Friday 18 April 2014

Well Well...How time flies!

I've been busy, Tastefuls, very busy, but I am here to tell you two things

Firstly, though I've been continuing with various private events and projects, but I've been spending most of my time since last years' California Wine Tour with the Drake One Fifty bar - the new brainchild of The Drake Hotels' Jeff Stober - in assisting to bring edgy art, fabulous food and captivating cocktails from Queen West to the Bay Street crowd.
I have to say that the team here is amazing and I find myself eager to work with such a group of professionals, a working relationship that seemed for me a no-brainer to merge my largest event of the year to this location, to further bring my Queen West love of all things local to the Bay Street crowd.

Which brings us to the second thing to announce; that it's that time of year again, to bring together some of the most exciting local wines, cheeses and producers in Ontario for an afternoon of exploring and tasting for the 7th Annual Ontario Wine Fair!

It is game-on, my friends, and as the venue is larger than our usual Parkdale venues, we're doing 26 wineries for you to spend the day enjoying here near the Bay Street hoopala - Certainly public transportation this year will be a breeze for most!

The details in full are as follows:

The 7th Annual Ontario Wine Fair is
Sunday June 22nd at 1 PM
Presented by
cafe Taste: EVENTS!
& held at
150 York St, Toronto

The Ontario Wine Fair's goal is to allow you to taste and order the products of 25+ wineries and cheesemakers under one roof: 

A one-stop tasting of what Ontario has to offer!

Cost is $60 in advance, $70 at the door. (Space is limited for this premium event)

Order winery products and vote on your favourites for the People's Choice Awards

PLUS the Best-Of-Show be a featured wine at The Drake One Fifty - wineries featured include:

Megalomaniac, Flat Rock Cellars, Calamus Estate Winery, The Grange of PEC,
Karlo Estates, Casa Dea Estates, Black Prince Winery, Three Dog Winery, Keint-He Winery
Tawse Winery, By Chadsay’s Cairns, Cornerstone Winery, Lailey Vineyards,
Smith & Wilson, Stratus Estate Winery, Charles Baker, Thirteenth St. Winery, Pondview Estates,
Coyotes Run Winery, Foreign Affair Winery, Reif Estates, Southbrook Estates, Norman Hardie Wines, Rosewood Estates, Malivoire Estates, and Pearl Morissette.

To Register call 416-536-7748 or click HERE

As space is limited for this premium event, all sales are final - No refunds

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Rotting fish a delicacy? STINKFEST!

Hello Tastefuls!

SO, our next event is teamed-up with and the brainchild of Jamie Drummond of Good Food Revolution who told me last year of Surstromming - basically rotting fish in a can he'd brought back for me from still rests within my cupboard, swelling from the off-gassing of the fish during decay.  Apparently transport of the product is not allowed on almost all aircraft as the contents are under pressure and if the can ruptures you can imagine the chaos of an enclosed and recirculated atmosphere the plane becomes!

We decided to unleash it on some industry foodies here in Toronto, so, IF you are industry and IF you dare, join us Thursday August 15th as Good Food Revolution and cafeTaste: EVENTS host Toronto's inaugural StinkFest from 4 PM until 8 PM on the patio of Midfield Wine Bar (the patio because seriously, the stench is downright clingy) at Dundas and Gladstone.

Due to the limited amount of Surstromming this is strictly an invite only industry event.  There will be a small donation at the door with all monies going to The Stop Community Food Centre.

If you're interested in attending please email us at

BTW, check the video Jamie posted here on  Good Food Revolution to see the cultured way of eating the rotten things, BUT, go here for the grisly side of being initiated to Surstromming (go straight to the 11 minutes mark to see Surstromming can being opened - WARNING: NOT FOR THE FEINT OF HEART)


Jeremy Day
Wine Geek
cafeTaste: EVENTS!

Friday 12 July 2013

6th Annual Ontario Wine Fair was a HUGE success!

WOW, the 6th Annual Ontario Wine Fair was a HUGE success!

You all suffered through some horrific humidity to come by and taste, and you all did yeomens service to endure tasting through all that wine and cheese ;)

SO, after much tallying and breakdown (I wanted to ensure accuracy) the results are in - first some specs:
There were a total of 81 wines poured to 146 people, who ate 16 kilos of cheese and 30 baguettes of bread...
...All of this lead to the cafeTaste Peoples' Choice Awards - below are our winners!

