To truly travel – to discover and experience a place and its people – requires time spent tasting, touching, listening and exploring. Chatting with locals and discovering the places they like to eat, drink and visit.
Ultimately, rather than running from one “hot spot” to the next, it’s about slowing down.
Perched on the wild West Coast, where abundant oceans meet fertile fields, the Sooke region is indeed a place to slow down and indulge in a little time spent like a local.
One of the highlights of the Slow Food and locavore (a person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food) movements is the creative culinary expression they’ve inspired. Located on the Sooke waterfront, Wild Mountain is a delicious example, sharing with diners a true sense of community.
With a changing menu that reflects both the harvest and the season, this celebrated local restaurant embraces Slow Food values, sourcing from local farmers, fishers, foragers, winemakers, brewers, distillers and bakers. Visit for a meal, enjoy a shared plate on their patio or take your meal to go for a sunset dinner at the beach.
The perfect accompaniment to a local meal is, of course, a local beverage and in that respect, the Sooke region’s glass is definitely full!
One of the first beverage producers in the region, Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery became Western Canada’s first meadery in 2003, and over the years has won several international awards. Beekeeper and mead-maker Bob Liptrop produces a variety of handcrafted meads from fruits grown on their own farm and from their own Wildflower Honey, the product of their bees’ foraging excursions to the local hills.
Join Tugwell Creek for a tasting on their sunny patio overlooking the farm in Otter Point, a few minutes outside Sooke, or pick up a few bottles to try at home, along with some honey!
Sheringham Distillery is a more recent addition to Sooke’s local food and beverage scene but has already earned numerous accolades, including a prestigious World Gin Award.
From their early beginnings at their home in nearby Shirley – originally called Sheringham – Alayne and Jason MacIsaac, a chef, have infused their spirits with the wonders of their coastal community. From sustainably foraged Pacific Ocean kelp to green tea leaves and flowers grown in the nearby Cowichan Valley, quality, in-season botanicals play an integral role in the overall expression of each spirit.
Visit Sheringham Distillery in downtown Sooke to taste their inspired creations for yourself!
For those who prefer a lighter beverage to accompany their meal, Sooke is also home to three craft breweries – Sooke Brewing in downtown Sooke, Sooke Oceanside Brewery located a few minutes east of town overlooking the stunning Sooke Basin, and Bad Dog Brewing, a few minutes outside town.
You can also “eat local” at one-of-a-kind dining options like Route 14, West Coast Grill and the Stickleback West Coast Eatery, not to mention legendary options like Shirley Delicious, 17 Mile House and Mom’s Café.
Sip locally roasted brews at the Stick in the Mud coffee house, tuck into a hearty breakfast at Cathy’s Corner, savour ethnic flavours ranging from Hara Sushi to the new India Delight Bistro, or explore the burgeoning food truck scene, showcasing everything from traditional barbecue to modern variations on mac and cheese.
Of course, a sense of place isn’t only about food enjoyed and beverages sipped. As one Sooke-area business demonstrates, it’s also about sustainable, locally infused wellness products that invite us to slow down once in a while and indulge in caring for ourselves.
SeaFlora Skincare, located in the heart of the Sooke village, creates locally sourced skin care products with a “sea-to-skin” approach. Akin to the farm-to-fork movement driving local culinary philosophies, SeaFlora chooses local ingredients, sustainably hand-harvesting their seaweeds, sea mud, seawater and sea salts, before hand-crafting award-winning products in small batches. The result is a nourishing skincare line created with you, and the planet, in mind.
All this, and so many more amazing local places to explore! To learn more, visit the Sooke Tourism Association at sooke-portrenfrew.com, and if you’re a restaurateur, brewer, distiller or producer passionate about supporting local, sign up today!
READ MORE: Where the forest meets the sea, creativity thrives: Your self-guided Sooke region arts tour