Search

naramata-blend

Life in a slow place that quickly steals your heart.

Hyper local, hyper fresh, hyper delicious Urtica Eatery at Legend Distilling

Urtica & Legend (36 of 38).JPG
Photo: Cedar Photography

Chef Josh Bender and his new restaurant Urtica Eatery at Legend Distilling in Naramata are taking eating local and sustainable to a whole new level. He grows or forages as many of the vegetables and herbs as he can and sources the rest from neighbouring farms. In addition to lovely local fruit the Valley is known for world-wide, Chef Josh serves only sustainably farmed meats, seafood, dairy and eggs.

After a busy day serving guests at Urtica, Chef Josh unwinds at his Naramata property by tending his 12 garden beds and 100 containers of vegetables and herbs and the containers he has planted at the restaurant itself.

“I cooked as a kid,” he says as he offers me a first dish of roasted beets with cumin yogurt, nettle pesto, pumpkin seeds, orange and wild fennel.

IMG_6969.jpg

Urtica, Chef Josh tells me, is latin for the stinging nettles he used in the most amazing tasting pesto I’ve ever had. “It’s my favourite wild edible and its a super food for plants as well. I ferment tons of it to feed to my vegetables. I love foraging for it.”

1200px-Illustration_Urtica_dioica0.jpg

“My mother had a big part in my cooking,” he says. “She was my first teacher and I was lucky to grow up surrounded by nature. Blackberries lined our two-acre property in Langley where we had a creek you could walk along for miles in the forest.”

Josh, a guy of few words, describes his Urtica menu as comfort food with a twist which is better tasted than explained in any case. Who needs words? The beet cured organic spring salmon with cucumber carpaccio, radishes, whipped goat cheese and olive crumb was as fresh, bright and luxuriously creamy tasting as it looked on the plate. Each bite was a pleasure and the flavours and textures worked beautifully together.

IMG_6977.jpg

Other choices on the ever-changing seasonal menu included a roasted carrot hummus with pita, dandelion honey ricotta, hazelnuts and chili oil, mushroom bruschetta with local cultivated oyster mushroom, herbed ricotta and aged balsamic and a farm kale salad with Upper Bench King Cole cheese, honey walnuts, apple chips, pickled onion and anchovy dressing. A selection of focaccia sandwiches included a buttermilk poached chicken with slab bacon, spring greens, tomato, pickled onion and caramelized onion mayo. A braised beef neck melt and goat cheese & beet were also tempting. The featured entree was a vegetable curry stew served with kale chips, spiced yogurt and pita.

“Urtica is a dream come true for me,” says Josh who put his culinary degree to work for him in various restaurants for the past eight years. “I knew since I was 16 that cooking is the only thing I want to do. I’m coming at this out of a place of love versus building a brand. I want to make good food and be happy with what I do. I’m lucky not to be ‘working for the man’ but able to pursue my passion and learn more and more as I go.

“I am making food that I would be happy to feed my family. Food that is sustainably farmed that is good for you.”

Urtica aligns perfectly with Naramata’s status as an international Cittaslow member town. Cittaslow is an organisation founded in Italy and inspired by the slow food movement. Cittaslow’s goals include improving the quality of life in towns by slowing down its overall pace.

Talking about slow, the view on Legend’s patio makes the dining experience one you want to linger over. I paired my lunch with a refreshing summer cocktail, the new Legendary Cup featuring their just released Amaro.

IMG_6990.jpg

IMG_6982.jpg

Urtica Eatery is serving lunch Tuesday through Sunday 11:30am – 3:30 pm and beginning today dinner service Wednesday through Saturday 5-8 pm.

Urtica & Legend (29 of 38).JPG
Chef Josh Bender, a Naramatian, grows much of his own produce and forages for ingredients such as the nettle his restaurant is named after. Photo: Cedar Photography

Long table love

IMG_7401.jpg

“This is the power of gathering: it inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful: in a word, more alive.” Alice Waters

Every Sunday evening in the summer at God’s Mountain Estate, set in a vineyard above shimmering Skaha Lake, the chefs of Joy Road Catering create  a culinary adventure.

