Osoyoos Celebrity Wine Festival: Chapter Two

Saturday, June 12: Nota Bene Release Party at Black Hills Estate Winery

By the second day of what had already proven to be a world class event, I was pretty much over the fact that Justin Bieber would not be showing his pretty little face.  The forever young Jason Priestley, however, did.

Back in the day, 90210 was banned from my family’s television, rendering Jason a forbidden fruit of sorts.  Interviewing him amid grapevines at the Black Hills Estate Winery Nota Bene Release Party was obviously a thrill.  And top it off, I discovered he’s a passionate foodie!  Jason took over one minute (at least) to ponder each of my following foodie questions before responding.  His answers were worth the wait.

Task 1: Interview Jason

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant in Vancouver?

A: Vij’s

Q: Name a food item you deem, ‘to die for’.

A: Spot prawns from Horseshoe Bay.  I grill them on bamboo skewers and also use them in a shrimp cocktail recipe from Barefoot Contessa.

Q: What’s the sexiest food?

– extra long pause –

A: Baked brie cheese with crusty bread for dunking.  Giddy up, mmm.  (I suggested adding mango chutney, but he felt as though that might be too acidic.)

Q: What’s your favorite comfort food?

A: Tarte tatin (a classic apple tart) made by my wife.

Q: What’s your favorite wine these days?

A: Alibi – a sauvignon/semillon from Black Hills Winery.

Q: What’s your favorite dessert?

A: I’m not a big dessert guy.

Task #2: Sample the occasion’s edible offerings

Mike Lyon, one of Canada’s greatest chefs, is currently starring in ‘Chef Off’, a brand new show on the Food Network.  His halibut dish was my pick of the day:

My weekend comrade, Christie Lohr, and I would’ve loved to spend the afternoon with Chef Lyon’s grape tomatoes.  They’d been baking in the Osoyoos sun to become the dried slivers you see topping this seared halibut fillet pictured above.  Drizzled with beet root gastrique and vanilla bean beurre blanc, they were absolutely to die for.

Also delicious was this simple pairing of multigrain fig bread and Salmon Arm goat cheese:

Here is celebrity chef Ned Bell’s concoction: ‘The Bell Burger’, made with Black Angus Beef short rib and house ground tenderloin lathered in bacon aioli and chipotle ketchup and served on an applewood smoked cheddar bun:

Task #3: Judge International Wine Showdown (B.C. cabs vs. California’s) hosted by ‘wine guy’ Jay Drysdale

Upon scanning the wine judging sheet, I gazed up at the eight identical-looking wines before me, wondering how I’d determine their ‘clarity’, using the Davis 20 point scoring system.  Fortunately, I was sitting between wine gurus Terry David Mulligan, host of radio wine show, ‘The Tasting Room‘, and Harry Hertscheg, executive director of the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival, whose printing I could easily make out.

Fellow judges included PR veteran Pamela Groberman and Ashley Pearson, a soon-to-be sommelier from Watermark Beach Resort.

In the end (with eyes forward) I chose Grgich Hills as my favorite wine, along with the other judges.  My buds, obviously rounding out the broad spectrum of palates, may be on the right path.

Check back for Osoyoos Celebrity Wine Festival Chapter 3 write-up soon!

For more food + celebrity updates, you should follow me on Twitter @erin_ireland .

Ciao for now!

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