Saturday, 14 January 2012

Twenty Valley Winter WineFest - Sweet, Sparkling, Sensational

Well, we endured the freezing cold weather and spent the day in Jordan, Ontario at the Twenty Valley Winter WineFest. This festival is on for the next two days, January 14 and 15, 2012.  This festival runs on the token system. This means that each token costs $3.00 and then you spend however many token to purchase wine, food or wine tours. It was possible to purchase token packages as well...$20 would get you the "Sweet Package" which entitled you 1 glass and 6 tokens. $40 got you the "Sparkling Package", 2 glasses and 12 tokens. $80 got you the "Sensational Package", 2 glasses and 25 tokens.

We arrived just before 1 pm and got down to business. We purchased the "Sensational Package". We noticed that Main Street, Jordan was cordoned off and there was a bandstand in the middle where different bands played or events took place throughout the day. They had and have scheduled events in place for both today and tomorrow. As well, there was three tents set up with different wineries and food vendors selling their products for a few tokens. The tents were called Sweet, Sparkling and Sensational. We visited the Sweet tent where we partook of some Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery wines...2008 Riesling Icewine for Edgar and a beautiful Cuvee Catharine Sparkling wine for me. In the Sparkling tent we both had a Tawse Winery, 2008 Chardonnay Icewine. Excellent icewine. We also enjoyed Bravo Pizzeria & Grill's "Roasted Apple and Niagara Icewine risotto with Chianti-braised short ribs and candied garlic".

But the highlight of this event as far as food was concerned, was the food trucks that had come out to the event. We started off at the Toasted Tangerine and ordered the "Toasted Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli" served with a sage and butternut squash dip.  This was so good. We also ordered the "Thirty Bench Riesling French Toast". A sweet egg bread, icewine infused custard and blueberry maple syrup. This was unbelievably good. It made me happy!

El Gastronomo Vagabundo was also serving up some very delicious choices and turned out to have one of my favourites of the day - "Rummy Tummy Tacos" - described as chili caramel pork belly, chili tamarind sauce and rum infused pineapple. Unbelievable. So so good. We also got their "Beef Cheek Fritters" and "Bajan Invasion Tacos". Edgar really liked the beef cheek fritters, I thought they were okay. The Bajan invasion tacos were spicy but quite delicious.

Rummy Tummy Tacos
Bajan Invasion Tacos
Beef Cheek Fritters

We also got a couple of cupcakes from Cupcake Diner. I got the Strawberries and Cream and the Salted Caramel Cupcake. They cost a token a piece but they certainly looked and tasted delicious.

We tried to keep warm by visiting the Black Box Challenge hosted by Michael Olsen and we noticed that one of our favourite Food Network stars, Ana Olsen was there supporting her hubby.  Our other attempt at keeping warm took us inside Cave Spring Cellars  were we tasted some delicious samples of Upper Canada Cheese Company with the help of Lisa (who gave us a coupon for a free cheese spreader and 25% off to use today and tomorrow). The wine-infused Niagara Comfort was unbelievable and caused me to take the drive to their store to pick some up before we left.  The Niagara Gold was amazing as always. I also managed to pick up a couple bottles of Biff's Juicy Red - an Oliver and Bonacini blend made by Cave Spring Cellars.

Lisa serving up incredible cheese.
Wine-infused Niagara Comfort
Niagara Gold

Gorilla Cheese wasn't serving their amazing gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches until 5 pm. We waited around, got some more tokens and managed to pick up 3 of their delicious sandwiches, which we enjoyed in the car before the drive home. 

We got a "Lumberjack", an "OG" and a "Cheeky Monkey" (which we had never had before). The "Lumberjack" is aged cheddar cheese, bacon, apple and maple on white.

The "OG" is the Original Gorilla or aged cheddar on white. It's described as "better than your momma's grilled cheese" and it is!!!

The "Cheeky Monkey" is grilled raisin bread, nutella, banana and peanut butter. OMG is all I need to say.

Gorilla Cheese on Urbanspoon
In her opinion:
The Twenty Valley Winter WineFest was a great opportunity to sample new wines and different foods. The weather was awful today - temperature wise. We can't blame the event for the weather but it does hinder our ability to enjoy the WineFest. Hopefully tomorrow will be warmer for the people attending this event.

In his opinion:

The Twenty Valley Winter WineFest 2012 was well organized with a nice mix of wine/food tents, food trucks, kitchen stadium cook-offs, ice sculptures and a nice touch of "party buses" transporting you from the off-site parking lot.

The weather couldn't have been worse (cold) but thank God for Ice Wine.....and those outdoor fire pits that kept everyone warm, but smelling like smoke!

The good: Good participation in numbers from wineries, food trucks, entertainment and local celebrities. They kept everyone engaged.
The bad:  $80 for 25 tokens when every glass of wine or piece of food was 3 tokens each was a bit steep,(3 tokens =$9). Maybe if some of the money was going to a good cause......HAHA!
The verdict: Overall a great event, despite the cold. There were many ways to keep warm or you could drink until you could not feel much (warm or cold).
Kudos to the organizers and I hope that it's even bigger and warmer next year. Cheers.

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