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Mother Earth was smiling last evening. Since 2009, Terra Madre Day is held on December 10 to mark Slow Food’s anniversary. Food communities around the world highlight eating locally and sustainable local food production and honour that through a dedicated event or action. For Slow Food Thompson Okanagan it was an opportunity to do a little fundraising for the Convivium and celebrate the principles of Slow Food.
Talented chefs and their affiliated companies stepped up to the plate and volunteered extensive hours in sweat equity and creativity to draw like-minded diners to snag a place at the long communal table at Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek for an amazing feast.
It was hosted by Chef Jeff Van Geest, sharing the kitchen and volunteer duties with a group of gifted chefs, and all seven pillars of the Terra Madre initiative were achieved, including:
- · Access to good, clean and fair food
- · Agricultural and food biodiversity
- · Small-scale food production
- · Food sovereignty
- · Language, culture and traditional knowledge
- · Environmentally responsible food production
- · Fair and sustainable trade
The joy that comes from working together and spending time with inspired individuals poured forth from the kitchen and on to our plates. The camaraderie at the long table reverberated to those stunning rafters and added another challenge for the chefs – being heard when they were asked to come out and tell us about the dish. Even some of the heartfelt passages from Alice Waters’ book The Art of Simple Food had to be imagined rather than read. No worries though: Alice is smiling along with Mother Earth.
Terra Madre Day Slow Food Dinner
I haven’t been to the Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl Winery Estate Winery since Chef Bowes arrived spring 2013. This elegant dish was a symphony of intense and distinct flavours so when the restaurant reopens for the 2014 season, count me in! It’ll also be a good chance to check how Tom Di Bello is settling in as new winemaker. By the way, if you haven’t tasted Tom and Tari’s own line Di Bello Wines put that on your list, too.
If this dish looks a bit erotic to you, let me tell you it was as satisfying as it looks! If this dish was around in time for Kim Bassinger’s big scene in 9 ½ Weeks, it might have been used instead of strawberries.
What more can I say about Cam and Dana’s cuisine? If you haven’t tasted their fare at the Penticton Farmers Market nor at one of their legendary dinners, you’re reading the wrong blog! Call me a groupie, I’ll carry their road gear any day for a chance to partake again and again. Who but our beloved Dana would slam on the brakes at a sign saying “goat for sale” and work through the entire process to share the whole beast? The roasted goat proved a tad tough – I guess that’s why I’ve usually found it in stews. That said, it didn’t get in the way of the artful seasoning or accompaniments. As for the fennel, the best ever!
Farm Chef extraordinaire, Derek works with Dana to transform goat into melting morsels. He elevates the most humble of vegetables to heavenly status. I’m a professional when it comes to eating capacity but did I just see Mark dig in for another sausage and more vegetables this deep into the meal?
There’s risotto and then there’s Natasha’s risotto. Why did I not get the memo doggie bags were allowed? The devil is in the detail and I’d have even raided the plates for that crispy sage.
Even as a professional eater, I’m stuffed at this stage. Then Jeff presents this delicate aria lifting simple elements to an elaborate elixir. He does so paying homage to a B.C. cheese farm that could use a boost after a tough autumn. Did I mention the seven pillars of Terra Madre?
With a long drive home, we hit the road quickly. As you can see, the enchantment of this room was hard to leave!
While a complete wine pairing was available we choose the delectable Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc to enjoy with the meal. Smart move.
Postscript: Ever wonder how chefs feed themselves when they’ve been slaving for days preparing a feast for the community?
These chefs let their food speak first so I left some of the photographs of them until last. You can see it’s not just Mother Earth and Alice Waters smiling.
June 5, 2013 – Conference Welcome
With great joy, I welcome the Wine Bloggers Conference to Penticton for 2013. Between #WBC12 and #WBC13, I had aspirations of introducing one of our BC wineries each week and fell short. Life just gets busy sometimes and to do our BC wineries justice, I want my research to be current. That doesn’t mean that our wineries fall short, however, quite the contrary.
If you are discovering the British Columbia wineries for the first time, I believe you will be pleasantly surprised. If you’re checking them out again, I believe you will find them even better than you remembered. BC wineries are frigging awesome!
Over the next few days, forgive me if I’m a little giddy while I sit back and watch our BC wine and culinary industry wow you.
