Seasonal events to ‘fall’ for

Celebrate autumn

Happy official first day of autumn. Did it sneak up on you, too?

Given the cold and somewhat soggy spring we had this year, it’s no wonder it feels like summer whipped by in a flash. We didn’t have the length of hot, hot weeks we’re accustomed to, and now we’re definitely on the cusp of sweater weather.

But that means the full fall harvest is upon us, colours of the Okanagan landscapes are changing to spectacular golden hues, and several favourite autumn events are finally returning. Some have not yet emerged from the pandemic pause while others have made adjustments, but at least a handful of these should be in your calendar over the next month.

Sept. 23-25: Head to Hester Creek in Oliver for its Harvest Festival with a full schedule of vineyard tours, a wine tent, food trucks, vendors, and live music.

Sept. 24: The Similkameen Sizzle Fest takes over Memorial Park in Keremeos. Heat up at Canada’s only hot pepper festival, celebrating the more than 200 pepper varieties grown in the Similkameen.

Sept. 30-Oct.2: Oliver’s famous Festival of the Grape and Cask & Keg events return with a kick-off concert with The Trews, the infamous grape stomp, outdoor market, indoor art show, beer Olympics and a new cycling challenge called Crush the Climb.

Oct. 2: Book a ticket to the Roots and Vines Harvest Market at Ex Nihilo in Lake Country. You’ll get a glass of bubbly, canapés, live music, and a jump on holiday shopping with local vendors.

Oct. 14-22: Penticton Beer Week is packed full of events from dinners to concerts to karaoke to the Penticton Beer Run, fitting for one of Canada’s best craft beer destinations.

Oct. 21-22: OktoberFest comes to the District Wine Village near Oliver. Save the dates, tickets will be on sale soon.

Oct. 22: The Shuswap Wine Fest with Spirit returns to Salmon Arm, featuring wine, beer, cider, and distilled spirits, along with appies from local food producers.

Oct. 22: Take in Taco Vino in Kelowna and enjoy a Mexican-themed tasting event with B.C. wine, cider, spirits, and beer.

And if you’re already preparing for Thanksgiving, here’s a handful of ideas that won’t make you mess up your kitchen.

In Penticton, pre-order Thanksgiving dinner from BRODO Kitchen before it sells out, for pick-up on Oct. 7 and then to heat and serve at home at your leisure.

In Kamloops, reserve seats at a BBQ dinner on Oct. 8 at Monte Creek.

And in Okanagan Falls, book your table at See Ya Later Ranch <link https://www.exploretock.com/sylranch/> for its five-course Harvest Dinner on Oct. 8.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


Popular Okanagan celebration of local food and drink returns

Feast of Fields returns

One of the most delicious fundraisers is returning to the Okanagan on Sunday, Sept. 18.

Feast of Fields is FarmFolk CityFolk’s celebration of local food, the organization’s signature fundraising event, and is held on a different farm each year—except during the pandemic pause—in the Okanagan Valley, on Southern Vancouver Island and in Metro Vancouver.

The feast is Canada’s largest and longest running local food and beverage festival, and for its 12th event in the Okanagan, it’s heading to Wiseacre Farm Distillery in Kelowna.

Why go? Feast of Fields is a three-hour wandering gourmet harvest festival that highlights the connections between farmers and chefs, field and table, and farm folks and city folks. Stroll across a field from tent to tent, listen to live music,and taste gourmet creations from some of the Okanagan’s top chefs, bakers, food artisans, vintners, brewers, distillers and other beverage producers.

Here are a few anticipated highlights to whet your appetite.

Rustic Reel will pour its Amber Ale, which is actually in the beer mustard that Taste of the Okanagan produces and is used on it canapé. A perfect pairing.

The Modest Butcher has paired with West Kelowna’s Mt. Boucherie Winery, and together they will present “Things on Toast”.—in-season Okanagan veggies cooked simply with classic technique and fun garnishes.

