Written by Michelle Johannesson

Last weekend, we had the pleasure of attending the 22nd annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo at the Metro Toronto Convention centre. We sipped and sampled our way through exhibits presented by fantastic local and international wineries, gourmet cheese makers, and top food producers. In this blog, we recap our favourites and the highlights of the event. Get comfy, grab a snack (trust us, this will make you hungry), and dig in!

Wines

White

Rosewood Winery
Sampled: 2015 Sussreserve Riesling

This award winning Niagara winery definitely stands up to its reputation. Predicated on values of environmental and socially conscious growing, this Beamsville winery dedicates itself to producing excellent quality wines at high value to the consumer.

We sampled Rosewood’s riesling, which the winery is best known for, and were pleasantly met with the tasteful sweetness of green apple and mandarin accompanied by bold aromas of lemon juice, beeswax, and stone fruit.

Red

Robert Mondavi
Sampled: 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

First established in 1966 by namesake Robert Mondavi, this label is not new to the fermented grape industry. Known for its renowned Californian Cabernet Sauvignons, we opted to try Mondavi’s 2014 Nappa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Our palates were met with rich and dark flavours of black cherry, plum, and blackberry accompanied by warm notes of spice, herb, and sweet tobacco.

To accompany their delicious wine tastings, the Robert Mondavi vendor booth invited visitors to sit back and relax in a staged living room complete with a fireplace, plush love seats and side tables.

Craft Beer

Charlie Wells

Sampled: Dry Hopped Lager

We took a break from our wine tastings to try some amazing craft beers. One of our favourites was the Charlie Wells Dry Hopped Lager.

Released just this month, the Dry Hopped Lager is everything we could have asked for in a refreshing craft beer. The lager combines several types of hops with a slight maltiness, which equips the beer with a dry hop aroma and a smooth finish. This brew is definitely one of our new favourites.

Spirits

Grain Farmers of Ontario

We stopped by to see Grain Farmers of Ontario, where we sampled one of the greatest fruits to come from Canadian grain crops, Collingwood Whiskey!

In addition to the delicious whiskey tastings, the Grain Farmers of Ontario exhibit was very informative. We were so impressed by the booth’s displays including a mini crop exhibit and a commercial product display that demonstrated all of the products that rely on Ontario grains, including cleaning supplies, shampoo, and Band-Aids!

Food

Ontario Dairy Farmers

Ontario Dairy Farmers, a main sponsor of the event, pulled out all the stops in the cheese department. While many cheese vendors charged 3-5 tickets for a cheese sampling, Ontario Dairy Farmers generously offered guests a free 5 sample tasting seminar with an international cheese expert. We had the pleasure of sampling rich and flavourful Havarti accompanied with sweet honey, creamy Brie with baguette and compote, and many other delicious pairings lead by a knowledgable industry professional.

We enjoyed learning about how various cheeses were made and where they came from, in addition to learning about the reasoning behind certain cheese pairings. Needless to say, we are inspired to create some sensational cheese hors d’oeuvres this holiday season!

USA Pears

Few things go better with a crisp white wine than delicious slices of pear. Did you know that there are 10 different varieties of USA Pears? Each is carefully grown to develop its own unique flavour, colour, texture, and character. The best part about USA Pears? They’re available almost year-round, meaning it’s always a good time to accompany a bottle of vino with these delicious fruits.

USA Pears offered samples of 7 different varieties including bartlett, bosc, and comice, adding a sweet and refreshing flavour to our expo experience. The representatives of USA Pears also provided us with valuable knowledge about proper “pear care”. When it comes to storing your pears, avoid putting them directly in the fridge! To preserve the flavour and texture of your pears, first allow ripening to happen outside of the fridge. Once ripe, either eat or store in the fridge to slow further ripening.

Mushrooms Canada

Canada is home to many delicious types of mushrooms that provide a variety of rich and diverse flavours. Mushrooms Canada spiced things up by offering free (bonus!) samples of a Mexican-inspired warm mushroom dip with corn chips.

This snack was seriously tasty and it was hard to believe there was no meat in the recipe! If you’re trying to reduce your meat intake, you can swap ground beef for chopped and seasoned mushrooms in chili and taco filling recipes!

Other food samples we loved:

  • Whole Foods- Holiday Sunday (mashed potatoes, stuffing, roasted turkey, mushroom gravey, cranberry sauce)
  • Turkey Ontario- Parmesan Turkey Meatballs
  • Lorissa’s Kitchen- Teriyaki Chicken Jerky
  • Cannoli Queens- Chocolate Cannoli
  • Mad Mexican- Shredded Chicken Tacos
  • EDO- Sushi Burrito

If you didn’t make it out to Toronto’s Gourmet Food & Wine Expo this year, be sure to plan a visit next year…and wear stretchy pants!