Sometimes Vancouverites can get a little caught up in the whirlwind of city life and we forget that there is a world of abundance just around the corner in the Fraser Valley. You start seeing more horses than Pomeranians, and the distance between each house grows a little larger the further you drive. The Fraser Valley is no doubt a region of abundance, complemented by an entirely different lifestyle. One that is more than fields of crops and lush green vistas that comes to mind when thinking about the Fraser Valley. It is a place quickly evolving into a respected destination for refined flavours and west coast experiences.
An influencer who knows about the Fraser Valley’s development, bounty, and hot spots is food expert and BBQ champion Angie Quaale. Angie is the owner of the incredible store, known as the “foodie paradise”, that has served the Fraser Valley since 2004: Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store. The store offers hundreds of products from around the world, and importantly, from right here in our backyard. Well Seasoned is proud to celebrate the bounty of BC, as the store supports artisan food producers. The store is also home to cooking and cocktail classes that teach attendees how to bring ingredients, especially local and seasonal ones, to life.
Apart from being a business owner, Angie has been presidents and board members in numerous organizations. Her affiliations include the BC chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Langley, and the Langley Community Farmers Market. Angie is dedicated to the “eat local, buy local” movement, which inspired her to open and found the Langley Community Farmers Market. Angie was also awarded the prestigious, George Preston Memorial Business Person of the Year Award by the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce. It is probably no surprise to you by now that we have asked Angie to provide us with some of her plant-based recipes to celebrate the flavours of the Fraser Valley.
Well Seasoned may be the place to discover gourmet gems, but the Valley’s gold mine for wine is Singletree Winery. Founded in 2010 by the Etsell family, Singletree Winery is a small, family-operated winery located in the Fraser Valley in Mt. Lehman, BC. Only an hour drive from the city of Vancouver, Mt. Lehman is a historic community in a beautiful agricultural area of British Columbia situated along the mighty Fraser River. Mt. Lehman and the Singletree winery are surrounded by natural wonderland set between majestic mountain ranges, on the wide plain of the Fraser Valley. The scenic countryside ranges from green trees, river, and plains, to the coastal mountains, where stunning views of Mt. Baker can be seen.
Steeped in the tradition of farming, the winery was named for a single harness yoke that was commonly used in the late 1800s. The singletree was an essential tool that allowed fertile land in the Mt. Lehman area to be cleared to make way for the bountiful field crops that still thrive today. From growing grapes in their estate vineyards, taking the finished bottle to the shelf and to the very last sip of wine from the glass, Singletree’s active involvement, dedication, and passion for the land creates only the highest quality and most flavourful wine. The warm summers and mild winters of the Fraser Valley climate and terroir make it a perfect growing region for the winery to focus on premium white wine grape varieties.
From spring ramps to summer melons and the root vegetables of the fall, the Fraser Valley offers ingredients for every season.
Now that we have highlighted local’s favourite destinations for food and beverage in the Valley, it’s only natural that we pair the two of them together.
Inspired by BC’s bounty, try these treats for a summer evening.
For the main course, try Angie’s quinoa and sweet potato stuffed acorn squash paired with Singletree Winery’s 2014 Harness. This flavourful, innovative, and healthy dish always has a wow factor. A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this rich red wine matches the sweet and savoury notes of the stuffed squash perfectly. Aromas of cassis, leather, dark brooding black fruits, spice, and tobacco envelop the mouthfeel with a solid backbone of toasty oak and firm yet supple tannins.
As the night continues on and everyone starts craving something sweet, it’s time to enjoy some desserts on the deck. Angie has prepared two options of vegan delicacies: the avocado popsicles and the midnight craving cookies.
If you are leaning towards enjoying the avocado popsicles, pair this refreshing treat with Singletree Winery’s 2015 Siegerrebe. The supple texture of the avocado from Mexico with the refreshing lime notes in this gourmet pop play well with Singletree’s signature Fraser Valley varietal. The Siegerrebe shows upfront tropical fruit notes on the nose, perfectly balanced with crisp apple and stone fruits on the palate. Siegerrebe means “victory” in German, confirming that this pairing is sure to be a win!
If you opt for the midnight craving cookies, Singletree’s 2015 Late Harvest Kerner is your best bet. Singletree’s very first dessert wine is made 100% from the Kerner grape, harvested late in the season to concentrate sugars and full fruit flavours. The wine is sweet but balanced with just the right amount of acidity, creating an enjoyable full-bodied wine. With notes of apple, pear, mango, and honey, this wine is an excellent companion to this sweet and healthy late-night snack.
Even though Vancouverites have some of the nation’s best international food at our fingertips, who knew that a taste of the Fraser Valley in our own backyard could be so delightful?