A fitting end to an era for us. We had been attending the annual Vancouver International Wine Festival’s Vintner’s Brunch for 12 consecutive years and always looked forward to the event. We had a wonderful time, tasting and sipping for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon…not a bad way to wrap up the weekend and to wrap up our run.
At 11:30 everyone enters the huge space with a stunning view overlooking Vancouver’s North Shore mountains with Deadman’s Island and Coal Harbour in the foreground and are welcomed with champagne flutes of a sparkler from “See Ya Later Ranch.” Each year you see a few of the same restaurants but then there are always the new kids on the block; a great way to sample what they are up to! Approximately 15 restaurants have stations set up around the perimeter, each station having a winery representative offering their selection of the wine that best accompanies that particular plate. From this point on we are all like little bees, buzzing from one open “flower” to the next!
Forty-nine tables, accommodating eight people at each, have been arranged around the stage where a live band plays throughout the event…always a nice touch, always the same band, and a great tradition. During the last half hour they play rock-n-roll from the 60’s and 70’s and all us “old folks” get up and have a blast dancing. Unfortunately, for the last couple of years I’ve had to sit this out….damned knee!
Our favourite plates and pairings:
B.C. Dungeness Crab Salad, Grapefruit, Vanilla, Hollandaise from Showcase Restaurant & Bar with Geyser Peak Saugivnon Blanc 2014 – that crab was so sweet and delicious, I almost didn’t care what else came on the plate!
Charred Parksville Bay Herring, Cured Duck Yolk, Grapefruit Dressing Salad from Forage with Vina Leyda Garuma Single Vineyard Saugivnon Blanc 2014 – partner in eating aka “I’ll eat anything from the ocean Joe” liked this a lot! Not being a herring fan, I didn’t try this offering!
Nikkei Ceviche from Chicha with Columbia Winery Chardonnay 2013 – again Joe really like this a lot…as I don’t each raw fish, I can’t say…looked nice though!
House Cured Salmon with Pineapple Jam, Lemon Oil and Sweet Potato Crisps from Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House with Babich Wines Marlborough Pinot Gris 2015 – Once again Joe steps up giving it two thumbs up and once again I withhold judgement as I don’t eat salmon although the salmon was a very nice colour!
Ebi-Shinjo Shrimp and Fish Ball with Dashi Espuma, Julienned Fresh Vegetables from ShuRaku with Thornhaven Estates Winery Gewurtztraminer VQA 2014 – Joe’s comments were that he liked the texture and taste a lot, sort of like a dim sum bun but better and I thought the presentation was lovely.
Mushrooms on Toast, with Tomato and Crisp Parmesan from The Sonora Room Restaurant with Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Merlot 2012 – One of my favourites of the day. The wine pairing was so perfect with the mushrooms and the other tastes on the plate. Two thumbs up from me and pretty much everyone else at our table!
Chorizo Scotch Egg with Urban Digs Pork, Smoked Paprika, Hen’s Egg and Hay Aioli from ARC at Fairmont Waterfront with Gil Family Estates Trident Tempranillo – Castilla y Leon 2013 – This plate got a big cheer from our table and the wine pairing was perfect!
Deep Fried Mantou Banh Mi, Cola Braised Lamb, Cilantro, Carrot Slaw from Lift Bar Grill View with Allegrini Palazzo della Torre IGT Veronese 2012 – so…how many of these did the folks at our table consume anyway? I’ll never tell…what a great combination of flavours!
Black Rice Congee with Red Wine-Braised Duck, Soy-Marinated Quail’s Egg, Black Currant Gastrique, Togarashi Crackling from Railtown Catering with Hahn Family Wines SLH Pinot Noir 2013 – Just about everyone at our table liked this a lot. There were a bunch of flavours happening in that bowl and it came out as the top choice of the judges!
From the preceding you might think we ate and drank our faces off! Well…sort of! The saving grace is that the portions are mostly bite-size or maybe two bites and the pours a couple of ounces!
Another great time was had by all and I sure the other attendees will look forward to who the chef’s will be and what they will come up with next year! It’s been fabulous and we will miss it!