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Flavour Trails

Take a Ride Along the Flavour Trail

Just 30 minutes away from the energy of Victoria’s downtown core, the rich rural countryside of the Saanich Peninsula is one of Victoria’s best-kept secrets. A one-of-a-kind destination for one-of-a-kind travellers.

With gently rolling hills, pasture, apple orchards, and ocean-view vineyards, it’s a 30-kilometre promontory flanked by the Salish Sea and its bounty, that’s ripe and ready for you to discover. It’s a land of farmsteads, cider presses, bakers, distillers, honey farmers, brewers and growers. Victoria’s sub-Mediterranean climate is unlike any other part of Canada. Our mild winters, fresh water, and rays of west coast sunshine provide us with a unique biodiversity allowing us to produce the very best in organic ingredients. 

The Flavour Trail is a self-guided expedition that really celebrates the richness of the region. You will want to try it all, and let your inhibitions go, there’s never too much of a good thing.  You can buy fresh cut basil, taste fireweed honey, take a winery tour, pick berries, sip cider or taste our local delicacies. The area is of such a “tourable” scale, that it’s possible to see a lot and, more importantly, taste a lot and really get the local flavour. Travel by car, or go by standard or electric bike for a leisurely tour that seems to perfectly match the rhythm of the region, with a superb network of trails it is a cyclist’s paradise. Whichever way you choose to go, you will discover a world of gastronomic delights.

Our region’s top chefs, brewers and artisans work to put their own spin on our nation’s finest ingredients resulting in a delightful culinary journey where no two stops are the same. Hope you left room for some more! 

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Shop the Greater Victoria Flavour Trails

Flavour Trails
Flavour Trails Logo

Getting Here

The Flavour Trail is located on the Saanich Peninsula where you’ll find transport gateways to make access super easy. There is Victoria International Airport (YYJ), the Swartz Bay BC Ferry terminal for foot passenger and car traffic to Vancouver Island, and the Washington State Ferry that runs from picture postcard Sidney to Anacortes travelling through the San Juan Islands.

Plan your trip using the Flavour Trail map on the website. The Peninsula is a 25 minute car ride from downtown Victoria or consider taking in the trail on a standard or electric bike (just make sure you can carry some of the goodies you’re bound to pick up for that lunchtime picnic). Nearby Sidney is everyone’s idea of a perfect little seaside town with coffee shops and bistros, a famous crab fishing pier and another great place to stock up with supplies. And wherever you go you’ll find a friendly wave and a welcoming smile. All part of the local flavour. Happy Trails!

Itineraries

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The Tour de Farm

The Saanich Peninsula is a day-tripper’s paradise, easily transformed into a flavourful cycling route. Begin your journey along the Galloping Goose Trail to discover a full-day culinary tour that will lead you from downtown Victoria through rolling fields to house made gelato, local honey, sweet sips and more. Take your time cycling back along the Lochside Trail. This unique experience is sure to be a highlight of your visit to Greater Victoria.

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Start: Downtown Victoria

From downtown Victoria, rent a bike from Bike Tours Victoria, or for a bit of assistance, opt for an e-bike from The Pedaler. Embark on your culinary cycling tour of the Flavour Trails. Hop on the Lochside Trail from Victoria to Sidney and settle in for a 40-minute ride to your first stop.

Stop 1: The Gardens at HCP

Your first stop on your self-guided adventure is The Gardens at HCP, a beautiful botanical garden that you can enjoy 
year-round. Spend as long as you like here, taking in the seasonal blooms and wandering the garden paths. When you’re 
ready for a sweet treat, you need only bike 10 minutes down the road to your next stop.

Stop 2: Mosi Bakery – Café & Gelateria

Indulge in a well-earned cool down at Mosi’s and savour their world-famous handmade gelato while soaking up the sun on their charming wrap around veranda.

Stop 3: Tod Creek Cider

Hop back on your bike for a quick one-minute ride across the street to your next stop, Tod Creek Cider. Sample their small batch, locally made cider in their tasting room and take a bottle to go! Call ahead to book a tour of the operation and learn about their humble beginnings and big dreams.

Fields of Flavour

The Saanich Peninsula, set just 30 minutes south of Victoria, is a rural ramble of rolling hills, wineries, cideries, bakeries, farm-stands and much more. This road-trippers paradise will tie together the pastoral and urban to add another layer to your Island culinary experience. Visit local farms where ingredients are nurtured and foraged before you complete your gastronomic journey in downtown Victoria at one of several farm-to-table restaurants.

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Start: Downtown Victoria

Start the day bright and early with a short 20-minute drive from downtown Victoria to your first stop. No need to grab your morning tea or coffee en route; there will be plenty where you’re headed.

Stop 1: Charlotte & the Quail | The Gardens at HCP

Fuel yourself at this charming farm-to-table restaurant. After you’ve nourished your soul, meander around the Gardens at HCP and breathe deeply and easily as you take in this stunning botanical garden that can be enjoyed rain or shine, year-round.

Stop 2: Country Bee

Hop back in the car for a quick 11-minute drive to your next stop. Taste the flavours of the Saanich Peninsula in the locally made honey at Country Bee. Sample from dozens of flavours and shop their locally made gifts and products. You’ll be sure to find some goodies to bring home.

