After all that time staying home, distancing and what have you, don’t you think it is time to get out and start exploring? I, for one, am ready to start adventuring again and getting involved in new food experiences, both locally and beyond.
If you feel the same, an excellent place to start is with The Great Taste of Ontario. The Great Taste of Ontario is run by the Culinary Tourism Alliance and FeastON. The concept is very simple! Visit their website and download “passports” of various locations (and/or themes) across Ontario that you are interested in visiting. Your passport is then on your phone, and using your phone’s location, you can check into each “stop” on a self-guided tour. Not only are you supporting local and discovering new businesses in your own backyard, for every 10 check-ins – you’ll get a prize!
To see what passports and locations they have to offer, visit THIS LINK.
My first passport was the City of Brantford. I ended up going on a day tour with my mom and found it to be quite eye-opening! I hadn’t visited any of these fun and tasty locations prior to this – and hadn’t even heard of some of them, even though they are practically in our backyard. I look forward to checking out more of the City of Brantford passport. (Plus others!)
Here are my five must-visit locations on the City of Brantford passport so far:
- Our Kitchen Brantford • 20 Roy Blvd Unit 34, Brantford, ON N3R 7K1 • Website
Our Kitchen Brantford is a shared commercial kitchen for entrepreneurs and makers. Not only does this shared kitchen space provide local start-ups with a great collaborative environment, they also have a storefront open to their makers! Visiting the shop as a customer means you can try out some of the wares from the makers that share the space, such as: pickles (a favourite of mine from The Jelly Girls), hot sauces, desserts and treats, and take home meals like: Meatloaf, Chicken Paprikash, Jamaican Patties, Dumplings and much more.
2. Bell City Brewing • 51 Woodyatt Dr Unit 9, Brantford, ON N3R 7K3 • Website
Bell City Brewing would definitely be a place to go with friends! The comfortable atmosphere of the taproom, plus up to 12 beers on tap and good eats, would make for a fun time. Their menu includes dishes like: Pretzel Bites, Flatbreads, Charcuterie and Grilled Cheese. In addition to all the yummy stuff you can get in the taproom, you can also take brews to go – like I did! There’s lots of variety to choose from, and my personal favourite was the Fresh Ideas Dry Hopped Hazy IPA.
3. Mercasa Little Italy Eatery •195 Henry St, Brantford, ON N3S 5C9 • Website
Mercasa seems like it’s the whole package! When you first walk in, you are welcomed by the sight of their hot foods bar. Their fast casual dishes are homemade with options like Pasta Al Forno, Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches, Lasagna and sides. They are also known for their Roman pizza, which they make with garlic infused EVOO and then allow the dough to rise for a minimum of 72 hours.
In addition to their hot foods section, they have gelato, larger heat-and-eat meals to-go, and offer catering!
4. Le Chocolat Du Savoie • 270 King George Rd, Brantford, ON N3R 5L5 • Website
At Le Chocolate Du Savoie, the first thing that hits you is the delicious scent! I wish I could share that aroma with whoever is reading this write-up…absolutely divine! Owner of Le Chocolate du Savoie, Annette, has over 30 years experience in chocolate and candy. At the shop, they use high-quality Belgian chocolate to make creations like dipped liquorice, barks, bars, and truffles. The strawberry balsamic chocolate was a big stand-out for me, what a combo!
5. The Olive Oil Co. • 358 King George Rd, Brantford, ON N3P 0A1 • Website
I loved how knowledgeable and friendly the staff (and / or owners) were at The Olive Oil Co. They gave me a great run-down of everything they had in the shop, details about the olive oils and other products they carry (many of them are products made by other local producers), and how to choose items in the store that will pair perfectly. Though it’s not their namesake, I ended up with flavoured dark and light balsamics in Fig and Mango, but I’m already looking forward to my next visit back to try quality olive oil. (They offer samples too!)
To download a passport of your own or find out more about the program, visit The Great Taste of Ontario website.
Tell me in the comments below – what passport are you most looking forward to trying?