Toronto is a city that contains multitudes. On the one hand, it’s a hub for innovation – a doggedly forward-thinking place with its sights set on the future. On the other hand, it’s a city steeped in traditions, sustaining a thriving ecosystem of artisans who’ve honed their craft over generations.
If you want to see this dynamic in plain view, all you have to do is look at the city’s dessert scene. Toronto’s best dessert restaurants straddle a fine line between tradition and innovation, comfort and luxury, the past and future.
What will the future of premium desserts look like? This article catches up with Demetres, the preeminent luxury dessert restaurant in the Six, to find out.
Slow Food, Enjoyed Slowly
The “Slow food” movement might have started a continent away (originating in Italy) and focused primarily on savoury meals, but its philosophy has found a home in Toronto’s dessert scene. Slow food is all about paying attention to details – selecting high-quality ingredients, combining them in small batches, and rejecting the corner-cutting measures often seen in mass-market foods. Dessert restaurants like Demetres bear that torch, painstakingly crafting their small-batch products after meticulous R&D.
And when all of that slow, methodical work hits the plate (or cone, or cup), Demetres doesn’t expect you to wolf it down. (Although, if you want to – that’s your prerogative!). Instead, the company created an innovative dessert concept, applying a sit-down restaurant model complete with modern décor, attentive servers and sophisticated plating.
For a long time, desserts were fast and casual: made quickly, served quickly, and consumed off a paper plate or dripping cone on the sidewalk. The future of premium desserts will slow things down, giving desserts the care and attention they deserve.
Global Inspiration, Local Flair
Another dynamic that makes Toronto so special is its makeup. The city is one of the most diverse in the world. But everyone comes together under this big, imaginary roof called Toronto – and they’re proud to be Torontonians. It’s a global city with a local village vibe.
The future of desserts will reflect this identity. If you check out Demetres.com, you’ll find inspiration spanning the globe. Cajetas, goat’s milk caramel from Mexico. Real fruit sorbettos that evoke the street vendors of Sicily. Liège waffles that continue a centuries-old Belgian tradition. Mango- and pineapple-forward desserts with a Caribbean swagger. It’s an international symphony of dessert flavours.
At the same time, the company celebrates its Toronto locale. Their flagship ice creams use high-quality local dairy. Their iced coffees use small-batch beans from a local Toronto roaster. And their rotating menu art highlights up-and-coming Toronto artists.
The bottom line is this: the future of premium desserts in Toronto will celebrate Toronto, with all its complexities and diversity. It will be innovative but time-honoured. Slow but precise. Globally minded but locally focused. And most of all, it will cater to Torontonians’ abiding love of all things sweet and luxurious. Now that’s the kind of future we can get behind!