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  • Writer's pictureAlison Golding

My Food Adventures 2022 Simcoe County Holiday Gift Guide For Foodies

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

Chelsea Chocolates (Craighurst)

The halls are decked and the snow is now blanketing the ground, but do you still need some holiday shopping ideas for the foodie in your life, or even for yourself (I won’t judge)? Well, look no further. I have developed this gift guide to help you navigate some of my favourite locations in Simcoe County where you can pick up some tasty treats this holiday season.

During the pandemic, shopping local and supporting small businesses became more important than ever, but now that things are returning back to some semblance of normalcy (a.k.a. “precedented times”), I urge you to continue supporting small businesses. Although many local businesses appear to be thriving, many of them are still working behind the scenes to recover debt from the previous years.

Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and have so much to offer, including unique items that you just can’t find in big box stores.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I hope you enjoy some of my local favourites. Happy shopping friends!

To Eat

There are no shortage of edible gift ideas in Simcoe County so let's jump right into it!

Olive Oil Co., (Website, Instagram, Facebook) is one of my favourite places to buy gifts. Over the holidays, they have three locations in Barrie (downtown, South Barrie and a pop-up at the Georgian Mall), as well as locations in Midland, Newmarket and they also offer easy online ordering and delivery all over Canada. They have dozens of gift-set options, starting as low as $12 for a small oil and vinegar set. Some of my current favourites are their gourmet gift baskets oil and the "Italian dinner set" .You can also create your own set of items and have them package them in one of their gorgeous and hassle free lantern boxes to save you some time wrapping.

J’adore Fine Cheese and Chocolates (Website, Instagram, Facebook) in Barrie is another one of my favorite “one stop shopping” spots for specialty foods that are perfect for gifting, charcuterie boards and handmade chocolate. If that’s not enough, they also have a bottle shop! There’s truly something for any foodie on your list here and if you’re looking for a custom cheese plate, they can do that too!

Dwn Chocolate Website, Facebook, Instagram in Orillia is one of my favourite unique chocolate makers in the area. One of the things that set Dwn apart from other chocolate shops is that the make their own chocolate from scratch by grinding the cocoa nibs versus melting pre-made chocolate. This allows more flexibility in the flavouring her chocolate, for example, soaking the nibs in rum to make a seasonal Eggnog bar, as well as the ability to create many unique dairy-free options. To read more about Dwn Chocolate, visit my blog post, "Dwn Craft Chocolatier: Unique, Handcrafted, Local".

YF Patissier Chocolatier (Website, Facebook, Instagram) is an amazing shop in Creemore that sells the very best hand crafted pastries and chocolates in the area. Stop by and treat yourself to one of their mouthwatering baked goods and pick up some decadent treats for the chocolate lover in your life.

Royaltea on King (Website, Facebook, Instagram) is a traditional British tea room located in Midland. They also house a small but well stocked grocery area featuring British imports. For me, a perfect day of holiday shopping would include stopping for a tea and then visiting their store to pick up some tasty treats for the British food lover in your life.

I have been a Simcoe Harvest (Website, Instagram, Facebook) customer since they were first borne out of Covid necessity and they now offer weekly delivery of over 1000 local products from over 100 local farmers and artisans to Angus, Barrie, Midurst, Minesing, Stayner, Oro, Wasaga, Collingwood, Innisfil, Thornton, Cookstown, Alliston and Bradford. Although you can sign up for weekly deliveries, like I do, you can also place a one-time order and enjoy delivery right to your door the following week! Right now, they are offering holiday baskets with themes like "Coffee & Tea Lover", “Explore Local”, “Chocolate Lover”, “BBQ Lover”, “Local Charcuterie”, and “Caesar Lovers” (yes they also deliver locally produced libations). Be sure to use the code REF5FE79JTD5C at checkout for $10 off your first order.

