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The Scene...Explore Ontario This August!

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By Fresh Bites

This month, instead of our cross-Canada tour of food and drink events, we will be focused on Ontario.  August is the time many people head out to the country to relax on the lake or enjoy quiet afternoons on the farm.  It is also a time for fabulous and spicy city events, great wine tastings and dinners, and seasonal festivals.  This month, get out and explore Ontario!


In Toronto, August is bursting with multicultural festivals filled with Caribbean and Asian spice!  If you love the sun, the energy of the city, and tasting foods from around the globe, Toronto is your ticket.

It all starts with Caribana, the city’s festival of all things island, mon.  The parades, the costumes, and the steel pans will transport the city to the Caribbean and kick of a month of spicy and delicious culinary treats for the senses.  A highlight of the festival will be the Grace Tropical Rhythms Caribbean Food Festival on August 1st.  This event will provide a dazzling array of fun activities, entertainment and excitement for the entire family. Enjoy exotic cuisine prepared by gourmet Caribbean chefs. Jump into some Jamaican style Jerk Chicken, relax with Roti from Trinidad and Tobago and quench your thirst with Grace coconut water. This event is part of the Caribana festival and will be held at Ontario Place.

A few days later on August 5th, Toronto's Festival of Beer will celebrate Canada’s favourite beverage - beer!  Sip, sample and socialize at this four-day celebration of suds. Featuring more than 200 brands of beer on-site, this is Canada’s premier celebration of the golden beverage, complete with real southern BBQ, live entertainment, grilling demonstrations by TV personalities and of course, beer.  Better make that beer a Mythos because Taste of the Danforth will also take place that weekend.  Running the weekend of August 6th, it is one of the city’s hottest festivals dedicated to food, and of course, all things Greek!

If you didn’t get your fill of jerk at Caribana, don’t worry.  JerkFest 2018 celebrates world renowned jerk cuisine and will be held on August 7th. It's a fusion of jerk food, pulsating music, family friendly entertainment and good vibes.  Fans of hot food can also swing by the Hot and Spicy Food Festival on August 15th at Harbourfront Centre.  One of Harbourfront Centre’s most popular festivals, the Hot and Spicy Food Festival serves up diverse hot food and flavours from around the globe, occasionally pairing a spicy dish with hot sounds of the region.  Fans of Blueberries may want to check out the Wild Blueberry Festival at the fabulous new Evergreen Brickworks.  On August 15th, this family-friendly event will be all blue and among the activities…will include a Slow Food bake sale featuring prepared foods by chefs Chris McDonald, Brad Long, Jamie Kennedy, Anthony Rose, Dana McCauley, Martin Couprie and Scott Vivian.

Back at Harbourfront Centre, a few more fun foodie events will be taking place in August.  The Fortune Cooking Food Festival on August 20th is a three-day cultural feast that will put a spotlight on East and Southeast Asian regions.  Meanwhile, their film festival will return with two more showcases as part of the Longo’s Free Flicks 2018.  The first will be a free screening of Waitress on August 4th and a special voter inspired People's Choice flick on August 11th.

The end of August also means it is time for the annual Canadian National Exhibition.  For those looking for something sticky and delicious, why not check out the CNE Ribfest 2018 running from August 20th to September 4th.  If you are not a fan of the rides and buzzers of the fair, maybe a trip up to Black Creek Pioneer Village is more your scene.  Guests at Say Cheese! And Cheers! on August 20th will join expert Julia Rogers and be treated to a rich journey into the delicious world of cheese. Guests will sample five local cheese varieties each paired with a selected craft beer, along with our popular homemade root chips and fresh-baked bread.

Finally, to round up a month of multicultural foodie finds in Toronto, the Filipinos Making Waves Festival on August 21st pays homage to the cultural diversity of the Filipino Canadian Community, the second largest community outside of the Philippines.  Enjoy some great food, music and fun at Yonge-Dundas Square!


Ottawa is a perfect getaway for families and couples.  It is a vibrant metropolis and this month; expect some great workshops to help you brush up your culinary and cocktail skills while you tour the capital!

If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you’re making cocktails “the right way” The Classic Cocktail Mixology Workshop on August 3rd is for you.  This hands-on cocktail class gets you into the mix with a cocktail magician to show you how to create 6 classic cocktails from scratch then try it out for yourself. Impress your friends at your next party by learning step by step how to dream up and pull off classic cocktail recipes that are simple and tasty.  Still on the topic of drink, the Summer in a Glass Cooking Class on August 9th will teach guests how to make some exotic summer sippers including a Tamarind Cooler, Clementine Berry Sangria, Strawberry Mango Cooler, Kiwi Lemonade and a Minted Iced Tea.

