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By Dan Olson, chef/owner, Railtown Catering

We use a tenderizing brine of honey, lemon, herbs, garlic, salt and spices for maximum moisture retention and flavour. 

INGREDIENTS

Organic Tom Turkey (15-lb)

Kosher salt (4 cups, plus more to taste)

Honey (1 cup)

Whole black peppercorn (¼ cup)

Lemons (5, halved)

Bay leaves (2)

Garlic (2 heads, halved and smashed)

Parsley (1 bunch)

Sage (1 bunch)

Thyme (1 bunch)

Clarified butter for brushing (¼ cup)

Carrots (2, quartered)

Small leek (1, halved)

Small yellow onion (1, halved)

Turkey stock (8 cups)

Flour (1 cup)

DIRECTIONS 

For the brine:

1. In a large stockpot, boil salt, honey, lemons, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic heads, parsley, thyme in 8 liters of water.

2. Reserve the neck bones and giblets from the turkey. Let brine cool, add the turkey, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

To roast the turkey:

1. Heat the oven to 425°F.

2. Remove the bird from the brine and pat dry. Brush with clarified butter and season with salt and pepper.

3. Add fresh sage inside the cavity.

4. Transfer to a roasting pan fitted with a rack.

5. Add the reserved giblets, the neck bone, carrots, leek, garlic and onion to the bottom of the pan.

6. Roast until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.

7. Turn the oven down to 275°F and continue cooking until a thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the breast reads 165°F (about 2.5 hours).

8. Keep warm and let rest for 40 minutes before carving.

9. Reserve the turkey fat from the pan, return to oven and roast the vegetables until caramelized golden brown. Set pan aside.

To make the gravy:

1. Place pan with giblets, bones and vegetables over medium high heat.

2. Add turkey stock and cook, scraping up bottom bits from the pan. About 10 minutes, then strain the stock.

3. Cook reserved turkey fat and butter in a pot, sprinkle in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in reserved stock.

4. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until gravy is slightly thickened, about 5-7 minutes.

Photo credit: Jelger + Tanja Photographers

By Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie

Kipferl cookies originated in Austria and are traditional in Germany, Czech, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary. Makes approx. 2 dozen cookies.

INGREDIENTS

Cookies

Soft unsalted butter (2/3 cup)

Icing sugar, sifted (1/3 cup)

Ground almonds (1/2 cup)

Bread flour (1 cup)

Vanilla bean (1)

Salt (a pinch)

Vanilla sugar

Vanilla Sugar

Granulated sugar (4 cups)

Used vanilla pod from the cookie dough

DIRECTIONS

Cookies

1. In a mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the butter, icing sugar, and salt till smooth at medium speed.  Scrape the sides of the bowl frequently to prevent lumps.

2. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape to remove the seeds.  Reserve the pod for later use.  Add the seeds to the butter mixture and mix till thoroughly combined.

3. Whisk together the bread flour and ground almonds.  Add all the dry ingredients into the butter-mixture and mix on low speed till it forms into a dough.

4. On a flat surface dusted lightly with flour, form the dough into a long tube about 1 ¼ inch in diameter.  Use a sharp knife to cut into 24 even discs.

5. Take each disc and roll into a cigar-like tube about 3 ½ inches long and slightly tapered at the edges.  Bend this into a crescent shape and place on a parchment lined baking tray.

6. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

7. Once firm, bake in a 325° F oven for 9-12 minutes or until the tips of the crescent begin to brown.  Set aside and allow to cool for a few minutes.

8. When the cookies are just cool enough to handle gently coat in vanilla sugar and allow to cool completely.

Vanilla Sugar

1. Take the vanilla pod and dry in a 200° F oven till brittle, usually 1-2 hours.

2. Use a spice grinder and process the dried vanilla pod to a fine powder. Use a fine mesh strainer if necessary.

3. Combine with the sugar (the amount of the sugar can be increased or decreased depending on your preference).

by Catherine Dunwoody

Imagine 28,000 square feet of Christmas entertaining ideas, delectable gift shopping, and décor all under one roof. The Christmas Store at Potters Nurseries in South Surrey is open now until Christmas Eve, and you have never seen a thing like it.

sauces-n-dips

The foodie on your list will love the thought you put into creating your own culinary gift basket, delicious hostess gift, or stocking stuffers for them. Think hot chocolate packs, dips, soups, crackers, sauces, jellies, British biscuits, and preserves from local wineries. Bacon candy canes? Why not. Ornaments with a food theme? How does the burger and fries grab you? And nutcrackers? Imagine an entire section dedicated to a jaw dropping display and variety of options that make fabulous gifts.

