Now’s Best of Toronto – Veganed

It’s that time of year again, well, between now and September – to vote in NOW Magazine’s Best of Toronto Reader’s Choice. I was looking through some of the categories and I noticed something – more and more vegan businesses are cropping up in categories beyond the usual “vegan” or “vegetarian”, so I wanted to highlight the ones I’ve found. I have been posting about at least one business everyday on Facebook, complete with my case for why they should win, but I decided I should just wrap it up into one post anyway. I’m not telling you who to vote for. All I’m saying is that it’s worth checking out categories beyond “vegan” or “vegetarian” because so many fantastic vegan places are all over this year’s list. Voting closes September 12th, and winners will be announced in Now’s Best of Toronto Reader’s Choice issue out November 6th. I’m sure this goes without saying, but this list has not been endorsed by Now Toronto, and I’ve put it together without any biases beyond being vegan and liking tasty food. Table of Contents Best Bakery Best Bar Best Dessert Best Breakfast Best Brunch Best Caribbean Best Jamaican Best Caterer Best Cheap Eats Best Chocolate Best Cupcake Best Dessert Best Donut Best Vegan Best Vegetarian Best Pho Best Patisserie Best Korean Best Other Stuff

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Symposia Talk: The Twenty Teachings of Cacao: March 26

*****To reserve your spot, please email info@chocosoltraders.com***** Join ChocoSol’s Founder, Michael Sacco, and special guest, Dr. Wayne Roberts, for an evening of re-discovering the food of the gods: the twenty teachings of cacao in glyph format. Come savour and contemplate our emerging ideas on the profound wisdom buried in the spiritual ecology of cacao and the beauty of chocolate drinks and foods. These thoughts and presentation are part of Michael Sacco’s Indigenous Studies doctoral thesis. Wayne Roberts will moderate the evening, and Michael will share bites of knowledge, bits of chocolate, and frothing cacao drink, with a side of fresh beautiful Oaxacan coffee. $10 suggested donation, includes chocolate bites and drink. In the spirit of potlatch, attendees are welcome to bring vegetarian food that is free from nuts and dairy to share with the group. Attendees will have the access to a $20 special chocolate deal with an autographed copy a Wayne Roberts book. To reserve your spot, please email info@chocosoltraders.com

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Artisanal Chocolate Workshop – Chocosol

*****To reserve your spot, please email info@chocosoltraders.com***** ChocoSol’s two hour artisanal chocolate workshops provide interactive bean-to-bar chocolate education (including discussions on the history and cultural teachings of cacao, chocolate making techniques, horizontal trade, and forest garden permaculture), hands-on ingredient preparation, chocolate tastings, and the opportunity to purchase ChocoSol products. $25 per person (cash please). https://www.facebook.com/events/1449596095272807 A minimum of 10 people are needed. Maximum 20. To reserve your spot, please email info@chocosoltraders.com ***About ChocoSol*** ChocoSol chocolate is also an open invitation to all, as our cacao is sourced via horizontal trade from Indigenous farmers in Southern Mexico and is organically grown. Our chocolate is made without dairy, gluten, soy, and nuts, and is also vegan. And it’s made right in Toronto at our new location (1131 St. Clair West). For more information, visit us at www.ChocoSolTraders.com

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ChocoSoil Workshop

https://www.facebook.com/events/738454962854652 Join ChocoSol’s Lead ChocoSoil Animator, Byron Koss, for a two hour interactive workshop exploring our community-based urban agriculture research project that integrates soil making into the day-to-day operations at ChocoSol. Learn about the closed-loop cradle-to-cradle waste use approach we are applying to our production systems, and how we up-cycle cacao shells, cacao char, paper towels, and food scraps into our worm composters to create healthy urban soil ecosystems and to grow roof-top spices and herbs for use in our chocolate. Attendees will participate in demonstrations on our roasting, winnowing, biochar, and grow light operations, as well as hands-on activities such as sifting cacao shells, mixing ChocoSoil blends, seed starting, and setting up worm composters. You will also have the opportunity to indulge in eating and drinking chocolate samples! For more information on the ChocoSoil project, visit:http://chocosoltraders.com/chocosoil/ $25 per person (cash please). A minimum of 10 people are needed. Maximum 15. Attendees also have the opportunity to purchase ChocoSoil products at a reduced price. To reserve your spot, please email info@chocosoltraders.com

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Things I Love Thursday – Local Vegan Toronto Gift Ideas 2013 Edition

