Thursday, 21 September 2017

Toronto Cider Festival 2017

The Toronto Cider Festival (now in it's 3rd year) has quickly become my favourite summertime festival. I buy my early bird ticket and wait out the summer days until the big event. The only thing bad about this fest is that it takes place at the end of August aka the end of summer.

Those who know me well, even those who don't cause I usually make it known, I'm a cider drinker. I discovered my love for the beverage while living in England back in 2004. Many pubs had local ciders and scrumpies available on tap, I never had to drink the same thing twice (but of course I did). Returning to Canada I could only find Strongbow in a can. I still don't mind drinking Strongbow now and again, but I'm super loving this craft cider development that has been going down in this city for the past few years. The TO Cider Fest has definitely come around at the right time, selling out sessions all three years they've been running. Just like for me, I think the festival is becoming one of Toronto's must do summer activities.



{Erin Out and About} TO Cider Fest

{Erin Out and About} TO Cider Fest
One of the pairings: pulled pork taco with Brickworks 501

This year, as part of a media package, I attended the VIP pairing session, which took place from 5-6pm, an hour before the general admission of the evening session. 

The pairing consisted of 3 'courses' with food and cider provided by Brickworks Ciderhouse. It was a little disorganized and some servers appeared to be a bit frustrated, you know how people get with food, but with a little pro-action everyone got their food and pairing samples. I've tried all of the Brickworks samples before with the exception of the Mint and Basil Cider and whoooo boy was it ever good. It was paired with
 a crostini topped by apple, brie and prosciutto

Next was a pear and goat cheese salad, paired with their pear cider. Last was the pork taco paired with the Brickworks 501.

{Erin Out and About} TO Cider Fest


The theme for this year's fest, like many things this year, was Canada 150 in honour of this fair country's confederation.

Maple leaves, cottage games, a campfire, a photo booth with a canoe, a lakeside location and sharing what 'being Canadian means to you' were some of the things present this year that pulled this theme together. The atmosphere is super chill; uber urban-city-summer meets cottage country.

This year's fest was the biggest one to date and the largest one of its kind in Canada with over 70 cider tastings offered by a variety (28!) of local and international vendors. It's a fun place to try new ciders and talk to the passionate people who actually make them. 


Regular session tickets cost $30 and with it you receive a commemorative sampling mug, 4 drink tokens plus access to live entertainment, contests, games and some sweet food trucks.


{Erin Out and About} TO Cider Fest

{Erin Out and About} TO Cider Fest

{Erin Out and About} TO Cider Fest

{Erin Out and About} TO Cider Fest

{Erin Out and About} TO Cider Fest

{Erin Out and About} TO Cider Fest

{Erin Out and About} TO Cider Fest

{Erin Out and About} TO Cider Fest

Along with all the games and tastings there is entertainment. During the afternoon session was an art battle where artists have 20 minutes to produce a painting and the evening session had a flair competition (think Tom Cruise in Cocktail).

The location was new this year, moving from Dundas Square, which had been the home for the past two years, to Sherbourne Common (near Sugar Beach) along the waterfront. It's a bigger, greener space that didn't feel too big nor too cramped with the size of the crowd. I always love being able to see the lake when I'm in the city, so this location was ideal for grabbing a cider sample and finding a Muskoka chair to admire the view from. (Same complaint as last year though, more Muskoka chairs!)


{Erin Out and About} TO Cider Fest

{Erin Out and About} TO Cider Fest

{Erin Out and About} TO Cider Fest

We left the fest already looking forward to next year's event--actually we left the event looking for more poutine, but the excitement for next year's event soon followed.

*full disclosure* The VIP admissions for myself and a friend was complimentary from TO Cider Fest. Opinions are entirely my own.


What's your favourite summertime festival?

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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Wednesday Wanderings

Death stare by an emu, St. John's, Newfoundland


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Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Canadian National Exhibition: a Mini Food Tour

The end of summer is officially looming (September 22 if you want to get specific about it) or at least so says the fall equinox.

In Toronto we have an end of summer tradition in the form of the Canadian National Exhibition. Midway rides meets agricultural show meets fair foods meets exhibition show. People that attend have their go to things that they want to check out and for many the weird and wacky food is a big draw.

The foods I partook in this year were on the tamer side compared to last year (which you can read about here).

{Erin Out and About} CNE food

{Erin Out and About} CNE food

{Erin Out and About} CNE food

{Erin Out and About} CNE food

{Erin Out and About} CNE food

{Erin Out and About} CNE food

{Erin Out and About} CNE food

My favourite foodie partner in crime aka my pops, first split a fried chicken ramen burger from Yatai Japanese Street Food.

I would totally eat this in real life. It's one of those things that sounds much weirder than it actually is.
{Erin Out and About} CNE food

{Erin Out and About} CNE food

From Bacon Nation (great name) we had the pancake tacos. A pancake shell filled with eggs, veg and topped with bacon. Obviously. I put maple syrup over mine where dad chose hot sauce. This was mind-blowingly simple and I'm totally going to make this at home. But probably not.

{Erin Out and About} CNE food

These are the deep fried curds created by The King of the Curds available with a selection of dipping sauces. We went with marinara sauce. They were good but not surprisingly tasted very much like a mozza stick. Another case of not a crazy as it might sound.

{Erin Out and About} CNE food

We ended our gastro-tour of the CNE with a sizable dessert from Chimney Stax. A baked, sugary, doughy cone filled with ice cream, and decorated with salted pretzels and caramel and finished with a mini cinnamon roll.

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