Wednesday, November 27, 2013

EVENT | Gourmet Food and Wine Expo - the biggest food and wine event of the year!

What do you get when Toronto’s foodies and wine connoisseurs all meet under one roof? The Gourmet Food and Wine Expo! Held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, it is the largest food and wine event of the year with over 45,000 guests and 1500 different wines to sample.

Not too much of a wine expert, we focused mainly on the gourmet foods that were being offered at the expo. You purchase sample tickets at the event to use for everything that you’re sampling. Most of the foods ranged from 4-6 tickets. Tickets were only sold in increments of 20 so it’s something I think should be changed in the future or only have cash transactions because it really limits what people can purchase.

The first thing that caught our eye was the pulled pork parfait from Hank’s Daddy BBQ. From afar it just looked like a regular sundae and then we saw the sign. We’ve seen weird combinations of food before but pulled pork and ice cream…? Definitely had to try it! Looks can be deceiving as it was definitely not ice cream and mashed potatoes (which make way more sense). It was delicious! There was a good amount of mashed potatoes, pulled pork and gravy in every bite and the pulled pork was very tender and succulent.

Almost everyone loves street meat…it’s cheap, simple and just plain comforting. What happens when you take hot dogs to the next level? You get Fancy Frank’s gourmet hot dogs. We tried Frankie goes to Buffalo with chicken bacon, carrots, celery, blue cheese dressing, buffalo wing sauce with a panko fried wiener. The concept of a fried wiener is definitely interesting but the combination didn’t really have a wow factor. Still love the concept of a gourmet comfort food though, so definitely looking forward to trying some of their other gourmet dogs.

Paella from El Paellawas a huge hit and you could see lots of people walking around in the Convention centre with a plate of paella in their hands. The paella was extremely flavourful and moist without compromising the texture. There was a lot of seafood on every plate that tasted very fresh.  Love that there are great paella places in Toronto because making it is not easy!

Even without any seasoning, Kobe beef cooked properly tastes amazing and full of flavour. We were super intrigued by the Kobe beef sausage from EDO. Its appearance looks like a regular sausage. Taste wise, we were a bit underwhelmed. The flavours didn`t pop and the meat didn`t melt in your mouth quite like a Kobe steak would. I would definitely prefer to eat Kobe beef in steak form.

One of my favourite food samples from the expo was definitely the ECO Taco from Feelgoodguru.  It has taco spiced nut meat, grated carrots and beets, julienned sweet peppers & micro greens, stuffed into a red cabbage leaf, topped with chunky guac, zingy pico de gallo. For someone that always prefers meat to vegetables, I was quite happy with the taco and the fact that it didn’t even have any meat in it. The red cabbage leaf as a substitute to a traditional taco shell was an excellent idea to keep the crunchiness.

Pizza in a cone is such a brilliant invention we’re surprised it didn’t come out sooner! The Zazzu pizza in a cone from The Mad Italian came in cheese, pepperoni or sausage.  It’s like eating pasta, pizza and a sandwich all in one! We got the pepperoni one and loved that it was still hot when we were eating it. I would have preferred a little less tomato sauce but it was still delicious!

One of the exhibitors was Caribbean Cruises, offering guests a chance to make their own version of a mojito to demonstrate some of their new hands on experiences on their cruise ships! It was definitely interesting to make our own mojito and it wasn’t even that difficult!

 Check out the videos below! 

The churros from Xola were tasty, fresh and light. You had the option of adding some chocolate to your churro and let’s be honest…who is going to say no to chocolate on top of a dessert? Churros are a great way to end your meal without feeling too heavy as they are usually generally small portions.

Last but not least, the braised pork sandwich from Hudson Kitchen! The braised pork was very flavourful and tender and it went very well with the bun. The bun complemented the braised pork very well without overwhelming the meat!

More pictures of the event below!

Comfort good - brie, cheddar and parma proscuitto grilled cheese

Delicious maple syrup floss!

Macaron heaven

We found the first night of The Gourmet Food and Wine Expo to be crowded and almost uncomfortable to move around from vendor to vendor. It definitely isn't worth paying double for the ticket price to go on the first day. Although expos are great to be able to sample new food, the hassle of fighting through the crowd and the lines may deter us from visiting in the future.

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