Tag Archives: Salt Spring Island

#Giveaway $200+ Coffee Grinder – Salt Spring Coffee Turning Twenty #ssc20years

Celebrate Salt Spring Coffee Turning Twenty and Win a $200+ package of Coffee, Mugs and a Premium Coffee Grinder

We’ve been visiting Salt Spring Island for over twenty years and still remember when the Island’s coffee company roasted their beans with a modified popcorn popper from their home. Salt Spring Coffee was founded April 25, 1996 by Mickey and Robbyn Scott, and now supplies 1,200 cafes, restaurants, grocers, and independent food stores with its premium single origin, small lot and coffee blends.

Salt Spring Coffee
Sip and Savour Grazing

Salt Spring Coffee is still an organic macro roasting company, but is now based in Richmond, BC. Owner Mickey McLeod is committed to being fair to farmer and to environmental sustainability and travels the world to meet with farmers to ensure these standards are upheld.

In addition to organic whole bean coffee, the company has a Cold Brew alternative. It will introduce two new Cold Brew coffee flavours this year to  select grocery stores in B.C including all Choices Markets and Donald’s Markets. Cold Brew is the result of Salt Spring Coffee steeped in water at room temperature for 15 hours, and then bottled using a double filtration process to provide a smooth, clean result – best served cold. Starting this fall, consumers will be able to purchase Salt Spring Coffee in more grocery stores, restaurants and cafes across Canada.

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To celebrate their 20 year anniversary we’ve partnered with this awesome coffee company to give you the most premium of coffee grinders along with mugs and coffee to ensure you’re having the best cup of in your home.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Salt Spring Island Apple Festival

Get to know your Millionaires from your Lord Derby’s at the Annual Salt Spring Island Apple Festival

Before apple trees were planted in the Okanagan Valley, Salt Spring Island was growing an assortment of the fruit as early as 1860. To celebrate, the Island holds a festival  celebrating the apple with apple displays, pie sales and apple orchard visits each harvest. There are now over 350 varieties grown on the Island, all organicallly. We joined the celebrations on Salt Spring Island this fall as it was a great opportunity to fully test drive another vehicle, stay at one of our favourite hotels and, of course, eat our share of apples.Honda HR-V

We tested the Honda HR-V, a subcompact SUV with plenty of cool feaures. The vehicle model is new for this year and has an attractive and sporty design. It is super roomy inside, has top of the line safety features and zips in and out of parking spots easily. For all the specs on the car and more check out our full review here.BC Ferries

October is generally a good month to visit Salt Spring Island as the sun is out most days and the air is crisp but still fairly warm. It can rain, but luckily for us, it didn’t. The sail over on BC Ferries is easier if you take just one ferry, instead of changing over in Swartz Bay but you’ll have to plan and reserve ahead to get the best route.

I was traveling with my girlfriend Tess and it was her first time to the Island and the farmers market was at the top of her list, so we made sure we had some time to check it out and sampled some apples, apple fritters and apple tarts to get us in the festive mood. The cheeses on the Island are unbelievable, both Salt Spring Island Cheese and Moonstruck Organic, so don’t leave the market or the Island without trying and buying a few types.
James Beard
We also went for a quick shop in the stores around the small town, and I even found an vintage James Beard book and a punch bowl at the charity store!

Hastings House

We were staying at Hastings House, which is a gorgeous ocean front

country hotel with a restaurant that grows much of it’s own produce. The property is Relais and Chateau and their standards are indeed set high; even the cot that Tess stayed on was insanely comfortable and there’s a daily complementary afternoon tea in the manor. We had dinner booked at the hotel as I’ve had some fantastic meals there and went for a pre-dinner drink just down the Hill Unfortunatley, the very moment we returned for dinner the power went out, and stayed out, so we had to quickly grab one of the few taxis on the Island and make other plans! A bit of drama, but we took it in stride!

Auntie Pestos

Fortunately there was only a brief wait at Auntie Pestos, a favourite of mine on the Island and the meal was fantastic. We went for the a spinach salad, Salt Spring Mussels, an incredibly butter-like tender steak that we are still talking about and headed back to Hastings House for bed.