The menu is inspired by the season, local wine, and the best of what growers, foragers and farmers present. When Joy Road and Upper Bench Winery & Creamery are riffing off  each other some Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Okanagan Sun cheese, U&Brie, Gold cheese, Grey Baby and King Cole blue music is made. A fantastic evening turned into a magical one for the lucky 47 to score spots at the long table when a late May day decided to be a mid-July one bathing everyone in warmth and casting a rosy glow over the evening.

IMG_7359.jpg
Dana Ewart prepares the flowers for the Alfresco table set simply but beautifully in white linens.

“It’s around the table and in the preparation of food that we learn about ourselves and about the world.” Alice Walters.

IMG_7326.jpg

IMG_7333.jpgFirst to arrive, U&Brie gougere with Joy Road’s own 2-year house-cured prosciutto with a Brie, heirloom radishes & herb salad, paired with chilled Upper Bench Riesling.

IMG_7408 2.JPG

IMG_7369.jpg

IMG_7459.JPG

Chardonay was served with a Tartiflette cooked in a wood oven featuring Okanagan Sun cheese and farmer Yuri’s potatoes, leeks, lemon thyme and house-cured bacon.

IMG_7410.jpg

IMG_7395.JPG

Award-winning wine, artisan cheese and the Valley’s most sought-after caterer combine to create a night to remember.  Upper Bench Winemaker Gavin Miller’s passion for the vineyard and the terroir is expressed through his signature, hands-off, minimalist approach to winemaking. He is known in the industry for his big Bordeaux-style reds and has a distinct way of showcasing a wine’s varietal character.

The winery and creamery’s Cheesemaker Shana Miller has steeped herself in the art of artisanal cheesemaking and has been creating her own line of Upper Bench Blue, Brie, and washed-rind cheeses since 2011.

Joy Road is famous for its cuisine du terroir with its lovely food with a strong sense of place. They use local ingredients for the simple reason that fresh tastes better. The caterers believe wholeheartedly in socially-responsible food sourcing allowing its customers to enjoy the Okanagan bounty at the height of ripeness while also sustaining the farmers and artisans who represent the agricultural heritage of this region.

IMG_7450.jpg

IMG_7337.jpg
The kitchen building at God’s Mountain looks like a Provence house with its blue shutters.

The main course was a rack of pork rubbed with fennel and chili, overnight braised shoulder and jus with Swiss chard and kale paired with a stunning Pinot Noir.

IMG_7422.jpg

IMG_7432.jpg
Chef Dana reading a “prayer” from Alice Waters about good honest food and sharing it with good people.

IMG_7454.jpgOne of Joy Road’s most labour intensive dishes was this amazing house-ground flint corn polenta with wild white chanterelle mushrooms and Upper Bench Gold cheese served with Similkameen asparagus with Grey Baby Mornay sauce, chives and chive blossoms.

IMG_7415.JPGFarmer Jordan’s spring-tender greens were perfect.

IMG_7390.jpg
Behind the scenes social media action to capture the magic with the help of a glass of Upper Bench Riesling and a second golden Chardonnay.
IMG_7382.jpg
Plating taking place adjacent to the Long Table

IMG_7441.jpgFor the final act, guests were treated to fairly lights, a stunning sunset and red wine poach pears with a King Cole blue and Similkameen apiary honey and vanilla bean caramel.

IMG_7461 2.jpgGod’s Mountain Estates is a unique 115-acre oasis featuring a Mediterranean-style villa, built by an eccentric pioneer couple and their family. The spectacular views of the lake and vineyards, the serenity and grandeur of the mountain and the eclectic ambiance of the home, make this a story-book venue for a long table dinner.

