The Okanagan's unique culinary culture appeals to many visitors, though it wasn't until recently that businesses started to realize the connection.
“When we travel, we always include a food tour in our ‘things to do’," Kelowna’s Nancy Quinton says. "They are a great way to get your bearings in a new location, learn about the city, meet fellow foodies, and eat delicious local cuisine,” she says.
So she brought what she liked elsewhere to her home, creating tours for tourists and locals alike.
“We have a real variety of guests - locals, newcomers, visitors - really anyone who likes to eat! Food tours are a global phenomenon and our guests have come from as far away as Taiwan, the UK, Australia, and the United States. We also get to share the foodie experience with many of our close neighbours from Alberta and Washington state,” she says.
After monitoring the quick success of her initial Kelowna tours, she expanded to Vernon and Penticton.
“Every tour is fun and has a story to tell, but recently I had a lovely couple join one of my tours. Early on I noticed that they weren't really paying attention to me and were asking each other some very basic questions - as if they didn't really know each other at all? It ends up they had met online and had just set eyes on each other 10 minutes prior to the tour. 'Patios 'n Pubs' was their first official date!”
For locals, the tours allow Okanaganites to explore the food scene and try new things. The tours are also popular for special groups like birthday parties, bachelorettes, unique company events, and are a great way to entertain guests.
“Living in the Okanagan we all get a lot of company. Our tours are a great way for hosts to send their visitors off for an afternoon while they relax, and they don't have to make supper when they return as we make sure everyone leaves full,” she says.
Tour options include: Patios & Pubs, Trendy Sopa in Kelowna, Eats & Ales in Penticton, and the Downtown Discovery Tour in Vernon. Group sizes and pricing vary, and private groups are welcome for four or more people. Check them out online: https://www.okanaganfoodietours.ca
We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor.