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We are just a few days removed from the official start of summer and the festivities in Toronto have already begun. We joined Nespresso at the Taste of Toronto Food Festival for a coffee tasting experience like no other. The last time we were in Toronto, it was in February during NBA All Star Weekend. It was terribly cold and we did everything we could to stay warm. This time around it was the opposite and the warmth of the sun welcomed us to the city.

Taste of Toronto is a food festival that brings some of the best restaurants around the city to one location, where they serve up their signature dishes for everyone to sample. It’s held at the historic Fort York, a military fortification that was built by the British Army and Canadian Militia troops in the late 18th century. During the war of 1812, it was conquered by American Forces on April 27, 1813 but the British later returned and repelled further attacks from the United States and soon after the war ended in 1815.

The surrounding grounds is where you will find the festival and at the centre was Nespresso’s Boutique Bar. Before they opened the festival to the public, we had the chance to sit down and taste what they would be serving throughout the weekend.

Meet Chef Victor Barry, who recently opened up his Canadian-Italian restaurant, Piano Piano, on Harbord Street in Downtown Toronto. Victor was tasked by Nespresso to put together canapés that would be paired with the coffee that would be served throughout the weekend. We were also joined by Master Sommelier Elyse Lambert, who is one of four Sommelier’s in Canada and is one of the few women who have earned this prestigious title. For this occasion, Elyse helped curate the coffee we would be enjoying with Victor’s delicious creations.

With the sun beating down against our backs, we sat comfortably underneath a large sun umbrella as the duo presented the menu and the elaborated on the pairings. Elyse encouraged us to slurp the coffee from our spoons before drinking and as she playfully put it “Slurping is the new sipping!” This action triggered our olfactory senses and allowed us to fully take in all the complex flavours that are blended into Nespresso coffee.

The highlight was Nespresso’s newest and strongest coffee from their Grand Cru collection, the Envivo Lungo. It was paired with Boudin Noir (Blood Sausage) on a crispy brioche. The bold but velvety taste of the coffee washed down the lightly flavoured canapé nicely. The course was rounded out with a fruit skewer served with their Grand Cru Arpeggio Decaffeinato. According to Elyse, this particular pairing can be seen as a sort of divorce because the sweetness of the fruit contrasts heavily against the bitterness of the coffee. This unique pairing really showcased the flavour of the Arpeggio Decaffeinato making it a worthy go-to should you want a coffee without the rush of caffeine. Finally, balance out the bitterness, we ate a sweet ginger cake with grilled pineapple crumble.

You can learn more about Envivo Lungo and Arpeggio Decaffeinato from Nespresso’s Grand Cru capsule collection here. You can also pick up the capsules at your nearest Nespresso Boutique.

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Photography by Jon Carlo Tapia with contributions from Andrew Willamson.

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