April Days of Food & Wine

April’s been a funny sort of month.

Some days have been very full, and I’ve been bursting with energy and productivity. Others, all I want is a comfy chair, a good book, and a glass of my favourite red.

Maybe it’s spring fever. Even though we think of spring fever as typically providing us with a new sense of vigor and vitality, apparently it can also do the opposite. This article, however, doesn’t mention those of us who flip-flop wildly from one side to the other. But my mother says I’ve always been a person of extremes. The middle road seems to be tough for Jo to find.

Anyway. I’m sure you don’t want to hear my mother’s psycho-analysis of me. That’s another type of blog post altogether, and one you probably don’t care to read.

So let’s just talk about what’s been going on, ok?

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Most of April has been about food. This has kind of surprised me, as I’m not really a food blogger. I attended the Niagara Chef Showcase, and had a truly fantastic time at the Winemaker’s Dinner at Konzelmann. I also went to two food & wine expos. I even – get ready this may surprise you – have been cooking more. Cue the victorious trumpet music – Da da daaaaa!

Take yesterday, for example. Yesterday was one of those I-want-to-curl-up-with-a-book-and-wine days.

So my thoughtful sweetie pie says :

“Do you want me to pick something up for dinner?”

And Jo says:

“No, that’s okay sweetie, I’ll make something.”

We were both in shock. Who is this foreign being? Has Jo been abducted by aliens and replaced with a clone? The real Jo doesn’t OFFER to cook.

Perhaps it’s spring fever. Or perhaps I’ve been influenced by all the great food I’ve had this month.

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Let’s talk about The Niagara Food & Wine Expo.

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There was a lot of good food on offer here. But I didn’t get to try very much of it. This is totally self-inflicted though. You see, we went on the Saturday afternoon, and everyone knows that Saturday is always the busiest day of these shows. I’m not so great with crowds, and I lose patience waiting in line.

I know, I should probably just learn to be more patient, eh? Well, it’s never been my strong suit.

From now on, I go on the Friday or the Sunday, and hope I’ll have more patience. That’s just me, though. The folks who enjoy having lots of people around were having a great time!

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However, I did get to try some tasty Escargots from Marilyn’s Bistro. Which just reinforced that I need to go to the restaurant soon. I hear the food’s great, and that their view of the Falls is amazing too.

I also tried a couple of wines, but kept going back to PondView. They were pouring one wine from their BellaTerra line, it was the Cabernet Franc if I remember correctly. If you have tasted it, then you know why I kept going back

I also met up with my wine buddies

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Denny and John from The Wine Boys, and Ralph and Elaine from Savour Life. All fellow lovers and promoters of Niagara wine – and a real hoot to hang out with too. After the show, we went for dinner at Weinkeller, which was really good – food, atmosphere and service were fantastic. Bad blogger me didn’t take any pictures though, I just focused on having a good time with my friends.

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Next, the Food & Drink Fest in Hamilton.

You guys, I am so glad I went to this event. I’ve heard some great things about the food scene in Hamilton, and I kind of got a snapshot of it at Food & Drink Fest. I also went on a Sunday, arriving at about 12:30, so the crowds and line-ups were more to my liking.

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The food. Oh my. Really wonderful food. Food that entices me to go back and explore Hamilton.

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If you follow me on Instagram, then you have heard about my Samosa tale of awesomeness. I think I found Samosa heaven on Sunday, courtesy of Sensational Samosa.

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Perfectly cooked, spiced veg in a flaky, baked crust. Yes, baked. I haven’t had much luck with baked samosas before, but these were incredible. To me, a delicious baked samosa is the food of the gods.

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I also loved the Roasted Cauliflower Taco with Queso Fresco and Green Goddess Dressing from Eat Industries Inc. Wonderful flavour – who would have thought you could get so much out of the humble cauliflower? Perfect consistency for the taco, and a bit of heat too.

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This Smoked Gouda Burger came topped with Chocolate Bacon. It was my first time trying this new food trend….and I’m not so sure if I like it. I get the whole salty/sweet thing, it’s one of my favourite food combos to play with. But chocolate on bacon….I don’t know, maybe I just need to try it again.

The burger was great. It was matched with a Malbec Sangria that had a little hit of jalapeno in it – I liked that. I think I’ll add it to my own Sangria blend.

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I was thrilled to get to try some wine from another Ontario wine region too. Oxley Estate Winery was there, and I sampled their Rosé with one of the samosas of gloriousness. It was a terrific match, perfect for the spice from the samosa. They had more wines I would have liked to try, so I guess I’ll just have to try to get to Harrow soon. It was so great to see wineries from other Ontario wine regions at a show, and I hope we’ll see more of this in the future.

One last thing I’ll mention from Food & Drink Fest is this cocktail from The Twisted Lemon.

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Not only was it beautiful to look at, there was quite the process to making it.

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I honestly can’t remember all the ingredients that went in it, other than Hendrick’s Gin. I was too mesmerized watching them make it.

It was utterly delicious. I don’t drink many cocktails because I find many of them are waaayyy too sweet for my liking. This one was tasty, balanced, no over-the-top-sugary-syrupyness.

It went down real fast and easy. The perfect way to finish my time at the Food & Drink Fest.

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So if April’s been the month of food, perhaps May will be the month of wine? Or beer? Maybe it should be a month of dietary austerity, making up for these April indulgences.

Nah…I’ve never been good at austerity. Moderation and enjoyment are what I live by.

And with spring in Niagara upon us, I’m sure there’s lots of enjoyment to come.