Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Vancouver dining at The Fairmont Pacific Rim's Giovane: Cafe by day, wine bar by night

The Fairmont Pacific Rim overlooks Coal Harbour. Photo by Sue Frause.
During my last visit to Vancouver, I spent a night at The Fairmont Pacific Rim, quickly becoming one of my favorite places to stay in this Canadian city. I've always enjoyed its spacious and airy Lobby Lounge, featuring live music (and a white piano), plus yummy cocktails and afternoon tea. But a new place I discovered was the hotel's Giovane, which has a split personality. By day it's a cafe, and at night it transforms into a wine bar. What a great idea!


Breakfast Bruschetta $10 - Photo by Sue Frause
Soft poached egg, basil, tomato, red onion, piave vecchio, toasted focaccia
I was planning to have dinner at the restaurant's Oru restaurant on the second floor, but they were holding a private event that evening. No worries, I was happy to return to Giovane. Before checking in to my room, I enjoyed their Breakfast Bruschetta along with an enormous cappuccino. The poached eggs were perfect, and the tomatoes oh, so sweet. The deli menu also includes other breakfast items, served from 6-11 AM, along with paninis, pizza and salads for lunch. 

Wine tasting from the Giovane Wine Bar. Photo by Sue Frause.
Dinner that evening was an early affair, since I was off to a show during Vancouver's Eco Fashion Week. I was hoping for something light and tasty, including wine, of course. The Fairmont Pacific Rim's sommelier is Jill Spoor, originally from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. For ten years, she lived in Bergamo, Italy -- a medieval town near Milan known for its art and architecture. That's where her passion for Italian food and wine developed. Being in the heart of the DOC region of Lombardia, it was a natural that she would end up pursuing a wine career. After returning to Canada, she enrolled in the WSET wine program at the Art Institute of Vancouver. 

Today, Spoor is a certified sommelier specializing in Italian wine. Jill did a pairing of three Italian wines with cheeses, meat, bread (made in-house) and condiments for our party of six -- topped off with chocolates for dessert. On the Giovane menu, it's listed as Vino Due ($38). There's also Vino Uno ($32), which is a selection of three cheeses, bread and condiments paired with three wines. What a fun way to spend a dark and rainy night. 


Formaggi e Salumi (Cheese and Meat). Photo by Sue Frause.

On Wednesday, November 21, Jill Spoor will be online from 2-3 PM PST to answer any wine related questions. Go to either Twitter or Facebook, and ask away! When recently queried about her favorite wine region, her response was somewhat diplomatic: "They're like your babies, and you need to love them equally," said Spoor. "But if I had to choose one, Tuscany, as I'm really into the Chianti Classicos right now."