Dinner at Township 7 with Joy Road Catering

I hear a lot about winery tours, and to be completely up front about it, it has never really jazzed me that much. I picture off-the-path roads winding up hot, dry, scrubby mainland-BC hills (I know, sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it?) to pretentious-ish clay buildings filled with un-disheveled people swishing wine around in glasses and using words like “nose” and “jammy” and “millerandage“.

You know what? Totally not.

Township 7 was right by the side of the road, their grapes growing up a sloping embankment beside the main building. A long table draped in white linen was set up outside, closed in by stacks of oak barrels. We chatted and introduced ourselves to each other over wine and thick wedges of fresh peaches wrapped in prosciutto (with a fresh basil leaf pressed against the side of the fruit before wrapping) and quartered tiny sweet pears topped with a local blue cheese, a bit of honeycomb (from Blair and Cheryl at the Similkameen Apiary) and toasted hazelnuts.

This meal was the highlight of the aforementioned 24 best food hours of my life (thus far) – a statement I don’t make likely, but which I may have to extend to 48 hours. The spread was put on by Cam and Dana of Joy Road Catering (cuisine du terroir). Remember that name: JOY ROAD CATERING. If I ever get married again, which is not all that unlikely after leaving Mike with W in the hotel room for days while I ate and drank at wineries and boutique hotels, I’m going to the Okanagan just so that they can cook for the wedding. I wouldn’t think it at all unreasonable to move to the region simply to be closer to them.

Dinner was served family-style: locally-raised lamb loin and braised lamb shoulder, served with homemade anchovy aioli (which I admit I spread onto my bread, it was so good); buttery corn, grown in fields we had driven past:

tiny, thin green beans of the sort none of us had seen before; thickly-sliced heirloom tomatoes; a just-plucked spinach salad, baskets of rustic bread with fresh, sweet butter. I could not stop eating. Between the food, wine, table setting, people around it and locale, it was absolutely perfect. I can’t honestly imagine a better meal. (When people ask what my most memorable meal was, I generally don’t have one. Now I do.)

We drank Black Cloud Pinot Noir and others from the Township 7 cellar. For dessert, Cam & Dana’s plum tarts were so divine I couldn’t believe my dinner companions weren’t fainting dead away as they ate them. Taryn brought hers up to her cheek and stroked it. I looked desperately around for someone who may have left a piece of one, or who had perhaps snuck off to the loo halfway through dessert so that I could swipe theirs. For the next two days Taryn and I would just look at each other and say “plum tart” and shed a quiet tear.

Luckily for us Joy Road has a stall at the Saturday morning farmers’ market in Penticton (an impressive one, I must add – blocks long and bursting with wonderful things, direct from the farmers, which you might assume is a given at a farmers’ market, but which is not). There was one lonely plum tart left when we arrived at close to 10 – Dana had saved it for us – tart and intensely flavored wedges of plum tucked into a thick but tender, buttery, shortbreadlike pâte brisée, with the subtlest baked custard of sorts to fill in the gaps. Since we had to share, we bought small galettes and sticky pecan buns to round out breakfast.

But that’s another story.

One Year Ago: Chicken Soup and Maple Pumpkin Panna Cotta


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22 comments on “Dinner at Township 7 with Joy Road Catering

  1. Cheryl Arkison
    September 21, 2009 at 7:22 am

    Your photos from the night are amazing! But I’m really wondering how I missed the aoili? You kept it all to yourself, didn’t you? That’s okay, I got all the beans.

  2. Aimee
    September 21, 2009 at 8:50 am

    I am shedding more than a quiet tear, let me tell you. I need a mop around here.

    -I used to get desserts made my Dana every day for our staff meal.
    So there.

    (Glad you are enjoying yourself)

  3. sue.d
    September 21, 2009 at 9:17 am

    I almost want to cry. But mostly I’m happy for you…

  4. Erica B.
    September 21, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Wonderful story & pictures Julie – thanks for sharing.

