Food + Drink Spring 2021

We’re tracking family-sized meals, vegetarian tacos and gourmet doughnuts.

March 31, 2021 | | Food + Drink

Winner, winner, family dinner

Pandemic takeout has intensified our relationships with our favourite restaurants, saving us from menu-planning despair on more occasions than we can count. One especially brilliant development has been the boom in family-sized meals that feed the whole crew, in some cases more than once. Dinners seem to routinely exceed the advertised four-to-six portions, with leftovers stretching for a day, even two. Most come with side veggies and salads. Rotating specials posted online add that much-needed variety – aka the spice of life – to our routines. We’ve fallen hard for tangy lasagne from Caledon Hills Brewing Pub. “Our customers say that during these challenging times, families are happy they can relax and enjoy a delicious meal, ready for pick-up,” says Monica Riedelsheimer, co-owner of the family business.

We’re also working our way through spatchcock chicken and Rock View Farm’s burgers from Mono Cliffs Inn, buttermilk fried chicken from Gourmandissimo, striploin roast beef from Vista restaurant at Mount Alverno in Caledon and a donair kit or pulled pork (vegetarian jackfruit version also available) from Alchemy Kitchen in Orangeville. We may never cook again!

At The Birch Shoppe in Palgrave, Adam Ali (left) and Joshua Newton of the White Birch Special Needs Day Program create gift boxes filled with local pantry products.

At The Birch Shoppe in Palgrave, Adam Ali (left) and Joshua Newton of the White Birch Special Needs Day Program create gift boxes filled with local pantry products.

Thinking inside the box

Palgrave’s White Birch Special Needs Day Program for adults is getting into retail. At The Birch Shoppe, program participants will help sell local groceries, meats and gifts. Because a grand opening was not possible due to pandemic restrictions, the team created Birch Boxes to celebrate. The $55 boxes feature over $70 worth of products, including local BBQ sauces, honey, cookies, baking mix, candles and jam.

“This project is a great way to get our participants involved and enhance life skills, from working checkout to building the front counter and shelves,” says Carlo Summaria, who runs the program. “It provides them with both reward and responsibilities, working on a meaningful initiative.” Mother’s Day and Father’s Day boxes are in the works.

Trending: Gourmet doughnuts

Handmade doughnuts are having a moment as innovative local bakers play with flavours and toppings, and classicists perfect winning traditions. Orangeville’s Son of a Chef Bakery now serves malassadas, traditional Portuguese doughnuts with airy dough and a sugary coating, available only on Saturdays. Don’t miss their traditional Italian zeppole, with light pastry sandwiching vanilla custard and fresh strawberries, topped with fluffy whipped cream. Holtom’s Bakery in Erin continues to wow with old-fashioned apple fritters, honey dips and, on Saturdays, Boston creams. Magpie’s Bakery, based in Mount Forest, services the Shelburne and Grand Valley areas. Their lovelies are gigantic, with loads of classic flavours like chocolate dip and jelly-filled, plus tempting creations like the Homer, named for the sprinkle-covered bright pink doughnuts the Simpsons’ patriarch can’t get enough of, along with red velvet and other delights.

The Dish: A twist on tacos

Hard to believe that Cinco de Mayo will arrive soon, but we’re always up for a Mexican-inspired menu. Orangeville’s Taphouse Craft Beer & Kitchen includes a hearty veggie option as a clever take on a favourite. It builds on breaded cauliflower, coleslaw and corn salsa with an avocado ranch drizzle. Pair it with the pub’s house-branded beers.

Want to indulge in more taco research across Headwaters? Blue crab tacos light up the menu at Bolton Jacks Pub & Grill. The Busholme in Erin serves jerk chicken, tempeh, and fish tacos. Or, for a DIY nosh, swing by Rosemont General Store and Mulmur’s Maple Grove Farm for authentic fixings from Alliston’s Alba Lisa, along with local cheese and sour cream, and a house blend of ground beef to go.

Produce Pick: Fine funghi

We adore mushrooms – sautéed in a delicate omelette or in the mix of a tasty veggie burger. Amaranth’s Fresh and Tasty Mushrooms offers a wide selection — lion’s mane, oyster and cinnamon caps, to start — plus some foraged rare beauties such as morels and chanterelles. Visit them at freshandtastymushrooms.com for info on how to shop for spring varieties.

Going to the dogs

Why should the doggos go without treats, especially on special occasions like a birthday or “gotcha day”? Pupcakes N’ Bakes in Orangeville uses natural, human foods like pumpkin and banana to make “pupcakes,” “ruffins” and cookies too. Recipes are dog friendly, so no xylitol or chocolate.

Pizza night

Neighbourhood pizza stops just keep popping up. We’re fans of Spirit Tree Estate Cidery’s Friday/Saturday pies. Hockley General Store is back in business with Friday pizza nights. Now there’s also Beegs Pizza for wood-fired ’za in Grand Valley. We’re going to need a bingo card to keep track.

Soup’s on!

Until they can host their raucous soup-making sessions again, the Orangeville-Dufferin chapter of the national Soup Sisters charitable social enterprise – led by Lori Robertshaw and Le Finis/Lavender Blue owners Terry Doel and Vanessa Kreuzer – is keeping the soup pot bubbling online. Keen soup makers buy tickets for one-off virtual cooking classes with chefs from across the country. Soup Sisters sends you a grocery list. After the live online class, you keep the soup you make, and Lavender Blue delivers soup they make to Orangeville’s Family Transition Place. Upcoming sessions star Toronto chef Massimo Capra making southwestern black bean soup, Prince Edward Island chef Michael Smith making farmhouse chicken and vegetable soup, and Calgary chef Nicole Gomes making zuppa di pesce (Italian fish soup).

About the Author More by Janice Quirt

Janice Quirt is a freelance writer who lives in Orangeville.

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