Last weekend, Toronto played host to a number of celebrity chefs and local food purveyors at the Delicious Food Show. Food Network Canada stars Lynn Crawford, David Rocco, Nadia G, Chuck Hughes, Mark McEwan and Michael Smith were on hand for live cooking demos and book signings, as was the show's headliner, Martha Stewart. After several hours of scouring the show and tasting everything I could manage to score a sample of, it became clear that a couple of trends are heating up in the culinary world.
1. Food Trucks
It looks like Food Trucks are here to stay. The DFS had five or so indoors, serving everything from fusion tacos to lobster rolls, churros and more sweet treats. While Toronto’s food trucks are still not permitted to set up street-side, the vendors we spoke with are keeping busy with festivals and corporate events. Check out exhibitor Fidel Gastro’s on Eat St.
2. Meat Pies
With the cold weather upon us, the meat pies at the DFS seemed even more irresistible. With a selection of traditional European flavour combinations tempting visitors from behind glass, the standout meat pies of the show were “Traditional Aussie.” For those who prefer exotic or vegetarian fare, Butter Chicken and Creamy Zucchini pies were also available.
3. Marshmallows and Macarons
Two hours into the show, we had yet to see our first cupcake, and after the craze of the last 18 months or so, we were left bewildered. Those craving a sugar high still had plenty of options, like towers of colourful macarons and wonderfully delicate marshmallows. Petite & Sweet had a lychee jasmine macaron, (designed with Pluck Teas Spadina blend) that made up for the smaller selection of cupcakes.
The use of tea did not stop there; the two also collaborated on a “Chai Hot Chocolate” with hand-toasted marshmallows. Specialty teas were everywhere in beautiful, colourful tins, and visitors could sample a range of interesting blends. Bartenders near the back of the show served spiked tea cocktails guaranteed to give visitors more than a caffeine high.
Those avoiding gluten had an entire area to sample goodies from. The Naturally Delicious pavilion fed those devoted to healthy living, and gluten-free egg, cheese and meat sandwiches were offered to everyone who skipped breakfast. Gluten-free offerings are rising in popularity, but surprisingly a number of vendors still had little or no options for those with special diets.
6. Comfort Soups with Noodles
Nothing warms better than hot soup on a cold and rainy day. Torontonians are fanatic about their pho, but the soups offered at the DFS were noticeably heartier. Barque served a pulled smoked duck ramen, and Chef Nuit from Sukothai served up hearty portions of her famous Khao Soi. Intrigued? You can watch Barque on You Gotta Eat Here!
7. Toasted Mustard Seed Chocolates
The most unexpected treat from the Delicious Food Show came courtesy of the Anton Kozlik's Canadian Mustard booth. Organics and Gold debuted a “Fine Organic Chocolate Bark with Mustard Seeds.” Sounds unusual, tastes wonderful. Who knew mustard could be so sweet?
by Jennifer Chua