belleville on the water
(my favourite photo from the weekend – houses along the waterfront)

During my splendid getaway to Niagara-on-the-lake, one of my companions mentioned Picton, Ontario as a place to visit, particularly for their abundance of homemade jam. After a quick Google search, not only did I find places to buy jam, I stumbled upon the Great Canadian Cheese Festival!

great canadian cheese festival

As a cheese lover, I quickly rallied a group of folks equally as passionate of cheese as I was and we set off!

The first stop on our way to Picton was the Big Apple, a bakery and tourist attraction in Colborne that sells giant apple pies and has a llama petting zoo.

the big apple, colborne
petting zoo at the big apple
(Apparently Canada has an affinity for giant landmarks.)

We opted to stay the night in Belleville, in the historic, boutique Hotel Quinte, which was by the way, an awesome deal! Only $90/night including a hot breakfast (for two!)!

quinte hotel
The room was spacious, clean and very unique (and by ‘unique’, I mean, a little creepy. I was sleeping under a giant King Tut tapestry and was greeted by a strange man statue…see evidence above).

After settling in, we strolled through the downtown, and along the waterfront, in search of a place to eat.

man fishing in belleville's waterfront
We settled on The Boathouse which turned out to be a great choice.

steak and lobster tails at the boathouse
The next morning took a scenic half hour drive to Picton, a town in Prince Edward County, whose reputation is slowly growing as a great culinary destination!

Our admission tickets gave us 10 tickets that we could use to sample wines or cheeses or buy certain cheeses. So many to choose from!

blue haze cheese
I really enjoyed smoked cheeses and also found a lovely soft Riopelle cheese, perfect for spreading on crackers.

The festival included a wine tastings, a hands-on cheese making demonstration, water buffalo rides, and artisan foods.

prize winning cheese d'or
cheese making
water buffalo
Late lunch at the Regent Cafe in downtown Picton.

lunch at regent cafe
Finally, we made a stop at Huff Estates, where I bought a bottle of the 2009 Riesling Medium Off-Dry, which we had at dinner the night before and it is dangerously delicious!

We drove back in beautiful weather and popped back into the Big Apple to buy some apple bread and an apple, cherry pie.

Another perfect weekend road trip! I am definitely going to try to make it out to a couple more Ontario destinations this summer!