And this year, the Gourmet Food area has been expanded with some fun new items, like popcorn in 10 fun flavours, a staggering 30 flavours of hot chocolate and hot chocolate toppings and SpiritDust, because who doesn’t need colour and glitter in their holiday drinks?

bacon-canes

Décor inspiration and gift ideas runs the gamut here too, from a frosty winter white palette to traditional red and green, or geared to the gardener, the pet lover and well, just name it. This year, the front entrance has been transformed into an English Country Garden, with rock walls, flowers, bunny decorations and adorable felt-mice ornaments.

fries-orn

Grinch wouldn’t stand a chance here. This Christmas happy place is a force to be reckoned with.

nutcracker

Open daily through December 24
Mon – Wed: 9am – 6pm
Thu – Fri: 9am – 7pm
Sat: 9am – 6pm
Sun: 9am – 5:30pm

The Christmas Store at Potters
19158 48th Avenue
Surrey, BC
604.576.5011
potters.ca/christmas

By: Mario Pelletier, Pastry Chef, Railtown Cafe and Railtown Catering

INGREDIENTS

(Recipe yields two pecan pies)

Sable Base
Flour, 470 grams
Ground almonds, 60 grams
Butter, 240 grams
Icing sugar 180 grams
2 eggs
Salt, 1 tsp

  • Crumble all dry ingredients together except eggs in a mixing bowl.
  • Slowly add eggs and combine until smooth.
  • Line the base mixture in two 10-inch circle tart tins.
  • Place tins in the oven at 170°C (roughly 340°F) and blind bake (using beans on top of the crust) for approximately 20-25 minutes until the crust is half cooked.

Pecan Filling
Eggs, 9    
Demerara sugar, 500g
Golden syrup, 612.5g
Butter, 125g
Pinch salt
Pecans, 1kg

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 175°C (roughly 350°F).
  2. Melt the butter.
  3. In a mixing bowl and slowly mix in the eggs, sugar and syrup.
  4. Incorporate the butter, salt and then the pecans.
  5. Divide the pecan filling between the two pie crusts and cook for approximately 30 minutes.
  6. Remove pies from oven and allow to cool before serving.

 

By Brittany Tiplady

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the holidays, why not take a stroll through a gorgeous display of lights? Treat your family, your significant other, or maybe just yourself to some Yuletide cheer! Metro Vancouver sure knows how to get into the holiday spirit with a vast selection of holiday light festivals popping up from Vancouver’s North Shore all the way to Langley. The artistry and brilliance of these events are bound to dissolve any Grinch-like feelings.

The holidays are for feasting and you know that here at WestCoastFood we’ve got you covered in the food department. Grab a bite before or after with one of our recommendations below. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Vancouver

Festival of Lights at the VanDusen Botanical Garden
5251 Oak St, Vancouver

VanDusen Garden Festival of Lights
Image Courtesy of VanDusen Garden Festival of Lights

The annual Festival of Lights at the VanDusen Garden is arguable one of the most beloved holiday events in Vancouver proper, boasting over one million lights around the grounds and garden. Lighting up Vancouver from December 1-January 6, VanDusen draws an impressive crowd every year, so grab your tickets early! The City of Vancouver website already predicts that the festival will be sold out from December 15-24. Head on over to Instagram and follow the hashtag #VanDusenFOL

What to eat: Warm up post or pre garden stroll and head on over to the Truffles Kitchen at VanDusen Gardens and take advantage of their late Festival of Lights hours. Located right onsite, Truffles offers a gorgeous view of the surrounding gardens, serving Fair Trade coffees, “lovingly handcrafted hot and cold beverages, locally-inspired epicurean entrees, flavourful lunch and snacks, all freshly prepared onsite from the highest quality ingredients”. The Truffles artisan sandwiches are divine and suitable for carnivores and veggies alike! Try the roast beef and Swiss on ciabatta or the vegan Vietnamese banh mi with marinated tofu, vegan sriracha mayo, pickled carrots and daikon and cilantro.

Truffles Kitchen at VanDusen Gardens is open in December from 9 AM to 3 PM, and then open from 4:30 PM-late for Festival of Lights guests.

Aurora Winter Festival
Concord Pacific Place, 811 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Aurora Winter Festival | Image by Brandon Artis

Get immersed in Canada’s largest and without a doubt most elaborate winter festivals! The folks behind Aurora Winter Festival have thought of everything: check out the hidden village paired with a beautiful skating rink, go for a ride in the tube park, and marvel at the massive light displays. Shop ‘til you drop at the Christmas market, and enjoy amusement rides, food gardens, magical characters, and so much more.

What to eat: Aurora is packed with some of Vancouver’s most beloved food vendors:Meat and Bread, REEL Mac and Cheese, Fat Duck, and Dim Sum Express to name a few. However, you feel like dining out before or after the festival, consider popping into Juke Fried Chicken. Juke’s acclaimed food and cocktail menu is the perfect place to hunker down after an evening of Christmas-ing. We highly recommend ordering as many pieces of Juke’s glorious (and gluten free!) chicken, a side of the fried brussel sprouts with preserved lemon, and the charred greens with miso sesame vinaigrette.

