I had the pleasure of taking part in the “World’s Best Food Truck Tour” a few months ago in Vancouver. It opened up new culinary options in my very own city, and so it was a delight to take part in the Granville Island Market tour, also by Vancouver Foodie Tours. Even though Granville Island is the second most visited tourist destination in all of Canada (behind Niagara Falls), I don’t find myself there very often. Despite it being a bike ride away on the Seaside Route, I usually head to markets or nearby stores for much of my food. I completely underestimated the array of fresh and local products available on Granville Island and walked away from the tour with a fresh perspective on the culinary delights it offers.
Once the members of the tour gathered outside of Edible Canada, we stepped onto their patio for a small, delicious brunch of their Wild Mushroom Benny featuring a buttermilk biscuit, a poached free range egg, roasted garlic, spinach, hollandaise, and mixed field greens – a delicious start to the tour! Our lively and friendly tour guide, Manuela, sat down with us and told us a preview of what we would be expecting to eat during the tour as well as moderated some conversation among everyone which included a great mix of tourists from Ireland, Florida, and Idaho.
Next up was JJ Bean, where we sampled their Aricha coffee that includes hints of apricot nectar, lavender, and tea. I’m not a huge coffee drinker, but even I was impressed by the flavours of this brew.
After a stop to Terra Breads for slices of various and fresh loaves, we moved on to Oyama Sausage Co., the source for the highest quality of sausages, pâtés, cured salamis, and hams made from ethically raised meats. We got to sample seven (!!) different types of meat that included black truffle salami, bison, and elk. I probably wouldn’t have tried some of the different types had it not been for this tour, but now I’m anticipating my next paycheck to make a visit back so I can update my charcuterie plates to share with others. Throughout the sampling, Manuela would recommend which piece of bread would go best with each meat, which was extremely helpful and complimented each sampling well.
At this point, I’m getting pretty full and realize we’re only about halfway done. So what compliments meat and bread? Cheese! Next up was a visit to Benton Brothers Fine Cheese, a premium source of some of the best cheese the world has to offer. We were all pretty ravenous about the cheese that I missed snapping up the first sample of the medium cheedar, but managed to catch the bits of Rathtrevor courtesy of my personal favourite, Little Qualicum Cheeseworks.
The stops on this tour are perfectly synced to what you naturally would be craving. As I was starting to feel thirsty after all those samplings, our next stop at the Granville Island Tea Company provided relief. A delicious and generous cup of white tea lemonade was the perfect addition to the steaming, summer day.
Taking up the sweetness another notch were the sweetest, local cherries and crispy slices of apple. We had to be sure to fend off any seagulls in the area eyeing the delicious goods.
Perhaps my favourite part of the tour, we indulged in our sweet tooth with the most decadent doughnuts from the famous, Lee’s Donuts! I must have missed the memo on just how ridiculously delicious these guys are because I was blown away. We got to watch them through the window as they were being made and the generous amount of glaze that was poured onto them. I’ll probably stick with the more “out of sight, out of mind” mentality with these guys next time, and yes, there most definitely will be a next time. They were so fluffy and warm that I just wanted to take a nap after I ate one.
There’s more! Finally, we circled back to where we began at Edible Canada and sampled some of the goods from their retail store, including Amola Black Truffle Salt, Noble Bourbon Maple Syrup (which I always keep in stock at home), and Batch Sweet Kitchen Salted Caramel Popcorn.
Throughout our time on Granville Island, our guide Manuela offered up interesting tidbits on the history of the area that I never got bored of hearing because so much of it was new to me! She was a great guide to have and never left a dull moment in the tour over the course of a couple hours. It’s fun to feel like a tourist in your own city and open up a whole new world you can revisit.
If you are interested in attending one of these tours, whether you’re from out of town or not, head on over to Vancouver Foodie Tours and purchase your tickets. And if you’re a vegetarian or pescetarian, don’t fret! Substitutions can be made. This tour will satisfy all sorts of taste buds.