It’s easy to overindulge when you’re at any food and drink fest, but TASTE Community Grown, Prince Edward County’s premier culinary event (September 26, 11 am – 5 pm), is on a whole other level of temptation.
For one day every September, some of the County’s best chefs, farmers, winemakers and brewers gather in and around Picton’s glass beauty, The Crystal Palace, and let us taste their creations. The result is lobster and shrimp grilled cheese samples, tastes of local Pinot, small mountains of fresh produce for sale, and a hundred other chances to get the most delicious overview of this area’s thriving culinary community.
But it’s also a chance for your eyes to get bigger than your stomach, your wallet to run out of cash and your palate to go numb with too many flavours. Don’t let those rookie mistakes happen! Keep reading for 8 tips on how to make the most of your TASTE visit from Sharon Mulholland, of Prince Edward County Winegrowers’ Association (the organizer), and myself.
1. Arrive Early
This is one of the County’s most popular fests, which means you should get their before 1 pm to avoid missing anything. “Vendors can sometimes run out of popular items,” says Sharon, “so arrive early for the best selection of eats.”
2. Survey, Indulge, Repeat
It’ll be hard to hold back when you arrive, but try. Take a walk around, see what’s on offer and then pick a few of your favourites to start. Vendors may offer different samples throughout the day, so repeat the process.
3. Pace Yourself
“Those one-ounce samples of wine and beer can add up before you realize it,” says Sharon. “Remember that a standard glass of wine is five ounces, so pace yourself.”
4. Learn From “County Chopped” Competitors
Get some inspiration for your next culinary creation at 4 pm with “County Chopped,” a competition based on the popular Food Network show. Defending Champion Elliot Reynolds of The Hubb Eatery & Lounge will take on challengers Sujo Bae of Soup Opera and another local chef yet to be named.
5. Take a Seminar
Learn even more at three seminars held throughout the day: at 12 pm, unique wine and food pairings; at 1:30 pm, a tutorial on serving wine in the right glass; at 3 pm, a talk all about honey.
6. Take a Break
“Rest your feet by taking in one of the seminars,” says Sharon, “or live music — Vintage Soul will be playing throughout the day in the entertainment tent.”
7. Choose a Designated Driver
If you think you’ll indulge in a few too many beer or wine samples, get yourself a designated driver ahead of time. If you’re coming from Wellington or Bloomfield, that DD could be the new free shuttle service the festival is offering.
8. Bring Cash and a Cooler
“Cashing machines are onsite but they sometimes go down, and few vendors take credit cards,” says Sharon, “so bring cash to buy produce, wine, extra tickets, etc.” You might also want to pack a cooler to keep your purchases fresh on the drive home.
TASTE Community Grown
Saturday, September 26, 11 am – 5 pm
The Crystal Palace, 375 Main Street, Picton
Adults: $35 (10 sample tickets, souvenir tasting glass and all seminars)
Under 19: free.
Groups (15 or more): $25/person
Additional sample tickets available, $1/each
Get your tickets: tastecommunitygrown.com