From the Culinary Trail – Sailing & Savouring the Gulf Islands Part 1

As a kid, my friends found it amusing that I wanted to sail yachts when we lived in a landlocked Canadian province.  I’m not sure how or when I got the sailing bug but I started with sailing lessons on Laser class sailboats at our small reservoir.   Back then, I must have been really brave or stupid because I also didn’t know how to swim.  I was terrified of going into the water and avoided the exercise of flipping the boat.   My fear of water is probably what drove me to like larger sailboats – to stay as high off the water as possible!  After years of travelling far for ocean sailing, I now live on the coast with easy access to cruising, and I am a better swimmer.

Gulf Islands
Gulf Islands Sailing kake2kaleSailing continues to be one of my favourite activities.  I feel lucky to live on one of the most spectacular coastlines in North America and one of the top cruising areas in the world.  There is an abundance of cruising destinations to enjoy and one of my top picks is the Gulf Islands in British Columbia, a beautiful archipelago located between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, comprising of 13 major and 450 smaller islands.  On a recent sailing trip through these islands, I took more time to explore the flourishing local food and wine scene, which I’m happy to share with you over two blog posts.  This is part 1 of 2 posts and captures our visit to the charming Saturna Island Winery.

Amritha Catamaran
Amritha kake2kale
Our group of six set sail in the Gulf Islands on a gorgeous Lagoon 400 catamaran named Amritha.  If you’re interested, she’s available for sailing charters – click here for more information about this catamaran, BC sailing and catamaran sailing.

Saturna Island Vineyards
Saturna Winery kake2kale
Each of the major islands has their own unique personality and special spots.  I’ve been to all of them, except Saturna Island.  The key attraction of this Island, and the main reason we wanted to go, is the Saturna Island Family Estate Winery which is one of ten wineries in the Gulf Islands and the largest with an annual production of 20,000 cases of wine.  If I’m not mistaken, it is the only island winery that has their own beach access, with an easy 15 minute walk to the vineyard.  We’ve tried several times to get there but one thing or another stopped us.  On the morning of our planned visit, there was an electrical issue on the boat and we almost didn’t make it.  I was beginning to think that the universe didn’t want us to go to Saturna Island!  Luckily, the problem got fixed. We sailed into and docked at Saturna Beach for a visit.   The uniquely hand-crafted barn (post and dowel frame with no steel nails) with their tasting room, wine shop and bistro is in a lovely spot, surrounded by vineyards and ocean views.   Forty acres of the property is planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Merlot grapes. We sampled seven wines, all made on property from grapes grown on the island and from growers in the Okanagan.  The wines, which include a rose and port, are pleasant and good value compared to other BC wines.   The 2011 Riesling ($14.90) is fantastic and is my new favourite BC Riesling! We also sampled the food at the bistro.  The chef, Agi, is a locavore who strives to feature products grown or produced on the islands. I sampled her roasted beet salad, which was delicious.  Whether you’re sailing or visiting the Gulf Islands by ferry, I highly recommend a visit to this delightful and special island winery.  The owners, Larry and Robyn, and their team are amazing and look forward to welcoming all visitors.

Superfoods on this Visit
beets and wine kake2kale

Wine: Consumed in moderation, wine is considered one of the top 10 superfoods! Red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that is thought to help fight cancer, prevent blood clots, lowers the risk of diabetes and hinders fat storage.  While white wine contains less resveratrols,  it has two antioxidants that are not found in red wine – tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol, which are in olive oil and considered good for the heart.

Beets:  Beets have a range of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals.  Beets are low in calories, zero cholesterol, known to lower blood pressure, and is packed with potassium, fiber, folate and vitamins A, B,C, B9. Red beets and Golden Beets have similar nutritional value but differ in pigment.  Red beets have betalains that help prevent cancer and degenerative diseases.  Golden beets, rich in b-xanthin, are thought to be good for the heart and helps cleanse the body. Best of all, golden beets do not stain your hands when you’re working with them!

Travel Far, Explore More! – {Kale}

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