Transitioning Joy Road Catering at God’s Mountain Estate
By Roslyne Buchanan.
Winding along Eastside Road south of Penticton, we see ducks dive into Skaha Lake breaking the glistening reflection of craggy clay hills, blue skies and puffy white clouds creating a mandala of ripples.
It’s as if the ducks were commissioned by Joy Road Catering (JRC) for our journey to the sacred place of a God’s Mountain Estate al fresco dinner. We negotiate the narrow driveway through vineyards climbing above the shore transitioning from routine to divine.
We cram our car into tight parking. (Taking a shuttle or carpooling is suggested! Better yet, book a night or two at the onsite bed-and-breakfast. www.godsmountain.com) We stroll through the garden canopy skirting a pretty pond and are enchanted once again.
Delectable aromas waft from an outdoor kitchen alive with preparation. Next attraction is the inviting swimming pool and matching whitewashed, blue-trimmed mansion reminiscent of Mediterranean settings.
Shaded by graceful trees, the exquisitely set long table with stunning Skaha Lake vistas seizes our senses. We pause to breath in, capture obligatory photographs of signature place settings, fresh flowers and artisan bread before clasping our welcome flute of Bella Natural Sparkling Rosé.
While the wine welcome varies between events, the ritual remains. You enter the estate to exit the ordinary, warmly greeted by the JRC team.
I’m relishing my over-the-top birthday gift from a dear friend joining us with another friend. Mark (husband) was to be the designated driver for four and now eats courtesy of another friend unable to attend. We feel blessed.
At God’s Mountain throughout the summer, JRC hosts Sunday dinners and on Thursdays collaborates with wineries. Additionally, JRC is involved with special events hosted elsewhere like wineries and art galleries. See www.joyroadcatering.com for details.
Change in ownership sets 2019 apart thus the final year with co-founders Dana Ewart and Cameron Smith at the helm. A well-loved Lower Mainland catering company, Cocktails and Canapes Catering and Events, announced March 2019 it acquired JRC. Said Smith and Ewart, the friendly transaction took place after careful deliberation to find the best family to foster JRC’s business legacy in the Okanagan.
“We decided to sell to Brett Turner and Olivia Fobert of Cocktails and Canapes because their fundamental values align with ours. It’s the perfect fit to retain the locally-sourced, community-minded, high-quality catering experience the Okanagan has come to know and love about JRC.”
Cocktails and Canapes (www.cocktailsandcanapes.ca) founded in 2013, has cemented a reputation in Western Canada as a trendsetter and leader in the catering industry, servicing events including Facebook, Rolls-Royce, TED and more. Run by Turner and his fiancé Fobert, it’s a unique brand of customized hospitality experiences and catering services making it Vancouver’s must-hire catering and event planning company.
Turner commented, “From one family-owned and operated small business to another, we’re thrilled that Cam and Dana entrusted us with Joy Road Catering. There’s a reason it earned the reputation of the Okanagan’s go-to caterer using the best seasonal ingredients – JRC delivers an unparalleled taste of the finest proteins and produce of the Okanagan. Our first priority is to ensure this continues.”
JRC is the Okanagan’s leading boutique catering company launched in 2005 by Smith and Ewart. Success is attributed to its commitment to proudly showcase the wealth of delicious food and wine in the Okanagan region through creating unique dining experiences that feature premium seasonal ingredients. You’ll also find JRC lovingly serving the public each Saturday morning at the Penticton Farmers Market. Folks line up to buy freshly baked breads, cinnamon rolls, fruit galettes, focaccia, pickles, preserves and farm eggs when available.
For those who know Dana and Cam, attending a dinner in which they’re still involved is a must. We trust their decision wasn’t made lightly. They believe Cocktails and Canapes is the right fit to carry JRC into the future. We’re proud they transferred a successful culinary business at peak.
Joy Road Cuisine du Terroir is “A Menu to Celebrate Okanagan Summer Bounty”. We mingle then find seats together with another local couple we know attending with their Melbourne, Australia family. Dana rings the dinner bell. Long wooden boards appear with ‘Homemade artisan bread with Fiore olive oil; Spanish-style roasted olives and chicharrones; A selection of house-cured charcuterie; Pickled and fresh vegetables; Crushed pea bruschetta with two-year prosciutto’. (JRC raises and cures its own meat.) We each get a plate of home churned butter adorned with edible petals. Each morsel is a meditation in local cuisine prepared impeccably. We polish it off joyfully.
Wild Goose Vineyards God’s Mountain Riesling is poured as ‘Freshly shelled fava beans, Sumac yogurt, sunflower seedlings, Baby carrots & carrot top pesto’ salad is placed. So delicate and flavorful, it pairs perfectly with the wine of grapes grown on site. From vines over 20 years old, it’s a true representation of this clay bluff terroir.
Pentage Winery Gamay is presented for the mains served family style following the ‘parade of the pig’ ritual. The platter of uncarved pig off-the-roaster is carried ceremoniously around the table with thanks to the life. The glorious wine with its dark berries and peppery spice superbly complements the meal passed in big bowls and platters as follows:
- ‘A beautiful brined & smoke JRC Farm ham, Green triangle summer cabbage, Sorrel green goddess’.
- ‘Baby organic salad from Unearthed Farm’.
- ‘Toasted farro with Swiss Chard, Quince vinegar & cream’.
- ‘Roasted cauliflower, Parsley, lemon & capers’.
- ‘Gabrielle’s haricot vert, Grainy mustard & crushed hazelnuts, Pickled pink torpedo onions’.
We feast fully and the table is cleared. Locally roasted coffee or fresh mint tisane is served with Dark Chocolate. Dessert is a delightful jiggle of ‘Similkameen apiary honey & vanilla bean panna cotta, The best raspberries of all time’. We pay homage videotaping its wobble before devouring every drop.
(Best raspberries? My bias goes to plump ones falling off bushes in my parent’s Calgary backyard. As we picked those, the bulk slipped into our bellies rather than the pail. Dessert conjured a special food memory securing JRC raspberries second best in my reckoning.)
Midway through dinner, Ewart reads a passage from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters – a bible for those who care about local food, how it is raised, prepared and served. Listening to her brought bittersweet gratitude for what JRC has brought to the local food scene with anticipation for what next Cam and Dana will bring to the Okanagan valley.
A male guest thanked JRC on behalf of us all. Applause was heartfelt and long. Watching sunset on this spectacular Okanagan day, we hope the legacy of JRC lingers magnificently, too.
Featured photo: Male guest thanks Joy Road Catering on behalf of all guests.Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.