Toronto Gourmet Food and Wine show preview
This past Thursday night, the 2012 Gourmet Food and Wine Expo kicked off with a preview, although the weekend-long event properly begins today. This was my first time at the event, so the concept of an expo at the Convention Centre had me picturing stark florescent lighting, and people walking around in bacon costumes.
Fortunately, it's nothing like that--it's more of a mingling party, and it's one of the few events where there seems to be something for everyone. Looking for classics? Caesars and sliders are on hand. Feeling pretentious? Cheese and wine sampling is available all night long. Personally, my inner food geek came out full force.
It started with Victor Restaurant serving duck pate ice cream and Saskatoon berries. My brain expected to bite into a cold wad of liver, but my taste buds got a hit of sweetness that tasted suspiciously like vanilla ice cream. By the time I hit the pate, I'd bitten into the sweet berries. The sample left my blind-sighted taste buds working in overdrive, trying to figure out what just happened.
If the idea of tastebud-trickery appeals to you, there are a few other options to try.
Kelp Caviar is a good one. Mad science--that is, molecular gastronomy--has repurposed seaweed into little spheres of wasbi, salmon, and sturgeon-flavoured caviar. It's pretty close to the real thing, considering what it's made from. My only gripe is that it's piled onto stale, toast crackers, but scrape it off and you're good to go.
There's an LCBO's worth of drink at this event. I zeroed in on the ice wine vodka from Vice. It's a chance to mix two drinks that shouldn't be mixed. Again, your taste buds will be confused. You'll get an equal mix of sweet wine and vodka without the chemical burning taste.
Molson is also mixing beer cocktails (read: Molson meets Skinny Sour), but if you're a brewskie or wine purist, you'll still find it here.
There are crowds at this event, but the wait times are surprisingly short. I dreaded getting into a snaking line for sampling tickets, but I was at the front of the ticket booth within a couple minutes. The event is really whatever you make of it. You can choose to go to the premium wine tasting lounge, or you can play a vigorous game of wine glass pong.
I also discovered that seating is sparse when I tried to gracefully eat an entire lobster tail out of a Dixie cup--suffice to say that I failed miserably. This is more of a mingling event. I recommend going for finger foods, or at least ones that don't require major utensils.
Dessert was my final stop on this tour. The macarons from Ruelo Patisserie are moist and come in classic vanilla or chocolate, but if you want to finish the night with one more tongue teaser, they also have wasabi grapefruit, black truffle, and rose lychee raspberry on hand.
The Gourmet Food and Wine Expo runs from November 16-18, and tickets are $20 and can be purchased online.
Photos by Natta Summerky