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On Lake Ontario’s northern shores is one of Canada’s best-kept secrets. Prince Edward County may be an unassuming little island, but it’s steadily winning a reputation as something of a gastronomic capital. Drive two hours east of Toronto (or two-hours west of Ottawa) and the rolling hills and farmlands reveal a surprising variety of restaurants, wineries, craft breweries, cheese makers and farmers’ markets.
There’s no set route – you can drive Prince Edward County end-to-end in about an hour or so - but as you pass through the charming towns and villages, from Picton to Wellington, you’ll find all kinds of diversions to pique your culinary curiosity. Here are some of the highlights.
Prince Edward County newbies are frequently blown away at how such a small region can pack such a big gastro-punch. The options are numerous, but you can’t do much better than Agrarian for a rustic farm-to-fork fare (not to mention its grocery selection), or Sand & Pearl Raw Bar & Fish Fry, whose name says it all.
275 Bloomfield Main Street, Bloomfield, Ontario
+1 (613) 393 0111
Sand & Pearl Raw Bar & Fish Fry
1705 County Road 12, Prince Edward, Ontario
+1 (613) 393 7263
For a modern take on classic poutine or a ‘Canadian Hangover Cure’ brunch, washed down with a hair-of-the-dog craft beer or cocktail, try The Courage bar.
298 Main Street, Wellington, Ontario
+1 (613) 399 2233
Then treat yourself to some small-batch artisanal cones at Slickers Ice Cream – the apple pie flavour or toasted marshmallow comes highly recommended.
Slickers Ice Cream
271 Main Street, Bloomfield, Ontario
+1 (613) 393 5433
Thanks to the highly fertile, limestone-rich clay loam soil and the moderate microclimate around Lake Ontario, Prince Edward County is one of the fastest-growing wine regions in Canada. While twenty years ago there was only one winery, there are now over 40 to explore.
Housed in a converted dairy barn, Hinterland specialises in sparkling wines and hosts a monthly farmers’ market.
1258 Closson Road, Hillier, Ontario
+1 (613) 399 2903
Long Dog Winery is named after owners James Lahti and Victoria Rose’s beloved daschunds, and is known for its fine chardonnays and pinot noirs.
Long Dog Winery
104 Brewers Road, Milford, Ontario
+1 (613) 476 4140
At Norman Hardie you can enjoy some of Ontario’s best aromatic white wines, as well as excellent wood-fired thin crust pizza, as you relax on the terrace overlooking the vineyards.
1152 Greer Road Road, Wellington, Ontario
+1 (613) 399 5297
Learn more about the winemaking history and the grapes in the region with a tailored experience courtesy of Prince Edward County Wine Tours.
Prince Edward County Wine Tours
1533 Hwy 62, Bloomfield, Ontario
+1 (613) 393 8988
Craft Breweries and Cider
Where Prince Edward County’s all-conquering wineries lead, its craft breweries follow. Country Road Beer Company (right next door to Hinterland winery) boasts a fine beer garden in which to sup their Petite Saison or Belgian Dubbel ales.
County Road Beer Co.
1258 Closson Road, Prince Edward, Ontario
+1 (613) 399 2903
Not only does Parsons Brewery offer a Crushable unfiltered traditional German Pilsner or a Devil’s Right Hand stout aged in a Jack Daniel’s barrel, but it’ll also sort you out with some ace and authentic Mexican fare.
876 County Road, Picton, Ontario
+1 (613) 476 9977
Meanwhile, at Midtown Brewing Company’s brewpub, you can match an MBC Burger to a nice crisp kölsch.
266 Wellington Main Street, Wellington, Ontario
And if you’re looking for something a little fruitier, there’s always The County Cider Co.
The County Cider Co.
657 Bongards Crossroad, Waupoons, Ontario
+1 (613) 476 1022
Blessed are the cheesemakers
Cheese is big in Prince Edward County. Black River Cheese has been churning up a storm for over a century with its classic cheddars and mozzarellas.
Black River Cheese
913 County Road 13, Milford, Ontario
+1 (613) 476 1760
Fifth Town’s award-winning handmade cheeses have been serving the locals with choice sheep’s cow’s and goat’s milk cheeses since 2008.
Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co.
4309 Prince Edward County Road 8, Picton, Ontario
+1 (613) 476 5755
Shop, then cook
Prince Edward County teems with opportunities for roadside food shopping, but there’s nothing like rummaging in a great food market. On Saturdays don’t miss the Wellington Farmers’ Market near the shores of Lake Ontario or choose seasonal goodies at Campbell’s Orchards farm market.
Wellington Farmers’ Market
Wellington Main St, Wellington, Ontario
+1 (613) 393 3283
Every Saturday 8am-1pm (May – October)
Campbell’s Orchards Country Market
1633 County Road 3,
+1 (613) 962 3751
You could pick up some artisanal Italian sausages from Angelo Bean, then let him teach you how to incorporate them into a 5-course tasting menu.
Angelo Bean Italian Cooking School
1094 Christian Road, Bloomfield, Ontario
+1 (613) 399 1813
Or Pop along to the Waring House Cooking School for a class that includes a nice sit-down dinner with wine for your efforts.
The Waring House Cooking School
395 Sandy Hook Road, Picton, Ontario
+1 (613) 476 7492