The time I have spent with my wines over the past summer differs greatly from my experience with my wines in the past. I have always been very involved in how my wines work with the restaurants, retailers, and food in the Pacific Northwest. This summer however, I have had a more active food and wine pairing experience with my JoieFarm wine portfolio.
After 13 years, with the recent changes made to Joie Picnique, I have returned to the kitchen menu planning and cooking for our new concept: Le Comptoir. My cooking background is very classically European-inspired and regionally driven. Le Comptoir is also honoured to have two chefs-in-residence with serious pedigrees, Brian Skinner and Lina Caschetto, cooking with me this summer. They are incredibly well-trained, well-travelled, and modern chefs; giving me a chance to experiment with their modern approach to cooking using local, seasonal ingredients.
Brian’s cooking is vegetarian and plant-based. Typically, vegetarian food does not present much fat or tannin which poses a challenge given that classical food and wine pairings are based on these elements. We have had fun this summer, creating alternative platforms like using charred alliums ground into powders, nuts as fats, and nori elements for umami allowing the JoieFarm portfolio to shine with Chef Skinner’s food.
Lina on the other hand is a spirit-sister cook. Working from a classical European background and a completely seasonal larder (not unlike Brian and I), Lina has an incredible depth of seasoning and an acute sense of balance. When we met in the south of France, in Arles, she made me a dish of oyster mushrooms in ponzu with bonito. Over the course of that lunch I told my partner JJ, “this tastes like something I would make”. Lina’s dish showcased soy, fish sauce, lime and sesame treated with European techniques and ingredients which are the basis of my own inspiration when cooking at home.
It has been a pleasure pairing my hallmark acid-driven wines with Lina and Brian’s modern dishes. On August 21st, we had the pleasure of celebrating our collaboration and the bounty of the Okanagan with a lovely group of friends, family, and neighbours. It was a special evening that brought back fond memories from the Orchard Table Dinners I hosted at our cooking school from 2003 to 2006. Though many of the faces and dishes have changed, the feeling of pure joie was the same and once again I remember how fortunate I am to be able to do what I do and share it with kindred spirits.
JoieFarm Long Table Dinner Menu
This summer’s experience has filled me with new vigour to go back to the winery this autumn. I am exhilarated with a new depth of creativity and inspiration of how my wines can be enjoyed.
I invite you to seek out Old World recipes and recreate them with my classically European-inspired wines in mind. I also invite you to have fun with food and wine, enjoy them with whatever the market and the mood demands from them. I assure you, my wines are up to the challenge.
As always, thank you for your support of JoieFarm wines and my pursuit of exploring how BC wines fit into modern West Coast living.
photo credit @artistbillblair