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What to Eat and Drink at the Royal

The 2011 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair continues on a strong tradition of bringing local food and wine to Toronto. The Royal, which runs from November 4 to 13 (9 AM to 9 PM every day) at the CNE’s Direct Energy Centre, has a wide variety of eating and drinking options to fill the spaces between show jumping and pig auctions.

Since the mixed experience I had at the Delicious Food Show–some very good shortbread and a couple of other delicious bites but mostly mind-numbing lineups, an antiseptic environment, and a bunch of non-food food–I’ve wondered when and how food shows have jumped so far off the rails.

Best cheese in show.

Best cheese in show.

And there is no doubt that the current crop of massive food events are a point on the same continuum as fall fairs; thousands of consumers are invited to sample (and buy) what hundreds of producers have to offer. The Royal makes it obvious that it’s not the size or indoor venue that hobbles modern additions. So, then what is it? (more…)

Beefy Goodness

Today was a great day for me and beef. I had the pleasure of attending a workshop put on by Canadian Beef Inc. in the lovely Nella demonstration kitchen on Bathurst. It got me thinking in a few different directions and I’ll be posting more about the workshop and what I’m thinking about but for now here’s a round-up of the highlights of my (many) posts involving beef.

I opened by introducing myself as the guy who has cooked steak in a beer cooler. It’s a really useful technique–I repeated it for a chilli competition I entered–that I’m going to be trying to work other parts of the cow into. If you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments.

All the tools needed for cooking steak in a beer cooler.

All the tools needed for cooking steak in a beer cooler.

Burgers, steaks, and roasts are all great but we have to remember that for every two spinalis dorsii (the pinnacle of beef) there is a heart. Literally. Here’s my post about cooking the beef offal that tastes most like steak. (more…)

Contest: $50 Gift Certificate to Chez Cora

After being asked to participate in the Egg Farmers of Ontario’s World Egg Month promotion I’ve done some more reading about this food staple that I think a lot of us take for granted. I’m working some posts on the topic but in the meantime you can read my French toast post and today I have a giveaway contest.

I’d like to spread the love (and the reading) around a bit and have a $50 gift certificate courtesy of Egg Farmers of Ontario good at any Chez Cora restaurant to give away.

Head over to the EFO’s web site and do some clicking around and find a fun fact on the different types of eggs. Post a comment with a brief summary of the differences between conventional, free run, and free range eggs.  A winner will be randomly selected from the correct answers. (more…)

Delicious Food Show

Acadian Sturgeon caviar

This weekend the CNE’s Better Living Centre will be taken over by the first annual Delicious Food Show. The show is sponsored  by Food Network Canada and features food and wine vendors, demonstrations, and celebrity appearances.

The Twirlees Truck moves indoors for the Delicious Food Show.

The Twirlees Truck moves indoors for the Delicious Food Show.

Cold weather and snow will mean more of an uphill battle for our growing food truck scene. But, parked inside, the delicious soft serve from Twirlees (I had the Iced Cappuccino flavour) really hit the spot, especially for $2 a serving.

The ratio of good stuff to line-ups is always highest in the first year for one of these events. And this mostly applied on the very first night of the Delicious Show even if casual observers claimed that the lines were following me around. (more…)

Sip & Savour Ontario

Last night’s Sip & Savour Ontario wine event at the Steam Whistle Brewery was a resounding success. On Spotlight Mike and I will have our picks from the broad selection of excellent wine in a story on Spotlight Toronto. I also covered the media preview for the event over on Spotlight.

As I mentioned in that post the event was conceived as as an opportunity to introduce wine consumers to award-winning bottles and demonstrate how well they pair with food. With this in mind the core of each winery’s offering at the event were medal winners from the 2011 Ontario Wine Awards(more…)