Vancouver Christmas Market 2014

IMG_94703You can’t live in Vancouver and not visit the Vancouver Christmas Market during the Holiday season!
We finally had a chance to go there last week. We totally lucked out on the one and only night that we had available and the weather turned out to be absolutely perfect! Not a rain drop to be seen. Couldn’t have planned it better.

German Christmas Markets are a centuries old tradition known as Chriskindlmarkt. These markets have traditionally been a place for the community to gather for Christmas festivities. With everything from food, drink, gifts, baked goods, hand carved gifts to name a few.  It’s the perfect place to go to discover new cuisine and sweets, or to find that rare and special gift for someone. But most importantly it will get you into the total Christmas spirit!

The German Christmas Market concept has become very popular and has now spread worldwide. This is Vancouver’s 5th season of bringing popular German and European traditions here for all of us to experience and enjoy. There are so many things to see, do and experience at the Market. Everything from homemade gifts of jewelry, soap, ceramics, toys, ornaments, Nutcrackers, hats and scarves and so much more. In fact there is so much to see that we are going back again for another evening to check out some of the vendors we didn’t have enough time for. First time we went for the food and drink, next time for some shopping!

We loved it. It was like being in a quaint European Christmas Market without even leaving our city! Fabulous!

Gluhwein

We had our pre-selected list of must see vendors… first stop, Traditional Gluhwein. (Aka alcohol.) An obvious first stop priority! Gluhwein is a traditional warm red wine spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla, cloves, citrus and sugar. DELICIOUS! Starts the evening off in the most awesome Christmas-y spirit kinda way.
I have to say, by the end of the drink we were feeling all warm and cozy and just a weeee bit merrier. Totally in the Christmas spirit at this point! We highly recommend it. 😉

Then we strolled along slightly light headed and found our way to our next pre-determined vendor destination. Stick Stule Pastries aka Stick Style Pastries. Can we just pause for a moment and give thanks for such a delectable, delicious AND organic, delightful piece of pastry heaven. Sigh. 

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IMG_9455gAnd here I am stuffing my face with the pastry. I know, I know, not exactly the most flattering picture of a girl slightly tipsy from Gluhwein and devouring the most amazing pastry. I’m just being real people. Just being real.

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Then we made our way over to Poffies’ Poffertjes. Funny thing is we had originally planned to stop in at the Black Forest Delicatessen for one of their famous German Bratwurst with baked Sauerkraut. That was technically supposed to be our 2nd stop after the Gluhwein of course. We had it all planned out, the wine, Bratwurst for dinner then the pastries and treats for desserts.
Seemingly after our one mug of warm wine that went straight to our heads, we lost track of all plans. As soon as we seen the sweets all bets were off! How about dinner after dessert? Sure! Who cares! So Poffertjes was next.

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The Poffertjes were insanely divine. These delicious little pancakes originated in Holland and Australia. They are a lighter texture miniature pancake served with butter, icing sugar, whipping cream and various fruits if desired.
We’re like ‘Oh. My. Gosh.’ with every single bite.

IMG_9468Live performances of Christmas music nightly. Check here for the schedule of upcoming performances. So much fun!

IMG_9462The Vancouver Christmas Market is open until December 24 daily from 11am – 9pm at the Queen Elizabeth Plaza. If you’re in the city we highly recommend visiting. It’s definitely a highlight of the Christmas season here in Vancouver.

Happy Holidays!
Laura & Natasha xo

Soirette Macarons & Tea

IMG_2Recently my Dad and I had a father-daughter day and dropped by the beautiful Soirette Macarons & Tea in Vancouver. I’ve been wanting to try out their much talked about macarons for awhile now. When I heard about their seasonal Pumpkin Pie macarons, that just sold the deal and off we went!

Soirette is owned by Pastry Chef Shobna Kannusamy (an alumnus of the Diplome de Pâtisserie program at Le Cordon Bleu). Although Soirette specializes in handmade macarons that are baked on-site, they also serve a wide variety of coffee & teas (including organic) and various other desserts. High Tea is available on Saturday & Sundays ($36 per person).

