Summer is the season for wild outdoor festivals. Get yourself ready for one that will top them all: the Mac & Cheese Festival!
The three-day festival will be held at Liberty Market in Toronto, Canada, from June 5–7. The best part? Unlike the other concerts and smorgasbords you’ll be attending this summer, this festival won’t break the bank—this celebration of all things cheesy is free! The Mac & Cheese Festival simply wants to bring all local food entrepreneurs and skilled cooks together for the sole cause of reinventing a classic comfort food. Vendors who apply to cater the event will be competing for 3 awarding titles and a $5,000 cash prize.
Attendees will also be able to enjoy live entertainment as well as some delicious brews, provided by The Brazen Head Irish Pub. While everyone indulges in fried mac ’n’ cheese balls or asiago mac ’n’ cheese, they will also be contributing to a charity event. Partial proceeds from the Mac & Cheese Festival go to FoodShare Toronto, a non-profit organization that helps deliver healthy meals to undernourished children in the area.
The real stars of the show, of course, are the mac ’n’ cheese entrees being served by some of Toronto’s best restaurants. Below are three well-known eateries and some of the cheesy dishes featured on their menus.
The Mac & Cheese Festival is CheeseWerks’ wheelhouse. The company makes a point of putting artisan cheese at the center of every dish and aims to incorporate it in new and unexpected ways. Their menu allows patrons to get creative with mac ’n’ cheese, providing the option of adding in themed seasoning. For example, the Houston mac ’n’ cheese has jalepeño Jack, braised beef brisket, and house-made BBQ sauce mixed in. Not to mention the base of the mac ’n’ cheese is made with cavatappi, cream, and artisan bread crunch.
Behold: mac ’n’ cheese sushi! You probably dreamt about a creation like this once and brushed it off as some kind of unreasonable carb-fueled delusion, but Cardinal Rule has made this a reality. This casual Toronto restaurant calls this Maki N Cheese. It is made of mac ’n’ cheese rolls, panko breading, fillings (which are not disclosed but look to be a dreamy meat and herb combo), smoked ketchup, and honey mustard aioli. Sweet dreams.
The Executive Chef of Penthouse Catering, Russell Auckbaraullee, takes his cheesy creations seriously. His catering menu features crunchy, gooey fried mac ’n’ cheese balls. The company also serves up cheese platters, a frittata with goat cheese filling, and cheesecake bites.
If you can’t make your way to Toronto in time for the festival, try throwing your own celebration at home. We’ve got a dreamy list of the best mac ’n’ cheese recipes just waiting for you.