Continuing on with the theme of food tours this month, and believe me there’s more to come when I hit Oahu, I have to share one of the best food tours I have ever experienced right here in Canada. Vancouver Foodie Tours.
How many times have I been to Vancouver? and my subscribed readers should know I have been countless times. Yet this umpteenth time was both my first time exploring Granville Island AND taking a food tour in Vancity. Better late than never and in no other case is that clichéd saying truer.
I am a big fan of DIY food tours but this time I was visiting the iconic Granville Island market. I wanted to do it right and make good use of my limited time in the city. Instead of hours of research and wandering the market I was directed to the best foodie oriented stops with all the food pre-prepared and ready for me to taste. Let me show you.
There we were a group of travellers looking for the Edible Canada sign, our meeting spot. As we stood in the inevitable trickling Vancouver rain I could hear faint conversation peppered with Australian and American accents. One of the best things about taking food tours as a local (although I live 3 hours away) is getting to know who is traveling your country and why.
Local private chef and our guide for the day, Nadia, gathered us round and asked us all a very serious question.
What’s your favourite food?
How could I answer such a tough question? And to add even more pressure I was first in the circle of pondering foodies.
“I’m Murissa. I’m from Kelowna in the Okanagan wine country and my favourite food is, uh, bread. Yeah, freshly baked bread.” I managed to project into the circle. It seemed to have roused a response as they all reacted to the idea of freshly baked bread wafting beneath their noses. Later I kicked myself for forgetting about cheese, one of my other true loves.
As we made the rounds smarter and broader answers like charcuterie, steak, pasta and desserts were added. “I’m from LA. I’m from the Bay area. I’m from Melbourne.” I was the only Canadian aside from my parents and sister. Naturally, our location in the Okanagan wine country roused the curiosity of the Californians. I think their next Canadian vacation was planned after we were done with them.
Nadia, pleased with our answers rounded us inside of the Edible Canada restaurant at a table set for our large group. It was 10 am and Nadia was asking us if we were interested in pairing our brunch with a red or white wine – both from the Okanagan I might add! The brunch in question was a freshly made hash with a gooey poached egg set on top for us to salt with 1 of 3 Amola salt flavours – smoked bacon, molten hot salt, and finally a black truffle salt. In all 3 cases a little went a long way!
Moving on from a seated position our walking tour of the island market began. With 20 tastings on our schedule there were too many delicious moments to recall for you but off the top of my head: delicious coffee from JJ Bean, a spicy warming cup of masala chai tea from Granville Island Tea Company, Okanagan Ambrosia apples from #1 Orchards and aged cheese from Benton Brother’s Fine Cheese shop. I leave it up to you whether you want to hunt these spots down and figure out their specialties on your own. But for $55 CAD a Vancouver Foodie Tour with Nadia is well worth having all the gems presented to you without breaking the bank.
There are, however, a couple spots I must talk about in great detail.
Lee’s Donuts. My most recent religious experience in food and my new favourite donut maker sending Krispy Kreme out on their ass. At Lee’s Donuts I was able to see my donut from beginning to end – made from dough to freshly coated sticky sweet goodness in my hand.
This was the first time I ever tried a freshly made donut that had a crisp bottom with a mild crunch. The interior was hot and fluffy with the light coating of icing gently holding on to the steaming exterior. Flavours change with the season so if you fancy something a little more adventurous than the ol’ faithful ol’ fashioned then try their gingerbread donut for the holidays or whatever catches your eye.
Another revelation in food was the Terra Bread surprise tasting. We stopped briefly to pick up our baggie of crackers and specialty breads to pair with the next stop’s charcuterie from Oyama Sausage Company – see below!
In doing so we all caught a waft of a crisp salted caramel apple flat bread. The generous Terra Bread baker behind the counter offered an extra tasting for all of us and little did I know it would be one of my top tastings that day.
See the image below? That glazed looking pastry cooling upon the rack is the heaven I speak of. From afar it looks like a flattened fritter but the ingredients are woven and held together by a sticky caramel coating that takes your tastebuds where you never thought possible. Sticky, sweet, crunchy, soft, salty – it’s everything that you want in a dessert and went perfectly with my citrusy black coffee from JJ Bean.
The tastings offered with Vancouver Foodie Tours all happen in perfect sequence. What you taste one moment will be perfectly complimented by the next from beginning to end. The food tour takes an arc, like a well told story, where you begin with the mild flavours that subtly wake you up with potato hash, strong coffee and delicious bread. But then, the action rises and you are set off on a course filled with aged cheddar, salty prosciutto and peppery chai tea.
Finishing with dessert, the denouement, your taste buds are treated to Canadian specialties like sweet donuts, maple syrup and the conclusion finishes strong lingering on your tongue with the overwhelming taste of black truffle salt. That’s what I love about well thought out food tours, they are perfectly curated to play with your tastebuds and take you further than your expectations.
So I am curious,
Have you ever been on a food tour? Have you ever been completely blown away by something so delicious?
This was NOT a sponsored post. I paid for my own tour and loved it so much I had to share it with you! As always, I will let you know when a tour is provided although that does not change my opinion!