IMG_8059ffffI really liked the decor and atmosphere of Soirette. The decor is clean, crisp & stylish with light blue walls and white sparkly tables. Definitely would be a great place to have High Tea with the girls!

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The prices are on the higher side but that seems to be the norm for specialty macarons. An assorted box of 12 is $26.50 and a box of 30 is $63.

My Dad and I shared a box of 12 and tried the flavours Raspberry, Pumpkin Pie, Vanilla, Rose, Crème brĂťlĂŠe & Pistachio.
Out of the ones we tried my favourites were Pumpkin Pie (obviously!), Raspberry & Vanilla.

The macarons were absolutely delicious and are some of my favourite macarons that I’ve tasted in Vancouver. The flavours were all really nice and I was glad they were not overly sweet and sugary. They were decently sized and held their shape. No crumbling or falling apart in your hand.

We almost ate the whole box of macarons and had to make a conscious effort to save a few to take home. I think I ended up only coming home with 2! We couldn’t help ourselves – they were so good!

IMG_8052g434We both ordered vanilla lattes and they were really nummy. It did seem to take awhile for our lattes to be made and we had actually almost finished the whole box of macarons by the time our drinks arrived. However, the lattes were really good. I just wish the latte art was a bit better.

SoiretteMacarons1IMG_8018f66This Pumpkin Pie macaron display was in the front window and I LOVED it. So pretty and festive for Fall! I just wanted to take a bite out of one. 😉

Soirette’s other seasonal macaron flavours include Apple Pie, Black Forest, Carrot Cake, Bananas Foster and Goat Cheese & Green Walnut.

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All in all, Soirette Macarons & Tea is definitely a must-visit if you’re looking for high quality, tasty macarons in Vancouver. My dad and I had a wonderful visit and will definitely be stopping by again! I must have more of those pumpkin macarons… 😉

Soirette Macarons & Tea / 1433 W Pender Street / Vancouver, BC / V6G2S3 / 604 558 3308

Store Hours:
Mon – Wed 10 to 6
Thurs – Fri 10 to 7
Saturday & Sunday – 11 to 6

Have you visited Soirette Macarons & Tea? What is your favourite spot for macarons? Let us know!

Natasha xo

{Coffee Talk} Caffè Cittadella

IMG_79992We’ve been wanting to check out Caffè Cittadella in Vancouver for awhile now. When we heard that they started serving 100% organic agave-based Pumpkin Spice Lattes, that sealed the deal. Off to Caffè Cittadella we went! 

Caffè Cittadella is beautiful on the inside & out. It’s an old heritage building re-purposed into a cafe which opened in 2010. There are two floors, with seating available on the main floor, upstairs on the second floor and outside. The cafe is on the smaller side and seems to be consistently busy. Luckily we found a table and got to enjoy our lattes & scenery.

IMG_7984g7They served us 2 beautifully designed PSL coffees. It doesn’t matter how many times we go out for a coffee we are always super excited with anticipation of what the design/latte art will be. It’s the simple pleasures of life, ya know what I mean? It just never gets old with us! 

IMG_7990gcaffecitadella3IMG_7985ghTheir PSL was one of the main reasons we decided to check out the cafe. It is 100% organic agave (a sweetener made from plants) contains no artificial sweeteners and no unnecessary ingredients which are found in most popular PSL’s. I have to say, you know, being the Pumpkin Spice Latte Connoisseurs that we are, this was honestly by far the best tasting coffee we’ve had. Who am I kidding? Natasha is the true Pumpkin Spice Latte obsessed connoisseur here. I am just an innocent by stander. But even I, the one who typically is not fond of PSL’s because of how sweet they are, have to 2nd that claim. So good! 

IMG_800f2gWe thoroughly enjoyed everything about this cafe. The location, the atmosphere and coziness of the decor, the superb flavoured coffee (obvs most important), the fact that they use 49th Parallel Coffee (one of the best), and the staff is super welcoming and friendly. Love that. Nothing worse then unfriendly staff who make you feel unwelcome. Shout out to their team! 🙂

We would definitely recommend this cafe and will be heading back there soon for another Pumpkin Spice Latte before the season’s over. We can’t stop thinking about that darn coffee! 

