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Hamilton Economic Development

Foodies spend the day eating their way through Hamilton

Photo of octopus stew at Wild Orchid RestaurantCameras snapped. Oohh’s and aahh’s rose from the crowd. It was like a red carpet photo call — one where the star was a mini martini glass filled with raw fish.

In the foodie world, it’s what passes for celebrity. Especially when the eatery serving it up is the first of its kind in Canada.

Pokeh Bar, which makes poke (a Hawaiian dish built around rice and fish) is a new vendor at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market. It was just one of nearly a dozen stops on a Saturday afternoon food tour organized by economic development and the Hamilton offices of Trip Central.

According to Michael Marini, co-ordinator of marketing for the City of Hamilton, this was the fourth such trip to get GTA-area chefs, restaurateurs and food bloggers excited about eating in Hamilton.

It worked. On Saturday, #HamOntFT started trending on Twitter as a pack of 14, including bloggers, journalists, and Ticat Pete Dyakowski, tweeted the food tour as it moved from NaRoma, to Wild Orchid, to Aberdeen Tavern and beyond.

For Solmaz Khosrowshahian, who blogs at The Curious Creature, it was her fourth time on one of the tours, which visit new restaurants each time.

Khosrowshahian, who lives in Toronto, had spent some time in Hamilton years ago, and had heard about the city’s food scene recently. When Marini contacted her for the first food tour, she jumped at the chance. Now, she tells everyone she knows about Hamilton.

“I had never really seen the real Hamilton until I saw it through food,” she said.

“It’s really cool to see how quickly food can change a community,” she said, pointing out the foot traffic drawn by new restaurants including Auntie Boom’s, The Cannon Coffee Co., and Except for Kenneth.

She’s also amazed by the number of options, in terms of both places to eat and ethnic diversity. What she finds most impressive though, is the authenticity. She said Hamilton chefs have a passion for food that comes across in a way it doesn’t in other cities. Here, it’s raw. It’s uncontrived.

Sharon Mendelaoui agreed.

“We need a market like this in Toronto,” said Mendelaoui, who writes for Dream Travel Magazine.

Sure, there’s the St. Lawrence Market. But, she said, it doesn’t feel like family the way the Hamilton Farmers’ Market does.

On top of that, Mendelaoui said she was charmed by the number of distinct villages in the city, the neighbourhoods the tour moved through as they travelled. She said she was thinking about coming back for another day, but even that didn’t seem like it would be enough to cover it.

Article courtesy of Amy Kenny, The Hamilton Spectator

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