02 Apr Tasty Ontario Road Trip
Smack in the middle of some of Ontario’s most glorious farmland, these four towns celebrate local food. Restaurant menus showcase seasonal offerings while summertime farmers’ markets and festivals are packed with food seminars, workshops and samples.
Perth, Ontario Scottish stonemasons left their mark on this beautiful town of historical limestone buildings. Today, dubbed the Big Town of Festivals, everything from maple to vegetables take centre stage in Perth. The Festival of the Maples starts in late April followed by The Perth Garlic Festival (August 11th and 12th). From Mother’s Day to Thanksgiving, the market is the best place to find local wild garlic, organic meats, preserves, and fudge. Local restaurants also take food seriously. Bistro 54 Italiano makes pasta in-house, and Fiddleheads features custom made pizzas and decadent emu stroganoff.
Thornbury, Ontario After a day paddling the shores of Southern Georgian Bay, Thornbury can satiate a healthy appetite. The Mill Café sources local favourites in its ever-changing seasonal menu: the fish and chip batter is made from nearby Creemore Springs beer and local mussels are marinated in Thornbury apple cider. For an après meal treat, Ashanti Coffee ships beans directly from Zimbabwe, while cakes and pastries—think banana butterscotch cake—are homemade. The Grey Bruce Food, Art and Wine Show in September held over 44 food, wine and artist vendors in 2011 including the popular Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery.
Beamsville, Ontario Nestled in the rolling hills of the Niagara Escarpment, Beamsville is the gateway to Canada’s wine mecca. Gems include Angel’s Gate Winery where the summer patio was meant for sipping their award-winning chardonnays over a lunch of local pickerel, lamb and root vegetables. The Good Earth Cooking School and Winery has classes, a seasonal patio and foodie events where local chefs barbecue and broil alfresco style under the maple trees or around an intimate dining table while picnic lunches include artisanal cheese, fresh local fruit, and more. The Food & Drink Fest is one of the province’s largest.
Bayfield, Ontario On the shores of Lake Huron, beaches abound, as does the local produce. Bayfield’s gem, The Black Dog Pub Bistro’s gourmet pub food goes beyond ordinary—whiskey cheddar, onion rings and spicy tomato chutney top the Scottish burger—and the bar features over 20 Ontario microbrews. Co-owner Ted McIntosh is also a sommelier and scotch expert. The Little Inn of Bayfield’s restaurant sources local ingredients and features a monthly Wine and Dine event. And when summer winds down, August’s Taste of Huron is a roundup of the region’s best chefs, cookbook authors, food writers and tastes.