With its abundance of local ingredients and resident makers, Vancouver Island is a foodie paradise. For a comforting nibble, try these seven tasty finds.
Join Canada’s chefs to support the non- profit Ocean Wise Seafood program with the first National Chowder Chowdown Festival in February. Get sustainable seafood chowders at participating local restaurants and retailers, aiding programs to stop overfishing and to help our oceans heal. >>> seafood.ocean.org
A simple spicy garnish is all you need to make an addictive appetizer from the cold-smoked Albacore tuna from Finest At Sea. >>> finestatsea.com
The rustic raisin loaves, made with organic B.C. flour milled at True Grain Bread, are worth a weekend drive to Cowichan Bay. Filled with plump raisins and flavoured with lots of cinnamon, this raisin bread makes epic French toast or bread pudding. >>> truegrain.ca
There may be no sauce that’s quite as addictive as the Green Sauce they make in-house at The Root Cellar. Rich with cilantro and jalapeño peppers, this local take on a Peruvian staple is perfect to slather on grilled chicken or simply serve as a dip with tortilla chips. Now in a vegan version too. >>> therootcellar.ca
There are many excellent makers of fresh sausages in the city, but a go-to is always the savoury selection from local Galloping Goose Sausage Co. Pork, chicken and lamb sausages range from spicy and mild Italian to Greek Loukaniko and Chicken Merguez — but don’t miss their unique South African Boerewors. >>> gallopinggoosesausage.com
Among the artisan offerings from this fine Cowichan Valley cheesemaker is this mild, creamy blue-veined cheese, made with local milk from Ayrshire cows. >>> haltwhistlecheese.com
Chef Israel Alvarez’s authentic Mexican nixtamal masa and tortilla business, based in a tiny storefront in Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown. He’s making his tortillas from scratch, using traditional methods and B.C. organic corn, to take away by the package or by the pound. >>> maiiz.ca