Caffè Cittadella2310 Ash St (@7th Ave) / Vancouver, BC / (604) 568-5909

Happy Fall & Pumpkin Spice Sippin’!

Laura & Natasha xo

{Coffee Talk} Caffe Divano, Port Moody

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Today we went to Caffe Divano in Port Moody, BC. It’s located approximately 30 minutes outside of Vancouver and is in one of our favourite towns. We love, love, love Port Moody so much. You can read about our previous little outings in Port Moody that we’ve written about here

Caffe Divano is a family run cafe that originally started out in 1999 as Cornerstone Cafe and Catering. They later changed their name to Caffe Divano and opened new locations. Currently they have 3 locations – Burnaby, Coquitlam and Port Moody. 

This specific Port Moody Cafe is nuzzled in a beautiful residential area. It is a busy neighbourhood with many people out taking their dogs for walks and running in for a coffee. Immediately when we entered the Cafe it had a very warm and inviting atmosphere.The owners seemed to not have missed a beat when planning this location’s decor and menu. These are the kinds of things we notice immediately and it makes an instant first impression. From the wall colour, the brick work along the counter, fireplace, fresh flowers on the counters from the local florist, delicious homemade goods, the wall display of a local artist’ work and the precision placement of the beautiful rustic inspired tables and comfy leather chairs.

Ohhh, I can’t forget to tell you what really got me is when I noticed a glass canister filled with dog treats sitting on their front counter encouraging pet owners to give their ‘fur baby’ a treat. Like how thoughtful is that? They really did think of everything! Anyone who loves dogs enough to put out treats for our furry friends makes me love this cafe even more!

All of these details add up. The little extra touches that they have incorporated into the cafe is impressive and thoughtful which further makes a customers’ overall experience a really good great one.

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Natasha ordered a Vanilla Latte (her go-to) and I (Laura) ordered the Chai Tea Latte. We have to say the coffee flavours were excellent. They use 49th Parallel Coffee – the highest quality Arabica coffee beans, which means they are definitely pros in the coffee business!

They sell all kinds of homemade baked goods from paninis, cookies, to wraps, all made fresh in the cafe. (They also have an assortment of wheat-free and vegan options available!) It all looked so delicious.
We have a real issue when it comes to being in the same vicinity as baked treats.. Yep, it’s sad but true. We are also quite aware of the fact that we have zero will power when it comes to baked goods.
So with that being said of course we ordered some Earl Grey Macarons. 

Now, I don’t want to come across like I’m some sort of Macaron cookie taster expert-person, because nothing could be further from the truth… but these particular macarons were not the best. All I am saying is, it wasn’t terrible and it wasn’t great.  
Damn them macarons! I really, really, really wanted to love you!  

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Then after we were finished our coffees and were about to leave, these huge, amazing looking wraps in their front showcase caught our eye and lured us right towards them. We didn’t even try talking each other out of this one. No point. We bought 1 to go and shared it when we got home.
This delicious, delectable, dynamite of a wrap was awesome. Big thumbs up for this one!

Let’s re-evaluate this shall we?
Latte – Check* Excellent
Macarons – Not so much 🙁
Wrap with ham, eggs and hashbrowns –  Check* Delicious

So like the great 70’s rock singer, Meatloaf says, ‘2 out of 3 ain’t bad’.

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We definitely will be going back and certainly will recommend it to our friends and family.
Will we have another macaron you ask? Hell ya we will! (different flavour though,) We’re not quitters!
However, we keep reminiscing about their homemade cookies. They looked amazing! Next time. 

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Caffe Divano Locations:
Caffe Divano / 4568 Hastings Street / Burnaby, BC / 604-558-3011
Caffe Divano / 3003 Burlington Drive / Coquitlam, BC /604-461-7233
Caffe Divano / 101 – 101 Klahanie Drive / Port Moody, BC / 778-355-3304

What are some of your favourite cafes? We’d love to hear about them!

Laura & Natasha xo.