Salt Spring Apple Festival

Apple PieSunday’s apple festival started at Fulford Hall with a display of endless apples and plenty of apple pie!

A little bit on the Honda HR-V and the festival in this “super” video!

Salt Spring Island Bread Lady

Salt Spring Island Apple FestivalFrom there the options of apple viewing were vast, but we plotted a route and hit some of the larger orchards and thankfully one where not only was lunch served, but where I purchased some of the best bread I’ve ever tasted.  We sat on the patio with a stellar view out across the Island and enjoyed some BBQ pork and chicken. I learned later that this was the home of Salt Springs famous Bread Lady and I am hooked on the garlic and cheese bread. Sadly, I had only bought one loaf!

While there’s several worthwhile wineries to visit, the newish Salt Spring Ales Brewery was right on the route and they’d even done an apple beer for the festival. When in need of gifts for my partner, Michael, I can always count on beer!

The ferry took the long route home, stopping at a few other Gulf Islands but we had plenty to read and it was a nice wind down to a rather special apple-filled weekend.

*Honda provided the HR-V for our test drive and supplemented our trip expenses.
*Thank you to Hastings House for the lovely accomodations.

Road Tripping with the Honda HR-V

I’ve been driving a few sporty vehicles lately, but when I decided to take a trip over to Salt Spring Island I needed to bit of a larger ride to carry the inevitable excess of luggage, along with my friend Tess (and her bags), ample room for two others that I’d had planned to take with on an apple festival adventure, and possible purchases. More on our apple festival adventures here.

Honda has a new vehicle out this year, and it fit the bill precisely, without the price tag you’d expect from a ride with such attractive and sporty design. The Honda HR-V comes in a basic model, the LX starting at $20, 690, and there’s an EX-L Model in between but we test drove the EX-L Navi model which has features that drives it to the $29,990 price tag; a bit more, but the trims are worth it. The EX-L is all wheel drive and has a continuously variable transmission. All models of the HR-V have a 141 horsepower, 1.8 litre 4-cylinder 16-valve engine and 127 lb.-ft of torque.

Honda HR-V

The safety features of this car earned it the highest overall score for collision safety from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and fortunately we had no chance to test this out.  The Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning came in handy though, especially on the ferry, and the expanded view driver’s mirror meant far less blind spots.Honda HR-V

The interior is rather elegant, with lots of well-thought out details inside, and the HR-V seems far roomier than I expected from a vehicle that is billed as a subcompact SUV. The wheelbase is 102.8 and the car 169.1 in length and the driver seats are super comfortable. There’s a moon roof for sunny days and heated seats for cooler ones. The second row is also ample for two and the seats fold flat should you want to load up the car from the back, and rotate up if there is something taller to pop behind the driver and passenger seats; like a big plant or IKEA furniture.

The Honda starts with a button, which I drastically missed on the next car I drove as I kept leaving the keys in my purse. If you go for the LCD screen you can control everything within reach there, and there’s also controls on the steering wheel, but I didn’t figure them all out. Multiple USB ports meant both our phones stay charge and the camera helped us avoid any back up accidents.

The HR-V hugs corners and zips around precisely. It’s got power but not enough to tow and I wasn’t in need of towing anything, anyhow. Parking is a breeze in this model, even when we were back in the city, and the HR-V barely sips gas; not a guzzler here.

Salt Spring Island Apple Festival

We’re heading to Salt Spring Island Apple Festival on Sunday October 4, 2015!

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So many apples, so little time, but take time to taste the apples along the way! Salt Spring Island was among the first area in BC to grow apples (1860) and now grows over 350 varieties organic apples. Home to the Salt Spring Island Organic Apple Co-op, Salt Spring Island is the Organic Gardening Capital of Canada.

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  • When: Sunday, Oct 4, 2015
  • Where: All over Salt Spring Island. Start at Fulford Hall on the Fulford Ganges Road (you can’t miss it).
  • Theme: Let the KID inside you escape.

