Atlantic Canada’s premier food and wine festival returns for a midwinter celebration of local flavours and culinary talents
By Kim Hart Macneill
Amidst the snow and chill, February has something hot to offer visitors and local foodies alike: back for its 17th season, the Savour Food & Wine Festival, is a month-long celebration of Nova Scotian restaurants and food producers.
“Savour gives us an opportunity to showcase our people, people who work behind the bar, people working in the kitchen, people who serve tables,” says Gordon Stewart, executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, which organizes the event.
The festival runs over the course of the month. It opens with Dine Around, hosted in partnership with Discover Halifax. The month-long event encourages people to visit restaurants across the province with special prix fixe menu options priced $10–$50, in $10 increments. This year, Dine Around restaurants will also offer lunch options. In 2019, the number of participating restaurants increased to 54 from 33 in 2018. Stewart says he expects to see another jump this year. (Find details at savourfoodandwine.com).
The first stand-alone event of the 2020 festival is Imbibe, held Feb. 6 at 7pm at the Lord Nelson Hotel on South Park Street. At this up-market soirée, Nova Scotia’s top mixologists craft sample-size cocktails to pair with delectable finger foods. Locally-made spirits and ingredients take centre stage. From flare to unique flavours, there’s something for every cocktail enthusiast.
In the depths of winter, the Craft Beer Cottage Party boasts a summer mindset. It happens Feb. 8 at 7pm at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market. General admission is $60. Your ticket grants you a sampling glass and unlimited pours from 30 Nova Scotian breweries. Wear your best plaid and come ready to dance to live music, or compete in classic summer games like washer toss and giant Jenga.
On Feb. 20 the festival’s signature event, the eponymous Savour Food and Wine Show hits the Halifax Convention Centre on Argyle Street. Tickets are $95. This year the event showcases over 80 of Nova Scotia’s finest restaurants, wines, and beverage producers. Year after year, foodies leave this event raving about the endless variety of dishes on offer and ever-growing diversity of the province’s culinary scene.
Stewart says the level of quality, and quantity, at the event amazes him every year. “It’s supposed to be little tastings, but at some booths it’s like a meal; it’s a full course,” he says. “I always say: ‘Take your appetite, take your liver, and don’t ask for seconds, just keep moving. That’s how you make it through the show.”
The wines of the world come to Halifax on Feb. 21 for Rare & Fine Wine. At this show, you’ll discover over 40 wines from around the globe, all rated 90+ points by influential wine rankers like Wine Spectator. None have been available in Halifax before. The event is on Feb. 21 at the Halifax Convention Centre at 7pm. Tickets are $119 for general admission and $169 for premium admission, which includes 6pm entry, a special Riedel wine glass and tasting notes.
These wines are usually impossible to buy locally, but Bishop’s Cellar will offer bottle sales through the show. Attendees have first crack at buying bottles through the store’s website during the event. Buyers must pick up their wine at the store or have it delivered the day after the show.
Buy tickets online and find show information at savourfoodandwine.com.