On Saturday November 21st, I attended the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo as part of the Foodbuzz Foodie Correspondent program for Featured Publishers. In exchange for a Media Pass, I am writing a couple of posts about my experience – it was a lot of fun, so thanks, Foodbuzz!
According to the Expo website, the annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo offers 35,000 guests an unparalleled opportunity to sample over 1,200 fine wines, spirits and beers from around the globe.
To be honest, I thought this year there was much more a focus on the wine than the food which was a little disappointing for a foodie like myself but you, know, in the interests of the blog, I soldiered on. As you do. This post will focus on the “eats” and there will be another post later in the week about the drinks.
According to the Expo website, VINES Magazine presented an exclusive tasting of premium wines at the Fine Wine Tasting Lounge. Guests sampled rare premium consignment, vintages and private order wines in a casual, yet truly distinctive setting.
The first stand we happened upon was Brix Chocolate – Chocolate for Wine. Intriguing slogan, no?
According to their website Dr. Nick Proia, an Ohio pulmonologist, developed Brix when it became obvious to him that no chocolate on the market paired well with wine. Nick and his colleagues would get together monthly to share a few great bottles and friends would usually bring an appropriate cheese to enjoy with their favorite red. It seemed foolish to Dr. Proia to eat these fat-laden cheeses, after dinner, while trying to benefit from the health effects of wines. Instead, Dr. Proia decided to try out the pairing of dark chocolate with wine and after trying all different varieties and “strengths”, he could find no happy medium. Either the chocolate was too much like eating candy or it was so bitter and complex that it would dominate a fine wine.
Brix Milk Chocolate is a chocolate designed for the lighter reds and dessert wines. The addition of high quality milk chocolate to the single origin Ghanaian product results in a milk chocolate like no other, both creamy and spicy.
This was creamy and very Lindt-like.
Brix Dark Chocolate is the most versatile of the Brix blends. While its cocoa content is high, it remains sedate enough to enhance the fruit forward wines it was designed to accompany. While its suggested pairings are on the label, it easily stretches upward to the lighter cabs and downward to the heavier pinots.
I liked this a lot. Just dark enough for me.
Brix Extra Dark is specifically formulated to pair with the deepest red wines. Having a very high cocoa content, this Brix blend can stand up to the massive tannins found in these wines. While the label suggests Barolo, Cabernet and Bordeaux, Very Dark goes well with the heavier, peppery Zinfandels and Syrahs as well.
This was surprisingly not bitter at all, which I love for a chocolate with such a high cocoa content.
Some Brix chocolate may be making a special appearance in some more bacon chocolate one of these days….
Next, we hit up the Windsor Arms stand where Neil couldn’t go past this:
Edie and I were enticed by the lamb sliders with blue cheese sauce at the Splendido booth:
I was excited to see Première Moisson bakery there:
That you can buy at our local Metro supermarkets apparently – score!!!
A little cheese plate from The Cheese Emporium was totally necessary:
There was so much cheese at the Expo:
Neil was excited to see this:
They look like they’re vaguely up to no good, huh?
Neil and Edie sampled some delights from the sea:
Oysters from Rodney‘s. With all the fixins:
Loved the presentation in the cabbage leaf – to “save on plates and not litter”. From The Chef Upstairs.
But then, look what I spied:
OMG, OMG, OMG!!!!! Edie and I made a beeline over to Ruelo Patisserie’s stall:
Ok then, handily next door to the macarons, there were some healthy snacks:
But not these:
Mmm – Sassafraz‘s famous brownies.
Just down the aisle, we were caught off guard by what looked like a small fire…
Nope – just a bit of molecular gastronomy going on by Touchstone on Lake Muskoka.
But sadly no picture… Those little spoons of frozen perfection went straight into our mouths with no time for a picture. I have to laugh though since all three of us said “it’s a really large spoonful” yet had NO ISSUES finishing it! Ha!
Edie and Neil ended with some sushi from the ever-reliable Edo Sushi:
Neil proclaimed that this was “just what he needed” – not sure about that considering all the alcohol mix that was sloshing around our bellies at this point… (though Neil was spitting out and not finishing his tastes, ahem – unlike me and Edie!!).
I realise that this makes us look like total gluttons at this point but actually all the serves were pretty small, bites rather than plates. (they WERE!!!!) And I am glad I took pictures because my memory of the event was that the food was disappointing in comparison to previous years when it’s been more food-centric. I guess the pictures prove otherwise! Stick around for a “drinks” post later this week featuring the unforgettable wines of China. And not in a good way.