New Location, But Same Great Taste!

7th Annual Food & Drink Fest...the Festival with Taste moves to The Careport Centre

 7th Annual Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste has a New Location.

March 23, 24, & 25, 2012~The Careport Centre, Hamilton

2012’s Festival with Taste is excited to announce their move to The Careport Centre, located at 170 Longwood Road South in McMaster Innovation Park Hamilton, Ontario. While the team at Food & Drink Fest is sad to say goodbye to their home at Copps Colsieum, we felt it was time to take the plunge and move the event to the bigger and more functional Careport Centre. There will be many advantages that come with moving the event to The Careport Centre, which is the region’s largest up and coming trade show and convention facility. Some of those advantages include:

  • FREE Parking for both exhibitors and customers
  • Over 30,000 square feet of extra space. (allowing exhibitors to expand their presence at the show)
  • Everything will be on one floor and in one space
  • More loading docks and easier access for exhibitors to load-in and load-out
  • Ability to handle an increase in attendance while at the same time making larger and more comfortable aisles
  • Larger indoor crunch area for Food & Drink goers if lines get large. (Very important in inclement weather!)
  • Ability to move people faster into the show. (Helping to minimize wait times at rush hours and gives our Food & Drink guests the best experience possible)
  • Easy access off of Hwy 403 for exhibitors and consumers coming in locally and  from out of town,
  • Much more flexibility to evolve the event while still maintaining an intimate, interesting and fun atmosphere
  • Very accessible public transportation to the facility
  • In walking distance for visitors and university faculty and students that reside in the west end and downtown core of Hamilton.

The team has already begun the exhibitor rebooking process and several of Food & Drink culinary attractions have returned! Such fan favs as La PiazzaRidge Road WineryHot MamasBig Rock BreweryTwisted LemonMy ThaiCreemore SpringsWellington Brewery,Caroline CellarsDymentsVineland Estates, Cupcake Diner  and many more have already reserved their booth locations for Food & Drink Fest 2012.

All and all Food & Drink Fest 2012 is already promising to be another fun, delicious night on the town! Be sure to come and visit us at our new digs: The Careport Centre, March 23, 24, & 25, 2012

For Consumer or Exhibit Information, please feel free to contact Shannon or Jennifer at any time

7th Annual Food & Drink Fest…the Festival

March 23, 24 & 25, 2012

The Careport Centre, Hamilton, Ontario

P: 905-524-3689 


Mott’s Clamato Caesar School is in Session!

Mott’s Clamato and the Dean of Caesars, Len Fragomeni are setting up shop at this year’s
Food & Drink Fest… The Festival with Taste!

Be the first to introduce a new Caesar experience to your friends and family this summer by learning four variations on the classic Canadian cocktail.  First created in 1969 in Calgary Alberta, the Caesar quickly became an instant hit with locals. Since then, it has enjoyed rising popularity and taken it’s place among Canadian culture. Somehow a weekend at the cottage just isn’t the same without a  celery ladened pitcher of spicy Casears!

Motts Clamato Caesar School

Motts Clamato Caesar School


Food and Drink Fest… the Festival with Taste has become the region’s largest food and beverage show of it’s kind. With attendance numbers soaring year over year and involvement from some of the area’s most renowned and highly acclaimed restaurants, wineries and breweries, we are now proud to be hosting Motts Clamato as an added component to the Food & Drink Fest experience. Throughout the three day event we invite people to join Mott’s Clamato and the Dean of Caesars, Len Fragomeni, for a 45-minute class where you get to go behind the bar and learn hands-on, the latest techniques for preparing a Caesar. Enjoy four variations of the classic Canadian cocktail, some savory snacks and take home a special gift from Mott’s Clamato. Be sure to visit the Mott’s Clamato in Booth QA to learn and actively participate in the art of making the perfect Caesar!
Click HERE to pre-register for a Caesar Class

Food & Drink Fest.. The Festival with Taste
April 8th, 9th & 10th
Copps Coliseum

Must be 19 years of age or older to attend. Please drink responsibly

Written by Jennifer Odell

Food Drive at Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste!

Calling All Socially Conscience Foodies! We need your help with

Stocking the Shelves for Hamilton Food Share

at 6th Annual Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste!

April 8th, 9thm & 10th, 2011~Copps Coliseum

There are many trends swirling around the world of food right now such as buying local and sticking within a 100 mile diet.  Others include eating raw or organic food or supporting independent restaurants.  All are worthy causes and  should become more a just a trend; but rather a part of our community’s lifestyle.

The team at Food & Drink Fest 2011 also wants to support the local community and promote another important “Foodie Cause” by helping to collect food items so that the less fortunate people of our community also have access to nutritious meals on a regular basis.  6th Annual Food & Drink Fest is encouraging fellow foodies to bring in a few canned goods or nonperishable food items  to the 6th Annual Food & Drink  Fest (April 8, 9, & 10, 2011 at Copps Coliseum), to donate to Hamilton Food Share.

Please drop off your canned goods at the ticket office when you buy your tickets for the Food & Drink Fest 2011.  We hope to raise over 2,000 canned goods for Hamilton Food Share. Even if you can’t stay for the show, we welcome all donations.  PLUS, we challenge you to be creative in your donations and bring some healthy and delicious non-perishable food choices with you.  Leave that old can of cream of mushroom soup at home lol!

For more information, please visit





There’s a new beer on the block….Molson M

While a glass of wine is usually my go-to drink of choice; a girl certainly can’t say no when a bottle or two of beer happens to cross her path at the end of a really long day. I had the pleasure of trying Molson’s newest brand of beer: Molson M. Not only did I enjoy the experience of drinking the cold full-bodied lager; but the story behind the creation of this beer is also quite interesting.  I’ve included some fast facts about  Molson M for your drinking pleasure.

Molson M to be at Food & Drink Fest 2011

Molson M to be at Food & Drink Fest 2011

Molson M, the Worlds only Microcarbonated lager: Microcarbonization is a revolutionary process implemened by Molson Coors at the company’s brewery on Notre-Dame Street in Montreal, a process during which the beer is injected with CO2 through smaller, finer bubbles with a high level of precision and consistency.

“The injection of smaller CO2 bubbles makes it possible to preserve not only the taste of the hops but also the delicate flavours generated by the yeast during fermentation,” explained Karine Brunelle, brewer with Molson Coors. (explanation from

The Awards: So far, I’m not the only one who seems to enjoy it.  The “real” critics gave it two thumbs up when they awarded Molson M with a Gold Medal in the North American Style Premium Lager category at the 2010 Canadian Brewing Awards

The Molson team has informed me that they will be bringing Molson M to Food & Drink Fest 2011…the Festival with Taste!  You can try it for yourself by visiting them in booths #124 & 125.

Molson M

Molson M



6th Annual Food & Drink Fest 2011

Copps Coliseum

April 8, 9 & 10, 2011


Food & Drink Fest Foodie Spotlight: Hot Mamas

Interview conducted with Sue Plumbohm, Owner of Hot Mamas

Company Name: Hot Mamas Foods Inc

Company Motto: “We’ll Add a little spice to your life!”

Visit Sue, owner of Hot Mamas in booth #205 at Food & Drink Fest

Visit Sue, owner of Hot Mamas in booth #205 at Food & Drink Fest

Tell us a bit about where and how your jellies and sauces are created. Hot Mamas Foods Inc is a 100% Canadian Family owned business started in 2005. Our red pepper jelly was our initial product—a secret family recipe that my Mama brought from Jamaica. We use scotch bonnet peppers grown on our family farm in Pefferlaw, Ont from our heirloom plants from Jamaica as well as we import directly from Jamaica on a weekly basis. Our red pepper jelly is unique in flavour and our customers say its the best one on the market. As the years  went on we added more jellies, hot sauces and BBQ sauces. We now have 11 spicy pepper jellies, 5 No Salt Hot Sauces and 5 Low Sodium BBQ Sauces and 3 No Salt Spice Rubs.
Our hot sauces are unique on the Canadian market place as they are 100% Salt FREE—and all of our products contain No MSG or Gluten! Our customers are loving that too!

We are an envirnmentally aware company—as our new kitchen facility is supplemented by solar panels. A large portion of our electricity is derived form the solar panels on site.

What is a “Did You Know?” fact about Hot Mamas you would like to share? Our hot sauces are unique in that they contain No Salt! They are growing in popularity and we hope that more people will appreciate the flavour of the scotch bonnet and the healthy aspects of hot pepper sauces created with NO SALT!

Get Your Hot Mama Jelly at Food & Drink Fest 2011

Get Your Hot Mama Jelly at Food & Drink Fest 2011

For people new to the world of “Spicy”, what are your top tips to incorporating hot n’ spicy to one’s palette?

1) If new to “Spicy” we suggest starting with the basics—sweet and spicy pepper jellies and working your way up to the really hot stuff

2) Pair the spice with other food items: incorporate as an hors d’ouevres or with meats, cheese..they are an excellent way to train your palette.

