Fall flavours of Aboriginal Okanagan

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Posted September 19, 2017 by Adrian Brijbassi in aboriginal
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Among the inventive dishes at Red Fox Club, the on-site restaurant at Indigenous World Winery, is smoked salmon with pine vinaigrette. (Photo courtesy of Red Fox Club)

Story by Adrian Brijbassi
Vacay.ca Managing Editor

As British Columbia’s bread basket and wine country, the fertile Okanagan Valley provides Western Canada with both sustenance and connoisseur experiences. Thanks to harvest season, the fall is a terrific time to visit the region. Named after the Indigenous people who have occupied the valley for more than 5,000 years, the Okanagan is a place where visitors can enjoy Aboriginal culinary excursions that provide an added taste of culture and history.

Here are five destinations that provide a rich and authentic Okanagan experience, and with fall food events you’ll want to mark on your calendars.

Indigenous World Winery and the Red Fox Club

Owned by Robert Louie, former Chief of the Westbank First Nation, and his wife, Bernice, Indigenous World Winery produces award-winning wines from its vineyards near Kelowna. Its on-site restaurant, the Red Fox Club, features a menu inspired by Aboriginal cuisine. This fall, the restaurant is hosting a series of Teepee Dinners where Indigenous cuisine and wine will be showcased.

The Teepee Dinners include five-course wine paired events (September 28-29, $155 per person), Indigenous Food and Culture Celebrations (October 1-2, $85) and a six-course Modern Harvest Feast (October 6-7, $155).

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Indigenous World Winery is all geared up for fall with its seasonal menu and Teepee Dinners. (Photo courtesy of Indigenous World Winery)

In a region of the BC Interior famous for its fall culinary events, the Teepee Dinners stand out for their eternal connection to the land and its earliest people.

Address: 2218 Horizon Drive East, Kelowna
Website: indigenousworldwinery.com
Menu Price Range: Main courses range from $23-$36, and include Rangeland Elk Bavette “Roulade” ($30) with wojapi berry sauce, corn, and walnut and oat risotto, and Smoked Paprika Cured Ling Cod ($26). Don’t pass up the Native Spiced Popcorn ($3).

NK’Mip Cellars and Spirit Ridge Resort

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The Okanagan Valley’s glorious scenery and outstanding culinary delights are on display this fall at Spirit Ridge Resort at NK’Mip Cellars. (Adrian Brijbassi/Vacay.ca)

This landmark establishment in Osoyoos ties wine, food, relaxation and culture together in one elegant complex. NK’Mip is known for being the first Aboriginal-owned winery in North America and is increasingly recognized as a producer of high-quality wines, too. In 2016, it was named the Intervin Canadian Winery of the Year and won Double Gold at the All Canadian Wine Championships for the Riesling from its top-tier Qwam Qwmt (pronounced kw-em kw-empt) line.

You’ll have the chance to indulge in seven of NK’Mip’s finest wines at its Winemakers’ Dinner on September 30 ($120 per person). Each of the five courses in the dinner will be paired with one or two varieties from the winery.

Arranging for a place to stay after the dinner isn’t a challenge either. Thanks to the luxurious Spirit Ridge Resort at NK’Mip Cellars, you can happily make your way to your room after the feast. Spirit Ridge’s rooms are spacious and some include full kitchens.

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Guest at Spirit Ridge enjoy a sweeping view of Lake Osoyoos, its surrounding mountains and the NK’Mip Cellars vineyards. (Adrian Brijbassi/Vacay.ca)

Complete your stay with a visit to the NK’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, where you’ll learn about the Osoyoos Indian Band, members of the Okanagan Nation, and their heritage. As well, you’ll discover why this part of British Columbia — considered the largest desert in the country outside of the Arctic regions — has geological and agricultural advantages that allow it to produce such an abundance of great wine and food.

Address: 1200 Rancher Creek Road, Osoyoos
Website: www.nkmipcellars.com
Menu Price Range: Dinner entrees at the on-site restaurant, Mica, at Spirit Ridge cost between $19-$43. The restaurant serves three courses and also includes casual fare such as pizzas and burgers.  

Kekuli Café

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Bannock never looked this good! At Kekuli Cafe, you can try Saskatoon Berry or Skor varieties of the flatbread. (Photo courtesy of Kekuli Cafe)

Bannock is the star of the show at Kekuli — whose name means “Pithouse” in the language of the Thompson Okanagan First Nations. Owner Sharon Bond-Hogg elevates the making of the famous Aboriginal flatbread, making it a multi-flavoured treat that can be used in a variety of ways.

At Kekuli, you can savour gourmet flavours such as Saskatoon Berry, Mocha or Apples and Cinnamon. Or you can enjoy a breakfast bannock, stuffed with eggs and cheese and options such as smoked salmon, bacon, or spinach and tomato. Burgers come served with bannock as the buns. There are also bannock sandwiches and popular Indian Tacos with bannock serving as the bread.

When you visit the Okanagan, be sure to make a stop in to try bannock, a food interwined with the land and the people. You may discover it for the first time, or see the possibilities it can inspire when a talented chef puts her imagination to work.

Kekuli has locations in Westbank and Merritt. The Merritt location is on Nlaka’pa’mux Nation territory while the Westbank franchise is in the Okanagan Nation.

Addresses: Addresses: 3041 Louie Drive #505, Westbank; and 2051 Voght Street, Merritt
Website: www.kekulicafe.com
Menu Price Range: The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, including desserts, coffees and tea. Most items cost less than $10.

MORE ABORIGINAL BC EXPERIENCES

5 Unique Vancouver Island Tours — From whale watching to exploring Indigenous culture to a salmon feast in a public park, Vancouver Island is filled with fantastic outings into the heart of AboriginalBC. Find out more here.

Golf, Spa and Relax in Aboriginal Resorts This Fall — Did you know you can enjoy luxury spa treatments, fine-dining escapes and golf rounds on championship courses while also enjoying Indigenous hospitality and culture? This article informs you of five places in British Columbia where you can do just that.

Authenticity Found with Indigenous Tours — Members of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht band are featured in a three-part video series focused on the culture of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation and their ancestral land on Vancouver Island. Learn more now.


About the Author

Adrian Brijbassi
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Adrian is the editor of Vacay.ca and his articles are frequently syndicated by the Huffington Post and appear in the Globe & Mail. He makes regular appearances on CTV News, TSN Radio and CJSF Radio, talking about travel, sports, creative writing and journalism. A former editor at the Toronto Star and New York Newsday, Adrian has won numerous awards for his travel writing and fiction, and has visited more than 30 countries. He is also a judge for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and spearheaded the Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada list that debuted in April 2012.

 
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