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The sounds, sights and Taste of Little Italy

 

The Mastro and San Daniele Taste of Little Italy food festival took place last month, June 16 – 18. My eyes were busy, my ears were buzzing and my stomach was full of delicious Italian food.

 

The sights of the Taste of Little Italy were plentiful. From the vendors up and down the streets to the authentic Italian restaurants, I really was immersed in the Italian culture. I was able to see some of the renowned restaurants serving the community, despite the rain. I enjoyed the sights of many restaurants extending their patios. Trattoria Taverniti embraced their Italian heritage by simply decorating their extended patio with the classic red and white checkered table clothes. This, coupled with the old brick exterior and the beautiful Italian entry door, provided the perfect visual for the festival.

 

If the sights weren’t enough, there was a combination of musical performers adding to the culture. Italian performers from the community lined the streets on almost every corner, while acclaimed electric violinist, Dr. Draw, played a memorable show right outside the CHIN building. The variety of music and the sound of Torontonians enjoying the festival made the trip in the rain all worthwhile.

 

And of course, the reason everyone goes to street festivals – the FOOD!

 

The night started off at Hogtown Pub and Oysters with prosecco – a delicious Italian white wine, paired with oysters. The two complemented each other well and made for a nice light treat to converse over. The owner shared with us his commitment to not only the Taste of Little Italy, but the community as well. He would be spending the night at his restaurant all weekend shucking oysters to ensure everything was ready each day to serve their guests – if that’s not commitment, I don’t know what is!

 

Once the rain let up we enjoyed some traditional Italian food, cosy enough for the wet evening. There was arancini, ravaioli, spiducci, and we can’t forget about gelato; the sweet, delectable gelato from Sicilian Café.

 

Café Diplomatico did not disappoint with their savoury snacks and rich history. As the first licensed patio in Toronto, Café Diplomatico continues to satisfy their customers. All of the dishes complimented each other well. The sauce on the arancini and ravaioli was to die for. Nonna’s tomato sauce recipe drizzled over the freshly made arancini and ravaioli made it feel like I was really in Italy.  For years guests have flocked to Café Dip for their infamous barbecued spiducci skewers during the festival. Since the very beginning of this traditional event, the Dip has sold nearly 250,000 spiducci and are looking to reach that record milestone this year.

 

The stories shared by the owners of Café Diplomatico added to the evening and brought some old-time Italian culture to light. When Café Diplomatico first opened, there was no kitchen and only hot plates. The owners at the time would make the food at home and bring it down to Café Dip to serve. In the end, Café Dip has held true to their Italian roots and continues to serve the community – which include some high profile names like Sophia Loren and Nelly Furtado!

 

We finished off on a high note with a massive gelato dessert from Sicilian Café. It consisted of four flavours of gelato, strawberries and freshly made waffles. Sicilian Café, the oldest gelato shop in Toronto, was the first to develop tartufo and has many gelato flavours to choose from, which made it so difficult to decide which dessert to have. I will definitely be going back to try some more! As Maria Galipo says – “a lot can happen over a bowl of ice cream.”

 

There really was a little bit of everything from the sights, to the sounds, to the tastes. This was a festival to remember!

 

 

For some of our photos visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cityeventstoronto/albums/72157682259269674

 

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