The Gourmet Food and Wine Expo in Toronto is always a fun event. Shawn and I have attended many times over the years and we always end up discovering something new or having the opportunity to chat with wine industry friends from all around the world. We even attended Caesar school one year and learned several unique ways to make this Canadian classic!
This year, the GFWE runs from November 17-20, 2016 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and is a chance to taste and experience a wealth of wines, spirits, beers and ciders. Not to mention all the yummy food options on hand!
Starting today, I have the opportunity to give away 2 pairs of entrance tickets to the event (sample tickets and seminars are not included) and I’m excited to be able to offer this to my readers!
Want to enter? Simply leave a comment below letting me know why you want to attend and/or tweet the following:
“I want to #win a pair of tickets to @GFWE from @kristalamb: goo.gl/EBW0qb”
The rules and regulations:
1. You must be 19 years or older to attend and you will be required to show valid government ID to enter.
2. No children or infants are permitted.
3. Winning tickets are valid for one time admission on any one day. There is no re-entry allowed.
4. You can enter once a day for the duration of the contest either via tweet or comment.
5. Re-tweeting others does not count as a contest entry.
6. The winner will be required to answer a skill-testing question.
7. The contest is open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec.
Contest closes November 10, 2016 at 12 p.m. and the winners will be chosen via random draw
Good luck, guys!
Some of my favourite wine events in Toronto take place in the spring. Below are a few you should check out if you’re in the city this April, they’re a perfect way to shake off the winter blues and discover new and exciting wines to help you transition into the new season.
California Carnivale – April 9, 2016 – Looking for a more relaxed atmosphere than a traditional wine tasting? iYellow Wine Club’s California Carnivale at The Burroughs Building (639 Queen Street West) might be for you. A fun and festive way to sip a range of California wines, this event always sells out because it’s such a good time. Tickets are $69 and can be purchased here.
California Wine Fair – April 11, 2016 – The California Wine Fair is a fantastic opportunity to taste the best California wines available in Ontario. Last year, I tasted some stunning wines I might otherwise have missed if I didn’t attend the show. And an even bigger perk is that if you purchase your tickets via Second Harvest, $40 of the ticket purchase price goes to support the charity’s many programs. The California Wine Fair takes place at The Fairmont Royal York (100 Front Street West). Tickets are $81 (including taxes) and can be purchased here.
County in the City – April 14, 2016 – I never miss County in the City and I’m looking forward to this year, when it returns to the Berkeley Church (315 Queen Street East). This event brings the wine and food of Prince Edward County to Toronto for a fun night of sipping and shopping (you can order your favourites on site). This year’s highlights include more than 70 wines available to taste, a County vs. City Chef Challenge and live music. Tickets are $49 in advance and can be purchased here.
Shawn and I have something of a love-hate relationship with big ‘wine shows’, especially those that involve standing in long lines to get in and then again for each vendor booth. So we were a bit leery before we wandered onto Toronto’s Sugar Beach on a beautiful June evening to try the Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival (TWSF) for the first time. This laidback, fun event turned out to be the exact opposite of what we’d feared – this is one big festival I can’t wait to attend again.
TWSF is one of the best run events I’ve attended and we had a fantastic time. We both agreed that it was a pretty fabulous date night. First off, Sugar Beach is the perfect venue for an event like this – there was plenty of room for the vendors to spread out and attendees could sprawl out in a beach chair or in the sand to watch one of the bands or just chat with friends. All this space meant it didn’t feel too crowded, even on a busy Friday night. Those of you who have had to fight your way through a crush of elbows and spilled beer to get to a vendor’s booth will understand why this is awesome.
There was also a good variety of vendors, meaning you could try interesting new drinks and find something for everyone. Shawn fell hard for Station Cold Brew Coffee with Jameson Irish Whiskey and I have decided that Pisco Gobernador and pineapple juice is a perfect summer cocktail. I also learned that I never, ever want a smoked watermelon cocktail or sake with cucumber juice again (although some people seemed to love them).
The wine selection wasn’t as strong as the spirits, but Creekside Estate Winery had some very good wines on offer and there was a booth featuring the wines of Twenty Valley. We also tried two wines from Silver Bay, which I wasn’t familiar with prior to the event. I’m looking forward to visiting the winery to do a proper tasting. This wasn’t a good environment for wine tasting and Shawn and I decided to just enjoy ourselves rather than write tasting notes. Sipping a glass of wine together while looking out on Lake Ontario is sometimes better when you’re not talking about malolactic fermentation (sometimes).
One of the best parts of the night was the food. No over paying for tiny samples at this event! There was an area set up with food trucks offering everything from gourmet vegetarian to barbecue. Shawn and I were both impressed with The Saucy Pierogi (we may have gone back for seconds…) and I enjoyed checking out the vegetarian food truck while Shawn tried a pulled pork sandwich. I also couldn’t resist of plate of Oyster Boy oysters (my food kryptonite – my willpower crumbles when I see oysters on a menu). All the food we purchased was reasonably priced for the quantity and the lines moved very quickly.
And huge kudos to the organizers for partnering with Beck Taxi. When we were ready to head home we stepped outside the gates and right into a waiting taxi. This venue was easy to get to and there were lots of safe and easy options for getting home at the end of the night.
While our entrance fee was complimentary, we paid for our own food and beverages and all opinions are our own.