Check out Juke’s sit down and take out menus for the Chinatown and new Davie Street locations here.

North Vancouver

Canyon Lights
3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver

Image Courtesy of Canyon Lights

The Capilano Suspension Bridge annual holiday event– Canyon Lights– is most definitely a must for the holiday season. Catering to all ages (but definitely a guaranteed delight for your little ones), Canyon Lights will launch you right into the holiday spirit. The suspension bridge is adorned with thousands of twinkling lights, as well as lights decorating the Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk and throughout the grounds. Bonus: Canyon Lights guests will also see the world’s tallest living Christmas tree, standing at 153 feet tall and growing.

Your ticket to Canyon Lights includes, “admission to the park, a Snowy Owl Prowl, gingerbread cookie decorating, make your own Christmas card (by donation) in the Winter Pavilion and sing-along carols with the Christmas band.” Grab your tickets for Canyon Lights here; this event runs until January 27, so if you don’t get around to attending before the holidays you can still enjoy it for the month to follow!

What to eat: After your suspension bridge stroll, pop into The Cliff House Restaurant onsite! The Canyon Lights experience doesn’t have to end once you head indoors–The Cliff House boasts an impressive view of the suspension bridge so you can continue to marvel at its beauty with a hot meal in tow. Our menu recommendation: the seafood chowder! Seating is first come first serve; no ressies available!

The Cliff House Restaurant is open daily from 12 PM to 9 PM; last seating is at 9 PM so don’t miss your chance at a table!

Burnaby

Heritage Christmas at the Burnaby Village Museum
6501 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby, BC

Image Courtesy of Burnaby Village Museum

It’s “a season of old-fashioned fun and spectacular light displays.” Take a stroll through the Burnaby Village streets and take in some good old fashioned holiday decor: wreaths, cedar swags and vintage-themed displays. Making it fun and interactive, visitors can create their holiday show with lights that change colours with sound at the bandstand.

Special entertainment is scheduled throughout the season including: theatre performances, community choirs, street characters and musicians. Bring your littles, as Heritage Christmas is also offering family friendly activities like crafts, baking in the Farmhouse, and visits with Father Christmas! 

Heritage Christmas at the Burnaby Village Museum is open daily with free gate admission. Carousel rides are $2.65 each. Check out the Heritage Christmas hours of operation here.

Where to eat: Make it a celebratory occasion and dine at The Hart House at Burnaby Lake. Located only steps away from the Burnaby Village museum (two minutes by foot!) the Hart House is an iconic spot for a fabulous, albeit upscale, meal. Enjoy Sunday brunch, daily lunch and dinner with your loved ones after a holiday stroll through the Heritage Christmas events.  If you’re heading into the Hart House for dinner, you must order the rich, decadent, and gorgeous seafood spaghettini; $19, $28 for entrée size: Dungeness crab, clams, mussels, saffron cream, pangrattato.

The Hart House is open Tuesday- Sunday. For hours and menu offerings look here.

Richmond

Steveston’s Winter in the Village

Steveston’s Winter in the Village | Image by Joel Baziuk

Richmond’s idyllic Steveston Village gets some extra pep during the holiday season! Check out the array of Christmas-themed events, activities, and attractions that Steveston has to offer. During the holiday season the village transforms into a one-stop-shop for a things festive: “From caroling and artisan markets to richly decorated National Historic Sites—and even appearances from Santa himself—there’s a glittering array of free or low-cost holiday happenings.” If you’re wanting to shop local this year, The Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site will be hosting its sparkling Festival of Trees event and Cannery Farmers Market, so you can snag your Christmas presents, stocking stuffers, and holiday cheer all-in-one!

Where to eat: There are so many wonderful restaurants in Steveston it’s hard to pick just one. However, Britannia Brewing is most definitely one of our favourites. Pop in post or pre-holiday stroll for a bite and a beer. Great for solo dining, and even better for families, Britannia Brewing caters to all palates offering–along with house craft brews–mouth watering juicy burgers, decadent risotto, wild sockeye salmon, and of course, fish and chips.

Check out the hours of operation at Britannia, the craft beer tap list, and abundant menu here.

Coquitlam

Lights at Lafarge

Lights at Lafarge | Image courtesy of the City of Coquitlam

Located only 140 metres from the Lafarge Lake-Douglas Evergreen line station, the Lights at Lafarge is lauded as the largest free outdoor lights display in the lower mainland. Free, being the magic word. Enjoy the display after dusk while going for a light stroll around the LaFarge Lake-a wonderful outing for families, couples, and dog owners. Learn more about this fantastic community event here!

