The glory of Ontario's cuisine is the freshness and wide variety of its products, coming both from land and lakes. While the largest fruit crop is apples, the rich agricultural lands and mild climate of southern Ontario also allow for the cultivation of tender fruits including peaches, plums and grapes.
In the Niagara Peninsula, Pelee Island, and the Lake Erie north shore areas, they produce the famous "icewine," a sweet nectar with a tantalizing complexity of flavors. The grapes have to be picked when they are frozen between -10° and -12° C, usually in January and often during the night. Bells and sirens wake the wine makers and alert them when it is time to pick the grapes. The resulting juice is very concentrated and very sweet - perfect for creating a delicious dessert wine that could be substituted for Sauterne when serving foie gras.
Cruise along the back roads of the Bench through the towns and villages of Grimsby, Beamsville, Vineland and Jordan. Follow the wine route through the province's picturesque landscape, stopping for a tour and tasting at one of the numerous vineyards. Check out what's in season at Puddicombe Farms or stop at one of the many market stands located along the wine route, before stopping for the night at a charming inn or bed and breakfast. Just outside of Jordan you'll find the Upper Canada Cheese Company, producers of exquisite semi-soft artisanal Guernsey milk cheeses.
Prince Edward County has a long tradition as one of our province’s stellar agricultural regions, nestled around the communities of Picton, Bloomfield and Wellington. You can nibble your way along the County’s Taste Trail. Gather all you need for the perfect picnic with cheese from Black River, produce from a roadside stand and a pint or two from the Barley Days Brewery.
As Ontario’s newest wine region, the terroir of the area is fast becoming a real superstar. The limestone soil has similar characteristics to that of Burgundy and it has brought winemakers to the County in impressive numbers. Twelve winery locations now dot the landscape presided over by winemakers with a great passion for their craft.
Did you know that The Niagara Fruit Belt produces
- 90% of Ontario’s peach crop.
- 90% of fresh prunes
- 75 % of pears
- and most of the table grapes
Geographically, Ontario's wineries are located between the Niagara Escarpment and Lake Ontario, benefitting from a unique cool climate resembling that of Germany, Champagne and Burgundy.
Long recognized as a favorite escape from the city, Muskoka’s culinary traditions began in the 1800’s with the first arrivals of tourists by train and steamship to area resorts. Since that time, the area’s producers have evolved, but their commitment to excellence remains stronger than ever.
Nestled amidst the spectacular scenery and tranquil lakes, many resorts continue to be a hub of culinary innovation. In the summer you’ll enjoy devoring delicious wild blueberries, discovering exceptional honey producers or tackling the search for the best butter tart. Stop for some of the delicious smoked trout products at Milford Bay, apple beignets at Windmill or java with a Muskoka Roastery twist at the charming Seven Main Café.
As autumn’s red glow descends, it’s time for the cranberry harvest with visits to area producers and featured activities at the Bala Cranberry Festival. Then, when the chill descends outside, it's the perfect time to head fireside to savor a great glass of Ontario wine with your favorite comfort foods.
The rich history and culture of our country is evident as you stroll along the Rideau Canal, tour the Parliament buildings, and appreciate the Renoir Landscapes or Treasures from China exhibitions. Canada’s capital region, Ottawa also showcases the best of the culinary traditions of English and French Canada, with a cosmopolitan mix that reflects its international nature.
Urban and rural culinary traditions also flourish here and there is not better introduction than the historic Byward Market neighborhood. A colorful mosaic of farmer’s market stalls, flower sellers, cheesemongers, butchers, shops and cafes, the Byward is one of Canada’s oldest and largest public markets. It’s a culinary tour de force that will have you sampling the juiciest berries, delectable artisanal cheeses, exceptional breads and enjoying the city’s famed pastry: a sugary beaver tail.
Tour the historic St. Lawrence Market to learned its storied past, meet butchers and cheesemongers or taste the bountiful fare.
Head west and revel in the dynamic splendor of the Kensington Market, a heady blend of cultures seeping into and bursting out of the neighborhood's rich 19th-century fabric. Poke along the streets of Chinatown where oriental shops and fruit markets spill out onto the street. Trattorias and alfresco cafes populate Little Italy, Hellenic traditions, mouth-watering pastry shops, green grocers, cafes and festivals enliven "The Danforth" day and night in Greektown. Your global tour continues through Little India, Little Poland, Portugal Village, Koreatown, where possibilities abound and the culinary selections delight.
Savor the joys of unlimited culinary experiences throughout the region of Waterloo. From elegant formal service with linens and candlelight to funk, fusion and bistros - you can have it all. When your evening must be exquisite, then the choice must be Langdon Hall Country House, recipient of the coveted Five Diamond Award or try The ÀBerlin at Kitchener. Stroll their herb and vegetable gardens where their chefs might be pulling fresh produce for your evening meal.
Travelling west and north from Toronto along rural roads and byways, you will find fabulous farmers markets that brim with fresh produce, meats and cheeses or tour our local organic farms to find the freshest fare available for your table. Garlic sausage, home baking and German fare that will tempt any palette. Craft brewers also dot the landscape and invite you to visit, hear the brew masters’ stories and taste their signature beverages. Check out Jim Brickman’s offerings at the Brick Brewery in Waterloo or the distinctive hops flavors of Wellington County Brewery in Guelph.
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