Food and wine pairing can be complicated. It takes lots of practice and if you get it wrong it can be mediocre at best. If you get it right the experience can be magical. There are lots of excellent food pairings that have a history of going well together. Things like Sauvignon Blanc and Goat Cheese, Pinot Noir and Duck or Wild Mushroom Risotto, Pinot Gris and Oysters. Here is an easy one to get you started on your road to food and wine pairing success and to wow your friends or family the next time you are hosting an event! Makes a great light starter especially if people are arriving at different times. Serve with well chilled dry Sparkling wine and celebrate life!
How to make truffle popcorn!
Popcorn- we pop ours in an air popper
Melted Butter - about 2 -3 tbsp
Truffle Oil - start with a little and taste regularily until you get the right amount. It can be very strong so a little goes a long way.
Salt - we use sea salt infused with fresh thyme
Fresh cracked Pepper
Pop your popcorn in an air popper into a large vessel. We use a large pail so we can distribute the butter, truffle oil, salt and pepper evenly.
Drizzle with ⅓ of the melted butter. Shake or toss. Repeat a couple more times.
Drizzle with a small amount of truffle oil. Shake or toss. Taste and repeat if necessary.
Grind salt in a spice grinder with fresh thyme infusing the salt with the thyme flavour. It will look bright green to begin with but as it drys out will take on a dried green colour. You can make a fair amount of this and store it in an airtight container for future use.
Sprinkle with thyme infused salt. Shake or toss.
Sprinkle with fresh cracked black pepper. Shake or toss.
Enjoy! Particularly with Sparkling wine or a buttery Chardonnay.
Why do these two very different items go so well together? The yeastiness of the Sparkling and the earthiness of the truffle oil marry well as well as the saltiness of the popcorn and the refreshing effervescence of the sparkling. Try it ...we think you’ll like it....alot!
For a sampling of Truffle Popcorn visit us on Friday afternoons and taste it with our Blue Mountain Sparkling Brut.
The Penticton Farmer’s Market is the place to be on Saturday mornings. Not only do you get a chance to catch up with friends you also get to meet the people who grow the food you enjoy throughout the season. And in the Okanagan we are fortunate to have some amazing growers. One of these local producers is Zebroff’s farm in Cawston, BC. George and Anna Zebroff have been farming organically for 40 years near Cawston B.C. Their name has become synonymous with what organics is all about. You will see their son Yuri and his wife, Brandi continue that tradition under the name of Honest Food Farm. They not only produce and sell beautiful fruit, but organic juices, jams, dried fruit, salsa, and honey. Make sure you go and try their French Kiss plums!
One of our favorite staples from the Farmer’s Market is Joy Road Catering’s fresh fruit galettes. These beautiful pastries in either individual or group sizes make a great morning snack or the perfect end to your dinner party. Changing with the seasons these delicious pastries are filled with the freshest Okanagan fruits available. Their baking is made with only the finest ingredients bought at the market including certified organic flour, honey from the Similkameen Apiary, Organic eggs from their own chickens, organic unrefined cane sugar and real butter. Visit Cameron Smith and Dana Ewart at the market every Saturday but go early as they sell out quickly.
The Market starts in May and goes until October and is an excellent place to take your friends or family when they come to visit. There are great buskers, lots of arts and crafts and of course no end to great food to enjoy on-site or take home and make your own authentically local meal.
The Penticton Farmer’s Market started in 1991 and is believed to be the third largest farmer’s market in all of B.C. It runs three blocks long, along the North end of Main Street, every Saturday from 8:30am to 12pm.
Don't forget to look for Lisa's flowers, right across from Joy Road Catering!
Ask a Winemaker
This is the first in a series of ongoing conversations with our winemaker Matt Mavety.
Today, Friday, July 20 from 9:30am - 2:30pm our very own winemaker Matt Mavety has been asked to speak at the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Conference (iC4) in St. Catharines, Ontario. He will be representing Western Canada and be part of a panel discussion along with winemakers from several other cool climate Chardonnay regions including Argentina, Burgundy, Australia and Niagara.
Growing up in the Okanagan valley, particularly in the summer, most of us would not have considered cool climate and Okanagan as three words that could be used in the same sentence. However, apparently that is what we, in parts of the Okanagan are considered. Here are the questions we asked.
