Last Saturday, I joined up with local Vancouver and Fraser Valley bloggers to spend a Christmassy afternoon in Langley. Tourism Langley organized the trip for us, to introduce us to their #langleyfresh campaign, and aspects of Langley we might not necessarily know about, showcasing some of the city’s culinary and crafty experiences.
Less than an hour’s drive east of Vancouver along Hwy 1, Langley’s a pretty convenient day trip destination for those of us living in Vancouver. I thought I knew Langley relatively well, but it wasn’t until we started to drive through the downtown core of Langley (at the south end of Glover Road) that I realized that there’s so much more to Langley that I don’t know about, despite living in the Lower Mainland my whole life.
Sure, I’ve been to Fort Langley (the village and the historic site), and I’ve been to Campbell Valley, and have driven the length of 264th… but Downtown Langley was something I didn’t expect, with its quaint and quirky boutiques (including a rather impressive looking comic and record emporium!), and its small town with big community feel. I started to realize that this Langley gem, an entire neighbourhood and complete antithesis to the nearby big box store-clad Langley Bypass (Hwy 10), was something I missed my entire life. How did I miss it all these years? Maybe it was the Langley Bypass. How did I not clue in? I digress.
Our first stop was the Holiday Market, put on by the Langley Community Farmers Market, at the Eureka Masonic Hall – a cute heritage hall in Downtown Langley. Inside, there were vendors selling everything from gluten-free baked goods, Christmas stollen, homemade perogies, locally-roasted coffee, handmade jewelry, vintage clothing, local honey, locally-raised turkey, and handmade soap. There was a violinist playing the entire time we were there, and the atmosphere was cheerful and full of local community spirit.
I ended up buying homemade cheddar, potato, and bacon perogies, which I ate for dinner that night (yum!), as well a bag of homemade maple pecan popcorn, two bakewell tarts, and a homemade toasted coconut marshmallow.
Our second stop was nearby at Well Seasoned: A Gourmet Food Store. Tucked away and practically hidden in a light warehouse complex is the most wonderful gourmet food store, complete with butcher shop, homemade perogie cafe (seriously!), a gourmet food and cooking supply store, as well as a cooking school! Owned and operated by Angie Quaale, the group of us enjoyed a cooking demo for lunch, where Angie taught us how to make a honey-fig vinaigrette dressing for an arugula hazelnut salad, a black bean turkey soup with avocado lime creme fraiche, and the most decadent cranberry mousse with chocolate ganache dessert. Did I mention we also had wine? It was good times.
During our cooking demo, Angie had given us all kinds of fabulous pointers, from the benefits of spending $6 on a can of Italian vine-ripened tomatoes vs. a cheap $1 can (you get out what you put in), to how to lengthen the lifespan of fresh cilantro (store it like a bouquet of flowers in water in the fridge!), to how to properly season your soup (not all at once, but at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end – to build layers of flavour). She was great and I’d love to take one of her cooking classes again.
Afterward, we all went downstairs into the Well Seasoned’s gourmet food store where we oohed and ahhed at the carefully curated wares – the gourmet oils, vinegars, spices, condiments, baking supplies, kitchen utensils, and the quirky things, like bacon chocolate! 10 minutes to browse was almost too cruel, but almost everyone agreed, they’d be back!
Langley Centennial Museum
Our final stop on the trip took us north through the picturesque agricultural community of Milner, into the historic village of Fort Langley – the birthplace of BC! The fog rolled in as we drove through downtown Fort Langley and around the corner past Fort Langley National Historic Site, to the Langley Centennial Museum across the street. Now here is a museum I didn’t even knew existed until my visit!
It was here where a big table was set up amidst their First Nations exhibits, and we were taught how to make a memory box Christmas craft. We “Mod Podged” (glued) historic photos of Langley onto a piece of wood painted black, applying various coats of this craft glue that dries clear. We then applied glitter, just like what you might find on a vintage Christmas card. We were so immersed in our Christmas craft, I felt like I was back in elementary school, and the hour just flew by!
I didn’t know how my craft would turn out, but it ended up being a beautiful piece of art! I think I’ll be taking my memory box with me to my parents place, where it’ll be put on display during Christmas dinner – a legacy of my Christmassy afternoon in Langley!
A big thank you to Tourism Langley for organizing this trip and for inviting me along! Also, thank you to the Langley Community Farmers Market, Angie at Well Seasoned, and everyone at the Langley Centennial Museum for making it a memorable, fun day out!