Culinary sophistication added to Kelowna’s list of attractions
Michelle Hopkins, For Postmedia News
Published: Monday, May 21, 2012
Nestled on the rolling hills of the Okanagan Valley, Kelowna has long been known as a popular retreat for retirees and Albertans.
In the last decade or so, it’s also become a destination for serious foodies and wine connoisseurs. It’s easy to see the attraction; some of the Lower Mainland’s most acclaimed chefs have been lured here, temperate weather and award-winning wines by some 25 wineries, and Kelowna has a winning recipe.
The Kelowna Farmer’s Market s is the largest farmers market in the province and at its height attracts more than 165 stands.
This city is waking up from its repute as a family summer vacation to a year-round destination that offers great accommodations, farm-to-table dining and unique boutique wineries as well as the world-renowned Mission Hill; while paying tribute to its natural playground and artistic residents. A few weeks ago, I spent a few days sampling the local cuisine and sipping on wines I’d enjoyed before, as well as a few new ones.
After settling into my lakeview room at the Manteo Waterfront Resort & Villas, it was time for a short walk along the water-front boardwalk. We then drove to Summerhill Pyramid Winery for its Chef Table Dinner, a seven-course wine paired meal. Both the executive chef Jesse Croy and wine maker Eric von Krosigk engaged us with interesting and witty repartee about the locally sourced and organic dishes as well as its organic wines. My favourite red was a toss up between the Zweigelt and the cabernet sauvignon. The Zweigelt is a bold, dark and intense wine that explodes with flavour, spices and fruits.
The carte du jour was an opportunity for the young rising star, Croy, to have fun and be innovative with his cuisine. He started us off with a palette cleansing Stinging Nettle tonic. We then noshed on this season’s first picking of asparagus, which was married with a soft poached egg, foie gras and Peace Ice Wine vinaigrette. It worked and was a delicious start to our culinary journey.
We then feasted on Haida Gwaii sable fish, Thiessen Farms quail, Ashcroft Bar M Ranch lamb and a small platter of local cheese. A chocolate flan with house made hazelnut ice cream rounded out this inspirational meal.
This was my first meal during my three-day trip to experience the culinary offerings of the farm-totable movement that is well established in this city of perpetual sunshine.
The next morning, after sleeping like a baby (the beds at Manteo are seriously comfortable), I checked out Monika Walker’s Okanagan Grocery, Artisan Breads location. The 28-year-old German-raised Walker was Voted Top 40 Foodie Under 40 by Western Living magazine last year. Walker owns two locations and sells her organic breads to some of the top restaurants in Kelowna. The Dubrulle International Culinary Arts graduate is as passionate as the other farm-to-table faithful and it shows in her artisan breads, scones, muffins, spreads, soups and other goodies.
She relies on the farmers for her fruit, Blackwell Dairy Farm for her dairy products, her organic flour (from Wolfgang’s Grain & Flour, which you can purchase at the Farmers’ Market), and other ingredients. (okanagangrocery.com).
Hundreds of people descend on the Kelowna’s Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market to buy organic fruits and vegetables, herbs, flowers, eggs, cheese, meat, fish, bread, coffee, pastries, plants, and little culinary delights such as crepes, paninis and smoothies, to name just a few. This is the largest farmers market in the province and at its height attracts more than 165 stands.
I was lured to the Sunshine Farm stand, where its owners John and Sher Russ sell certified organic plant seeds. My partner’s son, Kylo Hoy, is a chef and grows his own produce. He was thrilled when I told him he was going to have Indigo Rose and Fargo Heirloom tomatoes seeds.
I left, my arms filled with organic carrots, organic cheese from Jerseyland Organics, and baked goods from Quail’s Farm.
The farm-to-table movement is growing here and its chefs are embracing this movement that our country’s pioneers did naturally.
At the Wild Apple Restaurant in the Manteo, the journey from seed, to plant, to table could be called an obsession for award-winning executive chef Bernard Casavant. He is a passionate proponent for fresh and local produce; offering his patrons an ever-changing menu that is both unique and has a strong community connection. (FYI: If you love tomatoes, Casavant creates a number of mouthwatering dishes using Heirloom tomatoes).
The affable chef likes having a menu shaped by the seasons. Casavant is on first-name basis with most, if not all, the farmers who grow food for his guests to enjoy. That fastidious nature shows in the plates that come out of his kitchen. I was able to enjoy both of my breakfasts and lunch here, and each mouthful was sheer culinary pleasure – from my morning egg-white omelette with fresh spinach, heirloom tomatoes and kale covered with warm goat cheese, to my roasted carrot brie soup and spiced lentil quinoa falafel at noontime.
My last night, I dined at the Waterfront Restaurant & Wine Bar in Kelowna’s cultural district. Its owner/chef/sommelier, multi-award winning Mark Filatow, is another Western Living Top 40 Foodie Under 40 winner. The seasoned chef has long undertaken the same philosophy, emphazising the best artisan producers of the Okanagan region and surrounding areas, using the restaurant to showcase farmers and their product to its guests. Our threecourse meal began with seared Quadra Island scallops and ended with a chocolate mousse that was divine.
