The Date and Time: Wednesday, October 24, 2018 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM
The Event: Devour! (Eighth edition) Opening Gala Reception (presented by Taste of Nova Scotia)
The Venue: Acadia University, Fountain Commons, Wolfville Nova Scotia.
The Target Audience: well-wishers and foodies.
The Availability/Catalogue: In style, the gala was much like similar benefits in Toronto – a walkaround with beverage stations (wine, beer, cider and spirits) and food stations. It was the usual grazing pattern, except in our case, it is in Nova Scotia. So most of the beverages and all of the food were mostly available only locally.
The Quote/Background: This Opening Gala used to be part of a package with the Opening Gala Film, but recently the two got split (you could do one or both), which suited our personal timetable better. Twelve of Nova Scotia's finest chefs came together to create sensory explorations that celebrated local cuisine. Participating were:
-Amanda Bezanson (The Henly House Pub & Restaurant with a lamb slider – a good fave)
-Virginia Fynes (The Union Street, with a unique Acadian baked apple [Arlett variety] stuffed with Acadian scrapple) – one of my faves of the evening
-Renee Lavallee (The Canteen, with smoked beef brisket [the first table to run out]),
-Matthew Krizan (Mateus Bistro and its trout lox),
-Peter Welton (Chartwells at Acadia University with its minature duck confit and butternut squash tacos),
-Jonathan Joseph (Argyler Lodge and Restaurant, with its famed lobster-scallop-haddock seviche),
-Andy Hay (Andy's East Coast Kitchen with its Nova Scotia lobster on toast)
-Shane Robilliard (Fox Harb'r Resort and its Nova Scotia marlin,
-Martin Ruiz Salvador (The South Shore Fish Shack/Salt Shaker Deli and its tuna with oyster and squid)
-Chris Velden (The Flying Apron Inn & Cookery with its ricotta mousse decorated with beauty berries)
and Brooklyn Warehouse collaborating with the Battery Park Beer Bar to produce rabbit dumplings, plus Nova Scotia pork belly from Canadian Bistro.
The Beverages: Drinks came from The Good Cheer Trail featuring Annapolis Cider Company. Domaine de Grand Pre, Planters Ridge Winery, Avondale Sky Winery, Benjamin Bridge, Saint-Famille Wines, L'Acadie Vineyards, Compass Distillers, Garrison Brewing Company, Barrelling Tide Distillery, Halifax Distilling Co., Ironworkd Distillery, Petite Riviere Vineyards, Saltbox Brewing Company, Sober Island Brewing Company, St. Famille Wines, Steinhart Distillery, Still Fired Distilleries, Tangled Garden (herb liqueurs and fruit cordials), Wayfarers' Ale Society, and Bulwark Cider (best was their Bulwark Original, followed by Bulwark Blush and People's Cider). I sampled most of the wines and some of the beers/ciders (I really enjoyed Sober Island's Oyster Stout, made with 20 kilos of oysters inserted for 10 minutes into a tank), but did not have any distilled spirits or cocktails.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Benjamin Bridge Brut NV Methode Traditionnelle $27.99 NS
-Petite Vineyards Italy Cross Lucy Kuhlman 2014 $25 NS
-L'Acadie Vineyards Vintage Cuvee Rose MT 2016 $30 NS
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Petite Riviere Apple Cranberry New York Muscat NS
-Petite Riviere Risser's Breeze 2017 $19.99 NS
-Benjamin Bridge Tidal Bay 2017 $21.90 NS
-Domaine de Grand Marquette 2017 $18.50 NS
-Domaine de Grand Pre Tidal Bay 2017 $20 NS
-Sainte-Famille Wines Wild Seyval 2017 $19 NS
-Sainte-Famille Wines Baco Noir Reserva 2016 $22 NS
The Downside: are you kidding? Maybe poorly amplified sound. Most had to leave the Gala early in order to get a seat at the film, which was followed by another cocktail party.
The Upside: There was a chance to speak with Chef Sam Kass, formerly chef at the US White House, who also presented his fave food film, "Jiro Dreams of Sushi". He curated it with a discussion.
The Contact Person: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 95.