If you are in Greater Toronto Area, I hope you are enjoying some of this much anticipated nice weather. It is most definitely a nice change after a seemingly never-ending winter. This is an amazing time not only to rediscover our city, but also the surrounding areas. There is so much to see and do that is only a road trip away. I want to let you know about an incredible experience that I recently had the opportunity to take part in, and tell about an incredible tour company right here in our city that you need to know about , because these experiences are nothing short of incredible!
Kevin Durkee (aka The Big Cheese) founder of Cheesewerks Restaurant and brand marketing executive is a friend of TNL. Check out our review of Food Fight Trivia Night at Cheesewerks, one of our city’s coolest events. Kevin recently partnered with Chef Scott Savoie as co-owner of Canada’s largest culinary tourism company, The Culinary Adventure Company.
Do you like to eat? If so, you will love the experiences that the Culinary Adventure Company offers. Classes, food tours and culinary adventures are their specialty. Believe me when I say that these guys know their food. The Big Cheese and Chef Scott are able to use their combines foodie expertise and knowledge of the city to create perfectly planned and undoubtable delicious experiences. Before we get in to the amazing tour that I attended, let me tell you about some of their other amazing offerings.
Feel like staying in the city? How about a food and cultural walking tour of one of Toronto’s incredible neighborhoods? Flavours of the World- Baldwin Village Tour, Discover Greektown on the Danforth, Little India Food and Cultural Walking Tour, Riverside/Leslieville Food and Cultural Walking Tour, and the “Gaybourhood Gourmet” Church & Wellesley Village Food and Cultural Walking tours are just some of the fun outings in the upcoming months.
If you want to kick it up a notch, the Culinary Adventure Co has a number of special excursions, classes and tours depending on the season. Grillin and Chillin is a BBQ class and pig roast, Uncork the County is a wine tour in Prince Edward Country unlike any win tour you’ve ever been on before, an Urban Mushroom Forage will have you exploring the Don Valley in search of wild mushrooms and edible plants before having a gourmet chef prepared lunch.
One of the coolest city tours I have ever heard of, is the Escape the City Canoe Paddle and Beach Dining Adventure. On this excursion, you get to canoe paddle through a bird sanctuary to Toronto Island where you enjoy a chef prepared gourmet dinner picnic. On the way back, you can enjoy the Toronto skyline at sunset!
Every Culinary Adventure Co. experience is unique and having just experienced one, I can assure you that you won’t ever go hungry!
I attended the Culinary Adventure Company’s annual day trip to the Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Prince Edward County and it was an incredible day of great food, fine wine and amazing memories.
In the early morn (8:30…YAWN), my friend and I made our way down to Cheesewerks Resto (56 Bathurst), where the bus would pick us up. The Big Cheese had coffee breakfast ready for us and it was so delish.
We didn’t know yet that this would just be the tip of the iceberg, as far as food goes.
We were given some “sippy cups” for the road, and we got in our little bus with about 14 other cheeseheads and headed for Prince Edward County.
When we entered the county, Chef Scott did a time check, declaring that it was ” wine o’clock”. Perfect time to pull in to a winery.
Rosehall Run Winery is located on land rich with remarkable Hillier clay soil scattered with numerous rock and shale fragments on a limestone base. There are 25 acres of estate vineyards planted and it includes a barn used for grape processing, wine production and barrel storage. It also includes a tasting bar, which our group made good use of. We sampled six wines and then made our way outside with a glass of our favourite selection for lunch.
What happens when a chef and restaurateur/ food expert put together a picnic lunch? Well, magic happens.
Fried chicken, summer salad with fig balsamic dressing, fresh melon and Ontario prosciutto, potato salad with truffle oil, coleslaw and three kinds of artisan bread with bone marrow butter. BONE. MARROW. BUTTER.
I cannot even begin to tell you how delicious lunch was. If you ever have the opportunity to enjoy a chef prepared lunch with wine at a picturesque winery, please do it. I’m a lucky gal.
After the incredible lunch (with visions of bone marrow butter still dancing in my head), we made our way to the Great Canadian Cheese Festival. When we arrived, I was surprised at the size of the festival. There were over 140 vendors! We were given 20 tasting tickets and set free to go wild tasting cheese and wine galore. And, that we did. There was so much to see and do, and I am pretty certain I ate more cheese on that day than I ever have in my life. Cheese=happiness. Cheese+ Wine=Bliss. Simple math.
It was a fantastic experience to be able to taste and buy products directly from the farmers. We picked up lots of goodies including cheese, nuts, baked good and honey. My favourite find was a kombucha starter kit, so that I can make my own kombucha (fermented tea) at home. Hurrah!
After three hours at the festival we all got back on the bus stuffed and happy. The Culinary Adventure Co. has another surprise up their sleeves though. We then drove to the legendary Slickers Ice Cream, where we were all treated to a cone of artisan ice cream!
Slickers has a plethora of all natural flavours to choose from, like apple pie (with three crushed homemade pies in every batch), campfire (roasted marshmallows) and peanut butter banana. I went with ginger rhubarb, and it was delicious!
Back on the bus, and our next stop was the beautiful Three Dog Winery. Owners John and Sacha Squair, started planting vines for their winery in 2000. The winery now covers 100 acres and the vineyard property has 3 different soil types: Darlington, Gerow, and Ameliasburgh. They are also based on the limestone bedrock that comes through as beautiful minerality in most wines from the Prince Edward County. Their beautiful property as a welcoming meeting place that features trails and yoga. Both John and Sacha were so welcoming and kind to our group as we tasted their excellent wine and enjoyed the beautiful property.
While at Three Dog, we enjoyed barbequed Jalapeno Cheese Curd Smokies, courtesy of Seed to Sausage. So stuffed.
Back on the bus, it was time to head back to the big city. But, the excitement wasn’t over. Believe me when I say, there was not a dull moment on this excursion. How about, a wine and caviar tasting ON THE BUS heading back to Toronto. I kid you not. Chef Scott whipped out chorizo, Sturgeon pate and caviar for the ride home. This stuff retails for $275/ 50 grams!!! What an experience.
When we returned to Cheesewerks at about 9 pm, we were a bus full of tired, happy people. Every part of the day was absolutely stellar. It was well planned, food and wine was top quality and our hosts Kevin and Scott could not have been nicer. I highly recommend the Culinary Adventure Co. My first experience with them was memorable and unique – one I won’t soon forget!