Since as far back as 1725 there have been recipes for making Macarons. For anyone who has tried to create these light, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside desserts it isn't as easy as reading a recipe. We are very fortunate in the Okanagan to have a master Macaron maker in local artisan pastry chef Sandrine Raffault. Direct from France in 2004, this talented chef has been creating delicious Macaron every day and sharing them with avid consumers.
Join Sandrine this year to celebrate Macaron Day —or Jour du Macaron—on March 20th and support the KGH Foundation. The annual event was started by Parisian pastry chef Pierre Hermé in 1995. Over the years, Macaron Day has gained international recognition as a way to fundraise for local charities while enjoying delicious macarons.
Macarons are delicate light almond meringues with delectable fillings. Personal favourites include Earl Grey and in season the Lavender and Raspberry flavours.
Any thoughts on the perfect wine pairing? Sparkling wine anyone? We've decided to pair these yummy treats with our NV Brut "Gold Label" sparkling.
Sandrine French Pastry & Chocolate, Kelowna
1865 Dilworth Drive
Monday – Saturday from 8:30 am – 6:00 pm
Closed on Sundays and Holidays
Today we welcome back our Mexican vineyard workers. At Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars we have ten Mexican vineyard workers that come to the Okanagan through Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. They work our 80 acre vineyard for eight months of the year. The first group of six arrived on Tuesday, February 25th and four more will arrive later this month. This hardworking team of vineyard workers has been coming to the Okanagan to work at Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars for the past 6 years. The Mexican crew has made an impact with their highly efficient and skilled viticulture techniques.
Javier Lopez, From: Puebla Antonino Mayoral, From: Oaxaca
Alfredo Calderon, From: Estada de Mexico Cirilo Jaramillo, From: Guanajuato
Lucas Garcia, From: Veracruz de Ignacio Valente Acosta, From: Puebla
Jose Perez, From: Yucatan Paulino Augulo, From: Baja California Sur
Alfonso Galindo, From: Estado de Mexico Juan Bedolla, From: Guanajuato
Thanks to all our vineyard crew for making our 80 acres look so spectacular all year long. Blue Mountain visitors, feel free to wave to these friendly faces with the big hats when you pass them on your way to the wine shop this summer.
In their new issue, Western Living has named their 6th annual collection of the best and brightest foodies in the West, "From restaurateurs who used Kickstarter to fund a new space, to chefs who brought gluten-free to the discerning masses, to visionaries who are designing restaurants that change the way we look at food, these are Western Living’s Foodies of the Year". Our winemaker, Matt Mavety is humbled to be included among them.
Here are the twelve "Foodies" that made the list:
THE HOME TEAM: Ayden, Saskatoon
THE ENTERTAINER: Cody Willis—Native Tounges, Calgary
THE LOCAL HEROES: Clark Deutscher & Francois Pilon—Hank's, Ucuelet and Victoria
THE VISIONARY: Mandel Hitzer—RAW:almond, Winnipeg
THE STATEMENT MAKER: Craig Stanghetta—STE. Marie Art & Design, Vancouver
THE PURISTS: Brett & Adam Yakimetz—Yakimetz Farm, Vegreville
THE WINEMAKER: Matt Mavety—Blue Mountain Winery, Okanagan Falls
"Here in Canada, oenophiles use the terms winemaker and vigneron almost interchangeably to describe a person who makes wine, But whereas a winemaker may buy grapes from all sorts of places, the vigneron is steadfastly connected to the land. They select the grapes, farm them, nurture them and practice tough love to draw out their true nature. And while the Okanagan has a nice complement of excellent winemakers, there aren’t many true vignerons like Matt Mavety. But it couldn’t be any other way at Blue Mountain, his home turf. Matt’s father, Ian, planted the first vines 1971, which may as well be in the Pleistocene, it’s so ancient by Okanagan standards. From the get-go the place was all about the land, and what grapes can and should grow in our climate. It was this ethos that Matt was raised on, and when he took over as head winemaker in 2002, there was scant danger of him producing a tempranillo or a cabernet with grapes from Osoyoos. It’s the difference between wanting to be a star or a steward."
THE LIBERATOR: Kerry Bennett—Care Bakery, Calgary
THE CRAFTSMEN: Everywhere, Vancouver
THE HEIR APPARENT: Matthew Stowe—Cactus Club, Vancouver
THE CONSERVATIONIST:Twyla Roscovich—Activist, Sointula
Congratulations to everyone who made the 2014 Foodies of the Year list! Click here to read the article.
Gold Medal Plates is the ultimate celebration of Canadian Excellence in cuisine, wine, the arts and athletic achievement. Celebrated in eleven cities across Canada in 2013, Gold Medal Plates features the premier chefs in each city in a competition to crown a gold, silver and bronze medal culinary team in each city, and subsequently nation-wide at the Canadian Culinary Championships.
Every year for the last 4 years, Canadian Olympic Atheletes, Chefs and Artists from across Canada have gathered in Kelowna in early February to cook and raise money to support Canadian athelete's dreams of making the podium. This year there is extra excitement as many of our atheletes will be heading to Socchi to chase Olympic gold. For the chefs from each of Canada's provinces it is their chance to shine and bring the best of their region to celebrate with the rest of Canada.
For nearly a decade, Chef Kelly Cattani has been honing her craft in some of Winnipeg’s finest kitchens. Today, she is the Chef-de-Cuisine of Diversity Food Services at the University of Winnipeg, overseeing both the on-campus and catering operations.
A graduate of Red River College’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, Chef Cattani is a founding member of the Winnipeg chapter of the Canadian Culinary Federation’s Junior Chefs, and was a leading organizer of Manitoba’s Centrex Iron Chef competition.
Passionate about authentic, fresh food, prepared creatively and with integrity, Cattani took top honours at this year’s Gold Medal Plates competition and is excited to represent Manitoba at the national event in Kelowna, BC, in February. She will not only be representing her province but will also be pairing her gold medal plate with Blue Mountain's own 2011 Pinot Noir.
Chef Kelly Cattani has provided two great recipes for you to try:
This will be the first in a series of profiles on cheesemakers and cheeseries in British Columbia. Check each month for some amazing artisan cheeses and the wines that pair well with them. Enjoy!
Located at 170 Upper Bench Road South in Penticton is the new cheesery of long time cheesemaker Shana Miller. The cheeses made from 100 % pasturized cow's milk from D Dutchaman Dairy in Sicamous, BC are hand crafted on site. Shana makes 8 different washed rind, brie and blue cheeses. Personal favourites are the Okanagan Sun squared and the Italian Gold. All of the cheeses are gluten and additive free. Phone 250-770-1733 www.upperbench.ca/cheese
Wine and Cheese Pairings
Pinot Gris & Italian Gold - Like a summer in tuscany, garlic, sun-dried tomatos and herbs shared with a crisp pinot gris with enough body to hold the texture of this cheese. Summer in a glass.
Chardonnay & Gold - With a firmer texture, a medium bodied Chardonnay that has a subtle buttery component will compliment this wash rind cheese.
Sparkling & U & Brie - Nothing washes away the creaminess of a silky cheese like the scouring bubbles of sparkling. Match up the luxury of this creamie brie with the racy acidity of sparkling brut. Perfect anytime.
The cheese is available at restaurants and fine cheese merchants throughout British Columbia. Use their handy outlet locator for a retailer or restaurant near you.
http://www.upperbench.ca/where-to-buy/ Or visit Shana at the cheesery:
April through October 31st: open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
November 1st through December 22nd: open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Holidays: We will be closed December 23rd, 2013 to January 5th, 2014.
January through March: open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
If you've driven up Vancouver Hill on the way to wine touring on the Naramata Bench and ever wondered what that glut of parked cars is just as you leave town, it's definitely the hungry patrons of The Bench Market.
No longer the best kept secret in Penticton, this place is a busy favourite spot for locals and visitors alike. Great sandwiches and salad, and arguably the best coffee in Penticton, The Bench has been hopping since it opened.
Fresh baked goods are a favourite, as are Eggs Benny on the weekends. While there are some seriously good meat sandwiches happening here on many occasions, there are plenty of vegetarian options perfect for lunches in the hot Okanagan sun.
The Bench Market
368 Vancouver Avenue
(Arctic Char entree at Raudz)
One of the original "farm to table" concept restaurants in the Okanagan, Raudz has become a perennial favourite place to eat in Kelowna. In fact, it has become a favourite for diners throughout the valley attracting patrons from places as far away as, oh say, Okanagan Falls.
Building on a stellar reputation built in some of Canada's best luxury hotel restaurants including the Pointe at the Wickaninnish Inn, Chef Rod Butters has put together an exceptional dining experience in Kelowna with partner Audrey Surrao.
(Crab Cappuccino at Raudz)
Food at Raudz is reasonably priced with entrees falling between $14 and $30, and is sourced as much as possible from local and sustainable sources.
The wine list is entirely local and selected from top wine producers across the valley. We are proud to have our Pinot Noir and Brut Sparkling featured amongst some of our other favourites from the Okanagan.
If you're looking for a great place to eat in Kelowna, definitely stop in at Raudz. Get there a little early to stake out a table or seats at the bar.
Raudz Regional Table
1560 Water Street
Wine touring has become a popular past time here in the Okanagan Valley, and with that has come the rise of a number of wine touring companies offering a ride to wine lovers around the valley.
We've compiled a list of some of the tour groups that we've seen come through the winery over the summer. Now if only we could get out of the tasting room and out into the vineyards to visit some of our neighbours.
- Top Cat Tours
- Okanagan Wine Shuttle
- Uncorked Okanagan
- Okanagan Wine Country Tours
- Grape Escapes
- Wine Your Way
- Desert Country Wine Tours
- Grape Friends Lounge & Tours
- Wine Tours Gone South
- Sunshine and Wine Tours
- Experience Wine Tours
And of course if you want to do it in style you can always travel by helicopter.
However you do decide to see the wineries of the Okanagan, please be sure to arrange for safe transport, and be sure to drink some water along the way. We look forward to seeing you in OK Falls!
How did you become interested in wine?
It all started with tasting it, enjoying it at wine festivals and simply having a good time. I wanted to know more about the beverage which is not only a great pairing to food but also an awesome companion for good times with friends and family.
And then I pictured what a lot of people dream of: Overlooking my own vineyards one day. Thanks to my twin brother who started studying viticulture, when I was still thinking about the idea of getting into the wine business I got inspired and have started to turn my passion into a profession. Cheers to wine ;)
Favorite wine region in the world?
I definitely need to see a lot more wine regions to answer this question appropriately. However, so far I enjoyed the D.O. Penedès in Spain. I enjoy Cava - the fresh uncomplicated Spanish sparkling wine and I like the pride of the local people for Cava. Besides this I loved the atmosphere of a little community called Aniane close to Montpellier in the wine region Languedoc Roussillon in the south of France. There are lots of wine regions in the world to discover and I am just about to experience another amazing one in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley!
Favorite Grape Varietal and why?
Red or white? ;) I am generally passionate about wine and I love it’s diversity. “Anything but Chardonnay. No matter if it’s oaked or unoaked” was what I used to answer. However, I experienced it is not only the variety but also the winemaker and his philosophy what can make the difference. I am a big fan of Pinot Noir. It is not easy to cultivate, takes a lot of attention and comes with a nice fruit and acidity. It is also very versatile - as a single varietal wine or in a blend for example in Champagne, Pinot Noir always takes a big part. It is an elegant variety which is not bold but comes with a strong personality. However, I also like full bodied varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon or crisp white varieties like Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc with a bit more acidity and minerality. And then there is Pinot Gris. Smoother, creamy and nice peach flavors.
Red, white, rosé and sparkling wine ;) It would probably be the wine I enjoy drinking without even thinking about the wine itself because the company I am having it with is that great. HonestIy I can’t think of my favorite wine from any particular wine maker or region. I enjoy whites which are gently matured in French Barriques or white wines with a nice crisp taste. I love Tempranillo from the Rioja, Chianti and other full bodied reds for example from Chile or the South of France. I think it also depends on the season, the mood and the occasion. I discovered that taste is actually an ongoing process which is constantly changing almost like evolution. However, that’s what I love about wine…its so versatile and there is always something new to discover.
What you like best about being in the Okanagan?
Besides the beautiful drive next to the lake and vineyards every morning on my way to work it would be: new impressions and experiences in a different culture. It’s a great privilege to live and work at a place where people go for holidays because it is that awesome. I really appreciate being here and the best: It feels like holidays.
What you miss most from home besides your family?
What do you hope to learn from your experience at Blue Mountain Winery?
To clear up some clichés about Canadian (BC) wines when I am back home. Canada is mostly pictured with hockey, the Rockies, and forests but not with wine and if it was wine then its ice wine. Discovering a new wine region and specially one that is not very famous in Germany and Europe is a great opportunity. I hope to learn more about different and innovative marketing tools and activities being used and to experience Canadian customer needs.
What do you hope to be doing 5 years from now?
Still enjoying the wine business as much as the first day I decided to get into it.
To provide people with sparkling wines they enjoy.
Winemaker anywhere in the world that you most admire and why?
My brother. For the passion and ideas he puts into producing our own sparkling wine.
Favorite wine memory?
Les vins de Gérard Depardieu ''Le Bien Décidé'' Aniane Rouge in the Summer of 2011 in Aniane
The Sloan Family has been farming along the east shore of Skaha Lake for over 50 years. They take pride in producing quality fruit picked fresh for you each day.
They invite you to relax under the grape arbor with a juicy peach or a crisp apple... why not try their ice cream, fresh fruit smoothie or ice cold apple juice? Take in the beauty of the area and share their love and passion for farming.