Where to eat: Well worth the drive from Lafarge lake is Coquitlam’s first and only craft brewery, Mariner Brewing. This nautical themed tasting room is a sweet spot to grab a quality brew, gourmet hotdog, or hot spinach dip after a jaunt around Lafarge Lake. Highly recommended: Order the Northeast IPA, a tropical, juicy IPA with a bold (and not too bitter!) finish.

Mariner Brewing is open Monday-Sunday, get the kitchen and tasting room hours here.

Check out our interview with Mariner Brewing here.

Langley

Glow Christmas
Milner Village Garden Centre, 6690 216 St, Langley

Image courtesy of Glow

A Christmas festival that quite literally…glows! Glow is the largest indoor Christmas festival in Metro Vancouver and it’s brand new! Running until January 19, enjoy Glow’s impressive selection of light gardens, a Christmas market, food, drinks, and interactive lights! Glow is perfect for families; the “playgrounds and interactive features will entertain the kids for hours, while the adults kick back at the licensed bar and enjoy some seasonal beverages and live music.”

Where to eat: There are plenty of food vendors and food truck onsite at Glow, and we recommend you utilize all that this incredible space has to offer! If you still end up leaving hungry, right next door to Langley and less than 15 minutes by car, is Hugo’s Mexican Kitchen in Cloverdale’s Clayton area. Warm up with a beef barbacoa, pork carnitas, and tofu chorizo taco trio, and wash it down with Hugo’s selection of artisanal cocktails and and craft beer.

By Brittany Tiplady

‘Tis the season for ubiquitous social media photos, Instagram stories, and Snapchats of holiday parties, outings, and events. Amongst the many options to get into the festive spirit in Metro Vancouver is the Lights at Lafarge.

Conveniently located only 140 metres from the Lafarge Lake-Douglas Evergreen line station, the Lights at Lafarge the largest free outdoor lights display in the lower mainland. Free, being the operative word. Enjoy the display after dusk while going for a light stroll around the LaFarge Lake-a suitable and lovely outing for families, couples, and dog owners.

Image courtesy of the City of Coquitlam

As we enter the winter months, and temperatures drop, warming up after your walk through the Lights at Lafarge is essential. Browse through this selection of restaurants, cafes, and watering holes nearby.

Pappa Roti
Unit 100 – 1196 Pinetree Way
If you haven’t given these fluffy, decadent, Malaysian style buns a chance-now is the time! Warm up with a coffee, and a treat in Pappa Roti’s cozy, and comforting cafe atmosphere.

Open seven days a week.

Tacoreano
100-2970 Glen Drive
You can literally never have too many tacos. Pop in to Metro Vancouver’s original Asian fusion taco restaurant, a quick three-minute drive from the Lights at Lafarge. Recommended: The tofu 7” taco: Korean spiced fried tofu, cabbage, guacamole, pickled daikon. Open Tuesday to Sunday.

Mariner Brewing
H-1100 Landsdowne Drive
Well worth the drive is Coquitlam’s first and only craft brewery, Mariner Brewing. This nautical themed tasting room is a sweet spot to grab a quality brew, gourmet hotdog, or hot spinach dip after a jaunt around LaFarge Lake. Highly recommended: Order the Northeast IPA, a tropical, juicy IPA with a bold (and not too bitter!) finish. Food is served Wednesday-Sunday.

Check out our feature on Mariner Brewing here.

Image courtesy of Mariner Brewing

La Ruota
1168 The High Street
Walk, no, run, only 20 minutes to La Ruota’s artisan, hand-crafted, Neopolitan style pizzas. Open seven days a week, you can order a La Ruota pie to-go ahead of time and enjoy at home. Recommended: The Capicola a divine marriage of mozzarella, fior di latte, grana padano, capicolla, and mushroom.

NULIFE Living Food Cafe
2957 Glen Dr
Healthy, nourishing, local food, only 900 metres away. Book a table or simply pop in for an organic specialty coffee-NULIFE’s veggie forward menu is truly food for the soul. Open until 8 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and until 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Image courtesy of the City of Coquitlam

Craving something onsite? The Lights at Lafarge concession stand is open Wednesday to Sunday from 4:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Stop by for the classic concession treats and favourites.

By VisitRichmondBC.ca

Let’s face it, while cooking a big turkey with all the fixin’s for family and friends can be incredibly rewarding, sometimes it’s much less stressful to go out to eat and let someone else do the work for you.

Many restaurants are closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but, fortunately, many establishments in Richmond can come to your discerning palate’s rescue. Not only will they be open, but they also offer mouth-watering alternatives to the traditional Christmas meal.

Here are five places where you can dine out on December 24th and 25th:

Yuan’s Chuan Chuan Xiang

Christmas often involves a bringing together of loved ones over good food. Hot pot adds an interactive dimension to the get-together that can be very enjoyable–and delicious. Yuan’s Chuan Chuan Xiang (Aberdeen Centre, 2792-4151 Hazelbridge Way) is the Richmond location of a chain that hails from Chengdu in China’s Sichuan province, where they’re known for their spicy take on hot pot.

