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


The Fraser Valley Culture and Craft Beer Festival is Back!

Craft beer is a growing concern around the world.  In the Vancouver lower mainland I am constantly tripping over new craft breweries.  The celebration of this craft, and sharing experiences with other beer lovers happens with beer festivals.  One such festival is happening at the Fraser Valley Culture and Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, September 26, 2015. Below is the information I recently received about the event.  Enjoy!


Fraser Valley Culture and Beer Festival in action

Fraser Valley Culture and Beer Festival in action

CHILLIWACK, BC— Calling all lovers of craft beer, culture, and community spirit – the Fraser Valley Culture & Craft Beer Festival is back! Taking place on Saturday September 26, 2015 at 7:00PM, the third annual fall fundraiser will once again fill The Centre with the sounds of laughter and good cheer. And the very best thing? All funds raised at the event go towards supporting The Centre’s arts and crafts programs! Chilliwack Arts & Cultural Centre Society president Doug Wickers had this to say about the event: “Culture and craft beer are a happy union again this fall. Both previous events sold out well in advance, so don’t delay in getting a group of friends together for an evening of suds, food, and live entertainment – and get ready for an incredible night supporting the arts!”

Combining the best of British Columbia’s thriving microbrewery industry, delicious bites, rocking live music and an astounding selection of prizes in the silent auction, the Fraser Valley Culture & Craft Beer Festival is only getting bigger and better every year! 2015’s festival will see the brewery count increased to an amazing 25, bringing in more beers for patrons to sample than ever before, as well as the entertainment factor cranked up with performances from both rhythm and blues/rockabilly band Six Gun Romeo and folk/rock duo LB 4 LB! To add even more fun to the festivities, the Silent Auction will be overflowing with unbelievable prizes, including the tantalizing ‘Beer for a Year’ supply from Chilliwack’s own brew-master, Old Yale Brewing. If a weekly 32 ounce growler of local craft beer sounds good to you, then that is the bid you do NOT want to miss out on!

With craft beer’s presence in our region exploding in recent years, The Centre cannot wait to provide patrons the opportunity to sample suds offered by some of British Columbia’s best breweries! Joining our hometown favourite, Old Yale Brewing, will be household name of craft beer Granville Island Brewing, plus Howe Sound Brewing Company and Steamworks Brewery. Other breweries available for patrons to sample will be: Big River Brewing Company, Black Kettle Brewing Company, Bomber Brewing, Bridge Brewing, Canuck Empire Brewing, Dead Frog Brewery, Fernie Brewing Company, Four Winds Brewery, Hoyne Brewing Company, Mission Springs Brewing Company, Moon Under Water, Old Abbey Ales, Pacific Western Brewing Company, Phillips Brewing Company, Parallel 49 Brewing Company, Ravens Brewing Company, Red Truck Beer, Russell Brewing Company, and Yellow Dog Brewing Company, as well as Beverage Concepts International and McClelland Premium Imports, who will be pouring a select range of beers. With this incredible line up, whether your beer of choice offers the sharp sensations of IPA, flows with the dark texture and flavour of Stout, or carries a velvety Porter finish, this fantastic event is guaranteed to hit the spot with those who like to wash down their culture with a delicious brew… or two!

And capping off the night will be the Festival Favourite announcement! Upon entry patrons will be handed a token with which to vote for their favourite brewery, with the winner being presented a trophy celebrating their role as best of the fest! Finally, if you pick up a taste for a particular brew throughout the night, Best Western Liquor Store will be on-site in The Centre’s Odlum Brown Studio to make sure you can take home a few bottles of your new favourite craft beer. 10% of sales will go right back into The Centre’s arts and crafts programs, so for a completely guilt-free beer shopping trip, make sure to give these guys a visit!

The previous two Fraser Valley Culture & Craft Beer Festivals truly hit the spot with our patrons, and with both events selling out months before the big day you do not want to wait for last call to pick up a ticket for this exceptional and exhilarating local fundraiser. Chilliwack Cultural Centre Development Officer and festival organizer KellyAnne TeBrinke summed things up perfectly! “The idea to create a craft beer festival in Chilliwack occurred three years ago, and with every year selling out well in advance, this event only continues to evolve. We are so grateful to our community for their support of the arts, and love that they love craft beer! With the amazing breweries on board, caterers and restaurants represented like never before, and a Silent Auction featuring one-of-a-kind prizes, you truly do not want to miss this year’s Fraser Valley Culture & Craft Beer Festival – it has put Chilliwack on the map for sure!”

