Up Island Buzz: January | February 2017

A new year, and a change of season; make the most of the recent culinary additions on the Island, and take in a couple of premier events while you’re at it!

At the B.C Forest Discovery Center in Duncan, top production of big leaf maple sugar sap is in February. The water table needs to be high – no doubt about that qualifier this year! -and few days of below freezing temperatures followed by warmer weather and some sun sets up ideal tapping. In these conditions single trees have been known to produce up to 200 litres of sap in one week! So if you don’t want to miss out on your share of sublime sweetness head to the center for two days of fun filled tapping, syrup making, syrup tasting, great music and tasty treats. February 4th and 5th. Website

Also on February 4th – in the evening this time – is the annual Taste of B.C., Sooke edition. Spend a delightful evening tasting lush wines, beer, spirits, and ciders amongst a silent action with local music and socializing too. For more info contact; josiemasi@telus.net. Advanced tickets available at Little Vienna Bakery.

Moving along to Nanaimo, a new Thai restaurant has taken over from the former much loved Namur Korean Restaurant in the log building at 5291 Rutherford Rd. The Thai Orchard menu prepared by chefs and owners Nipon and Jeenjai offers all of the dishes you crave for that fresh lime kick, crisp, bright mint, tangy fish sauce and firey heat. Or if you prefer some richess in your dishes the numerous curry choices revel in luxurious, creamy coconut milk. There’s something for everyone, and an excellent choice for gluten and lactose intolerant diets. Website.

If you’ve ever grazed and browsed your way through any of the wonderful markets of Duncan, Nanaimo or Cedar, you may recall tasting wonderfully flavourful Mediterranean foods from Sinbad‘s food trailer. Now you don’t have to wait for market day because they have a dedicated cafe on Townsite Rd. Visit the new Sinbad Mediterranean Cafe for traditional favorites! Website

Don’t say I didn’t warn you – last year’s events sold out fast so book the dates, get your tickets well in advance and then wait with anticipation until Feb 23rd looms around so you can spend three glorious days imbibing, savouring and generally enjoying every drop of the esteemed local beers and ciders flowing at Untapped, terrior filled wines at Swirl, creative and sublime food at either Winemakers Dinners topped off by Bubbles & Brunch on Sunday. The setting is spectacular at Tigh na Mara or the Beach Club Resort, the spa is not to be missed and the food is a feast for the eyes as well as your tastebuds – you simply can’t go wrong – unless you miss it! Website

Finally, make a note to yourself that the beautiful Breakwater Restaurant headed up by executive chef Nile Petherbridge at the fabulous Kingfisher Resort will be closed from January 2nd until March 2nd for a reinvention and investment in the resort. The Grotto Spa and Boutique rooms will still be open during this time. Be sure to check back in March for the unveiling! Website

– By Kirsten Tyler

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