Abbotsford Harvest Dinner setting at Mt Lehman Winery

Abbotsford Harvest Dinner – Wine, Beer, Main Dishes and Dessert

Circle Farm TourMany of us aspire to the 100 mile diet.  Keeping our food local.  Supporting our farmers.  But here in Vancouver, have you considered that those farmers, might be a 30-45 minute drive away in Abbotsford, in the Fraser Valley?  I was invited as part of the Circle Farm Tour to experience an Abbotsford Harvest Dinner, and was pleasantly surprised by the bounty of food, wine and beer that is available.

The dinner starting with chatting and sampling local beer from Ravens Brewing Company.  This brewery just opened earlier this year and collaborates with local growers and suppliers to craft artisan beer.  I tried their English Dark Mild.  It was indeed dark, with a charcoal and dark malt flavour to it, but not too heavy, so that you can enjoy more food and wine.

The dishes we enjoyed were:

  • Campbell’s Gold honey roasted, local delicata squash with pumpkin seeds, Abbotsford goat cheese from Mt. Lehman Cheese (appetizer)
  • Maple Hills Farm’s chicken roulade with creamy polenta and kale chips (appetizer)
  • Lepp Farm Market’s pork loin wrapped in bacon with savory shallot and plum marmalade (entree)
  • Yarrow Meadows’ duck breast with balsamic pearl onions (entree)
  • Roasted local beets and parsnips (entree)
  • Organic Fraser Valley rice risotto with roasted shiitake mushrooms (entree)
  • Birchwood Dairy’s vanilla ice cream topped with Gojoy Berries’ goji berry compote (dessert)
  • Onnink’s chocolate blueberry bonbons (dessert)

I must say that it was nice to meet, or have the farmers from Abbotsford introduce themselves to us as we sat at a beautifully set table in the barrel room of Mt. Lehman Winery.  Thanks also to Chef Jeff Massey from Restaurant 62 who prepared all these dishes for us.

The farmers supplying our food and drink are:

The dishes come from fresh ingredients from the vegetables, to the pork, chicken and duck.  A few standout dishes for me were first the honey roasted local delicata squash with pumpkin seeds and goat cheese.  Creamy sweetness from the squash, with creaminess from the cheese and a bit of crunch from the pumpkin seeds.  The Lepp Farm Market’s pork loin wrapped in bacon was also outstanding for me.  The bacon comes from Lepp, and is smoked by them.  No artificially aged bacon here.  The flavour of the bacon was really outstanding and makes you think about the industrial bacon you buy in grocery stores.  No comparison.  If you have never tried roasted beets, give them a try.  I really like the earthiness of the beets.  And the blueberry bonbons are also a very tasty way to end dessert.  Good quality chocolate mixed with blueberries.  You cannot go wrong with this combination.  All the dishes were very good, and I present to you pictures of these dishes for your visual consumption below.  If any of this food or wine sparks your interest, drive out to Abbotsford and buy from these farmers.

I must especially thank winery owner Vern Siemens for opening bottles of every white and red wine I think they make, for us to experiment and pair with all the dishes at our Abbotsford Harvest dinner.  I in particular liked Mt. Lehman’s Pinot Noir and Unoaked Chardonnay, and felt they made good pairings with many dishes.

Mt Lehman Unoaked Chardonnay Pinot Gris Pinot Noir and Merlot Reserve wines

Mt Lehman Unoaked Chardonnay Pinot Gris Pinot Noir and Merlot Reserve wines

Ravens Brewing Company English Dark Mild beer

Ravens Brewing Company English Dark Mild beer

Campbells Gold honey roasted local delicata squash with pumpkin seeds, Abbotsford goat cheese from Mt Lehman Cheese

Campbell’s Gold honey roasted local delicata squash with pumpkin seeds, Abbotsford goat cheese from Mt Lehman Cheese

Maple Hills Farm's chicken roulade with creamy polenta and kale chips

Maple Hills Farm’s chicken roulade with creamy polenta and kale chips

Roasted local beets and parsnips

Roasted local beets and parsnips

Yarrow Meadows' duck breast with balsamic pearl onions

Yarrow Meadows’ duck breast with balsamic pearl onions

Organic Fraser Valley rice risotto with roasted shiitake mushrooms

Organic Fraser Valley rice risotto with roasted shiitake mushrooms

Lepp Farm Market's pork loin wrapped in bacon with savory shallot and plum marmalade

Lepp Farm Market’s pork loin wrapped in bacon with savory shallot and plum marmalade

Birchwood Dairy's vanilla ice cream topped with Gojoy Berries' goji berry compote

Birchwood Dairy’s vanilla ice cream topped with Gojoy Berries’ goji berry compote

 

Lulu Island Winery Spring 2011 Wine Release Party

April 9 and 10, 2011 was the Spring Wine Release Party at Lulu Island Winery, located in Richmond, BC. This was not a release of all their new vintages .There were three fruit wines released, one of which is a brand new fruit wine for me. The three fruit wines I tasted were:

  • Raspberry 2008 ($15.95)
  • Cranberry 2007 ($16.95)
  • Passion Fruit 2006 ($18.95)

The raspberries and cranberries are sourced locally. The raspberries coming from Abbotsford and the cranberries from Richmond. I haven’t seen any passion fruit trees growing locally, and found out the fruit for this wine came from Taiwan in pulp format.

All three fruit wines have sweetness between 2 and 4, so you would think you would be tasting quite sweet libations, but you would be wrong. These three wines have nice tart acidity that balances out the sugar.

The Raspberry 2008 is deep garnet in colour with aromas of juicy raspberries and floweriness. Dry mouthfeel with sour raspberry flavour. This was a nice pairing with some ripe strawberries at the tasting.

The Cranberry 2007 had red cherry and cranberry aromas. Sour red cherry and cranberry flavour. Medium length. Also good with the strawberries.

The Passion Fruit 2006 had a very intriguing aromas and flavours. This wine had a beautiful golden colour in the glass.  How do you describe passion fruit aroma and flavour to someone that has not grown up with this fruit?  My initial stab at a description was honey, peach and ripe topical fruit.  The wine also had a dried raisin flavour to it too.  Very dry with medium body.  Lots of pucker power with this wine.  Good crisp acidity.

While I was there, I thought I’d try two of the red wines which I had before.  The Lulu Island Cabernet Franc 2009 ($24.95) was deep garnet in colour.  Slight cedar on the nose along with red cherries.  On the palate it was soft in the mouth with ripe red cherries, vanilla and cedar flavours.  Low tannins and medium length.  A very enjoyable wine.

The Lulu Island Meritage 2009 ($31.95) is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot.  It had a dark fruit nose.  Quite round mouthfeel. Cherries, raspberries and vanilla on the palate.  Soft tannins with some spice on the finish.  Another nice wine.

Lulu Island’s current vintages of Merlot 2009, Pinot Noir 2009, and Blueberry wines are SOLD OUT.  Their Late Harvest Merlot stock is low.  Take a weekend trip to Lulu Island Winery.  They are in Richmond so not too far to go for Vancouverites.  Be a tourist in your own city.  Enjoy!