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Feast of Fields 2015

3 Oct

Feast of Fields is probably my favourite food and wine event of the year. I’ve gone for the past four years, three of which have been with my mom. We’ve now made it into an annual event.

This year it was held at UBC Farm on Sept 13th. “The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (CSFS), located at UBC Farm, is a unique research centre that aims to understand and fundamentally transform local and global food systems towards a more sustainable, food secure future. The centre is a living laboratory, committed to finding solutions to both the local and global challenges facing food systems sustainability and translating solutions to improve personal, community, and environmental health.”

foodprint

My biggest frustration with this location was that there were no transportation options offered from the Fraser Valley. In previous years when the event was held out in the valley, there would be busses available coming from Vancouver. You’d think that they’d provide something going the other way, especially since there are already tons of busses and other public transportation options in the Vancouver area. Having TWO buses within the city and nothing from the other end of the Lower Mainland is a bit ridiculous. I had sent them a few comments/questions about this, and finally about 2-3 weeks before the event they said they’d look into it. Nothing ended up happening, but I really hope in the future that they’ll think about this a bit sooner. It’s always good to provide options so people don’t have to drive after they’ve been drinking all afternoon. Hopefully wherever the event happens next year, there will be buses from both Vancouver and the Valley available.

Now, onto the amazing food!

fable

Duck liver parfait on a spelt cracker with pear pudding and pistachios from Fable

salmon

Olive oil poached Kuterra Salmon, pickled Rootdown vegetables, herbed borlotti bean spread, swiss chard aioli served on a rye and chia cracker from Nita Lake Lodge

breakfast

Farmhouse breakfast, pork fat biscuit, smoked pork shoulder, scrambled eggs from Nicli’s Next Door

This was such a unique item – I loved it!

salmon chard

 Fresh chard rolls, homemade pickles and smoked salmon from Mission Restaurant

This was definitely one of my favourite items of the day. SO flavourful, and salmon is one of my favourite seafood types.

tuna

Cured line caught Albacore tuna with preparations of Glorious Organics vegetables from Forage

beef

Braised beef, smoked egg yolk, ramp and pepper pesto, sesame leaf, sesame seed, cilantro from Lips Resto

apple

Compressed apple in juice, ricotta cheese, salt cod chips served with greens to garnish from The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn

vegetable mousse

Savoury hazelnut crisp with vegetable mousse and dill pickle mousse melon, sweet pickled carrot and radish sprouts from Aphrodites Organic Cafe

beef tenderloin

Aged Golden Ears gouda and polenta crips, oregano and nutmeg cured beef tenderloin with UBC Farm ratatouille from Sage at UBC

bao

Bao Chicka Bao Bao – steamed bun stuffed with buttermilk fried Rossdown Farms chicken breast with fish sauce glaze, garlic scape mayo, roasted veg, cilantro and scallions from Bao Down

Another favourite! The portions were HUGE and the flavours were phenomenal. The lineup was enormous for this, but was well worth every minute we waited.

chicken

Smoked chicken terrine served with an organic peach mostarda on toasted rosemary lavash from Fairmont Pacific Rim

beets

Earth Apple Farms pickled red beets, red micro, pickled golden, meringue leaves, Okanagan goat cheese foam, Barnston Island nasturtium from Mosaic at Hyatt Regency Vancouver

sturgeon

Seared and chilled sturgeon canape from Pier 73

gazpacho

Gazpacho soup with sundried tomatoes and crispy bacon with a mini bun and tomato jam from Whole Foods Market

salmon and beet

Bourbon cured sockeye salmon, wasabi creme fraiche and beetroot salad in a beet cup from Bin 941

Such a unique and delicious taste combination! And I don’t even like beets!

gravlax

Wild BC salmon gravlax with UBC Farms sorrel creme fraiche, crisp challah melba and pickled vegetable from Ash Street Bistro

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Some of my favourite drinks were:

  • Odd Society Spirits’ Wallflower gin
  • SIP Soda – Coriander Orange
  • Strange Fellows Brewing – Talisman West Coast Pale Ale
  • Backyard Vineyards – 2012 Gossip
  • Blasted Church – 2013 Chardonnay
  • Long Table Distillery – Cucumber Gin
  • Capilano Tea House and Botanical Soda Co. – Rose Lemonade

And lastly, a few views of the farm itself.

farm1

farm2

apple orchard

I can’t wait for next year!

