On Monday, June 15, a thousand Londoners spent their lunch hour at Budweiser Gardens enjoying samples from over thirty local restaurants, caterers and food & beverage suppliers. The 3rd annual Signatures event sold out, and over $26,000 was raised for the Parkinson Society of Southwestern Ontario to support programs and services for those affected by Parkinson’s. Mark your calendars now for next year’s event, in June.
Heritage London Foundation presents their Annual, Unforgettable, Outdoor Roaring Twenties Bash at the Elsie Perrin Williams Estate on July 10. Mix, mingle, play croquet, bid on the silent auction, and then enjoy the Gatsby Gala Dinner menu. www.elsieperrinwilliamsestate.ca/event/annual-gatsby-gala/
The Run the District Race Series at Western Fair District appeals to all ages and all abilities. Next race day is Sunday, July 19: I run, you run, we all run for ice cream! It’s a cool course for cone-heads of all-ages, rewarding runners with their favourite flavours along the way —hot fudge, sprinkles and pralines atop scoops of cookies and cream, dark chocolate and strawberry sorbet at pit stops along the course. All pledge money collected will go to Ronald McDonald House SWO. www.runthedistrict.ca/run-for-icecream/
The Annual London Ribfest returns to Victoria Park on the weekend of Civic Holiday (July 30 – August 3). Sample from the many food vendors offering delicious ribs and numerous other items, and enjoy the rides and entertainment.
Ron Benner roasts corn for all at his garden installation As the Crow Flies. Part sculpture, part installation and part performance, the 9th Annual Corn Roast will feature Benner’s roving corn-roasting wagon Maiz Barbacoa. The site-specific piece features a pond, garden and corn plants surrounded by black and white laminated photographs that trace the militarization of food and society, as well as themes of activism, environmentalism and global food politics. Musician Frank Ridsdale will entertain guests with his resolute songs of political misdemeanours covering a wide geographical range from the Port Stanley harbour to Latin American revolutionary songs. Sunday, August 23, 1:00 to 4:00 pm at Wolf Sculpture Garden at Museum London.
August 14th, in conjunction with Beer Fest, enjoy a ‘Barhopping Into History’ Walking Tour led by local author Kym Wolfe. Tour starts at Attic Books at 7:15 p.m. and finishes with a pint at the final stop. $15/person. Details and registration at www.kymwolfe.com.
James McInnes and Matt McClintock opened Globally Local in the former Farmer Jack’s on Colonel Talbot Road. This is one of three London pick-up locations. The organic grocery store offers deliveries in London and five other Southwestern Ontario urban centres. Food is sourced from regional farmers and producers, and there is also a greenhouse operation, set up by Elijah Richardson. He expects to be offering greenhouse tomatoes, eggplant, sweet potato, peppers, cucumbers, herbs, amaranth, tomatillos and many other treats.
The Dirty Martini Supper Club continues to tease with the promise of a Grand Opening date. The premises at the corner of Dundas and Talbot, formerly occupied by Villa, will host “nightlife entertainment with the most unique dining experience in the city.”
