uniquely Canadian food experience.

The Canadian Food Experience Project began on June 7 2013. Per the project:

“As we share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice. Please join us.”

This month’s topic is “A Regional Canadian Food”.

My mind immediately went to the years I spent living in Newfoundland. Newfoundland has a unique culture – even within the Atlantic Canadian provinces alone! – and that really comes through in their food. I was spoiled on some of the best seafood ANYWHERE, and was always trying new things.. rabbit stew. Flipper pie. Every manner of deep fried seafood imaginable. Unique preparations of fish and shellfish, and the most wonderful game meats.

St. John’s … this was home!

I love moose stew, and I’m proud to say that I make the most insanely amazing moose stew ever. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get my hands on any moose in the past 7 years… and I’d be afraid to admit to just what depravity I’d agree to, just to get some at this point!

Part of what makes my moose stew insane is the inclusion of partridgeberry wine – a unique wine that is locally produced and readily available in Newfoundland. The tart, bright flavours of the wine work so beautifully with the gamey flavor of the meat… oh, it’s a work of art. I really, really need to get some moose meat soon. (Sorry, I mean.. “Gotta get me moose, b’y!”).

Yum. These guys are EVERYWHERE, back home. So tasty.


Partridgeberries are indigenous to Newfoundland, as well as Scandinavia. They’re tart little red berries that taste like a cross between a cranberry and a blueberry… you may know them as “lingonberries”, if you’re a fan of IKEA!

They are one of a few amazing berries that grow wild in Newfoundland, and they’re very popular in Newfoundland cuisine, appearing in jams, sauces, in candies, on cheesecake… and in wine. You can buy partridgeberry wine in local wine stores back home, as there are several Newfoundland wineries that specialize in it.

Unfortunately, you can’t buy partridgeberry wine here in Minnesota, anywhere I’ve seen. Homesick desperation is one of the mothers of invention in my kitchen, and a few years ago I created a recipe for partridgeberry wine. We were able to buy a case of the berries from a local wholesaler!

This makes a very full bodied, gorgeous wine. It’s a fairly sweet wine, with a great mouth feel .. very delicious, and very luxurious. Definitely worth the effort of finding a case of partridgeberries!

If you haven’t attempted making wine before, don’t be intimidated! Check out our primer to home brewing, it starts here, with parts 2 and 3 here and here. Just a small handful of entries, and you’ll be good to go!

Unable to get your hands on partridgeberries? I actually designed a “faux partridgeberry” wine recipe a while back, click here to go there!

Partridgeberry Wine
Makes about 5 gallons

15 pounds frozen partridgeberries
13 pounds granulated sugar
5 gallons water
2.5 teaspoon acid blend
2.5 teaspoon pectic enzyme
1 teaspoon nutrients
5 pounds golden raisins
1.25 teaspoon tannin
1 package Red Star Montrechet wine yeast

Allow the partridgeberries to partially thaw, then coarsely chop them (A food processor comes in handy!).

Place berries and sugar into a large (7+ gallon) pot, stir until well combined. Add water, stir well to dissolve sugar. Heat to ALMOST boiling – stirring constantly – then simmer gently for 10 minutes. Stir in acid blend, enzyme, nutrient, and raisins.

Pour mixture into a freshly sanitized 1.5 gallon fermenting bucket. Cover with sanitized lid and air lock, allow to cool to room temperature (overnight).

The next morning, give the mixture a quick stir with a long, sanitized spoon, and – using sanitized equipment – take a gravity reading. Keep track of the number! (This is an optional step, but will allow you to calculate your final ABV %)

Sprinkle yeast into fermenter, cover with sanitized cover and air lock. Within 48 hours, you should notice fermentation activity – bubbles in the airlock, carbonation and /or swirling in the wine must. This means you’re good to go!

After a week or so, use your sanitized siphon setup to rack the must into a freshly sanitized 6- 6.5 gallon carboy. Put the carboy somewhere cool (not cold!), and leave it alone for a month or so.

Using sanitized equipment, rack the partridgeberry wine off the sediment, into a clean, freshly sanitized 5 or 6 gallon carboy. Cap with sanitized airlock, leave it alone for another 2-3 months.

Rack one more time, leave it for another 3 months or so.

When your wine has been racked a few times and shows NO more fermenting activity for a month or so (no bubbles in the airlock, no more sediment being produced, you can move on to bottling.

Follow the instructions on your selected type of wine stabilizer to stop fermentation. For potassium sorbate, this needs to be done 2-3 days before bottling.

