On a damp and drizzling Sunday morning, Jillian braved the weather to be pleasantly welcomed and warmed by the fantastic fare available at the 2013 Canadian Artisan Tasting Fair put on at the Wychwood Barns by the Leslieville Cheese Market. The social butterfly inside leaped out as I busied myself by chatting up the vendors and sponsors of this great event. Along my first pass of the stations, I chatted with Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese from Oxford County about their Five Brothers creation, and asked Paganelli’s Salumi which of their spicy cacciatores would be the best choice for an Ontario-themed wine and cheese party. I was drawn in by the lovely ladies at the FoodiePages booth and now enthusiastically detail their brand to family members on the hunt for gift ideas for a certain Guelphite! FoodiePages is a great online marketplace that strives to connect consumers with the artisans and producers of high-quality products across Canada. I was especially interested in their Ontario-based products and Erin was able to point me to the “always-giftable” Foodie Boxes and monthly subscriptions available through the marketplace. Just a few steps away, I was taken away to sugary bliss by the vanilla glazed doughnuts provided by Glory Hole Doughnuts. These beautiful babies had been handmade with so much love that I had to honour them with a special touch of extra whipped cream and caramel sauce! Kudos to Ashley and her team, you have a new (extremely supportive) fan! Next, my partner in crime bounded over to Pig Iron Coffee Roasters for a quick pick me up from their beautiful espresso machine while I sampled Black Oak‘s cinnamon noted Nutcracker Porter. We then both savoured and smiled over the Chai & Pumpkin Truffles being served up by Laura Slack‘s booth. Along the far wall of the fair, we chatted with Sanagan’s Meat Locker, who were serving up their chicken live pate topped with a slightly sweet wine maple jelly. Next up, it was a meeting between old university mates when I spotted Nickel Brook Brewery‘s newest brewer repping their station and pouring their feature small-batch brews. Always one to try a goat’s milk creation, this Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar caught my eye on a beautiful slate serving board. This was a lovely creamy and surprising cheddar. This cheese has won all sorts of awards in Ontario and beyond, it might be time to check out “the best kept secret of Ontario“. The Tasting Fair was a great connecting event between eager consumers dedicated to shopping locally and the smaller-scale producers of high-quality products. My tasting partner and I sampling and shopping for our an upcoming wine and cheese get-together. With so many options from the Tasting Fair, our guests will go nuts for local! The restored Wychwood Barns was a great venue because we felt both cutting-edge and comfortable in the space while appreciating the location’s impressive history. We found that the Tasting Fair was packed and we had to be patient to belly-up to some of the vendors. But the products and connections were so lovely that the wait was well worth it!