Monday, 3 November 2014

Fall in Canadian Wine Country

Did you know Thanksgiving is celebrated much earlier in Canada than in America? I didn't. But I'm definitely not complaining, as it resulted in a day off work with pay! They pay you here on public holidays even when you are a seasonal worker, as long as you have been with the company for more than 30 days. 

To top this off, I was lucky enough to be invited to two consecutive Thanksgiving dinners - bonus! The first dinner was of the more traditional variety, which is what I was hoping for. We arrived just in time to witness the turkey going into the pot. Basically a cylindrical pot of boiling oil (peanut in this case) was heated to around 350 degrees and then the whole turkey was plunged into it for about half an hour. Perhaps the thought of all that oil is offputting? Well, I recommend you try this at least once in your life, as the resulting succulent, juicy and tender meat will have your diet worries melting away in no time.

Along with the turkey, we enjoyed all the usual trimmings and side dishes: roasted vegetables, Waldorf salad, a plethora of sauces and, of course, lots of wine. As this dinner was at the home of an Assistant Winemaker, there was an excellent selection of both local Okanagan Valley and Washington State wines, of which I took full advantage (for educational purposes of course).

The only thing missing from a lovely dinner and evening was... pumpkin pie! They had decided to opt for apple pie instead, much to my disappointment. I have always wanted to try this strange take on a sweet, but luckily one of the cellarhands had an excellent cook for a girlfriend and she surprised us with a pie on Halloween. Although I don't usually go in for sweet things, this was quite enjoyable and my mug of spiced chai brought out the lovely cinnamon flavours.

Speaking of Halloween, I was interested to see how much hype there would be. Every shop seemed to have at least one aisle dedicated to all the gimmicky, ghoulish adornments and costumes. And of course, pumpkins were everywhere. But this elaborate display set up in an acquaintances home really took the cake for me - it was complete with a lights show and dancing skeletons!

Apart from all the traditions, what I really have loved about experiencing fall in Canada is witnessing the change of seasons. Unlike in Australia, where you don't notice a huge difference until the height of Summer or Winter, the change here has been marked. Day by day, sunrise was later and the clouds crept closer. Now we are lucky to see the sun for one day a week, but there is no lack of colour, with the gorgeous yellow, orange and red hues of the vine leaves making up for it.