Feast of Fields 2014

10 Sep

Sunday, September 7th was the 20th annual Feast of Fields event in Metro Vancouver. This year it was held at Wellbrook Winery/Bremner Farms out in Delta, which was a nice change of venue. The tents were a lot more spread out this year, which made things feel a little smaller and not as crowded, which I am definitely a fan of.

A nice improvement this year was that they had plates available for sale at the registration booth. For several years now, my mom and I have kept saying that we needed plates to make our eating and drinking a little less messy and easier to handle. Well, this year my mom brought us plates with the little attachments for our wineglasses, so we didn’t need to buy the ones they were offering. It was very tempting, though, as they were beautiful slabs of wood.

plate

Our funky little plastic plates with the wineglass holders attached.

It’s great that they provide a brochure/map of the venue along with descriptions of everything on offer at the tents – it makes taking notes on your favourite things a little bit easier. However, yet again, it was supremely frustrating that the tents were numbered on the brochure but there were no numbers on the actual tents themselves. I mentioned that last year and I’m mentioning it again this year, because what’s the point of numbering them on paper when there are no numbers in reality? The numbers wouldn’t have to be big or obnoxious, but they would be helpful to have!

Anyway, time to move on to the actual food. Unfortunately I seem to have lost my camera’s battery charger, so I only had the use of my phone. I apologize for the not so great quality of some of these pictures. I’ll hopefully find the charger or will have bought myself a new camera by the time the next event rolls around.

chocolate ganache

Chocolate Ganache with hazelnut, nasturtium and porcini cremeaux from The Pointe @ The Wick Inn

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pickled preserves

Pickled preserves from Forage

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pork rillete

Pork Rillete from Spencer’s at the Delta Vancouver Suites

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potato salad

Cedar smoked potato salad on kale from Exile Bistro

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shellfish salad

Summer shellfish salad from Provence Restaurant

This was one of our favourites of the day – the little bites of shrimp, scallops, lobster and other shellfish along with the heirloom tomatoes and spices was a treat for the taste buds!

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salmon

Salmon bites from Chef Ann Kirsebom’s Gourmet Sauces/BBQ

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bacon and eggs

Seafood-style bacon and eggs from Pier 73

Another favourite! These were little bites of heaven. The base was a slice of potato, served with salmon, octopus bacon, pickled garlic and cured salmon eggs. Heavenly!!

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sturgeon

Sturgeon shooters in a cucumber cup from Choices Markets

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My favourites of the drinks that I tried:

  • Victoria Gin from Victoria Spirits (they served it with a splah of rhubarb juice – wow!!)
  • Old Jalopy Pale Ale from Powell Street Brewery
  • Blueberry Juice from Bremner’s
  • Dark French Roast coffee from Latin Organics
  • Framboise from Elephant Island Orchard Wines

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Overall it was another fabulous year at Feast of Fields, and I left sufficiently full and happy, with my taste buds buzzing. My mom and I have gone together for the past 3 years, and I’m already looking forward to next year!

Dine Out 2014

11 Jan

I’ve had some people finding my site lately through searches related to Dine Out. Since my last post on that is from 2 years ago, I figured I’d do a little update for this year.

Dine Out Vancouver is “a 17 day calendar of culinary events and dozens of hotel options to create your own delicious dining experiences.” The festival started in 2002, and it’s a chance for diners to try a new restaurant and enjoy a 3 course meal. This year the festival runs from January 17 – February 2. There are three price levels: $18, $28 and $38, so there’s something for everyone! I’ve tried many different restaurants over the years, and it’s fabulous.

