Food + Drink Autumn 2023

As summer turns to fall, check out cool new mocktails, hot chili sauce, and savoury northern Indian street food.

September 8, 2023 | | Food + Drink

Spotlight: No-Buzz Bevvies

If you’re thinking of cutting back on booze, there’s never been a better time to enjoy nonalcoholic drinks. A recent national survey has shown that almost a third of Canadians have recently bought nonalcoholic beer, wine and spirits. And zero-alcohol alternatives are easier to find than ever.

“Nonalcoholic doesn’t have to be a compromise,” says Dave Hennig, who after almost a decade of working in the brewing industry started Headwaters Beverage Company in Orangeville in 2022. He describes his products as “small-batch, beer-adjacent, nonalcoholic beverages.”

The line of sparkling hop-based drinks includes Golden Goose, infused with white tea, lemongrass and golden berries; In a Beautiful Place in the Country with herbes de Provence and sea salt; and Burst, which comes in either Mosaic Tart Cherry or Citra Orange Mango.

Dave has partnered with local breweries like Mono Centre Brewing and Badlands Brewing, and several retail shops so designated drivers, nondrinkers and those just interested in a nonalcoholic alternative can indulge in something other than a sad soda water.

Caledon’s The Tipsy Neighbour Beverages packs Mason jars with dried fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices for infusing juices, soda or alcohol with flavour.

Not into hops? Not a problem! The Tipsy Neighbour Beverages, based in Caledon, promises you’ll “unleash cocktail magic” with their carefully crafted spirit infusion kits. Each Mason jar is packed with dehydrated fruits, herbs, vegetables and spices — including oranges, mint, cherries, blueberries, lemons, strawberries and citrus-infused sugar.

You mix the infusion with juice or soda to make a smashing mocktail or add the suggested alcohol pairing mentioned on the back of each jar and infuse for three days in the fridge. Ten flavors range from Blueberry Mojito to Cucumber Cilantro Delight. You can find Tipsy Neighbour’s concoctions at This Is Local in Bolton.

Harvest Haul

With summer harvests almost complete, expect to find lots of colourful preserves and fresh produce at the Erin Farmers’ Market, says Jennifer Schmelter of Little Deer Drive Farm, who is also the market co-ordinator. Watch for leafy greens like cabbage, kale, Swiss chard and Brussels sprouts, plus corn, pumpkins, gourds, apples, pears, plums, garlic and more as they come into season.

Mark Your Culinary Calendar

Wear your most stretchy pants to the Orangeville Comfort Food Fest on September 30 and October 1 to enjoy a feast of pierogies, poutine, butter tarts, twisted potatoes, cheesecake bites and more. On October 15 the Alton Legion hosts the 14th annual Empty Bowls Headwaters fundraising event, where you can enjoy a specialty soup in one of the 300 bowls made by local clay artist Ann Randeraad, and take the bowl home.

Small Bite: The Hyperlocal Steak Sandwich

Caledon’s Heatherlea Farm Shoppe is a great spot to grab some steaks and sausages for the grill, or to stock up on locally raised eggs and produce. But don’t miss their on-site café offering freshly prepared farm-to-table meals from their country kitchen. Standouts include Farmer Gord’s Steak Sandwich made with their own Heatherlea Angus steak and caramelized onion, peppers and mushroom aioli, and the Heatherlea Reuben Sandwich with house-cured and smoked pastrami, sauerkraut and Gruyère on marble rye.

Heatherlea Farm Shoppe’s Reuben sandwich.

The Heatherlea team prides itself on making everything from scratch, from the stock used in their seasonal soups to the vinaigrette they serve with their greens. “For our upcoming fall season, our weekly café specials change to reflect the local harvest,” says Melinda McArthur, who helps manage the Farm Shoppe. “And don’t miss our fall lattes!”

A Taste of Northern India

Punjabi Treats has become a staple at the Orangeville Farmers’ Market, where Ramandeep and Ravneet Varpal cook a variety of vegetarian dishes and street food from their hometown in northern India. Think samosas, pakoras and cauliflower bites washed down with a sweet mango lassi.

Punjabi Treats in action at the Orangeville Farmers’ Market. Photo by Pete Paterson.

Punjabi Treats can be found at the Winter Farmers’ Market inside the Orangeville town hall — a great way to feel a little heat on a cold day.

It’s Getting Hot In Here

Andrew and Lisa Laidlaw — both teachers — are the husband-and-wife team behind Class Clown Chilli Sauce in Orangeville. They grow more than 20 different peppers for their collection of sauces and pepper jellies. There’s the milder sugar rush stripey used in Tropical Storm, the medium pepper Thai dragon used in One Night in Bangkok, and the super-hot 7 pot primo pepper which goes into their Australian-inspired Didgeri-Don’t. “But all our sauces are flavour first!” reassures Andrew. “We’re not out to hurt people.”

An array of Class Clown hot sauces.

Sugar & Spice

For some flavours of fall, place your order with the Chocolate Rose Bake Shop in Caledon East, where the doughnuts are always baked, never fried. This autumn, baker Rose Tarantino is whipping up carrot and pumpkin doughnuts and pumpkin scones, all with hues of cinnamon and nutmeg to usher in the season.

La Vie En Rose

Since pink became this year’s hottest colour courtesy of a certain summer blockbuster (thanks, Barbie), we’ve noticed a bevy of new-to-us rose-coloured products. The Pink Beetroot Latte is adorned with petals at Greystones Cafe in Orangeville. Mono’s Adamo Estate Winery released a new frizzante rosé wine. A Strawberry Twister smoothie fits the bill at the recently renovated Euphoria Café in Orangeville. And at Erin’s Whistling Pines Farm, watch for jars of fuchsia-hued Chive Blossom Vinegar, Pickled Garlic Cloves or Strawberry Sundae Fruit Topping.

The Pink Beetroot Latte from Greystones Cafe.

Gobble Gobble

Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away, so now’s the time to reserve a farm-fresh turkey from your favourite purveyor. Sola Gratia Farm in Melancthon, for one, offers free-range turkey fed with non-GMO corn.

About the Author More by Emily Dickson

Emily Dickson is a writer and editor living in Orangeville.

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