In only a half year, Toni and Julius Bloomfield are well on the way to accomplishing one of their first goals, to make Naramata Heritage Inn a place that visitors and local residents can enjoy together. The Inn’s appeal to locals is such that when Naramata’s pub closed, Toni and Julius were approached by residents asking if they could make the Cobblestone Wine Bar their gathering place this winter.
“So we’re working to make it more casual, complete with a new menu and more local beers,” Toni says. “We’ll also have wine on tap!”
Chef AK Campbell has created a new menu for the End of the Road Bistro on the main floor, too.
“It’s more focused on hearty, winter fare,” he says. “There will be some traditional Italian dishes, dishes with an Indian influence, some fancy pizzas, hearth breads. Pretty much something to suit everyone’s taste.”
Expect more of a “gastro pub-style” in the Cobblestone, he says. Tapas, shareable appetizers and hearth bread platters will be balanced with French classics like confits, cassoulets and bourgignon.
“And there are more snackies, too,” Toni adds. “Including my favourite—popcorn with truffle oil and cracked black pepper!”
Entertainment will continue through the winter, with Thursday being Jazz Night and open mic nights rotating on Sundays and Mondays in the Bistro. Friday and Saturday nights feature music and dancing in the Cobblestone Wine Bar.
For the first time in 7 or 8 years the Inn will stay open all winter. But room packages and special events should keep staff hopping. A shuttle service is being offered as part of ski packages and a hot tub will be placed on an upper deck, offering ski-weary guests a spectacular view of the lake while they soak. Add in an après-ski menu and a spa and steam room and skiers can count on being pampered.
Toni says Naramata Heritage Inn is becoming a popular close-to-home destination wedding location.
And bike camps that take up all the Inn’s rooms are a growing part of the business. “For these spring guests we prepare unique gourmet, healthy meals as part of their training regimen for GranFondo cycling races,” she says.
For his part, AK is ready, willing and able to keep the service flowing in the Bistro and Wine Bar, as well as for special events.
“This area is such a food and wine mecca,” he says. “It’s a dream to be in a place like this!”
It seems hard to believe that only last spring Toni and Julius were celebrating their purchase of the Inn by sabering open bottles of bubbly, but the winter months don’t look like restful ones for these new owners. November will focus on ladies (“mothers and daughters, sisters, girlfriends”) with pampering weekend packages, Christmas parties are already being booked, a “Shopping in the Bistro” event is in the works and a two-day murder mystery will be held for New Year’s Eve celebrants.
(See chef AK Campbell’s recipe page 38).
~ Lorne Eckersley