We’ve all been there. Driving along on a beautiful summer day, singing loudly to our favourite song (Can’t Stop the Feeling –anyone else?) and we spot it, a painted sign proclaiming, “Chip Truck Ahead.” Cue instant mouth-watering and day-dreaming of golden hand-cut fries, juicy homemade burgers, and calorie-loaded local treats. But here’s something I often struggle with: How do I know that this is a food truck I should stop at? What if this isn’t the truck of my dreams and I end up disappointed? Or worse, what if a hidden gem of a stop is just five minutes further along the road?
Well worry-not my friends! Since starting my role and getting the opportunity to wander Ontario’s Highlands, I’ve been enticed by many signs, tasted many delicious creations, and have decided to share my wisdom and experience with you. Below is a list of food worth stopping for. They may not all be food trucks, but they all offer something unique and are places I would revisit in a heartbeat.
Beavertails in Killaloe: Glistening on a sunny day, warm and sweet, these uniquely Canadian treats are often associated with Ottawa but true Beavertail fans know the truth: Killaloe is the birthplace of beavertails. Want to go really traditional? I’d recommend a Killaloe Sunrise.
Charlie Ds: Never boring, Charlie and his team serve up poutine with personality – and what a personality it is! With many local flavours celebrating the heritage of the Ottawa Valley, you’re sure to find one you’ll enjoy. And if you haven’t consumed enough calories, or maybe you’re just looking for a sweet treat, indulge in a cone of Slickers premium ice cream. You won’t be disappointed.
Equator Coffee: There’s nothing quite like your first sip of coffee in the morning and the happiness it can bring. Not your average cup of coffee, Equator serves up locally roasted, fair trade coffee that you can feel good drinking. And of course, being in the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario, they even have a maple latte that will give you that extra jolt to start your day off right.
Hummingbird Chocolate: Dark chocolate made right. Crafted from cacao beans in small batches, it’s no wonder the Hispaniola 70% was honoured with a 2016 Golden Bean as the best bean-to-chocolate bar in the world. And they have many more award winning varieties including my personal favourite, Honey Lavender.
Boshkung Brewing Co: Is there anything that pairs better with pizza than beer? Only when it’s award winning, locally brewed, craft beer. Not a pizza fan? (Is that even a real thing?) You can still get a taste of this craft beer on tap at the delicious restaurant upstairs, Rhubarb. This one might be more of a stop and stay over as opposed to a quick stop on a road trip – don’t drink and drive.
Kawartha Dairy: Ice cream is one of my favourite summer treats. Specifically, a waffle cone stacked high with Moose Tracks, starting to melt in the warm summer sun. I always make a point of stopping in for a cone to satisfy my summer cravings when I’m visiting Bancroft or Minden.
Pakenham General Store: The name may not make you think of mouth-watering delicious treats, but this is more than a general store. With a bakery, art gallery, and full store inside, this is a one stop shop loaded up with goodies. And don’t even get me started on their signature baked beans.
Wes’ Chips: When you picture fresh cut fries, and I mean true works of art made from big fresh potatoes, fried to the perfect consistency, with crispy edges and soft centres, the beautiful image in your head should be the iconic white truck of Wes’ Chips. This chip truck has been in the Ottawa Valley since 1960 and has certainly used this time to perfect the craft of french frying. It’s no wonder they’ve been named one of the top 10 chip trucks in Canada.