People always say that they love their children all the same. As entrepreneurs we tend to think of our business that way. As we take on new projects they become our children. Each child is unique and we love them in a different way. The St Catharines culinary tour is the child that is free spirited, independent but never seems to get the recognition they truly deserve.
St Catharines is a city filled with history, a great farmers market, fabulous food and the revitalization of the downtown core continues to inspire me. I love that every time I am there that I notice something new and exciting cropping up. It is becoming the walkable community that we seldom see these days. Developers make subdivisions and not neighbourhoods or communities. Although we do not call St Catharines home, we work and run a business there and have a fondness for what is becoming. Who knows, maybe we will call it home one day.
This year when Steven took out our first tour of the season for St Catharines, he had an eclectic group with people from Peru, Toronto, USA and Niagara on the Lake. Everyone chose this tour over our others because it was the road less travelled and they wanted to try something different.
The day was filled with food, history and a bit of fun. We are working with new culinary partners and wanted to visit everyone so the tour was a bit longer with a bonus stop for the day. All of the stops are family owned and operated businesses which is the foundation of the downtown core and what makes it so incredible.
Mahtay Cafe provided a trio of canapes. The space is laid back, eclectic and a great spot to just hang out and have coffee or tea but now with their new menu they are becoming known for their food too.
Wellington Court is five star dining but without stuffy pretense. This is a family run restaurant with Chef Erik Peacock and wife Dale working together with outstanding results. Wellington Court was originally run by Chef Peacock’s mom. Situated in a family home it has now been open over 30 years. We never know what might be served on tour it is wonderful to watch their reactions when they try it. New, innovative and always locally inspired.
What’s not to love about a vegan doughnut?! Opened in 2015 by young entrepreneurs, brother and sister Shane and Leah Belanger and Tayler Brook. Beechwood Doughnuts has become known for their unusual flavours and their customer lineups on a beautiful day. My favourite is still Coconut Cream but there are so many others like Chunky Monkey, Earl Grey, Rosewater Pistachio and Mango Fritter.
A place that even has carnivores not missing meat is Rise Above on St Paul Street is 100% vegan. Real hits with our group were the mushrooms stuffed with cashew cheese and spinach pesto and buffalo seitan. There is always something fresh and seasonally inspired coming out of the kitchen.
A stop a Cafe Gatti brings us a touch of Italy with antipasto and thin crust pizza. This hidden gem is near the Performing Arts Centre. An afternoon in downtown St Catharines is definitely one to be savoured and enjoyed. For more tour info go to Niagara Culinary Tours.