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May 8, 2007 11:42 AM

Secret Food Festivals

I've decided I'm fed up with giant food festivals that have become nothing more than tourist rip offs. I don't want to fight hundreds for a chunk of over cooked charred pork at Taste of the Danforth; there is no more $5 tasting tickets at the Food and Wine Expo; and definitely no more bad Summerlicious meals.

I am searching for the secret or poorly advertised street festivals, parties and great cook get-togethers.

Here's my contribution so far:
This weekend we went out in the country to Stadtlander's for his Ramps and Maple Syrup Festival. Great day, great food, 200 people.

I just came across this "Sausage Party" that took place last July with Berkshire Pork on Toronto Island. I'll find out if it is happening this year.

Last summer we were driving down Davenport and the local Portuguese community were having a little street fest, grilling sardines on the BBQ. Maybe 60 people, delicious sardines.

Let me know what you know. High profile, low profile, cheap, expensive, in or out of town…

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  1. Some I've found enjoyed in the past

    African, Queens Park, mid July
    Hot & Spicy, Harbourfront, mid August
    Latin American, Corso Italia, mid July
    Caribana, Lower Eglinton, early August

    Mila, when is the portugese one?

    - Kelly

    4 Replies
    1. re: FlavourPrincess

      Well, it kinda went like this. We were meandering (...lost) and trying to find our way back downtown when my roommate spotted bushels of tomatoes on sale for $15. We screamed to a halt and purchased 3 bushels from this funny shop that looked like it specialized in homemade wine supplies and grapes. As close as I can figure after the fact it was Culotta Grapes & Darrigo's Grape Juice Limited at 1800 Davenport.

      Right around the corner they were having this little streetfest. And it was sometime around tomato season.

      Sorry, it can't get more cryptic than that. Thanks for your tips.

      1. re: Mila

        In Kensington one day a few summers ago, thePortuguese fish shops were grilling sardines out on the side walk in front of their stores. We never figured out what was going on. I don't think it was part of the pedestrian Sundays.

        1. re: crawfish

          If you'd like to do your own Portuguese Sardine BBQ, you can find them at NO-Frills, frozen. Just sprinkle with O-Oil and let sit for a hour or so B4 BBQ-in' Delicious...........just like our Portuguese neighbours do. We join them several times a year for these and Sea Bass/Trout also at N/F's.

          This past Sat. there was a Ukranian celebration at Centenial Park (Eglinton and Renforth) probably not well publicized, but was in the local paper (The Guardian) Lots of Hulupchi (?) and Pierogi and Sausages, but an extended rain shower kind of cooled things down.

      2. re: FlavourPrincess

        I saw in the food section of the Star that this coming weekend is an African street fest at Bloor and Ossington (I think.... certainly that area of Bloor). I'm definitely going to be there.

      3. The original comment has been removed
        1. I agree, the Afrofest in Queens Park is a lot of fun. Not too crowded, good food, great music

          1. It's not particularly secret or poorly advertised but I tried the Salsa Festival on St. Clair West last summer and had a great time - yummy papusas and churros were the standouts for me.

            1. Didn't make it last year on Sept 30,(the first one), but the Leslieville Catfish Festival sounds enjoyable. Jimmy Simpson Park

              1 Reply
              1. re: Wiley

                Thanks for the reminder. Pretty sure they got rained out last year (I had other plans but I know it was a very crappy day). They had some interesting-sounding musicians scheduled too. I heard about it from Cajun Corner's website.