It's the most wonderful time of year to support local in Ontario.
Welcome to the Official Ontario Culinary Gift Guide!
We've brought together the best bottles, the greatest gifts and, as always, the most delicious experiences from across the province. Any of these ideas is sure to knock the locally-made socks off that special someone on your list. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed curating it.
SIX SERIOUSLY COOL EXPERIENCES
With your safety in mind, we've put together this list to help make giving the gift of a great experience easy - even if getting everyone together around the tree isn't this year.
1 • TRUFFLE CAMP
Cindy Walker is more than a chocolatier - she's a storyteller. At Truffle Camp, you get to spend an afternoon in her shoes learning to make chocolate truffles from scratch featuring flavours that reflect Oxford County tourismoxford.ca/Truffle-Camp
2 • CHEF LED COOKING CLASSES
The popular Chef Next Door Cooking Studio in Windsor Essex is open and provides an opportunity to develop culinary skills under the guidance of local chefs. Class sizes are limited - so book early! thetwistedapron.com
3 • A DOME OF YOUR OWN
The The Village Biergarten in Waterloo Region has transformed their sprawling patio into a seasonal wonderland thanks to private - heated - six person domes. They serve a variety of local craft beers and shareable Mexican food. the-village-biergarten.square.site
4 • DISCONNECT TO RECONNECT
At Northern Edge Algonquin, you can book an immerse - unplugged - "Fire & Ice" winter retreat for your group of 10 that includes guided outdoor adventure, wood-fired sauna time and plenty of campfires. northernedgealgonquin.ca
5 • LOCAL, FORAGED, HOMEGROWN
Book a private seven course tasting on the farm with Salt + Sumac in Grey County. Joel and Hannah create magical experiences focused on hyper-seasonal ingredients with a story. sumacandsalt.com
6 • PADDLE PARTY
Whether it's an adventurous ride or a calm family trip, OWL Rafting offers quality 1 and 2-day whitewater vacations that include locally-sourced feasts to fuel your time on the river. Gift now, paddle later! owlrafting.com
‘Tis the season of giving (and getting!) locally grown and made things – and who better to make suggestions than our staff? We asked the team to put together their favourite, locally-crafted holiday gift picks for the foodies in their life. We hope they help you check off everyone on your list – even the not so nice ones. Enjoy!
SENSATIONAL SPARKLERS YOU'LL WANT TO GIVE (AND GET!)
It's more important than ever to support Ontario VQA wines.
Many wineries are offering home delivery. Many tasting rooms are open, but please book ahead.
WINE TASTING FOR ONE
Want to add a little zest to your Zoom parties?
At Dark Horse Estate Winery, they're selling wine tasting kits for one. Order a bunch, send them to your besties and discover the wonderful world of VQA wine together - online! store.dhew.ca
THINK INSIDE THE BOX
Many Ontario restaurants, artisans and events have curated tasting boxes of delicious goodies to share with your friends this season. Here are our favorites.
The 'Making Spirits Bright' Holiday Gift Box
Do you have a local wine enthusiast on your list? Order a Making Spirits Bright gift box at epicwineries.com to get the delivered direct to your door for $275. The gift box features all 14 EPIC wines featured in our gift guide – with a portion of proceeds donated to the Children’s Aid Society.
The Heatherlea Farm Premium Steak Butcher Box
This box is loaded with premium Angus Beef steaks from Heatherlea Farm. Each steak is dry-aged in their controlled coolers and than hand-cut. It's the perfect gift for the carnivore in your life.
*Limited Edition* Sap Sipper Kit by Top Shelf Distillers
Top Shelf has curated a number of themed cocktail kits, but this one takes the cake. It includes their delicious Maple Moonshine, a bottle of All Spice Bitters and a handmade Hults Bruk throwing hatchet.
The "Pay It Forward" Box
This box includes 2 bottles of award-winning Rosehall Run wine, 2 cans of their Pixie sparkling; plus a slew of local treats like Kinsip Whisky Maple Syrup, County Fare Ketchup and more!
Beer Squad Mystery Box by Society of Beer Drinking Ladies
This is the perfect box for the craft beer lover in your life. It includes 12 different Ontario craft beers, 3 surprise bevvies, SOBDL merch and 10 tasty treats by Ontario artisans to pair alongside. Supplies limited.
