Good for Jamie. He’s posted a fantastic round-up of his experiences this year at GFR and beyond. He’s right: working at and for GFR is a great adventure. I ought to match his piece with a similar one, except I’ve left it too late to go through a year’s worth of GFR stories, and I’m a contrarian. So instead, I am offering forward some of the stories I wish I had written for GFR this year and regret that, for what ever reason, I didn’t manage to. Expect to see stories on these places and people from me in 2016.

Ulmo Vineyards Planeta
My wife Apple and I went on holiday for a week in Italy in April. We split our time between Rome and the West of Sicily. It was supposed to be strictly a vacation, but I was allowed one winery visit. There was no question which house I wanted to visit, Planeta, and reservations were made at La Foresteria, Planeta’s restaurant and hotel, set in an olive grove and vineyard overlooking the Mediterranean about an hour and half south of Palermo.What I saw, ate, and tasted there and at the breathtaking original winery at Ulmo, was spectacular. And all the more enjoyable to have been guided through the Planeta family’s hospitality by their amazing export director, Penny Murray. Planeta is a great story and a great example of an innovative company that grows without losing its soul or its identity. GFR hasn’t had much Planeta coverage this year in part because I am using some of the experiences I had there and research I have done on them for another project. But that will change, especially when one of their delicious wines is available in our market.

Petty Harbour I went to Newfoundland as part of a delegation of chefs and journalists as part of a Terroir Hospitality project called One Fish. Terroir was founded and is run by Arlene Stein. There are two things you should know about Arlene Stein: 1) She’s a good friend of mine, and 2) she will kill me if I don’t mention that there is an early bird special for tickets to the 10th annual Terroir Symposium to be held at the Art Gallery of Ontario on April 25. Not only was the trip, which meant meeting scientists, fisherpersons and local chefs a success for those of us lucky enough to go, it was also a success in so far that out of some of the symposia and meetings Arlene organized legislative changes have been made in Newfoundland so restaurant chefs can now buy fish directly from fisherhumans “on the pier”. Sasha Chapman wrote a comprehensive piece on the trip in the Globe and Mail here. And Roderick Sloan crystallized the dilemma on the docks here.

Miriam Echeverria
Chef Miriam Echeverria
In November I went to an event dinner at L’Unita and was mightily impressed. Owner David Minicucci organized the evening to showcase the wines of Paul Perugini, a small Italian wine importer who is just starting out. L’Unita is a Good Food Fighter and David wanted to introduce us Paul and his portfolio of small independent producers. All of this was great, but what blew me away was the food. Wine dinners can be a tricky if you have a chef who wants to show off. The food ought not to be in competition with the wine. It’s not that it has to be bland, but some flavours will interfere wit the wine, like overly acidic tastes, or dishes that are too sweet and deaden the fruit in the glass. Chef Miriam Echeverria brought out dish after dish that matched the wines perfectly, maybe even enhanced them. I’ve kept my notes from the dinner and intend to ask her about them dierectly as soon as I can book an interview.

Henderson Brewing Company
Steve Himel I had a long, interesting and entertaining lunch recently with Steve Himel from the soon to be operational Henderson Brewing Company. A new craft brewery isn’t exactly earth shattering news these days, but Himel and Brewmaster partner Mark Benzaquen have a really interesting concept. They want to create a Toronto neighbourhood brewery and make beer as if the great industrial brewery consolidation that took place after the repeal of Prohibition never took place. I tasted what will be their “bitter” and it was not just good, but interestingly different from anything I had tasted recently. It’s rolling into production in January, which will also see a release of a beer Henderson has made in collaboration with Beau’s. Watch for more about them in 2016.

Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the company that publishes it. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.