We departed the bright lights and busy streets of Toronto and two hours later, we found ourselves surrounded by historic homes and rolling pastoral fields. We found ourselves in Prince Edward County, or 'The County' as it is popularly called.
The area is mainly comprised of farms and woodland, all connected by little towns, each with their own charming main street. We stayed at the lovely Waring House, an historic inn located in Picton. The old stone structure of the Waring House was built in 1860, and inhabited by several generations of the Irish immigrant family of Thomas Waring until 1968. The house was transformed into a restaurant (The Barley Room pub & Amelia's Garden restaurant) in 1981, and in 1995, into a country inn with 1860's era decor. New buildings have been added to the estate in order to accommodate more guests, and the owners have planted vineyards, gardens, and greenhouses, and introduced a cookery school and banquet hall.
In addition to their cooking lessons, artist in residence, pub, and fine-dining restaurant, they own Barley Days Brewery just down the road.
We stopped by to taste their beers, inhale the piney scent of the locally-grown hops, and peek into where they brew.
All the beers we tried were great, but our favourite was the Wind and Sail Dark Ale. And not just because it has such a poetic name.
In addition to beer, wine, and farming (more to come on those later), we ate some excellent food while in the area. The restaurants in The County have a wealth of local produce at their disposal, and they certainly take advantage of it. We ate spectacularly good pumpkin soup and soup at The Barley Room pub, and continued on the soup train with this green tomato soup at the Regent Café,
and tried a kimchi reuben sandwich (amongst other things) at Agrarian restaurant.
Our most surprising food find was the campfire ice cream at Slickers, a local artisan ice cream shop. We were told by friends to try the campfire flavour, and so I agreed to sample it for the novelty.
Turns out, campfire ice cream was all I wanted.
To be honest (and dramatic), this taste was revelatory. It was like having my childhood handed to me on a spoon. In one bite, all the joy of tents, warm sweaters, late nights, and marshmallow held over the campfire just a bit too long came back to me. It was sweet, smoky, and creamy, with little bits of actual charred ‘mallow’ in it.
It was tasty and emotional. IT WAS EMOTIONAL ICE CREAM!
We want to extend a HUGE thank you to the Waring House for bringing us to Prince Edward County. We very much enjoyed the time we spent on their expansive and charming estate.
As you can see, we really loved exploring the County. Stay tuned for second, third, and fourth County courses. Coming soon.