Toronto's Gourmet Food and Wine Expo 2011

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The most exciting thing for me about the annual Food and Wine Expo is the FOOD. The problem is, I recently started a no-dairy diet. That’s right. I have cut out all of things that go best with wine. No cheese. No chocolate. I had a fewCharlie Brown moments, but I was determined to go anyway and try not to cheat (maybe just one bite of cheese wouldn’t be so bad!)

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Fortunately, there was so much to eat that I didn’t have to break my diet. With kobe beef burgers, sushi, pulled pork and mashed potato parfaits, and oysters, the choices were endless. With my belly full of delicious food, I was ready to taste all the different wines.

There were wineries from all over the world, but one of the busiest exhibits wasWine Country Ontario. They exclusively featured wines made from 100% Ontario-grown grapes. I was happy to taste some of my favourite Greenbelt wineries such as 20 BeesHenry of PelhamStoney RidgeCoyote’s Run and Lailey Vineyard.

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That’s what I love about the Food and Wine Expo. You get the chance to taste and try it all without needing a shopping cart to bring it all home (and waking up with a brutal hangover after such a ridiculous idea.) Ontario has a lot to choose from, given that we have 80% of all the vineyards in Canada. The Greenbelt itself is home to 90% of them, and many are winning awards and devout followers.

Beyond deliciousness, a litre of wine produced with Ontario Greenbelt grapes contributes almost $4 to the provincial economy. A litre of imported wine, on the other hand, only gives us 46 cents. This is why I believe supporting local whenever and wherever possible. You get tasty, quality wine and support your local economy all at the same time.

 

If you are not much of a wine drinker, there were also many Ontario breweries to check out – Mill Street OrganicAmsterdam BeerBeau’s All Natural,Creemore Springs, among others. I find it hard to pick my favourite. What is yours?

With almost 200 exhibitors, celebrity guests on the Food Network stage, and tutored tasting sessions, there was no shortage of things to see, taste and do, despite my dietary restrictions. I can’t wait until next year.

 

-- Amy Chan, Project Coordinator

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