Stop 3: Church & State Wines

What could be better than a beautiful vineyard on the Peninsula? Two minutes down the road, arrive at Church & State Wines. Ready for an afternoon snack? Their Tasting Bar is the perfect place to linger a while. Especially when seated overlooking the vineyard on their expansive patio. Make a note to return soon with your mat for one of their outdoor yoga classes.

Grapes to Grains

Whether you’re a wine collector or a new wine taster, a spirit fan or a cidery novice, you are sure to enjoy the Flavour Trails grapes to grains agritourism experience. Be pleasantly surprised as you travel through vineyards, orchards and farms just minutes from downtown Victoria. Whatever the season, visitors can expect to be enchanted as knowledgeable proprietors, dedicated hosts and award-winning makers pour their product and share their stories. This is an a la carte itinerary where visitors pick and choose their stops. In geographical order, heading north from downtown Victoria (with your designated driver or tour operator!), pick and chose from the some of the best libations around.

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Start: Macaloney’s Island Distillery & Twa Dogs Brewing

Discover how beer and whisky is made on a guided tour of an operational brewery and distillery. The Victoria Caledonian Distillery and Twa Dogs Brewery crafts elegant Scotch style single malt whisky and superb craft beer. An onsite lounge and visitor center allow guests to enjoy the atmosphere with a pint in hand or take home their favourite bottle of whisky. 

Stop 2: Fireside Grill

Towering garry oak and landscaped gardens surround you in this historic, urban acreage nestled on West Saanich Road. For the ambiance, think rich earth tones, classic planked flooring, elegant woodwork, and warmth. This award-winning restaurant serves a distinctively Victorian dining experience focusing on fresh farm-to-table fare including their seasonally changing three course dinner menu.

Stop 3: Niche Grocerant

The one-stop shop for the flavours of Victoria, Niche Grocerant is a locally focused specialty food retailer with a fully licensed restaurant. Find all your favourite foods from the Flavour Trails, Victoria, and Vancouver Island. Niche is the perfect spot to load up on local delicacies in your picnic basket for your day of exploration along the Saanich Peninsula.

Stop 4: Church & State Wines

At Church & State Wines, indulge in a bite at this gorgeous vineyard and treat yourself to a delicious lunch from the Tasting Bar or Bistro. Sample local ingredients weaved into unique dishes or opt to nibble on one of their famous charcuterie boards. 

Saanich Peninsula Farmland

Ol’ Fashioned Farm Celebration

On Saturday, August 27th and Sunday, August 28th the festival culminates in a celebration weekend with more than 20 venues hosting activities ranging from farm gate tastings to winery and orchard tours, from sheep shearing demonstrations to scarecrow making! Don’t miss the Ol’ Fashioned Farm Celebration on Saturday, August 27th from 10am - 3pm at Sandown Centre for Regenerative Agriculture, among the first stops of the weekend celebration.

Here you can taste ice-cream and berries, local cuisine, and meet the “farmpreneurs”. But don’t stop there! Long-time festival favorites The Centre for Plant Health and Deep Cove Market, along with Trail newcomer Victoria Cider Co. and returning Millstone Farm and Organics, are among the dozens of vendors celebrating the taste of North Saanich!

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Year Round Flavours to Savour

Just 30 minutes out of Victoria you’ll find our Flavour Trails, gastronomic mini-tours that lead you to all the tastes, sights and sounds of the region. You can enjoy stops at selected farms, buy at the farm gate or full-service farm markets. Many offer produce year-round. Take your pick from items like local honey, pine infused vinegar, jams and chutneys. Victoria has the mildest climate in Canada. People here say you can take a walk any day of the year–no jacket required. It’s a city surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, a city that blooms all year round and entices the visitor to get out and explore.

As the year gathers pace more and more produce becomes available. See below for seasonal highlights.

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Spring

Spring sees newborn lambs and kids gambolling in the fields, farmers busy planting crops, the first flowers, early season leeks, root vegetables like parsnips and rutabagas and the first peppers and tomatoes.

Sheep

Summer

Summer is peak season for fruit and crops. Peas start in June and there are raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and cherries to pick or buy at farmstands in late June and July. Peninsula figs, zucchini, melons, pears and plums arrive in August, all sought after by locals, restauranteurs and visitors alike. It’s also a busy time for distillers and vineyards as they begin their harvest.

Wine

Fall

For many local farmers and producers, autumn is harvest time. The countryside is alive with vibrant fall colours.

A bridge in Victoria, BC

Winter

Winter is a time to take a breath for some producers, for others it’s a time to show off their products.

Butchart Gardens in the winter in BC

Resources

As Greater Victoria reopens to locals and visitors, we must act responsibly to not undo the great work that all British Columbians have done so far. That's why Destination Greater Victoria and our industry partners are listening carefully to the Ministry of Health and WorksafeBC to ensure proper safety protocols are in place. We will continue to monitor our progress closely and adapt as the situation evolves.

Click here for more COVID-19 updates and our Know Before You Go page.

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