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.
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
Lots is happening in the vineyards at Blue Mountain, Okanagan Falls during this time of year. Days are consistently warm and the grapes are going through a process called veraison.
Véraison is a viticulture (grape-growing) term meaning "the onset of ripening". It is originally French, but has been adopted into English use. The official definition of veraison is "change of color of the grape berries." Veraison represents the transition from berry growth to berry ripening, and many changes in berry development occur at veraison.
Pinot Noir clusters proceeding through the ripening process.
If you get a chance to visit the wineries in the Okanagan during mid to late August see if you can spot the transformation taking place in the vineyards.
Before long we will be harvesting these beautiful globes and making the 2013 vintage of the wine you love!
Avenue Bistro is the second restaurant venture in the Comox Valley for husband and wife team Trent McIntyre and Sandra Viney. As with their first restaurant Atlas Cafe, they have compiled a team of staff as passionate about great food & service as they are.
Trent's culinary talent shines in the kitchen, collaborating with Chef Aaron Rail to consistantly serve up fresh and exciting flavours. Sandra is the consummate host: her lively and personable approach warms the restaurant.
They have called on the talent of fomer Atlas Bar Manager Torrie Howlett to create the beer, wine and cocktail selections. In collaboration with local farmers, wine makers & brewers they continue to provide memorable dining experiences in the Comox Valley.
There is a new attraction in Vancouver that you won't want to miss on your next visit. Celebrating the incredible diversity and beauty of Canada be sure to visit FlyOver Canada at Canada Place. You might even recognize a certain Okanagan Falls Winery!
Buckle up your seatbelt and prepare for the flight of your life! FlyOver Canada incorporates state-of-the-art technology to bring you some of Canada’s most thrilling sights like you have never seen them before. You will hang suspended, feet dangling, immersed in a huge 20m spherical screen while our film takes you on a thrilling journey from east to west across Canada. FlyOver Canada and our production team from Sherpas Cinema spent over a year travelling from coast to coast capturing some of Canada’s most spectacular locations. Special effects like wind, mist and scents combine with the ride movement to create an incredible experience.
Dip into deep valleys where wild rivers rush by. Feel the wind in your hair as you fly over magnificent prairies. Gaze at snow-capped mountains that tower over the land. Seek the thrill of urban environments that buzz from morning to night. By the end, you will find yourself in awe of this amazingly diverse country.
This incredible journey of discovery covers over 6000 kilometers from coast to coast, all the while never leaving Vancouver! It is unlike any ride experience you will find anywhere in Canada. We can’t wait to see you!
On Sunday, July 7th, 2013 approximately 2700 cycling enthusiasts and racers will take to the roads in the South Okanagan to complete a race that is fast becoming a must do on any cyclist's bucket list. Weaving through beautiful lakeside vistas and lush orchards and vineyards the Valley First Granfondo is now in its third year and is drawing participants from all over North America.
If you are not participating cheer on the riders from any of the magnificant vantage points along the route. Here is a video clip of the section of road near Blue Mountain that the Granfondo riders will cruise along before stopping for lunch at Le Vieux Pin.
Cyclists leaving the starting point near Okanagan Lake heading towards Skaha Lake.
Here is the full route including some information on road closures for those of you still wanting to get out and tour some local wineries.
This long weekend, whether you’re heading up to the lake or hanging out in town, you’re going to need wine. The weather forecast points to right about average for July, so bring on the patio lounging and barbecues.
With the char-grilled flavour effect and often spicy or zesty sauces, a good rule of thumb for BBQ wine is not to go too delicate. An often overlooked wine, Okanagan Gamay Noir is the quintessential BBQ wine, not too heavy but still packed with buckets of lush fruit and just the right balance of smoke and spice. Whether you are grilling some artisan burgers or your family’s secret recipe ribs, Gamay is sure to be a hit on a hot summer day. Enjoy your Gamay chilled when the thermometer starts rising.
For your whites at the barbecue, Oaked Chardonnay is a solid match for grilled chicken or in season halibut right off the grill and Sauvignon Blanc is great with rich sable fish or a local artisan cheese board. You can never have too much Pinot Gris for when friends stop by. Marry the Gris with some oysters on the half shell or prawns on the BBQ and you will really win some points with family and friends.
For salads or lighter fair a crisp and refreshing Pinot Blanc hits the spot.
Our country is 146 years old this year and that is something to celebrate. Have some BC Sparkling on hand for when the fireworks get going or to kick start your party. After all sparkling goes with everything…even the red and white!
Happy Canada Day everyone!
Back for it's second year the Okanagan Falls Winery Association's Party in the Park kicks off summer on Friday July 12th, 2013. The event runs from 5pm till 9pm at Kenyon Park and tickets are going to go fast.
Get your beach party groove on with the great sounds of The Gal Avanters.
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 an Okanagan summer! Tickets are $50 and are available at
So tell your friends, to come celebrate summer and the wine of Okanagan Falls on the beach, along with the personalities that make up the OK Falls Winery Association. Summer never felt so good.