I recently had the incredible opportunity to go on a girls getaway for three days with some fellow bloggers. For all you gluten-free folk out there, you know how scary traveling can be because of one minor detail: will you be able to eat anything without dying?
During our getaway I did not go hungry once. Not only was everywhere super accommodating with my allergy, but the food was also kinda ah-mazing. One thing that I really loved about the food here was that almost every place we ate was committed to using local ingredients as much as possible. How great is that?
Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards | Harrow, Ontario
What would any girls getaway be without a trip to a local winery? When it comes to wineries, the Windsor-Essex area shouldn’t be overlooked. I was surprised to learn that they have quite the extensive list of wineries. We spent one of our afternoons at Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards in Harrow, Ontario and it was such a blast.
One thing that I thought was really cool about Cooper’s Hawk is that their Heritage wine uses a wine grape called the “HG grape” which originates from the Essex County, going back to that local ingredient thing I talked about. They even took it a step farther and use Canadian oak barrels to age it.
After a tour we sat down for lunch, and some wine of course, in their restaurant The Vines.
The entire menu looked really delicious, I had a hard time deciding what to get. I really loved how much thought they put into their menu, each dish included a suggested wine paring. The staff was really great at checking with the Chef as to what dishes I could have, and which ones could be altered.
In the end I decided on ordering the Chef’s special which was honestly the best Branzino I’ve ever had. I decided to pair it with a glass of the 2016 Dry Riesling. When we had our tour, we asked if they had to recommend one white and one red for a first time Cooper’s Hawk visitor, they recommended this white and their Heritage red.
Rochester Place Golf Club & Resort | Belle River, Ontario
We spent one of our afternoons at Rochester Place Golf Club & Resort in Belle River, Ontario. Upon our arrival we went for a group lesson in golf and to play a couple of holes. Spoiler alert: I’m a terrible golf player. Like, terrible. If you know me this shouldn’t surprise you. I’m incredibly clumsy and not very coordinated. It was still really fun, and our instructor was a blast and really patient with us.
After our lesson we went for a quick tour of the resort and then headed their restaurant, Parkside Grill, for dinner on the patio. The Chef put together a special menu for us featuring of some of their signature dishes. The menu features locally-sourced ingredients and was described to us as “all about flavour”. I knew when we arrived that we would not be leaving hungry. They were incredibly accommodating with my allergy and revised some of the menu items for me.
As a starter, we all had grilled calamari which they revised for me to be gluten free. I’ve never really eaten too much calamari before, the odd time that I tried it I didn’t really like it, but you guys, Rochester Place as converted me. I think it was one of my favourite things that I tried all weekend! It was incredible.
For the entree, I had the beef short rib, which was equally as amazing. It was served on mashed potatoes and with local, seasonal vegetables topped with a bordelaise sauce. They actually cook it for 72 hours using a technique called sous vide. How cool is that? For dessert, I had the most incredible handmade white chocolate bark. I don’t even know how to begin describing it. It was just amazing.
Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast | Comber, Ontario
I was really excited for our stay at Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast in Comber, Ontario which was also a designated Feast Ontario location. I had fallen in love with it before we even got there by looking at photos online. The old farmhouse reminded me a lot of one that my grandparents used to own in Collingwood.
The B&B has a really cute story too: the current owners, Benjamin Leblanc-Beaudoin and Ginette Tremblay, bought it after getting married there and spent their first night as husband and wife at the B&B. They learned that it was being sold and ended up buying it so they could keep it running and others would be able to come and experience this incredible home and what it has to offer.
I was really excited for our breakfast feast because Benjamin is a Chef! He actually also competed on Chopped Canada. The spread was incredible. We had everything from fresh fruit, gluten-free waffles and quiche, yogurt, homemade jams and so much more. I think my favourite menu item was the waffles. They were so fluffy!
Between the food, the decor and the history of Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast, this place is a destination for a weekend trip all on its own.
Overall, it was an incredible trip. The Windsor-Essex area definitely has a lot more to offer other than great food.
Everywhere we stayed was incredible, and there are all sorts of other fun things to do and explore. The casino, dinner cruises, Canada’s southernmost point at Point Pelee Park, hiking, checking out Windsor’s sculpture park and paddle boarding are just some of the things you can see and do.
I can’t wait to go back and do some more exploring!