In Photos: A Culinary Stroll On Granville Island with Context Travel

Ferry to Granville Island Context Travel

Best way to get to Granville Island is via one of these small ferry boats from Yaletown. Only $4.50 one-way or $7.50 round-trip. It’s a very smooth, short ride (about 5-10 minutes).

Before I get into the food, let me give you a little context (see what I did there?).

Earlier this month, I attended a travel blogging workshop in Philly called BlogHouse. During one of the sessions, Paul Bennett (co-founder) and Brian Costello (marketing manager) of Context Travel came to talk to the group about their company and best practices for blogger-brand relationships. At the start of the workshop, everyone received a goodie bag, and included was a complimentary voucher for a Context Travel tour anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to go on a tour in Philly so I decided to use it on my next stop of North American travels: VANCOUVER! And boy, did I strike gold.

On my 2nd day in Vancouver, I was joined by Heather, our guide for the morning, as well as local bloggers Jordana from Urban Xenophile and Claus from Clausito’s Footprints for the Made in BC, A Culinary Stroll on Granville Island tour. Having 3 locals show me around, share in their love of food, and learn more about their own city was an extra special treat.

What is Context Travel?
Context Travel is a small group tour company based in Philadelphia. They lead casual walking seminars that engage intellectually curious travelers with local experts, whom Context refers to as docents, and take them beneath the surface of a destination’s culture and history, offering an intimate experience with no more than 6 people in a group.

Group Photo Context Travel Vancouver

Obligatory blogger group shot at a sake tasting at Artisan Sake Maker on Granville Island

To work and travel with bloggers, especially food bloggers, is to understand that we must take pictures of our food first before we eat. Especially at a place like the public market, somewhere with an eclectic assortment of stalls selling unique, homemade products, rich aromas permeating from every direction, and frequented primarily by locals, photos before chowing down is a cardinal rule.

As Heather led us through the market, she inundated us with golden nuggets of her vast knowledge of the food industry and the things she has learned through building relationships with some of the vendors. Sometimes I caught myself only half listening, stars in my eyes with all the food around me. Our heads piqued in all directions trying to identify the scents in the air and where they were coming from. With each stop, when snack time came, we’d pop whatever we were sampling into our mouths (after taking photos of our food, of course) and standby for each other’s reactions.

Whenever I looked over at Jordana and Claus, bewildered expressions had crossed their faces accompanied by a brief shake of the head that might be typical of someone who had just eaten a food that is hard to swallow or induces a gag reflex. But no, this is the travel blogger’s way of coming to terms with what it is they just ate, appreciating the sublime taste, and wondering why they had never come across such a delight until now. To passersby, such an expression may give off the wrong impression, but in fact, it is just the opposite. When we looked back at Heather, she’d give us an “I know, right?” as if she had just read off an incredible list of perks and amenities to joining the most prestigious food cult. Whatever the price, we were in.

OK enough talking. Let’s get into the good stuff.

chai tea granville island public market

First stop was Granville Island Tea Company for some chai tea, perfect for warming up on a cool, cloudy day. Also try the matcha (green tea) chai tea. For my fellow chai lovers out there, they also sell chai mix for you to stock up on for your own home and buy as souvenirs for friends.

charcuterie Oyama Sausage Company

I’m not big on red meats, but this charcuterie platter from Oyama Sausage Company was pretty tasty.

salted chocolate truffle cookie terra breads

At Terra Breads, we sampled some rosemary bread, but a couple days later, I went back to the market and tried the salted chocolate truffle cookie. One of the better decisions I’ve made in life. The salt really does bring out the sweetness of the chocolate.

the #1 orchard granville island public market

Maggie, the woman on the far left, runs The #1 Orchard, a fruit stand selling only the freshest seasonal fruits to its customers, and I can vouch for that. Everything on display is rich in color and taste. That is why she is the most popular fruit stand at the market and has been able to run a successful business for almost 40 years. If it’s not fresh, it’s not getting sold. The #1 Orchard is certainly #1 in my book.

Fruit platter

At The #1 Orchard stand, we sampled a fruit platter of blueberries, apple, strawberries, and cherries. Never was a fan of cherries, despite growing up in Michigan which produces and sells a lot of them, but these cherries were a perfect blend of tangy and sweet. Now, I have a new favorite fruit!

seafood city granville island public market

Samples are served with a smile at Seafood City.

seafood platter seafood city granville island public market

A few treats we tried at Seafood City included crab meat, shrimp, smoked peppered salmon, and candied salmon. The latter being the most tasty and my personal favorite.

chocolatas granville island public market

Post seafood eats, we stopped for a sweeter treat at ChocolaTas, a shop selling handcrafted, artisan chocolates. We each got to pick one chocolate to try, and I went for the one with the bumble bee on top. Did you know the world has seen high rates of sudden decline in honeybee colonies due to bee killing pesticides, parasites, and climate change?

canada chocolates granville island public market

In celebration of Canada Day (July 1, 2016), ChocolaTas was selling chocolates adorned with the beloved Canadian Flag. Almost too beautiful and patriotic to eat.


Rainbow tower of macarons at the shop next to Granville Island Tea Company.

spicy mango chutney macaron granville island public market

Bon Macaron Patisserie, the stall across from Granville Island Tea Company, sells unique and intriguing flavors of macarons like spicy mango chutney. Didn’t try any of them, but I came very close to taking home a custom 12-pack. Much like the chocolates from ChocolaTas, the macarons look too beautiful to eat.

If you’re interested in trying some of the same treats on your visit to Granville Island, here are the places we stopped at:

BONUS: We didn’t stop here on the tour, but I also recommend the veggie pizza from Pizza Pzazz.

Group Photo Heather Tour Guide Context Travel Vancouver

One last group shot with our wonderful docent (tour guide), Heather.

Thank you to Context Travel and my guide, Heather, for hosting me on a culinary stroll through Granville Island Public Market and allowing me to indulge in what I do best: EAT. As always, all opinions are my own. If you’re interested in taking the same tour, check here for all the details or pick a Context Travel tour from 30+ other destinations. You can support this blog by booking your tour through the links provided, and Sushiyama Travels will receive a small commission from each tour booked. Bon appetit!

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