For 31 years, people have been flocking to the annual Denman Island Christmas Craft Faire mainly for the classic craft genres, such as ceramics, jewelry, and fabric arts.
Visitors roam the two festive halls buying scented candles and stained glass, wooden boxes and willow baskets, wall coverings, bed coverings, and more.
But they also come for the food! This year, the culinary arts will be highlighted in a new feature: a multi-vendor local food fair in the back room of the Denman Community Hall.
“There is so much culinary talent on and around Denman, and there’s so much interest in local, home-made and artisanal foods these days, so this seemed like a natural evolution,” says Faire co-ordinator Autumn White. “We’ve always offered hot lunches at both halls, but I felt we needed to find a way to let our culinary artisans really shine.”
The food fair will highlight some of Denman’s well-established culinary businesses.
Kathy Tolson established Kathy’s Salsa at the insistence of her friends, who wanted regular access to her zesty fresh tomato salsa, in 2002. Now she distributes widely on Vancouver Island and recently added a new product, Kathy’s Humous. For the Faire, she’s serving fresh corn tortilla tacos, spinach and feta pockets, and humous and pita plates with black olive tapenade.
Caterer Magdalene Joli likes to source ingredients from the 40-acre permaculture farm she runs with her husband. She’ll serve sandwiches using her homemade organic breads, along with curried squash soup, and muffins for the early birds.
LeeAndra Jacobs is also a Denman farmer and a perennial favourite at the Denman Farmers’ Market. She’ll offer her much-loved samosas, gyoza, and kale rolls. Tachi Barker, who runs the popular Curve Cafe at the ferry terminal, will provide chilli con carne (with local beef) and vegan chili.
In the vibrant outdoor area by the Community Hall there will be hot apple cider, teas and coffees, smoked salmon, and — new this year — restaurateur Jenny Meyer will set up her barbecue and serve pulled pork buns.
Also, the Faire offers many culinary treats to take home as a gift. There is home-made jam in dozens of flavours, and fudge that is regularly deemed “the best I’ve ever tasted.” There are organic garlic braids and flavoured vinegars that are so beautifully presented that they constitute works of art.
There are teas both tasty and medicinal, made from local ingredients. And for a headier brew, indulge in a bottle of sparkling apple, raspberry, or cranberry-chocolate wine from Hornby Island Winery, or a bottle of rose-flavoured honey wine from Middle Mountain Mead.
A day at the Denman Christmas Craft Faire is a full-on treat for all the senses, including the tastebuds.
The Denman Island Christmas Craft Faire this Saturday and Sunday runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Denman Village centre. Walk on to the ferry and take the free shuttle to the site.
More information can be found at 250-335-2148 and/or Facebook for sneak previews.
— Denman Island Christmas Craft Faire