IMG_7383.jpg

IMG_7372.jpgIMG_7376.jpg

IMG_7469 2.jpg
Estate’s pup sent guests off after a perfect evening…well sort of.

Naramata Cider Company Rest Easy pork chops in a cream sauce

IMG_6169.jpg
The secret ingredient — Cider Maker’s Select … Rest Easy from the Naramata Cider Company

Seasoned with garlic cloves and shallots, this easy to make pork chops recipe is elevated into the stratosphere with its apple and blackberry hard cider and velvety cream sauce. Adapted from blogger queen of France’s Mimi Thorisson’s new cookbook, French Country Cooking, the recipe takes less than a half hour to prepare.

IMG_5984.jpg
Keeping it local…all the ingredients were sourced in the Okanagan Valley including the Naramata Cider Company Rest Easy, lovely thick pork chops from T-Bones in Penticton, cream from D Dutchman Dairy and vegetables from my garden and the Penticton Farmer’s Market.

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in pork chops, 2.5 cm thick
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled and smashed
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 2/3 cup Rest Easy Naramata Cider Company apple and blackberry cider
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

IMG_6972.jpgDirections

Preheat oven to 325F

Score the pork chops on both sides and season all over with salt and pepper.

In a large saute pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook for 3 minutes. Add the pork chops and garlic cloves, reduce the heat to medium and cook just until the juices run clear (about 7 minutes per side).

Transfer the pork chops to an ovenproof dish, put the sage leaves on top and spoon the pan drippings over all. Put in the oven to keep warm.

Increase the heat under the pan to high and pour in the cider. Boil for 2 minutes to reduce. Add the heavy cream, stir until thickened and remove from the heat.

Pour the sauce on top of the chops and serve. Pair with the remaining cider!

IMG_5990.jpg

IMG_6980.jpg

Amaretti Amaretto limone tarts

IMG_5964.jpg
IMG_5970.jpg
Not to be all fancy pants Italian, these lovely tart lemon tarts have almonds three ways in the buttery tart shells…crushed Amaretti biscuits, Amaretto liqueur and ground almonds (almond flour). The lemon curd uses fresh eggs and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Topping them off is a small cloud of Amaretto meringue topping.
IMG_5863.jpgTart shell ingredients
Makes eight 4-inch tart shells or six 6-inch shells
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup finely ground blanched almonds
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground amaretti cookies (I bought mine at La Cucina in Penticton.) Look for them in an Italian store. (Place a handful of amaretti in between sheets of parchment and crush them with a rolling pin)
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, softened but still cold
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, almonds, and ground cookies; set aside.

  2. Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Sprinkle over confectioners’ sugar and toss, using your hands, until butter is fully coated. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until butter and sugar are well combined.

  3. Scrape down sides of bowl, add egg yolk, and continue beating until combined. Reduce speed to medium-low and slowly add the flour mixture; beat until well combined. Scrape down sides of bowl and add heavy cream and Amaretto; beat until well combined. Form dough into a large ball using your hands. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight if you make the day before.

  4. Lightly flour a work surface. Turn dough out onto floured work surface and cut into 6 or 8 pieces, depending on the size of tart shell you select. Gently knead each piece of dough into a smooth disc, using a spatula to turn dough, as it will be sticky. Add more flour to work surface if necessary. Cover each piece with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough until chilled, about 10 minutes.

  5. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a 6-inch or 8-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer each round to a 4-inch or 6-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and gently press into tart pan. Roll a rolling pin over each tart shell, pressing lightly to trim any excess dough; discard.

    IMG_5952.jpg

  6. Place tart pans on a baking sheet and prick the bottom of each tart pan with a fork; transfer baking sheet to refrigerator and chill 30 minutes.

