Want to "savour" a piece of Ontario before winter sets in or warm up by a crackling fire through the snowy season?
Savour Ontario, an initiative of the provincial tourism office, offers assistance in planning "distinctive" getaways.
An innovative website suggests specific itineraries to match budgets, interests and distances from home.
Options include learning the secrets of epicurean experts and acclaimed winemakers and/or relaxing at a spa. Spend enticing nights away with packages such as Be Casanova and Chocolate Fantasy.
Under Savour Ontario Dining, you can browse the menus of restaurants featuring regional food and drink by the name of the establishment, price and location.
In the London area, for example, suggestions are Eddington's in Exeter, located in the original 1870's Carling Homestead with "gracious ambiance and charm."
There's also the Idlewyld Inn in London where the chefs "maintain the tradition of using only the finest locally-produced meat, vegetables, fruits and herbs."
Put on an apron and join "celebrated chefs and acclaimed culinary instructors" in the kitchen for "Cooking Classes and Guided Culinary Adventures."
This is an opportunity to share favourite recipes and tested techniques while learning about preferred suppliers and purveyors.
Options to explore wines and wineries along with food include travel on the back roads of Ontario's wine regions - Niagara, Prince Edward County and Lake Erie North Shore.
Among upcoming wine and culinary events are:
- Taste the Season, weekends through Nov. 25, at Niagara-on-the-Lake to experience food and wine pairings by 17 local wineries.
- Chocolate@stratus, Dec. 8, also Niagara-on-the-Lake, feature Appellation chocolates handcrafted in Italy with a tasting to "explore Guido Gobino's distinctive chocolate palate and how wine and chocolate can be wonderfully compatible."
- Niagara Icewine Festival, Jan. 18 to 27, to celebrate the acclaimed sweet dessert wine created from harvesting grapes frozen on the vine. There are gala evenings, ornate ice bars, touring weekends and other events.
Wine and Dine in New Wine Country takes place at the Waring House Inn and Cookery School in Picton, east of Toronto. This explores Prince Edward County's newest wine destination along the Taste Trail.
Combining culinary adventures with spa treatments is possible with packages at Langdon Hall Country House and Spa in Cambridge and the Millcroft Inn and Spa in Alton.
Fall flavours food and wine weekends are at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville where executive chef Rory Golden prepares locally inspired cuisine at Steamers, a log-house restaurant.
For some Riverfront Romance, the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Windsor, Essex County and Pelee Island offers packages in rooms with "a spectacular view of the Detroit River and skyline."
The Chocolate Fantasy getaway is available at the Inn on the Twenty in Jordan in the Niagara Wine region.
For "chocolate mixed with a little romance," this starts with dinner at the On the Twenty Restaurant watching the sun set over the Niagara Escarpment and gets sweeter from there on.
Be Casanova at Brookstreet, a hotel and spa, in Ottawa where you "treat your sweetheart to luxury accommodation, a three-course dinner, breakfast in bed and a late check-out."
Places to explore include numerous entrees for Small Town Ontario as well as links to find out more information about the places where the packages are offered.
The website also offers many options for golf getaways and attending the theatre during the appropriate seasons.
IF YOU GO
The Savour Ontario getaway options from the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership are at: www.distinctivegetaways.ca
There's an itinerary planner to find the trip that "suits you best" and matches travel interests, time of year and favoured destinations, along with interactive maps to show the way.
Register on-line for a chance to win a "pampering getaway" weekend for four people at Ste. Anne's Spa in Grafton, valued at $4,700.
As well, you can order Ontario Tourism travel literature and maps on-line or call: 1-800-ONTARIO (668-2746).