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Embark on a Culinary Adventure

“Embark on a Culinary Adventure: Island Gourmet Trails Unveils the Flavours of Comox Valley, One Bite at a Time!”

Nestled amid the breathtaking landscapes of Vancouver Island, the Comox Valley beckons with its fusion of oceanic beauty and verdant expanses. A hidden culinary gem, this region boasts award-winning cheeses that derive their distinct flavours from the pristine environment.

At the heart of the Comox Valley lies our Artisan Cheese Shop in Courtenay, where both locals and visitors are warmly welcomed. Our passion for cheese often sparks engaging conversations, especially with the groups led by Island Gourmet Trails owner Gaetane Palardy. She offers enthralling day tours, guiding you through the valley’s lush landscapes to savor the essence of the area.

Located in the heart of Vancouver Island, Comox Valley has an abundance of organic farm products, fresh seafood, superb wines, and more. Whether you call the Island home or are passing through, set out on a culinary adventure with Island Gourmet Trails!

Unveiling a Tapestry of Flavours and Culture

Founder and tour operator, Gaetane Palardy, a seasoned chef and who has travelled the world, curates experiences that ensure you’re embraced as a friend wherever you go. Her enthusiasm for local products is contagious, and she is always delighted to share some of her favourites with you.

“It is always a pleasure to bring visitors on a tasting tour with Island Gourmet Trails to the Natural Pastures shop. They are happy to learn that so many varieties of quality cheeses are made here in the Comox Valley. It is a great opportunity for them to get some cheeses to eat during their trip or to bring home.” 

Gaetane Palardy, Owner and Tour Operator, Island Gourmet Trails

There is no need to worry about your itinerary, or how to navigate the Valley. The team at Island Gourmet Trails customize your tour ahead of time. All you have to do is enjoy the beautiful scenery and be entertained with local history and stories.

Savour the Local

This is your passport to the behind-the-scenes narratives! Meet local producers and see the passion they put into their products. Find out what makes them unique to the area. You might even pick up some trade secrets to try at home. Then learn where the locals go! You will hear about so many additional activities and places to visit during your stay. Gaetane and her well-informed guides are happy to share suggestions to make your stay memorable beyond your tour.

What might you see on a tour of the Comox Valley?

Did you know the area is home to over 400 farms and is Canada’s top oyster producer? Every corner unveils something delightful to sip or savor. Island Gourmet Trails empowers you to relish this culinary abundance. Traverse bustling farmers’ markets, indulge in wineries, raise a toast at craft breweries and distilleries, and relish the artistry of bakeries and organic farms.

The journey extends to picturesque orchards, world-renowned cheese factories (ours included!), organic chocolatiers, oyster and scallop farms, vibrant fishing docks, and fragrant lavender farms.

Your Food Odyssey Awaits

Ready to embark on an unparalleled escapade blending food and fun? Gaetane and her guides await, eager to accompany you on a day-long exploration of the Comox Valley. Whether you’re an experienced globetrotter or a budding epicurean, this journey has something to delight you.

Your next adventure is just a click away at Island Gourmet Trails. Bon appétit and happy trails! 🍴😋

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Eat, Drink, and Brie Merry!

‘Tis the cheese-on to enjoy Natural Pastures

The holiday season looks a little different again this year, but whether you’re entertaining two or a few, we’re serving up a helping of inspiration. 

Retro or just plain rad? We’re bringing back fondue

What could be better than this classic winter warmer? Add a little pizzazz to a night in with a bubbly pot of cheese fondue. It adds just the right amount of fancy but with minimal fuss. You just need a few ingredients, a stovetop, and a willingness to stir. We love using a creamy combo of Natural Pastures Amsterdammer, Boerenkaas, and Aged Farmhouse. Find our full recipe here. Your dipping possibilities are endless! 

You’ll want to act fast on this one

Our Triple Cream Camembert is available now – but only for the holiday season! Indulge in a decadent, smooth, richer version of our award-winning Camembert. A creamy finish complements a delicate note of mushroom. Find it in our store and at Thrifty locations throughout BC.

Camembert is delicious served on its own or topped with chutney or tart jam. For optimal flavour, serve at room temperature. Get melt-in-your-mouth cheese by baking in the oven at 325°F for 10 minutes. ⁠Considering a wine pairing? Try a dry Rosé, Gamay, Pinot Noir, or Merlot. 40 Knots Winery has you covered! 

