Zucchi Olive Oil Blending Event x Flavor Your Life

 We had the pleasure of attending an oil blending event held at the Aria Ristorante a couple of weeks ago. The event was hosted by Zucchi, a family-owned olive oil company that has been in business since 1810. They are committed to creating the highest quality oils, and only source from the top olive oil growers. Zucchi pride themselves on the techniques they use, high quality, and incredible flavors of their products.


BLENDING IS AN ART which requires a large number of technical and scientific skills, as well as the ability to conceive and create the personality of an olive oil. (source: http://www.zucchi.com/)


Both Zucchi and Flavor Your Life have partnered up to educate North American consumers about the quality and authenticity of extra virgin olive oil from Europe. Many of the companies in the Flavor Your Life program gets their funding from the European Union, the Italian government, and a consortium of European extra virgin olive oil producers. So, the blending event was an opportunity for them to reach out to a larger demographic of consumers.


Zucchi is known for their Art of Blending, where their olive oil consists of a blend of multiple refined oils. Thus, their Blending Experience events aim to give participants a direct, sensory initiation into exactly how a new olive oil blend is created. The event was led by Zucchi's Olive Oil Blend Master, Giovanni Zucchi. He guided guests through the flavor profiles of various oils from the Zucchi portfolio, explaining in-depth the olive oil making process, and the history of Zucchi Olive Oil  (source: http://www.zucchi.com/).

http://flavor-your-life.com/

 Before the blending experience commenced, we got to smell and taste the 4 different olive oils. First, we had to pour it into a small plastic cup and warmed it in our hands before inhaling the aroma. After distinguishing the notes, we got to taste it. Next up, we were provided with the opportunity to create our own Zucchi Olive Oil blend. Each guest was provided with four different blends of Zucchi Olive Oil, and we were instructed to mix the oils in a graduated cylinder to create our preferred blend. The entire set-up reminded me of science class when I was in high school. It was really fun getting to blend the different oils together.


How To Smell An EVOO

1)  Take a small cup of olive oil, cover the top with your right hand, and then gently rotate it in the palm of your other hand.
2) Tilt the cup at an angle.
3) Uncover your cup and hold it to the top up to your nose to inhale 2-3 times.



Olive oils from Crete, Arbequina, Sicily and Spain



Our finished product =)


After the blending experience with Zucchi, we got to enjoy a number of different canapés such as this delightful shrimp skewers at Aria Ristorante. The dishes showcase the various flavors of Zucchi Olive Oil and how it naturally complements different food items.


The Zucchi Olive Oil event was a very informative one, and I learned quite a bit about the art of olive oil blending. High quality olive oil surely makes a drastic difference compared to the cheaper ones on the market. Thank you to Zucchi and Flavor Your Life for hosting the event! 

You can experience how to create a new oil with the help of their blendmasters at Zucchi's blending experience events. You can check the calendar here at http://www.zucchi.com/en/events-en/.


 Zucchi Olive Oil's Social Media:

Instagram ||  Facebook || Youtube || Website

 Flavor Your Life's Social Media:

Disclaimer: The products provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.


Origination Noodle House

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to attend a private tasting at Origination Noodle House in Markham (North Scarborough, South Markham). This is their second location as the original one is located in downtown Chinatown. The restaurant specializes in cuisine from the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan.

Walking into the restaurant, it looked really colorful and cozy. The walls are clad in ceramic plates, and diners are greeted with hanging bright lights. Its refined designs has strong Yunnan inspirations, as several decorative pieces and items were brought over from the city.


Our group of 7 started off with some drinks; passion fruit soda and lime soda. The drinks were served in plastic bags, which is reminiscent of the night markets in China. Not the best for the environment, but the drinks themselves were refreshing and sweet.


In addition to noodles, Origination Noodle House has a pretty good selection of appetizers. Out of all the ones we sampled, my favorite was the Deep Fried Squid Balls ($6.50). I enjoyed its chewy  texture and the flavoring was on point.



I am actually not a fan of Marinated Pork Hock ($6.90), so I didn't really like this dish.



We opted for the Cucumber Salad ($6.90) - with soy and sesame sauce as our vegetable appetizer. Cucumbers add a lot of crunch and refreshing flavor to many salads such as this one. The large chunks of cucumbers were covered with shredded carrots, drizzled with peanut butter sauce, and topped off with peanuts.



The Chilled Shredded Chicken ($5.50) - Chinese vinegar, green onion and tofu slices was simple, but it was the perfect appetizer for summer. However, there should be a little more pieces of chicken and less of the tofu slices.


One of their specialties is the Origination Yunnan Rice Noodle, which is their version of the "Crossing The Bridge" noodles. No MSG is added and it's made completely from scratch.  They have a few soup options, but my go-to soup will always be the Tom Yum Goong ($11.90) - rice noodle with coconut milk, lemongrass, bass, fermin serrano ham, pork, black fungus and tofu skin. The soup base had a nice spicy kick to it without being overwhelming, and no additives. Additionally, the portion was very generous, and one bowl could easily feed two people. You can also customizes your noodles with the complimentary cart carrying an array of spices and sauces.





