Free, Interactive eCookbook Available from Visit Seattle

November 4, 2013

Fresh from seattle ecookbook cover northwest wining and dining

Visit Seattle has launched a free interactive eCookbook that highlights a range of talented chefs and signature Pacific Northwest cuisine. “Fresh From Seattle” features 26 recipes from 12 noteworthy contributing local chefs, including award winners such as Tom Douglas, Maria Hines, and Thierry Rautureau.

The 92-page eCookbook is a rich compilation of recipes, cooking and storage tips, color photos, food history, chef bios, and more.

Fresh from seattle salmon northwest wining and dining

Seattle chefs contributed original recipes, as well as personal restaurant favorites, that are designed to pique the culinary curiosity of the inspired home chef. In addition to Seattle celebrity chefs, the cookbook also features acclaimed hotel chefs.

Fresh From Seattle is available here, where it is downloadable as a PDF or you can link to Apple iTunes App Store for download. Both options are free of charge.

“Between Seattle’s creative chefs and welcoming hospitality community, we formed the perfect marriage for this project,” said Ali Daniels, Vice President, Marketing, Visit Seattle. “We are a city of gourmands, constantly exploring and finding new ways to share the inspired culinary offerings of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle’s vibrant food culture just has to be shared, and ‘Fresh From Seattle’ does just that.”

Fresh from seattle ecookbook crab cakes northwest wining and dining

“Fresh From Seattle” eCookbook contributing chefs and recipes:

Thierry Rautureau – Luc and Loulay

Northwest Wild Mushroom Salad, Toasted Hazelnut, Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Neah Bay Wild Coho Salmon with Moroccan Olive Tapenade

Skagit Valley Savory Strawberry & Red Wine Soup

Tom Douglas – Tom Douglas Restaurant Group

Tom’s Tasty Sashimi Tuna Salad with Green Onion Pancakes

Peak of the Season Crisp with Brown Sugar Oats

Etta’s Rub with Love Salmon with Grilled Shiitake Relish

Dungeness Crab Cakes

Maria Hines – Tilth, Agrodolce, Golden Beetle

Skagit River Ranch Wagyu Beef Tartare with Dijon and Grilled Romaine

Loki Fishing Vessel Seared Sockeye Salmon with Sweet Corn Salsa

Oxbow Farm Mixed Summer Squash Salad with Parmesan, Hazelnuts and Truffle Vinaigrette

Daisley Gordon – Marche, Café Campagne

Warm Potato & Salmon Roe Salad

Marché Mackerel

Pernod Mussels

Salad Marché

Sarah Lorenzen – Andaluca

Chorizo and Clam Fettuccini

Pavlova with Lemon Cream and Fresh Berries

Gavin Stephenson – The Georgian

Rooftop Honey-Smoked Salmon

The Georgian Black and White Chocolate Soufflé

Kerry Sear – ART Restaurant

Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad

Grass-Baked Chicken

Sean Pals – Brella’s Restaurant & Lounge

Grilled Peach Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Thomas Horner – Hook & Plow

Razor Clam, Local Sausage, White Bean & Kale Stew

Peter Birk – BOKA restaurant + bar

Roasted Quail with Bluebird Grain Farms Farro

Preston Hagan – Jimmy’s on First

Jimmy’s Bloody Bakon Martini

Chris Lobkovich – Bookstore Bar & Café

Fiddlehead Fern Salad

Recipe of the Month: Mussels in Pinot Noir Butter

October 31, 2013

Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir

Mussels in Pinot Noir Butter

Wine Varietal: Oregon Pinot Noir

Serves 4 as an appetizer

Although many people believe that red wines and seafood don’t mix, this recipe proves them wrong with delicious results. Cornichons are tiny crisp, tart French pickles. They are available in specialty stores and better supermarkets.