So what exactly constitutes cool climate?
A cool climate wine region can be located anywhere in the world. A cool climate region is determined by the growing degree days which is the amount of heat accumulation during the entire growing season. A very cool climate growing area might have 1000 - 1200 growing degree days. We at Blue Mountain Winery have between 1200 - 1400 growing degree days so we are considered cool climate. In order to adjust for varying latitude a system was created called Latitude-Temperature Index (LTI).
LTI = mean temperature of the warmest month x (60 - latitude)
And what makes a cool climate so special for growing Chardonnay?
Cool climate allows for the retention of acidity and a slower maturation period. It also can enhance aromatics and have the capacity to produce table wines of distinction. “Cool climates help to preserve acidity which enhances the elegance of fruit around a core of minerality” Seb Jacquey, Winemaker, Le Clos Jordanne, Niagara.
What is unique about Blue Mountain that makes it considered a cool climate for Chardonnay?
1. Topography, at the latitude we are situated.
2. Lake Moderation - Vaseaux Lake moderates early and late
3. Geography - the narrowness of the valley in our section of
Okanagan Falls creates cooler days and in some vineyards a heat
effect from heat dissipated off the nearby rocks.
If you have any questions for Matt please feel free to submit them, and when he isn’t out in the vineyard driving the tractor we will get him to answer them.
The i4C event in Niagara is a great chance for consumers to taste some great cool climate Chardonnay and learn about this challenging grape, and for winemakers to meet and share ideas with other exceptional producers of Chardonnays that flourish under extreme conditions like steeply sloped vineyards, huge annual temperature fluctuations, high altitudes, ocean gales, etc.
All participating winemakers, and many other Ontario winemakers and industry professionals will join with consumers in structured tasting, interactive discussion and luncheon.
Catena Zapata (Argentina) – Assistant Winemaker Pablo Sanchez
Flowers Winery (Sonoma Coast, USA) – Director of Winemaking Jason Jardine
Blue Mountain Vineyards (BC, Canada) – Winemaker/Proprietor Matt Mavety
Decelle-Villa (Burgundy, France) – Winemaker Jean Lupatelli
Yabby Lake (Australia) – Director of Viticulture Keith Harris
Duarte Oliveira (Niagara, Canada) – representing Grape Growers of Ontario
Craig McDonald (Niagara, Canada) - Hillebrand
Although the weather remains unstable and rather unseasonal, summer is in full swing! School’s out, the roads are jam packed with travel trailers and RV’s, the cherries have hit the fruit stands, and the farmers markets are filling up with all of the local produce. Summer in the Okanagan also brings weekends filled with various events and festivals, and in particular one of our favourites, The Summer Okanagan Wine Festival.
The summer wine festival calendar is filled with great events from outdoor wine tastings with more bold flavored wines than you could ever desire, to wine and cheese beach parties, road bike races, tailgate parties in vineyard settings, and the visceral sound of Spoken Word poetry paired with equally feisty wines. There truly is something for everyone.
With over 30 eclectic events spread over 10 days at the height of summer in the Okanagan, this year’s summer wine fest promises to deliver some fantastic experiences, culture, and of course — great wines.
Many events this year are inaugural events and you could be the first one to check them out! Here are a few events that we found particularly enticing. For a complete listing of events check out the Okanagan Wine Festivals website.
We look forward to seeing you in the tasting room during the festival!
