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 


OOOHHHH the weather, shopping malls, highways and grocery stores are all frightful….but don’t despair…the holidays can still be delightful!

Listed below are a couple quick tricks, tips and short cuts to ensure that you get to enjoy your holiday and are not stuck in line at the mall or slaving away at the stove.  Hope they help!

Last Minute Gift Shopping: Whether you are shopping for actual Christmas gifts or hostess presents, I would recommend avoiding the malls and head to some of the amazing stores the Hamilton Halton & Niagara region has to offer.  If you are looking for:

Wine or Beer: Head out to wine country!  It’s right outside your backdoor! Not only will the drive through the scenic and breath taking wine route totally relax you, you will also find some amazing and unusual gifts to surprise your friends and family!  There are simply too many wineries to count, but check out for a complete wine country map.  If you are really strapped for time, head to the LCBO.  Some of my favourites right now are Fat Bastard Shiraz, Liberty Schoolhouse, Grey Fox, Creemore Springs, The Oatmeal Stout or Green Apple Beer from Nickelbrook Beers…the list is endless

Hostess Gifts/Stocking Stuffers: What better things to give someone who loves food than a delicious treat for them to indulge or a new ingredient or utensil for them to play with in the kitchen!  Head out to Denningers, Greensville Gourmet or Dyment’s Fruit Market (just to name a few) to pick up a really funky sauce, preserve or yummy morsel.  My favourites from Dyment’s are their Butter tarts!  Even though they are famous for their pies, it’s their butter tarts that just make my mouth water.  A pack of 6 with a great bottle of wine would be a fabulous hostess gift!

Last Minute Shopping for Your Holiday Dinner: Head to the Farmer’s Market! Your entire meal can be purchased at a Farmer’s Market, saving you from the hassle of the too crazy and cramped grocery stores.  There is tons of parking available at the Farmers Market, and the cheeriest people to help you plan out the meal for the entire family (a stressful feat as we all know!)  Here are the hours for Hamilton’s Farmers Market

Quick Fix Appetizers: Two of my go-to favs are:

Sweet & Smoky Pecans: they are quick, cost effective and easy to make at home.  They are also a unique item, not usually seen on the average appetizer list, especially if you serve them as single portions in red & green cupcake paper liners. The protein the nuts also keeps your guest satisfied in case dinner runs a bit late.  Please check out the recipe here

Saigon Soul Fine Foods: This store on James ST South, Hamilton has some of the most amazing spring rolls I have ever tasted!  You can pre order a batch from them (sauce and all) and have them all ready cooked or fresh and ready to be popped in the oven!  The Spring Rolls are full of natural flavours, they add an authentic and eclectic taste to your traditional holiday menu and aid in satisfying both the meat eaters and vegetarians in the crowd!

Quick Dessert for Dozens: Dads Cookies (If dad’s making them, you know there are not a ton of steps)  All you need in a couple of boxes of Mr. Christies chocolate wafers, a quart of whipping cream, a pinch of sugar and a splash of vanilla.  Whip the whipping cream with sugar and vanilla until it is light and fluffy.  Then dollop the whip cream on the wafers and continue to layer with another dollop of whip cream and wafer (I usually do about 3 or 4 layers in total).  You can top them with festive sprinkles or chocolate shavings.  Throw the tray of cookies in the fridge for an hour or two while everyone is enjoying dinner.  That’s it! You’re done! They take 10 minutes to make, but are always a HUGE hit with kids and adults alike.  Not only are they delicious, they are so much fun to eat because the whip cream oozes out!  It also cuts down on your pile of dirty dishes because no dessert plates are necessary…just big napkins!  I can’t wait to indulge tonight

Happy Holidays to you and yours!  Hope your festivities are filled with great company and event better Food & Drink!