3/4 cup Oregon or other good-quality Pinot Noir

2 dozen large mussels (about 1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed and debearded just before cooking

2 tablespoons finely minced shallots

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces

6 tiny cornichons, cut lengthwise into quarters

1. Bring 1/2 cup of the Pinot Noir to a boil in a large nonreactive saucepan or Dutch oven. Reduce the heat to medium-high, add the mussels, cover, and steam until the mussels open, about 5 to 7 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to redistribute the mussels. With a slotted spoon, remove the mussels that have opened and continue cooking the remaining mussels 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove the open mussels and discard the rest. Reserve the mussels and cooking juices in separate containers for later use.

2. While the mussels cool, place the remaining 1/4 cup Pinot Noir, the shallots, and lemon juice in a nonreactive medium skillet and reduce over low heat, about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the liquid is almost gone. Stir in the reserved mussel cooking liquid and reduce over medium heat until the liquid thickens slightly and is reduced to about 3 tablespoons. In the final stages, the liquid thickens rapidly, so watch it carefully and do not allow it to burn.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and add 1 or 2 small pieces of butter. Add the remaining butter one piece at a time. Whisk steadily until blended. The butter sauce should have the consistency of homemade mayonnaise, neither too solid nor too liquid. (The warm skillet should retain sufficient heat to do this smoothly; if the temperature drops too much, return the skillet to low heat. If the butter separates or curdles, whisk rapidly to emulsify.)

4. Remove the mussels from their shells and discard the upper shells. Place a cornichon quarter in the lower shells, place a mussel on each cornichon, and cover with sauce.

5. To serve, divide the mussels among individual plates or place on a large serving platter and serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted from “Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining: The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia” (Wiley, 2007, $34.95) by Braiden Rex-Johnson.

Electronic Tongue Evaluates Washington Wines

October 21, 2013

Charles daiko electric tongue wine evaluation washington state university northwest wining and dining website link

Washington State University Ph.D. student Charles Daiko uses the e-tongue to evaluate red wine.

One of the worries that every wine “expert” harbors, whether he or she admits it or not, is how “good” their nose, a.k.a., their perception of wine aromas and flavors, really is.

Now, according to a press release from Washington State University’s Viticulture and Enology Department, there is  an “electronic tongue” that is hard-wired to taste wines in a way that human tongues cannot.

According to Carolyn Ross, associate professor of food science and viticulture and enology, unlike human taste buds, this so-called “e-tongue” never tires or takes a day off, even after hours of around-the-clock sampling. Ross runs the sensory evaluation lab on the Pullman campus.

Ross is evaluating wines produced in the state of Washington, which is the second largest producer of premium wines in the United States. Working with Ross is her Ph.D. student, Charles Diako, originally from Ghana, who is a super-taster himself.

Diako appears to have met his match, though, working with the e-tongue to evaluate Washington wines.

While humans can detect flavor attributes, the e-tongue identifies taste compounds at the molecular level, said Ross. “The e-tongue gives an objective measurement of taste profiles and we try to correlate that to what happens in human sensory evaluation,” said Diako.

Automatic Wine Taster

The e-tongue works by dipping its “tongue” into a beaker filled with wine on a rotating platform called an autosampler. Then it reads a profile of sensory attributes ranging from metallic and savory to sweet and bitter. After the tongue recoils from the sample, the platform turns to present it with the next beaker of wine.

While human taste buds can get saturated and lose their keen ability to accurately distinguish taste features, the e-tongue never gets fatigued. But that doesn’t mean human taste testers and sommeliers will find themselves out of work. Many companies and institutions, including WSU, use tasters–some volunteer, some professional and paid—to sample products and provide feedback that fine-tunes the development process.

“Human evaluation is more sensitive and integrates a huge amount of information and perceptions in response,” said Ross. “This new technology won’t replace human evaluation.”

For example, the e-tongue might be able to give some information about the mouthfeel of a wine, but it isn’t designed to do this, said Ross. A wine’s mouthfeel provides sensations of physical and chemical interactions among the human palate, often described in terms like tannic, aggressive or “chewy.”

And while the e-tongue interprets data by using biosensors and statistics, Diako uses his taste buds and brain. “The human tongue is the primary taste organ of the body,” said Diako. “Being a living tissue and being integrated with the most sophisticated computer the world has ever known–the brain–its perception of taste is absolutely matchless.”

