Dehydrated Food- One of the healthiest methods of food preservation that involves extracting the water and moisture from food to make it lighter.
National Geographic has dubbed Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market as one of the top 10 markets in the world. Built in 1803, the St. Lawrence houses some of the most authentic food in the city, from homemade perogies to the famous peameal bacon sandwiches.
The smell of roasted coffee beans fills the air of the bottom half of the market, and the background sound of upbeat conversation and vendor music contributes to its liveliness. However, one should follow the faint noise of blenders if they wish to indulge in some of the best raw vegan in the city.
“We’re conscious about being dogmatic,” says Claudia Gaviria, owner of Cruda Cafe, a tiny vendor that has been distributing raw vegan in the St. Lawrence for over 7 years. As a cancer survivor, Gaviria started practicing a raw lifestyle from her home, offering classes to like-minded people who were interested in the vegan culture. Her years of experience have helped her gain a strong reputation within the Toronto veg-culture, allowing her to share the depth of her knowledge with those who admire a healthful way of life.
Gaviria offers a raw “un-cooking” class as well as a gourmet dehydrating class, which consist of sprouting and dehydrating techniques, recipes to her most popular dishes, and “tips to fighting disease”.
The popularity of Gaviria’s classes has allowed her to establish a partnership with George Brown College’s culinary arts program, teach in Spanish, and hold raw vegan events in South America, Columbia and Ecuador.
One of the first to put the concept of raw and fast together, Gaviria has big plans in the works. “We are opening up a food truck for the busy person who wants to eat healthy,” she said. Alongside this, Cruda Café delivers via bicycle, caters and offers a take home juice cleanse for people who are looking to detox and deep clean.
Cruda’s menu is local, free of sugar and gluten, and carefully dehydrated to keep enzymes alive. You’re getting your food in the absolute purest form, and I consider this to be an art: an enchilada wrap that’s stuffed with avocado, vegan chili and seasonal veggies, raw lasagna, quesadillas, and a quiche made from homemade cashew cheese and sun-dried tomato that’s filled into a dehydrated onion crust. Juices, smoothies, raw brownies and cakes are the perfect pairing for a leisurely stroll around the market space. Oh, and we can’t forget about the raw vegan pancakes (queue the jaw drop).
After years of practice and reputable recognition from Toronto’s vegan society, it is more than worth it to check out this hot spot in the St. Lawrence Market. When asked why raw, Gaviria didn’t hesitate to answer, “I’m alive because of it.”