The unexpected flavours of Toronto

Written by Alessandro Rivetto on 18 April 2019

Toronto was a fundamental stop on our North American tour that took us to the capital of Canada’s Ontario province.

Together with Montreal and Ottawa, Toronto is one of the most important economic centers of the entire province of Ontario, as well as a cultural center where students arrive from all over the world.

One of the defining characteristics of this city is its multiple identities. Beyond the city that we’re used to seeing, there is an underground Toronto.

Beneath Toronto’s famous skyline, characterized by the majestic CN tower, there lies a hidden city called The Path.

A convergence of underground roads and paths, traversable only on foot, it is home to stores and services just like in a real, aboveground city.

The project for The Path began in the 1960s to combat the frigid winter temperatures of Ontario’s capital, buffeted by cold northern winds. You could almost say that it’s springtime year-round in The Path!

Another unique feature of Toronto is its multiculturalspirit, a cosmopolitan vibe that has divided the town into many different quarters, among which are Chinatown, Little Italy, the hippie Yorkville, and Kensington Market, where the Jewish, Portuguese, and Caribbean communities congregate.

Something that surprised us was the fact that the Italian community had such an important role in the development of the country and culture that it’s the second most numerous after the Chinese.

But speaking of cultural influences, we can’t leave out the cuisine and gastronomic specialtiesof this city (an argument that, more than any other, will certainly bring us to a reflection on the wine).

Rather than boasting of one single tradition, the cuisine of Ontario is composed of a variety of European flavors, some of which are quite ancient.

Here, not only can you findexcellent meat from the bison raised in the prairies, but what really distinguishes their food is the abundance of fish from both fresh and salty waters.

Given the city’s position, Toronto has always been able to count on a rich selection of fish, some of which have become the city’s specialties: Ronge Lake trout, Arctic char, Malpeque oysters, and salmon, to name a few.

And as for the wine?

Even though the national beverage is beer, in Canada, and especially in Ontario, a growing interest in wine has developed in the last few years.

Now, Italian wines are finding a very favorable market, and Canada is one of Italy’s top importers in numbers of wine bottles, together with France and the USA.

In fact, Italian wines, which cost decidedly less than French wines, are more adapted to responding to the Canadian consumer’s demands.

For their part, the Canadians are curious and interested in experimenting many different denominations. As an example of the openness and willingness of the average Canadian wine lover to try new things, here is an anecdote from the Canadian journalist Michaela Morris during an event with Piedmontese wines:

“…this year during the biggest and most important festival in Canada for wines from around the world, the guests of honor were Italian wines, and in the area reserved for great producers, there was even a desk managed by the Canadian government where they presented the lesser-known denominations of the Bel Paese. According to reports at the end of the event, the most sold wine from the government’s stand was Lacrima from the Marche, a little-known wine even among Italians.”

This is truly encouraging information, not just f Italian exports orin general but also—and above all—for Piedmontese wines, given their great diversity and richness of denominations that this region offers.

Our trip to Boston and Toronto confirmed that, like in Italy, wine lovers in the world are searching for something more in their glass, something that goes beyond a taste and smell experience and has a story made of people and territories.

With this knowledge, we are ready to begin a new adventure in the city of Toronto… news that we will be ready to tell you more about in the near future!