Karen Ostry - Trek The Local Food Artisans
I was born and raised in: Ottawa—the greenest capital in the world.
How I make a buck: I'm in Advertising.
My favorite activities include: Cooking for my friends; eco-touring; gardening.
3 things I love about the Stratford Area:
Uniquely attentive to beautiful gardens; great place to get fresh, organic food; very fine dining-probably due to the Stratford Chefs School, there's a sophisticated local cuisine, and many restaurants incorporate a "100 mile menu".
Favorite local hidden treasures you shouldn't miss:
Stratford Chocolate Trail We couldn't believe that beyond Stratford's three chocolate shops, there was more chocolate on offer. From Chocolate Mocha Sauce and Double Chocolate Biscotti to a pot of Chocolate Mint tea, stops along The Stratford Chocolate Trail will be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth too!
Slow Food Perth County Farmers Market A local and seasonally inspired market that supports local farmers, producers and artisans - all of whom support the Slow Food movement. Good, clean and fair food for everyone! During the summer months the market takes place outdoors behind City Hall downtown.
The Stratford Chefs School This culinary institute trains some of the best chefs in the world and their dinner series from October to February is amazing! Tasting what these young culinary minds are exploring is a true delight.
My perfect day spent in the Stratford Area:
I would have to start at the Stratford Farmers' Market, and purchase all my culinary and grocery needs for the week. Its much less expensive than a supermarket, much fresher, and you'll enjoy that just-picked flavour. There's also a wonderfully pure and natural feeling when purchasing directly from our farmers and bringing home to your kitchen what was only hours before organically harvested from the neighbouring fields. I would then head off for a gentle, organic, fair trade coffee at Revel Caffe. One of the trendiest coffee houses in town, it is decked out in an urban exposed brick style, and the coffees are good. My favourite freshly baked chocolate croissants are in their dessert case along with a plethora of decadent accompaniments prepared by their chef. I'd then continue to fill my basket, and my sweet tooth, by shopping at Rheo Thompson Candies. Over 100 different kinds of chocolates are available, but it's the renowned melt-in-your-mouth chocolate mint smoothies that I'm after. Rival chocolatier is Chocolate Barr's Candies where daring confections like the hand made red pepper truffle, or their caramels topped with coarse salt, are truly divine. Canadian Grub Restaurant is a great place to sample a fresh and tasty array of organic salads and good healthy foods for lunch. There are so many boutique shops that dot the downtown, and at the end of the day I would need to stop into Tea Leaves Tea Tasting Bar. Run by a tea sommelier, you can sample select teas that are so fresh you'd think they came from the lavish garden out back. Stocked in dark tins, each tea selection is steeped and poured into their own distinct porcelain cups. This is one of my most special finds in town. There is also Distinctly Tea Inc. which offers over 350 different kinds of loose leaf teas from which you can bag, or have as "tea to go". No day in Stratford would be complete without dining at one of the Stratford Chefs School alumni restaurants. Rundles, The Prune or any number of others represent the trend of fresh, local ingredient based dining. Delicious!