the holiday here is nowhere near as big as in the US. it doesn't have the same historical background and veritas as in the us
Speak for yourself.
And Thanksgiving Greetings from Kelowna, British Columbia (in the heart of the Okanagan Wine Country) . . .
Canadian Thanksgiving traditionally celebrates the end of harvest, the changeover from short pants to corduroy trousers, the brining of turkeys in driveway salt, and the beginning of the hockey season.
Canadian men have been exhausted for the past year as we've been suffering through the season-long National Hockey League strike. We're exhausted because this has meant endless home renovations and a lot of extra sex. But now we're returning to time-honoured rituals such as making love in the style of the hound so that both parties can enjoy the nightly hockey highlights reel.
We've been celebrating Thanksgiving for the past three days and nights as the harvest has been going on around us: the last of the tomatoes and the Bosc and Bartlety pears; Delicious, Spartan and McIntosh apples; and, of course, the wine grapes. It's going to be a solid, if not spectacular vintage, characterized by a warm August followed by big temperature spikes in late September: from 1˚C overnight to 25˚C (about 34˚ to 77˚ F) at 3pm.
The big reds are being hauled in from the Oliver benches, about an hour south, where the hand of the Sonora Desert reaches over the Canada/US border. We live in white wine and pinot noir country, high above the lake where the breezes keep the temperature a little lower in the summer.
Thanksgiving is a half-week festival--nay, orgy--of meats and local produce.
We certainly sampled many local bottles. The best local turkey accompaniment was the Mission Hill
03 Five Vineyards Dry Reisling (CDN $15.99--it won a gold medal at this year's Los Angeles County Fair wine competition) and the plush CedarCreek Platinum Reserve
pinot noir (CDN $35.09).
Our long weekend began with a turkey dinner with the usual accessories (Brussels sprouts, peas, cranberry sauce, roasted carrots, sausage stuffing, whipped potatoes and a hearty gravy) on Friday night in Vancouver.
On Saturday, we came up to the wine country, about a 35-minute drive in a WestJet 737. Some German- and Ukranian-Canadian friends entertained us with a crab 'Nicoise' salad with a Louis-styled dressing, a lightly smoked ham, fabulous perogies and Ukranian sausages, squash and scalloped potatoes.
Last night was the big family and friends sitdown for 14: Oyama saucisson and beer in the garden, then, compliments of one of our guests, chef Murray Bancroft, a starter of Kobe beef slices over baby arugula in a simple lemon and olive oil vinaigrette.
At table: two turkeys, mashed potatoes, sprouts in sweet vinaigrette with walnuts, squash casserole, roasted carrots, etc.
The Kobe beef was sliced thinly and briefly seared--it had the near-texture and unctuous flavour of foie gras. Aunty Prim's Brussels sprouts (she lives there) were steamed and then finished in a maple syrup-raised vinaigrette. The local walnuts were added for crunch. They performed admirably.
All three dinners finished with pumpkin pie with whipped cream.
Of the many wines we sampled, it was one local and two long distance bottles that stood out. Last night's selections were the best: we started with Blue Mountain
NV Brut bubbly.
Then spectacular bottles of 04 Loimer
Reisling Langenlois (Austria) 12.0%/vol (CDN $24.90) that really shook hands with the bird--very elegant structure, minerally but supple.
With the non-cheese course after dessert (several guests were in distress by this point), we opened a bottle of 03 Spinifex
Esprit from the Barossa (CDN $35.90). It's 40% granache, 34% mataro, 21% shiraz and 5% cinsault. Unfiltered and 15.0%/vol there were only 256 cases produced by Domain Jardin
in Nuriootpa, SA. A delightfully complex bruiser from old, low-yielding vines.
Today is all about turkey sandwiches on Irish soda bread with mayonnaise, cranberries, salt and pepper. That's it. The fire is on, the recycling box is full, the hockey game comes later. We're going to open a bottle of 95 Gewurtztraminer Grand Cru Mambourg
from Alsace and turn out the lights.
This is life--and the giving of thanks for all its abundance--as we know it here.
Edited by jamiemaw, 11 October 2005 - 12:40 AM.