The regional foods and beverages grown and produced in Northumberland could tantalize your taste buds for months without ever having the same delicious dish twice.
Pick up fresh produce like maple syrup, apple cider and bison steaks at the farm gate or visit one of the many weekend farmer's markets for organically grown vegetables, home-made apple and berry pies, fresh herbs, preserves, cheese organic chicken, beef or lamb. Or why not have the homegrown fare prepared to your taste by a professional chef at one of the fine county restaurants?
For fresh curd and cheese made with local milk at one of the remaining cheese houses, go to the Empire Cheese Factory near Campbellford where maple and garlic cheeses are among the hottest sellers.
Snuggled within the hills near Warkworth, Oak Hills Estate Winery grows and ferments its own wines. Belly up to the oak bar for a wine-and-food tasting experience, or sip a libation on the balcony of the restored, century-old post-and-beam barn. You can also enjoy a gourmet picnic basket down by the trout pond, prepared by a gourmet chef using many regional foods. Don't forget to tour the grape fields that embrace the surrounding hills. And when it's time to leave and you're home uncorking a bottle of the winery's blended Pinot Noir and sparkling Chardonnay, its bouquet will take you back to this perfect day.
Well established in a renovated 1878 Methodist church, Church-Key Brewing brew-master, John Graham , has added a fully accessible, ground-floor store to his micro-brewery. Sample and take home some of his award winning beer. The brewery uses green technologies from solar heat to water recycling so there is as little impact on the environment as possible.
In addition to some of the new, limited edition heavy weight series containing 7.5 per cent alcohol, there are such solid favourites as Northumberland Ale and Holy Smoke Ale. In John's store you can also find local bison jerky, Godin's Whole Hog Sausage, Cloverdale Honey and Empire Cheeses.
Northumberland is blessed with waterside restaurants that offer views as good as the food they serve. Among the newest is Harbourview's cafe on Brighton Bay. Watch the boats coming in and out of the 25-slip deep water marina, and if you want to stay over, there are a dozen comfortable rooms just steps away. The menu includes stew-like soups, fresh salads and good home cooking.
Farther to the northwest, the Victoria Inn on Rice Lake combines organic foods with a talented chef, serving entrees ranging from farm-fresh trout to bison. Enjoy innkeeper Donna Cane's warm welcome and historical anecdotes about the 18th century inn with the turret room on top. Then choose your dining locations from among the enclosed, four season veranda and open-air patio to that aboard the cruise boat that sails from the inns' wharf most days, and many evenings, every week between May and October.
Among other fine dining opportunities across the county are Black Smith's Circa 1880 restaurant in Campbellford with its special Mediterranean fare and the Grafton Village Inn restaurant, formerly a tavern and stage coach stop. Here you can admire hand crafted quilts hung above gleaming wooden floors while you tuck into a breakfast platter of fruit-covered waffles, a stuffed Portabello burger for lunch or an outstanding entree of fish, fowl, beef or vegetarian fare after a day of shopping and sightseeing in the county.
In Port Hope, the Bualai ~ Taste of Thai Food restaurant makes each dish from scratch as customers enjoy the international decor awaiting their personally-customized meal. In neighbouring Cobourg, The Matterhorn restaurant offers German cuisine and decadent desserts and The North Side Bar & Grill includes 15-18 appetizers on its Tapas menu - all to die for.