The inaugural Spring edition of the Ottawa Wine and Food Festival launched at the EY Centre in Ottawa this past weekend. Joan Culliton, director of the festival, and her crew rolled out the welcome tulips to bring a much-needed burst of colour and light to us poor snow-bound masses.
|All signs pointed to good stuff. Or described good stuff. Either way, there was good stuff to be found.|
My particular favourite was a Black Lager from Perth Brewing Company. A dark, stout-like appearance and nutty aromas belies the crisp, light mouthfeel. The flavour profile was full of roasted coffee and caramel. Best of both worlds.
I chatted with Clocktower beer master Patrick Fiori about his latest experiment, the Valentine 17 bubble gum beer. He told me all about dry hopping, which sounds very much like steeping tea, only this time the 'water' is beer, and the 'tea' is 17 cases of Double Bubble. Not quite my cuppa, so I opted for their new Vienna Spring Ale, which was flavourful, light-to-medium bodied and refreshing.
Out the back door of the cavernous hanger, a convoy of food trucks were parked under the "big top", with cart vendors creating a centre island loaded with churros, bao, meat-in-a-cone and freshly spitted piggies.
|Streat Gourmet Duck Confit Tacos w Turtle Island Dark Honey Brown|
Green Papaya Pad Thai Poutine w Cave Spring Riesling
The Branch Smoked Lamb Nachos w Clocktower Vienna Spring Ale
GongFu Bao Pork Belly Bao, BoBites Pesto/Feta Potato w Perth Brewery Black Lager
Zazoo Dark chocolate chunk and Kulfi gelato
But what the venue lacked in warmth it made up for in gastronomical delights. I don't work downtown, so I haven't had a chance to tour the street food circuit just yet. This stuff made me want to telecommute from Albert and O'Connor. Immediately.
|Chef Tarek Hassan of Gongfu Bao putting together steamed, stuffed sticky buns as fast as the orders came in.|
And lemme tell ya, there were a LOT of orders.
|An embarrassment of choice from Zazoo Glaces, including macarons-and-gelato "cupcakes".|