Okanagan Falls Winery Association Party in the Park - July 6th, 2012
The Ok Falls Winery Association is hosting the first annual “Party in the Park” July 6th with the great sounds of Kyle Anderson and his Amazing Rubber Band. Meet the elusive winemakers and owners of the 12 OK Falls Winery Association wineries and enjoy the excellent southern BBQ prepared by The Chef Instead. Dinner and dancing with a live band at Kenyon Park seems like an awesome way to kick start the 2012 Okanagan Summer Wine Festival. Tickets are $50 + HST and are available at http://www.eventbee.com/v/okfallswineriesparty
Valley First Pops The Cork- July 7th, 2012
For those of you in the North Okanagan…What are the three simple steps to fun on a summer’s evening? Wine, cheese and music … then repeat wine, cheese, music. This event celebrates summer in Kelowna with over 30 Okanagan wineries breaking out the wines for a hot summer night of wine tasting, live music and light tapas. Hosted in the beautiful Arts Common beside the Rotary Centre for the Arts in Kelowna, and supported by Tourism Kelowna, this promises to be an eye stopping, cork popping party. This is a get home safe event, sponsored by BC Liquor Stores and Valley First Insurance. Tickets at: selectyourtickets.com or 250.717.5304
Valley First GranFondo Wine Tasting - July 8, 2012
Whether you have just ridden the GranFondo Axel Merckx Okanagan or you live for the beach, it is never a bad time to celebrate summer in the Okanagan. And when Okanagan wines are involved, you don’t want to miss the party. Over 300 wines will be available for your sampling along with light tapas, cheeses and breads to cleanse your palate. And of course, no party is complete without great dance music. Supported by Tourism Penticton and the GranFondo Axel Merckx Okanagan, this fun informal and casual wine tasting is not to be missed. Look for your favourite cycling celebrity or look for your favourite wine celebrity or just look for your favourite person! This is a get home safe event, sponsored by BC Liquor Stores and Valley First Insurance. $59, 6:30pm Gyro Park Penticton email@example.com
There are many more events to experience. Let us know what you attended and what you enjoyed. No matter what you choose to attend this summer, make the most of the Summer Okanagan Wine Festival taking place at locations throughout the valley. It’s going to be hot!
On May 31st we had the opportunity to visit some of our neighbours in the OK Falls Winery Association. This was an opportunity to get to know some of the people in our association and also find out a little bit about each of the wineries and what makes them unique.
Our first stop was to see Jeri and Josh at See Ya Later Ranch who were very welcoming and did a great job sharing all the wines SYL is producing. As their new patio is constructed they are encouraging people to enjoy lighter fare out on the grassy lawn in front of the winery for picnics under the shade of the trees.
Cheese boards and charcuterie are available on site everyday with featured specials on the weekends. Wine shop hours are 10 am till 5 pm every day.
Our second stop of the day was at a new winery in Kaleden that neither of us had visited before. Top Shelf Winery has a hockey theme and the wine shop has a great memorabilia area. Myra and Len are in their first year of operation and have three wines to try. All of the wines have great hockey theme names like Slap Shot Chardonnay, Point Shot Pinot Gris and Over the Top (OT) Merlot. The tasting included great cheese from Village Cheese in Armstrong to complement the wines. They also sell gelato!
On June 30th they will be celebrating their grand opening from 2 – 6pm and invite everyone to visit for some great food and entertainment.
Next door to Topshelf is Kraze Legs Winery, also relatively new. The entire winery is themed around the 1920’s and has a great area to bring your own picnic or purchase an assortment of cheeses and crackers onsite. With stunning views of Skaha Lake from the west side a really unique place to spend a few hours. All of their wines are named after dances from the 20’s like “All that Jazz” and “The Bees Knees”!
A quick stop at Bighorn Ridge to meet Carla and see the magnificent view from her Guest House was greeted with a brief rain shower on our arrival but we were dry and comfortable under the shelter of the guest house. What a peaceful place to stay in the Okanagan. Rustic elegance in wine country. Also pet friendly!
On our return Noble Ridge was the next stop. We visited with Katie and Tamsin and sampled some of the wine’s from Noble Ridge including the King’s Ransom. Noble Ridge is open 10 – 5 each day and has a stunning deck to enjoy a picnic. You can bring your own or take a sampling of local cheese and charcuterie available at the winery. They have a great assortment of gift items and are hosting some interesting events in the coming weeks. June 30th is their Calgary Stampede 100th Anniversary celebration Breakfast complete with white Stetsons and great food and entertainment. Stop by before you start touring that day!
Our final stop of the day was at Meyer Family Vineyards on Mclean Creek Road where we sampled our way through the majority of their portfolio graciously hosted by Jak, Sharon and Van Dorin. After lots of laughs we were on our way back to Blue Mountain. Meyer Family Vineyards also offers private Sommelier led tastings. These are completely customizable and must be booked in advance with the winery.
Alas we were unable to visit all off our neighbours due to time constraints but we are hoping to get out to Painted Rock, Blasted Church, Wild Goose and Stag’s Hollow another day. Thanks everyone for making us feel so welcome and we look forward to sending visitors to all the unique wineries in the Ok Falls Winery Association this season.