FEAST on This #4: Vancouver Island Sea Salt

Andrew Shepherd, recently named one of Western Living Magazine’s ’40 Foodies under 40, created Vancouver Island Salt Co (VISC) in 2010.  After a diverse and international chef career, Shepherd shifted his focus to gourmet food production and has filled the need for locally harvested artisan Pacific sea salt.  VISC offers a large variety of smoked and infused sea salts, all hand harvested off the coast of Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley. 

Best used as a finishing salt, we’ve got some cherry wood smoked salt tucked into our FEAST pantry for the road trip.  Can’t wait to get cookin’!

Slow Livin' in Cowichan Bay

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When asked what my favourite foods are, my usual answers are “cheese” and “fresh bread with really good butter.”  Understandably, Cowichan Bay is one of my favourite places to go, because not only is it charm-your-pants-off-good-looking, but it’s also home to a local cheese shop and bread bakery.

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Hilary’s Cheese is family-run, with a café serving lunch and display cases filled with international and local cheeses, including their own.  It's made on their nearby farm, one of many in the picturesque Cowichan Valley.

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We enjoyed a roast beef with Hilary's Yoo Bou Blue sandwich, and a capicollo grilled cheese with garlic scape aioli.  If you’ve never added pureed garlic scapes to your aioli, you should.

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Next door to Hilary’s is True Grain Bread.

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They utilize locally grown grains that are milled in-house (including Red Fife) for their loaves, and also sell bags of the freshly-milled flour. 

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Mounted on the wall is a map of Cowichan Bay's Cittaslow Community, a designation by Slow Food International highlighting the predominance of locally grown/produced foods available in the area. 

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It’s a truly remarkable place.  Here are some more photos from our afternoon there, and we’d highly recommend visiting the area if you can. 

Especially, if you love cheese and bread as much as I do.