I was planning on writing this post immediately when I got home from the Delicious Food Show in Toronto last Sunday. But I couldn’t. Instead I was bed ridden with a sugar hangover for the rest of the evening with only enough functional capacity to browse Pinterest (clothes, not food – I couldn’t even bear to look at food).
But after a few days, I was ready to revisit my pictures and write this recap of the amazing time I had at the Delicious Food Show. I was provided with a free media pass to attend the event, but I gladly would have paid the ticket price ($20 online) to attend. The demonstrations and free samples make it more than worth it!
There was so much to see there that it would be impossible for me to recap it all in this post. Not only were there restaurant booths there, but there were also food companies, cooking equipment companies, food trucks, and alcohol. Plus all the other special features such as chef demos, presentations by celebrity chefs like Tyler Florence and Chef Hughes, book signings, hands on workshops, and lots more. Clearly there was a lot there! But I’ll try to keep this post brief(ish) and just touch on my favourite finds.
1. Holy Cannoli
The first booth I stopped at was Holy Cannoli, where I tried my first taste of cannoli. I have no other cannoli experiences to compare it to, but it tasted fantastic. It must have been owner Vanessa Chiaravalloti’s secret cannoli cream recipe passed down to her from her father that made it so good! I also loved their idea to sell “fill your own” kits and cannoli chips & dip.
2. Short and Sweet Cupcakes
I was so excited to discover Short and Sweet Cupcakes, a 100% nut free bakery in Toronto that prides itself on using only quality ingredients. I am seriously loving that all these nut free bakeries are popping up in cities all over Ontario. 15 years ago I couldn’t eat anything except for what my mom baked me; now I’ve got so many options! We tried a banana chocolate chip cupcake which I really enjoyed, although the icing was overly sweet.
Feast (Fabulous Eats for the Allergic and Sensitive Types) is a recently opened “allergy friendly gourmet food store” in Toronto. They adhere to extremely strict protocols so they can guarantee their food is free of wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, and shellfish. Such great news for those of us with severe allergies that always worry about finding food that’s safe to eat! I tried one of their coconut milk caramels which was a wonderfully sweet treat, and now I can’t wait to visit their location on Queen Street West to try their hand pocket pies and donuts!
4. Screamin Brothers
Another great allergy friendly find was the coconut milk ice cream at Screamin Brothers. This company has a really touching story behind it too. It was founded to raise money after the Haiti earthquake in 2010, and it continues to donate 5% of its profits to local and international children’s charities. Tasty nut free ice cream and supporting a great cause? That’s definitely something I can get behind!
5. Naseem Dates
I’ve always thought that a date is a date is a date. Who cares where I buy it or what kind it is – they’re all the same anyways. Man, was I wrong. The dates I tried from Naseem Dates were the softest, most melt-in-your-mouth delicious dates I’ve ever tried. I’m kicking myself for not picking up like ten boxes!
6. Foodies on Foot
Foodies on Foot is a company that any Toronto foodie should be familiar with. They do cooking classes, food tours, and other food related events in the city. To give you an idea of what they do, in November and December they have an “Insanewich! Food Tour” which takes you around to some of the restaurants and cafes serving the best sandwiches in Toronto. How awesome does that sound?
7. Canadian birch syrup
Of all the products I tried at the Delicious Food Show, I think this Canadian birch syrup was the one that I would be most likely to take home with me (if only the price tag wasn’t in the range of $25-28!). What’s really neat about birch syrup is that it is so versatile depending on which kind you buy. The amber gold is sweet enough to use in dessert, while the dark variety has a strong, deep flavour that would be perfectly suited for red meats. I would love experiment with cooking with this syrup someday (psst mom and dad, Christmas is coming up soon).
8. Olympic Dairy Balkan Style Chia Yogurt
With Greek yogurt and chia seeds going strong as two of the top food trends in the past few years, I guess it should be no surprise that a company has now combined them. Olympic Dairy‘s Balkan Style yogurt with chia seeds tasted great to me, although if you’re turned off by textures, you might not like it. Personally I think it’s a great way to get some extra omega 3 fats in my day, although I could probably just as easily add them myself to regular yogurt.
9. Foodland Ontario
It was great to see Foodland Ontario at the show promoting all the great food we grow locally here in Ontario! I feel so incredibly fortunate to live in a region that has such fertile land and such a strong network of individuals, organizations, and companies involved in the local food system. I sampled some great Ontario preserves, pears, goat cheese and more! There was also a chef cooking up some dishes made with Ontario grown food, but unfortunately we missed out on that.
10. S’mores ice cream bar
One area of the Delicious Food Show was Abbey’s Kitchen Stadium, where eight Toronto restaurants served two dishes each that people could vote on. As soon as we saw the chocolate s’mores ice cream bar from Home of the Brave, we knew we had to try it. It was delicious (how could something with ice cream, chocolate, and marshmallows not be?) but its flavours were slightly flat. I know they were restricted to using certain brands in the creation of their dish though, so that might explain it.
I sampled so many other foods I wish I could write about on here, and others that I didn’t get to sample that I wish I had. If only I had an extra stomach for events like this! At least there’s always next year’s show. Who wants to join me?