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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Event: City Fare 2015; Southwest Ontario arrives in Toronto

The Date and Time:  Saturday, May 30, 2015   2PM to 5PM
The Event: City Fare 2015; Southwest Ontario arrives in Toronto
The Venue: Wychwood Barns
The Target Audience: media and about 500 others (there was a split between the afternoon 2 – 5 and the evening 7 – 10. We opted for the afternoon).
The Availability/Catalogue: products are available mostly in the region. From time time wines and beers travel via the LCBO or private order.
The Quote/Background: The show was jointly organized with iYellow club; hence, there were many young food and wine explorers at the exhibits, photographing, texting, etc. I was there mainly for the alcohol, my wife Ann @infalliblenana was there for the food as a basis for her blogs.
The Beers and Wines:
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Oxley  Chardonnay 2013 VQA, $18.95
-Wooden Bear Golden Russet 2013 Dry, $14.95
-Wooden Bear Claw Draught Hard Apple Cider
-Colio Lily Sparkling
-Burning Kiln Cabernet Frank
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Oxley Riesling 2013 VQA, $18.95
-Railway City Brewing Dead Elephant India Pale Ale
-Railway City Brewing Iron Spike Blonde Ale
-Wooden Bear Claw Draught Hard Perry Cider
-Cooper's Hawk Cab Merlot 2012
-Cooper's Hawk Touche [off-dry white]
-Burning Kiln Cureman's Chardonnay
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Alton Farms Sauvignon Blanc 2013, $14
-Alton Farms Dry Riesling 2013, $18
The Food: it was variable, with sweets intermingled with savouries and wines. This made it hard to move orderly from booth to booth. We started with some sweet food, to cut our appetites, and then moved to savoury foods and then beer and then wines. You need a plan at these things...There were tarts (pecan, salted cashew, rum raisin, chocolate chip) from Killer Desserts in Port Stanley, there was maple syrup (Jakeman's, in a take home sample bottle: THANK YOU), cheeses (Bright Brand asiago and old cheddar; MountainOak Dutch gold cheese and Dutch smoked cheese). Smackwater Jacks had liquid nitrogen ice cream, bacon skewers, and stuffed Belgian endive. Blue Elephant Brew House provided spinach and artichoke dip, hummus, and sweet potato bread pudding. Papa D's Hot Sawce had mac 'n' cheese and meatball tacos flavoured with, well, their hot sauce. The Twisted Lemon in Cayuga gave us a sauced whole wheat ravioli, while their bartender crafted a complicated Geneva gin with burnt meringue cocktail (my wife had that). Bayside Brewing had a range of beers. The Arts and Cookery Bank had five (5) types of marshmallows [my fave was the coconut]. There were some non-alcoholic ciders, including an apple-strawberry-rhubarb cider. JP's Barbeque served up some beef BBQ on a bun, nicely sauced. Sixthirtynine did an amazing trout crudo (I shamelessly took two). One of the dessert highlights was the verde fresco chocolate from Chocolatea...and of course, who could ever forget Robbie's Gourmet Sausages [lamb merguez with chimichurri sauce}. There were also tourism groups and real farms (e.g., Norpac Beef) on display. It was a terrific day for food and drink!!! There are separate brochures available for beer/ale trails (36 breweries) and for wine routes.
The Downside: there was rain off and on. Also, there was no real list of what we were getting, nor press kits. We picked up materials as we went along, but inevitably we felt burdened with samples, pen, paper, glass, plate and more with only two hands.
The Upside: the crowds were spread out nicely, with each booth having about five people or fewer at a time. There was entertainment from a pretty sharp Bluegrass Band.
The Contact Person: or
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 90.

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