The Ashkenaz Festival is a 7-day celebration of Jewish arts and culture in this city. Since it’s inception in 1995, the Festival has become one of the largest and most prestigious celebration festivals of Jewish arts in the world. Originally founded as a showcase for Klezmer and Yiddish culture, the Festival has evolved and now also encompasses Sephardic, Mizrachi, and Israeli culture. Ashkenaz Festival returns to Harbourfront Centre this August 28 to September 3 as the hub of activity with mostly free events and activities for all ages. This year, the Festival has added exciting (and delicious) experiences to the roster that spans across the city.
Restaurants and performers are teaming up with the upcoming Ashkenaz Festival to offer up a series of dining excursions. The Global Shtetl will spotlight Jewish food and culinary culture offering a feast for all your senses to accompany the arts programming.
Global Shtetlers will experience A Taste of Poland in Little Portugal, with an evening of Polish- Jewish music and food at Lula Lounge (August 29). The following night, in Montreal’s Finest, Everybody Knows, Ashkenaz serves up Montreal smoked meat sandwiches alongside its all-Canadian concert tribute to Leonard Cohen at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts (August 30). Friday night of the Festival (August 31) brings a sumptuous and eclectic, multi-course Shabbat evening meal, paired with a jazz-inflected set of music from the virtuosic Sela-Rosenblatt Quartet, based on the traditional sabbath service, Mizmor Shir.
The likely favourite for top highlight of the Global Shtetl program will be a unique Italian–Jewish lunch event on Saturday September 1 at Toronto’s newest European food hotspot, Drom Taberna in the Queen West neighbourhood. Il Profumo Delle Case Buone (The Aroma of Things Good) will feature a heartfelt performance by Italian singer, musician and playwright Enrico Fink, inspired by the flavors of old family recipes in the cookbook of Jenny Bassani, whose famous family features in Giorgio Bassani’s historical novel (and later feature film) “The Garden of the Finzi Continis.”Enrico Fink’s unique storytelling and music, painting a picture of Italian Jewish life in the city of Ferrara before WWII, provides the perfect appetizer before this delicious, authentic meal from northern Italy.
Global Shtetl wraps up September 2 with A Taste of Jewish Toronto, Old and New — a Sunday morning walking tour of Kensington Market, (Toronto’s original Jewish neighbourhood), followed by the “Bella, Did Ya Eat?” Jewish brunch at Free Times Café. With live music by Russian klezmer superstars Dobranotch, and a delicious buffet with blintzes, latkes, gefilte fish, smoked fish, eggs & onions, chalah french toast, salads galore, and more.
A full list of Ashkenaz Festival
programs and how to book your Global Shtetl
tickets can be found here: www.ashkenaz.ca