Food Festivals on Foot – This Ain’t No Raw

En route to the Distillery District I passed through the ghost town of Woofstock. The white party tent rentals had shut up shop for the first day of festivities.

At the Distillery District in downtown Toronto there were a lot of tents set up but I’m not sure there were actually 1000 Tastes here. This festival is put on by President’s Choice, the brand name of the Loblaws chain, and is associated with Luminato, an all encompassing arts festival.

There was little here for the vegetarian and even less for the vegan, particularly those who choose to eat healthy. This was in stark contrast to the animal flesh-free haven I had just attended on Bathurst street.

Amongst the slim pickings was poutine from Poutini. This outfit performed a sleight of hand to provide a choice of veggie and beef gravy. However, by the time I arrived their wares did a disappearing act and the servers had packed up their booth for the night.

I passed by several booths offering the ever popular and ubiquitous pulled pork, the competitive chef’s secret weapon on various shows featured on the Food Network. There was a smattering of booths with pasta and Mexican inspired cuisine along with the following shops who have permanent locations in the Distillery District:

  • Sweet Escape ( with their Candy Land-coloured macaroons)
  • The Brickworks Bakery (hmm what did they have again? Ah yes baked goods. It is a bakery after all.)
  • Cafe Uno (proudly displaying the chocolate lamingtons in honour of the recent royal visit)

ChocoSol, the bike-powered chocolate grinding outfit, Chippy’s Fish n’ Chips and a pizza-making station were amongst the other food highlights. Apparently there was a seafood booth too as the lady who walked by with jiggly oysters on her plate could attest to.

Well I couldn’t come all this way and not eat something so I had…more sugar! Such are the choices for the vegetarian at a food festival; eat junk, go hungry or go home (or go back to the Raw/Vegan Food Festival). So I lined up, bought the $5 food ticket and made my way back to the LPK’s Culinary Groove booth.

One ticket got me a sample of each of the featured items: three carrot cake doughnuts rolled in cinnamon sugar served in a brown paper cone and a raspberry rhubarb sorbet sandwich. The former had a slightly fermented taste and the latter was more sandwich than sorbet. The cookie part of the ice cream sandwich was like an upscale Oreo i.e. dark, crunchy and chocolatey. I suspect they used black cocoa powder-yes black cocoa powder does exist, I’ve seen it and even own some. The sorbet had a nice tang to it and I wish there was more of it.

My suggestion is to go early and if you’re vegetarian plan to come for a dessert indulgence.

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