As a local culinary tourism enthusiast I often get asked for recommendation of where to eat or what to see when visiting Southern Ontario. I received a request to come up with something special for a group of people attending a conference in Northumberland. Bites and Brews is a custom designed self-led food tour for the L.E.A.D Spa and Wellness Conference happening in Cobourg on March 27, 2017. Self-led food tours are a terrific way to experience a local area at your own pace. Just follow the route provided and the rest is up to you. You can choose where to stop and for how long, if you want to shop or enjoy a leisurely meal.
This route starts and ends at The Woodlawn Inn, which is the host accommodations for our conference but you could start anywhere along the loop. With that in mind, I am pleased to share with you the highlights for the areas of Port Hope and Cobourg, Ontario. To really give a feel for the Northumberland local food scene I chose a broad sample, a little this and that. You will visit 2 craft breweries, a gourmet emporium, the sweetest little cafe, an artistic chocolatier, a burger celebrity and a local butter tart legend. This route also makes a terrific day trip for anyone coming from the G.T.A and totally do-able in half a day.
1024 Division St, Cobourg Specializing in brewing a variety of craft beers, including the Cold Springs Pale Ale, Honey Badger Wheat Ale, Hoppy-Go-Lucky and Long Weekend Lager, all in 650-millilitre bottles. With about a dozen beers available since it opened its doors, the Northumberland Hills Brewery reports that its Honey Badger and Cold Springs beers have been very popular. Pop in for a visit, taste refreshing ales and lagers, and find out why they are so passionate about what they do.
5316 Hwy 28, Port Hope. A visit to Herma’s is an unforgettable experience the food tour would not be complete with out this stop. Browse a gorgeous selection of products, including a gourmet emporium, artisanal cheeses, delectable chocolates, and unique selection of decorative and personal gifts. In over twenty-two years, the store has grown to become known as the area’s premier provider of fine foods, exotic desserts, impeccable kitchenware, stemware, gift baskets, accessories and homewares.
24 John St, Port Hope. Mercury Chocolates was created as a specialized chocolate business to allow wineries, restaurants and fine food shops to showcase their products when matched to world class pure cacao. Now you can experience these decadent chocolates for yourself and be delighted by the unique flavour combinations and exquisite beauty of the chocolate creations.
55 Mill St. South, Port Hope. Now Updated to add BEST place to get a burger in Canada as voted in Canadian Living Magazine! Our local claim to fame, Olympus Burger was featured on ‘You Gotta Eat Here!’ Host John Catucci said “The food is bang on and it’s really tasty. We had the Athena burger which has a lamb patty and homemade tzatziki sauce. When everything is being made in house, it just tastes better and you can tell.” Don’t miss this stop on the food tour and make sure to arrive hungry and click the link to see the secret menu, it is not posted in the restaurant….shhhh.
975 Elgin St. West, Cobourg. This brewery provides Northumberland’s Craft Beer enthusiasts with one of Ontario’s finest destinations. Stop in for a visit and explore the self serve refrigerated retail store, William Street brands are displayed from floor to ceiling. Don’t miss the Tap Room, get a ringside seat to the production facility. Learn first hand how the Local Artisan Beer is brewed, fermented, finished and packaged.Belly up to the bar and enjoy a flight of freshly poured sample glasses or a pint of fresh draught beer.
Tips to make your self-led tour a success
- 4 hours is ample time to take this tour, it can be done in less.
- check the shop/restaurant times when planning your food tour to be sure they will be open.
- bring a cooler if you plan to buy food items like cookies, butter tarts or beer, even in the winter.
- if you plan on sampling food or drink at each place remeber to get a small portion or you will quickly fill up.
- be open to going off route, adventure happens when you take a detour.
Have fun and please be sure to let me know how you enjoy the Northumberland food tour in the comments! Selena