7 Canadian Taste Awakening Adventures!
France like you've never seen it before!
Salt Spring Island
$2395 per person dbl occupancy, $2975 single
An 9-day tasting adventure of Salt Spring Island and Bamfield
The shorter version of the Taste Awakening Tour is designed for anyone who already knows Vancouver and Victoria, or who only wants to book on to the really adventurous, hands-on part of the tour. You will be responsible for making your way to Salt Spring Island where we will collect you getting off the Ferry, or at Cusheon Lake Resort, depending on timing. The tour officially ends in either Nanaimo or Vancouver, so you can either continue exploring the island on your own, or join us for the return trip to Vancouver.
Canada's Pacific Northwest is one of the world's most beautiful and varied geographies, with the richest natural reserves, eco-tourism destinations and vibrant organic food cultures. This 9-day all-inclusive tour package takes you to the insider's best of Canada's West Coast.
The spirit of place through taste is what travel is all about. The idea behind The Short Taste Awakening Tour is that only organic, locally sourced food, fruits and vegetables straight from the farm and food that comes straight from nature has real taste and vitality. So we will take advantage of the rich variety of gastronomic, locally sourced, organic, biodynamic and fresh-from-the-farm food experiences and end our odyssey self-sustainably cooking for ourselves by foraging, fishing, beach-combing and harvesting directly from the sea and the woods in the heart of nature in Bamfield on Vancouver Island's wild west coast.
The first leg of our journey is set on Salt Spring Island, which has become one of the most popular organic food destinations in the Pacific Northwest and is known as ‘the organic capital of Canada’. Organic farms produce a cornucopia of vegetables, fruits, cheeses, wines and meats that draw visitors from around the world. Here we will be in direct contact with the food we eat and have the chance to learn more about the island's organic farming practices while enjoying the beauty of its incomparable land and seascapes.
The final leg of our adventure takes us to the remote marine station of Bamfield, which is accessible only by logging road or boat. Here we will confront the true meaning of natural, sustainable, ecological and fresh as we forage, fish and gather our own food from the sea, the beaches and the woods. Lodged in rustic wooden cabins, we will cook outdoors on barbecues or on the beach and discover the flavours of nature at their finest. Fresh west coast salmon grilled on an open fire, side stripe shrimp, Dungeness crab, wild berries, wild plants for salads and fresh baked bread or bannick from a wood-fired clay oven will provide unforgettable taste experiences that are the culinary apogee of the tour.
Our last day will be spent travelling back to Vancouver with a stop in Port Alberni or Nanaimo for anyone wishing to carry on independently or to return to Victoria.
Salt Spring Island is the jewel of the Southern Gulf Islands and renowned as the organic capital of Canada. It is nestled up against the east side of Vancouver Island and is about half way between Nanaimo and Victoria, the capital city of BC. Our focus here is direct contact with food production and the experience of enjoying the intense flavours of farm-fresh produce that is sustainably grown. Local farmers, growers and gatherers are the backbone of the Salt Spring market. The rural island community relies on market farmers for a regular supply of the best-tasting, freshest organic produce and fish products. With 225 farms, the island is well established in agriculture and is well known for the local sheep farming.
Our farm tours include the incredibly beautiful Stowel Lake Farm, surrounded by forest, pastures, and creeks and bordered by pristine Stowel Lake and the magical Foxglove Farm surrounded by protected woodlands and forests, located on one of the island's original homesteads. Accommodations at Cusheon Lake Resort are in comfortable cabins and out buildings with private or shared facilities, while all the food we eat will be coming directly from the local farms. The range of island produce includes tomatoes, herbs, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, asparagus, melons, greens, roots, and a wide range of annual Mediterranean vegetables.
Other culinary adventures will include winery visits as well as a tour of David Wood's internationally acclaimed goat cheese production. Recreational activities on the island are numerous and there will be something for everyone. Hikes through one of many trails with spectacular vistas or swimming in one of the refreshing lakes or a sheltered ocean cove will connect us further to the beauties of nature.
Port Alberni is the gateway to Bamfield and offers two possible modes of access: by a dusty and somewhat challenging logging road, or by boat. We have decided to take the second option, which is a five hour journey along the stunningly beautiful Alberni Inlet to the open ocean of Barkley Sound and Bamfield. Wildlife and natural beauty mark this journey punctuated by whale and eagle sightings. Our overnight stay at the Hospitality Inn in Port Alberni will provide us with a restful night before a very early start to catch the Frances Barkley to Bamfield.
Bamfield is a charming blend of wild frontier and civilised overtones that combine with a breath-taking setting to create one of nature's most perfect paradises. On the west side where we will be lodged, accessible only by boat, there are no shops other than the general store, which also functions as the social meeting place. This is one of the west coast's best salmon fishing resorts as well as being the home to the Marine Sciences Centre, Canada's premier coastal and marine facility for teaching and research.
Our time here will be a busy and relaxed combination of pedagogical experiences related to sourcing food for our meals, whether that means heading out to sea to fish for salmon, setting crab or shrimp traps, gathering edible seaweeds, foraging in the woods for edible plants and berries, preparing and baking bread in Bamfield's hand built clay bread oven or simply strolling along the boardwalk, chatting with the locals or sun-tanning on the beach and swimming. There will also be time for sailing, hiking and studying the wild flora and fauna. But the flavours of all that we will eat, cooked in the open air over wood fires, will provide the most intimate and rewarding connection to nature and taste souvenirs that will be cherished forever.
*All inclusive tour price per person double occupancy – $2395 – 8 nights / 9 days, $2975 single.
Airfare*, maps, personal effects, battery-less LED flashlights (highly recommended! ), pen knives or Swiss Army knives, telephone or camera chargers, electrical adapters, beach towels, beach bags, umbrellas, rain gear, any entrances not included in the itinerary, meals not mentioned, gratuities and transfer from Nanaimo or Vancouver at the end of the tour to any other destination.
Air-conditioning, bottled water, plastic bags, plastic anything, unnecessary packaging, disrespect for the environment, grumpiness, surliness and no sense of humour.
*Airfare - should a minimum of 6 people be flying at the same time from a given airport, we will try to negotiate a group fare.
• If you are four friends travelling together and willing to share 2 bedroom accommodations (in Victoria, Salt Spring and Bamfield), we can offer a 5% per person reduction on the overall tour cost.
• Though we will make every effort to include everything described in the itinerary, it is subject to change and cannot be guaranteed.
The Spirit of Place through TASTE!