Column: Explore the tasty relationship of wine and food at the Vancouver wine festival

There’s much more than wine tasting at this year’s Vancouver International Wine Festival. Altogether there are 27 dining extravaganzas where gourmet food is matched with premium wines from around the globe.

If the prices seem high, remember you’ll be eating food created by Vancouver’s top chefs and sipping some of the best wines in the world, many of them exclusive to their international home. Keep in mind that ticket prices are inclusive of all wine, food, tips, and taxes.

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Here is a sampling of what is being offered. On Monday, February 24, there is The King of Madiran ($225) at Tableau Bar and Bistro from 6:30 – 10 p.m. France is in the spotlight this year and winemaker Fabrice Dubosc will guide you through his iconic wines from the village of Gascony in southwestern France. It’s famous for its indulgent gastronomy and rich robust red wines. Enjoy with chef’s Levi Johrnston’s take on delicious bistro fare.

You can taste Burgundy and Beyond ($175) on Tuesday, February 25 at Coast Restaurant, 6:30 – 10 p.m. Enjoy the elegant red and white burgundies from Maison Louis Latour, paired with the West Coast cuisine from the culinary team at Coast.

Although France is the featured country at the festival, other nations also step up to the dinner plate. There’s Combinado ($120) on Tuesday featuring the Portuguese wines of Herdade das Servis alongside Chef Ian McHale’s innovative cuisine at Wildebeest from 6:30 – 10 p.m.

Next evening, Wednesday, February 26, Alsace, Synonymous with Hugel ($225) has Jean Hugel, the 13th generation  winemaker of Famille Hugel who put Alsatian wines on the world wine map. His food friendly wines will be paired with the French influenced West Coast fare of L’Abattoir from 6:30 – 10 p.m.

Or taste distinctive Bordeaux style wines at Duckhorn at The Victor ($175) from Napa Valley’s premium winery, Duckhorn Vineyards. Their wines will be paired with the culinary team from The Victor Steakhouse at Parq Casino from 6:30 – 10 p.m.

There are five lively lunches on Saturday, February 29. Bon Appetit ($125) is a walk around lunch at the Vancouver Convention Centre West featuring all 42 participating French wineries. Your wine and food journey takes you through 10 French wine regions with a French grazing menu set against the stunning views of Coal Harbour from 12 – 2 p.m.

Dine Italia ($160) has a multi-course lunch at La Terrazza in Yaletown from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Enjoy Italian cuisine prepared by Chef Gennaro Iorio paired with an amazing variety of wines from Italy’s top producers.

Enjoy Gusto Latino ameriano ($89) at Lift Bar Grill View in Coal Harbour from 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. This sit-down lunch features food-friendly wines from Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay with a mouth-watering meal.

All great parties end in the kitchen. Join the PICA Kitchen Party ($99) at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts featuring international wines matches with gourmet bites prepared by five Vancouver chefs. Each kitchen station has the chef and winery principal explaining why the wine-food pairing works. 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

And finally, the West Coast Rosé Brunch ($89) celebrates spring early at Prospect Point Stanley Park. Put a little pink in your lunchtime with an all-pink brunch, featuring roséwines from BC, Washington, and California. 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Tickets went on sale Wednesday so don’t delay. Order online at VanWineFest.ca or by phone: 604-873-3311.

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