The Buzz: September/October 2014

Written by The Editors




With autumn comes the harvest: a perfect time to take a road trip, and to discover and enjoy nearby farmgates, markets, restaurants, wineries, and fall fairs. Farmers’ Markets Ontario provides a gateway to finding top-quality and farm-fresh products — lists of markets, maps, dates of operation and more.

September is back-to-school time. Local colleges and community centres offer culinary courses for interest and enjoyment. Fanshawe College in London even has courses for the beer enthusiast! For cooking classes, check out local retailers like Jill’s Table ( and Aroma Restaurant ( in London.

Vegan? Know thy Food is a mobile business catering to vegans in Southern Ontario. The company offers Vegan Step by Step workshops and private classes.

Get the best, home-delivered! More and more businesses are providing home delivery of fresh and local produce. In London, On The Move Organics offers fresh, certified organic fruit and vegetables – 100% local boxes in season, featuring fresh produce from small-scale organic farms surrounding London.

New in the area is The Food Box Project, offering pre-arranged boxes of organic produce for pick up or delivery in and around London. Weekly pick-ups are held at Springbank Park and in Dorchester.

Eat Green Organics has partnered with Emily Peat of EcoPlace Organics to provide delivery to London, Woodstock, Sarnia and the surrounding areas.

From Aylmer to Wyoming, there’s a fall fair coming to a town near you. For a full listing, by location and by date, visit 

Farm to Table celebrations bring chefs and food producers in Oxford County together throughout the month of September. Discover the amazing culinary experiences that can be found in this uniquely charming county.

A visit to Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese shop gives you a day out in the scenic peace of the country, and a chance learn about cheese making. And, of course, the opportunity to buy delicious award-winning cheeses. Book a tour for your group, or to sign up to be a cheese maker for a day. Five minutes south of Woodstock, directly off of highways 401 and 403.

Farm Boy is holding a Vendor Fair to expand its offering of locally grown and processed foods. Area producers and farmers hoping to sell their goods on Farm Boy’s shelves are invited to meet with buyers at its Wellington Road store on Tuesday, September 30. The London store, which opened its doors on June 12th, already carries products from more than 40 local producers. Farm Boy buyers are looking for unique products such as natural and organic produce and meat, artisanal foods made in small batches and fresh bakery and dairy items. Contact before September 15 to make an appointment.

The new Smart APPetite app, a collaborative program, alerts participants when local foods are in season, where to purchase them and offers healthy recipes. For the last several months a brigade of volunteers — many of them food and nutrition students at Brescia College — has toured Southwestern Ontario to connect with farmers, food processors, vendors and restaurateurs to collect input for the app. The app and website, set to be launched in early September, connects farmers, producers, restaurants and vendors with customers across Southwestern Ontario.

Railway City Brewing Co. in St. Thomas, home of Iron Spike and Dead Elephant Ale, holds Thursday Night Session events at the brewery. These events feature a blind sample session whereby the attendees are encouraged to take their own Tasting Notes and determine which of the beer they actually enjoy. At the end of the event,which samples were actually served is revealed.

Bill Wittur of Noteworthy Wines is proud to announce that their suppliers received a whopping 15 medals at the recent Intervin Wine Awards, including two Gold medals. These wines will be available for sampling at the annual London Club Wine Fair on October 17, but you can order any of them sooner by emailing

Celebrate the official opening of Museum London exhibitions on Friday, September 26. Tour the exhibitions and enjoy refreshments and a cash bar.

Sprouting in the Forest City! VegFest, Saturday, October 25 at the Western Fair District, will provide an opportunity to experience the abundant, and healthy options that veganism provides through vendors, activities and speakers.

Opened in 1944, Restaurant Equipment & Supply was the go-to shop for generations of London restaurateurs, chefs and enthusiastic amateur cooks. Long-time proprietors Ruth and Brian Govan retired last year, and sold the business to Trimen, a full-service dealer that carries a broader range of brands and products. The business remains at 234 William St., and is still under the watchful eye of Kathleen Underwood, daughter of Ruth and Brian, now with 42 years working in the store. The child labour laws must not have been enforced in the 1970s!

Wine Trail Rides are a great way to explore Essex County’s wine region. Cycle through the region and explore the sites, sounds and tastes of Ontario’s other wine route! Each Wine Trail Ride includes tastings, tours, a guide, support vehicle.

