On Friday, my 2 partners in Sugary Crime went to Canada’s Baking and Sweets show, which is running all this weekend.
The show is in its 4th year, and I’ve known about it for 3, but have not yet been able to attend until this year. As it grows in popularity, more and more exhibitors are participating, and it truly gets better every year!
Canada’s Baking and Sweets Show is held at the Toronto Congress Centre – a beautiful open venue with room to grow with the show! Pacha Balloon Creations in Vaughan did a phenomenal job with all the balloon centrepieces – a rainbow, cupcake, Wizard of Oz characters, pillars – I never knew you could make so many things with balloons!
The show’s mainstage is host to many different presentations throughout the weekend.
Since we were only able to be there Friday morning, we learned about the cool new breakfast food, the Wonut – waffle donut created by Waffles Cafe in Chicago – hearing a bit about how it came about, and watching with mouths watering the assembly process (with time for a sample afterward, of course!).
If you want to try your hand at making your own, Good Housekeeping has a recipe for a homemade wonut!
I had hoped to be able to enter a few recipes into the recipe competition before we left on our trip, but alas, it did not happen. This year there are categories for different cakes, pies, cookies, and more! The judges decide on the best recipe (made by the show chefs) out of a top 3, and the winner of each category receives $500! Pretty sweet deal! Plus, the judges include 2 of my favourite Canadian bakers, Heather and Lori from Original Cupcakes AKA The Cupcake Girls (they used to have a TV show, I LOVED watching it while pregnant with Miss E).
They also have a cupcake stand at the show (oh my, what delicious cupcakes they have! And I’m pretty picky about my cupcakes :D).
Also featured on the main stage is Anna Olson, The Caketress Lori Hutchinson, and one group I’m really sad to be missing – The MOF Chefs from Maison Christian Faure Pastry School.
Along with mouth watering, French-culture oozing pastry talk, they’re also offering demonstrations on making macarons, sugar roses, blown sugar animals, and more! It’s almost enough to make me come back for another day…
If you like to get your hands dirty, you can sign up for a hands-on class (extra fee applies) in marzipan and cake writing (more classes to be added in future!).
Speaking of hands on, if you’re at the show with kids, make sure you take them over to the Today’s Parent Family Zone where Petits Chefs Academy is doing a free cupcake workshop for kids 12 and under.
They’ll get to work with fondant and icing, while being instructed by some great chefs, AND meet Gabrielle Parisi from Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken!
Oh, and every child who attends the workshop gets a goody bag of some Cake Boss baking tools. What a treat!
And now, of course, on to the treats at the show. I have never been to a show where there are so many free samples – everywhere you turn there are offers of taste-bud tingling, sugary goodies. But of course, it’s our tongues that often do the selling in these cases, so samples makes the most sense! I can’t even begin to go into the sheer amount of talent and quality of the exhibitors at the show, so I’ll highlight a few of my faves!
If it’s cupcakes you want, of course, Cupcakes by Heather and Lori (new store is located in Leaside!) is my top choice (and they’re conveniently located right at the entrance to the show).
But if you’re only in the mood for a small bite, make sure you check out Sweet Fix Bakery right across the way.
They have mini cupcakes, cake pops and cookies, and their brand new store is in The Woodbine Centre.
Cannolis are one of my absolute favourite treats, but it’s hard to find good ones. Holy Cannoli by Vanessa is bang on.
Crispy, sweet, perfection, you don’t want to miss these! Located in The Cake Collective quarter. Oh there we go, longing to be back in Italy again…. sigh.
Keekers loved the gourmet popcorn booth, also in the same area, SweetPop Gourmet Decadent Popcorn Bites are clusters of popcorn mixed together with delicious toppings – cookies and cream, s’mores, candy, and more! Plus, they offer loot bag sizes as well, perfect for birthday parties!
Bitsy Treats Boutique specializes in favours and sweets tables, but they also make Pixie Sticks (remember those?!) with real fruit ground up!
I think we will definitely be doing those for a birthday party in the near future.
This is the just tip of the iceberg – there are so many other exhibitors offering cupcakes, cakes, candy, macarons, honey balls, baklava, tarts, cookies, and on and on! There’s even a booth for your furry friends – Edible Doghouses makes dog biscuits with an edible “box” to contain them. They’re such a clever idea!
If you’re careening now from all the sugar, check out one of the many coffee cafes scattered throughout. My favourite is Velvet Sunrise Coffee Roasters, because not only do they have fresh roasted coffee, but they also support fair trade workers and products, and they’re from my hometown.
Aside from eating, drinking and having lots of candy, you can also go shopping at the show. Many local stores and some online ones have brought their cake decorating and baking supplies to the show to sell at discounted prices – there’s always a deal to be had!
If it’s bigger items you’re after, there are also a few big “stores” set up with appliances and everything baking related you can think of for sale.
Before you leave, be sure to check out the entries in the Professional Cake Decorating competition – the wedding cakes are so elegant and delicate and the theme cakes out of this world!
This year’s theme is The Wizard of Oz (oh, and you may see Dorothy, the Wicked Witch and The Wizard walking around the show ;D) and the cakes knock your socks off! I can’t wait to see who the winner is.
We spent 5 hours at the show on Friday and could have stayed longer, but we had a toddler beginning to unwind and frankly, a headache coming on from too much sugar. But wash that all down with a nice big bottle of water and a healthy bowl of broccoli cheddar soup from Panera Bread’s lunch stand at the show, and you’ve had yourself one mighty fine day at Canada’s Baking and Sweets Show.
And if you’re a friend from the US, don’t worry, there’s America’s Baking and Sweets Show just for you, coming up in Chicago November 14-16! Don’t forget to check it out!