Gourmet Food and Wine Show 2009

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This past weekend I went and checked out the Gourmet Wine and Food Expo at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  Previously this year I had gone to the Good Food Show and I can tell you this is quite a different experience.  The atmosphere at the wine show had a very city chic club feel. 

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The lights were dimmed and the booths were decked out with neon and modern furniture.  Portugal was the show piece country and though there was many wines to try from there other countries like Chile, France and even here in Canada were well represented.

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We started out the show by grabbing some food.  Having not eaten much yet that day we definately needed some substance and there was lots of variety to choose from.  Some names were recognizable like Lonestar and Olivieri pasta while others were more obscure like Rosa’s Place where we grabbed a wonderful plate of cheese tortellini, bruschetta and pasta a la vodka. 

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Sample tickets were $1 each and while some places like Rosa’s were a great deal at 8 tickets for this plate of food other’s were not so great.  Ruelo Patisserie had this cool selection of cookies filled with ganache or buttercream called macarons yet at 2-3 sample tickets each you didn’t get much bang for your buck.

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Some vendors offered cool ideas like elk risotto and vension burgers, others offered favorites like ribs and sushi.  Cheese vendors were also in abundance some offer free samples or tasting plates for a few tickets. 

Wine wasn’t the only alcohol of choice at this event.  I had the pleasure of sample an amazing green apple beer from Nickle Brook Breweries, a sweet cranberry blueberry wine from Muskoka Lakes Winery, plus many liqours like one of my favorites Hypnotiq.  Man I could drink that stuff straight though pineapple juice just takes it to a whole other level.

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It wouldn’t be a wine and food show if the Food Network wasn’t there and this years celebrity guests included Chef Robert Rainford and the Thirsty Traveler Kevin Brauch.  The 9 of Dine Chefs of Distinction Award is given out each year to 9 local chefs and they are invited to the Food Network stage to showcase their talents. 

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While we were there we checked out Tyler Cunningham, chef at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen in Toronto who cooked up a Smoked Trout with Yogurt Lemon dressing and radish salad.  I’m not  a fish eater but I still like to give  everything a chance so I definitely tried a free sample at the end of the show.  Still not my cup of tea but it wasn’t horrible either.  Very pretty to look at though.

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Also offered at the show was the Fine Wines Tasting lounge were you could sample rare and unique vintages, the Connoisseur’s Corner where you experience wine and food pairings and the Tutored Tastings seminars that were running all weekend long offering tasting courses on many different wines.

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One of my favorite things about this show was the lack of pushy salespeople.  Each vendor had representatives on hand to talk about their products and inform you where you could purchase them.  A LBCO store was available in the Centre to pick up anything that you really enjoyed. 

Next year I plan to spend a whole weekend at the show, taking as many classes and tastings sessions as I can.  The time I spent at the show was so much fun and I recommend it to anyone out there who loves food and drink and wants to try something new.

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