Christmas is chock full of traditions, from tree decorating to gift giving, carol singing and of course, eating. Every family has their own version of a traditional Christmas dinner. Today we are looking at some long-standing Christmas desserts! These sweet creations have been around for ages (literally), so we thought it would be fun to take a slightly closer look at these time-honoured treats.
Perhaps one of the most iconic Christmas desserts (alongside the fruit cake), this sweet treat has been around since at least the 15th century. While it has certainly changed since then (this pudding started out more savoury than sweet), and the ingredients and way we make it has shifted over time, it still remains a top pick at Christmas dinners, especially amongst the British! Check out some great recipes here.
Though it receives more than its fair share of mockery, the fruit cake has a long and esteemed history. With roots going as far back as the Ancient Romans, this holiday dessert has the depth and strength to withstand a few jokes! There are a lot of recipes and variations out there, including the Italian panforte & Germany’s stollen. Take a look at Alton Brown’s famous version, and let us know if you have a favourite go-to recipe!
Like the first 2 desserts on our list, mince pies have been around for centuries, though they have undergone some major adaptations along the way. Also like the first 2 desserts, this treat gained some notoriety during Oliver Cromwell’s time in power, when these tasty treats (among other Christmasy traditions) were made illegal. Today, recipes abound for these tasty pies, and they have become ubiquitous on Christmas tables, especially across the UK.
This decadent yet simple layered dessert is another one with a long standing history. Soaking left over breads, cake, and fruit in alcohol was a way to preserve them. It also made sure that no ingredients went to waste. This was meant to be a simple, throw together dessert, and even the name ‘trifle’ seems to reflect that! From classic to creamy, chocolate or berries, there is no lack in mouth watering trifle recipes to try!
Pumpkin pie may be seen as a traditional Thanksgiving dessert in Canada and the USA, but it is also one of the most popular Christmas desserts. Originally from central America, pumpkins were first brought to Europe in the 1500’s. These gourds easily made their way into traditional British pie cooking culture; however, it still took a few centuries to become the dessert that North Americans savour today. Fun fact – pumpkins were originally called ‘pumpions’, from the french ‘pompon’, owing to their adorable pompom resemblance! Take a look at one of my all-time favourite pumpkin pie recipes!
We are officially in holiday mode over here, and would love to hear about some of your favourite Christmas treats! Leave us a comment if you would like to share! If you are a serious Christmas planner and are already thinking about next year don’t forget to check out La Casa Mirador for a larger gathering! The full professional kitchen and stunning lake views are a great addition to any holiday tradition! Get in touch if you have any questions.
This holiday season we are slowly seeing the welcome return of some traditional festive vineyard events. Things may look a little different due to COVID-related restrictions, but we are sure there will be plenty of holiday excitement and cheer.
Take a look these 5 exciting events happening around Kelowna in December!
This is a holiday event with a large dose of good will. As a proud sponsor of Festival of Trees Kelowna, Season of Trees at Mission Hill is a fundraising event for BC Children’s Hospital. This is Mission Hill’s 5th year as the events’ lead supporter. A ticket to Season of Trees includes an exclusive behind the scenes tour, a seated wine tasting paired with festive bites, and of course, the brilliantly decorated trees on the covered Terrace and Loggia.
Visit Camelot Vineyards December 4th and 5th for their traditional European Christmas Market! Treat yourself to some authentic gluhwein, grab a bratwurst and a beavertail, and take a peek at all the local vendors for stocking stuffer inspiration!
During the month of December you can head over to Grizzli Winery for their Indoor & Outdoor Holiday Market! Check off your holiday shopping list as you peruse the artisan vendors, sip mulled wine, say hello to Santa, sing along with the carollers and stroll through the dazzling light tunnel. The indoor market is open weekend 11am-4pm and the outdoor market is open weekends 11am-9pm and weekdays 4pm-9pm.
Thinking of checking out Ex Nihilo Vineyard this December? Book a holiday fire pit and enjoy the rustic outdoors with a bucket of s’mores, a glass of wine (red, white, or mulled if you’re feeling extra festive), candy cane chocolate peanut brittle (yum!), and Italian smokies!
Celebrate the holiday season with a visit to Quails Gate this December. Warm yourself around the fire with complementary mulled wine and enjoy the local entertainment and artisan market. If you feel like making the evening extra special, head to the tasting room for the Festive Foch Flight, where each hand selected wine is paired with sweet dessert bites.
We hope that you are as excited for the holiday season as we are! If you want to make a weekend out of it, check out our cottages for families and small groups, or La Casa Mirador for a larger gathering! Get in touch if you have any questions!
Are you working remotely and looking for a change of scenery? With so many of us getting close to 2 years of remote work, the idea of a location change may sound pretty appealing.
Did you know that La Casa has a number of cottages available for reasonable monthly rates during the off-season?
I know – the Okanagan in winter might not have been the first thing to pop into your mind. Most of the time when we think about the Okanagan we are picturing hot days on the lake, warm and sunny vineyard tours, cycling, camping, and patio season. We know our community is popular during the summer season, but we are here to tell you that the off-season can be pretty magical as well!
When you’re not working, use your free time to head over to one of the local ski hills and hit the slopes. If you’re not into downhill, cross-country & snowshoeing are also an option! There are also plenty of breathtaking winter hiking routes, including John’s Family Nature Conservancy, Bear Creek Provincial Park and the Kettle Valley. And lets not forget the over 40 wineries around Kelowna! The hours will be shorter through the winter, but you’ll beat crowds & get to enjoy the unique view of all the snow-covered vineyards!
Back at the cottage you can cozy up by the fireplace, play a game, watch TV, or just sit back and enjoy the sunset behind the snowy hills. Since most of our cottages have 2-3 bedrooms, there is plenty of space to relax, work, and sleep. And with our fully equipped kitchens you can do all the home-cooking you want. Save On West Kelowna even delivers!
If you are interested in getting away for a month, or 6, get in touch! Monthly rentals generally run from November through May, with flexible move-in/move-out dates within this time frame.
One thing you should know about travelling to B.C. is that we are called “wine country” for a reason! We grow and produce many wine varieties right here in the Okanagan, some of which have won international awards for their quality. It’s always wine season in B.C! Now that it’s cold out, there are just certain wines that hit better. Here’s everything you need to know about winter wine in British Columbia.
What is a “Winter Wine”
Simple! Any wine that you enjoy drinking in winter. Sure, this can be applied to almost anything. But certain varieties pair well with in-season foods like hearty stews, bold spices, and red meat meals.
Does B.C. Make Wine in the Winter?
Yes! Ice wine (sometimes spelled icewine) is made with grapes that are frozen on the vine. Ice wine can be made with Riesling and Vidal grapes (most popular), Cabernet Franc, Gewurztraminer, Merlot, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. The Okanagan is one of the best places in Canada to grow such grapes, as the climate is perfect for these unique fruits. Ice wine is traditionally quite sweet and pairs well with desserts.
Which B.C. Wineries Make Ice Wine?
B.C. wineries that have produced ice wine in the past include: Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery, Inniskillin Winery, Jackson-Triggs Winery, K Mountain Vineyards, Mission Hill Estate Winery, Mount Boucherie Estate Winery, Nk’Mip Cellars, Peller Estates, Quails’ Gate Estate Winery, See Ya Later Ranch, Soaring Eagle Estate Winery, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, and Willow Hill Winery.
Ice Wine VS Winter Wine: What’s the Difference?
Simply put, ice wine is made in winter; winter wines pair well with popular winter-season food choices. Ice wines can be winter wines and winter wines can be ice wines but there doesn’t have to be a correlation! Ice wine can keep for 10 years (corked), so you can drink it year-round. Meanwhile, many wintertime wine favorites are bottled in Spring or Summer.
What Makes a Good Winter Wine?
Winter used to be considered a “red wine” season (except, of course, Champaign for New Year’s). However, the truth is that white wine can be a winter wine, as well. A good winter wine pairs well with the hearty, spiced, red meat-centric meals of the cooler season. Acidic wines, for example, tend to work best with the typical dish served around the holidays. Any wine with a big, bold flavor will do (thick: full, oaky chardonnay).
We spoke to Ellice Whitford, who hosted her wedding at the Guest House in 2017, about the wedding planning process, inspiration behind the theme and how she chose the Okanagan and La Casa as the venue.
How did you decide on a Vacation Rental style wedding?
“Our decision to have a house rental wedding, in place of a typical outdoor ceremony/banquet hall setting was based on a wedding I was maid of honour for a few years before. A good friend had rented a beautiful ocean front house on Vancouver Island and the whole process of set up, the intimate/private setting for the ceremony and reception, and having all of the wedding party and immediate family staying together all weekend in one place made such perfect sense. It gave us so much more time to spend together, instead of constantly trying to round everyone up and meet at certain locations. At the time I didn’t know what area we would get married ourselves, but knew a vacation rental was the only way to do it.”
Why did you choose La Casa’s Guest House as your venue?
“As soon as Curt and I got engaged I started researching large house rentals in the Okanagan area to host our wedding weekend. La Casa Resort’s Guest House had absolutely everything we were looking for. With a lot of family and friends traveling long distances we didn’t want to put them in a boring hotel, and instead encouraged everyone to group together and rent the chalets they have available. Almost our entire guest list (of about 110) stayed on site, with only a few people deciding to camp at nearby Fintry Provincial Park instead.
