Eating and Drinking Guide 2010: Best Local Cookbooks

The Boreal Gourmet: Adventures in Northern Cooking by Michele Genest (Harbour, $26.95) is a collection of MFK Fisher-esque culinary escapades as much as recipes. Genest paints an alluring portrait of the great white north with tales of magnificent foods and colourful cooks. Feeling a little wild? Recipes such as moose ribs braised in Yukon-brewed espresso stout, smoked Arctic char with grappa, and chocolate sourdough torte will set your heart racing.

“Relax, honey,” urges the subtitle of Vij’s at Home (D&M, $40), which invites readers over for dinner with legendary restaurateurs Meeru Dhalwala and Vikram Vij. The collection of sophisticated yet relaxed dishes ranges from the everyday to the elaborately festive. Tucked into this lushly photographed book are household mainstays that have crossed over into the couple’s Rangoli and Vij’s restaurants: portobello mushrooms with red bell peppers, or creamy curry and Dungeness crab spoons with coconut, cilantro, and jalapeño peppers. Settle into this one with a notepad and a glass of wine, and relax, honey.

A trip to B.C.’s wine country ought to begin with John Schreiner’s Okanagan Wine Tour Guide (Whitecap, $19.95). Schreiner is Canada’s most prolific author of wine books; here he meticulously and concisely profiles more than 130 wineries in the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys, including 40 new facilities. This revised and updated edition is a mandatory guide for any eager oenophiles setting off to sip their way around the Okanagan.

The understated grey linen cover of Cooking for Me and Sometimes You: A Parisienne Romance with Recipes by Barbara-jo McIntosh (French Apple, $29.95) belies the precious delights within. McIntosh, proprietor of Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks, unveils a tender, genteel love affair with the City of Lights over a month-long sojourn. She shares culinary discoveries from her favourite Parisian neighbourhoods and recipes for delicacies she cooks in her cosy Gallic flat—all brought to life by the warm, witty illustrations of Bernie Lyon. This is the perfect confidante to share your innermost yearnings as you wander town, dreaming of love in Paris.

The term “locavore” takes on deeper meaning in The Zero-Mile Diet by Carolyn Herriot (Harbour, $32.95), a Victoria-based gardening guru. Herriot’s invaluable guide follows a year of sustainable food production, month by month. Timely pointers and tips for growing an edible landscape bolster seasonal recipes built around your homegrown bounty. Delicious and inspiring.