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Vancouver’s Granville Island: Foodie Paradise Found

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Since its transformation from an industrial wasteland to one of the most popular artistic and tourist-friendly spots in Vancouver, Granville Island has a treasured status in the city. Its artisan studios, theaters, restaurants, and its Public Market attract locals and tourists in droves, particularly in the high summer season. It's a place Vancouverites are very proud of, and we like to show it off as the best example of our successful urban development and vitality.

Granville Island Terra Breads

An array of breads and other baked goods from Terra Breads at the Granville's Public Market

Public Market

It's easy to walk around the island and Public Market at your leisure, enjoying the bustle of activity, commerce, and recreation while nibbling tasty, locally-made cheese and bread. But if you're looking for an in-depth ‘foodie paradise' experience, Edible Canada offers just the ticket to a deeper knowledge behind the best food experiences to be found at the Island's Public Market.

Edible Canada

Edible Canada (formerly Edible British Columbia) is headquartered on Granville Island, and is Canada's largest culinary tourism and ‘locavore' retail company. They're dedicated to sourcing local ingredients and selling them through their online food store, as well as offering them (at lunch and dinner) at their Bistro, located just across from the Public Market.

Edible Canada tours on Granville Island

An array of breads and other baked goods from Terra Breads at the Granville's Public Market (Photo courtesy of Edible Canada)

Edible Canada also offers daily tours of the Public Market, led by one of its own chef guides. The tours cost $35 per person (plus tax), run about two hours long (9-11 a.m.), and involve an in-depth tour of the Market, including tastings from local vendors of regional specialties, tips on food selection and preparation, and other takeaways.

Granville Island Tea Company chai

Masala chai served up at Granville Island Tea Company

Granville Island Tea Company

The tour's spotlight is on the food and on the independent Market vendors. The tour may begin with samples of delicious masala chai (secret ingredient included!) from the Granville Island Tea Company. You'll marvel at the tea menu of over 150 teas, and have great difficulty deciding on which tea to snap up and bring home with you.

Terra Breads

Continuing with the basics, you'll move on to learn and appreciate the artisan bread-baking skills at Terra Breads. Terra offers a tempting variety of organic and sourdough breads, as well as sweet and savory goodies, like focaccia, grape tarts and macaroons. Everything is made by hand in a traditional manner, and the quality of the bread is a testament to that process.

Oyama Sausage Company at Granville Island's Public Market

Locally-made cheeses and meats on display at Oyama Sausage Company

Oyama Sausage Company

If you're lucky, a next stops might be the Oyama Sausage Company, one of the stars of the Market, in my humble opinion. Amazing, locally-made seasonal dried meats and sausages, pâtés and terrines, bacons and many local cheeses. Their bison salami is out of this world, as are many of their other handmade products, truth be told. If you love meats, and appreciate the care in preparing them, you'll have found your nirvana here.

Olives from Zara's Italian Deli at Granville Island's Public Market

Olives galore from Zara's Italian Deli

Zara's Italian Deli

Zara's Italian Deli has showcased handmade pastas, a colorful assortment of olives, antipasti, and many specialty olive oils and vinegars for over twenty years. The tour offers a taste of Italy in every olive, the perfect chaser to those tasty Oyama meat products.

Chocolates from Granville Island's ChocolaTas

Belgian-inspired chocolates from ChocolaTas

ChocolaTas

And a foodie tour would be nothing without desserts, non? ChocolaTas satisfies the chocolate craving with its artisanal, Belgian-inspired chocolates. Sourcing local ingredients, the master chocolatier makes each chocolate into a little jewel that is best savored with the eyes closed, for full effect.

Donuts from Lee's Donuts on Granville Island

An array of breads and other baked goods from Terra Breads at the Granville's Public Market

Lee's Donuts

Just as amazing, but less high-brow perhaps, Lee's Donuts offers full dessert satisfaction with every bite of deep-fried, sweet donut goodness. This is my personal go-to doughnut shop of choice, and you cannot go wrong with either a yeasted honey dip, or frosted chocolate cake donut, much less any of their seasonal specialty offerings, i.e. October's pumpkin donut. Yummmmmm, donuts!

All of these and more Market vendors are highlighted on the Edible Canada Market tour, which can also be booked for large groups, or even as a private family tour for up to six people. Children's pace and interests will be especially catered to on the family tour, which makes it really worthwhile if your kids are of the age to enjoy such a tour. The lure of ‘snacks included' should be a great incentive to get them on the road to becoming foodies in their own right.

The fine print: Tickets for Edible Canada tours must be purchased in advance. The cut off time for ticket purchases is 3 p.m. the day prior to the tour. Tickets cannot be purchased the day of the tour. Ticket purchases are nonrefundable and cannot be transferred to another date. There is a minimum of two people to run each market tour. The tour maximum is eight people.

Have you ever done a public market or foodie tour? Share your experiences and tips!

All photos by C. Laroye except where noted otherwise.

About Claudia Laroye, The Curious Travel Mama

Claudia Laroye lives in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and two sons (ages 18 and 20). She started travelling at a very young age, and has never stopped. She’s had the fortune of visiting more than 20 countries on four continents, and has also lived abroad in Sweden. Claudia is passionate about family travel and about educating children through the travel experience. She is the author of the thetravellingmom.ca, and contributes to many online and print media publications. Connect with Claudia on Twitter as @travelling_mom.

Comments

  1. Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

    You are killing me, Claudia! I want to get back to Vancouver SO much and this post just makes it worse. I am hoping to do an Alaskan cruise this summer with a Vancouver port, so maybe my wish will come true?!

  2. LOL! Sorry to be the cause of any pain, Colleen! 😉 I do hope you get up here for the cruise (which I’m sure you’ll love). Then we could do the foodie tour together!

  3. Yumm!

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