I strayed from my beloved. And it was delicious. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been loyal to vanilla ice cream—until the day three summers ago when I visited the Gravenhurst Farmers’ Market in Muskoka, ON and sampled a tiny taste of Saigon cinnamon with spiced maple walnut ice cream, courtesy of the Belly Ice Cream Company.
Since then I’ve dallied with other flavours—banana flambé with dark chocolate, roasted chestnut cheesecake with wildflower honey and chai coconut—and I’m not the least bit sorry.
I can’t promise all of your epicurean experiences in Canada’s idyllic Cottage Country—just a few hours’ drive north of Toronto, ON—will cause you to stray from your own food loyalties, but I can assure you that you’ll be tempted…
As long as you’re in the neighbourhood, let me recommend:
- For breakfast, sink your teeth into the gooey, chewy loveliness of an apple beignet from The Windmill Bakery (705-789-4324) in Huntsville. Or toast a few slices of its Alpine hearth bread and slather it up with honey-butter from Big Ass Garlic (705-766-2748). Serve with a bold cup of Lumberjack Blend ground coffee from the Muskoka Roastery Coffee Company.
- After a morning dip in the lake, you may feel a bit peckish. Dive into a couple of sticky butter tarts from Marty’s World Famous Café created with love by Marty Curtis—the “Michelangelo of butter tarts,” according to Canadian star-chef Michael Smith.
- For lunch, try the gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches made with brie, aged cheddar, Havarti and Asiago cheeses from Marty’s. (You can try the recipe yourself!) Accompany with pure cranberry juice or cranberry wine, created from fruit grown at Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh.
- For picnics, pack cheese and savoury trout paté from the Milford Bay Trout Farm (705-764-1797).
- For dinner, fire up the barbecue and grill burgers made with grass-fed beef from Ivanita Farm and Meats, (705-789-0837) and topped with locally grown sautéed shiitake mushrooms (Moon Bay Shiitake, 705-375-0978). Pair with organic vegetables from the local farmer’s market and a bottle of Muskoka Cream Ale from the Muskoka Cottage Brewery.
- And for dessert? Ice cream, of course, topped with plump local blueberries.