Sweetery Toronto 2016
“Hello. How are you?” Yes, I know. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I’ve been busy helping my sister with her wedding which was this past Thursday! It was held in Vegas and I literally got back the night before this year’s Sweetery Toronto Food Festival!
Of course I had to attend Sweetery Toronto again (I mean, I am a sweets person), but this year I was invited to the media event. I had never attended a media event prior, so I’m relatively new to the Toronto/GTA Food Blogger scene. But you’re not here to read about me meeting fellow foodies – you want to know about the food! I’ll try to cut to the chase as best as I can.
For its second year, Sweetery has once again partnered with George Brown College. The chefs/students in the George Brown’s Culinary Arts program also had their own booth, where you could purchase their delicious confectioneries. Sweetery has also partnered with Second Harvest, a food rescue and redistribution program. Proceeds from the interactive activities will go towards Second Harvest.
Due to a large turnout from last year, Sweetery Toronto has upgraded and moved to a new location. Last year’s was set in a small parking lot; this year the festival moved to a bigger and busier location: David Pecaut Square. The new location definitely helped the with the organization of the festival. It also provided more additions, for example, these cute umbrellas!
Now onto the food and drinks!
Andrea’s Gerrard St. Bakery
If you love butter tarts, you will want to hit up Andrea’s Gerrard St. Bakery. These handmade tarts and pies are the perfect decadent sweet treat. They are made from natural ingredients, pure, local maple syrup, and there is no use of corn syrup or any high fructose syrups.
Andrea’s Gerrard St. Bakery is selling the following treats at the festival:
- Butter Tarts (Plain, Raisin, or Pecan): $4 each or 6 for $20
- Pecan Squares: $4 each
- Pies (Plain, Raisin, or Pecan): $20 each
- Butter Tart Sauce: $12 each
I had sampled the tarts twice (they were that good!) and the butter tart sauce is the best part. It’s got a smooth, creamy-like texture that melts in your mouth. And the crust of the tarts had a nice crunch that complemented the soft filling.
Golden Crumb Biscuit
The next vendor I hit up was Golden Crumb Biscuit. Currently an online business, Golden Crumb Biscuit specialized in gourmet cookies. You can tell just by looking at the cookie platter showcasing at Sweetery Toronto. They have a variety of cookie flavours: Red Velvet Nutella, Chocolate Pistachio, and White Chocolate Confetti – just to name a few. If cookies aren’t your thing, they also sell brownies.
I didn’t try a cookie per se, but I sampled a Chocolate Chip Cookie Shot.
It was good but I felt that it needed more milk or that the Chocolate Chip cup had to be thinner. It’s a cool concept, one that I’ve always wanted to bake myself, so I do have to give them props for bringing a fun item to the festival. It would be neat if they did it with one of their more gourmet flavours.
I do wish I tried one of their actual cookies though. That Chocolate Pistachio was calling for me.
With the rising popularity of matcha/green tea, it’s no surprise that a vendor, perfectly named Matcha, is at Sweetery Toronto. It’s one of the hottest kinds of dessert in Toronto right now.
I’ll admit – I’m not a matcha/green tea fan, but I’ve slowly grown to appreciate it. I still won’t purposely order a matcha/green tea item for kicks, but I will try it.
For Sweetery Toronto, Matcha is offering three items:
- Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcake
- Matcha Ice Cream
- Vanilla Ice Cream
The Matcha and Vanilla Ice Cream are self-explanatory, but there is an interesting tidbit regarding the Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcake. Instead of using whipped cream, as what most recipes call for, their recipe substitutes with a kind of custard. I think that helps to give it a spongy, light texture, which resembles a lot of Asian cakes. Also, when you do bite into it, there is a matcha filling inside. The matcha filling is quite runny but I like that because it doesn’t overpower the rest of the cupcake’s taste.
Matcha will have a standalone shop but it has yet to open its doors to the public. Its private pre-launch party is happening next month. Head over to their Facebook page to win an invite!
Daan Go is a startup creation from Masterchef Canada Season 2 Top 5 finalist, Christopher Siu. He bakes cakes and macarons and does custom orders of the two. I gravitated towards the booth because it had macarons (my favourite kind of sweets). But what really drew me to the booth was the name. As someone who understands Cantonese, “Daan Go” is how you say “Cake” in Cantonese. I also loved that one of the macarons was called “Maple Lap Cheong”, aka Chinese Sausage (also one of my favourites).
At Sweetery Toronto, Daan Go is selling 3 kinds of macarons and two crepe cakes.
I didn’t try any of the crepe cakes, but I tried a piece of the Rare Tofu Cheesecake. It had the nice, soft macaron shell crunch with a smooth, creamy filling. It was good but really sweet even from the quarter piece that I had! I’m not sure if it’s supposed to have a tofu taste to it, but it was more like a rich vanilla cream flavour than a cheesecake one. Though it was still delicious!
Love coffee and sweets? Cool Beans harmoniously combines the two, creating a special iced coffee drink with your favourite sweet toppings. The best way to describe it is a coffee shake!
Cool Beans is offering two kinds of drinks at Sweetery Toronto: Crumble Mountain and Rainbow Giant. Each drink is $8 or 2 for $15.
I sampled one of them and I was quite surprised by how not overly sweet it was. I was expecting a blast of rich sweetness but it was a perfect blend of coffee and sugar. I think this a contender as one of my favourites for this year’s festival.
