Sarah Witiuk is not usually a fan of sweet wines.
But when the dessert wine – a Henry of Pelham Late Harvest Vidal – was served at a wine and food paring event Jan. 26 in the ACHub, the first-year event management student was pleased with the pairing of its counterpart.
“What I learned is you should always pair your wine with a less sweet dessert,” she said toward the end of the evening’s delectable activities. “We had these really rich chocolate brownies, so when you take a sip of that wine, the wine is the sweet thing.”
The event, which had no entry fee, featured six various wine and food combinations to test the palettes of those present. The food was provided by Chances R Restaurants and the wines came from wineries across Ontario.
Although this was not the first event of its kind, it was the first time they used wines only produced in Ontario.
“We sort of looked to Canada 150 and saw that we make some really fantastic wine here in Ontario and seeing how that could be tied into this event,” said Geoffrey Skeggs, coordinator of Algonquin’s sommelier program.
“I always like to switch it up and serve some new wines at these events,” he said. “I’m looking just to see how they go with the food.”
The evening began with an introduction from Skeggs. The participants were then served their food and wine pairings one at a time, as Skeggs explained the background of each wine and his reasoning behind the combinations.
He would then proceed to circulate around the room, answering the questions of those present. To finish off the evening, Skeggs asked the participants about their favourite pairings of the night.
Many remarked that they were pleased with the outcome of the evening.
“I really enjoyed myself,” said event management student Witiuk. “I tried some new wines that I wouldn’t have picked out for myself otherwise.” She said that wine-tasting is a part of her program, so she thought it would be useful for her to attend the workshop.
“Pretty good Thursday night out,” she said. “And it was a bonus that it was free.”
Witiuk is looking forward to trying pairings on her own and experimenting with more combinations in the future.
Skeggs said that equipping students to do their own pairings is one of the goals of the event.
“What we want to do is really showcase the idea of wine and food,” he said. “Having a drink, but also seeing how we can elevate our dining experience and give the students some food and wine pairing ideas.”
The event has been running annually over the last few years. Skeggs also runs a beer and food pairing workshop for students during the fall semester.