While the fable of the ant and the grasshopper teaches the important lesson of putting a little work in today to prepare for times ahead that may not be quite so plentiful, there’s no harm in the work being tasty and fun! Taking a fall road trip to Ontario’s Southwest is a particularly delicious way to stock up for the winter months. Here are some favourite stops you’ll want to incorporate into a fall foodie trip to Ontario’s Southwest.
Twin Pines Orchards & Cider House
At Twin Pines Orchards and Cider House, the Vansteenkiste brothers are creating a bushel of award winning ciders. Having caught on to the North American cider trend in its infancy, the brothers have had a solid decade to perfect their craft. They also rely on custom juice blends and age-old techniques, such as “sweating” the apples by keeping them in a cooler for a few months prior to pressing them to round off the acids and mature the flavours of the sugars.
Covent Garden Market
London’s Covent Garden Market is a historic and huge one-stop shop for amazing regional produce, award-winning meats, ethnic specialties, and the largest assortment of cheese in Ontario’s Southwest. If all that shopping leaves you hungry, grab a table at the on-site restaurant, Olive R Twists, where you’ll find sixteen different draft beers on tap and a delicious variety of entrees, many featuring ingredients sourced straight from the market.
North 42 Degrees Estate Winery
North 42 Degrees Estate Winery is named after the line of latitude it is perched upon that just happens to cut through some of the world’s greatest wine growing regions. Take in the view on one of the five patios or curl up in front of one of the four fireplaces in this stunning new contemporary rustic building. Stay for a meal at Bistro 42 and enjoy fresh ingredients, many of which have been picked from the two-acre kitchen garden that lies just across County Road 50.
Railway City Brewing
If your palate prefers a hearty pint over any icy cocktail during the cooler winter months, it’s a great idea to stock your cellar with an interesting selection of craft beers. Head to Railway City Brewing Company, in St. Thomas, where you’ll find limited-edition, seasonally inspired brews, like Hoptoberfest and Honey Elixir.
Alton Farms Estate Winery
Make the trip to Alton Farms Estate Winery where you can walk the vineyard and meet the friendly sheep who weed and fertilize the vines. If you would like your fall food stock up to be a little more hands-on, the husband and wife team who own and operate this winery have also been known to call in volunteer recruits to help with the annual grape harvest. If that’s something you’ve always wanted to try, contact them and have your name added to their list of eager oenophiles.
To make your selection of craft brews even more interesting, head to the city of Windsor. Windsor has a thriving craft beer scene and WindsorEats makes it easy and fun to spend an afternoon getting a real taste for it. The Bikes and Beers Cycling Tour includes beer and food tastings at three stops, which may include Walkerville Brewery, Motor Craft Ales and Rock Bottom Bar and Grill.
Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheeses
Cheese is the ultimate cold weather comfort food and there is no better place to prepare for all the fondues, grilled cheese sandwiches and hearty bowls of mac and cheese in your future than the Dairy Capital of Canada, Oxford County. Cheese is such an important export for this friendly community that they have created a Cheese Trail to showcase their love for it. At Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese, just one of 29 stops on the trail, you’ll find a delicious selection of Swiss-inspired cheeses made from cow, sheep and buffalo milk. Be sure to try their Tipsy cheese, which is a handcrafted washed rind cow's milk cheese that is modelled after a Swiss cheese called Mutchli and soaked in Cabernet Merlot for several days.
Apple Land Station
If you’d like to bring the whole family along for this fall flavour pilgrimage, be sure to make a stop at Apple Land Station. What began as a simple orchard decades ago has transformed over time into a bustling experiential farm that offers bushels full of hands-on fun for the young and young at heart. From Labour Day through early November you can take a train out to the orchard and pick your own apples, but that’s just the beginning. You can also pick your own pumpkins, explore the corn maze, climb a sand mountain and meet horses, cows, pigs, sheep, goats and chickens. Before you leave at the end of your visit, fill your trunk with treats from the on-site bakery, where you’ll find an apple pie that’s truly epic!
If all that stocking up for the winter leaves you hungry, wrap up your day with a delicious evening meal at Twisted Lemon in Cayuga. Chef Dan Megna grows his own vegetables and sources many local products for his menu. His hand-rolled sweet potato gnocchi, made with locally sourced sweet potatoes and topped with a wild mushroom and sage cream sauce, is the epitome of fall comfort food.
Fall isn’t the only time to plan a foodie getaway to Ontario’s Southwest. Plan ahead using our Spring Flavour Guide and Summer Flavour Guide to take advantage of the region’s most sensational seasonal flavours.
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