Since its inception, the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance has had it’s sight sets on sharing the culinary tourism treasures of our province with the world. On October 12th in Tokyo, Japan that vision became a reality! In partnership with the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC) we presented “Ontario – Discover What’s On Our Table” to 60+ travel media. The event that took place at the Canadian Embassy featured an hour long presentation on our culinary tourism experiences, as well as, a wine and food pairing.
While pretty pictures and well delivered stories can inspire, nothing like a ‘taste of place’can tempt people to come for more. With that philosophy in mind, we started the afternoon with a cup of Stratford Tea Leaves Organic Ontario Tea Blend and Tea Aura Earl Grey Tea Biscuits. Once the presentation was in full swing, guests were served a Zucchini and Mushroom Bite infused with Niagara Ice Wine Syrup (a recipe from Lynn Ogryzlo’s Ontario Table Cookbook) paired with a glass of Norman Hardie’s 2009 Pinot Noir. A sweet finish – the Maple Syrup Infused Pear with Gorgonzola paired with Vineland Estates Ice Wine was a success!
Culinary tourism destinations and wine countryincluding Niagara, The Blue Mountains and Collingwood, Stratford, Toronto, Prince Edward County and Ottawa were highlighted for experiences such as the Niagara Helicopters Wine Tour, the Apple Pie Trail, the Chocolate Trail, the CN Tower Edge Walk with 360 Restaurant, the Taste Trail and Winterlude to name a few. Guests took home more tastes of Ontario in gift bags that included Mrs. McGarrigle’s Canadian Maple Mustard, Ontario Maple Syrup, Fairmont Royal York Honey, Savour Stratford Chocolates, Ontario Ice Wine and popcorn from Norfolk County.
I believe it’s safe to say our tastes and tales left a lasting impression – our efforts garnered immediate media results. If fact, one of the invited guests, Jamie Paquin of Heavenly Vines (an all Canadian wine store in Tokyo where you can find Ontario wines including Stratus, 13th Street, Colaneri, Tawse, Norman Hardie and Foriegn Affair Winery to name a few) noticed an immediate increase in business in the days following our presentation!
This whirlwind trip (in Japan for four nights) was a wonderful foray into the future of promoting Ontario culinary tourism internationally, and how it can attract new, and engaged visitors that are interested in enhancing their travels to Canada through connecting with our wine and food culture!