InWine Spotlight – May 7, 2023

Summer is approaching and the Spirit Ridge Lake Resort in Osoyoos, BC is ready with many activities and amenities to enjoy. Don’t wait to take advantage of their May room rate promotion. Book a stay between May 25-September 10 up to 15% off. This deal won’t last – book online between May 2-May 23 using the code LOCKITIN for great summer savings.

The Spirit Ridge Lake Resort is one of the astounding properties in the Hyatt Hotels’ Unbound Collection. Their amenities include spectacular dining, golf, wine tasting, spa treatments, pools, water sports, and customer service at a truly international standard. The resort welcomes guests from all over the world.

“We are excited to welcome our leisure guests to another beautiful summer with so many amenities and attractions to enjoy,” states Jana Yackel, Spirit Ridge’s Director of Sales and Marketing. “Our sole purpose is to create memories for our guests and special moments – it’s all in the details.”

There’s so much to do at Spirit Ridge. When you first enter the hotel, you’ll want to explore the luxurious, newly-renovated lobby, as envisioned by Vancouver design firm CHIL Interior Design. A wine nook offers summer pop-up tastings of a variety of top-rated Okanagan wines, which are also available in the resort’s signature dining room, The Bear, The Fish, The Root & The Berry. Led by chef Murray McDonald, this season enjoy their latest cocktail “Mom’s the Word”. Ask your waiter about the Legend of Chef Ian’s World Famous whipped almond ricotta-sumac-root veg starter, sage-basted elk loin, or Salish sea clams in a housemade pepper sauce.

Planning a special event? Spirit Ridge is a fabulous place for a wedding, special anniversary, or corporate meeting. Conference room sizes vary, with up to 13,000 square feet and feature windows and amenities including the new Together By Hyatt Program.

Looking for a great family getaway that will be a highlight in everyone’s calendar? Spirit Ridge offers two pools; The Vineyard Pool, an adult oasis overlooking the vineyard and the family friendly Courtyard Pool with a slide. Wakepilot Water Sports right on the Resort beach rents paddleboards, pontoon boats, speedboats, and seadoos to explore Osoyoos Lake. The self-serve, licensed Market Café menu includes fresh, handcrafted pizzas, salads and sandwiches, with plenty of seating on the courtyard patio or delivered to your room. Coffee lovers will love a latte made by local roaster GioBean, renowned for exceptional flavour. Enjoy a family golf tournament on the links of the spectacular Sonora Dunes Golf Course, right behind the Resort.

“We continue to partner at the resort with the Osoyoos Indian Band. We can assist guests who are booking their visit to Nk’Mip Cellars (the first First Nations owned winery in North America), or private tastings. Just outside our door, a 5-minute walk takes you to the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre where hotel guests can learn about the region’s traditional lands and its people, see a traditional pit house and sweat lodge, and hear the legends of Sen’klip (Coyote) through two multi-sensory theatres. On the property, you can easily walk to the Indian Grove Riding Stables, where horse trail rides are available to those wishing to experience the gorgeous desert landscape”, continues Yackel.

The Osoyoos-Oliver region is internationally recognized for the excellent wines produced every year. The team at Spirit Ridge can help with arranging transportation to the wineries of your choice, or to the new District Wine Village in Oliver. Now in its second year, the Village offers 12 wineries, a brewery, distillery and restaurant all under one roof. On May 26 they launch their Friday night music series.

The hotel’s goal is a truly outstanding experience for every guest. Almost $6 million has been invested in the property over the past 4 years. Put Spirit Ridge Resort on your calendar for the summer of 2023!  To learn more about Spirit Ridge and make a reservation, visit the Resort’s website.

Inspired by the land, water and forests found across BC’s diverse landscape, contemporary Indigenous cuisine is best defined as no-waste, head-to-tail cooking that utilizes what the land supplies as sustainably as possible. Now found in a variety of restaurants ranging from food trucks to fine dining; this modern take on Indigenous cuisine is being developed by an exciting group of creative young chefs who are using food to rediscover their culture and promote reconciliation.

In retrospect, like many British Columbians, I’ve been eating Indigenous cuisine my entire life. Every time I picked seasonal huckleberries, dug for clams, ate wild game or drank nettle tea I was enjoying what the land produced. What was missing was a deeper knowledge of the territory that supplied it.

I grew up in Courtenay, on the unceded traditional territory of the K’òmoks First Nation. But my disconnect from this vital knowledge was part of the legacy of marginalizing Indigenous people, cultures and cuisine in Canada. More simply, I never recognized Indigenous food for what it was—because so much of that knowledge had been erased.

For chef Murray McDonald, this loss of knowledge is deeply personal. A Newfoundlander, it wasn’t until McDonald was an adult that he learned his maternal ancestors were Labrador Innu and that he had Métis bloodlines on his father’s side. This suppressed identity meant he never grew up in the culture—let alone became familiar with the traditional foods.

As chef at Newfoundland’s Fogo Island Inn, he had begun working with his apprentice, a Mi’kmaq chef, collecting botanicals for teas and cooking, when he realized he was relearning traditional knowledge. “For me, it feels like part of my heritage was stolen away from me. I should have been taught this stuff, but I wasn’t. The best way to learn now is through the food,” McDonald says.

McDonald brought his passion for Indigenous cuisine to BC, and opened a new restaurant at Spirit Ridge in Osoyoos called The Bear, The Fish, The Root and The Berry. With a name that refers to the legend of the Four Food Chiefs of the Okanagan Nation, McDonald uses the legend and local guidance to shape the menu.

With dishes that emphasize the use of ingredients that pre-date colonization, the menu includes things like bison instead of beef, locally foraged ingredients like sumac and juniper, as well as salmon and bannock.

While the new menu is being well-received, McDonald says we still have a ways to go. “In BC, it’s not legal to serve all the things I want to,” he explains. “In Newfoundland, I could work with hunters I knew and trusted and serve wild game. Here it’s not yet possible.” He also says while he currently has access to great land and seafood suppliers, very few of them are Indigenous. His hope is that as people become familiar with Indigenous cuisine and the demand increases, that Indigenous suppliers will see the benefit of supplying wild food for Indigenous restaurants.

Being guided by Indigenous chefs to eat what our land naturally and sustainably produces aligns well with contemporary worries about both the climate crisis and food security. Perhaps even more importantly though; food is about connection. As we struggle with wide ranging political and societal issues it’s easy to forget that sometimes the simplest solutions are the best ones. Sitting down and learning about each other through food is an easy and timeless way to make our communities stronger.

Read the full article here.