Thanks to Brookline Public Relations, I received a pair of complimentary entrance tickets to the Grand Tasting Hall of the Calgary Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival, which took place a couple of weekends ago at the Stampede Park BMO Centre. It had been several years since I’ve been to the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival so this was the perfect opportunity for me to check it out again. Knowing how busy the event was going to be as the evening progressed, my friend and I showed up during the afternoon before it got too crowded. My friend M and I bought a bunch of sampling coupons and set out to sample some the great food and wine.
Our first stop was the booth for The Broken Plate Restaurant where they featured Braised Lamb on a Baguette. I had high expectations as The Broken Plate used to be one of my favourite restaurants. The lamb was very tender but personally, I found the flavours to be a bit muted. It tasted ok but didn’t have the wow factor that I was hoping for.
Next, my friend and I stopped by the booth for Newport Grill on Lake Bonavista. We got a sample of their miniature Lamb and Stout Pies. I was really impressed. It was delicious and easily my favourite savoury bite of the evening. Not only was the braised lamb melt-in-your-mouth tender, it was also rich and flavourful.
My friend M who is on a gluten-free diet stopped by the booth to try Judy G’s Gluten-Free Pizzas. She got a slice of the Roasted Mediterranean Artichoke Pizza,which is both vegetarian and dairy-free. The pizza was topped with artichokes, red peppers, red onion, and mushrooms roasted in garlic and topped with olives. As far as gluten-free pizzas are concerned, this was actually a pretty decent version and I was surprised to learn that you can actually buy Judy G’s Gluten-Free Pizzas at Sobeys locations throughout Western Canada as well as various organic markets around town.
Next I sampled the Ale Smoked Butter Beef Brisket from the Calgary Stampede booth. It was served with yellow beets, bacon and some blue cheese potato salad. The slices of brisket were tender and had good flavour. The blue cheese potato salad actually reminded me of creamy scalloped potatoes. I was actually surprised at how large and generous the sample portion was.
For dessert, I first tried the Bier-a-Misu from the CRAFT Beer Market booth. Instead of the traditional tiramisu, which is usually made with espresso, the Bier-a-Misu was made with stout. It was a really tasty dessert although I couldn’t really taste much of the stout. Since I’m usually a tiramisu lover, this dessert was right up my alley.
For my second dessert, I tried the Chocolate Ganache Torte from the Black Betty Burger & Wine Bar booth. The Chocolate Ganache Torte was topped chopped walnuts and drizzled with salty caramel. I liked that the chocolate ganache was rich and decadent but yet, not overly sweet. This was the perfect way to finish off the evening. I hope that Black Betty Burger has this on their regular dessert menu as I definitely would go to have it again.
As for beverage samples, I really enjoyed the Bakon Vodka that was mixed into a Caesar even though I’m typically not a huge fan of flavoured vodkas. But being a bacon lover, I could not refuse trying Bakon Vodka. I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was. It didn’t have any artificial or chemical taste to it. And I could really taste the subtle smokiness of the bacon when mixed in the Caesar.
I had a really great time at the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival. It was the perfect opportunity to sample new alcoholic products of all varieties including liqueurs, spirits, wines, and beer. For a few sampling coupons, I was able to try products that I was curious about but was normally reluctant to buy at the store because I didn’t want to be stuck with a whole bottle of it if it turns out to be something I didn’t care for. I’m definitely looking forward to attending the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival again next year.
Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival