Interview with Chef Chris Whittaker, Head Chef at Forage RestaurantJune 5, 2014
Winning and dining: Getting to know Taku Resort, this year’s We Heart Local Awards grand prize getawayAugust 20, 2014
Shake up your taste buds: go on a food tour! Whether you’re at home or on vacation, food tours are a great way to get to know a community while trying the best local delicacies on offer. There are food tours to fit just about every taste, but most guided tours feature a relaxed walk or bike ride from place to place, with enough samples to easily replace a meal. Here’s a sampling of our favourite food tours across BC!
If you’re on an overnight trip to Whistler, it’ll be hard to pick just one restaurant to try from all the fantastic options in the community. That’s where Whistler Tasting Tours comes in. The tours feature “progressive dining”, which means that each restaurant you visit presents you with a different course of your meal – paired with BC’s best wines, of course. You can opt for high end or casual tours, in categories that include a Desserts Tour, a Lunch Tour, a Family Tour and customized tours for groups.
Vancouver Foodie Tours offers three different tours of the city: the Granville Island Market Tour (offered in partnership with Edible Canada), the Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Tour and the World’s Best Food Truck Tour. What makes these tours refreshing – even for locals – is the guides’ enthusiasm for sharing the stories behind the food. “The guides themselves are the single most important ingredient in our food tour experiences,” explains founder Michelle Ng “Without a doubt, the most memorable parts of our tours are the stories, the passion, and the context in which tastings are presented to our guests.”
While we came across many many wine tour options, food tours aren’t yet a big thing up in the sunny Okanagan. However, you could easily create your own culinary tour by choosing several destinations from this list of farm-to-table food growers. There are many exciting options on this list including Carmeli’s Goat Farm, Arlo’s Honey Farm and the Function Junction, all of which we’ve had the privilege of visiting.
Vancouver Island: Victoria Food Tours and Island Gourmet Trails
Whether you’re a resident or day-tripping to Victoria, keep it simple with Victoria Food Tours – they feature a two-hour walking tour through Victoria with up to eight stops and enough stories to leave both your mind and your stomach satisfied.
For those venturing further north in the fertile Comox Valley, you have to try Island Gourmet Trails. Led by chef and educator Gaëtane Palardy, guests choose between a customized “Appetizer Tour”, an “Entrée Tour” or a “Three-Course Tour”. Tours start at the Comox Valley Farmers’ market and then move on to explore local producers, with a gourmet breakfast, lunch or dinner worked in along the way. “What makes the Comox Valley special is the abundance and variety of delicious food at our doorsteps!” says Gaëtane. “‘K’omoks’ actually means ‘Land of Plenty’ and nothing can be truer than that. We are blessed with delicious food from farms, from fishing and aquaculture, from ranches to award-winning artisan cheeses, from chocolatiers to bakeries. And of course, don’t forget our wineries and distilleries. There is a real food culture in the Comox valley that all foodies must explore first hand.”
Fraser Valley: Circle Farm Tours
If you’re interested in a more DIY experience, free self-guided tours of farms around the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland are available from Circle Farm Tours. Pick from one of six communities and you’ll find a map pointing you to local farmers and producers. Customizing your own tour means that you decide how many producers you’ll meet, and lets you slow down when you find a farm you want to linger at. Curious about how these tours feel? “I’m a firm believer that meeting the people behind my food makes it taste better,” says food blogger (and We Heart Local advocate!) Melody Fury. For a virtual taste of these tours, you can read first-hand about her Circle Farm Tour adventures here.
While the food is fantastic, the guides we talked to say it’s the experience that make these tours especially memorable. Let us know if you’ve tried one of these food tours, or if you’ve got another one to add to our list!