  7. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake tart shells until golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

    IMG_5962.jpg

 Lemon curd ingredientsIMG_5889.jpg
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 3 to 6 lemons depending on their size)
  • Grated zest of two of the lemons
  • 2 large eggs
  • 7 large egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue topping) ((Come on Maria…please lay one more egg as I only have 6…Yippeeee…good chicken)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

IMG_5943.jpg

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and zest and let sit for 10 minutes.

In a medium nonreactive bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar until combined. Add the lemon juice/zest and whisk until combined.

Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Cook stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened…about 6 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the pan and whisk in the butter. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl.

Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the lemon curd to stop a nasty skin from forming. Set aside at room temp. until you have made the meringue and are ready to assemble the tarts.

IMG_5934.jpg
Lots of egg photos…eggs as art when you have your own chickens.

Amaretto meringue ingredients

  • The 7 large egg whites you have reserved
  • 1 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of Amaretto liqueur

Directions

Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a nonreactive mixing bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly until the sugar is dissolved and mixture reaches 140 degrees…about 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the pan, with an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on high until stiff peaks form adding the cream of tartar after about 3 minutes. Mix a further 3 minutes and then add the Amaretto and mix just to incorporate.

Some assembly required

Add the warm lemon curd to the pre-baked tart shells. Drop a dollop of meringue on top of the lemon curd and place under a preheated broiler until the meringue is lightly browned.

These tarts should be eaten within 24 hours (no problemo).

(You will have left over meringue…unavoidable to have enough yolks to make the curd…you can make meringue cookies with the leftovers. You may also have leftover lemon curd. Refrigerate and enjoy like pudding.)

IMG_5981.jpg

Chicks are hip – the revival of back-yard chickens

IMG_5852.jpg
Meet The Baroness … a Black Sex Link in her laying prime

Ordered on Black Friday as my Christmas present I had to wait months for my May Christmas morning chicken delivery which I anticipated with almost ponyesque excitement.

My grandmother would be astonished to know how eagerly anticipated my chickens were. “In my day they were meat and eggs and they would never be named,” I hear her say in my head as she long since gone. She would also be very perplexed that I am RENTING my two laying hens from Rentthechicken. com and have read up on all the treats I can feed them such as a half a watermelon, which now on the grocery list.

IMG_5808.jpg
Maria sticking her neck out for treats.

Chickens seem to be a perfect convergence of the economic, environmental, foodie and emotional matters of the moment, plus, in the past few years, they have undergone an image rehabilitation so amazing that it should be studied by social media experts. Why do posts of a grinning person holding a garden variety chicken get thousands of likes?

Now that my chickens have arrived I am the object of more pure envy than I have ever experienced in my life. (I kind of like it.) I can’t count the number of friends that want to know all about chicken raising before they decided to give it a shot. I’m thinking of charging an admission fee to see them.

IMG_5830.jpg
They forage for food all day long!

Until the nineteen-fifties, it was common to keep a few chickens around. They were cheap and easy to raise. Some table scraps and bugs, a coop and you were good to go.  A hundred years ago, a chick cost about fifteen cents and a laying hen a few dollars. A hen in her prime, which lasts two or three years, could produce an egg every day or two in the laying season, and once she stopped laying she could be cooked.

Then came urbanization, the supermarket, the egg cholesterol scare, giant egg farms and you know the rest and all the horrible images of tens of thousands of birds crammed into a giant industrialized egg laying factories. (After hanging out with these friendly, curious and surprising un-bird brained creatures I feel even more strongly about giving them a nice life…)

Renting the girls will give me a good taste of what’s involved in chicken husbandry without worry about wintering them over or fully committing to the idea. I can adopt them permanently if I get attached or request the same pair again next summer.

IMG_5768.jpg
My first two eggs.

Here are some observations after a couple of days of chickening.