A visit to Arlo’s Honey Farm
The sun was shining and there was a light lake breeze that cooled the air.
Here we were at Arlo’s Honey Farm, rows of plants poking through the sculpted mounds of soil, nurtured by owners Helen Kennedy and her husband Rick Appel’s hands.
This 14-acre farm is another farm-to-table movement devotee. Although Arlo’s is well-known for its selection of honey, the couple also grows fruits and vegetables for some of the city’s finest restaurants, such as Summerhill’s Sunset Bistro and the
Waterfront Restaurant & Wine Bar.
But it’s the bees that Kennedy can speak about for hours. A selftaught bee-keeper, her honey has won numerous awards.
P.S.: Arlo’s will be celebrating International Day of the Bee (May 29th) on Sunday, May 27 with a tour, free wine tasting, a barbecue, honey samples and live entertainment. This free event runs from 11 a.m. to 3: 30 p.m. Last year, it attracted nearly 500 people.
Besides Summerhill Pyramid Winery, which is Canada’s largest organic vineyard, I had a chance to check out The View Winery. A relative newcomer to the Okanagan, it opened in 2007. However, the family has a long rich history in the region. Proprietor Jennifer Turton-Molgat is a fifth generation Turton/Ward. The family has lived on this property since the 1920s. Historically, it was an apple orchard but in the mid-90s, the rows of apple trees were replaced with vines. Initially, Turton-Molgat was going to build a new wine shop on the hillside but she opted to revamp the historic packing house built by her great grandfather Ward in 1922.
The tasting room has exposed original bricks on the walls, rough hewn wood floors and a sliding old farm door she found thrown into a pile. The View has already garnered awards since its inaugural vintage in 2007. I was especially taken by the 2009 Reserve Pinotage and the 2009 Pinotage, silky, elegant and fairly robust reds. You can’t miss this winery, located on East Kelowna’s Fab Five Wine Trail; just look for a large red shoe above the sign!
Finally, the food, wine and craft spirits here are a great complement to the area’s other tourism attributes such as its beaches, nightlife, golf courses, boating, and other outdoor activities.
For more information about Kelowna’s Wine Trails and for the Farm to Table Restaurants, visit tourismkelowna.com.
AT A GLANCE
Manteo Resort, Waterfront Hotel & Villas, 3762 Lakeshore Rd., Kelowna Toll free: 1-800-445-5255 Website: manteo.com.
Summerhill Pyramid Winery’s nest Chef Table Dinner, a seven-course wine paired meal in its lakefront Sunset Organic Bistro happens on May 31. It is limited to 24 people so if you are interested, call toll free 1-800-667-3538 or visit summerhill.bc.ca.
Arlo’s Honey Farm, 4329 Bedford Lane. Phone: 1-250-764-2883 or visit arloshoneyfarm.com. Tours run all summer long.
Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market is open Saturdays and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, visit kelownafarmersandcraftersmarket.com.
© Postmedia News 2012
Matt Crowell came up with the idea of getintheloop.ca, a partnership between local golf courses and golfers using the communication tools of the Internet.
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By Barry Gerding – Kelowna Capital News
Published: May 07, 2012 12:00 PM
Updated: May 07, 2012 12:38 PM
Many Okanagan residents like to golf and the numerous local courses want their business.
So a former Kelowna pro hockey player has come up with a partnership initiative to bring those two elements together.
Called Getintheloop.ca, the website was started up in the spring of last year by Matt Crowell to create an avenue for local courses to contact local golfers and make them aware of potential discounts and other tee time information on a daily basis.
The website started out as a text messaging service for club members, who joined for a $29.99 fee, which included a two for one package at The Harvest Golf Club and a deal every day of the week at one of the getintheloop.ca partner courses.
“We also hosted our first ever Golf Loop Night at The Harvest with prizes for everyone. All of our prizes were donated by local companies and it was a huge success,” Crowell said.
“We sold out. For a first year company and a totally new concept, we felt it was a successful season.”
Entering the 2012 golf season, the website membership is expected to double this year, and members are now contacted on golf deals daily by either email, text message or checking getintheloop.ca daily.
Part of the membership package this year includes a membership card, again a two for one deal at The Harvest, golf booklet savings valued at $89 and other service discounts.
“Our big focus now as a small company is helping local golfers and our partner courses,” Crowell said.
When Crowell returned home to Kelowna after playing pro hockey for a season with a team in Holland, he had his sites set on finding a job.
“I just came across the idea for a concept of bringing golfers and local golf courses together and I think what getintheloop.ca offers is a unique idea for that,” said Crowell.
The marketing side of his website business came naturally to Crowell, who graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a marketing degree, earning a scholarship after playing in the BCHL.
“My plan was to start a business at some point but not right away,” Crowell said. “But this idea came to me and I thought it was worth a shot.”
