Happy holidays, shoppers!
Time is a-running out but don’t fret, there are tons of ideas on what to get the food and drink lovers in your life created right here in your own backyard.
Fondues are back in style and make for the perfectly delicious holiday gift or appie to serve guests this year. Pick up a fondue pot and head over to Upper Bench Winery & Creamery for their pre-mixed fondue cheese mix, a couple bottles of Chardonnay and the recipe. You may also want to sign up a friend as a gift for their Curds & Corks wine and cheese club. www.upperbench.ca.
It just isn’t Christmas without a loaf of Stollen bread on the table. True Grain Bread just down the road in Summerland makes an Organic Butter Stollen to choose from or a Christmas-y Fruit and Nut Cake as well as offers tons of other baked delights to share to your holiday crowd. A bottle of wine and a loaf of bread – a perfect hostess gift! Visit www.truegrain.ca.
Cocktail anyone? Another resurgence of old world glamour — the cocktail has returned in all of its glory. For the cocktail lover on your list a gorgeous bottle of vodka or gin from Naramata Bench’s newest spirit maker Legend Distilling is sure to thrill!
They also make Lavender Bitters with their friends at Forest Green Man Lavender Farm that will make the perfect stocking stuffer. Legend’s new Blasted Brew would also be a delicious choice. It is a cold brewed spiked coffee made with Summerland’s Backyard Beans that Santa would probably love a kick of on Christmas Eve). www.legenddistilling.com .
Legend Distilling also carries Forest Green Man Lavender Farm ‘s Lavender Syrup that is perfect to add as a dosage to a glamorous glass of local bubble (my pick – local Bella Wines bubble). www.bellawines.ca.
For bubble purists that want to splurge, a bottle of international award-winning Gabriel from Summerhill Organic Winery is the perfect way to celebrate the season. It even has a golden angel emblazoned on the bottle! Hark!
Have lunch and then do a shop hop The Bench Market. Owners Stewart and Heather Glynes have loaded their shelves with perfect holiday gifts for the foodie in your life. Pick up some sausage, local cheese and crackers, a jar of antipasto or preserves from Similkameen’s Gregor’s Gourmet, and some house made granola for Christmas morning. They also make delicious Christmas cookies or you can buy the mix if you want to make your own! www.thebenchmarket.com.
Sophisticated beer palates are now wagging over the complex brews that are on offer at the many craft breweries that have opened up around the province. For the beer lover on your list pick up a couple of growlers of delicious local craft beer from Cannery Brewing or Bad Tattoo Brewing both in Penticton. What the heck is a growler? It’s a large glass jug that you can get. www.badtattoobrewing.com and www.cannerybrewing.com.
Brodo Kitchen is soon to be the new host of the Penticton chapter of Soup Sisters! This beautiful organization gathers groups monthly to make soup for a local women’s shelter and/or youth shelter was created by founder Sharon Hapton. It is a testament to the spirit of community and of nurturing those in need through a bowl of homemade soup. Stay tuned for more info on new year start date of the soup-making events in Penticton on www.soupsisters.com.
Another way to show your support is by purchasing one of the new Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers Cookbooks as a gift. On sale now wherever they sell books or through the website. All monies from book sales go back into the charity soup pot. Everyone loves a cookbook!
Give the gift of Education (the fun kind). Okanagan College’s new Sensory Centre is now hosting a wide array of amazing food and wine studies continuing education classes and their new school of food, wine and tourism. Great for the food and wine lover in your life, a gift certificate to attend a class on wine tasting or pasta making or sausage making or cheese making or foraging — with a local chefs and winemakers — what could be better? Call Brianne for information at 250-492-4305, ext. 3213 or go to www.okanagan.bc.ca/cs.
Wine and Christmas gifts ideas galore are available at the BC VQA Wine Info Centre. They offer premade beautiful food and wine lover gift baskets for you, or you can shop around the store for your own items for them to use in a custom basket. If you are unsure of what type of wine to buy for a friend, a dessert wine or fortified wine like local port-style wine is a delicious way to go.
Bring a bottle of that with some Poplar Grove Cheese (Naramata Bench Blue) and you are in biz-ness! Desert Hills Winery’s Ambassador is one of my favourite local port-style wines and it, along with cheese, is available at the BC VQA Wine Information Centre. www.pentictonwineinfo.com.
Jennifer Schell is the editor of Food & Wine Trails.