  1. They are friendly…at least they seem so once they established that every time they see me I’m holding out some scratch, freeze-dried mealy worms, prize dandelion leaves, grapes, a bit of toast or to-die-for apparently…tattertots.
  2. Chickens make a wide-range of cool noises from a sort of purring sound to a happy cackle after egg-laying that I interpreted as I MADE EGG!!!!! But research says the egg-song made a distance away from the just laid nice warm egg is to distract predators from the bounty.
  3. There is a pecking order and a bit of squabbling between the ladies. The Baroness took a good peck to the neck over a grape squabble but shook it off like a prize fighter.
  4. Their legs and feet are kind of creepy and dinosaur looking and their toes are very flexible.
  5. Finding the first set of eggs was pretty cool, OK really cool, cooler than it should have been, but really, really cool.
  6. I’m losing sleep. I get up with the chickens to make sure they are OK. I imagine I will chill out soon. I had a reason to worry this morning. The door to the nesting area of their coop was wide open this morning and I had spotted a racoon in the hood last evening. It’s like the racoon was pulling up at a drive-through…just checking for his egg McMuffin. The girlies were OK but the nesting box is getting a second latch today.
  7. I like them!
  8. I was shown how to pick them up so I can have one of those Instagram grinning-person-holding-a-chicken photos but haven’t gotten up the nerve yet.
  9. You haven’t lived, if you are chicken, until you have had a dust bath. They really, really, really like it and fling dirt around, loll around, flap wings…
  10. Still not sure if chickens have lips.
IMG_5801.jpg
Maria was shy at first but is coming out of her shell.
IMG_5769.jpg
Egg salad sandwich in the making.
IMG_5761.jpg
Omelette with fresh herbs from the garden and Upper Bench Winery & Creamery Brie.
IMG_5754.jpg
Marie from Rent The Chicken in Kamloops letting the girls out with The Handyman looking on.
IMG_5823.jpg
Hand feeding. I’m working on getting them to come when called, “chick, chick, chick, chick” so I can let them do some free-ranging.

The Kingdom of Naramata’s Crown Maker

IMG_4902.jpgRather prosaically, a Crown Maker is called a jeweller but I think this intricate art form needs a more suitable moniker. How about latin? Factorem Coronam comes closer to capturing the magic of this sorcery. Naramata’s Queen of Crowns is Darlene Jones and here are some of her diadems to die for.

IMG_4927.jpg
No shrinking violets allowed.
IMG_4960.jpg
Fairy tale right?

IMG_4948.jpgIMG_4954.jpg

IMG_4890.jpg
Ice Queen
IMG_4942 2.jpg
How exotic is this one?
IMG_4899.jpg
Even her deer creations sport crowns.
IMG_4883.jpg
Detail from a sun goddess crown.

 

window-candy_0262.jpeg
Darlene herself sporting one of her amazing creations.

 

Dubbed by her daughter as a “Glue Ru”, she has perfected the art of making the ordinary extraordinary in her jewel box Naramata studio. Within minutes I was trying on crowns, hats and headpieces with the artist who believes in making the world a more colourful and sparkling place.

IMG_4953.jpg
Here she has transformed a photograph of her grandmother and given her some bling. Darlene looks like her. 

“As you can see I’m a magpie and am very attracted to sparkle,” says Darlene who gets lost for hours in her art. She also gets huge satisfaction when her “earth mother-type friends transform themselves into goddesses,” with the addition of a crown. “It touches something childlike in them and it’s amazing to see what happens when they see themselves as beautiful. I’m a big advocate for big girl dress-up.”

IMG_4887 3.jpg
Crowing selfie.
IMG_4915 3.jpg
Darlene’s dazzling studio.
IMG_4997 2.jpg
A crown fan from way back, this is my coronal, or nuptial crown beautifully made by my mother-in-law.
IMG_4986.jpg
This little number came home with me. This is a perfect example of why blogging costs me money but pays me in so many other ways. Thanks Darlene. Happy to have more of your flamboyant art. 

