How I didn’t know about this event is beyond me! Apparently every year Whole Foods hosts the Taste of Thanksgiving in their stores, a couple of weeks prior to Thanksgiving. And if you live in Canada like me, this means late September. For a $10 donation to a local charity (in Vancouver it was the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House) you get a passport and a plate and are free to roam around the store, sampling festive fall delights. I went to the Cambie Street location, but West Van does it as well.
I thought it would be like Costco on a Sunday afternoon with tons of sample stations, so I was completely unprepared for what a big deal this event is. Whole Foods pulls out all the stops, and really the only thing missing is the wine. The nice thing about it was that the store wasn’t packed. Yes, I imagine it was busier than the average Wednesday, but there was still plenty of room to move around, sample delicious food, and do your shopping.
Having not experienced this event before, I had no idea what I was doing and started with the first station I saw, handing out a really nice spinach salad. Thankfully my friend dragged me to the other end of the store, since she knew the drill. That’s where all the good stuff was hiding. All in one station were the contents of an entire Thanksgiving dinner, spooned up onto my plate within 20 seconds. Roasted turkey (which I later regretted not having), Field Roast celebration roast, mashed potatoes, vegetarian stuffing and gravy, and the piece de resistance, cranberry peach relish (swoon!).
I was full after this one station, but upon realizing there was so much more in store (literally) I soldiered on picking up bits and pieces of the following:
- Goat cheese toasts with cranberry ice wine relish
- Brie with sour cherry compote
- Vegetarian pakoras and masala chips
- Smoked salmon
- Mulled apple cider
- Spinach cheese triangles
We did have to wait in line for about 10 minutes for the oil poached halibut, but it was totally worth it. The fish was perfectly cooked, and served on a bed of arugula and shaved fennel salad with an olive tapenade dressing, that will be making an appearance on my table soon.
We grabbed take away boxes for the desserts, because we were so stuffed by this point. Pumpkin roulade, pumpkin pie squares, and little pumpkin shaped sugar cookies rounded out the meal. Oh, and I almost forgot, on the way out we stopped at the drinking chocolate station for nice warm cups of the best hot chocolate ever.
I would have been happy making a $20 contribution given the quantity and quality of the food provided. It was such a fun atmosphere and a great way to get in the spirit of the harvest. Check it out next year, but don’t tell too many people, because part of the fun is that it’s not a super crowded event.