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2012 TOP 100 FESTIVALS & EVENTS ANNOUNCED

By Agatha Podgorski


� and 20 of them are Foodie focused!

On March 5, A�Festivals and Events Ontario (FEO) proudly to announce the 2012 Top 100 Festivals & Events in Ontario, sponsored by VIA Rail Canada.

Tasty Tidbits: Ontario VQA Wines Feel the Love

By Cheryl Grishkewich

Ontario Wine Council research proves Ontario�s and the world�s growing love for VQA wines.

Tasty Tid-Bits: Recipe for Economic Development Success

By Cheryl Grishkewich

Culinary Tourists: Recipe for Economic Development Success

There is only one activity in which virtually all tourists will participate. EATING.

Whether your strengths are adventure, culture, horticulture, heritage or sport, adding a culinary element to your product development will enhance the experience and have an impressive economic impact.

Tokyo gets a taste of Ontario!

By Rebecca Mackenzie

Tastes to tempt the media to "Discover What's on our Table"

Since its inception, the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance has had it’s sight sets on sharing the culinary tourism treasures of our province with the world. On October 12th in Tokyo, Japan that vision became a reality! In partnership with the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC) we presented “Ontario – Discover What’s On Our Table” to 60+ travel media. The event that took place at the Canadian Embassy featured an hour long presentation on our culinary tourism experiences, as well as, a wine and food pairing.

While pretty pictures and well delivered stories can inspire, nothing like a ‘taste of place’can tempt people to come for more. With that philosophy in mind, we started the afternoon with a cup of Stratford Tea Leaves Organic Ontario Tea Blend and Tea Aura Earl Grey Tea Biscuits. Once the presentation was in full swing, guests were served a Zucchini and Mushroom Bite infused with Niagara Ice Wine Syrup (a recipe from Lynn Ogryzlo’s Ontario Table Cookbook) paired with a glass of Norman Hardie’s 2009 Pinot Noir. A sweet finish – the Maple Syrup Infused Pear with Gorgonzola paired with Vineland Estates Ice Wine was a success!

Culinary tourism destinations and wine countryA�including Niagara, The Blue Mountains and Collingwood, Stratford, Toronto, Prince Edward County and Ottawa were highlighted for experiences such as the Niagara Helicopters Wine Tour, the Apple Pie Trail, the Chocolate Trail, the CN Tower Edge Walk with 360 Restaurant, the Taste Trail and Winterlude to name a few. Guests took home more tastes of Ontario in gift bags that included Mrs. McGarrigle’s Canadian Maple Mustard, Ontario Maple Syrup, Fairmont Royal York Honey, Savour Stratford Chocolates, Ontario Ice Wine and popcorn from Norfolk County.

I believe it’s safe to say our tastes and tales left a lasting impression A�- our efforts garnered immediate media results. If fact, one of the invited guests, Jamie Paquin of Heavenly Vines (an all Canadian wine store in Tokyo where you can find Ontario wines including Stratus, 13th Street, Colaneri, Tawse, Norman Hardie and Foriegn Affair Winery to name a few) noticed an immediate increase in business in the days following our presentation!

This whirlwind trip (in Japan for four nights) was a wonderful foray into the future of promoting Ontario culinary tourism internationally, and how it can attract new, and engaged visitors that are interested in enhancing their travels to Canada through connecting with our wine and food culture!

The Metro Toronto Convention Centre Partners with OCTA!

By Danielle Heft

The Metro Toronto Convention Centre has reached another sustainability milestone! In partnership with OCTA, the MTCC has added a local food advocate to its team – Kelly Hughes is now the Local Food Procurement Officer, Chef and Project Manager who has taken on the mandate to create and implement a new strategy for the MTCC around Ontario-based sourcing.

Funding for Hughes’ new position has come from the Broader Public Sector Investment Fund as part of the Greenbelt Fund.

This milestone will support local economies and build strong communities; it is a green initiative that will reduce the environmental impacts of air pollution from food travel; and above all else, it will provide tastier produce.

Hughes’ passion is local and sustainable food, so she is looking forward to reducing the MTCC’s footprint while offering visitors the true taste of Ontario.

As the initiative unfolds, the MTCC website will continue to release updates!

Announcing the 2011 Culinary Tourism Award Winners!

By Agatha Podgorski

TORONTO, Ont. //– The Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA) is proud to announce the winners of the 2011 Culinary Tourism Awards! The 2011 Culinary Tourism Leadership Award winner is Savour Stratford Perth County. The 2011 Culinary Tourism Experience Award winner is The Apple Pie Trail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winners were honoured at the 2011 Ontario Tourism Summit, taking place in Hamilton, Ontario on October 3rd through the 5th.

The Ontario Culinary Tourism Awards celebrate the passion and excellence of those dedicated to advancing the culinary tourism movement in Ontario. Through their steadfast leadership and unique experiences, both winners and finalists set the bar for what culinary tourism in Ontario represents.A� Presented by the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, these awards recognize those who work hard to tell the stories of our growers, producers, chefs, winemakers and brewers.

Also of note were the awards runners up: For Leadership, it was WindsorEats.com; For Experience, it was Oktoberfest at Beaus All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill.

