It has taken me a few days to even bring my feet back down to reality from my Tofino trip. I now understand that I probably drank too much wine, didn’t eat enough food (go figure) and could have used a bit more sleep. So basically what I am saying is that I had a wonderful time 🙂
I could not even begin to explain all of the interesting people that I met, whether at the festival, the market or just grabbing my morning tea latte. Each of them full of unique experiences that individually brought them to Tofino either for the weekend, for the short-term or for their lifetime. Tofino is ultimately a destination for complete and total relaxation. The locals live it everyday and the transients wish they could take a piece of it home with them when they leave. At times Tofino feels like it is completely cut off from the rest of the world, with a constant vibe of being exactly where you are supposed to be. You cannot go much further west in Canada and perhaps Mother Nature saves the very best for those brave enough to venture to the “edge” if you will…this is a road trip not for the faint of heart (a mini “Road to Hanna” if you know what I mean)! Although I have been told the way to get into Tofino is by plane, you cannot discount the incredible scenery seen only from your car window that organically brings you back to Nature. Before I get into my indulgences of the Food & Wine Festival, I would be doing Tofino an injustice if I neglected to explain the shear beauty that is their landscape. The endless beaches, the enormous forested trails, the raging ocean and the tranquil inlets are unlike any other place you have ever been. True story.
The 11th Annual Tofino Food & Wine Festival was hosted by the Tofino Botanical Gardens. Having been lucky enough to visit the gardens on lasts year’s summer vacation, I already knew of its endless paths & boardwalks and its magical fusion of nature, art and whimsy. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see how the 12 acres of garden, forest and shoreline graciously lent itself as the backdrop to the hundreds of guests that showed up to indulge in the local fare and spectacular wines.
Kira and her team put together an event that is so well organized and inviting. Strolling outdoors down winding paths, you didn’t have to go very far between steps to get a wine sample or be entertained by either the people, the music, or the laid back atmosphere. Around every corner of the garden there were men and women talking, laughing, eating…and yes, drinking!
One of the favourite hangouts of the afternoon seemed to be down by the abandoned fishing boat “Evian”, where DJ Kevin lured the masses with his awesome beats. And to spite the fact that dancing midday atop a fishing boat, drink in hand and soaking up the sunshine, is not my regular routine, I did so happily! After all it was my intent to experience all parts of the festival 😉
Lastly I want to give a HUGE shout out to Schooner’s Restaurant! Mare, her family and her staff worked tirelessly before, during and after the festival to host the Cocktail Show, The BBQ and fill our bellies with some amazing food. As well as keeping the party going long after the tents of the festival were brought down! Thank you for making me feel so welcome.
Leaving Tofino on Sunday was not easy, the tug of “reality” pulling me back down the winding road. But not before I got a few photos, tasted some incredible food & wine and met a handful of memorable characters that made my weekend what it was…awesome!
I cannot wait until next year.
Here are a few of my Tofino MUSTS:
- Tofino Vacation Rentals– there are definitely a few wonderful hotel options in Tofino but once you experience one of TVR’s luxury rental homes, its hard to go back! Michele and the rest of the team, make it so effortless and relaxing to slip into your vacation. I would totally recommend their services.
- Tof Cycles– There is no greater way to explore Tofino than on a bike. The bike paths are fantastic and the downtown core is packed full of places to park your bike while you walk around. Riding a cruiser bike along the shoreline is an experience you don’t want to miss. Marc and his wife Adi are so lovely and will deliver your bikes right to where you are staying.
- Tacofino- You don’t need to hear this from me (they already have a large reputation) but no one travels to Tofino in the summer without getting in line to enjoy the A-M-A-Z-I-N-G tacos and burritos from this food truck. Although they have now ventured into Vancouver with a restaurant and food truck, nothing comes close to biking over after a full day at the beach to grab your grub while still in your bathing suit!
- Tofino Public Market– Every Saturday local vendors gather in the park for you to enjoy the unique goods that Tofino has to offer. In particular, you must stop in to see Kate Koreski and her incredible handmade jewelry. So beautiful and one-of-a-kind. Also if you like bread, Six Hundred Degrees bakery creates some incredible baked goods using ancient grains and using traditional techniques that separates them from everyone else. SO yummy!
- Green Soul Organics– this tiny local grocery store has all the familiar products that big commercial grocery stores don’t. Anyone that has a dairy-free, gluten-free or meat-free lifestyle will love the selection here. Plus, they have tonnes of fresh organic produce and make awesome smoothies.
Don’t forget to checkout the Tofino Food & Wine Festival on Facebook to see more great photos!
I will be back on Sunday with another Simple Summer Recipe…