Monday, September 29, 2014

The Delicious Food Show 2014


October is shaping up to be a fantastic month for foodie events in the city! I’m especially looking forward to The Delicious Food show taking place from Friday October 17th to Sunday October 19th at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto.  This will be my first time attending the Delicious Food Show and it's definitely a must-attend event for anyone who loves delicious food or spends endless hours watching the Food Network! This 3-day event features hundreds of exhibitors, cooking demos, tastings, hands-on workshops, book signings, and appearances by the Food Network and international celebrity chefs.


Chef’s such as Chuck Hughes, Robert Mooking, Tyler Florence, Mark McEwan and many more will be in attendance at the Exclusive Chef Series which is a unique culinary experience that will allow visitors to get the inside scoop on how to master cooking tricks and tips by participating in a hands on workshop and demonstration personally taught by their favourite celebrity chefs.  Tickets can be purchased for the workshop of your choice here: http://www.deliciousfoodshow.com/tickets/

There will also be a Food Network celebrity stage where you will be able to see your favourite Food Network celebs and discover new brands, cooking styles, and get better acquainted with the chefs. The schedule can be found here: 

Indigo will have a booth set-up so that you can meet your fav chef and have your favoured cookbook signed.  Jamie Kennedy, Mario Batali, Chuck Hughes, Jennifer Bain and more will all be a part of the book-signing festivities so be sure to check out the schedule and bring along your sacred cookbook, cooking utensil, shirt, arm, whatever you like!


Another fun feature is Abbeys Kitchen Stadium Pavilion.  Throughout the weekend 8 of Toronto’s top chefs will be featuring their talent by offering food items for $5 each in the pavilion. Guests have up until 4 pm Saturday afternoon to test out the amazing dishes and then vote for their favourite.  The top four chefs will be invited on stage to compete live in an action-packed cooking competition before a panel of celebrity judges on the Sunday afternoon. The winner will go home with a prize and bragging rights as the champion of Abbey’s Kitchen Stadium.  Check out the chefs that will be cooking up some creative eats: http://www.deliciousfoodshow.com/special-features/abbeys-kitchen-stadium-pavilion/ - I'm particularly interested to see what Nathan Middleton form HOTB has up his sleeves.

There are such great features at the show this year and even more enticing goodies like a line-up of food trucks, an after-party at the Gladstone with Nadia G on Oct 17th, hands-on cooking work shops, naturally delicious section focusing on healthy living, and much more.

Buy your tickets ($20) now to the Delicious Food Show as tickets are going fast AND enter below for your chance to win a pair of tickets to the show this year! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Aroma Espresso Bar

 

Good food and good coffee make me a happy lady but finding a coffee shop in the city that does a worthy job at BOTH can be hard to find. I've been to many places that serve excellent coffee but the food options range from overpriced bagels to calorie-packed muffins or the sandwiches will be great but the 5 dollar latte is unbearable. Although there are some gems that I frequent often, one place that is always consistent in quality, price and food variety is the popular café, Aroma Espresso Bar.

Aroma Espresso Bar graced Canada in 2007 with it’s first location opening up in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood.  Since then many locations throughout the GTA have opened up. Aroma offers an extensive beverage menu along with gourmet sandwiches, baked goods, salads, soups and much more. The atmosphere at Aroma is very welcoming, making this modern café a great place to sit and relax with friends, family, alone or even for a business meeting. You can always count on a freshly prepared meals and don’t have to worry about servers, tipping or any of the other time-consuming encounters within the food service industry.

Since I’m a big fan of the many things Aroma has to offer, I've compiled a list of the Top 5 Reasons why Aroma is my go-to spot for a quick & delicious meal.

1. Drink Menu

Aroma carries plenty of hot and cold beverages that are crafted carefully to your liking.  Aroma is of course known for their coffee which is a blend of Arabica beans from South America and Africa. The beans are roasted at their in-house facilities in Israel using the Torrefazione Artisan method which is done slowly by hand.  This traditional method results is a fresh and refined taste, which makes Aroma coffee aromatic, smooth and delicious! I tend to go for the lattes at Aroma which are always rich and creamy, or the signature aroma coffee which is a long shot of espresso, Aroma pralines, steamed milk, a scoop of fresh whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. Their cold drink list has some great concoctions as well like the Ice Lemon Mint.  It’s slightly tart but very refreshing, a perfect summer drink. With every beverage order you receive a small rectangular piece of chocolate. It’s a small gesture that doesn't go unnoticed especially with chocolate lovers like me. I always look forward to it!


New to some Aroma locations is the Spiked Signatures menu that features some of Aroma’s signature beverages infused with alcohol. I’ve tried their Iced Mojito which is their signature Ice Lemon Mint drink with your choice of rum or vodka and their Ice Aroma with Baileys.  These drinks are an added bonus to all of those who frequent Aroma, especially the after work folks. Beer and wine are available as well.