Favourite Riesling went to Charles Baker Wines for his 2012 'Ivan Vineyard', Twenty Mile Bench
Favourite Chardonnay (Oaked) went to Southbrook Estate Winery for the 2011 Organic Chardonnay
Favourite Chadonnay (Unoaked) went to Sprucewood Shores for their 2011 Chardonnay
Favourite Pinot Noir went to Norman Hardie Wines for his 2011 'County Pinot'
Favourite Merlot went to Karlo Estates for his 2010 Merlot
Favourite Cabernet Franc went to Pondview Estate Winery for their 2010 'Bella Terra' 
Favourite Cabernet Sauvignon went to Calamus Estates for their 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Favourite Sparkling went to Flat Rock Cellars for their 2008 'Riddled', Traditional Method
Favourite Rose went to Keint-He Winery for their 2011 'Voyager' Rose
Favourite Single Varietal Red (Dry) went to Vineland Estates for their 2011 Pinot Meunier
Favourite Single Varietal Red (Non-dry) went to Keint-He Winery for their 2008 'Pineaux Sauvage' 
Favourite Single Varietal White (Dry) went to Calamus Estates for their 2012 Pinot Gris 
Favourite Single Varietal White (Non-dry) went to Lacey Estates for their 2011 Gewurtraminer
Favourite White Blend went to Karlo Estates for their 2010 'Van Alstine' White 
Favourite Red Blend went to Stratus Wines for their 2011 'Wildass Red' is my great pleasure to announce...

Best of Show Red is awarded to Norman Hardie Wines for his 2011 'County Pinot'
Best of Show White is awarded to Southbrook Estate Winery for the 2011 Organic Chardonnay

Congratulations of course goes out to our medal winners, but we also congratulate Bridget Light for being the winner of our VQA Gift Basket draw - thanks to everyone for enjoying the quality of VQA that the Toronto public can now be exposed to!

Jeremy Day
Wine Geek
VQA Promoter of the Year 2011
cafeTaste: EVENTS!

Thursday 4 July 2013

6th Annual Ontario Wine Fair this Saturday!!!

I'm certainly excited, folks, as we've confirmed 18 wineries, including: Calamus Estates, Casa Dea Winery, Norman Hardie, Charles Baker Wines, Sandbanks, The Grange of PEC, Stanners Vineyard, Rosewood Estates, Pondview Winery, Flat Rock Cellars, Stratus Winery, Karlo Estates, Sprucewood Shores, Lacey Estates, Palatine Hills, Vineland Estates, Keint-He Winery, and Southbrook Estates!

We have a selection of almost 30 cheeses from a dozen local artisan cheesemakers (list below) for you to enjoy alongside your bounty of premium VQA.

Remember top vote on your favs so that the winemakers may receive the recognition they deserve!

Get your last minute tickets by hitting the "Ontario Wine Fair" TAB above - you know you want to ;)


Jeremy Day
aka Wine Geek

Our Cheese Makers

Monforte Dairy
Based in Stratford, Ruth Klahsen is a veteran chef, passionate about creativity in the use of astonishingly good milk supplied by local sheppards of sheep and goat.
Thornloe Dairy
Thornloe Cheese is a 100% Canadian, 100% farmer-owned company producing cutting edge unpasteurized goat, blue, bloomy rind and Morbier line cheeses.
Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
Champions of the environment and socially responsible, using fresh, locally produced goat and sheep milk. Fifth Town integrates traditional methods and ethics with contemporary tastes and local terroir.
Ewenity Dairy
A co-operative of Ontario farmers who craft yogurt, cheeses and ice cream from their sheepsmilk, focusing on allowing natural flavours and textures to unfold and develop.
Upper Canada Cheese Co.
Premium artisanal cheeses from the milk of Guernsey cows, expressing the unique terroir of the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere region with rich milk and the talents of our cheesemakers.
Glengarry Fine Cheese
Located in Eastern Ontario just north of the village of Lancaster, Glengarry specializes in gourmet cheeses made from local cow's milk to exacting standards of care, resulting in cheeses of exceptional quality.
Ivanhoe Cheese
Award-winning artisan Cheddars, Goudas and Swiss using ageing and smoking for a flavoured cheese experience.
Jensen Cheese
A third generation family tradition established by Master Cheesemaker Arne Jensen. Each cheese has been made with the utmost care and attention to guarantee the texture and flavour are at their best. 
Sunshine Pantry
Offering artisan meat, cheese, and antipasto, sunshine pantry is a chef with a passion for creating old-world delights using exceptional local ingredients.

