1. PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY: MORE THAN WINE COUNTRY
The County’s reputation has been growing in the past few years, but we know it’s more than just wine country. Entrepreneurs, farmers, chefs, brewers and creatives of all sorts have flocked to the area to be part of this rural renaissance. So, we uncovered a few local gems.
3. NORFOLK COUNTY: ONTARIO’S GARDEN
With the most fertile soil, its mild climate and long growing seasons, it’s no wonder this area, with its rich crops, is referred to as Ontario’s garden. But there’s a lot more growing in Norfolk than produce . Wineries, craft breweries and inventive restaurants have been popping up over the past few years. We’ve uncovered a few that are ripe for the picking.
4. BLUE MOUNTAINS: NO SKIS REQUIRED
The Blue Mountains may be known for its ski season, but in the summertime, its rolling hills also bring a harvest of fruits and vegetables unlike any other. Perched along the southern edge of Georgian Bay, the area’s wineries, cideries and specialty markets have Torontonians making the 90-minute trip outside the city for an experience that makes them forget they’re still in Ontario.
5. SUDBURY & MANITOULIN: BEER, BANNOCK & BOTANICALS
Originally famous for mining nickel, Sudbury now comes to mind for both its scenic views and its growing food and drink scene. And only a hop, skip and a bridge away is Manitoulin Island — the largest freshwater island in the world. With its own unique landscape, rich Indigenous culture and local-focused cuisines (featuring produce native to the area), it has city dwellers escaping the hustle and bustle to slow down, relax and get on island time.
6. CREEMORE TO CALEDON: CLOSE-TO-HOME COOKING
Creemore’s name translates to “big heart,” which is exactly what these local farmers, merchants and producers put into everything they do. That attitude extends across the region, and when it’s combined with a focus on local craft and sustainability, and an almost unfair amount of natural beauty and resources, you feel transported to simpler times. So we took the trip from Creemore to Caledon in order to experience just how tasty close-to-home can be.
7. OXFORD COUNTY: SAY CHEESE
Oxford County is the dairy capital of Canada, creating enough to supply over three million people every year. It’s even home to the first cheese factories in the country. But what really made us melt were the people, their passion and their artisanal food and drink, which embraces old-fashioned, traditional methods. Oxford County is encouraging us all to enjoy life in the slow lane, with meticulously crafted cocktails and slow food that’s straight from farm to farm-table.
8. HAMILTON: COLLECTIVE EATS
The Hammer. Steeltown. The Golden Horseshoe. It’s known for industry and interchanges, and has been thought of as a commuter town. But in recent years, Hamilton has become the destination, with a reputation for food, drink and culture that’s growing even faster than its population. With its focus on building up the community, sourcing hyperlocal ingredients and pursuing honest and sustainable practices, it’s easy to see why Steeltown is quickly becoming more of a meal town.
9. LANARK: SMALL COUNTY, BIG FLAVOUR
Maple moonshine, vodka made with cow’s milk, award-winning chocolate: these are just some of the things putting this pre-Confederation county back on the map. With such a multitude of innovative offerings from local farmers, distillers and artisans, it’s easy to see why the sun rises in the east.
10. ESSEX COUNTY: A SHORE THING
For our final stop, we headed to the southernmost part of Canada, which also straddles the busiest international border crossing in the world. Essex County is known for its long summers and mild winters, making it a sweet spot for both farmers and eaters. It’s home to a bounty of artisanal food and drink, and has the longest growing season of any of our wine-producing regions and more greenhouses than anywhere else in Ontario. Here, every season is growing season.
HOST FOR EPISODES 1, 2, 5, 7, 9 and 10
Chef, Host, Brand Ambassador & Jetsetter
A brand ambassador for the Food Dudes, Devan showcases his cooking chops with innovative culinary demonstrations on Cityline and Food Network Canada. He co-founded the Chef Battle, hosting and competing in live cooking competitions across Canada, and runs his own catering company, ChefDev. When he's not volunteering with local charitable organizations, Devan is a curious traveller and constantly looking for new ways to broaden his palate.
HOST FOR EPISODES 1, 3, 4, 6 and 8
Food Stylist, Recipe Developer, Tester & Writer
Miranda sharpened her cooking skills at London's Four Seasons Hotel and while staging at the three Michelin-starred Fat Duck. Inspired by her enlightening kitchen experiences, she brings her passion for food to such brands as LCBO, Lindt Chocolate, Metro and Chatelaine. It’s in Miranda’s nature to be as inquisitive as she is knowledgeable about everything local.