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Jun 2, 2014 07:50 PM

Prince Edward County 2014 summer season

Some chef changes and new releases of wines, cider, beer, etc. What would be your top 3 wineries to visit? What would be your top picks for lunches and dinners if you only had 2 weekdays in the County? Personally, I'd stay for cheap at Angeline's in Bloomfield and spend time in Hillier and at the beach.

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  1. My top 3 wineries in PEC are Rosehall Run, Closson Chase and Norman Hardie. Honorable mentions go to Karlo, Keint-He, Stanner's and The Old Third. I like Huff too, but the style of the operation is a bit more formal and rules-oriented than the region demands. I prefer the smaller operations where the owner is on-site and interacting with clients, as well as part of the day-to-day operations.

    I stay at Angeline's and typically have one dinner there too. The other dinner would be at Blumen Garden. I'd do one lunch at a winery (probably Norman Hardie) and consider picking up lunch items (possibly at Rosehall Run, Schroedters [sp.?] and/or farm stands) to eat out back at Closson Chase, while enjoying a flight of 3 tastings and admiring the wildflowers. If you have the time, head to easternmost part of PEC and buy a load of cheeses at Fifth Town. Make sure you bring a cooler for those cheeses, unless you plan to eat them all within the hour.

    I've never seen the beach. If we have a spare hour or two, we hit one more winery, or a few. We like to drive all over the region, even though our favourite wineries are mostly in the Bloomfield-Hillier areas.

    There are a handful of wineries I haven't mentioned, but might have. There are also a bunch I wouldn't bother with, but that's just my opinion. It's easy to be romanced by the ambiance. Sometimes wines taste better that day at the winery because you're there. They don't always perform several months later, back at home. I always lament the guilt purchases, where we buy a bottle or two because we ate up a pile of the salesperson's time tasting a bunch of wines for free, none of which we liked. After tasting 4 different varietals, I can't bear to smile, thank the owner and just walk out. They're so proud of their wines. I know we're perfectly within our rights to walk out empty handed. I should note that if we have to pay for the tastings, I feel no obligation to buy if I'm not loving the wines. Many of the wineries that advertise prices for tastings later waive those fees if you buy a couple of bottles or more.

    9 Replies
    1. re: 1sweetpea

      Do you like Hubbs at Angeline's since Michael Potters left a few years back? We are staying at Angeline's for 2 nights.

      Does the County Cider still serve food on their back patio? Hard to tell on their website.

      1. re: Food Tourist

        I've only been to Hubb's last year and the year before that. He was already gone. I have enjoyed both meals, though neither were mind-blowing. It was more about local and seasonal food, great service and a really casual, neighbourhood vibe, really. Plus, we were staying upstairs, so we felt free to imbibe!

        Not sure about County Cider. I've tasted the cider, but never visited.

        1. re: 1sweetpea

          Cool. It sounds a lot like East and Main. I always used to stay at the Newsroom Suites across from E&M but the price got too high so Angeline's renovated motel section it is!
          I tried the Spirit Tree Cider from Caledon at The Stop Night Market on Tuesday… I think County is doing a better job. Spirit Tree's hopped cider was a little weird but I'm not a hop fan, so I'm probably not the best judge.

          I just sent County Cider an online submission form to ask if they have a lunch menu this season. Was tremendously difficult to send (retried 5 times!)

          For picnics at the beach, I would stop at East and Main's takeout fridge or Bloomfield Carriage House Bakery first and bring a cooler with some county white wine or cider.

          1. re: Food Tourist

            I always think I'm going to love cider, but it winds up too sweet for me. I'm sure this is cider heresy, but cut it 50/50 with beer, and I prefer it.

            I'd love to hear some suggestions from red wine lovers who like county reds. I've found a handful of whites that I love, but thus far, most of the reds I've put in the cellar are pretty thin and light-bodied. I'm afraid to touch the pinot noirs, because I just don't know how long they need to cellar. The cab francs are pleasant, but so light. It's funny how some wines taste lovely when you're at the tasting rooms, but don't have the same allure once you're back home. I suspect it's the amount of time they let them open up, as well as the accompaniments that they pair with the wines, that wowed me at the time. I should take copious notes, but usually rely on a memory tainted by a few tastings, LOL.

            1. re: 1sweetpea

              do try Norm Hardie's and The Old Third's reds!!!

              1. re: 1sweetpea

                I always rely on the advice of the winemaker or winery staff for cellaring time. I suspect you just need to stock up enough to drink in the next 6 months to be safe.

                1. re: 1sweetpea

                  The guys at The Old Third released a sparkling cider this year that is very dry ... made from golden russet apples. I really enjoy it ...

                2. re: Food Tourist

                  County Cider food update: "We are indeed serving lunch on our patio. We have several different pizzas made in our wood fired oven. Also, a couple of burgers, vegetarian and chicken wraps, salads, a cheese and charcuterie board, hummus, artichoke and asiago dip and salsa.

                  We are open daily from 11am to 6pm, weather permitting."

          2. I was at Drake150 yesterday. They had a special dinner menu from Matt DeMille - the chef who will at the new Drake Devonshire Inn in PEC. The farm-to-table restaurant is due to be open this summer in Wellington.

            I thought the food was very well executed and reasonably priced. All food was locally sourced (and will be the case at the inn). Appetizer highlights were the oysters from John Bil, as well as the grilled asparagus with pecorino. My favourite dish of the night was the grilled pickerel with corn & crab panzanella salad - nice crunch on the skin and the fish so moist and tender, perfectly seasoned.

            I have no doubt Drake Devonshire will be delivering some delicious eats when it opens in Sept.

            1 Reply
            1. re: happycamper

              I seriously can't believe they're not opening for summer.

            2. For lunch try the Tall Poppy in Wellington... Great spot with lots of interesting choices. Or for something traditional check out Schroeders (close to Huff). Really good breads that they bake on site and lovely soups and sandwiches. Last sumner Taco Girl had her cart in Bloomfield... Not sure where she will be this summer but she makes everything by hand including the tortillas. And of course pizza at Norman Hardie, but that might only be on the weekends.
              For wineries you must go to Exultet. 100% county grapes and award winning wines. Also Hinterland makes fabulous sparkling wine.

              1. Closson Chase is our top priority this time around (have been to Keint-he and Norm and Rosehall Run in previous years). Have eaten at East & Main, Blumen, Bloomfield Carriage House (and bakery), and Acoustic Grill in previous years. Going back to Festival Players' theatre show at Rosehall Run again this year for outdoor entertainment (opening night includes catering by Hubbs).

                3 Replies
                1. re: Food Tourist

                  You mean Closson Chase for wine or a meal?

                    1. re: Food Tourist

                      Thanks--funny when I first read your post I thought you had said they didn't deserve food.... probably not what you were trying to say.

                2. Thank goodness Norm Hardie pizza is served Fridays and Mondays in the summer!

                  "Open early-May to mid-October, enjoy our wood-fired thin crust pizza with a glass of wine on our patio overlooking the vineyard.

                  Our pizza recipe has been developed by top chefs from some of Toronto’s finest restaurants: Pizzeria Libretto, Terroni, and Ortolan.

                  May, June – Open weekends, 11am to 6pm

                  July, August – Open Friday through Monday, 11am to 6pm

                  Sept, October – Open weekends, 11am to 6pm"