Food and Wine
People who live along the Creston Valley and Kootenay Lake Route share a love of the land. They know the rains, the soil, work hard to preserve and conserve while producing grape varietals, farm fresh milk, and apple and cherry honey. There's an understanding between the two unlikely partners—a mutual respect transformed to modern-day prosperity. Three wineries along the Route give tastings and tours, paired with lessons in history and geology. When you aren't touring eclectic vineyards, florists and farmers give visitors a look into life less accelerated. If you're looking for an overall introduction to food and wine along the Route, stop at the Creston Valley Farmers' Market. Growers, craftspeople, and live entertainment, the market is as great a reason as any to put the car in park.
Good food is the best reason to slow yourself through the windy roads of the Route. With a collection of restaurants and social houses, there's something for everyone to indulge in. Restaurants like Boccalino Restaurant in Kootenay Bay feature a seasonally inspired menu, all made fresh from scratch, homemade desserts, and a great patio, a perfect excuse to take a break before hopping onto the Kootenay Lake Ferry. Similarly, Black Salt Cafe in Crawford Bay invites visitors to savour their colourful art-filled cafe and garden patio. Paninis and burgers, tapas dinners and exotic desserts.
In Creston, Casey's Community House is a fabulous place for all, with tapas and experiences worth savouring. Or head to Jimmy's Pub and the Creston Hotel for homemade Greek food and their signature cocktails. Look out over the apple and cherry trees, tap your feet to local music every Saturday. Retro Café and Break In Time Café are both Creston Coffee Shops with locally sourced eats. Hungry? Take your time, the Route has you covered.
The Creston Valley and Kootenay Lake Route's climate is just a speck warmer than the rest of the Kootenays, making it ideal for growers. Peaches, plums, cherries, and of course, wine. So much decadent, delicious wine. The Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery in Creston, named after an original pioneer of the region, has an inviting tasting room open seven days a week, and an outdoor patio for your sipping and sunning pleasure. Look out over the luscious rows of grape varietals, tune in to live music, pair your sip with a specially selected cheese tray. The cool-climate wines include Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Rose, Pino Gris, Blanc De Noir, Gewürztraminer, Recolte Blanche, and Chardonnay.
The Skimmerhorn Winery and Vineyard is another small-batch winery in Creston, tucked below steep mountains and surrounded by beautiful greenery. Their tasting room is open Wednesday through Sunday. Skimmerhorn offers Pinot Gris, Ortega, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir and Marechal Foch. Order food from their fresh farm to table bistro, meet their pet mascot dog, stay the afternoon, savour the time—it stands still here.
Seasonal Markets & Farmgate
The change in seasons along the Route is so strongly represented in the senses; dry grass and rolling hills turn ripe with blossoming fruit trees and vibrant colours the first sign of springtime sun. Empty crates are suddenly chocked full of fresh vegetables and fruits, their sweet aroma filling the air. Truscott Farms, Wloka Fruit Stand, Spectrum Farms, and Flamenco Farms all offer a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, fresh picked and ready to go. Or, find a U-pick and scour the rows of trees for cherries and raspberries.
The Creston Valley Farmers' Market is a great alternative for a quick stop-over. Every Saturday in the summer in Creston the market bustles with fresh-baked goods, fruits, and artisans, giving visitors a well-rounded experience of the Route and all it has to offer. A project under the non-profit society Creston Valley Food Action Coalition (CVFAC), the market runs eight months of the year outside, and monthly markets during the winter months.
The unique climate gives florists ample opportunity for a lush growing season, and Morris Flowers shop and garden centre has an enormous selection of plants and flowers for the most eager of green thumbs. The full-service home and garden centre has bedding plants, tools, pots, accessories, and expert advice for anything garden related. Walk through their landscaped gardens and ponds; a perfect place for any gathering.
Coffee. Honey. Fresh milk. Loose-leaf tea. There's too much goodness along the Route. Or, just the right amount. There's something about fresh, about the goodness of hand grown and well-loved product.
Lark Coffee Roasters in Creston curates their own coffee, bringing new roasts to the Route year-round. Kootenay Meadows Farm is a certified organic Kootenay dairy. Find their milk throughout the Kootenays, along with cream, and raw milk cheese. Swan Valley Honey practices sustainable beekeeping and produces honey from apple and cherry fruit—sweet, delightful, delicious. All of these local producers appreciate and value their connection to the land, to the community that helps them thrive.