This past week, I had the joy of experiencing a modern revival of an old tradition…Ice Fest. Gone are the days that this event is about snow cones and sleigh rides…although that sounds great, this event has also found it’s way into urban cities and has become an outdoor art gallery of artistic expression in the form of ice. In spite of living in the true north, I am actually not part of the “I enjoy winter club.” Ice fest however gives urban dwellers and even those who detest winter a chance to experience being outdoors and actually enjoy one of the most fascinating forms of nature that winter offers – ice. This festival is a celebration of art in the form of an outdoor ice gallery in one of the most exquisite neighborhoods in Toronto, Yorkville. This area is known as a “hub for celebrities” during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), second to the Cannes Film Festival in France.
The festival hosts a number of events for spectators including the famous ice sculpture competition, an outdoor ice vodka bar that offers a maple infused vodka (Canadian specialty) and a host of local artists, vendors and shops to keep you entertained for the day..even in the cold. Need to warm up? There are plenty of local bistros and cafes to indulge.
A local cafe worth mention is a famous local chocolate gourmand, Morocco’s chocolate. A delightful cafe, restaurant and chocolate boutique, Morocco’s chocolate offers a unique specialty of sipping chocolate made from one of the very best producer’s of fine chocolate, Valrhona. This exquisite drink is is served in a manner that is almost ceremonial. A small pot of warm, decadent chocolate served in beautiful modern cup on a silver tray with fresh whipped cream and all the accompaniments that one can imagine. As if that was not enough to satisfy a sweet tooth, this beautiful lounge and restaurant also offers a variety of truffles in their chocolate boutique.
Needless to say, this was an afternoon filled with delight and deliciousness that left me wondering why I had never thought to embrace the spirit of winter sooner. If you live in the north, or visit an “snowbound destination” this season, be sure to look up local ice fests or winter festivals. You might be surprised how much fun you will have…playing in the snow.
Image 1: Flickr- shopping diva
Image 2: Flickr – Robertbluesky
Image 3: Flickr – Robertbluesky