Ontario’s Southwest is home to some of Ontario’s most beautiful farmland, so it’s no coincidence that the locals are experts in transforming homegrown goodness into delicious handcrafted beers, wines and food.
Where should you start your southern Ontario taste tour? We’ve got six picks to get you started.
It’s a slice of west coast life in the heart of Port Stanley. Shop owners Katie and Stephen Hotchkiss started their business in L.A., before moving to Ontario in 2014, and opening The New New Age, which specializes in local and small batch food and body care products. For the beer lover, don’t miss their rotating selections of wild and farmhouse style ales, brewed by their in-house brew pub, Last Castle Brewing Co.
Must Try: Their range of herbal teas, made with herbs grown on their own farm, and honey from their beehives, paired with their house-made chocolate. Make it a happy hour, with their artisanal beer, Mushroom King, a chaga mushroom saison.
Built in 1849 as a summer home for the local Justice of the Peace, today you can stay in the Kettle Creek Inn in the heart of Port Stanley. Stop in the hotel restaurant for the traditional country inn dining experience. In the summer the patio is one of Port Stanley’s hot spots!
Must try: Lake Erie perch or pickerel, fresh from the lake.
A vineyard with a view –& home of the 2016 Grape King! – Quai Du Vin is a family run winery, celebrating the tastes of Ontario. Tour the winery, and take in the beautiful grounds. On a clear day you can see all the way to Lake Erie!
Must try: Book a tasting and sample the excellent white, red and sparkling wines. The hard part will be choosing a favourite.
Local and all natural are hallmarks of the beers of the Railway City Brewing Company. The brewing company is named for St. Thomas’s unique railway heritage: in 1914 over 100 trains passed through the city each day!
If you love all things gourmet, you’ll want to stop in at Jill’s Table in Downtown London. The store is stocked with goodies from near and far, perfect to use in your own kitchen, or great for gifting. Plan ahead and book one of the cooking classes with amazing chefs, including vegan cooking, hands-on pasta making, french baking and much more.
Must-try: Jill’s Table Olive Oil is the perfect souvenir to bring home from your visit.
Tucked away in Windermere Manor you’ll find Restaurant Ninety One, a delicious farm-to-table experience. Using local ingredients, the chefs put their personal touch on Canadian cuisine. If you’re travelling on a weekend, stop by on a Saturday and enjoy Afternoon Tea . Wind down your trip with a stay at the Windermere Manor, where you can enjoy the park like grounds. Bonus: A Healthy Start Breakfast is included with your stay!
Must-try: Don’t miss the desserts on the seasonal menu, like the Chocolate and Parsnip cake.
There are many other tastes to discover in Ontario’s Southwest. Take a look at a few in their “Next Stop: Taste” series and get inspired!