fbpx

How To Prepare For A Wedding

It goes without saying that we, at Truffles Fine Foods, has seen our fair share of weddings and events. Having been in the catering industry for 15 years, we have grown accustomed to seeing the best and worst of planning. Yes, planning – the most stressful process of any event you host (especially if it is your own wedding). Planning is what ultimately determines how successful your wedding is. I know “success” is subjective, but you want to put yourself in the eyes of the guest. If I were to attend a wedding, for example, does it look put together or is it missing several elements? Have I had to wait for my dinner because the bride and groom arrived late? Did a golf cart drive through the background of the ceremony as the vows were being said? I’m only using these examples because I have witnessed them firsthand! 

I digress. You get the gist. If you’re planning or know someone who is planning their wedding, you’re in luck because here some some high-level tips to make your event smoother and successful! It will also (hopefully) help you mitigate the stressors that seem to manifest themselves in the days leading up to the big day.

Setting Your Budget

You want to make sure your life happily ever after is not filled with debt, so it is always best to set a budget before you begin making any plans. Ask yourself what is feasible or not? What is necessary? What is or isn’t an absolute must-have at your wedding? Once your budget has been set, you can start identifying venues, caterers, gown costs, and other expenses that you will incur during the planning process.

Identify Your Guest List

Another major headache for engaged couples is finding the proper venue for your big day. I know a lot of you have a dream venue in mind with certain criterias such as view, decor, location, etc., but nothing can be done until you have figured out your guestlist. I’ve encountered several couples who have families so large or a guestlist so long that most hotel or boutique venues were no longer feasible. So, what do you do? Start figuring out who you intend to invite first, and categorize them into people you must-invite followed by the standby list. The latter doesn’t necessarily mean people on this list won’t get an invite, but should folk from the first list cancel or fail to RSVP, there’s the standby list to help fill seats.

With a budget and your guest list in hand, the planning process will slowly start falling into place! In my upcoming blog post, I’ll provide a couple more wedding-related tips to make your planning process all the more easier. Stay tuned!

The Festival Of The Season

Christmas is almost here! I just took a look at the calendar today only to realize that Christmas is next week and I haven’t even started my holiday shopping yet. Oops! That said, are you in the festive spirit as much as I am? My tree is up, the lights are out, and the stockings are hanging. All I need now is some snow.. (I know, I know, but it’s been ages since we’ve had snow around Christmas time!).

If you had a chance to read my previous blog post about the Hootenanny over at VanDusen, I’m happy to announce that Anna the Hummingbird and her friends have successfully lifted the Halloween spell! Now, as the season transitions from Fall to Winter, so too does the experience at the Botanical Garden. As the snow begins to cap our local mountains with the sun setting earlier each day, VanDusen has brightened Vancouver once again with their annual Festival of Lights.

VanDusen Festival of Lights

What should you expect this year? If you haven’t seen the light show on Livingstone Lake paired with the music – all choreographed – it is amazing! Worry not, the show happens every 20 minutes, so you have several opportunities to catch the show and have it on your ‘gram. 

Carousel rides are another fun family treat for all ages. The ticket you purchase for entry grants you one free ride on the carousel, so be sure to check that out. Santa’s Lodge in the Visitor Centre is another free experience where choirs, bands, and singers perform on select nights. In addition, there is the Fireside Lounge, a Candle Grotto, and many more activities.

Getting hungry? Worry not because the Truffles Cafe and Truffles Hot Drink Hut is open at VanDusen on the regular and available to satisfy your taste buds! Be sure to stop by for some hot beverages or freshly prepared snacks as you see fit.

Planning Your Trip

As per their website, it is strongly encouraged that tickets are purchased ahead of time because it will save you money, bypass the lengthy lineups, and ensure you get through the gates. There is also a maximum number of tickets sold each night to avoid overcrowding, so make sure you plan ahead. The closer to Christmas, the busier it usually gets. If you don’t have any luck online, there will be limited tickets available at the gate and it is suggested that you arrive after 8pm. One tip I tell all my friends is to arrive early as parking is limited in the lot and fills up quickly!

