Formerly known as the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, the OCTA team has recently rebranded to focus on culinary tourism across Ontario & Canada.
Culinary Tourism Alliance (CTA for short) is a not-for-profit devoted to connecting taste-makers, sharing their stories & sparking delicious developments in food tourism. They work around the world, but Ontario has a special place in their hearts (and stomachs!)
We sat down with them to learn a little more about what makes Ontario so special—and what you need to see, do and eat while you’re here for Terroir 2017.
We get Culinary. We get Tourism. But what exactly do you guys do?
Along with our member destinations, there are over 50 of them in the province, we’re working to build rural economies by driving people to places for food and drink. Think farmers markets, undiscovered tiny towns, our vast and beautiful wine regions... We want people to travel in Ontario for food. Tourism spending, especially on food and drink, can be an extremely powerful economic driver. We’re working with regions to tell their stories, but also create products and experiences that speak to our unique and diverse food culture.
So how do we find these delicious, undiscovered experiences?
Definitely look for Feast On™ Certified restaurants, whether you’re on the road or looking for a night out in your home town. Being Certified means these places are actively working with farmers and have built local sourcing into their business models. These are businesses who are working hard to put more local food on plates, even when it’s difficult.
For road trip ideas, check out OntarioCulinary.com. We’ve got itineraries, destinations, even recipes reflecting Ontario’s food and drink. If you’re strapped for time, follow us on social media @OntarioCulinary. We’re sharing our favourites daily.
Sounds like there’s endless things to do in Ontario. Shall we answer some rapid fire questions?
We’re game, if you are!
Best thing you ate in 2016?
Starting with the hard ones, eh? We just learned about cheddar cheese on apple pie on a recent jaunt along the Apple Pie Trail. Minds blown.
Must see spot in Toronto?
We always suggest Café Belong at the Evergreen Brick Works. It’s off the beaten path, the food is amazing and they’re Feast On Certified! Plus, you can easily lose yourself for day at the Saturday at the Farmers Market.
Must see spot in Niagara?
Ravine Vineyard… for a meal, a tour or even just a glass of rosé at the bar.
Most underrated destination?
Grey County and the Beaver Valley. Rolling hills dotted with orchards and great cideries, plus really good food and down to earth, salt-of-the-earth vibe.
It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, what’s in your glass?
Prince Edward County pinot noir. Ideally, it’s our third glass of the afternoon.
The earth is throwing a potluck, Ontario has to bring one thing. What is it?
A maple butter tart.
And where are you eating it?
At Doo Doo’s Bakery in The Kawarthas, home of the Butter Tart Trail!
One more thing everyone should add to their hitlist?
Craft Beer in Windsor and Ottawa and Kingston. Beer everywhere right now, really!