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Path through the woods

A taste for exploration

A rooster crowing, the drowsy buzz of bees, a tractor in the distance - all sounds that will give you a clue to the Saanich Peninsula and its fascinating Flavour Trail tour.

Just 30 minutes outside of Victoria, the Saanich Peninsula is one of Vancouver Island’s best kept secrets. With gently rolling hills, pasture, apple orchards, vineyards that run down to the ocean and rocky coves, 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, all contributing to its unofficial title of the “The Island’s Salad and Fruit Bowl”.

The Flavour Trail is a self-guided expedition that really celebrates the richness of the region. You can buy fresh cut basil, taste fireweed honey, take a winery tour, pick berries, sip cider or taste our local delicacies. And because of its proximity to Victoria, the visitor can do all this and be back in town in time for tea (and maybe even taste some delicious Saanich produce when you have dinner that night). The area is of such a “tourable” scale, it’s possible to see a lot and, more importantly, taste a lot and really get the local flavour. Travel by car to see as much as you can, or go by standard or electric bike for a leisurely tour that seems to perfectly match the rhythm of the region.

Whichever way you choose to go, welcome to a world of gastronomic delights.

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Explore Flavour Trails Holiday Gift Ideas

Woman with a glass of wine
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 Galloping Goose Trail 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: Country Bee Honey

When you’ve had your sampling of Island flavours, head back out on your bike via West Saanich Road and cycle 20 minutes down the road to your third stop, Country Bee Honey Farm. Taste delicious local honey in their storefront and peruse the locally made gifts and products on offer. This is the perfect spot to find Island goodies to take home.

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: Victoria Caledonian Distillery and Twa Dogs Brewery

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. Tours run multiple times every day and include three beer and two whisky samples.

Stop 2: DEVINE Winery & Distillery

Visit this small-batch, craft distillery to learn about their long, loving and laborious techniques to distill the most unique flavours. With an unwavering passion for celebrating the land, cherishing community and enjoying good food and drink, a visit to DEVINE promises a distinct experience. Visitors can expect craft whisky, gin, vodka, rum, vermouth, and wines made using traditional small batch techniques.

Stop 3: 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.

Stop 4: Category 12 Brewing

Category 12 believes there is a fundamental basis of biology and chemistry that guides the fermentation process and enables the creation of consistently great beers. Category 12’s head brewer and founder, Michael Kuzyk, has been brewing beer for more than 20 years and has his doctorate in microbiology and biochemistry. After leading the creation of several world-class research labs, he decided it was time to make his own – dedicated to the pursuit of exceptional beer. With Michael’s continual tinkering, you can expect a continually expanding line of seasonal releases, including those that pay homage to his favourite big Belgians and hoppy Northwestern ales.

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. Please note: some 2020 events may be postponed or modified due to COVID-19.

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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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