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May 11, 2007 05:26 AM

Peterborough to Kawarthas: Food Finds?

We're heading up to the Kawartha Lakes area for a few days. Does anyone know of any good non-chain restaurants, artisanal bakeries, local food shops, etc. in the region?

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  1. Ralph's Butcher Shop in Norwood (east on Hwy 7 from Peterborough) is always worth stopping by. Their selection of sausage is amazing. It's also a good place to pick up Empire Cheese, easily the best cheddar in Ontario, I think, that's made a little farther down the road in Campbellford and not available in Toronto, sadly.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tbonetak

      Second Ralph's and his sausages. Great stuff!

      Here's a strange one. Great wonton soup at the Havelock Garden Restaurant on Highway 7 in Havelock. Everything else is fried and over-battered, but the soup, homemade broth and dumplings, yum.

      1. re: Mila

        Had the Won-Ton soup at the Havelock Garden Restaurant..."Home of the Chinese Smorgasbord" today. It was fantastic.

        Thanks for the suggestion Mila

    2. peterborough is a mecca of good restaurants in the mid-price range. i love eating out there. search for peterborough on chowhound site and you will see some recommendations.

      1. I stopped by a funky little restaurant in Peterborough on my way up to the Kawarthas a couple of years ago - I think it was called "The Electric Banana"? Cool little place with quite good food and moderately priced from what I remember. Seemed like the type of place that would attract the student & faculty crowd looking for something better than pub grub.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Amac

          Are you thinking of the Electric Clove? They shut down.

          There are so many great options non-chain in Peterborough and heading up to Lakefield. I am from Lakefield - but I know Peterborough pretty well too. Do you have particular foods that you prefer? What about price point?

          If you Google 'kawartha dining', you will get some sites that can help, but the short list includes:
          * Tapas: Cervantes on Hunter Street - they're doing some nice plates and all reasonably priced.
          * Artisanal baking: Sticklings Bakery on Charlotte Street.
          * Higher style: Old Bridge Inn, Young's Point (n. of Lakefield). Excellent dining in a casual environment, right by the lock in Young's Point.
          * Olde Stone Brewing Company - Brewpub - more pub than anything else but nice.
          * Lunch: Ward Street Grill in Bridgenorth. They have a wicked avocado wrap with sweet pot fries and spicy aioli that is to die for...

          There's tons more... Happy eating!

          1. re: kawarthagirl

            I'm very much into restaurants serving seasonal and local foods whenever possible, as well as local artisanal foods (makers and purveyors), interesting farm stands and farmers' markets, etc.

            So far, you've all been great with your responses. Thanks!

            1. re: FlavoursGal

              farm stands... on the glenarm road (west of the 35, south of rosedale, north of lindsay) there are heaps of mennonite farms most of whom sell fresh produce and eggs (but never on sunday!) some also sell meat, and some will sell you butter if you ask (mmmmm). while i'm sure they're not certified organic, i'm sure they are all organic in practice, seeing as they don't use electricity or gas-powered vehicles. speaking of, don't drive too fast, there may be a horse and buggy up ahead.

          2. re: Amac

            ALSO! In Lakefield, there is Nuttshell Next Door cafe (yum sandwiches, etc... all high quality ingredients!)

          3. There's a new place my mom took me to that recently opened in Ptbo- it's called Periwinkle's.

            Great home cooking- you can taste the love!

            They have clotted cream & preserves too!

            1. Stop in at Herma's on Highway 28 north of the 401. Lots of fun stuff for decorating, quality kitchen equipment, plus a vaaaaaast selection of preserves, condiments, frozen foods, gourmet cheeses... Definitely worth checking out.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Full tummy

                That reminds me! The Cheese Shop in Peterborough is very well stocked and the BEST place for sauces, rubs, condiments, whatever is Firehouse Gourmet, on Hunter St. East. They even have some you can taste -- there is a truffle mustard that is phenomenal as well as some seriously suicidal sauces --- way to hot for me!

                1. re: kawarthagirl

                  Kawarthagirl, have you been to Herma's? I haven't been to Firehouse Gourmet, but I have to tell you that Herma's non-perishable food section is really unparalleled in my experience, in what I think of as fairly rural Ontario. Hope you have a chance to drop by and share your thoughts.

                  1. re: Full tummy

                    Kawarthagirl is ALWAYS awesome for 'patch suggestions. Makes me miss the place. The downtown core really is an excellent spot for interesting restaurants.

                    Another nice spot is the Planet Bakery Cafe on Water Street. I haven't been there for quite a while but I have been assured by a few friends that it is still just as good. They specialize in vegetarian fare as I recall.

                    Enjoy your visit. Cheers.

                    1. re: Full tummy

                      We have been to Herma's many, many times... They sell a lot of brands of sauces, tapenades, etc.. that are available at other stores in Peterborough, so we stopped making the trip unless we happeend to be headed to Port Hope/Cobourg.

                      What I like about FireHouse is that they are focused. They don't have knick knacks and cakes and cheeses and frozen foods and so on and so on and so on. Their focus makes their product knowlege quite impressive... They have tried everything that has come through their door and regardless of who is at the counter, they can pretty much tell you what you want to know.

                      Peterborough is well on its way, with a little help, to becoming another PEC. There is so much going on with food, with a particularly interesting focus on 'field to fork' concepts... It's great to see a place growing this way...

                      1. re: kawarthagirl

                        Hi guys, new to this board and resident of Kawarthas. Just wanted to add a note about Hermas. I buy expensive gift baskets for my corporate clients every holiday season. Someone recommended Hermas because I wanted to something really artistic and wanted to support local businesses. I was very specific about what I wanted in each basket, for example, I mentioned that one of the baskets was for someone who had lost a lot of weight and didn't want to be tempted by sugary treats. Well, I found out from my client who received it, that they had loaded it with chocolate and short bread cookies. I called Hermas owner to ask how the miscommunication happened and she got miffy, defensive and angry at me. Not impressive customer service tactics, especially considering that I had just dropped over $350 with them. I will never order from them again. It was embarrassing.

                  2. re: Full tummy

                    AHHHH Hermas! One of the finest shops in the land, if you go there on a weekend, youll see it is a destination shop for visitors from Toronto as well. Now that Im back in Ottawa, it is one of the many things I miss about life in Ptbo. Want to know what is hot in fine foods? Go see Hermas, the store dosent look like much from the outside, "dont judge a book by its cover!"