Vegan Gastronomy: Toronto & Vegetarian Food Festival

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We’ve been blogging about our camping trip to Ithaca and Toronto, with the Vegetarian Food Festival being final destination, for the past week. Here’s the penultimate post about our trip. Yes, there’s one more post coming.

We had never been to Toronto before, so we were really looking forward to it. We’d heard so many stories on how veg-friendly it is and wanted to see it for ourselves and report back to you. It’s all true!

To be honest with you, we weren’t prepared for how big the city is. We’ve been to Montreal and Halifax and other parts of Nova Scotia and so we were expecting something smaller. It’s a big-ass city, folks, and there’s lots to see, do and eat.

We also weren’t prepared for how big and organized the Toronto VegFest is. We’ve heard that it’s the largest VegFest in North America and that it’s 3 days long, but we were still wowed by it. Kudos to the Toronto Vegetarian Association for organizing such an awesome event!

Here are some highlights of our vegan gastronomy adventures in Canada.

Cruda Café & St. Lawrence Market

We walked a few blocks east of Union Station to see what vegan goodies we could find at the St. Lawrence Market. we had no idea what we would find, since I did zero research on it. At first I didn’t think we would find much because of all the meat, fish and cheese vendors, but it’s a huge market with two floors and lots of bulk items, bread, a mustard vendor, fresh produce, an Asian food vendor with noodles and a soy stuffed roast, and Cruda Café—a raw vegan eatery.

We got lunch there. Mauro got the Gnocchi Carbonara, I got the quiche. We also got a berry smoothie and a raw tiramisu. We were a little disappointed when we opened the container and saw only 4 gnocchis on a bed of spirulized zucchini, but once Mauro dug in everything changed. The gnocchis and the sauce were uber rich and absolutely delicious and the zucchini balanced it all out. The quiche had a dehydrated shell made with onions and other veggies, filled with a tasty nut cream. The tiramisu didn’t have the typical taste or texture of the namesake dessert but was delicious nonetheless. We’d definitely go back for more if we return to Toronto some day.

Fresh on Bloor

Since both Allyson Kramer and Heather Nauta were in town for VegFest, too (they were doing demos/talks) we decided to meet for dinner at Fresh on Bloor St. The menu at Fresh isn’t 100% vegan. All dishes start vegan and there is the option to add cheese to some dishes —I really don’t get that, I doubt they would lose much business if they remove that option altogether— and a couple of drinks that have milk. We all ordered some delicious bowls (salad, rice, soba noodles) and chatted up a storm. The food was yummy, but the company was even better.

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

We got to VegFest on Saturday around noon and it was pouring. The rain just kept going from bad to worse, but finally cleared mid-afternoon. While the rain was relentlessly doing its thing outside, we decided to stay indoors and sit in on some of the talks, one of which was The Ghosts in Our Machine Q&A. We haven’t seen this documentary, it hasn’t been released in the US yet. If we all pitch in to support their IndieGogo campaign to raise funds for the US release, we may see it sooner than later.

Once the weather cleared, it was time to explore vendors and nosh on some vegan goodness. The two vendors that really stood out to us were Apiecalypse Now and Bunner’s GF bakery. They both had some super delish comfort foods that we loaded up on for the day, and breakfast and lunch for our trip back home the next day. Nomnomnoms!

The folks from Toronto Pig Save were also there. Please give them your support, so they can continue to do the wonderful work they do.

Toronto

Our trips aren’t just about food. We like to get out and do something fun/educational/cultural wherever we go. Next time you’re in Toronto, go check out Casa Loma and nearby castles, go sightseeing, biking on the harbor or whatever else floats your boat ;-)

 

About Lydia Grossov


Lydia has been a passionate cook since she was 13 years old, a vegetarian/now vegan for a over 21 years, a graphic designer for over 18.... read her full bio or send her a message here.

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