By Jenni Sheppard
It’s been a delicious summer in Vancouver, full of hearty beach barbecues, thirst-quenching patio cocktails, and tasty farmer’s markets bursting with fresh fruit and vegetables.
Now, as glorious summer sunshine fades into refreshing fall rain, we’re looking for ways to keep those seasonal flavours lingering on our taste buds a little longer.
For inspiration, we spoke to Chef Shaun Maclean at H Tasting Lounge about his love of desserts, summer in the city, and how his new galette could make summer last all year.
What was the first dessert you ever created and why?
My mother has always had a love for a good cheesecake, so that was the first thing I made sure I knew how to do well.
What do you love most about creating desserts?
It’s the final dish to hit the table. Like the encore of a concert, it has to be a great finish for the whole experience to be memorable.
What inspires you when you’re creating desserts for H Tasting Lounge?
The seasonal harvest that Vancouver gets at any time of year is always a great inspiration for me. Visiting Granville Island and other local farmer’s markets always helps me draw inspiration to create dishes that use the season’s best, most fresh produce.
What has the summer been like at H Tasting Lounge?
Patio season! The response to our newly-opened patio has been overwhelming, and has certainly helped us bring a consistent flow of visitors and locals to our seaside oasis.
Tables stay long into the evening, experimenting with our range of creative cocktails and local share plates (especially the oysters!) Being able to offer the range of products that we do, with beautiful Coal Harbour as our backdrop has been fun and rewarding.
How are you going to stretch that summer feeling into the fall?
We are also putting in work to preserve the items we want to keep using through the fall, for example, stone fruit and organic vegetables. Because our growing season is short, we need to find ways to extend the season through pickling, canning, etc.
That includes preserving cherries for your new Cherry Galette. Tell us more!
In the Cherry Galette, we’ve taken one of the best parts of late summer—sweet cherries—and made it possible to enjoy them all winter.
Initially, I found inspiration in my childhood home, which had cherry trees in the backyard. I’ve always had a soft spot for a good cherry taken at just the right time, and there’s no better vessel for a cherry than a freshly made pie.
Then, Uno Gelato came on board as our gelato supplier earlier this year, and the moment I tasted the vegan midnight chocolate gelato, I knew it needed to be paired with cherries. The dark chocolate contrasts the sweetness of the cherry perfectly. The gelato is mixed with pecan cream, rather than dairy, so the complexity and depth of flavour is truly mesmerizing.
For traditionalists, we also offer a vanilla bean gelato flavour that complements the cherry’s sweetness nicely, too.
What else can diners expect from H Tasting Lounge in the fall?
The patio will be undergoing a big facelift to bring a winter vibe to the waterfront that enables us to keep the al fresco party going year-round. With the winter patio in full effect in November, we can expect much cozier vibes.
Warm share plates and fondue will be some of the offerings to look forward to, along with a line-up of seasonally-inspired concoctions crafted by our team of premium bartenders. The main focus will be on sharing and enjoying our space with a group, so the fondue choices will be a fun way to get together with friends and family through the fall and winter.
H Tasting Lounge is located in the Westin Bayshore at 1601 Bayshore Drive, Vancouver. Opening hours are 11:30 am to midnight, every day. Happy hour is from 5 pm to 7 pm daily.