Celebrating the delights of both swine and vine at 2011 Taste Victoria


As the city counts down to the third-annual Taste: Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine, culinary enthusiasts are busily poring over the schedule, aiming to fit in as many events as possible over the one delicious weekend.

“From July 21 to 24, Taste will bring the city’s food and wine communities together to celebrate British Columbia’s local winemakers, chefs, artisan producers, farmers and fishers,” said Kathy McAree, Taste’s organizer. “We’re selective about who we partner with during Taste, and that means that we can stand behind the outstanding quality, the passion and most of all, the amazing flavours that festival-goers will experience at all of the events.”

For the third year, McAree is working with the Hotel Grand Pacific on the popular “Swine and the Vine” event, held on the hotel’s harbourfront patio in front of The Pacific Restaurant on Saturday, July 23 from 2:00pm – 4:30pm. Guests are encourage to grab a plate and a glass before tasting and sipping their way through barbecue fare and complementary wines, teas, and ciders from throughout British Columbia.

“The star of the show this year will be a whole spit-roasted wild boar from Two Rivers Specialty Meats,” said Janis Goard, the Hotel Grand Pacific’s director of Food & Beverage. “We came up with the idea of Swine and the Vine after one of our winemaker’s dinners at The Pacific. We thought that it would be great to have a laidback alternative where the food and wine are serious, but the atmosphere is decidedly un-serious!”

Along with the spit-roasted boar, the Swine and the Vine also features house-made hams, charcuterie, pancetta, sausages and pâtés using Sloping Hill Farms pork – items that Goard jokingly refers to as “tasty little piggy bits!” The hotel’s east-meets-west feel is reflected in offerings such as the house-made Thai sausage, and the ever popular barbecue pork buns that also feature on the restaurant’s weekend dim sum menu. Executive Chef Rick Choy and Executive Sous Chef Ian Goard will prepare barbecue favourites such as ribs and pulled pork, along with crowd-pleasing sides dishes that make use of the very freshest and best local ingredients currently in season.

Along with the “swine,” guests will enjoy a range of drinks, and not just limited to the “vine” either! Along with B.C. wineries such as Averill Creek, Rocky Creek, Blasted Church and Venutri Schulze, guests can sample Silk Road’s refreshing iced tea, Sea Cider, and Tugwell Creek Mead.

An event such as this is to be expected from the Hotel Grand Pacific – an establishment places a focus on putting guests at ease, but takes its food and wine very seriously. Over 40 of the hotel’s food and beverage staff have completed at least the first stage towards International Sommelier Guild certification, and Silk Road’s Tea Master Daniela Cubelic is regularly involved in training staff on appropriate tea service techniques and cultural significance. Where possible, ingredients are sourced locally, all seafood is Ocean Wise, and products are made in-house.

Tickets for Swine and the Vine are $69 each and can be purchased by visiting www.VictoriaTaste.com or by stopping by the front desk at the Hotel Grand Pacific.

For more information and to read about the festival’s full roster of events, visit www.VictoriaTaste.com.