The West Coast Culinary Experience

A press release about a very interesting tasting of BC wines and enjoying culinary dishes prepared at PICA on Granville Island.  Enjoy now till Oct 13, 2019.

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PICA (Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts) highlights BC’s best in new culinary activity

Vancouver, May 9, 2019 – The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts is excited to announce the debut of The West Coast Culinary Experience; an immersive exploration of British Columbia’s vibrant culinary landscape.
From the ocean to the mountains and Okanagan Valley, British Columbia boasts a rich and diverse terroir that produces a vast selection of regional ingredients. The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) will be highlighting the many flavours of the West Coast in their new culinary activity, The West Coast Culinary Experience is available for bookings now until October 13.
Located at the gateway to Granville Island, one of Canada’s most visited neighbourhoods and home to the iconic Granville Island Public Market, Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts is Vancouver’s leading culinary education center with classes for everyone from aspiring professionals and home chefs alike.
The West Coast Culinary Experience is a deep dive into the flavours of British Columbia and begins with a walking tour of Granville Island. The walking tour weaves through the bustling public market where guests will work up an appetite as they take in the many local artisans and food purveyors from butchers and chocolatiers to bakers and baristas. Tour guides are globally trained chefs, certified sommeliers, food writers, and food experts from PICA, who will answer questions and provide cooking tips, while they point out historical details and reveal hidden, cultural landmarks.
A sommelier-led wine tasting follows the walking tour and features four exceptional BC wines: Mission Hill, Quails Gate, Blue Mountain, and Hester Creek. Guests will experience the province’s different wine regions while learning about grape varieties and what’s new in winemaking during this interactive tasting session.
With thirsts quenched and appetites peaked, up next is a cooking demonstration and tasting. The instructing chef will share best practice for selecting the freshest fish and seafood and demonstrate various cooking techniques. This may include an exploration of traditional recipes from West Coast aboriginal nations or how to clean, filet, and debone a whole salmon. Guests will leave with a better understanding of local seafood and insights on current flavours and cooking styles.
three-course meal at PICA’s Blue Hat Bistro concludes the West Coast Culinary Experience. Guests will have two or three dishes to choose from for each course including vegetarian options.
The West Coast Culinary Experience is an interactive and immersive journey through the traditions, history, and trends of British Columbia’s cuisine. Guests will see, taste, and learn what makes the Vancouver and British Columbia world-class culinary destinations.
The West Coast Culinary Experience is available for booking seven days a week from May 1 until October 13. Tours begin at either 10:00 AM or 3:00 and last approximately 3 hours. Each tour can accommodate up to 16 guests and costs $167 per person before tax. For more information or booking, please call: 604.734.4488 or email: wcce@picachef.com or via eventbrite.

BC Wine Appreciation Society 10th Anniversary Gala – Get Your Tickets

Do you love BC wine, or want to try BC wine?  Here is a great chance at the 10th Anniversary Gala of the BC Wine Appreciation Society.   Their announcement is below.  Enjoy!

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BC Wine Appreciation Society logo10th Anniversary Gala-Over 45 Wineries – April 16/15

What’s New At Hester Creek Estate Winery?

Hester Creek Estate Winery in the South Okanagan has been slowly changing, putting several different pieces together, in the vineyards, the winery and around the winery, to put together a unique experience for their customers.  I enjoyed a few hours with General Manager Mark Sheridan and winemaker Robert Summers talking about the winery and some of their wines.  We met at Central Bistro in the west-end of downtown Vancouver.  Central Bistro is cozy, they source local ingredients as best as they can, and try to showcase BC VQA wines.  Hester Creek’s wines are on their list.

One of the things that you will notice with their wines is the changing of their bottle labels.  The new labels will be officially unveiled during the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fair in April.  The new label still keeps the logo of Hester swimming after a fish in the creek, but it is now smaller, and bringing forward the name of the winery and varietal(s).  It is very classy looking.  Another related labelling item is that their back label will have a ScanLife code which you can scan with your smart phone / iphone and it will provide you with a flavour profile and food pairings.  If you have not heard of a ScanLife code, it is a square shaped grid that can encode a significant amount of information.

