Welcome to beautiful BC wine country! There are more than 370 wineries (and counting) across British Columbia, split between nine recognized wine regions: the famous Okanagan Valley, the Similkameen Valley, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, the Fraser Valley, the Thompson Valley, the Shuswap and the newest regions, Lillooet and the Kootenays. These days, BC is known worldwide for its excellent wine, and as weather patterns change it is becoming possible to grow grapes ever farther north in the province. Which means more wine for all! Our wine world is full steam ahead.
We hear all the time that “great wine is made in the vineyard,” and BC has an amazing range of vineyard soils. From desert to oceanfront, our diverse geography produces a huge spectrum of distinctive, terroir-driven wines. And the same goes when it comes to food! Farmers will tell you that vegetables have terroir, too. A carrot grown in one region does not taste the same as one grown somewhere else. It’s all in the soil and the weather conditions unique to the area. Maybe that’s why folks in the wine industry seem to have an instinct for which foods pair best with their wines. Or maybe it’s because so many BC winemakers have a background in the culinary industry, including plenty of excellent chefs. With the province’s incredible combination of farming, fishing, foraging and fine wineries, BC’s food and wine are having one great love affair!
Wine drinkers in BC are absolutely spoiled for choice, and narrowing this book down to the wineries chosen was nearly impossible. I’ve tried to include a good range from across the province, with a mix of established and newer wineries. At each stop, you’ll learn a bit about the history of the winery andwinemakers, and what you’ll find there when you go to visit. Then, I’ve shared one or two of their favourite recipes and the perfect wine to pair with them. The wineries in this book are organized geographically, so you could more or less drive from one end of the book to the next (map on pages 6–7), but you don’t have to visit them that way! For wine tours built around your favourite varietal instead, have a look at my ideas for Wine Adventures on pages 262–274. Things change fast in the BC wine world, so give the wineries a call or check their websites before you plan a visit!
As part of the BC wine community myself, I know there is incredible diversity here, not just in our wines, but in the people behind those wines as well. In this cookbook, I wanted to showcase the beautiful cultures and nationalities that make up the community—Australian, Austrian, Canadian, Dutch, East Indian, French, German, Hungarian, Israeli, Italian, Kiwi, Mexican, South African, Swiss and more—all working together, and all sharing the dream to play a part in one of the world’s most exciting new wine industries. And what better way to do that than through food? For recipes in the book, I asked the people behind each winery for a recipe that was meaningful to them. The recipes they provided are family favourites, from comfort food served after a long, hard day in the vineyard, to dishes prepared to celebrate the end of harvest. I love that some of these recipes came to me as a photocopy of a recipe card, some handwritten by a beloved grandmother. It has been a wonderful pleasure for me to connect with the families featured in these pages, and to collect together their favourite recipes in what feels like one gigantic international potluck party!
Through these recipes, we pay tribute to the spirit of the people they came from and the hours they spent in their kitchens preparing meals with love. For ideas on how to group the recipes together into menus, check out my suggested Seasonal Menus on pages 258–261.
I truly hope you enjoy these stories and recipes shared by some of the most wonderful, passionate people behind BC wine. Whether you plan to use this book as a keepsake from one of your favourite wineries, an inspiration to visit more or a way to bring a little bit of the BC wine world into your kitchen, this book is for you. My dream is that many of these dishes will become part of your own family’s traditions and live on through the next generation of cooks.
If you can, please plan a visit to the wineries featured in this book, and when you prepare their recipes, raise a glass of BC wine and thank them for sharing a little piece of their story. Cheers!