The Chocolate Trail is one of the Best Things to Do in Stratford Ontario
Okay so I love chocolate. Can you blame me? It is considered the world’s most favourite taste. The majority of human kind cannot resist a taste of this magical treat. While travelling through Ontario, when I heard about the Chocolate Trail in Stratford, I just had to learn more and check it out. And you know what? I can honestly say it is one of the best things to do in Stratford Ontario.
One of the Best Things to Do in Stratford Ontario…
Yes. The Chocolate Trail really is one of the best things to do in Stratford! A town that is famously known for its festivals, talented productions, and emulation of Shakespeare’s Stratford-Upon-Avon in Great Britain, I was truly surprised to find such a great additional experience, especially if visiting the adorable town off-season. Here is the lowdown on how you can enjoy this sweet and indulgent experience that is more than just truffles and fudge.
The Amazing Chocolate Trail Details
So the first thing you need to do when you arrive is head to the Stratford Tourism office in the main drag. Here, they will give you the necessary information and explain the trail and how it works. For the price of $30 per person, you are given six vouchers to redeem from 27 different vendors on the trail. The flyer and map you are provided with your vouchers gives you all the details on the offered chocolate treat or product and where to find the shop or restaurant. Here are the chocolaty treats we enjoyed and highly recommend to anyone heading on the trail.
Molly Blooms Irish Pub
So this local pub was such an incredible stop on the chocolate trail. First of all, if you are hungry, be sure to stay and have a meal. The portions are huge and the food is really tasty. I highly recommend the fish tacos if you go! They are out of this world and massive. You really won’t need dinner if you have these for lunch! To wash them down, order the creamy hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and served with a mint chocolate from the local sweet shoppe! This drink is your complimentary chocolate product with the redemption of one of your six chocolate trail vouchers. It was one of the best hot chocolates I have ever had!
Jen and Larry’s Brittle’n Shakes
I love this little local ice cream shop! Even in the winter months you will be guaranteed a welcoming ice cream treat. On the Chocolate trail, if you decide to stop in at Jen and Larry’s, you will definitely savour the offered mini ice cream sundae for your trail voucher while enjoying the nostalgic music and ambiance of a retro ice cream parlour. What else is quite neat about this shop is that they create and make the gorgeous swan desserts and official cake of the annual swan release event that happens every year in April.
Macleods Scottish Shop
If you love anything to do with Scotland, you will love this hint of the Highlands right in the heart of Stratford! Enjoy all the traditional treats including shortbread, British chocolate, and more. If you opt to use one of your Chocolate Trail vouchers here, you will get a lovely box of chocolate shortbread!
Olive Your Favourites
So this stop on the Stratford Chocolate tour is super cool and different. Just think for a moment about chocolate infused balsamic vinegar. This incredible olive oil and vinegar company makes some of the purest products you can purchase on the market. So many of the brands in grocery stores aren’t nearly as pure, making Olive Your Favourites some of the healthiest for your body. If you trade in one of your Chocolate tour vouchers here, you will receive a small bottle of the chocolate balsamic. It is FANTASTIC on salads, melon, and many more dishes. yum!
Rheo Thompson Candies
So I have a thing for local sweet shoppes. I adore them. I am sick of the usual Kit Kat, Mars Bar, and Oh Henry. Honestly a truffle made by a local establishment is all the more sweeter, and you are supporting an independent business who probably has a smaller footprint on the environment. Rheo Thompson is Stratford’s local love. They have amazing chocolate products and gifts that even some of the restaurants and stores carry in the area. Use your voucher from the Chocolate Trail here and receive FOUR of their many incredible flavours – creams, nutty, nougat, and many more choices. Their signature flavour are the mint chocolates. These are also served at various restaurants as a garnish to a coffee, hot chocolate, espresso, etc.
I love a loose leaf cuppa tea in the evening while watching the ball game. It is relaxing and soothing! There’s nowhere better than Distinctly Tea in Stratford Ontario to nab some truly delightful tea blends and the accessories needed to master the art of the perfect cup. Grab bags of different flavours, a beautifully designed teapot of various sizes, or even a cozy to keep it from getting dusty. If you opt to cash in one of your chocolate trail vouchers here, you will enjoy some chocolate infused loose leaf tea to take home.
This is one of the most adorable local gift shops in Stratford Ontario. It features local artisans, interesting souvenirs (a Justin Bieber section exists thanks to the Bieber museum opening up in the town), and a section of Loreena McKennitt CDs. Born in Manitoba, Loreena moved to Stratford and has become a favourite local in town. Many of her songs were recorded in a local church and you can honestly hear it in the songs’ acoustics. If you decide to redeem your Chocolate Trail chit here, you will receive some chocolate honey…whoa.
Everyone who reads my posts and fondly follows my adventures, must know by now how much of a coffee nerd I am. So with that notion, I had to redeem one of my Chocolate Trail vouchers at Buzz Stop to grab some amazing Chocolate flavoured coffee! This cute little caffeine hut has great coffee trinkets, mugs, and the ultimate ground coffee of various blends, and if needing your fix, a cuppa right then and there.
Where to Eat
If you are staying in Stratford for a weekend or longer, you will need to enjoy some grub! I highly recommend Mercer Hall. A fun restaurant offering unique cuisine, Mercer Beer Hall has a huge selection of local beer, wine, and more. Personally, I loved their barbecued flowered Brussels sprouts! They tasted absolutely divine. And, their dumplings were amazing.
So, I truly loved this coffee shop when I stumbled upon it in the Toronto Distillery District, but the original hails from Stratford! Come in here for a truly delightful barista crafted beverage. You never know, you may see Loreena in here in the morning! She goes to Balzac’s daily for her morning caffeine fix.
Swans Winter Home
If you head here in the winter, you will enjoy the city off-season. While visiting, one of the best things to do in Stratford Ontario is visit the swans in their winter home. Just like in England’s Stratford, swans grace the Avon river here in Ontario. But in the winter, it is better for their health and well-being to be kept in a warmer environment. The swans live in a heated area with an outdoor doorway for them to go outside when they want. There is a volunteer swan nanny if you will, who feeds them and takes care of them in the winter months. Be sure to pay them a visit while there! They are totally accessible and love seeing people as they swim and play in the snow.
So there you have the highlights of this delightful Ontario town that truly feels like a piece of England in North America. There are many other stops on the Chocolate Trail that offer delightful treats and products, affirming once again that it is one of the best things to do in Stratford Ontario. If you are into live theatre, come to Stratford for the yearly festival and fit in the Chocolate Trail, Balzac’s and seeing the swans in the river. If live theatre doesn’t really matter, coming in the off-season months will give you a different perspective, fewer crowds, and a truly memorable experience.
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