3) Don’t take too much at once …small amounts are best and work your way up. Its all about moderation…so adding a few drops of two of the hot sauces to your soups, stews, chillis—to  appreciate the taste of the scotch bonnet pepper…They can also be added to your favorite cocktail….adding a splash of Hot Mamas to your Casear—-you’ll be hooked!

Over the years, what has been your favourite dish or drink at Food & Drink Fest? Definitely Koi Restaurant’s coconut shrimp with our red pepper jelly —yummmy!

Hot Mama Foods display

Hot Mama Foods display

Be sure to visit Sue and her full line of Hot Mama’s jellies and sauces at

6th Annual Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste!

Hot Mamas Booth # 205

April 8th, 9th, 10th, 2011

Copps Coliseum

The Most Delicious Way to Carbo-Load in the Winter

Ah Canadian Winter. Long, dark days, snow covered EVERYTHING and bone chilling temperatures.  And boy this year, did we get a duesy! My recipe for keeping warm: warm, hearty foods like chili, stews and homemade soups.  One of the “make or break” aspects to this type of meal is the bread you serve with it.  Bread is the perfect accessory on cold, wintry days; offering carbs for extra insulation (haha) and acting as the perfect tool to soak up all the yummy juices off your empty plate.  I have included my current top three bread recipes below.  All of them are fairly easy to make and I have included some of my own tips as well. Keep Warm!

1) Laura Calder’s Bacon and Olive Apperitif

Tips: I would serve this bread with a run-o- the mill noodle soup. This apperitif brings together many rich, strong flavours and you certainly do not want anything fighting with them.

-I found the olive flavour to be more prominent than I expected.  If you are not an olive lover, don’t add in the full 2/3 of a cup….or double up on the bacon;)

-I’ve also substituted these three ingredients for roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, feta and rosemary…divine!

2) Chuck’s Day Off Cheddar Biscuits

Tips: For those who are sensitive to spicy foods, these do pack a bit of a punch. However, the great thing about the cayenne spice in these biscuits is that the heat builds slowly so you have an oortunity to tasty the buttery buscuit and sharp cheddar flavours as well.

-Serve warm! Obvious, I know, but there is a drastic difference in the taste of these biscuits when they are cold.  The warmth seems to emphasize every flaky layer.

-After the butter bath, I finish my cheddar biscuits off with a sprinkling of sea salt

3) Anna Olson’s Cheddar Crackers

Tips: Perfect with homemade tomato soup or for a more savoury treat, serve with a smear of garlic cream cheese.

-I have switched out the extra old cheddar cheese for Asiago. Still very tasty but the sharp sweet/but strong taste offers a unique new layer of flavour




6th Annual Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste!

April 8th, 9th & 10th, 2011

Copps Coliseum


Cheese Shoppe On Locke Makes Awesome Sandwiches

Cheese Shoppe on Locke has created quite a stir since they moved into their Locke Street South location last fall. Their cheery yellow facade brightens up the street and their retro but chic interior reminds me of the many high-end boutiques in Napa Valley….I love the wine barrel chandeliers they have!

Wine Barrel Chandeliers at Cheese Shoppe on Locke

Wine Barrel Chandeliers at Cheese Shoppe on Locke

Since they’ve opened, I’ve frequented Cheese Shoppe for numerous little purchases, such as their locally made jam, buttertarts, salsa and of course, a various selection of cheese for racoulette parties or sandwiches. However, I never had the delight of tasting on of their homemade sandwiches until yesterday.   And man, can they make a sandwich! Here’s my foodie story for the day….

The Sandwich: I believe there were 5 choices of sandwiches you could choose from (then of course you could build your own from the deli selection). One of my dining companions and I chose the grilled vegetables and goat cheese and our other lunch date went for the fig and chicken salad sandwich. Both sandwiches were served on a crispy locally made French baguette that literally melted in your mouth because it was so fresh. I could have eaten the bread alone and been a very happy lady! However the toppings certainly did not disappoint.  The grilled peppers, eggplant, red onions and zucchini tasted incredibly fresh and unlike some grilled veggie experiences, you could still taste the individual flavours of each vegetable. This freshness not only added many layers of simple flavour to the sammie, but it also made each bite a bit of a surprise based on what what veggies you got in that mouthful.  The sandwich was topped of with a substantial amount of fresh goat’s cheese. Since it was served warm the goat cheese was gooey, creamy and oh so good.  The sweetness of the veggies combined with the tart of the cheese made me feel like I was eating a gourmet grilled cheese, which was perfect on such a chilly day.

Grilled Veggie & Goat Cheese Sandwich

Grilled Veggie & Goat Cheese Sandwich

While I didn’t have an opportunity to try the fig and chicken salad, my friend gushed about it….and he is a pretty picky eater, so it must be good! The chicken salad was mixed with bits of finely chopped fig and celery and was finished off with thinly sliced Brie and Granny Smith apples. Nobody had a problem finishing off their lunches.

Atmosphere & Food Accessories: We were seated at one of their little black cast iron bistro tables, but there was also the option of saddling up to their antique wood bar to enjoy your lunch.  On top of the table was a refinished wine barrel top that had been turned into a Lazy Susan.  The wine barrel top took up practically the entire table, and our lunch was actually served on it. My two dining companions shared, so they kept spinning the table top to switch plates, which was kinda cool.

Grab lunch at Cheese Shoppe on Locke

Grab lunch at Cheese Shoppe on Locke

Since The Cheese Shoppe doesn’t sell wine, we finished our meal off with a sparkling apple and blueberry spritzer. The blueberry added a lovely smooth aftertaste which actually worked very nicely with the bite of the apple.  The Drink was called McIntosh Sparkling Juice.

The Price Tag: Sandwiches were approximately $8.00 each.  While some many baulk at the price, I assure you, it is worth it! Considering that fact that many fast food restaurants are charging equivalent prices for sandwiches made from ingredients lacking in taste for the same price, I certainly believe both of these sandwiches were well worth the money.  With A Cheese Shoppe on Locke Sandwich, you are getting a unique dinning experience, and yo’re eating quality, local ingredients and a lot of them! As an example, I didn’t eat dinner since I was still so full from lunch.

The Timeline: Make sure you are not in a rush.  The sandwiches were made with care while we waited and it did take a bit longer than expected with the lunch-time rush.  The great thing is The Shoppe is epitome of sensory overload! You certainly aren’t bored while you wait and have a ton of different boutique food products to paruse (and some to taste test too!)

Say Cheese!

Say Cheese!

For more information on the Cheese Shoppe, check out an interview I did with the owner, Torsten last year.



Recovered from Food & Drink Fest…Finally

Hello my Foodie Friends!

The long gap between posts can be attributed to the crazy planning, executing and cleaning up after Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste. For those of you that don’t know, Food & Drink Fest is probably the biggest and best dinner party in the Southern Ontario Region, which consists of  you, 10,000 of your closest friends, 35 restaurants, 40 wineries, 20 craft breweries, artisan bakeries, live music, cooking demos all at Copps Coliseum on April 9th-11.  All I can say is thankfully, I wasn’t on dish washing duty;)

Crowd Shot from Food & Drink Fest...the Festival with Taste!

Crowd Shot from Food & Drink Fest...the Festival with Taste! (Saturday Night)

Even though I escaped dish duty, my teammates Jay, Jenn and I worked around the clock for about a month before the show to ensure that we were familiar with the logistics of Copps Coliseum (try throwing a food party that big without any kitchens!) and to ensure that the show was the best showcasing of Southern Ontario’s culinary popular delights, hidden gems, and up and coming foodie hot spots, that it could possibly be.

The result? Lets put it this way; Food & Drink Fest grew from being 20,000 square feet in size to Copps Coliseum, where it was 60,000 square feet in size….and we still had 30 minute line ups to get in the door on Friday and Saturday nights.  Yeek! Needless to say we are working on our plan for next year and how we are going to facilitate all of the people comfortably and still maintain the intimate, fun, party atmosphere for festival is known for.  I will keep you posted about 2011 dates and times.

Now for the tragic news: since I was running around so much at Food & Drink Fest, I only got to sample 2, yes only 2 out of the hundreds of food and drink samples available!!  The silver lining was that those two samples were to DIE for. My first sample was homemade butter tarts from Dyments Farm and Bakery.  The tart crusts are flaky and moist and the middle is incredible goosey and sweet.  They are the freshest homemade butter tarts I have ever eaten and since the festival have often gone for a 10km run in the country and rewarded myself with a yummy devilish Dyment butter tart (Very counter productive, but worth every bite). I believe the ones I had were plain, but I am pretty sure you can also get them with raisins or nuts.

The famous (and yummy) Dyment's Baked Goods

My second sample was Sweet Potato Gnocchi from Twisted Lemon Restaurant. Their Chef certainly lived up to their claim of being a “flavour junkie” as the fresh homemade gnoochi in a cream sauce had a flavour that simply exploded on your tongue.  Unlike regular gnocchi, I found the sweet potato base pleasingly lighter and the texture less dense; but nonetheless, still very filling.

