Visiting Kelowna is a special treat for those with a passion for food. The Okanagan is one of Canada’s largest fruit growing regions, with dozens of roadside fruit stands greeting visitors, spring through fall.
If you are interested in seeing how local residents have transformed their love of food into viable businesses, visit Caramoomel or The Jammery. At Caramoomel, you’ll discover how three generations of women have built a successful cottage industry, preparing and packaging wonderful specialty spreads, from veggie caviar to ice wine jelly.
The Jammery features a restaurant, gift shop and jam making facility where visitors can take a jam-making tour, taste wonderful jellies and jams and relax in the Tearoom restaurant. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu features specialties like homemade scones with fresh jam and 23 different blends of tea.
The Ridge restaurant offers an incredible view of the Valley and Executive Chefs Ryan Smid and Travis Hackl (Okanagan’s Finest Catering Co.) create fabulous menu items using local, fresh ingredients. In July 2003, Kelowna Land & Orchard opened Raven Ridge Cidery: a selection of orchard-made beverages are featured on the Ridge Restaurant’s menu and a selection of still apple wine and iced apple cider can be sampled and/or purchased at the tasting bar.
Chef Rodney Butters and his wife Audrey own and operate Fresco in downtown Kelowna. The restaurant has received rave reviews from locals and visitors alike, including the CAA/AAA Four Diamond distinction. Butters was formerly executive chef of The Wickanninish Inn on Vancouver Island.
The Harvest Dining Room at The Harvest Golf Club is another fine dining establishment headed by Chef Jim Armstrong. Armstrong creates deliciously inventive menus and like many Okanagan chefs, is used to working with local wineries to present specialty wine tasting dinners throughout the year.
A number of Kelowna’s wineries have introduced dining facilities in recent years, all of which provide fantastic views of the vineyards and Okanagan Lake. Summerhill Estate Winery has recently expanded its indoor and outdoor dining areas and is open year-round for lunch and dinner, featuring local fare and a wonderful selection of Summerhill and other local wines. Quails’ Gate’s Old Vines Patio & Restaurant is also open year-round. CedarCreek, Gray Monk and Mission Hill wineries all have seasonal dining facilities where visitors enjoy local cuisine paired with a wonderful array of wines, many of which are available by the glass.
Have a hankering for some fine fois gras or other regional French cuisine? Bouchons, a bistro in the Cultural District, offers the delicious artistry of Executive Chef Dominique Couton. Bouillabaise, moules & frites with mayonnaise, duck confit, rabbit, and steak medallions are all featured on the menu, as well as a selection of fresh cheeses about which one must ask the server as they change daily.
Speaking of cheese, the local boutique goat dairy, Carmelis Alpine Goat Cheese, located just up the road from CedarCreek Estate Winery, features over 20 varieties of goat cheese. Owned and operated by the Barmor family who made their home in Kelowna in 2003, Carmelis enjoys the experience of a 12-year cheese-making family history as well as the distinct and worldly flair of the family’s Israeli roots.