touring Prince Edward County

As part of a post-conference tour, our group was treated to a tour of lovely Prince Edward County, a scenic region located east along the shores of Lake Ontario from Toronto with the town of Picton, Ontario, Canada, serving as its hub.

Prince Edward County, best known for its wineries, artisan cheese shops and arts and crafts, is like a country cousin to the more well-known and more commercially developed Niagara Region. I loved Niagara on the Lake and the entire Niagara Region, but in my opinion, Prince Edward County is less commercialized, less expensive and provides a more authentic and more relaxed experience to the visitor.

Our group of 22 was well looked after under the auspice of tour leader, Christine Peets of Napanee, who made sure we were where we were supposed to be and that everyone was happy. Apart from the confusion on the part of the bus driver, it was a well-executed and most enjoyable exploration.

We began our tasting tour on June 5, 2010 at the Rosehall Run Vineyards and were treated to a tour of the winery and several tastings with co-owner, Lynne, who was knowledgeable and welcoming.

The vines were young as was the taste of the wine, but pleasant and refreshing nonetheless. It was interesting learning about how they have to bury the vines each fall because of the soil conditions of the region. Learn more about the vintages of Rosehall at: http://www.rosehallrun.com/.

Our next stop was Huff Estates, where we had a brief wine tasting and where we would spend the night in the cozy well-appointed guestrooms. But not before we headed over to the Milford Bistro and Gallery for a fabulous three-course gourmet dinner. For me, this was the highlight of the tour. The food was amazing, our chef-host, Chris Pengally, most gracious, and the camaraderie unsurpassed. Here’s a look at the menu featuring some of chef Pengally’s special creations.

Top to bottom, above: East Coast Halibut, Beef Bourguignon, Swedish Royal Dessert, Chocolate Delight.

The next morning (June 6th in the pouring rain) we visited the Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Company. What goes better with wine than fine cheese? Fifth Town makes many fine handcrafted cheeses at its Platinum LEED dairy. Two of my favourites are the Lavender Bagel Chèvre (a completely unique flavour of goat cream cheese that is slightly sweet) and the award-winning cave-aged Cape Vessey goat’s milk rind cheese that will leave you wanting more.  Lucky Ontario-based customers can buy Fifth Town cheeses at many locations around the province. The rest of us can order online at: http://www.fifthtown.ca/.

We ended our tasting experiences with lunch and several wine tastings at The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards & Estate Winery. President & CEO, Caroline Granger proudly shared her best with us, and it was gratifying to see the pride she took in her award-winning products and the heritage of her location.

That level of pride was present in every location we visited on the tour. When you have a small owner-operated business in which pride and quality are major factors, you can’t help but succeed. Caroline was very proud of her Cabernet Franc vintages and so she should be. They were rich and full-flavoured and very pleasing to my palate.

There was so much more to see in Prince Edward County, but we ran out of time. I will definitely return, and give myself at least three days to get more of a feel for this charming region. Hopefully without the rain next time. Find out more about the region at www.visitpec.ca.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

18 Responses

  1. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks for dropping into the blog, Vicki and Lilian (sorry it's taken me so long to reply to your comment, Lilian. I just noticed it!)

    Vicky, how lucky you are to live in PEC. So many gems to discover there. Hope to return sometime soon, and hopefully we can meet then (or before, at the TWUC conference if you will be attending.) And thanks for the link to your blog. I'll check it out!

  2. Vicki Delany says:

    BTW, I often post about living and eating in the County at Fatal Foodies. http://fatalfoodies.blogspot.com

  3. Vicki Delany says:

    Late to the party, but I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to my new home, Doreen.

  4. Lilian - Food and Farming Canada says:

    There are so many interesting stops in Prince Edward County – it's a great region to visit, especially if you love food and farming. Great post!

  5. Angie Gallop says:

    Hey Doreen: Thanks so much for directing me to your blog. So great to be reminded of the highlights of our trip!