Flesh-and-Blood Wine Taster

Just as fortuitous as pairing a good wine with the right cheese, the new e-tongue has been paired with the right scientist. Diako joined Ross’s lab a year ago, shortly after WSU purchased the e-tongue for its expanding role in Washington’s wine research. While there’s no way to know if the e-tongue enjoys its work, it’s clear that Diako loves what he does in the lab. Always smiling and often laughing, Diako knew little about wine or e-tongue technology when he came to WSU, he said.

“I didn’t even know there was a difference between Washington the state and Washington, D.C.,” he said, throwing his head back in laughter.

But he does know sensory science and, now, what makes a good wine. Diako’s research history includes work on aromatic rice, an important staple food in his native African country. Diako plans on applying his expanded sensory skills to the research and higher education needs of his country upon returning home.

“I love research. I love teaching,” he added.

Diako is often sought out by lab members for his ingrained expertise at detecting precise tastes. Advanced taste sensitivity is often genetic and he was born with finely-tuned taste buds, he said.

“You need that to be able to work in this field.”

Raising a Glass

The sensory lab is evaluating 60 red wines from Washington state, including a planned follow-up-study on the same number of Washington-produced white wines.

“The use of the e-tongue for assessment of this many red wine samples hasn’t been undertaken before,” said Ross.

The information gathered from the evaluations is important to the Washington grape growers and winemakers to guide fruit and wine flavor development, said Diako. After all, a great bottle of wine begins in the vineyard. Will the e-tongue know if that bottle does contain, in fact, a good wine?

Absolutely, by providing it with a gold standard, said Diako, adding with a smile, “But it doesn’t know the price.”

Photo credit: Chelsea Pickett/WSU

Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival October 11-13

October 7, 2013

Dungeness Crab Festival

It’s that time of year again. . .time for the 12th Annual Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival, which takes place from Friday to Sunday, October 11 to 13, 2013, in Port Angeles, Washington.

“Crabfest is the annual celebration of our region’s diverse bounty, the seafood, agriculture and maritime traditions, and the breathtaking coastal environment that is home to the Dungeness crab,” says festival producing director Scott Nagel. “The event will once again take place downtown at the Port Angeles City Pier, Gateway Center, and Red Lion Hotel overlooking the beautiful Strait of Juan de Fuca and Victoria, British Columbia.”

A nationally renowned event, the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival was named one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association in 2011. Coastal Living Magazine designated it one of the Top 10 Coastal Events in 2012. The festival will also be featured in an upcoming issue of national food magazine, Saveur.

This year festival organizers are honored to host the return visit of our friend and colleague Graham Kerr, whom we’ve written about in The Seattle Times. Graham was the first television chef, known as the “Galloping Gourmet,” working with his wife and producer, Treena.

Graham will prepare his favorite crab cakes, talk about his world view of food, and have books on hand for sale and signing. Additionally, he will serve as the celebrity judge of the festival’s first-annual chowder-making competition, the Captain Joseph House Chowder Cook-off, to be held Sunday afternoon. The public will not only have several opportunities to connect with Graham, but will participate in the tasting and rating of the amateur and professional chowder cooks.

Festival hours are Friday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is FREE and the big-top tent provides covered seating.

There are several ways to get to Port Angeles: Drive route 101 to Port Angeles; fly Kenmore Air Express with connections to SeaTac and the world; and visitors from Canada will find special packages on the Coho Ferry from Victoria, which docks right next to the Festival!

For more information including transportation, accommodations, directions and the detailed program, please go to the Festival website.

Other Festival Highlights:

In the 9,000-square-foot Kitsap Bank Crab Central food tent, visitors will find an old-fashioned “crab feed,” complete with large kettles of fresh whole crabs ready to be enjoyed with fresh corn and cole slaw. The crabs are caught live locally – the freshest you can get!

At Crab Central and throughout the grounds, 15 local and regional restaurants will provide visitors with many delicious seafood dishes including crab cakes, grilled wild salmon, fish tacos, crab enchiladas, crab Rangoon, clam chowder, crab bisque, seafood gumbo, Northwest paella, fish ‘n’ chips, barbecued oysters, steamed clams, oyster stew, mussels, grilled scallops, and more. New this year is the Taylor Shellfish Farms Raw Oyster Bar!