If you or your kids are heading out to University, then maybe they should take some classes to ensure they stay healthy while away.  The University Bound! Cooking Class on August 6th will do just that.  This class will show them how to shop smart and healthy, as well as prepare simple and delicious international meals for yourself.  If you are looking for something spicy, you may want to try the From the Mexican Garden Cooking Class on August 11th.  This event will celebrate the bounty of the Canadian garden by cooking recipes from the Mexican Garden!

Italian fans take note, there are two major events scheduled for Ottawa you are going to want to attend.  First is the Premium Italian Wine Nights: Amore and Amarone on August 15th.  This event will involve a premium tasting of the most famous Italian wines led by Antonio Mauriello.  Later in the month, the Larissa Beznaczuk-Smyrnew from NOURISH, will take you to her favourite culinary destination in the world at the Tuscan Home Cooking workshop on August 23rd.

Finally, nothing is more Canadian “eh” than a beer and in Ottawa, you gotta do the patriotic thing!  We suggest the Ale Versus Lager Beer Tasting Shootout on August 31st. Here, guests will compare and contrast 4 lager versus 4 ale style beers head to head in the Beer Tasting Shootout experience. This lively and interactive cocktail style event is a twist on the contemporary seated tutored tasting and will take place at the lovely Urban Element in Parkdale!


Niagara is fun for the kids, after all, everyone loves Marineland!  However, it can also be fun for adults this summer with some great ways to tour the wonderful wines from the world-class vineyards of Niagara.  You can choose your adventure.  Sit and sip, get dirty amongst the vines, or enjoy a refined dining experience – Niagara has it all!

It all starts with A Summer Evening in the Wine Cellar on August 6th at Konzelmann Vineyards.  The menu looks delicious and will include an Heirloom Tomato Salad with goat cheese and basil, Salmon Nicoise with green beans, black olives, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts and potato, and a Cinnamon Stewed Peach Brule with lemon biscuit.  All paired with their wines of course!  If you cannot stay for dinner and simply need a little nosh, you may want to check out El Gastronomo Vagabundo, a special dining experience on Saturdays and Sundays in August over at Flat Rock Cellars.  

For something a bit more active, the Eco Walk and Wine Tasting at Henry of Pelham on August 8th.  This event will feature eco-friendly wines from the region.  Afterwards, Henry of Pelham owners and brothers Daniel and Paul Speck will lead you through an Eco Walk (weather permitting) of the facility and vineyard.  If you really want to get into the world of grape growing, then join Winemaker Joe for the 'Green Harvest' on August 8th at Strewn Winery.  You will have the opportunity to work hands-on in the vineyard to thin the grape clusters and concentrate mother’s nature energy where it is needed most to the remaining grapes on the vine.  You can also Get Your Hands Dirty at Coyote's Run on August 13th where you will learn how proper management of soil, canopy, and crop all contribute to making top quality wine.  Of course, no day would be complete without some special tastings from their barrel cellar!  You can also experience the life of a winemaker on August 14th with Flat Rock's Winemaker Ross Wise and Proprietor Ed Madronich as your guides.  At In The Winemaker's Boots - Prepping for Harvest, you will actively participate in vineyard activities, lab analysis, and wine tasting/blending.

Like wine, not dirt?  Perhaps you should try a refined dining experience with one of the region’s oldest and most celebrated vineyards?  The Farm-to-Table Dinner Series on August 15th will feature Chef David Watt and celebrate Niagara’s freshest bounty, produced locally and brought directly from the farm to your table.  Each experience will feature a vineyard walk with Michèle Bosc and discussions with a local food purveyor, culminating in a delectable tasting created by Chef David and paired with Château des Charmes wines.  Delish!

And finally, what would wine country be without a festival fundraiser?  Niagara Passion, being held on August 21st, will feature 22 wineries and 17 restaurants from the Niagara-on-the-Lake.  You can taste the pairings of wine and gourmet food, listen to superb jazz music, and participate in live and silent auctions. Proceeds will benefit The Rotary Club of Niagara-on-the-Lake charities.


Heading to the county this summer?  The area is home to some great foodie finds and great artisan vineyards – not to mention charming bed and breakfasts for romantic getaways.  If you are heading the region on August 28th, Thyme Again Gardens, an organic farm owned and operated by local Slow Food Prince Edward County members Lori Asselstine and Lorraine Schmid, in Carrying Place will be hosting the annual Field to Table event this year.  It will be a celebration of local food and a chance to meet the locals – who may just convince you to move there and become their neighbors!

These are just a few of the many great events happening in Ontario this summer.  To learn more, visit Tourism Ontario and plan your fun summer of delicious adventures!  Also, be sure to visit all of the great events listed in our event database by CLICKING HERE.



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