Flavours of fall exciting Penticton chefs

Flavours of fall on your plate

"Four seasons of fun" is a collaboration between Castanet and Travel Penticton showcasing what Penticton has to offer all year round. Watch for it every Monday morning.

The autumn harvest season in the South Okanagan is a flavourful time of year. While the last of the summer fruits are still drifting onto plates or being preserved by local chefs and food artisans for winter dishes, the culinary scene now turns to slightly heartier fare.

There is always talk of terroir in the vineyards, but there is also a sense of place in the dishes coming to fall menus, full of apples, squash, beets, melons and more.

If you’re not quite ready to officially say farewell to summer, have one last harvest picnic at Poplar Grove Winery while overlooking Penticton. Food and beverage director Michael Ziff says this program has been a hit this year.

“The beauty of it is if the restaurant is full, guests can take a basket to the lawn, have a quick picnic or stay as long as they like,” he says.

Baskets are only available for a short time, but there is already anticipation for their return late next spring, including an evening Sunset Basket.

Meanwhile, as picnics are shelved for the season, Sunday brunch soon returns to the Restaurant at Poplar Grove, and the goal is to feed your soul with fresh, local abundance and music.

“It’s a cool time in the valley to reconnect with locals,” says Michael.

Heard it through the grapevine is the brunch theme this year, and Michael has curated 800 songs to help feed your soul while you enjoy dishes with ingredients from local farms. Brunch starts on Sundays the weekend after Thanksgiving; the long weekend itself will feature a “harvest-focussed” menu.

Further down the Naramata Bench, the Patio at Lake Breeze continues a little longer, under chef Mark Ashton, who has taken on some farming himself, at the winery’s new Farmstead. Enjoy the Wine Country Lunch on the patio, featuring Farmstead greens, roasted root veggies, and of course dessert is a Spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Torte.

A recent transplant by way of Saskatchewan and Vancouver, Stacy Johnston, part of the duo of chefs de cuisine at the Naramata Heritage Inn with partner Minette Lotz, says she is the “product of a great home ec program” and has loved getting to know local farms and farmers.

“We tell our front of house staff where all of the ingredients come from so they can share the importance of local, sustainable agriculture with our guests,” she explains. “Come and enjoy dishes you can only get right now with these incredible ingredients.”

Committed to sourcing everything fresh and local, Stacy and Minette enjoy the challenge of coming up with dishes inspired by the harvest. Minette has even taken up foraging.

"Who knew you could do so much with sumac?” laughs Stacy.

Over the upcoming long weekend the Inn will feature a harvest menu. Get your tastebuds ready for brown butter roasted pumpkin and squash soup.

Kevin Corbett, Director of Food and Beverage at the Penticton Lakeside Resort was enthusiastic about the patty pan squash coming in from Valley View Farm earlier this summer. Surely the fall harvest will provide some autumn inspiration in the coming weeks.

Learn more at www.visitpenticton.com and on social @visitpenticton

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