By: Melanie Lloyd
On a cloudy Thanksgiving weekend, I went for an impromptu food and wine shopping spree in the west end of Ottawa and in Carp.
My first stop was at Around the Block Butcher Shop, about 4 blocks away from IKEA. From the selection of meat provided in this family owned store, you will find some great locally sourced options, including beef from O’Brien Farms in Winchester and lamb from Maple Meadows Farm in Osgoode.
Whether you are looking for dry-aged beef, sausages made in-house, poultry, game, ham, deli meat, or bacon that is less fatty and dare I say, the absolutely best bacon I’ve ever had, this store has you covered.
You can also find lots of artisan products that includes jam, chutney, hot sauce, barbecue sauce, dry rub, mustard, and locally made maple syrup and honey.
The space is intimate but well stocked and the staff is friendly and welcoming.
What’s in my bag:
- Boneless Top Sirloin Steak
- Naturally Smoked Bacon
- Stonewall – Roasted Garlic Onion Spread
- Rufus Teague Made Some Sauce – Smoky Apple Barbecue Sauce
My next stop was at KIN Vineyards in Carp. I’ve had many opportunities to buy and sample KIN Vineyards wine in the past whether it’s been through tasting events or whether it’s been at the Lansdowne market. This was my first visit to the actual vineyard.
I had a long chat with a friendly staff-member who is a certified sommelier. She’s a graduate of Algonquin Sommelier program and currently going for her level 3 WSET designation.
She explained that the vines were planted in 2014 and the winery opened in 2015. Brian Hamilton, the winemaker who’s been with KIN since its inception had previously worked at various wineries in Niagara including Tawse Winery, as well as vineyards in California and New Zealand.
The winery itself is charming. I especially liked the sitting area where you will find a record player and retro albums from artists such as Elvis Costello, David Bowie, and Boston.
The KIN harvesting party had taken place a few hours earlier so there were not too many grapes left on the vines. I was welcome to take pictures of the remaining grapes. The air was crisp and the walk through the vineyard was lovely.
What’s in my bag:
- KIN Vineyards Kindling Sparkling Wine 2017
- KIN Vineyards Pinot Noir 2018
- KIN Vineyards Civil Grit Chardonnay 2018
- KIN Vineyards Dark Horse The Frontenacs, Frontenac Noir 2018
The last stop I made was at Grace in the Kitchen in Kanata. Shopping here can be dangerous. There are so many tempting things to buy. This store offers high-end kitchenware, bakeware, kitchen gadgets, and a wide selection of gourmet and specialty food. The choices are endless.
In addition, there’s a coffee bar inside where you can sip on espresso and enjoy some baked goods.
The highlight is the cheese shop inside the store called Serious Cheese. A friendly and knowledgeable employee who has a real passion for cheese guided me through a great selection of cheese to purchase.
What’s in my bag:
- Kitchen !Q – Knife Sharpener
- Stonewall Kitchen – Bacon Ranch Dressing
- Fee Brothers – West Indian Orange Bitters
- Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers – Wormwood Bitters
- Bart – Hot Chilli Powder
- Cool & Simple – French Fries Cooked with Duck Fat
- Green & Black’s Organic – Organic Milk Chocolate with Butterscotch Pieces.
From Serious Cheese:
- Agropur 75, Quebec
- Silo 5 year cheddar, Quebec
- BellaVitano Sartori Espresso, USA
- Brie de Meaux AOC Courtenay, France
I was impressed with the three locations I visited and will definitely be buying from them again in the future. For dinner that night, we had the boneless top sirloin steak topped with smoky apple barbecue sauce and served with duck fat french fries. Everything was so delicious.
Later that night we also sampled some of the cheeses along with the KIN Vineyards Kindling Sparkling Wine. What a great way to end the day!