For the Canada Day long weekend, Mr. and I went to the Okanagan with Bryan and Kathryn. Last year, we received a certificate for a two-night stay at The Villa at Hester Creek Estate Winery, so we took the opportunity to spoil ourselves on this getaway.
During our stay, Mr. and I also had dinner at the Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek.
To start, we shared the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio. There was so much on the plate you can barely see the thinly sliced wagyu beef. The flavour combination was quite typical — capers, parmesan, arugula, aioli — what came as a pleasant surprise was the little sprouts sprinkled on top. They gave a slight crunch, an earthy note, which brought a new dimension of flavour.
Mr. ordered the Ricotta & Confit Duck Pizza. It’s, interesting.
It’s a good sized pizza, and it’s quite creamy thanks to the ricotta and mozzarella. I’m a fan of sweet-savoury combinations, but I’m not sure I liked the clean sweetness of peaches paired with the shredded duck meat. Mr. quite enjoyed it; perhaps I’m just not used to see peaches on a savoury dish.
On the other hand, I absolutely loved the Prawn & Manila Clam Pasta. It used this vesuvio pasta, named after the volcano Mount Vesuvius, which destroyed the city of Pompeii and more. I remember our visit to Pompeii a few years ago and witnessed the dramatic aftermath of the disaster that happened more than 1,900 years ago…back to the pasta, it got its name because it’s shaped like a volcano, which really helped hold up the sauce. Chorizo & clams, what could go wrong with this classic combination? It had a nice smokey flavour, and the clams were well cooked. I wish there were more clams. The arugula added some peppery note and I also like the use of zucchini in this dish. There were a few pieces of prawns but I would be OK without them.
As for dessert, it’s Spiced Cherry Semifreddo. A good idea to incorporate fresh, in-season local cherries in this dessert. It came with a cherry pistachio sauce, as well as three beignets dusted with cinnamon sugar. The semifreddo was rich and creamy, with good contrast of texture from the cherry pieces and pistachio. The beignets were fluffy, texture more cakey than I would like.
Overall, the dinner at Terrafina was very enjoyable. There may not be a lot of innovation in the dishes, but they executed the items very well. I’m not surprised that it’s a popular choice for winery dining in the area. It definitely lived up to the positive reviews.
And let me show you The Villa. Driving past the Hester Creek Tasting Room, around the restaurant, through the vineyards and we found The Villa sitting on top of the hill.
Our Deluxe Guest Suite was beautifully decorated with a Mediterranean influence – king sized bed, comfy soaker tub, fireplace…the best part? The patio.
Off our patio is this undisrupted, gorgeous view spanning from Oliver to Osoyoos – blue sky, vineyards, lakes, mountains. I could stay here forever.
And not just that. Every morning at 9am, we would be treated to a pretty, carefully put together plate of breakfast. The first morning was a warm, gooey Strawberry Bread Pudding, with strips of bacon; the next morning, Bacon and Tomato Frittata with a fruit salad — and a piece of heart-shaped watermelon! How cute was that?!
Since our last visit, the Golden Mile Bench has been recognized as the only official sub-region in BC for its wine production. So on the wine labels, we noticed that some wines have the special print “Golden Mile Bench”, which means 95% of the grapes used to make the particular wine came from the area, such as the Character Red and the Reserve Cabernet Franc.
We tried two whites and three reds, and we’re more impressed with the reds:
- 2014 Selected Barrels Cabernet Merlot – I’m a fan of Bordeaux style red, so this Cab Sauv, Cab Franc and Merlot caught my attention. The tannins were softened by the Merlot, so it’s quite easy drinking and would be suitable for any occasion.
- 2014 Character Red – A blend of Merlot, Syrah, Malbec and Petit Verdot, this wine is 100% estate grown. The Syrah added some peppery note to this red blend.
- 2013 Reserve Cabernet Franc – This wine was jammy (or I’d call it “juicy”). Lots of berry flavours, great to go with meat. It could be aged comfortably for 5-7 years.
I’m glad we were able to spend more time at Hester Creek on this trip, having stayed at The Villa, dined at the restaurant, and tasted its wines. A shout out to the ladies at The Villa — Melissa, Janet and Sharon — for the great service and hospitality. It was a wonderful experience staying at The Villa. The rate is not cheap but given there’s only 6 rooms/suites, you receive very attentive service from the team. Comfy room, delicious breakfast with a stunning view, it would be a treat to go back again.
Hester Creek Estate Winery
887 Rd 8, Oliver, BC