In the Blue Mountains surrounding Collingwood, Ontario, it’s all about the apple.
Though the region, about two hours northwest of Toronto, boasts Georgian Bay and countless other sparkling cottage country lakes as well as great ski resorts such as Craigleith, Osler and Blue Mountain (the province’s largest ski centre), the area now has a new focus -- the Apple Pie Trail.
Winner of the Ontario Culinary Association’s 2011 Culinary Experience Award, the Trail features 32 members including restaurants, bakeries, cheese shops, cafés and wineries and offers a delectable guide to Ontario’s Apple Country. Not every Apple Pie Trail stop is dining-oriented, but all celebrate the area’s most plentiful and popular fruit.
Start your tour at a farmer’s market -- the ones in downtown Collingwood, Owen Sound and Meaford are great choices -- to buy a basket of Red Prince apples, a variety prized for both cooking and eating, and first grown in the areas through which the Apple Pie Trail winds.
Next stop: the Ashanti Coffee Estate, for a home-baked apple crumble muffin and a cup of hand-roasted coffee grown on a plantation in East Africa belonging to café owners and Thornbury residents Amy and David Wilding-Davies. The café is their way of providing fair trade works in East Africa and melding that culture with their own Canadian heritage.
Knitters will enjoy browsing at Collingwood’s Grey Heron Natural Designs, a yarn boutique specializing in wool shades such as Red Prince, McIntosh, Delicious, Golden Ginger -- all inspired by apples. Those with a taste for knowledge will want to plan an afternoon at the Collingwood Cooking Academy for lessons in making pies, crepes and even butter, all flavoured with apples.
The fruits of the trees and vines of the Apple Pie Trail don’t all find their way into baked goods, as a visit to Georgian Hills Vineyards for a glass of Ida Red Frozen to the Core dessert wine or a stop at Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery for some Forbidden Fruit Hard Cider will prove.
Whether you’re feeding your appetite for food, drink, crafts or culture, you’ll find a feast on the Apple Pie Trail.
Article courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission.
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