Tag Archive for township 7

Fraser Valley Foodie Tour

Remember how I told you a few weeks back that my goal for this summer is to explore my own backyard? Well, I have been!

Today’s backyard destination is the Fraser Valley. Just about an hour’s drive from downtown Vancouver, the Valley stretches from Langley all the way out to Chillwack, Mission and Abbotsford. It’s very fertile, and full of farmland, where they grow all kinds of fruit, veg, wine…..

It’s amazing to me that we have access to such beautiful, locally-grown food right in our backyards, and I also love meeting the producers, the farmers that grow our food supply. We have to support them! They are a passionate lot; it’s my guess that farming is not a great way to get rich.milner farm aged goat cheese

Michael and I, inspired by Angie Quaale’s recently published Eating Local in the Fraser Valley, spent a Saturday eating our way through Langley and its environs.

Angie’s book is a true labor of love. If you’ve ever been to her store (Well Seasoned in Langely) you’ll know that Angie is a foodie of the hardest core. She’s a chef, pro BBQ’er, and her store has a fabulous selection of all the best specialty food products. I try to go there every time I’m in the ‘hood.

But Angie is also passionate about the Fraser Valley, where she both lives, and serves as councillor for the Township of Langley. She spent months interviewing the foodie movers and shakers nearby, and her book profiles the food producers of the Fraser Valley, as well as its top chefs. She also marries the two together by creating recipes with the local ingredients. I’ll have one for you later this week, so stay tuned.

But one of my favourite things about the book are her lists in the back. There are several suggested tours: food tours, brewery tours, winery tours, family-friendly tours, and of course where all the good You-Picks are. There’s even a list of where to get what seasonal ingredients.

So, inspired by her book, we took to the road, and here is what we discovered:

Coconut cream pie I fly for pie

I Fly For Pie. This humble cafe, located in the Langley Airport (yes, I was shocked to learn Langley had an airport, too), is famous for its pies. It’s not easy to find, look for the Langley Aviation museum, it’s on the other side of that. They serve up several varieties of homemade pie daily, and the slices are generous. Also generous are the heaps of whipped cream that will bury your pie. Michael had a slice of strawberry rhubarb, while I had coconut cream, and they were both so good. Michael’s was warmed, and mine was light and creamy. The crust though! The crust was almost like a croissant in its extreme flakiness. It’s worth it to seek this hidden gem out.

Backyard Vineyards

Wine! Yes, yes, it’s no secret I love wine. There are several wineries in Langley, but you shouldn’t visit them just for the wine. Township 7, known especially for their reds, has been a favourite of mine ever since I was introduced to it by their then winemaker, Bradley Cooper. One thing I love about Township 7 is their support of the local arts scene, often hosting concerts or plays right on their premises. Backyard Vineyards is another local fave of mine. I especially love their blends, like the Nosey Neighbour. Backyard is a lovely place to visit. They have lots of gorgeous outdoor space for picnics, and they do daily wine tastings with cheese pairings that are worth the drive. Vista D’oro specializes in port-style wine, and it is sooooo good. They also make preserves with their wines and other produce grown on the farm, so be sure to not leave without some fig and walnut wine preserve. You’ll need it to pair with the cheese you’re going to buy…

The farm house cheeses

Cheese! I enjoy visiting artisan cheeseries. It’s important to me to know that the animals are well looked after and happy, as happy animals equals a better end product. First off, there’s The Farm House in Agassiz. I like to stop here on my way to Harrison to pet the goats and see the cows and buy some cheese. Milner Valley Cheese is a little closer, in Langley. Michael and I were quite happy that we got to pet the goats, sample the cheese (they also make goat gelato!), and see the facilities where they make the cheese.

BC Blueberries

Farm-fresh veg. It’s farm country! There are tons of options! On our way home, we hit up Dreidger Farms and filled our boots with blueberries and raspberries. They sell other produce here as well, and many of the locally-made artisan goods (like cheeses and honey). You can also U-Pick your berries, but for $2.50 a pound, I’m happy to let someone else do the hard work. There’s also Krause Berry Farms. And if you’re a fan of the goji, check out the only place in BC where they are locally grown: Gojoy.

So there you have it. Another foodie adventure in the books, along with happy memories, full stomach, and fridge full of locally-produced goods to cook with and snack on.

Where are your favourite haunts in the Fraser Valley? I hope I’m inspiring you to get out and explore your backyard this summer!

Adventures in the OK

Ah, summer. How I love thee.

This past weekend, Jen Hill and I saddled up my Volkswagon Golf and drove up to Penticton. We were in  Okanagan wine country for a mere 36 hours, but we packed it full of goodness.

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We were driving through Keremos, when it started to rain. No. Not rain, downpour. We were supposed to be tenting under Brad Cooper’s apricot trees in his back yard, so we decided to go for dinner when we got into Penticton to wait out the rain.

We ended up at Theo’s (eatsquid.com). I went to Theo’s for the first time a couple years back, just before my trip to Greece. It was the first time I ever tried Yigantes. Theo’s is a Penticton institution, and you must go there if you’re in that neck of the woods. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but it goes on and on once you get in. It’s huge, and always crowded, because the food is yum and really reasonably priced.

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It was Friday night, and there was a line, but Jen and I were immediately handed a glass of wine, which took the pain out of our wait quite nicely. We ordered an appetizer plate, a Greek salad, and, of course, calamari. And finished about half of it. If you go, be sure to order the seafood salad: chunks of squid, salmon and vegetables dressed with dill. Oh, so good…

Brad and Audralee kindly let us sleep in their basement.

Saturday started with a trip to the Penticton Farmer’s Market. Now, I’ve been to a couple of farmer’s markets in my day, but honestly, I’ve never seen anything to rival this one. They shut down 5 blocks of the main drag, and it is populated with tents selling everything from produce to crafts to baked goods to sage smudge sticks. Breakfast was a Greek pastry and a waffle.

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Next up: Il Vecchio. We had been encouraged ordered to go there for lunch by a couple of folks in the know, and it seriously did not disappoint. Il Vecchio is one of those hole-in-the-wall hidden treasures: cash only, very mom-and-pop, cheap like borscht. They have two sandwich options: three cheese or two meat with one cheese on a kaiser. The options are immense, and they slice the meats for you as you watch. You then get to choose spicy or sweet mustard, whether or not you want mayo, and then they load it up with loads of crisp iceberg, tomato, sun-dried tomato, eggplant and artichoke hearts. All for under $5.

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We took our sammiches and hit the beach. Combined with cherries we’d bought from the farmer’s market (picked that morning!), it was just glorious.

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Pretty much the only thing that could tear us away from that was wine.

We started at Township 7, an easy walk down the hill, and then walked up the road to La Frenz. We also hit Kettle Valley, Elephant Island (because it’s so charming!) and Therapy.

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It was now late afternoon, and we returned to Black Cloud for the purpose of our trip: a BBQ/fundraiser for The South Okangan Similkimeen Brain Injury Society. That was BBQ pulled pork with all the fixin’s: home made beans, coleslaw (with cabbage from the garden), pasta salad and, oh yes, wine.

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The host/winemaker.

The host/winemaker.

Two very happy gals slept out in our tent under the apricot trees.

Ah, the view....

Ah, the view….

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