My two favourite menus, in no particular order, are Christmas dinner and the Thanksgiving feast. But it’s not just the turkey heaped with gravy that does it for me. I need all the trimmins’ (i.e., cranberries).
If you’re anywhere around Muskoka, ON, get up close and personal with these scarlet goodies—and add a bit of First Nations culture—when you visit the Iroquois Cranberry Growers near Bala.
Farmer Matt’s Stuffing Recipe
courtesy Matt Commandant, Iroquois Cranberry Growers
3-1/2 cups stale bread cubes (I like 50/50 white and whole wheat)
1 chopped Spanish onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon dried sage
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and chopped
3/4 cup Cransnax dried cranberries
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1 cup turkey or chicken stock
4 tablespoons olive oil
In a deep skillet on medium heat, brown onion in olive oil. Add spices and parsley, then add bread cubes and stir. Turn off heat. Drizzle stock over bread cubes and stir, then add in apple and Cransnax. Spoon stuffing loosely into turkey.
Come during harvest (late Sept. through Oct.), and they’ll show you how they get the berries off the vines, with a fascinating look at how they corral them from the bogs. Then stop in at the store and pick up some great cranberry recipes. The Wahta Mowhawks have been picking cranberries since moving to this region in 1881, and tours in the fall include a ride on a horse-drawn wagon.
Then, as the holiday season draws near, think about some other trimmins’—the ones that hang on the tree. And get a bit of tradition in the bargain.
Be seduced by the aroma of holiday baking at Toronto, ON’s historic Mackenzie House; learn how to make Christmas wreaths at the 19th-century Colborne Lodge. Or go for the cookies and gingerbread houses at Montgomery’s Inn.
At Black Creek Pioneer Village, take a December “Christmas by Lamplight” tour of the village in the glow of candles, oil lamps and gaslight. Sample roasted chestnuts and sugar plums, and go carolling like a character in a Dickens novel.
Then sit down for an old-fashioned turkey dinner. With all the trimmins’.