Doughnuts, food trucks, gourmet street food and your new favourite drink for summer – you can find it all at the Good Food and Drink Festival, happening at the Direct Energy Centre now through Sunday. We stopped by last night for the VIP preview party, and here are some of our favourite finds…
Arlene Dickinson’s Hits From the Den
If something has the stamp of approval of one of the Dragons, you know it is going to be quality. Some of our favourites are the Urban Cultivator indoor garden, which is literally your own little year-round garden that discreetly blends into the aesthetic of your kitchen and is the size of a dishwasher, allowing you to grow quality herbs and microgreens. Another favourite was a booth by Balzac’s Coffee Roasters, which features some of the city’s best coffee and best coffee shops, complete with a welcoming neighbourhood Cafe feel. Also on site were the guys from Rebels Refinery, with their selection premium natural skin care for men. Among other products, some of our favourites included things like OMG’s Chocolatey Graham Clusters (they are amazing), the Flavour Fork (revolutionizing the way we BBQ) and Dr. Joey’s Skinnychews from Dr. Joey Shulman.
British Baked Goods
We love the selection of British-inspired baked goods, which included mixed tarts and cookies, and fresh-baked meat pies and quiche at the British Baked Goods booth. You can get your hands on these yourself every Saturday at the St. Lawrence Market from 5am (yeah, that won’t happen) to 2pm. For more information, check out their Facebook.
Pommies Dry Cider
If you are a cider drinker, you may just have found your beverage of choice for the summer. Pommies Dry Cider is better than any cider you will ever taste for the following reasons: unlike other ciders that are made from concentrate, Pommies is made from 100% Ontario heritage apples, it is much lighter to sip, and is even gluten-free. It is the type of cider you can tolerate more than one glass of, offering a light, crisp, sparkling alternative to wine, beer and coolers. Pommies is available at select LCBO locations.
Blu-dot Protein Tea
A light and refreshing alternative to juice or regular tea, Blu-dot Protein Tea contains zero GMOs or artificial ingredients, is gluten-free and contains 100 per cent New Zealand whey protein (12g to be exact) and prebiotic dietary fibre (6g). It comes in flavours like Cranberry Pomegranate Green Tea and Honey Lemon Green Tea, among others.
Me.n.u. was perhaps the busiest booth when we stopped by, with a lineup of guests eager to taste the various, enticing rice balls. me.n.u. is the brainchild of young professionals Allen and Bryan, who quit their former day jobs and travelled Asia to source out the best street food. Trust us, their Asian fusion street food is unlike anything on the streets of Toronto. We suspect that it won’t be too long before these guys have a food truck of their own. PS. the menu is read as me and you.
If you are a busy young professional who is tired of unhealthy takeout night after night, Mealspirations may just be your new go-to. Taking the work out of grocery shopping and searching the internet for an enticing recipe, Mealspirations makes cooking at home as easy as it can be. The company delivers great recipes and fresh ingredients to your home so that you can cook healthy and impressive meals inn 40 minutes or less. Mealspirations creates a weekly menu and allows customers to pick a meal package that suits their lifestyle.
PURE infused maple syrup
Although we’ve never tried a local maple syrup that we did not like, we have never tasted a maple syrup quite like Pure Infused Maple Syrup. Syrup isn’t just for pancakes with this brand, with flavours like Vanilla, Cinnamon and Star Anise; Lavender and Chai, Cinnamon (to use in tea and lattes); Nutmeg and Cloves (perfect over apple pie or oatmeal); Chipotle and Lemongrass (great on salmon, ribs or chicken) and even a Maple Gastrique Maple Syrup, Ginger and Apple Cider Vinegar, used to finish sauces, for salad dressings and to brush chicken or pork before serving.
Fine Canadian Cheese
If you are a cheese lover, it would be unforgiveable not to make a stop at the Fine Canadian Cheese booth, which was sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Canada. It features the brand new Albert’s Leap soft, smooth and rich brie-style rind cheese made in the French tradition and served on cucumber (side-note: the whole show was pretty gluten-friendly) and made by Quality Cheese. Equally as memorable was the Mountainoak Farmstead Premium Gold cheese from Mountainoak Cheese Ltd., which is aged for one year and rich in flavour, yet slightly sweet and nutty and served on dried apple.
If you have a soft spot and sweet tooth for baked goods, you must hit BakeyHaus (conveniently located across from Fine Canadian Cheese) to indulge in a colourful assortment of gourmet doughnuts, croissants, scones, tarts, cakes, brownies and other pastries (the weekend is cheat time, right?).
Liko’s Hawaiian BBQ
You can’t miss the very tropical Liko’s Hawaiian BBQ booth, which dished up authentic Hawaiian dishes like their Kalua pork on a bun. With the first bite, you may even be inspired to have the company cater your own Hawaiian-themed party or Luau.
Other highlights included a central food truck station that featured food trucks from some of our favourites, like the Food Dudes (who served their beloved mac and cheese and fish tacos), Bacon Nation (whose offerings, along with other things, included a Nutella BLT) and from Smoke’s Poutinerie, among others.
If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, check out the show for yourself, for more information visit www.goodfoodanddrinkfestival.com.
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)
Cover photo: Mealspirations
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