looking for fall wine/food event this fall in Toronto, any suggestions?
Planning a trip to Toronto this fall, would love to create the trip around a wine/food event. Wine/food dinner. Having been in the wine industry in the US for many years, I am not looking for a "boozefest" like the wine & food expo.
I wouldn't mind paying top dollar either for great food and wine and good conversation. Especially learing about local food movements and wine growing in the area.
I am up for a smaller event, or even a quiet sit down event where we are served. Suggestions would be terrific!
It`s maybe a little early for what you are after and it`s way outside of town however I quite like this one:
A decade or so ago it was really amazing but it`s scaled back a little since then, I still like it myself
Keep a watch on Slow Food Toronto, the big event in the fall here for the last 5 years has been the Slow Food Picnic at the Brickworks but sadly it`s no more (Slow Food and Evergreen only had a 5 year contract and it was not renewed) they are going to do an event this fall called the Slow Food Barn Dance but I really doubt it will be anything like the picnic has been.
It may have been popular but my guess is, and this is pure speculation, that it did not raise enough money for Slow Food and Evergreen to justify the massive effort that went into the thing.
But that's probably a gross oversimplification, I gather that there were a mounting number of issues on both sides that led to a mutual agreement to let it go. I get the impression that both organizations' had secondary objectives for the event that weren't being met and in both cases both organizations have changed significantly over the last 6 years. Inside Slow Food the party line is that they got too many complaints about the event being not family friendly as children were not supposed to be permitted under the liquor license and "youth engagement" is one of their new themes.
As I said the current plan is for Slow Food to run their own event instead structured as a Barn Dance whatever that means.
I wouldn't be shocked to see Evergreen decide to do something broadly similar on their own although I haven't heard any rumblings about this and if it were so one would think the cat would be out of the bag by now.
Eat to the Beat on October 16 is a great event -- 60 female chefs and lots of wineries putting their best foot forward.
Tickets are $150 and it's at Roy Thomson Hall, which is our symphony hall -- beautiful space. Dress up a bit and enjoy grazing and sipping. Next to the picnic at the Brickworks, which alas is no more, it's my favourite food event.
If you are looking for something more intimate, I would suggest talking to one of the many restaurants in Toronto that really push local sourcing and set up a chef's tasting and wine pairing dinner.
Jamie Kennedy was one of our pioneers in this area, but many other chefs have taken up the call since. In no particular order, style or pricepoint:
There are many more, and perhaps if you are interested in this route, you can specify the type of food/atmosphere you want and others can chime in with recs.
Toronto is also just an hour and a half from the rich Niagara wine and produce growing region. There are several wonderful restaurants in the area that are very much of the farm-to-table mentality. Since you're from the industry, you might enjoy a day trip out there to meet some of the local producers and dine at a couple of the great restaurants. I'd recommend Ravine Winery's restaurant and Stone Road Grille. Peller Estates and Hillebrand Wineries also have lovely restaurants. Treadwell's gets great reviews, though I haven't eaten there yet.
Just a heads up that grape harvest is in the Fall - so most local wineries (at least the boutique as opposed to industrial) will be too busy to participate at that time. Because picking depends on weather, few events will be scheduled for a couple of months, because of the danger of losing potential participants
They tend to occur in spring/summer.
There are a bunch of harvest events around our Thanksgiving - and there's our version of Octoberfest!
Thanks all for the suggestions one and all!. Will look into them all. Sad to hear that the Picnic is no longer. We are very familiar with the vineyards in NOTL, and agree it's a great place to eat/drink good wine, but our trip takes us to City Centre so staying in it's limits is a must. We are most interested in local food movements but are also into great asian fusion foods (esp. Japanese). Perhaps someone can chime in as to where to get the best Uni in town?
The LCBO has an email list you might consider getting on - they do events at nice restaurants with wine producers - usually pretty good value, and a chance to try wines you might not normally get to - restaurants often include George, Splendido, and a few others... Last one was at Lai Wah Heen with Lynch Bages, which I was away for, but I did a great Catena dinner at Centro, and a Gaja tasting there as well...