Not sure what was going on, but everybody and their brother seemed to be in the small town of Elora last weekend. We were there to take part in the Culinary Walking Tour, which itself seemed to have been overbooked with 19 people. During the $15 tour, you visit 7 food-related establishments for samplings, and get some history of Elora and its buildings on the way.
Greeted by the Elora town crier
Each establishment our large group went to this day, however, seemed to be run off its feet by higher paying customers, making it difficult for them to give the tour group the normal amount of attention. This, despite the tour taking place from 2 to 4, so not exactly at peak dining hours.
Nevertheless, it was pretty enjoyable. It was a beautiful day, and we got to learn about a number of establishments we weren’t previous familiar with. This was the run down:
- Olive oil and vinegar tasting at the Village Olive Grove. This was one we were quite familiar with, having twice before done tastings here. Still, it was good, with both the olive oil and vinegar (which you taste via sugar cube) being impressive, and this particular host not phased by the large group or the busyness of his shop.
- Macaroons at the Mill Street Bakery and Bistro, another place we’ve actually eaten before. Macaroons were tasty, but we had to eat them standing up in the lobby while getting an abbreviated history of the building.
- Bocconcini salad at the Cellar Pub and Grill. We had to wait outside here a while before they were ready for us, but that did give us time to admire their fantastic patio we’d never before noticed. The usual host for the tour was away, so the bartender did his best to introduce the place. The salad was fine, but again, we didn’t get to sit, and no one seemed to think to tell us about their menu.
- E&G Fine Pastry and Cake was one place that wasn’t crowded with people, and it was a really interesting shop, full of occult books and medieval supplies along with delicious pastries. The owners didn’t say much–I don’t think English was their first language–but the mocha cake was very good.
- Cork was full, so we sat out their outdoor patio. The hostess and chef still tried to give a good overview of the place as we eat a sampling of grilled salmon with side vegetable. This was on the one that intrigued us the most—more on it later (plus photo below).
- At the Shepherd’s Pub, we got a small glass of MacLeans micro-brewed beer (not that they said that’s what it was, but that”s what the website says). As beer goes, it was fine, and the place seemed like your typical pub.
- Finally, they managed to squeeze us in at tables Cafe Creperie and talk about that place while we sampled a piece of smoked salmon, roasted tomato, and apple crepe. They were all really good; I would recommend this place if you were in those parts and in the mood for crepes.
Our tour group was from various parts of Ontario—Toronto, London, northern Ontario—further afield than I’d expected. (I somehow thought everyone would be semi-local, like us.) And there were a couple there from Australia!
In anticipation of this, we’d skipped lunch, which maybe wasn’t the best idea, because then all the samplings seemed too small. We were actually thinking of going out for a meal by the end. But we finally nixed that idea, instead heading and just having an earlier dinner.
So in retrospect, the better idea would have been snacking before the tour. (A whole lunch might have been sampling everything difficult.)
The exterior of Cork
This weekend Jean invited me back to Elora, where he wanted to take some pictures, then try lunch at Cork. Elora was back to its sleepy self yesterday, with just the normal number of tourists milling about. Jean wasn’t super pleased with the results of his photography (his own assessment, not mine), but post some shots anyway.
Cool look of the water here
And, we had lunch at Cork. We tried three samplers: a brie and pear flat bread (hard to go wrong with that, and they didn’t); scallops with smoky bacon and crip chips (nice combo, big scallops); and gnocchi in cream-based sauce with cheese (very rich, but great texture on the pasta). We had that with a half-litre of unoakced Chardonnay.
On this calmer day in Elora, we spoke to the hostess and got a better overview of their offerings, which include:
- Half-price bottles of wine on Tuesday
- All-you-can-eat tapas on Wednesday (Uptown 21 style, they will just keep bringing items until you declare yourself full)
- $2 oysters on Thursday, with a minimum of 2 kinds on offer
- Live jazz on Saturday
- Something beef-related on Sunday (for those of you still eating beef. She did mention it was Ontario, not Alberta, beef)
I think we’ll be back.