Overall Rating…4.5 Star
The Niagara region is a beautiful spot to visit at really any time of the year. Farmers markets, incredible Canadian wineries, lovely boutiques and lots of amazing food, all in a beautiful vineyard setting…how can you go wrong! The Handmade Market will be held 4x in 2016 at varying places, including 13th Street Winery, Niagara College Wine Visitor and Education Centre and Honsberger Estate Winery (check out the Handmade Market’s site for details on when and where). These special events boasts a collection of artisans who show off their unique handcrafted items, a wide variety of food trucks and of course wines! As a Mother’s Day treat, these two Kooks, along with their husbands, decided to check out 13th Street Winery’s Handmade Market, which was held on May 6th and 7th, 2016.
Overall we all had an excellent time. We lucked out with a beautiful spring day and despite the crowds, which caused long lines at the food trucks, it was a lot of fun. I would recommend to anyone planning on checking out the next Handmade Market to either go very early in the day (aka right when it opens) or go on a weekday if it is held on one, which I would assume would be far less crowded. Good thing 13th Street Winery has a lot of land as it was nicely spread out and plenty of free parking! Just be sure to come with some cash as not everyone is able to take credit cards or debit.
There were 7 Unique food trucks to chose from at this event. Unfortunately a bit more challenging for a Vegetarian, but for those of you who have a pretty open diet, you will find plenty of fare to chose from. The food trucks included: Avella’s Wood Fired Pizza Oven, Cafe du Monde Creperie, The Salted Pig, Dobro Jesti, HomeTown Ice Cream, Luchador Streatery and Tide and Vine Oyster Co. You will want to give yourself at least 20 mins for each food truck, both due to long lines and complex food in some cases to make. Also they run out of food quickly so eat first and shop second. By 1:30pm, most places had at least 1 or 2 things sold out on their menu.
We all split a Margarita Pizza from Avella’s Wood Fired Pizza Oven, which was really delicious. It had a thin crust and that beautiful flavour that you only get when you have a place that uses a wood oven. Cheese was delicious and tomatoes were fresh and flavourful. Overall would highly recommend giving it a try!
My mother (aka the other Kook) and father both split a lobster roll from Tide and Vine Oyster Co. and a Razorback Stack sandwich, which had peameal and double smoked bacon, arugula and tomatoes all served on a fresh cheese bun. Unfortunately they both wolfed down the lobster roll before I could photograph it (I hear it was very very good!) and they said nothing but good things about their peameal bacon sandwich
My husband had the veal sandwich from Dobro Jesti, which again was not photographed since it was eaten so quickly (he liked it, but said it lacked a bit of seasoning). I decided to head over to the Luchador Streatery, which I felt offered the most unique fare. Asian-Mexican fusion is not something you see everyday, but Luchador takes this fun concept and runs with it. Their staff were very friendly and all wore the traditional Luchador masks. They also played fun latin inspired music from their truck, which kept my booty shaking while I waited in line. The menu had nothing on it that was vegetarian, but when I got up to the front, the girl suggested I give their vegetarian version of mexican spring rolls a try (was offered on the side of one of their other dishes). Kimchi, tofu and cheese all wrapped up into 3 neat little spring rolls for $6.00! Plus a spicy plum dipping sauce on the side. Flavourful and fun, I left very happy with my choice! If you are someone who eats meat, I would recommend their Frito Pie Taco Bag as I have never seen anything like it. Served in literally a Frito bag, it is more or less a walking taco. Really the only downside to this truck was the limited vegetarian options and long wait (but guess that shows how popular they are). They have won many awards and I can see why! If you are lucky enough to catch this food truck in your hometown, make sure you stop by for some Mexican-Asian fusion food!
Now aside from the food trucks, 13th Street Winery has a lots of amazing wines of course and an incredible bakery! At this event, you were able to purchases glasses of wine to walk around the market with. They were sampling their white and red Burger Blends which my father and I decided to have a glass of each. The white was on the sweet side and very much enjoyed. The red, however, was incredible and more to my taste (great balance of sweet and dry)! We ended up buying 3 bottles (1 for me 2 for my dad) of the red and I will probably go to the LCBO sometime this summer to pick up more. They are not the cheapest bottles of wine, but worth every penny and will most likely appeal to a wide range of pallets. Perfect for those backyard BBQs!
The bakery has jams, preserves, soups, cheeses, fresh baked goods and I am sure even more that I am forgetting about. The one thing though that stands out to me, is their AMAZING butter tarts. I have had my fair share of this delicious treat over the years from many different places, but none compare to the incredible flavour of 13th Street Wineries version. If you go, do yourself a favour and buy more than one butter tart. You will NOT regret it.
There was also a few food items at the handmade market as well (my mom and dad bought flavoured butter and a bag of delicious toffee) and of course plenty of beautiful unique non-food pieces from clothing, to bags, to stain glass and paintings, cards, headbands, glassware and more. As a food related purchase, my sister bought me for my birthday a piece of Green Stone Granite that we found here. This company takes unused/leftover pieces of granite from past jobs and re-purposes them. The item I got was a beautiful black piece of granite that is to be put in the oven on low heat for 30 mins and then used to serve appetizers on. By warming it up, it will help to keep your apps warm too!
If you missed the spring market this weekend, be sure to check out their summer, fall or winter one! Or just head over to 13th Street Winery from some delicious wine, food and scenery! These two Kooks enjoyed every minute of this fun event and winery.