Located at Windermere Manor, the Windermere Café has a charming patio that is a delightful extension of the café and is situated in a truly distinctive natural setting. Breeze through French doors onto the stone floor and you are seated at tables nestled among tall spruce trees. Renovations to Windermere Café commence mid-July with a grand opening launch party towards the end of August. The restaurant is being re-named Restaurant Ninety-one. www.windermeremanor.com
The restaurant at Idlewyld Inn & Spa features Wednesday BBQ Nights, weekly, from 5:30 pm. Join them in the Courtyard for a delicious night out, featuring a fresh salad bar, a choice of BBQ’d entrees, and a tempting dessert table. $29.99 pp. Pair your meal with local craft beer from Railway City Brewing Co. www.idlewyldinn.com
The 2015 London’s Local Flavour Culinary Guide was launched at Che Restobar in May. A project by eatdrink magazine with Tourism London, the guide provides a rich overview of the city’s breadth of exciting local restaurants, culinary retailers, and farmers’ markets. The guide goes out to Ontario Travel Centres, London’s Tourism Information Centres, and major entry points to the city, such as the London International Airport, the VIA Rail station, the London Convention Centre, the Downtown London office, as well as at dozens of local businesses, libraries and the farmers’ markets. It’s also available online, with links both on the Tourism London website and the eatdrink site. For a view of the guide and more, go to www.londontourism.ca/culinary
Les Marmitons is a men’s cooking group that meet nine times a year to cook a tasting menu along with the help of a local area chef. Approximately 25 to 30 members divide into teams and cook a 5 course tasting menu under the guidance of the chef and the assistance of two Fanshawe College Culinary Arts students. As part of an international organization founded in Montreal in 1997, there are now 18 Les Marmitons chapters across Canada and the US, with the London chapter forming in 2010. www.lesmarmitons.org
Vanessa and Pete Willis’s Church Key Bistro Pub is a destination gastro pub with an intimate outdoor courtyard for alfresco dining. At the ORHMA Awards Gala last month at the London Convention Centre, server Demar Charlton won ‘People’s Choice – Best Server in London’. www.thechurchkey.ca
The Black Trumpet courtyard garden may be the most tranquil dining location in London. Chef Scott Wessling has a contemporary take on international classics, drawing from local seasonal ingredients to create time-honoured entrees. The new menu features a superb mini steamship steak (18oz) and a delicious marrow boat appetizer with ginger infused forest mushrooms, crispy shiitake confit garlic & crostini. www.blacktrumpet.ca
Congratulations to The Only on King, with its farm-to-table philosophy and classic culinary repertoire a master class in modern comfort cooking, as it celebrates its 8th anniversary. www.theonlyonking.ca
For thirty two years and counting, Michael’s On The Thames has been regarded as London’s celebration destination and for good reason. Consistently good food and excellent service, makes Michael’s one of London’s iconic dining experiences. Former general manager Joelle Lees has recently purchased the landmark restaurant from hospitality industry stalwart Brian Stewart. In the past year, the restaurant has been smartly refurbished to create a renewed sense of comfort and well-being. Consistency has always been the hallmark of the Michael’s On The Thames experience and will continue under the ownership of Joelle Lees. www.michaelsonthethames
Inspired by the traditional Parisian wine bar, the new London Wine Bar will strive to make quality wine approachable while creating a relaxed and hospitable atmosphere for their guests. To accompany their wine selection, they will feature a wide range of cured meats including prosciutto, smoked sausages, and various smoked salamis as well as a diverse selection cheeses from local producers who are dedicated to their craft. For dessert, they will offer a variety of chocolate products that were created exclusively for them by Forrat’s Chocolate at the Market. www.londonwinebar.ca
La Casa’s new dinner menu features a wide range of fresh vegetarian options including cannelloni di ricotta with tomato-sherry sauce; woodland mushroom ravioli with thyme and lemon cream; grilled-seasonal vegetable pizza with roasted garlic pesto; as well as some Italian classics such as veal osso bucco on strachetti pasta and chicken picatta with lemon-caper sauce. www.lacasaristorante.com
Forest City Beer Fest is Downtown London’s annual celebration of craft beer. The event is free to the public and takes place Saturday, August 15th at Covent Garden Market. Forest City Beer Fest invites you to discover your new favourite beer and enjoy the company of friends on Rotary Square. Over 20 brewers and Ontario cider producers will be in attendance, including local favourites Forked River and London Brewing Co-Op. Food stands and food trucks are part of the mix as well. www.ForestCityBeerFest.com
On August 1st, celebrate Food Day Canada at the Covent Garden Farmers’ Market. You can expect a wide variety of local meat choices — bison burgers, beef burgers, lamb sausages, and elk frankfurters. Top it all off with fresh local corn, tomatoes, organic lemonade, and ice-cream topped with blueberries and a lavender cookie. All that for only $5 per person!
