The next morning in Niagara-on-the-Lake began with a bit of a misstep. After a long and lazy breakfast by the fire, I decided that I wanted to check out a maple syrup place just outside of town (remember how I said about my sweet tooth in this post the day before?).
“Just outside of town” turned out to be more of a 45-minute drive and once we got there, there really wasn’t much to see or do there, except taste maple syrup and buy some.
I was expecting the works – y’know, actually getting to find out where and how this great Canadian export was made, cool stuff you can do with it and so much more…er, mostly for research of course (😉 I’m really committed to my sweet tooth).
This didn’t pan out quite as planned so a bottle of maple syrup in hand as something of a consolation prize, we headed over to another vineyard (which we already planned on visiting) for more wine and food!
Inniskillin is one of the oldest (or perhaps even the oldest) winery around these parts and has been a key part of the ice wine history in Canada… all of which disappeared into the back of my mind once I caught a whiff of the deliciousness emanating from the smoker/grill (which I’d been reliably informed would be on our tables for lunch).
Lunch was another delightful affair, albeit a bit more intimate this time as we sat down with the winemakers (who we’d be doing a wine tasting with later on) and worked our way through delicious course after course.
We started off with a soup, swiftly followed by that smoked grilled pork (from earlier) served on truffle mac and cheese! And yes, it tasted every bit as delicious as it sounds.
At one point, Lloyd burst out laughing at lunch when they asked who wanted more meat as he could read the conflict on my face where I tried to hesitate and pretend I was okay whereas inside, I was itching to just shout “ME!!! I want ALL the pork!”.
Thankfully, I waved all politeness aside and asked for more pork, which I proceed to finish off! It was just sooo good!
Dessert came in the form of a fantastic dark chocolate ice cream with waffles – all of which was peppered with wine pairings as we went along.
After lunch, we sat down with the chief winemaker for a tasting session (my favourite). What surprised me about the session though was how the different glass shapes can change the taste of the wine you have. And I’m not talking about subtle changes in the taste either, we’re talking – tastes-like-a-different-wine-even-though-it’s-from-the-same-bottle kind stuff here.
We finished off with a little jaunt around the area (again, the tour would be so different in summer once the vines were out and it wasn’t so cold – the forecast was for some serious snowfall set to roll in later that evening).
Leaving Inniskillin, we went off to explore other bits of Niagara-on-the-Lake that we hadn’t seen the day before, including what turned out to be one of the oldest house in the area – McFarland House and the tiniest church we’ve ever seen! 😀
We made a brief stopover by the lake to check out the US (which is quite literally on the opposite side and so close you can take a boat over in minutes if you had to) before deciding to retreat from the increasingly cold weather and take refuge, pot of tea in-hand, by the fireplace at the hotel.
Dinner for this evening was definitely my absolute favourite in the entire time we’d been in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
For dinner, we went to Treadwell and picked a seat right at the bar/cooking area where you can see all the delicious meals being made right in front of you. There’s just something so nice about watching someone take the time and effort to cook for you. 😀
While we waited, I got in a cocktail, while Lloyd went for the red wine (Cabernet Franc, to be precise).
The main event then started with scallops for starters for me and beet salad for Lloyd.
I then switched to a natural white wine with the pork loin and crispy pork belly for myself and the lamb for Lloyd.
I seriously can not say enough how good the food here was! 😋 It was absolutely amazing from start to finish. The kind of food that makes you giddy as you eat.
I found out later, something I believe is key to good food everywhere. The produce used here is from local farmers and doesn’t ever travel far. It’s thanks to this (and a WHOLE lotta skill from the chefs) that the meals here are some of the best we’d had on our trip thus far!
Dessert came out in something of a quartet! Panna cotta, chocolate tart, refreshing shaved ice and candied nuts! The perfect way to end an amazing meal!
By the time we left the restaurant, the snow had started to come in thick and fast – thankfully, it’s all of 30 seconds away from the hotel so with a hop skip and a jump, we were back in front of the fireplace going through which wines we’d we’d tried so far had been our favourites.
The snow came in thick and fast that night and by the time I had a look a few hours after it started, it had piles to levels we’d never even seen in London and certainly one that would have shut the U.K. down with snow day time off for everyone.
Canada is not the UK though and they are so brilliant at dealing with snowfall. By the time we got up the next morning, the snow had been cleared away from the driveways and the roads were pretty clear enough to drive. It’s nothing short of impressive really!
This was also something of a small mercy as this was our final morning in Niagara-on-the-Lake before heading back to Toronto!
Before we left though, I had to do a quick lap just to check out how different the town looked now that it was covered in snow.
Suffice to say, it looked even more picturesque and like something out of a Christmas gingerbread village!
See ya later Niagara-on-the-Lake!