Local photographers have captured this great little event over the years, each in their own way, and collectively they documented the apple festival in a very powerful way.Visit the Official Apple Festival website >> to view more than 1000 photos of past festivals and get a feel for this popular event. And you may want to check out the Salt Spring Apple Youtube channel >>

More Apple Festival highlights

  • Display of HUNDREDS of apples all grown organically on Salt Spring Island
  • Tasting of more than 100 apple varieties at just one farm (Apple Luscious). Most others had tasting of their own varieties
  • At least 12 labeled varieties of apple pies baked by the Pie Ladies
  • Theatrical performances by Johnny Appleseed, Theodore Trage, the Queen and Captain Apple
  • A rich history of apples going back to 1860
  • Educational information on organic apple growing
  • Apple identification services
  • Orchard bee and honey bee experts available
  • Apple art by local artists

Salt Springers are very proud of their apples and the incredible collections we amass at Fulford Hall for every Apple Festival is a sight to take your breath away. The scent of apples when you enter the room will take your soul on a journey. Last year, we had 262 varieties all grown organically on Salt Spring Island, arranged alphabetically and all with detailed labels. The task of setting up the collection is performed the night before by a team of about 30 island volunteers, ranging in age from children to senior citizens, who consider this one of the highlights of their year.

The Weather – and Critters!

Salt Spring Islanders love their apples and are delighted to show visitors our apple diversity. The weather affects the apple crops – at Apple Festival 2006 there were 296 varieties, but with a very cold, wet spring in 2007, some varieties did not produce a crop in 2007. In 2008 the 300 variety barrier was broken for the first time, and in 2012, an outbreak of the tent caterpillar devastated many apple crops. This critter creates a tent in which hundred caterpillars can live in safety while they devour the tree’s leaves and flowers. The tent caterpillar it has a 7 year cycle, and in 2013 the apple crop was better but we are hoping 2014 will be a bumper year. This festival is farm based, connecting you to the organic farmers on Salt Spring. They are your best guarantee of food quality and good health. The Salt Spring Apple Festival Proceeds go to:

  • Development of a juicing facility on Salt Spring
  • Annual $500 bursary given to someone on Salt Spring, to support practical learning in the field of organic agriculture.
  • Supporting the education of a third world child
  • Up to $100 going towards thanking in the best possible manner, a local who has made Salt Spring a better place to live.

Sip & Savour Salt Spring Celebrates Fall Harvest and Thanksgiving

Sip & Savour Salt Spring Friday, October 9th to Sunday, October 11th, 2015

One of my favourite BC getaways is the journey over to Salt Spring Island where I love to visit the farmers market, food providers and chefs, and catch up with what’s going on on the nicely slowly paced Salt Spring Island. I’ve been over to Sip &  Salt Spring Island a few times (COVERAGE HERE) and it’s always a good time with lots of craft brewers, distillers and vintners from Vancouver and the Gulf Islands.

Sip & Savour Salt Sprin

THE EVENTS

  • On Friday evening, local restaurants and farms will be hosting Harvest Dinners where the talent of chefs will combine with locally produced ingredients in seasonally inspired menus. Wine and beer selections will be paired with specific courses, either in set menus or as you choose.

Sip & Savour Salt Spring

Sip & Savour Salt Spring

  • Your culinary adventure continues on Saturday starting at 9 am with the Famous Salt Spring Saturday Market, where everything is grown, harvested, created and made on Salt Spring Island. With the bounty of the Fall Harvest upon us, the Market with be brimming with fresh, local fruit, vegetables and grains grown in our unique micro-climate.
  • Sip & Savour Salt Sprin
  • In Ganges on Saturday afternoon beginning at 1 pm, the Salt Spring Island Farmers Institute (351 Rainbow Road) will be transformed into a fabulous Grazing Experience as visitors sip fine wines and craft beer from BC and savour samples of delicious local foods, prepared by island chefs.  Attendees will see the fresh produce, be able to talk to the grower, ask the chef how they prepared the ingredients and discuss how wine or beer complement the resulting dish.  Additional products will be available for purchase for those wishing to take some of the taste memories home.  Tickets are $60 plus gst or early bird price of $50 plus gst until Sept. 7th.
  • Saturday evening various locations will be hosting Harvest Dinners with live music and great food to keep you entertained – check the EVENT CALENDAR for details!
  • Visit the weekend before for the 18th Annual Salt Spring Apple Festival taking place on Sunday, October 4th. Tour various farms and attend the main event at Fulford Hall. Learn more at: www.saltspringapplefestival.org.  You will also see many food and beverage related events through the entire fall season here in this foodies paradise!

