Aw Shucks…Oyster Fest 2014 Packs a Punch!

Already well established as a wine region, Niagara has been branching out in recent years with new businesses (craft beer! gin! more food trucks!) and some super exciting collaborations. A�The force is strong with this region, and nowhere was that more evident than at this year’s Oyster Fest Niagara.

oysterfest 2014Held on the grounds ofA�Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers, the outdoor event brought together food trucks, beverage producers, live music and spirited competitors for an afternoon of good ol’ fashioned shucking fun. Oysters were provided by local heroes on the half shell, Tide & Vine Oyster Company, who served up platters and platters of the beautiful bivalves complemented with their housemade mignonettes.

And where there is briny, oyster-y goodness, drinks naturally follow. Dillon’s was serving up rhubarb G&Ts, caesars (topped with Wandering Locavore pickles) and white rye lemonade all afternoon long. A�While the line here was definitely the longest, no one was deterred – we love our Dillon’s!

Smack dab in the middle of the day’s programming were two epic smackdowns – the Niagara Shucking Competition and the Black Box Cocktail Competition. A�Bragging rights for both events are highly coveted – shucksters and bartenders came from as far as Toronto (including Farmhouse Tavern, The Federal, Rodney’s Oyster House, Starfish and Hamilton’s 2x Black Sheep) for the rights to take home the top prizes.

And just who ran away with the hard-earned hardware? In the cocktail department, it was Jullian from The Federal, with Mike Langley from Tide & Vine’s taking home the shucking honours.

Photo credits clockwise from top right: @TeriatTheSpec, @vikpiccreative, @OCTA_licious.

Photo credits clockwise from top right: @TeriatTheSpec, @vikpiccreative, @OCTA_licious.

With the absolutely gorgeous weather and great food, we would argue that everyone who attended was a winner. A�We particularly enjoyed trying Sox N’ Sandals, a super summery citrus pale ale from Silversmith Brewing Co., the crisp Pinot Noir from Angel’s Gate Winery, spicy fish tacos from El Gastronomo and one of AVella‘s piping hot pies. Oh and naturally, ice cream from Hometown Ice Cream!

L: Just a few of the snacks on offer from El Gastronomo. Credit: @natalinenilsson R: Co-owner Gary Huggins  takes guest through a tutored tasting. Credit: @vikpiccreative

L: Just a few of the snacks on offer from El Gastronomo. Credit: @natalinenilsson R: Co-owner Gary Huggins takes guest through a tutored tasting. Credit: @vikpiccreative

Want more edible events in your life? Good news – Dillon’s festive-filled summer line up is just getting started. Make plans to visit their Al Fresco Sunday Brunch series, which will see their signature cocktails paired with fare from a rotating crew of food trucks. As for Tide & Vine, they’ll be shucking the summer away from their Shuck Truck at a variety of locations, including Thirty Bench, the Silversmith Brewery Kitchen (look out for their po’ boys!) and the Niagara Supper Market.

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