It was an over cast and cloudy Sunday afternoon when I met up with Chow Bella and her gang to stroll along Queen Street West in search of tasty goodies. It was a perfect day to meet up with new friends to explore the shops, bakeries, and historical sites along the way. Chow Bella is a Toronto company that offers food tours through Queen West. I wrote about founder Trina Hendry and her tours in my post for Toronto City Gossip as I named Chow Bella one of the 5 top food tours in Toronto.
I live just off Ossington Street in the Queen West neighbourhood, so I am pretty familiar with all the shops and treats in the area. I was particularly interested to see where Trina would be taking us that afternoon and as the day went on I was pleasantly surprised with each stop. There were a few places on the tour that I had been to a millions times, but also a few shops I had just walked by before. It was nice to have someone make me take another look at the amazing neighbourhood I live in and such a great way for others to explore the Queen West area if they haven’t already.
The tour started at noon, a perfect time to begin tasting and enjoying the day. We met at The Spice Trader at the corner on Queen and Walnut. I love this shop – I come here all the time to pick up specialty olive oils and vinegars as gifts and of course for myself. We were treated to an olive oil and vinegar tasting. We also tasted different salts and I think everyone’s favorite – truffle oil.
The stand out for me from The Spice Trader was the California Harvest Blood Orange Olive Oil they sell. It has the most amazing and intriguing flavours. I have bought this oil several times for myself and it also makes a perfect gift. Its light and fruity with a little bitter taste on the end from the blood orange. It goes so well with balsamic vinegar as a bread dipper, with a dressing on salad and even drizzled over risotto – seriously good stuff and its only $18.00.
Next we crossed the street to Nadege bakery to try some authentic french pastries – the macaroons were to die for!
Then off down the street to Tealish. Here we had a tea tasting and got some great info about the correct ways to steep tea and all the amazing things these loose leaf natural teas can do for your body. Did you know that you are only supposed to steep your green tea for 1 1/2 mins? If you leave it any longer the leaves will burn and you will end up with the most bitter tasting tea.
Next stop – Cupcakes at Dlish, need I saw more? MMMmmm cupcakes.
The next stop I really enjoyed because I was discovering something new – we went to Delight and then down to their hidden cheese cave.
We had samples of their homemade chocolates and ice cream – Have the salted caramel chocolate and you have to try the homemade blue cheese ice cream – interestingly good! Then down to Le Caveau where we tasted a few different cheeses all from Ontario.
We finished everything off with a Canadian staple – a poutine from Smokes Poutinerie.
I had the Peppercorn Chicken Poutine while another person had the Bacon Cheeseburger Poutine.
A few others had the Curry Chicken Poutine ( I had a bite and it was fab!) and the other one is the Philly Cheese Steak Poutine. There are so many different poutines to choose from – go check it out!
The tour was about 3 hours long, it was a perfect amount of time to explore and enjoy the neighbourhood foodie hot spots. I was glad it ended a few blocks away from my home so I HAD to walk back after lol. That’s the great thing about the Chow Bella walking tours, you don’t have to feel bad about indulging in all the goodies! I had a great time and would recommend this tour to anyone who loves food and wants to check out a new area in Toronto. Chow Bella also offers gift certificates – great idea to give to a couple visiting Toronto for the weekend! All the information is on her website.