Our Traditional Christmas Dinner

I wish I can start singing, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”, but one would argue that it is still a wee bit too early (or is it?). Planning and preparing for the holiday season, however, does not always need to be saved for the last minute. As I witness every year, there is a mad rush at the malls in the days leading up to Christmas as folk attempt to swipe that extra gift they forgot to buy or the cards they forgot to write. When it comes to meals, I see it happening, too. Grocery stores and supermarkets lack the necessary ingredients you need to pull off your Christmas dinner, and most restaurants are not open on the big day. If you have ever been in that position of hunting down that holiday ham or turkey without much luck, then you know exactly what I am talking about!

Christmas Dinner To Go

There is an annual tradition here at Truffles Fine Foods where our culinary team prepares a delicious Christmas dinner to go for you, your family, and friends. We understand how busy the season can get, so we decided to prepare a traditional meal to save YOU time. Think about it – more time to entertain family and guests, more time to bake your holiday cookies, and more time to sing some carols! Our dinner to go has been a popular request for the past few years as the four-course meal is not just flavourful and filling, but is also prepared fresh and made with the finest ingredients our team can get their hands on.

What’s included? Have a look at this menu:

Roasted Turkey
Served with turkey gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce

Roasted Garlic Mashed Yukon Potatoes

Roasted Root Vegetables
Carrots, parsnip, rutabaga, red onion, and yellow turnip

Cinnamon Apple Rhubarb Pie

This dinner serves up to four people for a reasonable price of $180 (plus tax) and can be ordered from now until December 16th (or until we have reached our capacity). If you are interested, please submit your order to us at info@trufflesfinefoods.com 

Orders are available to be picked up at our VanDusen location between December 22nd to 24th. 

A “Hootenanny” at VanDusen

Like the summer tradition of watching the fireworks display down by English Bay, autumn has its share of spectacles, too. If you are ever looking for an easy date idea, a family-friendly event to attend, or a place to simply take-in the setting and go for a stroll, I would highly recommend the Glow in the Garden event at VanDusen. This annual Halloween-themed event features a number of treats, crafts, pumpkin carvings, and the ever-so-popular light show.

Photo Credit: Lindsay William-Ross

A Big “Hootenanny”

Every year, the Glow in the Garden event features a different theme. In the past, adventure seekers have been graced with the classical tale of Hänsel and Gretel, the hijinks of Alice-in-Wonderland (under the watchful presence of the Queen of Hearts, of course), and even spooked by a ghoulish-themed walk filled with creepy creatures and ominous music as one ventured through the garden. This year, however, we learn that an “old barred owl has played a Halloween trick by casting a ‘hootenanny’ spell and making it glow”. Those who decide to undertake the walk are asked to assist the hummingbird, Anna, and her friends to lift the Halloween spell. Are you up for the challenge?

Delectables Await

The garden walk can take adventurers up to an hour (or more) to explore, and during this time of year, it could be very cold and wet. What better way to prepare and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or tea, and some tasty sweet and savoury treats? As an annual ritual for myself and some friends, we always find time to stop by the Truffles Fine Foods located at the VanDusen Garden Visitor Centre. Here, we are in a well-lit, enclosed space that overlooks the garden – the ideal place to plan our walk and prepare ourselves for the spectacles that await. The garden itself does have its share of food vendors scattered throughout various pockets as well, but neither are sheltered and typically have longer queues. 

truffles-fine-foods-vandusen

With all this in mind, I am truly excited about meandering through the walk again this year because it is always a treat to see what the creative team at VanDusen are able to conjure. It is also that time of year for adults to reflect and remember the simpler times when we were once curious and unsuspecting of all the spooks and sprites that Halloween had to offer. If you have a chance, do visit Glow in the Garden and help Anna lift the spell!

For more information about Glow, or to purchase tickets, visit them here.

Thankful For Thanksgiving Turkey

Muggy weather, crispness in the air, and the scent of pumpkin spice wafting about at our local coffee shops – the Autumn has finally arrived in Vancouver. Summer this year, it seems, came and went too quickly as per usual, and despite Vancouverites now having to endure weeks, if not months, of consecutive rainfall, there are plenty of things to look forward to in the Fall.

At Truffles Fine Foods, another transition takes place as the weather changes. We are catching the tail-end of the wedding season which means our culinary experts are busy putting together a new menu that is available for all! I’m not referring to a private catering event that you must book in order to sample our food, or even having to walk-in to one of our locations. No, I am talking about a carefully selected and crafted to-go dinner for Thanksgiving: our locally acclaimed and annual tradition, Turkey Dinner To Go.