In addition, there will be live music, Olympic-Peninsula wines for tasting, Northwest microbrews, and the Peninsula’s own Bedford Sodas.

But that’s not all! More than 80 booths will be featured on the city pier including juried crafts, merchants, nonprofit environmental organizations, and festival sponsors.

And The Columbia Bank Gateway Center will be home to the Chef Demonstration Stage, featuring ongoing cooking demonstrations by Graham Kerr and outstanding local and regional chefs, as well as a wine garden, food, and exhibits.

The Crab Revival will take place on Sunday morning from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The program includes a non-denominational service directed by Michael Rivers, gospel music from the Peninsula Men’s Gospel Singers, and other local musicians.

On Sunday afternoon all are invited to Crabfest’s first annual chowder cook-off sponsored by the Captain Joseph House Foundation, which provides respite and healing for families of our fallen warriors. All proceeds will go the House. Visitors can taste chowders from both amateur and professional cooks, and then vote for their favorite! The more tickets visitors buy, the more chowder they get and the more votes they can enter.

“Get crabbing” during the First Federal and Wilder Auto Grab-A-Crab Tank Derby, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Located on the city pier, the entire family can participate in this unorthodox derby by crabbing from large holding tanks using crab snares and bait. The $5 entry fee allows participants to crab for 10 minutes, no license or gear needed. Festival volunteers will be on hand to demonstrate how to catch, cook and clean the famous crustaceans. Purchase whole crabs to take home cooked or uncooked.

Stop by the Feiro Marina Life Center for a hands-on educational experience or to enjoy children’s activities.

The Peninsula College Athletic Department is a great Crabfest partner. Saturday and Sunday on Hollywood Beach is the Crabfest Sand Volleyball Tournament; Saturday is the Crabfest 5-K Fun Run/Walk with proceeds supporting the women’s basketball program. When visitors get their Crab Derby crabs cleaned and packed to go, the men’s basketball team does the work. And every night the soccer team cleans Crab Central.

Fresh cooked, chilled and cleaned crab will be available to take home throughout the festival (cooked crab can be taken to Canada).

San Juan Islands Great Island Grown Festival October 1-13

October 1, 2013

Crow Valley Farm Orcas Island

Bountiful farms, stunning pastoral landscapes and superb local food…that’s the San Juan Islands way of life!

The Great Island Grown San Juan Island Festival

Beginning today, and lasting until Sunday, October 13, farmers, restaurants, the Island community, and visitors will come together to celebrate this unique and coveted destination at The Great Island Grown Festival.

The Great Island Grown Festival features two weeks of events and workshops, from distillery tastings and plein-air farm painting to shellfish tours and sheepdog demonstrations to farm parades, bike tours of farms, and vineyard harvests. And, of course, farmers’ markets, harvest festival, and farm-to-table meals.

Island Grown in the San Juans is a membership organization of San Juan County farmers, restaurants, and supporters. The organization celebrates the bounty of the Islands’ rich agricultural heritage, and inspires Islanders, visitors, and businesses about the many benefits of buying locally grown and harvested products from land and sea.

The complete festival calendar and more details including dates and locations are available on the Island Grown in the San Juans website.

And here’s some really interesting historical information about agriculture in the San Juan Islands (from the media release):

The San Juan Islands are blessed with a temperate climate and were once considered to be the breadbasket of Western Washington. The local fruit industry began in earnest in the 1890s, with the introduction of Italian prune plums, and grew to include thousands of trees bearing apples, cherries, peaches, and pears.

During the early 1900s, farmers shipped boatloads of fruit from all the major islands to Salish-Sea ports, where the produce was transported by rail throughout the country. Although the islands no longer dominate Washington’s fruit industry, the legacy of historic orchards with local varieties such as the Orcas pear bear witness to the rich history of Island fruit-raising and distribution—a heritage that is still cultivated by San Juan County growers today.