For 2014 – please go here. There are lots of general vegan gift idea lists out there, so please do check them out (I’ll link to some of them at the bottom of this post), but it’s worth looking locally to tap into the great community of creators and crafters, bakers, makers, and ingenuous entrepreneurs that we have in our city. There are also some wonderful organizations to support this time of year, as well as food and products to buy, made right here in the GTA. So this year, yet again, is my totally biased, occasionally random, list of local/GTA/Vegan Gift ideas. You’ll see some repeat names from last year, because they’re still awesome, but you’ll also see some new faces (because the vegan business community has really grown in 2013.) I welcome your suggestions for other local vegan friendly businesses and organizations to support, please add them in the comments. Vegan Food Apiecalypse Now! With exciting news just around the corner, there are also APieCalypse Now!’s mega awesome gift baskets to take advantage of. Available in both gluten free and glutenlicious varieties, in large baskets and in small, you have a lot to choose from. The baskets are full of almost entirely hand-made things, made with organic locally grown flour, fair trade sugar, and horizontal trade chocolate from ChocoSol (They’re even on the Food Empowerment Project’s Chocolate list.) Check out what else is on offer in the ApieCalypse Now! online store. (you have until December 15th to pre-order the big stuff…

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Things I Love Thursday on Friday: Dufferin Grove Farmers Market, Brixton Grill, Lavender, Chocolate.

One of my favourite things to do on a Thursday is to try and make it to the Dufferin Grove Farmers’ Market. Yesterday was one of those hot muggy days. It’s a feeling anyone that’s been to Toronto in the summer would have experienced. When I looked out the window, from my air conditioned bubble, it seemed grey. Maybe even cool. But all that changed the moment I walked out the door. Bam, here’s the weather. Hot enough for you? P.S. FYI There is also humidity. Of course, unlike many, I happen to really like this kind of weather. Coming from an extremely dry province, I almost feel like I don’t have to moisturize here. I can breathe through my nose with ease, and I love walking through the thick fog of summer. I might not be in the majority on this one, but I’m happy – especially because I’m also lucky enough to have air conditioning if I really need to escape. It was nice to take a moment and wander through the Market yesterday. I picked up JC’s first taste of Brixton Grill – you know, the delicious vegan BBQ stand. They’ve always got four options, sometimes a special, and I like how they always have a visual representation of their stuff available for people to order.

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Kind Organics Mystical Mint Chocolate Bar – Toronto – Get it at West End Food Co-op.

Recently on a trip to the West-End Food Co-op, there were two different kinds of Kind Green Organic’s Chocolate Bars conveniently located right at the check out. And it was a happy impulse buy, I’ll admit to it completely. I have seen Kind Organics selling salad blends, spouts, herbs and other greens at Farmers’ Markets around the city, but never chocolate (or at least I had never noticed it) so it caught my attention. Plus – it’s chocolate… so yum. Kind Organics is a farm located 40 minutes north of Toronto in Holland Marsh, and they sound like they employ veganic or mostly veganic farming techniques (as in, they don’t use chemicals, synthetic fertilizers, manures, or animal by-products in their farming). You can read more about them on their website. The source of chocolate in this bar was a company I’ve got a long standing love for –  Chocosol Chocolate. My first warm memory of Chocosol is when we encountered them on a very cold winter evening in David Pecaut Square (Juno After Party event.) Their hot drinking chocolate was vegan, delicious, and warmed up my very cold hands. We were reintroduced to their awesome products at the 2012 FoodShare Recipe for Change event, and I’ve been happily (and actively) following along with their company ever since. They are on the Food Empowerment Projects ethical chocolate list. They use organic, forest garden shade grown cocoa sourced directly from indigenous communities in Southern Mexico, and follow horizontal trade practices. I’d really like to see more and more of this. Ethically sourced…

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Farmers’ Markets in Toronto – Sorauren

I’m getting increasingly more excited with the possibility of having fresh local produce, that I can paw through myself, and buy directly from someone that might have a connection to the source. I like talking to people about food, and some of my favourite folks are people that make food, and love making food. Last Monday I went to the Sorauren Farmers’ Market, nearly every Monday I go to the Sorauren farmers market, but this day was special. It was beautiful outside, and even at 6pm (when I arrived) the market was filled with this great energy. Maybe it was just me. I had a good day of collaboration, it was the day after a phenomenal vegan dinner at the Rusholme Park Supper Club, everything was coming up MeShell.

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