Delicious Vancouver Island Food Tour

004030- R11

With over 2,600 working farms on Vancouver Island, local fare is never far away. And, with a coastline that stretches over 3,340 km, the freshest seafood is practically on your plate! Join this escorted culinary tour to taste the many delights on offer on Vancouver Island.

Highlights
Details
Itinerary
Included
Not Included
Tour Notes
Map
Highlights
  • Victoria Foodie Walking Tour and Sea Kayaking to see marine wildlife
  • Averill Creek Wine Tasting and Westholme Tea Company tour
  • Fanny Bay Oyster facility visit
  • Coombs Old Country Market and Morningstar Farm & Cheese Tasting
  • Totem poles in Duncan and the murals in Chemainus
Details

Group Size: max. 12

2020 Departures:
October: 13

2020 Prices:
From CA$1,970 – twin
From CA$2,445 – single

Taxes: 5% GST

Prices are “starting from” rates, shown in CA$, per person based on two people sharing a twin room or one person in a single room.

Tour Code:
004030- R11

Itinerary
Open All
Day 1: Arrive Victoria
You may arrive into Victoria anytime today, preferably by mid- afternoon, and make your own way to the hotel for check-in. The escorted program begins with a group briefing in the lobby of our hotel and then we’ll go for a short walk with the Tour Leader to our welcome dinner at the Blue Crab Sea Food Restaurant.
Overnight: Victoria / Meals: Dinner
Just about every community on the Island has at least one Farmer’s Market, a place to find local produce, fresh dairy, herbs, spices, and baked goods. Some of the markets have over 100 vendors, offering a variety of edibles, crafts, and delicious treats to provide you the sustenance you need to keep shopping and exploring.
There are over forty different wineries, breweries, cideries, and meaderies in the Cowichan Valley and south Island. Artisan winemakers and brew masters have discovered that the Island’s temperate climate and crystal clear waters create the perfect recipe for a diverse selection of beverages, best enjoyed with local produce.
Day 2: Victoria Foodie Walking Tour - Kayaking

Light breakfast in the hotel followed by a Victoria Foodie Walking Tour. This 2-hour tour begins at 11:00 am at the Victoria Public Market and includes stops at The Harmonious Gates of Interest, Fan Tan Alley, Market Square, Bastion Square, Trounce Alley, Government St., the Inner Harbour Causeway and Parliament Buildings. Depending on the day, there will be between 6-8 food tastings along the route, as we discuss the history and quirks of beautiful Victoria. Tastings can include bread, perogies, meatballs, craft beer, macarons, chocolate, and much more. Following the food tour, we will head out to nearby Sooke to join a gentle kayaking experience. The kayak experience is perfect for beginners and great for looking at wildlife, especially the California sea lions who are not shy about entering the harbour at this time of the year. We hope to see seals, otters, eagles and others as we make our way up the river and witness the amazing annual salmon spawning event. Black bear sightings are also possible.

We return to our hotel after a day of culinary and West Coast experiences. The early evening is free to discover more of the attractive city centre. Victoria’s relaxed pace, urban layout, and network of side streets and alleyways encourage strolling, so it can be easily explored.

Later in the evening, should there be an evening performance, we will head out to Hermann’s Jazz Club which began nearly 40 years ago when German entrepreneur Hermann Nieweler was persuaded by his friend Barry Stubbs to put on a weekend performance at his hotel lounge. Hermann passed away in 2015 and now the non-profit Arts On View Society operates Hermann’s as a community spirited venue. Many nationally and internationally acclaimed acts have graced this stage over the years and generations of musicians have performed at this venue to contribute to its role as an incubator of local talent. In case, there is no performance this evening, we will plan to go to an alternative dinner venue.
Overnight: Victoria / Meals: Breakfast, Foodie Walking Tour Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Duncan - Chemainus - Parksville

Our first stop is the town of Duncan, the economic hub for the Cowichan Region and the business centre for the fishing, farming, forestry and tourism industries. The centre of Duncan features a number of heritage and vintage buildings, an interesting collection of exquisite shops and the world’s largest collection of outdoor totem poles. “The City of Totems”, Duncan, has over 40 beautifully carved totems scattered around the town. With a rich history behind each totem, we will do a brief walking tour to see some of them.

Just a short drive north is the 40 acre Averill Creek Vineyard Estate located in the heart of Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley, where the dry, temperate climate lends itself to cool climate wine culture. The unique combination of soil and aspect make it an ideal place for growing cool weather varietals like Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Maréchal Foch and some others. Averill Creek’s small-lot plantings are cared for by hand, and pruned to produce more fruit with the yields kept low to increase the quality of grapes harvested.

Our next stop is at the Westholme Tea Company. The Westholme Valley is also located in the Cowichan region on Vancouver Island, nicknamed “the warm land” by the Coast Salish people. This fertile landscape creates a unique micro-climate that fosters the growth of Camellia Sinensis tea plants, a first of its kind in Canada. The teas and hand-crafted ceramics unite taste and tactility in the simple ceremony of drinking tea and the owners have added some unique Westholme influences to inspire delight in every brewed cup.

