I was recently invited to the holy grail of foodie indulgence. An evening filled with course after course of meticulously planned meals paired with top-notch wine: The Winemaker’s Event at Aquaterra, featuring Stratus Winery’s Charles Baker.
What makes this event even better is the purpose to raise funds for a local charity. In this case, proceeds benefit the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation which helps fund Kingston’s hospitals: Kingston General Hospital, Hotel Dieu Hospital and Providence Care.
Good food, good wine and a great cause? Come on!
When I arrive around 6 pm I am escorted to the 6th floor where the the tables are dressed with beautiful floral centrepieces and the chairs are draped in satin.
I am quickly handed a glass of the Wild Ass Riesling and left to admire the stunning view of the waterfront, pillared by Kingston’s downtown – City Hall to my left and the Marriot to my right.
The first course is handed out as people mingle and eye the silent auction items. The first course is a deliciously doughy bao bun with barbecue pork belly and mango kimchee. This is a wonderful indicator of what’s to come.
As the clock strikes 7, we take a seat and are guided into our first pairing with Stratus Vineyard’s Charles Baker explaining the history of Stratus and the wines he’s chosen. Did you know that Stratus does not use any gravity or hydraulics to press their grapes? They let the grapes develop naturally. “It’s a patient process,” says Baker. When vineyards speed up the process by pressing the grapes it creates oxygen, resulting in the red wine headache.
For each course we also learn a little more about the meal from Aquaterra’s Head Chef Brent McAllister, like how he went to Glengarry to grab the goat cheese for the mousse that is served with the Nova Scotia Wild Halibut or how he tasted the Stratus’ Gamay and felt that the lentils in the pakora would be a perfect match.
The best part of the evening is that $8325 was raised for the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation from the generosity of the foodies in attendance. A highlight piece sold in the silent auction was a painting by local prodigy, 12-year-old Evan Sharma.
To say it was a delight to experience the second segment of what I hope to be a regular series of food and philanthropy is an understatement. Everyone coming together over an amazing meal for an incredible cause in our community is just the best.
There’s a perfect quote by Julia Child, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” I can’t say I disagree!
I would like to especially thank Rose Bertoia of Delta for allowing me to be a part of something so special.