SIDE DISH: Chantal Ireland

Taste the bounty of Vancouver Island

Vegan’s delight burger at Six Mile Pub.

Vegan’s delight burger at Six Mile Pub.

Last month I made apple cider doughnuts and declared them good for us because I fried them in coconut oil. My first attempt at doughnuts was mostly successful, but maybe not my take on their health factor, or so I’m told.

Spring is almost here and there are some great new BC ciders to drink, or convert to doughnuts, cakes and cocktails.

Spinnakers which is best known for being Canada’s first gastro brewpub (opened in 1984), and their spirit merchant stores, also make hard ciders.

A new collaboration with LifeCycles Project is a cider made with rescued apples that would otherwise have gone to waste. LifeCycles works with a team of volunteers and property owners to harvest 18,000 kilograms of fruit each year in Greater Victoria. They share the bounty equally between homeowners, the food bank, volunteers and to fund the program.

Spinnakers is a long time supporter of LifeCycles; Backyard Blend Cider, a quince paste and an apple cider vinegar are new ways for the two to work together to fund and support local food security and access. All proceeds from Backyard Cider (sold at both Spinnakers Spirit Merchants locations) go towards funding LifeCycles Project.

Paul Hadfield, owner of Spinnakers, is a quiet leader in our local food scene. He works tirelessly and with many other businesses and organizations to develop and maintain island food access, growth and the pure pleasure of experiencing the connection to makers, growers and the dedicated voices who share their stories.

In View Royal, another pub with an old and storied history, Six Mile Pub & Eatery dates back to 1848, it’s the oldest pub in BC. Visit their website for a detailed account of their history. If only all suburban pubs were this great. Almost everything is made in house, there are no microwaves and they have great vegetarian, vegan and gluten free menu options. An apiary, herb and vegetable garden and lots of craft beer make for a pretty awesome story.

I’ve recently become friends with a couple who eat a vegan diet, Six Mile is their top pick for vegan burgers, so off we went. Vegan’s Delight burger ($14.95) is a house-made patty of mushrooms, artichokes, chick peas and oats, topped with hummus, beets, sprouts, lettuce and scallions with a vinaigrette. This was the best vegetarian burger I’ve had by a long shot. Head to Six Mile to pull up a seat at a historic bar leading its patrons into a modern food philosophy of growing and making what’s been here all along.

Try it, you’ll like it:

• Tapas at Perro Negro – I loved the blood orange and fennel salad

Dominion Cider – Available at Spinnakers Spirit Merchants

• Sushi Bar at Marina Restaurant – The only 100 per cent Ocean Wise sushi bar on Vancouver Island.

 

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