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For a few weeks now, I've been following the TGCBB buzz and have planned to check out the patriotism and hopefully win m'self some great Canadian swag. But then this morning, it hit me - why not take part myself? I love my country, I love giveaways, and I super-super-love connecting with new bloggers - especially fellow Canucks! So if you're here for the first time, thanks so much for hopping by and hope you enjoy what you find here! And if you've been here before, so glad you popped back in! Now I invite all my visitors to grab yourselves a Blue or a Timmy's, settle on into that comfy chesterfield and read on, eh? Oh forgot to mention - for a mere toonie, you can snag some tasty poutine and a pop from the the fry truck outside.
OK I'll stop now. :)
With the Canadian-isns, that is. But I'm going to continue talking about food (or more specifically, Canadian food), as that is the theme of my TGCBB post! So let's get to it!
Early this month, my husband whisked our family away on a wonderful surprise trip - to the Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton, Ontario!
Although I've lived in Ontario all my life, I had never been to Prince Edward County until this trip. And boy, was I missing out! This is an extremely charming and picturesque area of the province renowned for its fine wineries, gourmet restaurants, sand dune beaches, artist studios and galleries and, of course, !!!CHEESE!!!
Here are a few pics from our trip:
At the festival, we tasted some most excellent wine and nibbled on utterly scrumptious cheeses and other delectables. Some of the products we tried were SO memorable that I decided to highlight them in this post!
First up - Black River Cheese!
We found their cheese to be SOO fresh and flavourful! Their pepper jack was especially tasty so we picked some up to bring home. They also make a maple cheddar (how Canadian is that?!) which I wasn't the biggest fan of myself but is apparently a top seller.
A bit more from their website:
The historic Black River Cheese Company is located in picturesque Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada. It was started in 1901 by local farmers and is still a small production facility dedicated to preserving a tradition of making superior cheese.
Black River Cheese Company's award-winning cheese continues to gain loyal customers including Natural Health Food stores and specialty sections of supermarkets. We have a fine selection of naturally aged cheddar, mozzarella, brick, fresh curd, and flavoured mozzarella specialty cheeses and we only use animal-free rennet. At our factory outlet there are gift cheese boxes and baskets available year round, cheese trays for entertaining and a variety of gifts and souvenirs. Soft and hard ice cream is available in season.
Next - Empire Cheese!
These guys make the tastiest, SQUEAKIEST cheese curds I've ever tried! Unfortunately when we tried to pick some up on the way home at a nearby Sobey's, the store was out of stock. No wonder - I bet these bad boys go within hours.
A bit more from their website:
At Empire, our cheese is made in the traditional way in open-style vats which in our opinion gives the cheese and curd a better flavour. We use no additives to boost production and there are no flavours added to our Cheddar. It is all natual, with no preservatives added.
The cheese is vacuum-packed in our modern facilities to preserve the special flavour. A true mix of tradition and modern technology to give our customers the best product possible.
Last, but certainly not least - The Sprucewood Handmade Cookie Company!
O. M. G. If I were to suffer death by cookie, it would most certainly be by the utterly additive, melt-in-your-mouth handmade shortbread cookies made by these fellas. They offer a divine selection of both sweet and savoury shortbreads. My personal flavourites (ha!) are Dark Chocolate, Raspberry and Spicy Thai. One of the best things about these cookies is that they actually contain very little sugar; the focus is on capturing the flavour essence.
We ended up buying 8, count'em, 8 boxes of these cookies to bring home. Do yourself a flavour (har I did it again!) - visit their Where to Buy page and then march over to the nearest retailer and pick some of these up for yourself. You won't be sorry!
In addition to the good eats at the festival, we also enjoyed breakfast twice at Chesterfields Homegrown Cafe, an eatery in downtown Picton run by friends of my husband. Chesterfields strives to use local ingredients whenever possible and the dishes are prepared from scratch so the food is fresh and delicious. Their B.E.L.C.H brekky sandwich (bacon, egg, lettuce, cheese & ham) is particularly popular. The cafe's ambiance is hip & funky yet non-pretentious, and there's always a great selection of music accompanying the dining experience. I wish we had a Chesterfields here in the 'Hammy!
Hungry yet? Well, how about a giveaw-eh??
In the spirit of the Canadian food theme, one of my readers will win a $25 gift card to M&M Meat Shops!
From their website:
M&M Meat Shops is proud to be Canada's largest retail chain of specialty frozen foods with locations coast to coast. We offer a delectable selection of more than 375 mouth-watering products. You’ll find your trusted family favourites plus exciting new tastes to satisfy the most selective palates. And, the majority of our dishes are ready to thaw-and-serve or heat-and-serve to make meal prep easier for you.
To enter, please leave a separate comment for each entry, and include your email address with each one. The number beside each action denotes how many entries it is worth, so make sure to leave the corresponding number of comments if you complete that action. I'll be checking each entry for validity, so please ensure that you complete all actions as indicated.
- Tell me something you like that is Canadian food or drink-related - your favourite restaurant, winery, product, timbits flavour, etc. :) (+1)
- Follow "Manager to Mom" publically via Google Friend Connect (see right sidebar); include your first name and last initial (+1)
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- Grab my button for your blog and leave the link where it can be found (see left sidebar) (+3)
- Blog about this giveaway and leave the link to your post (+3)
- Vote for me on Picket Fence Blogs; can be done once daily. (+1 each)
- Tweet this giveaway; can be done once daily. (+1 each) Please use the following tweet or create your own; must contain @managertomom, #TCGBB and a link to this giveaway post:
Canadians, are you hungry for a #giveaway? #Win a $25 M&M Meat Shops gift card from @managertomom! http://tinyurl.com/6bz5wh8 7/1 #TCGBB
Open to residents of Canada. This giveaway will end on July 1, 2011 at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be chosen by Random.org, emailed, and announced on my blog shortly after giveaway ends. The winner will have 72 hours to respond to my email before a new winner is chosen.
Disclosure: The prize is being provided and shipped to the winner by me. I received no financial compensation for writing this post or offering this giveaway. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.