There’s nothing like eating your way through your vacation, and Canada’s got several superb culinary trails to impress even the most well-travelled epicure. Why do a foodie route? They're interesting, delectable, and take you to charming, authentic places you might not discover otherwise. Bon appétit!
Prince Edward Island: PEI Flavors
Tiny PEI is a wonderfully rural Atlantic Ocean island-province known for its farms, potatoes, and fresh seafood. To get to know it, choose a trail or region. The Culinary Trail has six options: Fishers, Restaurants, Authentic PEI Products, Culinary Adventures, Local Markets, or Farmers. Or you choose from one of five geographical regions on the map and explore. Then, get your itinerary and all there's left to do is eat! Tasty topics include a clam dig and cookout, farm visits, lobster fishing, cooking boot camp, and chocolate truffle making.
Quebec: Cheese Trail: The Gourmet Route
Quebec cheeses are something to write home about. Quebeckers put passion into their food growing and making. Don't miss the chance to sample some of North America's most masterfully crafted blues and soft, washed-rind cheeses on a route of your own choosing. There are at least 300 kinds to taste from, including raw cow, goat, and sheep's milk varietals that rival France's best. An added bonus is the gentle, rolling-hill scenery, dotted with quaint farmsteads and orchards.
Mennonite country, Ontario: Butter Tarts and Buggies
If "exploring the simpler life" is for you, then head to rural Ontario where the Mennonite community still farms by hand, bakes from scratch, and drives by horse-and-buggy. Check out homespun goods like alpaca hats and teddies, stroll gardens and orchards, and sample fresh produce, maple syrup, and melt-in-your-mouth butter tarts from the pros.
Okanagan Valley, BC: Wine Route
BC's sunny Okanagan Valley is one of Canada's two main wine producing regions (the other is Ontario's Niagara region), not to mention an orchard cornucopia famed for luscious peaches and cherries. Picture vine-terraced hills sloping down to a giant lake. Bike or drive between 200 glitzy, state-of-the-art estate operations, mom-'n-pop boutiques, and no-frills garage wineries -- many international award winners. Kelowna spotlights five Wine Trails: Kelowna's Southeast Bench, Lake Country's Scenic Sip, Westside Wine Trails, Lakeshore Wine Route and Downtown Grapes & Grains. If you want to just sit back and sip, take a guided tour with an expert. Or if chocolate is more your scene, research the revered Nanaimo Bar -- a decadent layered confection of brownie, custard, and fudge -- on Vancouver Island.
Nova Scotia: Seafood Trail
Lobster, oysters, mussels, scallops, haddock, and creamy chowder are what you want to eat lots of in Atlantic coastal Nova Scotia, also home to the Good Cheer Trail. Consult the Seafood Trail to peruse 85 different experiences: Oyster shucking? Beach lobster boil? An afternoon with a fisherman? There's even a passport to keep track of your travels and, perhaps, win a prize.
Winnipeg, Manitoba: Homegrown Trail
Want to get a taste for Manitoba? Check out Peg City Grub for a sampling of restaurants showcasing local fare in and around Winnipeg, an artsy, eccentric city. This province filled with lakes, forests, mountains, prairie, and farmland is known for its waving fields of wheat, canola, and lentils. Test out the creative ways Winnipeg chefs are experimenting with fresh ingredients like pickerel, bison, Arctic char, wild rice, and foraged berries.
Prince Edward County, Ontario: Taste Trail
Dubbed Canada's gastro capital, Prince Edward County is lovely, gentle country two-and-a-half hours outside Toronto dotted with farms and vineyards crisscrossed by meandering country roads. And the folks here are famed for their top-notch produce, artisan ice cream, cider, spirits, wine, craft beer, and field-to-table fare. There's so much, though, you'll need some insider advice. Follow the Taste Trail to plan your custom itinerary and if you like, tour via rented bikes, adding in stops at galleries, markets, and antique shops.
Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta: Wine Route
Inspired by the original homesteaders, a few years back Alberta orchardists started using their flowers, apples, honey, and wild cherries to make fruit wines. Today, the raspberry and rhubarb vintages are top rated. Sample these food-friendly labels using all-local produce -- including mead, an ancient fermented honey and fruit beverage -- on the farm and u-pick berries, too. Visit producers around Calgary or Edmonton, or both, adding on a scenic Rockies road trip.