Thanksgiving Set Dinner

Need some convincing? Apart from how amazing these set dinners are, this particular menu was a huge hit last year and was sold out in no time! This year’s menu features:

Sliced Boneless Turkey
Served with turkey gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce

Whipped Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Delectable Roasted Root Vegetables
Carrots, turnips, parsnips, and red onion

Creamy Autumn Pumpkin Pie
Served with cinnamon cream

Orders for this set menu is now being taken until October 10th, or until Truffles Fine Foods is fully booked. This four course meal feeds four guests and is priced at a reasonable $150 plus tax. 

If you’re interested, I encourage you to call 604.505.4961 ext. 1, or email us at info@trufflesfinefoods.com

Coquille: Summer, Seafood, Patio

Is it just me, or does this Summer season seem a lot shorter than the previous years? It seems like only yesterday when I was heading to the beach or watching the Canada Day fireworks display. My goodness, where has the time gone? As I sit here in this coffee shop people watching and finding inspiration for my upcoming blog posts, I felt it fitting for me to reflect and draw attention to the three things in Vancouver that epitomizes the ideal evening. On a hot day surrounded by the warmth of the sun, nothing beats the combination of summer, delicious seafood, and an amazing patio with the people you love spending time with.

It’s Patio Season

Picture this: Blue skies, a gentle breeze, the odd gull calling, and you’ve just taken a leisurely stroll down the historic streets of Gastown. You’re passing by the various gift shops, furniture stores, cafes, and are in need of a place to sit and grab a drink to quench your thirst – maybe even to recharge over some small plates. Just a few blocks from the iconic Steam Clock and adjacent to Gassy Jack’s statue emerges an eatery situated on a corner with an amazing view of the Hotel Europe, Vancouver’s “flatiron” landmark. This eatery, my friends, is Coquille – one of Vancouver’s best seafood restaurants (definitely the best in Gastown, in my humble opinion). On this summer day, you’re welcomed by an open patio with a view to bask in the surroundings anywhere you sit. This is patio season, and it’s still on!

Happy Hour Is Still In

Suppose you’re meandering the bustling streets of Gastown, carefully making your way down the brick sidewalks and you’re looking to recharge. The happy hour specials from Coquille is quite the enticing option if you’re a lover of fresh seafood. From the hours of 3pm to 6pm, a visit to Coquille will see fresh oysters at half price, grilled octopus skewers for cheap, and drink specials on their signature cocktails, craft beers, wines, and more! Don’t believe me? Have a look at their menu and you tell me why this place isn’t worth the visit.

With all this in mind, I believe that the Coquille patio is worth the visit – especially when the countdown to Autumn is upon us. Unlike the other patios that dot Vancouver’s dining landscape, this particular one gives you an intimate look into the historic gateway of our city yet still capturing the feel of the waterfront. Whether you’re starting your visit through Gastown or wrapping it up, the food at this eatery is both fresh and delicious, and staff are happy to welcome you whether you’re dressed formally or casually. 

Celebrate The Lights With Us

Hey, Vancouverites! It’s back! Our annual summer tradition of relaxing on the beach and spectating the amazing fireworks display competing countries have to offer is just around the corner. If you haven’t heard, this year we are graced by the presence of India, Croatia, and our national heroes: Canada! Of all the activities we have to do this summer, I’m sure you would agree that catching the sunset on a nice patio, then watching the fireworks display is at the top of your list. What gets me even more excited is that we at Truffles Fine Foods is back!

The Hottest Lounge in Vancouver

With one of the best seats near the beach featuring the closest views of the fireworks, the Truffles Fine Foods team has partnered up with Concord Pacific to offer patrons an unforgettable experience at the Concord Lounge. Located at the famous Inukshuk near English Bay, the lounge opens nightly on the three nights of the fireworks display. It will feature live music, complimentary drinks, a delicious BBQ from locally sourced ingredients, and an unparalleled view of the waterfront so you can take in every firework that dots the night sky.

