April is an exciting month in our house (Charlie’s birthday, Charles’ birthday, spring arrives…) AND with so much to celebrate, isn’t it handy that it also happens to be BC Wine Month! We created a special menu in honour of BC Wine Month complete with… you guessed it, BC wine pairings curated by sommelier and wine expert Kurtis Kolt.
Growing up in the Okanagan meant that I was surrounded by the wine culture all of my adult life (my bus stop was across from one of our favourite wineries, it’s been incredible to see the transformation of the winery, and the industry, over the years!). Our wine industry has blossomed into something that I’m very proud of, and I simply love the way that it helps define our culture and community … and the grit, creativity and passion that comes with it.
Charles and I went on an incredibly romantic wine tour last fall and we were blown away by many aspects of the tour. The people are so warm hearted, welcoming and incredibly hard working and passionate. It turns out that making great wine isn’t for sissies! We had the best mini couple retreat, it was a gift to us (despite the fact that we still woke up at 6am – not quite the sleep in we hoped for kid-free). If you want to read about it click here!
I also had the chance to do another tour this summer with a couple of girlfriends with a bit of a different vibe (you know, like girls trips can be!) and had a serious blast! You can read about that one with all the juicy details here:).
If you’re planning a wine tour in one (or more) of BC’s beautiful 9 wine regions I highly recommend using the BC Wine Country Explorer’s Pass. Each pass comes pre-loaded with 30 redemptions to use at the participating wineries of your choice. Experience complimentary tastings & exclusive offers showcasing the wine, scenery, and hospitality that defines British Columbia – valued at over $300! Click here to check it out. There are tons of different events throughout the month around the province; for more information on April BC Wine Month and BC’s wine regions visit WineBC.com.
It’s always a pleasure creating new recipes that are artfully paired with the perfect BC wine, so keep reading for a simple, flavourful menu with a few of my new favourite BC wines!
I was lucky enough to work with Vancouver-based sommelier and wine expert, Kurtis Kolt who curated and selected the BC wines to pair with the menu below. And did he ever knock it out of the park! There is something so incredible about having the RIGHT wine to pair with a given food, and having taken a couple of wine courses, I can attest to the fact that it is a serious art and science! A nice wine, when properly paired, can completely elevate a meal, which was our goal here.
When I put a menu together, I’m thinking about a few things. The ease of the meal, how the elements will work together, how heavy it is overall, the season we are in and of course how to incorporate local seasonal produce wherever possible!
The following spring-inspired menu is satisfying without being too rich but is packed with fresh flavours. You can absolutely substitute fresh peaches for the mangos in the salsa when they are in season, it’s one of my favourite things to eat! In the winter when berries aren’t at their prime I opt for frozen blueberries (I tend to like the wild ones but any will do).
If you need to make these dishes gluten free, simply substitute gluten free Panko for the regular Panko for the crab cakes (and make sure that all the other ingredients are labelled gluten free). The rest is already gluten free!
Appetizer: Crab Cakes with Dill Tartar Sauce
BC Wine Pairing: Roche Wines 2017 Rosé BC VQA Okanagan Valley
First Course: Arugula Quinoa Salad
Main Course: Halibut with Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice
Dessert: Berry Crisp
BC Wine Pairing: Rust Wine Co. 2017 Gamay BC VQA Similkameen Valley
The Hostess Schedule
Two Days Before:
- Buy flowers
- Purchase wine
- Grocery shopping (download list here)
- Iron linens
- Pick outfit
- Make crab cake mixture, form into crab cakes on baking sheet lined with parchment, cover and refrigerate
- Make salad dressing
- Set the table
- Chill wine (white & rosé)
- Make Dill Tartar Sauce
- Form crab cakes on baking sheet, cover and refrigerate
- Make salad: cover and refrigerate
- Make the Mango Salsa
- Make Berry Crisp (don’t bake yet)
- Prep ingredients/pot for the rice and halibut
- 20 minutes before guests arrive:
- cook crab cakes and set on a platter with the tartar sauce and some small plates and napkins
- cook the rice (and put on a timer!)
- preheat the oven, put on a timer and bake the crisp (it will smell amazing cooking while your guests arrive)
- Guests Arrive:
- Pour the Roche Wines 2017 Rosé and serve with the crab cakes
- Serve the salad alongside the Harper’s Trail Estate Winery 2017 Pioneer Block Riesling
- Cook the halibut and serve with the rice, mango salsa and the Unsworth Vineyards 2016 Pinot Noir
- Serve the Berry Crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (or ‘nice cream’ 😉 and enjoy with the Rust Wine Co. 2017 Gamay
Thank you BC Wine Institute for sponsoring this post! All opinions are authentically my own.
For more information on April BC Wine Month and BC’s wine regions visit WineBC.com.