Cheese in British Columbia - Salt Spring Island
Salt Spring Island Cheese Company specializes in handmade goat and sheep cheeses. Started in 1994, they made cheese for 2 years and then started selling it in 1996. Known for their chèvres, they also make several other types of goat cheeses (feta cheeses, surface ripened cheeses, and even a hard cheese).
The cheese is made at their farm on Salt Spring Island, off Canada's west coast, and while you can buy their cheese as far east as Toronto, you are encouraged to come to the island, wander the farm and taste the cheese fresh for yourself.
On Reynolds Road, about 2 kilometers from Fulford Harbour, and only a short detour on the way to Ruckle Park. Also at the Saturday market in the grace point park on Saturdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. when the market's open.
Wine and Cheese Pairings:
Sauvignon Blanc - Sauvignon Blanc and Chèvre goat cheese were made for each other. Any of the chèvre made at Salt Spring Island cheese would go beautifully, however the simplicity of the Flower Chèvre really brings out the brightness and acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc.
Gamay Noir - This mild blue cheese from Salt Spring Island called Blue Juliette is the perfect accompaniment on a cheese board and would be delicious on a sunny afternoon with either a slightly chilled juicy Gamay Noir or a Pinot Noir. The earthiness in the wine is complimentary to the same characters in the cheese.
Pinot Gris - Blue Juliette's sister cheese Juliette is made the same way only no blue mold is added. This goat camembert loves the crisp acidity and lush stone fruit flavours of the Pinot Gris. Have it with some apricot jelly and your cheese board will sing!
Salt Spring Island Cheese Farm Shop
285 Reynolds Road
Salt Spring Island
May to September: 11-5 daily
October to April: 11-4 daily
BC Pinot Noir Celebration 2014 - Tantalus Vineyard
The second annual Pinot Noir Celebration will take place at Tantalus Vineyards in Kelowna on August 31, 2014. For anyone who attended last year's event at Meyer Family you will know to get your tickets early. This was an awesome inaugural event and everyone had a fabulous time tasting great Pinot's from around the world and around the Okanagan Valley. Wine makers were on hand to answer questions and generally celebrate this grape that grows so well in the Okanagan and is revered throughout the world. Tickets will sell out for this event so book yours early and get ready to enjoy some great food and Pinot Noir!
The celebration aims to bring together passionate Pinot Noir producers in the province in an interactive and fun atmosphere - giving guests an intimate experience with our winemakers and winery principals whilst building education and excitement about BC Pinot Noir.
16 participating wineries:
Tantalus (host location), Meyer Family, CedarCreek, Quail's Gate, Howling Bluff, Blue Mountain, Liquidity, Black Cloud, Seven Directions, Mission Hill, 50th Parallel, Eau Vivre, Averill Creek, Orofino, Lake Breeze and Carson.
The day will consist of a Sparkling Blanc de Noir reception and welcome address from Tantalus winemaker and president of this year's celebration, David Paterson. A keynote address from internationally-acclaimed wine educator and author Karen MacNeil ("The Wine Bible") will kick off the day.
Two breakout sessions will follow offering guests one-on-one interactions with winemakers from across British Columbia:
The first session takes guests "Behind the Bottle" into Tantalus' winery tank hall for a sit-down look at three key regions for BC Pinot Noir by way of a winemaker-led blending activity with insights into BC Terroir and regional development from Vancouver-based sommeliers Michaela Morris and Michelle Bouffard of House Wine Girls (ISG &WSET diploma-certified).
A second session will focus on "Cellaring BC Pinot at Home" - with a dip into the cellars of three of BC's oldest, most well-established wineries for a taste of the rewards of cellaring BC Pinot Noir.
Each guest will have the opportunity to experience both breakout sessions.
Following this, guests will move to our garden tasting salon where you will have time to revisit with the winemakers and taste a wider spectrum of each winery's Pinot Noir offerings. Tantalus will also be hosting short, casual vineyard walks at this time for guests to get up close with their Pinot Noir blocks - both young and old.
An al fresco dinner, featuring a salmon bake and porchetta roast from celebrated Kelowna Chef Mark Filatow will ensue with live music from Vancouver's "Tainted Lovers" and dancing under the stars to top off the celebration.
(Please note each ticket includes the full program as listed above, including two seminars, the tasting salon, buffet dinner and dessert - with wines to accompany dinner - as well as the evening's entertainment and all taxes and gratuities. A cash bar will accompany the entertainment portion of the evening.)
To avoid disappointment purchase your tickets today: www.bcpn2014.eventbee.com
A Celebration of Okanagan Bubbles with Joy Road Catering at Linden Gardens
On July 18th we were invited to pour our NV Brut Sparkling wine at an inaugural and exclusive Sparkling Wine-only event. This Gatsby-themed event got hosted by Joy Road Catering at Linden Gardens in Kaleden with pours from some of the Okanagan's favourite sparkling wine producers and food pairings from Joy Road.
Sumac Ridge Stellar's Jay
Gruyere Gougiere with House Cured Prosciutto
Herbed Truffle Omelette
Spicy Thai Cucumber Salad with Thai Basil, Humpback Shrimp, Peanuts & Cilantro
Blue Mountain NV Brut "Gold Label"
Wild Salmon Caviar with Crème Fraiche Chantilly & Chives
Purple Potato Chips
Bella Sparkling Rosé
Puff Pastry with Heirloom Tomatoes Anchovy & Caramelized Onion
Elephant Island Methode Champenoise Sparkling Wine
Pork Belly Steam Buns with Apple, Cabbage & Picked Pink Onions
8th Generation Confidence
Salt Cod Fritters with Local Espelette Aioli
Haywire The Bub
Browned Butter Halibut Cheek
Cauliflower, Fried Capers, Lemon & Parsley
Orofino Muscato Fizzante
Freshly Shucked Outlandish Shellfish Oysters with Strawberry & Cracked Black Pepper Mignonette
Touring Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country
On April 24th 2014, the Blue Mountain Winery tasting room staff had the opportunity to visit some of our neighbours in the Oliver area as part of our annual staff training. This was a good opportunity to get to some of the wineries we haven’t been to and also find out what each of them have to offer.
Our first stop was to see Jessi Collins at Black Hills Winery. Black Hills Winery offers a sit down guided tasting using varietal specific Riedel glassware. This is an educational and enticing wine tasting experience and includes their current releases along with some of their library wines. Follow this link to reserve a tasting.
As of June 20, 2014 you will have the opportunity to enjoy a glass paired with fresh, handmade food made with the freshest ingredients from local producers at Black Hills Winery. They opened a first-of-its kind Vineyard Kitchen in an eco-friendly Shipping Container; a new partnership between Black Hills Estate Winery and Joy Road Catering. Visit www.blackhillswinery.com for more info or to make a reservation.
Black Hills Winery
4190 Black Sage Road,
Oliver BC (just south of their original location)
Open daily 10:00 am to 6:00 pm from April 26th to November 30th.
Our second stop of the day was at Church and State Wines, where we enjoyed a very relaxed sit down tasting in their tasting room with a clean, modern design looking into the barrel room.
We got to try their Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Church and State Wines
4516 Ryegrass Road,
Oliver, BC ~ 250-498-2700
April: Open Friday – Sunday, 11:00-6:00
May – October: Open Daily, 11:00-6:00
We then stopped in to see Jen at Stoneboat Winery. We got to try their Piano Brut (sparkling wine made from Pinot Blanc and Müller Thurgau), 2012 Chrorus Blend, 2012 Faux Pas Rosé, 2011 Pinotage, 2011 Solo Pinotage Reserve, 2011
Verglas and 2012 Pinotage Icewine.
356 Orchard Grove Lane
Tel/Fax: 250 498-2226
Open daily April 1st to December from 10:00am - 5:30pm.
(The view from the Hester Creek Villas overlooking the Valley)
We then enjoyed a lovely lunch at Terrafina Restaurant. We will tell you more about this mouth-watering experience in our Terrafina Restaurant Blog in July.
We stopped in at Hester Creek Winery for a quick visit and got a tour of the breathtaking Hester Creek Villas.
The last stop of the day was to see Mike at Le Vieux Pin. We tried their 2012 Ava, 2012 Vaila Rosé, 2012 Syrah and 2010 Equinoxe Syrah. Mike took us on a tour of their barrel and tank room.
Le Vieux Pin
5496 Black Sage Road,
May 16th - Sept 30th: 7 days a week 10am-7pm
We would like to thank all the wineries for their hospitality, thanks for making us feel so welcome. We look forward to sending visitors to all these unique wineries this season.
