A Guest Blog by Nancy Shields
Burgers. Seafood. Nanaimo Bars and French-inspired food. Yes, we got our fill of the best of what Nanaimo chefs and caterers create every day of the year, except all in one place at Bite of Nanaimo. It was the 24th year for this event, a gourmet food fundraiser for Nanaimo-based theatre company, Theatre One which put on a treat of its own for festival-goers.
Upon entering Beban Park, guests were transported into a quaint evening in Paris. Gorgeous ambient lighting helped set the scene as Theatre One staff and volunteers, outfitted in French apparel, served delicious French-inspired dishes.
And that was just the beginning of what would be a weekend of sweets and savoury treats, spirits and cool brews.
The outer walls of the social centre were filled with tasting booths from the Arbutus Distillery, Cassidy Country Kitchen, Coco Café, Culinary Institute at VIU, Lighthouse Bistro, Longwood Brew Pub & Restaurant, Longwood Brewery, Original Joe’s, Oxy Pub, Paradise Island Foods, Sea Salt Food Company, Simonholt, Smoke N’ Water, The Vault Café, Winston’s Tea Co., VIU Professional Baking Program, Wolf Brewing, and The Nanaimo Bar Trail.
Highlights included delicious turkey sliders from the Longwood Brewery, Sockeye salmon cakes with edamame puree from the Vault Cafe, and gorgeous seared scallops from the Lighthouse Bistro.
After guests were full of great food, they were treated to the Island-made beers, wines, ciders and spirits. The Artbutus Distillery, located in downtown Nanaimo featured samples of their ever-popular gin. The Longwood and Wolf breweries both featured craft beers, including a seasonal pumpkin ale.
No meal in Nanaimo is complete without the iconic Nanaimo Bar. Several vendors offered up their twist on the traditional bar including, a sea salt and caramel Nanaimo Bar bite from the Lighthouse Bistro, a Nanaimo Bar cake pop from the Coco Cafe and the delightful Nanaimo Bar Martini from The Nanaimo BAR and the Nanaimo Bar Trail.
No problem if Nanaimo Bars were not your thing. The were plenty of other sweet confections, like the to-die-for s’more cheesecake from the Cassidy Country Kitchen, and my personal favourite, creme au chocolate aux noisettes, from the VIU baking program.
All in all, Bite of Nanaimo was a delectable experience for new and returning foodies from around Nanaimo and Vancouver Island. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for the 25th annual event next year!