Good eats on the way to the cottage
Looking for great recs for bakeries, farm stands, etc. on the way to Cloyne, ON (Hwy. 41, north of 7). We're willing to drive along #7 (driving from Toronto) if it's worthwhile, rather than the quickest way along the 401. We'll also be heading east from there to Arden, ON on Labour Day, if anyone has recs for that area, too.
My goodness Cloyne is popular this year !
The 115 to 7 drive is so much calmer and nicer than the 401 which will be a nightmare on the long weekend.
Here my recs...
- Ralph's Butcher shop in Norwood does some good sausages.
- There is usually a little (very little) farmers market on Friday night by the railroad tracks.
- I get the best corn from Hunts in Northbrook, usually there on Friday nights out of the back of the truck across from Foodland
- Morris the butcher at Village Foods in Cloyne is excellent, he does a Mazinaw Monster steak that is perfect for the BBQ
- A good ice cream (Kawartha Dairy) and cheese (all the local cheeses) stop is in Havelock at the Havelock Cheese House on the north side of 7, just past the lights.
FYI - I usually get the kid's cone since the small is the size of your head !
- Have a great weekend
Oops, sorry, the train tracks in Havelock. It is usually in the parking lot just past the station restaurant.
Also you can find a nice variety of homemade baked goods at Village Foods, mmm pie.
Roadside stands can be hit and miss, read "tourist trap", if you decide to buy berries, ask alot of questions. Local produce can be a great deal and tomatoes should be good by then. I find the stand just past Northbrook or the stand just before Cloyne can have decent produce.
Oh, one more bad thing. The chip stand at the Petro Canada at the north end of Northbrook does wickedly good fries and gravy.
- I have to say, I was very disappointed by Ralph's on the long weekend. In the past I've been absolutely knocked out by the selection and quality. But compared to last year, the sausage selection was down by at least half, with most of the case taken up by double rows of pretty standard stuff instead of the old single rows of a wide variety.
And what was on offer really didn't look that great. There were grim-looking pools of juice in the case. We bought some anyway and were quite surprised by the speed at which they went off. I've heard rumblings that the quality at Ralph's had fallen off recently and I was sad to see that it might be true.
On the plus side, though, the service is as friendly as ever.
Granted, this is a single incident and only stop by once or twice a year. I'd love to hear if others have had the same experience. As a fan of Ralph's, I really hope it was just an off day they were having.
- Love the Havelock Cheese House, or anywhere else you can pick up Empire 3yr old Supreme, my favourite Ontario cheddar. Ralph's has it too, for what it's worth.
Stopped at Havelock Cheese House. They did have a nice selection of cheeses. Commented to the woman working there that I had read about them on Chowhound.com......(got a smile and a far off look in her eyes)..."on the internet", I said. Although wearing a friendly smile she couldn't seem to talk. Other than, "have a nice day", when I left.
The Empire 4 year old Supreme was unbelievably good.
Went to Ralph's to check out this great Butcher Shop I keep reading about on here. Closed. Nothing in the store but the empty meat coolers. Sign says they closed Feb. 1. It says they will reopen on April 1, 2009.
I really hope tbonetak's comments about a decline in the quality of Ralph's is just a one-off, bad day. I only manage to drop in once or twice a year at best, but I do drive out of my way to keep the store on my route. My last visit was in May last year ( http://torontovore.blogspot.com/2007/... ) and all was looking and tasting good.
Being a good hound, I did a stop at Ralph's this weekend. The long and short of it is that Ralph's could do some better marketing. The butcher counter has got to be at least 100 feet long and no, it is not packed full. If they condensed it and filled only half they would still have a great selection and it would look so much better. And yes, it is an old butcher shop so it looks a little tired but trendy old school at the same time.
More importantly, the meat. I picked up a selection of sausages, smoky maple, blueberry (I know, but he sold me on them) and spicy Italian. I haven't tried the blueberry yet but the others were tasty as usual.
There is lots of local produce in the farm stands and the tomatoes and corn are particularly fantastic this weekend. Got the best corn at Maple Dale Cheese from the guy in the parking lot, off of Highway 37.
Maple Dale Cheese
Hwy 37, Thurlow, ON, Canada
The sad part for me about Ralph's was that at least the sausage case used to be packed full of all different varieties. Each row was different. The last time I was in they had half-filled double and triple rows of maybe 6 varieties as opposed to the 15 or so I remember from years past (although I acknowledge my memory may be incorrect on the exact #.)