VIWF, part 4, the main event, Dine Italia!!

Hope all my readers are safe and hunkered down with a tremendous amount of wine to get you through. We are going to be in this for a while.

Dine Italia is the best event of the VIWF, every year, and the event we look forward to most. It sells out in minutes every year, and one of these times we are not going to be lucky enough to get tickets, but that hasn’t happened yet. Knock on wood.

I would be remiss in not mentioning how incredibly lucky we all were, looking back. Spending a week in close quarters with wine producers and workers from all over the wine world, including France and Italy, which as we all know, have been absolutely devastated by this virus. At Dine Italia, I sat right next to Andrea Bermond Des Ambrois, the Export manager from Gancia wines. We talked, we shook hands, and we ate our meals shoulder to shoulder. Chilling.

To the food and wine we go!

Note – in cases where the price listed is followed by a ?, it means I am not sure where you could find this wine, but the price listed was given to us by the winery itself. It is likely a suggested retail price.



Smoked salmon, mini sugar cone, finger lime-fennel crème fraiche, yuzú caviar

This is not totally my thing, I am not a huge fan of caviar OR smoked salmon, but it was still pretty darn tasty. It was paired with a wine we have had before, albeit I can’t remember exactly where.

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Yellow fin, pickled cucumber, watermelon radish, sea asparagus, spicy aioli

For the first time in the history of this event, they served me something I couldn’t even try. I don’t like raw fish, I don’t like tuna cooked or not, I despise cucumber and I would rather eat dirt than watermelon. Not exactly a “Dean” dish. No biggie, it was bound to happen. Others enjoyed it.

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Garganelli pasta, mushroom mélange, truffle tea, grand padano crisps

It’s not unusual to have a pasta dish with mushrooms, but this is probably the first time I’ve had a mushroom dish with pasta. The mushrooms were the star here, and while mushrooms are not my favorite thing in the world, they can be delightful when done right. THIS was done right.

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Aged milk fed veal, aged parmigiana reggiano, spinach, balsamic Cipollini, Jerusalem artichoke chips, Valpolicella jus

OH. MY. GOD. This was, probably, the best thing I have ever had here. It was unanimous amongst our group, this was just superb. The flavors melded perfectly, and it was paired beautifully with two excellent wines.

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Sous vide Alberta Angus reserve been tenderloin, fontina scallop potato, crispy sage, aged balsamic

Another really special dish, paired with two fabulous wines.

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Taleggio, Vermeer, Aged Asiago, Cranberry raisin crisp, fresh fruit, candied nuts, essence honey & Vanilla bean custard, fresh strawberry compote, strawberry – chocolate tuilé

A perfect way to finish off a fantastic meal. Two wine pairings with this as well, one of which was a lot more successful than the other.

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Well, that’s it for today and this officially closes off the 2020 Vancouver International Wine Festival for me. Here’s hoping that the friends we have made at this event year after year are all OK, and that our lives get back to normal before next year’s festival, which is being hosted by South America! Very much looking forward to it.

Next up: Tons of random stuff to report on, and I am starting to taste through the new BC rosés that I have received so far, and will do a special entry featuring a bunch of those. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!

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Wine blogger, foodie, traveler.

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