Okanagan Wine Country – Naramata and a Bit Beyond
Thanks to the ever-charming Chef Victor Bongo, the ever-ready to travel Tess G. and I got an invite to the Naramata Bench for the launch of the chefs new menu and the wines Bongo created in conjunction with Serendipity Winery. We live in delicious times I tell you! You can check out the full story on the launch right here. While we were there we managed to sneak a little bit more into this Okanagan Wine Country visit.
The Honda CRV was perfect for cruising up from Vancouver with a ton of room for our wine purchases. More on that ride soon!
We checked into the Apple d’Or Bed and Breakfast, an absolutely stunning property overlooking the lake. They’ve spent a great deal of time created this gem, it looks like a large, luxurious log cabin from the outside, and is equally impressive once you open the door. There’s a special feeling at Apple d’Or, and each detail has been well thought out. The hosts are readily available should you need anything, but you’d hardly know they, or any other guests, are there as the rooms are spaced out, walls well insulated and privacy never was an issue.
The beds are super comfortable, I should know as I had to spend far too long there the night I first arrived as I was super-ill with some sort of insane food poisoning I picked up in Vancouver.
A stroll around the property reveals well-attended yards, unique sculptures and the spacious swimming pool which is now open for the summer.
Tea and coffee are available in the common area; they use a local tea company and there’s freshly roasted coffee, with real cream and milk of course.
Breakfast is served each morning and as we were there two days we were treated to something different each day I particularly enjoyed the smoked salmon, perfectly poached eggs, and the caramelized grapefruit.
The rooms are decked out with air conditioning, a music system, heated bathroom floor, small kitchen, flat screen TV, DVD player, telephone, high speed internet and individual private patios adjacent to the garden with a barbecue. Not a place we were eager to check out of at all! Highly recommend, especially for a romantic escape.
After my hellish night being deathly ill, I somehow made it out of bed that morning and was eager to get up to some fun. Total #fomo as I’d missed out on dinner the night before at Hillside Winery. Tess had really enjoyed it and I’ll have to get there next time.
A delicious breakfast was enjoyed and we headed out to the farmers market where I purchased a much needed sun-hat. Then we were on to Victor Bongo’s Serendipity wine launch. The kids pictured were eating the craziest item and strongly suggested we indulge, but I don’t think my stomach will ever be ready for this insane combo.
Check out this post for details on the wine launch and luncheon, and here’s a few shots to give you a hint of what you might expect if you dined at the Naramata Inn under Chef Bongo’s watch; delish!
There was time to check out Legend Distilling between lunch and dinner, so of course we had to sample a few cocktails made with the local gin and vodka.
That night dinner at the Inn was a delight, Bongo and his team of chefs created an exceptional meal, paired with great Serendipity Wines and the service was spot on. After a bit of entertainment we called it a night.
The next morning another great breakfast appeared from Apple D’Or and we then packed our bags and got ready to slowly head back to Vancouver, thinking a few stops were in order along the way.
Back to the Inn, Chef Bongo had prepared a lovely buffet brunch; the frittata was delightful.
We almost cleaned out the cheese display at Urban Bench Winery. Shana Miller’s artisan cheeses are my favourite local cheese, each and every one of them. The winery’s Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays are exceptional and I grabbed a couple bottles of Chard for another night or day. They’ve just installed a pizza oven, and from what I’ve observed from photos posted, the breads look delightful; we’ve added it to the to do list for next time.
Tess had just had the 8th Generation Vineyards bubble at Chef Meets Grape, and was eager to repeat the experience so we stopped in to do a tasting and grab a few in Summerland. Their Rieslings are also exceptional.
Ideally we would have had time for lunch at Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards, but, one can only eat so much.
The building is stunning, and they are making some excellent bubble as well as aromatic whites, Chardonnay and Rose and the food looked amazing. This gem will certainly elevate the profile of Okanagan Wine Country, and you may have remembered its previous incarnation as Greata Ranch.
The name Fitzpatrick’s refers to the well-known family that owned Cedarcreek Winery until the recent sale. They’ve been making stellar wine in the valley for decades. Take some time to visit this one and plan to stay a while in Okanagan Wine Country.