Tuesday 4 June 2013

I had the delight to attend the first vertical tasting of Rosewoods Semillon from 2008 to 2012 vintages, showcasing not only how wonderfully the styles of wine this varietal can produce based upon vintage climate variation here in Ontario, but how interestingly it can age in bottle.
The cooler vintages showed structure and wonderful acid - great for the wine-industry people in the room - whilst the warmer vintages are sure to be crowd pleasers for the by-the-glass restaurant or at home crowd...Think bold, juicy and tropical honey for 2010 and 2012, while 2009 and 2011 showcased unripe citrus, conifer, and even a hint of petrol, making those vintages akin to a blending of sauvignon blanc and riesling.  Wonderfully versatile and truly an insight into climate and craftsmanship, do yourself a favour and check out a bottle of each of the 2011 and 2012 Rosewood Semillon, grab several and store for subsequent enjoyment as they evolve over the next 5-8 years :)


Remember that this month is the 6th Annual Ontario Wine Fair -  Tickets and details available on the "Wine Fair" TAB at the top right of this page - this always sells out so get your tickets while you can!

Monday 3 June 2013

Hello, Tastefuls!

Been an exciting past month, with planning the Ontario Wine Fair and tasting/touring through East Germany and learning of Saxon wines!  The Goldriesling was the most interesting, a musque I'm told originated as a varietal from a cross of Riesling with Marechal Foch.  It, along with Rieslings that used barrel aging and even partial ferment and Pinot Noir were what was showcased.  The Goldrielsings tasted all had a common spicy aromatic, and all would do well for by-the-glass enjoyment.
Proliferous was Traminer, so my host made sure we sampled a bottle, which to my mind wasn't what he should be showing...well made but uninteresting besides the bright fruit aromatics...
Though suggested to enjoy the Pinot Noirs, my greatest red enjoyment was the Dornfelder, something I'd never enjoyed before, but the wine presented was deep red with rich colour and texture.  Generous fruit with a milder acidity made for an exercise in tasting exactly what I smelled; cherries and blackberries.
Feel free to pick my brain about what I tasted in more detail in person, as now I'm going to use this space to say that tickets are now on sale for the 6th Annual Ontario Wine Fair!

As this year I'm using a larger venue, we do not have to split the tasting into two windows and everyone gets to attend with their friends!  click on the Ontario Wine Fair Tab for details and tickets!

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Upcoming Events, and how I've been spending my time...

Greetings, Tastefuls!

SO, the Winter Wine Fair was a smashing success, sold-out as usual, and I've booked the venue for the SUMMER Ontario Wine Fair on Saturday June 29th.

As you're going to need another cafeTaste: EVENT to tide you over, I'm doing a Winemakers' Dinner w. Arthur Harder of Calamus Winery, which many of you may recall has been one of my fav 'little guy' wineries for years!  There are still tickets left to this intimate 5-course, all-inclusive dinner with wines paired to each course.  Reserve your spot and meet the principles and wine maker himself to discuss all of the reasons why their wines taste as good as they do!  The date is Thursday May 2nd, and is $85 for all food, wine, tax, gratuity and discussion with the winemaker.  The address is 605 College Street.  Tickets and details can be found HERE

In between my the public events I've been doing guest bartending gigs (one example was being in costume as a 1950's barman doing period cocktails for the season premier of Mad Men) and private parties (the home tastings for small groups is always fun), however much of my most recent weeks have been developing a cocktail program for the Cadillac Lounge!  As Sam (the famous owner of the Parkdale staple) has now re-opened the El Mocambo and is re-tooling the food and bar program at that historic venue, he's decided it is time for a re-vamp of the Caddy to embrace what inspired it: Classic cars and Southern Rock n Roll!  The new menu is a hats' off to Elvis and Memphis cuisine, and I've designed the cocktail program to reflect this, as well as to pay homage to Sam's Italian roots.  So come by the Cadillac Lounge and try the new menu and sample some of the upcoming cocktails!