Vancouver Shares It’s Gourmet Secrets

by Amanda McInerney on 24/02/2014

I love Australia and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else but, if someone held a gun to my head and forced me to chose, I’d opt for Canada and most certainly Vancouver. This is truly one of my most favourite places in the world. It has a population of around 600,000 souls thus is not so large that it is unfriendly, it’s not too hilly, so therefore very walkable, a mild (if slightly wet) climate and, with the glittering harbour on one side and snow-capped peaks on the other, it is breathtakingly beautiful. And they love food.

This is a town that really gets it when it comes to nurturing it’s food culture and the fact that this is such a multicultural city goes a long way towards helping support the diverse range of food options here. It’s not too difficult to find the foodie scene – a lot of it is right there on the street in the form of some amazing food trucks – but if you want the inside word on things, then a food tour is the way to go. On my last visit I checked out two of the most popular -  the Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Tour at Vancouver Foodie Tours and the Edible Canada Granville Island Market Tour.

Vancouver Foodie Tours has been running since 2010 and last year gained the honour of being officially named one of the Canadian Signature Experiences collection by the Canadian Tourism Commission – a collection deemed by the CTC as representing  unique and authentic Canadian travel experiences. The Guilty Pleasures tour attempts to offer a glimpse at the multicultural aspect of the local culinary scene and begins at an award-winning Chinese Restaurant before heading off to a specialty grocers then an Italian restaurant (although we were taken to a pretty splendid Japanese restaurant on my tour).

From there we took a stroll down the gourmet restaurant end of town, then popped in to Hubbub Sandwich Bliss, an amazing sandwich and beer bar before finishing at Bella Gelateria whose owner, James Coleridge, had recently been named as the best gelato maker in the world in an international competition in Italy. James is one seriously passionate gelati maker and he generally  uses only what he can source locally and fresh to make an astonishing array of delicious and different, hand-made gelati. Because of this, the menu changes daily but will never, ever disappoint. My favourites were the stunning black sesame and the simply blissful saffron and rosewater, but there is always something different on offer.

Granville Island is a market and shopping district tucked under the Granville Street Bridge, a 3 minute ferry ride from Downtown Vancouver across False Creek. It is a popular tourist spot that I had sniffed out on my first trip to Vancouver and one I was keen to explore again with a knowledgeable guide from Edible Canada. The Granville Island Public Market houses a broad range of culinary businesses and our tour guide took us on a leisurely stroll through the markets, talking us through some of the many vendors there.

I was particularly taken with one cleverly named store called The Stock Market. They sell a vast range of fresh and frozen soups, stocks and sauces – all made on the premises and all with a full list of ingredients on the side. I don’t think I’d ever bother making my own if I had this resource handy.

Another favourite for me was the Granville Island Tea Company. They have been around since 1999 and now have over 150 different teas in their range – heaven on a stick for a tea-tragic like me, but choosing just one was hellishly difficult.

As is befitting a foodie town, Vancouver celebrates these pretty little sustainably fished prawns with their annual Spot Prawn Festival. Sadly, I missed the main event, Canada’s largest spot prawn boil. Just the excuse I need to head back to Vancouver yet again one day.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Fiona @TIFFIN bite sized food adventures February 25, 2014 at 10:29 am

Looks great. I’ve never been to Vancouver but love the photo I see of the harbour with the mountains as you describe. I’m off to the US later in the year and hope to fit in a few food tours though I am going to be off the beaten track.

Gabrielle February 25, 2014 at 12:42 pm

I live on Vancouver Island in Victoria which also has a great albiet small food scene that I think you would really enjoy! It’s wonderful to hear mention of some of Vancouver’s wonderful food experiences. What brought you to Canada?

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef February 25, 2014 at 12:48 pm

I’ve been to Vancouver several times and every time but one it was raining or snowing. It is a very friendly city.

InTolerant Chef February 25, 2014 at 12:48 pm

I love the name of the tour company, and it sounds like a wonderful way to explore yhr foodie scene. I love antthing with rosewater so that gelato souds delicious indeed Amanda!

Hotly Spiced February 25, 2014 at 1:13 pm

I’ve heard the food scene in Vancouver is very good. My SIL is from Vancouver and all her family still live there while she is now in Canberra. As good as the food scene is, I’m not sure I could put up with the climate. Just so much rain and the winters are really long. But…I’d love to visit! xx

Amanda McInerney February 25, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Hi Gabrielle – the Canadian Tourism Commission brought me to your lovely country last year. I spent some time in Victoria and around Vancouver Island. My posts are and and

merryn@merrynsmenu February 28, 2014 at 11:18 am

How fabulous to do a foodie tour in Vancouver! The stock market is incredibly ingenious and I so love a good tea store, though it is so hard to limit yourself to just a few selections. What a lovely post :D

Nicole March 3, 2014 at 11:19 am

Thanks for the tour down memory lane, Granville Island markets are fantastic! I grew up in Vancouver and do miss all the great food spots.

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