Toronto may not be included in the Michelin guide, but we’re the only North American city to be part of the Taste Festival series, which visits 22 cities each year, bringing together some of the best local food businesses and restaurants for a weekend-long celebration of cuisine.
A well-curated selection of small food businesses (Mad Mexican, Mary Mcleod’s Shortbread), innovative products (Ninutik Maple Sugar, hisbicus tea from Nuba Tisane), local restaurants both small and large, and some larger corporate exhibitors (Pilsner Urquell, San Pellegrino) along with a variety of stages featuring chefs both local and international (Mark McEwan, Jonathan Waxman, Masaharu Morimoto, who is opening a restaurant in Toronto soon), make the Taste of Toronto festival accessible and interesting to everyone.
Admission ranges from $19 – $30, then attendees fill cards with “crowns” (one dollar = one crown) which are the currency of the event. Participating restaurants offer two or three dishes at different prices, all 10 crowns or under to make it easy to try as much as possible.
Spread across the scenic grounds of Fort York, Taste of Toronto is an exceptionally well-run event; nicely laid out, very organized, for the most part carefully curated (I get the need for corporate sponsors, but I have an issue with Nescafe as the only coffee exhibitor, not only because there are great local coffee companies, but I don’t want to support “water is not a human right” Nestle in any way). And since many of the restaurants taking part are sampling dishes from their menu, it’s a great way for people to try out various things before committing to a full restaurant visit.
I really enjoyed this year’s Taste of Toronto and look forward to next year’s event. With thanks to Fatima Reyes of Rock-It Promotions for the media pass.
The Taste of Toronto festival runs until Sunday July 5th at Fort York.
Top: East coast fish fry from The Drake Hotel – with fried clams, Jail Island Haddock and tartar sauce.