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Several years ago when I wasn’t a blogger and I actually purchased a ticket to the Tasting Room at the Vancouver International Wine Festival, it was such an overwhelming experience as I literally tried to taste each and every wine within the three hour period. Needless to say, when my friends saw that I was actually green at the gills they took it upon themselves to drive me home. Fortunately, every year the Vancouver International Wine Festival offers amazing food and wine pairing events which gives guests a less intimidating experience where one can sniff, swirl, sip wines paired with delectable food cooked by some of Vancouver’s finest chefs. I was fortunate to be invited to attend The PICA Kitchen Party where I was delighted to taste food from restaurants n my bucket list such as Wildebeest, Acorn and Ancora.

As Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) is a culinary school, the school boosts eight kitchens where guests were invited to mingle with chefs and wine principals while enjoying their offerings. At the price point of $95, this event was great value as there was ample opportunity to taste each and every offering and return to your favorites. My favorite pairings from this event is as follows:

Ricardo Valverde, Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio: Octupus Causa (beet potato, cilantro pumpkin, huancaina sauce, pico de gallo) paired with Mondo del Vino Il Nespoli Romagna DOC Sangiovese Superiore Riserva 2013.  I’ve been dying to try Ancora and now I can see why people have been raving about their food as the octupus was cooked perfectly being neither overcooked or undercooked and with that gorgeous huancaina sauce, wow!

Scott Jaeger, The Pear Tree: Yarrow Valley Duck Rilettes paired with Undurraga T.H. (Terroir Hunter) Pinot Noir (D.O. Leyda Valley) 2013.  I’ve been to The Pear Tree a couple of times and everything I’ve had is stupendous which, as most foodies know, is a hard thing to do as there are usually a few things that seem a little off.  I’m happy to say that the Duck Rilettes was incredible and paired with the Undurraga which toned down the gaminess of the duck.

Sean Cousins, The Vancouver Club:  Free Range Boar (confit belly ravoli, lardo, fava puree, walnut boudin, candied orange peel) paired with Suvla Wines Kirte 2011.Boar ravoli, well that’s a first for me, But it didn’t have that gamy taste to it and I really liked the wine pairing as it was a Turkish red wine with such bold dark cherry and plum flavours with elegant tannins.


Meeru Dhalwala, Vij’s / Rangoli:  Curried Pork Belly (tumeric potatoes) paired with Bodega Garzón Albarino 2015.  Two of my favorite things together can only equal happiness – oink oink oink.  This was so flavourful but wasn’t overhwlemingly spicy with the light white wine tempering down the spice.


Other Participating Chefs and Wine Pairings:

Christophe Bonzon, Chez Christophe:  chocolates paired with Alpha Box & Dice Dead Winemakers’ Society Dolcetto 2014

Stewart Boyles, Culinary Capers Catering:  Foie Gras Creme Brulee paired with Elk Cove Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Gris 2015

Stefan Hartmann, Bauhaus Restaurant:  Beef Tenderloin paired with Juan Gil Family Estates Tridente Tempranillo 2013

Brian Luptak, The Acorn Restaurant: Roasted Carrot Ricotta Gnudi paired with Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Fumé Blanc 2014

Alessandro Vianello, Wildebeest: Bison Carpaccio paired with Ogier Heritages Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2015

Students from Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts:  canapes paired with Sieur d’Arques Aguila–AOP Crémant de Limoux NV

PICA Kitchen Party



Editor in Chief of Fabulously Frugal in Vancouver.

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