This year was not my first time attending the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival, nor will it be my last. With more than 130 wineries, more than 180 breweries and distilleries, and 31 restaurants and food vendors in attendance, this year’s festival took indulgence to a whole new level.
Held again at the Shaw Conference Centre on November 6th and 7th, the festival brought together wines, beers, and spirits from across the globe, offering them alongside food samples from some of Edmonton’s most popular restaurants. The entire main hall was filled with booths doling out samples of anything from Chinese vodka to chips and salsa.
As per usual, the RMWFF operated on a tickets-per-sample basis. Unlike Winefest, which has an all-inclusive ticket price, the RMWFF allows guests to purchase sample tickets at fifty cents a piece so that they can control how much they spend. Drink samples ranged upwards from 3 tickets, with the most expensive sample belonging to the festival’s pièce de résistance: the Ledaig 42 Year Old Scotch–worth more than $7,000. A 1/2 oz sample of this treat went for 240 drink tickets. That’s $120 for half of a regular shot. For what it’s worth, some friends of mine were able to sample this scotch and I had to listen jealously while they told me it was the greatest thing they’ve ever tasted…and they don’t even like scotch on a normal day.
Going on the Saturday evening session of the RMWFF can be somewhat trying because it’s one of the busiest times of the festival, but we never felt like we waited too long for a sample. If a line-up at a booth was too long, there were plenty of others within a stone’s throw away to fill the gap. Here were some of my food and drink highlights from the show:
Sloppy Hoggs Roed Hus – Sweet Sticky Ribs. Imagine rib ends rubbed and smoked, tossed in their signature sticky sauce, and infused with Original 16 Copper Ale. I mention these first because they were, in fact, phenomenal. “Impressed” doesn’t even BEGIN to describe how much I liked these.
Masi – Campofiorin (Italy). A favourite of mine. Ruby red colour, dry, and medium-to full-bodied.
Canadian Club – Chairman’s Select Maple. Smoky, full-bodied, and delightfully sweet, this is definitely one for sipping and not for mixing. For those who don’t generally drink whiskey, I feel like this would be a good segway into a whiskey education.
Three Amigos Authentic Mexican Restaurant – Tequila Lime Chicken Tacos. There are a number of great Mexican restaurants in Edmonton, so it’s saying something when a particular taco stands out above the rest. These had a surprising amount of heat, which I appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed.
Chayee Bourras – Reserva (Argentina). A lovely red wine. Tasting notes: a rich and full-bodied wine with dramatic aromas of black cherry, vanilla, spice and coffee.
Central Social Hall – Albacore Tuna Tataki and Won Tons. These are an ongoing favourite of mine, which I eat without the won tons (gluten intolerance, and all). Light, delicious, and beautiful when paired with both whites and reds. Yum.
Okanagan Premium Cider – Dry Pear. I’m a huge fan of Okanagan cider and pear ciders in general. This was refreshing without being too sweet. Much better than Palm Bay, in my opinion.
With delicious food and more drinks than you have time to sample, you can’t go wrong. Always a pleasure, Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Fest. Always a pleasure.