Helo happiness

IMG_4811.jpg

A long standing tradition in Naramata, almost every Easter a helicopter is enlisted to drop eggs onto Manitou Park for kids by our regional district. The kids come dressed up in costume or in their Easter finest. To prevent any eggcidents, the eggs are hollow plastic ones that when gathered up are exchanged for chocolate. The weather is also part of this tradition. It’s been a blue sky day for every egg drop I’ve attended and this year was no exception.

IMG_4792.jpg
Chocolate rain about to commence

IMG_4816.jpg

IMG_4822.jpg
Mad scramble

IMG_4845.jpg

IMG_4849.jpg

IMG_4841.jpg
Never give up.
IMG_4844.jpg
Amidst all the chaos.

Hello hops – The Naramata Bench now has all the bevies covered

IMG_4508.jpg
Brent Tarasoff in Square One Hops‘ hopyard shoring up trellis on a dreary spring day in Penticton

Bines not vines

“After we bought this beautiful piece of land we looked around us and saw grapes and more grapes,” says Kari Tarasoff of Square One Hops. “Brent woke up one morning and said, ‘Hey, we should do something different and grow hops.'” Two key prerequisites helped them clinch their decision to grow bines not vines — they both love craft beer and Brent is a seasoned agrologist with years of farming under his belt.

IMG_4522.jpg

It’s a labour of love, Kari says and “wildly unprofitable compared to grapes. We are big into it on a small acreage.” The couple, hailing from Alberta, are embracing the lifestyle in their new community and their new passion. “There is so much to learn that its like drinking from a fire hose,” she says.

Brent learned from hop growers and their association in Yakima, Washington and quickly became a confident grower because of his professional agrologist background. The bines are happy here too, producing more hops than anticipated.

IMG_4547.jpg
Square One Hops has a prime location adjacent to the Kettle Valley Railway Trail mid-way between Penticton and Naramata. Their view is stunning.

Frankengrapes

“Because we were doing something so different here there was a lot of speculation from passerbys on the KVR as to what we were going to grow,” says Kari. “We overheard people saying that we were planting GMO grapes that were super tall. I wonder how they thought we would pick them?”

No Frankengrapes at Square One. Their hop varieties include Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, Chinook, Glacier, Hallertau, Magnum, Mount Hood, Nugget, Super Alpha and Willamette and some small amounts of Pacific Gem, Saaz and Galena and sell them fresh ($10/pound) or pelletized ($14 top $20/pound). The Tarasoffs sell their hops to local craft breweries such as Bad Tattoo Brewing Co., BNA Brewing Co., Barley Mill Brew Pub, Firehall Brewing, Kettle River Brewing Co., Highway 97 Brewery, Detonate Brewing and Marten Brewing Co. The breweries are thrilled to have a local supplier of fresh hops in the hood. The breweries will buy a percentage of the hops but about 75 to 80 per cent of the hops they grow this year will going to a very special place…Siding 14 Brewing Company in Ponoka, the couples next venture…more later…

IMG_4529.jpg
Kari and Brent Tarasoff…out standing in their hopyard (couldn’t resist the farmer joke)

Hops 101

Hops are the flowers (also called seed cones or strobes) of the hop plant. They are used primarily as a flavouring and stability agent in beer, to which they impart bitter, zesty, or citric flavours. The hop plant is a vigorous, (crazily so…Kari says the plants grow a foot a day in the peak growing season…”You can almost see and hear them growing…it’s crazy.”) climbing,  herbaceous perennial trained to grow up strings in a field called a hopfield, hop garden, or hopyard when grown commercially. Many different varieties of hops are grown by farmers around the world, with different types being used for particular styles of beer.

IMG_4516.jpg
Drying racks awaiting this year’s harvest.

Is hops growing for you? Kari says there are tons of want-to-be growers out there with romantic notions of the hip lifestyle of the hops grower. “It’s farming,” she says. “It’s really labour intensive farming. When Brent farmed in Saskatchewan he did it with big machinery. Here it’s very hands on.”

