To assemble the perfect gourmet picnic basket with as little effort as possible, composed entirely of locally-produced goodies, check out Ottawa's growing number of fine food shops for some tasty treats.
Seed to Sausage charcuterie
What began as a series of culinary experiments in his Kingston garage has evolved into a thriving charcuterie business for Michael McKenzie. He crafts authentic sausages and salumi made with locally-sourced, sustainably-raised meat, with natural preservatives and minimal salt or additives. Salumi choices include saucisson sec (dried salami sticks), spicy sopressata or smoky-flavoured capicola and more. Find them at many local fine food shops including The Ottawa Bagelshop on Wellington West and McKeen's Metro in the Glebe.
Culinary artist Korey Kealey and naturopathic doctor Joel Lee Villeneuve recognized a significant gap in the snack food market, so they developed the EnerjiVe Quinoa Snack Crisps. High in fibre and protein, and certified gluten-free, vegan and kosher, the snacks are a finalist for the Canadian Grand Prix new product awards No small feat considering this small local firm is up against some food industry heavyweights! Available at most Farmboy and .Kardish Foods locations, along with numerous other retailers.
Fromagerie les Folies Bergères
Maggie Paradis and Christian Girard produce some of the region's finest pasteurized goat, sheep and cows' milk cheeses. After a decade of selling milk, they established their own cheese factory, Les Folies Bergères ("crazy shepherds"). Their products include la petite folie, an unripened, spreadable sheeps-milk cheese; and l'apprenti sorcier, a sheep and cows-milk brie. Les Folies Bergères cheese can be found at the Parkdale Market Field House, 42 Crichton Fine Foods in New Edinburgh, and many more locations.
Major Craig's Chutney
Using a special recipe that his great-grandfather brought back from India, Andrew Craig has developed a line of delicious condiments under the Major Craig's Chutney label. Two of his products are Savour Ottawa certified for using all local ingredients, and all four - North India, Big Python Jerk, A Date with Cranberry and Winter Butternut & Beer - add zip to any meal. Find them at dozens of food shops, including Cheddar Et Cetera in Orleans and Kanata's Grace in the Kitchen.
Vanessa Cevc turned to baking as a stress reliever and after many years of supplying for friends and colleagues, Totally Squared was born. While she also bakes cookies, scones, loaves and muffins, it's Vanessa's squares that really shine. From double-chocolate caramel to key lime, lemon-blueberry and more, she covers the gamut from traditional to trendy. All goods are baked to order and delivered to your door across the greater Ottawa area within a few days. Visit totallysquared.com.
Macarons et Madeleines
Classically-trained Pâtissier Stéphan Ethier recently established Macarons et Madeleines to leverage his training at Le Cordon Bleu and his experience at fine restaurants in Canada and France. He uses premium ingredients to concoct heavenly confections unlike anything else found in Ottawa. Most of his products, including cakes and tarts, are made to order as though you had your own private pasty chef! Details can be found at macaronsetmadeleines.com.
Hall's Apple Market Sparkling Cider
What's a picnic without bubbly? Hall's Apple Market, near Brockville, makes sparkling all-natural beverages in combinations such as apple-peach, apple-cranberry, apple-cherry and more. "We started making cider when we wanted to give it away as a favour at our wedding," says Chris Hall. "Cider is nice and bubbly, has a different flavour than sodas and is very refreshing." Hall's Apple Market Sparkling Cider is available at most Ottawa-area farmers' markets including ByWard, Kanata, St. Laurent and more.