Salty Fig Catering is creating has created a rustic ratatouille galette, while Oak & Cru, from the Delta Grand Okanagan, will serve up an Okanagan Chicken roulade and aavoury peach foam on crostini.

Volcanic Hills Winery has teamed up with Nature’s Fare Market. Try their salt roasted beet lox, paired with a delicious Pinot Gris.

Local sweet favourite Sandrine French Pastry and Chocolate will have its famous chocolate bon bons and macarons on hand.

Cult favourite UMAMI Crave the Fifth is collaborating with Don O Ray Farms to serve their Harvest Feast Grain Blend, with roasted yam, apple, and onion topped with Umami Chipotle.

And Bar Travelling Man Harry Dosanj will have his mobile bar onsite and mix up a cocktail created for the Feast called On Beet’ed Knees, featuring Wiseacre R&D Gin.

Not open yet but highly anticipated restaurant Eric Jane—opening at One Water in Downtown Kelowna and led by Chef Chris Braun—will serve a cocktail featuring Erica Jane Yuzu gin, created in collaboration with Wiseacre.

FarmFolk CityFolk is B.C.’s oldest and largest food and agriculture charitable, non-profit organization, and its programs celebrate local food while connecting people with the farmers who grow it.

Tickets for Feast of Fields can be purchased online.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Carbo-load to cheer on Ironman athletes this weekend

Legendary carbo-loading

Iron athletes have arrived in Penticton after a 10-year absence.

Ironman Canada was expected to return in 2020 but, of course, endured pandemic delays. Finally, this weekend, one of the world’s best triathlons is back where it belongs.

One of the tastier aspects of its return is carbo-loading.

Whether you’re an athlete, spectator or volunteer at the various pre-race events this week or at the race itself on Sunday, this seems like a perfect excuse to temporarily ditch the low-carb diet to show your support for these racers.

If you’re observing from afar, you too can join in by creating one of these pasta dishes.

A reminder: If you’re in or near Penticton, get your ingredients before race day. Road closures and traffic delays will make it a challenge to run out for butter and delivery services will also have to contend with traffic control. Order takeout the day before and throw your dish in the fridge if cooking is not for you, but if it is, give one of these classics a try.

Pasta Primavera: Fresh veggies usually over penne pasta and a simple sauce that typically is some combination of olive oil, fresh lemon juice a little seasoning and parmigiano. The best part of this dish is that you can get creative with whatever veggies you have on hand or make the sauce creamier if you wish and it’s still a primavera. Drink suggestion: Township 7’s 2021 Ironman Homecoming, an aromatic white blend.

Spaghetti Bolognese: Spaghetti with a tomato meat sauce – beef, but half and half beef and pork will do nicely. Make it garlicy and thick, use local tomatoes currently in abundance, along with a good can of crushed tomatoes, add some bacon if you wish, and be sure to include some red wine. Drink suggestion: Volcanic Hills 2017 Merlot.

Shrimp Alfredo: Any creamy fettucine alfredo topped with fresh seafood from shrimp to salmon to lobster to scallops, or a combination thereof. The trick here is to make sure the sauce is creamy and extra buttery, no matter what you add to the top of the dish. Drink suggestion: Blue Mountain 2020 Chardonnay.

Mac ’n’ Cheese: There are so many variations and endless options to make this dish your own once you’ve got the base down pat. Use a combo of cheeses, How about sharp cheddar, mozzarella, and gouda for layers of cheesy flavour? Throw in some slightly sweet barbecued pulled pork. Drink suggestion: Abandoned Rail Brewing One Track Mind Pilsner.

Potato Gnocchi: Soft, pillowy gnocchi can be made with just four ingredients—potatoes, flour, salt, and an egg. Then the sauce is up to you. Try a basil pesto with plenty of pine nuts, maybe with a bit of charred and crispy baby kale as a garnish, or a crumble of bleu cheese. Drink suggestion: Shuswap Cider Co. Dry Apple.