HAITI Street Festival “Jump on the TAP-TAP” is a benefit for LifePaths Global Alliance (LGA). Enjoy live music, drumming, dancing, food, beer tent, vendors and a children’s area. Saturday night will see a concert at The APK with headliner Passito Rap Kreyol and other special guests. Saturday September 13 and Sunday September 14.

In restaurant news… 

The newly expanded space at The Root Cellar, 623 Dundas St., is now licensed. The restaurant now offers a selection of Pelee Island wines, each $6.00 for a six-ounce jar. The really cool part though is the on-site brewery! London Brewing Co-operative (LBC) is the first worker-owned brewery in English-speaking Canada. It is proudly pouring its first brews: a wheat beer, a nut-brown ale and a watermelon wheat beer. Retail beer sales to follow —stay tuned!

Garlic’s of London is holding a Honey Harvest Event & Dinner. Join in for a fun evening as the staff harvest the honey from the rooftop hives! Chef-led demonstration, complimentary mead and honey samples, fresh bread and honey for purchase. Special mead cocktails, three-course honey inspired dinner, and more! September 11.

Chef Scott Sanderson has left La Casa and is now Executive Chef at Bertoldi’s Trattoria, on Richmond Street. Chef is excited to introduce some new menu items this fall.

La Casa, in the heart of “Restaurant Row” on King Street, is now in the very experienced hands of Chef Jason Eccles and Chef James Smith. Both chefs have been there for many years and carry on the venerable ristorante’s tradition of consistent excellence.

Crossings Pub and Grill on Hyde Park Rd., known for its outstanding patio and pub fare with a twist, is spreading its friendly ambiance by adding a new location at 2300 Wharncliffe Road South, in Lambeth. Formerly the long-time home to Bing’s China House Restaurant, the new location will follow the formula that has made its Hyde Park location so popular.

The Crossings team has also taken ownership of Crave Restaurant and Maxwell McCoys Eatery at Richmond and Fanshawe Park Road. Both Masonville restaurants feature new menus and new management teams. &

The King Edward in Ilderton is closed Sept. 8–11 (inclusive) while they refinish the floors. Back open on Sept. 12, and featuring a new cider from Twin Pines [see our story this issue!] in Thedford. “Hard Dicken’s Cider” is an English-style cider. As King Eddie owner Rich Hunter says, “This fits our local Ontario philosophy perfectly.” Cheers!

This is Toronto news, but with a regional connection. Nic and Gresham Bayley are nephews of Julian Bayley, founder of Iceculture Inc. in Hensall. They’ve taken their experience around on Bathurst Street. The bar and lounge offers entertainment in an icy environment — 185,000 pounds of ice sculptures, ice benches, a functioning ice bar, and an ice chandelier!

Chef Christie Massé is busy these days organizing the opening of her restaurant and juice bar in Wortley Village. Details next issue.

An upscale sandwich shop with an open-kitchen called Wich is Wich: “A proper sandwich shop” is opening at 125 King Street, across from the Covent Garden Market. The 40–45 seat shop will offer dine in, grab & go and catering services. Customers will be able to email their orders in and pick up orders. The business is the brain-child of Elaine Sawyer (former on-air radio show host) and her son Chef Josh Sawyer formerly of the Byron FreeHouse). ReDesign, a local design shop, is handling the restaurant design.

After seven years running Friday Knight Lights on Richmond St., Tim Best, the husband of former London mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best, has sold the business to Jim Ferreira, who will relaunch the premises as The Grinning Gator shortly after Labour Day.

Covent Garden Market produce merchant Chris Doris and Woodstock restaurateur Greg Efstatheu are expected to open Olive R. Twists in September. The newly refurbished and renovated premises, formerly home to UpFront at the Market and Chauncey Smith’s, features one of the city’s premiere patios.

Restaurateurs Joe and Cheryl Duby, owners of the mega-successful Blu Duby at 32 Covent Market Place, have recently appointed Graham Stewart (formerly at Crave), Erin Holmes and Jennifer Witmer to their culinary team. Drop by the Duby and have uber-bartender Ray Nerenberg make you his Exploding Pineapple Caesar or his Key Lime Pie Martini.

Zack Agathos, formerly of The Huron House, has opened the newly-licensed Icarus Resto Bar on Richmond Row, next to Black Trumpet. Chef Kevin Greaves, formerly of Jambalaya, has joined Executive chef Thomas Waite in the open kitchen.

Wondering where your onions come from? Visit the informative “Fun with Food” table at Western Fair Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market to learn about local food, where it comes from, and how it got to your dinner plate.

