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> A Culinary Tour of Bowen Island.

Posted June 3rd, 2010

We understand that, although you are ready to immerse yourself in this natural wonder, you likely have very discerning taste. Moving to your secluded island hideaway does not mean you have to give up fabulous food, or sophisticated sustainable cuisine.

With an array of intimate bistros, artisan-inspired cafés and lively pubs, Bowen Island's culinary scene has options for the most refined palates - and the most mellow moments with friends and family. From fine dining to burgers-and-beer on the patio, there is something to entice every moment, mood, and craving. To whet your appetite, we've prepared a selection of Bowen Island's edible experiences to discover and enjoy.

Tuscany Restaurant (http://www.tuscanypizza.com/)
French-trained chef Christophe Langlois and wife Julie Cree have been creating culinary magic at Tuscany Restaurant since moving to Bowen Island in 2004. After many successful years at some of Vancouver's high-profile restaurants, including Le Crocodile, C Restaurant and Raincity Grill, the couple joined forces to create this delicious dining experience in Snug Cove. Their menu features French and Italian comfort food, as well as gourmet thin-crust pizzas (think BC grown pears, gooey brie, and sweet caramelized onions), which are wood-oven baked to perfection. In the warmer months, al fresco dining is open on the garden patio, and the pizzas are always available for take away to enjoy at home, or on the beach. Reservations are always recommended as Tuscany is a favourite among locals and visitors alike.

Blue Eyed Mary's (http://www.blueeyedmarys.com/)
Blue Eyed Mary's is home to another Bowen Island husband and wife team; Stephen Biddiscombe and chef Carol Wallace (formally of the highly acclaimed Bishops restaurant in Vancouver). This laid-back bistro offers generous portions of fine-dining comfort food. Every item at Blue Eyed Mary's, from bread to ice cream, is made in-house, and the menu and wine list are changed monthly to allow for the use of seasonal ingredients. Delectable house creations have included Smoked Salmon with an Asparagus Goat Cheese Tart, Mushroom Spinach and Pecan Risotto with Pear Drizzle, and Shoofly Pie with Whipped Cream and Molasses Treacle. The restaurant has also introduced a Mindful Menu featuring a set three-course meal made entirely from local ingredients. Given the exceptional food, reasonable prices and cozy setting, dinner reservations are always recommended.

Artisan Eats Café & Fine Foods (http://www.artisaneats.ca/)
Artisan Eats is the casual eatery and deli opened by Christophe and Julie of Tuscany Restaurant, and their partner Thierry Mohrbach, a chef from Northern France. All of the country bread, soups, house-made sausages, cured meats and patés are made in-house. The menu selection includes simple breakfasts, paninis and sandwiches, and an outstanding brunch on Sunday with mouth-watering dishes such as Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and Eggs Benedict with herb-stuffed crab cakes. Artisan Eats also hosts monthly French Feasts, where Chef Thierry prepares a three-course meal from his hometown. Tickets to these events sell out quickly, and it is recommended to contact the restaurant in advance.

Bowen Island Roasting Company (http://www.bowencoffee.ca/)
Fresh cups of organic java are always served at Bowen Island Roasting Company - the island's only coffee roaster. To enhance and preserve the flavour, the owner personally roasts the 100% fair trade beans each week in small batches to sell in the café and to select stores on Bowen and in Vancouver. For those particular about their coffee, custom roasting orders are available upon request. The licensed café, Happy Island Café & Bistro, serves specialty coffees, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Menu choices include all-day breakfasts, take-and-bake pizzas, meal-sized salads, oven-toasted subs, burgers and pasta. In addition to casual eats, the café serves up live entertainment with an open-mike night on Thursdays, and music series on Friday nights.

Cocoa West (http://www.cocoawest.com/)
Inspired by the love of chocolate, photographer turned Master Chocolatier Joanne Moagridge opened Cocoa West in 2002 with husband Carlos. Each delicate truffle produced at this organic chocolate boutique is hand-crafted and filled with a sinfully delicious soft centre, such as vanilla and blackberry ganache or cinnamon infused cream with milk chocolate and Goldschlager. The café at Cocoa West is the perfect spot for sipping an espresso, inhaling the intoxicating sweet chocolate scent, and watching the busy chocolatiers producing their next batch of heaven.

We have provided only a small taste of Bowen's culinary scene. As we move from spring into summer, there is no better time to explore the island's many restaurants, and sample their seasonal menus. Best of all, when you live here, you will get to know all of the fabulous personalities who have brought the Bowen culinary milieu to life.

For more information on Bowen Island dining, visit the Tourism BC website.