A gourmet picnic for two and "bubbles": how to wind down summer in style and help two charities

Les Dames d'Escoffier's Picnic & Bubbles fundraiser showcases the products of some of B.C.'s best restaurants and wineries

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      Dining outdoors, whether on a patio or with a picnic lunch on a patch of grass, has become more popular during the past couple of years, for obvious reasons.

      With that in mind, and with the great late-summer weather we have been experiencing in B.C., the local chapter of an International organization comprised of female culinary professionals is hoping people will support a charitable fundraiser this Sunday (August 21).

      Les Dames d'Escoffier, B.C. chapter, has partnered with restaurants in Vancouver and the Okanagan (Penticton and Kelowna), as well as with several wineries, to present Picnic & Bubbles, a fundraiser aimed at easing food insecurity and providing scholarships for women in the culinary industry.

      For a price of $150 for a gourmet picnic for two, complete with "bubbles" (sparkling wine, cider, beer, or refreshing hard fruit juices), you can browse a list of restaurants in your city, check out its picnic offering and bubbly pairing for that day, order, then pick it up between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

      Each picnic for two will include a main dish, two sides, a dessert, and the “bubbles" in a package that's ready to go (and eat).

      The picnic location, of course, is up to you, but Les Dames suggest Vanier Park in Vancouver, Victoria Park in North Vancouver, and Penticton Beach in Penticton.

      Half the proceeds from the event are slated for B.C. food banks. Picnics must be ordered and purchased in advance, and you can do that here. First, take the time to browse the menus of some of the 17 featured restaurants on the page, and make sure to check to see if any are sold out and how many tickets are remaining.

      Vancouver eateries taking part include Vij's, Provence Marinaside, Popina, Published on Main, L'Abattoir, and Juke.

      Some establishments outside Vancouver proper include Douce Diner and Bridge Brewing in North Vancouver, RauDZ in Kelowna, Naramata Inn in Naramata (near Penticton), and Time Family Winery in Penticton.

      Dan Huang-Taylor of Food Banks B.C. said in a release that inflation, and resultant rising food prices, have placed more people in a position of food insecurity in the province.

      “More and more people are turning to food banks," Huang-Taylor said. "Families and individuals who are already on tight budgets have been hit incredibly hard by the increase in living expenses. Food Banks B.C. is deeply grateful to Les Dames d'Escoffier B.C. and the participating restaurants for their support.”

      Past recipients of Les Dames d'Escoffier scholarships.

      “It’s time to get out there," Dame Stephanie Jaeger said in the bulletin. "Our industry has worked hard over the last few years to stay strong, and now we want to show our support. Let’s raise a glass of bubbles and picnic for a cause, supporting scholarships for women, the food insecure, and the hospitality industry that we couldn’t live without.”