Oliver/Osoyoos, Okanagan’s one and only oyster festival, is back for round two.
Oysters and wine are fickle bedfellows: the delicate flavors of the shellfish can be marred so easily by a bad pairing. But when it’s done right, it’s all the more delicious for its delicacy. And if oyster-wine pairings are a fine art, the Oliver Osoyoos Oyster Festival is something like a masterpiece gallery showing.
Okanagan’s second annual oyster festival takes place Wednesday, April 17th through Sunday, April 21st. It’s a showcase that brings the 28 family-owned wineries in the 20 minutes between Oliver and Osoyoos, B.C., together with nearby sustainable oyster farmers and local businesses. There are cooking classes and golf specials, shucking derbies, oyster dinners and the long weekend’s touchstone event, the Art of the Oyster afternoon gala.
Yes, oysters are specific — but you’d be wrong if you think participating wineries and restaurants let that limit them. Ten of the Oliver-Osoyoos region’s best restaurants (including Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek, Campo Marina, The Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl Estate) rise to the molluscan challenge with oysters on the half-shell, raw, grilled, scalded, fried, in salads, with sauces, on breads and pizza, possibly even with dessert. Dozens of wineries (including Jackson-Triggs, Hidden Chapel, Moon Curser, Nk’Mip Cellars) pair the briny fare with sweet to dry whites and even a few reds during the national Canadian Oyster Wine Competition, which serves as the voice of authority on the year’s best oyster wine releases. Altogether, what results is an in-depth study of a classic crustacean, one not to be missed by any wine or oyster enthusiast or anyone eager to learn.
April 17—21 || Hours, locations and ticket prices vary. See event website for more information.