While there are many hot pot establishments in town, Yuan’s specializes in “chuan chuan,” an iteration that uses bamboo sticks for skewering many of their ingredients before they’re cooked in hot broth. Depending on how fiery you want it, you can opt for a spicy or non-spicy version (or a split pot with both) of the restorative pork broth, which comes with mushrooms, ginger, dried goji berries, dried red dates, green onion, tomato, and cucumber. The restaurant adds a mixture of dried chili peppers, garlic, longan skin, fermented bean paste, star anise, and Sichuan peppercorns to transform the base broth into a tongue scalding experience.

The fun of hot pot is the sheer range of ingredients you can choose from, in this case selections such as beef tripe, pork belly, black fungus, quail eggs, and lotus root. You can also choose to partake in the sauce bar (such as mashed garlic, sesame oil) for heightening the flavours of your hot pot items.

Mega Sushi

Blue Ocean roll at Mega Sushi | Image by Lindsay Anderson

Here on the west coast, sushi has become a go-to option for many during the Christmas season. It’s a crowd pleaser, great for group ordering, and a welcome contrast to conventional holiday eating. Fortunately, Richmond’s dining landscape features some of the finest sushi on Canada’s West Coast, spanning traditional restaurants with exactingly crafted nigiri, to more casual establishments that showcase creative rolls and dishes.

Veggie udon at Mega Sushi | Image by Lindsay Anderson

Mega Sushi (3131 Chatham Street) in Steveston falls within the latter category, with a menu that is particularly playful when it comes to their specialty rolls. The Blue Ocean roll features red tuna, hamachi, salmon, radish sprouts, and avocado, all in a soy wrap, topped with tobiko. The “Sexy” roll is packed with crowd-pleasing ingredients like avocado, imitation crab, tuna, salmon, ebi, and tamago, wrapped in thinly sliced cucumber. Not just a sushi joint, the rest of the menu includes donburi, udon noodle soups, and various teriyaki options.

Suhang Restaurant

Santa himself would probably be craving dumplings at Suhang Restaurant (100-8291 Ackroyd Road) after his long night of delivering toys. This destination for top-notch Shanghainese cuisine offers some of the finest xiao long bao in Richmond. The generously sized dumplings boast fragrantly sweet broth, a thin wrapper, and substantial pork filling. (In short, these are highly satisfying.) Other dumplings on the menu include wontons in chili and peanut sauce, shrimp and chive dumplings, pan-fried pork and shrimp dumplings, and steamed veggie dumplings.

Dumplings at Suhang | Image by Dee De Los Santos

Other Shanghainese specialties are also available, from more rustic dishes like pan-fried rice cakes with pickled vegetables and pork, to more elevated dinner fare such as braised sea cucumber with seafood. One of their show-stoppers, which requires pre-ordering, is their beggar’s chicken, which consists of a whole chicken stuffed with sticky rice, water chestnuts, egg yolks, and edamame before being encased in lotus leaves and bread dough and then baked. The result is tender, juicy, and bursting with flavour. It’s a culinary centerpiece for the holidays.

Silkway Halal Cuisine

Focused on Chinese Muslim cooking, Silkway Halal Cuisine (110-8188 Saba Road) offers many dishes that originate from Xinjiang in northwestern China, home to a substantial Turkish Uyghur population. The room itself is elegantly inviting, with dark wood Chinese décor, many traditional framed pictures, and red accents.

Silkway cuisine | Image by Tara Lee

The halal menu excels when it comes to their lamb dishes, such as fried diced lamb coated in chili powder and whole and ground cumin; lamb soup; and fried sliced lamb with diced Xianjiang naan.

Lamb with naan at Silkway | Image by Carolyn B Heller

The bread, iconic of the Uyghur people, can be tried as part of the restaurant’s Chinese beef or lamb burgers. The rest of the offerings are extensive, with items like braised chicken, Xinjiang style; boiled sliced beef in hot chili oil; sautéed shredded potato with green chiles; and handmade fish and chive dumplings.

Double Double Restaurant

With all the rich holiday eating that inevitably happens, you may start to crave the classic comforting staples. In Richmond, this includes a cosseting bowl of steaming congee on a wintry December day. Double Double Restaurant (128-4600 Number 3 Road) does a particularly good version, with over a dozen different ingredient combinations. They include watercress and fish balls; fresh oysters; dried scallops and gingko; crispy minced beef; and sweet corn. Preserved egg and salted pork is a classic option, with the saltiness of these add-ins contrasting the more neutral taste of the congee. Double Double’s congee has a creamy texture, with pronounced pork broth flavour. The finishing fried peanuts on top add crunchy nuttiness to your spoonfuls of rice porridge.

