Farewell to beloved Cowichan Bay restaurant Vinoteca

Farewell to Vinoteca and best of luck to my friend, chef Fatima on her wonderful new focus (shown here with me, Jennifer Schell)

I was devastated to learn that one of my favourite winery restaurants was closing its doors at the end of this season.

Vinoteca Restaurant at Vigneti Zanatta Winery is located in Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island and is a destination for food and wine lovers. Set in the farm’s original 1903 farmhouse, the beautiful force behind Vinoteca is beloved chef Fatima da Silva.

Owner Loretta Zanatta shares, “Yes, it is sad news. It has been nearly 20 years with Fatima! And the restaurant has been 24 summers! But sadly, we will no longer be serving lunch and dinner. Instead, we look forward to expanding our tasting experience with a larger tasting room, as well as a private tasting room, and wines by the glass with charcuterie plates on the verandah.”

Zanatta's lovely tasting room, also home to Vinoteca
Zanatta's lovely tasting room, also home to Vinoteca

The farmhouse that was converted into the Zanatta tasting room and Vinoteca Restaurant in 1996 is the former family home of the Zanatta family, winery owners and pioneers in the Island wine industry. This charming house offers a wide porch set with tables overlooking a large garden, complete with ancient fruit trees that extends onto the vineyards. Peaceful, romantic and delicious, dining on Fatima’s inimitable farm and seasonally inspired cuisine was an unforgettable experience. Self-trained, Fatima creates her menu by the day and with what inspires her in the moment.

Zanatta's signature bubbly Fantasia
Zanatta's signature bubbly Fantasia

Little touches like the olive oil and balsamic served with fresh bread for dipping was spiked with freshly crushed cumin seeds transforming a staple starter into an exciting mouth party. Favourite dishes on her menu like the coconut chicken and crab cakes had a cult following and for good reason. Customers demanded she never remove them from the menu. Her salads were all beautiful, unique, and every dish was sparked with her exotic touch and cooked with love and passion. Thank you for the beautiful food memories, Fatima.

Fatima's glorious blue cheese stuffed pear spinach salad
Fatima's glorious blue cheese stuffed pear spinach salad

The other gift that Fatima brings to her community besides her soul food, is her immense heart. A couple of years ago she co-founded a breakfast program for the Cowichan Valley’s elementary school. Feeding children has become her focus and her destiny as the program has rapidly grown into immense proportions due to the shocking exposure of the number of children arriving at school hungry. Nourish Cowichan Breakfast Program is led by Fatima’s valiant heart and now needs all of her attention. For more information on this wonderful charity go to https://www.nourishcowichan.ca.

Vigneti Zanatta Winery owners Jim Moody and Loretta Zanatta taking a break in their vineyard after a long day.
Vigneti Zanatta Winery owners Jim Moody and Loretta Zanatta taking a break in their vineyard after a long day.

Vigneti Zanatta Winery:

Known as the First Family of Vancouver Island Wine, Loretta Zanatta followed in her father’s footsteps and took over the family wine business from Dad Dennis with her husband, Jim Moody in 1996. A match made in wine heaven, Loretta and Jim are both winemakers and together focus on creating a line-up of beautiful wines made from their own estate grapes. They specialize in hands-on winemaking, specializing in Champagne-style wines and all of their bottles are hand riddled and disgorged.

https://zanatta.ca


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