The Availability/Catalogue: Alcohol sponsors included Lifford Wine Agency and Muskoka Breweries (we could only have one beer, so I took a Pale Ale, slightly sweet and thick).
The Quote/Background: Swallow is a food and culture online magazine which began publishing in January 2012. With the kinks ironed out, it was time for a media launch to create a buzz. The mag claims to have "all the news that's fit to eat", and it does so through diverse categories such as celebrity interviews, food trends, funny videos, recipes, resto reviews, cookbook reviews, and general food and wine humour. As Ivy Knight, the Editor and a co-founder, says, "We are real chefs, real writers and real wine aficionados who don't take ourselves too seriously." Ivy has a regular gig at the Drake every Monday night, with an 86'd party for food and wine media-types. Ivy (a pro chef for a decade and currently also a food writer in Toronto) works with co-founder Kristina Groeger, also a pro chef in Toronto and soon-to-be Pastry Chef at a new Ossington resto. Their forte is going to be professional aspects of food and humour, such as the funny videos and singles pages for busy chefs. I do hope that there won't be too many insider jokes, but mostly the mag will be irreverent. There also will be industry tips and secrets. Posts will appear three to five times a week there's an RSS feed and a subscription for email notices.
The Wines: I was able to sample eight wines poured by Nicole.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Jadot Bourgogne 2010 Blanc
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Mitolo Jester Shiraz2009Australia
-Xumek Malbec Syrah Reserva 2009 Argentina
-Anselmi San Vincenzio Soave 2010
-Malivoire Guilty Men White 2009 VQA
-Malivoire Guilty Men Red 2009 VQA
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Xumek Malbec 2009 Argentina
-Longue-Dog Rouge 2010 Languedoc
The Food: There was an enormous platter of off-sweet Sanagan's Meat Locker sausage which disappeared in a hurry. Next door was an enormous Canadian cheeseboard, with Thunder Oak Gouda Cumin cheese and Cayuga Blue Haze (smoked blue, and yummy) both from Ontario, Riopelle from Quebec, and diverse chevre from SaltSpringIsland in BC. Plus assorted garnishes and chutneys and relishes, breads, and more. Enough for a small army.
The Downside: there's always confusion at a media launch, particularly if you do not know the layout of the venue. I ended up getting a beer, when what I really wanted was a wine. The beer was for later.
The Upside: Chatting with some really interesting people, such as the Swallow co-founders Ivy and Kristina, Susan and Renee of the Siren Group, and other wine and food writers.