Gail Johnson
Outdoor Dining – Long-Table Love – A Long Distance Affair

Outdoor Dining – Long-Table Love – A Long Distance Affair

Golden sunsets, warm breezes, and twinkling stars: summer evenings are meant for leisurely outdoor dining. Long-table dinners amp up the glamour of al fresco eating, turning shared meals into one-of-a-kind experiences.

Build a road trip around one or more of these extravagant affairs, and you’ve got a gourmet getaway that’s worth the drive.

DINING IN THE DESERT  The Okanagan is home to the hottest and driest landscape in Canada, and it’s here, on the Osoyoos Indian Reservation, that North America’s first Aboriginal-owned winery was born. Nk’Mip Cellars hosts a long-table dinner every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer, elaborate meals unfolding outdoor dining at its new patio restaurant. Selections include boar sausage, panko-crusted-salmon-and-scallop cakes, and Arctic char. Tickets ($50, not including wine pairings) and info:

FIT FOR ROYALS  The New York Times called it the Versailles of the Valley: based in the Okanagan’s Westbank, Mission Hill Family Estates Winery is, in a word, breathtaking. If you need further convincing, consider that this is where Prince William and Kate experienced a “taste of B.C.” during their 2016 Canadian Royal Visit. You can dine like royalty at its September 2 long-table dinner, which will be held overlooking sloping Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards and includes pours from the winery’s award-winning bottles. Tickets ($129) and info:


LAKESIDE GOURMET  This outdoor dining experience, named one of Canada’s top 100 restaurants, Old Vines Restaurant at Kelowna’s Quail’s Gate Estate Winery excels at farm-to-table cuisine. Its culinary team creates special menus for the winery’s long-table dinners, elegant, four-course affairs that are held in the vineyards overlooking Okanagan Lake every Wednesday through to September 6. Tickets ($175, all inclusive) and info:

outdoor dining - quails gate

CULINARY FETE  Surrounded by Purcell mountains with views of the magnificent Rockies, the village of Panorama turns 55 this year. To celebrate this milestone and Canada’s 150th, a table for 100 is being set in the upper village on September 2. Live music accompanies the five-course dinner featuring ingredients sourced from the nearby Kootenays and Columbia Valley. Tickets ($95, including wine) and info:

DOWN IN THE VALLEY  In the heart of the Fraser Valley is the cooperatively owned Fraser Common Farm, home to Glorious Organics, which grows everything from apples and raspberries to beets and edible flowers. In partnership with Laurica Farm, FCF is hosting an all-ages long-table dinner on August 20 called Campagnolo Aldergrove. Complete with a walking tour of the farm, the event features Four Winds Brewing beer, cheese from Farm House Natural Cheeses, and charcuterie plus a multicourse meal created by chef Jesse McMillan of Vancouver’s Campagnolo Roma. For dessert? Pie made with farm-fresh berries. Tickets ($100) and info: [1]

outdoor dining - fraser common farm


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Gail Johnson is an award-winning journalist based in Vancouver who has earned national and local nominations and awards for her work. She contributes regularly to the Georgia Straight, Globe and Mail, Yahoo Canada, and other publications and websites. She is also the food columnist for CBC Vancouver’s On the Coast program, appearing weekly on air during prime time. A mother of two, she speaks fluent French and conversational Spanish and is a certified fitness instructor, teaching high-intensity classes regularly.


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