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Submitted by guest blogger – Amanda Nunes
DrakeDevonshire_RuralistI wish I could tell you that the Drake Devonshire was one of Prince Edward County’s best kept secret, but I can’t. If anything, it’s the opposite of a secret. The word is out, and locals and visitors alike are flocking to the dining room to enjoy these local eats.

The dining room is a beautiful A-frame with natural light and view of the lake, as well as a permanent and rotating art collection to complement the menu. Chef Matt DeMille serves up farm and lake-to-table menu, using local ingredients for his dishes.

The brunch menu is short and sweet, but features all of the favourites. I couldn’t resist starting off the meal with some Drake Blueberry Scones ($10). These scones were warm and fresh from the oven, and served with a dollop of clotted cream and a side of blueberry preserves. Perfection.

The brunch menu includes cinnamon French toast, eggs benedict, and a breakfast burger to name a few dishes. I decided to keep it simple and ordered the Drake Breakfast ($13). This breakfast is really filling, has a bit of everything, and is definitely a must try. Crispy hash browns, sour dough toast, fried eggs, bacon, grilled tomato and a teeny sausage surround a dish of baked beans. Delicious!

My dining partner is an eggs benny addict, so went with the Devonshire Eggs Benny ($15). The benny is typically served with homemade back bacon, but he decided to try the salmon, and he was glad he did. The benny was served atop of an English muffin topped with house cured salmon and drenched in brown butter hollandaise sauce.

Fancy a drink with your meal? Fresh squeezed juice and loose leaf tea is available, along with mimosas, Caesars and other cocktails.

Brunch is served on weekends from 10am until 4pm.


Amanda Nunes loves to explore Ontario and discover new nature spots and places to visit and eat. She shares her adventures at her blog,


Fall is in the air at Bradshaws! Owner Carrie Wreford has selected some of her favourite gourmet kitchen essentials to make your kitchen work for the holidays a little easier. As a Canadian family-owned business since 1895, the folks at Bradshaws know a thing or two about making memorable holiday meals!

Located at 129 Ontario St. In Stratford, Bradshaws has an incredible selection of Henckels knives, silicone roasting laurels from Prepara, Epicurean cutting boards, Le Creuset Stoneware, bakeware, cookware and cast iron and All Clad roasting racks. And no Thanksgiving table would be complete without Canada’s very own Moss Berry Farm Cranberry-Mango Chutney…an absolute favourite!

Dreamfarm Smood Potato Masher $29.95, Henckels Pro Chef Knife 8″ $162.00, Prepara Silicone Roasting Rack (red) $19.95, Prepara Silicone Roasting Laurel (green) $29.95, Epicurean Carving Board – Natural $84.95, Michael Aram Golden Apple Honey Pot $89.95, Le Creuset Heritage Pie Dish – Flame $59.95, Le Creuset Pie Bird – Black $9.95, Peugeot Tidore Nutmeg Mill $44.95, Turkey Hill Maple Syrup Maple Leaf Bottle No. 1 Light (Made in Canada) $14.95, Le Creuset Covered Oval Casserole – Flame $119.00, Moss Berry Farm Cranberry Mango Chutney (Made in Canada) $7.95, All Clad Roaster Set $325.00

These and MANY other great items for Thanksgiving available at Bradshaws.




1. Beeswax Candle from Honey Pie, Prince Edward County

2. Bee Pollen from Dickey Bee Honey, Innisfil

3. Beeswax lip Balm from Honey Pie, Prince Edward County

4. Honey Mineral Foundation from Goods with Story, on-line (Update: our apologies, the Goods With Story page seems to be down at the moment. We’ll update the link when the product page is available again. Sorry!)

