Looking for foodie events in the Okanagan?
The Okanagan has become a beacon for food and drink in British Columbia. The food culture grows exponentially with new restaurants, breweries, wineries and events popping up each and every year. Food events in the Okanagan are kind of a thing. THE thing if you know what I mean. It’s what our valley does so well and this foodie books something for every month of the year.
You might notice that many of these events are actually businesses finding a way to “pivot” and creatively push the boundaries of doing more. A cafe becomes a pop up restaurant. A caterer hosts the event of the season. A food tour company puts on a hot chocolate festival. We’ve all found ways to be more as more was asked of us during the pandemic. Under duress the pandemic has unleashes a slue of creativity within the Okanagan’s food scene. Let’s celebrate that by attending these events in the Okanagan!
1. Grand Sommelier Express – Summerland, BC
This event sells out each year and why wouldn’t it? A 75 minute train ride along a tiny portion of the historic Kettle Valley Railway as you’re served wine from local producers accompanied by the scenery around Summerland. It’s a surreal and an “only in the Okanagan” moment. At the end of the train ride – and after a brief trestle stop – you’re then greeted by a gourmet reception prepared by a local restaurant and of course more wine.
Experience dinning in the rough. Well…maybe not that rough. But Aman Dosanj does outdoor dining in Canada right. I had the pleasure of joining her on a mountain top AND then again nestled amongst farmland. Her pop up locations are predominantly local farms and wineries although she has hosted an a barge before. The actual cooking of the meal is done onsite so you can see her in action as well as take in a tour of the property with a cocktail – made by brother Harry of Bar Travelling Man – in hand. It’s a lot of fun. No stuffiness. Just fascinating tales told by a foodie with a very cool story. Aman Dosanj’s events in the Okanagan are definitely a MUST!
3. QB Gelato’s Supper Club, Kelowna
Victor and Kevin of QB Gelato are amazing local gelato makers who studied in Bologna at the University of Gelato. Listen to their story on our podcast!
Since opening the gelato shop to much acclaim they’ve also added a incredible selection of baked breads, pizzas (both savoury and sweet), cakes and cookies. To everyone’s surprise and delight they also offer their take on a supper club. Savoury dishes some familiar, some new, made with a gelato component. I was pleasantly surprised by my adoration of a carrot gelato! You’ll be full by the end of this progressive meal that of course ends on a sweet note. Depending on the theme of the meal you’ll either find the dishes paired with local wines, or local spirits.
4. Okanagan Feast of Fields, Different Location Each Year
A much beloved event of mine, it’s a roaming feast that takes place at a local Okanagan farm. Vendors set up their stations throughout the property and guests roam from tent to tent tasting and sipping their way around the Okanagan. They finally changed the it from August to September to avoid it being an incredibly hot day as some of the past events have been. If you can’t make it to the Okanagan Feast of Fields event another option is the Vancouver Island or Metro Vancouver feast!
5. Winery Harvest Dinners, West Kelowna
If you can dine amongst the vines why wouldn’t you? Quails’ Gate and Mission Hill offer winery dinners within the vineyard at a communal style table. Internationally acclaimed wines are served to pair with Michelin quality dishes. Heads up, you might be a little hungry after these dinners or at least my husband and dad were.
6. Battle of the Wines, Different Location Each Time
This fun event is hosted by passionate local winos at a different winery in the Okanagan. Taste up to 10 local wines paired with a specific dish. For example, the sparkling wine and french fries or rosé with Nashville chicken. Vote on your favourite. Learn about the variety that is produced in our valley. Eat. Sip. It’s the ultimate afternoon and at a reasonable price!
7. Okanagan Hot Chocolate Fest, Throughout the Okanagan
I am one of the organizers for this new event first hosted in January and February of 2022. Each year local Okanagan cafes create hot chocolate creations and raise money for a local charity. You can participate for free and journey to each of the participating locations which you can find on a map at the official website.
8. Diner en Blanc, Surprise Location Each Year
In order to snag tickets to DEB you must either register at least a few months in advance and continuously pay to be a member (if registration opens to phase 3 non-members), be invited by an existing member to become a member or be a guest of an existing member. This Parisian tradition is now worldwide and has a short documentary explaining its origins. But the rules are you must dress in white and bring your own food (although there are dinners for purchase at the Okanagan incarnation). It’s great fun with live music. AND it is hosted at a top secret location that isn’t disclosed until you are on the bus!
9. Table Forty Nine Supper Club, Kelowna
Brea of Table 49 is a pure delight to watch on Instagram. In the last few years she has doubled her following and her fans are her cheerleaders. Like us, she’s a local enthusiast. Also like me, she’s an art history major who has had sex dreams of Bourdain and has a serious love of all things food. A local brewery even made a beer with her! How cool is that!
It made sense for her to create food events that celebrate her fans, her love of food and her love of local. Her first dinner was hosted in the aisles of a local grocery store with live music. You can get first dibs on tickets as a Patreon subscriber or wait for tickets to come on sale to the general public at her website.
