Exploring the Cheddar & Ale Trail

Agatha and Rebecca were recently invited on a whirlwind tour of the Bay of Quinte’s brand new Cheddar & Ale Trail. A�This massive regional trail includes historic cheesemakers, unique small batch craft breweries and cider houses from the area–stretching from Brighton in the west to Napanee in the east, north to Stirling and Campbellford, and south to Lake Ontario lapping at the County�s shoreline.

If you’ve ever ventured up to Bay of Quinte�you�ll have noticed that the area has a very special relationship with cheese.

The region is home to Canada�s oldest cheese factory, Ivanhoe Cheese and in the 1940s, boasted more than 100 cheese factories. Back then, most of them were owned by local farmers�making Hastings County famous as the Cheese Capital of Ontario.

What’s more,A�the rich agricultural land which traditionally grew both hops and barley in abundance, has also given birth to a number of breweries and cider houses scattered along picturesque country roads.

So, what are our highlights from the Trail?

Cole Point Cider, Adolphustown
Perfectly paired with a thin crust, house made pizza served up on the sun drenched patio overlooking the vineyard–Cole Point Cider fromA�Bergeron Estate Winery is dry, effervescent and delicious. A�Winemaker David Bergeron tells the story of his cider brilliantly taking you through the history of the label to why Cole Point is important for apple growing.

Maple Dale Cheese, Belleville-ish
Wayne is a 4th generation cheese maker at Maple Dale Cheese. A�His son will make Maple Dale a 5 generation strong cheddar producer. A�From double smoked extra hot cheddar (featuring local hot peppers!) to award-winning 10 year old white cheddar that crumbles at the slightest touch, this dairy is a must stop on the Trail.

Church Key Brewery Co., Campbellford
Located in a tiny church just outside Campbellford, this brewery churns out some of the most unique beers we’ve ever tasted. A�Taps include “Holy Smoke”, a smoked barley stout; flagship beer “Northumberland Ale” and our favorite, the super seasonal The Great Pumpkin Ale. A�Coming it atA�7% alcohol, it’s brewed with 350kg of locally sourced pumpkin byA�BrewerA�John Graham.

Cheese and ale not enough to fuel your travels? A�Stop at Thread Cafe in Trenton for a real unique taste of place. A�The Brighton grilled cheese includes local cheeses, local apples and caramelized onions with grainy Ontario mustard. A�It’s toasted t perfection and served with a hefty side of sass. A�We approve!

 

To book your own Cheddar & Ale Trail adventure, sign up for their newsletter–And don’t forget to download the Cheddar & Ale Trail map before you go!

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