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BC’s Coolest Ski Towns
The case for skiing north of the border, written by an American
A visit to a winery usually includes a requisite swirl and sip, but few destinations—including those just south of the border—are able to serve restaurant meals with your glass of Chardonnay. Winery restaurants paired with local menus, stellar reds and whites, and unique winery events are a feast for all the senses, right here in British Columbia. Here are five to try.
Making soup doesn’t usually entail foraging for watercress on Okanagan Lake’s shoreline or for wild mushrooms and horseradish in nearby forests—but it’s all in a day’s work for Red Fox Club’s chef de cuisine, Andrea Callan. “We emphasize indigenous food with respect for Aboriginal history,” she explains.
The winery was established in 2012 by former Chief Robert Louie and his wife, Bernice Louie, both descendants of the Syilx First Nation. Hee-Hee-Tel-Kin White and Red Blend are paired with many dishes. “We do a modern take on pemmican, using ground beef jerky, forest berries, and herbs, and for desserts, a syrup made from wild violets,” says Callan.
Named one of the Top 5 winery restaurants in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine, the alfresco Terrace Restaurant is at the forefront of the local Cuisine de Terroir movement. The winery’s culinary team visits local farmers for the freshest produce and foraged ingredients, supplemented by the restaurant’s herb and vegetable garden.
Meats like ash-coated speck, cappicolo, and prosciutto are cured in-house with ponderosa pine tips, and the estate’s five beehives produce 90 litres of fragrant wildflower honey that’s incorporated into desserts. And, of course, every dining experience is enhanced with Mission Hill’s award-winning wines.
Art, food, and wine mesh in BC’s Okanagan Falls. At Liquidity Bistro, executive chef Simon Bouchard cooks fresh, rustic fare, from albacore tuna confit to pan-seared coho salmon and braised lamb pappardelle in red wine jus.
Here, the restaurant’s patio overlooks Vaseux Lake alongside vineyards of many varietals including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Viognier. Modern sculptural installations are everywhere, including in the chef’s garden where a towering Mountain Dandelion by sculptors Mark Baltes and Ken McCall whirls in the wind.
The Vanilla Pod Restaurant at Poplar Grove Winery. Photo: Andrew HollerExecutive chef Bruno Terroso incorporates his native Portugal into all his Mediterranean-style dishes at this Penticton restaurant. “We focus on big flavours with fresh herbs and spices,” says Terroso.
The Vanilla Pod Restaurant’s menu showcases local ingredients and herbs from the restaurant’s expanded herb garden in its sharing-plate offerings—like daily flatbreads and potato cakes with tomato and avocado—and main dishes that include pastas alongside paella with prawns, scallops, chicken, and chorizo. All pair perfectly with Poplar Grove Winery and Monster Vineyards wines.
A favourite destination during seasonal celebrations, chefs at the Vanilla Pod also prepare special menus to pair with their vintages, including daily six-course wine-paired dinners during BC’s annual Fall Okanagan Wine Festival.
Miradoro’s executive chef, Jeff Van Geest, pays homage to fresh, locally sourced ingredients with a rustic-meets-elegant approach, complete with a Mediterranean twist. Expect plenty of options, from classic Neapolitan-style pizzas baked in the Forno oven to Arctic char served with sweet pea clam ragu, ricotta gnudi, and black trumpet mushrooms. (Tip: pair this with a 2016 Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve 2Bench White.)
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