My Highlights from Taste of Toronto 2016

Hi everyone!

Welcome back to another of my tasty blog post, some of my posts this summer will be a bit delayed as it is a busy summer for me and with some changes with my other full time job, I been trying to balance work & blogging. I hope that my sweet readers will still continue to come back for more just be a bit patient, thank you all for understanding!

So let’s get to it with the summer weather is officially upon us with the heat & humidity, it finally feels like real summer! One of the things I love about summer is going to food festivals. One of my fave food festivals is Taste of Toronto, which always is my 1st food festival to kick off my summer months. I always enjoy going to my foodie events with none other than my mom, she loves attending these foodie festivals like me so I’m always happy for her to join me on this fun adventure. We have been going to Taste of Toronto every year together so this year was no different. This year the weather was perfect sunny & hot for this amazing tasty festival to go to for a weekend.

Me & my mom with our drinks from Palm Bay

This is my 3rd year going to Taste of Toronto and I had mixed reviews of attending because after checking out the menu online, I was uncertain about the tasty selection and foods this year.

If you are unfamiliar with Taste of Toronto, here is a quick review of it:

  • Dates: June 23 – 26, 2016
  • Location: Garrison Common At Fort York
  • Operates like a restaurant, offering afternoon and evening services. There are a total of six sessions running over the four day festival, with each session lasting between four and five hours
  • Its own currency system, known as “Crowns”. All restaurant dishes and any items that you wish to purchase from the artisan stalls can be bought with your Crown Card
  • Some activities to take part in from live cooking demonstrations, tastings, to hands-on cooking classes, producers market (one of my fave visit were to Ace Bakery booth & Pure Leaf booth), and much more

This year returning Chef Mark McEwan was back along with celebrity Chef, Chuck Hughes and new to Taste of Toronto are, Chef Rob Bragagnolo (Carver) and Jamie Kennedy (farm to table practices).

There were some really delicious dishes this year I tasted and I guess the only thing I was disappointed was the lack of desserts that were offered this year and for me being able to only have diary-free desserts, it was very limited this year though for me.

This year the menu options was slightly changed, they were still offering 4 dishes but the 4th dish was called “the dish”, which was either their signature dish or a speciality dish that the price was quite expensive to me depending on which vendor you went to, it varies in prices. As well this year the layout of the Taste of Toronto area was changed and different from other years. I am unsure if the layout change is good or not, I got a bit confused when I was walking around the area.

My Top 3 Fave Dishes This Year are:

  1. Roast Chicken Sandwich with Charred Lemon Aioli & Grilled Tomato Pesto by Carver (Chef Rob Bragagnolo), simply the best Roast Chicken sandwich I ever had!! It had the perfect flavour and herbs to make this an amazing sandwich! Carver did not disappoint at all! 
  2. Crispy Calamari Po-Boy with Ace Bakery charcoal bun and lemon caper aioli by The Mark McEwan Group, that one seemed to be everyone fave as the lineup for it was long, but totally worth the wait as despite not eating much seafood and not a fan fave of calamari, I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed it with the right amount of crispy and taste to it. Really enjoyed the charcoal bun too. I also had the honor of meeting Chef Mark McEwan that day too.                                                                                                                                                                                         Me & Chef Mark McEwan    
  3. Both Dishes by The Drake – True North Salmon Fried Rice with Salmon Roe, Drake XO Sauce & Pork and Shrimp Dumplings with Szuchuan Chili Jam, I couldn’t choose which one as every year The Drake delivers on their amazing food and this year was no difference, I simply love their light and fresh dishes with the salmon fried rice. Who doesn’t love dumplings, but they made their light and fresh with a bit of punch with the chili jam (I don’t eat much spicy food so it was sure to wake up your tastebuds).                              

My Fave Returning Dish:

  • Station Burger with milk bun, beet chutney and onion ring by my fave The Richmond Station of course! It was a must have when who else makes the best burgers then Richmond Station and they did no disappoint at all, it was freshly made and juicy. Simply delicious!

So that wraps up this year of my visit to Taste of Toronto 2016! I hope that you didn’t get too hungry with some of the delicious foods I enjoyed this year at Taste of Toronto, if you haven’t been to this food festival, I definitely suggest you come next year to enjoy these tasty foods to sample and enjoy. It definitely has something for everyone!

