While the city hosts several food and wine expo’s, the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo is one that I habitually attend. I’ll admit that the show has grown in popularity over its 21 years, to the point where the evening hours makes it a hard to maneuver, standing room only event. I advise that if you can fit it in your schedule, and if you want to truly converse with the artisans on the floor, try to attend in the afternoon’s. With that said, if you are looking for the spree of a Toronto lounge, with food in addition to libations, then the evenings may be more your speed. Nonetheless, each year I find that there are some notables lined up by the GFWE event curators that are worth mentioning. This is my list of notables from the 2015 Gourmet Food and Wine Expo.
Two Sisters Vineyards
Two Sisters Vineyards takes the top prize for my show notables. As the name suggests, this vineyard is owned and run by Angela and Melissa , two sisters who reside in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada.
Two Sisters vines were planted in 2007 across their 76 acres, and these vines have produced some quality, award winning wines. At GFWE, I had the pleasure to try the Two Sisters Vineyards 2013 Sauvignon Blanc and their red blend, 2014 Eleventh Post. Both wines were truly formidable and enough to commit me to visiting Two Sisters Vineyards for wine and, what I am told, a delectable dinner at their on property restaurant, Kitchen76
Also high up on my notable list was a lovely 2011 Cabernet-Merlot blend from Cornerstone Estate Winery. Silky tannins, fruit forward and a medium to long finish, had me talking about this red blend long after we’d left their booth. Aside from making fantastic wines, the Cornerstone team is one the nicest you’ll ever meet.
C.J. Pask Winery – the Kate Radburnd Brand
While taking a wander over to the New Zealand area of the floor, I saw some of the regulars like Oyster Bay and Kim Crawford; nothing new there. But, wait… Kate Radburnd? My eye caught a predominantly yellow, spring-like label, adorned very simply with the Kate Radburnd name. It was the 2013 Kate Radburnd Sun Kissed Hawks Bay Pinot Gris. I’ll admit that I have never had a Kate Radburnd branded wine before, but was more than willing to try. This Pinot Gris was abounded with citrus, pear and structured acidity. A great standout wine in the New Zealand offering at the event, and a great introduction to Kate Radburnd branded wines for myself.
At the point of over an hour into my show and wine discovery, I figured it was time eat! I settled, and glad I did, on Grapevine Caterings BBQ Pork Rib Taco. With the right amount and blend of spices, along with pork dripping hollandaise sauce, this was one mean and tasty taco and it stands to be one of best food items I devoured, while at the show.
I could not title this one after one winery or specific company because, as you could imagine, this was the opportunity for show goers to try a plethora of Riesling wines from Germany. Now, I am not a regular Riesling drinker, but I found the display smart and worthy of mention. Rieslings have acquired an unfair reputation given its history and more should be done to correct that. A Riesling advocacy group if you will. Nonetheless, the display stood out as it gave show goers a chance to try Rieslings that were sweet, semi-sweet, and dry. The smart attendees would have taken a chance to try them all as we did, noting the range of German Riesling depending on the wine makers style.
I am a sucker for a cause and Sledgehammer’s Movember Movement made me stop to inquire. For each photo or video shared in honour of Movember, on either Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, with the hashtag #ManUpMove, Sledgehammer Wines will donate $1 to the Move charity. Commendable!
So, again, another successful and thoroughly enjoyable time at the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo. My pocket-book a little lighter (cases of wine) and my jeans a little tighter (wine, and more wine and tacos) and my smile a little bigger.
See you next year!