10. Mission Hill Culinary Classes, West Kelowna
A favourite during those winter months, Mission Hill’s culinary classes are offered from November to March and range from European delights and Christmas favourites to Asian classics and comfort foods. All dishes are paired with Mission Hill’s wine collection as food is prepared before you in the culinary theatre. Not a bad seat in the house.
11. The Okanagan Table Culinary Classes, Kelowna
Chef Kelsey Oudendag is now heading the culinary classes at The Okanagan Table. Part of the RauDZ umbrella of restaurants…except this isn’t quite a restaurant. It’s more! It is a foodie haven, a place for lunch and learning and if nothing else, a place to grab all your RauDZ favourites to enjoy at home (hello crab bisque!).
12. Okanagan Fest of Ale, Penticton
Held in Penticton each year people flock to taste craft beer accompanied by local food vendors like Brodo Kitchen, Burger 55 and Smoking Hot Donairs. Book your tickets and accommodations early lest you want to get left behind. Attendees and locals are very passionate and proud of their festival as it has been covered by Lonely Planet and has been going 25 years strong.
13. Amuse Kelowna
This culinary event was once known as Devour Kelowna when it first began. This is a very popular foodie event when you get to wander around eating dish or bite that is paired with a local wine, beer or cocktail. This place gets busy and can be a little hectic on the second floor – people were pushing me as I tried to sneak by while I was pregnant! So beware. But if you’re looking to try a little bit of everything Kelowna has to offer this is the perfect event for you.
Kelowna’s best wineries, breweries, restaurants, pastry chefs and cocktail revolutionists come out to celebrate our food scene. The first time I attended I was able to mingle with chef Vikram Vij so it is definitely an A+ for events in the Okanagan for foodies. You can vote for your favourite dish, favourite drink and favourite pairing. It might be wise to share each dish with whomever you go with. I was so full by the end I wasn’t able to try it all!
14.The Great Okanagan Beer Fest, Kelowna
A recent addition to the Okanagan festival scene they are still perfecting and growing the GOBF. A weekend VIP pass will fetch you discounts at local taps, skip the line privileges, discounts at local music events and a swag bag at the main event. As with all these events, plan for long lines and get the VIP passes when applicable to skip the line.
15. Joy Road Catering Dinners, Penticton & Naramata
Partners Olivia & Brett have taken the reigns from founders Dana and Cam and putting their own stamp on things. It has changed since I first hired Joy Road as my wedding caterers. Olivia & Brett are building their own bakeshop in Penticton (already famous for their bread) and resuming their al fresco dinners in 2023. We can’t wait for more events in the Okanagan from this new duo.
16. Hopscotch Fest, Penticton
Featuring beer, whisky and spirits this festival has grown since it was first introduced as the Okanagan Food and Drink Festival in 2009. It has since adopted the Hopscotch festival name synonymous with the 18 year old festival that first began in Vancouver. If you can’t make the Hopscotch Kelowna festival in September you can try to catch the Hopscotch Vancouver in November. With 5000+ attendees make sure you book your accommodations well in advance!
17. Sandrine’s Authentic French Culinary Classes, Kelowna
Sandrine’s classes are year round however, in November and December you can learn how to make Boûche de Noël (Yule Logs) or take her chocolate course in time for Christmas celebrations. This is another Okanagan favourite of mine made an appearance at my wedding with her amazing and authentic macarons.
The 7th annual Craft & Country fest is a celebration of country music and craft beer festival on the mountain during the summertime. Beer, cider and music one day only in July. This little festival is only going to increase in popularity and size so keep your eyes on this one.
19.Night Market at The District Wine Village, Oliver
Any excuse to go to the District Wine Village is a good excuse. This little village has plans to expand in the coming years and we are here for it. Right now the village features 12 wineries and 1 brewery pouring out of these micro wine tasting rooms fitted with patios to enjoy the centre amphitheatre. This year there will be some great added events in the Okanagan repertoire including concerts, a night market as well as Oktoberfest! The Night Market is more of a farmers’ market with local crafters and food and baking held in the evenings on Wednesdays.
20. Ratio Juice Wall, Vernon
This exciting new addition is a restaurant held in the Ratio coffee shop. By night for a couple evenings here and there the shop is turned into a fun pop up restaurant serving unique and natural wines from around the world, cocktails and delicious dishes that change with each event. The first was a tiki bar, the second was a tacos & magraritas, I am all for this fun and creative way to celebrate being more than one thing. This lesser known party is a hidden gem when it comes to events in the Okanagan.
21. Pig Out Weekend, Osoyoos
Father’s day weekend is packed with food and local sips in Osoyoos. Friday kicks off the event with a guest chefs preparing each wine paired course hosted at a local Osoyoos winery. Saturday features the Pig Out Trail, a ticketed event including transportation from Penticton, Oliver or Osoyoos to 4 wineries featuring a pork inspired dish to pair.
22. Spearhead Winery Foodie Fridays, Kelowna
A modest event in the Okanagan. A food truck descends upon the gorgeous vineyard at Spearhead Winery. Delicious wines, a picnic spot in East Kelowna and awesome local food offer a great and affordable date night or girls night out surrounded by locals or tourists in the know.