Stratford is my hometown, and I absolutely love being home over the holiday season. With the snow and the lights, it can get pretty magical. Besides being an amazingly rich and diverse food community, it’s also home to some great nightlife and great theatre. People are welcoming and always willing to share their story.

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Grilled quail by Chef Aaron Linley at The Bruce Hotel


Here are my insider tips for a perfect weekend in this delicious destination:

  1. Roll into Stratford in time for ½ Price Fridays at Pazzo Pizzeria. This place is rockin’, so you may have to reserve ahead or find your place at the bar (which I love). Craft beer on tap and excellent pizza done right.
  2. The next morning… Haul yourself out of bed to enjoy coffee and a pastry at Revel Caffe in Stratford. Ask about where Anne sources her coffee, and she or her staff will be happy to share the Revel story of visiting the farm in Nicaragua.
  3. Stroll through Stratford’s historic downtown. Must stops include: Dana Nicole for women’s clothes, Bradshaw’s Kitchen + Detail for everything food, Rheo Thompson Candies for their signature gold wrapped mint smoothie, and wonder through Small-Mart for bacon toothpaste!
  4. For lunch, head to cheese maker Ruth Khlasen’s restaurant, Monforte on Wellington. Indulge in a delicious grilled cheese sandwich and stock up on your favourite Monforte cheeses.
  5. In the afternoon, browse at Your Local Market Coop. My favourite go-to products are the local Ontario trout and Bright’s aged cheddar cheese. You cannot leave the Coop without a maple bacon butter tart from Madelyn’s Diner (see the fridge by the cash register!).
  6. Dinner ameans heading to The Bruce. Chef Aaron Linley continues to blow me away. If duck confit is on the menu… get it. Bonus: Sommelier Bronwyn Linley is a huge supporter of Ontario wine too!
  7. After dinner, grab a pint at Foster’s Inn. Check their website for their live music schedule. It’s a great place to get to know the locals. The owner, Craig is a huge music fan, and attracts some amazing talent during the winter season.
  8. Finish your night at Down the Street – snack on Mexican street food and sip signature cocktails. There is nothing better on a Saturday night in Stratford than joining friends at “DTS”.
  9. Sunday morning, hands down – if you do nothing else – go to Mercer Hall for brunch and choose the chicken and waffles….or the burger if it’s available! Local food at its finest!
  10. On your way out of town, stop it at the year-round Sunday Slow Food Market. It’s a community hub. Grab your coffee and get to know the wonderful Perth County Food Community.

For more info on Stratford, where to eat and rest your head — visit the Stratford Tourism website:

Originally published as part of the Perfect Weekends series on

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