We told everyone in advance we would be staying for three nights and encouraged everyone to make a holiday out of it, getting a chance to partake in the wedding festivities, but also enjoy a few days with the great amenities in the area. La Casa’s Guest House is perched high on a hill with the most beautiful panoramic view of Okanagan Lake, which made for a breathtaking backdrop for our patio ceremony and reception. Our guests appreciated the large outdoor pools, hiking trails and water front access. It made visiting for our two families a breeze, which was extra special because although being together for nine years, our families had yet to meet each other.”
How did the Roaring 20s theme come about?
“I don’t recall when we first decided on a 20’s theme. We both knew that we didn’t want a tradition, drawn out, all day wedding. Getting engaged much later than most of our friends, we had attended more burlap, country chic weddings than we could count.
We kept all parts of a wedding we cherished, and cut everything we didn’t. A night ceremony and reception was much more romantic and we thought a theme would encourage everyone to dress up and played into the late night vibe we were going for. There is something so special about the Roaring 20’s, with the flapper dresses, all the gold décor and the flowing champagne. We thought with the limited décor we intended to bring that having everyone dress up would really add to the 20’s vibe. Taking out the formal sit-down dinner, cake cutting, and invitations extended to children gave us a lot of freedom to plan the evening we really wanted, and mix things up for our guests who likely had been to as many similar weddings as we had.”
And how did you set up the wedding for this fabulous theme?
“Instead of a large banquet hall with round tables with a big buffet we opted for small cocktail style tables, shared lounge seating and hand delivered canapes instead. With lots of room to mingle, people conversed and moved around a lot, using the whole space instead of being put in a chair for the majority of the night. We used the main floor of the house for the bulk of this event, with an elevator opening up into the decorated space. The doors would open and our guests were transformed back in time (at least that is what we were going for!). We went with classic sheer draping over the doorways (the main floor of this house has two large glass garage doors that open the living room onto the 2400 square foot patio).
Curtis has brought my plans of 20’s style art deco backdrops to life and had constructed large frameworks, we had these up to cover a large bookcase, have a backdrop for our MC and his microphone and to block the open kitchen to the dance floor (aka the living room). Black pipe and drape blocked off behind the DJ and created a ‘backstage’ for the moved furniture. It was all easy to set up and looked fantastic. My family helped our immensely with set up and take down, with the creation of our pre-ceremony cheese trays and our small, beautiful decorative cake and dessert table. White ostrich feathers, vintage glass bottles and wedding photos of our grandparents and other extended family were placed strategically around the space to complete the vibe. My aunt shipped out my great grandpa’s typewriter earlier in the year, and we were able to incorporate this into our signing ‘table’ desk, with a beautiful Ella Fitzgerald quote in it.”
What was your ceremony like?
We opted out of setting up seats for everyone during the ceremony, as we intended to keep it very short and wanted everyone to fill in the isle and stand close while we shared our intimate vows. Aside from a few seats for Grandma, we were able to have everyone at eye level, taking in the moment with us. We also insisted on people keeping their phone/cameras away until after the ceremony, which really gave us some fantastic photos looking back into our friends and family from behind Curt and I as we said ‘I Do’. Keeping everyone in the present moment really meant a lot to us, we didn’t want to be looking into the crowd and not see their faces.
And then what happened?
After everyone had mingled and had a chance to eat we moved downstairs to the massive 150-seat theatre in the floor below. This gave everyone a few minutes off their feet to listen to speeches, and gave the wait staff a chance to tidy up the cocktail hour and have the dessert table set up. It also made for a fantastic group photo with its lush red velvet seats. Once returning upstairs darkness had arrived and we had everyone hold sparklers on the patio as we took our first dance to, Stevie Nicks- Leather and Lace. Although this isn’t a 20’s song, it is an absolute favourite of my husbands and the perfect song to dance to.
It all sounds wonderful! Was the Guest House everything you hoped for in a venue?
La Casa was a perfect venue to play out our dream cocktail style wedding. With a private master suite, separate from the rest of the house on the penthouse floor (with its own hot tub!) we felt like we were being whisked away to a private oasis after the reception, while still sharing the space with our immediate family and wedding party. It also gave my two bridesmaids and I a private space to get ready, with a large balcony and self-contained suite, including kitchen and full bathroom. The bunkhouse was great to separate everyone and gave lots of space for people over the weekend. The large bathrooms with multiple stalls on the main floor made it easy for guests to powder their noses, and use the facilities without having a line, or use a port-a-potty.
I could not be happier with the way our 1920’s wedding played out at La Casa Resort. This property gave us the flexibility to develop our evening the way we wanted, and the creative control to have the night tailored to our specific needs. Friends and family gave rave reviews about their chalet rentals, and enjoyed being close together throughout the weekend.