Straight from her heart, Jennifer Schell’s The BC Wine Lover’s Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from Wineries across British Columbia (Appetite by Random House) celebrates British Columbia’s bounty as she shares family stories and recipes from 53 wineries.
I am privileged to call Jennifer a friend and know her labour of love to select shining examples from across the province. She knows these wineries and the folks involved. She painstakingly tested the recipes and pairings. Tough job, I know!
Jennifer is an exceptionally talented food and wine writer, photographer, co-owner of Schell Wines and co-producer of the Garagiste North Wine Festival, which focuses on BC’s small lot wineries. She is the author of the award-winning The Butcher, the Baker, the Wine and Cheese Maker series of books shortlisted for Taste Canada Awards, winners of two Gourmand Awards and a gold medal at the IPPY Awards. She recently launched the wine news site iNwine. When she was Food & Wine Trails Magazine editor, I met her and was privileged to freelance for her.
We quickly became friends. Her enthusiasm for the community was infectious. I joined her efforts at the Soup Sisters Kelowna chapter she co-founded and when she was catalyst in launching a similar program in Penticton. I’ve watched her passionately advocate for BC farming, food and wine industries. Born in Kelowna and raised on an apple orchard, Jennifer is truly enchanted with BC’s culinary abundance.
The BC Wine Lover’s Cookbook is a resource and a work of art. The storytelling is spell binding. Jennifer shot most of the photography with additional photographers attributed clearly on the copyright page. Illustrations are by Hillary Schell and book design by Terri Nimmo. The foreword is by none other than prolific BC wine writer John Schreiner.
Geographically arranged, her cookbook includes pioneers like Ann Sperling – natural wine leader, Summerhill Pyramid Winery – organic evangelists, and Nk’Mip Cellars – North America’s first Indigenous-owned winery. New regions are represented such as Sea Star Vineyards, Pender Island and Wynnwood Cellars in the Kootenays.
Approachable recipes for the home cook, I made the Plum Clafoutis by Beata Tolley, Moon Curser Vineyards.
Next on my list is Zwiebekluchen (Onion Quiche) by the 8th Generation Vineyard Schales family; Muriel’s Stout & Beef Pot Pie, TIME Winery & Evolve Cellars sourced from Harry McWatters (now deceased) that was a favourite by his mother Muriel Duke; Chiles Rellenos by Winifred Covert, Covert Farms Family Estate; Pai’s Bifanas by Maria Ferreira (now deceased), Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery; and Coulombe Family Tourtière, vinAmité Cellars. I’ll have to try the recipe that most surprised Jennifer, Silkscarf Winery’s Upside-Down Grape Leaf Rice, plus her own family’s submission, the Schell Family Crab Boil.
A comprehensive index assists your discovery of the BC bounty as does Jennifer’s thoughtful inclusion of a Wine Adventures chapter including other wineries to visit. The Seasonal Menus chapter invites you to combine their recipes.
Through her delightful representation of BC wineries, family stories and recipes that leverage regional ingredients, Jennifer inspires us to explore. By the time I read and cook my way through it, I hope the next edition will be on its way.
Learn more about Jennifer Schell and how to purchase her book at www.jenniferschell.com. Follow @jenniferschell8 on Instagram and Twitter.