Savour - the food, the wine, the event

Karl Wells
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Hungry? How about some plump sautÉed shrimp with white wine in a vol au vent, followed by traditional salt cod croquettes and then a piece of adobe strip loin with roasted peppers on a focacia loaf, all washed down with white and red wines? Sound good? You'll be able to savour those dishes (and more) very soon here in St. John's.

There's no calm, steady Mission Control voice involved, but the final countdown is definitely on for the first St. John's Savour Food and Wine Show, sponsored by the Restaurant Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (RANL.) Savour will afford St. John's residents an opportunity (for a fee) to spend an evening at the Delta Hotel sampling the best that dozens of St. John's restaurants have to offer.

Entrees such as Bianca's seared sea bass with curried mango couscous will share the Savour stage with samples from many of St. John's popular eateries. Photo by Karl Wells/Special to The Telegram

Hungry? How about some plump sautÉed shrimp with white wine in a vol au vent, followed by traditional salt cod croquettes and then a piece of adobe strip loin with roasted peppers on a focacia loaf, all washed down with white and red wines? Sound good? You'll be able to savour those dishes (and more) very soon here in St. John's.

There's no calm, steady Mission Control voice involved, but the final countdown is definitely on for the first St. John's Savour Food and Wine Show, sponsored by the Restaurant Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (RANL.) Savour will afford St. John's residents an opportunity (for a fee) to spend an evening at the Delta Hotel sampling the best that dozens of St. John's restaurants have to offer.

Restaurants participating range from the high-end Bianca's to pub-style restaurants like the Guv'nor Pub. Wines will be available too, as well as craft beers and mixed cocktails, but, unlike NLC's fall extravaganza, Savour is mainly about the food.

I've been to events like Savour before in North America and Europe. They can be tremendous fun. For a relatively modest price you get to sample food from high-end restaurants that ordinarily might be out of your price range. Then there's the wine. At one memorable event I got to taste very expensive French champagne. My budget definitely would not have stretched that far.

Now's the time

It's doubtful St. John's could have successfully hosted a Savour event until fairly recently. There wasn't the same level of interest in dining and wine, nor did we have the variety of restaurants. Big food and wine shows operated in larger centres. Times and attitudes have changed.

According to Brenda Lawlor of the Savour organizing team, many local restaurateurs agree that this is something St. John's can finally accomplish.

"From our very first presentation people bought into the concept. Some were aware of the Savour show in Halifax and others thought it was good timing to market and expose our restaurant sector."

Lawlor continued, "Savour will be a platform that our industry will be able to develop while marketing culinary experiences and creating more exposure to media across Canada, the U.S.A. and elsewhere. Events like Savour will raise the bar in a competitive fashion that will improve our culinary scene in Newfoundland and Labrador."

It's worth noting that in Halifax, where Savour began five years ago, it has become a full month production. The Restaurant Association of Newfoundland and Labrador says the Nova Scotia event "features international food writers, special events and workshops, capped off with the Savour show."

Big plans

Lawlor says plans are already underway to duplicate and build on the Nova Scotia model here.

"The Savour show is part of a wider program called Savour Food and Wine Festival which RANL will unfold in Year 2. Our plan is to not only build the show each year, but also expand the programming to include events and a dine-out program in year two and three. We expect there will be many opportunities around the various programs to connect with consumers."

For now, we'll content ourselves with the single evening of the Savour Food and Wine Show. (Thursday, April 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.) Three hours of excitement should whet the appetite sufficiently for what will follow in coming years.

More highlights

Other menu highlights include spicy Quidi Vidi mussels, moose sausage rolls, and lamb and shrimp souvlaki in a Greek marinade. Local musicians will provide background entertainment for the show and you'll have an opportunity to vote on "Best of Show" categories like: Best Hot Food, Best Dessert, Best Booth, and so on.

I'm looking forward to the event. Anything that spotlights the great things happening in our local dining scene can only be good for the community in general, the industry and local tourism. As they say, "Bring it on!"

Tickets for the Savour Food and Wine Show are available at the Mile One Box Office for $65 plus tax per person.

Organizations: Restaurant Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, Delta Hotel, Box Office

Geographic location: St. John's, Halifax, North America Europe Nova Scotia Canada Newfoundland and Labrador

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