After running the Colour Me Rad run last month, I met Jess in Langley so we could catch a ferry over to Vancouver Island. It had been a few years since we’d both been on the island together, and Jess’s first time to the Parksville area (at least, I think it was). We didn’t bother booking ahead for the ferry, so we were pleasantly surprised when we were able to practically drive right on.
I do have to say though, I love the little shopping centre at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. Finally somebody thought to put together a Starbucks, restaurants and a few stores that people would actually enjoy perusing while waiting for their ferry. We picked up a few Starbucks beverages, boarded the ferry and enjoyed the beautiful sunset view. It’s not often I call a ferry voyage beautiful, but this one really was. It didn’t hurt that we also used each other as foot rests as we tried to nap.
Since we were staying in Parksville, I couldn’t let Jess visit the area without visiting Coombs Country Market. Ok, maybe it was more for me, but it really is such a cool little place to visit. Why, you ask? Because there are goats on the roof! We were lucky enough to have beautiful weather for most of our island trip, and visiting the market on a sunny day always puts a smile on this gals face.
After feeding the goats, we fed ourselves full of ice cream and visited the the main Country Market. One of the reasons I love this place (asides from the huge selection and incredible bakery) is how everything is labeled and sorted by the country they were imported from. Looking for the original Swedish version of Nutella? It’s here. About about real salsa from Mexico? Also here. How about those delicious candies that you love but aren’t sure where they come from? They have them here and you’ll learn where they came from just by looking at the label. It’s a pretty neat thing to see, even if you don’t typically buy imported goods.
I love wandering the sauce aisle, just to see all the different sauces that are used around the world, and the selection here did not disappoint. We even seen a bottle of Blair’s Reserve Hot Sauce that comes in a specially marked collectors box so it isn’t confused with your run of the mill Franks Red Hot. This stuff comes with a warning label instructing you not to use directly on any of your food – it’s to be used as a diluted ingredient only! Yeah, we took a pass on that one.
A great find that I did discover during this trip, however, was Mitchell’s Soup Mixes – and now I fear I can never go back to any form of packaged or premade soups. I picked up the Beef Barley, Thai Coconut Curry & Seafood Chowder and now that I’ve had the chance to make 2 out of the 3, I can say I’m officially in love! So far, the Beef Barley is my favourite and I loved how this little package turned into so. much. soup! (I even had to give some away because I felt bad throwing it in the freezer).
I love that they are semi-local (based out of the Cowichan Valley), and although you can’t buy them in retail stores on the mainland, you can order them online and they’ll ship them right to your door. Best $6.50 I ever spent – when it was done I felt like I could feed an army!
Have you ever visited Coombs Old Country Market? What was your favourite part?
(kindly forgive my iphone’s subpar photography, we bloggers use what we can when it’s all we have with us!)