Niagara Wine Weekend – Part V

Were we already at the end of our Ultimate Food, Beer and Wine Tour?  To be honest, I was done by this point and needed some nappytime bad.  We had been wine tasting and eating steadily since 10AM!  Fine, call me a lightweight.  I know when to tap out.

Of course, dessert is always in order after any meal and thus we had some chocolatey treats from Willow Cakes and Pastries and enjoyed it along with some ice wine from Reif Estate Winery.

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I wish I had been able to enjoy this last bit, but I won’t lie, the day had taken its toll and I was done.   The couple bites I took were delicious however.  

No trip to Niagara is ever complete without a quick jaunt across the border.  A little bit of shopping and lunch was on the agenda.

A peep of mine suggested Smokey Bones for lunch.  I’m always down for new places to eat.

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If it wasn’t obvious, this is a BBQ joint.  Behold their BBQ sauces! 

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Started with some cornbread.  More like corn cake. With pecan butter.  So warm and good. 

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My cuban sandwich – yummy pulled pork.  Brunswick stew on the side – smoked BBQ, corn and tomatoes.  A little spicey heat, it was good hearty stew for this rainy, chilly day.  Yes, that’s broccoli.  I’ll say no more.  

Our next stop was to Trader Joe’s.  What does a Canadian need to do to get a location in Canada?! I love this grocery chain.  Trader Joe branded goods are fantastic!

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My stash.  Though I wished I’d picked up a few other items. 

Before crossing the border, we made a stop at Cheesecake Factory.  I always say that I wished we had one here but on second thought, I think I’d be in trouble if we did.  I’ve written about how I enjoy this restaurant.  Check out this post if you would like an example.  I can’t believe I crossed the border with all this cheesecake.  I think I saw the Customs agent fight a smile when I declared my slices.

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White chocolate raspberry 

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Kahlua coffee 

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White chocolate caramel macadamia nut and Mango Key lime 

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Godiva chocolate – the BEST!!

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Cheesecake for dinner for days!  Who does this!! 

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It was a super fun weekend.  We ate well.  We drank well.  We shopped well.  We laughed lots and enjoyed hanging out not worrying about significant others, kids or work for three days.

Until next time! =)

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Niagara Wine Weekend – Part IV

I was smitten with this fourth location on our Ultimate Food, Beer and Wine Tour.  This part of our tour found us visiting Southbrook Vineyards, Canada’s first Biodynamic winery.  Southbrook practices biodynamic agriculture meaning everything on their winery is treated as part of an overall ecosystem.  They are certified organic and work to be a green vineyard.

The winery was beautiful.  Modern and clean.

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When it rains, this rock garden turns into a rock pool and they use the water to reflect light off the blue and white walls.  

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Setting up our table for our tasting

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Here’s the wine. 

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Everything so beautifully lined up.  It’s these little details that I appreciate. 

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Views to the outside

This is Lucan.  He was our leader for this tasting.  It was very obvious that Lucan was very passionate about food and wine.  He spoke excitedly about his work at the vineyard and all the wines being produced.  He was enlightening.

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I loved this tasting because they picked food that everyday people eat in an effort to show that anyone can pair wine with even the simplest of meals.  The one thing on this plate that I became obsessed with was the almond cookie with honey (made by their own bees).  I could have eaten an entire tray.  But alas, my incessant requests for more cookies went unheard.  I will dream of that cookie for ages.

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My haul from Southbrook.  Cabernet Franc Vinegar which I already used with oil as a bread dip.  A framboise wine that I hope to make a Sangria type drink with.  Natural honey and Peach Jam with Framboise that I think would taste amazing for breakfast on toast or waffles. 

Oh Southbrook, can I have more cookies please?  I mean, I know I should be focused on the wine, but I’m sorry, those cookies own my heart! But I digress, your tasting was the prettiest by far and Lucan’s enthusiasm was infectious.

I would definitely come back! =)

Niagara Wine Weekend – Part II

The Ultimate Food, Beer and Wine Tour run by Niagara Vintage Wine Tours continued on with our next stop at Silversmith Brewery. Housed in a historic, converted church, Silversmith Brewery is an independently owned, small craft brewery located in Niagara and has been producing beer since 2011.

First off, I have to say that I love that this craft brewery made its home in a church.  Talk about charm!

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View from the outside

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Love that little stained glass window.  Check out all the merchandise for sale.  

Upon entering, we were seated at a long table down the middle.  We paired off and the servers proceeded to give us our beer flights and set down our food platter.

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So cozy!

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Wine Menu 

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Food platter from up top – Montreal smoked meat, blue cheese and aged cheddar, chicken pate with cranberries and pistachios, trout pate, pickled garlic stems, awesome mustard, beer nuts and crackers

Ok, so this was only the second stop and I was already impressed with the food provided.  I am in agreement when they say this is an Ultimate food and beer and wine tour.  None of these foods did I ever think would be served with beer.

Let’s start with the beer – Bavarian breakfast wheat, black lager, Golden Ale and British Pale Ale.

For me, I ended up liking the beers in pretty much the order they were served.  They were all light, even the black lager which surprised my nicely.  The Black lager had a nice coffee/cocoa finish.  I generally don’t like dark beers but this one is one I would have again.  The Bavarian breakfast wheat was smooth, definitely the type of beer I drink.  The other two had a bit of a bitter finish, but would be perfect cold on a hot summer’s day.

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Our food pairings.  Let’s give it up for the trout mousse.  My mouth waters as I think of this savoury spread.   Top corner was a chicken pate with cranberries and pistachios.  Had a little sweetness which I always love in a food.  Can’t go wrong with blue cheese – my fave!  Look at all that Montreal smoked meat and the awesome mustard that went with it.  In case you’re wondering, the green thing is a pickled garlic stem.  It was a joy to try these different flavours.  I dream of the trout mousse and chicken pate.  Swoon.

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Beautiful colours of beer.  

I highly enjoyed the location and atmosphere of Silversmith Brewery.  The food was unique and something I have not had before.  This made this experience so worth while.  And those beers! Thanks for introducing me to a dark lager that I actually would drink again!

Stay tuned for part III – Rancourt Winery =)