A life consumed by food. A lifetime consuming food.
A few weeks ago, I ventured into the Fraser Valley for yet another food quest. This time, the quest was punctuated by the Agassiz Fall Fair, and the First Annual Chilliwack Garlic Festival. Although my journey was not as food filled as my previous excursion to the Fraser Valley, I still had a few quality eats.
We headed out in the morning, but didn’t manage to arrive at the Fall Fair until some time after one o’clock. The fair itself was located on a large green grass field beside the Agassiz Agricultural Building. Judging from the bustle at the fair, it was the place to be.
We immediately sniffed out the food, leading us to the local food vendors, like a pack of police K-9s. After a brief peruse through the indoor display of prize vegetables and creations from the local schools, we were ready to sink our teeth into what a one hundred and seven year old tradition had to offer.
Surprisingly, there weren’t many options, but what they did have looked and smelled delish, so we weren’t about to be picky. They were serving barbequed half-chickens with fresh corn on the cob which were cooked on site. Service was quick with virtually no wait, and we found a picnic table nearby and to sit down for lunch. The chicken at the fair was tougher in comparison to the chicken at Henry’s BBQ Chicken which is a stand at The Pacific National Exibition, but nevertheless quite flavourful. The corn, once washed in butter, was satisfyingly fresh and sweet.
The other dining options at the fair were your run of the mill, deep fried junk food items–not too enticing. After exploring the rest of the fair, and walking off as much of our lunch as we could, we decided to migrate to the next place on our quest.
The First Annual Chilliwack Garlic Festival was taking place on a farm that had great facilities for hosting such an event. The gravel path was lined with stands selling garlic, baked goods, and homemade goods. Our interest was piqued when we noticed one of the vendors selling something she called a ’Garlic Elixir’. Hoping it would replenish our mana, we opted for a sample. The woman who was dispensing the elixir told us that she would drink it straight, but after sampling a small cup we were surprised she could consume such a potent brew. I found it to be sour, spicy, and sweet all at once. I would definitely need to use it in a salad or something to mellow the taste of such a strong solution in order to be able to consume it. Unfortunately, the only powers we inherited from the elixir was strong garlic breath–handy for repelling vampire attacks.
We took a stroll into a barn-like building where the shrieks from children were dampened by the inflatable bouncers prominently rocking about. We bypassed the face painting and other activities in this barn of Autumn joy and headed back outdoors.
Not in the mood for donairs, and still slightly full from our previous meal, we ordered a simple tomato soup from the stand operated by Mormons. The soup came with a heaping plate of garlic toast (made from scratch?), which seemed to have been bathed in butter. The soup was creamy, but still had the taste of summer ripened tomatoes when I ate it. Small chunks of tomatoes added extra texture to an otherwise smoothly blended soup.
After eating the soup, we lingered around for another few minutes, mostly people watching, before heading out to Birchwood Dairy for dessert. The dairy had a large store on the premises with a counter containing a flavour array of sweet dairy treats. We slowly widdled down our ice creams beside the fence of the petting zoo, as a goat’s angry stare was fixated upon us. I pleaded with the goat that the ice cream we were eating was not made from goat’s milk, but he continued to shoot his glare our way.
The drive back to Vancouver was quick and I arrived home before nightfall. Although the day’s events didn’t quite meet my expectations, I would deem the day’s quest successful. I’d be curious to see what the Fraser Valley has to offer in the coming years now that more and more people are becoming conscious about eating locally sourced food.