To really enjoy a busy summer region like Thousand Islands, you’ve got to discover the best places to enjoy a culinary treat – but your time is limited and your options are varied. So finding the great ones can be a real challenge.
As a local die-hard foodie, here are our 7 favourite bites, shops, sip and experiences to help you taste the best of the local region.
Owner + Big Cheese of Culinary Adventure Co.
I have the best job in the world – I make people happy through food, drink and great culinary experiences. My career grew out of being a natural-born foodie, Culinary Tourism leader, Cheese Expert, CPG marketer culminating as a champion for local and artisan Canadian food.
Growing up in rural eastern Ontario, I was surrounded by local artisan food – before it was called “local artisan food”. My Mom ran a home-bakery, then a tea room in Perth, Ontario for 25 years. She was a true entrepreneur and huge influence in my life. I worked side-by-side with her while I was growing up. She instilled my passion for great food and great stories – from an early age.
Chief Story-teller, Marketing Executive + Culinary Entrepreneur offering 20 years of marketing and culinary management experience within Canadian Cheese, Culinary Tourism, Artisan Food, Consumer Engagement, CPG, Retail + Foodservice sectors.
Culinary Adventure Co. is Canada’s #1 Food Tour + Adventure Co. with operations in Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, Halifax + Charlottetown and Winnipeg.
TWITTER + INSTAGRAM
This family-owned Jam & Jelly company is located on Wolfe Island, but you can find their wares at local shops and farmers markets. 2017 saw their Fig + Rhubarb Marmalade, our personal favourite, win First Place at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Enjoy a Sunday morning breakfast on board and treat yourself to a slather on a fresh scone or piece of toast. A real treat.
Delightfully Different Tea Room
Denise Paquette, a local legend in Kingston, is the charming host and culinary inspiration behind this delicious spot on Wellington St. She serves all sorts of tea time and afternoon savoury snacks, but be sure to call ahead and order a slice of her Butter Pecan Coffee Cake. It’s worth coming ashore for a slice.
SEED TO SAUSAGE
If you are a Charcuterie fan, there is no better source than the artisan team at Seed to Sausage. Mike McKenzie, Founder, believes that the tastiest food can only be made with the best ingredients, which we wholeheartedly agree. It’s why their hand-craft award-winning fermented salami, pancetta and guanciale are second to none. Seed to Sausage also offers an array of flavour packed sausages for your grill. Find their products across the region, or if you find yourself in Ottawa, visit their General Store and stock up for the summer.
Kingston Food Tours
There is no better way to taste a region, city or neighbourhood than a Food Tour. And there is not better host than the fine folks at Culinary Adventure Co. While they have experiences across Canada, none is better than their Savour Kingston Food Tour. Their Culinary Guides (Catherine was our guide) will have you wandering and visiting gourmet shops, restaurants and artisan food producers across Kingston’s downtown. A perfect afternoon to discover the hidden gems and iconic tastes of Kingston. A must.
COOKE’S FINE FOODS & COFFEE
Generations of families have shopped at Cooke’s, and since opening their doors in 1865, (yes 1865) the fine food retailer has carried some truly unique produce over the years. At one time they imported tiny boxes of “Chocolate Covered Baby Bees” and “Deep-friend Grasshoppers” as well as tins of “Rattlesnake Meat”. Now of course, the historic shop is filled with a treasure trove of culinary delights. Mustards, Salts, Jams, Candies, Chocolates, Coffee, Chips, Cheese, and thousands more little bags, bottles and boxes of the finest curated collection of foods in the Thousand Islands.
BROCKVILLE FARMERS’ MARKET
Our other favourite Farmers Market in the Thousand Island area is the collection of artisans at the Brockville Farmers’ Market. Step onto Market Street West on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings and enjoy shopping from one of the many local sellers. Every week, vendors bring to you Ontario’s farm-fresh foods, handmade crafts plus amazing ready-to-eat food and drink within easy access to the Brockville waterfront and downtown.
KINGSTON PUBLIC MARKET
We can’t truly enjoy the summer without getting lost in the bustling busy aisle of local Farmers Markets. Two of our favourites are in the region, first, the Kingston Public Market. As the oldest market in Ontario, the passionate vendors have been providing a food and a sense of community since 1801. During the summer the Market is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for you to fill your basket with local produce, fresh vegetables and don’t miss the chance to visit Bush Garden Cheese for raw-milk cheeses from Elgin, Ontario.