Ever since I turned 21 I've been attending the Twin Cities Food & Wine Show with my friends.
We've traveled from near and far to explore the gourmet delicacies and the innumerable wine and beer tastings, not to mention the cooking demonstrations and trade show trash.
We enjoy this. We enjoy it a lot.
So much so that when said friends told me they were unable to attend this year due to an ill-timed pregancy (haha, just kidding guys, 2.0 is adorable), I invited more friends to join me for the weekend.
Seeing that the show is in 12 days, I thought I'd create a blog countdown to commemorate the awesomeness of the Twin Cities Food & Wine Experience. A sort of "12 Days of Fermented Christmas" if you will.
Accept No Imitations
There are a lot of food and wine tastings in the area - we're in Milwaukee, afterall. But the Twin Cities' event, in my estimation, blows everyone else out the water. Why, you ask?
(go ahead, I'll wait)
Well, let's take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions to see if we can't figure it out...
1. Isn't $65 a high price to pay?
The low price of $65 gets you 7 HOURS of all you can eat and drink. The ticket price is all-inclusive - once you're into the show, you need not pay for anything extra unless you desire to. Most area shows have a $50 ticket price for, at the most, 3 hours of tasting. Not as expensive as you thought, now is it?
2. Yeah, but I have to pay for a hotel room. That adds to the cost.
Minnesota Monthly, sponsor of the event, also reserve a block of rooms at the nearby Hilton for event-goers, so hotel costs are low for shared rooms. Additionally, the Hilton is a short skywalk away from the Minneapolis Convention Center, ergo, it's unnecessary to step foot outside in the frigid Minnesota winter during the entire weekend.
3. Sure, those other shows may be more expensive on a per-hour basis, but the proceeds go to charity.
While I'm sure Minnesota Monthly likes to make a profit from the food and wine show, a portion of the proceeds also go to support Minnesota Public Radio. A noble endeavor, no?
4. What else is there besides wine and food tasting? Won't that be boring after awhile?
First of all, no. Seven hours of food and wine tasting will NEVER get boring. Fool.
But in case you're attention span is that weak, the show organizers plan several activities for your entertainment.
For example, last year they began a Local Chef Challenge featuring local, Minneapolis chefs in a Top Chef competition. This year I'm rooting for:
Michael Decamp - La Belle Vie
Scott Pampuch - The Corner Table
John Occhiato - D'Amico's
Sameh Wadi - Saffron Restaurant & Lounge
Also, this year there will be a Czar of Cakes Challenge, which I assume will be like Food Network Cakes Challenge.
Even if you are amused by 7 hours of food and wine tasting, no doubt taking a break to watch one of these live shows will be a treat. Not just for you, but for your liver as well, which will no doubt need a break during the day.
So there you have it. The Twin Cities Food & Wine Experience is an event not to be missed. Need more convincing? For a limited time only, photos from my 2009 food and wine show experience will be available for viewing at my Flickr page.
As a bonus, here's a video from last year of me doing my first oyster shot. Note: the gagging is not me not enjoying the oyster, it's the oyster being too big for me to swallow without chewing.