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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Culinary Sojourns on Vancouver Island

A couple weeks after returning from Europe, I went to visit my folks in B.C.

My culinary sojourning here, on Vancouver Island, was considerably less noteworthy; not because it was lacking in any way or any thing, but just because it was much more familiar.

In fact, I won't really even talk much about the food, because it is all relatively common from what we are used to.

I will say that the locations were all spectacular.  For example, my Dad took us to this place at Salmon Pointe, just south of Campbell River, that was literally RIGHT off of the water.  These were taken right in my seat at the table.

The weather was perfect the entire time I was on the island, even reaching some low-thirties which didn't feel too hot because of the fresh mountain air.

I will say that I ate a lot of fish, however.

Perhaps unsurprisingly?

Another spectacular location in a stunning setting, was this delightful place built right over the water of a bay in Nanaimo.

I had a pint of beer and some fish and chips right on the water, watching the ships come and go from the harbour.  This was even right next to a seaplane airport, so we saw a couple of seaplanes take off as well.  It was pretty neat.

However, the best part of my culinary sojourning on the Island, was the wineries.

I had wanted to visit a few around the Comox/Courtenay valley, so I planned an entire day trip around 40 Knots, and Coastal Black vineyards.

40 Knots Winery was quaint and quiet, but with a couple bottles of which they should be proud.  It was really close to Comox, and offered a simple, yet informative and enjoyable tasting.

We came away with a really nice rosé from here.

Next on our trip was Coastal Black, which was an interesting and very impressive fruit vineyard.  They also had a fully functional apiary on site, which led to the very, very, so very cool fact that they bottle mead in addition to their repertoire of fruit wines.

We sampled a variety of fruit wines, and of course, some spiced mead, before settling in to a very calm and relaxed lunch on their ample patio.

The whole place smelled of cedar and fresh air.

The day was hot, but nice in the shade.  Especially with some wine and cheese.

To go along with my blueberry wine, I had a wood-fired napolese style pizza.  And it was cooked in a huge oven they had across the courtyard.

There was this poor young girl who had to go all the way out there to cook it, and I felt badly for all of about 10 minutes (until I tasted it.)

Anyway, we came away from HERE with I think three bottles of wine and a bottle of their spiced mead.


While we were here, we had a 'cheese platter' as an appetizer, and they served up several local cheeses from just down the road.  We liked a couple of them enough to consider making a trip there a couple of days later.  To be fair, Little Qualicum was on the way to Nanaimo, where we were going anyway, so it really wasn't out of our way.

The Little Qualicum Cheeseworks was a delightful, sprawling farm, where we were invited (encouraged!) to wander on our own and see everything from chickens and turkeys to pigs and newly born calves.

We left here with three cheeses, including a delectable blue cheese that was beautifully mild.

So, compared to our culinary sojourning in Europe, this was definitely 'low-key', but in a great, slow-paced, casual, and relaxing way!