What is in the bottle is also very important.  Winemaker Rob Summers described how they have improved their vineyards, installing drip irrigation, and now are using 100% Ganimede fermenters, which pump over the cap with their own CO2 produced during the fermentation process.  These fermenters according to Rob makes brighter fruit flavours and softer tannins.

Speaking about their wines, I was able to try two wines with Rob and Mark. The first wine was their Pinot Blanc 2009 ($15.99).  It had aromas of flowers, peach and melon on the nose for me.  Very vibrant fruit with medium acidity and a bit of roundness on the palate.  A long minerally finish.  I’d enjoy this wine this summer with some shellfish.  The other wine was their Reserve Cabernet Franc 2008 ($25.99).   Cabernet Franc grapes typically have an aroma profile that contains a cedar note.  For some reason the Cabernet Franc grapes do not have this cedar component, and instead have raspberry and strawberry aromas and flavours.  Something unique with their terroir, and that is what is so interesting about wines, and where they are produced. Their Reserve Cabernet Franc had a very fruity nose with raspberry, strawberry and some oak.  Lots of bright raspberry fruit flavour.  Medium acidity with a vanilla undertone and nutmeg spice.  Medium length with a cherry / spice finish.  In both cases, there was bright, vibrant fruit, and that is a character theme they want to have across their wines.

The Next Chapter for Rob Summers is his “The Judge” ultra-premium wine.  With this wine he wants to show that he has something special at Hester Creek, when the weather, terroir, and vineyard practices all mesh together.  This wine is a blend of his best lots in the cellar of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, to produce a wine that will age for several years.  The wine from each grape is matured for up to two years separately, then are blended together and the blend is then further aged.  Only 200 cases of The Judge will be produced.

On top of the wines, there are 6 villas where you can stay, a stylish curved bar, an executive barrel room, a dining room, and a gift shop.  And if you are a foodie, Hester Creek is offering a teaching kitchen that seats up to 14 people.  Past chefs have included Chef Neil Taylor of Vancouver’s Cibo Trattoria, Chef Heinz Schmid of Kaleden’s Catering Done right, and famed restauranteur Umberto Menghi.

That is Part 1 of my article on Hester Creek.  Part 2 will be in summer this year when I visit Hester Creek Winery’s winery.  I am looking forward to it.  Enjoy!

Valentines Day Celebrations with Hester Creek Winery

Are you a romantic person like me?  Like to do something nice with your partner for Valentines day?  How about this weekend get away at Hester Creek Winery in the Okanagan.  Their details are below.  Enjoy!

 

  • Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Valentine’s at Hester Creek Estate Winery

    Give the gift of Valentine’s at Hester Creek Estate Winery

    Saturday, February 12th, let romance be the order of the day. Celebrate the Valentine in your life with a dine & stay weekend at ‘The Villa’ at Hester Creek. Saturday evening, enjoy a multi-course dinner designed and prepared by Chef Roger Planiden. Hester Creek Estate award winning wines are skillfully paired with local and seasonal flavours intended to inspire an evening to remember. The incredible artistry of classical guitarist William Leggott creates the perfect mood for this intimate evening. Later, retire to one of our Deluxe Guest Suites, unrivaled in the South Okanagan for their dedication to quality and excellence. Each suite is beautifully appointed with the utmost attention to detail. As well, a delicious breakfast awaits you in the morning. Make this a truly romantic weekend get away by adding a second night to your stay.