ip & Savour Salt Spring Hastings House

Many of Salt Spring Island’s hotels, resorts and B&B’s will be greeting guests with weekend accommodation rates and a special island welcome!  Visitors can also enjoy a studio, winery and farm tours, pursue outdoor adventures, visit a spa or yoga studio, dine at one or more of our excellent restaurants, take in a Farm Dinner, and enjoy live entertainment at many local venues. Learn more at www.saltspringtourism.com

Partial proceeds will support the initiatives of the West Coast Islands Stewardship & Conservancy as well as the Salt Spring Agricultural Alliance – www.plantofarm.org.

 ip & Savour Salt Spring

Sip & Savour Salt Spring is non-profit festival being organizing by local volunteers from the food, wine and grower communities of the island.

This event is proudly presented by the members of the Salt Spring Island Chamber of Commerce and is presented by Mouat’s Trading – an iconic Salt Spring merchant since 1907!  www.saltspringchamber.com

Participants to date are:

Participating Breweries and Cideries are Salt Spring Ales and Salt Spring Wild Cider.

Participating Wineries to date are Salt Spring Vineyards,  Mistaken Identity Vineyards and Garry Oaks Winery.

Supporting Partners are Mouat’s Trading, Country Grocers, Shaw Communications and Thrifty Foods.

Media Partners include Gulf Island’s Driftwood, Eat Magazine and Fishbowl Magazine

New Prix Fixe Menu Launches at “The Bistro” at Hastings House

This news came in this from one of our favourite travel destinations. Hastings House expands their culinary program.

Hastings House is embarking on a new course for 2015 by offering a Bistro Menu at the Living Room and Snug of the historic Manor House. Since opening as a hotel in 1980, the Dining Room has become renowned for its relaxed fine dining and exquisite food; the new culinary offerings at The Bistro will compliment the fine dining experience. Award winning Chef Marcel Kauer and his culinary team will introduce the evolving Prix Fixe menu on Friday, March 6th, highlighting the freshest, locally sourced ingredients.

Chef Kauer says Bistro guests will enjoy the same high quality food they have come to expect at Hastings House, “We are excited to move forward with new culinary adventures; the Prix Fixe menu offers more choices at a different price point, but patrons can expect the same good food made from scratch daily in the kitchen.”

The Prix Fixe three-course menu teases with an appetizer course touting items such as Organic Carrot and Orange Bisque, Organic Garden Greens and Herbs topped with Goat Cheese Crouton, or West Coast Seafood Chowder – Crème Fraiche. As for the entrées, expect a Salt Spring Island Lamb Ragù, or Hastings House Schnitzel, along with a Fig & Pecan Ravioli to make their mark. For dessert a Chocolate Bread Pudding, Wild Island Blackberry Crème Brûlée or a Frozen White Chocolate and Lime Tart, round out the evolving menu.

Other enhancements at the Bistro include a new bar in the Living Room offering guests a variety of hand-crafted cocktails, spirits and a new wine menu. Wine director Milly Sinclair has designed a discerning wine program, “The wine list features a selection of new and interesting affordable wines, chosen specifically to compliment our new Bistro Menu. With a renewed focus on beautiful fine wines from around the world, many in half bottle, combined with our collection of rare Bordeaux, Burgundy and top BC wines, our cellar is brimming with great bottles.”

Guests will enjoy exceptional gourmet fare in a stunning location and have the choice of ordering from the Fine Dining Menu or experiencing the new Bistro menu starting at $38 per meal. For those wanting to order items à la carte, this option will be available from the Bistro menu. Watch for special food and wine pairing events throughout the season, along with weekly-featured wines by the glass. Discover new wines while enjoying Chef Marcel Kauer’s fresh, seasonal, local cuisine.

