This year, festival-goers heading to this popular foodie event are in for a special treat. The Ottawa Wine and Food Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary. In this day and age with festivals coming and going, a lingering recession, and fickle diners, staying in business for 30 years is laudable. Joan Culliton, producer for this esteemed festival, feels that the event has helped shaped Ottawans’ sophisticated tastes in food and wine. “This 30th anniversary celebration will not only pay homage to that evolution, but will continue to challenge and educate palates by putting ‘the world on the tip of your tongue.’ We want to celebrate with old friends and meet new ones who’ve never experienced the biggest and longest-established show of its kind in Ottawa.”
The Ottawa Wine & Food Festival is taking place this weekend, from October 30th – November 1st at the Shaw Centre. Organizers expect 375,000 wine samples, 110,000 nibbles of gourmet fare, and 250, 000 sips of beer will be handed out to more than 23,000 visitors. In addition, there will be 200 exhibitors from around the world, two demonstration stages, legendary wines and a glamorous “haute Halloween” red carpet welcome.
If you’re looking for a party, an excuse to wear a costume, or simply don’t want to stay home to hand out candy, then this is the place to be. Highlights of this year’s festival will feature 12 free, live “edutainment” seminars by chefs, sommeliers, craft beer experts and mixologists on the Host for the Holiday and In the Mix stages. Discover the hottest holiday food and drink trends and sample everything you see at the caviar & bubbles bar, at the tasting alley (featuring 50 wines along with charcuterie, shrimp, carvery, vegetarian, seafood and noodle bar tasting stations), and at the local taste emporium, offering an array of locally, artisanal produced products. Local food vendors and producers attending this year include The Unrefined Olive, Oat & Mill (wine and beer flavoured ice cream!), Urban Cowboy food truck, Cellar 82, EVOO, ChocoMe Chocolates, Jack’s Tonique and Mr. Churritos.
Planning to host and entertain over the holidays? Then consider getting some cooking and baking tips from pastry chef Anna Olson, Dolce Vita’s David Roco, Chef Bruce Wood of Beau’s Brewery, Twice de Spice twins Marida and Narida and Chef Ric Watson and his cooks-in-training at The Ottawa Mission.
The Ottawa Mission
Here at foodiePrints, we are always interested in the community involvement festivals have with local organizations and charities. These kinds of partnerships are crucial, providing support, physical, emotional, and financial, to so many people who are struggling each day. For the past three years, the Ottawa Wine and Food Festival has partnered with The Ottawa Mission, by donating thousands of dollars from unused beverage tickets and empty wine bottles towards the purchase of Christmas dinners for the homeless. Don and I stopped by The Mission briefly once several years ago when we were helping to transport untouched food and dairy leftover from Cupcake Camp. In the few minutes I was there, I was able to witness the importance of such a centre. Each day, The Mission provides hundreds of individuals a place to sleep, a hot meal, job training, basic medical care, and life-changing programs. These programs aim to help people regain their dignity, but most importantly, hope for a better future.
Chef Ric Watson, a survivor of addiction and life on the street, has dedicated his career working at The Mission. Often in the kitchen by 5 am he cooks, directs, and motivates staff and volunteers to ensure that more than 1200 healthy meals are ready to be served. In recent years, Chef Watson founded an in-house cook apprenticeship program that is unique to Ottawa shelters. The program aims to help people get out of homelessness by providing education. This weekend, Watson’s students will not only help prepare the holiday meal for the 2pm session “In the Mix” on Saturday, they will also be assisting chefs from the Canadian Culinary Chefs Federation prepare high-end hors d’oeuvres for the premium Tasting Alleys on both Friday and Saturday evenings. Dishes include roast tenderloin of beef and cognac-flambeed shrimp.
Depending on the day and the workshops that are of interest, ticket prices will vary. However, on Sunday, passes are available for $19.85, a special anniversary price. With limited tickets available at the door, it is best to purchase them ahead here. Or you can enter the contest to win a pair of tickets to this Friday’s festivities. Just leave a comment below stating what you’re most looking forward to. Be sure to include an email address for contact. Contest ends Thursday at
5pm 9pm EST.
Random.org chose lucky entry #12.
Sue Roseman, an e-mail connecting you with organizers of the Ottawa Wine and Food Festival has been dispatched. Congratulations!