Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Rhoda's Christmas Craft Fair

I went to Rhoda’s Christmas Craft Fair on the weekend. And all I bought was food. Rhoda’s is one of the major seasonal craft events in the Maritimes. Some people go year after year, like a Christmas tradition, but this was my first time ever. It’s awfully warm in Saint John- going up to 12C some days, I’m wearing shoes and a fall coat outside. Some people run around in t-shirts in the afternoon. The unlikely weather, combined with a variety of distractions made me want to ‘get into’ the Christmas spirit and I thought it would be fun to go to this event that I’d always heard of but never ventured near.

My brother usually goes. He loves the weekend flea markets also put on by Rhoda, but I think he loves the energy and the casual shopping side of it. I went with him and his wife and they were a great introduction to how to enjoy Rhoda’s. Their approach is all about food.

My brother went with the intention of buying dip mixes. His strategy was to start at one end and cover each aisle. We went up and down, observing, tasting, comparing. Then we worked our way back to make our purchases at the stalls deemed to offer the best products. I bought maple brown sugar dinner rolls from the Ginger Bread Christmas Bakery from Penobsquis: “Made from Family Recipes.” An older woman with curly white hair served us, and the rolls were SO good. I ate four of them at dinner.

There were three dip mix vendors. One who mixed her dips with vanilla yogurt, which I do not recommend- the sweetness is just not complimentary to Cajun, garlic or herbs. The company he selected was Hac’n Sac from Enfield, NB. The vendors were charming and helpful, and their dips are delicious. I became hooked on their apricot and jalapeno jam which they served over cream cheese with crackers- so good! The owner also suggests using it as a glaze over chicken, pork and scallops.

We also discovered the Cake Box from Riverview, NB. They had lovely cakes on display, and stacks of cupcakes in wonderful flavours and matching decors of tall swirly frosting: mud pie, drama queen, coconut, chocolate fudge, bananarama. Their buttercream frosting was amazing, and the cake crumb was perfect and moist. My brother loved his red velvet cupcake so much that he went back to buy a box of nine to take home.

We also bought fresh pots of cat grass for our cats!

I’m not sure I came away feeling Christmasy, but I enjoyed myself and am looking forward to roast pork with apricot jalapeno jam- if I don’t eat it first with crackers and cream cheese. And really, Christmas is all about the food anyway.

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