Nature walk a treat to the body and soul

Apart from wildflowers, there are plenty of other native plants that sprout in Sun Peaks. But how many of them do we really know?
The Delta’s Interpretive Nature Walk and Dinner combines a one-hour walk-through introducing local plants on the Shuswap Medicine Trail followed by a sumptuous dinner at Mantles Restaurant featuring some of these plants. It’s one of Sun Peaks Resort’s 10 new “Summer Experience” packages.

Vicki Moses, the Nature Walk’s guide, gets excited over plants in the same way others may get excited over shopping or their favourite sport. If you ever get lost in the forest, you’d be lucky to have her expertise. With her impressive botanical knowledge, she can identify which plants are edible, poisonous or medicinal.

Growing up as a member of the Lower Nicola Indian Band, Moses used to gather plants with her grandmother and learned about their culinary and medicinal uses. She later took ethnobotany to build on this knowledge.

During the walk, different plants used by the Secwepemc people are introduced.

“When you’re lost, if you find yourselves a fir tree, you can make yourself a blanket,” said Moses. “You just snip off a couple of these fir boughs and you’d be fine. It’ll keep you warm.”

Delta Sun Peaks’ executive chef David Tombs thought Moses’ knowledge was just what was needed for a new culinary undertaking.

With Moses’ input, Tombs and sous-chef James Wilson transformed these common plants into a unique three-course dinner.

Pay attention to the nature walk and you’ll appreciate dinner more. The meal starts with house smoked salmon with braised wild cow parsnip, a type of wild celery that grows around Sun Peaks. Dots of birch and maple syrup glaze adorn and flavour this dish (the birch syrup is sourced from a producer in Barriere). Grilled bison steak served with root vegetable and new potato ragu is the main course. The medley of textures and flavours is the dish’s main appeal, from the crunchy zucchini to the tender potatoes and the tasty bison meat. The meat came from Pentangle V Bison Ranch in Merritt and the vegetables were from Thistle Farm, an organic farm in Kamloops. Spruce shoots were used as garnish. Biting into the spruce imparts a burst of freshness in your mouth that goes surprisingly well with the meat.

Mouthwatering shortcake bannock served with spruce syrup and wild strawberries is for dessert. The fried bannock’s delightful contrast of a crunchy exterior and soft chewy interior makes a simple yet memorable finale to a nature-inspired meal.

American naturalist John Muir said “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

This experience is exactly that . . . a taste of nature healing and strengthening the body and soul.

To reserve a spot, call 250-578-6060. Bring insect repellent for the nature walk.

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