Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2016

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2016 wine glasses

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2016 located at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building in Toronto

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending my first Gourmet Food & Wine Expo with Ken!  I had never been there before but had always heard about it in the media so I was extra excited to attend and check out what it was going to be like.

This year in 2016, the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo was held at the Metro Convention Centre in the North Building from November 17 to 20, Friday evening into Sunday.  We were there for the Saturday expo (you buy the tickets online or on-site).  We arrived early just after noon and were one of the first handful to arrive.  I was really glad that we arrived early because we were able to walk around freely and sample lots of food and drinks before the crowds started to come in.  It was especially crowded after 5 p.m. and difficult to walk through the masses of people at that point.

The Expo had so many types of food and drinks, previews of food and drinks not yet available in the public yet or only at trade shows, and also pop-ups from existing restaurants in the city.  Since there were so many exhibitors, it was easy to find something appealing to any palate.

 Gourmet Food & Wine Expo tickets

A sheet of 40 tickets! The recommended number of tickets for two people 🙂

 Food & Wine Expo at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Entrance into the Expo at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre

 Food & Wine Expo at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre

There was a live singer here! This was still early in the day and you can see all the open space

We sampled a LOT of free food and drinks that day.  It was a ton of fun and I couldn’t believe that we spent over 7 hours just walking around eating and drinking.  True foodies. 😀

In total, there were over 100 exhibitors and vendors there probably.  We used our tickets to purchase food and drinks too.  Each ticket was worth $1 and items ranged from 1 ticket to 6 tickets or more.  You definitely had to pick and choose to see what was the best “value” for your money.  Since we were choosy about what we wanted to spend our tickets on, we actually got to dine on a really great selection without spending too much money.  Yay!  (Also, we found that some of the free samples tasted better than the ones where you had to pay. XD)

First off, we tried these sauces and marinades with nachos from Cool Running.  We were hungry and they were generous and allowed us to try as many flavours as we wanted to.  It just so happened that I liked the green-coloured marinates the best.

 sauces and marinades from Cool Running

Sauces and marinades from Cool Running

This cheese and honey on a cracker from Hot Mamas was actually REALLY good!  We had seconds. 😀

Cheese and honey on a cracker from Hot Mamas

Cheese and honey on a cracker from Hot Mamas

This was our first use of two tickets!  The Chef Georges Pate Platter.  We were able to choose three flavours (goose & cranberries, wild boar, and duck & green peppercorns).  Unfortunately, because the cracker they used to put the pate on was so thick, it completely overwhelmed the flavour of the pate and you couldn’t taste it very well at all… hmm. :/

 Pate from Chef Georges

Trying pate from Chef Georges

Persimons from Spain to cleanse the palate!  We had several rounds of this throughout the night.  They were really good and juicy and also were more firm than the usual persimmons I eat. 🙂

Persimons samples from Spain

Persimons samples from Spain! Free samples

Our first cheese of the day!  These were cheese from Spain.  One was the Manchego and the other one was the Murcia Al Vino.  Both of them were pretty good.

Manchego and Murcia Al Vino cheese

Manchego and Murcia Al Vino cheese

Espresso for Ken.  I liked how the little cup had a handle attached to it.  So cute!

 Oro Caffe expresso

Oro Caffe expresso

Cottage Country Dips; three flavours!  They were generous and let us try each dip.  I really liked the Bacon & Kale one.  The Habanero & Lime definitely had a hint of lime in it.  Really yummy. 🙂

Cottage Country Dips

Cottage Country Dips

This was a treat.  We were able to try so many types of salami from Vince’s Euro Deli!  The salami was really, really good too!  Like the guy said, one of the spicier ones would be perfect on pizza. :9

Vince's Euro Deli salami

Salami from Vince’s Euro Deli

This was a surprise favourite of the night!  Matt & Steve’s Tasty Beverage Co. served different types of pickled items like pickled beans, pickled asparagus, olives, and clamato drinks.  It was really delicious and I especially liked the uniqueness of the pickled asparagus called “The Asparagoos”. 😀

Matt & Steve's Tasty Beverage Co. pickled items

Matt & Steve’s Tasty Beverage Co. pickled items

Three types of USA Pears: Starkrimson, Bosc, Comice — free samples!  These were really juicy and sweet pears and I especially liked the Comice one.  These were also really good palette cleansers.

USA Pears: Starkrimson, Bosc, Comice

USA Pears: Starkrimson, Bosc, Comice

After all that food, we finally enjoyed our first glass of wine for the day. 😀  We had some red wine from Robert Mondavi.  It was actually really good solid red wine.  But you had to drink it quickly because after a few minutes, it didn’t taste as good with the air exposed to it.

Red wine from Robert Mondavi

Red wine from Robert Mondavi

I didn’t take a photo of the piece of ChocoMe Original Artisan Chocolate but I had one with raspberry in it and another one that was a bit nutty.  It was really good chocolate!

 ChocoMe Original Artisan Chocolate

ChocoMe Original Artisan Chocolate

We tried all four types of pork and beef jerky from Krave (Sweet Chipotle Beef Jerky, Chili Lime Beef Jerky, Grilled Sweet Teriyaki Pork Jerky, Black Cherry Barbecue Pork Jerky).  I wasn’t a fan of it.  The Black Cherry Barbecue Pork Jerky was especially hard and rough to chew through.  Maybe it was just that piece I got, but it wasn’t good.  The other ones carried a bit of the flavour labelled on the packaging, but overall I didn’t think it was very good jerky — too dry.

Krave Jerky: Sweet Chipotle Beef Jerky, Chili Lime Beef Jerky, Grilled Sweet Teriyaki Pork Jerky, Black Cherry Barbecue Pork Jerky

Krave Jerky: Sweet Chipotle Beef Jerky, Chili Lime Beef Jerky, Grilled Sweet Teriyaki Pork Jerky, Black Cherry Barbecue Pork Jerky

We tried two really good beers from Double Trouble Brewing Co.!  I liked the packaging too and they gave away free coasters. 😀  The French Press Vanilla Stout was a dark beer that I really liked.  Ken thought it tasted like coffee. 😛  Ken got the Grow A Pear Cider (not pictured) and I liked how refreshing and sweet it was.

Beers from Double Trouble Brewing Co.

Beers from Double Trouble Brewing Co.

After watching the cooking demo, we continued sampling. 😀  This Chopped Mushrooms and Ground Meat in a tortilla chip from The Blend was pretty good.

 Chopped Mushrooms & Ground Meat from The Blend

Chopped Mushrooms & Ground Meat from The Blend

We tried two more jerky from Lorissa’s Kitchen and I actually really liked this one!  The Korean Barbecue jerky was quite good and much more tender.  However, I had had enough jerky that day and didn’t try the other two flavours despite it being free samples. 😀  (Also, their jerky is all organic and healthy with no MSG too.)

Healthy jerky from Lorissa's Kitchen

Healthy jerky from Lorissa’s Kitchen

Assorted cheese for 2 tickets for a plate. 😀

Assorted cheese

Assorted cheese

Of course we needed a glass of wine to go with the plate of cheese.

 White wine and Riesling from Trail Estate

White wine and Riesling from Trail Estate

Bubble waffles and ice cream from Golden Waffles!  It was Ken’s first time trying this combination.

Bubble waffles and ice cream from Golden Waffles

Bubble waffles and ice cream from Golden Waffles

Matcha PoppySeed bubble waffle with Baileys Irish Cream ice cream

Matcha PoppySeed bubble waffle with Baileys Irish Cream ice cream

We got the Matcha PoppySeed bubble waffle paired with Baileys Irish Cream ice cream.  They gave me the choice to put chocolate sauce or strawberry sauce as well as whatever toppings I wanted like chocolate, sprinkles, or chocolate sticks.  I stuck with chocolate sauce and a chocolate stick.

Unfortunately, the bubble waffle barely had any matcha flavour in it; it was only slightly green inside.  (I also didn’t remember tasting any poppy seeds either…)  However, the Baileys Irish Cream ice cream was really good!  Overall though, if they want to keep succeeding, then they need to improve the batter and recipe of their bubble waffle.  The two layers of bubble waffle also fell apart as we tore it out to eat..

After watching the Canadian Cheese Counter show, we continued sampling (again!) :D.  We tried the herbal cordials from County Yum Club and I really liked the lavender one.  It was really refreshing and resembled a soda.

County Yum Club Herbal Cordials

County Yum Club Herbal Cordials

We tried thin crust pizzas from the Ristorante brand!  It was fresh out of the oven and really hot.

Ristorante thin crust pizzas

Thin crust pizzas from the Ristorante

This German apple liquor immediately caught my eye when I saw it so I had to try it.  It smelled AMAZING, like fresh apples!  You can ask Ken how many times I smelled this to admire its fragrance lol.  It tasted very strong though so I liked how it smelled more than its taste.  Ken had the Sangria and it was really good!

 Apple liquor and Sangria

Apple liquor and Sangria

My foodie friend who went to the preview of the expo told me about the caviar tasting so I definitely wanted to try it.  We tried the Wild Caviar and I really liked it!  They gave us a small palate cleanser too to start.  Ken thought it was too salty though.  He liked the pate on a cracker that they gave us afterwards. 😛

Wild Caviar from Acadia Sturgeon & Caviar

Wild Caviar from Acadia Sturgeon & Caviar

We were at the right place at the right time and got to try three soups from Campbell’s!  I really liked the Tomato Basil Bisque, followed by the Thai Tomato Coconut, and then the Golden Butternut Squash soups.  Yum.