I look forward to next year Taste of Toronto 2017 to be better & for more delicious & new foods to sample and enjoy.

For now, I am off to search for my next foodie festival or new place to try to share with you all. So don’t forget to come back to read all about it, it might be something you want to try?

-Sweet B.

 

 

For more information on Taste of Toronto & the other vendors, please see below:

Taste of Toronto – Official Website -> check here

You can follow them on Facebook @TasteofToronto, Twitter @TasteofToronto, and Instagram @TasteofToronto.

Carver Slow Roasted – Website -> click here

Address: 101 Peter St., Toronto, ON

You can follow them on Twitter @Carverslow & Instagram @Carver.to as well as Chef Rob Bragagnolo (Owner of Carver Slow) on Twitter @RobBragagnolo

The Mark McEwan Group – Website -> click here

You can follow them on Facebook @TheMarkMcEwanGroup & Instagram @TheMarkMcEwanGroup

As well as you can follow Chef Mark McEwan on Twitter @Chef_MarkMcEwan & Instagram @ChefMarkMcEwan.

The Drake – Website – click here

You can follow them on Facebook @TheDrakeHotel, Twitter @TheDrakeHotel & Instagram @TheDrakeHotel.

Richmond Station – Website – click here

You can follow them on Facebook @RichmondStation, Twitter @Richmondstn & Instagram @RichmondStation.

Ace Bakery – Website – click here

You can follow them on Facebook @ACEBakery, Twitter @ACE_Bakery & Instagram @AceBakery.

 

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My Highlights From the 1st Toronto Food & Wine Festival 2015

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the late review all! Here it is finally….What better way to start a warm Fall-like weekend than attending a spectacular foodie festival. It was the first time Toronto hosted the 2015 Food & Wine Festival franchise’s to debut in Canada. It is very exciting to me as a foodie that Toronto was able to host this festival for the first time as it shows that Toronto has a lot to offer in the restaurant and hospitality industry, and that other places around the world are starting to see that.

Of course, I had to attend this anticipated and amazing food festival and a great way to start a warm Fall-like temperature weekend then enjoying sampling delicious foods and drinks.

The Toronto Food & Wine Festival 2015 was held for over 3 tasty days from Sept 18 – 20, 2015 at the Evergreen Brick Works which if you didn’t know about the location a bit of history here – the Evergreen Brick Works is Canada’s first large-scale community environmental centre that helps focus the global green cities movement. It also has it’s own farmer’s market showcasing farmers and food producers from Ontario’s Green Belt who understand the importance of healthy, local and fresh food for everyone.

Over the 3 mouth-watering days, Toronto Food & Wine Festival took over this large greenspace along with the brick restored buildings with a massive Grand Tasting Pavilion highlighting local restaurants, wineries and breweries along with a packed weekend of cooking classes led by celebrity chefs, tutored tastings, live demos at the Miele Celebrity Stage, book signings, a farmer’s market, and much more. As well Food & Wine Festival hosted harvest dinners after the Festival including Heritage BBQ by Cochon555 and Diner en Noir presented by the PC® Black Label Collection. If you missed this delicious foodie festival, check out some of my highlights below where I attended the Saturday session.

My overall experience was just amazing, I had such an incredible day at the first ever Toronto Food & Wine Festival, I attended the Saturday session despite starting out the day looking gloomy and rainy. Though surprisingly with Toronto weather, I got lucky and it ended up being a warm and even a bit sunny and it only rained for an hour. It was perfect timing too as I was then watching a live demo by Chuck Hughes inside at the Miele Celebrity Stage. The event was held within different parts of the Evergreen Brick Works with the massive Grand Tasting Pavilion in a huge open space warehouse look and the Miele Celebrity Stage held at the Holcim Gallery, which was in a huge open space as well.

There was so many different foods and wine of course to try, I love how Toronto Food & Wine Festival used the Evergreen Brick Works concept of fresh local food included in the show as well.  I felt a bit overwhelmed at first at the Grand Tasting Pavilion only because there were so many choices of food vendors to choose from. It was hard to decide what to try so I tried as much as I could lol!! I was excited to discovered a new bakery called, Ace Bakery where I enjoyed their delicious sample soft breads and as well they had a special dish that day called: Black Forest Bites, which despite not liking chocolate, it was a perfect bite (as it had a small piece of chocolate on top lol). I thought that the small baguette was a great idea for snacks or even for entertaining. The Grand Tasting Pavilion was a great place to discover new foods and sample foods that you usually don’t try.

