When summer comes along there are a few things that I look forward to: dining alfresco, sipping on cool cocktails, and a packed weekly schedule of food festivals to explore.
The newest addition to the long list of food fests within the city is the Taste of Toronto, which is part of IMG’s acclaimed Taste Festival series that has been running for 10 well-received years. While the event has claimed home in 20 cities worldwide (including stunning locales like Milan, Moscow, Sydney, London, and Johannesburg), Toronto has been endowed with the incredible honour of being the first North American stop.
Taste is a Toronto foodie’s dream come true as it seeks to showcase the créme de la créme of the city’s booming restaurant scene. People are given the opportunity to sample delicious dishes and drinks, learn tips and tricks from local chef celebrities, and be entertained by outstanding performers. There is so much to do at this festival, no wonder it takes place over four days!
First things first, you have to hit the pop-up restaurant venues onsite. There are 14 in total, and with names like Hudson Kitchen, Los Colibris, and Splendido you know you won’t be disappointed.
After stuffing your face head over to the Producer’s Market that features nearly 70 different artisans like Momofuku Milk Bar, and Ninutik Maple. This is the perfect place to buy some yummy snacks- but be sure to save a few dollars (also known as crowns in Taste-land) for what’s next to come.
After all that shopping I’m sure you feel for a glass (or two) of wine. The Tasting Room brings together a panel of sommeliers where you can mingle, sip and learn about wine for 30 minutes. I got to hear all about food and beverage pairings, and how to cellar wines, knowledge I’ll definitely be using in my daily foodie adventures.
Lastly, a food festival isn’t truly great without demonstrations and master classes. If you feel like cooking side-by-side with a talented Torontonian chef- then make sure to check out the Metro Master Class. This is where attendees have the opportunity to create a chef’s signature dish in real time, and of course devour it after.
If all the activities above have tired you out and cooking seems like an impossible task, then attend a live demonstration at The Electrolux Taste Theatre. Here, foodies and the like can watch experienced chefs such as Damon Campbell of Bosk, and Shereen Arazm of Terroni create delectable fare live for the audience. After the demonstrations, snap a photo with Momofuku’s David Chang and Food Network’s Mark McEwan and Roger Mooking as they sign books for food-loving fans.
I was lucky enough to attend the opening night of Taste of Toronto where I got to sample tons of delectable eats that made me smile ear-to-ear.
Check out some of the dishes that you can devour during your visit to this food haven fest.
True North Atlantic Salmon from Atlantic Canada, Crisp Rice, Avocado, and Nori
Khao San Road
Thai Tea Shake – Black Tea, Ice, Condensed Milk, and Spices
Crispy Rice Salad- Rice, Ginger, Cilantro, Sour Pork, Sausage, Lime Leaf, and Fresh Roasted Peanuts
Spicy Shrimp Salad – Shrimp, Onion, Red Pepper, Fish Sauce, Chili, Garlic, and Cilantro
Takoyari – Deep Fried Octopus Balls with Tonkatsu Sauce and Karashi Maro
Zucchini Salad – Buffalo Ricotta, Mint, and Almond
Duck Scotch Egg with English Accompaniments
Crushed Heirloom Tomato Chilled Soup – Wild Watercress, Buffalo Mozzarella, Charred Sourdough Crumbs, and Tomato & White Balsamic Sorbet
Falafel Pita – Cabbage Slaw, Sour Pickles, and Tahini
Rose and Sons
BLT – Dr. Pepper Bacon, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Feta, and Herb Mayo
Station Charcuterie with Pickles
Roasted Atlantic Halibut – Grains, Fennel, Citrus, and Basil
Coconut Tapioca Pearls – Passion Fruit, Lime, Pineapple
Seafood Paella – Bacalao, Mussels, Shrimp, Bay Scallops, Fish, Peas, and Crispy Serrano
Wagyu Hot Dog – House Bun, Beet Mustard, and Beef Cheek Marmalade
Basturma and Cheese Acharuli – Egg Yolk Brioche, and Za’atar
Momofuku Noodle Bar
Pork Bun – Hoisin, Scallion, and Cucumber
Kale Salad – Pear, Sesame, Kimchi, Vinaigrette
Summer Ramen – Dashi, Horseradish, Shiso, and Ham
At the end of your food filled day I’m sure you will be ready to drift off into a food-coma. There are even some picnic blankets hidden away in a corner of Fort York if you need to rest up before heading home. Taste of Toronto runs this weekend from the 24th to 27th down at Fort York, and tickets can be purchased online or at the entrance. As previously alluded, ‘crowns” are used as currency and are worth $1 each. Each restaurant offers a $6, $8, and $10 dish so there is sure to be something that will satisfy all tastes and budgets. Check out the Taste of Toronto’s website here to learn more about the expansive offerings at the event, as well as help you plan out your anticipated visit to this sure to be favourite foodie fest.
I will be co-hosting an exclusive VVIP event on Saturday from 12-4 PM, and have an exciting exclusive offer to Abbey’s Kitchen readers.
Disclaimer: Entry into the festival was free, however, as always, all opinions are genuine.
Contribution by AK Taster: Savannah Onofrey
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian, an avid food writer and blogger, a cookbook author and the founder of Abbey’s Kitchen Inc.