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There’s no food you can’t find in Vancouver, from Forbes Four Star restaurants like Bishop’s to a casual lunch from one of the city’s many downtown food trucks.
If you’re hoping to bring a taste of Vancouver home, here’re a few ideas:
Smoked salmon is a signature of the West Coast. Salted, cured and vacuumed packed for longevity, look for the signature cedar boxes at many food shops in and around downtown.
And you’d be hard-pressed to find a cheese board in Vancouver that doesn’t include some gourmet Lesley Stowe crackers. A veritable artisanal empire, flavours like the rosemary raisin pecan are often imitated, but never quite duplicated. Even Oprah is a fan!
Vancouver’s most sought-after foodie, Erin Ireland, is gaining quite the following for her own creation: the insanely tasty, homemade To Die For Banana Bread. A few loaves will hardly take up any space in the carry-on (although it might get eaten before it reaches its destination).
And although not quite at Seattle levels, Vancouver’s coffee scene is quite robust. Local favourites 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters work with farmers to cultivate green and sustainable practices, then custom roast beans to perfection and package the fresh coffee in stylish blue bags.
Head for Granville Island if you’re looking to bring home tastes of Vancouver. Several vendors in the Granville Island Public Market sell West Coast smoked salmon, packed for travel, as well as “salmon candy,” a slightly sweet cured fish that makes a great snack – and yes, you may find you’ll devour it like candy. Opposite the Public Market, Edible Canada sells a variety of local food products, from jams to chocolates to Vancouver Island salt. Head down the island’s Railspur Alley to the Artisan Sake Maker, where a bottle of this locally-produced Japanese-style rice wine would make another unique gift.
If you need a food gift that travels well, stop into Barbara Jo’s Books to Cooks, just off Granville Island, to pick up a cookbook by one of Vancouver’s top chefs.
Or if your shopping time is limited, order a gift basket from the Gourmet Warehouse. Their “Local Culinary Heroes” box includes an assortment of BC-made treats.