2. Fresh/Made to Order
The sandwiches, breakfast, and salads are all fresh and made to order at Aroma.  You don’t have to sift through a fridge full of plastic-wrapped sandwiches in hopes that they haven’t been sitting there for a week ugh.  Instead you choose from a selection of freshly baked breads and your sandwich is crafted together by the chefs for ultimate freshness and flavour.  The salads are assembled fresh as well so in case there are ingredients you don’t like, you can ask for them to be removed.   For breakfast you can choose from hot items such as the Power Breakfast which is two eggs any style, mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, carrot, olives, feta cheese, cream cheese, avocado spread, and a side of freshly baked bread or something simple like the hot Organic Oatmeal which is full of oats, brown sugar, raisins, dried apples, flax and sunflower seeds. My favourite sandwich is the Philly Steak Sandwich or Grilled Chicken Breast.  The aroma sauce that they use is unbelievably good! I also really love their Mozzarella Salad which consists of mozzarella cheese, tomato, red onion, garlic croutons, arugula, tossed in a lemon and olive oil dressing. The portions are quite generous as well so you don’t have to worry about leaving unsatisfied.




3. Healthy Choices
A lot of cafes have high-calorie and high-cost items using thick breads, processed deli meats and condiments overpowering your sandwiches. Aroma uses freshly baked breads with multigrain, gluten-free, white and whole wheat options available. You also have the option of buying a personal sized sandwich and pairing it with a soup or salad for a perfectly-sized lunch combo.  A lot of their beverages are also available in lighter options if you’re looking to cut calories. Power foods such as kale, Portobello mushrooms, and quinoa are incorporated in many of the salads at Aroma for an extra nutrient-packed meal. You also have the option of adding protein to any of the salads.  




 4. Baked Goods 

I’m a huge fan of sweets and pastries and luckily Aroma has a variety of baked goods ranging from cookies, brownies, croissants, squares etc.  The baked goods are made from whole wheat grains and natural products, and contain no preservatives, dyes, or trans fat. A top contender in the baked goods category are the incredible Alfajores.  These light and fluffy Argentinean cookies are filled with rich dulce de leche and are highly addictive!!  They also make a mean chocolate croissant for those extra-indulgent days.
 5. Catering  
Aroma offers catering so your lunch meetings won’t be boring! My work often uses Aroma (Bay & Dundas) for catering and everyone always raves about it.  Their breakfast and lunch platters are affordable and fresh and you can customize your order easily.  We have never encountered issues with Aroma’s catering services and everyone we've worked with has been pleasant and on time.  This is a huge bonus for us, as the worst is food arriving late for a meeting.  We have even used Aroma for large events with over 200 people in attendance and they've managed to do a wonderful job.


These are just some of the reasons why I personally love Aroma! If you haven’t already experienced Aroma or just want to get back there to try some of the above mentioned eats, then enter below to win a $50 gift card! This is a great giveaway all thanks to the wonderful people who work at Aroma.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Shopbake.com - Online Bakery Marketplace



I have some ‘sweet’ news for you foodie lovers out there! Canada’s first and only online bakery marketplace, Shopbake.com, is launching tomorrow in the GTA.

Shopbake.com allows users to order baked goods online from numerous bakeries across Toronto. You can choose from a variety of delicious treats such as cookies, cupcakes, cakes, breads etc. There will also be baked good that are nut-free, Kosher, gluten-free and vegan for those with dietary restrictions.

The convenience of ordering from bakeries online really suits my needs as a lot of the bakeries I love are across the city and getting there can be a bit of a mission.  Now I can just peruse the site for sweets and order from the comfort of my home. Shopbake.com also makes my life easier when it comes to deciding on what to buy someone for a birthday or congratulations gift....Everyone loves baked goods delivered to their doorstep right?!


The founder of Shopbake.com, Monica Abramov, was inspired by the many online marketplaces already in existence for everything OTHER than baked goods.  Her vision came to life with Shopbake.com, allowing talented bakers access to their customers with an online platform.

Shopbake.com launches on September 17, 2014, so be sure to join-up and access delectable treats from our local bakeries.

I've already had the chance to try out some goodies from notable bakeries such as Petal DustBake Shop, Cookie Scoop, Branded Bites, Short and Sweet Cupcakes and Dollop Bakery. Some of these bakeries are completely new to me, so it's nice to know that Shopbake.com will allow you to discover and try out new bakeries that you didn't even know existed.  