5. First Lessons in Bee Keeping from Munro Honey, Alvinston

6. Goat Milk and Honey soap from Goods with Story, on-line (See #4)

7. Clover Honey from Whole Sugars, on-line


  • Anonymous - Don’t forget mead!!! ;-)ReplyCancel

    • Sarah Koopmans - Tell us about the mead that you like, Jennifer! Where do you get it? What do you love about it?ReplyCancel

{Get} 12 Great Rural Ontario Cheese Shoppes

Images from Dags & Willow Fine Cheese and Gourmet Shop

12 Great Ontario Cheese Shoppes

Cheese is a staple in our house. We can’t help it! Everything really is better with cheese. And even more so if that cheese is made and/or purchased in rural Ontario. There’s something about knowing that Ontario cows and goats and sheep munched Ontario grass and hay and skilled artisans turned their milk into the delectable morsels that grace everything from sandwiches to pasta to charcuterie boards.

Ontario has a long dairy heritage, and with the artisan food movement at full steam, there is no better time to be a cheese-lover. Producers have been honing their craft, and there are many shining stars from rural Ontario to get excited about. Some of my favourites are Gunn’s Hill Cheese Oxford Harvest, Blyth Farm Cheese Blyth Cumin goat gouda, and Woolwich Dairy’s Goat Brie.

If you’re a cheese lover like me, you’ll get excited about this list. Not one, not two, but 12 great Ontario cheese shoppes (in no particular order)!

1. The Milky Whey Fine Cheese Shop118 Ontario Street, Stratford

This boutique cheese shop features local, Canadian artisanal and European selections. Find a great selection of cheeses, crackers, chutneys, and other tasty charcuterie accoutrements. Planning a party? The staff at The Milky Whey will help you put together a tasting platter with a variety of cheeses for your guests. Or, get a made-to-order picnic lunch perfect for taking a break on the banks of the Avon River!

2. Jennard Cheese  — 424 Main Street, Exeter

This shop got its start with an identified need for higher-quality fundraisers in the area. Since then, owners Rick and Jennifer have brought excellent Canadian and European cheeses to South Huron, specializing in cheese trays for every occasion and featuring lots of other great Ontario products: local honey, maple syrup, and Coastal Coffee, to name a few.  Now, they’ve branched out even further to include lunch items. Go for the cheese and stay for a sandwich or bowl of soup!

3. Dairy Capital Cheese Shoppe  — 474 Dundas Street, Woodstock

The Dairy Capital Cheese Shoppe is a prime spot to pick up some of Oxford County’s award-winning Gunn’s Hill Cheese, as well as stocking up on sauces, dips, chocolates, kitchen gadgets, and much more. While you’re at it, enjoy the freshly-prepared sandwiches, salads, and other dishes at this popular lunch spot located conveniently in downtown Woodstock. Enjoy your cheese or lunch on the patio, with a view of the fountain in Market Square and the Woodstock Museum. It’s also a stop on the Oxford County Cheese Trail!

4. The Cheese Store  — 510 Michigan Avenue, Point Edward

Your local destination for an impressive array of cheeses, but not only that! Join professional chefs at themed “Chef Series” events, such as “Mexican Street Food,” and interactive dinners where attendees participate to make their own food, such as gluten-free and Paleo dishes.

The Cheese Store will also hook you up with a well planned cheese platter or basket for any kind of event – let them know who or what you’re shopping for and they’ll lend their expertise.

5. The Mill Street Cheese Market  — 96 Mill Street, Georgetown

This quaint shop features local and international cheeses, cured meats, and lots of other specialty food items, many of them made in Ontario! Known for their well-curated collection of the best crackers, delicious tastes to complement every type of cheese (jellies, chutneys, etc.), and an excellent selection of cheese-serving accoutrements, stopping into this shop can’t possibly disappoint.

Plus, you can sign up for the Mill Street Cheese Club and get three different cheeses, a tasting card with notes about each cheese and some pairing suggestions, and a jelly or chutney to complement the cheeses. Attention, anyone gifting to me this year: one for me, please! Call (905) 873-6000 to get in on the fun.

6. La Jolie Cheese Shop  — 9-2 Orchard Heights Boulevard, Aurora

At La Jolie Cheese Shop, the love of cheese goes beyond just eating it – it becomes about its history and heritage. You are invited to consider the character of each cheese and carefully make an informed selection. Choose from many cheeses from Canada, several countries in Europe, and beyond. You’ll find Halloumi from Cyprus, Feta from Greece, and Gjetost from Norway, alongside 14 of Canada’s shining cheese stars.

