Foods can carry strong associations with people, time, seasons, weather, moods and places. Over years of coming up to Ontario’s cottage country for a lakeside break over the summer, my family has begun to associate the cottage with grilling, and meat in particular. We’re not always a meat-centric bunch, but something about this place (might have something to do with the oven being broken) leads us to cook outside on the barbecue daily. And this means trying to source some good meat in the Haliburton Highlands, a land of mid-sized grocery stores stocking the basics and little more.
The Butcher Block & Deli in Haliburton, Ontario, used to be our saving grace. It stocked excellent quality meats including homemade sausages and a wide range of fish. The products were not organic, or particularly local, but there was an excellent range and there were definitely people who cared behind the counter. A young man owned the store and took care to stock good cuts of high quality meat and other fine foods – it was the only place for 50 km that sold wholegrain Dijon.
The first thing on the to do list at the cottage is always a trip to the Butcher Block, so you can imagine the shock we felt when we found that our beloved shop had been replaced with a women’s clothing store. The young guy who ran it couldn’t keep it up anymore and has gone into the construction business, which is booming in the area. We might as well have worn black for the remainder of our visit, we were so upset. Our moods and insulin levels were temporarily heightened by the fantastic butter tarts at Ingoldsby Junction Buttertarts (Lower Level 177 Highland St, Haliburton, ON K0M 1S0), but the sadness returned.
In the end we ended up ferrying up meat from Toronto, from Fresh From The Farm (great sausages!) and Cumbrae's (just fantastic). We even had some Ontario lamb from the local IGA in Minden (not bad either). But it's just not the same.