Local culinary aficionado Kathy McAree is cooking up a whole lot of good things these days as she prepares to launch the third-annual Taste: Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine, a gastronomical event set to take place July 21 – 24, 2011 in Victoria, BC.

Focusing on Vancouver Island cuisine and British Columbia wines, the festival is supported by a number of local winemakers, chefs, artisan producers, farmers and  fishers – all key players in helping to make Vancouver Island a vibrant culinary destination.

“When choosing partners for Taste, I look at a number of factors to ensure they’re really walking the talk, so to speak,” said McAree, founder of Taste and Vancouver Island’s premier culinary tourism operator. “I look at how local and seasonal ingredients are showcased in their products, their contribution to our community which contributes to our local economy. Taste is also unique in that, rather than just being one day, it offers four great days of serious food and wine indulgence!”

The Taste weekend kicks off on Thursday, July 21 at Victoria’s Crystal Garden with The Main Event: an evening brimming with more than 100 BC wines and great Vancouver Island eats. Guests will be joined by local chefs, wine producers and the live music of Greenlaw, a local band with a unique blend of dub, soul, jazz, drum and bass-infused rhythms.

Other special events taking place July 22 to 24 include the wine and seafood extravaganza Sips and Seafood hosted by the Inn at Laurel Point and chef Takashi Ito, a Silk Road tea tasting with Tea Master Daniela Cubelic, a Swine and The Vine pig roast on the Hotel Grand Pacific patio, a three-course brunch at Vista 18 and a unique wine seminar of Vancouver Island vs. the World.

And new to this year’s multi-day line-up is Land and Sea Harvest on the Family Farm: a dining adventure to take place in the middle of the field at the Vantreight Family Farm, overlooking the Saanich Peninsula and ocean. Join Ryan Vantreight and chef Matt Rissling from The Marina Restaurant for a “zero mile diet” dinner, paired with wines from BC’s Mission Hill Family Estate Winery.

Tickets to Taste are set to go on sale May 13, 2011. For more information on the events and purchase information, visit www.victoriataste.com.