Taste BC 2010

by Ed Lau on January 21, 2010

After the success of last year’s Taste BC event hosted by Liberty Wine Merchants (raising money for BC Children’s Hospitals), John Chow and I were excited to go again. I mean, last year’s Taste BC marked the first time we were introduced to one of our favorite restaurants, Miku, and we had some delicious treats from Mon Bella Bistoria and Rodney’s Oyster House. Although the event’s emphasis was on wine, there was more than enough food around while we sampled all the alcohol.

This year, however, we were rather disappointed at the lack of restaurants taking part. The lines got longer (especially for the cheese samplers) and I’m guessing less food meant people got a lot more drunk. More than once I pointed out people that were as red as tomatoes.

Rodney’s was back again, shucking up raw oysters for the crowd. In fact, it was the same two guys that were there last year. I can’ t say no to raw oysters so we were back there several times that night. Word of warning though…that “Hell” hot sauce is burning hot. They tried to warn me but since I’m an idiot, I didn’t listen. John just pointed and laughed as I searched for something to put out the fire in and around my mouth.

Strangely enough, the next thing I tried also had a bit of chili in it. This is a mini chocolate mousse cup from Cravings Restaurant. I’m told the chocolate mousse contains chipotle. Sweet but not overly sweet…but that might have just been because my mouth was on fire.

Next up, we had pork belly with a fava bean puree from Showcase Restaurant and Bar at the Marriott. The first time I had it, I thought the pork belly looked scrumptious but tasted slightly bland and dry. I gave it the benefit of the doubt though since, hey, it’s pork belly…and the second time around, it was really great.

Pork seems to be the big thing lately and people are putting it on everything…and I mean everything. This is a cheesecake with bacon from Central City Brewing. Yes, you read that right. Cheesecake with bacon. I was reluctant to try this since I really don’t like mixing too much sweet and salty but surprisingly, it wasn’t bad. It was actually rather good. Not something I would probably order off a menu or attempt to make myself but not bad, nonetheless. I applaud the audacity of pork as a dessert.

Nothing goes with wine like cheese so Benton Brothers Fine Cheese was on hand to give us some samples. There are a couple milder cheese and a couple with a strong, robust flavor, including a tiger blue cheese. Personally, I love cheese with a bit of kick to it so naturally I enjoyed the blue but the smoke cheddar had a great nuttiness to it as well.

Speaking of cheese, this is a fig balsamic spread on top of some goat cheese from Capers Whole Foods. They also had a selection of great dark chocolates.

Now, I enjoy wine but to be honest, I don’t know enough about wines to give an honest, educated opinion. I do, however, know a good beer when I taste one and luckily, there were a number of great beers scattered amongst all the wine vendors. Unlike John, I like a stronger beer with a hint of bitterness rather than a light, sweet beer.

A couple of the more interesting beers came from Howe Sound, including their Three Beavers Imperial Red. It’s hard to describe why I like the Imperial Red but it tastes great and I imagine it would be great with a nice steak.

My other favorite was the ridiculously named and essentially Canadian “IP’eh!” from Russell Brewing Company. It tastes rich and looks heavier than it really is.

We also sampled some of the ciders from Sea Cider. I enjoyed the drier end of the scale, which is the Wild English, made from organic English cider apples. The sweeter ciders were much, much too sweet for my taste.

This cider from Raven Ridge is a sort of ice wine made from Fuji apples. Despite the fact that most ice wines are insanely sweet, this was actually really fresh tasting and not overly sweet.

There were quite a few firsts for this wine tasting event, including fruit juices and snacks from Sun-Rype and coffee from Ethical Bean Coffee Company. I’m more of a tea drinker myself but even without any sugar in it, this brew was actually rather nice. Dark and strong but without that weird aftertaste you might get if you ask for a strong brew from one of the big chains.

If you enjoy wine, you won’t find a better opportunity to sample the best of British Columbia than at Taste BC. However, I hope next year we’ll get a few more restaurants taking part.

in Food and Fine Dining

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Monica January 21, 2010 at 11:17 am

First off, this looks like a fun event, but I *love* your photos. So often, even the yummiest of foods are hard to make look good in a photo, but you nailed it. And that first shot, with the chef cutting cheese (heh) is fantastic. Love the depth of field.

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Stephen January 21, 2010 at 11:54 am

Yup. Looks like a “taste” alright. Barely a nibble. I’d starve!

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Brett @ bnordin.com January 21, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Pictures look great! Thanks for the details.

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