    (you lucky girl! k maybe I’m a bit jealous nothing like that here in Sylvan Lake as far as I can tell)

  5. Jennifer
    September 21, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Millerandage?!? Good word. Next time I’m sitting next to a wine geek who is trying to impress me with his / her knowledge of slope physics and starts quoting post-doctorate-level chemistry, I’ll just say something like: “I wouldn’t be surprised if the coloure and millerandage is affecting this bottle?” and I’ll just watch them sweat. Ha. Now, back to sewing buttons back onto my pants from the weekend’s eating activities…..

  6. Anonymous
    September 21, 2009 at 11:28 am

    you have brought back memories for me..a couple of years back, Joy Rd Catering hosted our girls night at the Deer Path Lookout for one of the most enjoyable meals ever. i agree with you about moving there just to have access to their food.

  7. Kelly
    September 21, 2009 at 11:30 am

    sorry for the anonymous…i pressed submit too quickly!

  8. Vivian
    September 21, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Well, all you lucky people, I can at least dream through your words and photos…instead of surveying my frost-ruined garden. Yup, out here in my neck of the woods we got a darn good(?) freeze last night that did in most everything not covered. Maybe moving to Naramata would be a good idea since you seem to have an endless summer going on. Thanks for the fantasy Julie, and to Jennifer C-K…much continued success. You go girl!

  9. Jackie
    September 21, 2009 at 12:52 pm


    We have a place in Penticton and hit Joy Road’s stand every Saturday we were there!! Their free form fruit tarts are to die for not to mention the jams and granola. Sounds like it was a fabulous event!!

  10. Vivian
    September 21, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Julie, I’ve checked out Joy Road’s site and it is absolutely lovely, great web design and such honest and conscientious sentiments. I bet with your recommendation MANY people have done the same…so…heh, heh…any way you could persuade them to give us a recipe for that fabulous plum tart?! Not all of us can make the trek to Penticton to sample the real thing but we could attempt it at home…and then KNOW that we HAVE to make the trip to sample the “real thing”!

  11. Barb
    September 21, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Have you ever thought about renewing your vows?

  12. foodiesuz
    September 21, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    I am loving your account of the workshop and the photos, but I can barely bear to read them. I join Aimee in her SOBS that we were not there.

    Can you ask Jennifer if she’s opened registration for the NEXT workshop? I wish to be first in line.

  13. JulieVR
    September 21, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    And I’ve only managed to document until Thursday night!! I haven’t yet told you about Friday and Saturday, I’m so behind (and don’t want to glaze over everything) – yes, ALL OF YOU should come next year!!

  14. Rose
    September 22, 2009 at 4:12 am

    I love blue cheese and want to try the pear and blue cheese appetizer. It looks like there’s something else on the blue cheese and under the hazelnut. Some sort of chutney maybe?


  15. thepinkpeppercorn
    September 22, 2009 at 4:18 am

    Wow! What beeeeautiful food! And the table too!!!!!

  16. Cheryl Arkison
    September 22, 2009 at 5:47 am

    Rose, the pear appetizer was made from these tiny butter bottom pears, blue cheese, a bit of honeycomb, and then hazelnuts. Divine! I think bartletts or another firm ripe pear would work wonderfully.

  17. JulieVR
    September 22, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Oh yes, sorry, forgot the honeycomb.. from their friends Blair and Cheryl at the Similkameen Apiary! It was like a small smear of thick honey candy, not chewy and firm and hard on the teeth. Just a bit of sweetness… yum! Find the tiniest pears you can!

  18. Harry
    September 22, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Millerandage? Couloure? They are French viticultural terms, sorry you find them so confusing. I suppose the world of food has no such technical terms?

  19. robyn
    September 22, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I guess if you’re not educated in French viticulture, then those words ARE confusing. Perhaps some of the technical terms for food would confuse you Harry?

  20. Colleen
    September 22, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Thanks for helping me conjure up the dinner again! A truly great night!

  21. Taryn
    September 24, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Plum tart.
    Plum tart.
    Plum tart.

    It’s a kind of a haiku. This was my favourite dinner of all the nights, hands down. A low-key, al fresco meal of simple flavours in great company. It doesn’t get any better.

    On another note, I had a dream that my cell phone had been retrofitted to use tomatoes as batteries. I don’t know if this was some kind of symbolic reflection of my urban angst vs Naramata pastoral bliss, or just Neo-Citran.



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