From here, another short drive takes us to Chemainus to see the famous wall murals. A town with its lumber industry in decline, Chemainus showed the world its spirit and went on to achieve fame through the hands of artists who had the vision to paint giant outdoor wall murals as part of a revitalization strategy. The Chemainus mural project is the world’s leading community-driven art tourism experience. Spurred to save a community from certain economic collapse, the Chemainus mural project has inspired millions of visitors and ultimately became the blueprint for community mural projects globally.

We end the day with a drive to the Tigh-Na-Mara Resort near Parksville. With magnificent sea views, 22 acres of tranquil forest, 3 km of sandy beach and the warmest ocean swimming waters in Canada, Tigh- Na-Mara is the perfect place to end our eventful day on Vancouver Island.

This evening we enjoy a dip in the Grotto Mineral Pool followed by Endless Tapas Dining. The ‘Endless Tapas’ concept is based on a progression of menu items created by the Tigh-Na-Mara chef to allow you to savour a wide variety of tastes. Once you have completed the chef’s presentation, you can re-order any dish or finish off the experience with a savoury or sweet treat.
Overnight: Parksville / Meals: Breakfast, Snack Lunch, Tapas Dinner

Day 4: Fanny Bay - Coombs - Victoria

After a relaxed morning in our inspiring location, we start the day with a drive to the Morningstar Farm. A tour here will feature the milk production process from seeing the calves to a close-up demonstration of the robotic milker in action. We will learn about cheese making while watching the cheesemakers working before enjoying a cheese tasting session. In the late 1990s, Clarke and Nancy Gourlay returned from years of living overseas to French Creek, the scenic region between Parksville and Qualicum. The location was ideal to raise their 3 sons near family and to explore their dream of making Swiss-style artisan cheese on their own farm. That dream became a reality when, in 2001, they founded Little Qualicum Cheeseworks on a leased dairy farm, milking a handful of cows, and making cheese in a renovated school portable. In 2004 the Gourlay’s were able to purchase their own 90-acre dairy farm in the same area – Morningstar Farm. Over the years of change and growth, the Gourlays have remained committed to their passion for quality local food, sustainable agriculture, animal welfare, and providing a fun and empowering experience to all visitors of the farm and to customers of their cheese across British Columbia.

From Morningstar, we head north along the Island Highway to see the Fanny Bay Oyster facility facing Denman Island, just north of the community of Fanny Bay. Started by three local farmers, Fanny Bay Oysters got its name in the 1980s from the beautiful landscape in the Baynes Sound location. 30 years later they are a part of the Taylor Shellfish Family of Farms and continue to grow incredible shellfish in the same waters. Many visitors stop by at their original unpretentious seafood store in Fanny Bay to get the freshest shellfish in British Columbia. As the largest producer of shellfish in Canada, Fanny Bay pride themselves on providing the best, sustainable products grown in the cold, clear waters of the British Columbia coastline. Depending upon staff being available, we may tour the facility before driving a short distance to the Fanny Bay Inn, built-in 1938 and serving great food, drinks and local oysters for the past 80 years. With a beautiful location overlooking the sea on the scenic old coastal highway, this is a perfect stop for a light lunch.

We head south to the village of Coombs and a visit to the Old Country Market which started as a roadside fruit stand in the 1950s, providing fresh produce to travellers heading to the west coast of Vancouver Island. Over the years it has evolved into a Vancouver Island landmark with a mixture of shops and eateries for locals and visitors alike, and it also has those famous goats on the roof!

We end the day with a 2 hr long drive back to Victoria and our final evening group dinner.
Overnight: Victoria / Meals: Breakfast, Snack Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Depart Victoria

Our brief exploration of Vancouver Island’s culinary scene ends with breakfast this morning. Our aim on this tour is to give you a quick taste of the incredible diversity of cuisines, cultures and landscapes on Vancouver Island and to inspire you to return for a longer in-depth travel experience. Meals: Breakfast

Included
  • Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
  • 4 nights of accommodation
  • Meals as specified in itinerary, per day
  • Listed tours, admissions and activities
  • Professional Tour Leader throughout
Not Included
  • Flights to/from Victoria
  • Taxes, fees and surcharges on airfare
  • Meals not specified
  • Gratuities to Driver, Tour Leader and local guides
  • Optional activities
  • Credit card fees, if applicable
  • Passport and visa fees, vaccinations as required
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature
Tour Notes

Disclaimer: We do our utmost to ensure that information posted on our website is correct at the time of publication, however trip details are subject to change without notice by the suppliers and operators involved. We update the information as soon as possible when changes are advised to us, however, we cannot assume responsibility for such changes made by the suppliers and operators.

Map