Stratford Summer Music presents Musical Brunches at The Prune Restaurant. Among the most beautiful of Johann Sebastian Bach’s works for solo instruments are his three Partitas and three Sonatas for solo violin. Written early in the 18th century, these glorious selections will be the musical assortment offered during the sixth season of Stratford Summer Music Weekend Brunches in July and August, moving this year to The Prune Restaurant, featuring three celebrated violinists from the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. www.stratfordsummermusic.ca
Choose from three diverse culinary tours offered mornings and afternoons: A Very Tasty Trek leads you beyond the tracks to hidden gems featuring bold breads, baking, cheeses, teas and gourmet products. Fabulous Food and Great Gadgets blends heavenly hors d’oeuvre and refreshment pairings with the finest kitchenwares. Satisfy your hunger, fill your pantry and finish with an original cocktail in a relaxed outdoor setting. Savoury Eats and Tasty Treats explores diverse sweet and savoury tastes at unique downtown shops. Meet the artisans who inspire with their passion and innovative edibles. www.flavoursofstratford.ca
Stroll scenic trails for delicious wild edibles and mushrooms. Learn how to identify, harvest and prepare nature’s bounty with conservation and sustainability in mind while Weekend Foraging with Peter Blush. www.pucksplenty.com
Join a series of accredited speakers for lively intellectual seminars and a delectable buffet lunch exploring each play and musical in the 2015 season, at Stratford Festival Table Talks. www.stratfordfestival.ca
Revival House presents a cabaret series, with renowned opera singer Rebecca Caine (July 25), the one and only Carole Pope (Aug 8), a Newfoundland Jazz Ceilidh (Aug 22), and former Nylon, Micah Barnes & friends (Aug 29). www.stratfordsummermusic.ca
Bluegrass Brunch: On the last Sunday of July and August, Stratford’s Local Community Food Centre will offer a tasty and hearty plate of brunch prepared by their in-house chef and often featuring many local ingredients, coffee from To Bean or Not To Bean, and live tunes from the bluegrass band The Blurry Pickers! There’s always lots of fun activities for the kids in the greenhouse and Loco Fields will host a market stand every month so be sure to take home some veg! $6 for adults and $3 for children under 6 www.thelocalcfc.org/
Canada Food Day BBQ: On August 1st, Canada Food Day is a national day of celebration of the great food scene in Canada! It celebrates culinary excellence in our restaurants and the produce from our countrysides. Everyone should have access to great food today! Come on by the Local CFC garden for a free BBQ and a cold drink! There’ll be a cash bar, music, activities for the kids and lots to do in the gardens! www.thelocalcfc.org/
At Chocolate Barr’s, Derek Barr is making his own gelato and sorbetto in-house this year for the summer months. Some of the gelato flavours are traditional, such as vanilla, dark chocolate mintie and pistachio. But he is creating some unusual ones like the Embro Barn Burner — with toasted marshmallow, burnt caramel and Laphroaig Scotch, as well as a Mocha Espresso. For the sorbetto, Derek has done Lemon, Mango and Ontario Strawberry. Barr’s has also started to produce local fruit jellies, with the Ontario Strawberry jellies avalable now until sold out. Expect a northern Ontario Blueberry Jellie soon! www.chocolatebarrs.com
“Loaves of Love” Challah Baking Workshop: On August 23, join people of all ages to knead, braid and shape Challah dough from scratch. Share the gift of Shabbat, warmth and great taste with those in need. Learn new braiding techniques and taste a variety of Challahs and dips! Featuring Ragbbi Moshe and Rivky Goldman of the Rohr Chabad Centre for Jewish Learning in Waterloo and Chef Jordan Lassaline of Revel Caffe in Stratford. Presented by Bradshaws. www.thelocalcfc.org/
Elsewhere in Our Region…
Southern Fried BBQ, the Whole Pig, and Bacon Grilled Cheese are just some of the bacon dishes to sample at this year’s Lucan Baconfest, on Saturday July 11. Events run from 10a.m. to 3p.m. at various locations around town. www.baconfestlucan.ca
