Seven stops embracing the darkness in Oxford County
Point your wheels towards Woodstock, Ontario where highways 401 and 403 meet for a day of delectable tasting that’s most definitely worth changing sides for. These seven stops are all about collaboration that revolves around the darker side of life: dark chocolate, dark coffee, dark beer…you get it. Want all the details? Check out Tourism Oxford’s full itinerary online which includes drive times, packing tips and more.
Your day begins at Early Bird Coffee with a hot cup of their dark roast Nighthawk Coffee or a partnership drink- the café mocha which features dark chocolate from Habitual Chocolate just a few minutes away. Really want to get to know your beans? Check out Early Bird’s tasting flight which serves up three bean varieties with very different flavor profiles or their Roasting Lab experience which allows you to create your dream beans with the roaster.
From there, hit the back roads of Woodstock to Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese. This artisan cheese plant crafts Swiss-inspired wheels using milk from the family dairy herd. Down a gravel road, pop into the shop and check out the cheese making process through a viewing window. Try their Dark Side of the Moo Cheese to understand where the dark side began. This cheese is bathed in Upper Thames Brewing’s Welcome to the Dark Side Chocolate Stout which in turn is brewed with cacao nibs from Habitual Chocolate. Spoiler alert: it’s delicious.
Just down the road, Wild Comfort Body Care is a small farm shop where owner Danielle Paluska crafts natural skin care products in house using many local ingredients. From soaps made with beer from Upper Thames Brewing to lovely body creams, shampoo bars and more- there’s something for everyone.
Next up? Check out Greener Pastures Eco Farm, a family-run business specializing in the farming of heritage breeds raised on pastures using rotational grazing techniques. You’ll take a short drive through a wooded path to the farm store where you can pick up their pork, chicken, beef and other local goodies. Be sure to try their burgers and sausages stuffed with Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese!
Finally, head back into the Friendly City and pop by Upper Thames Brewing Company for some craft beer. Consider ordering their Dark Side Flight which features dark chocolate from Habitual, their Welcome to the Dark Side Stout, the aforementioned Dark Side of the Moo cheese and some pretzels because even Sith Lords need to do some snackin’. Too far?
Wrap up that nice circle with a visit to Habitual Chocolate. You had to know it was on the list by now, right? On chocolate-making days, you can watch chocolatier Philippe Lehner craft chocolate from bean to bar right in house through a viewing window. Pick up a few bars to go. We definitely recommend the one made with Early Bird Coffee or their mint one using local mint tea from Nerd Teas or…okay they’re all good. Who are we kidding?
All good days must come to a close, right? Sigh. Finish off your full day of dark side touring with a farm to table meal from SixThirtyNine. This FeastON restaurant is a must-visit restaurant in Woodstock. The menu changes with the seasons and often features any one of the stops along this tour. It’s pretty much the perfect way to end your day.
Want to keep the good times rolling? We get it! Consider staying the night and either breaking this tour in half or enjoying new stops the next day. Nearby Chateau la Motte Guest House offers a Couples Cheese, Charcuterie and Wine package and luxurious rooms that will make you feel right at home.