{Event} First ever Toronto Food & Wine Festival

Website: http://www.torontofoodandwine.com/
Twitter/Instagram Handle: @tofoodandwine
Address: Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON
Event Date: Sept. 18th to Sept. 20th, 2015

I had the opportunity to attend the FIRST EVER Toronto Food & Wine Festival, which took place at Evergreen Brick Works. The event, previously known as the Delicious Food Show, is sponsored by FOOD & WINE – the wildly popular print and online publication that provides the ‘the best of what’s new in food, drink, travel, style, & entertaining’ (foodandwine.com).

My friend (and fellow blog contributor) Waleed and I were invited to an exclusive media preview of the event before the festival was open to the public. We were warmly greeted by freshly brewed lattes and espressos from Meile (pronounced mee-lay), and a scrumptious breakfast biscuit sandwich from Café Belong. I chose the option with sausage, egg, aioli and microgreens, which was the perfect little engine starter to help me gear up for the day ahead! The morning refreshments were topped off by freshly baked ACE bakery bread and a mini chocolate cannoli from Holy Cannoli.

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We were joined by Celebrity Chef Roger Mooking, Gail Simmons (often known for her coveted role on Top Chef, who is the Special Projects Director of Food & Wine), and Chef Brad Long of Café Belong for the media tour.

Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons

The event grounds included a local Farmer’s Market, the live cooking class kitchen, and the Celebrity Stage, where renowned Chefs and lifestyle experts provided live cooking demonstrations. The interactive stage allowed audience members to engage with the Chefs and the best part – the delicious eats could be sampled at the end of the demo! We saw Chef Tyler Florence expertly prepare his take on fried chicken. The end product was super tasty – crispy, crunchy, and full-flavoured with subtle notes of paprika and fresh herbs. Here is a quick snap of the fried goodness before all of the pieces were gone!

Chef Tyler Florence's Fried Chicken - Delicious!

Chef Tyler Florence’s Fried Chicken – Delicious!

The highlight of the event was the Grand Tasting Pavilion! Only two words can be used to describe this magical place. FOODIE HEAVEN. My eyes and stomach could not handle the overabundance of good eats, sweet treats, and liquid love to wash it all down. Global cuisines were well represented by local producers and vendors, while the hottest restaurants and brands in the BIZ were funnelling out one-of-a-kind (or tried and true) culinary delights for the festival.

Some of my favourite dishes included:

Funghi Pizza from Levetto - Airy, crispy crust topped with Portobello, oyster, cremini mushrooms with mascarpone and roasted garlic crema (seen here with the soppressata pizza)

Funghi Pizza from Levetto – Airy, crispy crust topped with Portobello, oyster, cremini mushrooms with mascarpone and roasted garlic crema (seen here with the soppressata pizza)

 Just Craft Soda - Interesting carbonated juice blends made with 60% fruit juice

Just Craft Soda – Interesting carbonated juice blends made with 60% fruit juice

Tinto Bar de Tapas - The chefs had SO much passion while making us this plate - we were so impressed!

Tinto Bar de Tapas – The chefs had SO much passion while making us this plate – we were so impressed!

Split Tree Cocktails (will be on Dragon's Den this Fall!)

Split Tree Cocktails (will be on Dragon’s Den this Fall!)

PC Black Label Diver Sea Scallops with butternut squash risotto, crispy pancetta, and pumpkin seed oil drizzle

PC Black Label Diver Sea Scallops with butternut squash risotto, crispy pancetta, and pumpkin seed oil drizzle

Bombay Street Food - We sampled the Vada Pav (veggie slider), which was spiced mashed potatoes deep fried in chickpea batter served with mint-coriander, tamarind and garlic chutney

Bombay Street Food – We sampled the Vada Pav (veggie slider), which was spiced mashed potatoes deep fried in chickpea batter served with mint-coriander, tamarind and garlic chutney

Olives and LOADS of garlic from Three Sisters Kitchen

Olives and LOADS of garlic from Three Sisters Kitchen

Since it was also the food & WINE show, dozens of local breweries, wineries, and cocktail enthusiasts provided ENDLESS options to sip and savour.

I enjoyed the Pommies Cider and Tipsy Martini made with Bessie Starkman vodka and Sable and Rosenfeld olives. Ok, let’s be honest – I enjoyed every beverage I sampled, but I am a sucker for a crisp cider and martini!

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Overall – I had an AMAZING time at the Toronto Food & Wine Festival and cannot WAIT for this to become an inaugural event in Toronto!  Thank you to Food & Wine for the media passes and of course, the Queen Bee of Mary’s Happy Belly, my sister Mary Tang for letting me attend on her behalf! Please do yourself a favour and mark it on your calendars to attend next year – your stomach (and photo collection) will not regret it 🙂

Post written by Liz Tang (Instagram @e5tang)

* Disclosure: As part of media, the admission tickets were provided by the Food and Wine Festival. The opinions in the posts are my own.

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