Celebrating the bounty from farms and sea

The fourth annual Dine Around returns to the Comox Valley Feb. 20 to March 17.

The fourth annual Dine Around returns to Comox Valley celebrating the extraordinary bounty from the farms and sea.

With one of Canada’s only whisky distilleries, award-winning wineries, and an ever-expanding variety of restaurants and cafés showcasing locally produced, raised and harvested ingredients, it is a chefs’ paradise and a food lover’s dream.

The month-long event begins Feb. 20 and runs through to March 17.

“The Comox Valley is in the midst of a mini-culinary boom and so the dining choices have never been better,” says Danielle Duncan, owner/manger of Union Street Grill. “And, like other food establishments, we take pride in working with the local producers to bring the seasonal ingredients to the menu, so Dine Around is an excellent way for locals and visitors to come in and check out what’s new while enjoying the festive vibe the event creates.”

This year, 22 Comox Valley restaurants will partake in the annual event by creating delicious three-course, prix fixe meals — each available to diners for $17, $27 or $37 per person.

With a climate that supports a year-round growing season and the diversity of the farm produce, chefs have access to the freshest of local ingredients. Even the most discerning gourmands and connoisseurs should be able to satiate tastebuds.

There are also several properties offering special accommodation rates. They can arrange shuttle service, so food lovers can further pamper themselves by taking advantage of special discounts to make it a real night out.

Accommodation partners include the Travelodge Courtenay, Old House Village Hotel and Spa, the Best Western Plus Westerly Hotel and the Comox Valley Bed and Breakfast Association.

“Dine Around is the perfect opportunity for a staycation — a mini vacation in town — with your partner,” says Tansy Pauls, front desk manager of the Courtenay Travelodge. “Couples can enjoy a romantic dinner for two then adjourn to one of the participating accommodations for an evening and the best part about it is they are free from household chores and daily distractions.”

In recent years, the Comox Valley has risen in culinary circles as a food destination — thanks in part to the great number of agricultural and aquaculture products produced in the surrounding land and waters. This, combined with local wineries and breweries, diverse restaurants and excellent chefs, has put the Comox Valley region on the maps of food lovers everywhere.

The Comox Valley also plays host to a number of annual foodcentric events. In addition to Dine Around, there is the BC Shellfish Festival in June, Comox Valley Farm Cycle Tour in August and FLAVOUR: The North Island’s Gourmet Picnic in September.

For any vacation planning in the Comox Valley, the new Vancouver Island Visitor Centre (VIVC) is a great starting point. The centre has the latest information on events and activities to do pre- and post-Dine Around Comox Valley and, as a winter destination, it means same-day adventures can take visitors from a snowy mountain top to an ocean adventure.

From VIVC, visitors can make accommodation reservations, purchase activities and even beat lineups at the ski hill. Mount Washington Alpine Resort snow tubing and lift pass and rental packages are available at the VIVC’s new Snow Desk.

VIVC will also offer a Dine Around Sweepstakes on Facebook until March 17, with gift certificates to participating restaurants and accommodations drawn at the end of Dine Around.

For details, visit www.facebook.com/VIVisitorCentre.

And, working in partnership with Comox Valley Economic Development in overseeing the Dine Around event is a top-notch steering committee. Members include Ronald St-Pierre from Locals – Food from the Heart of the Island; Edd Moyes and Barbara Hansen from Blackfin Pub, and Sandra Viney from Atlas Café and Avenue Bistro.

For more information about the restaurants and accommodations participating in this year’s Dine Around Comox Valley, visit comoxvalleydinearound.com. You can also follow them on Twitter@vivisitorcentre #DineAroundCV or on Facebook at fb.com/vivisitorcentre for profiles on participating locations.

— Dine Around

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