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Meaghan Evely - Saucier, Pazzo Taverna

Posted under Stratford's #nextgen Chefs on Apr 5, 2019

Pazzo Taverna

Meet Meaghan Evely, Saucier at Pazzo Taverna. Meaghan grew up in Tillsonburg and Woodstock, Ontario, where she perused her culinary career at an Italian franchise restaurant. She had the opportunity every Friday night to test out random ingredients that the kitchen manager would bring in -  comparable to a mini “chopped” episode - where she was able to cook her own creation for her manager. As a Stratford Chefs School grad, Meaghan explains how “the close-knit community of chefs is something to pay attention to. We’re all here to learn from each other and continuously grow, and that’s pretty inspiring.”

Age: 27

  1. Where did you grow up?
    1. I grew up in Tillsonburg and Woodstock.
  2. What or whom inspired you to pursue a culinary career?
    1. When I worked at the Italian Franchise Restaurant, I had a kitchen manager who previously went to culinary school. Every Friday one of the bartenders would bring in random ingredients (similar to the TV show Chopped) and have them make her lunch. I also craved the pressure and stress of high volume, but wanted to be more creative and learn new techniques.
  3. How has the culinary landscape of Stratford and area influenced your cooking?
    1. Having such a locally-source-driven community, I have really focused on how to respectfully bring the best out of what our farmers and producers provide. The close-knit community of chefs we have is also something to pay attention to. We’re all here to learn from each other and continuously grow, and that’s pretty inspiring.
  4. What dish are you most proud of creating?
    1. I have to give credit to Yva (Santini, Executive Chef) as well, as we feed each off of other. The dish I’m most proud of is our bacon wrapped stuffed rabbit saddle (braised leg, salsify, pickled cherries, carrots and sage) with king oyster and shitake mushrooms finished with a mushroom broth.
  5. What celebrity would you like to dine with and why?
    1. Celebrities are too hard to choose from. If I were to have a special dining experience, I would want to dine first class on the Titanic on the day it sank. There has been no record of a menu found from that night. And, (minus the sinking, of course) it would be pretty incredible to enjoy what could have been. Also, I am obsessed with the theatrics of fine dining, especially dating that far back.


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Live music creates memories and magic. Special experiences are waiting for you.

Posted under #StratfordAlwaysOn on Mar 12, 2019

Music is in Stratford's DNA. It's our secret heart. Bringing people together to celebrate culture and seasons is one of the things that makes Stratford so special. We invite you to let our music move you any time of the year. #stratfordalwayson


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Secrets of Stratford Revealed. Press Play to See For Yourself!

Posted under #StratfordAlwaysOn on Mar 4, 2019

Think you know Stratford? Bet you don't. We've got surprises for you to discover around every corner. This is your playground and we invite you to explore and have some fun. It’s time to round up your crew and go on an adventure! Who's ready to play? #StratfordAlwaysOn


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Find yourself in a world of creativity

Posted under #StratfordAlwaysOn on Feb 14, 2019

Imagine a place that's filled with creativity of every kind - in food, drink, music, art, and design. Come meet our #nextgen chefs, craft brewers and distillers, and genius artists and curators. Find yourself in all the special experiences Stratford has to offer at any time of the year. #stratfordalwayson


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Passion for Food and Fun

Posted under #StratfordAlwaysOn on Jan 10, 2019

Stratford is passionate about the arts, and food is art. Discover our celebrated food scene and savour fine dining, grab a delicious snack, or pick-up a sweet treat. It all pairs perfectly with locally distilled and brewed beverages. Share our passion for food and fun. #stratfordalwayson


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Innovation and Boundless Creativity

Posted under #StratfordAlwaysOn on Nov 30, 2018

Visit Stratford and discover a world of innovation and boundless creativity. You’ll find custom treasures to share, unexpected experiences to remember forever, and the genius of every kind of tastemaker under the sun. Come for a day, stay for the inspiration. #stratfordalwayson


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Meet Elizabeth - Top 5 Stratford Series - Guy Gifts

Posted under Top 5 Stratford Series on Nov 26, 2018

Top 5 Cool Gifts for Guys!

Elizabeth Top 5 Gifts for Guys

Meet Elizabeth. Elizabeth has a handle on what guys like raising two boys. She is the impetus behind the annual "Hops and Heels" fundraiser and keeps the community informed with an "Eye on Stratford".

Local Brews and Spirits gift pack:  My number one gift for a guy, as long as he drinks beer and liquor, would be a selection of easy drinking beers from Black Swan and Jobsite Brewing companies, and a bottle of spirits from Junction 56.  I would recommend Roadtrip or EPA from Black Swan and the 2 x 4 Cream Ale or the Wrong Nail Amber Ale from Jobsite. Both breweries offer growlers to go. Jobsite’s bright clever orange bottle mimics a construction cone! The Vodka or Gin from Junction 56 would be a safe bet for any guy, but to spice things up a bit for the holidays try the Moonshine and include their own recipe card for a Moonshine Sour – it’s delicious!

Artful Badger Top 5 Cool Gifts for Guys

Giving the man in your life quality shaving products for a gift would be personal and much appreciated. The Beard Envy Kit (for moustaches too!) for just $41 is a big seller, according to owner of The Artful Badger, Derek Reid.  If your guy is a little more adventurous, give him an Edwin Jagger Shaving Set and Stand.  You get a gorgeous safety razor, a pure badger-hair shaving brush and a matching stand with chrome plated trim. They also have a lovely line of aftershave lotion, beard balm, shave cream and cologne by Truefitt & Hill in a variety of scents. I think 1804 smells divine, however Derek says Sandalwood is the most popular. 

