Abbotsford wine columnist and self-professed "cork dork" Kathleen Rake loves v i n o so much she encourages people to consider imbibing at breakfast.
"You don't have to have wine just with dinner or lunch," says Rake.
"If I were having a rich eggs benedict, I'd like to have that with a citrusy, crisp white wine to balance the palate."
Pairing wine and food is a powerful pleasure that Rake will be sharing with audiences for a third year running at the 2012 Fraser Valley Food Show this weekend at Abbotsford's Tradex.
She'll be hosting eight seminars on the Grapes and Hops Stage during the event, formerly known as Eat! Fraser Valley, which runs Sept. 14 to 16.
Rake and her audience will have the opportunity to sample wines alongside some delicious Canadian cheeses and sausages.
The food show will host the Great Canadian Sausage Making Competition, for both professionals and amateurs, as a tribute to the Fraser Valley's rich heritage of European families who transplanted centuries of tradition in preserving meat.
"Sausages come in all sorts of styles, whether sweet, smoky, spicy and all those flavour profiles can influence wine and visa versa," notes Rake.
Pairing guidelines suggest wine and food combinations should match in flavour or contrast with one another, with each benefiting from the partnership, she adds. However, rules have their limits.
"At the end of the day, it's all about the mouth and what you like that counts," says Rake.
The connoisseur first hosted a couple of seminars at the food show, but she has had to increase the number of shows due to an increasing interest in wine.
"And it's not just people of my age vintage," she says.
"Younger folks in their 20s and 30s are absolutely interested in wine . . . and really want to understand the flavours and what goes into making a wine."
Savouring different vintages is no longer restricted to "experts," she stresses.
"The more sips you take the more you learn."
Rake is also eager to share her wine philosophies with her audience and take pointers in return. One longstanding belief is that wine is best paired with company.
"Wine always tastes better when you're surrounded with good friends."
- Kathleen Rake is part of a line-up of exciting presenters at the Fraser Valley Food Show that includes Real Housewives of Vancouver star Reiko MacKenzie, Food Network's Spice Goddess Bal Arneson as well as executive chefs from Granville Island, Penticton and Kamloops. For more information visit fraservalleyfoodshow.com.
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