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Nov 5, 2005 01:38 PM

Food and Wine Show: Is it worthwhile?

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Have any Chowhounders been to this show? It's running Nov. 17-20 downtown at the convention centre, and I'm wondering whether I should check it out.

It looks like tickets are $15 per person, and 'sampling tickets' are 50 cents.

For anyone who has been to this: how do the sampling tickets work? Would you return?

Thanks in advance.


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  1. I went there last year, and it was alright... I was there mostly to sample wines, although the food itself wasn't particularly fascinating (with exceptions).

    1. It was nice to see all the different wines, but I found the event is quite expensive for what you get.
      I can't remember receiving anything free with the admission price, apart from the tasting glass you receive when you walk through the door. Considering how many people attend, it seems like the organizers bring in a lot of money.

      Most glasses of wine cost somewhere between 5 and 10 sampling tickets. This is for usually for a 2 oz sample, however, some wine reps were considerably more generous. It is amazing to see the variety of wines, and it's a good chance to try new wines without buying a whole bottle, but the tasting adds up.
      Most of the "gourmet" food is disappointing. Most of the plates cost at least 8 tickets, and some of the restaurants are stingy.The serving size is about 1/2 the size of an appetizer or small plate, usually served on a bread plate sized paper plate. I hadn't had time to eat before I went,and I tend to be more of a foodie than a winelover,and I was disappointed by the quality of the food. I don't understand why restaurants don't see this event as a chance to promote themselves by being fair,or even generous, to the potential client, rather than trying to make a quick buck.
      The best food I found at the show was the cheese plate from the Cheese Boutique...nice selection of 4 or 5 unusual cheeses with a fig. This is the one establishment at the Show that really left a good impression on me.
      The risotto with smoked chicken (if I remember correctly)Reds served was pretty good. Also, Sintra had nice Portuguese cod cakes and shrimp empanadas. Some brie or camembert fritters with Cumberland sauce were tasty, but I can't remember which restaurant served them. And the chocolate fondue at one stand was a big hit with my friends.
      The worst food I had was the small plate of mushy paella from Babaluu including approximately 1/3 cup of rice,1 ring of calamari and an overcooked shrimp.

      1. No. It was great 10-12 years ago when it was marketing tool and they didn't expect to make money. Like all such shows and exhibitions over the last decade, it has turned primarily into a money making proposition and has mostly junk.

        1. d

          A resounding NO.

          I've attended for the past 2 years, and have always found it difficult to justify paying $15 to taste mediocre overpriced food.

          Mind you, the wine selection is amazing, but I'm already satisfied with the wine tower at the Summerhill LCBO.

          Can somebody from the organizing committee/company tell us what the heck we're paying $15 for?? I don't mind paying money if I get some perceived value back, unfortunately a few cooking demos here and there doesn't do it for me.

          I would strongly recommend against anyone from attending the event.

          2 Replies
          1. re: doctorandchef

            this all sounds incredibly depressing since i do have tickets to go..... oh well! hopefully it'll be better....

            1. re: pinstripeprincess

              Sorry princessstripe,

              You will still have a good time as the crowds are big and there's lots of opportunities to taste new wines. Some of the cooking demos are good.

              Have fun, bring lotsa money!

          2. Thanks for all the replies. I think I'll pass on this one, and spend my Saturday on my bike before the snow hits.

            If anyone does go, and makes some discoveries, do tell.