The Tofu Rice Noodle ($8.90) - tofu, pickle, and minced pork was a rather bold dish with a lot of flavors. It came with a lot of vegetables and tofu. Make sure to mix it well before you enjoy the dish.



Another favorite of mine was the Yunnan Style Fried Rice Noodle (beef) ($11.90). Rice noodle is a staple in Yunnan cuisine, and this dish was relatively vibrant in flavor.





Chilled Rice Noodle ($9.50) - with chicken with cucumber, carrots, chicken and minced pork


For dessert, I got the Bubble Lu ($3.20). It had a pleasant coconut flavor (from the coconut milk), and was pretty sweet. I find that the Asian palette towards desserts is that they like subtle sweetness. So, some people might find this dessert too overly sweet.


Red Bean Yogurt ($4.20)



Overall, Origination Noodle House is a pretty solid restaurant as it's affordable, portions are generous, and their food was good that I'd come back again.

Address: 633-661 Silver Star Blvd, Scarborough, ON, M1V 5N1

 Social Media:

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.


Toronto's Festival of Beer 2017 (July 28-30)

One of the hottest beer festival is back! Toronto's Festival of Beer presented by the Beer Store will be taking place July 28 to July 30. Tickets for the much anticipated event are sold out for both Friday and Saturday. However, you can still purchase ticket for Sunday's event at https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1263171.

Toronto’s Festival of Beer:

Date: Friday, July 28 to Sunday, July 30
Hours: July 28 (4:30 pm - 11:00 pm , July 29 (1:30 pm- 8:00 pm), July 30 (1:30 pm - 8:00 pm)
Location: Bandshell Park - Exhibition Place at 100 Princes' Blvd, Toronto, ON M6K 3C3
Website: http://www.beerfestival.ca/


Get Social:

 Toronto's longest running summer beer event returns to Bandshell Park @ Exhibition Place, with a great roster of chefs, food purveyors, and of course ... BEER!!

This Year's Food Purveyors:

Campagnolo
Chimney Stax
Fidel Gastro’s
Heirloom Farm to Truck
Hot Bunzz Street Cuisine
Jack Links
Mangia & Bevi
Meltwich Food Co.
Ontario Corn Roasters
Oyster Boy
Queen Margherita Pizza
Smoke’s Poutinerie
South St. Burger Company
Ted's World Famous BBQ
The Pie Commission
Tiny Tom Donuts

See you there!

 


Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria's Spring/Summer Menu

I had the pleasure of returning to Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria to check out their new Spring/Summer menu a couple of weeks ago. The menu features two new pizzas and the return of a seasonal favorite. We opted to return to the Bloor Street West location, which opened its doors in 2012 and has become a local spot in the Annex. Famosa is best known for its authentic Neapolitan style cuisine, which makes no apology for their creative menu of fusion pizzas. Dean (the owner) runs two locations with his brother, and he is very passionate about the trade. He explained in details about the journey that they embarked on to bring us this delicate taste of Naples menu that we were able to sample.



We started dinner off with the Fire-Roasted Tomato Bisque - roasted Campania tomato soup topped with feta cheese, and served with flatbread. This was one of the highlights of the evening. The bisque was rich with flavor, as the tomatoes hail from Pompeii, Italy. The body of these tomatoes taste stronger, sweeter, and have less acidity in them due to the growing conditions of the volcanic ash that makes up the significant content of the soil. With some added crushed peppers, and Parmesan cheese, the aroma of the bisque was brought to its greatest. 



Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria offers a limited menu of seasonal pizzas, which changes every season. The first new pizza that we got to try was the Prawn Pesto ($16.95) - fior-di-latte, seasoned ricotta, sautéed prawns, roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, pistachio pesto, lemon wedge. In a departure from the standard pizza toppings, the new pizza is topped off with sautéed prawns, which remarkably makes a very delicious pizza.  Out of the three new pizzas on the menu, I'd say that this one was my favorite.


The Mattina ($16.95) - parmesan crema, sautéed leeks, pancetta,  prosciutto crisps, Grana Padano, Italian parsley,  topped with a fried egg, was the second new pizza on the menu. I didn't like this one as much, but J really liked it.


We were quite stuffed from the two pizzas, but the owner (Dean) graciously brought out a third one for us to try. The third pizza was a returning favorite, the Don Andreas ($16.95) - crème fraîche, fior-di-latte mozzarella, roasted chicken, corn and chipotle salsa, avocado, cilantro, lime wedge, side of Valentina hot sauce. I could definitely see why it was a favorite among patrons. All of the toppings just came together well, and it was one tasty pizza.


Dean has some leeway when it comes to their drinks menu, and tries to be creative with the ingredients. We opted for the non-alcoholic options, which was the Strawberries Mocktail (comes with one free re-frill).



If you're craving pizzas with some creativity and fusion, then make sure you try out Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria They do also have standard pizzas like the margherita pizza and pepperoni topped ones if you want safer choices.



Address: 386 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1X4

 Social Media:

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.