Saturday, July 8, 2017

A Taste of Toronto at Fort York

Festival:  Taste of Toronto
Date:       June 15-18, 2017
Date visited:  June 15th
Location: Garrison Common Fort York
What:      Culinary Festival
IG:           @tasteofToronto

Although this is a bit late and the festival has already ended a while ago I wanted to write a post about my experience this year at Taste of Toronto.

This year I only went once on the Friday night.  It was a very HOT muggy sunny evening when we arrived for the Festival.  The weather really affects these outdoor festivals.  It probably wasn't the best time for me to go to the show because it was after work on a friday after a very busy week but since my friend and I both work downtown it was easy to meet up after work and head over to Fort York.  I have to say that Fort York is not my favourite venue for an event because it's very hard to get to.  This time since I went from work I took the Yonge subway to Harbourfront to take the streetcar which dumped me at Lakeshore and I had to walk up to the entrance which moved to closer to Bathurst.  I probably should have waited for another streetcar going north on Bathurst but I walked and remember it was hot outside so by the time I got to the event I was pretty tired and hot.   TIP if it's in the same location next year take the streetcar from Bathurst station if you can.  It's easier.

Well this should give you a glimpse at my energy level and why I didn't fully participate in all of the Festivals attractions this year.  For the past couple of years I have tried to get into the Metro masterclasses and they have been filled up but this time we got the last 2 spots for Rob Gentile (Buca)''s Pasta making demo.  Hosted by Abbey Sharp while Gentile demonstrated a very simple pasta made from Semolina and water.  The dough was pre made but we rolled it out and cut it and cooked it and the sauce and were able to eat our spoils of the demo.  It tasted great but without the egg it was a bit tough. It really filled us up though so we weren't hungry enough to try all the food booths and by that time the lines grew pretty long.


We walked around checking out the menus and tried some of the samples like this Brie Grilled Cheese S'mores which was stuffed with Nutella and as soon as I took a bit it oozed out and landed on my white shirt.  Big Thanks goes out to Richmond Station's staff for trying to help me get the stain out with soda water.  it helped a bit but this white shirt seems to like food as much as I do.
We also went to one of my favourite returning Sponsors the huge Nespresso booth smack in the middle of the festival.  This year they had this fun little boat set up for pics.  I didn't even realize that we matched each other and the whole display.  We really enjoyed our Iced coffees so thanks Nespresso for always being there with delicious beverages and snacks.

The trend of the Festival this year was HOT BBQ's and pits.  I really felt sorry for these super hard working chefs who were in charge of manning the meat pits all weekend long.

We didn't sit in on any of the roundtable discussions or the cooking stage demos, although I caught a bit of Chef Carl from Richmond Station while I was at the Uniqlo booth.  It seemed strange for Uniqlo to have a booth there but they were giving out free under shirts that are supposed to keep you warm or cool, new super tech.  They also had something I really enjoyed,  they were making Hibiscus cocktails.  It was so refreshing.

Normally I spend a lot more time and get to chat with some of the Chefs I have met over the years but I didn't have the chance to see them this year.  I did wave to Chef Mark McEwan and I had a great chat with my friend Nancy who is an Ambassador for Blue Goose Pure Foods who had a booth set up there.  What I like about this festival is the fact that all of the best chefs in Toronto go there and I usually sit in on the demos and get to see what's up in the Toronto food world.  Every year new trends emerge and it seemed that this year it was all about meat and doing different things with it.  Chef McEwan's booth had crispy pigs ears, compared to year 1 where they had insane lines for their fried chicken that sold out.  There were some booths with really long lines and some didn't have any lineups so I think that's pretty telling about our discerning Toronto palates.

I would love to see this festival have a free admission so that there is more money to spend for the food booths or have a one price fee.  This year they got rid of their crown cards and you had to pay with credit or debit cards.  I had cash which wasn't accepted.  I understand the no cash policy but maybe there's a better way to accommodate all kinds of payments and maybe if it moved to a more accessible venue and I think people would hang out longer and try more food and attend more demos.

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