I had the chance to attend the 22nd annual Gourmet Food and Wine Expo on opening night. The Metro Toronto Convention Centre hosted this annual event and had over 1,500 food and drinks at this trade show.
Since I’ve been to a few food and wine expos in the past, I wasn’t planning on attending, but Devon from Foods of Toronto convinced me to go. And so, at the last minute, I decided to attend and met some other fellow foodie members where we ate our way through the event.
Pssst…. I attended this event as media
The opening night is usually held on the third Thursday of November and runs from 6pm-10pm. In the past, I would arrive early to avoid line-ups. Surprisingly, this year wasn’t as busy as the previous events. I didn’t arrive until 7 pm, and by 7:40, the event still wasn’t busy, which was great. Past events were always so busy that the lineup for food and drinks were pretty long. I remember one year, I waited for nearly twenty minutes just to get sample tickets. Not so this year (score!).
Sample tickets at the Gourmet food and wine expo
Sample tickets are the official show currency, although some booths accept cash. Each food sample ranges between $1 to $6 while drinks averaged $2 for a generous sample.
While the recommended number of sample tickets to buy is $40 a person, I bought $20 worth of tickets. At the end of the event, I still had $6 left, to which I spent the remaining tickets on macarons to take away! My foodie friends also had many sample tickets to spare by the end of the event… this could be because we were mostly there for the food and not so much for the alcohol.
Food at the gourmet food and wine expo
Judging by the selection of food, it seems that alcoholic drinks are the principal focus of this year’s trade show. Therefore, you’ll be disappointed if food was the main reason you attended this event. As well, many vendors priced their food more on the expensive side for the amount of food that you get.
Related: The Annual National Women’s Show
Dessert at the gourmet food and wine expo
My favorite dessert at the expo was the Hong Kong style bubble waffle from Golden Bubbles, where I bought the green tea waffle. My favorite part of this dish was their taro ice cream and their chocolate covered chips.
Of course, I was drooling over the macarons at the event and bought a few to go.
Samples at the annual food and wine expo
Not all vendors sold food to consume at the event. Some sellers offered samples to either promote or sell their product.
Alcoholic drinks at the annual food and wine expo
If you like alcohol, this event is so worth it because the samples were as cheap as $1 for a decent amount of alcohol.
Entertainment at the annual food and wine expo
The entertainment for the evening made for a lively ambiance. There were lots of great singers but of course, my favorite performance of the night was Simone Denny!
90s babies, do you remember this song “You’re a Superstar” by Love Inc.? Well the lead singer, Simone Denny did an incredible live performance at the event where I was transcended back in time to the 90s. Does anyone here remember the days when Much Music would release an annual cassette/CD compilation of the year’s best music?
Behind the scenes – Life of foodies at the gourmet food and wine expo
I’m not going to go into too much detail what it’s like to be a foodie but here are some photos that will give you an idea of what it’s like to eat with foodies.
The best part of this event was the chance to meet other fellow foodies where we all understood and respected the photo food-taking process. Pictures of the food must be taken first before the food is eaten. Sometimes, a bunch of different angles is shot to ensure that a few good photos are captured.
Tips for gourmet food and wine expo
- Get sample tickets first when you arrive. Usually, there’s a lineup and… you can’t buy anything without sample tickets
- Lighting is a bit dim, bring a good camera if you’re hoping to take some food photos
- Opening night tends to be the night where it is least crowded, try to go on the first day if you can
- Have fun, eat lots!