She countered her buzz killing statement a moment later however. “It’s pretty magical walking through the hopyard at the height of the growing season. It’s unbelievably peaceful and fascinating. There is not another plant that I know that grows so fast. You can almost hear them talking. The most fun part for me are the plants themselves. They all look different, both the cones and the leaves. They all smell differently, feel differently and react to rain differently.”

IMG_4542 2.jpg

As in the Wizard of Oz I’m going to take you from my black and white shots of a grey spring day to the magic of technicolour thanks to these beautiful photos taken by Kari.

2016 hops 2.jpg

2016 Chinook 2.jpg2016 hops 7.jpg2016 harvested hops.jpg2016 Chinook 3.jpg2016 hop rows.jpg

Siding 14

Next for the Tarasoffs? A brewery of their own to make some magic with their Penticton-grown hops. Partnering up with barley growers Josh and Femke Lubach of Pridelands Grain, Brent and Kari are opening Siding 14 Brewing Company in Ponoka (the town was originally named Siding 14) in late spring. Cheers to that.

Cocktail hour – Legend’s Rosemary Swizzle

IMG_4282 2.jpg
A Naramata sun sets in this lovely Rosemary Swizzle at Legend Distilling.

Students of the latest Naramata Blend cooking class, (or as a participant dubbed us Naramata Blenders)  completed Mixology 101 by learning to make a Rosemary Swizzle. Once made, our final exam was to sip and enjoy this refreshing, aromatic cocktail made with local hand-crafted spirits and wine. We passed.

Rosemary Swizzle

Recipe created by Chris Mason Stearns – Mixologist extraordinaire

IMG_4274 2.jpg

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Legend Distilling Doctor’s Orders Gin (You can substitute of course…but it won’t taste as good)
  • 2 oz Elephant Island Crab Apple wine (Again…if you can’t source Elephant Island use another brand of crabapple wine but the taste won’t be as amazing, merely just great)
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 splash fresh lime juice
  • ½ tsp simple syrup (see below)
  • top with soda water
IMG_4247.jpg
Dawn Lennie (who along with Doug Lennie owns Legend Distilling) was our mixology professor.

Preparation

In a highball glass full of ice, combine all ingredients except soda. Muddle the edge of the glass with the sprig of rosemary. Top up with soda water and garnish with a large rosemary sprig. Serve with a straw.

Dawn’s mixology tips

How to make your own simple syrup

Simple syrup is, as the name implies, very simple to make and it is an essential item to stock in any bar or kitchen. Also called sugar syrup, you will find it in many mixed drinks including the Mojito, Daiquiri, and Hurricane and it can be used for your coffee, tea, and homemade sodas as well.

This sweetener is primarily used as a substitute for cane sugar because the sugar is already dissolved into the syrup. Simple syrup adds a rich volume to drinks and there are a few ways to make it.

Making your own simple syrup is also more economical than buying it at the store. You can make as small or as large a batch as you wish and store it in the refrigerator in a well-sealed bottle for two to three months.

When the only ingredients are sugar and water, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t be making simple syrup at home.

Boil the kettle and combine equal parts (1:1) sugar and water and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

IMG_4257.jpg
Some cocktail ingredients, such as the fresh rosemary in the Swizzle, are added simply for aroma.

It’s about balance

The cornerstone of cocktail making is in the understanding of the relationships between strong and weak, and sour and sweet. ‘Strong’ refers to the main alcohol component of the drink, such as vodka, rum or the Doctor’s Orders Gin in the Swizzle; ‘weak’ means the lesser alcoholic beverages, such as liqueurs, fortified wines or the Elephant Island Crabapple Wine Dawn used; ‘sour’ mainly means citrus fruits, such as lemon or lime; and ‘sweet’ accounts for sugar and syrups.

IMG_4298 3.jpg
The Crab Apple gave the Rosemary Swizzle a lovely colour.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