Sweet Openings, Swirly Slurps and Upcoming Holiday Fests

photos, clockwise from upper left: Joe Fortes owner Dottie Kanke with Vancouver Fire Fighters Union Local 18 President Gord Ditchburn (R) and Vancouver Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society Director Al Gregory (L).  Kevin Green of Joe Fortes demonstrates proper shucking technique. Brioche stuffed with shrimp salad. Joe Fortes owner Bud Kanke (L) with the famous Frenchy (R).

Have you ever dined at La Regalade in West Vancouver? If so, you’re familiar with the amazing pastries put out by Steeve Rayé, son of the restaurant owners, and a professional pastry chef for well over a decade. In fact, even if you haven’t eaten at La Regalade, you may have tasted some of Steeve’s creations at other restaurants, as he routinely supplies the sweet stuff to several lucky clients. And now, he’s opened up his own little patisserie/café on West 4th, just a few short steps west of MacDonald. Mainly this is a commercial kitchen to better facilitate orders for his many clients, but the street front is now a charming little eat-in shop that features hazelnut pain au chocolat, pain pistache, and a wondrous variety of sweet and savoury brioche filled with anything from chocolate to fresh shrimp salad. I wandered in the other day with a friend and we sampled a couple of the pain, a heady blue cheese and pear tart, and one of the brioche off the lunch menu, stuffed with a chunky, light shrimp salad. www.steeveraye-pastry.com

Meanwhile, Joe Fortes held their eighth annual Slurp and Swirl gala fundraiser last week, in support of Vancouver Firefighters Charitable Society. MC for the night was Dawn Chubai of Breakfast Television. Fresh shucked oysters, multiple wine tasting stations, special performances by Candy Girl Cabaret, and a general air of frivolity and festivity were the highlights. Well, that and some very yummy canapés.

And coming up next week, the very first annual Vancouver Christmas Market will be opening in the outdoor plaza of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Wednesday, November 24. This is the first German-style Christmas market in the Lower Mainland, featuring lighted and decorated wooden huts, each featuring a different vendor, plus lots of German and Bavarian food and wine, activities for kids like gingerbread decorating and candle-making, and…did I mention the food?

If you’re outside of Vancouver, the West Coast Christmas Show at the Tradex in Abbotsford next weekend might be more your thing. Hundreds of vendors (all indoors!) selling artisan foods, relishes, crafts, gifts, etc.

And if you’re a fan of the Vancouver Bakers Market, take note, they’ve moved to a new location by the Olympic Village, effective this weekend, which also marks the start of their holiday-themed markets, so you can stock up on gingerbread, stöllen, mincemeat pies and even vegan and gluten-free options.

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