The Fraser Valley Food Show made its return to the Abbotsford Tradex building for another year of food, drink and culinary exploration. If you or your peers have recently jumped aboard the gluten free train in your trend-driven Celiac self-diagnosis this show would be right up your alley. Coinciding with the tendency away from gluten this year’s show featured many vendors showing off the amazing traditional foods that can be made non-traditionally using gluten free ingredients.
Walking around the show floor there was always a snack at an arms reach. Whether it be chocolate, cookies, bread, pizza, pepperoni, cheese balls, papayas or cranberries they were all gluten free and surprisingly delicious. The Cranberries and Papayas may have defaulted on the whole gluten-free side of things but they were delicious none-the-less.
Beyond the food options, the usual trade show fare of blenders, knives and sham-wows were slated against the massage, chiropractic and television subscription booths in a competition of infomercial pride and a fight for trade show glory. It is never hard to find someone that has a sore back though who also wants to sit back and watch Breaking Bad while eating the ice cream that they made in their four-figure blender.
Once full of gluten-free samples and having made it through the swarms of people crowding for a handful of spiced meats I made my way through the cheese pavilion and into the tasting area. The main reason for myself to attend this event was for the beer. The 19+ zone at the Fraser Valley Food Show featured 15 or so venders highlighting products through beer, wine coolers and spirits. Of course there was a variety of gluten free options out for tasting as well.
The BC Breweries represented at the show were Caribou, Parallel 49 and Dead Frog. Cannery and Mt Begbie were also represented by their local distributor. Outside of BC there were a selection of beers available from around the world from the folks at BeerThirst, Bravo Beer Co. and TruCraft Beverages. These beers along side several wineries and spirit options did not leave a lacking of options in getting the palate warmed up.
From a BC perspective the first brewery to hit up was Caribou. Known for its affordable 6-packs the newly expanded line was out for tasting along side their non-alcohol Root Beer and Ginger Ale options. As great as it is to see the expansion of craft beer options in BC it is equally exciting to see Caribou along with a few other breweries venturing into the non-alcohol markets as well. Second up on the BC brewery mini-tour was Parallel 49. The Old Boy along side the Hoparatzi were on tap with the Lord of the Hops near by in bottles. As Parallel 49 looks at their continued, rapid expansion the Fraser Valley is definitely an important aspect of their regional aspirations. Look for this brewery to gain even more strength in 2014 and beyond as they are on a roll and that momentum will keep on rolling forward! Last up on the short-and-sweet BC brewery tour was Dead Frog. The newly revitalized brewery has matured under their new brewmaster while maintaining the brand recognition and slightly more slapstick side of craft beer. The new line of beers was pouring with fury out of the new brown bottles and offering flavours that were only a dream from this brewery some 18 months ago. Dead Frog is rising so get it before it gets you!
Beyond BC Beer they team from BeerThirst was showing off their impressive line of US beers along with other distributors and their products from the US and beyond. The latest XX-chromosome phenomenon Palm Bay was on site with a few BC wineries close by as well. Beer was definitely the favorite in the tasting area and contrary to the area outside the fans of gluten stayed true to their gluten/beer ways. The Fraser Valley Food Show is a great mix of food, beverage and lifestyle vendors. The 2013 show may now be complete but it is now time to start the countdown to 2014. We will be back at the Tradex building before you know it and hopefully seeing an expanded lineup of BC breweries showing off their beers to the thirsty people that call the Fraser Valley home.