A culinary tour of Vancouver Island will take you through many different settings – some pastoral, some urban, some coastal. The common thread running through all the different areas of the island is the focus on locally sourced ingredients showcased with a West Coast twist.
The Vancouver Island culinary scene certainly would not be what it is without the quality ingredients grown and produced here. The two main agricultural regions are the Cowichan Valley and the Saanich Peninsula, both located within one hour of Victoria, the provincial capital. Not only does ample produce come from these regions, but small artisan farms are also providing heritage meats and cheeses for local restaurants.
The Island’s many seafood options also contribute to its rich culinary scene, including farmed oysters and scallops, as well as prawns, salmon and halibut that are caught offshore.
The Slow Food movement is gaining momentum on Vancouver Island, following the designation of Cowichan Bay as Canada’s first Cittaslow (a designation that grew out of the Slow Food movement, meaning “slow cities” in Italian) community in 2009. This movement encourages the support of local producers and the enjoyment of good and healthy food.
Restaurant options are wide-ranging on Vancouver Island – from farm-to-table meals to food trucks, from bistros and cafés to fine-dining restaurants.
Victoria claims to have the second highest number of restaurants per capita in North America, and though this claim may be unverified there are certainly an abundance of culinary options available in the island’s largest city.
Wherever you visit on Vancouver Island, from the Cowichan Valley to the southwestern point of the island, from the rugged west coast to the north island, you are sure to find local cuisine that will be worth the trip.