Hasting House, a member of Relais & Châteaux an association of the world’s finest hoteliers, nestles on 22 acres of meadows, woodland and lawns overlooking Ganges Harbour on Salt Spring Island. This luxury getaway has 18 unique accommodations and an intimate spa. Guests arrive via floatplane – a mere 20 minutes from Vancouver International Airport – or by ferry or private motorcraft, with moorage available at Salt Spring Marina next to the hotel. Forbes Travel Guide, the gold standard for discerning travelers, has awarded the hotel with a “Four Star Rating” and the Dining Room has been consistently listed by the renowned Zagat Guide as one of the top rated in Canada.

For information or reservations, contact Hastings House, 800-661-9255 or visit www.hastingshouse.com

Sip & Savour Salt Spring Island

IMG_9088Each September Salt Spring Island gets festive with Sip & Savour Salt Spring Island. This year the events take place during National Organic week from Friday, September 19th to Sunday, September 21st, 2014. The festival brings together growers, food providers and chefs from Salt Spring Island and partners them with vintners representing the wine growing regions of British Columbia and the finest Vancouver Island Craft Brewers. Three days of sipping, savouring and living the Salt Spring Island farm-to-table dream! Last year Michael and I joined in on the fun and had a great weekend getaway.

salt spring air

Getting there:

The current BC Ferry schedule to Salt Spring Island means that unless you have all the time in the world on your hands, you should fly. Salt Spring Air has three flights a day from the Vancouver Airport as well as right from downtown through Coal Harbour. Pack light and jump on the float plane for a scenic twenty minute flight and you’ll arrive in style.

mariners loft

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Stay:

We love love love, did I say love? Hastings House, but last year we checked out Mariner’s Loft and I am going to suggest you book into here for the festival as there are full kitchens and you’ll want to shop the local market and make some meals of your own with the local bounty. I also did check in to Hastings House the following night for Chefs Across the Water and it was once again an entirely pampered experience with top notch food and service, but you don’t get to do your own cooking!

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Home Cooking

We picked up some peppers, squash, green onions, tomatoes and Salt Spring Island Cheese and made a simple pasta that we enjoyed on the patio looking out to the Harbour. Or should I say Michael made the pasta as I think I just watched. Thank you!

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IMG_9042 lamb

On the Friday night we chose to dine at Auntie Pesto’s, one of my musts every time I visit the Island. They did a spectacular job of showcasing the local farmer’s products with a squash soup, fish cakes, beet carpaccio and tender local lamb. This year there are many more dinners for both the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights including the Hastings House, Harbour House, Auntie Pestos, Moby’s Pub and Rock Salt Restaurant. Make your choices here.

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In the morning we checked out the Salt Spring Farmer’s Market and gathered our produce for our Sunday night dinner and then made our way to the Saturday Grazing Experience.

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This year the event is held at the Salt Spring Island Farmers Institute and will be a similar casual afternoon of craft beer and cider from the islands a samples of delicious local food prepared by island chefs.

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After a nice break back at our loft we headed to Moby’s Pub for their Sip and Savour Meal, another well done meal consisting of a savoury zucchini panacotta, a delish and rather overwhelming pork chop with squash and roasted apples with locally churned ice cream and sponge toffee sprinkle.

Harbour House

Harbour House

Harbour House

If you enjoy exploring gardens, you should arrange to have a look around that of Harbour House Hotel’s Organic Garden while on the Island. This amazing acreage provides the majority of the produce for the Harbour House Hotel’s restaurant. They also serve up some flavourful Salt Spring Island mussels which you of course have to have while on the Island.

This year the Harbour House hosts a sparkling brunch on the Sunday should you wish to extend your feasting to another day, as well as a dinner on Sunday and Monday night.

It’s hard to leave this idyllic spot where farms and local food are always front of mind. Details on 2014 Sip and Savour Salt Spring Island here.

Sip & Savour Salt Spring

IMG_9132Septembeer 19-21, 2014 Celebrate National Organic Week on Salt Spring Island!

