Fraser Valley Food Show 2014

Dates and Venue 4 –6 October 2013 | Tradex Exhibition Centre in Abbotsford

Reviewer Cassie Silva

My favourite part of the Fraser Valley Food Show is weaving up and down the aisles, accepting free samples from every other booth. It’s like going to the grocery store on free sample day, times 10. There was a wide selection of gluten-free options, as well as numerous vendors hawking kitchen and household wares. Some vendors were getting frustrated trying to be heard over their neighbour’s spiel, but for the most part the show seemed less crowded and better spaced out than previous years. Perhaps the most entertaining booth was the BC Cranberry Grower’s Association, which had 2 women handing out free samples from inside a large tub of cranberries.

The Celebrity Cooking Stage was naturally a major draw, featuring Chef Ned Bell from the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and Chris Knight, President and CEO of Gusto TV. There were also well attended presentations on the Grapes & Hops Stage, the ever-popular Cheese Seminars put on by the Dairy Farmers of Canada, and the Butcher’s Showcase Stage where BC butchers demonstrate the art of meat cutting.

I came with an empty stomach but was disappointed in the selection of dining options. You can purchase “Bite/Taste” tickets in a sheet of 20 tickets for $10 or a half-sheet for $5. However there were only three food trucks, and one local restaurant offering food in exchange for bite tickets. Most of the meals cost 12 tickets ($6) which means the majority of people likely spend their extra tickets in the Wine, Beer & Spirits Tasting Pavilion. The Pavilion was definitely the busiest section of the show and was crowded with attendees sampling wines, beers and spirits from BC and around the world. I would have liked to see more participating restaurants, offering unique and tasty samples for fewer bite tickets in order to mix and match these samples to create a meal.

Overall, I would have enjoyed the event more if there were more dining options and if there was free parking included for ticket-holders, but I enjoyed browsing the booths and interacting with BC businesses. I also enjoyed the small bag of samples I received on the way out.

© 2014 Cassie Silva