Cloverdale Dinner Events

One Night in the Valley Variety Gala

May 4, 2019
One Night in the Valley Variety Children's Charity Gala programme

We were overjoyed to win tickets to One Night in the Valley (big shouts out to Anna Mullens for the tix!), a gala fundraiser event for Variety Children’s Charity. Variety is a worthy cause that has been helping children with special needs in BC get these needs met for fifty plus years. One Night in the Valley was being billed as the ultimate country gala, featuring several talented country music performers headlined by Dallas Smith, and a Country BBQ Feast put together by MasterChef Canada winner David Jorge!

Anyone who knows me can attest that there are very few things in life I enjoy more than a good old-fashioned country music hoedown. Sure those things include getting a root canal, watching paint dry, and cleaning the litterbox but I just love me some down-home… ah c’mon who am I kidding here? I’m one of those people who “likes all types of music. Oh! Except country!” Sometimes I even add in an “of course” as if no one else on the planet could possibly listen to that godawful racket. But this night out was to be something special; a good cause, good people, and because you’re reading Surrey Eats, good food! And yes despite my initial misgivings the music ended up being pretty goldarn good too…

One Night in the Valley red carpet charity gala
One Night in the Valley red carpet
Girl singing country music and strumming a guitar on the back of a pickup truck
Truck yeah!

When we rolled up to the red carpet at the Cloverdale Agriplex all gussied up in our “upscale country” duds as per the dress code and heard the first twangs of country music coming from the back of one of several pickups dotting the sidelines I knew we were in for some sweet Southern hospitality.

Massive charcuterie spread
Charcuterie spread

Sweet baby Jesus! Now that’s some sweet Southern hospitality right thurr. We were all over this charcuterie spread like hobos on a ham sammich, snapping pics in between morsels of the finest meats, cheeses, dips, spreads, fruits and veg you could dream of. Oh and a beer or three to wash it all down of course.

Thinly sliced prosciutto surrounded by fruits, vegetables and cheese

After dining at La Charcuterie with the Sandwich Nazi (review coming soon!) I’ll never look at prosciutto the same way again…but I won’t spoil your view or your appetite and will save that story for another article.

Sliced duck breast with fresh rosemary
Sliced duck breast
Capicola with brie and blackberries
Capicola with brie and blackberries

The moist duck breast topped with fresh rosemary was a definite highlight among highlights, but then there was the fluffy balls of chevre, the spiced capicola, the savoury tapenade, the cool sweet dragonfruit…we grazed happily while chatting with some of the fine folk who’d come out for the cause.

A variety of whiskeys from the Whiskey Tasting Bar at the Variety charity gala
Whiskey Tasting Bar

We didn’t get around to the whiskey tasting bar and its affable bartender until several beers into the evening when we were a bit too far gone to discern the subtle nuances, but here’s a pretty pic of the variety on offer. $20 got you a flight of five, six…? It got you enough whiskey to forget what you ordered, put it that way.

Paintings of bulls from One Night in the Valley
Bull art

Yup. There was also a portrait of two horses nuzzling entitled The Kiss that–if memory serves–went for an obscene amount of dough-re-mi on auction. There’s no accounting for taste, folks.

One Night in the Valley gala dinner
Country BBQ Feast dinner at One Night in the Valley
Country BBQ Feast

At last! It was time to saddle on up to the buffet for a heapin’ helping of grub. I tried to go all Canada-food-guide on it but with three types of meat on offer (box roasted local pork, pulled BBQ chicken, and spit-roasted baron of beef) I couldn’t help but devote half my plate to carnivorous pursuits. It was all G with the exception of the beef, which took way too much effort to chew through. The rest of the BBQ was moist, tender, and juicy, albeit lacking a little in the sauce department but perhaps that was intentional to let the quality of the locally sourced meat shine through.

Finally got to try me some succotash, although this was of the Spring Corn variety and not the more commonly known Suffering style. Corn, lima beans, zucchini, peppers…not much to write home about here. Apart from the potatoes and assorted veggies and pretty decent honey dijon slaw the real winner here was the polenta. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve ordered polenta so I don’t have a wealth of experience to draw from but judging from an impromptu poll of tablemates this one was the real deal. Polenta seems to be all about the texture and this one was so creamy and fluffy it even got a shout-out from our hostess on stage and a raucous round of applause.

Cowgirls line dancing at One Night in the Valley Variety charity gala
Line dancing

After some speeches about Variety and the myriad ways they help out in the community, including a truly heart-warming story from a young mother to an adorable little girl with Down’s Syndrome who is able to give her daughter the extra care and therapy she needs thanks to donations from the public, it was time to shake things up with some line dancing which got the ladies out of their seats and out on the dance floor. Were they doing the bootscootin boogie? The honky tonk badonk-a-donk? Damned if I know but both of those were actual songs played that night. Cornier than a supersize serving of Tennessee Cornpone with a side of spicy salsa if you ask me, but after a muddled mix of beer, wine, and the aforementioned whiskey I was starting to feel some affinity for these hard-workin’, truck drivin’ cowfolk and their toe-tapping tunes.

Dallas Smith country rock performance
Dallas Smith

In fact by the time headliner Dallas Smith took the stage I was yee-hawin and a-hootin’ and a-hollerin’ with the best of them. Might have helped that he’s the ex-singer of Default, the radio-friendly hitmakers of Wasting My Time which is straight earworm status in my books. You could definitely hear the radio-rock roots in his country anthems.

Chocolate mousse
Chocolate mousse

The night was capped with a jar of chocolate mousse that left a pleasantly sweet taste in our mouths to savour all the way back home. Thank YOU, Variety, Blank Canvas Catering, the Joseph Richard Group, Unapologetically Anna, and everyone else for putting on this wonderful event and making a difference in these children’s lives. We hope you’ll be back next year!

Author: Matt

Prior to joining the Surrey Eats crew, Matt's love of all things edible and passion for writing led him to long-running food blog Eat 'n About where he penned articles under the nom de plume Hitman Howdy for several years. Matt's also been published in various local magazines, and is an extremely adventurous eater who has dined on things that would make Anthony Bourdain blush. Matt enjoys the melting pot of international cuisine on offer in Surrey and hopes to help put his beloved stomping grounds on the map as a smorgasbord for food-lovers of all ethnicities. SURREY WHAT!!



Surrey, BC

Hi my name is Craig and welcome to my food blog! Join me and my crew as we eat our way around Surrey BC's local dining scene reviewing the hottest restaurants, covering all the latest food events and news, and uncovering plenty of hidden gems along the way. This site aims to be your one-stop shop for everything you need to navigate Surrey's cuisine like a foodie boss! While you're here why not follow us on social and get access to all sorts of deals, steals and giveaways: