Gourmet Food & Wine Show

Gorging at the Gourmet Food & Wine Show

The weekend, the Gourmet Food & Wine Show is encouraging wine connoisseurs, aficionados and novices to avoid the frosty weather outside by enjoying fine dining and wining in the warm comfort of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

In its fourteenth year, the feature country is France, which is evident with several free and tutored tasting events targeted to the Bordeaux area. Joseph and I took a look at the show this year to give you an idea of what to expect this time around, and how to get the best bang for your buck.

Gourmet Food & Wine Show

Just considering basic admission and sampling costs, the show is quite a good deal. With general admission set at only $15 and tasting coupons for $1 each, the show gives you a good opportunity to either attend to broaden your wine horizons or to get the most bang for your buck. While the average cost per sample tended to be around 2 tickets, there were many respectable and tasty vendors offering generous samples for only 1 .

The wines I had a chance to taste varied wildly from Fume Blanc, the signature white of Robert Mondavi's vineyards in the Napa Valley, a delicate classic Pinot Noir with strawberry notes from France, to a delightfully fruity sparking Chardonnay from Banrock Station. The latter, I discovered, is an environmental winery which recently spent $1.25 million for Salmon restoration in Ontario as well as other ventures. Talk about feeling good with every glass!

And this was just a drop in the spittoon, as the show had representatives from Australia, Chile, Spain, Italy, Niagara, California and many other old and new world growing regions. As the night wore on, most vendors even had the stamina to offer a story and a smile with their pour, and I did notice that the pours got larger closer to the end of the night.

But as the title of the event says, wine is only one small part of the weekend. Food is a major component, whether it be quiche, tarts, crepes, pulled pork, wild boar risotto or confections made from wine and the Gourmet Food & Wine Show could not exist without one major food companion... cheese! The Dairy Farmers Association had a huge section tucked away in the corner to host wine and cheese pairing sessions all throughout the weekend. Unfortunately I missed the last session of the night as I was overwhelmed with the show, so hopefully somebody else will let me know what dessert wine goes best with a St. Andres cheese!

Gourmet Food & Wine Show

If you're stopping by the show this weekend, there were a few free and tutored tasting sessions which caught my eye.

Connoisseurs Corner: Niagara: best for reds or whites? with Craig Fleming - Saturday 2:30pm
Tutored Tasting Event with The Thirsty Traveller, Kevin Brauch - Saturday 4:30-6:30pm *Additional costs
Joy of Chocolate & Wine, The Wine Ladies & Peter Blanchet Purdys - Saturday 8:30pm
Best Values from Bordeaux, Dean Campbell - Sunday 12:30pm
Best of the Best - Sunday 2-3:30pm *Additional costs
2005 Focus Bordeaux Sunday 4-5:30pm *Additional costs

The Gourmet Food & Wine Show runs this weekend, Friday from 2pm-10pm, Saturday from 12-10pm and Sunday from 12pm-6pm at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Eat, drink and enjoy!

Photos by Joseph Michael

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