Broaden your sweet-tooth tomorrow with the launch of Sweetbake.com and follow all of their updates and mouth-watering pictures on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Taste Local - A Celebration of Ontario Wines


Wine Country Canada and the LCBO presents Taste Local, a celebration of Ontario wines taking place at LCBO stores across the province from September 14th to October 11th. Taste Local will be celebrating all things local by featuring locally-produced wines from Ontario’s wine regions and foods harvested by our own home-grown talents. This exciting wine promotion will feature 173 wines from more than 30 different Ontario wineries making this month-long event one of the largest of the year.

Eight LCBO event kitchens will feature live demonstrations by local chefs every Saturday during the Taste Local promotion.  Customers will have the opportunity to sample local food and wine and learn more about the distinctive Ontario wine regions. 

Over 200 LCBO locations will participate in wine-tastings to help you discover a new local wine for the Autumn season. There will also be some unique events during Taste Local such as an Ontario Wine and Pie Pop-up tasting event on September 19th at 1095 Queen St West. Tickets include three sampling chits and the chance to meet local wine and pie makers. As well as an event at the Royal Ontario Museum on October 2nd where VINTAGES presents Taste Ontario. This event will showcase more than 100 premium Ontario VQA wines.




I had the chance to preview some of the local wines paired with local pies at a pop-up LCBO Taste Local event where I learned about the different wine regions and discovered some great new local wines. The regions represented at the event were the Niagara Escarpment, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Prince Edward County and Lake Erie North Shore. Each section of the venue was dedicated to one region and featured an array of wines to sample. 



My favourites were:

Region: Niagara Escarpment
Description: Medium-bodied & Dry
Price: $14.95

Region: Prince Edward Country
Description: Medium-bodied & Fruity
Price: $39.00

Region: Lake Erie North Shore
Description: Full-bodied & Firm
Price: $11.95

Region: Lake Erie North Shore
Description: Full-bodied & Rich 
Price: $13.95
The pie companies in attendance were all from Ontario 
and each delicious treat was paired perfectly with a local wine.





Get cozy this fall with a bottle of Ontario wine and some local foods for a Taste Local, Love Local experience! Be sure to share your photos and stories of how you've celebrated Taste Local through facebook, twitter and instagram (#LCBOtastelocal).


For more information on Taste Local please visit the LCBO site



Monday, September 8, 2014

Eat to the Beat 2014

When Canada’s top female chefs, live music and a worthy cause join forces, you end up with an incredible gala event called Eat to the Beat which benefits Willow Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support.

Eat to the Beat is celebrating it's 19th year and is a renowned event that has made it to BizBash Magazine's Top 15 Food, Wine and Hospitality events in Toronto. The night features the talent of over 60 of the top Canadian female chefs lending their time and aptitude to create delectable dishes for this worthy culinary fundraiser.  It is the only event in Canada that exclusively features the talent of 60 female chefs signifying women supporting women. Eat to the Beat has raised over $3.5 million for Willow Breast and Heredity Cancer Support with over 80% of the evening proceeds being directed to the free services and programs that Willow offers to diagnosed individuals.





Donna Dooher - Mildred's Temple Kitchen

Eden Hertzog, New Moon Kitchen

Vanessa Le Page - The Cake Lady
The Event

When:  Tuesday October 21, 2014
Time:    7 pm
Where: Roy Thompson Hall
Cost:    Early Bird Ticket: $150.00, General Admission Ticket: $175.00 (after September 10)
Dress:  Smart casual

Eat to The Beat will have an abundance of sweet and savoury foods, wines, premium beers and spirits to sample making this event a hub for GTA foodies.  Eat to the Beat will also host a silent auction, raffle, live music, and have many breast cancer survivors wearing an array of  ‘food’ corsets that represent the spirit of being feisty in the face of breast cancer.



I hope to see some of you at this event as your contributions will be going to a great cause in supporting those faced with the challenges of breast and heredity cancer.  Help someone get the much needed support while helping yourself to delicious bites from Ontario's culinary scene!

Some food from the last couple of events:


Almond-flour Chocolate Brownies from Madelaine's Cafe

Ice Wine Cheesecake Walls from Inn on the Twenty

Pimenton Spanish and Mediterranean Fine Foods, Rossy Earle - Mini Chorizo Tarts

Jacqueline Lo, Ruelo Patisserie - Macarons

Donna Dooher, Mildred's Temple Kitchen - Breast of Duck with a Polenta Cream and Wild Blueberry Peppercorn Chutney

Wanda Beaver, Wanda's Pie in the Sky - Rustic Pear Tarts

 Viva Tastings, Karen Viva-Haynes - Fig and Red Cabbage Salad Rolls

Check out the chefs participating this year at Eat to the Beat:

Tickets can be purchased on the website at: 

Find out more about Willow Breast & Hereditary Support: 

Full review will be posted after the event!