Island Grown in the San Juans chose a logo with a pear in a boat as a symbol of the rich agricultural heritage of the island archipelago situated in the waters of the Salish Sea. Pears played a key role in fruit raising in the San Juans during the period from the 1890s to the 1930s.

The pear represents an Orcas pear, a delicious heritage variety that was discovered by Joseph C. Long along a roadside on Orcas Island in 1966. The Orcas pear (Pyrus communis) is listed as an American Heirloom Pear in Slow Foods USA “Ark of Taste,” and is suitable for fresh consumption, canning, and drying.

The boat was, and still is, one of the primary means of transportation in the islands. Even today, islanders are known to transport their farm produce by boat to markets on other islands.

Photo courtesy of Island Grown

Northwest Wining and Dining Confronts MIRROR

September 23, 2013

SAM MIRROR art installation

This is an open letter to MIRROR, a 120-food-wide LED installation by artist Doug Aitken that wraps around the northwest corner of the entrance to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), cater corner  from our condominium building, 98 Union. 

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Dear Mirror,

I wanted to like you, I really, really wanted to like you.

For several months, I patiently endured the blasts of hammers and whining of saws while you were installed on the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) facade.

I looked on in wonder as the artist who created you and the technicians who made you possible tested your main LED panel and the flashing spikes that run vertically up the mullions on the north and west sides of SAM.

SAM MIRROR art installation

After many months of construction and testing, it was finally time for your grand unveiling in March. I stood on our tenth-floor balcony, which provided a bird’s-eye view of the crowds who gathered, members of the Seattle Symphony who serenaded your arrival, and even Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn who came to welcome you.

After a few tense moments when it seemed you might not light up correctly, your colorfully choreographed images finally started to move.

The crowd applauded. SAM big-wigs pontificated. The donor’s son waxed eloquent.

I snapped photos and put them on my blog.

A few hours later the stage and podium had been dismantled, the crowds had disbursed, the musicians were on to their next gig.

SAM MIRROR display

But the residents of 98 Union Condominiums were still there, just beginning to realize your unbelievably negative impact on our lives.

From the very first moment, your giant screen overtook our condominiums like an incessant, unwelcome distraction.

The jagged, ever-changing spikes of flashing light invaded our living spaces so much so that many of us have been forced to shut our blinds to keep out obsessive light pollution.

And your hours are extraordinarily long–from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. seven days a week. Unless we want to “live” from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. when you are dark, we can’t get away from you, as hard as we try.

Your reviews were mediocre at best. CityArts reviewer Erin King said, “Looking at Mirror for eight hours a day beats a plain gray wall. Its sleek sparkle hearkens back to a cheerier 2007, the year it was commissioned and the pinnacle of big shiny Aughties art. But as its light spills over the First Avenue sidewalk, Mirror already feels like a reflection of the past.”

In a review entitled, “Image Grab,” The Seattle Weekly’s Brian Miller says, “The mountains, greenery, orange Port of Seattle Cranes, silhouettes of pedestrians—these source images are too benign. They don’t grab your attention like the signage in Times Square, and they don’t seem grabbed from our immediate, lived world. . . .But that’s also why MIRROR is so boring: It just reflects an anodyne, outsider’s view of the Northwest. It’s tourist Seattle, not our Seattle, and even the tourists aren’t buying it.”

Have you seen MIRROR? If so, what do you think about it?

If you come to look at Mirror, isn’t it better to simply turn around, walk to the dead end of Union Street by the Four Seasons Hotel, take a deep breath of sea air from Elliott Bay, and marvel at REAL-TIME views of the Seattle Great Wheel, ferry boats , and the Olympic Mountains beyond?


Four Seasons Seattle Gets Five Stars!

September 16, 2013

Four seasons hotel seattle infinity pool

It’s not every day that your next-door neighbor gets a five-star rating.

But that’s what happened last week when our neighbor just across the courtyard, the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, became the only hotel in Washington state to be awarded the coveted Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star rating for providing extraordinary experiences with flawless service and the finest amenities.

