Toronto loves dessert. Everywhere you look, someone is enjoying a sugary confection – whether it’s a cold ice cream on an unseasonably hot summer day or a warm waffle during Toronto’s biting winter months.
The city’s history is steeped in desserts too: 1800s chocolatiers like Neilsen’s; early 20th Century confectioners like Laura Secord; the malt shops and parlours dotting Yonge Street in the 50s, and innovative brands like Demetres desserts in Mississauga and Toronto, still going strong.
With a storied past behind it, what does the future of dessert look like for the Six? In this article, let’s explore three trends and predictions for Toronto’s beloved dessert scene.
Dessert As a Reflection of Toronto: Innovative and Diverse
As Toronto moves into the second quarter of the 21st Century, it looks more multicultural than ever. Some news publications even name it the most multicultural city in the world. Moreover, the city is making a name for itself as an innovation hub, with some pundits (like the New York Times) calling it the new Silicon Valley.
What does that have to do with desserts? Everything. Toronto can’t help but express its multiculturalism and innovation, a fact that easily carries over to the dessert scene. A fantastic example is an established brand like Demetres (mentioned above). The company churns out ice creams with a wide array of global flavours (Mexican cajeta, Middle Eastern rose water, Sicilian blood oranges, etc.) and constantly updates its dessert menu to reflect an ongoing research and development process.
Expect to see more innovation and multicultural ideas creep into the dessert scene in the future.
Local Ingredients, a Global Approach
Toronto is surrounded by a region called the Golden Horseshoe, a pastoral expanse of world-class farmland that serves as the city’s proverbial bread basket. While past generations of Toronto dessert makers settled for importing basic ingredients (or, worse yet, finding synthetic substitutes), the new crop of dessert makers is rightfully drawing inspiration from the local abundance, using Ontario dairy and farm-fresh ingredients in their confections.
At the same time, brands aren’t afraid to take their preparation cues from longstanding traditions in other countries. Restaurants are looking to the waffle-making artisans of Belgium, the creperies of France, the sorbetto producers of Italy, etc., to hone their craft.
This local/global split identity is what makes Toronto dessert so exciting right now – and we expect to see the trend continuing in the future.
Always, Always Picture-Worthy
One noteworthy difference between now and, say, 50 years ago? Everyone is a photographer. Torontonians are continually snapping and posting their food – especially dessert.
As such, you’ll notice dessert makers putting in extra effort in the aesthetics department. As in many other places, there’s a cold-war-style race in the city for brands to make the most beautiful, strikingly original and pic-worthy desserts. We don’t expect the competition to ease any time soon.
Who knows what the next big trend will be (with Yuzu on the wane, we’re betting on taro)? What we are confident about is that Toronto’s dessert culture will be innovative, multicultural, locally-focused, globally-inspired and picture perfect.