Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse

Posted in Arieanna & Ianiv, Beer & Wine

After we arrived to Victoria on Friday, our first stop was to the gorgeous Saanich Peninsula Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse. The ciderhouse is nestled back into a lovely 10 acre farm, 3 acres of which are planted with a variety of apple trees, tended to with organic farming techniques, some very rare, and 7 acres of which are dedicated to existing forest land (with some herbs purposefully cultivated therein). The ciderhouse has a gorgeous view of the bay.

New Media in New Victoria

We began our tour with Kristen Jordan, who started Sea Cider with her husband Bruce in 2004. Kristen grew up with a family orchard, and Bruce with a passion for cider making. Together they decided to start their own orchard and ciderhouse, dedicated to preserving the heritage of many varieties of apples as well as taking this ‘humble’ beverage to new heights. We toured the cider making facilities, even watching them prepare some apples for the press.

New Media in New Victoria

Cider is simply a fermented drink made from apples, not from grapes, but the varieties you can make seem endless. I had no idea! It’s not just about the apples you use (and the endless combinations therein), but also the yeasts you use (or don’t use) and how the cider is then aged. Sea Cider believes in organic farming, and in embracing the local farming community. Their Kings & Spies cider, for example, makes use of apples gathered from local heritage trees in the area.

New Media in New Victoria

The tasting menu included 9 ciders, ranging from dry to sweet:

  • Flagship – German-style, ultra-dry, fermented with champagne yeast. Ianiv’s review: This one and the Wild English drier are very similar to a dry white wine. I’m not a big fan of white wine so they were not my favorites.
  • Wild English - using English bittersweet cider apples.
  • Kings & Spies - made with a blend of local heritage apples. Ianiv’s review: A bit sweeter than the first two, with floral and pear notes.
  • Perry – made with Perry Pears from North Saanich.
  • Pippins - made with the Newton Pippin apple blended with Island-grown apples. Ianiv’s review: I think this is a lot closer to what most people are used to when talking about cider. It has a higher alcohol content but not enough to distract you from the sweeter fruit flavors. We bought 2 bottles of this cider for our upcoming baby shower!
  • Rumrunner - This was a favorite of many in the review. It’s made from heritage apples, slowly fermented, and aged in rum barrels. Interestingly, the barrels are used for various other alcohols before they are used for rum, so they come well-seasoned! Ianiv’s review: Wow, this was different! The barrels give this cider very nice rum and brown sugar notes. This one will warm your throat on the way down.
  • Cyser – This cider is blended with organic honey, making it more of an apertif-cider. Ianiv’s review: I expected this to be sweeter and to have a bit more honey notes. Not my favorite.
  • Pommeau – This cider has the highest alcohol level (18%) and uses Snow apples, which date back to the 1600s. Ianiv’s review: Very similar to a brandy or sherry. We bought a bottle.
  • Pomona - This cider is made by freezing, then slowly fermenting, crabapple juice. Definitely a dessert cider. Ianiv’s review: Very sweet, like an ice wine.

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Our Journey to Victoria

Posted in Arieanna & Ianiv, Events, Photography

We began our trip to Victoria bright and early on Friday morning by meeting at the Vancouver Coast Hotel. There, we met up with our fellow social media gurus (Rebecca & John, Duane, Anny, Karen, Lorraine, April & guests) and Danny & Sherry of Coast Hotels. The photos, videos and tweets started right away, of course (you can even find the hotel on Twitter) – see, here we are on the bus!

Credit: miss604

At the Tsawwassen BC Ferries terminal, we met up with a tour guide who took us through the Market where we all stopped for some much-needed coffee (at the Salt Spring Coffee stand, not the Starbucks one, of course. Mmm, mocha).

We were supposed to be sailing on one of the new Coastal ferries, but the schedules were flipped and we ended up instead on the Spirit of British Columbia. I don’t know if it’s because this is a Victoria-bound ship, but it’s not a class of ship that I’d known in my many years of traveling to-and-from Vancouver Island (way back when I used to live in Courtenay). Our itinerary had us down for a “buffet lunch” and I was pretty curious about that – were they going to put us in a private room, or what? To my surprise, I found out that several BC Ferries ships now have a special Pacific Buffet, in addition to the normal cafeteria area and snack bar. We sat down to a lovely brunch before heading out for a “BC Ferries Photowalk”, even catching a brief glimpse of some whales. Ianiv even had a little Marilyn Monroe moment. Cute.

