Sweetery Toronto 2015
This past weekend, Sweetery Toronto held its first sweets-only festival in Toronto. The event was held from August 15th to August 16th. As soon as I heard about this festival, I knew I had to go. I attended the festival on August 16th with my friend Andrea.
If you’ve never heard of Sweetery Toronto, it’s Toronto’s inaugural sweets-only festival. The non-profit organization partnered with the student chefs at George Brown and Sick Kids Hospital. All of the proceeds from the activities at the festival were donated to Sick Kids Hospital.
The sweets-only festival had at least 13 vendors, varying the selection of sweets and savoury goodies. Unfortunately, I only tried five of the vendors.
Andrea and I arrived pretty early – around 11 AM. But the festival staff let us start off around 11:30 AM. We only came early because we heard only 500 people get loot bags, and since we saw that 10,000 people wanted to attend the festival, we didn’t want to take our chances.
Inside one of the loot bags, for the two days, had a golden ticket (like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!). When we went to retrieve the loot bags, we were told that it’s one per party. That was a bummer, but it didn’t bug us really. Although, it should have been advertised that the loot bags are one per party. We also didn’t have the golden ticket 🙁 One other thing we were given were stamp cards. Each vendor you visit has a particular stamp. Once you’ve received five stamps on your card, you can enter the raffle for a prize. The winner has yet to be announced.
Since it was still pretty early, one of the only vendors opened was the Original Chimneys. I had never heard of chimneys before until this festival. My co-worker had told me that it’s like deep fried dough. Deep fried dough taste? Count me in! (FYI, the dough is actually baked and not fried.) The menu had 3 different kinds of chimneys: Cinnamon and Sugar, Coconut, Oil and Herb, all for $7. For an additional $1, you could add a filling. I can only remember Cream Cheese and Nutella as filling options. I didn’t want to be too adventurous first thing in the morning, so I opted for the Cinnamon and Sugar with no filling. As mine was baking away, the owner (I wish I got her name!) was telling me how the ingredients for their dough is organic and that the plastic they use for the packaging is biodegradable. I thought that was pretty interesting, and according to their website, the base ingredients are also suitable for vegans!
(A video of the chimneys baking away will be posted soon!)
The chimney itself is pretty big. It’s a huge cylinder of deep fried dough. Yum! Mine tasted really good and it was generously covered in cinnamon and sugar.
I wanted to eat it all but considering it wasn’t even noon yet, Andrea and I still had the rest of the festival to look forward to. I ate about half until I stored it away in my purse (Yay for leftovers!).
The other vendors were still setting up so Andrea and I tried this taste test activity. For $2, you try five popcorn flavours and you have to guess which flavour it is. The list of flavours is up for you to see. If you guess 4 out of the 5 correctly, you get receive a prize.
I only guess 3 out of the 5 (Those caramel flavours!) but both Andrea and I still received a prize. We got to pick between a snack package of Oreos or Swedish Berries. I chose the Swedish Berries. I’m assuming if you guessed the 4 or 5 correctly, your prize is something better.
One of the next vendors we went to was the George Brown Pastry Chefs. We didn’t realize there were two tents for it till after we ate our food. I’m not sure which of the chefs made the cake I ate, but it was delicious! I chose the Cherry Pistachio Mousse (Thanks Andrea!). It had a long French name but I can’t remember it.
I thought the mousse would have nothing inside but once I cut into it, there were two layers of filling. I can’t remember what the fillings were but I’m pretty sure one was pistachio and the other tasted like cherry jam.
I’m usually not a fan of mousse desserts (I only chose it because it looked the prettiest to me) but I very pleased with my selection this time. It was quite sweet but not overpowering. It pretty much tasted like a really good Black Forest cake.
I tried Andrea’s pastry, which I believe is called Tarte Topenzienne Mandarine. The filling, according to the menu board, is a Mandarin flavoured cream and gel. It tasted like mango to me and had custard-like texture to it. It was sweet but not too sweet. I quite liked it. I would have to say, the pastries from the George Brown Pastry Chefs were one of my favourites at the festival.