Using sanitized equipment, take a gravity reading, then rack the wine into clean, sanitized bottles. Cork. (We like to use these for corking our homemade wine. Easy to use – no special equipment needed! – easy to uncork, and – should you have any wine left in your bottle after serving (pfft!), the “cork” is easily replaced for temporary storage!).

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes will be included.

The Kickstarter for “More Than Poutine is live, here. Please consider backing, and sharing the campaign with your friends!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Homemade Hard Apple Cider

After a long, overly hot summer… man, did it ever feel good to wake up to 44 degrees!

At this point, we lost our entire summer to the tornado – it happened May 22, and we’ve been busting our butts ever since. Any outdoor activities have been long hours of removing debris, hauling bricks, or construction. Sunburns all around, a heat stroke… Yeah, I’m about ready to commit the summer 0f 2011 to the books – complete write off.

I love fall. I love the smell of the air, the feel of it against my skin, the colors… everything. I love being able to go outside without worrying about the possibility of overheating. I love that fall means that winter is right around the corner. It’s like this perfect, happy, and drawn-out reward for surviving summer.

You know what else autumn brings? Apples.

It was actually an abundance of apples at our last home, that led to our home brewing hobby. (Read all about our first homebrewing attempt!).

We’re probably not going to have time to put on a batch this year, because… really. We still haven’t racked our wines that were due for it back in early June! It sucks, but by posting our recipe, we can live vicariously through you, my awesome readers!

If you haven’t attempted making hard cider or wine before, don’t be intimidated! Check out our primer to home brewing, it starts here, with parts 2 and 3 here and here. Just a small handful of entries, and you’ll be good to go!


Homemade Watermelon Wine

Apparently today is “National Watermelon Day”. I had today’s recipe all ready to publish, but I have the *perfect* recipe for watermelon day, so…

You know, one of these days, I’m gonna make a calendar of all of these “days”, and keep them in mind ahead of time. Sounds like a much better plan than ending up distracted at the last minute!

Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a homemade wine recipe. Watermelon wine is not only tasty, it’s easy to make and a unique choice for summer imbibing. Also, we’re a little overdue on putting on this summer’s batch. What can I say, the tornado screwed with our summer brewing schedule when it turned our lives upside down!

If you haven’t attempted making wine before, don’t be intimidated! Check out our primer to home brewing, it starts here, with parts 2 and 3 here and here. Just a small handful of entries, and you’ll be good to go!

This recipe uses few ingredients, but it’s important to make them the right ones. Most importantly: (more…)

Homemade “Cuties” Orange Mead Recipe

This is the first mead that we ever made, and it turned out so amazing… everything else has pretty much paled in comparison. Definitely one of our top 3 favorite homemade wine recipes!

If you’re going to make a batch of this, act fast – we used peels from “Cuties” oranges, which are only in season for a few months each year. Love them… I can snarf a crate by myself, in a sitting, if left to my own devices. Yum. Anyway, I think their season end is coming up, so stock up! This starts out incredibly fragrant – almost like a delicious, fruity tea – but don’t drink much of it before fermenting! The finished product is even better!

Another nice thing about this wine is that it is very good when fairly “young”, compared to many meads – At only 6 months old, this tasted amazing. Age it if you like – we haven’t been able to keep any long enough to see how it ages. Our first 5 gallon batch was almost all gone LONG before the next Cuties season had started!

The ABV on this came out to about 8%. If you haven’t read our primer to home brewing, it starts here, with parts 2 and 3 here and here.


Homemade Mango Wine Recipe

Here we are: finally posting an actual wine recipe!

When we first started making wine, the first few batches had to rely on recipes we found online. It didn’t take long before we figured things out on our own, and started coming up with our very own recipes. This wine is not only one of the very first recipes we created, it’s one of our absolute favorite wines to drink, and also one of the cheapest/easiest to make. In other words, a damn fine foot to start out on!

This wine starts out very orange, thick, and pulpy. It won’t look anything like wine for a few months, as the pulp and yeast slowly settle. When all is said and done, you will be left with a crystal clear, pale, straw colored wine. Sweet, fruity, delicious wine that goes down a little too well… and costs only $1-2/bottle!

Another nice thing about this wine is that it is very good when “young”. Unlike many recipes, this one is tasty and ready to drink in only about 4-5 months! Age it if you like – we haven’t been able to keep any long enough to see how it ages!

The ABV on this comes out to about 15-16%.


Wine Making at Home, Part III : The Brewing Process

So now that you know why wine making is a great hobby, and know about the equipment you need to get started, all that’s really left to address is the actual brewing process. After that, I can start plying you with yummy wine recipes to try!

The nice thing about wine making is that it can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it.

On one end of the spectrum, you can take some fruit concentrate, add water and yeast, and let it do its thing. On the other, you can extract the juice from fresh fruits, combine them in many ways, add herbs or spices to add flavor. You can age them with wood chips, you can carbonate, you can use special ingredients to help clarify your wine…

At its heart, however, wine making starts with a very simple concept.

You start with fermentable sugars in a liquid, introduce yeast, and let it do its thing. The yeast digests the sugars, and alcohol is the byproduct – this is fermentation. The yeast reproduce and stay suspended in the wine as it ferments. As the alcohol content in the solution goes up, the yeast cells are less able to tolerate their living environment, and they die off.

A 6 gallon batch of our mango wine,
on day 1. Yum!

As the yeast die, they settle on the bottom of the fermenting vessel. Throughout the fermentation process, the wine is removed from the layer of fruit & dead yeast sediment on the bottom, being transferred to a clean fermenting jug (carboy) every few months. This process is called “racking”. When fermentation is complete, the wine is left to clarify as the last of the yeast settle to the bottom of the fermenter. The wine is then bottled, and aged (if desired).

.. and then, you drink it. Yum! Read on for more information about the brewing process..


Wine Making at Home, Part II : Equipment to Get Started

Now that we’ve covered the subject of Why you would want to make wine at home, it’s time to address equipment!

Wine making is a hobby that you can definitely build on. You can start out with a basic set of equipment, and build from there. I recommend making a batch or two of wine, deciding if it’s a hobby you can see yourself sticking with, and THEN worrying about rounding out your equipment collection. I’m just thrifty like that.

So, where to start? Here is the basic equipment that we recommend for a first SMALL batch. Each item is linked to the company that we buy our supplies from (Midwest Supplies, for visual aid and more information. (That is, NOT as a paid advertisement!). They are a great company to deal with, they ship all over the place… but all of the equipment we’ll be listing below should be easy to find in any brew supply store.


Wine Making at Home, Part I : WHY?

As I mentioned in a recent blog entry, my husband and I enjoy wine making together. It’s just such a fulfilling hobby, and works on so many levels:

– It’s teamwork. We really enjoy sharing a hobby that we’re both interested in, and engaging in all of the different stages involved is a really great bonding activity. We designed our recording sheets together. When one – or both! – of us has an idea for a new batch of wine, we plan out a recipe, and shop for the ingredients together. We prepare the wine together, make a “date” of racking it every few months, and even work together to bottle, cork, and label them.

– It’s cheap. Actually, this point gets made on a few levels, as well. Putting on even a 5 gallon batch of wine can cost less than two movie tickets and concession popcorn/sodas!

In addition to the money saved by spending a “date night” in, there is also the cost saved with the finished product. Many homemade wines can come in at $1-2/ bottle, and even our most expensive batch – Lingonberry – came in at around $4 for a 750 ml bottle.

– It gives us something to look forward to. In this culture of instant gratification, we’re not immune to – or innocent when it comes to – rushing, lacking patience, etc. It’s kind of nice that when we start this project, we have to look ahead 6 months, a year… maybe even more, before we’ll get to enjoy the final results. Anticipation can be enjoyable!

– It’s science! Yes, we’re both nerds. Along the lines of the first point… it’s just so much fun to be able to work projects together. We start with an idea, plan around it, chart what we do, track the results, discuss variables, and experiment with changing up different elements of a recipe. When getting creative with it, wine making can be a very pleasurable mental stretch!

– It’s rewarding. It’s great to be able to pour a glass, and consume it with the smug satisfaction that comes from the knowledge that YOU MADE THIS. It’s a powerful feeling, and it feels doubly good when it’s a product that is generally seen as something that you’d have to buy at a store.

– Also? Homemade wine makes a GREAT gift.

– Making wine gives you a lot of control over your final product. While dry wines are very popular, we tend to prefer our wine to be “diabetes in a glass”. We know what we like, and what we don’t like, and we … well we can do whatever we want. Use whatever grape you want. Use grapes with some other fruit. Use NO grapes. Toss a vanilla bean or two in there, whatever. Prefer an earthier flavor? Toss some oak chips in there for aging. The sky really is the limit when it comes to options!

If you’ve read this far, then I’m glad that I haven’t lost ya! Once you have the basic equipment and information, this is a very easy endeavor to partake in. I hope you’re inspired, pumped, and ready to get started. Tomorrow will be Part II: Equipment to Get Started