Cred: DailyHive

Best Seats For The Fireworks

If you’ve been convinced to check out Truffles Fine Foods at the annual Honda Celebration of Light, here are the essential details you’ll need to ensure that you’ve secured your seat:

Regular tickets starting at:

 $169 + applicable service charges & taxes

To reserve your table, tickets start at:

$209 + applicable service charges & taxes 

 

All tickets include:

Live Music + fireworks soundtrack simulcast

2 complimentary drinks & access to a private bar

Fresh summer BBQ featuring local produce

VIP washroom facilities

Word of advice: The Concorde Lounge was extremely popular last year, so it is best to arrive early, or have your seats/table secured. That said, all seats are amazing regardless of where you’re located in the lounge as the venue provides a very unique experience to then event. 

Sit back, relax, enjoy the view and music, and treat yourself to a night of indulgence!

The Pipe Shop – A Unique Experience

If you live along the North Shore or have taken the Seabus to and from downtown Vancouver, you have probably heard of, or at least seen signs of the “Pipe Shop”. Contrary to what you might think it is, it has nothing to do with vaping or the legalization of anything. In fact, it is a building filled with character, history, and has become an iconic landmark in North Vancouver for several decades. After having undergone a series of renovations, this coveted location was transformed into a gorgeous venue for big events and Truffles Fine Foods is a proud catering partner. So, before I dive into what this place features, let’s take a trip down memory lane.

Credit: Vancouver Archives

What is the Pipe Shop?

North Vancouver has a very rich maritime history where shipyards once dotted its coast (and they still do to some extent). What began as the Wallace Shipyard in 1906 and later renamed to the Burrard Dry Dock in 1921, North Vancouver’s ship building history has shaped the history of our West Coast. Believe it or not, over 450 ships had been launched from the pier just a stone’s throw away from the Pipe Shop! Back in the 1940s when naval vessels were constructed for the war effort, this building was known as the Pipefitter’s building where all the pipes needed for ships were laid out and readied to be installed onto the vessels. Men and women would work tirelessly to ensure that each ship had the necessary components for launch. Following the closing of the Shipyard in 1992 and after the Pipe Shop was decommissioned, this 9,000 square foot building was renovated into a marvelous structure that incorporates its rich history with a modern flair! From the outside, it looks rather simple and vintage, but you’ll be amazed at the vaulted ceilings, heritage pillars, and original wooden beams that criss-cross their way above.

Booking An Event

Whether it be a wedding or a birthday celebration, the Pipeshop is designed to house up to 350 seated guests comfortably. This unparalleled facility is close to the pier which provides patrons with a remarkable view of the Burrard Inlet, Downtown Vancouver, and even the Lion’s Gate Bridge. On a warm, Summer evening, glimpses of the sunset can even be seen! Nearby is also the bustling streets of North Vancouver’s Lower Lonsdale area and the busy markets of Lonsdale Quay. Getting to and from the venue is also extremely convenient. There are paid parking lots nearby, but also free parking on evenings and weekends at the adjacent ICBC parkade. If you plan on taking transit, there are bus stops nearby and is a walking-distance from the sea bus terminal. 

 

On site, the Pipe Shop has Globe Lighting, 21 circuits of 20 amp power. Public washrooms are nearby, but all rentals (including table and chairs) are the responsibility of the renter. Although there are no kitchen facilities on site, we at Truffles Fine Foods have that covered. Since we are partners with the Pipe Shop, our team members have catered several parties and events at this venue and understand all logistics and challenges. Our team is able to work with you to plan your event and turn a good party into a great one. If you’ve any questions or concerns, reach out to our team today! We’re here to help.

A Day Trip To VanDusen

vandusen

With the ever-increasing cost of living and the daily struggle with the notion of “adulting”, one often forgets one thing (two words): “Me time.” That’s right, it actually exists and is still a thing – at least, it can be if you want it to. As I sit here in my office surrounded by a forest of towering glass architectural feats, it made me realize how little time I spend on myself. It’s so easy to get lost in work – especially with how busy and demanding this city can become. Despite Vancouver priding itself on its majestic mountains and its beautiful coastal rainforests, finding some greenery where I can just sit in peace is, more or less, scarce.

With that in mind, however, there are pockets of hidden gems – secret gardens, if you will – that are found in various parts of our city. My recent trip to VanDusen Botanical Gardens allowed me to escape the hustle and bustle of my hectic day-to-day, and gave me that opportunity to focus on me. I was able to stroll through a garden of beauty and just meditate surrounded by nothing but peace and tranquility.