My goal was to provide a bit of an introduction to the diverse stories of our wineries. Truly, the best discoveries are made firsthand. If I’ve helped to whet your appetite for what our wineries can offer, I’m happy.
Some vineyards I see from my window
As for me, I’m totally engaged and ready for #WBC13 to unfold. I look forward to meeting you and sharing some tastes.
Oh yes, and long after the conference, I intend to carry on the BC Winery postings. There’s so many of my favourites, I’ve yet to cover!
Full Disclosure – Here’s a review of the wineries covered to date. You’ll just have to keep reading to meet more. I have preliminary research on 19 more entries that I had in my planning chart and everyday I discover another I want to share!
|Posting Number & Date||Winery||Comments|
|1. 2012-09-05||Quail’s Gate Winery|
|2. 2012-09-12||Naramata Tailgate Party|
|4. 2012-09-26||Orofino Vineyards|
|5. 2012-10-03||Ruby Blues Winery|
|6. 2012-10-10||The Vinegar Works|
|7. 2012-10-17||Bonitas Winery|
|8. 2012-10-24||SummerGate Winery|
|9. 2012-10-31||Dirty Laundry Vineyards|
|10. 2012-11-07||Tasting Room Radio|
|11. 2012-11-14||The Festival of the Grape|
|12. 2012-11-21||The Magic of Naramata Bench|
|13. 2012-11-28||Township 7||February 26, 2013|
|14. 2012-12-05||Tinhorn Creek Vineyards||March 5, 2013|
|15. 2012-12-12||Eau Vivre Winery||April 2, 2013|
|16. 2012-12-19||Upper Bench Estate Winery||April 12, 2013|
|17. 2012-12-26||Cannery Brewing||April 16, 2013|
|18. 2013-01-02||Oyster Festival||May 19, 2013|
|19. 2013-01-09||Apples and Quails B&B||May 24, 2013|
|20. 2013-01-16||BlackCloud||May 28, 2013|
|21. 2013-01-23||#WBC13 Welcome||June 5, 2013|
May 24, 2013 – Apples & Quails Bed & Breakfast
When you’re exploring our amazing B.C. wineries, you need a great place to stay. While touring the Bottleneck Drive and other wineries of Summerland, here’s a quaint bed and breakfast you’ll want to consider – Apples & Quails Bed & Breakfast.
Ming and Walter Stein were destined to be the hosts of Apples & Quails Bed & Breakfast. While they didn’t really have aspirations of becoming proprietors, they planned to retire to the Okanagan. When their favourite place to stay during their visits came up for sale, the move came quickly and retirement plans changed. Passionate about the local wine scene and cuisine, their decision has been embraced by guests.
Recently, I was invited to an Open House and got some insight into a stay there including a tour of the well-appointed rooms and a scrumptious breakfast. Ming and Walter are perfect hosts and work well together in the kitchen. The aroma of coffee, freshly ground from beans of a local roaster, filled the air. We were beckoned to immaculate place settings and served a delicate crepe bursting with apple-cinnamon flavour. To garnish the plate was a fresh apple – not just a random slicing, however, it was expertly carved by Walter to resemble the entertaining quails roaming the yard. The breakfast was a clever and lip-smacking apple and quail theme. Walter joked as the quails seemed to appear on cue, “We have them on payroll to delight guests”. While it’s clear from its web site and Facebook page that breakfasts vary according to what’s fresh and available locally, the photographs reveal that there’s always something tantalizing to anticipate.
Ming and Walter are a wealth of knowledge on the area, not only drawing from their past vacationing experience but keeping up-to-date as engaged citizens. They are members of the Summerland Chamber of Economic Development & Tourism and make a point of touring the area and keeping in touch with what’s available for leisure activities in the Okanagan. Apples & Quails was a 2013 Talk of the Town Award Winner for Excellence in Customer Service.
While you might want to lollygag on site all day, it is within easy walking distance to town. It’s also close to the KVR Trail for biking and hiking, and just across from the entry to the popular Giant’s Head Mountain hike for another stunning vista.
Perennially popular, see what guests have to say about their experience on sites like TripAdvisor.
Apples and Quails Bed & Breakfast
12014 Trayler Place
Summerland, Okanagan, BC V0H 1Z7
Toll free: 1-855-751-8220
Hosts: Walter and Ming Stein
May 19, 2013 – Oliver Osoyoos Oyster Festival 2013
Oysters in the Desert
While I’m shocked that a month has already passed since the shucking at the Oliver Osoyoos Oyster Festival, the good news is that there’s less time to wait for next year’s event. Who knew you’d be able to get such fresh, delectable oysters in the desert?
