Kelowna Napa North
About Kelowna, British Columbia
Kelowna Vacations, Flights, Hotels, Flights and Tours
Kelowna, the largest community in the Okanagan Valley, is blessed with an average of 2,000 hours of sunshine annually, making it the fruit growing capital of Canada, producing apples, peaches plums, apricots, cherries, plus grapes that ferment into award-winning wines—hence the moniker, Napa North.
It seems that wherever on the planet that you find great wineries, you are sure to also discover outstanding restaurants. Kelowna is no exception. Along with all the good food and weather, Okanagan Lake, rumoured to be the home of the Ogopogo monster, is ideal for swimming, fishing and water sports. Every time I visit Kelowna I discover new places to eat, shop, sip and unwind. Here are some of my favourite haunts. THE “YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE” SPLURGE LIST Location, Location
The staff at the centrally located Coast Capri Hotel goes the extra mile to make your stay pleasant. Rooms in the recently renovated tower are spacious and some have balconies. A full buffet breakfast is included in your room rate and there’s a swimming pool and fitness centre. For short trips, the staff offers a free shuttle. The hotel is located beside a plaza with a convenient liquor store and Bean Scene coffee shop for those of us who are fussy about our lattes. Next door to the hotel is the Beyond Wrapture Mind & Body Care Day Spa & Retreat. You’re in wine country so try a red or white vino therapy massage with anti-oxidant benefits. www.coasthotels.com/hotels/canada/bc/kelowna French Flavours
At Sandrine French Pastry and Chocolate, pastry chef Sandrine, originally from the Beaujolais region of France, comes from four generations of bakers. Using the finest ingredients from local farmers, she whips up a rainbow of macarons, millefeuille, croissants and other decadent French pastries. Husband Pierre-Jean is in charge of the tortiere, croque monsieur and duck confit. Sandrine also offers hands-on cooking classes. On my recent visit, we learned to make Tarte Tatin. Damn the calories. www.sandrinepastry.com Passage to India When the multi-talented Dosanj family immigrated from Britain to Kelowna in 2008, they opened an Indian restaurant with a modern twist. At Poppadoms Taste India! the ingredients are mainly sourced locally, except the spices that they buy from India and grind on the premises.
Some of those spices make it into zesty cocktails. Jas, the mother and chef, uses no ghee and very little salt so her cuisine is healthy, light and bursting with complex flavours. Some highlights include Chicken Tikka Masala, Braised Lamb Shank in Roganjosh sauce, Yellow Dahl, and Grandma’s Samosas. Jas and her daughter toured India, visiting housewives in various regions to get many of their authentic recipes. Every other Wednesday during summer months, they offer long table dinners featuring the cuisines of different parts of India ($35 per person for three courses). Jas also offers cooking classes ($100 per person with lunch and wine). www.poppadoms.ca Dinner on the Lake
Kelowna has more than wineries and the number continues to grow. For a table with an extraordinary view overlooking rows of vineyards down to Okanagan Lake, make a reservation at the Old Vines restaurant at Quail’s Gate Winery. Allow time to visit the shop for a tasting of some of their award-winning vintages before dinner. Save room for the foie gras crème brûlée paired with a Riesling Ice wine. www.quailsgate.com Don’t Drink & Drive Sit back and relax and leave the chauffeuring to your guide behind the wheel of a vintage 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air Chevrolet as you visit various wineries with Tours 59. Tours last about four hours and the cost about $450 for the car that holds four passengers, plus the driver. www.tours59.com
THE “CHEAP THRILLS” SAVE LIST Nose to Tail Noshing At downtown Kelowna’s new Salted Brick, chef Jason Leizert serves rustic house-cured charcuterie such as cranberry venison salami, local cheeses and terrific sandwiches. I can’t resist his dates stuffed with blue cheese. www.saltedbrick.com Market Days On Saturday and Wednesday mornings, from April to mid November, head to Kelowna’s Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market on the corner of Dilworth and Springfield. Every product is locally grown, baked or handmade. In summer you’ll find heritage tomatoes, juicy peaches and all sorts of feasts from the fields. Artisans sell jewelry, woodwork, soaps, pottery and more. www.kelownafarmersandcraftersmarket.com Caffeine Fiend Giovani Lauretta may have coffee running through his veins. Serving java in the Italian style, Gio has the equivalent of sommelier training in coffee. At Giobean, he selects the beans, orchestrates the blend and supervises the roasting. Gio even works with local diary farmers to ensure perfect foam on the cappuccino. No wonder Giobean won the Best Coffee Award from Okanagan Life magazine. www.giobeancoffee.com Father’s Blessings In Downtown Kelowna’s Cultural District browse through the galleries and boutiques around Waterfront Park. At the well-stocked VQA Wine Shop, housed in the Old Laurel Packing House, you’ll want to pick up a few liquid assets. Can you resist offerings from Therapy Winery with names such as Freudian Sip and Pink Freud? or Blasted Church’s Amen Port? Housed in the same building, the BC Orchard Industry Museum tells the story of how the missionary, Father Pendosy planted the first apple trees in the Okanagan. I suppose the valley’s love affair with the grape began in the 1850’s when that very same French-born Oblate friar experimented with making some sacramental wines. Here’s to you, Father. www.kelownamuseums.ca