Graze board, charcuterie, cheese platter – delicious by any name

Speaking of melty, rich Camembert, it’s a star for any cheese board. You can also substitute our Comox Brie for a more traditional taste, or our Buffalo Brie for something a little more unique. Add grapes, berries, a variety of nuts, and cured meats – the only limit to the combination is your imagination. Would you rather order a ready-made board to save time and present your guests with a little added oomph? Our friends at The Local Picnic in Victoria can add some sparkle to your holiday table or some dazzle to a date night.  

We’d love seeing your cheesy creations on Instagram, so follow us and tag us in your photos: @naturalpasturescheese. To get more recipes and pairings, follow us on Facebook!

Fresh mozzarella summer recipes

Summer is coming at you! Are you ready?

As the countdown to summer continues, we are excited to share with you some of our favourite recipes that include our delectable Mozzarella di Bufala.

This mild flavoured soft cheese is made from the rich milk of the water buffalo and is thicker and creamier than cow milk. Buffalo milk is high in nutritional value and is made with 100% free range water buffalo milk on Vancouver Island.  

Satisfy your summer cravings with a fresh fruit and cheese board

We all know and love a charcuterie board in the spring and summer (or any time, really). But what about a fruit and cheese board? Peaches, cantaloupe, honeydew, apples, blackberries, and slices of our decadent mozzarella will be sure to make you an instant hit at any outdoor get together. The mozzarella is unsalted, so sprinkle a light dash of salt (we love Clever Crow’s red wine salt!) to bring out layers of flavour.

Indulge in a caprese salad with grilled peaches

This simple salad is made with only four ingredients: Fresh basil, peaches, balsamic oil and of course, our Mozzarella di Bufala. Perfect for summer, and so easy to make. To grill the peaches, sprinkle with a quick drizzle of olive oil and toss them onto a hot grill. The sugars in the peach caramelize into a mouth-watering sweet and smoky flavour. The only other step is to layer the grilled peaches, basil and Mozzarella di Bufala on a plate, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic oil and add a pinch of salt. Enjoy!

Savor every bite of this mouth watering marinated bocconcini

Nothing quite brings the flavours out of our favourite cheese like marinating It in olive oil and a mixture of fresh spices. Try this marinated bocconcini recipe by drizzling the bocconcini in olive oil and adding capers, Italian parsley, fresh thyme, and minced garlic. Let the ingredients sit for at least four hours in the fridge and serve at room temperature. For full recipe details, click here.

We hope you enjoy these simple summer recipes as much as we do! We’d love to hear about your delicious creations, so please tag us in your photos. And to get more recipes and cheesy ideas follow us on Facebook!

Best snacks for hiking, biking & picnicking.

Spring has sprung!

At least in BC it has.

We’re getting out more and more with the kids for outdoor adventures. And to keep us going, we pack a hearty snack that is healthy, easy to deal with, and portable!

Here are some fun snack ideas for your next bike ride, picnic, or hike in the woods:

1) Homemade “Lunchables”!

Of course, cheese and crackers are an easy win and great snacks for hiking. Customize these snack kits to suit your wee ones tastes. We have a variety of ring molds and cookie cutters at our house, making it simple to cut the cheese to match the cracker size. Uniformity is key!

  • We like Aged Farmhouse, deli ham, and a cracker of choice, often Ritz.
  • Or try Comox Camembert on a crunchy Raincoast Crisp with fig jam.
  • Or, Garlic & Chives Verdelait with smoked salmon.

All of these go in a Bento Box, which you can find anywhere at your local department store, variety store, or online.  

2) Tortilla Rollups!

In our camping days, we often pack several peanut butter & jam tortilla rollups and they are the prized item of the trip. You can really wrap anything in a tortilla and it will be amazing (provided you are eating it outside!).

Lately we go for slices of Courtenay Cheddar, or Amsterdammer, turkey, and spinach with a spread of spicy English mustard like Keens, or even a spinach or onion dip, all wrapped in a tortilla. If you fold these like a burrito, there is little chance for mess. These wrap up nicely in a beeswax wrap, a sandwich bag, or even some parchment paper.

3) Greek Salad.

We love a salad with big chunks of Buffeta, chopped red onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and black olives, all tossed in olive oil, oregano, some red wine vinegar and a little salt and pepper. We use mason jars to store these, or in a plastic container.

Fresh and delish! Bring a hunk of bread for a bigger day outside.

What’s your go-to adventure snack? Hit us up with ideas – we’d love to hear them.