The Only On King is hosting a “Chef vs Winemaker” showdown on Tuesday, September 16. Chef/owner Paul Harding squares off against Beamsville, Ontario’s Rosewood Winery. Each course of a harvest-style tasting menu will be paired with Rosewood wines chosen by both Paul and the winemaker. You decide who did it best.

The Goodah Gastrotruck has taken over the premises occupied by The Only On King on the main floor of Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market.

Down by the Lake Huron shore near Zurich, the Hessenland Country Inn has started taking reservations for their popular “Novemberfest” celebration in support of Parkinson’s research. Featuring the Inn’s own Hessenland Helles beer, a German-style pilsner, and Chef Frank Ihrig’s creative cuisine, in the German tradition with a local twist, the event will be held on Saturday, November 8.



The Stratford Chefs School has announced that Lucy Waverman has been named the Joseph Hoare Gastronomic Writer in Residence for the 2014-15 school year.

There’s always a lot going on at Mercer Hall. Join them Monday nights this fall for a culinary adventure. Nosh returns. No menu, no decisions to make, you just sit back and relax while the kitchen creates tasty small plates, served family style! Reservations recommended:

Importance of Probiotics and Fermentation — This class will explain the importance of your gut health- 80% of your immune system is your gut! You will receive a booklet with the benefits as well as sample some fermented foods (recipes to make your own will be provided!) Cost: $20. Pre-registration is required. Limited seating. Wednesday September 10.

Flavours of Stratford Culinary Walks — Two guided walking tours present locally produced culinary delights in the heart of Stratford. Morning tours are held 9:30am-12pm; afternoon tours 1:45pm-4:15pm. Tastings along the way conclude with a custom sandwich and sample of craft beer or wine. Cost $39/person, offered every Wednesday-Saturday through to Thanksgiving.

United Way Kick Off Luncheon — Help the United Way Perth Huron kick start their campaign, Friday September 19 11:30am-1:30pm at the Kiwanis Community Centre. Cost: $8/ Advanced $10/at the door.

This summer The Parlour Inn boutique hotel in Stratford welcomed Executive Chef Randy Dupuis. After more than twelve years at the Bridgewater Café in Welland, Chef is relishing the Stratford culinary environment, and enjoying getting to know his local suppliers. Peter Lavoie, longtime sommolier at The Prune, also joined The Parlour team earlier in the season.

Savour Stratford Tutored Tasting: Pucks Plenty’s October Fest of Mushrooms — Take to the woods to collect choice mushrooms and return to Stratford Tea Leaves for a feast of local fare, including cheeses from Mountain Oak Cheese; breads, mushroom quiche and soups from local shops; and awarding-winning Tea Leaves tea. Samples of nettle beer will be offered along with beverages from local breweries and Niagara wines. Cost: $45 plus a handling fee and HST.

Stratford Food: An Edible History: The Dinner! — A unique fundraising dinner for the Local Community Food Centre. Based upon the new book by Steve Stacy focusing on the history of food in Stratford. It is a nine-course dinner prepared by chefs from the Stratford Chefs League with each course inspired by a chapter in the book. Sunday, October 5, 6pm-10:30pm at The Local Community Food Centre. Cost: $125 (includes a copy of the book).

Pubs, Pilsner and Spirits tours — Stratford enthusiasts guide you on a unique pub crawl in Stratford’s heritage district. Sample four craft beers as you visit heritage pubs and listen to spirited stories as well as the tumultuous brewing history of Perth County. Cost: $25 per person. Offered October 9th and 23rd

Savour Stratford Tutored Tasting: Dark Beer and Stinky Cheese — Varieties of cheeses and beers from all over the map come together for this ghoulish pairing. Saturday October 18,3pm-5pm The Milky Whey Fine Cheese Shop, Cost: $35 (plus a handling fee and HST; age of majority required) Tickets available online:

Savour Stratford Tutored Tasting: Raw Milk Cheese and Craft Beer — Grass Roots, small batch, artisan, local, unfiltered, unpasteurized — a great tasting for foodies and lovers of all things local. Saturday October 25, 3pm-5pm The Milky Whey Fine Cheese Shop, Cost: $35 plus a handling fee and HST (age of majority is required)

Chocolate Barr’s has moved! Congratulations to Derek and Jacqueline Barr on their beautiful new space and open viewing window so you can see your favourite candy in the making. Look for them at 55 George Street West across from The Parlour.

About the author

The Editors