Those of us who are lucky enough to live in beautiful wine country should try to celebrate it in all of its glory, often. One of the very best ways to experience the natural glamour here is to dine al fresco (translation: outside).
Two friends who are both well immersed in our local food and wine culture collaborated to create Out n About Al Fresco dining. The concept? Pop up dinners across the Okanagan and Similkameen, al fresco of course, partnered with wineries and infused passion and dynamite local food.
Out n About creators Mandy Woodrow and Chef Natasha Schooten are pals with a shared vision of what a dinner experience in the Okanagan should be.
“With both of us having spent time in fine hotels, we really understand the concept of delivering guests something special," Mandy explains. "Something with a story, a sense of place and effort.”
They call their new venture "a culinary and winery adventure connecting their food and wine to the makers: the farmers, foragers and wine makers".
Both women have spent many years in the industry, Natasha as a chef and Mandy in different roles. A couple of years ago Mandy had an epiphany while taking a moment to absorb her wine country surroundings.
She thought, "I want to feed people HERE, with amazing wines enjoying this epic place!" And Natasha is the perfect partner. A creative, passionate chef, she puts her heart and soul into her meal creations. And she's a fierce fan of the farmer and local artisan.
Mandy hails from the fertile Comox Valley on Vancouver Island with a history of potato farming in her family.
“As a family we ran a very successful market 'Woodrow Bros Farms" in Comox," Mandy says. "So buying local and appreciating the source became a mantra at a very early age. I'm ridiculously proud of my potato farming upbringing, because it set so many important rules to live by for me.”
Natasha too was raised with great regard for the farmer in Nanton, Alberta. Both found a natural migration path to the Okanagan as they followed their dreams.
At each dinner event, the table is set for 12 and includes two winery representatives. Canapes and wine are served to start and then two courses served family style followed by dessert. Cost is $150 per person, all inclusive.
They also offer professional wine tour operators pick up and drop off the guests within Oliver and Osoyoos.
Rustic Roots Winery, Harker's Organics July 28/29
Stay tuned for August and September venues on Facebook.
Email Mandy for more info or to book: firstname.lastname@example.org
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