Made in the century's old cheese making tradition of Europe, Kootenay Alpine Cheese wanted to create specialty cheese that reflected the landscape, culture and life of the place it comes from.
Towering over Mountain Valley Farm pastures is the magnificent Thomson Mountain range. The farm is situated in the heart of the Kootenays, on benchland above the Creston Valley, 10 minutes from the Idaho border and 4 hours from the Alberta border. Mountain Valley uses no pesticides, GMO’s or chemical fertilizer on the land. They nurture and replenish the soil through many sustainable management practices, including the application of composted manure from the farm and whey from their new cheesemaking facility. The health of the herd is maintained following organic practices, with no hormones being used. They are certified organic with Pacific Agricultural Certification Society and also belong to Kootenay Local Agricultural Society whose mandate is to foster local, sustainable agriculture.
These farmstead cheeses are handcrafted following the tradition of artisan cheese-makers, and made using only the raw milk from their own certified organic herd. Each cheese is carefully aged in order to develop a rich, complex flavor that is unique to the milk, their farm, and their region.
Wine and Cheese Pairings:
Pinot Gris & NOSTRALA: “Of this place.” A firm cheese with mild earthy notes, a subtle creamy texture, and a pale golden interior. Resembles a firm Italian Fontina, often referred to as the Italian cousin of French Gruyere.
NV Brut Sparkling & MOUNTAIN GRANA: A hard cheese modeled after an Italian Piave with a dense grainy texture and a sweet flavour, with hints of nuts and fruit. With extra aging, a full-bodied flavour develops, resembling a young Parmigiano Reggiano.
Chardonnay & ALPINDON: “Gift of the Alpine,” Their premium cheese, is a firm cheese carefully modeled after French Beaufort d’Alpage. Following centuries old tradition this cheese is hand-rubbed and made only with milk from summer pastures. It exhibits a smooth nut flavour, a complex finish, a rich golden interior and a dark textured rind. Additional aging concentrates its flavours, deepens its complexity, and increases the sweet crystals that develop throughout the body of the cheese.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
10:00am to 5:00pm
(May to Thanksgiving)
10:00am - 5:00pm
(Thanksgiving to May)
Quite often we serve our white wines too cold and our red wines too warm. When this happens white wines can appear tasteless and red wines might come across as bitter. There are a few reds that do benefit from being slightly chilled especially in the warm summer months. For lighter and fruitier reds such as Gamay Noir and some Pinot Noir putting them in the fridge for about 45 minutes and then let them come to room temperature for about 20 minutes will create similar circumstances to what home temperatures were like when all the talk started about serving reds at room temperature. Chilling these reds will focus their flavours and make the wine taste more refreshing. Around 12 - 15C.
White wines like Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Blanc can be chilled for about 1 1/2 hours in the fridge and then 20 minutes to warm up and then served they should maintain their crisp light refreshing flavours. Around 10C. With heavier whites like Chardonnay a little less time in the fridge, about 45 minutes and then about 20 minutes to come to temperature should showcase the rich full bodied flavours Chardonnay is known for.
With Sparkling wine a couple hours in the fridge is perfect as you want to maintain the crispness and microscopic bubbles in the glass. Sparkling wines should be chilled to 6 - 7 degree C. This slows the release of bubbles. Not only does the wine stay lively longer, it keeps its fruit aromas and bouquets longer.
One last thought is that it is easier to warm a wine up in the glass than it is to cool it down so err on the side of cooler. By experimenting a bit with some of your favourite reds and whites you might find you like them even more at the correct temperature.
Since May of 2013 Blue Mountain's Brut Sparkling has been available in Quebec's SAQ.
Recently reviewed by Jancis Robinson who gave it 15/20. Here is what she wrote:
"A great find from the Okanagan! Flavourful sparkling wine conveys aromas of apple and nectar-producing flowers. Excellent quality-price ratio."
The SAQ website allows you to find a store near your location where the wine is available. It also has some great recipe pairings to enjoy with the Brut Sparkling NV. So be sure to share this information with any friends and family in Quebec.
Between Penticton and Summerland there is a small fruit stand on the side of Hwy 97 that sells everything delicious in season. Blossoms is open daily from 8am till 7pm and has the freshest of what's in season much of it grown onsite. Known for their home grown peaches, they also have an excellent selection of jams, jellies, dressings and sauces. All locally produced. Their friendly staff are there to help you with your canning needs, orders for fall root vegetables or just a scoop of yummy ice cream on a hot day. Stop by and say hello to Melinda and the staff, we are sure you will find something you like.
Blossoms Fruit Stand
5408 Hwy 97 (5 km south of Summerland)
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
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 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
A boutique cheesery nestled amongst the vines with a spectacular view of Okanagan Lake, on the Naramata Bench, in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. Visit the cheesery at Poplar Grove to experience their fine cheeses directly from where they have been lovingly handmade.
Wine and Cheese Pairings:
Pinot Gris - Double Cream Camembert - This is a match made in heaven, add some pear slices and you have a delicious afternoon snack.
Gamay Noir - Bench Blue - This "beginner’s blue" is mild and surprises many anti blue cheese consumers. Great melted on a "just off the BBQ" lamb burger. Summer is complete!
Pinot Noir - Harvest Moon Wash Rind Cheese - this salty creamy pungent cheese is not for the faint of heart, a welcome addition to any cheese board and well suited for the earthiness of Pinot Noir.
Cheese Shop Hours:
April and May: Weekends 11-5
June through October: Daily 11-5
Covert Farms has always been a busy place, but in the last few years there is a whole lot going on such as: Farm Field Dinners, an event called the Freakin Farmer, Wine tastings, U-pick fruits and vegetables. As well home delivery is available so that you can get the freshest vegetables delivered right to your door. They even have summer camps for young farmers. All of these things add up to a whole lot of activity going on. And it is all organic.
Tucked up above the north end of Oliver is a hidden gem of the Okanagan. Covert Farms, at the foot of McIntyre Bluff is a 600 acre terrace that has been growing organic produce since 1959. A large organic farm and country market that features in season organic produce fresh from the farm, in the setting of beautiful vegetable and flower gardens, a patio and playground.
Those who love recreation dually appreciate the location of Covert Farms, as it is positioned at the gateway to the iconic Okanagan Landmark, McIntyre Bluff, and makes a great place to picnic after a bike ride or hike.
Covert Farms is about tasty and healthy food and the relationships that are necessary to bring that about in a sustainable way. The relationships of the land are many and complex and most have yet to be discovered. As these complex relationships are discovered so is interest, intrigue, humility and of course great food. Good food is not just about taste. It's not just the nutrient value. It’s about life, learning and exploration. Visit Covert Farms, explore; learn about your food; and experience a place bustling with life and diversity.
Try Pick-your-own. Friendly staff in the fields can assist you with your selections and guide you if you so choose. Over 40 different crops to try and experiment with. If you don’t care to pick, they have harvested produce in their market. Most crops are available till mid-October or till first frost.
Looking for more one-on-one. Take a guided tour with a farmer. Explore the vineyards, fields, and the special places around the area in a vintage 1952 Mercury Truck. The tour ends with a private wine tasting accompanied by small bites from the kitchen. Max 10 people per tour.
It has been 2 years since Blue Mountain attended the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration in Southern Ontario. The Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration or i4C consists of three days spent exploring seductive shades of the most planted grape on earth.
Participants taste chardonnays from over 60 of the world’s foremost winemakers alongside the exceptional cuisine that pairs with it so well. With intimate vineyard luncheons, culinary showcases and the Cool Chardonnay World Tour signature event featuring all of the weekend’s wines, you can custom-blend your own unforgettable chardonnay weekend.
Here is a snapshot of last year's festivities. Save the date!!
Join brother and sister duo, Matt and Christie Mavety at this year's event July 18 - 20 , 2014 in Niagara.