• Experience Taste

Cooking & Wine Pairing Experience with Vine & Vintage and Shauna Mann Nutrition

As Michael Broadbent once said: “Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life's most civilized pleasures.” Well we found a new way to enjoy good food & good wine in Toronto and we’re so excited to share our experience with you!

Daniel has always wanted to do a cooking class together. He said it would be fun and that it would help me be less shy in the kitchen (poor guy is always the one cooking in our house, he’s probably hoping a class would get me to cook more). I had been researching cooking classes for us but they all seemed too formal and intimidating to me, not to mention quite expensive.

I had quite frankly given up on the idea until Samantha from Vine & Vintage reached out to Daniel and me on Instagram to invite us to one of her Cooking & Wine Pairing events. The types of events they host are exactly what we were looking for. Vine & Vintage offers a very unique experience, unlike any other in Toronto, where you can learn about cooking and wine in a more casual and social atmosphere. We immediately looked up their upcoming events and chose the next event when we were available: A Valentine’s Day Theme Cooking & Wine Pairing Event on Friday, Feb 16.

I’ve always loved wine but it wasn’t until I met Daniel that I truly learned to appreciate the nuances of different types of wine. He took a few courses at the Austrian Wine Academy and I’ve always admired his knowledge and passion to continue learning about wine. His passion is contagious, so I’ve become quite the wine lover myself. We even have a sign on our dining room wall that says “A meal without wine is called breakfast.” I have been wanting to learn more myself, but the wine learning culture is typically quite formal and intimidating. This is why I consider Samantha’s events a game-changer, she makes learning about wine social and fun!

Samantha partnered with Certified Nutritionist Shauna Mann and together they created a romantic 5-course dinner menu and wine pairing that provided a perfect culinary experience to celebrate Valentine’s Day. As soon as we walked into the venue we were instantly impressed. Shauna and Samantha immediately greeted us and even though it was our first-time meeting, we felt like we were visiting a friend’s place. Everything was very well organized and it was obvious from the start that they are truly passionate about what they do and deeply care about creating a fun and social atmosphere for their guests. Their passion and energy is contagious!

There were 5 couples in total and each couple chose one of the dishes to prepare for the 5-course dinner with Shauna’s guidance. Each cooking station had a detailed recipe of the meal with all the tools and ingredients needed to make the dish. The recipes were very easy to follow and the food was delicious! It was interesting to see how each couple delegated the tasks in the recipe and worked together to prepare their meal. The atmosphere was relaxed and social, which made cooking really fun. After the recipes were completed, all the couples took a seat to enjoy the 5-course dinner, along with the perfectly matched wine pairings.

My personal favourite part of the night was hearing Samantha's stories about each wine. Each wine was selected based on a romance theme and she did a fantastic job, not only describing the reason behind the pairing for each course, but also by relating each region’s culture and history to link the connection of wine and romance. We both enjoyed every single wine and thought each wine brought out the flavours of each course.

Here is a summary of the dishes we created along with the wine pairings:

1) Course #1: Charcuterie w/ 2017 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc

2) Course #2: Roasted Maple Beet & Avocado Salad w/ 2016 Pfaff Riesling Cuvée Jupiter

3) Course #3: Butternut Squash Soup w/ 2015 Joseph Drouhin Chablis

4) Course #4: Roasted Beet Rosé Penne w/ 2015 Menage à Trois Midnight Red Blend

5) Course #5: Decadent Chocolate Brownie & Dark Chocolate Ganache w/ 2012 Bolla Amarone

Check out Vine & Vintage’s blog post “Wine for your Valentine” describing the event to find out more about the wine pairings. Check out Shauna’s website to find out more about her nutrition/cooking services. The event with Vine & Vintage and Shauna Mann Nutrition was a great way to learn new things about nutrition and wine, try new delicious recipes, discover new favourite wines, and meet new friends.

Even though all the couples were strangers at the beginning of the night, we all left at the end of the night as friends. The wine and food experience duo do a fantastic job of setting up each event and creating a relaxed atmosphere that makes you feel like you are at a dinner party with friends. Through socializing we met someone that studied at the same university in Ireland where we met on exchange - what a small world!

Vine & Vintage hosts many public events, similar to the Valentine’s Day event we attended, however the majority of V&V events are actually private, and in the comfort of your own home or office space! They specialize in customized experiences for any occasion including bachelorettes, birthdays, anniversaries, corporate team building and dinner parties.

When I asked Samantha to give examples of past events she’s done, I was blown away with her creativity - her attention to detail for each event is really impressive! She puts in a lot of hard work to make sure the experience is customized for each client. Her subtle approach to sharing wine knowledge and customized ideas is designed to bring you and your group closer with an unforgettable experience. A popular themed private event that Daniel and I are dying to try out is a Wine Murder Mystery experience. Read more about Vine & Vintage events at http://vineandvintage.ca. Make sure to head to the blog section to read more about events and experiences that V&V has created.

We highly recommend Vine & Vintage events, a new way to wine and dine in Toronto! V&V offers unique experiences that we’ll be trying again and again!