Toronto Food and Wine Show

Sunday, September 20, 2015
Earlier this summer, I took a job as Communications Specialist at Restaurants Canada. (A writing job in the food industry? How perfect is that?) This week I attended the Toronto Food and Wine Festival with my colleague Anita, to cover this celebration of restaurants, caterers and food purveyors of all kinds.

I attended a presentation given by Kevin Kent, self-described knife geek. I have to be honest - I'm a bit nervous around knives as sharp as the ones he demonstrated on stage. But after listening to him talk about the beauty of Japanese knives (their harder steel means they start out sharper, and stay sharp longer) I felt a little more confident about giving one a try. With stores in Calgary, Kelowna, Ottawa and Edmonton, and plans to open one soon in Toronto, Kevin's passion for a really great knife was inspirational.

Anita and I visited the Grand Tasting Pavilion which featured over 130 booths with some of the best food from around the city and beyond. This was a working trip, but we couldn't leave without trying some of the fabulous dishes on offer.

The Loblaw's Black Label booth served scallops on a gorgeous butternut squash risotto.

Beautiful loaded baguettes, courtesy of Cluny Bistro.
Delicious breakfast sandwiches by Cafe Belong, on their peerless buttermilk biscuits.

I couldn't pass up the spicy pork lettuce wraps from Little Sister, an Indonesian restaurant that I've wanted to try since it opened. This wrap was phenomenal - I'll be visiting the restaurant soon!

Beautiful macarons, prepared by AG Macarons, which I discovered is dangerously close to my house.

Stirling Butter makes European-style butter, a product that I've looked for before and didn't know I could buy in Toronto. (Higher in fat and lower in water, it's something I've longed to bake with for ages.) I cheerfully chatted about butter and baking with the saleswomen, then bought four packages of their European-style unsalted butter. I considered buying eight, but realized that might confuse the person with whom I share my fridge. Check my blog in the coming weeks for butter-intensive recipes.

One of my personal highlights was meeting Chef Antonio Park, chef and owner of Montreal's brilliant Park restaurant. This restaurant is on my all-time wish list - I'd happily travel to Montreal just for one of his dinners. In his spare time, Park is a judge on The Food Network's Chopped Canada and has just opened a second restaurant, the Argentinian Lavanderia. He was friendly and gracious with his time, a true pleasure to meet.

How could I choose one recipe this week? In the end, I had to go with Antonio Park's simple but fabulous Creamy Carrot and Onion dressing. The original recipe makes a huge batch; I made a quarter of the recipe and was rewarded with a super-quick and wonderful salad dressing.

Antonio Park's Creamy Carrot and Onion Dressing
(recipe courtesy of the National Post)

one quarter of a large carrot, peeled and chopped
one quarter of a sweet onion (or red onion), chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree at high speed until smooth. Store in a covered jar in the fridge for up to three weeks.


Julie said...

Fun, fun and I'm envious of your new job. Can't wait to follow along. :) Looking forward to those butter recipes. I've never tried an European butters but this may be my inspiration.

From the Kitchen said...

Beth: Your post is very timely as we are traveling to Toronto on Tuesday. Dining is high on our list of things to do.


Jemi Fraser said...

I bet the maple syrup adds a great twist! I'll have to try that one.
Such fabulous pics!! I'm envious :)

Daniela Grimburg said...

Congrats, Beth for your new job!
How amazing is this- combining your passion for food and your gift for writing.

Tricia Buice said...

What a fabulous job you have! Good for you - the food, fun and the opportunity to meet talented people in the industry - sounds amazing! Congratulations

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

Congrats on the awesome job! What an amazing event--and to think that is "work" for you!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats on your new job. That's perfect for you.

handmade by amalia said...

Talk about a dream job, Beth! Lucky you. And what a fun event to attend.

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Your new job sounds perfect---it encompasses both of your passions! And lucky you getting to sample all that fabulous food. What a terrific event!

Unknown said...

Sounds like so much fun! That scallop looks amazing. And ooooh - macaroons! I'll take one of each please!

Marcela said...

Your new job sounds awesome! You are so lucky what a fun events to attend! Thanks for sharing the photos!

Angie's Recipes said...

How fun! I would love that job too. That scallop looks totally amazing!

Stephanie Faris said...

Oh fun. Free food AND writing? The perfect combination!

Monica said...

Love, love visiting Toronto! Such amazing food there. This is clearly an amazing event.

grace said...

sounds like my ideal job! and what a perk--thanks for sharing!

Beth said...

Monica, let me know the next time you're in Toronto. I'd love to show you around!

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

Congratulations on your new job - it sounds perfect! What a wonderful time it looks like you had at the TF&W Show! You're making my hungry. And that dressing looks and sounds SO delicious - what a simple, beautiful combination of flavors.

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