Congee at Double Double | Image by Tara Lee

The congee comes in individual portions, or in larger bowls if you feel like sharing. Definitely order the youtiao (doughnuts) as well, since they’re a lovely accompaniment, especially when dipped in the congee. The menu features a range of other items, such as BBQ pork and mushroom rice rolls, dried scallop and egg white fried rice, and salt and pepper squid tentacles.

Youtiao at Double Double | Image by Tara Lee

Overall, each of these five Richmond restaurants, with their unique non-turkey creations, will give you a Christmas meal to remember.

By Joyce Chua, Vancouver Foodie Tours

It’s the last “sprint to the finish line” to find a unique and thoughtful gift for everyone on that Christmas list. Luckily, here in Vancouver, we’re blessed with Granville Island – an area filled with Canadian artisans, one-of-a-kind goods, and delicious wares.

The best part? It’s all at your fingertips – no shipping required. Check out these 6 expert tips on how you can find awesome last-minute gifts at Granville Island:

1. Arrive early or late

Granville Island is a hub for Christmas activity, especially in and around the Public Market. If you’re able to shop the Island before 11:00am or after 4:00pm, you’ll avoid the masses and have a chance to chat with the bakers, chefs, artisans and makers.

2. Start at Make Vancouver

Start at Make for a dose of gift inspiration. Start with a Canadiana t-shirt printed with images of Justin Trudeau, hockey and moose and move on to quirky gifts, the coolest patterns of Herschel Supply, and a whole lot of items (wearable and otherwise) that you can customize in their design lab.

3. Check out Edible Canada’s Retail Shop

Tucked behind Edible Canada’s bistro, this little retail shop is filled with delicious Canadian wares. From marshmallows to maple syrup, to chocolates, salts, and jams, each delectable item carries a meaningful story.

4. Surprise! The Kids Market is not just for kids

If you are looking for some scrumptious gifts for the furry ones in your lives, the kid’s market is home to the Granville Island Pet Treatery.

5. Finishing touches at Paper-Ya

Once you’ve picked out that perfect gift, it’s to Paper-Ya for the finishing touches. Tucked inside the blue Net Loft building, you’ll find adorable Christmas cards, holiday tags, and stunning wrapping paper!

Image by Joyce Chua
Image by Joyce Chua

6. Treat yourself to a well-deserved Lee’s Donuts

You’re all set! Seal the day of shopping success with a holiday gingerbread donut from Lee’s Donuts in the Public Market!

By Kristi Alexandra

Carousel rides, mulled wine, live trees, hand-crafted ornaments, and one-of-a-kind gifts can all be found at the Vancouver Christmas Market. Modelled after the European “Christkindlmarkts” of the old world, this relatively new-to-Vancouver tradition draws hordes of locals to its home at the Jack Poole Plaza every holiday season. And those who frequent the market come for the biggest attraction: the food.

Housed in huts that recall a true Bavarian experience, here are a few treats to try, from traditional German fare to modern Vancouver flare.

Pretzel from Das Pretzel Hut

No trip to a German Christmas Market (or anything German-themed, that is) is complete without a big, doughy pretzel. Twisted, braided, salted: whatever you choose, this wheat-filled treat goes best with spiced mustard and washes down well with a beer.

Hurricane Potatoes from Das Kartoffelhaus

Known sometimes as “tornado potatoes” or “hurricane fries,” this food originated on the streets of South Korea and may recall more of a summer night market than a European winter fete, but it just wouldn’t be Vancouver without them.

Gluhwein and Kinderpunsch in Collector Boots

Sip on this sweet, warm mulled wine (gluhwein) or the kid-friendly alternative while you browse wares in the marketplace from an ever-so-cute and collectible German boot mug. Prost!

Spanish Paella from Arc Iberco

Keep warm with some spice from below the equator with Vancouver Christmas Market’s newest vendor, Arc Iberco. The Spanish-style meaterie serves up cured meats and paella for palate-pleasing variety!

Salmon Burger from Eat F.I.S.H.

Feed your pretzel-bun craving while getting your omega 3s. Eat F.I.S.H. (fresh ideas start here) is the Christmas Market’s newest burger vendor, serving up sustainable, local, wild salmon on pretzel buns with all the fixings.

Cannoli from Cannoli King Vancouver’s Cannoli King serves up hand-rolled, deep-fried and filled sweet treats for those with an appetite for dessert. The family-owned company Cannoli King makes everything from scratch, from the dough to the fillings.

Gulasch, Schnitzel, Spatzle and Pork Knuckle

If you refuse to miss out on the real culture of the Christkindlmarkts, then you won’t leave without grabbing a bite of the most traditional fare. Fill up on warm, gooey gulash, chow down on breaded schnitzel covered in gravy or savour the tenderness of your slow-roasted pork knuckle. Guten Appetit!