A Marvelous Medley

Despite having VanDusen Botanical Gardens located next to a rather busy street, the trees and bushes do a great job at reducing all the noise pollution. After entering through the lobby, the path you choose is really just up to you! The self-guided tour I took had me meandering through the carefully curated plants and flowers. There were tunnels, bridges, fountains, and even a small pavilion in the heart of it all that allowed me to rest and relax. As much as I wanted to refrain from using my phone, every corner I turned had something worth adding to the ‘gram. On a perfect day when the sun beams down on you, there is no limit to the amount of photos one can take.

vandusen-maze

Truffles Café at VanDusen

To complete my visit to the gardens, I had to indulge myself at the Truffles Café. With a freshly baked pastry on my plate and a hot cup of fairtrade coffee in hand, I was able to relax and take-in the garden from a distance – a terrific way to wrap-up my visit! Given its prime location at VanDusen and the quality of food delivered, this café makes for a remarkable venue for small events, meetings, and even afternoon tea! Recall how I referred to VanDusen as a hidden gem in our busy city? Well, this Truffles Café is like a gem within a gem – a true rarity indeed!

For your chance to explore these lovely gardens or dine at this exquisite café, it’s quite simple! Whether by car or transit, VanDusen and Truffles Café are both located at 5151 Oak Street. I encourage you to visit the gardens’ website to see what events they have in order to help plan your visit. If you need a bit of guidance, look into the walking tours which are carefully curated by volunteers, or you can create your own journey. As for the café, it wouldn’t hurt to call ahead of time to reserve your seat. It gets busy depending on time of day, so keep that in mind!

VanDusen maze photo source: TripSavvy

How To Plan Your Wedding Reception

Celebrity chef and Food Network host, Guy Fieri was once quoted saying: “Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people get together to eat.” I cannot agree more. And, when it comes to a wedding, the meal served at your reception is what all your guests look forward to – after the ceremony, of course.

The reception is the time and place where friends and family gather, chatter amongst themselves, share stories and fond memories of you, and have many laughs over the speeches delivered. What stands out the most, however, with any reception is the meal (barring any embarrassing stories, of course). I have been to several weddings where the food quality ranged from amazing to mediocre – and those impressions are what guests take away from their night. If they leave hungry, or something tasted off, you’ll hear about it for years to come! To prevent this from happening at your reception, allow me to propose Truffles Fine Foods.

wedding-hearts-hands

Planning Your Menu

During your wedding planning process, you have to narrow down your budget. Putting aside the cost of photographers, makeup, the decor, DJ, and venue, you need to establish how much you’re willing to pay for food while taking into consideration the number of guests in attendance.

At Truffles Fine Foods, we marry convenience and luxury by offering the finest in ingredients, gastronomical creations, and options that work with the budget you have established.

Here are three pricing packages to get you started (all with 30 guests minimum):

The Premiere

$40 per plate

2 Entrees
2 Sides & 2 Salads
1 Dessert

Silver Screen

$50 per plate

2 Entrees
3 Sides & 3 Salads
1 Dessert

The Oscar

$60 per plate

1 Platter
2 Entrees
1 Chef Station
3 Sides & 3 Salads
1 Dessert

We also offer additional add-on options where you can pick and choose from 3 hors d’oeuvres, and/or dessert platters. The flexibility of our pricing for the amount of options found on our menu gives you the freedom to better plan your wedding reception meal while working within your budget. Our culinary team can also substitute dishes for individuals who have dietary restrictions.

 

Finding The Perfect Wedding Venue

Searching for venues can be stressful at times. Will there be enough seated space? Do they have their own kitchen? Is there parking for your guests? Taking these questions into consideration, I encourage you to visit our venues page. Truffles Fine Foods has partnered with several locations who have worked closely with our culinary team to deliver successful parties, meetings, and wedding receptions. From the picturesque UBC Boathouse to the historic Gulf of Georgia Cannery, we pride ourselves on delivering the finest of foods in all venues to make your wedding reception a memorable one.

So, how about it? Let us worry about the food and venue. Reach out to us, let us know what your preferences are and we’ll take it from there! Our team of experts will work with you to make your special day all the more special.