Taste Detours highlights Guelph’s history by mapping it from one culinary experience to the next, offering an authentic “taste of place.” Lynn Broughton, founder of Taste Detours (tastedetours.ca, 1-866-736-6343), spent eight years with Downtown Guelph Business Association, marketing shops, restaurants and great events in Guelph’s downtown core. Taste Detours evolved from her passion for the downtown, and a love of culinary events and tourism. As a certified Food Tour Professional, she is a passionate and knowledgeable guide with the expertise and savvy to provide a first-rate experience. Guelph has stunning architecture, a strong cultural fabric and a rich historical background. Taste Detours literally tells the city’s stories through food and drink experiences.
On a sunny Friday in July, we spent a day with Lynn. She arrived with iced lattes from The Common and perfect mini sausage rolls from Eric the Baker (who comes from a long line of Basque pastry chefs). We gathered in front of the John Galt statue at the historic Market House and received an interesting tutorial on John Galt and the historic core of Guelph. From there, we walked along Carden Street to the charming Atmosphere Café with its chill vibe and charming patio. We met hospitable co-owner Nicole Hogg, who has operated the café for 14 years, and sampled a delicious bite and craft beer.
Next, we walked to the steps of the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate, which tour-goers can enter. The monumental church contains decorative carvings and stained glass executed by skilled craftsmen. We received a briefing on the historical significance of the nearby Albion Hotel and that part of the tour ended with a lengthy discussion about the interesting history of Sleeman’s Brewery.
Our tour continued on to Cork Street and into Guelph Caribbean Cuisine for a chat with co-owner Lorenza. We enjoyed a delectable double (two pieces of fried dough) with a sautéed savoury chickpea and spice mixture in the centre — the ultimate Trinidadian street food.
At our next stop, Miijidaa Café & Bistro (from the Ojibway language meaning “let’s eat” or “bon appetit”), we met Beverage Manager Rebecca Gordon and Court Desautels, Group Leader & CEO of the Neighbourhood Group of Companies, who explained their strong emphasis on Canadian-inspired offerings with local ingredients. We sampled Welsh Griddle cakes with wild blueberry preserve and house-churned butter, as well as piri piri marinated cauliflower with yogurt blue cheese dip.
We stopped in next door at Refresh Juice for an invigorating carrot, arugula, lemon and ginger cold-pressed juice known as the Eye Opener. The tour wound down at Wellington Cakes on charming Douglas Street, where we savoured a decadent sweet meringue-based macaron. Owner Anne Forestell is connected to the early city’s history. Her great-great-great-great grandfather Felix Hanlon was one of the so-called “27 boys” who accompanied John Galt to Guelph and helped clear the land that became the city centre. I felt we’d come full circle.