This amazing event is a must. We’ve been twice and hope to get back there again this year.

The Festival will bring together growers, food providers and chefs from Salt Spring Island and partner them with local craft brewers and vintners representing the wine growing regions of British Columbia.

FOOD, WINE, CRAFT BEER AND PEOPLE

Salt Spring Island is known as the organic capital of Canada.

It’s small family farms, artisan food providers and fishing community provide  a bountiful harvest of fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables, breads and cheeses, eggs from free range chickens, famous Salt Spring lambfarm raised, heritage breeds of pork and chickens, daily catches of crab, mussels and oysters – and in September, local salmon.

Surrounding Salt Spring are the nearby southern Gulf Islands, the verdant Cowichan Valley, the rich plains of the Saanich Peninsula and the other southern Gulf Islands all of which share a similar climate, soils and love of the land and sea.

In addition to the wonderful local food, the area is home to the outstanding wines of the ‘Wine Islands’ region. These wines will be featured together with wines representing all of the wine regions of British Columbia and some of the finest Vancouver Island Craft Beer.

THE EVENTS

  • On Friday evening, local restaurants and farms will be hosting Harvest Dinners where the talent of chefs will combine with locally produced ingredients in seasonally inspired menus. Wine and beer selections will be paired with specific courses, either in set menus or as you choose.
  • Your culinary adventure continues on Saturday starting at 9 am with the Famous Salt Spring Saturday Market, where everything is grown, harvested, created and made on Salt Spring Island. With the bounty of the Fall Harvest upon us, the Market with be brimming with fresh, local fruit, vegetables and grains grown in our unique micro-climate.
  • In Ganges on Saturday afternoon beginning at 1 pm, the Salt Spring Island Farmers Institute will be transformed into a fabulous Grazing Experience as visitors sip fine wines and craft beer from BC and savour samples of delicious local foods, prepared by island chefs.  Attendees will see the fresh produce, be able to talk to the grower, ask the chef how they prepared the ingredients and discuss  how the wine or beer complement the resulting dish.  The pairings are carefully selected to enhance the experience that is unique to our grazing event. Additional products will be available for purchase for those wishing to take some of the taste memories home.
  • Saturday evening various locations will be hosting live music and great food to keep you entertained – check ourEVENT CALENDAR for details!
  • New for 2014 is the Sparkling Wine Brunch at the Harbour House Hotel and Restaurant. Many BC sparkling wines will be available to taste, then choose a glass of your favourite to enjoy with sumptuous brunch, prepared with the farm’s fresh, organic eggs and produce.
  • As a bonus to your Sip & Savour Salt Spring weekend, stay and enjoy varied events during National Organic Week, culminating with the 16th Annual Salt Spring Apple Festival taking place on Sunday, September 28th. Tour various farms and attend the main event at Fulford Hall. Learn more at: www.saltspringapplefestival.org

Many of Salt Spring Island’s hotels, resorts and B&B’s will be greeting guests with weekend accommodation rates and a special island welcome! Visitors can also enjoy a studio, winery and farm tours, visit a spa or yoga studio, dine at one or more of our excellent restaurants, take in a Farm Dinner, and enjoy live entertainment at many local venues. Learn more at www.saltspringtourism.com

Partial proceeds will support the initiatives of Island Natural Growers, a chapter of Canadian Organic Growers,  West Coast Islands Stewardship and Conservancy. This event also supports the Salt Spring Agricultural Alliance.

Sip and Savour Salt Spring is non-profit festival being organizing by local volunteers from the food, wine and grower communities of the island.

This event is proudly presented by the members of the Salt Spring Island Chamber of Commerce and is presented by Mouat’s Trading – an iconic Salt Spring merchant since 1907!  www.saltspringchamber.com

Participating Breweries are Saltspring Ales, Hoyne Brewery, Lighthouse Brewery, Driftwood Brewery

Food Providers include Monsoon Coast, Moby’s Pub, Hastings House, Harbour House Hotel and Organic Farm, Moonstruck Organic Cheese, Stowel Lake Farm, North End Farm, Auntie Pesto’s Cafe, Tree House Cafe, Fernwood Road Cafe, Bullock Lake Farm, Salt Spring Sunrise,  Spit Fire Catering,  Gulf Islands Secondary School Culinary Program,  Sugarland Farm,  In Season Foods,  Salt Spring Coffee,  Salt Spring Artisan Vinegars, Mount Maxwell Coffee Roasters,  Rock Salt Restaurant,  Salt Spring Mercantile,  Penny’s Pantry …and more to come!

