Spring is in the air in Oxford County and we couldn’t be more excited for all the brilliantly delicious things on the horizon! In just a few weeks, the season’s first crops of rhubarb and asparagus will begin to dot the horizon, spring buds and greenery will colour the landscape and along with it all- some truly unique flavours will be found across Oxford. Before the hustle and bustle of summer, consider heading down for a day along the Oxford County Cheese Trail as you rediscover what spring in Ontario truly is.
Stop 1: Jakeman’s Maple Farm + Trillium Woods
454414 Trillium Line, Sweaburg, ON (View Map)
*Note, you may need to put Beachville instead of Sweaburg in your GPS
Start your visit with one of the first signs of spring: freshly tapped maple syrup. Jakeman’s Maple Farm is located in the beautiful village of Sweaburg, in the old general store. You’ll be greeted with more mapley goodness than you knew existed. We’re talking maple popcorn, coffee, candies, cookies and Jakeman’s signature ice wine maple syrup (it tastes like blueberry pancakes)! For their Cheese Trail offer, Jakeman’s sells delicious maple cranberry brie toppers that are a perfect pairing for one of your later stops.
After finishing up in the store, pop across the road to Trillium Woods. Wander through a mature sugar bush on a wide, well-maintained 1km loop. Starting in late April, the trail comes to life with a blanket of stunning trilliums that are a site to behold. Please remember to take only photos and leave only footprints!
Time to next stop: 13 mins drive
Stop 2: Lunch at the Olde Bakery Café
120 Thames St. S. Ingersoll, ON. (View Map)
After your walk, settle in for a light lunch. The Olde Bakery Café in downtown Ingersoll has been a local favourite for their scratch soups, homemade baked goods and delightful breakfasts and lunches for years. Try one of our fav dishes, the Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese Breakfast Sandwich, which features a local cheese maker. Pair it up with a cajetta latte which uses goat’s milk caramel from another local cheese maker for a real treat!
If it’s a nice day, consider ordering your meal for takeout and enjoying it in one of Ingersoll’s many park spaces. There are plenty of benches to enjoy your meal on and just slow down.
Time to next stop: 1 min drive or 3 min walk
Stop 3: Discover the Flavours of Southwestern Ontario at Chocolatea
38 King St. E. Ingersoll, ON. (View Map)
At Chocolatea, you’ll be greeted by the warm and friendly face of Cindy Walker, co-owner, chocolatier and tea sommelier. Enter her world by signing up for Truffle Camp, an interactive experience where you’ll be brought behind the counter to craft a dozen artisan truffles together. You’ll create chocolates that use ingredients from across the region including beer, maple syrup and a few others we’ll leave for you to discover.
If you don’t have time to spare to sign up for the experience (we hope you’ll come back!), browse the shop for Cindy’s delicious small batch chocolate, a great selection of “naked” tea blends and a few other local goods like preserves from nearby Thames River Farms. Cindy’s chocolates are made with inventive flavor combos that are sure to delight your palette. Maple chipotle candied bacon chocolate, anyone?
Time to next stop: 1 min drive, 2 min walk
Stop 4: Put Your Faith in Cheese at the Wine Cellar & Cheese Shop
188 Thames St. S. Ingersoll, ON. (View Map)
Of course, what would a visit to the Oxford County Cheese Trail be without more cheese? Crazy, that’s what. Ridiculous, we say. Downright irresponsible. The Wine Cellar and Cheese Shop on Ingersoll’s main drag is home to a wonderful selection of cheeses as well as Ontario-made condiments for your charcuterie board and a few key cheese accessories like raclette and fondue sets. Browse their cheese counter for a curated variety of local, Ontario and international cheeses to find the right one (or five) for you! Now might be a good time to grab a nice wheel of brie for that Jakeman’s brie topper.
Time to next stop: 4 mins drive to either stop
Wind Down for the Day at Your Choice of Two Great Restaurants
You didn’t think we’d send you home without enjoying one more ooey-gooey, cheesy meal did you? For dinner- it’s your choice…and we use the word “choice” loosely because we won’t be judging if you have two dinners. #worthit
Option 1: Louie’s Pizza & Pasta
440 Bell St. Ingersoll, ON. (View Map)
Your first option in Ingersoll is Louie’s Pizza and Pasta. This roadhouse-style stop has a menu FULL of cheesy goodness. We’re talking monthly pizzas featuring local cheese makers (some of our favs have included an eloté corn pizza and even a spaghetti pizza), panzerottis the size of your head, smoked mac n’ cheese and our personal favourite, local cheese curds bathed in local craft beer and deep fried.
Option #2: The Elm Hurst Inn’s Mansion Restaurant
415 Harris St. Ingersoll, ON. (View Map)
Across town, The Elm Hurst Inn’s mansion restaurant offers a fine dining experience in a historic setting. Enjoy a menu of delicious dishes and their signature Oxford County cheese board which showcases some of the regions most talented cheese makers. Those looking to make their trip into an overnight will love the inn’s luxurious rooms and The Oxford County Cheese Trail package which brings a board of local cheese, chocolate and more right to your room. Oh look at you, so fancy!
So there you have it: an easy-peasy day trip featuring some of the un-brie-lievable flavours of the Oxford County Cheese Trail. We hope to see you soon when it’s safe to travel!