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Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery


In the heart of beautiful Prince Edward County, Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard hosted its last Summer Braai Supper of the season this past weekend and I had the pleasure of attending with my foodie partner-in-crime. The evening was all about delicious local food and wine both of which will be the primary focus of this blog post. Between wineries, lavender farms, alpacas and food trucks, the Hillier region of the County is bountiful in all aspect. Known for its vineyard views and wood-fired pizzas on weekends, Norman Hardie first opened in the early 2000s in the most stunning of locations in southeastern Ontario with limestone-rich and fertile soil that produces great wines.

WHAT IS BRAAI?

Okay, so the concept of the evening surrounded this 'word.' But essentially, a braai entails grilling food over coals and part of the traditional South African culture and even though they seem like one and the same thing to a novice, they are not synonymous with barbeques. As the owner Norm, grew up in Africa, “Braai” style cooking was a huge part of his food culture and upbringing, so the evening was paying homage to his South African roots.

"It’s more than just a meal."

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

As we reach the destination on Saturday evening, the forecasted rain cleared right up and guests were graced with a gorgeous sunset as we were greeted with their popularly known wood-fired pizzas and a glass of vintage 2015 Reisling - a blend of Niagara and County grown fruit which bae and I ended up purchasing a magnum. Seriously if you like a wine that much, you better stock up!

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

The simple yet understated tablescape of the night set the tone for the evening.

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

LOOK, SWIRL, SMELL & SIP

 Ready? Let’s go!

As guests mingled and enjoyed the surrounding sites of the winery, the actual evening started with a tasting of six vintage wines, three reds and three whites. We learned about the unique stories behind each wine, the amazing County soil but also the hard work that goes behind operating a winery and how together County wines are more elegant and refined in taste than let's say its Niagra counterpart, thanks to the abundance of limestone.

Sampling the different whites and reds, it was clearly evident even as a novice wine-taster but someone who appreciates the art of winemaking, that even though grapes grown from the same vines, with age wine tastes and feels very different from the younger version which was apparent between the 2007 County Pinot Noir and the 2012 County Pinot Noir. It was like night and day.

 Vintage White Wines Sampled
2008 Melon de Bourgogne
2012 County Chardonnay
2012 Cuvee ‘L’ Chardonnay

 Vintage Red Wines Sampled
2007 County Pinot Noir
2012 County Pinot Noir
2012 Pinot Noir (Niagara)

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

DINNER IS SERVED

Served on large communal tables, supper was served family-style which allowed for a more laid back feel among guests. As the wine tasting wrapped up and we took our seats, it was followed by a sampling of house-smoked trout (caught that weekend!) with pita and squeezed lemon over top.

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

With conversations flowing, it was neat to learn that guests had travelled from Toronto but also from right around the corner. The food was the exact same - local sausage from Seed to Sausage, smoked salmon with a sweet and savoury rub that complemented one another, again caught that weekend (doesn't get as local and fresh as that) and beef from PEI. Seasonal veggies served included green beans and my new favourite, a creamy sweet corn risotto. Pleasantly light, it was packed with flavour that I passed on the green beans for more of the corn.

The food at the braai was simply delicious and props to the staff for preparing all the dishes that night, but the whole experience of the braai was essentially a social gathering over a few hours eating, drinking and enjoy each other companies.

Cheers!

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery


Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

DESSERT

The food was part of the whole experience and as dinner wrapped up, several guests made their way down to the bonfire to escape the pesky mosquitos and for warmth under the night sky.

With dessert approaching, all I have to say, scrumptious. The wild blueberry peach pie made by local County resident Suzanne DeFrance was the perfect last bite of the evening.

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

In summary, the braai supper experience by Norman Hardie Winery was filled with wonderful conversations, delicious local food and overall great tasting County wine.

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Where: 1152 Greer Rd Wellington, Ontario
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Rosalyn Gambhir
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Kelly's Bake Shoppe Comes to Prince Edward County

Kelly's Bake Shoppe Comes to Prince Edward County


Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

I'm not sure where to start this blog but it definitely wasn't all sugar, spice and everything nice just a few months ago. I say this lightly as I was experiencing eczema and well I didn't know it at the time. I was feeling super low, wore scarves, long pants and shirts just to hide my skin and my neck, thankfully it was winter so no one ever noticed. I honestly didn't know that a) the weather was a huge part of it b) stress c) but also that the food I was eating was hurting my body. Fast forward to spring, I realized I had food sensitives to gluten, eggs, dairy along with a few other items. Thankfully I was/am able to still consume meat, veggies and fruit as I get my gut health in check. As a foodie, this wasn't a shock so to speak as I knew I could I find alternatives because what else was there to do. Though let's just say that I had cravings for something sweet. 
But long story short...

