Victoria’s Taste event took place last week and it truly was amazing! I was only able to attend the ‘Taste the difference’ event which took place on the Thursday at the Grand Pacific Hotel. Tickets were around $80. This event showcased about 30 BC wineries as well as over 15 local restaurants. Each had a booth set up with offerings of their creations and products.
We arrived on time and the line-up already snaked around the front of the hotel. Victoria’s socialites and foodies were out in full force this night with gents rockin’ suspenders and dress shirts and ladies braving their best heals and dresses. My inner fashionista was elated. Anywho. Back to the food. The line moved quickly and event volunteers came by with wrist bands an event booklet as well as finger foods and tea from Silk Road. The booklet came complete with a program of what was on offer from each restaurant, a booth layout, a section to jot down tasting notes, as well as a built in wine glass holder. Once we were inside I admit it was a little chaotic and cramped as the crowds tried to manoeuver their way to all the booths, but the craziness settled down after the first hour or so.
We were entertained for the full three hours and admittedly a little tipsy by the end but the whole event was a blast and I can not wait until next years event.
Note worthy food and wine offerings:
Butchart Gardens – They had a seared Albacore tuna loin with pickled cucumber and radish and carrot top pesto which was absolutely delicious. The tuna was perfectly cooked and went well with the sharpness of the pickle and the richness of the pesto. I went back for seconds….and thirds.
Salt Spring Island Goat Cheese – I’m very familiar with Salt Spring Island Goat Cheese as I’m sure many Victorians are, but at this event they presented their goat milk gelato. This gelato was heavenly. It had such a smooth and creamy texture and no goaty taste (although I think I would have liked a more prominent chevre type flavour). This gelato is available at their store in the Hudson Food Market.
King Fisher Resort – They had a Halibut ceviche that won best taster in my books. Admittedly the Halibut flavour wasn’t too prominent but the citrus and cilantro made for a very refreshing bite.
AURA – I’ve yet to try this restaurant but at both this event and last years Feast of Fields they served up some great quality food. Here they served a poached (I think in butter) scallop with a beurre blanc sauce. So divine!
Castro Boateng Fine Catering – It was great to see a catering company at an event like this. They prepared a duck croquette that was so delicious. Perfectly crisp on the outside and moist on the inside and well seasoned. Apparently they do in home dinner parties!
Wayne Gretzky Okanagan – For me they had the best wines of the evening. I know right?! Who would have thought? Apparently the Gretzky family and the Peller family are good friends and so Gretzky wines came to be. We loved The Great White, the Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah and the Pinot Grigio.
Vista D’Oro Winery – At this point I was pretty wined out so I tried their homemade estate cider which was a dry savory cider and I loved it. My friend Matt, not so much. He did however love their Coastal Grown Pinot Noir.
Unsworth Vineyards – We really like their Pinot Noir and the Allegro. We found the rose too tart for our liking.
Hillside Estate Winery – Matt really enjoyed the unoaked Pinot Grigio and I loved loved loved the Gewürztraminer
There are so many more to name and I’m happy to say that most of these wines can be found locally here in Victoria and they’re quite affordable too.
Overall the event went really well. It was well organized and well supported. I left feeling inspired and so very full. I found some new restaurants I want to check-out as well as some new favorite local wines that really deserve recognition on a global scale. It was great to chat with the staff from the wineries and restaurants as well as the chefs. On a daily basis we enjoy their products and creations but its rare that we have a chance to chat with them to learn more about their products and their approaches to wine and food.