Transylvanian Chimney Cakes

Chimney cakes are a festive sweet hailing from the birthplace of Dracula, but you won’t find him around this haunt. This spiral of sweet, flaky dough is coated with sugar while roasting on a spit and is perfectly pairs with your market stroll.

Vancouver Christmas Market
Jack Poole Plaza – 1055 Canada Place
Open daily from 11am to 9pm

by Catherine Dunwoody

Chocolatier Thomas Haas has revealed their brand new holiday collection of Christmas-themed chocolates and candies, plus stocking stuffers and baked goods.

Image courtesy of Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie
Image courtesy of Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie

A long-time resident of North Vancouver, Thomas and his wife Lisa own two patisseries, one on Harbourside (where the production kitchen is as well) and the other on Broadway in Kitsilano. The holiday goodies include Rudolph in the Forest— a chocolate crafted Rudolph with a belly full of cocoa nib crunch and caramelized nuts dipped in chocolate, a Truffle Tree, traditional stollen Christmas bread, chocolate lollipops, delicate fruit gelées and so much more.

An internationally acclaimed, fourth-generation pâtissier, Thomas Haas gained experience in Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe and North America before settling in Vancouver in 2005. Haas is a fourth-generation pâtissier, and has held stints as Executive Pastry Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel, Executive Pastry Chef at chef Daniel Boulud’s flagship eatery Daniel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and has been singled out as one of the Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America by Chocolatier and Pastry Art and Design magazines.

Image courtesy of Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie
Image courtesy of Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie

Thomas is not a fan of assembly lines and mass production, and instead has a team of 38 talented pastry chefs and chocolatiers who hand-make each confection with love. Haas carefully chooses his ingredients too, including BC wines, Fraser Valley hazelnuts and berries and Okanagan fruits for many of his products.

Visit Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie for these holiday treats and more.

Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie
128-998 Harbourside Drive
North Vancouver, BC
604.924.1847
(Closed Sunday & Monday)

2539 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC
604.736.1848
(Closed Sunday & Monday)

By Dan Olson, chef/owner, Railtown Catering 

DOUGH INGREDIENTS

Flour (1 ½ cups)

Salt (pinch)

Sugar (pinch)

Butter (½ cup)

Water (30 mL)

DOUGH INSTRUCTIONS 

1. Sift flour, add salt and sugar, then cut butter into small pieces.

2. Pinch butter into flour until broken down into pea-sized pieces.

3. Add water and start to bring together. Cover dough and rest in the fridge for an hour.

4. Roll out and place in pie pan (9”)

PUMPKIN FILLING INGREDIENTS 

Whipping cream (116 mL or 4oz)

Whole milk (116 mL or 4oz)

Brown sugar (½ cup)

Flour (1 ¼ tbsp.)

Cinnamon (1 tsp)

Ground ginger (½ tsp)

Ground clove (½ tsp)

Ground nutmeg (½ tsp)

Whole eggs (2 ½)

Pumpkin purée (333g or 1 cup)

PUMPKIN FILLING INSTRUCTIONS 

1. Whisk all ingredients together and pour into shell.

2. Bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes until the middle is firm and a knife comes out clean.

CHANTILLY CREAM INGREDIENTS

Heavy cream (1 cup)

Powdered sugar (2 tbsp)

Vanilla bean

CHANTILLY CREAM INSTRUCTIONS 

1. Combine all ingredients.

2. Beat the cream until soft and billowy.

3. Pipe onto room temperature pumpkin pie.

Photo Credit: Jelger + Tanja Photographers

By Dan Olson, chef/owner, Railtown Catering

INGREDIENTS

Brioche bread (2 loaves, diced into cubes)

Celery (4 stalks, diced)

Small yellow onion (1, diced)

Garlic (4 cloves, chopped)

Fresh sage (½ bunch, chopped)

Fresh thyme (¼ bunch, chopped)

Dried apricots (1 small handful, diced)

Roasted chestnuts (1 cup, chopped)

Toasted pine nuts (¼ cup)

Butter (½ pound)

Reserved turkey fat/drippings

Turkey stock (3 cups)

Whole eggs (4 , whisked together)

Old bay seasoning spice (1 tbsp)

Juice from one orange

Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS 

1. In an oven preheated to 350°F, toast the brioche cubes into golden brown croutons with garlic oil and salt. Set aside.

2. Sauté the onion, celery, garlic, thyme, sage and seasonings together in the reserved turkey dripping and butter.

3. In a large mixing bowl, add the croutons, chestnuts, pine nuts, sautéed vegetables, orange juice, turkey stock and eggs. Season with salt and pepper, mix and place into a casserole dish.