After scrolling through Instagram one evening, I stumbled upon a neat post. It mentioned that Kelly's Bake Shoppe, a popular bakery in downtown Burlington was coming to Prince Edward County for a pop-up event! The best part of it all was that they offered gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, peanut-free and vegan products. Ding ding ding! I was over the moon as I was able to finally indulge once again. If you know me, I have a major sweet tooth and well, Kelly’s Bake Shoppe to the rescue. As soon as bae and I got home from our adventures in the County, I took a fork and sampled each cupcake. Oh, goodness was I in heaven and in a bit of a sugar coma. These cupcakes were filled with so much flavour and topped with all the icing! My favourite cupcake was the strawberry shortcake vanilla that was filled with strawberry jam and topped with strawberry buttercream. Drool!

I had my fair share of other desserts with alternative ingredients that were just okay, so it's safe to say that I have since become obsessed with Kelly's Bake Shoppe that was created by the fabulous mother and daughter team and the dynamic duo of Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie.

"Kelly and Erinn are sharing their love of food with the world, one delicious bite at a time."

From cupcakes, cookies, brownies, muffins to ice cream, to know that their treats were made with the healthiest ingredients and leaving out processed junk, just made my day. Along with the sweet and delicious cupcakes that we scooped up from the pop-up event, bae and I also bought their cookbook, Made With Love and the sweet duo were so gracious to sign it. The coolest part to hear was that as they had sold out on Saturday, they got their products flown in for Sunday!

I look forward to their official opening in the County!

Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

BIRTHDAY CAKE CUPCAKE

Vanilla cake with plant-based multicoloured sprinkles mixed throughout, topped with chocolate buttercream and more sprinkles.

Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

MILE HIGH BROWNIE

Topped with chocolate buttercream, vanilla buttercream, a mini brownie, chocolate ganache and organic caramel.

Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

Find this eatery on Instagram: @kellysinthecounty

Where: 13633 Loyalist Parkway, Prince Edward County, Ontario
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Rosalyn Gambhir
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The Marans Dinebar in the County

The Marans Dinebar in the County


The Marans Dinebar in Prince Edward County - Picton

The Marans Dinebar in Prince Edward County - Picton

It's been a good few weeks or so since my last blog post and I'm not sorry but that's because I actually took some time off for a slight digital detox from both my day job and blogging. But I will say that it's no surprise that during this time that my foodie partner-in-crime and I ventured to Prince Edward County (once again of course) for a day trip for lunch to visit Picton's newest dining experience - The Marans Dinebar.

Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Chef Guerin Sykes previously helped revamp the kitchens at Waupoos Winery before taking the leap and opening up his own venture. Featuring Middle Eastern with Asian inspired cuisine, this new spot by Chef Guerin and his wife Jessica puts the emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and all things County including their drink menu. Located right between the Regent Theatre and Picton Library on Main Street in Picton, you wouldn't believe it, but it doesn't have a full commercial kitchen! With only a few induction burners and other equipment, Chef Guerin creates flavourful dishes with such freshness and efficiency, might I add. As comes with small spaces, also comes creative thinking, being wise in how you cook and operate, which means the menu rotates and keeps you guessing every few months.

Scroll down to have a peek at some of the dishes we enjoyed:

DEVILED EGGS

Vibrant, savoury pickled eggs, whipped filling with salted caviar. 

The Marans Dinebar in Prince Edward County - Picton

MUSHROOM GNOCCHI

Puffy gnocchi in a savoury, creamy sauce with mushrooms and caramelized onions.

The Marans Dinebar in Prince Edward County - Picton

LEMON CURD CRÈME BRULÉE

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

The Marans Dinebar in Prince Edward County - Picton


The decor was right up my alley of farmhouse chic with cute accents all around.

The Marans Dinebar in Prince Edward County - Picton

Chef Guerin and his wife Jessica!

The Marans Dinebar in Prince Edward County - Picton

The Marans Dinebar in Prince Edward County - Picton


Find this eatery on Instagram: @themaransdinebar

Where: 222 Picton Main, St Picton, Ontario
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Rosalyn Gambhir
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Cirque du Soleil Comes To Kingston With a Brand New Ice Experience

Cirque du Soleil Comes To Kingston With a Brand New Ice Experience


When I was younger, I remember being glued to the television screen watching Canadian figure skaters from Jamie Salé and David Pelletier to Joannie Rochette and Elvis Stojko twirling around and seamlessly gliding across the rink. So when Cirque du Soleil announced its first-ever experience on ice, I was over the moon and the little girl inside me was beyond thrilled. CRYSTAL blends circus arts into unchartered territory - the world of ice skating, taking audiences on a unique journey to a frozen playground where the lead character Crystal dives into her own imagination and curiosity as she discovers she isn't like everyone else and out of sync with herself.

To escape her reality, she ventures out on a frozen pond and falls through the ice into an upside world. In this underwater world of her imagination, she sees a reflection of herself. Her reflection guides her through this new world and wakes her up to her own creativity.