    Valentine Menu
    Prepared by Chef Roger Planiden


    Truffle Scented Celery Root Veloute with Dungeness Crab
    2008 Pinot Gris


    Pan Seared Scallop Cucumber and Apple Slaw Sherry Gastrique
    2008 Pinot Blanc

    Raspberry Sorbet

    Roasted Tenderloin of Beef Wrapped in Pastry For “Two”
    Filled with Forest Mushroom Duxelle and Arugula with Sauce Bernaise
    Libraried 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
    Chocolate Trio
    Bitter Chocolate Brule, White Chocolate Soup, Warm Chocolate Pudding
    2007 Reserve Merlot
    Dinner reception: 6:30 pm
    Dinner served 7:00 pm
    Cost: $455.00 per couple includes one night in a deluxe “Villa” suite, dinner, live music, wine, & gratuities.

    Limited seating available.
    For reservations, please contact, thevilla@hestercreek.com or call 250-498-4435

Enjoy some BC Pinot Gris this summer

I thought to help summer along, I’d point out some white wines that you may be interested in trying on your patio. Today I’d like to focus on BC Pinot Gris. I think BC Pinot Gris are very nicely made. They typically have a lot of nice ripe stone fruit, e.g. peach, flavours, apples, and good acidity to make them refreshing in your mouth. Try with some seafood this summer too.

A quick search on the EverythingWine.ca website, came up with 28 BC Pinot Gris in the $15-$25 range.

Arrowleaf Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $18.99 More information about Arrowleaf  Pinot Gris 750 mL
Black Widow Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $24.99 More information about Black Widow  Pinot Gris 750 mL
Cassini Cellars Pinot Gris 750mL Pinot Gris $15.99 More information about Cassini Cellars  Pinot Gris 750mL
Chase & Warren Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $18.99 More information about Chase & Warren Pinot Gris 750 mL
Church & State Wines Pinot Gris 750mL Pinot Gris $23.99 More information about Church & State Wines Pinot Gris 750mL
Desert Hills Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $24.99 More information about Desert Hills  Pinot Gris 750 mL
Gray Monk Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $16.99 More information about Gray Monk  Pinot Gris 750 mL
Herder Vineyards Pinot Gris 750ml Pinot Gris $21.99 More information about Herder Vineyards Pinot Gris 750ml
Hester Creek Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $16.99 More information about Hester Creek  Pinot Gris 750 mL
Hillside Estate Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $22.99 More information about Hillside Estate Pinot Gris 750 mL
Hillside Estate Unoaked Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $23.99 More information about Hillside Estate Unoaked Pinot Gris 750 mL
Kalala Organic Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2008 750 mL Pinot Gris $21.99 More information about Kalala Organic Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2008 750 mL
Kettle Valley Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $24.99 More information about Kettle Valley  Pinot Gris 750 mL
Lake Breeze Vineyards Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $21.99 More information about Lake Breeze Vineyards Pinot Gris 750 mL
Lang Vineyards Pinot Gris 750ml Pinot Gris $19.99 More information about Lang Vineyards Pinot Gris 750ml
Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $18.99 More information about Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Pinot Gris 750 mL
Nichol Pinot Gris 750ml Pinot Gris $23.99 More information about Nichol Pinot Gris 750ml
Pentage Pinot Gris Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $24.99 More information about Pentage Pinot Gris Pinot Gris 750 mL
Poplar Grove 2008 Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $24.99 More information about Poplar Grove 2008 Pinot Gris 750 mL
Red Rooster Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $17.99 More information about Red Rooster Pinot Gris 750 mL
Saltspring Vineyards Pinot Gris 750 ml Pinot Gris $19.99 More information about Saltspring Vineyards Pinot Gris 750 ml
Sperling Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $23.99 More information about Sperling Pinot Gris 750 mL
Thornhaven Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $21.99 More information about Thornhaven  Pinot Gris 750 mL
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Pinot Gris 750ml Pinot Gris $16.99 More information about Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Pinot Gris 750ml
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Pinot Gris 750ml Pinot Gris $18.99 More information about Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Pinot Gris 750ml
Township 7 Pinot Gris 750ml Pinot Gris $23.99 More information about Township 7  Pinot Gris 750ml
Van Westen Vino Grigio Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $23.99 More information about Van Westen Vino Grigio Pinot Gris 750 mL
Wild Goose Vineards Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $21.99 More information about Wild Goose Vineards  Pinot Gris 750 mL

I’ve talked about some of these wines and/or wineries in the past on www.mywinepal.com or on my blog. The Van Westen Vino Grigio Pinot Gris, Thornhaven Pinot Gris, and Black Widow Pinot Gris are a few I’d like to select out as ones that I have enjoyed in the past.
Thornhaven Pinot Gris 2008: Very aromatic. Apple, peach and spice on the nose. Apple and other fruits. Spicy. Quite full bodied.

