Fun Night Out at the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo
The Gourmet Food & Wine Expo just celebrated its 23rd anniversary in Toronto. It is a four day event showcasing over 1500 foods, wines, beers, and spirits from around the world.
There are numerous stages where local chefs and celebrity guests display their skills in cooking demos and bartenders whip up cocktail creations. There is also a centre stage with live entertainment. The centre stage is surrounded by comfy seating so you can relax with your food or drink and enjoy the show.
In order to eat and drink you have buy tickets. Most samples are 1 – 3 tickets, with some foods being a little bit more expensive. $40.00 worth of tickets is the venue’s recommended amount. We found that to be a good amount for us with some left over. Those tickets can disappear pretty quickly. However, ticket booths are scattered around the venue so it is very easy to obtain more. Tickets are sold in sheets of 20 (essentially one ticket is $1.00). At the end of your visit, you can donate any unused tickets to MADD.
When we first arrived we were a little overwhelmed by the amount of booths so we decided to do a tour of the floor to check out everything available before we started our tastings.
I highly recommend the tour before starting your sampling to make sure you get to all the booths you want to. Time goes by pretty fast and the crowds can get pretty large, so start with a game plan.
We were there for four hours and were able to get to all of the booths we wanted to plus a bunch more. We even hit a couple of booths a few times to try all of their drinks.
We were able to sample a wide selection of beers, wines and spirits.
We sampled a lot of tried and true favourites and new wines and beers. The Expo is a great place to find a new favourite drink and expand your horizons. We sampled a lot of things that we would never normally buy.
There is definitely something for everyone at the Expo; we even tried a non-alcoholic IPA which was surprisingly delicious. It is a great option for those who like beer but cannot drink alcohol.
Now part of the title is food and let me tell you, the food did not disappoint. There were tons of food vendors with all sorts of delicious treats. My personal favourite were the giant perogies! I could have spent the entire night eating but I was a little silly and had dinner before we arrived. Next time I will go on an empty stomach so I can try more delicious treats.
Some of the neater things we saw were a drink smoker so you could have a drink that tasted (to me) like a campfire and a drinking fortune teller machine (think Zoltar from Big). One of the booths was serving up cocktails in souvenir mugs.
We also saw the Pico Brew and Wine Saver. The Pico Brew is a revolutionary home brewing system that sits on your counter. It is a very tempting appliance. The Wine Saver is a new way of keeping wine tasty for up to a week after being opened. It is great if you are like me and only really want to have one glass.
I think the best part of the evening was chatting with all of the vendors about their various products. Everyone was so knowledgeable and enthusiastic. It was nice to learn about what we were drinking while we were drinking it. Everyone was so happy to tell us all about their products. They were happy to answer everyone’s questions and suggest samples based on taste preferences.
Now for the serious stuff. You must be 19 years of age to enter; children and infants are not allowed. So parents find a sitter and enjoy yourselves!
Most importantly, please be sure to arrange a safe way home. The Expo is held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre which is walking distance to Union Station, making it very easy to get to from out of town. They also offer hotel packages if you want to make a whole weekend out of it.
Having never been to the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo we really did not know what to expect. I am happy to say that you definitely do not have to be a wine or beer connoisseur to enjoy yourselves.
All in all, the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo is a really fun way to spend an afternoon/evening. I would definitely go back!!