Socks Top 5 Cool Gifts for Guys

Give his boring sock drawer a shock of colour and whimsy with some funky dress socks! White Balmer Shoes carries a great selection of Socksmith and McGregor brands for men ranging from $10 to $18 per pair. If he has a hobby, a favourite sport, drink or pet, there are socks to match! Co-owner Pat White says he can’t keep the men’s socks stocked quick enough as they are at a great price-point for gifts. They even had cannabis, buffalo plaid, a football field, and flamingo patterned socks. Some socks are made from bamboo and others are a blend of cotton and nylon. Fill up his stocking with…well, stockings!

Stratford Golf and Country Club Top 5 Cool Gifts for Guys

If your dad, brother, uncle or son likes to golf then an afternoon at the golf simulator at the Stratford Country Club would be an awesome gift! There are two rooms, each equipped with a huge floor to ceiling screen where up to 4 people can play a round of 18 holes on a course of their choosing. You can also order food and beverages from Bogey’s lounge. The cost is $40 an hour (plus taxes), and you generally need 4 hours for 18 holes. Or you can buy a gift certificate in any amount and it can be used for any sport, service or food at the club. Give manager Rob Douglas a call to book.

Blowes Cards and Gifts Top 5 Cool Gifts for Guys

If your guy likes to cook then fire up his tastebuds with this beautiful new book called “Savour The Flavour of Stratford” by Richard Bain. Featuring a foreword from distinguished actor Colm Feore and recipes from the Stratford Festival's own executive chef Kendrick Prins, this hard cover recipe book is a must for any foodie who loves to shop and eat local. Bain's tasty read pays homage to Stratford’s culinary cornucopia by providing recipes from a number of establishments and individuals. Bon appetit! Pick it up at Blowes Cards and Gifts ($36.00).

Top 5 Cool Gifts for Guys

Top 5 Cool Gifts for Guys! Give Elizabeth's Top 5 for guys and tell us your best gift for guys.


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Meet Alex - Top 5 Stratford Series - Host Gifts

Posted under Top 5 Stratford Series on Nov 16, 2018

Top 5 Host Gifts that are better than wine!

Alex in Fanfare Books buying a host gift

Meet Alex, Owner Operator of The Farm Juice Co. producing small batch organic cold-pressed juices. Alex and her partner, Ryan often host guests and believe the simplest ingredients prepared and presented well are always the most impressive. When entertaining Alex always tries to demonstrate that healthy eating can be beautiful, fun and delicious. Here are her Top 5 gifts for hosts that will elevate their next gathering. When they decided to leave Toronto, they chose Stratford, a smaller community with an interesting food scene. They feel so grateful to have made it our home. They are passionate about supporting local businesses and are honoured to be a part of this vibrant community. Based on the belief that food is about community, health and sustainability Alex sells her product at like-minded Stratford businesses including revel, Edisons, The Green Hair Spa, The Yoga Chapple.

If your hosts have a baby or child I would absolutely recommend Miss Moon; Wise Words from a Dog Governess. This book is written and illustrated by Stratford resident Janet Hill and imparts twenty important lessons we all (furry or not) should learn. It is special to me with a new baby and several four-legged pets. If no babes are in the house you can never go wrong gifting a gorgeous cook book from Fanfare Books. I am currently savouring Ship to Shore by the late John Bil. Good cook books strike the perfect balance of inspiring recipes, mouth watering pictures and educating the reader.

Alex's Top 5 Host Gifts Syrup Bottle from Distill Gallery

Distill has a gorgeous collection of well-crafted Canadian designs. Their small curated selection of ceramics, prints and fabrics always make it difficult for me to choose my favourite. This season I would gift the one-of-a-kind Marianne Chenard Syrup Bottle. It is the perfect functional piece to add a Canadiana feel to your brunch table. Pair it with a tin of local maple syrup. Sweet!

Chemex coffee maker from revel Top 5 host gifts

Chemex has mastered design and function. It makes the perfect clean, rich flavourful cup of coffee and looks really sophisticated when serving coffee to others. Complete the package with a bag of revel’s direct trade coffee ground for the Chemex and a box of filters ensuring the gift is easy to use for your host.

Milky Whey gift Alex's Top 5 host gifts

Stuart Arkett’s honey, preserves from Pickles Eh (dilly carrots and turnips), local cheese and Italian olives are my favs. Chances are your host appreciates good food and any foodie loves thoughtful products that will make hosting their next event or snack easier.

Tea Leaves Alex's Top 5 Host Gifts

Any of tea sommelier, Karen's selection or sampling kits are a treat to receive and fun to give. These teas literally made me reconsider tea as a pleasurable and nourishing beverage (I never drank teas before these!) Karen and staff are extremely knowledgeable and will help you find the perfect blend for your host. Ginger rooibos, peppermint or classic Canadian breakfast are my current favourites.

top 5 host gifts

Enjoy giving Alex's awesome host gifts while building fabulous friendships. What are your favourite Stratford gifts to give to hosts?


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“Stratford itself is the type of walkable wholesome town Rodgers and Hammerstein might write a musical about.”

- Amy Alipio, Associate Editor, National Geographic Traveler

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