Don't let the season change fool you. Al Fresco is on, 12 months a year. It's primal - eating outside is always a pleasure. It connects you, it inspires. Skiers, just think, what is greater than a burger campfire-side at the ski resort? Ice fishermen, outdoorsmen, I ask, what beats a beer with the boys (and ladies too) around the fire? Not much.
Last weekend we took the party outside, and we ate on a dock. Side by side, 14 of us on two picnic tables, we filled one nice "long table" for a fall dining feast.
You don't need much, just a couple warmer layers, and your friends. Get those friends to bring something, make it a potluck if it works for everyone. Get creative with your food and keep the wine, beer, cider and cocktails flowing for added warmth. The fun will follow the flow, and you will have a time more memorable than most of the ticketed, catered events you attended in the summer.
You can make it a theme, mine last weekend was "Summerlandia" - all things Summerland, including guests (save a few out of town guest imports), ingredients and drinks.
John Rousseau, TH Wines, Dominion Cider, Okanagan Crush Pad were the local friends, Khayyam Wakil and Charles Zuckerman my favourite authentic vagabonds, while Tracy Clark and Ian Nelson nearby Penticton neighbors added to the fresh-air-amplified joy. A Summerland deer courtesy of my hunting uncle and a cow from local rancher John van Horlick, were the main ingredients to my Venison and Beef Bourgignon. Guests Tracy Clark and Ian Nelson brought two galettes, one tomato, one squash and all summerland including the True Grain local spelt flour, inspired by Heidi Noble's book, Memories from an Orchard Table. Angela and Julian Scholefield, Summerlanders brought their homegrown salad of tomatoes and basil. Designer John Rousseau brought local to die for truffled potato salad. The wines were plenty - and plenty delicious - from local wineries in attendance (TH Wines and Okanagan Crush Pad) as well as bottles from Silk Scarf, Sumac Ridge and 8th Generation. Dominion Cider brought their first bottling of their new small batch cider made from Summerland apples. This debut was reason enough for the celebration!
There's just no better way to get in touch with where you are at, then to get outside and to eat and drink what is growing around you.
I'm following up this Field Note with a second post tomorrow, to include recipes from Summerlandia and a Checklist To Prepare for Ideal Al Fresco Dining.
À votre santé, Al Fresco!
Tarynn Liv Parker