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".
3 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!
Your Local Market Co-op A local and seasonally inspired market supporting local farmers, producers and artisans with an on-site bakery and a take-out counter for lunch & dinner featuring wraps, burritos and soups with inspiration from close to home and around the world will soon become your favourite picnic stop.
Birtch Farms and Estate Winery Birtch Farms is located just north of Woodstock, in a
beautiful country setting. The farm offers many experiences such as pick your own
apples and pumpkins, a children's playground and a small corn maze. The winery features Fruit Wines and Gift Baskets made from
locally grown products, with tours and tastings.
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 good 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 Sputnik Espresso Bar. One of the newest coffee houses in town,
it is decked in an upbeat 1950's style, and the coffees are good. My favourite
freshly baked chocolate chip cookies are in a jar on their counter. I'd then
continue to fill my basket, and my sweet tooth, by shopping at Rheo Thompson Candies. If you were to
bring home one gift from your Stratford trip, it would be from here. 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 where daring
confections like the hand made red pepper truffle, or their caramels topped
with coarse salt, are truly divine. Just down the street is Kitchen Connaisseur where you'll find an array of specialty food products from sauces, oils and vinegars, to
dessert sauces, jams, teas and gift baskets. At this Stratford location you can
also purchase savoury Stratford Chefs
School inspired pomegranate chutney. The County
Food Co. 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-the only one in Canada-you can sample select teas that
are so fresh you'd think they came from the lavish garden in back of this cozy
B&B. 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 a new sophisticated trend in
Ontario cuisine of fresh, local ingredient based dining. Delicious!