The world is slowly reopening following the COVID-19 pandemic,  and that includes gatherings with friends and family (the allowed size of which depends on where you live). So for those entertaining on Canada Day, we’re revisiting our chat with Chef Tim Mackiddie of Jackson-Triggs Estate Winery, who offered up his best entertaining tips. And we even squeezed a few recipes out of him!

Photo: Courtesy Jackson Triggs Estate Winery

1. Enjoy what’s around you

Summer is a great season for produce, so start with inspiration from what’s available at the farmer’s market. From blueberries to stone fruit, fresh, local and seasonal ingredients always taste better.

2. Keep it simple

Pick simple flavours that pack a punch and can be used in a variety of ways. Even appetizers can be elevated with the addition of a great topping – salsas, jams, or sauces. I’ve created three special wine-infused jams that can add a variety of flavour to your dishes in unexpected ways.

3. Prepare ahead of time

Do as much preparation as you can before the actual day – there’s no shame in reheating something you’ve made ahead of time.

4. Pair your wines

Throw out the rule book that says white wine has to be paired with chicken or fish and red wine with red meats. Try different food and wine pairings that suit your tastes. Wine pairings add a certain sophistication and harmonize the flavours in your food – it’s a win-win.

5. Put some homegrown names on high rotation

Jackson-Triggs has long been a supporter of Canadian music and it’s a big part of what I enjoy at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Winery. I’m constantly jamming along to my favourite local acts, shuffling between upbeat and chilled out tunes to suit my mood and the type of dishes I’m cooking. Each song and songwriter has a personality, just like each bottle of wine does.

Scroll through for Chef Mackiddie’s recipe for spring’s best veggie, asparagus, and the ultimate Canada Day condiment, Jackson-Triggs Sparkling Maple Bacon Jam. And if you like to make preserves out of fresh fruit, chef has offered up two more made-in-Canada recipes.


Photo: Courtesy Jackson Triggs Estate Winery

Grilled Asparagus with Goat Cheese Aioli

Recipe by Jackson-Triggs Executive Chef, Tim Mackiddie

Asparagus is among the earliest and tastiest crops indicating spring has sprung, says Mackiddie. “It is actually a perennial and the tender spears are shoots.” Chef’s tip: “Look for bright green stalks with tightly closed, compact tips.” And, adds Mackiddie, pair it with a citrusy, grassy white wine such as Jackson-Triggs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc VQA. Get grilling!

Servings: 6


1 large bunch of asparagus

1/4 cup of olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 cup goat cheese aioli (recipe included under directions)

1 cup crispy shallots (available at most Asian grocery stores)

Goat Cheese Aioli Ingredients:

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh goat cheese

1 tbsp roasted garlic

1/2 lemon, juiced

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your BBQ to high heat.
  2. Break off the bottom of the asparagus stalk, roughly 1″ from the base. This lower portion of the stalk is “woody” and needs to be removed.
  3. Clean the asparagus by rinsing in cold water and drain.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the asparagus in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Grill over high heat for roughly 4 minutes, or until just tender.
  6. Remove from grill and cut into bit size pieces.
  7. Remove from grill and cut into bit size pieces.

Goat Cheese Aioli Method

  1. Add yolk, vinegar and 1 tsp of warm water to a food processor.
  2. Turn the food processor on low and begin to add the olive oil SLOWLY, in a very thin stream.
  3. Next add goat cheese, garlic and continue to blend until well combined and smooth.
  4. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.


Photo: Courtesy Jackson Triggs Estate Winery

Jackson-Triggs Sparkling Maple Bacon Jam

Recipe by Jackson-Triggs Executive Chef, Tim Mackiddie

Makes roughly 6 cups


  • 1lb sliced bacon, cut into 1 cm strips
  • 1lb fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup Jackson-Triggs sparkling wine
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tbsp. powdered fruit pectin
  • 3 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. four spice (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat. When hot, add in the diced bacon and cook until very crispy. Remove the bacon and allow to cool on paper towel.
  2. Strain off all fat that remains in the pan and pour into a medium pot.
  3. Heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat; add in the reserved bacon fat then the onions and garlic. Cook until just soft (roughly 3-5 minutes).
  4. Next add in the tomato, wine, vinegar, maple syrup and Worcestershire sauce.
  5. Bring to a simmer, then turn heat to low and simmer until the tomatoes just begin to break down (roughly 10-15 minutes).
  6. Stir through the fruit pectin, smoked paprika and crisped bacon.
  7. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil while continuing to stir. Allow to boil for 1-2 minutes
  8. To finish, season with salt, pepper and four spice (if using).


Jackson-Triggs Reserve Merlot and Wild Blueberry Jam

Recipe by Jackson-Triggs Executive Chef, Tim Mackiddie

Makes roughly 4 cups


  • 6 cups wild blueberries
  • 1 ½ cups Jackson-Triggs Reserve Merlot
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. water


  1. Wash the blueberries in cold water and be sure all stems are removed.
  2. Place a large pot over medium high heat and add Merlot, sugar and vanilla.
  3. Bring to a simmer then add in the blueberries. Cook until the berries just begin to burst (this will take roughly 15 minutes).
  4. Mix cornstarch with cold water into a smooth paste in a small bowl. Pour into the simmering berries and stir immediately.
  5. Continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes, then pour into prepared (sterilized) jam jars.


Jackson-Triggs Savoury Sauvignon Blanc and Peach Jam

Recipe by Jackson-Triggs Executive Chef, Tim Mackiddie 

Makes roughly 6 cups


6 Ripe local peaches, peeled and diced

1 cup red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small bunch of fresh thyme, picked from stems and chopped

¼ cup honey

1 cup Jackson-Triggs Sauvignon Blanc

1 cup water

2 limes, juiced

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp. corn starch

2 tbsp. cold water


  1. Place a medium pot over medium heat and add in 2 tbsp. of olive oil.
  2. When the pot is hot, add the onions and garlic. Cook while stirring until tender (roughly 3-5 minutes).
  3. Next add in peaches, honey, Sauvignon Blanc and water.
  4. Gently simmer for 15 minutes or until the peaches are just tender.
  5. Mix together the corn starch and cold water until it forms a smooth paste.
  6. Whisk in lime juice, chopped thyme and corn starch mixture.
  7. Continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.