Okay, Claire Sear, who is a sales manager at Walnut Beach Resort, Osoyoos, and EAT Magazine’s Okanagan Contributing Editor, loves bivalves, and like many of us, is pretty confident in our local fish mongers. The fine folks at Codfathers Seafood Market (Kelowna), Buy the Sea Fresh Seafood Market & Fish n’ Chip Shop (Penticton and West Kelowna) and Helen’s Seafood Cove (Osoyoos) put heart and soul into bringing in the freshest, high quality product that they can source. Jon and Anne-Marie Crofts of Codfathers, for example, are true leaders in encouraging sustainable harvesting of seafood products and promoting small artisanal fisheries. Knowing she could count on the support of these fish mongers, Claire figured “even oysters need a day in the sun,” so she enlisted a team to create the Oliver Osoyoos Oyster Festival.
From the start the plan was “to showcase the sustainable oysters produced by the farmers and guilds of the nearby West Coast together with the award-winning wines of the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association.” This year, in its second year, the festival launched the first Canada-wide oyster wine pairing competition, which was sponsored by Codfathers Seafood Market, EAT Magazine and Walnut Beach Resort. Claire, creator of the Canadian Oyster Wine Competition, explained, “Jon Rowley of Seattle’s Taylor Shellfish Farms created the American Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition and we knew it was time for a Canadian Oyster Wine Competition given we live in a country that is one of the best in the world for producing oysters and what better place could there be to stage it than the heart of wine country.”
Open to all wineries in Canada, the inaugural competition drew over 80 entries to the eight categories and included a Wild Card category in which any alcoholic beverage produced as 100 per cent Canadian product could be entered. Judges included Rhys Pender, Master of Wine and owner of www.wineplus.ca; Mark Filatow, Sommelier and Chef www.waterfrontrestaurant.ca and Canadian Culinary Championships British Columbia winner and finale competitor; Audrey Surrao, WSET certified and co-owner www.raudz.com; Cassandra Anderton, food and wine writer and publisher of www.goodlifevancouver.com and Bradley James Cooper, Okanagan winemaker and owner Black Cloud Winery www.blackcloud.ca At Walnut Beach Resort, judges paired each wine with Marina’s Top Drawer Oysters from Outlandish Shellfish grown near Cortes Island. www.outlandish-shellfish.com
Congratulations to all the wineries that took part. Categories and winners in the 2013 Canadian Oyster Wine Competition are:
Best of Show: Winner: Blue Mountain Vineyards 2011
Pinot Blanc: Winner: Kraze Legz Estate Winery 2012;
Runner-Up: Lake Breeze Vineyards 2012
Un-Oaked Chardonnay: Winner: Poplar Grove Winery 2011;
Runner-Up: Meyer Family Vineyards 2011
Oaked Chardonnay: Winner: Upper Bench Estate Winery 2011;
Runner-Up: Dostana 2010
Riesling: Winner: Intrigue Wines, Focus Riesling 2012;
Runner-Up: Kalala Estate Winery 2010
Pinot Gris: Winner: Blue Mountain Vineyards 2011;
Runner-Up: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2012
Sauvignon Blanc: Winner: Bench 1775 2011;
Runner-Up: Clos du Soleil Fume Blanc 2012
Sparkling: Winner: Haywire The Bub 2011;
Runner-Up: Noble Ridge Winery The One 2009
Wild Card: Winner: Cherry Point Estate Winery Gewurztraminer 2011;
Runner-Up: Tinhorn Creek 2Bench White 2011
Exciting Array of Events
The festival includes a number of great events so you’ll want to stay awhile. Walnut Beach Resort offers a special rate that’s hard to beat (In 2013, starting at $79.) Rooms are well-appointed and have kitchen facilities. There’s an outdoor pool and hot tubs as well as fitness facilities with sauna and steam shower. Weather permitting, as it did in year one of the festival, you can also lounge on its private beach.
