by Paige Donner
Aboriginal Feast and Wine Pairings. Doesn’t just the sound of that say it all? The evening of fine dining and entertainment is the brainchild of a partnership between Theresa Contois and chef Ben Genaille, owners of Kanata Cuisine.
Kanata Cuisine was formed in the last six months when Theresa was noted for her exquisite “front of house” hospitality skills while putting the finishing touches on her training at Vancouver Community College’s Aboriginal Culinary program. Chef Ben Genaille, an expert in Aboriginal Cuisine, and Theresa got to talking and Kanata Cuisine is the result of their pairing strength with strength.
Much like the pairing of Nk’Mip’s outstanding wines with Kanata Cuisine’s tasting menu. If you are one of the lucky ones to opt in for this culinary adventure, your tastebuds and senses await delight.
Nk’Mip Cellars winemaker, Randy Picton, has chosen versatile pairings for the cuisine, including selections from their critically acclaimed Qwam Qwmt, known in the vernacular as their Q2 selections.
“Qwam Qwmt means the best of our Reserve Tier wines. QQ Chardonnay, for example, is one of our upper tier wines. It starts with the grapes in the vineyard,” says Randy. “I know going into it that this crop of grapes will be giving us our Reserve Tier wines. These wines we put into French oak,” he explains, noting their toasty vanilla and butterscotch essences.
Picton was the pioneer in the Okanagan who began the method of picking the grapes at different times in the harvesting season. “Even three weeks later, so there’s an evenness in the wine/grapes,” he explains. He began at Nk’Mip Cellars, the celebrated first winery in North America to be aboriginal owned, in 2002.
Nk’Mip is known for their Pinots and Chardonnays. Picton is the first to admit that pinot, at least in the Okanagan, can be a “fussy” grape to grow well. Their $20 bottles of Merlot are very popular choices however the winery is shifting their portfolio focus to upper tier wines. They are capped at about 18,000 cases per year production so they are looking to focus on, for example, a Q2 Riesling and a higher end Meritage that will retail for approximately $50-$60 a bottle.
The menu for the Kanata Cuisine Aboriginal Feast includes:
*”hot rock” poached spot prawn, cattail heart cream with wild onion oil.
*fire roasted corn soup, oolighan oil [used as a dipping oil with bannuck, aboriginal bread]
*salmon duo candied & sausages nass river/ seaweed bannock crackers
*crisp duck glazed halibut, mushroom hazelnut ragout, potato, chives
*Rhubarb ice [delightful in both taste and texture]
*braised bison short ribs, watercress, parsnip mash
*cranberry bannock bread pudding “Indian ice cream” with maple sap ice wine reduction