By Erin Baldwin
Lavazza Café gets creative at the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit
The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit conjures a variety of descriptors: mesmerizing, stunning, innovative, to name a few. Yet courtesy of Lavazza café, one more can be added: delectable.
Outside the exhibit hall, in a dimly lit lobby with golden and royal blue hues reminiscent of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” sits Lavazza Café’s newest Toronto location. The cheekily titled “Grab and Gogh” features a few tables and chairs – socially distanced, of course – alongside an old-fashioned ice cream cart with a black and white checkered awning. It’s a small but charming space that provides exhibit visitors with the chance to wind down, chat about the experience and satisfy those caffeine and sweet-tooth cravings.
While the international coffee brand has a few locations in the Toronto area – one café sits besides Harbourfront Centre – Lavazza wanted to make sure their newest spot took inspiration from the artistic atmosphere surrounding it.
“We were fortunate to customize a menu that offers branded eclairs, macaroons, squares, loaves, flavoured popcorn, cold-pressed juices and more,” says Lavazza representative Yannick Levy. “Being part of such a unique exhibit gave us the opportunity to get creative with our products, and definitely sparked our interest in getting involved in more one-of-a-kind venues. We are always looking for new ways to evolve.”
To ensure the delectable offerings they’re known for are infused with a decidedly Van Gogh flavour, Lavazza enlisted the help of Canada’s éclair-only patisserie, Nugateau. Nugeteau uses authentic French baking techniques to create hand-crafted pastries. To make those available at the “Grab and Gogh” particularly unique, they employ leading confectionary techniques to transfer Van Gogh’s masterpieces directly onto their delicate eclairs, creating a pastry truly worthy of the space.
“The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit is 600 000 cubic feet of stunning projection animating the masters’ oeuvre and illuminating the mind of the genius,” says Levy. “We wanted to create a dessert to accompany this special experience.”
Along with customizing their creations for the exhibit, Lavazza has also focused on ensuring guests and staff are kept safe during COVID-19. While opening in the midst of a pandemic has presented a unique set of challenges, Lavazza is determined to make sure the “Grab and Gogh” carefully adheres to Toronto health regulations while also staying true to brand.
They may have encountered some hurdles, but Levy is proud of what Lavazza has accomplished so far. By all counts, pairing their café expertise with the historic and artistic atmosphere of the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit seems to be “gogh-ing” pretty well.
“Following all the guidelines set out to us, we managed to create a new sense of normalcy and add a little more joy to our customers stopping to grab a coffee while enjoying some art,” says Levy. “We wanted to ensure that, even in this ‘new normal,’ that favourite cup of coffee and treat the customer grabs still transports them to a place of happiness and good energy.”