2018 Holiday Market Review
A Fluid Tasting Journey
Last year’s holiday market had me munching my way through the aisles of the market as I sampled various foods while this year’s 2018 Holiday Market found me with a belly full of hot liquids which is so appropriate for a city where a there is a coffee shop on almost every commercial street corner. And I’ll let you in on my secret on how to sleep after drinking caffeine late at night – mas tequila shots – aye yay yay.
The Honey Shoppe
4125 Main Street, Vancouver
Cuisine: Honey and bakery cafe
Registration for 2018 Holiday Market was at The Honey Shoppe, a place dedicated to lovers of bees as everything from honey, beeswax candles, bee pollen, body care products, royal jelly and healing ointments are available there. But if you love honey, then you will love the fact that at The Honey Shoppe, there is a ginormous selection of flavours of honey from ginger, cinnamon, raspberry, blueberry, orange blossom, buckwheat, creamed and what have you. Name it, you’ll find it here but if you’re unsure, you can buy sample straws before committing to a jar or bucket. I personally love their seasonal infused honey such as pumpkin spice, salted caramel and gingerbread. And the great thing about the honey here is that its all made in Canada, and has no added preservatives.
Be Fresh Market and Cafe
2951 W Broadway, Vancouver
If you follow me on Instagram (@FabFrugalVan), you might think I’m a confirmed vegan as I often post photos of vegan food. But I don’t eat vegan food by choice as I have a love-hate relationship with dairy. Dairy hates my guts (literally), although I don’t know what I’ve done to piss it off. So don’t judge me, as I still like my cows served medium rare and my little piggies squealing in bacon fat in my cast iron frying pan (no dairy there). Working downtown, I’m quite familiar with Be Fresh Market as they are proof that healthy and fresh food doesn’t have to be boring or tasteless. On the plus side, 70% of produce sold at Be Fresh Local is organic, dressings made from scratch, meat products are antibiotic free (no boob additives!) and they offer a variety of products for allergy sensitivities such as gluten-free muffins and dairy free smoothies.
The Pulled Pork and Chutney on Endive and Edamame Jalapeno Crostini were both flavourful with a harmonious mixture of spices. I didn’t try the sliders because of my dairy issue, but my friend loved them as you can’t go wrong pairing Brie Cheese with Fig.
Be Fresh has seven locations, all offering hot and cold food to go such as salads, smoothies, gluten-free pastries. Some locations are smaller than others, such as the one in Bentall Four which doesn’t sell produce, but plenty of hot and cold foods. You can also order products from Be Fresh online and have it delivered via Spud.ca
One of the vendors Wholly Veggie wasn’t there at the 2018 Holiday Market when I was at Be Fresh so I was disappointed to miss tasting their product as Wholly Veggie products are totally vegan, nut free and gluten free with patties, pizza and vegan bites. But since I’m looking for healthy and low calorie alternatives for my new diet regime starting in the New Year, I will be adding this to my blog as soon as I try them.
Amai Vegan Treats (@AMAIVEGANTREATS) Cococreme is mousse made from coconut creme and flaboured with coconut sugar in flavours of Salted Vanilla, Spiced and Chocolate to use on top of cupcakes, cookies, pancakes, popsicles, desserts and more, although I’ve bought this at the downtown location of Be Fresh and just simply inhaled it in a minute. It has the same texture as any chocolate mousse with dairy I’ve ever had back in the day when dairy and I were friends and it’s just as tasty. It’s apparently processed in a facility in North Van that is gluten free, but they don’t claim that their products are nut free as the facility also processes: almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans. Thank God it’s only dairy I have an issue with because I’m nuts about nuts.
Silk Road Tea
2066 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
TEA OF FESTIVITEA: Partridge in a Pear Tea – Heritage & wild green & white tea, paired with a lively pear note & a hint of nutmeg
TEA OF ENCHANTMENT: Snow Fairy – Floral hints of an enchanted garden mingle with a pure, pristine freshness in this oolong blend.
TEA OF COSY SNUGGLES: Winter Spell – wild & heritage black tea, cinnamon, allspice, clove & apple essence
IRON GODDESS OF MERCY: green oolong tea, lively medium bodied tea with a floral and lightly roasted notes
In a province whose population is 50% Asian, it’s not surprising that there are quite a number of tea establishments offering quality tea. Silk Road Tea is one of these places where there is a wide selection of teas from the traditional Jasmine to unique tea selections such as Mango Lemonade Black Tea. There’s also recipes on their website on how to make tea cocktails and mocktails which is brilliant. It’s also a great place to buy cups, kitchenware, teapots and also skin products, shampoos, massage oil and soaps made with natural and organic products. I’ve bought some rather cute tea infusers here for gifts. During the Holiday Market, they had a promotion of 50% off lovely mugs and more.
As for the tea tasting, I actually loved all of the teas for different reasons, although I didn’t buy any as I was here just a month before and I bought the Cherry Haiku Tea which is overflows with bright cherry flavours. All of the teas had a definitive flavour and if you’re looking for a festive Christmas drink, the Winter Spell has mulled spices which would be great in mulled wine r make a toddy or eggnog from the Partridge in a Pear Tea.
1015 Clark Drive, Vancouver
Neighborhood: East Van
Caffeine addicts, wake up and smell the coffee brewing and get your caffeine driven body to Espressotec because it’s a coffee wonderland with so many selections to choose from. Apricot and Caramel coffee anyone – I spied with my little slanted eye this interesting blend. If I would have had the time, I would have tried this at the sampling station where you can try a flight of three coffee beans. I guess they limit the tasting because they don’t want you “lift off” and ricochet off the ceiling from too much caffeine. Although personally, it might be fun being “batted” off the ceiling. Besides coffee and syrups, Espressotec sells coffee, espresso machines, coffee grinders and you can register for classes such as Latte Art, Barista Mixology or cupping, which apparently is another word for “coffee tasting” and has nothing to do with the female mammary gland.
Bean around the World: I sampled the Christmas blend which is fruity and smoky at the same time. Although this sounds kinda weird, it had a a delightful and interesting flavour.
East Van Roasters (319 Carrall Street in the Rainier Hotel – http://www.eastvanroasters.
Nutmeg Mylk (@nutmegmylk https://www.nutmegmylk.com/) I sampled Polar Bear and Meg Nog Nut Mylk – light and great for lactose intolerant and is made from raw, organic and Nutrient-Rich Ingredients as they partner with Kelly Heesterman from Bliss Holistic Nutrition to ensure their product is not only tasty but good for you.
Sacred Acre (coffee @sacredacre https://www.sacredacrecoffee.
Porta Via Design (@portaviadesign). Don’t put a ring on it – put a lid on it. Turn your favorite mug into a take out cup with Port Via Design. Easy to use and snaps on easily.
Red Espresso (@redespresso https://redespresso.com/) If you love the taste of Rooibos tea and espresso you’ll love which is caffeine-free, and antioxidant-rich. Unlike other rooibos, Red Espresso makes sure their tea is sourced from single estates and never blended with no pesticides and has 10 times the antioxidants of traditionally brewed rooibos tea. I liked it so much that I bought a bag as it has an intense flavour like espresso but with rooibos flavour, which sounds odd, but isn’t.