Since this is a Vancouver-based event, there’s only one restaurant participating in the Fraser Valley – The Keg in Langley. While The Keg is a decent chain restaurant, I don’t feature chain restaurants on this site.

The Fraser Valley has a wealth of fabulous restaurants, so it’s a shame that this area doesn’t have a similar festival. If there IS such a festival, it hasn’t ever been on my radar. It would be such a great opportunity for the local restaurants (especially those who source all their ingredients locally) to participate and encourage diners to eat locally.

If you’re going to the festival this year, happy dining! And here’s to hoping that maybe we’ll have a Fraser Valley festival in 2015.

Feast of Fields 2013

10 Sep

This past weekend was the 19th Annual Feast of Fields event. I had been to a sneak preview of the event a few weeks ago, but on Sunday was the real deal. The day was a bit overcast at times, but it was VERY warm. Definitely a nice change from last year’s event, which was rainy. It was held at Krause Berry Farms again, which was so lovely. My mom and I were able to walk over there from my house, which meant that we could drink as much as we wanted and not have to worry about driving. 😉

tents

The event was held in Krause’s back field again. There were tents set up for the auction and of course all the food and wine vendors. There were plenty of places to sit down as well, which was very welcomed.

And without further delay, some of the amazingly delicious samples we tried:

bbq salmon sliders

BBQ Salmon Slider from Chicha.

tuna and tomatoes

From Pier 7 Restaurant: Smoked Albacore Tuna loin, Sapo Bravo heirloom tomatoes, peach puree, basil. We LOVED the presentation that the restaurant did. So beautiful!

pickled veggies

Pickled and preserved summer vegetable antipasto from Forage.

pate de fruits

Tofino Berry Pate de Fruits from The Pointe Restaurant. This was definitely one of the most unique offerings of the day. 

heirloom tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes and ricotta cheese from FableThis was served with a small cup of tomato essence (juice strained from tomatoes, herbs & spices and a splash of vodka). This was definitely a favourite. The tomatoes were so tasty and the essence was phenomenal!

marinated zucchini

Marinated zucchini with sundried tomato-tarragon sauce, Neufchatel cheese, arugula and cherry tomatoes from Aphrodite’s Organic Cafe and Pie Shop.

hard cider

Hard apple cider from Wards Cidery. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really like cider. However, this cider? AMAZING!! We came back here several times for more samples. It’s only sold in a few locations in the Lower Mainland, but I will definitely be getting some the next time I’m in one of those areas.

pork sliders

Slow roasted honey glazed pork on a house challah bun with bacon marmalade, Agassiz blue cheese slaw and pork confit potato from Seasonal 56.

duck liver parfait

Duck liver parfait with Okanagan peaches on a brioche crostini from Pidgin Restaurant.

s'mores

S’mores! This was from Terra Breads, and they used stout marshmallows along with their Pecan Fruit Crisps and dark chocolate. VERY tasty!

cured salmon

Cured salmon with Bittered Sling on a cornmeal pancake from Whole Foods Market.

tomato and jelly

This was from Vista D’oro winery. Unfortunately this wasn’t listed in the program, but it was a crostini with a spicy preserve of some kind along with a tomato. A very interesting taste explosion!

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There was obviously so much more that I could have shared with you, but I decided to feature the ones where I was able to get a good picture of the food. I didn’t take any pictures of the wines/beers/liquors we tried, but there were many excellent discoveries made! Some standouts were:

  • Integrity 2012 from 8th Generation Vineyard
  • Hard Apple Cider from Wards Cidery (as mentioned above)
  • White Bark Wheat Ale from Driftwood Beer
  • Merlot 2010 from Township 7 Winery

As always, it was a fantastic event, and I can’t wait for next year! My mom and I have made a tradition of this for two years now, and next year we plan to add a few more people to our group.

Links to previous Feast of Fields posts: 2012, 2011.

Fall Foodie Events

26 Aug

Even though summer may be technically near its end, there are lots of great foodie events just around the corner. I thought I’d take some time to round up a listing of everything coming up in the Fraser Valley over the next few months that I think are worthy of your attention. If you notice any events I’ve missed, please let me know. I’ll update as necessary up until the beginning of October.

