Located on the False Creek waterfront, Granville Island offers stunning views of Vancouver, as well as access to artist studios, local shops, and a market. The Granville Island Public Market first opened in 1979 and is currently home to over 50 food vendors. Open year round, it is a one stop shop for picnic eats. Granville Island can be accessed via the seawall on foot or on a bike; via the water in either an Aquabus or False Creek Ferries water taxi; or via car (parking is free before 11 am).
Truffo Brie from Benton Brothers Cheese
The Truffo Brie is the first picnic pick, and is worth every penny. If you are already a brie fan, but have not yet delved into the world of truffle brie, then you need to try this luxurious cheese. It is a go-to for my family’s Christmas Eve charcuterie spread but there’s nothing wrong with indulging in it at a summer picnic. In fact, the warm weather will just help it to soften it that much faster. Benton Brothers carries a large range of artisanal and raw milk cheese. The cheesemongers on staff can help guide you in choosing a selection for your next picnic or cheese board.
Baguette from Terra Breads
Now that you’ve got yourself an ooey gooey piece of brie, you need to grab a crispy baguette to smear it on. Terra Breads first opened in Kitsilano in 1993. Conveniently, they have a grab and go location in the food court section of the Granville Island Public Market. They also offer croissants and other pastries that are very picnic appropriate, but their simple French baguette is a quintessential picnic pick.
Sausage from Oyama Sausage Co.
Oyama Sausage Co. has been crafting charcuterie products for thirty years, and today they offer over 400 items. It was impossible to choose only one favourite. Instead, I narrowed my picnic picks down to two. The Saucisson Sec is a classic dry cured French sausage made with red wine and peppercorn. It has a mild, salt and peppery flavour. The second sausage perfect for a picnic is Oyama’s Rioja Chorizo. Don’t fear this fiery red sausage because it is one of Oyama’s more mild chorizos, falling in the low to mid spice range. It is garlicky and smoky and pairs well with the mild and porky Saucisson. If you have any of this chorizo leftover, chop it up and add it to scrambled eggs, or a pasta sauce.
Maple Salmon Candy from Longliner Seafoods
Maple Salmon Candy is a West Coast classic for any tourists wanting a taste of Vancouver from Longliner Seafoods. The Moorehead family runs Longliner, as they have for three generations. If you’re feeling decadent, you could splurge on Dungeness crab claws and whip up a quick crab cocktail for your picnic but the salmon candy is my pick. It is bitesize, smoky, and sweet. It tastes delicious on a cream-cheese smeared piece of baguette or cracker.
Garlic and Parsley Olives from Zara’s Italian Deli
Now, not everyone is an olive fan. However, these meaty, briny olives are perfect for popping in the mouth at a picnic. Zara’s Italian Deli is another family-run food business in the Granville Island market, where they have been open since 1987. They carry many other ready to eat treats too, from olive tapenade to chickpea salad. If you want to make a decadent tomato salad for your picnic, Zara’s is also the spot to grab bocconcini or fior de latte cheese.
Jelly Donuts from Lee’s Donuts
For a summer picnic dessert, what can beat a fresh donut? Lee’s Donuts has been open as long as the Granville Island Public Market itself, and they have been a Vancouver favourite ever since. There is almost always a line but the length of that line is not as crazy as it first was when Seth Rogen blew up the spot on Netflix’s Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. While Lee’s carries a number of different delicious flavours, both classic and rotating, I had to choose their sugared Jelly Donut as my picnic pick. It is not only my favourite; Dave Chang recently reminisced about it on his podcast and listed it as one of the 52 most unforgettable dishes of his life.
The Granville Island Public Market offers innumerable tantalizing treats. You could spend an hour or an entire day tasting and grazing. So use your next picnic as an excuse to sample some new things, or share old favourites with friends.
Granville Island Public Market is open daily, 9 AM-6 PM including holidays.
1689 Johnston St.