Chudleigh’s PieFest 2011

By Agatha Podgorski

Getting out of bed early on Saturday morning is typically a difficult thing to do. Nevertheless, this Saturday I stepped out into the morning chill, bright and early with one thing on my mind: PIE.

It was the 2nd annual Chudleighs PieFest and I had the delicious pleasure of being invited to judge the event! Along with Blogger Deborah Coombs, Valerie Howes of Reader’s Digest Canada, Steve LeBlanc from the Milton Champion, Tamara McPherson of WonderMoms.ca & Adell Schneer of Canadian Living, I had the pleasure of tasting 18 fantastic apple pies and struggling to choose a winner.

The rules were simple. Pies must be apple, only apple, and arrive in a 9inch pie tin. This year, there was also a silent auction with all proceeds going to the Starlight Foundation. All bakers were required to bake two identical pies – one for the contest and one for the Silent Auction. During judging, spectators got the chance to weigh-in on the best pies and place a bid.

First prize went to Shannon McCrae and her fantastic caramel studded dual-crust pie. Second place went to Penny Martin of Sweet Sadies Baking, who also won best crust, while third was awarded to Eva Menda-Gibson. Sonja Tam went home with the prize for best filling.A�All the pies were phenomenal though�a point proven by the flock of spectators devouring the left overs once judging was finished!

Chudleighs is open July through October for pick-your-own apples, country lunches, tractor rides andA� other family fun. They’ve also got a restaurant and country shop on site where you can find apple goodies, local cheeses and of course, fresh baked pies! For more information, visit their website or follow them @chudleighsfarm!

Photo Credit:
Marcie Costello
Photography

Culinary Tourism Alliance goes to Japan This October!

By Rebecca Mackenzie


The Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA) is proud to announce it is partnering with Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC) for a special media visit to Tokyo, Japan Oct. 10-15, 2011. This exciting opportunity will allow OCTA to showcase Ontario�s unique food and drink experiences abroad. The visit will focus on market-ready Ontario culinary tourism products from OCTA member destinations as the latest and most attractive facet of travel within Ontario. Held at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo on Oct. 12, OCTA�s presentation will target vital Japanese tourism media, travel trade, embassy staff, and consumers interested in food and drink tourism abroad. ?We�re thrilled to be working in partnership with the OTMPC to showcase the great tastes of Ontario,? says OCTA�s executive director, Rebecca LeHeup. ?Above all we�re looking forward to giving Japanese travellers another delicious reason to keep exploring Ontario and Canada.? OCTA and OTMPC are inviting attendees at this hallmark event, entitled ?Ontario � Discover What�s On Our Table?, to share in the stories of those working in our province�s agricultural, viticultural, and hospitality sectors. Artisan food and beverage products from Ontario producers will be made available for guests, allowing them to taste first-hand the distinctive flavours of our province. Giveaways, media packages, travel/tour information and regional destination marketing materials will also be made available to attendees. ?We are delighted to partner in promoting one of Ontario�s signature experiences to our largest Asian market,? says OTMPC President and CEO, Ronald Holgerson.A� ?Ontario offers a tempting menu of world class chefs, farm fresh food, and award-winning wines.A� We invite our Japanese friends to come and `Discover What�s on Our Table�. ? OCTA and OTMPC will be highlighting how Ontario�s culinary tourism experiences are unrivalled in their authenticity. By doing so, they will capture the attention of one of the most dynamic and discerning outbound tourism markets in the world, and further encourage key players in the Japanese tourism industry to promote Ontario. About the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance: The Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA) is an industry-driven organization that builds capacity for the culinary tourism in Ontario by connecting growers, producers, processors, tourism operators and others rooted in our agri-food and travel sectors. In partnership with over 30 member organizations, our work lies in developing relationships between growers and processors, chefs and restaurateurs, accommodation providers and distributors, government and industry organizations. Our mission?A� Commitment. Collaboration. Communications. OCTA strives to build and sustain regional identities by supporting sustainable agricultural and aquaculture resources, as well as food and beverage supplies. We accomplish this through our online and social media platforms, customized member services, strong media connections, timely communications and event programming. Above all, we act as the leading voice to share Ontario’s culinary tourism stories with passion and pride. In addition, OCTA is leading efforts in culinary tourism-related research, education and product development as outlined in the 2011-2015 Ontario Four-Year Culinary Tourism Strategy & Action Plan. Within this paradigm, OCTA has the goal of developing Ontario into the premier international culinary tourism destination.   About Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation: Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC) is an agency of the government of Ontario.A� The OTMPC collaborates with tourism partners and colleagues at home and internationally to develop and deliver exciting, integrated, research-driven marketing programs that reinforce Ontario as a strong tourism economy and a premier, four-season travel destination. www.tourismpartners.com   For more information and for media inquiries please contact: Rebecca LeHeup Executive Director, Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance rebecca@ontarioculinary.com (613) 471-0102

Veggie-licious Heirlooms at Evergreen Brick Works

By Agatha Podgorski

It’s not difficult to convince a foodie to eat second helpings of dessert.A� One can simply offer and it will be had.A� Last night at the Evergreen Bricks Works GE Cafe Chefs Series, Chef Brad Long and growing-guru Vicki Emlaw had us eating thirds!A� Despite the late hours, participants were indulging in warm chocolate chip cookies with late-harvest strawberry compote and fresh cream.A� It was a much needed teaser taster to the warm summer to come.
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