Summer is finally here, so don’t wait a moment longer—breathe it in deep! You’ve spent so long craving sunshine and the scent of fresh-cut grass. Now with warmer days upon us, getting outside with your picnic basket is the perfect remedy. With its many parks, trails, beaches and open spaces, scenic Durham Region offers a beautiful setting in which to spread your blanket and drink in the pleasures of summertime. The best part is that you can make a day of curating items for your basket. We at YDH can help you with that. Here are some of our favourite spots in Durham that not only have delicious food, nibbles and beverages, but that are also fun to visit.
300 Durham Regional Hwy 47, Goodwood
You can’t go wrong if you build the foundation of your basket on a selection of fresh, homemade baked goods from Annina’s Bakeshop. Picture a sunny, summer day spent in nature as you feast on sweet and savory pastries, wholesome artisan breads, ooey gooey butter tarts, crispy strudel, delicious fruit pies and sugary donuts. Is your mouth watering yet? This country café and family enterprise in the heart of Goodwood is a cornerstone of the community, and Chef Marco Cassano is at the helm. Don’t forget to check out Chef Marco’s daily creations such as Danishes, cinnamon buns, croissants and scones for an extra special treat.
The Port Cheese Co.
203 Queen St., Port Perry
You’ve got your essential pastries and baked goods. Want to make them even more epic? Pair them with a scrumptious selection of artisanal cheeses. A charcuterie board from The Port Cheese Co. is like bringing a little bit of gourmet to the everyday. This family owned and operated business carefully curates a wide selection of cheese to accommodate virtually any palette. Whether you’re looking for a simple cheddar or something more sophisticated, The Port Cheese Co. has it all. Let co-owner and “Queen Brie” Erin Foley and her staff help you choose from a wide selection of quality cheeses from around the world, ranging from fresh to hard, soft to blue, and even vegan. Augment your charcuterie board with locally-made cured meats, jellies, olives and spreads. After a long winter spent craving the outdoors, you deserve to make your summertime picnic extra special.
Two Blokes Cider
21300 Simcoe St., Seagrave
Of course, you need a handcrafted beverage to go with your charcuterie board for your summertime picnic. The fresh flavours of local cider will rejuvenate your senses and complement the wonderful fragrances of nature waking up from winter. In Seagrave, Two Blokes Cider creates artisanal beverages that will tickle your tastebuds. Choose from varieties like “Apple Pie” Barrel-Aged Cyser, Ida Spy, “Scrumpy” West-Country Barrel Fermented, Hex Press Traditional, and select seasonal varieties. The “blokes” behind Two Blokes Cider are Andy (an aerospace engineer) and Matt (an urban planner). These gents epitomize passion for cidermaking through experimentation with flavours, and through education and engagement with the public. Enjoy their ciders on your summertime picnic, then come back for tours, tastings and other fun events.
975 Durham Regional Rd. 21, Port Perry
When you’re craving fresh air and warm summer days, you’re probably craving fresh fruits and vegetables as well. At Willowtree Farm’s on-farm store, you’ll delight in the local flavours of Ontario. The farm crew works day and night to harvest by hand over thirty varieties of fruits and veggies, and sources additional produce from other local farms with which they enjoy established relationships. Feel good about adding fresh produce to your picnic basket. They’re not just nutritious, they’re a testament to your support of local family farms. And if the baked treats at Annina’s Bakeshop weren’t enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, there are lots of sweet and savoury snacks from Willowtree’s onsite bakery to nibble at, too.
935 Dundas St. W., Whitby
You’ve got the nibbles, the snacks and the bevvies. Now you need a main. Celebrity chef Andrea Nicholson of The Food Network offers her passion for cooking and masterful creations with her locally loved establishment, Butchie’s Restaurant. Take your meal on the road—whatever you’re craving, Butchie’s has it. From buttermilk chicken fingers to smoked meats to sandwiches of all kinds, your picnic will be a bountiful pleasure, handmade with heart.
Don’t forget to post your Durham Region picnic photos on social media and tag us at @VisitYDH. We’d love to see what you got up to as you enjoyed all the wonderful flavours inside your Durham picnic basket!
Story by Katherine Ryalen
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