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Cowichan Valley - wine & food recs?

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I'll be in the Cowichan Valley for 2 days (7/1 and 7/2) with 4 friends. We'll have a car and will be staying in a vacation rental (TBD) within 30 minutes of Cowichan Bay. Any recommendations for wineries, cideries, farms, etc. that we should visit? Other ideas for activities, food, etc. welcome. Thank you!!

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  1. My favourite winery closed so I'll fall back on my old, old favourite- Venturi Schulze

    http://www.venturischulze.com/

    Just be advised their products are overpriced by 50% or more.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sam Salmon

      Merridale Cidery is a great place to visit, and has pretty good food, too.

      Averill Creek has some decent wines.

      Blue Grouse has some good German style wines.

      Alderlea also has some fairly good wines, but their hours are spotty so call ahead.

      Masthead in Cowichan Bay is supposed to have good food but I have not been yet.

      Cowichan Valley is beautiful. Enjoy!

      1. re: Sam Salmon

        VS wines start at $14. Overpriced? Ouch! :)

      2. In Cow Bay, Hilary's Cheese and True Grains Bakery. Udder Guys Ice Cream. John Catushi's "You gotta eat here" did the Rock Cod Cafe. I went, really liked it. Old school restaurant feel. Fish tacos (crispy shells, but great fish in it with mango/jalapeno(?) sauce). PS, check holidays hours for July 1 for where ever you're going.

        1. Absolutely second Venturi Schulze. I think they make some of the most unique wines in the province.

          Last year when the bf and I went out to those parts, we had an amazing meal at Amuse Bistro near Shawnigan Lake. They've since moved onto a vineyard property so it should now have great food and a great view.

          2 Replies
          1. re: NoMoreSnuggles

            Not only are their wines nice, their balsamic vinegar is bloody well fantastic. I've been able to sample a lot of 20+ year old vinegars due to the nature of my work and theirs is in the same caliber. In that sense, it's actually a bargain due to the size and cost.

            1. re: thatwhileifound

              another YES for the v-s balsamic ----- it is like candy.

          2. also - this is north of Duncan (just). Saison Market on Sat/Sun only. Incredible French tarts, loaves, chicken pies, pastries, treats. Hidden gem. Check their website for map and stop in to grab snacks.

            1. I like Averill Creek. You could/should try the Crow and Gate for pub food (no minors), but I have not been in years. It might be further than you want to drive??

              Cow Bay has Udder Guys ice cream: yummmmm.

              1 Reply
              1. re: waver

                yes, agree on BOTH - Crow & Gate (beautiful gardens) ---- andf the Udder Guys in cow bay.

              2. i would stay around Maple Bay / Quamichan ----- nr Duncan.

                i've already added my vote to the venturi balsamic vinegar (above) --- it's fantastic tho expensive - but ..... ; )

                the fish shop / restaurant in Cow Bay is popular.

                also check out the little restaurant in Genoa Bay (nr Maple Bay, nr Duncan). Not sure of current reviews but it's scenic, authentic etc.
                http://www.genoabaycafe.com/restauran...

                and here ----- http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/839264

                about 2 months ago there was a similar question - i tihnk someone was coming out from Alberta for the Easter wkd .... do a search and get more info from that & other threads too.

                1. Definitely Venturi-Schulze and Blue Grouse too. I have to say, I don't agree with the overpriced statement. I did a tour of the valley recently and there are three wineries with nothing less than $20. VS isn't one of them. They have wines starting at $14. Love the Blue Grouse Pinot Gris!