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ice cider & Desperados: An Eat Vancouver roundup June 13, 2007

Filed under: events,local,tasting — liquorandlibations @ 12:19 pm

eatvancouver.jpgThis is a little later than I’d hoped, but here is a quick recap of Eat Vancouver. The event was a rousing success – Vancouver’s BC Place stadium was packed with people eating, drinking, collecting copious samples and watching celebrity chefs all while trying to avoid the sea of people and strollers.

We wandered around the whole exhibition, but ended the afternoon at the tasting pavilion and beverage stage. Two things that really caught my eye were Domaine Pinnacle Ice Cider and Desperados tequila flavoured beer. The ice cider was very tasty, a little too sweet for me (not surprising considering the sweetness of ice wine), but had a great rich flavour. The tequila flavoured beer was like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. It was a lot better than I thought, but I can’t say I’ll be drinking it regularly. It did inspire me to start thinking of tequila-beer cocktails, so maybe something good will come of it.

One of the highlights for me was a man on the beverage stage opening champagne bottles with a large machete-like knife. I thought he was crazy until I was searching around Wikihow today and found this fantastic post on how to Open a Champagne Bottle with a Sword, which promises you will:

Amaze everyone at your next social function with le sabrage, or opening a bottle of Champagne with a sword. Napoleon’s officers did it — you can, too! Teaching yourself to “behead” a bottle of champagne isn’t hard, but takes a little practice (and a case or two of cheap bubbly) to perfect.

Sounds exciting, and may just be an idea for my next camping trip – I think a few rounds of practice outdoors might be in order before my next social function.pekka.jpg

One final note on Eat Vancouver, congrats to friend of l&l Pekka Tavela, pastry chef at A Kettle of Fish, who placed third in the Belcolade Chocolate Competition. Yay Pekka!

 

For the Locals – Eat Vancouver! May 22, 2007

Filed under: beer,events,local,tasting,wine — liquorandlibations @ 5:00 pm

eat_vancouver.jpg

This weekend marks the annual Eat Vancouver festival. Billed as the “Everything Food & Cooking Festival” this year also includes a beverage stage highlighting beer, wine, sake, coffee and more. While the Food Network celebrity stage will definitely be a big draw for many people, for those of you already sick of “Vancouver’s Own Iron Chef Rob Feenie” (and if I have to see him on one more White Spot commercial, I definitely will be), then check out the tasting areas.

The drinks stage promises you will:

Enjoy some of the best wines, beers and spirits from British Columbia and around the world, offered for tasting by the vintners and producers themselves. Sample, compare and ask questions directly from those who know.

The Grapes & Hops Presentation Stage, located right inside the Tasting Pavilion and hosted by Vancouver’s own Wine Diva, Daenna Van Mulligan, will feature an impressive lineup of seminars, food pairings and wine tasting’s with celebrities drawn from the world of wine and beer plus culinary and mixology experts.. The Presentation Stage is located right in the Tasting Pavilion and provides comfortable seating. Master of Ceremonies Daenna will host writers, chefs, vintners, wine experts and a host of other presenters from across the country.

We’ll be checking out the Wine, Beer and Spirits tasting pavillion on Saturday and promise to report back on our best bets.

 

tools of the trade: a trusty citrus juicer April 9, 2007

Filed under: local,tools — liquorandlibations @ 7:00 pm

citrus-juicer.jpgI’m as lazy as the next person when it comes to making cocktails, and while I love to experiment, I always hope that my boy will offer to mix anything a little bit complicated. Up until recently, every time I made even one of my old standards like a gin & tonic, I would use bottled citrus juice. It’s very handy, and while I’m not giving up on my RealLemon and RealLime completely, I’m now a convert of pressing my own citrus.

The reason for my change of heart – my spanking new lime squeezer bought during a recent trip to Vancouver institution The Gourmet Warehouse (seriously if you live here or are coming to town, go out of your way to visit this place, you will find almost any kitchen tool or ingredient you need, and some that you wouldn’t even know what to do with).

The Amco lime squeezer is a sturdy enamel coated aluminum hand juicer that comes all the way from Mexico. While Amco sells separate juicers for each different type of citrus fruit, we’ve been using this one for both lemons and limes. With larger fruits I’m still going to have to pull out my old Vive Cuervo sombrero shaped juicer, kindly donated to me by my brother. Gin & tonics taste even better with a bit of fresh squeezed lime, next up margaritas!

 

Ode to Shiraz April 8, 2007

Filed under: events,local,wine — liquorandlibations @ 11:12 pm

Oh Shiraz, how do I love thee, let me count the ways…

After attending Vancouver International Wine Festival this year where the featured wine was Riesling, I was a bit surprised to find that all my favourites were still…you guessed it, Shiraz. Not that the Riesling isn’t a lovely wine – crisp and fresh with those hints of kiwi and apple. Because it is! In fact on a hot summer’s day it ranks near the top of my list, particularly if it is a certain Dr. Loosen‘s 2005 Riesling in its delightfully blue bottle.

Its just that the Shiraz (Syrah in France) is so…perfect. And drinkable. Always delightful to the palate, it has a full bodied and powerful flavour often tasting of ripe juicy berries, and chocolate…earthy and complex. Its dark and mysterious flavours titillate, beg you to explore a little more.

Australia loves its Shiraz, hence its prevalence at the 2007 Vancouver wine festival. Some of my mentionables were:

  • Hardy Wine Company – Oomoo Shiraz 2005, $21.99
  • Peter Lehmann – Futures Barossa Shiraz 2003, $28.99
  • Barossa Valley Estate – Ebenezer Shiraz 2002, $39.99
  • Wolf Blass – Black Label Cabernet Shiraz 2003, coming in near the top of the price list at $89.99

And surprise surprise, Canada’s very own Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Proprietor’s Grand Reserve Shiraz 2004 was voted the best Shiraz/Syrah at the 2006 International Wine and Spirits Competition (I.W.S.C.) in London…a first for a North American Shiraz at probably the most important event in the industry. And while it was unfortunately not at the festival this year, it is in the liquor store around the corner. Lucky me.

 

Vancouver International Wine Festival March 28, 2007

Filed under: events,local,wine — liquorandlibations @ 1:01 pm

Its that time of year again! The Vancouver International Wine Festival is taking place this week, featuring wines from 17 different countries with an emphasis on Australia. Generally considered one of the best festivals of its kind in North America, the event is a fundraiser for the Vancouver Playhouse, contributing to the city’s theatre scene. There will be an estimated 21,000 people attending this year with over 31,000 bottles of wine to uncork…which could lead to an interesting week. This year’s theme wine is the ever versatile riesling. Unfortunately tickets to the festival tastings at Canada Place Thursday through Saturday evening are sold out but there are still other events during the week, you can find out more details on the website at www.playhousewinefest.com

For those unlucky people without tickets, liquor and libations will be working undercover to get the inside scoop on who’s who and what’s what at this year’s 29th annual festival.

Updates to come later in the week on trends, our favourites, and what to look for in the perfect riesling!