    AG

  6. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks, Dawn. We'll look forward to your next visit. I hope you've now subscribed to the posts – and to the comments feature as we always have lots of interesting dialogue on the blog.

  7. dawnboshcoff says:

    Great post Doreen!
    You really captured all of the flavours of the post MagNet trip – and it was a blast, indeed. It's been a while since I visited your blog – great new look and interesting articles. Your passion spills on to the page! I promise to visit more often once I dig myself out of my pile!
    Smiles,
    dbosh

  8. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks so much, Virginia. As president of PWAC's TO chapter and chair of the local planning committee, I know you had a hand in planning the wine tour (as well as Christine & Kathe.) It was so well done.

    By all means, send people to my blog! The more the merrier!

  9. Virginia Heffernan says:

    So THIS is why you were taking shots of my fish. I get it now.

    Thanks for the write up, Doreen. You really captured our whirlwindy tour beautifully. I'm going to direct a couple of people who have been asking about it to your blog.

  10. Christine Peets says:

    Thanks for the nod, Doreen. The planning was fun, and then it was great seeing everyone so engaged at the places we visited, and enjoying themselves.
    It really was a "taste of The County", as we call it locally. We didn't even get to all of my planned stops, nor did we have enough time at the ones where we did stop. Some have mentioned wanting to come back. I'd be happy to be tour guide again.

  11. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks, Suzanne. I love the new design, too. Nice to have a fresh look once in awhile. And glad to hear the commenting process has been simplified. I have heard from a few people that their comments don't always come thru on the 1st try. I appreciate everyone's perseverance in hanging in there and ensuring their words come thru, even if that means entering the same comment twice.

    And yes, we missed you on the PEC tasting tour. You would have loved it.

  12. Suzanne says:

    Sorry I had to miss this. Sounds wonderful. Love your new blog design too. Looks like I can now use my Google profile for commenting on your blog, which is great.

  13. wizardofwords says:

    Yes, Judie. Plan to go. You'll love it.

    And Kathe, you're so right. Formal learning & networking during a conference is always great. But it's the informal learning, merrymaking and networking opportunities during pre & post conference tours that provide the icing on the cake.

  14. Kathe Lieber says:

    Like you, Doreen, I always go on the "post" trips after the AGM. I believe that you can't really get to know a person until you've broken bread and raised a glass together. As on previous excursions, our merry band bonded and had a marvellous time. I'm still enjoying the edible and drinkable souvenirs I brought home.

  15. Judie FEIN says:

    you make me want to go. now. but i can't go now. so, thanks to you, this trip is on my must-go list.

  16. wizardofwords says:

    I'm jealous, Judy! We had hoped to get to the sand dunes, but it was pouring rain. Guess I'll just have to go back. And end up on the patio of the Top of the Knoll resto while there. Sounds lovely!

    Thanks also to Marijke for your comment. Isn't it great how these "field trips" – all in the line of duty as a writer – can be the fodder for return trips to many fascinating places? I sure love my "job."

  17. Boomergirl says:

    I loved the Grange too. We got some fabulous pix of it the day we were there. Beautiful late summer day last year. We also visited Waupoos, the first winery in PEC and we had a Preserve It cooking class at the Waring House Inn & Cookery. I took home a bottle of relish and a bottle of dills from class. One of our fave stops was the Top of the Knoll Restaurant at Isaiah Tubbs Resort. Its pub has PEC wines by the glass. Great place to try a glass. The deck has a view of Sandbanks' huge dunnes.

  18. Marijke Durning says:

    I'm pouting. I wanted to buy some of that wine that tasted like chocolate!

    It was a great trip. I highly recommend visiting the area and my husband and I will be returning for a more relaxed visit. Hopefully, we'll bring a couple of friends who we know will appreciate it.

    Thanks for posting a recap of the trip. I'm very glad I went.

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