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Jun 28, 2009 07:56 PM

Cowichan Valley - Side Trip from Victoria

A couple of us are going to a conference in Victoria in the second week of July. We're thinking about doing a winery/foodie afternoon side trip. Someone suggested the Cowichan Valley, which (I think) is about 1 hour away.

Does anyone have suggestions about which wineries and/or foodie places to go to? We plan on leaving Victoria about 12.30 pm and eating lunch or dinner there.

Thanks so much!

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  1. I would absolutely recommend Sea Cider, in Saanichton. They produce traditional ciders, and we loved their flight of ciders with tasting menu. Plus their patio has a nice view of the channel. Check out their website:

    1. Cowichan Valley is great...I fantasize about retiring there. Sea Cider is great (pick up a few bottles on your way out). There are some great cheesemakers and butchers in that area (eg Cowichan Valley Meats in Duncan). Some places to eat:

      Hillary's Cheese (and the adjoining bakery) in Cowichan Bay.

      Fairburn Farm serves meals to their guests, but I believe they are serving Sunday lunch for the general public. (I can't confirm). The place is run by Mara Jernigan, uber-localvore and educator. Check out their herd of buffalo that provides them with great mozzarella.

      Some wineries:

      Have fun!

      2 Replies
      1. re: fmed

        Cowichan Bay is awesome: lunch at the cheese place and bakery fmed mentions but don't forget ice cream at the Udder Guys. Yum.

        Also I wonder if the Crow and Gate Pub is any good these days. Their website looks a little scary, but it used to be fun (pretty sure its no minors, so we haven't been for a while!).
        Oh, by the way, that's not in Cowichan Bay.

        1. re: waver

          The Crow and Gate in friend who is in the food biz raves about this place. He says it is a really authentic English Pub "complete with black swans in the pond outside."

          I haven't been yet, but I am planning a camping trip with my family and am hoping to roll a visit into it.

      2. Sea Cider is great - they're up the Peninsula (vs. Cowichan Valley)- so fmed is right about hitting them as you head to the ferry - assuming you're ferrying in/out. Merridale Cidery is on the way up to the Cowichan Vally, in Cobble Hill - great place for tasting and lunch.

        I've been to Zanatta a while ago and it was great for a meal (and the wine).

        1. I remember having a great brunch at the QUAMICHAN INN which is in Maple Bay/Duncan. Also a great hole in the wall place that served very fresh oysters right near the marina. The place was nothing in terms of decor but seriously fresh oysters.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pengcast

            In Victoria, check out Spinnakers Brew Pub (308 Catherine Street). Easily one of the best and earliest brewpubs in Canada. Oh yeah, they have a spectacular view of the harbour, too.

          2. Cherry Point Vineyards has an excellent bistro restaurant. Fresh, local and seasonal.