Valley fixings: Where to get caffeinated in the Fraser Valley


EXCERPT FROM THE VANCOUVER SUN
STOREY BY REBECCA KEILLOR


A number of independent coffee shops and bakeries have recently opened their doors in the Fraser Valley and they share a common sentiment: they’re shocked at how busy they’ve been right off the bat. Apparently these owner operators weren’t alone in wanting fresh handmade croissant and decent espresso, without making a day trip of it. The Sun caught up with five to hear about their quick success.

 

Blacksmith Bakery (102 — 9190 Church St. Fort Langley)

For pastry chef Stephan Schigas, opening Blacksmith Bakery in Fort Langley five months ago was a no brainer. Returning from 12 years in London, with his wife and three children, the Langley native wanted a village-type feel similar to that of Blackheath, where they lived in London and found it in the building where Fort Langley’s original blacksmith opened shop in 1910.

“When I was growing up here you’d never come to Fort Langley, it was like a retirement village but it’s completely changed, there’s a lot of youth here,” says Schigas.

In London, he worked at Michelin star restaurants Zafferano and Locanda Locatelli as well as opening his own Mediterranean bistro in Blackheath. Everything on the menu at Blacksmith is handmade and locally sourced.

“We make everything we can from scratch,” says Schigas. “We make our own vanilla essence and when we make our tiramisu we make our own mascarpone cheese.”

Tarts range from $3.50 to $4 and their sandwiches, made with bread they bake daily, range from $7.25 for a grilled cheese to $9.75 for a classic reuben, which has pickled brisket, thousand island dressing and swiss cheese.

Blacksmith is also licensed, so it’s not uncommon to see punters sipping on limoncello or wine with their savories and pastries.

 

Republica Coffee Roasters Inc. (9203 Glover Road, Fort Langley)

The good coffee a number of these new cafes sell is roasted in a rustic little space in Fort Langley, which has just enough room for a couple of tables and chairs for those who prefer to sip in and opens onto a charming courtyard off Glover Road. Republica Coffee Roasters Inc. roasts organic, fairtrade coffee to order.

“Our whole philosophy on coffee is for our customers to have the freshest roast possible,” says Hiro Tsujimoto, who founded the business four years ago with his brother-in-law Ricardo Masana, whose family has coffee plantations in Chiapas, Mexico.

Tsujimoto and Masana spent time in Chiapas working alongside the coffee plantation farmers, learning how to pick the ‘cherries,’ remove the pulp, wash and dry the beans and roast it at Masana’s family roaster in Mexico City. They chose Fort Langley because of the people.

“It’s a very tight knit community and they’re very very loyal and supportive of local businesses,” says Tsujimoto.

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