Cheesy Corner (Website, Instagram, Facebook) in Stayner not only sells a wonderful variety of artisan cheeses for excellent prices, but they also offer an assortment of charcuterie boards and other specialty food items. The thing that really makes them stand out is their assortment of Canadian hot sauces, in fact, they have over 300 varieties! This unique little spot is definitely worth the drive to Stayner!

The Gorgeous Spice Co. (Website, Instagram, Facebook) is a small business out of Creemore that I absolutely love. You can order individual spice packages or monthly subscriptions. This holiday season, they are offering 3, 6 or 12 month gift subscriptions on their website where the recipients receive two of their spices a month (one pure spice and one blend). I not only love their creative spice blends, but also the recipes, playlists and fun monthly e-newsletters. Be sure to check out their website and read about their unique blends and delicious recipes, sure to please any foodie in your life.

This one may come as a bit of a surprise, but my next recommendation is actually The 400 Market in Innisfil (Website, Instagram, Facebook). If you take the time to explore their over 100 000sq feet of shopping space, you’ll find they have an incredible assortment of food related items. Some of my favourite non-perishables include kitchen supplies including cast iron and enamel pots at Your Kitchen Outfitters, dip mixes from Deb’s Dips, Honey from Innisfil Creek, mushroom related products from Fungicopia, British specialty foods from Edwards Eats and Treats, and more! I also love how community minded the management at the market is, offering registered charities and farmers space for no charge. Right now, they have a beautiful set up with Santa on weekends where you can visit and take photos of your kiddos, also for no charge!

Other favourites in this category include….

To Drink

Now let’s move onto the beverage category. Simcoe county has lots of local beverage options, for coffee and tea lovers, as well as for those who like their beverages with a bit of a kick.

Heritage Estate Winery and Cidery (Website, Facebook, Instagram) in Barrie sells wine, sangria, sparkling wine and cider, with something to suit every palate. It’s a beautiful spot to visit, right on the outskirts of Barrie so why not book a tour or tasting while you’re there...all in the name of quality control of course.

Duntroon Cyder House Website, Facebook, Instagram is a cidery offering local ciders from the orchards on site. They also have a small store where, among the shelves, you’ll find some of the best local and seasonal products the community has to offer. They also offer seasonal activities, including snowshoeing and their “Winter Utopia” which includes fireplaces, a dome where you can sample their ciders before purchasing. To learn more about Duntroon Cyder house, visit my blog post, Duntroon Cyder House: A Four Season Destination in Simcoe County.

Heretic Spirits (Website, Facebook, Instagram) is a local Collingwood distillery that produces vodka, gin and the

occasional unique release. As Georgian Bay's first craft distillery, purchasing their products is a great way to support local this holiday season. You can shop online or find them at an LCBO near you.

The Wheeled Brew Craft Bottle Shop (Website, Facebook, Instagram) is a sweet little bottle shop in downtown Barrie that offers beer, wine, cider and seltzers (many of them local) that are not found at the LCBO. They also offer craft beer subscriptions for the beer lover in your life, available in 1, 3 or 6 month options. It’s a great spot where you are always greeted with a smile and definitely worth checking out!

Blue Mountain Tea Company (Website, Facebook, Instagram) in Collingwood is my favourite local spot to pick up tea and teaware accessories. They offer a variety of over 160 loose leaf teas, sorted by type, function and taste. Some of my favourites include their Cream of Earl Grey and Coconut Milk Oolong. If you’re not local, they also offer convenient shipping options.

Other favourites in this category include….

For the Kitchen

No foodie’s home is complete without an array of functional and beautiful kitchenware. I also like to have these types of gifts on hand for host gifts.

Another favourite find of mine is local potter, Nathalie Morin of Halie Argile in Elmvale (Website, Facebook, Instagram). I recently purchased two of her “Jupiter Mugs” as well as a carafe and two tumblers that I am slightly obsessed with. If you’re shopping for a pottery lover, be sure to check out this incredible local artisan.