Hamilton Needs a Signature Sandwich

The Philly Cheese Steak. Montreal Smoked Meat. The Pittsburgh Sandwich. The Hamilton ___________(Fill in the blank)?  I don’t know what kind of sandwich it should be or what it should be called, but the city of Hamilton, Ontario needs a signature sandwich for residence and tourists to enjoy!

My memories of every place I have ever visited and my desire to recommend that place or to possibly plan a return visit is largely based on the food I experienced while there. When I have visited places like Montreal, the 4 inch pile of old fashioned smoked meat on a rye, otherwise known as the Montreal Smoked, from Schwartz’s Montreal Hebrew Deli is a “Must-Have” on the Montreal to do list.  Like any visitor to the city known as Canada’s Cultural Capital; I wanted to immerse myself in all that is Montreal. Believe it or not; standing in the never ending line at Schwartz’s to wait for that smoked meat, getting yelled at by the cantankerous owner taking orders and then eating the sandwich over a crowded cafeteria style table, elbow to elbow with numerous strangers, is one of my favourite memories of Montreal. Unlike the more cliché “been there and bought the t-shirt” tourist experiences, a visitor biting into a Montreal Smoked Meat or any other city’s sandwich, is like getting off the tourist’s beaten path to begin to experience the yummy, messy, sticky, glorious mess of a culture that can be found between the two pieces of artisan bread (or Wonderbread…depending on which city you are visiting;)).  While it doesn’t seem like much; a city’s sandwich is a small, teasing taste of what that entire city has to has to offer.

We all know that the memories associated with the “bought the t-shirt” experience only re-emerge when said t-shirt is dug out of the back of the closet to wear to the gym; but chowing down on a scrumptious sandwich in a foreign city is an experience that can never be buried in the back of your mind like the t-shirt was buried in the back of the closet. Indulging in a city’s sandwich never occurs without an unforgettable story or without good company. In addition, The Sandwich Experience also triggers the two senses that are most closely linked to memory: taste and smell.  Thinking about Montreal Smoked Meat creates a mouth watering, stomach growling reaction that makes me want to pack my bags and jump in the car just so I can experience The Sandwich all over again. Sure, I could get a smoked meat in my own backyard, but Montreal created an experience for me that can never be duplicated.  I personally want visitors to Hamilton to have the same experience and memories of our city as I have of Montreal. Why not attempt to place Hamilton in the hearts of tourists through their stomachs?  I hear it works on men, so why not try it on the tourist industry as a whole!

A city’s sandwich also offers a sense of civic pride and unity. Whether residents of a city like/eat the sandwich or not; that sandwich represents them and tells a tasty story of who that community was and where they came from.  For instance, The Pittsburgh Style Sandwich was created out of necessity so the thousands of steel workers and truck drivers could eat their entire lunch in one hand so their other hand was free to work.  Even though Pittsburh has evolved from being known as just a Steel Town, the sandwich remains a feature on many restaurant menus. With the Signature Sandwich idea, the legacy and history of a community is not shown through buildings, war or industry (old or new) but through something that nourishes, that was artfully and organically created by the people, delights the senses and can be enjoyed socially by members of that community and its visitors.

That being said, I don’t know what I would want to represent “Hamilton on a Bun”.  I do know that Hamilton and the surrounding region have an abundance of fresh, eclectic, delicious and locally grown ingredients to build a great sandwich.  From the farmers market downtown and throughout the city, delicious local delis like Greensville Gourmet, Reardon’s or Beach Road, fresh, worldly cheese like Salerno

Hamilton Needs a Sandwich

Hamilton Needs a Sandwich!

& Sam’s, and being the largest producer of mustard in the entire world; I think Hamilton could make a pretty kick-ass sandwich! Come to think of it, Hamilton is the 3rd most ethnically diverse city in Canada, so we may need to have a couple of different sammy’s to really represent. Hamilton was once known as the ambitious city, but we lost that for a while.  However, with that buzz, spirit and excitement is back in the air; whatever Hamilton’s signature sandwich ends up being, I’m sure it will be a delectable and hearty handful….and mouthful!