Join the fun at Cooper’s Hawk Vineyard and experience a celebration of world class music, fine wine, food and friends. Jazz on the Vine occurs over several different nights throughout the summer. www.coopershawkvineyards.com
The Arts and Cookery Bank in West Lorne hosts Guys Night Out, Episode 3: Thrill Of The Grill, on July 24th. Come for the fun, the fabulous food and enjoy the incredible diversity — a spectrum of flavors of single malt scotches. Meet the local craft brewers. Cook up a storm, catch up on lost time with good buddies, and enjoy a delicious meal. www.theartsandcookerybank.com/page/course-sign-up?c=215
On June 10th, ten food trucks from across Southwestern Ontario served the masses at the Sunset Truckin’ Good Food event. Over 7,000 people were served throughout the day with trucks running out of food around 6:00pm, just as the rain began to fall. This was one in a series of events held throughout the county, to help meet the growing demand for food trucks in the region. The next event takes place July 25-26, 2015 at North 42 Degrees Estate Winery.
In 2014, C-K Table was awarded “Event of the Year” by the Ontario Agricultural Tourism Council. Heading into its fourth and biggest year, this annual culinary event is transforming into a year-long dialogue about local food in Chatham-Kent. The C-K Table team is broadening the scope by starting with a series of invitation-only dinners throughout the summer at The Chilled Cork in Chatham, specifically created for food writers and bloggers to sample and write about local fare created by local chefs. The fun for the public starts on August 8 with a Community Corn Roast at the Portuguese Club in Chatham. The main event kicks off on September 12 when visitors can partake in a series of micro events, like farm tours and chef meet & greets, at different locations throughout Chatham-Kent. On September 13, the C-K Table Signature Event will continue with an on-farm dinner hosted at Sharrigan Farm in Jeannette’s Creek. C-K Table will host a Craft Beer Festival on November 21 at the newly-renovated The Kent 1874 Events and Convention Centre. For details on these and other events throughout the summer, follow C-K Table on Facebook and Twitter @CK_Table, and visit the website www.cktable.ca.
Feast for Good is a Goderich-based pop-up creating events that focus on feasting together on all that is good to eat, good to see, and good to do. Products are small batches of vegetable soups, baked goods and other treats made from mainly organic foods sourced as locally as possible. All are egg- and dairy-free (vegan) and some are gluten-free. Available at Goderich Farmers’ Market, Goderich Makers Market, and at the Made in Huron Shop in Clinton.
The century-old building that housed Strathroy Ale House and Pub has changed hands. Mark Graham opened The Clocktower Bistro and Inn this May, after considerable remodelling. www.clocktower-inn.com
sixthirtynine restaurant in Woodstock will be closing from June 22nd – July 7th for renovations to update their dining room. www.sixthirtynine.com
Ontario’s Southwest brought the region’s food, wine and beer to the Toronto culinary scene and made a big splash with its City Fare event on May 30th at Wychwood Barns. The event featured over 26 beer, wine and culinary partners from across the region and was attended by over 500 media/influencers and consumers from the GTA. It has been reported that the event hashtag #OSWCityFare got over 2.5 million impressions on Instagram and Twitter.
Local food will be back in a big way this summer, right under the Bluewater Bridge in Point Edward. Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation (SLBDC) is the lead partner in a new Farmers’ Market featuring an enticing assortment of local products every Thursday evening from 4-8p.m., beginning June 25th. The Point Edward Moonlight Farmers’ Market will be located on the service road, parallel to Michigan Ave. from the Gazebo off Livingston.
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