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The perfect cheese board, courtesy of sixthirtynine restaurant.Dudek Photography

If you’re a cheese lover, Oxford County’s Cheese Trail is a must-visit. Located about an hour and a half west of downtown Toronto, Oxford County is also known as the “Dairy Capital of Canada.” The area is home to numerous cheesemakers, delicious local restaurants and charming small shops, making a short day trip to Oxford County the perfect getaway for any foodie. Better yet, the region is hosting the aptly named Big Cheese Days festival throughout the month of May. On every Saturday, Big Cheese Days sees 30 businesses across the county offering visitors special tastings and experiences, including the chance to try limited-edition cheeses, whey cocktails and fireside fondue. We’ve suggested an itinerary below, but trust us: there’s no wrong way to experience Ontario’s cheesiest region.

10 a.m. Coffee time

Start the day off with coffee at The Olde Bakery Cafe in Ingersoll. Aside from a cup of java, this bakery is the perfect spot to fuel up on breakfast goodies like pancakes, french toast and waffles with locally tapped syrup!


11:30 a.m. History lesson

Next, head over to the Ingersoll Cheese and Agricultural Museum to learn about the region’s history of cheesemaking in a replica of a working factory. And while you’re in town, head over to Patina’s of Ingersoll to shop for eclectic handcrafted goods. From jewellery and puzzles to candies, clothes or any sort of knickknack, Patina’s stocks souvenirs from more than 100 artisans from across the world.


1 p.m. Lunch break

Get back to the dairy with a visit to Red Dragon Dairy in Salford, a family-owned cheese plant and store specializing in sheep and water buffalo milk cheeses. Plus, if you’re hungry for lunch, the friendly folks at Red Dragon can make you a sandwich or sub with local meats and cheeses.

If you’re looking for a fuller lunch, drive over to Woodstock and hit up the Brickhouse Brewpub, a pub and brewery that sells local Ontario craft beers and a food menu inspired by local ingredients and suppliers – plus, you can try a pint of Brickhouse’s own Upper Thames Brewing Company beer.


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A cheesemaker in the aging room at Gunn's Hill Artisan Cheese.Dudek Photography

3 p.m. Tour de force

Then, stop by Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese, an artisan cheese plant whose delicious curds are made with milk from the neighbouring family dairy farm. For Big Cheese Days, they’re offering a version of their famous Oxford Harvest cheese that has been flavoured with za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend. To make the most of the visit, pre-book a tour of the premises to learn more about the cheesemaking process and the local agriculture.


4:30 p.m. Sample size

For more cheesy goodness, head over to Bright Cheese and Butter, the oldest operating manufacturer of cheddar cheese in Ontario. Established in 1874, Bright Cheese and Butter makes cheeses like aged cheddar, asiago, colby and feta in its 1800s-era factory, where you can visit and sample Bright’s delicious award-winning cheeses and of course, curds!


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Udderly Ridiculous Farm Life offers several farm experiences during Big Cheese Days.Days Like This Photos

6 p.m. Dinner bell!

Finally, when you’ve had your fill of curds (if that’s even possible), grab dinner at Feast On-Certified sixthirtynine in Woodstock, an upscale restaurant dedicated to quality and craftsmanship. The menu at sixthirtynine is always a surprise because it changes based on what’s available from local farms. End the day with a delicious seasonal dessert to fuel you (and your full stomach) on your journey home.


Check out these other foodie tours around Ontario

Want to eat your way around the province? Try these other fun, food-focused tours.

Chatham-Kent’s Ice Cream Trail
Located in the southwest of the province, this sweet culinary trail features 19 ice cream shops that serve up delicious scoops, sandwiches and more. Download the Great Taste of Ontario passport for more info!

Ontario’s South Coast Wineries Toast the Coast Trai
Looking for drinks, not food? This tour, which will have you driving through Norfolk County along Lake Erie, features nine wineries that will make it easier than ever to drink locally.

Wellington Farmers Market Trail
Located in Wellington County near Guelph, this tour will guide you to eight farmers’ markets, where you can take advantage of the region’s delicious local produce. Each market has unique vendors and provides the perfect excuse to explore Ontario’s small rural towns.

Barrels, Bottles and Brews
This tour, located in Windsor Essex, is all about local craft beer and spirits – and the history behind them. Take a drive south to this region to sample some of the province’s best concoctions.


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