By CRAIG MOY
One of Ontario’s freshest culinary destinations, Muskoka is known not only for its restaurants, but also its many excellent purveyors of gourmet ingredients. Eat (and cook!) your way through the region by visiting Where’s favourite markets and more.
The “Gateway to Muskoka” offers ample opportunities for stocking up on your way to the cottage. Muskoka Meats carries the choicest cuts of Ontario beef, pork, chicken and more, alongside an array of local products. For carbo-loaders, The Bakery has sold exceptional breads, pies and other treats since 1959. Too busy to cook for yourself? Call ahead to order delicious take-home meals from Well Fed.
Muskoka Brewery puts this town on the map as a haven for hopheads. Drop by for a six-pack of the famed Cream Ale or Mad Tom IPA (or both!) and say hello to the friendly brewmasters while you’re at it! Or satisfy a sugary craving by picking up a few cupcakes from Sweet Aroma.
The big draw here is Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh, which sells all manner of goodies made from the tart red fruit—juice, preserves, even cranberry wine—but Don’s Bakery is also a must-visit for butter tarts, muffins and other baked delights. Carnivores are well cared for by The Cottage Butcher.
Sixth-generation family-run Brooklands Farm supplies seasonal vegetables to numerous Muskoka restaurants; in summer, home cooks can visit to pick and purchase their own fresh produce. The DIY ethos is also favoured at Milford Bay Trout Farm, where those with rods can catch their own dinner, or call ahead to buy fresh whole fish and filets.
RELATED: You can also get your ingredients (nearly) fresh from the field at many Muskoka farmers’ markets.
Serving Muskoka since 1927, Stephen’s Butcher Shop gives grillers much to choose from: house-made burgers and sausages, certified Angus steaks, game meats and more, plus many other artisan-made foods.
Lynn Murden’s Yummies in a Jar—that is, her flavourful homemade jams, vinaigrettes and condiments—add zest to many a cottage-country meal. Craft beer from the Lake of Bays Brewing Company makes a refreshing accompaniment, too!
Gourmands in Muskoka’s largest town trust Farmer’s Daughter for “fresh everything”—Ontario-grown produce, prepared meals, even the store’s own soups, preserves and herb butters. Straight-from-the-oven breads are best from Windmill Bakery, while those with gluten sensitivities can indulge in Wheat-Free Delights. Muskoka Roastery beans are the local choice for brewing a perfect pot of coffee. And hot summer days offer a perfect excuse to visit the Kawartha Dairy Company for two scoops of its rich ice cream.