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Wine & Vineyards

Over 30 fabulous wines made in our region

Artisan Cheese

Our FAB Region has the infrastructure to support artisan cheese-making

Artisan Foods

Condiments, flours, artisan breads, charcuterie...

Craft Beer, Ciders, Distilling

Distilling, brewing, cider making...

While many people instinctively think of pairing chocolate and wine, we wanted to learn more about pairing craft beer with chocolate. Earlier this week we asked local chocolate specialist, Ludwig Ratzinger of Fine Chocolate By Ludwig, about pairing his chocolate with craft beer. Here’s what Ludwig had to say. Cheers!


There are two varieties of my chocolate that would pair well with dark beer. Both of these chocolates pair nicely with Beau’s Tom Green Milk Stout or with Ashton Brewing Company’s Vanilla Stout.

1. Maracaibo Clasificado 65%

The Maracaibo Clasificado 65% couverture was named the best couverture by the Italian Pastry Academy. A pure Grand Cru Chocolate made of Criollo beans from Sur del Lago, Maracaibo, Venezuela. It has aromas of coffee and plum and notes of orange blossom, cinnamon and raisin. Read more!


2. Cru Sauvage 68%

Cru Sauvage made with 68% cocoa mass from wild cocoa beans come from the Amazon region of Beni, Bolivia. The substantial and harmonious cocoa flavors of the Cru Sauvage are well complemented with the freshness of the lemon and the fruitiness of the grapefruit. The traditional gentle processing method (60 hours conching) unfolds the intense dried prune bouquet and vanilla in its most exquisite way. The exceptionally pleasant fruit acidity and the long-lasting ending make the Cru Sauvage with its cocoa content of 68% a unique culinary experience. Read more!

Cru Sauvage

The Toronto Star today posted a story about Sophia Pantazi and Peter Stroz who spend their days tending the body, as radiologists in Toronto-area hospitals, and on weekends, they tend the spirit, as creators of boutique vodkas, gins and shochu, the Japanese liquor here in our FAB Region.

Check-out the full story here.

You too can live the dream!  Contact us today!

STIRLING, ON – It’s all about the cheese – whether it’s water buffalo ricotta cannoli, shaved buffalo roast with smoked cheddar or sinful Belgian chocolate truffles with ricotta – the Stirling-Rawdon BIA’s “Water Buffalo Food Festival” is sure to satisfy everyone’s taste buds.

Now in its fourth year, the “Go Buff” festival showcases the creative talkents of regional chefs and locally owned businesses, while playing tribute to the success of the first water buffalo milking farm in eastern Canada, the Ontario Water Buffalo Co., located in Stirling. Vendors have created a range of dishes featuring Mozzarella di Bufala, ricotta and scamorza cheeses.

New to the event this year is Bio Essential Botanicals, a Stirling-based company that will be serving a “Way Better” tortilla chip with mozzarella and cheddar. Also featured this year are beef sliders, caprese salad, ricotta fritters, Italian sodas and lattes, as well as local craft beer, wine and cider that offer a taste of what’s to come at the Hastings Beer Festival in October.

“Our event has become a destination for food lovers both inside and outside our region,” says Elisha Maguire, Economic Development Officer for the Township of Stirling-Rawdon. “The festival is a great way to spend a Saturday with family and friends tasting specially created recipes featuring local foods and ingredients.” The event will be held on Saturday, September 8, 2012 from 11 am to 4 pm.

As in past years, Mill Street will be closed to allow for visitors to amble along the street, sampling foods and local beverages along the way. Tickets, priced at $20 in advance and $25 at the gate, are available online at and at Rustic Routes in Stirling. Ticket prices include festival souvenir and 10 taste tickets.

Maguire adds that they have launched a Facebook ticket contest this year. “We are giving away free tickets to this year’s Water Buffalo Festival. For every 50 likes, two tickets will be given away until the day of the festival. The first set of tickets have been given away and we are well on our way to the next set.”

To be eligible and entered into the draw to win tickets, one must first “like” the Water Buffalo Festival Facebook Page. In addition, regular updates are posted on the festival’s Twitter feed, @WaterBuffFest, and event details and recipes are available at

Stirling-Rawdon is located in Hastings County, a member of a unique economic development partnership – called the Food and Beverage (FAB) Region – with the counties of Lennox and Addington, Prince Edward County and the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (FCFDC) Its goal is to help entrepreneurs establish an artisan food or beverage business in the region.

For more information:
Elisha Maguire
Economic Development Officer, Township of Stirling-Rawdon

The Ontario Government issued a news release today stating that the LCBO is enjoying the most successful year in its history, helping to create jobs through promoting Ontario’s wine and beer industries.

Through campaigns such as I Love Canada and goLOCAL sales of local beer and wine are increasing and customers are engaged by taking pride in supporting local producers. In 2011-12:

  • Sales from Ontario Craft Brewers led all product segments with almost 45 per cent growth as more consumers chose to “go local” with Ontario craft beers because of their premium quality and distinctive styles.
  • Sales of VQA table wines increased by nine per cent, reaching almost $106 million. Since 2006-07, sales of Ontario VQA wines have more than doubled, thanks to the craftsmanship of Ontario winemakers who produce high-quality, award-winning products.
  • Interest in premium wine and spirits continues to grow as VINTAGES releases some 6,000 products a year (120 to 150 new products are released every two weeks).

The message from all of these stats is that local Ontario craft beer and wine sales are increasing. What a great opportunity to invest now and open your brewery or winery in our FAB Region! We can help… contact us today!