New Media in New Victoria

On our way back from Victoria today, I also had a new experience – the Seawest Lounge. For those of you who spent endless hours sitting in noisy areas trying to read… it’s like a lovely little haven. The lounge, which you have to pay to go into, sits at the rear of the ship. There are sections with tables as well as a series of chairs that recline a bit (picture me there with my feet propped up on my suitcase). There’s also some pastries, coffee and things of that sort to munch on. A very relaxing place to be after a long weekend of activities!!

After we got to Victoria, we boarded another bus and headed to a Cider farm… more on that in another post!!

Headed to Victoria

Posted in Arieanna & Ianiv, Events

This weekend, we’re heading off to Victoria for what will likely be our last pre-baby vacation. We were invited to Victoria, along with other Vancouver bloggers, as part of the “New Victoria for New Media” weekend organized by Coast Hotels. We were in Victoria last year for the BC 150 festival with Duane and had a fantastic time – we’re looking forward to the same this year.


Our trip will begin on Friday, starting out at the Coast Hotel in Vancouver and taking us aboard the new Coastal Celebration ferry to Victoria. Our weekend will include a number of organized events, as well as some free time. Some of the things we’ll be doing include:

Our trip is made possible with transportation and accomodations provided by Coast Hotels and Tourism Victoria. We’ll also be having some of our meals supplied, including breakfast at the Blue Crab Bar & Grill as well as a lunch at Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub. We’re also being given a "Harbour Holiday Pass" courtesy of the Tartan Group.

Chip’s Not Dead Yet – This Saturday!

Posted in Around Vancouver, Events

This Saturday, thousands of people in Vancouver will run, walk or parade for one mile uphill to raise funds for BC Children’s Hospital in the Chip’s Not Dead Yet Memorial Mile. Back in February, we had a chance to meet Chip Wilson, the man behind this charity race. We talked about the race, which includes a serious sprint, as well as theme waves that cater to the wacky – from women in wedding dresses to kids dressed as superheroes! There’s also a Pooch Parade, so bring your dogs and bring your families out for a great day!

For every dollar the Chip’s Not Dead Yet charity run raises, Chip Wilson will match that amount up to $150,000!When sick kids get better they run, play, and most of all they appreciate the fact that they’re alive. What if we all did that?”

A couple of months ago, Ianiv & I had a chance to tour the BC Children’s Hospital and to learn how charity dollars are put to work. It was an eye-opening experience. A hospital for kids has to be prepared for premature babies as well as adult-sized 18-year-old kids… that takes a lot of equipment and a lot of specialized knowledge and care. Imagine buying not just one bed size (like in a regular hospital), but many sizes. Same goes for all the equipment – just look at the various sizes of blood pressure cuffs pictured to the right! So, though BC Children’s Hospital may fund-raise a lot, and may do well in those efforts, consider that the Hospital is more than 3 times as costly to run than a regular hospital!

I had honestly never thought of all of the complexities involved in treating sick kids. The hospital staff – who were amazing! – have to know how to not only treat these sick kids, but also to care for their emotional and developmental needs as well. That changes with each age group. The BC Children’s Hospital shared with us how important it is to have parents involved with their child’s care, although the ICU had no room for parents to sleep with their children. The hospital is far too small for the needs of the entire province. A new hospital is being developed, but it’s a few years away.

One of the things that shocked me most was to learn that doctors who specialize in treating kids actually get paid less, on average, than those who treat adults. Obviously, with so many more adults in the world, it’s more “profitable” to treat them – though treating kids takes a great deal more specialized training. This fact isn’t really related to the Hospital’s charity needs, but it stuck with me.

If you haven’t yet signed up for the Chip’s Not Dead Yet charity event, you can do so here! There are also some great prizes to win, as well as a fun-day filled with music (Daniel Wesley, A Current Swell, Armchair Cynics, and Run GMC.) and more! Don’t want to run? Try the Couch Potato Wave!

Ianiv & I sadly won’t be in town for the event – we’ll be in Victoria – but it should be a great event if you can go!

Arieanna at 21 Weeks

Posted in Arieanna & Ianiv

And still growing!! :)

Arieanna at 20 Weeks

Posted in Arieanna & Ianiv

We’ve now come to the half-way point in the pregnancy, and it’s *very* obvious now that I’m pregnant! I think I’m going to be gigantic by the time it’s all over! We’ll continue to take a new photo every Sunday to show how the baby & I are growing.

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