TO’s Finest (www.tofinest.com) is host to the $5 Sweet Tooth Crawl from June 2nd till June 30th. Their tagline reads “4 weeks. 12 shops. 12 dessert dishes. Each only $5”. Sounds great, right? But hold on, there’s a slight catch. In order to be a participant in the Sweet Tooth Crawl, customers need to download the TO’s Finest app off the Apple or Google Play app store and spend $10 to purchase a food crawl passport. Only with the purchase of a food crawl passport will you be able to have access to these $5 dessert dishes.
(Disclaimer: TO’s Finest was kind enough to grant us with two free passports to use)
The app is relatively simple and handy to use – users can easily purchase their passport through the app and the app allows users to easily use their smartphone’s GPS to pinpoint where the closest dessert location is. Once at a dessert vendor, simply tap on ‘Claim’ to claim a dessert and follow the onscreen instructions.
By arming ourselves with the app and passport, we were able to hit up 3 of the 12 dessert spots. We were able to sample desserts from The Red Bench (www.findtheredbench.ca), The Sweet Escape (www.thesweetescapedistillery.com), and Roselle Desserts (www.roselleto.com).
At The Red Bench, they are currently offering the Sweet Piggie Sammy as part of the Sweet Food Crawl. It’s essentially an ice cream sandwich – a pair of sugar cookies sandwiching two big scoops of maple walnut ice cream, topped with crushed bacon bits. The sugar cookies are neither too sweet nor too overpowering; this allows the maple walnut ice cream to truly stand out from the sugar cookies. Unfortunately the bacon bits are rather salty and hard to chew. Overall, it is a solid dessert dish that meets all expectations but will not WOW you in anyway (3.5/5).
The Sweet Escape serves an Espresso Affogato. You get to pick your choice of ice cream, and it’s topped by a biscotto and a shot of hot espresso. We picked vanilla ice cream, thinking that it would balance well with the espresso. The vanilla ice cream did compliment perfectly with the espresso – the espresso flavours are bold and yet the vanilla ice cream was able to temper the boldness of the espresso shot. Unfortunately, the dish only came with two small scoops of ice cream: we ended up with more espresso than there was ice cream. Similarly, the biscotto was very small in comparison to the rest of the dish, and overall nothing stood out about it (2.5/5). Please note that the app lists this dish as being served with a biscotti, but this is in fact grammatically incorrect as biscotti is the plural form of biscotto – this dish was only served with a single biscotto instead of several biscotti.
Roselle Desserts is one of our favourite dessert spots in Toronto, so we were naturally very interested in what they are offering for the Sweet Tooth Crawl. The Roselle Cream Puff is a cream puff with a filling comprised of vanilla bean custard & house-made Ontario strawberry hibiscus jam. The cream puff itself is very sturdy and takes substantial effort to break apart with a fork. The exterior is fluffy to the touch and quite crispy and crunchy when chewing. The surprising part (and also what makes this dessert so unique) is the filling. The filling is actually put together in a layered manner – the innermost layer of filling is the strawberry hibiscus jam, which is then surrounded by the vanilla bean custard. You really have to take your time to bite into the cream puff in order to get all the flavours, which is what makes this dish great because you will get different flavours for every bite! The vanilla bean custard has the perfect amount of sweetness, while the strawberry hibiscus jam has the perfect amount of tartness. This balances out the flavours of the cream puff and it all comes together splendidly. What would have made it perfect is if the custard arrived slightly chilled. (4.5/5).
While we only visited 3 of the 12 shops, we felt that the desserts were rather hit or miss. Some places served unexpectedly amazing dishes that you would not normally find on their menu. Some places offered up desserts that played to their strengths yet did not surprise us. Some places were simply rather disappointing. It’s important to note that all of the dishes are off the menu and with an attractive price point of $5, the Sweet Tooth Crawl is a great way to bring people to try out new dessert places. That is, until you factor in the cost of purchasing the $10 passport as well the time and effort required to truly maximize your returns for the money spent.