Right now the first ever Dine Cowichan event is happening, which is very exciting if you’re a food lover like me. I’m a little shocked that this is the first time it’s happening though. There are so many AMAZING places to eat in the Cowichan Valley, not to mention the abundance of wineries which have now dubbed my home community as “the New Provence.”
I used to hate where I live quite honestly, but when I got myself out of that mind set (more about that in the next bog post) and made myself try out as many cafes/restaurants as I could, I found a new appreciation for the local farmers and artisans in the area.
When people think of Duncan, they think of the strip of highway lined with fast food restaurants you drive through on the way to Victoria. The spots below are what I think of as the true Cowichan Valley.
If you know me at all, you know I’m a tea lover. And this, my friends, is a tea lovers paradise! Taking a long winding country road to arrive at their barn turned tea room, this is one of my favorite spots to slow down and catch up with friends. Be warned that there is close to no cell service at the farm, but I say that makes it feel all the more peaceful.
Fun fact: they produce their own tea on the farm, which seems like a no brainer given their name, but is actually quite unheard of in our Canadian climate.
Besides their own unique Canadian tea, they sell a range of high quality organic loose leaf teas such as Lavender Earl Grey which is to DIE for. Not to mention their menu of tea infused desserts like their Matcha Cheesecake (need I say more?)
You can purchase their teas online or at the farm in lovely tins that you can bring back to refill at a discount (also making my environmentally-friendly self happy).
Oh Alderlea Farm. This is one of my happy places to go and have a delicious, farm to table meal. I interviewed them for my journalism class and they are truly passionate about what they do! Close to everything you order here is produced on the farm with love. From wood oven pizza, veggie burgers, to delicious pies and desserts. Not to mention locally sourced wines, juices and Teafarm teas.
Based in the rolling farm hills of Glenora, this is another spot that is off the beaten path (aka low cell reception), but SO worth it with the atmosphere, views, and food.
Photo taken by Breanne Gibeau.
Bird’s Eye Cove Farm is a multitalented business. From hosting the cutest highland cattle, beautiful weddings, renting out trendy farm style suites on Airbnb, and finally their ultra popular wood oven pizza nights.
The first time I planned to go here, we called ahead to ask what time they closed and the answer was “whenever we run out of dough!” Without a doubt they run out of it every night.
I will admit the wait time has been 40 minutes to an hour each time I’ve gone, but the atmosphere makes up for it. Another spot with rolling hills and a (bonus) stunning ocean view way out in Genoa Bay, you can sit and relax to live music while you wait at your picnic table. Many people bring their own wine, bocce ball, frisbees and whatever else to hangout in the vast property while they wait.
Apologies for not having a picture, but believe me when I say their artisan, farm to table pizza is SO worth it.
There are very few times I’ve gone to the Duncan Garage and it hasn’t been vibrant and packed with people. If you’re a vegetarian/vegan, this place will be heaven. If you aren’t…. still heaven.
Their food selection is endless, and you can also get different jams/spreads to take home,
baked goods and delicious breads. All of which is made with super amazing ingredients!
Conveniently based in central Duncan, I love going here to get some work done, have meetings, or catch up with friends. There’s also a dreamy used book store in the same building, as well as cute shops on the second floor.
If you’ve crossed these ones off your list and need some other ideas, check out these honourable mentions:
- Merridale Cidery
- Genoa Bay Café
- Hilary’s Cheese Company
- Saison Bakery
- Hudson’s on First
- True Grain Bread
- Bridgemans Bistro
All of the places mentioned in this blog are my happy place(s), let me know what you think if you try any of them out! Happy snacking, my foodie friends.