Food + Drink Winter 2023

Holiday cookies, festive tipples and tasty local gifts make it easy to eat, drink and be merry this season.

November 27, 2023 | | Food + Drink

Spotlight: A Batch Made in Heaven

It’s the stuff sweet dreams are made of — a food truck dedicated almost entirely to the love of cookies. Orangeville-based Cookies by Gia bakes big, chewy cookies with flavours including OG Milk Chocolate, Red Velvet and Coconutty, plus shortbread and gingerbread at Christmastime. Pietra “Gia” Velinor opened the food truck in June 2023, and runs it with her daughter, Ciara. She also turns her cookies into ice cream sandwiches. “They’re fully customizable, so you get to choose which cookie you want and the ice cream flavour,” says Gia. Find them at Orangeville’s Christmas in the Park, or order online. Another great pick: DIY cookie kits to make gingerbread or shortbread at home.

A selection of seasonal offerings from Cookies by Gia, including chocolate and chocolate chip, red velvet, shortbread and gingerbread.

A selection of seasonal offerings from Cookies by Gia, including chocolate and chocolate chip, red velvet, shortbread and gingerbread. Photo by Elaine Li, Crave and Capture

This year marks the 20th anniversary of The Sisters Touch of Christmas, an annual fundraising store run by a women’s monastery in Bolton. Known for their hand-painted ornaments, the sisters also bake traditional Christmas cookies, Linzer cookies, Greek baklava, Christmas bark and more. “One of the sisters is a professional baker, which helps!” says Sister Philothei.

Crafty kids in Grades 5 to 7 can learn some skills at Baking Odyssey’s Gingerbread House Workshop at Westminster United Church in Orangeville on December 9. Kids will roll, cut, bake, build and decorate a traditional gingerbread house from scratch during the three-hour class, and if you’re lucky, they might even share it with you.

Mark Your Culinary Calendar

Indulge your sweet tooth at the Orangeville Butter Tarts & More Market on November 25 at the Orangeville Curling Club. Whether you like them the old-fashioned way, topped with pecans, or with a modern twist (think white chocolate drizzles or chunks of caramel crackle), you’ll find oodles to enjoy.

Knox United Church in Caledon Village is holding its 2nd annual Christmas Market and Bake Sale on December 2 with 16 vendors and lots of treats made by their congregation.

The Erin Legion hosts their Sip, Socialize & Shop event on December 9. Peruse local vendors with a glass of wine in one hand and a shopping bag in the other.

Snow Globes are back at Hockley Valley Resort and Adamo Estate Winery. Hockley offers their signature five-course tasting menu December 8 to March 17 and Adamo hosts Uncorked, a three-course Cicchetti (tapas-style) dinner, now to March 17.

It’s The Most Wonderful Time for a Tipple

Beer drinkers will love a subscription from Caledon Hills Brewing Company, or a membership to their Mug Club, which has lots of perks, like free merch, discounts, exclusive events, and a free burger and pint on your birthday.

Sonnen Hill Brewing in Caledon also offers a subscription pack that’s handpicked by their brewers, so you might get a strong Choogle IPA in a can or a stylish No Worry blend in a bottle. One dollar from every 750 ml bottle sold goes to organizations working within our community.

Run Run Rudolph Cocktail from Revival 1863 in Orangeville

Revival 1863’s cheerful cocktail, Run Run Rudolph.

For something fancy when you mingle and jingle try Revival 1863’s signature Christmas cocktail, Run Run Rudolph. The Orangeville bar infuses its own cranberry vodka and orange tequila. Sherry, cranberry juice and house-made cranberry and rosemary syrup round out the drink. It’s all garnished to resemble the world’s most famous reindeer outcast.

The Gift of Gourmet

There are tons of tasty treats to give as gifts this year. Made with 100 per cent Ontario wildflower honey, The Heritage Bee Company’s three themed gift sets – Charcuterie, Bee Well and Tea Lover – contain four jars each of flavours such as lavender, rosemary, elderberry, cinnamon and vanilla. This Creemore-based apiary also makes creamed honey melded into blends called Fig & Orange, Cardamom, Matcha and Turmeric.

Heritage Bee, The Granola Project, and Heat Chili Oil are some of the locally made gourmet gifts.

The perfect gifts for the foodie on your shopping list: Heritage Bee’s gift box (photo by Justin Dadswell Photography), breakfast in a bag by The Granola Project, and Heat Chili Oil.

Designed to add a little kick to whatever you’re cooking, Heat Chili Oil is made in Orangeville by Joe Ho using a time-tested family recipe. Super umami-rich with heavy garlic notes, the chili oil is perfect with seafood, noodles or ramen, pizza, chicken and dumplings (you might consider them for your Lunar New Year feast, see page 66). It can also be mixed into sauces to jazz them up (think zesty chili garlic mayo) or added to soy sauce for a dumpling dip.

The Stonewell Farm Lavender Foodie Box contains Stonewell’s signature lavender tea blend, lavender shortbread cookies from Wicked Shortbread, Himalayan salt with lavender buds, lavender-infused maple syrup, lavender balsamic vinegar, and some adorable lavender paper napkins.

The Granola Project at Branching Out Support Services in Orangeville provides employment opportunities to adults with neurodiversities. Measured, mixed and packaged by hand, the granola packs are a perfect stocking stuffer. And with two flavours to choose from – Maple Kissed and Hot Caramel – granola never tasted this good.

Leave It To The Pros

Let someone else do the cooking with full Christmas meals from one of our many local caterers, including GSC Orangeville, Lavender Blue or Soulyve Catering in Orangeville, Absolute Catering in Mono, Gourmandissimo in Caledon East, or Cole’s Country Market & Garden Centre in Grand Valley. If you don’t do gluten, nuts or meat, Shine Baking Co. in Shelburne has you covered this holiday with mains like cranberry “meat” balls or vegetable pot pie.

About the Author More by Emily Dickson

Emily Dickson is a writer and editor living in Orangeville.

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