Sunday, February 24, 2013

Kemptville Wine and Food Show

Last night we went to Kemptville's first ever Wine and Food Show. It wasn't very big, but admission was free. You could buy tasting tickets in five dollar strips, worth 50 cents, each and exchange the correct number at any of the stands to taste their wares.

We have been to the Brockville Wine and Food Show twice, and as I said, this was much smaller. There were just three wine companies, two beer companies, and maybe five or six restaurants or other food vendors represented. Costco was there trying to drum up some business by offering reduced membership rates and free food samples. Marlin Travel and a couple of other product vendors were also on hand so not everything was wine and food related.  I found that a bit strange.

Normally we find the samples at such shows are just wee tastes of things. After all, you have a lot of booths to work though. Since that generally takes a while, and you nibbling over a period of time, it's not like eating an actual meal. We decided to eat our supper before we went.  That was a mistake as the samples at this show were much larger and I'm sure we would have left feeling like we had eaten a whole meal if we had tasted from several of the booths.

Catered Affairs was offering two main dish foods but I opted for the brownie s'mores.  Red Hatters like to eat dessert first, you know.  We used up most of our tickets on those, actually.

The Empire Cheese people, from Campbellford, are always a welcome sight as they offer a wide variety of flavoured cheeses and never charge you anything. Tonight I discovered that Mrs McGarrigle's mustard has now been added to two varieties of their cheese.  They didn't come with the salsa cheese this year, which is one I'm always looking for, but their extra old cheese was absolutely amazing. I'll be bringing some of that home soon.  While Mrs McGarrigle's carries some of their cheeses, I was told that Kemptville's B&H store carries most of them.  I have not been in there in years, but I will be now.

I think I spent most of my tickets on various wines. I especially liked one that comes from the Harwood Estates Vineyards in Prince Edward County. It was a Pinot Gris, if I remember correctly, but I'll be able to find it easily when I go there, as it's in a distinctive blue bottle.  It's not found in the LCBO. I was given a card for a complimentary wine tasting when I visit the winery.

The local winery, Blue Gypsy Wines, was also on hand. I thought I had tasted all their wines at the winery last fall, so I didn't use any of my tickets at that booth. My hubby tried their raspberry wine though, as apparently it wasn't available when we went there.  

We stopped by the Nakhon Thai booth and I asked if the food was very spicy. The lovely lady, assured us that was a misconception. She said that 80% of the dishes on their menu were not spicy, and if we wanted something that normally would be, we could always ask them to cut back on that and they would.  To prove her point she offered a plate full of rice with a curry dish, as well as some Crispy Lemongrass Chicken. She didn't take any of our tickets, but she certainly made a fan out of my hubby. He really enjoyed that food, and went back to tell her how good it was.  She pointed out the dishes he had tasted on her menu, and I suspect we will be visiting that establishment in the near future.  I notice, from the menu that they have several meals that are vegetarian (not vegan) and gluten free.  I know of people who are always on the lookout for such things.

Another booth had fish and other things from The Landing. That's a take out place known for it's fish and chips. I saw a bin off to the side and I asked what was in there. They had cut big cinnamon buns into quarters and she gave us each one of those. I asked how many tickets she wanted, and she just waved her hand at me and said, "We're good."  I sometimes find that I have trouble with cinnamon buns these days as there is often too much cinnamon in them. I like them but they give me heartburn. But these were perfect. I asked if they always have them, and was assured that they do. We have never been there for a meal as we usually go to sit down restaurants,  but we do now have a reason to stop by and bring home a treat.

The Kemptville Chamber of Commerce has worked a long time to get this show up and running and ran into various problems along the way. Though the show was small and I was initially disappointed, I think they did succeed in bringing more interest to the various businesses that took part.  Several of them now will now have us as new customers, and I'm sure others who attended can say the same.  Next year promises to be even better.


  1. Thank you for getting the word out about the 1st annual Kemptville Wine & Food Show. As the organizer (The North Grenville Chamber of Commerce) I was very pleased with the mix of vendors we had for this first time event. It was always promoted as an 'intimate' affair with a multi-cultural flavour. The room at the Municipal Centre can only hold a certain number and in February, it wasn't convenient to hold the event in the Arena. I was delighted with the commitment from the Vendors and the attendance. Everyone who left the event had nothing but positive responses and are looking forward to the 2nd annual. Thanks again for providing information and getting the word out. Sorry if I missed as I would have loved to have met you in person so I could have thank you and welcomed you personally. Maybe next year!
    Wendy Chapman
    Executive Director & CEO
    North Grenville Chamber of Commerce

  2. Sounds like a lovely evening. I like the idea about paying .50 cents a taste instead of a large entry fee. I think some people tend to over indulge when they pay a large entry fee. I have been to wine and cheese before and they were big fundraisers. The auctions were amazing.

    Great blog.
    Holly Hill

    1. To clarify, the tickets were 50 cents apiece but the samples were priced by the number of tickets you had to give them for the taste. For example, two tickets were enough for the wines, while it took four tickets to get the brownie s'mores. I think that may have been a little steep, but they were held together with lovely plastic crystal like picks that you got to keep, so I won't be complain about that. They will come in handy when I make club house sandwiches in the future.

  3. Oh, I wish I'd known about this in advance. I'm setting a reminder for next year *g*