Tickets are $45 and are available now both online and from The Centre Box Office, so either or call 604-391-SHOW(7469) to get your fill of craft beer, culture, and ridiculously good times!

This is a 19+ event.

Fraser Valley Culture & Craft Beer Festival is generously sponsored by

Platinum Sponsor: Waterstone Law Group LLP.

Gold Sponsors: LawnPro/Weedman, Major League 2 Pub, Murray Honda, Promontory Liquor Store/Dukes Pub, Sarah Toop.

Silver Sponsors: Canex Building Supplies Ltd., Soprema Inc., Bathe Plumbing.

Bronze Sponsors: Chill-Air, Chilliwack Carpet One Floor & Home, Minter Country Garden, Edge Nutrition, Drake Entrust Mortgage Services, FYidoctors, Mike’s Computer Shop, Mt Waddington’s Outdoors, O’Connor Dodge Chrysler Jeep, Sandal Foods Inc., True North Brew Supply, and Unika.

Entertainment Sponsor: One Yellow Tree.

Producing Partners: The Rotary Club of Chilliwack, The Chilliwack Arts & Cultural Centre Society.

Media Sponsors: Chilliwack Progress, The Drive.

Accommodation Sponsor: The Royal Hotel.

Glassware Sponsor: Doug’s Keymart.

Food Sponsors: Curly Kale Catering, Faspa & Co., Fraser Valley Meats, Guerilla BBQ, Hofstede’s Country Barn, and Simply Savory Valley Catering.

Lotusland Vineyards tasting room

Lotusland Wines Sunday Dinner in the Vineyard – Last Date Sept 15

Lotusland Vineyards tasting room

Lotusland Vineyards tasting room

Here is the latest and last Sunday dinner in the vineyard for this year with Lotusland Vineyards.  Carpe diem.


We invite you to join us this summer for evenings of Turkish food and music in the magical setting that is the Lotusland Vineyard.

Our evenings start at 6 pm with Turkish Meza (appies) at the Lotusland Boutique.

After a tour of the winery we settle in the vineyard for a sumptuous three course dinner each paired perfectly with our own Lotusland wines.


$75 per person with wine pairings.
$55 for those who choose not to drink

To book your place at the table or for more information please contact Liz or Sandra at 604-857-4188.

Menu for September 15th , 2013

To Start

Fried Cypriot Cheese with a Turkish Shepard’s Salad

The Entree
Honeydew Dolma

Honeydew stuffed with an exotically spiced meat and rice filling

Turkish Mixed Grill

Chicken, Lamb and Beef Kebap grilled to perfection. Served with Bulgar Pilaf and Fried Zucchini with a Garlic Yogurt Sauce

Devil’s Delight

Profiteroles Filled with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Fraser Valley wineries – A short summer trip

Well summer is here! Sort of. Well, hopefully soon. Don’t let the poor weather slow you down though. Short weekend trips in the Fraser Valley could be a way to cheer your spirits. There are many wineries in BC’s Fraser Valley. They are open to the public with tasting rooms, and are probably at most a 45 minute drive from most places in Vancouver.

So which wineries can you visit in the Fraser Valley (I put in the web links for you)?
Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery & Bacchus Bistro

The Fort Wine Company

Lotusland Vineyards

Pacific Breeze Winery

Neck of the Woods Winery

River’s Bend Winery

Sanduz Estate Winery

St. Urban Winery Ltd.

Wellbrook Winery

Westham Island Estate Winery

Lulu Island Winery

Township 7 Vineyards

Blue Heron Fruit Winery

Some of these wineries you may see from the links to their websites are berry fruit (not grape-based) wines. If you haven’t tried a berry fruit wine, such as from red currant or blueberry, give it a try. I think the berry fruit wines, served chilled would be nice in the summer on the patio.


John Schreiner’s Okanagan Wine Tour Guide

The third edition of John Schreiner’s Okanagan Wine Tour guide is now available. I received my copy about a week ago, and I’ve been slowly reading through it. My bedside book. Eventhough I travel quite regularly to the Okanagan, it is still a pleasure to read through John Schreiner’s book as I learn something about a winery I did not know, or he covers a new winery that I have not yet visited. Some new wineries in the book include Beaumont Family Estate winery, Volcanic Hills Vineyard & Cellars, and Ancient Hill Vineyards & Winery.

This book is good for those of you who are new to the Okanagan winery scene and need to get up-to-speed quickly. John provides 1 – 1.5 pages of text about each winery, and his recommendations for which wine(s) to try from each winery. What I also like is that it has the address, telephone number, website, and visiting hours for each winery.

This third edition, provided updated and revised information of the already established wineries plus info on 40 new wineries since the last edition. What I also like, is that the book has a map showing the locations of all the wineries he covers, plus he talks a bit about different “regions” within the Okanagan, such as “The Golden Mile” and “Naramata Bench“. You may want to know what makes the Naramata Bench unique? Is it the soil? The direction the slope of the land faces; is it the proximity to Lake Okanagan? Useful info in this section.

If you want/need more details and history about these wineries, you may want to purchase John Schriener’s “The Wineries of British Columbia“, which covers both Okanagan wineries, plus the wineries in the Fraser Valley, the Gulf Islands, and Vancouver Island.

Enjoy the summer and enjoy some wine touring in BC!

Fraser Valley Wineries Association 2nd Annual Wine & Culinary Extravaganza

var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);
document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));

try {
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-3295479-2”);
} catch(err) {}Today was a beautiful day for the Fraser Valley Wineries Association 2nd Annual Wine & Culinary Extravaganza in south Langley. A large tent was set up, wines were chilled, and hot & cold appetizers were plenty. Some of the wineries offered grape based wines, which most of us think of, but there were also several fruit berry wineries. On the grape-side we had:
– Domaine de Chaberton Estate Wine
– Lotusland Vineyards
– Pacific Breeze Winery

– River’s Bend Winery

On the fruit berry side there was:
– Westham Island Estate Winery
– Wellbrook Winery
– Sanduz Estate Wines

– The Fort Wine Company

Some people say they get headaches after drinking red wine from grapes. This could be due to the tannins in some of the heavier reds, such as from syrah, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot. There are lighter bodied reds, with less tannins, such as gamay and pinot noir. But there is also another route that these red wine suffers may want to take, and that is to drink red berry wine. At today’s event, I was able to try wine made from blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, red currant, and black currant. I enjoyed the currant wines the most, as they were the closest to grape wine for me, but I can appreciate the other wines as well. There was also dessert (sweet) fruit wines to sample. One I enjoyed was the Sanduz blueberry dessert wine. It was almost porty.

On the grape side, I was very happy to find out that Lotusland Vineyards is an organic winery and also uses wild fermentation (that is using the native yeast in the vineyard to ferment the wines. The other method is to purchase specialized yeasts for fermentation.) Their gewurztraminer had a lychee / pear nose was light bodied and had a delicate flavour. Their pinot noir and merlot was also very nice. I unfortunately did not have a tasting sheet to make notes, for these wines or the other wines, but I do remember which wines I enjoyed the most. If you like big Rhone style or Bordeaux style wines, Pacific Breeze Winery, was pouring a Vin de Gariste and a GSM (Grenache / Syrah / Mouvedre) blend. They also had a very full bodied, creamy chardonnay. Another winery I enjoyed was River’s Bend. They had a very nice white blend called Flaxen, a Viognier, and a Pinot Gris. On the red side, their 2006 Black Horse, a blend of Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, was nice paired up with the pulled pork sandwich from Memphis Blues Barbeque.

There were several other local restaurants, such as Coza Tuscan Grill and Sonoma Grill serving up appetizers to go with the wines. The event was overall run very well. I’d recommend people to attend next year’s event so you can also try out these wines, or take a 1-day weekend trip to visit each winery.