While traveling I must have told dozens of people not to bother coming to Toronto. It is an amazing city to live in but I think the tourism options are terrible. Personally I don’t have any desire to go to the CN Tower or drive out to Niagara Falls and for the ten years I lived here I did neither.
It’s like Auckland: amazing to live, boring to visit.
But coming back to Toronto is a fresh start so instead of jumping back into old haunts I want to discover new ones and I was so excited when I saw Tasty Tours.
Audrey who runs the Toronto food tour loves cakes, pastries, chocolates and pretty much anything sweet. I’m more of a savory person but what caught my eye was that the tour is in Chinatown and Kensington Market – two of my favourite neighborhoods in Toronto.
We all met at the Butterfly Pastry Shop in Chinatown and Audrey introduced the first sweet, an egg tart. She shared the history of the tart from Hong Kong and how it was likely influenced by Europeans coming to the area. But then she also shared the history of the shop we were in and how it had grown recently under new management.
Not surprisingly before we left I picked up a bacon and green onion Chinese bun.
We visited 4 more stores but these were by far my favourite.
Now while sweets aren’t my thing I do covet chocolate. And I have scurried down the street of Chocolate Addict so many times to get to my favourite Mexican grocery store. It may have been a good thing because after drinking pure milk chocolate and trying a chili flavoured truffle it was all I could do to only walk out of the store with only 5 more.
So it goes without speaking that I am a Latinophile, and I have already spent too much time in Kensington Market in the Latin stores but I had never been to Pancho’s Bakery. Today they made us something very special cake, a rosca de reyes made for Three Kings Day. A small trinket looking like a baby is hidden inside and one of the people in our group was fortunate to find it for he is now blessed, although he is also supposed to throw us a party.
It was my favourite part of the day because I felt like my old life was now in my new one. I only wish I had enough stomach space to eat a churro.
Audrey’s Toronto food tour is great for both locals and visitors. You see the best of Toronto and learn strange things like where marshmallows come from, how cupcakes got their name or where to find the best chocolate. She gives the right amount of history and facts and whips her iPad out to demonstrate more complicated things. She gave me the tour for free but is worth the $30 price tag.
Frankly Toronto needs more enthusiastic entrepreneurs like her to show you just how great a city this is.