Looking to tempt the palate? Here’s the Cure

After several years running popular Cowichan Valley restaurant Amusé Bistro, Bradford Boisvert and his wife, Leah, wanted to try something else.

Staying in the food industry, the couple opened Cure Artisanal Meat and Cheese in Cobble Hill’s Valleyview Centre in November 2014, providing the Cowichan Valley with a European-style deli focused on ingredients sourced in the Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, and the rest of B.C.

“We were looking to do a bit of a change,” Boisvert explains. “But still bring unique and different food to the Cowichan Valley.”

Boisvert trained under European chefs at the Culinary Institute of America in New York City, and has added to that with years of practice, reading and self-education. Cure’s way of doing things was a dying art, on Vancouver Island at least, until a few years ago, but seems to be experiencing a renaissance.

“It’s coming back more and more,” Boisvert says. “I like to think that we are part of doing that.”

In addition to local quality ingredients, Cure makes a point of sourcing ethically sound meats.

“The big thing is that we know these animals have had a great life and been well-taken-care-of,” Boisvert says. “For one thing, it’s just good nature, and it adds to a great result in the end product.”

Employee Joe Westra, who has been with Cure for the last two years, has enough experience in the food industry to know that Cure is doing things a special way.

“We use high-end ingredients,” he says. “We do things right, and slow. And the result is a beautiful product. We stand behind everything we make, and in this industry, that’s kind of hard to say sometimes.”

Starting with pâtés and sausages, Cure moved into dry-cured meat, concentrating on Eurporean styles from Italy, France and Spain. Their products range from coppa — pork shoulder that is cured and aged for two months in Cure’s special curing chamber — to breseola — beef eye of round that is air-dried and cured with juniper and a variety of spices.

Boisvert believes people’s eating habits are changing.

“People are wanting to do more and more stuff at home,” Boisvert says. “There’s a transition from dining out to eating in more and more.”

Meat and cheese undeniably go together, and although Cure doesn’t make cheese in-house, they bring it in from local producers like the Cowichan Valley’s own The Happy Goat, and other Island producers, and other cheesemakers around the world, with a focus on quality ingredients. They also smoke a cheddar that they bring in from Quebec and then sell both retail and wholesale.

That’s not to mention their housemade condiments, about 10 that come and go throughout the year. About three months ago, they added a fresh-meat cooler to the front of the shop.

“We were bringing in a lot of meats, so why not offer it fresh too?” Boisvert says. “It complements the take-home idea. Everything in the shop is like that.”

Cure also sells dry-aged meat: roasts and steaks that have aged for 30 or 60 days. The meat is more expensive, Boisvert notes, but the dry-aging enhances the flavour and tenderness. Bone broth made in the kitchen appeals to customers of the fitness centre next door because of its richness in healing compounds like collagen and glutamine.

“We produce a lot of bones,” Boisevert says. “We might as well do something with it.”

Also available in the shop is pizza dough, essentially bigger batches of the dough they were already making for onion tarts. Along with buffalo mozzarella, tomato sauce and Cure’s own pepperoni, customers can get virtually all the ingredients for pizza right there.

The Valleyview Centre storefront is open seven days a week and nearly every day of the year, closing only on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, although hours might be reduced on other holidays.

“Most of the time, we’re open,” Boisvert says. “When you have a business like this, you have to be consistent, not just with your product but so that the customers know when the door is open.”

Beyond their own store, Cure has been distributing pâtés, dry-cure meats and condiments throughout B.C. for about a month.

“People can find it all throughout the Cowichan Valley, Victoria and Vancouver,” Boisvert says. “But we still do everything small-batch and handcrafted.”

According to Westra, part of a team at Cure that Boisvert is extremely proud of, the owners have built a strong rapport with their clientele.

“Brad has a good reputation with the customers,” Westra says. “He gets to make food he’s passionate about, and they get to taste the fruits of that.”

As proud as Cure is of the products they sell now, Westra believes things are only going to improve.

“Brad’s palate and his vision and work ethic mean we’re going to continue on that trajectory for a long time,” he says. “The food is great now, but it’s going to get better.”

Boisvert says its hard to put a percentage on it as it changes from week to week, but they try to source as much of their ingredients as possible from the Cowichan Valley. The also have close relationships with other food producers in the Valley, including True Grain Bread, the Cowichan Pasta Company — Cure is one of the few places their pasta can be bought in bulk — and Drumroaster Coffee, who provide ingredients for coffee rubs and smoked chocolate espresso truffles.

“We have everything else to have a party, why not have that too?” Boisvert asks.

Cure also supplies the neighbouring Pizzeria Prima Strada with meats.

“That’s what the Cowichan Valley is really about,” Boisvert says. “All of us working together to let people know about good food.”

For more information, visit Cure’s page on Facebook.


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A row of condiments at Cure Artisan Meat and Cheese. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Right: An array of some of the many products available at Cobble Hill’s Cure Artisanal Meat and Cheese.

Right: An array of some of the many products available at Cobble Hill’s Cure Artisanal Meat and Cheese.

Right: An array of some of the many products available at Cobble Hill’s Cure Artisanal Meat and Cheese.

Right: An array of some of the many products available at Cobble Hill’s Cure Artisanal Meat and Cheese.

Right: An array of some of the many products available at Cobble Hill’s Cure Artisanal Meat and Cheese.

Joe Westra works on a batch of bone broth in the kitchen at Cure. (Photos by Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Though not made in-house like most of their meat products, Cure is proud of the selection of cheese available in the store. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

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