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The Last-Minute Vancouver Island Gift Guide for the Foodie in Your Life

The Last-Minute Vancouver Island Gift Guide for the Foodie in Your Life

Despite how hard it is to grow vegetables on coastal rock, Vancouver Island’s reputation as a foodie destination is well earned. We have oodles of restaurants using locally grown produce, and practically every citizen with access to a kitchen or backyard makes their own own honey, jam, sauces, teas, granola, ice cream, peanut butter, or something-or-other. We’ve got foragers and hunter-gatherers, farmers and mad scientists, and the result is one rich foodie-scape of giftables and experiences sure to delight any food-lover (read: everyone) on your holiday shopping list. 

Find all of our 2019 gift guides here.

Next-Level Panatone by Fol Epi

When we asked Hey Happy owner Rob Kettner what foodie gift he recommends for the holidays, he used works like “crazy” and “off the hook” to describe the Fol Epi team’s legendary panatone. This traditional Italian bread-cake hybrid is made with eggs, fruit and butter, but the process is extremely hands-on and uses a long wild yeast fermentation that has to be fed as carefully and lovingly as a baby bird. Fol Epi studs their panettone with organic candied orange peel and sultanas, and the “rich, heady flavour” will continue to develop over several weeks. 

Where to buy it: Panatone by Fol Epi, $34 | Online or at any Fol Epi location

It’s a Big Ol’ Gift Basket by Marta Cafe and Pantry

This Victoria eatery and pantry has curated a deluxe selection of their favourite goodies for your easy gifting pleasure. Look out for items like vegan-organic Zimt chocolates, heavenly citrus and eucalyptus linen spray, Silk Road teas, Saltspring Kitchen Co. preserves, house-made Marta hits and more, all wrapped up in farm-house chic gift boxes from Bilston Creek Farm.  

Where to buy it: Gift basket by Marta Cafe and Pantry, price varies | 1600 Bay St, Victoria

Ice Cream Every Month! Subscription By 49 Below

If the steady multiplication of ice cream shops in our far-from-Hawaiian-climate has taught us anything, it’s that Islanders love ice cream. Every month 49 Below partners with local farms and food artisans so any new  flavours promise to be a dizzying combination of ingredients like rhubarb with cardamom brittle to maple syrup with toasted hazelnuts. Plus, a monthly ice cream subscription is so much better than trying to gift wrap a cold pint under the tree. 

Where to buy it: Monthly Ice Cream Subscription by 49 Below, 3-Month subscription $85 | Online

Cedar and Salt: Vancouver Island Recipes from Forest, Farm, Field and Sea

Vancouver Island is a food-lover’s paradise, and this book is singing its greatest hits from north to south. Inside the beautifully photographed book are recipes that highlight sought-after local ingredients, such as chanterelles, fiddleheads, spring salmon, and blackberries. The recipes will take you from forest, field, farm and sea through dishes like Craft Beer-Braised Island Beef Brisket, Nettle and Chevre Ravioli, and Beetroot and Black Walnut Cake featuring Denman Island Chocolate. 

Where to buy it: Cedar and Salt: Vancouver Island Recipes from Forest, Farm, Field and Sea, $38 | Local retailers, Amazon

The Galiano Pilgrimme Experience

It can take months to get a reservation at Jesse McCleery’s forage-forward cabin-in-the-woods restaurant, so why not gift your loved one a getaway out of it? You can escape to Galiano Island for the weekend, bike along the trails, walk the coast and then tuck into what might be one of the best coastal celebration meals of your life at Pilgrimme restaurant. It’s likely that you’ll be dining on you’re eating seagrass McLeery foraged from the shores early that morning and when it’s time to retire, you can stay at the Bodega Ridge cove cabins, which have been designed with Instagram and comfort in mind—we’re talking bright, wood-panelled walls, octagon-tile spa bathrooms, Bocci lights and big sun decks. 

Where to buy it: The Galiano Pilgrimme Experience, price varies | Dinner at Pilgrimme, Acommodation at Bodega Cove

World’s Best Holiday Cookies by The Cookie Guy

The holidays aren’t completed without baked goods, but for the non-baker yet cookie-craving lover in your life, take note. Owner and head cookie artist Matthew Davis (a.k.a. The Cookie Guy) has created a festive lineup of sweet features including chocolate mint, ginger snap, holiday M&M and sugar cookies. Our advice? Don’t overlook the classic chocolate chip. These might just be too good for Santa, guests and children with unsophisticated palates, but hey, that’s up to you to decide.

Where to buy it: Festive cookies by The Cookie Guy, price varies | Online or at 3551 Uptown Blvd, Victoria

Flavoured Salts by Salt Spring Island and Vancouver Island Salt Co.

For foodie friends looking to up their dinner party game with a planked salmon or gourmet Friday night popcorn, this is that special je ne sais quai for their pantry. This Fleur de Sel is harvested straight from Salt Spring Island (no oceans were harmed in the making of this salt) and it’s been flavoured with smoked mesquite to add that perfect sweat smoke to any dish. For those that love their coffee, the Old School Coffee Salt from Vancouver Island Salt Co. adds a great aroma to meats and as a finishing salt in desserts.

Where to buy it: Old School Coffee Salt by Vancouver Island Salt Co., $9.95 | Online or at select retailers; Smoked Mesquite Salt from Salt Spring Island Salt Co., $12.75 | Online or at select retailers

Back in Five Tee

Not only does this branded merch from part-time cafe and plant shop Back in Five look hip in light Pepto pink, but this proves that you’ve actually frequented the establishment on a day when on a serendipitous day when it was open. Order a breakfast sandwich for yourself and a pink tee for a friend to go. 

Where to buy it: Back in Five Tee, price varies | Pandora Street at Quadra Street

Mount Washington Alpine Resort Snowshoe Fondue

All the best gifts are the ones you can participate in too, right? Enjoy the fun communal experience of eating gooey, melted cheese off long pokey sticks without having to invest in your own set. This package dictates that first you snowshoe through Strathcona Provincial Park (twist our mitten-capped arms) and then head back to Raven Lodge for a three-course fondue. This includes a one-hour guided tour, your food, passes and rentals. 

Where to buy it: Mount Washington Alpine Resort Snowshoe Fondue, $76 | Mt. Washington Resort

Buying for a beverage fan, an outdoor adventurer, or your most stylish friend? See the rest of our gift guides here.

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