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Karen Ostry

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!





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Stratford, ON N5A 1W7
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