We’ve written about our own very special part of downtown Seattle, at the corner of First Avenue and Union Street, for The Seattle Times. And you can look at the Five-Star photo album on Facebook.

Four seasons hotel seattle lobby

And happy to report that the Four Seasons is going strong, happily celebrating its fifth anniversary on November 3, 2013.

The 147-room hotel was recognized in Forbes Travel Guide’s inaugural mid-year update to the official 2013 Star Rating announcement and is one of 83 five-star hotels, representing the very best of the best hotels in the world. The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Seattle is also the only spa in Seattle to receive a Four-Star rating.

Four seasons hotel seattle room

“To be recognized as the best hotel in Washington for our service and amenities is such an honour, and everyone here at the Hotel contributed to our success,” says Ilse Harley, Four Seasons Hotel Seattle general manager. “We’ve been receiving similar feedback from our guests since opening, whether in person or on consumer-generated sites, and to have Forbes Travel Guide mirror what our guests are telling us is outstanding.”

Four Seasons Hotel Seattle will be showcased with all of the 2013 Star Rating recipients on the Forbes Travel Guide website. Since 1958, Forbes Travel Guide’s professional inspectors look for service that is intuitive, engaging, and passionate, and goes beyond expectations. In addition, the physical nature of the hotel is designed with comfort in mind, with particular attention paid to craftsmanship and quality of product, often making the property a destination unto itself. This includes service and amenities found at ART Restaurant & Lounge, The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Seattle and the property’s unique outdoor infinity-edged pool.

“Our Star Ratings recognize the finest hotels, restaurants and spas in the world. These ratings serve as guideposts for consumers seeking exceptional travel experiences, and our primary mission is to serve the consumer,” said Michael Cascone, president of Forbes Travel Guide. “We’re proud to be associated with the new additions to our global list.”

“This is truly a celebration for our staff, as we mark our fifth anniversary with the Five-Star rating. Today, our guests will receive ‘Star Treatment’ with Champagne and treats in the lobby and restaurant,” continues Harley. “This award also puts Washington state on the map with other exceptional properties from destinations in the United States, China, and Europe. Out of the more than 187,000 hotels around the globe, only 83 properties are deemed worthy enough of the Five-Star recognition.”

Four Seasons Hotel Seattle continues to be recognized as the best hotel in Seattle, taking the #1 spot in the city on Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards for its outstanding service, downtown location, and sweeping views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains. Four Seasons is the only Seattle property in Robb Report’s World’s Top 100 Hotels 2013. While TripAdvisor’s 2013 Travelers’ Choice awards named it the #4 top overall hotel in the US, #4 top luxury hotel and #10 hotel for service.

“Hopping” Along Yakima’s New Spirits and Hops Trail

August 26, 2013

Yakima Valley icon

A recent press release brought news that the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau has launched the Spirits and Hops Trail website to help tourists easily navigate the growing number of local craft breweries, cideries, and distilleries throughout the region.

According to the release, in the last five years, the region has welcomed three breweries, three distilleries, and the largest producer of hard artisan cider in the state. The new site provides information and online mapping capabilities for these new businesses, and many more tasting destinations throughout the Yakima Valley, including restaurants that feature locally crafted adult beverages.

The Yakima Valley is the top agricultural region in Washington State. In addition to growing 40 varieties of crops, the Valley produces 78 percent of the nation’s hops. For decades, commercial and craft breweries across the country and globe have relied on the quality hops grown in the Valley for their products.

Tourism leaders believe this project will complement the thriving wine industry of the Yakima Valley, which boasts more than 120 wineries and acres of rolling vineyards.

“Our agricultural heritage is a foundation of our visitor industry,” stated John Cooper, president and CEO of the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau. “It’s only natural that we should celebrate our role in the beer and distillery industries.”

The website also contains a history of the hops industry, a blog with guest authors, and a calendar of events of interest to beer, cider,  and spirits enthusiasts.

Wine Tasting in British Columbia and Boeuf Bourguignon

August 5, 2013

Cherry Point Vineyards grapes

Planning a trip to British Columbia this summer? Need an excuse to plan a trip to our neighbor to the north?

