We spent this past weekend in Picton and the surrounding area and after just a mere 72 hours they had us drinking the Kool-Aid. This quiet, powerful cult established here in the province of Ontario is simply being referred to as ‘The County’.
Words associated with their rites and ceremonies include: terroir, rural renaissance, locavore, organic, slow food, viticulture, arts and culture, artisan cheese, platinum LEED, sophisticated, Loyalist, history, taste, festivals, farm fresh, ‘rurban’.
Beyond the formal municipal government, there are many other structured groups working together to make life in The County a fulfilling dream. Such groups as Slow Food The County, Taste the County, PEC Winegrowers Association, Festival Players of PEC, just to name a few. They even have their own currency in the form of Vicki’s Veggie-Bucks.
Once home, we actually started browsing through real estate listings! We contemplated small farming, homemade canning and preserves. We fell hard for this place.
No surprise I guess that when we made our last food stop late in the day Sunday, we were totally won over to pay $2.50 for a wee, slim 4″ long hot dog wrapped in a delicate but full-textured bun, loaded with local flavours.
We had read good things about Buddha Dog before coming to Picton. As we walked the main street, the plump Buddha sandwich board lured us in.
The small haven to hot dogs was bright and airy with its Cloud White and Blackboard painted walls. Above the kitchen work station someone had meticulously laid out a non-bordered map of the area marked with the many must see locations from food stuffs to eateries to wineries to everything in between. It is clear that The County is loaded with experiences for visitors of any vacation stripe.
Eating a Buddha Dog is pretty straight forward. You add your seasonal sauces of ketchups, mustards, relishes, the daily mayo and the daily jelly. You then top it with your favourite cheese and voilà, the Buddha Dog.
To reasonably curb your hunger, it is common to get a flight of 3 dogs. They suggest one sweet, one savoury and one spicy.
I started with one just to see where this taste sensation would go. Smokey Ketchup. Chardonnay Wine Mustard. Caramelized Onion Relish. The Daily Mayo which was Wild Leek Aioli. The Daily Jelly which was Jalapeño Tequila Jelly. And then for the cheese finish – Fifth Town Plain Jane Chèvre. (The other cheese choices came from Black River Cheese Company.) They even tucked in fresh spinach from Vicki’s Veggies.
The weiner is all-beef and supplied by Ted Aman of Aman’s Abbatoir in nearby Wellington. Ted only processes local meat. For Buddha Dog he looks after the grinding, spicing, casing, and smoking of these pint-size weiners.
The wee 4″ buns are made just across the road at Pastry House by Picton baker Peter Grendel.
The sauces are made by local chefs using local ingredients.
The two cheese companies are located just east of Picton. As is Vicki’s Veggies.
It wasn’t hard to consider going for a second Buddha Dog.
With the Great Canadian Cheese Festival in play this weekend at the Crystal Palace, visiting chef Craig Flinn from Chives Canadian Bistro in Halifax, Nova Scotia created the Dog of the Day. It featured his Dragon’s Breath Mousse with Rhubarb Compote. These components were used in his dish the night before at the Cooks & Curds Cheese Gala. Dragon’s Breath cheese comes from That Dutchman’s Farm and is local to Chef Flinn’s native Nova Scotia. Being one of my favourite taste experiences from the Gala, my second dog was Dog of the Day.
I am an easy convert to Buddha Dog. I lap up the whole locavore experience. I don’t know if that is my farm upbringing, my foodie fetish, the loose ‘vacation wallet’ or just because it tasted good. I suppose some might quibble about the price being $7.50 for a lunching threesome but I personally am willing to pay a bit more knowing where my food comes from. Knowing that it was made with care.
Also worth mentioning – the service was great!
Open 7 days a week after May 27
Mon to Sat: 11 am – 5 pm
Sun: 11 am – 4 pm