Bakers Journal

Toronto’s Ashkenaz Festivals explores international Jewish food

August 15, 2018
By Bakers Journal

This year’s Ashkenaz Festival returns this year to highlight North American comfort foods from bagels and Montreal smoked meat sandwiches, to more exotic fare from northern Italy and the Sephardic diaspora.

Ashkenaz promises to offer a feast for both the mind and taste buds. Matching its diverse and eclectic programming in music, theatre, film, dance, visual arts and literature, Ashkenaz 2018’s food programming is an integral part of this world-renowned celebration of global Jewish performing arts and multiculturalism.

Learn about the unique foodways of Soviet/Russian Jews with Lea Zeltserman, taste 3 different varieties of pickled herring with Miriam Borden, learn how to make Sephardic desserts with Kat Romanow, pick up culinary tips and wisdom from Judy Perly of the Free Times Café, or participate in a Bagel Battle pitting Toronto, Montreal and NY bagels against each other in a taste-off decided by both audience preference and a celebrity panel. Who will be crowned the Bagel Boss?

While much of the Ashkenaz Festival takes place at Harbourfront Centre, its food program extends across the GTA this year for the first time. Ashkenaz’s new tourist-oriented experience, Global Shtetl (Global Village), is a series of curated excursions in which participants will enjoy a special meal in one of Toronto’s many unique neighbourhoods, sampling the cuisine of a particular ethno-cultural community whose music or culture will be highlighted within the Festival’s programming. During the meal, participants will be immersed in the sounds, tastes and stories of places around the world through lectures, talks and performances.

The five excursions will take place between August 29th and September 2nd and tickets are sold both as a package and individually.
Global Shtetlers will experience “A Taste of Poland in Little Portugal,” with an evening of Polish-Jewish music and food at Lula Lounge (August 29). The following night, Ashkenaz serves up Montreal smoked meat sandwiches alongside its all-Canadian concert tribute to Leonard Cohen.

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