Raise a glass to the return of Ironman Canada to the Okanagan, and carb-it-up so you’ll have the energy to cheer for a few hours this Sunday.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


Gourmet picnics featured in gastronomic fundraiser

Picnic for a cause

Les Dames d’Escoffier, an international organization of women leaders in food, beverage and hospitality, this month has its B.C. chapter spearheading its mission to promote education, scholarship and philanthropy.

And they’re doing it in a tasty way.

Les Dames BC is excited to announce their summer fundraiser program: “Picnic and Bubbles” for two, a fun experience in collaboration with restaurants across the province inviting guests to support women in hospitality by picnicking with participating restaurants in Vancouver, Penticton and Kelowna and 50% of the proceeds will go to Food Banks BC.

How does it work? Each pair of guests will choose which restaurant they want to order from. Then, they arrive at their scheduled pick-up time between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Aug. 21 and saunter off to enjoy their picnic at their ideal location.

Take your picnic to your backyard, favourite picnic spot or maybe one of the local Okanagan beaches.

Tickets are $150 (for two), must be purchased in advance, and your picnic includes a main dish created by your chosen restaurant, two side dishes, dessert and “bubbles”. A number of picnics have already sold out, so don’t delay.

Here in the Okanagan, the choices are delicious.

The Naramata Inn is offering Buttermilk fried Yarrow Meadows chicken, Jerseyland organic cheddar biscuits with cultured butter, Lotz provisions black garlic honey drizzle, a tomato, stone fruit and basil salad, plus a farmer’s potato salad with smoked trout, pickled mustard and dill. For dessert? An orchard fruit shortcake, and the bubbles are Bella Estate’s Ancestrale Chardonnay.

The Broken Anchor, known for its southern-style creations, is (of course) going with double fried chicken, scallion Hushpuppies with spicy maple aioli, triple cheese macaroni and cheese, and a pecan and apple salad. Dessert is a “bake at home” peach cobbler and your wine is a Blanc de Blanc from Kitsch Winery. Seating will be available onsite if you decide to purchase this picnic.

Penticton’s Time Winery continues the chicken theme with a jerk (half) chicken and roasted yams, and a kale caesar salad with roasted garlic dressing, peppered bacon lardons, toasted parmesan, garlic herb croutons. A lemon tart and chocolate chip brownie rounds out your dinner, all paired with a bottle of Evolve’s Pink Effervescence from the Time Family of Wines.

And finally, we have Sunny’s Modern Diner in Kelowna (pickup will be at the Okanagan Table), with a fried Falkland chicken and Rossdown Farms turkey wings, with a blueberry ginger bbq sauce, spatchcock Cornish game hen, a Dijon nugget potato salad with turkey bacon, corn on the cob with smoked pepper and lime butter, celery root and cabbage slaw, and Sunny’s buttermilk biscuits.

If you have room, dessert is an Okanagan Red Haven peach melba with raspberry sauce and vanilla bean ice cream. This feast is paired with Monte Creek winery’s sparkling rosé.

Start packing the picnic blanket and napkins.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

A creative thinker with more than two decades of experience in communications, Allison is an early adopter of social and digital media, bringing years of work in traditional media to the new frontier of digital engagement marketing through her company, All She Wrote.

She is the winner of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association's 2011 and 2012 awards for Social Media Initiative, an International LERN award for marketing, and the 2014 Penticton Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Hospitality/Tourism.

Allison has amassed a following on multiple social networks of more than 30,000, frequently writes and about social media, food and libations as well as travel and events, and through her networks, she led a successful bid to bring the Wine Bloggers Conference to Penticton in June 2013, one of the largest social media wine events in the world, generating 31 million social media impressions, $1 million in earned media, and an estimated ongoing economic impact of $2 million.

In 2014, she held the first Canadian Wine Tourism Summit to spark conversation about the potential for wine tourism in Canada as a year-round economic driver.

Allison contributes epicurean content to several publications, has been a judge for several wine and food competitions, and has earned her advanced certificate from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.

In her spare time, she has deep, meaningful conversations with her cats.

She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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