Ice Syrup

I was recently introduced to a new product called Ice Syrup, created by my old friend and long time Niagara-on-the-Lake grape grower, Steve Murzda.  Ice Syrup is essentially unfermented icewine juice.  The berries are left to freeze on the vine until the required -8°C temperatures set in.  The frozen grape clusters are harvested and pressed.  Rather than fermenting the juice to make alcoholic wine, the über sweet juice is concentrated further by evaporation.  Once bottled, the Ice Syrup is ready to use for a variety of culinary purposes.  Already, top chefs are endorsing Ice syrup.  Susur Lee  refers to Ice Syrup as “an exceptional and innovative Canadian product.”  Ice Syrup is available in two grape varieties; Vidal and Cabernet Franc.

Over the holidays I had the chance to get creative with Ice Syrup.  The results were delicious.  Here are my recipes and wine pairings:

Chicken Livre Pâté with Cabernet Franc Ice Syrup Currant Sauce
Pair with a good quality sparkling wine, or better yet, sparkling icewine.


340 g chicken livers
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup sliced shallots
1 thick bunch of fresh thyme
3 tbsp brandy
2 tbsp whipping cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 generous pinch ground nutmeg

1/2 cup of dried currants
1/3 cup of Cabernet Franc Ice Syrup
Fresh sprigs of rosemary


Soak currants in the Ice Syrup at least six hours before serving.

Rinse chicken livers; trim and pat dry. Set aside.

In large skillet, melt half of the butter over medium heat; fry shallots with the bunch of thyme, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to food processor or blender.

Add remaining butter to skillet; saute chicken livers over medium-high heat until browned but still slightly pink in center, about 5 minutes.  Add chicken livers to the food processor.  Discard thyme.  Return skillet to heat.  Add brandy, flambe, scrape the brandy and drippings into food processor.

Add cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg to liver mixture; puree, scraping down side occasionally, until smooth. Transfer to serving bowl. Refrigerate for at least four hours.

Cut the baguette into thin slices to make crostinis.  Bake in the oven at 250°C for approximately 20 minutes or until lightly toasted.  Turn slices over and bake until the other side is golden.

Arrange crostinis on a serving platter with the pâté and Cabernet Franc Ice Syrup and Currant Sauce.  Garnish with rosemary sprigs.

Vidal Ice Syrup Glazed Pork Tenderloin on Brussel Sprout Hash
Paired with 2003 Cave Spring Riesling. (Any good quality Niagara Riesling will work well with this dish.) 


1 pork tenderloin
1/3 cup Vidal Ice Syrup
2 cups of brussel sprouts
2 medium sized carrots
1 onion
2 medium white potatoes
2 slices of bacon
1/4 cup of chopped almonds
fresh thyme
3 king oyster mushrooms (optional)
salt and pepper to taste


Remove pork from the fridge.  Allow to come to room temperature.

Heat oven to 400°C.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Chop bacon, onion, carrots and potatoes in equal sized pieces (1cm x 1cm). Evenly distribute on the baking sheet.  Season with thyme leaves.  Bake for 20 minutes stirring and turning over the hash occasionally.

Wash brussel sprouts, move any loose or yellow leaves.  Slice all brussell sprouts in half.  Add brussel sprouts and almonds to the hash mixture, coating the vegetables in bacon fat.

Season pork tenderloin with salt and pepper.  Place in baking dish. Pour the Vidal Ice Syrup on the tenderloin.  Bake in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on desired colour of the meat.  Continuously baste and turn the tenderloin with the Ice Syrup and juices in the roasting pan.

Slice the king oyster mushrooms in half and score the flat sides.  Sear the mushrooms in butter.

Remove the meat from the oven and baking dish once cooked. Allow the meat to rest 5 to 7 minutes on a cutting board.  Reserve the Ice Syrup liquid in the baking dish.

Remove hash from the oven. Season with salt and pepper.  Plate the hash.

Slice the tenderloin diagonally, place slices over the hash.  Garnish with the mushrooms.  Finish the plate with the reserved Vidal Ice Syrup glaze.


Chocolate Lava Cakes with Strawberries and Cabernet Franc Ice Syrup
Paired with Grand Marnier.  


5 tbsp butter
3.5 oz dark baking chocolate
2 extra large eggs
1 extra large egg yolk
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp flour
2 tsp cocoa powder
pinch of salt

2 tbsp Cabernet Franc Ice Syrup, plus more to garnish
5 medium sized strawberries
1 orange


Melt the butter and chocolate together over a double-boiler. Stir to combine. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until the mixture is light yellow in color, and the sugar is dissolved. About 3 minutes.

Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and whisk until combined. Sift in the flour, cocoa, and salt. Fold in with a spatula until combined. Spoon into 4 buttered 5-oz ramekins, and tap on the table to settle any air bubbles. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Dice the strawberries into equal sized small pieces. Mix in a bowl with the Ice Syrup. Carve four orange twists. Reserve for garnish.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Bake for 15 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm. Turn the cakes out on to plates.  Spoon strawberry and Ice Syrup mixture on to each cake.  Pour additional Ice Syrup over each cake.  Garnish with orange twists.


About allisonvidug

Allison has been professionally passionate about wine and food for eight years. In that short time, Allison has traveled across Canada to work at some of the finest establishments focussed on premium wine, food and service. Her travels and education has allowed Allison the pleasure to live in some of Canada’s most beautiful locations such as the Okanagan Valley, Niagara Peninsula, the Southern Gulf Islands, Toronto, Lake Louise and Muskoka. Some of Allison's favourite things include; wine, gin, whisky, cheese, mushrooms, cooking, hosting, growing vegetables, cottaging and dogs. Allison has seriously invested in her education of food and drink. She is a graduate of the Food and Beverage Management Diploma Program at George Brown College. She also holds a Diploma in Viticulture and Winery Management from Niagara College. Allison has fine tuned her wine and spirit sensory skills by completing certificates with the International Sommelier Guild and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. Allison is currently completing here WSET Diploma, one of the highest levels of wine education.
This entry was posted in Canadian Wine, Dinner Parties, Icewine, Mushrooms. Bookmark the permalink.

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