June 15-18th was the food festival weekend of the year, in Toronto, Canada. Between Taco Fest and Taste of Toronto, it was a buzzing weekend for foodies, here in the city. Taste of Toronto took over the Fort York grounds and featured incredible chefs creating unique and delicious dishes as well as local vendors.

My highlights of this years Taste of Toronto were Antler and Piano Piano, along with learning about a few new products and sampling some old favourite products as well.

At Antler, I honestly wanted (and wish) I tried everything they were offering, every plate served looked amazing the menu was: Wild Boar Corn Dog (wild boar sausage, corn battered and fried, with ballpark mustard aioli); Duck Yakitori (duck breast skewers, marinated and charcoal grilled with a sweet soy glaze); Game Burger (bison, deer, and wild boar, with grainy mustard, aioli and smoked cheddar); and Fire Roasted Deer (nose tailed roasted deer, sliced and served with coleslaw). I had the Duck Yakitori, it was honestly the best duck I’ve ever had, it was tender, succulent, flavourful, and the perfect blend of sweet, spicy, and salty. The chefs were Fire Roasting the Deer onsite and serving it as it was ready, which was very cool.

Piano Piano had a great menu as well, though nothing beat Antler. The menu at Piano Piano was: True North Smoked Salmon Open Faced Sandwich (creme fraiche, pickled red onion and chive); Veal Parm Sandwich (spicy tomato sauce, mozzarella, pickled hot peppers and basil); Oysters with Apple Jalapeño Mignon Eternal (apple, jalapeño, lemon and lime juice); Egg Yolk Raviolo (spinach and ricotta puree, brown butter and Parmesan). I had the True North Smoked Salmon which was so delicious. The Oysters also looked divine, but with Canada 150 happening this year, I thought I’d stick with the True North, (strong and free) theme.

There are also some great, clean products that were featured at Taste of Toronto this year. The three I’ll talk briefly about are: Lorissa’s Kitchen, The Pop Stand, and Franklin and Sons. Lorissa’s Kitchen makes chicken and beef jerky in various delicious flavours and all the ingredients are really great and the final product really proves the quality of the ingredients. The Pop Stand is an popsicle cart that goes around Toronto, you can often find them at Farmer’s Markets and Festivals in Toronto. Kari, the owner, creates the most delectable, unique flavours, including London Fog, Raspberry Hibiscus, and the one I had, Blueberry, Lavender, Lemon, which was so yummy! Franklin and Son’s is brand new to Canada, originating in the UK, they create sodas, cocktail mixers, and tonics with unusual combinations, perfect for a more grown up palette. My personal favourites were Lemon with Elderflower and Juniper and Wild Strawberry and Raspberry with cracked black pepper. They use all non-GMO ingredients and sweeten their beverages with sugar beets.

Taste of Toronto was a huge success and definitely showcased some of Toronto’s best chefs and restaurants and made me excited to visit the brick and mortar establishments of Antler and Piano Piano, among others!