If you love delicious culinary creations, smooth and sultry wines and the company of like-minded people then you should have been at Savour Niagara! If you did not make it this year, no need to fret, the Niagara Wine Festival is on from September 21st – 30th and you can visit each and every one of the amazing wineries, food vendors and exhibitors that were at this delicious event. Hosted by the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce – Savour Niagara has been kicking off the Niagara Wine Festival for 15 years.
I was intrigued when I heard that the event was being held this year at W.S. Tyler on Ontario Street in St. Catharines; they are, after-all, a steel screening company for Mining, Engineering and other industries. To my surprise, the industrial warehouse was transformed into a posh space for food and wine lovers alike. The atmosphere was modern, fun, inviting yet cozy and intimate enough to encourage friendly conversation between strangers.
It was not but a few steps into the event that I was greeted by the opportunity to fill my glass with some of Niagara’s finest wines and brews. Among them were four of my favourites:
- Calamus Estate Winery – I love their Gewurztraminer, it’s one of my favs
- Pillitteri Estates Winery – Had my first 1999 icewine at Pillitteri–> 23 Reasons to Visit
- Pondview Estate Winery – Hubby ❤’s the Cabmerlot & what makes him happy makes me happy
- Niagara College Teaching Winery & Brewery – Their First Draft was in Keeping Kitchen’s soup
Other wineries at the event included Hernder Estate Winery, Konzelmann Estate Winery, Reif Estate Winery and Stoney Ridge Estate Winery. There was also a “Savour in the Square” table serving a selection of wines from Henry of Pelham, Inniskillin, Jackson-Triggs and Mike Weir Wines Inc.. Needless to say;
There was no lack of selection at Savour Niagara when it came to wetting your palate.
For the budding wine connoisseur there were also Wine Seminars and Culinary Demonstrations happening all night. One on 2010 whites, one on 2010 reds and then demonstrations by Wellington Court’s Executive Chef Erik Peacock and the Chef de Cuisine at Benchmark (Niagara College), Sam Seaver. My intentions were to get to one of these demos but the food, drink and people kept me hopping from booth to booth so I took a rain-check for next year.
I do not know about you, but great wine is not really great without great food to accompany it. There were a few vendors that I have had the pleasure of eating with prior to this event so it was very nice to see them there. For instance, The Frosted Cupcake had brought a “tree-full” of their mini-cupcakes (my favourite being their Red Velvet) and to say I had just one would be a lie. I discovered them on my way to a good friend’s house in North St. Catharines. Now-a-days I cannot drive by without stopping for at least a 1/2 dozen.
Another recognizable table was Toi Restaurant and Tapas Bar. I discovered this delicious gem in downtown St. Catharines a few years ago through my good friend Rashmi Biswas (owner of Lake & Associates, author of the book Rash Decisions, and co-host of Curious Muriel). Recently Toi has merged with Mai Vi – a well known Viatnamese restaurant also in St. Catharines and they were serving up their delicious ChickenPad Tai.
Some of my newest Food Vendor friends who were at Savour with some delicious gastro-adventures include:
- Hotei/Shibuki Sushi and Sake Bar – serving up a variety of sushi
- Keeping Kitchens – serving pumpkin ale soup, hickory pork crostini and roasted local garlic
- Pig Out Roasters – serving peach infused as well as maple and apple infused pulled pork on a fresh baguette
- Sweetie Pies Bakery – serving butter tarts, caramel apple tarts and grape tarts
- Big Marco’s Pizzeria and Restaurant/ Grazi Cafe – serving bruchetta pizza, pepperoni pizza and fruit crepes
Although each of the above were fantastic – I need to give a shout-out and my “Local Lux stamp of approval” to Beth McIntee, Owner and Baker, at Sweetie Pies Bakery.
Her grape tarts had me dancing with pleasure a little too excitedly in the parking lot on the way out of the event (although the wine might have also had something to do with it). Of all the food and wine and cupcakes and pulled pork, her grape tart did me in and I will absolutely be at the St. Catharines market looking for her as often as possible. Not to mention, I just found out that she also does Grape Pie and I guarantee there will be one of those on my table at Thanksgiving dinner!
All in all, the Savour Niagara Event was a great success. There is so much about this great Region that I love; each and every way I turn I find myself looking directly into the face of another spectacular Niagara event and Savour Niagara is no different. The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce, CIBC, W.S. Tyler and all sponsors and exhibitors did a fantastic job of bringing the community together for this great local event.
Standing with fellow Niagara-lovers, enjoying great food and drinking superb wine is something that I could do every day of my life for the rest of forever. I encourage each of you to take some time to partake in the great events that the Niagara Wine Fest has to offer – either this year or next or the one after that. I promise, this great community and local luxury event will not let you down.