You’ve Gotta Try This in October

This is your indispensable companion to all that is hot, fresh and freaking delicious in Vancouver right now

This is your indispensable companion to all that is hot, fresh and freaking delicious in Vancouver right now

There are so many good things about October! The annual rereading of that awesome decorative gourd season story; tights and boots season; stomping through fallen leaves; and—crucially—the start of sliding cozily into comforting fall flavours. Crunch into apples! Slurp all the soup! Drink down those pumpkin spice flavours!

And don’t forget to grab napkins as it’s gonna get messy…


1. Go to all the cool events

I’m pretty much loving everything that’s coming out of the Haywire winery, so treat yo’ self when they’re in town to host a five-course Okanagan Fall Harvest Dinner at YEW on Wednesday, October 17th with wines from their Narrative and Freeform labels.

This sounds awesome! Chefs in the Hood is a culinary pop-up bringing together cheffy talent from across the Greater Vancouver area for a great cause and the chance to make sweet, sweet food together. They’re hosting an eight-course, reception-style dinner at the Law Courts on Saturday, October 20th with live music, entertainment, plus a silent auction and 50/50 in support of Dan’s Legacy warehouse project.

Sign up for a Tayybeh Syrian cooking experience at the Moberly Arts and Cultural Centre on Saturday, October 6th for a three-hour class and group feast. Tickets are $80.73.


2. Celebrate that Cornucopia time of year

Giddy up! It’s time to start planning a trip up the Sea to Sky for the annual celebration of all things delicious at Cornucopia. As always, a full docket of seminars, tasting sessions, special chef dinners and party events are up for grabs through November 8th to 18th, and tickets are on sale now. I love the seminars and there are some corkers this year: a wine and junk food pairing on the 10th; a B.C. varietal showdown on the 11th; six different ways to make sparkling wine on the 17th and a pizza and Pinot-pairing party on the 18th.

There are some incredible winemaker dinner events too. Fairmont Chateau Whistler is hosting a Small Farms dinner with Synchromesh and Anarchist wines on the 8th and their awesome exec chef Isabel Chung is cooking up a storm in a collaboration event with my favourite bubble makers, Bella Wines and Royal Dinette’s chef Eva Chin on the 17th.


3. #PSL alternative #1: Drink Blackpool Spiced Rum

In my annual battle to fight #PSL season, may I suggest alternatives. First up, Lemon Hart & Son, a British spirits merchants dating back to the 1700s, has just released a new spiced rum which I rather think does the job of ticking those pumpkin-pie spice boxes. Smooth sipping over ice, you’ll get warming notes of cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg. Add to some Jamaican ginger beer for a totally tropical take on fall flavours! Brand new in BC Liquor stores from October 1st.


4. Drink all the soup

Although nothing says ‘make me whole again’ like a bowl of silky Marutama ramen or a fragrant slurp from Pho Goodness, ’tis the season to shower love on all the soups.

Pop into the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver’s Notch8 for a piping hot bowl of their French onion soup (pictured) with a gooey cheesy top.

North Van’s Soup Meister serves up a range of fresh homemade soups daily, such as seafood chowder, German lentil and coconut curried squash. Check their Facebook to see what’s in the pot today.

Splurge with special occasion soup at the Pear Tree with chef Scott Jaeger’s Lobster Bisque.

The straight-up tomato soup at Burgoo is pretty hard to beat for offering instant comfort.

Make it spicy with hot and sour pork noodle soup at Fat Mao Noodles.

Live your best life with a bowl of bison bone broth at Salmon ‘n’ Bannock.


5. Take a bite out of apple season

Did you know that we have some 200 different varieties of apples grown in B.C.? Make it your mission to try as many as possible this season!

One of Chez Christophe’s seasonal treats this year is an apple pie bark (pictured, from $6) made from a single-origin 42 percent milk chocolate from Ecuador, apples, spice, and finished with a caramelized hazelnut crunch.

Hit up the Apple Festival at the UBC Botanical Garden, which has 63 different varieties of apples for tasting, plus demos of cider pressing, tree grafting, biodiversity chats for kids, and much more. It runs on October 13th and 14th; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Earnest Ice Cream has a brilliant apple pie flavour with a bourbon vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg base blended with caramelized Gala apples and a buttery pie crust. Damn!

Grotto on Davie is doing a cozy apple cocktail of warm mulled Merridale cider, bourbon, dried pineapple and apricot with ginger syrup and a dash of cardamom bitters.


6. Go! Go! Gamay! Go!

I was recently in Paris and my new non-B.C. red wine obsession is Gamay from the Morgon region in France. I’m a huge Gamay fan at the best of times and especially at this time of the year—it is the perfect turkey wine! I usually snap up some Gamay from Deep Roots on the Naramata Bench, but this year I’ll be tracking down some Morgon as well to play compare and contrast with French and B.C. wines.

Be a total Thanksgiving bad ass and rock up with a magnum of Lapierre 2016 Morgon from Marquis Wine on Davie or check out the 2015 Cote de Pye Duboeuf Jean Ernest Descombes from BC Liquor Stores.

Give sparkling Gamay a whirl from Naramata bench bubble heroes Bella Wines. You can taste their Cavada Gamay at Nightingale (bubbles and pizza? Yes, please!) or bag a bottle of the Mariani at Kits Wine Cellars or Liberty Wine Merchants on Commercial.


7. Make a lunch reservation at Hawksworth

I’m a huge fan of Hawksworth. I love the restaurant and its bar, but kinda hate not being able to afford to eat or drink there too often. It’s always worth it, but squarely pegged in ‘treat’ territory. Until now…

Hawksworth has a cracking prix-fixe lunch menu deal, just $28 for three courses or $44 with wine pairings. Here’s what their press release says:

“Ingredient-driven dishes currently include wild mushroom pâté with pickled vegetables and seed crisp, or goat milk panna cotta with beets and hazelnuts to start, with main course choices comprising Pacific rock cod with butter potatoes and leek fondue, or confit pork belly with corn and French beans. To finish, a light and refreshing blackberry sorbet with malt barley crumble.”

Here’s what I say: make a reservation for a ‘treat’ lunch at a price that won’t break your budget!


8. #PSL alternative #2: Drink pumpkin spice beers and cider

Man, I wish that I liked the taste of hops because pumpkin season has me in a state of constant FOMO thanks to the funky pumpkiny brews on offer…

Red Racer’s Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Ale is back. Inspired by the seasonal cookie, this beer “infuses real pumpkin purée with traditional fall spices, and gets a light, creaminess from added lactose.”

Parallel 49 has a Pumpkin Oktoberfest Schadenfreude beer, a “hearty, malty lager warmed by the mighty pumpkin and lifted with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice and ginger.”

But one pumpkin drink I can drive into is the amazing Sea Cider’s fall edition Witch’s Broom, a semi-sweet cider with “lingering notes of cinnamon, orange, nutmeg and ginger”—OK, no pumpkin but certainly bringing all the pumpkin-spice love