Review – 18th Annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo Toronto 2012: The good, bad and ugly

As someone who takes pride in cooking and joy in eating, when I hear the words “gourmet food and wine” in the same sentence, I get excited. This is why I have made it a tradition to go to the annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

It all began last year and although I didn’t know what to anticipate then, it turned out to be a splendid occasion. Therefore, my expectations were super high this time around. With my media pass hanging around my neck, I marched in to explore all that was offered at the 18th Annual Gourmet Food and Wine Expo Toronto.

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2012 food and wine expo toronto

Here is the Good, the Bad and the Ugly:

Good:

Upon entering, you get a personalized sampling glass to use throughout the night. Can you say “wine”? Over 1,500 different kinds of wine were available for sampling this year. Each taste ranged from $1-$4 tickets and 1-2 ounces per sample. Surprisingly, the Greek wine Sigalas Santorini was very enjoyable (and is sold in the Vintages section at the LCBO). Of course, there were wines from other countries represented as well, such as wines of Chile, Portugal, Italy and France.

Connoisseurs’ of fine foods were in luck, there was Russian sturgeon caviar for sale and samples offered from $5-$10 per try. Kobe beef burgers, fresh lobster rolls, oysters and other meat options were abundant this year.

Bad:

Vegetarians were not as fortunate at the 18th annual expo, with very few quality vendors catering to the herbivores, and most of them running out of food well before closing time. For me, it was the Gruyere cheese that took home the winning ribbon. Blocks of it were being sold at a ridiculous deal for only $10 in tickets. Many thanks to Taste of Nature for giving away free samples of their amazing nature bars. The franchise Spring Rolls did have a mango salad ($3) and a thinly sliced fried potato ($4) on a stick which was decent.

Ugly:

The expo took place in the North building this year and since BUICK was one of the main sponsors the whole fleet of cars was on display throughout the centre. I am not sure if the building itself is smaller than last year’s South building, or if too much space was taken up by all the vehicles, however it felt so uncomfortably crowded this year. Hundreds of people who had way too much to drink were pushing and shoving to get through, it felt like a zoo.

Overall, I would rate this year’s Gourmet Food & Wine Expo a 7/10. However, I want to finish off on a good note and thank Barefoot Wines for creating a bumpin’ atmosphere with party music compliments of the DJ. Hope to see you again next year!


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