Debbie’s Spring Picks

The Hermit Crab Viognier

For over a century, red grape varieties from France’s Rhone Valley have thrived Australia’s McLaren Valley. Believing the white equivalents would have the same affinity with the regions climate and soil d’Arenberg planted Viognier, Marasanne and Roussane in the 1990’s. The white varieties have done well in this Rhone like climate. The Hermit Crab is a full-flavored wine with a savory edge and a rich smooth palate. The nose opens with white peach and sweet pineapple notes. The palate is luscious and flavorsome with nectarine, peach and citrus with subtle ginger notes on the finish.

Nothing says spring here on PEI quite like the first day of Lobster fishing. Many Islanders celebrate Mother’s Day with their first “feed” of PEI lobster. The Hermit Crab blend has the perfect mix of aromatics and flavors to complement steamed Lobster; the acidity balances out the natural buttery richness of lobster while the savory finish of the wine is a natural complement to fresh vegetables which are often part of a traditional lobster “scoff.” The rich full flavored components of the wine would be a great dessert pairing with the Grilled Pineapple and Mint Cream Recipe.

This wine is ideal for those that are looking for something beyond Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay to serve with Lobster dinners. The rich full flavored components of the wine would also be a great pairing with an Easter meal featuring baked ham with roasted pineapple.

PEI Brewery Iron Bridge Brown Ale

The Island Bridge Brown ale was awarded the title of “Best Brown Ale” in Canada at the 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards. The PEI Brewing Company begins with a base of Canadian barley malt for bready crispness and the rich roasty-toasty aromas are the result of premium British chocolate and black malts. The ale is lightly hopped to let the malts take center stage. Island Bridge is medium to full bodied with a smooth roasted malt flavor and chocolate finish. It has a 5.3 abv and has a 36 IBU rating All products from this brewery are produced using all natural products with no additives no preservatives and no pasteurization. Just another great reason to support this Island brewery.

As the days grow longer and the temperatures start to heat up, our taste buds look for more refreshing beverages. Iron Bridge Ale is a fantastic alternative to red wine during warmer months. The carbonization and malted flavors will be a fantastic compliment for BBQ dishes with caramelized onions and mushroom. Try the Iron Bridge with our Beer-Braised Pulled Pork Recipe. The Brown ale is used in the recipe so the pairing will be excellent. The unique chocolate finish of the ale will also be great with a variety of chocolate inspired desserts.

Grand Marnier

Grand Marnier was first produced in France around 1850 and has become a staple for professional and home mixologists around the world. This bright topaz liquid sparkles with gold and amber tints. The nose opens with a complexity of orange and toffee notes. Flavors of sweet citrus and orange rind with touches of spice and brandy notes linger on the finish.

Grand Marnier is not just a dessert beverage it can be successfully paired with several appetizer and main course dishes. Beet and Kale Salad with aged balsamic and orange vinaigrette would be a beautiful addition to any spring brunch table. A main course featuring seared scallops with bacon jam and fennel lemon risotto requires a bit more time in the kitchen but the flavors are amazing and well worth the effort.

Grand Marnier’s versatility makes it a great choice to serve at an Easter or Mother’s Day brunch. This golden liquor can be served on the rocks, in your favorite blend of coffee or as a great complement to all the chocolate your Easter Bunny treated you to! Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge blends easily with many different dishes, try adding some to a festive Easter Cosmo recipe.

Grand O Pitcher

Yield 10 servings.


  • 1.5 cups of Grand Marnier
  • 2 cups of Orange Juice
  • 2 cups Soda Water
  • Hand full of Fresh Raspberries
  • Lemon cut in half


  • Pour all ingredients into pitcher half filled with ice.
  • Squeeze half lemon into pitcher
  • Stir
  • Serve in rocks glass filled with ice
  • Garnish with lemon and raspberries