Feast of Fields, at Krause Berry Farms on Sunday, September 8th. This is by far my favourite foodie event of the year. I attended in 2011 and 2012, and every year has been phenomenal. The selection of food and drinks is always amazing, and the locations have been pretty spectacular as well. On a personal note, I’m glad that they’ll be back at Krause this year, which means that a car will be unnecessary. Last year I was the designated driver, which was fine, but I was sad to only be able sample a very small amount of the drinks. I’m looking forward to all the delicious food and drinks, and based on the sneak preview that I went to recently, it’s going to be another taste explosion!

BBQ on the Bypass, September 15th in the parking lot of Well Seasoned. If you love BBQ, then this is the event for you! Free samples all day long, live entertainment, and of course the BBQ and pie competitions.

3rd Annual Cork and Keg Festival, held at the Cascades Casino on Friday, September 20th. I couldn’t attend last year, but I went in 2011, and it was a great evening of wine and beer tasting. along with some food. They’ve expanded the event SO much in the past two years, and I’m excited to hopefully attend again this year. There are two portions of the event: one for media in the afternoon, and then the full event which is open to anyone (19+, of course). Among the food options this year will be an oyster bar, provided by 1 Fish 2 Fish. Definitely don’t miss out on what is sure to be an excellent event. Tickets are $49.95, and are available on the event’s website.

Fraser Valley Food Show, held at the Tradex in Abbotsford from October 4th-6th. Featured events that weekend include a Master Chef competition, Celebrity Stage with Rob Feenie and others, Bite of the Valley (where you can sample menu selections for just $1-$4), wine and beer tasting and more. I’ve always meant to attend this event, but maybe this year I’ll be able to make it out. General Admission is $9 per day, but if you buy your tickets online in advance, you can save $2.

Sneak Feast

16 Aug

Having more free time to spend working on my little site here has been so awesome. One of the immediate benefits was my ability to attend yesterday’s media event called Sneak Feast, which was a preview of the upcoming Feast of Fields event, taking place September 8th. Even better? It was being held at the event’s site, Krause Berry Farms, which is in my neighbourhood. I’ll admit I was a bit intimidated, as this was my first time at a media event, and I’m not so good at making small talk with people I don’t know. I mostly kept to myself, but tried to talk to several people when I could get up the courage. I’m sure this will become easier as I attend more and more of these events in the future.

Anyway, because I wasn’t coming out from Vancouver, I arrived at the event before the bus did. I met up with two lovely people named George and Lise at Krause’s winery before heading over to the event site at the back of the farm. Unfortunately it was a grey and somewhat rainy day, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of everyone too much.

The event started off with a brief introduction by Nicholas Scapillati, who is the Executive Director of Farm Folk City Folk. He talked a bit about the history of Farm Folk City Folk, and the creation of the Feast of Fields event. This year is the 19th year for the Metro Vancouver event.

introduction

One of the most notable things he mentioned was that food has changed more in the past 50 years than in the previous 5,000 (or maybe it was 500. I can’t remember correctly.). Pretty incredible! The Feast of Fields event is a fundraiser for Farm Folk City Folk, but primarily it’s a fantastic opportunity for people to come together, eat some fabulous local food, and meet the farmers and chefs who created it.

There were three tents set up with a nice variety of food and drink for us to try. First up I tried a delicious cracker with goat cheese and spices along with pickled vegetables from Forage. I loved the presentation of these – balanced on small rocks on a plank of wood.

forage

Paired with this were wines from Siren’s Call. I tried their Viognier, which was very nice. I’d never heard of this type of wine before about a month ago, but I’ve found I really enjoy the ones I’ve tried.

