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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
Rosalyn Gambhir
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[name=Rosalyn Gambhir] [img=https://i.imgur.com/9rNiMGU.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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