Preview by Catherine Paet-Pondanera
Hailed as one of Alberta’s largest and most anticipated wine and food events of the year, the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival (RMWFF), which started in Calgary in 1997, is making its way back to Edmonton for the twelfth straight year.
For only two days, November 8th and 9th, guests can reward their taste buds with flavours from all across the globe, just within the confines of the Edmonton Convention Centre. The regular admission varies depending on the date and time, but ranges from $22 – $33, giving you four full hours to wander through the delights. However, this does not include the price of sampling coupons, which are $0.50.
My mouth is salivating as I look through the wine menu. I’m looking forward to trying the Chardonnays from Argentina, Australia, and Moldova. There’s Riesling from Germany and Yuzu wine from Japan. I’m not particularly a fan of red wines, but with over 200 different wines across sixteen different countries, who knows, I might fall in love. Italy seems to have quite the collection of red wines, like the Sweet Red Sparkling, Smooth Red, and Dark Red from the Roscato Wines booth.
The RMWFF hosts over 35 different restaurants. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. will be promoting their Shrimp Mac ‘N Cheese. I’ll be checking this booth out before going to the real deal at the West Edmonton Mall. Master Chocolat will be providing Assorted Truffles and Chocolate Bar Pieces in gluten free and dairy free varieties. Café Bicyclette will be exhibiting their vegetarian crepes. From the Sunterra market, to Sawmill Banquet and Catering Services, to Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse, there’s something for everyone. With everything out on display, it’s going to be a struggle to manage my time within the allotted four hours.
Food and wine aren’t the only products out on display at the RMWFF. They also have hundreds of beers, ciders, and spirits to sample. I’ve heard of Alley Kat, the oldest microbrewery in Edmonton, but I’ve never tried any of their products before. Luckily, they have a booth set up, featuring their signature Aprikat and the new Lost Mitten.
All the beers on the menu have interesting names, but ones that caught my eye were the Hobgoblin Ginger Beard, from the Marston’s Brewery in the United Kingdom, and the Wizard’s Revenge Strawberry Milkshake IPA, from New Level Brewing in Canada. Both drinks sound interesting, and I’ll be marking them down on my To Try List.
I’m not too worried about getting drunk during the event because the sample sizes are only about half an ounce to four ounces, depending on the type of drink. The most I’m expecting to get is just a bit tipsy.
Drink, eat and give back. That’s one of the festival’s slogans in their website. The owner, Michael Macdougall, and his team believe in the importance of giving back to the communities and industries that have supported them.
In 2018 the RMWFF donated almost $16,000 to local charities and organizations. From the Edmonton festival guests alone, they have raised nearly $700 and 450 lbs of food in two days for the Edmonton Food Bank. Guests can help out this initiative by bringing non-perishable food items and monetary donations.
The festival also takes pride in nurturing the budding culinary talents at NAIT and SAIT, giving students the opportunity to learn from, and work with the exhibitors.
From the humble beginnings of three friends working as beer brand reps in Ontario, to a staff of sixteen individuals working towards hosting a festival that has garnered over 25,000 guests every year. Macdougall and his team started with 30 booths, which doubled the following year, and now accommodates hundreds of booths for guests to peruse.
This event only lasts for two days a year in Edmonton, so don’t miss your chance for a tipsy evening of worldly wines, and delectable food.
Edmonton Convention Centre,
Friday, November 8th, 5pm – 10pm
Saturday, November 9th, 12pm – 4pm
Saturday, November 9th, 6pm – 10pm