4. Cover with tin foil and bake for approximately 45 minutes at 350°F.

5. Serve with juicy turkey and gravy.

Photo Credit: Jelger + Tanja Photographers

By VisitRichmondBC.com

Most restaurants are on lock-down during Christmas and we can’t really blame them. It is, after all, a time to celebrate with friends and family! Even so, Christmas remains the busiest day for the few restaurants that are open during this holiday. If you’re visiting Richmond during the holidays, be sure to try our top five restaurant picks in Richmond open during Christmas:

HK BBQ Master

HK BBQ Master | image by Tourism Richmond
HK BBQ Master | image by Tourism Richmond

If you’re looking to get a fill of Cantonese-style barbecue, HK BBQ Master (4651 No. 3 Road) is hands down one of the best places to get your fill of char siu, crispy skin roast pork, BBQ duck or BBQ chicken. It’s a tiny hole-in-the-wall type eatery with just 14 seats and they accept cash only for payment. So be warned: come early to snag seats, or buy the meats by the pound with a side of rice and take it to go for an enormously satisfying meal.

Open during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Closed on Wednesdays. Cash only restaurant.

Ichiro Japanese Restaurant

Sashimi platter at Ichiro Japanese Restaurant | image by Tourism Richmond
Sashimi platter at Ichiro Japanese Restaurant | image by Tourism Richmond

This top-notch Japanese restaurant will fulfill your sushi craving during the holidays! Open from 11:30am to 2pm for lunch service and again from 5pm to 9pm for dinner service, Ichiro Japanese Restaurant (110 – 12011 Second Avenue) offers authentic and artfully prepared sushi, combined with fresh west coast flavours and ingredients. Take a cue from those in-the-know and order the gomae – the perfect way to start your meal. Next, choose from an extensive menu of traditional entrees and sushi, plus house specialties like the Steveston roll: a combination of sweet shrimp, salmon and tuna.

Open during Christmas Eve. Closed on Christmas day. Credit cards, debit cards and cash accepted.

Szechuan Delicious

Water boiled fish at Szechuan Delicious | image by Tourism Richmond
Water boiled fish at Szechuan Delicious | image by Tourism Richmond

For those craving something deliciously spicy, we’ve got to warn you – Szechuan Delicious (6610 No. 3 Road) isn’t for the faint of heart! Szechuan cuisine is all about bold flavours and the liberal use of garlic and chili peppers, which often results in a mouth-numbing sensation that makes people come back for more. Must-try dishes include their water-boiled fish, spicy beef in chili oil, the mapo tofu and their extremely spicy dan dan noodles. Don’t be afraid to ask for water or tea to help with the spiciness level!

Open during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Closed on Tuesdays. Cash only restaurant.

LA Chicken

LA Chicken | image by Lindsay Anderson
LA Chicken | image by Lindsay Anderson

If you still crave poultry for Christmas, a party tray of fried chicken from LA Chicken (160 – 11780 Thorpe Road) is the perfect crowd pleaser. Available in 10 to 20+ pieces per tray, the fried chicken comes in either the original batter or the spicy variety. Locally owned and run by a husband and wife team, LA Chicken serves up some delicious, crispy, crazy good crunchy battered fried chicken that’s guaranteed to satiate any fried chicken craving you might have.

Open during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Tsim Chai

Wonton beef noodle soup at Tsim Chai | image by Tourism Richmond
Wonton beef noodle soup at Tsim Chai | image by Tourism Richmond

The three magic words, “Wonton Noodle Soup” can instantly warm up a cold winter day. The thought of a steaming bowl of clear broth, thin egg noodles and little wrapped packets of minced pork and shrimp are enough to make even the laziest brave the elements to get a bowl of this delicious soup. Where better to get a bowl of comforting noodle soup than Tsim Chai (50 – 8251 Westminster Highway), where wontons reign supreme? Wonton noodle soup plus a piping hot bowl of their shredded pork congee may be exactly what you need to stay warm on a cold winter’s eve!

Open during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Cash only accepted for payment.

By Catherine Dunwoody

Sometimes slowing down during the holiday season is the greatest gift of all. Through all the craziness, the non-stop hustle and bustle, just settling in for a hot cuppa and some delicious treats with family or friends is an ideal time out.

dandelion-honey

Not only is most of the honey served at Honeybee Centre collected from their own bees, it is a big part of their new Holiday High Tea. Served from December 1st to 31st, choose from a variety of high quality teas (black, green and herbal) that come to your table in a French press, along with a tiered tray (doesn’t everyone love those?) with Christmas-themed cupcakes, macarons, cheesecake, shortbread cookies, cranberry orange scone with clotted cream and honey, plus savoury treats like the brie and roasted chicken panini, artichoke baguette, and a turkey and cranberry roll.

honeybee-paninis

Not a tea drinker? No worries, have a peppermint honey mocha or egg nog latte instead.

Reservations for High Tea are encouraged but not required.

$18 per person, children $12, and even a gluten-free version, $20.

Honeybee Centre
7480 176 Street
Surrey, BC
www.honeybeecentre.com