Monday, November 22, 2010

2010 Gourmet Food and Wine Show

The 2010 Gourmet Food and Wine Show was held over this past weekend and since I've been wanting to go for the past few years I was determined not to miss it this year. Actually, I've been so excited about the event that throughout the whole of last week I kept (wishfully)thinking it was Friday and wishing my coworkers a good weekend when I leave.

My brother and a co-worker had also expressed interest, but as it turns out coordinating events is not my strongest suit and so we never got to meet up at the show - neither did B get to come because by the time he was done with work we had already seen most of the show and were ready to leave soon. It would have been so much more fun if we could see the show together - but I guess that just wasn't meant to be. Not that it wasn't fun as it was, but it's one of those experiences that I would have loved to share with him.

I had brought my camera along hoping to capture some images of the yummy offerings to aid my memory - but we were too eagar to sample all the goodies at the show that I'd only remember about the camera after we had finished eating. I can only recall what we ate there because we had tried to compile a list over BBT that night. There was the venison ribs that didn't taste gamey at all but we could be favorably biased in our opinions because the was the first thing we sunk our teeth into, and we were hungry. The pulled pork sandwich was juicy but could have been more flavorful. The roast beef sandwich offered by Windsor Arms Hotel was yummy with caramelized onions but I thought they could have served up something more creative.

We had the most amazing paella made in a humongous wok and that was the highlight of the event.  Each bite was bursting with the intense flavours of the mix of mussels, clams, calamari and shrimps.  Too bad it was offered by a catering company,  not a restaurant where we could visit again.

We then moved into dessert territory when we saw a booth filled with smoke - which turned out to be nitrogen that is used to make flash-frozen ice cream. There were the signature flavours like monte crisp, but then there was the mango flavour that was a limited edition thanks to a partnership with a liquer vendor at the show. We were sold once the promotor mentioned mango ice cream, and we got to watch the process where the chef whipped the liquid cream and mango liquer mixture into delicious ice cream under a cloud of nitrogen gas. Unfortunately they don't have a store front yet, but it is coming soon. We then sampled a semisoft cheese shaved into the shape of a flower then complemented with a dab of apple jelly.

Then my memory went blurry - but I remember we also had a tiny plate of cheese sampler that included an interesting irish porter cheese, grilled chorizon on a bun, oysters from Rodney's, lamb miso yaki from Ginko resturant at the Doubletree Hotel, a piece of portugese pork sausage and a fish cake made with potatoes and bacalhau - their version of salted fish. Then there were the scallops. Inniskillen offered scallops paired with wine - the white wine went with scallops topped with icewine-cured bacon while the red wine was paired with scallops topped with truffle sauce. I liked their white wine but loved the scallop with the truffle sauce - it was so fragrant and the wonderful aroma of truffles lingered long after the scallop was gone.

Drink-wise - I can hardly remember anything except for the few wines and a beer that I really liked. Most of the wines we sampled were horrible - maybe they were not to my taste because I've been spoiled with always having somewhat nicer wines at home. The rose from Beringer we loved and it will most likely become a part of my wine purchase repertoire. The reisling icewine from Henry of Pelham was wonderful and I would love to try the other varieties they make. Most of the whites we sampled were sauv blanc and chardonnay - I guess neither was my wine of choice so I didn't enjoy them much. An award-winning chardonnay was decent but at 40 bucks a bottle it's probably not something I would pick up.

The reds ranged from unpalatable to tasteless - tasteless being the better end of the spectrum in this case because those were the wines that went down the easiest. I also learned that "Meritage" is the North American version of Bordeaux and some weren't bad at all. There was a booth showcasing wines from China but we didn't feel it was worth the dollar worth of sample tickets - and we weren't the only ones feeling that way.

We had mango and strawberry margheritas made with Island Original mixes which I thought was yummy but James wasn't impressed - he had just came back from a week of all-inclusive vacation in Mexico. Caramilk now offers their own version of liquer except it's quite similar to Bailey's and I don't see the point of investing in both. We also got to try a mango liquer called "Orchid" - it's the most amazing stuff and it turned out to be the same liquer they used in the ice-cream. Definitely will be picking that up once I clear some space off of my shelf of spirits.

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