Campbell's soup samples

Tomato Basil Bisque, Thai Tomato Coconut, Golden Butternut Squash soup from Campbell’s

At this point, we were winding down for the night and left with three tickets!  We spent them on whatever we found fit the bill.  This Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada was decent.

Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada

Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada

We returned to the vendor that had this really delicious chocolate cookie (didn’t take a photo of it) and tried their Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar.  It was SO good!  We definitely saved the best for last.  The cheese was crumbly and so full of flavour.  I should have savoured mine instead of eating it all in one bite. 😄

Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar from Lenberg Farms

Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar from Lenberg Farms

Lastly, we also tried pate from the Three Little Pigs and loved it!  This was much better than the earlier one we tried lol.  They knew to use a thin cracker so that the pate flavour was focused.  This was really good pate.

Pate from Three Little Pigs

Pate from Three Little Pigs

In addition to eating and drinking items from the vendors, we also participated in two demo shows that day.  The Chef & The Dish show was at 2 p.m. and we stopped in just in time to sample the curry chicken dish from the previous show too.  The chicken was very smooth and tasted good.

 Buko Curry Chicken from the cooking demo show

Buko Curry Chicken from the cooking demo show

The Chef & The Dish

The Chef & The Dish

The Chef & The Dish show was featured around the idea that you could cook in your own home and have a real live chef from anywhere in the world get Skyped in and teach you how to cook!  There were two guest cooks that day who learned how to cook a pesto pasta recipe from a chef in Northern Italy.  This was all done live and it was pretty interesting to watch them replicate the chef’s dish and follow instructions via live Skype.  At the end, they also announced a winner who would be able to receive a free Chef & The Dish class from the chef.  It just so happened that I had a “golden ticket” in the free mason jar that they were handing out as tickets so I won!  Let’s see when I can redeem this class to cook up a storm at home. 😄

The Chef & The Dish cooking show

The Chef & The Dish cooking show. I got something special in my mason jar!

 Pesto sauce on pasta

Pesto sauce on dough-like pasta, made live in front of us!

Canadian Cheese Counter show

Canadian Cheese Counter show

The second show was the Canadian Cheese Counter that we stopped in on.  There were a lot of tables and chairs set up with trivia questions and info on it about Canadian cheese.  We got the chance to sample about five or six cheeses while the host explained each cheese in detail.  In the end, this was fun to sit and listen in on cheese and nibble on cheese, but I think it was a little underwhelming considering the fun we had had at the other show and all the other delicious cheese we had been sampling throughout the night.

Other cheese that we sampled that night: Boursin Cranberry & Pepper cheese.  Ken loved this one.

Boursin Cranberry & Pepper cheese

Boursin Cranberry & Pepper cheese

We partook in a mini cheese tour where we got to try four cheeses with one ticket.  I don’t have the names of all of these cheeses except for whatever photos I took but these four cheeses were one of my favourite of the night.  The cheeses were just so rich and decadent.  No wonder they were at a higher price point!  The first cheese was so smooth and rich (it was triple cream cheese).  The last one, a blue cheese, was also really delicious too!

 Triple cream cheese

Triple cream cheese

 cheese sampling

The second and third cheese and you can also see a little bit of the final blue cheese on the left

There was a touch-screen game that you could play to see what kind of cheese you are.  Apparently, I am The Entertainer cheese, a Canadian Blue. 😄

 Cheese game

Cheese game

 Angry Orchard backdrop

Angry Orchard backdrop for signing and selfies 😛

We left with the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo wine glasses — they look so nice!  — a bunch of food info around 7 p.m. just as the crowds were getting really difficult to navigate through.  What a great event!  If you haven’t been to the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo before, I highly recommend it.  Make sure you go with a fellow foodie because it’s extra fun that way. 🙂

 

 Food & Wine Expo 2016

The other things we saw but didn’t necessarily eat that day like sushi, samosas, macarons, and more

Advertisements

About stenoodie

I'm a stenographer, foodie, avid traveller, and a really silly person if you get to know me well enough. =)
This entry was posted in Food, New Experiences and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2016

  1. Nice coverage, Karen! You really covered so much of the expo! Wish I had more time for the samplings! So smart to go early since they will usually be more generous with the samples before the mass of people arrive 🙂

    • stenoodie says:

      Thanks Raymond for reading!! 🙂 Haha, we did spend like 7 hours there so we ate a lot and drank a lot. There were so many vendors too and still some we didn’t get to return to like the macarons at Ruelo and one that was serving drinks in a mason jar. I’m looking forward to future food & wine expos. This was a lot of fun! 🙂

  2. gchan7127 says:

    I wanna see a selfie of you and Ken! *wink wink nudge nudge*

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s