Ontario Nuts & Wines

We suspect you’ll be just as surprised and thrilled as recipe developer Signe Langford was to learn that Ontario farmers are raising some pretty delicious tree nuts: pecans, walnuts and even pine nuts! When we think of these tasty tidbits, California, the American South — Georgia, Texas — or the Mediterranean usually come to mind, but these trail-blazing growers are proving that even on the extreme northern edge of their natural ranges, seriously good things do grow in Ontario.

Kittling Ridge Icewine & Brandy and Rum-Spiked Pecan & Pear Chocolate Upside-Down Cake

A blend of Vidal icewine and brandy that has spent seven years in oak, this unique and elegant drink works beautifully with our Rum-Spiked Pecan & Pear Chocolate Upside-Down Cake. The brandy’s oaky, nutty nuances cozy up to the pecans while the icewine’s honeyed fruit echoes the pears.

G. Marquis Pinot Noir VQA and Savoury Tomato & Onion Crumble with Ontario Hazelnuts, Pine Nuts & Buttery Panko Crust

Here’s a light and lively Pinot Noir from Niagara-on-the-Lake with enough acidity and character to stand up to those ripe Ontario tomatoes in our Savoury Tomato & Onion Crumble with Ontario Hazelnuts, Pine Nuts & Buttery Panko Crust. Plenty of oaky spice boosts black cherry with hints of raspberry and a long, floral finish.

Strewn Barrel-Aged Chardonnay VQA and Black Walnut-Crusted Veal Chops with Wild Mushrooms and Marsala Cream

White wine with veal chops? It was the mushrooms and cream sauce from our Black Walnut-Crusted Veal Chops with Wild Mushrooms and Marsala Cream that brought this rich, full-bodied Chardonnay to the party. Look for oaky vanilla, peach and a hint of lemon marmalade in the wine, all buoyed up by a sly acidity.


Where to Find Ontario Nuts

Grimo Nut Nursery

Established in 1974 by Ernie Grimo, this welcoming Niagara nursery lets visitors buy nut trees to plant at home, enjoy a little culinary tourism or simply buy some nuts to eat. Grimo’s also grows hard-to-find pawpaw fruits and indigenous American persimmons, which are smaller and sweeter than the cultivated varieties.

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Jewels Under the Kilt

A former chef and now nut grower, Elisabeth Burrow is pushing the envelope on her 90-acre Fergus, Ont., farm and nut roastery. This year she raised her first handful of almonds alongside her prized pecan, heartnut, black walnut, beech and pine nut trees.

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Forbes Wild Foods

Among a staggering array of fresh and preserved wild foraged foods available through its online store, are dried American chestnuts and black walnuts. The company was founded in 1998 by avid forager and naturalist Jonathan Forbes, with a mandate not just to supply Canadian foodies with some pretty wild eats, but also to help preserve this bountiful land.

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4 Other Ontario Nuts to Try

HEARTNUTS

A type of walnut native to Japan, it’s named after its heart-shaped shell. The nutmeat is mild and sweet, without that bitterness sometimes found in the more common European walnut.

 

CHESTNUTS

Not to be confused with the European chestnut we mostly associate with holiday roasting, these are the seeds of the American chestnut tree. Traditionally, the nuts were roasted and ground into chestnut flour.

 

HICKORY NUTS

Tasting like a cross between the finest pecan and sweetest walnut — and still plentiful in the wild — hickory nuts are so rich in healthy oils and vitamins that they’re worth the trouble of collecting and shelling.

 

BEECHNUTS

About the size of a thumbnail, these tiny treats are akin to pine nuts in shape, texture and even flavour, only not nearly as piney. They’re fiddly to peel, so look for shelled nuts from a specialty wild foods shop.