Next was a fabulous cornmeal pancake from Whole Foods, topped with salmon cured with bitters, slaw and more. Very tasty!

whole foods

And last, but certainly NOT least, was a fabulous grilled salmon slider with a quinoa salad from Chicha Restaurant:

chicha restaurant

Wow! The taste in that little slider was incredible. It was paired with ciders from Left Field Cider, which was a fantastic pairing. I’ve never been a huge fan of ciders, but I was very impressed by theirs:

left field cider

What makes their cider unique is that they are full juice ciders, meaning they use just apples and don’t add any artificial flavours or juice concentrate. Each crop of apples is different, meaning they’ll never have the same varieties of cider from year to year.

After things wrapped up in the fields, we all hopped into the tractor driven train for a short tour of the farm before heading over to the winery.

krause train

Krause opened their new winery in May of this year, and it’s a gorgeous little building right next to their market. I love the decor in here! We tried a variety of their berry and apple wines, while also sampling some of their berries and local cheeses.

berry wines

The boot shot glasses are awesome!

winery

In the centre is Ted, who looks like he just stepped out of an old timey Western film. LOVE it!

scott perrie

Entertainment for the event was provided by a local musician named Scott Perrie, who will also be performing in September.

All in all, it was a great event, and I’m even more excited about attending again this year. There are still tickets available – be sure to snap yours up before they sell out!

Sip & Slurp

10 Nov

Thursday night was the 3rd Annual Sip & Slurp at 1 Fish 2 Fish in Langley. I’d never heard of this event before, but it’s a fabulous occasion! I ended up winning tickets through Tourism Langley, which was so awesome. I would have ended up going even if I hadn’t won, because I can never pass up a chance to have delicious seafood and drinks. The market is fairly small, so there were only a limited amount of tickets available for the event. It did get pretty crowded in there once the event was in full swing, but everyone was happy and seemed to be having a great time, so the space wasn’t too much of an issue.

The Sip & Slurp was a chance to celebrate Ocean Wise month by tasting a variety of amazing seafood appetizers, fresh oysters and some local wines and cocktails. The food was prepared by Dan Trites, chef at Ignite Cafe. I haven’t been there before, but after the incredible food at this event, I’ll definitely be checking them out.

There was an amazing selection of appetizers to try.

This was probably my favourite. Seared tuna with asian slaw on a wonton wrapper

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Squid with sundried tomato pesto and mango salsa. Another favourite!

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There were about 7 or 8 different types of oysters to sample. I’ll freely admit that this was my first time eating raw oysters. I’ve had them in various cooked or baked formats before, but I was always a bit nervous to try them raw. I bucked up my courage and tried several of them, and ended up pleasantly surprised. My favourite one was called Effingham. The flavour was incredible!

Chef Dan at work

There were a few door prize draws throughout the evening, and I ended up winning two bottles of wine. When my ticket number was called, I felt guilty for about 2 seconds, but I got over that pretty quickly. Who am I to pass up free wine?! 😉

The Sip & Slurp is a fantastic event for an extremely reasonable price, and this will also be added to my calendar for next year!

Metro Vancouver Feast of Fields 2012

11 Sep

This past weekend was the 18th Annual Feast of Fields event. It happens every year in September, and last year it was at Krause Berry Farms. This year it was held at Golden Ears Cheesecrafters in Maple Ridge, so it was a slightly longer commute for me this time. But boy, was it EVER worth it!

The weather wasn’t hot and sunny, but for the majority of the afternoon the rains held off. I noticed quite a few people begin to leave once it began pouring, but us die-hards who were prepared with jackets and umbrellas were going to stick it out until the bitter end (or until the food ran out).

This year there were 13 tents offering food and wine, which I think was an increase from last year. As we were standing in line for one of the food items, we were talking with a man behind us, and we were all lamenting the fact that the tents didn’t have numbers on them. The program we were given had a numbered map, but it would have been a little less confusing if the tents physically had their numbers on them.

We also overheard one girl exclaiming to her friend that “This is my favourite day beside Christmas! Actually, it’s BETTER than Christmas!” Haha. So awesome. And that was at 1:30pm, so the festival was just getting going at that point.