Then how about making plans to attend the first-ever Campbell Valley Wine Festival, which highlights the best of the Fraser Valley wineries located amongst the rolling hills of South Langley’s Campbell Valley.

Saturday, August 10, is the day to explore! Visit Backyard Vineyards, Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery, Township 7 Vineyards, and Winery and Vista D’Oro Farms and Winery. From 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., each winery will offer wine samples, snacks, live entertainment, and the chance to win a case of wine.

About the featured wineries: 


Backyard Vineyards is your choice for local wines. With grapes harvested in both the Fraser and the Okanagan Valleys, Backyard offers the very best of BC VQA wines. Sparkling wines to brighten up even the grayest of days, varietal wines from cheeky to sexy and a Nosey Neighbour peeking over the fence, there is something for every day and price range at Backyard Vineyards. Located at 3033 232nd Street, Langley, BC T. 604-539-9463


A quick tasting or an afternoon filled with fabulous food, wine tasting, and a tour of the vineyards. Domaine de Chaberton, one of B.C.’s largest estate wineries and the Fraser Valley’s oldest winery and vineyard, cordially invites you to come and experience a tranquil atmosphere. The 55-acre property, situated off of 216th and 16th in Langley, offers daily tours and free wine tastings. Pack a lunch or picnic and join us on one of our many sunny days for a glass of wine in our licensed picnic area or dine in our Zagat Rated “Excellent” Bacchus Bistro. Located at 1064 – 216 Street, Langley, BC T. 604 530 1736


Founded in 2001, Township 7 has two B.C. wineries, one situated in the scenic Fraser Valley and the other on the picturesque Naramata Bench in Canada’s premier wine region, the Okanagan Valley. Our Metro Vancouver winery is located in the beautiful south Langley countryside in a quaint building reminiscent of the many riding stables in the neighbourhood. Named after this historic community of south Langley, its original name in the late 1800s was “Township 7”- the cottage on our property is an original building from the 1930s. Located at 21152 16th Ave. (at 212th St.),
Langley, BC T. 604-532-1766


Dedicated to providing an ultimate agritourism experience, Vista D’oro Farms & Winery’s orchard and vineyard provide an assorted bounty, all of which can be found in the Farmgate Shop & Tasting Room in some form – whether it’s our flagship D’oro – fortified walnut Wine, our Orchard Pear & Pinot Noir Preserve, or simple pickled cherries on our charcuterie boards. Full picnic provisions are available to enjoy on our deck or under the walnut tree. Located at 346-208th Street, Langley, BC T. 604-514-3539

And as your reward for reading his far, here’s an added bonus!

I featured Domaine de Chaberton in my seventh book, “Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining: The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia“. Here’s the winery’s recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon.

Northwest Wining and Dining Applauds Farmers Markets in Victoria, British Columbia

July 29, 2013

Victoria, BC, farmers market photo

Thinking of visiting our neighbor to the North, the charming town of Victoria, British Columbia, for a little r&r this summer?

A recent press release reminded us to be sure to visit one of the city’s bustling farmers markets, which are now in full swing. Local favorites include the Victoria Public Market, Moss Street Market, and the Chinatown Night Market.

The Victoria Public Market at the Hudson Building is Victoria’s newest culinary experience! Vendors include everything from a butcher to a baker to a sweet-and-savory pie maker, with popular names such as Salt Spring Island Cheese, Vij’s, Olive the Senses, and Wildfire Bakery among the mix. Hours for the market are 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. from Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays and closed on Mondays, with the larger farmers markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The Moss Street Market is now in its 22nd season of providing local and organic farm-fresh produce, local foods, handmade crafts, artisan clothing, live music, and community education to visitors. Found at the corner of Moss Street and Fairfield Road, this vibrant  market operates from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. every Saturday, May through October, rain or shine.

Finally, the Chinatown Night Market, located in Canada’s oldest Chinatown, happens every second Wednesday of the month from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on July 10, August 14, and September 11, 2013. This market focuses on culturally relevant entertainment, food, and artists, making it a showcase of Asian culture and a completely unique market in Victoria.

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