Tickleberry's, Okanagan Falls
A visit to Okanagan Falls is not complete without a stop at the end of your wine touring day at the colourful and busy Tickleberry's on the highway. Established in 1990 by the Hoy family, Tickleberry's makes it's own chocolate, fudge, kettle korn and stock over 50 flavours of ice cream. The line ups can sometimes be long but on a hot summer day a nice cool treat makes all the difference.
1207 Main Street
2013 Pinot Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc are Now Available
With summer in full swing it is time to release the first of our 2013 white wines.
2013 Pinot Blanc - $18
Winemaker notes: The 2013 Pinot Blanc displays complex flavours of stone fruit, white peach and apricots with a touch of honeysuckle. A full mouth feel with peach flavours leads into a long finish. The structure of the wine will allow it to age beautifully for 3-5 years.
Articles: Western Living Magazine - 12 Essential Okanagan Wines - Food and travel editor Neal McLennan picked a mixed case that covers the region’s most exciting producers and included Blue Mountain Pinot Blanc - June 2014
Reviews: "Chic, tantalizing, pristine. Last vintage Blue Mountain updated their look; these new labels have a softer classic look with a pen and ink-type illustration of their Okanagan Falls vineyard.
A common thread in all of their wines is a pristine character just like this Pinot Blanc with its crisp white fruits, grapefruit and spring blossom notes layered with honey and stony mineral. The palate is bright with a lovely weight - expect sweet orchard fruits and tangy citrus flavours. A chic white with a tantalizing mouth-watering finish" Daenna Van Mulligen (Wine Diva) - July 2014
2013 Sauvignon Blanc - $19
Winemaker notes: The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc displays complex flavours of citrus, boxwood and lemon/grapefruit, on the nose and palate. A full mouth feel with a lemon/grapefruit flavour leads into a rich long, finish. The structure of the wine will allow it to age beautifully for 3-5 years.
Reviews: "Elegant and layered, this is a Loire Valley-styled Sauvignon Blanc with a kiss of subtle oak, whose but de la vie is to deliver scrumptious, mineral-infused, citrus fruit aromas and flavours via its engaging nose and refined, balanced palate. Mouth-watering and refreshing minus any hard edges or crowd-dividing pungency. Drink now-2017" Liam Carrier (Icon Scores) - July 2014
Hiking in Okanagan Falls
Have you ever hiked in the Okanagan Falls area before? Our go to hiking guru Sue Mavety sure has! My aunt Sue has spent a number of years hiking around the hills in the Okanagan Valley.
How long have you lived in Okanagan Falls? What attracted you to the area?
12 years. I visited the Okanagan a lot as a child and with our children when they were young and we wanted to leave the Lower Mainland area.
What do you enjoy most about hiking around the Okanagan?
The weather is normally dry as compared to hiking on the coast where I used to live. And you get some lovely views without having to climb really high to get out of the dense vegetation that is on the coast.
Do you hike with an organized group and if so what is the name of the club?
Yes I belong to the Penticton Adventurers Club. (I am president at the moment) We are a hiking/social club for people over 55 years of age. We have over 100 members, about 70% of which are hikers. We hike 2-3 times a week and our hikes range from rambles too strenuous in difficulty.
What time of the year is your most favourite time to go on a hike?
I enjoy hiking at all times of the year, they each have their own special attributes. We hike the lower trails in the valley in the winter, but I love the snow and we do a lot of snow-shoeing with the club as well. The flowers in the spring and summer are beautiful and there are so many different varieties to see. The golden colours of the grasses in the fall are also wonderful. And we have seen deer, mountain sheep, bear and moose on our hikes.
What hikes would you recommend in OK Falls?
Being in a small town hiking is really at your doorstep. The KVR (Kettle Valley Railway) is always an interesting "walk" as opposed to a hike. There is lots to see along the lake and you can go north from OK Falls to Kaleden (just over 4km one way) or you can head south down the river all the way to the south end of Vaseux Lake (this is long probably close to 8km one way from the town site of OK Falls). It is also different from the northern route as it is along the river most of the way.
The hike up Peach Cliff area gives some wonderful views of the valley both north to Penticton and south past McIntyre Bluff. You do not even need to go to the top to get some great views. There are many trails but they are not signed or flagged. They are animal trails that we humans have now used enough that they are very apparent. There is also an old mine in the area with some tunnel openings and an old quarry filled with water where they did some open-pit mining. An old rapidly deteriorating shed with core samples is also in the area. We usually see deer and often mountain sheep in this area as well.
Thank you for sharing with us Aunt Sue!!