Cirque's CRYSTAL Show - Kingston, Ontario
Cirque du Soleil CRYSTAL artists perform by Kingston Trolley as they toured around town.
Throughout the show, both gymnasts and skaters perform acrobatics on the ice and in the air, combining multiple disciplines together. Synchronized skating, freestyle figures, and extreme skating are featured alongside circus disciplines such as swinging trapeze, aerial straps, and hand to hand. Figure skaters learned how to be pushers on Chinese poles, while circus artists learned how to skate, and extreme skaters learned figure skating moves. Just spectacular!

AND! Did you know the cast of this show represents eleven different nationalities?! All from the figure, extreme and freestyle ice skaters, acrobats, musicians and comic character.

Photo by Matt Beard.
After being wowed by the show on its first-night performance, I was thoroughly impressed by the music, the artistry, the acrobatics, the visual projections and most importantly the show's theme.

"The show CRYSTAL is about looking at things from fresh angles, peeking through the veneer of everyday life, reframing one’s daily reality to see what one might have missed. Sometimes the only way to appreciate things is to look at them sideways. Discovering one’s individuality and uniqueness requires venturing out on thin ice."

When it came to the music, it was lively, intense and intriguing. It was neat to see that CRYSTAL had popular cover versions of well-known pop songs - a first for a Cirque du Soleil show, that included Sia and Beyoncé, specifically recorded for the show that definitely got the crowd going. Cirque also paid homage to the music of Canada's Maritime provinces while preserving the signature sound of Cirque. This was combined with showcasing Canadian pride through a hockey act where extreme skaters performed crazy flips, twists and jumps at full speed, turning the ice into a giant pinball machine. I'm sure kids in the audience were mesmerized and what better way to keep the celebrating going as Canada Day long weekend was just here. As performers zipped by, the best part, was lead character Crystal jumping out sporting a Kingston Frontenac jersey. Well props to whoever was responsible for that neat marketing plug! 

Here's a sneak peek of the act and set design:

Photo by Matt Beard.
Overall this performance is definitely worth a watch and treating yourself! As Cirque du Soleil’s 42nd creation and the company’s first ice experience, you'll be amazed at the level of artistry and beautiful blend between skating and acrobatics. Playing double duty of figure skating while performing stunts such as aerial trapeze, balance poses and straps or playing an instrument, well I was left speechless with all these showstopping moments.

Cirque's CRYSTAL Show - Kingston, Ontario

CRYSTAL is being presented at the Kingston’s Leon’s Centre for a limited run of performances from July 3-7, 2019.

Tickets available here.

Cirque's CRYSTAL Show - Kingston, Ontario
Cirque du Soleil artists showing an acrobatic act in front of Fort Henry.
Enjoy the show!
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Rosalyn Gambhir
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BeaverTails is Now Open in Kingston

BeaverTails is Now Open in Kingston


The anticipation is finally over folks! The iconic indulgence of Canada aka BeaverTails set up shop in downtown Kingston with lots of excitement from locals just a few weeks ago and drum roll please.... is now OPEN to the public right next door to Market Square.

But what are BeaverTails you might be asking?

In short, they are a hand-stretched fried-dough pastry made with whole wheat flour to resemble the long, flat tail of a beaver. From there, it's topped with a variety of sweet garnishes - anything from a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar to chocolate hazelnut spread and banana slices, as seen below! Drooling yet?

It's hard to believe but I had my first BeaverTails here in Kingston in my first year of university. As I'm originally from the province of Quebec, I knew them as Queue de Castor so when a mobile vendor was on campus and my floormates bugged me to join them - well the answer was heck yes and it's been a joyous time every time I indulge in one!

BeaverTails Kingston

"BeaverTails is truly one of a kind. Irresistibly delicious, artisanal Canadian pastry, always there to share special moments that make lifelong memories."

BeaverTails Kingston

BeaverTails Kingston

BeaverTails Kingston

BeaverTails Kingston

BeaverTails Kingston

What BeaverTails pastry will you pick?

Visit online to look at all your choices: www.beavertails.com

Where: 20 Market Street, Kingston, Ontario
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Rosalyn Gambhir
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[name=Rosalyn Gambhir] [img=http://i1139.photobucket.com/albums/n543/Rosalyn_Gambhir/Rosalyn_1.jpg] [description=Rosalyn Gambhir is the gal behind the blog The Staycationer. Whether its exploring the local food scene with her foodie partner-in-crime or taking in the view from her favourite cafe, Rosalyn is always a tourist, looking for the next exciting adventure. The Staycationer allows you to rediscover hidden gems in your very own backyard.] (facebook=https://www.facebook.com/thestaycationer) (twitter=https://twitter.com/rosalyngambhir) (instagram=https://www.instagram.com/rosalyngambhir/)

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