Taste Community Grown – Prince Edward County – September 24, 2016

Visiting Prince Edward County is one of my favorite things to do regardless of season. My biggest challenge on any visit to the County is finding a way to cram as much into the day as possible. Without careful planning you can easily spend the day in a car having only made a few stops at wineries … and that doesn’t even factor in finding a place to eat. This past weekend I stopped by the Crystal Palace in Picton to check out Taste Community Grown. This event features local vendors of wine and food. The best part is that everything was located in one site so it was easy to get a taste of Prince Edward County without spending the day in a car.

The event ran from 11am-5pm and I arrived shortly after the gates had opened. There was a bit of a lineup bit it moved quickly. I think my only mistake for the day was arriving around lunch time. All the food vendors had lineups quickly and I did spend quite a bit of time waiting in line. By around 1:30pm things had settled down and lines were moving quickly at vendors. Tickets were available for purchase for a dollar per ticket. My best advice for Taste, and pretty much any walk around event like this, bring a few dollars in your pocket so you can avoid lineups at ATM’s.

Winemaker Derek Barnett slinging bottle from behind the counter at the Karlo Estates booth.
Winemaker Derek Barnett slinging bottle from behind the counter at the Karlo Estates booth.

I’m a big fan of the Crystal Palace in Picton. This hundred year old building is bright and open, and given that it was one of the first real days of fall it was nice to have a place indoors to enjoy some of what the county has to offer. The most impressive thing about the event was the attendance of a dozen wineries. If you are new to the wineries of Prince Edward County this is a great place to get a crash course. One of the favorite booths was manned by Owner and Winemaker John Squair. He was pouring his Reiki Riesling which was simply outstanding. Karlo Estates also brought their A-Game with winemaker Derek Barnett pouring a yet to be released Pinot Noir. Other wine highlights included Sparkling offerings from Huff and Casa-Dea with their Cuvée Janine and Dea’s Cuvée respectively. It’s rare to see a winemaker step away from the crush pad during harvest so attendees were lucky to be able to chat with a few winemakers at the event in the middle of harvest. That being said I simply didn’t have enough time or tickets to visit every winery at the event … anyone who knows me knows that this is saying a lot.

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The food highlight definitely came from Kin Café. They were serving a curried roti in both Chicken and Chickpea (for the Vegetarians) varieties. The well staffed booth couldn’t keep the lineup down. For something a little less hearty I was on the hunt for cheeses to pair with my wine which were provided by Black River Cheese. Next year I do plan on stopping by the event a little later on in the afternoon. If you are looking for a more leisurely visit between wine and food vendors, I would suggest heading to the event after 1pm to avoid line-ups.

All in all there is a lot going on during this event. It is called Taste Community Grown and they have done a very good job doing exactly as the name has stated offer a taste of what the county has to offer. I now have a list of restaurants to visit and a few wineries to stop by that I didn’t have a chance to taste at this event. My overall impressions of Taste is that they have pulled off a walk around tasting event that is on-par with many of the events that take place in Toronto without the huge crowds. The thing about Prince Edward County is that people are starting to get wise to this undiscovered culinary and wine corner of the province. My advice, put this on the calendar for next year because I can only guess that it will be bigger and better than this year.

Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

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