Well, without further ado, here are some pictures of some of the INCREDIBLE food we tasted. I think we tried just about everything that was listed in the program, except for a few places that ran out of food very early on, which was too bad.

Sapo Bravo 30 component dungeness crab “slaw” from Vancouver Club

Yarrow Meadows Duck Confit with cherry tomatoes on a blueberry cracker from Wild Rice

Ceviche: Fresh OceanWise seafood and citrus valencia orange with habanero pepper, stacked on organic blue corn tostada served with housemade guacamole & pickled chayote from Lolita’s “South of the Border” Cantina

This was my favourite dish from last year, and it was just as fabulous again this year!

AAA Hopcott premium grilled steak, roasted pepper, chorizo, and gouda on artisan ciabatta from Hopcott’s Premium Meats

Tempura bacon with a maple chive sour cream dip from Pearl Urban Bistro

WOW. There are no other words than WOW to describe how amazing this was!!

Wild Salmon Crudo, Fennel, Olives from Fishworks

Grand Marnier & Callebaut Mousse with Bremner’s Blueberries from Chef Ann Kirsebom’s Gourmet Sauces

Herbed buttermilk whole grain crackers with heirloom tomatoes, basil and goat cheese brûlé from Slow Food Vancouver

Grilled pizza topped with duck and sage sausage, local heirloom tomatoes, Goat’s Pride feta cheese, and a Skeeter farm arugula and local hazelnut pesto from Seasonal 56

Seasonal 56 is one of the best restaurants in the Langley area. I highly recommend trying them out sometime! Here’s my review from last summer.

Fennel and basil coleslaw with pippin-peach vinaigrette and pollen creme fraise on purple and savoy cabbage leaves from Aphrodite’s Organic Café

Qualicum Beach Scallop Ceviche from Rain City Grill

This dish was the favourite this year! We may or may not have gone back a few times to have more of these. SO delicious!!

HEE! I had to include this just for fun. This was at one of the wineries’ tables.

Albion Wild salmon ceviche from Whet Kitchen.Bar.Patio

Thyme and Birch Syrup infused watermelon from Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts

These watermelon bites were super refreshing. Even though it wasn’t a warm day, these little bites of freshness were very welcomed.

Sakura Farms braised pork belly, star anise sweet soy glaze, Barnston Island micros, sweet rice cake from Prestons Restaurant

Cured Pacific Provider salmon belly with Glorious Organics pickled beets from The Next Course @ The Listel Hotel

Windset Farms Symphony Heirloom Style Tomato Salad, Basil Pesto, Maestro Pepper Spicy Sorbetto from Yew Restaurant + Bar

This tomato dish was phenomenal! The pepper sorbetto really kicked it up an extra notch. Very impressive!

Artichoke Stacker from Choices Markets

Berry cream cake from Krause Berry Farms

There was so much more that I could have shared with you, but then this post would become a novel! Since I was the designated driver, I only had little sips of a few alcoholic drinks. My favourites were the Victoria Gin from Victoria Spirits (the flavours in this were unbelievable. I’m a fan!!), and the Pinot Gris from Gray Monk Estate Winery.

I’m so glad I was able to go to this event again. Last year I discovered it by (happy) accident, and it now has a permanent spot on my calendar.

The tickets are a bit on the pricier side ($85 per person) compared to other festivals in the area, but it is worth every penny and more.  Next year’s event will take place on Sunday, September 8th – location TBA.

Farmers’ Feast at Krause Berry Farm

15 Jul

Today was the 8th annual Farmers’ Feast out at Krause Berry Farm. I’ve written about the farm before here. I’ve never been to this event before, but based on what I saw today, I’ll definitely be adding this to my calendar for next year.

The event is a chance for local farms and vendors to get more exposure in the community, which is great. There were about 10 vendors set up in front of the market area, and most of them were giving out free samples of their cheese, chocolate, sausages, cake, wine and more. There was live music playing on their little stage in one of the eating areas, plus a man on violin who was wandering through the crowds, and lots of activities for kids. Despite the cloudy weather, the mood was festive and the place was hopping!