After trying all these sweets, having a drink of watermelon from Melonlushy was refreshing. I’m not sure if this is the same vendor as last year, but for $8 you get a watermelon drink (in the watermelon). Refills are $2. If you want a cup, it’s $5 with no refills.
I had a sampling of the watermelon drink and it was frothy goodness. The best part is that it’s all natural – no added sugar! And it’s organic!
Carla’s Cookie Box
Another vendor for cookie lovers! Carla’s Cookie Box is your perfect place to grab party cookies. If you need cookies for a bridal shower, corporate event, birthday party, etc., Carla’s Cookie Box has a plethora of cookie designs suiting your every need.
I didn’t actually try anything from Carla’s Cookie Box, but I took a photo of a fellow foodie’s order. This is the Pizzelle, which debuted at Sweetery Toronto. It’s an Italian waffle with homemade gelato and a drizzling of Nutella. Yum!
If you’re looking for something a little more savoury, head over to Heirloom. According to their website, Heirloom uses local and organic sources and meets directly with the farmers. They also focus on sustainability.
At Sweetery Toronto, here is their menu:
I had the Duck Confit Taco and it was delicious. It looked like a taco but it didn’t taste like one. It tasted like Peking Duck or a pork bun. Regardless, I loved it. The sweet, tangy taste from the mustard and pickled slaw complemented the hoisin sauce really well. I never would have guessed that mustard and hoisin sauce would work! The duck meat was flavourful, tender, and not greasy or fatty. The taco shell itself was really nice. It was light, not overly doughy, but chewy.
Pure Leaf had their own booth at Sweetery Toronto. They were giving out complimentary samples of their drinks. I’ve had Pure Leaf numerous times before, but free sample? Always count me in.
Gusto Haus of Sugar Art/Kakigori
Another food trend on the rise in Toronto/GTA is shaved ice, aka kakigori. I’ve watched numerous YouTube videos of foodies travelling to South Korea and Japan and I always drool over the shaved ice they eat. So of course if there’s one at Sweetery Toronto, I have to have it.
Gusto Haus of Sugar Art had three kinds of kakigori: Peach, Sakura, and Matcha. Each bowl is $10.
I had the Peach flavoured one. Since it was at least 30 degrees, it melted so fast! The shaved ice part was good but I wasn’t into the powdered part or the peach jelly. The powdered part gave a really weird texture that didn’t work with the shaved ice. The peach jelly was jelly trying to be peach but not succeeding. The taste did grow on me as I continued to eat it, but it had very little resemblance to a peach flavour. I think it would have been best to use canned peach slices.
Angel Food and Drink
Angel Food and Drink at Sweetery Toronto had a fruity selection of fresh drinks. They also had funnel cake ice cream sandwiches!
Like I said, it was at least 30 degrees outside and I really needed to drink something less sweet. Since I had the watermelon drink in a watermelon last year, I thought I’d go for pineapple drink in a pineapple. For $10, I had the Pineapple in a Pineapple Shell. It came with three slices of pineapple. It was refreshing. The pineapple slices sealed the deal for me. The shake was thick and frothy, but the juice from the pineapple slices added extra refreshment that was much needed.
Also, look how summery it looks when you walk around with it!
Eva’s Original Chimneys
Yes, Eva’s Original Chimneys is back at Sweetery Toronto! I had the pleasure of trying one last year and knew I had to try one again.
For the media, we got to try the new cone debuting at CNE this year. It’s their EX-treme Cones and will be at CNE from August 26th – 28th in the Food Truck Frenzy area (not the food building).
The EX-treme Cones are layered with toffee, apple, salted pretzel, topped with caramel popcorn, salted caramel, and a big pretzel. It’s served in the original baked cone with soft serve inside. How good does that all sound?! Also, look how huge this thing is! No wonder it’s called an EX-treme cone! I actually shared it between five people and even then it was a lot! It was sweet but a tasty sweet. You can really taste all the flavours distinctively, which I find is rare nowadays for sweets.
If you’re heading to CNE this year, be sure to check this out – August 26th to 28th!
George Brown Pastry Chefs
For those sweet and savoury taste buds, hit up the George Brown Culinary booth. The students from George Brown’s Culinary Arts program delivered yet another fantastic selection. This year focused on Advanced French patisserie.
With so much to choose from, I decided to go with something a little more savoury. I ordered the Quiche. From eating it, I tasted sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, and onions. It was good but the goat cheese was a little too rich for me. The Quiche was $3.
I had a great time this year, especially being invited to the media event (Thanks Sweetery!). I met some new people and finally got to connect faces to Instagram handles 😀 This year I actually got full pretty quickly but I was determined to continue eating, and up until writing this post, I didn’t realize how much I actually ate!
I am very pleased that the location has moved to a bigger and more friendlier place. I also like the expansion of the amount of games and seating area. The umbrellas are the cutest touch.
Favourites? I would have to say a three-way tie between the Cool Beans iced coffee drink, EX-treme Cone from Eva’s Original Chimneys, and the Duck Confit Taco from Heirloom.
Would I return again? Absolutely!
The festival is running until August 21st from 11am – 9pm at David Pecaut Square on King and John St.
If you plan on going or have already, let me know what your favourites are 🙂