Despite only getting to try 2 samples, I heard (and smelled) amazing things from several of the other food samples at Food & Drink  Fest, such as the crab cakes from Nina’s Bistro, Honey West’s beef tenderloins or Mex-i-Can‘s Barbacoa.  Since I didn’t get to try these or any of the other amazing menu items at Food & Drink Fest, I would love to hear other people’s favs.  Fill me in! Now that I have more time, I can visit the actual restaurant for a fabulous and relaxing meal!

Beef Tenderloin from Honey West

Beef Tenderloin from Honey West...they kept running out!

Imagine, drinking a great Cabernet Sauvignon….Centre Ice

After 4 years at The Hamilton Convention Centre, Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste is moving to Copps Coliseum.  The Food & Drink Fest team is incredibly excited about The Big Move and pumped to tackle the challenges of working in an unknown building, which was built for concerts & hockey games, and not to facilitate the needs of 35 restaurants, 50 wineries and 15 craft breweries…all at once!  The participating restaurants, wineries & craft breweries are happy about the move because it gives each of them more elbow room to create and represent their unique menu choices.  The participating exhibitors are also happy because moving to Copps allows for larger aisle spaces so patrons can chat with the exhibitors and enjoy their food & drink without being jostled or carried away by the crowds of people. Repeat customers I have chatted with are ecstatic because the move to the larger venue eliminates the 45minute long line ups to get into the show on Friday & Saturday nights.

Copps Coliseum

The Big "C", Food & Drink Fest's new home!

Despite all of these positives, a few people I have spoken to are a bit worried that moving Food & Drink Fest to Copps Coliseum will cause it to lose the classy, intimate feeling the Festival with Taste has been known for.  But I have to disagree.  While I agree with all of the above listed positives about The Big Move, I am also excited to house the Food & Drink Fest at Copps for another reason: The building’s energy.

I’ve spent numorous days sitting in the middle of the ice rink imaging how the show will work and measuring out booth square footage, staging sizes and figuring out traffic flow strategies to make the show is larger, but still exciting and accessible for all.  Even empty, Copps Coliseum itself gives off an energy, excitement and anticipation unlike any other convention facility I have ever been in.  At Copps, you feel the jubilant vibes of past concerts and hockey games with screaming hometown fans, both young & old, pulsing through the corridors.  I think all Hamiltonians have several fond memories about Copps Coliseum, whether it be a Bulldogs game, open skates, the big U2 concert, your very first concert (mine was Neil Diamond…yes I know), The Brier, The Canada Cup 1987, or Disney on Ice.  It is very rare that an entire community has such open access to a large scale, multi-functional facility. Because of that access,

Copps Coliseum Rink

Copps Coliseum Rink

Copps Coliseum brings about feelings of positive community morale as well as personal nostalgic memories.   In addition, the staff at Copps Coliseum is the most friendly, passionate and knowledge group of folks I have ever met in the industry.  In a nutshell, the building itself has a memory & a life of its own that I believe will serve as a fabulous foundation for Food & Drink Fest.

Along with the buildings thriving energy, the layout of Copps Coliseum is going to allow people to go on a culinary journey at the Food & Drink Fest.  I view Food & Drink Fest as the opportunity to explore the best the Hamilton, Halton & Niagara Regions’ have to offer in the way of great food and drink…in one location and in one night. Even though Food & Drink Fest is just a snap shot of the regions’ “You Gotta Taste This” stuff; it certainly is not an experience that is meant to be rushed.  Rather, it is an experience that should be savoured, shared, gushed over, educated about and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone involved.  From past shows, we know that some people like to zip through the

The crowds at last Year's Food & Drink Fest

The crowds at last Year's Food & Drink Fest

exhibitors then double back to indulge in seconds at their favourite stations, while others like to linger over their plate or a cold sample of beer in a quiet corner before choosing their next tempting dish. Copps Coliseum affords us the room to ensure that everyone can travel this food journey at their own speed.  Having the Food & Drink Fest at Copps also allows the foodies to create their own path and food & drink pairings because the layout is favourable to meandering up & down and side to side along the aisles; allowing individuals to be drawn from one succulent aroma to another.  Just like the region, we plan to create some great sites for people to see and hear throughout their journey.  Look forward to seeing a plethora of cooking demos, exotic & eclectic entertainment (as well as some returning favourites), a boisterous piazza, local artists showcasing their works, relaxing cafes for some great people watching and of course, a few surprises.

So when you come to the Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste, I encourage you to come thirsty, bring your friends, your appetite and your adventurous streak to experience all the scrumptious delights on April 9th, 10th & 11th, 2010, Copps Coliseum….centre ice.