Art of the Oyster
The signature event is called the Art of the Oyster and a work of art it is! This is the second year we attended this festivity and barring any unforeseen circumstance we’ll be first in line for it again next year. Last year I got to cover it for Savour Magazine. Oyster creations are featured from the area’s best restaurants and chefs which are paired with wines from participating wineries of the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association. Effingham Oysters, Outlandish Oysters, Codfathers and Buy the Sea were on hand to provide freshly shucked oysters. As you sipped and sucked your way through the various stations, background melodies by nHarmonix Music added to the decadence.
Oyster stations included Artisan Culinary Concepts, Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl, Patisserie d’ Vallee, Mica Restaurant at Spirit Ridge Resort, Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek Winery, Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek Winery, Covert Farm Family Estate, Watermark Resort, and Walnut Beach Resort. To accompany these succulent creations wine stations included Castoro De Oro Winery, Covert Farms, Fairview Cellars, Gehringer Brothers, Hester Creek Winery, Inniskillin, Maverick Estate Winery, Nk’Mip Cellars, Oliver Twist Winery, Platinum Bench Winery, Silver Sage Winery, Stoneboat Vineyards, Intersection Winery, and Tinhorn Creek Vineyards.
Miradoro Long Table Dinner
We also attended the Miradoro Table Dinner, which was a special long table dinner held at Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek that celebrated the oyster. Once again Jon and Anne-Marie Crofts of Codfathers were serving freshly shucked oysters along with the wine samples. Chef Jeff Van Geest and his kitchen presented a wonderful array of oysters dishes and you had the option of wine-pairing or you could order your Tinhorn Creek wine of choice. OK Wine Shuttle offered transportation $20 per person return from Walnut Beach Resort and throughout the festival, private wine tours could be arranged in advance.
Miradoro at Tinhorn as a setting
A toast to Chef Jeff Van Geest
Thursday, Medici’s Gelateria, Oliver, offered an oyster shucking station for lunch while Terrafina at Hester Creek held “Under the Tuscan Sun” – pizza and oyster tasting highlighting new releases from Hester Creek and its bubbly neighbours. On Friday, events included a luncheon at Dolci Artisan Fare with freshly shucked Codfathers oysters paired with a glass of Young & Wyse wine and the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce’s Oyster Brew Party held at Spirit Ridge Conference Centre. Ticket price of $25 included entertainment, complimentary glass and three samples from local vendors showcasing food, beer, cider and wine along with fresh oysters from Effingham Oysters and Codfathers. Saturday in addition to the Art of the Oyster Signature Event that we attended, there was the option of Kayaking with HooDoo Adventures, the Amateur Shuck & Suck Competition hosted by Helen’s Seafood Cover and the Sage Pub, or a Cooking Class with Private Dinner at Hester Creek with a focus on oysters with Chef Jeremy Luypen and Winemaker Rob Summers.
With such great support from local producers and President Holly Plante (co-owner Unveil Shuttles) and members of the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce, just in its second year the Oliver Osoyoos Oyster Festival was a resounding success. I can hardly wait to see what’s up their sleeves for next year! It was a great way to shake off the remnants of winter blues, celebrate spring and get set for wine festival and summer activities.
Special rates are provided at golf courses in the area during the Oliver Osoyoos Oyster Festival. The South Okanagan Golf Trail offers excellent golf with options for all levels of players. Given many of these courses are open almost year-round and are in great condition in April when golf courses in many areas of Canada aren’t even open yet, there’s even more incentive to take in this fun festival.
Wine Competition Bonus
Bradley James Cooper, Okanagan winemaker and owner with Audralee Daum of Black Cloud Winery www.blackcloud.ca was one of the Canadian Oyster Wine Competition judges. Lucky for Mark and me, he and Audralee inherited some remnants of opened wine left from the judging. They generously invited us after our afternoon of grazing at the Art of the Oyster to join them to polish off some wine along with snacks Audralee put together. Such a fine couple!
Before we headed home the next morning we dropped into JoJo’s Cafe for its bargain breakfast sandwich – a truly satisfying way to say goodbye to oysters for awhile. While you’re attending the Third Annual Oliver Osoyoos Oyster Festival, you’ll want to add JoJo’s to your list.