Participating Wineries are Salt Spring Vineyards,  Mistaken Identity Vineyards,  Garry Oaks Winery,  Silverside Winery,  Sea Star Winery,  Tugwell Creek Farm & Meadery,  Mission Hill Family Estate Winery,  Poplar Grove Winery,  Sperling Vineyards,  Le Vieux Pin Winery,  La Stella Winery,  Bench 1775 Winery,  Paradise Ranch Winery,  Little Straw Winery,  Fairview Cellars,  Bella Wines,  Arrowleaf Cellars,  Black Cloud Winery, Stag’s Hollow Winery,  The View Winery,  Unsworth Winery,  Nagging Doubt Winery,  Eau Vivre Winery,  Synchromesh Winery,  Glenterra Winery,  Culmina Winery,  Terra Vista Vineyard,  Summerhill Winery, Tantalus Winery,  Sage Hills Winery,  Averill Creek Winery,  Blue Moon Winery,  Road 13 Winery,  Clos du Soleil Winery,  Kettle Valley Winery,  JoieFarm Wines,  Burrowing Owl Estate Winery,  Calliope Wines, Stoneboat Winery

Hastings House Hosts Chef Denis Cotter for Chefs Across the Water

Chef DenisEach year Hastings House hosts guest chefs at their excellent country house hotel for an event entitled “Chefs Across the Water”.  I’ve attended several of these events in the past, but they’ve never had an entirely vegetarian menu.  In general I thought this was a good thing as I do like my meat; however after dining on Cotter’s plates, I’ve definitely changed my view.

This year Hastings House focused on just one event instead of the usual three or more.  Proceeds from the event kindly go to Salt Spring Agricultural Alliance’s effort to establish a produce cold storage and production facility.  The guest chef this year was Chef Denis Cotter, known for his meat-free cuisine. Cotter is originally from Ireland, and now working on a Canadian restaurant project.  He spent considerable time on Salt Spring Island.  I am suspecting we may see him establish something on the Island or at least somewhere nearby on the west coast, but perhaps this is just wishful thinking on my part.

Chef Cotter trained at well-known Cranks in London and opened Cafe Patadiso in Ireland in 1993, changing the perception of vegetarianism forever.  In 2005 Cotter was voted ‘Chef of the Year’ by Food & Wine Magazine and has also published numerous cookbooks that went on to win awards just as the “Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the World” at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

cookbookI had to buy a copy of his latest book, ‘for the love of food’ which is a very accessible book for people with a wide range cooking levels.  Stay tuned for some of my home cooking.

I’d spent a few days on Salt Spring for the fantastic and tasty Sip and Savour Salt Spring event, which is full of great food, community building, and sharing, and many great dinners around the Island.  It was good timing as I was able to extend my stay for Chefs Across the Water.

Whether you fly in (Salt Spring Air) or are on the island, Hastings House will come pick you up in their courtesy van and shuttle you to the idyllic property.  I usually stay in what they call The Barn, which I adore as I can walk right out onto the onsite veggie and flower gardens, but this visit I was checked into The Hillside Suites with gorgeous views over the harbour.  Which ever suite you choose, you’ll find uber comfy beds, antique furnishings and all around comfort and style.

At dinner I was seated next to food writer Don Genova and his lovely wife Ramona Montagnes and broadcaster/actor Terry David Mulligan and his well-mannered and adorable granddaughter; good dining comparisons indeed.

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The Carrot, Feta & Almond Terrine, Sesame Crispbread, Spiced Cucumber Salsa, Fennel Puree was first up.  Rich, meaty (strange word for veggie food I know) and absolutely gorgeous to look at; I am requesting this recipe for certain.

