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This is my sister, Taryn. She turned 30 during this pandemic. How do you throw an epic birthday during this unusual time? I looked to host a luxury picnic, curbsidding, and bringing old favourites to the table.
For my own 30th birthday, 3 years ago, my family packed our bags and headed to Tofino, BC. It was a fantastic birthday filled with so much nature, hiking, bonfires, coastal restaurants, whale watching and general relaxing.
Now, it was my sister’s turn. We had planned something very special with a few local businesses and plenty of wine tasting on the Naramata Bench. Unfortunately, the pandemic struck cancelling life as we knew it.
As the long weekend approached I wondered how we could still throw an epic party with our immediate family while practicing social distancing (sorry, no friends allowed). I think I found the perfect equation and a lot of it has to do with this amazing wine valley I live in!
Because we in British Columbia have been so diligent in making sure we follow social distancing rules our economy is slowly starting to open. As I write this we have had 2,446 confirmed cases (up 2 since yesterday) and 1,975 recovered. Restaurants and wineries are starting to announce their plans to open. Wineries, distilleries and breweries have all stayed open for curbside pick up which gave me an idea.
1. Go Curbsidding In Style
Currently, we are not able to go in for a tasting but why not pre-order wine, vodka, brandy and or mead and pick up! In our case we ordered all of the above! During the lockdown local businesses have survived with delivery and curbside pick up. So I may be the first to coin the term “curbsidding” but it is the only way I can explain what we did over the May long weekend. No, not winery hopping. Winery curbsidding. Voila, it is now a thing.
Additionally, many local Okanagan wineries and distilleries are licensed with picnic tables. This allows you to sip some of their local wine, vodka or whatever they sell on their property. Since there are no wine tours happening right now we also figured we could easily bike to each location with the help of Okanagan E-Kruise. These e-bikes are incredibly easy to use and come with saddle bags that can fit up to 8 bottles of wine!
Our first stop was Kelowna’s newest winery, Priest Creek Estate, which was set to open this spring. Instead they are offering curbside pick up which also allows you to pop your head into the tasting room for a sneak peak of what’s to come.
From there we made our way to Forbidden Spritis Distillery. I pre-ordered the 3 pack of their two specialty apple vodkas and an apple brandy. With the help of local cocktail specialists, Born to Shake, I made an old fashioned for my sister using their specialty bitters and Forbidden Fruit’s apple brandy. For my own cocktail I made a tasty martini with Born to Shake’s Grapefruit Turbinado syrup and a delicious apple vodka.
After a thorough cleaning of our picnic table we then headed to Meadow Vista which produces premier honey wines. I pre-ordered two small bottles of their Bliss bubbles (apple & blueberry haskap) to shake up yet another cocktail with a full picnic at their licensed picnic area. This time I chose Born to Shake’s Hibiscus and Rose syrup to pair with the apple Bliss honey wine. It was a refreshing drink after a 15 minute pedal (with some electric power propelling us).
In between our stops we took full advantage of the natural beauty of our city. Kelowna has a unique convenience of both the city and rural settings. Right now the orchards are alive with flowers, little beans ready to mature into stone fruits.
The vineyards are also bursting with buds!
2. Add a Luxury Picnic
I think we all crave that feeling of being catered to. We crave eating delicate Turkish bulgur pilavi and deliciously spiced meats. We want to feel looked after and luxuriated and often, being catered for can help with that. The ease of a dinner out with the only question you’re asked is ‘What can I get for you?’ Alas, in these times we are unable to go out for the safety of our fellow countrymen. So instead I found Gypsy Chix Luxury Picnics and knew I struck gold for my sister’s 30th birthday! I mean just look at the attention to detail….
With Gyspy Chix Luxury Picnics is could not have been easier! With the impending rain drawings us back inside, the ladies came and set up within 90 minutes having it all ready to surprise our guest of honour that evening. Dinner was served at 6 and would normally go to 9 (3 hour bookings). But because we brought the party inside we had the option to keep the party going long into the wee hours of the evening. We didn’t have to worry about take down either, the Gyspy Chix ladies came and did that for us too!
3. Let Them Eat Cake
You might be aware that my go-to cake lady in Kelowna is Kakes by Kathie. She has provided celebration cakes for my wedding, birthdays, my son’s gender reveal and many more events to come I am sure. For my sister’s cake I wanted something symbolic yet light.
Taryn, mentioned she wanted to have a funeral for her 20s as she is all too happy to move on from one decade to the next. I didn’t want a macabre cake to adorn the Gypsy Chix table so instead I opted for a springtime theme as she entered a new era of her life. The winter of her 20s has come to a close and now she had spring to look forward to.
The cake was red velvet with a nice (not too sweet) vanilla buttercream icing and pureed strawberry filling.
How have you been celebrating during the lockdown? Let us know in the comments! Give us all some tips as many people around the world are still waiting to open!