Having never attended any of the Sante Wine Festival Events either this or any previous year, my girlfriend and I decided to give Saturday night's Bloor Street Bacchanal a go.
The cost for the tickets was $65pp (+ Ticketmaster gouging charge), so for the two of us it ended up being approx $140. Not that this is an insignificant amout of money, but we were both realistic and were not expecting to be dining on fois gras and drinking Opus One.
What we were expecting was to be able to, as advertised, "Stroll through two of Canadas landmark retail venues, Harry Rosen and ROOTS, and savour specially prepared dishes presented by Food Network Canada hosts and, to complement the food, Ontarios best winemakers will serve their finest vintages.".
Our first indication that this was not going to be the night we had hoped was the fact that, upon arrival, there was a distict lack of wine glasses. This would not have been such a surprise had the room been packed - but there seemed to be no more than a handful of people there.
As it turned out, not enough to go around, became a recurring theme for the evening.
I will not criticize the small Ontario Wineries, as they can only work with what they have, but I would have liked to have seen a stronger representation from both the bigger ones that were there, and those that were not (ex. Malavoire). The only table that stands out in my memory was Henry of Pelham for the good selection and engaging staff.
The real dissapointment was the lack of food to go around. The event was supposed to last from 7pm until 10pm. Just after 9pm we made it to the area where Christine Cushing and Bob Blumer were stationed only to find out that, not only were they both out of food, but they had both made a run for it.
All in all it was a truly dissapointing experience with the exceptions being some of the people manning the winery booths and Rob Rainford, who was quite charming.
The true salvation of the night was that we were both so hungry by 9:30 that we left the event and made our way over to Sassafaz where my faith in food and wine was quickly restored after Jason Rosso's beautiful Tournedo Rossini: roasted tenderloin of ontario veal with seared quebec foie gras, parsnip brandade
and truffle scented maderia glaze. Wonderful!
Next year we will skip the festival and go right to the restaurant.