When I was growing up in B.C’s Okanagan region, flavourful produce felt like my birthright: long, hot, dry summers made for gluts of lush fruit and garden-fresh vegetables. Nowadays, the culinary scene has caught up, too, and the valley is flooded with smart chefs and entrepreneurs making the most of this outdoor playground’s plentiful ingredients. Needless to say, I try to make the trek home as often as possible.
In summer, I never miss a trip to the Vernon Farmers’ Market—make sure you arrive early to claim flats of in-season peaches, apricots or plums ready for canning, drying, freezing or simply eating out of hand. Nearby, the Okanagan Spirits Distillery turns that same local fruit into liquor and liqueurs, while The BX Press crafts hard ciders from its apple orchard run by third-generation farmers.
Dining in Kelowna might start with local cheese and housemade charcuterie at The Salted Brick, then a stop at the Tree Brewing Beer Institute for its tank-to-tap brews and spent-grain flatbread pizzas, or at more-upscale RauDZ Regional Table for its farm-centric meals and “liquid chefs” cocktail menu. (Think flavourful cocktails containing locally grown fruit and herbs.)
In Penticton, book ahead for alfresco dinners put on by Joy Road Catering—the food and wine are just as exceptional as the views. Sold out? Console yourself with Joy Road’s seasonal fruit galettes sold Saturday mornings at the Penticton Farmers’ Market, and plot your return next summer.
Getting there: WestJet flies to Kelowna 17 times a day from six Canadian cities.
Family Roots Run Deep at Montreal’s Chocolats Andrée
Owner Stéphanie Saint-Denis inherited Chocolats Andrée from her late grandmother who started the chocolatier in the 1940s in the city's Mile End neighbourhood. Today, it's still thriving, selling deliciously sweet, handmade treats made from generations-old recipes and techniques.