City Living: Classes in Toronto

The same old grind of work, friends, sleep, do it all again can leave your brain a little under-used. Sometimes, we pine for the days of sitting in a university classroom learning and being challenged. We’ve realized that just because we’re all grown up doesn’t mean we can’t continue to learn new things in a formal way. In fact, since we can take classes just on a whim or to satisfy a certain curiosity, learning outside the structure of finishing a degree can be an amazing experience. From wine tasting to a new language, there’s a whole range of new skills to develop.

Wine classes
It’s highly doubtful that you learned about wine as a child, so now is the time to take a wine class if you’re looking to learn something new and practical. Now, we’re not suggesting you become one of those wine snobs that cause everyone to cringe as they describe the subtle hints of berries and aroma of hickory smoke in your wine. But, we think it’s pretty useful to know which wine goes with what food, the differences between wines from various countries, and even how to distinguish a Gewurztraminer from a Riesling by smell alone. 

George Brown Continuing Education offers great introductory classes, like Grape Comparison, New World Wines and Sensory Evaluation of Wines. The Independent Wine Education Guild is another a great option to brush up on your knowledge. The program was developed as vocational training for those working in the hospitality industry, but it is also available to the keen amateur. There are three levels – Intermediate, Advanced and Diploma. The LCBO also runs one-hour tutored tastings and two-hour wine appreciation courses at select stores across the province. 

Cooking Classes
Because you’ll need something to serve with all that delicious wine you expertly purchased, why not try some cooking classes? Whether you’re a total beginner or looking to expand your repertoire, there is a class for everyone. Again, George Brown is a great option with pretty much any type of cuisine or skill level possible (Butchery and Charcuterie? Yes, please!).  Dish Cooking Studio offers perhaps our favourite selection of classes including Demysitifying Macaroons, Date Night Spice up your Life, Nonna’s Kitchen Italian Comfort and Healthy Mediterranean, to name a few. Other options include classes at the Market Kitchen at the St. Lawrence Market, The Culinarium, and The Good Egg.

Language Classes
Being Canadian, we should have at least a basic knowledge of French, but most of us have left that skill in the past, alongside our teenage angst. Because languages seem to immediately disappear from our tongues and memories if we don’t practice, why not re-discover your high school French skills with a language class? Or better yet, learn that sexy Italian or Spanish that you’ve always dreamed of. Being the multicultural city that it is, Toronto has no shortage of language learning options, with literally almost every language you can think of being taught in some pocket of the GTA. The Alliance Francaise offers the largest selection of French courses and study options among Canadian language schools. U of T’s School of Continuing Studies also offers instruction in 15 languages, including Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Italian and Russian (!). пойдите, научитесь.


Dance classes

While you may be past the age for recitals, you’re never too old to dance. Just like languages, learning ballet, hip hop or jazz can be both fun and nostalgic, as well as a pretty amazing work out. Gone are the days of just gazing up with envy at the beautiful ballerinas in the windows of the National Ballet School. NBS actually offers recreational adult ballet classes that include seven progressive levels of instruction. The program allows you to advance at your own pace through a carefully constructed series of increasingly complex exercises. If ballet is not your thing, Shawn Byfield’s dance school offers a wide range of levels of hip hop and tap dance. As well, the Joy of Dance school offers everything from Latin ballroom to Bollywood-style to burlesque.

While we’re not suggesting that you undertake a new degree, we are suggesting that learning something new might be the perfect cure for restlessness, or at the very least, give you something to chat about around the water cooler at work.


Rave: Delicious Wines Under $25

Shiraz, rose or chardonnay? With endless options to sift through as you make your way down the wine aisle, it can be tough to decide how to fill your glass. To help ease the decision making process, we’ve picked a few of our favourite wines, both local and imported. So relax, put your feet up, and pour yourself a glass without breaking the bank!

Blenheim, Ontario is home to a great little winery called Smith and Wilson. They boast some amazing wines all named after local hot spots, and a favourite is Rondeau Red – a Gamay/Merlot blend that’s smooth and delicious with barbecued meats and strong cheeses. It’s also only $13. Score!

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene… wasn’t that a line from some tragic love story? Unlike the tragic tale of Verona’s most famous literary citizens, this pairing of traditional Veronese grapes is one happy ending. We love the balance of cherry and tart acidity with a hint of spice. Masi Valpolicella tastes delectable with a variety of foods, from soups to grilled meats, risottos and fresh cheese.
Planning a girls’ night in? Try Pink, a bubbly choice from Yellowglen, Australia’s favourite maker of sparkling wines. Its soft blush colour, strawberry aroma and sweet mingling citrus flavours are the perfect pairing to seafood, like grilled shrimp. At only $11.95, all signs point to YES.

Year after year, the Niagara region’s Vineland Estates produces some of Ontario’s very best  Rieslings. One that has stolen our taste buds (and hearts) is St. Urban Riesling with its peach, tropical fruit and citrus aromas. Sweet and sharp? That’s our kind of combination! It pairs scrumptiously with citrus and cream flavours, including cheeses, pastas and fish.
This blend of Riesling, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer works together much more smoothly than its name might first imply. With apple, lime and lychee fruit flavours, we’re keen on pairing Sibling Rivalry White with mango chicken salad or a classic fruit and cheese plate.
Those are our cheap and cheerful wine secrets. What are yours? Comment below or tweet us @rockitpromo.