One great thing about living in southern Ontario is how close we are to so many food-producing regions. It’s nice to be able to get out of the city for a couple days and go somewhere that allows you to visit with and appreciate some of the people responsible for bringing produce, meats, cheeses and wine to our tables. Prince Edward County has been on our must-visit list for this reason, and we finally got a chance to check out the County recently.
The ninth annual Taste! A Celebration of Regional Cuisine festival was the catalyst for our visit, and though we managed to see and do a ton over the three days we spent in PEC – some of which we’ll cover in future posts – Taste! was a great way to begin our journey through the County. The event featured approximately 60 area restaurants and wineries sampling their wares at Picton’s Crystal Palace. And while it wasn’t cheap to properly eat our way through the event ($25/person for admission, including 5 sampling tickets; $1 per additional sample ticket, with most food and wine samples averaging 3 or 4 tickets each), it was definitely worth it to connect with the chefs and producers, and see and taste the passion they have in the local ingredients.
Here are some of the things that stood out for us at Taste!
Fifth Town Cheese was sampling a selection of their great cheeses, as well as a pumpkin chevre tart – a perfect fall flavour combo.
East and Main Bistro – whose chef, Lili Sullivan, and her husband, chef Michael Sullivan, are Toronto transports – featured mini tourtieres. I’m a sucker for great pastry crust, and this one was delicious.
Picton’s Buddha Dog (which has a location in Collingwood and is a fixture at Toronto’s Brickworks farmers market) with their special Taste! creation, a lamb dog topped with Fifth Town Cheese feta and tzatziki.
The team from The Gazebo Restaurant at Waupoos Winery prepares their southwest-style pulled chicken on corn and scallion pancake. This was one of our favorite dishes at Taste!
Angeline’s Restaurant and Inn was serving pork-apple-calvados ‘pockets’, which were delicious – so delicious, in fact, that we forgot to take a picture before we ate. When we went back to the booth later to try to get a photo of the food, it was all gone. But we thought their booth design stood out, so I’ve included a photo.
This is a small sample of the truffles, barks and ‘shots’ (chocolate filled with local wines) being served by Copper Kettle Chocolate Company. After a couple hours of eating and drinking, I only managed to sample a couple of their shots, but it was enough to convince me to pay Copper Kettle a visit next time we’re in the County.
Taste! A Celebration of Regional Cuisine continues to grow, this year adding a week of programming and related dinners leading up to the main event. Prince Edward County is full of great restaurants, food shops and wineries, and as we found out, it’s worth driving around and checking out as much as possible over the span of several days. But if you only have one day Taste! is a great overview of all the County offers.