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The Foodie’s Delight

Discover the best of Nova Scotian cuisine at Savour Food & Wine

By Trevor J. Adams

You’d have to spend a year touring to have all the great culinary experiences you can enjoy during the Savour Food & Wine festival. Running from February 1 to March 2, Savour celebrates the province’s culinary scene, with numerous special events.

The popular Dine Around program is back and this year it runs through the whole month. That’s a promotion whereby
restaurants throughout the province offer prix fixe menus that encourage diners to explore and experiment.

Event chair Joe McGuinness is particularly excited about Savour’s Decadence event at the Westin on February 3. It celebrates the art of wine and food pairing. The first hour features succulent cheese paired with different wines. Each cheese is then transformed into a beautiful dish or hors d’oeuvres, matching the paired wine again. The latter half of the evening pairs chocolate with wines, port and dessert wines.
And serious wine aficionados will want to check out the Rare & Fine Wine Tasting at Windows at the World Trade Centre  on February 13. “It’s a serious wine event,” McGuinness says. “It’s the only event of its type on the East Coast.”

The tasting specializes in rare and vintage wines, most of which attendees would never otherwise have a chance to try. If features 30 wines, each of which has scored at least a 90 from a prestigious publication such as Wine Spectator. With 100 attendees (at $99 per ticket), it’s a small-scale, exclusive event. “We want to allow more opportunity for attendees to mingle with wine presenters,” McGuinness says. This year, organizers are broadening the focus to include wines from Spain and Chile. Also, Bishop’s Cellar will be selling wines on site in “very limited quantities.”

The festival culminates in the Savour Food & Wine Show on March 2. More than 100 exhibitors will share their creations at the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel on Hollis Street. Exhibitors include vintners, brewers, chefs and other restaurant industry insiders, all competing to wow attendees with mouthwatering samples and eye-catching displays.

For foodies, it’s a sure thing. Haligonian Jody Rice Gallagher attends every year. “I really like learning what restaurants are in the city and the province in general and what they have to offer,” she says. “It is a great way to sample some of their best dishes.”

Exhibitors share food and drink in sample-sized portions but with such a wealth to choose from, you need to be strategic to make sure you have the best experience. “Go with an empty stomach,” advises Gallagher. “There is a tremendous amount of food and you will find at the end that you want try more but just can’t find the room for more. Pick the places that you are really curious about and try those first… But don’t limit yourself. It is a great place to try new things since they are small bites.”

While exhibitors come and go, there are some that fans know to watch. “The Hamachi House (page 106) always is a standout because of their amazing display of sushi, as well as hot food,” Gallagher says.

Knowledgeable, engaging and a champion of local flavours, Chef Dennis Johnston of Fid Resto on Dresden Row is another fan favourite. He’s returning for his third year. “I’ll absolutely be there,” he says. “It’s great exposure and a great experience. I love the chance to mingle… Savour is becoming something that everyone wants to tick off on their social calendar in Halifax.”

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