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I made a fabulous new discovery with one of the samples – a Cranberry Melomel wine from Campbell’s Gold. I’d never tried a honey/fruit wine before, and was pleasantly surprised. It was so delicious and refreshing, and would be perfect for a hot summer evening. I’ll definitely be dropping by their store soon to pick up a few bottles.

I was at the farm at around 11am (when the event started), because I wanted to spend some time picking berries in their u-pick fields. The place was busy, but I managed to find a quiet section and picked to my heart’s content. It’s raspberry season right now, and I definitely suggest you come to Krause with your family to pick your own berries!

As I was leaving (after 12pm), I had to laugh at the amount of cars in the parking lot – the place was filled to overflowing, and people were parking on the side of the road for about a block near the farm. The event wasn’t even half over at that point, but the place was extremely busy. It made me grateful that I live within walking distance, so I don’t need to drive to the farm.

If you’re planning to go to the event next year, I definitely suggest getting there early, if you can, as parking will be VERY minimal as the afternoon goes on. I was surprised (and pleased) that so many people showed up despite the clouds and thunderstorms in the forecast. It’s a great event!

Tip n Taste

7 Jul

Last night was the Tip ‘n Taste event at the Coast Hotel and Convention Centre in Langley. I’d never been to this location before, but it’s a fabulous place and was perfect for an event like this.

I tried to round up some friends to come with me, but unfortunately nobody was available. I think that made a big difference in my enjoyment of the event. I always feel super self-conscious and awkward when I’m on my own at events, so I didn’t stay for very long. There wasn’t any point in hanging out once my sample tokens were gone.

When I bought my ticket to the event, either this notice wasn’t up on their website, or I totally missed seeing it, but I was surprised to find out when I checked in that the cost of the event only included 3 drink tickets and 3 food tickets. You could buy extra tickets for an additional cost, but I wasn’t about to spend extra money. So I ended up being a bit disappointed in that. At all the other food and wine/beer events that I’ve been to, there isn’t a limit on what you can sample. I hadn’t planned to go hog-wild on the samples, but I assumed I’d be able to try whatever I wanted to. I walked around the ballroom and looked extensively at each table, so I could determine which samples were worthy of my 6 tickets.

I didn’t take an official count, but I’m pretty sure there were about 25 booths in the ballroom. Most of them were around the perimeter, along with a few in the middle of the room. There were several breweries and wineries, along with tables where people served samples of beer/coolers that you can find anywhere. There were about 10 food stalls serving food like pizza, filled pitas, smoked salmon, turkey sausages, cheese, cupcakes and so on.

The most impressive food sample I tried was from Rockford, which I’ve reviewed here. They were serving a turkey burger slider that was so delicious! It had: “sundried cranberries, roasted garlic aioli, tomato jam, brie and arugula on our signature golden top mini buns.” I looked at their online menu to confirm the components of the slider, and apparently it’s only available at their West Broadway location, which is unfortunate. Hopefully they’ll be available at the Langley location soon! They also gave me a coupon for a free beer at their restaurant, so I’ll definitely be going back there for a meal very soon. Great way to drum up more business for the restaurant!

My favourite beer was from Stanley Park Brewery, and I had their Noble Pilsner. I never knew that there was a brewery there, despite living in West Vancouver for 10 years and spending considerable time throughout my life at the Park. The beer was light and refreshing, and I’ll be definitely adding it to my regular rotation of beers.

That’s the thing I love about events like these – trying out food/beers/wines that I never would have otherwise, and making great new discoveries. I’m always hesitant (especially with beers) to buy a whole six-pack of something I’ve never had before, in the off chance that I won’t like it. At these events I make it a point to sample different things so I can expand my food and drink horizons.

Anyway, the event was excellent, but I’m not sure if I’ll be back next year. I much prefer to go to events where everything is included in the price, so I don’t feel restricted in what I’m able to try. If I do come back, I’ll bring a group of friends so that we can pool our food and drinks and try a bit more than three samples.