See Other Posts about the Oliver Osoyoos Oyster Festival
Twylla Campbell of weirdandwonderful.ca: OOOysterfest 2013 – Celebrating Oysters And Wine In The Okanagan
Cassandra Anderton: examiner.com article
Keith Lacey in Osoyoos Times: Oyster Festival Overwhelming Success
April 16, 2013 – Cannery Brewing
As I’ve gotten to know the talented individuals in British Columbia’s wine industry, I know the kind of hours that they log so I understand completely why after a hard day, they might just want to kick back with a fine and frosty ale. Accordingly, I’m taking latitude in this post to highlight one of B.C.’s rock star craft brewers, Cannery Brewing. Like me, Brad is a member of the Cannery Brewing Growler’s Club, so I’m confident he’ll be okay with this change of pace and that I leveraged his comment.
The Cannery Brewing Company took first breath back in 2000 when Brew Master Terry Schoffer enticed Ron and Patt Dyck to join him in a brewing odyssey. Then owners and operators of the famed Country Squire Restaurant of Naramata, the Dycks were looking for something new after 23 years of operation that would allow them more time with their family. (Rest in Peace, Country Squire. Mark and I made this amazing restaurant part of our pilgrimage each time we visited the Okanagan. When we moved back to the area in 2009 we’d drive by the heritage home that once housed it each time we went to Naramata just to lament its emptiness. We always had hope some other talented folks would give it new life. When we drove by last year to find an empty lot where it once stood, it was a bit like Don McLean’s American Pie when “the levee was dry” except I do remember I cried.)
I digress. Happily, the brewing enthusiasm they shared resulted in the “Small Brewery with Big Flavour.” In the old Aylmer fruit and vegetable cannery in Penticton, they brewed their first batch of beer on April Fools Day 2001. At first, the beer was available in kegs at local restaurants, pubs and clubs, then 8.5-litre Party Pigs and later bottled in litre EZ cap grolsch bottles – which are still available for gifts for such occasions as Christmas. It was 2006 when Cannery Brewing brought canning back to the Aylmer cannery with its Anarchist Amber Ale in 355ml six packs. Then, in 2007, be still my heart, the Naramata Nut Brown Ale hit the canning line.
You’ll notice that Cannery Brewing exhibits a great respect for its beginnings and local sensibilities. Each craft beer and its label tell a story about life in the Okanagan. For example, the Squire Scotch Ale – another of my personal favourites – is a nod to the by-gone restaurant. Lakeboat Lager is a tribute to Penticton’s historical landmark, the S.S. Sicamous – a steam-driven stern-wheeled lake vessel that was operational from 1914 to 1935. Other beer include Paddles Up Pale Ale, Indian Pale Ale, Blackberry Porter, Maple Stout, Apricot Wheat Ale, Wildfire IPA, No Justice Pale and specialty brews periodically.
Visit the website to check out the tasting notes and latest brews. Better still visit the retail store where you can taste what’s on tap and if you call ahead to arrange it, you can tour the brewery. I highly recommend the tour. Once I had the opportunity as part of a media tour and another time in celebration of Cannery Brewing’s 10th Anniversary.
Brewery Tour with Patt Dyck
NOTE: Learn more about craft beers in Craft Beer Revolution, a book about to be launched by
my friend, Joe Wiebe, Thirsty Writer.
The passionate people at Cannery Brewing made the 10th Anniversary celebration as much about the customers – clients, restaurants, liquor store agents, et al – who supported them all along the way. Martin Lewis, Food and Beverage Director, Ramada Inn and Suites, Kettle Valley Station Pub, was invited to participate in tapping the celebratory keg in appreciation of his and the pub’s patronage. Baker/Proprietor Benjamin Manea and wife Sharon Wiener of Walla Foods just down the hall created a Cannery Brewing beer bread and buns, which have become bakery staples. Cannery neighbour Claudio Valentini, Valentini’s Café, added to the musical festivities with an alpenhorn salute. Check out the video shot by Erin Trainer and Erick Thompson of et2media to get in on the fun.
Enticing merchandise or beer gear as Cannery Brewing calls it, awaits in the retail store. Gregarious and gracious staff like Ellie will assist you in selections or fill your growler, if you’re a regular like me!
Growler Fill by Ellie
Just in time to enjoy with the Augusta Masters Coverage
In the store, you can check out Cannery Brewing’s impressive array of awards – the latest is People’s Choice Award for Best Beer at the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale. View et2media’s video to get a glimpse of son Ian Dyck as the brewing legacy evolves.
Located at 112, 1475 Fairview Road, Penticton, BC V2A 7W5
Retail store hours: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Sundays and Holidays.