Up Island News & Buzz (July/August 2017)

This past winter gave all of us extra appreciation for a much anticipated warm sunny Island summer; the lineup of food and drink festivals ahead is long and varied so there’s no excuse for not making the most of It!

Cowichan Valley is always a hub of great food and libations, and this year is no exception. Start off with the Cowichan on Tap Beer Festival July 2nd., combining the best Vancouver Island and British Columbia microbreweries with delicious bites from participating food trucks. Visit www.cowichanontap.ca for ticket info. Then on August 12th, is the 2nd annual Cowichan Craft Beer Festival held in Chemanius. This festival is unique in that it specifically showcases our local craft beer movement, paired with local foods. www.craftfoodandbeerfest.com. Finally, August 19th and 20th is Cowichan’s Grape Escape; leaving from Brentwood Bay College bike your way through various wineries and farms, sampling delicious artisan fare along the way. After you return, continue your experience with appetizers and a gourmet dinner. http://mssoc.convio.net

If that wasn’t enough beer tasting for you, hop on a ferry to Galliano Island for their signature Beer & Wine Festival on August 12th. Your entrance includes unlimited tastings, a wine glass & beer glass, fresh-made appetizers, and entertainment. There aren’t any long lines plus plenty of time to talk with the wine and beer makers while you enjoy new discoveries. http://www.winebc.com/events/wine-events/galiano-wine-and-beer-festival

Nanaimos’ Fiddlehead Bistro on Franklyn has a new owner; Tchadas Leo, a young 25-year-old aboriginal entrepreneur who is trying to spread the word about a new exciting menu with an aboriginal flare, and change the way everyone thinks about Vancouver Island cuisine. His mission is to provide local, organic ingredients best suited to each season, while maintaining the highest quality of food, beverages and most importantly service to his customers both new and old.​ www.fhbn.ca

There’s another shift in ownership in Nanaimo to remark on; Penny ‘s Palapa, the floating Mexican restaurant on the docks at Bastion Square Marina. The new owners and chef continue to offer all the Mexican delights you’ve come to expect along with new take out tacos. As before, they are committed to fresh ingredients and local seafood, to compliment those sunbathing days and addictive margaritas! http://pennyspalapa.com

Parksville became the new home of Realm Food Co. this past spring. Their goal is to provide customers with a unique gastronomic experience using food grown and obtained in a way that respects the well being of farmers, the environment, and individual. Realm’s extensive seafood forward menu with Mexican flavours offers something for everyone. http://realmfoodco.com

Just north of Qualicum is a new nano-brewery called Loveshack Libations, passionately nurtured by owner Dave Paul. Presently he produces four varieties in his hobby-turned-business venture; an ale, cream ale, porter and kolsch made using organic leaf hops from Maple Bay Hop Farms. If you believe as he does, that cocktails are for mere mortals and libations are for the Gods this might just become your new favorite stop! www.loveshacklibations.com

Our winter wonderland Mt. Washington recently fixed dates for their Tapped Beer Fest on July 7th, and their Alpine Food Fest on August 25th. Both events feature everything local from breweries to vintners, chefs and farmers. Come and enjoy an evening of sampling and entertainment with a side of beautiful scenery. www.mountwashington.ca

Finally, and not to be left out is the 50th annual Salmon Festival in Campbell River on August 11,12,13th. Three fun filled days of fresh salmon on the barbie for dinner and lots of local beer to enjoy while you take in the logging competition! www.crsalmonfestival.com

I’m sure there are a few I’ve missed, but hopefully you’ll take time to enjoy some of the events mentioned above and support our local purveyors and producers while enjoying this well earned summer sun.

  • By Kirsten Tyler

Pictured above: Fiddlehead Bistro’s owner Tchadas Leo (Nanaimo).

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