July is here and that means food festivals around the city are kicking off to celebrate everything from tacos to beer to Asian street food. One festival to check if you love great Italian (and good portions) is Giro d’Italia.
Running simultaneously with Summerlicious, this 10-day festival brings together some of Toronto’s best Italian restaurants. Each participating restaurant will offer a $52 prix-fixe menu based on a different region of Italy. No two restaurants represent the same region, so you can be sure that the food selections are as unique as the regions of Italy.
With 15 restaurants participating this summer, you can expect these mouth-watering items on some of the menus.
Representing Lazio – 243 King St E
On Ardo’s regional menu, expect to find slow roasted lamb leg with potato and onion, and classics like Spaghetti alla Carbonara with cured pork cheek, egg yolks and DOP Pecorino Romano.
Representing Le Marche – 1111 Queen St E
Ascari Enoteca’s menu is inspired from the coastal region of Marche with dishes like Brodetto all’Anonetana, dish of steamy sea bream, calamari, clams, cherry tomatoes, saffron, parsley and lovage, with dinner finished off by a dense Italian donut (cicerchiata), topped with burnt honey and toasted sesame seeds.
Representing Liguria – 3047 Dundas St W
Bricco’s menu focused on simple, natural flavours of the region, like regional favourites of pesto and focaccia. Expect housemade focaccia, pasta with fresh basil pesto, and veal shoulder stuffed with summer chard, spinach and mountain herbs.
Representing Calabria – 1338 Lansdowne Ave.
At Cucinato, diners can expect to find Baccalà, an old-style salted cod, fried tempura style and served with cicoria and sautéed Romano beans with chili flakes and, Lagane e Ceci, a pasta with chickpeas, tomato and wild Calabrian herbs.
Representing Umbria – 1288 Dundas St W
Extra virgin olive oil (the really good stuff), comes from the olives grown in Umbria. At Enoteca Sociale, expect items such a dandelion frittata, a porchetta with sautéed endive and fresh herbs, finished with an Italian cake with ricotta whipped cream and strawberries.
Representing Piemonte – 330 Bay St
This northwestern region is where the indulgent will find white truffles, creamy pastas and breathtaking vineyards. At Locale Mercatto, dishes like Risotto with black truffle and Parmigiano Reggiano, and Agnolotti with pork and beef will be highlights of the evening.
Representing Basilicata – 134 Avenue Rd
The mountainous region focuses on the flavours of garlic, olive oil and pepperoncino. At L’Unita, diners will find a menu of cod baked in olive oil with dried chilies and cherry tomatoes, an antipasto of eggplant caponata, cacciotore di’ Basilicata, and caciocavallo cheese and finished with a ricotta and pecorino cheesecake.
Representing Toscana – 265 Davenport
From this central region, you’ll find a menu focused on regional, local items like a summer vegetable and bean soup with pecorino, house-made pappardelle with wild boar ragù, and sponge cake soaked in liqueur with custard cream and wild Amarena cherries.
With over 15 restaurants participating in the Giro d’Italia Summer 2018 program, lovers of great Italian food can experience a tour of the country without leaving the comfort of Toronto.
Giro d’Italia will run July 5 – 15. Checkout all participating restaurants, featured menu’s and make a reservation at www.girotoronto.ca.