Paired with Road 13 Sparkling Chenin Blanc

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Second course – Cardamom Honey Aubergine, Baba Ganoush, Fresh Sheep’s Cheese, Beluga Lentils, Hazelnut Dukkah, Orange and Sultana Pickles; dense eggplant accented with the perfect seasoning

Paired wtih Salt Spring Vineyard Aromata

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Kale Tortelli Yellow Pepper Broth, Balsamic Tomatoes,Citrus Lima Bean Crush, Dried olives were perfectly formed and ideally cooked with a intensely flavoured broth.

Paired with Garry Oaks Pinot Noir

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Cider Braised Celeriac, Buttermilk Cauliflower, Chanterelles, Beetroot-Pecan Crunch, Parsley Oil – the perfect combination of textures.  One can never get enough chanterelles.

Paired with Burrowing Owl Athene

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Chef Cotter’s wife and her friends from Vancouver

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Hastings House Chef Marcel Kauer alongside Chef Denis Cotter

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Cotter and the chef’s assistants

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Dessert – Apple Confit, Lavender Meringue – a perfect ending to this stellar meal.

Paired with Mistaken Identity Charmela

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In the morning breakfast is included and could be as simple as granola, amore hearty one with bacon, eggs and toast or one of their tasty specialities such as French toast with Salt Spring Island berry syrup.

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So gorgeous here any time of the year, but the crisp fall air and the colours of the leaves and fields as they just start to turn are simply stunning.  http://hastingshouse.com/

Winter rates range from $206 for suites to $795 for cottages.

**My accomodation and meal were generously provided by Hastings House

 

Salt Spring Island Festival of Local & Regional Food & Wine.

wine-glassOn Friday, September 27th and Saturday, September 28th, Sip & Savour Salt Spring unites growers, food producers, chefs and vintners & brewers from Salt Spring Island and the Vancouver Island region with local and BC vintners in a mélanges a trois of culinary magic.  Participate in National Organic Week by sampling local, fresh food and enjoy what local and BC vintners & brewers have to offer at our Grazing Experience, explore the Fall Harvest at the Salt Spring Saturday Market and at the 15th Annual Apple Festival. Savour local ingredients at a Wine Maker’s Dinner with special menus offered in one of our restaurants. Join us for a full weekend of sampling, tasting and experience our relaxed Island-style. It’s an opportunity you won’t want to miss! Tickets are $55 per ticket and Early Bird discounts end September 1st. Visit www.sipandsavoursaltspring.com.

Welcome to Sip & Savour Salt Spring 2013!

3rd Annual Sip & Savour Salt Spring shines the spotlight on the natural abundance of Salt Spring Island.  On Friday, September 27th and Saturday, September 28th, Sip & Savour Salt Spring unites growers, food producers, chefs and vintners from Salt Spring Island and the Vancouver Island region with local and BC vintners in mélanges a trois of culinary magic.

Friday, September 27th

On Friday evening, join us at one of several Salt Spring Restaurants for Wine Maker’s Dinners where the talent of chefs will combine with locally produce ingredients in a wine maker’s inspired menu.

Saturday, September 28th

Your culinary adventure continues on Saturday starting at 9 am with the Famous Salt Spring Saturday Market, where everything is grown, harvested, created and made on Salt Spring Island.

In Ganges on Saturday afternoon beginning at 1 pm, a Salt Spring orchard will be transformed into a fabulous Grazing Experience as visitors will sip fine wines from BC and savour samples of delicious local and regional foods selected to pair with the wines, prepared by local chefs.

Sunday, September 29th

As a bonus to your Sip & Savour Salt Spring weekend, stay and enjoy the 15th Annual Salt Spring Apple Festival taking place on Sunday.  Tour various farms and attend the main event at Fulford Hall.

– See more at: http://www.sipandsavoursaltspring.com/#sthash.Fx8Lux5m.dpuf

For more information, contact Janet Clouston at 250-537-4223 or Milly Sinclair at 250-537-6370.
Sip & Savour Salt Spring is brought to you by the Members of the Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce and is supported by Tourism Vancouver Island.

www.sipandsavoursaltspring.com