Victoria Weekend Planner: Dec 2

Pasta dish at Zambri's (photo by Fabric Designs) Gingerbread House at the Inn at Laurel Point

Start the weekend with a Christmas classic, Alberta Ballet is performing The Nutcracker Suite at The Royal Theatre tonight.  It starts at 7:30 so that gives you time for an early dinner before the show. Zambri’s is a great option, they are close to the theatre and know how to get their guests out in time for the show, just let them know you are attending the ballet (and get there early, you won’t be the only person to think of this). They have some great features tonight – Sooke trout stuffed with spinach, dry-aged rib eye, not to mention their wonderful pastas. Yum, visions of fennel dusted duck breast dance in my head.

Everyone loves Christmas baking, but not everyone has the time (or talent) to bake. So, here’s a little Christmas trick – hit as many church and community craft fairs as you can (and there are lots going on this time of year) and buy home baking. That’s right, there are lots of people baking their hearts out all for a good cause and you can reap the benefits. Buy now and tuck away in the freezer to pull out for Christmas. Of course you can tell your guests you purchased the goodies at your local fair.…or you can pass off as your own baking (we won’t tell). Here are a few options for stocking up.

Start off Saturday morning at the Knox Church Christmas Fair (located on Richmond between Lansdowne and Haultain). They are offering home baking and home-made jam and jellies. It starts at 10 AM, get there early. Then head downtown to the Winter Public Market at Market Square which opens at 11 AM. They will have festive live music, the square is beautifully decorated and there are over twenty vendors with foods to eat right now, take home for later or to save for Christmas. I’m a big believer in the Saturday pub lunch, so I suggest you head over to nearby Swans Brewpub and take a break. Try their Double Shot porter which combines beer with Caffe Fantistico espresso, it has a delicious coffee aroma, combining two wonderful beverages in one.

Last stop is a must, the James Bay Annual Dicken’s Fair which runs from 3 – 9 PM. Live music, Christmas greenery, home-baking, artisan foods and gifts galore.

Sunday is a more leisurely day, start with the Santa brunch at the Inn at Laurel Point 10 AM – 2:30.  Santa will be there for a photo op with the little ones, grown-ups will be loading up at the fabulous brunch table featuring seasonal favourites like Eggnog French Toast with BC Berry Compote and Roast Turkey with all the traditional trimmings followed by yummy cranberry crème brulee.  After brunch, check out the 3rd Annual Great Gingerbread Showcase displayed throughout the hotel with over twenty-five fabulous entries – vote for your favourite. Time to walk off brunch with a stroll over the Fairmont Empress where you can view their annual Festival of Trees featuring over seventy beautifully decorated Christmas trees.

You should be full of Christmas spirit (and goodies) by the end of this weekend.

– By Susan Evans

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