Friday, July 13, 2012

A Special Canada Day Tasty Tour

Tasty Tours (Twitter: @tasty_tours, Facebook: Tasty Tours Toronto) is a guided walking tour dedicated to sweets; chocolates, cupcakes, pastries and various edible name it! It is an excellent walking food tour for those with a sweet tooth.

On each Tasty Tour, you get to learn about sweets history as well as visit various bakeries, chocolatiers, etc., in a Toronto neighbourhood. Best of all, you get free samples and store discounts along the way!

I was invited by Tasty Tours to join their special 2-hour Canada Day Sweets Tour (Kensington Market Sweets Tour and Trinity Bellwoods Chocolate Tour are Tasty Tours' regular tours). Designed specifically to celebrate Canada's birthday, this tour took us around Kensington where we got to try various Canadian treats. Here is my recap of the tour:

1st Stop: The tour started at Ding Dong Bakery on Spadina. Here is Audrey Ooi of Tasty Tours giving us a brief history of sugar and sweets and their presence in Canadian history.

Chinese egg tarts for everyone after our history lesson. Nothing "Canadian" about these but I'm not complaining.

Moonbean Cafe carry a wide selection of brewed coffee (including their signature espresso base beverages), over 30 loose leaf teas as well as drinks from their juice / smoothie / ice drink bar. Munchies include a variety of baked goods with vegan and gluten free choices. 

My first time having a Nanaimo bar! A Nanaimo bar is a bar cookie which requires no baking and is named after the city of Nanaimo, BC. It consists of a wafer crumb-based layer, topped by a layer of light vanilla or custard flavoured butter icing, which is covered in chocolate made from melted chocolate squares. Two popular variations on the traditional Nanaimo bar involve mint flavoured icing or mocha flavoured icing. 

Miss Cora's Kitchen is a bakery with a fully equipped catering kitchen. In addition to baked goods they also offer a number of prix-fixe breakfast / lunch / dinner menus, hot / cold hors d'oeurvers, platters and desserts. 

Miss Cora's Kitchen is known for their melt-in-your-mouth-buttery butter tarts and that's exactly what we got to try. Butter tarts is highly regarded in Canadian cuisine and considered one of Canada's quintessential desserts. The tart consists of butter, sugar, syrup, and egg filled into a flaky pastry and baked until the filling is semi-solid with a crunchy top.

4th Stop: Chocolate Addict

The Chocolate Addict offers 20 kinds of handmade truffles and a selection of imported chocolate bars, fudge, seasonal & specialty chocolate snacks, sugar-free candies, chocolates for cooking, as well as 18 flavours of Maypole ice cream.

We had the opportunity to sample these ice wine truffles made with Magnotta's 2010 Limited Edition Vidal Icewine. Canada is currently the largest producer of ice wine in the world.

5th Stop: Akram's Shoppe

Akram's Shoppe is part Middle Eastern grocery store part self-serve cafeteria. They serve hot foods such as shish kebobs, falafels, patties, stews, shawarma, sandwiches and a variety of desserts such as baklava, shortbreads, Turkish delights, etc.

My Kataifi Baklava :) Like the Chinese egg tart, this was another non-Canadian sweet treat. Meh...Toronto is a very multi-cultural city!

6th Stop: Burger Bar (@theburgerbar)

Burger Bar made a poutine specifically for Canada Day! Here we have sweet potato fries with ricotta, maple bacon gravy and various spices (such as garam masala). 

Informative and interactive, I had a really great time at the Canada Day Tasty Tour two hours flew by so quickly! It was fun walking around Kensington Market and stopping at various spots for small sweets and dessert samples. Also, I liked how the tour did not feel rushed (it was perfectly paced with six stops in two hours) and that the group wasn't too big (approximately 8-9 people). Most importantly, if it weren't for the tour, I wouldn't have known about the delicious butter tarts at Miss Cora's Kitchen and all the different kinds of Middle Eastern goodies at Akram's Shoppe :D

Next week I'll be giving away TWO tickets to Tasty Tour's Kensington Tour so stay tuned!

P.S: Tasty Tours is currently having their own Twitter contest: 
"Get us to 250 followers & 1 lucky follower gets 2 tickets to a Kensington Market Sweets Tour
So follow them on Twitter @tasty_tours!