Spoil your guests by ordering a platter of the finest international cheeses, accompanied by Ontario-made jams and nuts and delicious crackers.

7. Mildmay Cheese Haus  — Hwy. 9, Mildmay & 522 Goderich Street, Port Elgin

One of the most established cheese shops in the bunch, the Mildmay Cheese Haus opened its doors in 1972, in a building that had been a creamery for decades. Boasting over 200 varieties of cheese, this shop aims to stock something that will please every kind of cheese lover. And, you can always try before you buy! Any shop that lets me taste the wares is a very tempting shop indeed.

Go for the cheese and go home with a bag full of novelty food items, such as local maple syrup, gourmet fudge, Greaves Jam, Wellesley Apple Butter, and many others.

8. The Dover Cheese Shop  — 318-A Main Street, Port Dover

The staff at The Dover Cheese Shop are committed to taking the mystery (and fear) out of the realm of cheese tasting and purchasing: “Our mission is to provide Port Dover with a fun and comfortable neighbourhood cheese shop,” says owner Jenny Ball. A daily changing selection of approximately 40 cheeses will tempt you with some of the best tastes of Canada, the US, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Scotland. Complement your cheese purchase with handcrafted cheese boards, cheese knives, and fondue sets.

9. Towne and Country Cheese Shoppe117 Queen Street East, St. Marys

With a dizzying array of cheeses from over a dozen countries, there’s no way you won’t find something you love at this shop. Choose from almost 30 varieties of Canadian cheddar, Finnish Lappi, Danish Blue, German Limburger, all the best English cheeses, Italian gorgonzola, Irish Dubliner, Norwegian Jarlsberg, and many more!

10. The Cheese Gallery  — 11 Bruce Street South, Thornbury

This shop is all about artisans: it features artisanal cheeses, local food producers, and the work of local artists. You’ll also find locally roasted coffee, and a wide variety of teas, which you can sit and sip in the cozy seating areas. Another thing that really sets this shop apart is that you can have wine with your cheese! A fully licensed establishment, you can taste your cheesy morsel along with a sip of wine from a nearby winery.

11. Dags and Willow Fine Cheese and Gourmet Shop  — 25 Second Street, Collingwood

The mouth watering catering menu sets this shop apart! Several of the many, many dishes listed feature cheese (as you might expect). I’m not sure how I would decide between the pulled beef wrap with horseradish, mushrooms, and blue cheese or the Down Home mac ‘n’ cheese with 6-year-old cheddar! You could also stop in to pick up lunch items freshly-made by the in-house chefs.

Dags and Willow, housed in an award-winning commercially restored heritage building (check out the pictures of the restoration process on their Facebook page), sells over 150 varieties of cheese, many of them proudly artisanal.

12. Cheese Secrets — 38 Market Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake

A boutique cheese experience, this shop is passionate about the 100+ varieties it offers. Get these cheeses served up on spectacular made-to-order charcuterie platters for a party, and get everything else you’d need to host an unforgettable gathering. You might  want to their “almost famous” Garlicky Asiago Cheese Spread at your next event! Or maybe keep it just for yourself, so you don’t have to share.

Discover some other great NOTL spots in our post, {Try} A Cozy Day in Niagara-on-the-Lake This Winter.


Know of another great cheese shop in rural Ontario? Leave a comment to let us know!

  • Emily Blades - Ouderkirk & Taylor in Guelph is also a top contender! Artisanal bread, cheeses and meats are all to die for! If you are ever in Guelph, be sure to pop in. Hands-down — they bake the very best baguettes in the city, which takes the whole cheese experience to the next level.ReplyCancel

    • Sarah Koopmans - Thanks for sharing, Emily!ReplyCancel

  • Sue McGregor-Hunter - You could have included Chasing The Cheese in Peterborough Fantastic cheese shop that supports small producers.ReplyCancel

    • Sarah Koopmans - Thanks for posting for everyone, Sue!ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl Mader - C’est Cheese on Water St in Cambridge (Galt) also has a fabulous selection as well.ReplyCancel

  • Mike Burgess - And if you’re in Grand Bend drop by FOODIES for a great selection of artisan cheeses from Gordon’s goat dairy, Pine River Cheese, Thornloe Cheese, and Gunn’s Hill Cheese to name a few. Also a huge selection of gourmet foods, treats from Great Britain and much more !ReplyCancel

5 food photos by Jennifer MaloneyAll photos by Jennifer of Seasons and Suppers

When Jennifer of Seasons and Suppers started following us on Twitter and I checked out her website, I knew instantaneously that I had to feature her work on Ruralist. You’ve seen the pictures already — drool-worthy, right?! Her food is a prime example of why Ruralist exists: there are amazing things outside of Ontario’s urban centres!

Before I give you links so you can run off and see how Jennifer’s masterpieces are made, here is a little bit of her story:

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live just outside of Bracebridge, Ontario (where I was born and grew up, as well). I have been married for almost 30 years and we have two kids – a son, now 25 (and soon to be married!) and a daughter, who just turned 18 and graduated high school. I have always been a working mom, working for a number of non-profit organizations over the years as an Executive Director.

How did you “get involved” with food and cooking?
I guess it’s fair to say I got involved with cooking out of necessity – first, because when I got married, I discovered my husband isn’t really much of a cook and then, once we had kids, I, of course, needed to cook good food for them, too. Putting food on the table 7 nights a week for many years is just about the best kind of experience you can get, I think.

What inspires your recipes?
The recipes that appear on my blog are pretty much what we’re eating in our house. I’m inspired by what looks good at the market or the grocery store. If it’s local strawberry season, I’m eating and cooking with strawberries! We are so lucky in Ontario to have a great selection of homegrown fruits and vegetables. The seasons are short, but when fresh and local is around, I’m living on it!

Beyond that, I pretty much cook what I feel like eating. If it’s minus 20 degrees, I’m craving soup and stews, and likewise, in the summer, it’s lighter and fresher or something that we can cook on the BBQ.

What are the most unexpectedly delicious dishes you’ve cooked or ingredients you’ve used?
Most often I’m surprised by the simple dishes I’ve cooked that are just drop-dead delicious. I think we often assume that “delicious” means lots of ingredients and/or time spent in the kitchen. But every time I cook my 20 minute homemade mushroom or tomato soup, I’m reminded how wrong that assumption is!

What tips would you give aspiring food photographers about photo styling?
I really struggled with food photography when I first started. Food is a tricky subject and photographing it in a way that makes people want to eat it is not nearly as easy as I thought it would be. It’s definitely a learning curve!

My first tip would be to find your own style. Some people like lots of props, while others focus just on the food. Do what feels most natural for you. Secondly, always use natural light. Find a good window and take your pictures there, even if it means cooking earlier in the day. Finally, learn to post-process your photos (lighten, sharpen, add contrast etc.). A good quality photo is as important as a good recipe!

What are your five favourite things about rural Ontario?
I know there are examples of these things all over Ontario, but I thought I’d highlight a few in my native Muskoka area:

1. Small town bakeries that have been around forever, like Don’s Bakery in Bala
2. Knowing the local farmers and being able to easily drive to their farm to “shop” (Brooklands Farm)
3. Rural General Stores, like the Robinson’s in Dorset or Silver Stream Farms in Port Sandfield
4. Historic resorts, like Windermere House
5. Small, independent butcher shops like Stephen’s in Port Carling


And now for the magic (recipe links organized according to photo collage, clockwise from top)!

Peach Dutch baby with Wild Blueberry Sauce

Pear, Pancetta, Pecorino, and Pecan Salad

Picnic Perfect: Pressed Italian Sandwiches

Heirloom Tomato Pizza

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ice Cream


Mmmmmm!! I’m still drooling…