Quite a few years ago, there was a little food tour that could. The brainchild of Michelle Ng, Vancouver Foodie Tours attempted to offer up a culinary experience that represented the local scene while being reasonably-priced. Fast-forward 4 years and Vancouver Foodie Tours has expanded to 3 separate tours, each offering something different. I've been on 2 of the 3 and was recently invited to the 3rd being the Granville Island Market Tour. Personally, I enjoy an occasional stroll through the market, so this was something I was looking forward to.
We met at Edible Canada at the Market to start our tour led by enthusiastic tour guide, Andrew. Seeing how it's never too early for some vino, we were treated to a glass of Merlot to go with our Wild Mushroom Benny with foraged mushrooms, buttermilk biscuit, poached free range eggs, spinach, Hollandaise and mixed field greens. This was nicely executed with a perfect runny yolk mixed with a creamy Hollandaise. The sauteed mushrooms added a woodsy aromatic touch to the dish. From there, we headed into the market to JJ Bean and sampled their Christmas Reserve Coffee that featured freshly roasted beans from the day before. To be frank, this was not my cup of tea (or should I say coffee?). I've had JJ Bean coffee before I haven't been disappointed, but this had a finish that I personally don't enjoy.
Making our way through the weekend hustle and bustle in the market, we visited Terra Breads next. We were treated to a bevy of baked goods including Rosemary & Olive Oil, Blueberry White Chocolate and Pecan Fruit Crisps. Although not pictured, we sampled a fantastic Chocolate & Cherry Pantone. It was airy and light with the balanced sweetness from the ingredients. I guess our next stop was necessary as one surely couldn't visit the market without having some fresh fruit. At the #1 Orchard fruit stand, we cleansed our palates with slices of Honey Crisp Apple. Nothing much to remark other than the apple was sweet with a semi-firm crunch. Nice and refreshing.
Onto my favourite stop of the tour, we stopped by Oyama Sausage Co. where we tried a selection of cured meats including Okanagan Red Wine Prosciutto, Rosette Lyon, Campange Parisienne, Kazu Copa, Duck Prosciutto, Elk Prosciutto and Truffled Duck Breast Salami. Of these, I enjoyed the duck prosciutto the most since it was buttery, purposefully salty and appealingly gamy. Naturally, the black truffle in the salami was a treat as well as the pate that went well with the olive bread from Terra. Taking a short few steps, we visited Benton Brothers Fine Cheese. We were given a selection of 2 cheeses including the 6-Year Old Cheddar and Qualicum Rathtrevor. Firm, notably sharp and nutty, the cheddar was flavourful. As for the Rathtrevor, it resembled a Gruyere as Andrew pointed out. He was right as it was salty, sweet, aromatic and nutty.
After this, we stopped by at the Granville Island Tea Company for some Chai. Being Chinese, I am used to drinking tea without any additions such as cream and sugar. With that out of the way, I do not mind chai though as the aromatics of the cinnamon and cloves really add to the experience. In this case, it was good for our sense of smell as well as taste where the tea was purposefully sweet. On the topic of sweets, we made our way to an ol' favourite being Lee's Donuts. There, we sampled 2 freshly made treats that included a Glazed Donut and Gingerbread Donut. Soft, warm and sinfully sweet, the glazed donut at Lee's gives some of the newer donut shops a run for their money.
We ended the tour right where we started at Edible Canada where we sampled various items including some toffee crunch which was a nice end to an enjoyable tour of various vendors in and around the market. I thought it wasn't too rushed while the variety of vendors kept things interesting and fun. Combined with the knowledgeable and friendly tour guide, I consider this tour to be a great way for tourists to get a quick taste of the Granville Island Market (and for locals to get re-acquainted).
- Nice variety
- Knowledgeable and friendly guide
- Not too rushed
- Due to the cramped nature of the market, it makes it challenging for bigger groups
- Parking could be an issue for busier days