With dozens of exhibitors from across B.C. showcasing food and beverages of all kinds, the Fraser Valley Food Show at the Tradex in Abbotsford was a lovely way to spend an afternoon sampling their tasty wares — even for someone like me .
While the vast majority of products showcased were tagged as gluten free, non GMO, organic or a combination of the three –there are some personal feelings on the way some of those terms are used and the end results of the foods that carry the labels — I did sample as much as I could from most of the vendors. To be fair and get a second opinion, I had my friend Dan tag along since taste is purely subjective. Okay, I also needed a driver for the beer and wine tasting section. Here’s a rundown some of six highlights.
1. BC Buzz Honey
We sampled a delightful blueberry honey that carried a distinct blueberry flavour. The only thing missing was a cup of tea to add it to. I plan on stopping by one of their two Langley area locations, they have a third in Mission, to get a jar or two. With Blueberry, blackberry, clover, mint, orange and country meadows (dandelion) to choose from, I’ll probably be making several trips and many pots of tea in the very near future. For more info, check out www.bcbuzzhoney.com.
2. Seasoned Gourmand Food
These various rubs and seasonings really stood out to me, so much in fact that I unabashedly stood there and sampled each one, twice. Then I returned and made my first purchase of the show, a bag of Intrepid Mole dry rub. I’m looking forward to enjoying it, but truth be told, it was so good I’m not looking forward to sharing it. I know I can stop into over three dozen grocers and butchers in the GVRD and get more, which I will, but right now it is my top gem of the show. www.seasonedgourmandfoods.com.
3. La Chocolaterie
I love the wide varieties of flavours and the melt-in-your-mouth consistency. Here’s the kicker for me — among the white and dark chocolate treats sits, what I found to be one of the spicier treats on the floor — Dark Chili. This container of tiny, succulent cubes packs a sinister punch of spice, for the spice lovers like me, a wonderful treat, for the prankster, like myself, a super fun treat to share. I split a cube amongst my four children and watched with malicious glee at the kick it gave three of them as they cupped their mouths in shock. The fourth (much like her father) simply wolfed down the cube and noticed nothing. www.lachocolaterie-vancouver.com.
Now my fellow Valleyites, you must be wondering ‘Wasn’t there a liquor tasting section?’ There sure was… here’s where my evening got real. Roughly a quarter or less of the size of the food area, the alcohol vendors got my attention, so much so in fact that not only did I bring a driver, but I deliberately ate as many food samples as possible beforehand to lessen the impact of the final leg. We approached this in a two-stage plan: First we sampled the wines, then we about faced and sampled the beers, we took part in the hard liquor as we went and much like a Jim Brewer bit we found out that a few sips of various alcohols was a dangerous idea.
4. Magic Moments Vodka
Now to be clear here, gluten and alcohol is a debated topic and I’m not going to weigh in on it or speculate. Distillers Pride has subjected their products and facility to audits that have been endorsed by the Canadian Celiac Association and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness in the United States of America and earned the right to their seals. Now, my attraction to this brand is their flavoured Remix vodkas; I found them to be exceptionally smooth and packed with flavour. Dan found love in a glass with the Contessa Brandy — this gem was so smooth James Bond would have been out classed. www.distillerspride.com
5. Samuel Smith Organic Raspberry & Organic Chocolate
I’ve had raspberry beer before, but none as rich in flavour as Samuel Smith. Next, the liquor repe added the Organic Chocolate to my half-empty glass. OH. MUH. GAWD. This isn’t a dessert beer, this is dessert. Each impressed me by themselves, but together this was my most impressive moment of the day. Learn more about this brand at www.samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk
6. Parallel 49 Schardenfraud
Well here you are fall lovers. Drop those Pumpkin Spice Lattes and grab a Schadenfreude from Parallel 49 Brewing Company. My sidekick correctly described it as “pumpkin pie in a glass.”Ladies, grab a pack for your pie-loving mates or yourselves this Thanksgiving weekend and savour it. A cold glass and a warm fork over dessert will leave any pumpkin pie lover sated. www.parallel49brewing.com
And there you have it — my personal highlights of the Fraser Valley Food Show. There were so many great finds that it was hard to pick and choose. I’m sure I’ve left out many fine vendors and products. With that being said, I suggest you cruise the Internet a bit and hunt down some more articles as the bloggers, columnists and televised media were out in full force.
Mark this event down for next fall and sample your way through so fantastic local treats with us, maybe bring a designated driver with you for that beer and wine section.
Were you at the Fraser Valley Food Show? Let us know what your highlight was below in the comments section.