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Jul 1, 2014 10:36 PM

Cowichan Wineries and Lake Shawnigan groceries?

Would love to know what are the not to be missed wineries and cider makers in Cowichan valley? Also any help for both groceries and places to eat around lake Shawnigan.
Thanks so much

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  1. Merridale Cidery is one of the originals in the area

    1 Reply
    1. re: islandgirl

      Thanks so much. I WAS planning to go there, it sounds amazing..Do you know if any of the wineries are worth visiting?

    2. I love the products from Venturi Schulze but they are grossly overpriced.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Sam Salmon

        Thanks so much. I WAS hoping to get farm produce, was just wondering where to get staples and a couple bottles of wine?

        1. re: elizabetheatsfood

          Unsworth is doing some great things with their vineyards. Good people too.

          1. re: peter.v

            Hilary's Cheese in Cowichan is worth a look in. I'd pass on Rock Cod Cafe if you get any suggestions for that. Merridale is pretty good.

              1. re: Sam Salmon

                Truegrain bread is very good! The only place we buy it. Fresh milled flours baked while you watch. Lots of 'ancient grains'.
                The Cowichan Valley Meat Market just off the highway has EXCELLENT varieties of all things /meat. Competitive prices. Best quality.
                Check out the 'Old Fork' in the Travelodge hotel Duncan.
                REALLY good tapas.
                Agree about the Rock Cod. Used to be really good twenty years ago. 2/10. The 2 is for the scenery.
                Check out the Duncan Farmer's Market, down town Duncan every Saturday.
                LOTS of REALLY excellent produce/meats/real free range farm eggs etc. Some great band stand entertainment too.
                Good 'Greasy spoon' food at the Arbutus cafe.
                Sadly IMO S. Van. Island does not produce grapes of good wine making quality. Light/lacking in character/body and grossly over priced. The soil just isn't quite right for producing excellent grape crops. (Every one and their dog is jumping the the 'farm status' tax wagon planting just enough vines to satisfy the tax man). Plus it's 'Kool' to drive up to your million dollar house lined by grape vines. Sort of takes people back to when they spent those four days touring Burgundy. LOL

                1. re: Puffin3

                  'Check out the 'Old Fork' in the Travelodge hotel Duncan.
                  REALLY good tapas. '

                  This one is a shocker! Never would have guessed.

      2. I'd count on the Thrifty Foods in Mill Bay (near Shawnigan Lake)

        fish from Cowichan Bay - some restaurants too.

        if you venture further, head out to Maple Bay and Genoa Bay (the Shipyard is casual bar/restaurant as is Genoa Bay Café.)

        there is the farmer market in Duncan on Sat mornings -

        if you're not there on Saturday, stop by the 'old farm market' south of Duncan

        the balsamic vinegar from Venturi Schulze is a splurge - delicious!

        have a look at the official tourism website for Cowichan Valley - there is a link for wine & food tourism

        ps - for an interesting hike, go and see the historic Kinsol Trestle (was RR trestle, now part of the TransCanada Trail near Shawnigan Lake

        1 Reply
        1. re: Georgia Strait

          'I'd count on the Thrifty Foods in Mill Bay (near Shawnigan Lake)'

          The only real grocery store up there. Its only less then 10 mins out of heart of Shawnigan.

        2. this place is not in the cowichan valley but it is very popular - you could drive up the back roads from Duncan thru Chemainus and Salt Aire to Ladysmith where you re-join the Island Hiway

          this pub is popular and very pretty as you can see. Our senior parents enjoy coming here with their friends for lunches.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Georgia Strait

            The PILs like the Crow and Gate also. We've never been as the couple times we tried it was full with a wait!

          2. Heard so much about Rock Cod for years finally went a few months ago. Terrible tastes like they use shake and bake and other fake flavours in there food.

            The flour place people mentioned also make the best nut bars.

            The best bakery is the Garage in duncan. Across from famers market. Its a 'hippy' type bakery with a all female staff who make everything from scratch in a tiny little kitchen you can see into. The BEST lemon bars and nut bars and sticky buns but be warned they use so much cinnamon is almost burns your mouth but is so good for some reason.

            1 Reply
            1. re: daislander

              Ya the 'Old Fork' in the Travelodge serves EXCELLENT tapas. Duncan best kept secret.
              We went with friends and family and ordered the whole tapas menu.
              No question we'll be back for the next special occasion.