Crowell has some long-term idea for expanding the services available through the website to beyond the links, but for now the focus is on golf and expanding the membership base.
“I was a little overwhelmed last year with the many different options that can be done with a program like this. I just wanted to start small and get the service up and working for our golf partners and members, and then see where we can take it from there.”
For now, Crowell has a job as an account manager for commercial business at the Business Development Bank, and he works on his website during his off-hours.
While he has now moved on from his hockey playing days, Crowell said the sport has offered tremendous opportunities in life for him, calling his one-year stint in pro hockey in Europe as “the time of my life.”
“I still have friends over there who will be lifelong friends, teammates and people I got to know, some who will be coming to visit me this summer. I played in Holland but I actually lived in Belgium, and I visited nine different countries during my time there.”
Why are people choosing Kelowna?
by Contributed – Story: 75366
May 18, 2012 / 1:00 pm
Photo: Contributed – Stone Sisters
We were out showing homes yesterday to a family moving here from overseas. They have two young children and are moving to Kelowna for the lifestyle. They want to raise their family in a safe community, yet give their children access to cultural and sporting activities that may not be available in smaller communities. They like the fact that Kelowna has an international airport, as he will be travelling quite a bit with work. Having a university here in Kelowna (UBCO) – especially one with such a well-respected reputation – was another bonus.
But they are most excited about the quality of life that Kelowna will give them. They are looking forward to enjoying Okanagan Lake this summer and Big White ski resort this winter. They are impressed with the quality of our public and private schools. They love the beauty of the Okanagan and the friendliness of the people here.
This family was able to choose anywhere in the country to live – and they have chosen Kelowna! This makes us proud to be from this beautiful area, and to be able to share the wonder of our community with people moving here.
When someone is only visiting Kelowna for a short period of time, it can be stressful making a major decision – such as which neighbourhood to choose. We first got together with them to find out what their needs, wants and preferences were. We asked questions like what activities the children will be involved in (dance, hockey, swimming?) and if they want a view of the lake, or room to kick the soccer ball around in the back yard after dinner.
We then gave them a good map, with highlighted areas and got them to drive all over Kelowna. We suggested they stop for lunch and talk to the staff about what they love about living in Kelowna. We even suggested that they take a quick stroll through the neighbourhood grocery stores.
All of this helps people get a sense of what Kelowna has to offer and which area will be the best fit for them and their family’s needs.
They’ll call us tonight with a list of homes they want to see and a few of their favourite neighbourhoods. And tomorrow we’ll begin the hunt in earnest.
Tamara Stone Personal Real estate corp.
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Video: Airport hotel to open in 2013
by Castanet Staff – Story: 74076
Apr 18, 2012 / 5:43 pm
Perspective of a Four Points by Sheraton
Construction on a brand new hotel near Kelowna International Airport (YLW) , is well underway.
Argus Properties of Kelowna and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide unveiled plans to introduce a new 120 room Four Points Sheraton hotel off Highway 97N and Airport Way, on Wednesday.
Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Canon, Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray, and a several city councillors were in attendance for the announcement.
The new hotel will open with 120 guest rooms and suites in the spring of 2013. The Four Points by Sheraton has allowed for an additional 100 rooms to be built in a future second phase. Construction will provide 170,000 hours of work and the new hotel will employ 65 people full time.
Brian McGuiness, Starwood Senior Vice President, says Starwood is happy to provide a new hotel option for Kelowna.
“At Four Points, we offer a compelling blend of comfort, style and affordability, plus the award winning Starwood Preferred Guest Program.”
Ted Callahan, President and CEO of Argus Properties says the Four Point by Sheraton will be a great addition to business and tourism travels going through YLW.
“Our hotel is in a perfect location to take care of airport travellers and will provide another social or business choice for nearby residents of Quail Ridge and UBC Okanagan.”
There are 161 Four Points by Sheraton hotels in 27 countries.
Kelowna, British Columbia has long established itself as one of Canada’s premier tourist destinations. With its beautiful, balanced climate and picturesque scenery, the area is suitable for an assortment of activities across all four seasons. The long, hot summers lure boaters and golfers, while the snowfall brings snowboarders and skiers from around the world.
Besides being popular with Canadian and international travellers, Kelowna has also become one of the fastest growing cities in North America. The area is of course famous for its many vineyards, including the widely respected Mission Hill Winery, and the local wine producers and enthusiasts have helped cultivate a global reputation. Tourism is the lifeblood of the community, with a variety of attractions and destinations. To help you experience the rich local atmosphere more thoroughly than the average tourist, we are offering one of the very best in longer-term Kelowna vacation rentals.
As more people choose to spend their holidays, or longer, in Kelowna, vacation rentals can become difficult to secure while still meeting specific standards for temporary housing. We offer the highest quality Kelowna rentals because we believe that a home away from home is the ideal way to experience an unfamiliar area and culture. Accommodations can often make experiences as a visitor that much more satisfying, which is why we offer Acker Vacation Home Rentals that stands head and shoulders above other comparable Kelowna rentals.