by Matt Steeves
Ottawa is without a doubt a place to visit in 2017! With Canada 150 events happening throughout the year, leading up to Canada’s 150th anniversary on July 1st, the city is booming with world-class entertainment, festivities, wine, food, and cultural experiences that are capturing the attention of many within Canada and abroad. As I, and many passionate Ottawa residents have been saying for some time, Ottawa has seen an explosion of wine, food, and entertainment interest in the past decade which has positioned us well to be the epicentre for Canada’s 150 celebrations this year.
One of the big events happening in Ottawa this year is the 46th annual JUNO Awards and associated festivities that will be taking place between March 27-April 2, 2017. During that fun-filled week Ottawa will be hosting Canada’s top music talent and celebrating how incredible Canada’s music, fine arts, and entertainment scene has become. With the JUNO Awards in Ottawa, thousands of JUNO Awards attendees and visitors will get to see first hand how dynamic Ottawa has become, including our great wine & food scene. Mark my word, for the 1500 guests attending the JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards, they’ll get a great sample of some of Canada’s great culinary delights.
I had the pleasure of attending a sneak peek tasting of the wine, beer, and food pairings that will be served to the fortunate 1500 guests attending the JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards on Saturday April 1st, at the Shaw Convention Centre in downtown Ottawa beside the famous Rideau Canal and just down the street from Canada’s Parliament Hill. Myself and a dozen local media had the pleasure of tasting a four course meal complete with beer and wine pairings with the President & CEO of CARAS, The JUNO Awards & MusiCounts, Mr. Allan Reid, and Sam Roberts, six time JUNO Award winner and lead singer for the famous Canadian band, Sam Roberts Band.
We started off our culinary experience with a delish Steam Whistle Pilsner and hors d’oeuvre pairing that consisted of a smoked local duck breast, caramalized Macintosh apple chutney on a marble rye crostini. The texture of the hors d’oeuvre with the smoked duck, and sweet apple chutney paired beautifully with the refreshing Pilsner. And best yet, the hors d’oeuvres were a perfect one-bite size making them terrific for enjoying when socializing with Canada’s top recording artists.
Next course was the salad and wine pairing.
In this video, Del Rollo, Hospitality Director of Jackson-Triggs Estate Winery introduces the delicious salad and wine pairing where guests enjoyed a glass of 2015 Jackson-Triggs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc with a gluten free panko crusted local goasts cheese croquette, beet root salad, arugula-pumpkin seed pesto, hot house sprouts, and baby spinach…seriously delicious pairing!
We were fortunate to have six time JUNO Awards winner, and Canadian wine lover, and perhaps a future Canadian Prime Minister, Sam Roberts, join us for this food and wine pairing and talk about the special Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estates Amphitheater Summer Concert Series where they’ve played for a number of years now which has made Sam a passionate Canadian wine lover and advocate. Sam also talked about what makes the JUNO Awards experience so special for Canadian artists, the JUNO-family, and how he and his band, and colleagues, are looking forward to enjoying some special times in Ottawa over the next couple weeks and of course throughout the year as Ottawa hosts the Canada 150 celebrations.
The main course was a 48 hour marinated slow braised Wellington County beef short rib with decadent creamy polenta, roasted butternut puree, young beans, heirloom carrots, roasted beets, grilled peppers and Canadian Club jus. We enjoyed this delicious beef dish with a soft and round Jackson-Triggs Reserve Merlot which complemented the tender beef dish very well.
The last course we enjoyed, the dessert and wine pairing course, was a hot chocolate cheese cake with hidden dark chocolate ganache, crisp meringue marshmallows, berries and cream, which was paired with what many may consider an atypical dessert wine pairing, an ever so slightly off-dry sparkling wine by Jackson-Triggs. Their Reserve Cuve Close 2015 which I’ve shown on my CTV wine segments in the past as it offers terrific value and is great for hosting with, offered great freshness and texture, and surprisingly to all guests paired great with the sweet and creamy dessert dish. The rule of the wine needs to be sweeter than the dish doesn’t always hold true when you add contrasting texture to the equation (refreshing lively bubbles with creamy dessert).
All participants enjoyed the sweet ending and savouring some tasty and slightly off-dry bubbly in the comforts of the Shaw Centre crEATe interactive kitchen.
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