Van Westen Vino Grigio Pinot Gris 2007: Medium straw colour. Aromas of apple and spice. Citrus and spice on the palate. Full mouthfeel and good acidity.

Black Widow Pinot Gris 2008: Light lemon colour. Nice tropical fruit aroma with light oak. Good acidity. Apple, plum and spice on the palate.

So raise a toast to the start of summer and enjoy some BC Pinot Gris! Cheers.

Hester Creek wine tasting

Last evening I was selected with a few other bloggers to sit down with Rob Summers, the wine maker from Hester Creek Estate Winery, in downtown Vancouver. Rob comes originally from the Niagara region in Ontario working for larger wineries, and has moved to the Oliver area in BC in 2006, to work for the boutique winery, Hester Creek. It sounds like he really enjoys all the hands-on work and the wonderfully dry Okanagan climate. Hester Creek is one of the oldest wineries in BC.

Hester Creek Estate winery, besides having 95 acres of vineyards for producing wine, also has 6 villas for visitors. I’d say one of the most famous visitors from last year staying at a villa, is the renowned wine writer, Jancis Robinson. The villas and new winery buildings opened up last year, so if you have seen the winery from August 2009 or older, you haven’t seen their latest and greatest operation.

We went through 3 white and 3 red wines. The first white was the Pinot Blanc 2008. This is Hester Creek’s best selling white, along with their Pinot Gris. The Pinot Blanc was pale lemon colour with a slight green tinge. Light aromas on the nose. Some spice, some apple, some honey. Light in body with a light apple flavour and medium acidity. An easy sipper. The next white was their Semillon Chardonnay 2008. This is a 50/50 blend. This wine had some lemon, some sweetness, some waxiness and greenness on the nose. Medium body with slight roundness in the mouth. Apple and lemon flavours. The final white of the evening was their Trebbiano 2008. Trebbiano is the second most planted grape in the world, and is used in the production of cognac. It is known for it’s high level of acidity. This one had light green apple and floweriness on the nose. Light body, with almond and apple flavours, and good acidity. The acidity made it a nice pairing with some of the hard cheeses they had for us to nibble with the wines.

On the red side, we tried their Merlot 2008, Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot 2008, and the Reserve Cabernet Franc 2006. The first two wines were not overly extracted in colour, giving them lightness in body. The Merlot 2008 had a very wild nose, with sausage, smoke, plum and cherries. I quite enjoyed nosing this wine. On the palate it had medium tannins, with plum and cherry flavours and a slightly oaky finish. The Cabernet / Merlot 2008 is their best selling red. This wine is light garnet in colour, not an overpowering nose. Red fruits with a bit of sausage aromas. On the palate there were cherry flavours with light tannins. The final red wine of the night, and my favourite, was the Reserve Cabernet Franc 2006. Cabernet Franc doesn’t get the limelight that Cabernet Sauvignon gets, but if it is made well, is an exceptionally nice wine to drink. This wine being reserve level was deeper garnet in colour. Vanilla and cedar on the nose. Firm tannins, with a round mouthfeel. Red cherry flavours, with medium length and cherry finish.

Again, thanks to Rob Summers for leading us through this tasting. If you are out in the Okanagan, drive down to the “Golden Mile” in Oliver and visit the Hester Creek winery. I did record the tasting, and will be posting it on www.MyWinePal.com hopefully soon. Enjoy!