Fall is here and today I’m taking a break from posting recipes. Instead, I’m taking you with me on an adventure to the Okanagan Valley wine region of British Columbia. Let’s discover together the beautiful orchards and vineyards the region has to offer.
In the tumult of this crazy year, I took a one-week well-deserved vacation together with David and baby Lucie. It was our first vacation together and also the first time I took a break from blogging since baby Lucie was born. Of course, I planned ahead and you may have noticed this new recipe and this other one with a little video on the blog.
Meanwhile, we drove a few hours away from Vancouver to British Columbia’s Okanagan wine region. This was a lovely break, not far away from home and perfect to reload.
An escape to Okanagan Wine Region
If you’ve never been to British Columbia before, the Okanagan Valley wine region is located just a few hours East of Vancouver. Sunny and warm with orchards and vineyards sprawling the hillsides, the long valley is filled with an expansive lake. You get the idea: nature, nature, nature. And this is exactly what we were looking for.
We actually didn’t do much during the week. First of all, we really needed to rest and decided to take it slow. Also, baby Lucie started to wake up multiple times at night (hello the 4 month sleep regression!). We just took it as it was, taking turns at night and trying to adjust to this new shift the best we could.
But just soaking in fall, its abundance of fruits and colorful foliage was enough to make us feel good. This year definitely makes us rethink the concept of vacation. Less is more, and simple is best.
From wine tastings…
Taking advantage of what the region has to offer, we went exploring the vineyards and adjacent wineries of course. And we did a few wine tasting along the way, although I was just taking a few sips from the tip of my lips as I’m still breastfeeding Lucie.
But let’s talk about the Okanagan Valley as a wine region a little bit more. The Okanagan Valley is indeed BC’s premier grape growing region but to be honest with you, I had never heard of it before.
Also, and before we go further, I just want to point out that I may be French but I have a very thin background when it comes to recognizing wines. I do enjoy wines and I did a few wine tastings in the past (in Napa and Sonoma Valley in California, in New Zealand…) and I can recognize some wines but I’m in no way an expert in the field.
That being said, it’s always a pleasure to explore vineyards and get to learn more behind each winery. The most impressive of the region was for us Mission Hill Winery, situated atop a hill overlooking the lake, mountains and vineyards.
We also did a few other wine tastings (Dirty Laundry, the Okanagan Crush Pad Winery), and among them we liked Summer Hill Winery with its iconic pyramid.
Also a very nice surprise was actually a cidery, La Petite Abeille. Usually when it comes to cider I go back to my roots right away, and to me the only one that matters is the French cider. So when we first reached the cidery, I had no expectations really (not to mention the real reason we stopped was that Lucie was crying in her car seat).
But wow, these ciders were mind-blowing. From the special sparkling-style cider to the other ones with pears or apple crisps and very tiny bubbles, it’s almost a wine experience rather than just cider.
… to resourcing family hikes
Be reassured though, we did not just drink wine and cider, we also went on a few hikes (David even took a swim into the lake early in the morning – too cold for me!).
We’ve always been pretty good hikers, but with a baby it’s a whole different story. Luckily, this didn’t stop us, and with baby Lucie wrapped in the scarf, we went wandering the hills of the Okanagan Valley.
We chose easier hikes than we would have previously, brought picnics and enjoyed the delicious and crispy apples sourced from the local fruit stands.
One hike got me a little scared though, with its slippery paths and a mountain stream to cross. I wouldn’t normally call myself a “mama bear”, but I now prioritize safety. Lucie was taking a nap in the scarf and couldn’t care less, but we decided to head back anyway.
Life with a baby is definitely different, but I’m happy it doesn’t stop us from doing what we love. I guess we just need to be flexible and rethink our expectations.
Plethora of pumpkins on the way back!
Then, after a few days in the beautiful orchards and vineyards, it was time to head back to Vancouver. Again, we took it slow, with multiple stops along the way.
And look what we found: beautiful pumpkin patches here and there. All sorts of pumpkins, edible or not, and some kids playing around.
I’m now back in my kitchen, well refreshed from this beautiful little escape in the Okanagan Valley. And now that we’re entering the final months of the year, I’m ready for more cooking and baking adventures that I can’t wait to share with you.
Thank you for reading me, and see you soon with more seasonal recipes and videos!