I wish I took a photo of the menu board, but there were I believe three doughnut flavours to choose from for $3 each. I chose the Rose and Pistachio doughnut and Andrea has the Pink Lemonade one (Photo coming soon!). Having had a pistachio macaron in Paris, I’ve been obsessed with that flavour. I don’t like rose flavoured foods after trying ones at the Magnum Ice Cream pop-up in Toronto a while back, but I assumed the pistachio would overpower the rose flavour. And, I was right! You could barely taste the rose. It was all pistachio! The vegan doughnut tasted like the ones Andrea and I made, in terms of texture. It definitely tasted baked and not deep fried. I also really liked the icing on it. It’s hard to believe it’s all vegan!
With three vendors down and the blazing heat, Andrea and I went for the Bottomless Watermelon drinks for $10. Pretty good deal! There’s not much to say about it since it’s a normal watermelon drink, but it was very refreshing, especially for that day!
We then went to I Love Puffy Love for some marshmallow goodies. I Love Puffy Love, created by Mai Ha, is a Toronto-based marshmallow speciality brand. Before Andrea and I attended the festival, Andrea linked me to a photo of these goodies and they looked so pretty!
At the festival, there were two options: 1) You could purchase the Flavour Sample Pack, or 2) Create your own pack and add your choice of toppings to the marshmallows. While creating my own kind of marshmallows would have been neat, I decided to purchase the sample pack for $6. Unfortunately, I didn’t eat the marshmallows right away. I was quite full and decided to save them for later. Well, later ended up being yesterday. I did my own taste test at home, so my review may be skewed because they’re not as fresh.
Let’s start off with the packaging. Look how cute the box is! And, the flavour card inside is beautifully designed.
Above is how the marshmallows come in the box. Too precious to eat! 🙂
Now, onto the actual taste. I first tried the Vanilla Bean Dream. It was quite sweet but it didn’t give off that until the marshmallow dissolved away. Surprisingly, I didn’t taste vanilla. It tasted like a thick, creamy marshmallow, but there was no hint of vanilla bean for me. Next I tried the Bacon Heaven. I should have tried this first since I’m not bacon person, but this surprisingly wasn’t bad. Because the bacon pieces were on top, you can really taste the bacon. At first they tasted like beef jerky but then transformed into their true bacon taste. This one was weird because the marshmallow and bacon tastes didn’t blend together – it was pretty much two flavours separated in my mouth.
I then tried the Lemon Sunshine. This one was my favourite of the four. The lemon taste was light and it reminded me of Ricola cough drops. I love eating Ricola cough drops (they taste so good!) so this was a no brainer for being my favourite. And last but not least, the Mint Royale marshmallow! I was hoping for this one to be a hit with me but sadly, it wasn’t 🙁 At first bite, I thought, “Okay, this is a nice mint taste. It’s refreshing.” But then it started getting too minty and became toothpaste-like. It didn’t leave a nice aftertaste.
The last vendor I went to was Toast Delight. The vendor served Hong Kong style egg waffles with a twist. I LOVE these egg waffles. Any time I’m in Pacific Mall, I have to get one!
I was originally going to order the original egg waffles, but then the vendor staff asked if I had taken a look at the flavours they had. I didn’t. So I took a look and opted for the Apple Cinnamon flavour.
I really should have stuck with the original ones. The apple cinnamon flavour overpowered the egg waffle taste and all I could taste was the apple cinnamon. It wasn’t bad but I prefer the original to the apple cinnamon one. The original is almost always the better flavour!
Even though this was the first festival from Sweetery Toronto, I was quite pleased with its organization. I do wish there were more vendors and a bigger location. The festival was held in a parking lot by Front and Portland. It would have been nice to be somewhere bigger for more seating. While it wasn’t packed on the Sunday, it still didn’t have enough space for people to sit down and enjoy their sweets. Luckily, there was a park nearby with benches.
Overall, I had a great time at the festival. While it may have been too early to eat just sweets for 11AM/noon, I still had enjoyed all the sweets I got. I had a lot of leftovers, so I could share them with my family when I got home. Most tried the Chimneys and the Apple Cinnamon Egg Waffle. They’re favourite is the Chimneys, which is surprisingly because I thought it would be too sweet for them, but they enjoyed that the most. My favourite sweet of the festival would be either Chimneys or the mousse by the George Brown Pastry Chefs.
Would I return to the festival if it has a second year? Yes. And the next time, I will pace myself and share sweets with whoever I attend with so that I can cover more ground at the festival.
If you attended the festival, let me know which sweet was your favourite!