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Wine & Dine In Ontario
Sample a huge menu of tempting culinary adventures - sumptuous dining, award-winning wines, delicious regional fare and wonderful cooking schools.
They say variety is the spice of life, well it is in Toronto. More than 7,000 restaurants celebrate culinary styles from around the world, whether it be formal or informal...Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Thai, Italian, Mexican, fast food, slow food, hot food, cold food...The list continues but you'll find it in Toronto. Find fashionable dining options in Yorkville or the Distillery District. Tour the historic St. Lawrence Market to taste the bountiful fare of butchers, bakers and cheesemongers. Explore Kensington Market, a heady blend of cultures bursting out of the neighbourhood's rich 19th-century fabric. Poke along the streets of Chinatown where shops and fruit markets spill out onto the street and restaurants abound.
Ottawa's rich ethnic diversity is evident in more than 1200 restaurants. You'll find charming sidewalk cafes and trendy restaurants in the historic ByWard Market. Sample a BeaverTail - sinfully delicious whole-wheat pastries served fresh and piping hot, topped with butter and your choice of delectable flavours. Take a walking tour with C'est Bon Cooking Food Tours. Or learn how to create your own French cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute - also home to the exquisite restaurant, Signatures, a CAA/AAA Five Diamond Award recipient.
As you travel throughout the province, seek out farmer's markets and farmer's stalls for the freshest produce and regional specialities. Taste traditional Mennonite delicacies and farm-fresh produce at the St Jacobs Farmers' Market. Sample apple edibles and distinctive apple wine along the Apple Pie Trail, near Blue Mountain Resort. Savour a decadent butter tart - an Ontario specialty.
At resorts and lodges, dining is all about the fusion of ingredients and cooking styles. Chefs pride themselves on working with what's around them locally to create delectable dishes. With every bite from the courses brought before you, your taste buds come alive. It's a sensory experience which will leave you wanting more.
Wine enthusiasts will delight in Ontario's three internationally acclaimed wine regions. In the Niagara Region, sip and savour at more than 90 wineries, some with their own restaurants. Sample scrumptious gourmet fare using local ingredients, perfectly matched with VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) wines. Finish with our acclaimed Icewine - winner of many International awards. It's our most precious wine - luscious and concentrated - creating memorable experiences and stimulating all of the senses.
Follow the Taste Trail in Prince Edward County just east of Toronto. The route takes you on a delicious discovery of award-winning wineries, organic farms, artisan cheese makers and other specialty producers. The County is also dotted with historic towns and ringed by glorious sandy beaches. For more vintage pleasures, tour the Lake Erie North Shore & Pelee Island in Southwestern Ontario.
Whether you are a real ale fanatic, or just enjoy a good pint, Ontario is perfect for fans of good beer. Here, small is beautiful. The 32 members of the Ontario Craft Brewers Association produce 270 different ales and beers, some year-round, many seasonal. All are made in small batches, using natural ingredients, with no additives or preservatives. More and more of Ontario's real ale fans are searching out ‘live' cask-conditioned ales that ferment a second time in the barrel.
Tempt your taste buds at foodie festivals around Ontario. Local vintages are showecased at the Niagara Wine Festival in September and the Niagara Icewine Festival in January. You can be the judge at Ottawa's Winterlude Stew Cook-Off. Come spring, maple syrup is celebrated at festivals across the province; tuck into a plate of pancakes at the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, the world's biggest. In fact, food players at a role at most of Ontario's festivals and events .... from music festivals to fall fairs.
The newest craze in dining is food trucks, serving up creative and delicious fare around Toronto, Ottawa and many other communities.
More about Ontario's wine
Ontario has a comparatively young wine industry that is expanding rapidly. Ontario is renowned for its consistent and unique ice wines. It is also gaining increasing recognition for its world-class premium table wines.
Its wine regions are right in the middle of the northern grape-growing belt - between 41° and 44° north. That puts southern Ontario just south of the famous Bordeaux Region in France, and parallel with northern California wine regions. Ontario is considered a "cool climate region" - which means at harvest time grapes are blessed with more concentrated flavours and balanced acidity which makes them wonderfully food friendly. That's why cooler climate wines typically have a livelier flavour than those from hotter climates.
The Vintners Quality Association (VQA) is an association of wineries that provide insight into the quality of Ontario wines. When purchasing wine made in Ontario, look for a "VQA" logo on the bottle - this tells you the wine has been approved by the association. Keep in mind that there are still many wines that are not certified, but lack of certification does not necessarily mean a poor wine.