I recently attended a raw, un-cooking course taught by Cruda Cafe’s creator Claudia Gaviria. I had purchased these tickets a while back as Valentine's Day gifts for my lovely carnivore of a fiancé. My goal, as always, is to introduce healthier options to our dinner table. In my fiancé’s defence, he has improved his eating habits a lot in the past four years. He’s gone from eating no vegetables at all to eating salads with most of his meals. This course was a way of seeing how else we can cook–or in this case “un-cook” as Claudia loves to say.
Claudia first asked us all to introduce ourselves. When my fiancé’s turn came, he proudly said he was a carnivore. Even though the room was mainly full of vegetarians, vegans and raw foodists, he didn’t feel unwelcomed or judged and neither did I. Claudia makes sure you understand that this is not an elite club. Being healthy and eating healthy food is an option that everyone should have.
Now you may be thinking that raw food equals munching on apples and celery sticks. Not so fast. Claudia showed us how raw food needs to be prepared and how delicious it can look and taste. We started by learning about the basic equipment. If you have a high-speed blender, a food processor, a chef knife, a wood cutting board and fridge you are half way there. To get more creative with your raw food you will need a dehydrator, a spiralizer and some raw food cookbooks. It was great finding out that I could start making some of the raw food meals right away. Already, this course seemed to be extremely useful.
The best part of the course was tasting all the lovely food. We not only got to taste all the goodies Claudia made, we got to see her in action while she prepared these healthy options. We started with Enchiladas wraps made out of corn, olive oil, orange juice and flax. She added guacamole inside the wrap and a bit of cilantro to give it more flavour. My fiancé practically inhaled that enchilada and admittedly said that he was “sold” on the raw food course. The next dish was a zucchini pasta with pesto sauce and tomatoes. This refreshing dish was light, yet satisfying. The three main vegetables (zucchini, basil and tomatoes) stood out and complemented each other.
We finished off with two desserts, a Chocolate Nanaimo Bar and the Blue Ivy Cheesecake. Being fans of dark chocolate, we dove into the Nanaimo Bars first. They were nothing short of divine. I must have mumbled “Oh my Gosh!” with every single bite. They were rich, silky and had the right amount of chocolate bitterness for me. On to the next and last dish, the Blue Ivy Cheesecake which is not the guilty pleasure we all know. The word cheesecake is a bit deceiving, it doesn’t refer to the regular cheese we know, it’s a reference to the cashew kombucha cheese that is used in the recipe. The consistency isn’t as heavy as a regular cheesecake, but the filling still holds a pretty firm shape when refrigerated overnight. This dessert was scrumptious!
At the end of the course Claudia asked all of us to write our names on a piece of paper. She was doing a draw for the cheesecake. One of us would take this beautiful, healthy dessert home. Well, I guess it was our lucky day because my fiancé’s name was called. He won the cheesecake! So this is how you win the heart of a carnivore, through his sweet tooth. Thank you Cruda Cafe and staff for the lovely parting gift.
St. Lawrence Market, 93 Front Street East, Unit B1, Toronto, Ontario, M5E 1C4
Written by Millie (Castaneda) Soriano
Millie Soriano (formerly Millie Castaneda) is a teacher by day and a health & fitness writer by night. As a writer, she visits locations and events, blogs at her site, and writes articles about healthy lifestyles in and around the city here at Spotlight Toronto. Her passion for maintaining balance in her life drives her curiosity to try all things new. This includes new gyms, bootcamps, 5K, 10K and half-marathon races, CN Tower climbs, you name it!