It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I’m not fooling anyone, for me this is the highlight of the year when it comes to events in Ottawa: The Food and Wine show. After 25 years, 2011 offers a new approach and foodies everywhere are loving it. Instead of the usual 3 day forecast, this year has extended to a 5 day parade of gustatory satisfaction (and fun!). It has also expanded to a capacity of 4,000 and is now held downtown in the new convention centre. This year it’s bigger, it’s better and, quite frankly, a tad overwhelming.
So, here are a few tips to make the most of your Food and Wine experience. Take it from a seasoned vet…
1.If you’re going for the food, well. . . eat before you go. The food is delicious, but not meant to serve as a main course for an evening paired with 75+ wines.
2.Start with the whites. I’m always a little bit more excited about red than white, but if you want to savour the wines you’re tasting it’s better to start off with your favourite whites and then move to the big red mammas.
3. Wear comfy shoes. Gals, I love my heels but this event definitely requires some sturdy footwear. Not suggesting that sorrels are the best option, but wear something that will allow you to mill about happily.This isn’t the sort of place to, say, kick your shoes off.
4. On that note, and still in the woman’s wardrobe, wear a handbag with a strap. Forget about clutches. This event is hands on, in the most literal sense. One hand for sipping, one hand for munching. No hands for holding a “hand” bag.
5. Don’t wear a heavily scented perfume. For those who truly appreciate wine, perfume can be highly offensive at an event as such. Don’t go spritz happy before you leave home.
6. Look out for the winners. If you’re going for the wine, your expectations will be blown away especially considering this year’s list of medal winning wines. A panel of 16 judges tasted all of the wines, blind. After tasting without knowing what brand, label, house or varietal, the judges debated over which wines were best in show. Here are 5 wines that are definitely worth a sip:
1. Mike Weir Reisling
2. Rodney Strong Russian River Pinot Noir
3.Flat Rock Cellars Chardonnay
4. Marques de riscal Rioja
5. Kim Crawford Pinot Gris
Inanutshell, Ottawa’s Wine and Food show is definitely worth your while if you can, at the very least, adhere to #6 of the survival guide. Happy sipping nuts!