Wine or beer – which is the preferred beverage to pair with a meal?
On January 25, students from Niagara College’s wine and beer programs will continue their battle for supremacy, while guests enjoy an elegant dinner at the College’s sold-out Caps, Corks and Forks event.
This will mark the 14th round for Caps Corks and Forks – a popular series of dinner events held at NC’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute marked by a playful rivalry between the College’s wine and beer students. Guests savour a five-course meal, prepared by a team of culinary students led by chef Kyle Landry, while sipping two carefully selected beverage pairings to accompany each dish – one chosen by Team Wine and another by Team Beer.
Each dish becomes a battleground in this friendly wine-versus-beer competition and, after a little coaxing by members of both teams who address the crowd to defend their selections, guests vote for their preferred beverage following each course – with either a cap or a cork. The team with the most votes is declared the winner at the end of the event.
This round of Caps, Corks and Forks will also shine the spotlight on students from the College’s Artisan Distilling program. At a pre-dinner reception, guests will have an opportunity to sample the top five student-created signature cocktails, selected at a class competition last fall.
“Caps, Corks and Forks showcases applied learning in action for our wine, beer, culinary and distilling students, and is an opportunity for us to bring students from several different programs together for an event like no other,” said Craig Youdale, dean of NC’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute. “Guests get a taste of the world-class education at our Canadian Food and Wine Institute, and have an opportunity to experience the passion our students are developing for their industries first-hand.”
Team Wine is comprised of students in the Winery and Viticulture Technician and Wine Business Management programs, while Team Beer is comprised of students in the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program.
First-year Winery and Viticulture Technician student Kate Baginski, who dreams of opening a micro winery someday, values the learning experience she is gaining as a member of Team Wine, led by College winemaker Gavin Robertson.
“Team Wine met many times discussing the menu and styles we believed would work well with each dish. Some were wonderful and some were an absolute no,” said Baginski who is originally from Collingwood, Ontario and developed a passion for wine while living in British Columbia’s Okanagan wine region. “It has helped me to develop a better understanding of what varietals pair well with certain foods, but also how greatly the style of the winemaker can influence the wine with food.”
Second-year Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management student Alex Benjamin said that being a member of Team Beer, led by Brewmaster support liaison Victor North, has been educational and enjoyable. Through brainstorming and tasting sessions with his classmates to select the right beer for a dish, new memories were created.
“This event has been a unique experience by really putting our food and beer pairing knowledge to the test,” said the Dealtown, Ontario native who now lives in St. Catharines. “This was 100 percent a team effort where we all agreed on which individual beer we would pair with each dish. We came together as a team and put out five beers to win.”
Caps Corks and Forks has been a highly anticipated and quick to sell-out event since it launched at NC’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute in 2012. Team Wine has won seven previous Caps, Corks and Forks events while Team Beer has six previous wins.
The January 25 event will be held at Benchmark Restaurant at the College’s Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Students from the Broadcasting – Radio, Television and Film program are also zooming in on the action, giving guests in the dining room a behind-the-scenes view of what is happening in the kitchen via a live stream.
Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute provides students with valuable hands-on experience and academics in food, innovation, wine and beer. The CFWI, located at the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake, is home to Canada’s first Teaching Winery, Teaching Brewery and Teaching Distillery and its renowned teaching restaurant, Benchmark.
Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit niagaracollege.ca.
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