Eat your way through Abbotsford at this family-friendly food festival celebrating local harvests and culinary treats
Located in B.C.'s beautiful Fraser Valley, Abbotsford is a tight-knit community with fierce local pride—and so much amazing food. I was super excited to hear about a new festival the city is hosting called, ‘Taste of Abby'. Celebrating Abbotsford’s agriculture, history and food culture with live music and shopping, while eating and drinking local food from incredible chefs, sounded like a pretty good day out to me. The experience is a perfect kick-off to fall with unique dining experiences perfectly timed with the local harvest season.Robyn BessengerRunning from September 9 to 18, this inaugural celebration has tons of fun events, ranging from an art/wine walk and a food truck festival to a food security and sustainability video series. Abbotsford has so many wonderful local farmers, chefs and small businesses—and the focus on sustainable food systems and farm-to-table dining is impressive. There were some very cool food options, curated menus and local vendors. The event was also really family-friendly, which is obviously a plus for those with little ones.Robyn BessengerI love the premise of this event and the focus on the land and its contribution. The decor was so beautiful and really got me excited for the fall season. Give me some apples, sunflowers, pumpkins, and a little live music and I’m one happy gal! Add in some small businesses to shop from and I’m over the moon. The local marketplace had some incredible BIPOC businesses and unique finds, including palo santo, the most fragrant wood that looked too beautiful to burn. I wanted to take some home!Robyn BessengerOne of the culinary highlights was Banter Ice Cream. The Earl Grey flavour I tried was outstanding. My oldest son had the cookie dough and my sister had the apple pie. All three were so delicious, and definitely worth the line up.
Some other treats we enjoyed were the butter chicken from Maan Farms and some incredible local cheese from Mt Lehman Cheese (the rave reviews are accurate). The heirloom tomato and burrata on a baguette from Restaurant 62 was absolutely phenomenal and packed with so many flavours—I had to have not just one, but two.
Believe it or not, I’ve never had bubble tea before, and I’m so glad my first taste was at Bubble Tasty Tea. My sister, who is a huge bubble tea fan, said that was the best she’s ever had. We had strawberries and cream tea and it was so delicious.
All of this paired with pinot gris from Singletree Winery, one of my favourites, and of course a famous apple cider from Taves Farm which is to die for. Ripples Estate Winery had some delicious cocktails that I wanted to try, but unfortunately the line never seemed to die down and with two toddlers, I never had a chance to sample. But, by the looks of how long the line was, those cocktails were ones to try next time.
My older son tasted his first poutine from Big Red’s Poutine Truck and loved it, obviously. It was jam-packed with curds and so tasty. At The Palm Coffee Trailer, we opted for the homemade waffle with strawberries and cream—super-decadent and the best way to end the evening. They had some incredible looking specialty coffees, but I can’t handle coffee past noon so I went with some mini churros from El Companeros. I intended to take some home for my husband, but they didn't make it that far—they were just too good.
The sample serving sizes were perfect and allowed us to try lots of the vendors without getting too full. There was a great selection of food and lots the boys enjoyed, which is always a win.
The atmosphere was as good as the food. I absolutely love live music. One of my favourite local artists Ryan McAllister performed and he played Harvest Moon under the harvest moon while I danced with my two boys. It was magical. What a way to end such a fabulous evening!Robyn BessengerThe 'Taste of Abby' Festival runs until Sunday, September 18 so there’s still time to check it out. There are some incredible restaurant specials, or you can grab picnic to-go boxes and enjoy the warm evenings while they last.
The week ends with the first-ever 'Taste of Abby Food & Farm Awards', which sounds really fun and tickets are still available. They also have a contest coming up for a chance to win an Indigenous picnic for 10 people on the banks of the Sumas River in October. The winner will experience drum-making and Sumas Lake storytelling, and proceeds go to support culinary training for Indigenous students in the Sto:lo Aboriginal Skills and Training catchment area.
A little birdie told me that Tourism Abbotsford is gearing up for more events, so keep your eyes on their website. I’ve already got the dates for next year’s 'Taste of Abby Fall Food Festival' dates on my calendar. Mark September 15 to 24, 2023 down if you can’t make it this year. But if you can get there, I highly recommend it. The food, the music and the local focus really got me excited for all things fall.