I’m all about stories and adventures. My adventures, however, always tend to be of an edible kind. Leaving my pop up dinners aside, this particular one started with a little scavenger hunt across Kelowna, sourcing local goodness for the orchestrated 3-course moveable feast to come.
Ok, the initial plan was for us to check out the sacred and very cool looking Spotted Lake in Osoyoos (I even created a dish inspired by the place in preparation), but sometimes Mother Nature interrupts adventure plans, but that’s when new plans hatch on the fly, which leads to epic new memories. So off we went to chase waterfalls at Christie Falls. Oh, wait…we also didn’t quite make it there either. With no cell service, we stopped at coordinates unknown because, well, we got hungry and there was a tranquil lake to help slow things (and us) down.
First up, an ‘Onion Tea’, prepared using first of the season onions that were boiled then steeped like a tea, then finished with a green onion oil to make the broth look like the lake itself. Food is precious, even if it seems abundant, so I tapped into that mindset by using all parts of the onion (zero waste and all) to reflect the ‘sacred’ nature of the lake. Did I mention that I tell stories with food?
And off we went, this time to Bear Creek Provincial Park in West Kelowna. At the base of our hike, we had two choices – left, which winded around the mountain, or right, looking upwards at the wooden stairs. We opted for the not-as-widely-used stairs route, followed by the sound of water to zigzag our way. As we left the stairs behind and looked up, we noticed a tree standing tall at the very edge of a rock – a little reminder that you can grow anywhere. Thank you for the lesson, nature.
With a backpack loaded with our locally inspired picnic, eco-friendly water bottle and Mr. Sun making a dramatic appearance, we had to work for the rewards of lunch, but to be honest, that is the best way to feel. Food has become so accessible that eating is something we just do. My project is all about trusting my local ingredients by learning about the people and stories behind it - it’s only when you get hands-on and play with your food, do you see the value in it. That is something I try to hang onto, even with something as simple and routine as lunch.
As we got to the base, the landscape shifted to this shaded lush green, sounds of the stream for added ambiance and a gigantic fallen tree. It was time to make a reservation for the restaurant at the north end of the woods. In a few short moments, our naturally constructed feast magically appeared. From cheese, pickled carrots, snap peas, salad greens, duck rillette and a freshly made baguette – everything from here by people with names and faces and families and all crazy and sustainably delicious.
There was no wait times or delays in our food, we took our time whilst eating and enjoyed each other’s company without the usual thoughts of turnaround times and average check sizes with restaurant life. It was definitely a Slow Food-dining experience that we’d both remember for a really long time, even if our restaurant were a made-up one.
Finally, we ventured over to the Bear Creek beach across the road to end our 3-course meal with dessert and a familiar Okanagan Lake view. On the menu, a simple homemade chai spiced baked yogurt (using local milk) with first-of-the-season cherries. And so, our edible adventure was over.
The best thing about living in the Okanagan is that the Valley can make even locals feel like tourists. Each sub-region is beautifully imperfect in its own right with all its twists and turns to keep you on your toes. You definitely need to experience a place in each region to really see how magical the Okanagan is.
If you’re willing to do a little work, these adventures really are accessible to everyone. Dining in the Okanagan or supporting local doesn’t necessarily have to be really expensive to create epic food memories.
Until next time.
Today’s sustainable eats included:
Duck Rillette from Sandrine French Pastry & Chocolate
Organic Carrots (pickled in-house), Salad Greens & Snap Peas from Crooked Sky Farm at the Kelowna Farmers’ & Crafters’ Market
Organic Cherries from Forbes Farm at the Kelowna Farmers’ & Crafters’ Market
The Paisley Notebook’s Plum Chutney, made with last season’s Claremont Ranch Organics Plums, Brainy Bee Honey and NOMAD Cider Vinegar (by-product of the cider making process) and homemade local Raspberry Vinaigrette
Baguette from Sprout Bread
Abeego beeswax wraps to keep that leftover baguette alive
About Aman Dosanj and The Paisley Notebook:
Food geek, marketing geek, former England and Arsenal footballer (soccer), people watcher, middle child, Slow Food Member, adventurer, imperfect environmentalist, storyteller, and just weird enough to be interesting. The former Western Living Magazine ‘Foodie of the Year’, organizes pop up dinners and collaborative events across the Okanagan aimed at bringing the community together. The Paisley Notebook was the winner of the ‘Culinary Tourism Experience’ category at the 2018 Canadian Tourism Awards, and a two-time finalist in the BC Tourism Industry Awards' 'Remarkable Experiences' category, and has raised over $47k for local charities since 2017.