The Good Food Box by Foodshare
Fresh, locally grown, culturally diverse produce delivered. The Good Food Box is a great way to keep your friend's fridge stocked with food that's good for you and good for the community.
NOTHING SAYS I LOVE YOU
LIKE ONTARIO ARTISAN CHEESE
This year, give the delicious (and nutritious!) gift of Ontario artisan cheese. Each one of these beauties will stand alone as a great gift, but don't hesitate to pair them with local wines, beers and treats to create you're own gift basket. Trust us, your friend/parent/lover/coworker will thank you.
HOT SAUCES FOR COLD WEATHER
These Ontario-made hot sauces make great stocking stuffers for anyone who needs to add a little pep to their step come winter. They're made with Ontario ingredients, in small-batches right here at home.
DIABLO'S FUEGO supicucu.wordpress.com
This signature sauce from SUPICUCU by Panamanian Chef Rossy Earle is beloved by chefs and foodies alike.
HOTEL OSCAR TANGO damiens.ca
This spicy sauce by DAMIEN'S is crafted from mango, vinegar, habaneros, garlic & fresh herbs for a deep and complicated flavour.
FIRE N' ICE vishantis.com
This bright green sauce is VISHANTI PEPPER SAUCE's take on Trinidadian 'green sauce'. It's packed with cilantro for added freshness.
LIME FIRE burnerfiresauce.com
This tangy, green hot sauce by BURNER is made in Toronto with no 'fillers' for a clean, even heat.
PINEAPPLE HABANERO heartbeathotsauce.com
This is an excellent hot sauce. It's made with Sleeping Giant Brewery's Beaver Duck IPA, yellow habaneros and plenty of pineapple. It's one of five signature sauces made by the Thunder Bay based HEARTBEAT HOT SAUCE.
SOLAR FLARE peppernorth.com
This signature sauce from PEPPER NORTH ARTISAN FOODS is made with smoked pineapples and habanero in Oshawa, Ontario.
DAILO HOUSE HOTSAUCE dailoto.com
Take home a taste of Chef Nick Lui's celebrated Feast On Certified Toronto restaurant - DAILO - on your next visit! It's made with fermented Ontario-grown peppers and packs a punch.
Made with peppers and other goodies grown at HURT BERRY FARMS in Port Perry, Ontario - this smoky, mole inspired sauce features Canadian wild mushrooms.
FIERY PHEONIX tropicthunders168.square
This spicy little sauce from TROPIC THUNDERS 168 is made with jackfruit for something a little different. It took home 1st Place at London Heatwave Expo Eternal Flame Awards!
HOUSE HAB caserofood.ca
The team at CASERO in Owen Sound is slinging fiery haberno hot sauce with a distinct Mexican flair. It's got a deep heat and slight acidity balanced with local carrots.
BIG BOLD BEERS TO GIVE NOW
(AND SHARE LATER)
These Ontario craft beers are big. They're bold. They're very giftable. We recommend giving them now, putting them down to age and getting together to share them with the local craft beer lover in your life later. Enjoy!
VINTAGE KENTUCKY BASTARD: Imperial Stout Aged in Kentucky Bourbon Barrels
NICKLEBROOK BREWING CO
CTHULHU RISES... Imperial Stout with Raspberries, Cranberries, and Tart Cherries
Sawdust City Brewing Co.
KEEP IT CONVIENT (AND LOCAL)
WITH HEY LOCAL
Buying local comes with many benefits for the community. Not only does it increase your community's economic health, but it's better for the environment as it reduces the use of fossil fuels, utilizes less plastic, and uses land more productively.
This season, make the choice to steer clear of big tech and shop small with HEY LOCAL. Their mission is to offer a fully local online marketplace with the convenient shopping experience of retail giants, filled with great products sold by vendors within your community. That's pretty neat!
AND OTHER LIL' SOMETHINGS
We asked our staff, our chefs and the artisans in our network for ideas on what they'd like to give (and get!) this holiday season. The result? A great list to help guide your shopping this season. Any of these locally grown and made goods will knock the handmade socks off the food and drink lover on your list.