My Top 3 Fave Dishes:

  1. My fave dessert definitely was the Rosewood Wildflower Honey & Riesling Savarine by Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie.  I love how they have this small tube where wildflower honey can be put into the cake. That was quite neat to add to a dessert!
  2. My fave savory dish was the Seared Scallop with risotto by PC® Black Label Collection. The scallop was cooked perfectly and I love the spices in the scallop! Simply delicious!Scallop Dish - 1
  3. My fave sandwich was Porchetta, which consisted of Rosemary & Lemon Slow Roasted Pork, Ontario Peach Mostarda with a freshly baked bread by Carver. I love adding peach sauce to the sandwich! 

My Fave Wine

I prefer sweet wines and always of course love sweet things so this comes no surprise why I love sweet or fruity wines. My fave wine goes to the Apple Cider Wine from my own province, Ontario Yours To Discover. Simply perfect amount of sweetness! What perfect fruit to go with Fall!

Apple Cider Wine - 1

OntarioWine-1AA collage of Ontario Yours To Discover booth with me and my mom with our wines! Beautiful display by Ontario booth capturing the Fall look.

I also attended two live demos at the Miele Celebrity Stage where I saw Curtis Stone, celebrity Aussie chef and Canadian chef – Chuck Hughes. I also met culinary expert & judge on Top Chef – Gail Simmons. I really enjoyed Curtis Stone’s live demo, he is very entertaining, funny, engaging and as well I learned quite a few tips from him as well. Curtis did a live demo of a fancy Fall cocktail and upscale salsa and chips. He also did an exciting competition of mixing cocktails with Canadians vs Americans with the audience. If you haven’t seen Curtis cook live before, I definitely recommend you seeing him! He definitely won’t disappoint you! Chuck Hughes did a live demo on a Peach dessert and how to cook fresh pasta. Check out a few photos below of my experience at the Miele Celebrity Stage and the book signing where I met Curtis in person.

My mom & me with Curtis Stone

Me with Curtis Stone

Chuck Hughes demo

It was truly a delicious, inspiring and fun experience at the first ever, Toronto Food & Wine Festival for me. I would have loved to have gone all 3 days after going to one of them to have more time to sample more tasty foods. If you didn’t go to this year’s Toronto Food & Wine Festival 2015, then it’s an easy decision that next year, it’s a must go! I definitely will be attending next year’s 3 days foodie event! Already counting down the days until next year appetizing and yummy event!

Until next time, I will be searching for my next sweet adventure…

-Sweet B.

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For more information on Toronto Food & Wine Festival 2015 and the other vendors I have mentioned, check out the links below:

Toronto Food & Wine FestivalWebsite Link

You can also follow them on Facebook @TOFoodandWine, Twitter @TOFoodandWine, and Instagram @TOFoodandWine.

Evergreen Brick Works – Website Link

Ace BakeryWebsite Link

You can also follow them on Facebook @ACEBakery, Twitter @ACE_Bakery, and Instagram @ACEBakery.

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Cluny Bistro & BoulangerieWebsite Link

You can also follow them on Facebook @ClunyDistillery, Twitter @ClunyDistillery, and Instagram @ClunyDistillery.

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PC® Black Label CollectionWebsite Link

You can also follow them on Facebook @PresidentsChoice, Twitter @PresChoice, and Instagram @PresChoice.

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Ontario Travel (Official Website of Tourism in Ontario)Website Link

You can also follow them on Facebook @OntarioTravel, Twitter @OntarioTravel, and Instagram @OntarioTravel.

Celebrity Chefs:

Curtis Stone

Website Link

You can also follow him on Facebook @ChefCurtisStone, Twitter @CurtisStone, and Instagram @CurtisStone.

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Chuck Hughes

Website Link

You can also follow him on Facebook @ChefChuckHughes, Twitter @ChefChuckHughes, and Instagram @ChefChuckHughes.

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Gail Simmons

Website Link

You can also follow her on Facebook @GailSimmons, Twitter @GailSimmons, and Instagram @GailSimmonsEats.