Fall is full of flavour in Kelowna and the Okanagan, and while eating and sipping is often enjoyment enough, there are many Kelowna businesses that are adding hands-on and learning experiences as well. These special workshops, classes, and courses are worth travelling for and will fill you up with flavours and ideas, too. Try some of these extra-special events as you sip, savour, and play during your next stay in Kelowna!
Make sure you save room for an incredible dessert (or plan an evening around it) and go behind the scenes with the local gelato experts at QB Gelato. You’ll learn what makes this Italian dessert unique, how the QB team makes their gelato, the difference local ingredients will make, and you can geek-out on the science of sugars and freezing points. These classes are great solo, in a pair or with a group, as you taste individual ingredients and join to make a batch of gelato together! I took in a behind-the-scenes workshop last fall and as a group, we made an amazing salted caramel gelato.
Travel tip: Make sure your hotel or accommodation has a freezer in your room as each workshop guest will leave with a ½ litre of gelato to enjoy. Or, just eat it right away if they don’t! The Coast Capri Hotel is a quick 20-minute walk to help work off any calories.
Still want more sweets or some tips on how to master macaron making? Sandrine has you covered! Visit her speciality bakery and chocolate shop and get right into her kitchen to prepare cream-puff pastry, chocolates, opera cakes – even holiday classics. These three-hour workshops get you creating her signature recipes that are favourites among Kelowna and area residents. Her small-class format gets you hands-on every step of the way as you create masterpieces together and refine your baking skills. If you’ve got a group, private pastry workshops are available on request.
I took a French Classics class and learned I had been doing so many things wrong. After some quick guidance from Sandrine, my pastries are flakier than ever, and her Tarte Tatin (with Okanagan apples!) is one of my go-to desserts.
Travel tip: Pack an extra bag to take back all the local ingredients you pick up along the way. These edible souvenirs are a great way to remember your time in Kelowna or share with others. And there’s always more to discover on your next trip!
Fall’s harvest also brings new uses for lavender and herbs in your home kitchen. The team at the Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm offers a variety of workshops throughout the year; in the fall, they offer special workshops that use plant materials taken right from their gardens. Their Fragrance & Flavour workshop will teach you how to enhance cocktails and baking with lavender and herb-infused sugars, how to make a custom garnish for your soups and stews, and how to create infused vinegar for harvest salads. Check out their other courses that include herbal wreath making, aromatherapy blending, and winter greenery arranging.
I’ve attended some of their workshops to make teas and bath soaks and can tell you, a visit to the Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm always leaves you feeling calm and fully centered.
Travel tip: The Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm has an amazing apothecary shop (with online sales!) full of handcrafted products with botanical ingredients from their land. This is a great place to stock up on thoughtful gifts to help yourself and others relax and recharge.
Michael Buffett and the team at Start Fresh—part restaurant, part collaborative kitchen—have built a culinary education program to share with the community, which visitors can take advantage of, too. In addition to food workshops and classes, the Start Fresh team is also running an integrated training program, providing employment training and skills development to help participants achieve long-term careers. The demonstration-style kitchen is also great for group events.
Travel Tip: If you were thinking of coming to Kelowna for the weekend, consider coming a day early. Each Thursday night the team at Start Fresh Kitchen offers courses, training, and workshops to pair, bake or can Kelowna’s flavours. It’s a great way to kick off a food- and wine-themed visit!
This is a great event for those who want to enjoy the flavours of fall outdoors in the clean, crisp fall air. Take a walk around the lakeside estates at Quails’ Gate Winery to learn about and taste Okanagan food and wine flavours. You’ll learn about the winery and its wines, enjoy small-plate tastes along the way, and get wine and food tips from the experts. You’ll be the first to enjoy some of their newly released 2016 red wines and enjoy a selection of favourites from their wine library.
Travel Tip: You may have heard about the very popular long-table dinners at Quails’ Gate that happen over the summer. It’s never too early to start planning your next trip so you can take in all four-seasons of Okanagan flavours!
Each fall, the culinary team at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery opens their learning and demonstration kitchen to share their finesse for flavours with guests. In addition to enjoying the incredible clear, crisp views of fall in the Okanagan Valley, guests will warm up with a welcome glass of wine in the winery before watching (and eating) a multi-course meal, which is also paired with their exquisite wines. Often featuring locally-grown ingredients, this culinary series features a variety of cuisines and cooking styles – Italian, French, seafood, Indian, gluten-free, holiday-themed, and Mexican – you can taste a world of flavours here in Kelowna and take the recipes home to share with others. Last year, I took in the Eastern European Comforts class – think comfort foods taken to the next level – caraway goulash, leek pierogis, beef roulade with spaetzle, with a bee sting cake to top it off.
Travel tip: Book early, these courses are very popular and fill up fast. Check out some great B & B options nearby as your choice accommodations!
For more ideas, visit Tourism Kelowna’s events calendar. You can sip wine while carving a pumpkin at Buvez Wine Bar, take a workshop at the Kelowna Art Gallery, or complete language classes at the Okanagan Regional Library. There are so many options for classes and workshops in Kelowna and area, so find your favourites to enjoy the best of the Okanagan.