I am not a beer girl.
I say that, but if you offered me a beer on a blazing summer day while sitting on a dock up north, I’d gladly take it.
But cider, cider owns my heart.
Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that I love checking out Toronto’s Cider Festival.
I went last year as well, but this year knocked it out of the park! It might have just been that I was in better company, but it was outstanding. This year they wanted to embrace true Canadian pride in honour of Canada 150, and they did an amazing job.
Delicious food, even better ciders, lovely vendors and live entertainment – it was a really relaxing yet fun night out! The change of venue was also brilliant – last year, it was at Yonge-Dundas square and I felt like it was too packed and rushed. This year, being held at Sherbourne Commons, it felt just the perfect distance away from the city, but still easily accessible.
If you’re deciding between the afternoon and night sessions, I much preferred the night. Totally different atmosphere, and I loved the bonfire touch.
I will say, the only down side (if you can call it that) of the festival is the token system, not for drinks but for the food! It adds up really quickly! I love the tokens for the drinks though, it’s convenient and I think it’s well worth the cost…as long as you don’t drop a token like I did. I’m sure they have a reason for sticking with tokens for both the food trucks and the ciders, but I skipped out on food. Vicki did get some drool-worthy cannolis from Holy Cannoli and I still plan on getting my hands on one eventually.
Starting off, it can be overwhelming with where to start. We did a lap first, checked it out, and dove in.
Plus with 28 cideries, with over 70 varieties of cider, how could we not have a good time?
Vicki and I went to the night session, so photos weren’t entirely an option, but I managed to keep track of the ciders I loved!
Ernest Cider had an amazing Lemencello cider on tap. It came with the warning that it was very lemon-y, which I was more than willing to try! I can see why some would shy away from this slightly odd cider but I thought it was delicious. It was different certainly, but a great way to start the night.
Clafeld’s Fruit Winery & Cider House had a yummy flavour that, I think, might have been my favourite from the entire night: Framboise. Aka raspberry, my fave flavour of anything! It was the perfect balance of sweet and tart, and so refreshing.
Collective Arts Brewery also added in a flavour that helped it stand out from the rest: blueberry. So you can see that while I love ciders in their original, apple form, I’m a sucker for creative mixes and they were endless at the festival.
I need to give an honorable mention to Steel Town Cider Co. because they might have had the tastiest cider of the night, I just couldn’t drink it. Why? Because these brilliant people (no sarcasm here) created a milkshake cider! Being lactose intolerant, I was cautioned to stay away because while it was still in cider form it did contain lactose. I tried a sip of Vicki’s and it was so good I’m still thinking about it. If I ever came across it again, I would accept my fate and drink it anyway. It was that yummy.
We made our way around the festival and tried 10 of the different ciders, and I think next year’s goal should be to try every single one. Maybe ambitious, but I think we could totally manage.
Here we are in September, and I’m already looking forward to next summer.