After our barn lunch by Rundles, we really all just wanted to lay down on a bale of hay and snooze the afternoon away! But intrepid food bloggers that we are, we soldiered on (such hardship!) to attend a tea tasting with Karen Hartwick of Tea Leaves Tasting Bar and Shop. Karen is a certified tea sommelier, accredited by the Specialty Tea Institute in New York. More than a tea expert, this is a rigorous designation comparable to that of a wine sommelier. And much more rare! Karen lead a tea tasting workshop and instructed us in the art of blending her local Ontario organic herbal tea.
(image courtesy of Joel at Community Foodist)
I am not a huge tea drinker and to be honest it was hard for me to taste anything other than the spectacular meal we were still digesting!! I did appreciate Karen’s dedication and obvious passion – it was nearly like a wine tasting! If you are in Stratford and like tea – you should not miss out on the opportunity to visit Tea Leaves.
And here – courtesy the very generous Derek Barr himself – is the recipe so you can make this at home! Just remember that whilst you can use any kind of raw nut, pay attention to cooking times – things like pecans cook faster than peanuts for example.
230g white sugar
140g brown sugar
230g raw whole almonds
230g raw mammoth pecans
60g popped popcorn
In a large heavy bottom pot, mix white sugar, brown sugar, glucose, salt and water. Bring to a boil and add butter. Using a candy thermometer, cook the syrup to 260 degrees F. Add the almonds and cook the syrup to 285 degrees F. Add the pecans and cook to 300 degrees F. Fold in the popcorn carefully and pour onto a greased pan or parchment paper.
Remember to always wash away any sugar crystals that form on the side of the pot with a heat resistant brush and water. These crystals can and will cause your batch to grain off (the end product will still taste good but it will not keep well and will look dull.)
After we had made a few purchases, we headed back to Toronto, via Shakespeare’s Pies, then the Best Little Porke Shoppe.
Shakespeare’s is owned by Susie and Gerry Wagler, and sells all kinds of pies (sweet and savoury) as well as other food items including meat and dairy.
Shakespeare Pies – Susie Wagler
Of course a trip to Stratford would not be complete without a trip to The Best Little Pork Shoppe. Look out for the giant pig – you literally can’t miss it!
According to their website, “from useful to funky, we carry a unique selection of collectibles in a distinctly farm animal theme. Feel free to browse, enjoy and even laugh out loud. You are sure to find that ‘special something’ to remind you of your visit to “The Best Little Pork Shoppe”.
They also carry an impressive selection of meat and other local products.
And thus ends a truly magical day. Many thanks to The Stratford Tourism Alliance and Spotlight Toronto for making this day possible. I will be returning to Stratford, hopefully sooner rather than later, with an empty belly and a few empty coolers in the car!
Don’t forget to enter my Calphalon Utensils giveaway! It’s open to anyone wherever you live!!!