Guide to the 2017 Taste of Toronto festival
Festival host Michelle Jobin (left) and judges Jacob Richler, Aarón Sánchez and Franco Stalteri
Image: Taste of Toronto
Now into its fourth year, the Taste of Toronto festival is back at the familiar Garrison Common venue this weekend.
Taste stands apart from other events in the foodster calendar by concentrating on higher-end dining options. This comes through loud and clear again this year with big-ticket dishes like McEwan's whole roasted foie gras ($150), porchetta ($50) from the Drake, or the whole, charcoal-roasted suckling pig ($150) that Rob Gentile and the team are preparing for Buca's bocce-themed station.
Grant van Gameren's top offering, a $60 Champion Platter that includes familiar dishes from his repertoire like octopus and chorizo verde, won the judge's nod for best dish of the festival.
Chicken skewers from the Noorden / Little Sister booth (IMAGE: DAVID ORT)
Most of the options range between $6 and $12. Highlights include Nota Bene's fried chicken sandwich ($10), the open-faced smoked salmon sandwich ($6) by Piano Piano, and Little Sister's Babi Panggang Karo ($10) that is a Balinese take on pork belly. The latter has a pleasantly hammy texture from being pressed after it's cooked.
The biggest change this year is that all of the restaurant vendors are also allowed to have a booze option on their menu. That means you'll find everything from a French 75 at Cafe Boulud to an Aburi Yuzunade at Miku.
McEwan's foie gras-enhanced grilled duck dog (IMAGE: DAVID ORT)
Dessert is, by no means, an afterthought for this year's vendors. Options range from Buca's decadent zeppoline (that's a whipped vanilla ricotta stuffed between two fried-til-crisp doughnuts) to the Drake's luxurious (and very portable) tiramisu ice cream.
Metro, the grocery store chain, is the presenting sponsor for the master class stage at Taste of Toronto. From the schedule, promising sessions include Richmond Station's Carl Heinrich leading the group through mushroom fettuccine today at 3 p.m.; egg yolk ravioli with Victor Barry later this evening; and Elia Herrera on the creamy corn dish known as Esquites on Saturday evening.
With severe thunderstorms possible in the forecast for Sunday, it makes sense to try to get to Taste as early in the weekend as possible. Tickets ($19 including service fees) are available for all five of the weekend's remaining sessions through Ticketmaster.