05/28/2012 02:08 EDT | Updated 02/26/2013 02:27 EST

Food In Toronto: Charity Event Toronto Taste Steps Up To Tastebuds

Rebecca Zamon

When citizens of a city put on their fancy clothes for a swanky food festival, there are certain expectations: That it will be packed, that it will be delicious, and that there will be some really strange things served. Every one of these assumptions rang true at Second Harvest's 22nd annual Toronto Taste event last Sunday, held to raise funds for more than 700,000 meals to be served to those in need.

Supported by the Daniels Corporation, with tickets selling for $250 a pop, Toronto Taste showcased the wares of 60 of the city's top food purveyors, and 30 beer and wine companies -- though with 11,000 restaurant options in the city, it's no surprise those participating tended to be from the upper end of the price scale. Auctions, both silent and live, and one ongoing online, put more in Second Harvest's charitable pot, all the while feeding over a thousand guests some truly surprising food.

Pork was a major theme throughout, served in steamed buns, as sliders, in grilled cheese, and as straight-up porchetta sandwiches. Some vegetarian options did eke through, however, like chilled pea soup, and a marinated tofu on brioche to challenge the other sandwiches, while ramps and fiddleheads were added to quite a few (non-vegetarian) options. Seafood also took a fair amount of attention, with almost every form of crustacean and fish handed out, either raw (as sashimi) or delicately paired with veggies like fennel to complement the dish.

But the most talked-about offering of the evening was the black bear being served by Petite Thuet -- an animal shot by chef Marc Thuet himself. A smokey, not unpleasant option, it probably isn't going to be hitting menus anytime soon -- all the more reason for its popularity at Toronto Taste.

So what exactly does a taste of Toronto look like? Take a look at 50 dishes from the night -- and prepare to salivate.

Photo gallery What Does Toronto Taste Like? See Gallery