September 21, 2013
The Taste of Ontario Artisan Alley was a new event for the 2013 Savour Stratford Culinary Festival. It gave festival goers an opportunity to try out 10 VQA wines, 10 craft beers and 10 varieties of cheese with five cask beers.
In her opinion:
I will start by saying that I didn't try all of the craft beers, wines or cheeses or else I wouldn't have been able to do my job and cover this event for the blog, but I did try a few.
This event was great since it was fairly inexpensive...$1 per ticket and each item was priced by the vendor with most being about 1 or 2 tickets per item. For a few dollars, visitors could stroll through the different tents trying and enjoying a lot of wine, cheese and beer.
My favourites from my tastings were Riesling from Chateau des Charmes, the pear cider from Spirit Tree and the Highland Blue cheese (Back Forty Artisan Cheese) from the Milky Whey Cheese Shop.
This was a great addition to Savour Stratford! It reinforced my belief that Ontario produces some of the best wines, craft beers and cheese out on the market. I look forward to returning next year and sampling more offerings from the different Ontario winemakers, brewers and artisan cheese makers!
In his opinion:
The Artisan Alley is a great addition to the Savour Stratford event. It allowed the public to sample so many things under one roof (not literally), and is a great way for craft beer, artisanal cheeses and regional wines to be on display and consumed or tried.
The location was perfect, directly behind City Hall in a triangle of closed streets to the public that allowed pedestrians to roam the many stalls and food vendors that lined the surrounding streets. The entry to the "Alley" was well appointed with security checks and bracelets for the ones consuming alcohol. In the name of science and only so I could relay the details to our readers. I was put through the arduous task of sampling as many of these offered delicacies as possible.
The exhibitors were plentiful and with the tickets at $1 each, they were also pretty busy with customers. There were a total of 31 stalls, 1 having some specialty beers crafted especially for the event and the other 30 split evenly between VQA Wines, Craft Breweries and Cheese Artisans.
Some of the highlights for me were: Mill Street just because they are my Beer of Choice for the Summer...and also maybe Winter, especially the Organic, the Mountain Oak Cheese samples, and the Pear Cider from the Spirit Tree.
This was surely one of the big highlights of Savour Stratford and not even the wet weather could keep people away from it. Kudos to the event organizers that are always upping the profile and standards of this event and the Artisans Alley is a product of that.