Our kids gave us a coupon for a Gourmet  lunch Adventure.  Yesterday Pat and I were finally able to participate.

Gaetane is a female chef and tour guide that takes small groups on a Gourmet tour of Comox valley.  There were 5 guests including Paul, a chef from Edmonton.    Beautiful sunny day.

We first visited a coffee roaster in Royston.  They bring in coffee beans from various places in South America and roast them in small batches (30 lbs) for specialty coffee shops and restaurants on Vancouver Island.  We have seen Royston Roaster coffee featured at many restaurants and have driven past the facility many times, but never dropped in.

We learned a lot about the differences in French roast, Expresso, Medium Roast etc.  News for me was that the darker the roast , the stronger the flavour but the lower the caffeine.  The reverse of what I thought.  Apparently the more you roast beans the more caffeine evaporates.    People that think if they have an expresso in the evening it will keep them up are wrong.

Next we drove up to Cumberland to visit a small Chocolatier shop.   Lovely chocolates but very expensive, never-the-less we did get to sample.

A short walk to a herbalist and spice store.  (Cumberland is the Hippy village) Now this is a store that I would never enter.  Whole bunch of dried mushrooms and roots and things that cure lumbago and enhance sex lives, but with a large selections of unusual spices and food enhancers.  At least 15 varieties of salt for instance.  Paul, the chef, was commenting to Pat and I about the variety and pointed out interesting items.  We ended up buying a couple of packages of items and will try them out on dinner tonight.

Drove back to Courtenay for a great lunch at Locals Restaurant.  Gaetane was slightly disappointed that we know this restaurant well but we were not disappointed.  She knows Ronald the owner/chef well so he joined us to discuss some of the dishes that we could select.  As per usual at Local’s the food, even at a lunch was superb.

A longer drive up to Shelter Point distillery (where we took our family at Christmas) for a special tour and Vodka tasting.  Again Pat and I have been there before but we had an even better tour as they were actually distilling.

On the way back we visited the Bison ranch that supplies Buffalo meat to every restaurant on the Island.  This farm/ranch was taken over a few years ago by a relatively young couple who had a hobby farm in Langley but wanted to go big time.  Our guide was Lisa the relatively young wife who showed us around the operation with enthusiasm.  When they bought the ranch it had 30 bison and basically supplied a few restaurants.  They expanded it to 140 animals and added a small herd of Water Buffalo.

Now I have dined on Bison and it is a leaner variation of beef but apparently Water Buffalo is sort of between beef and bison.  At their store they have packaged Water Buffalo steaks.  As we are travelling we did not buy but I know when we have visitors I will be buying some Water Buffalo steaks to impress them.  I had a brief thought that we might freeze them and take them on our trip to visit Janine and Vedran but imagined the issue at US customs trying to explain bringing in Water Buffalo meat.  I suspect hanging by the thumbs might have been the result.  So we will wait for family to visit.

We had a wonderful day and did not get home until after 5 pm .