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Toronto’s favorite Christmas Market will be opening this weekend in the Distillery Historic District! Rediscover the magic of the holidays at this European-style seasonal outdoor market. Set in the cobble-stone lined streets of the Distillery District, this festival brings together unique and local craft vendors, musicians, artisan food-makers, family friendly entertainment and of course lots of holiday flair! It’s not hard to see why this amazing market is ranked one of the top holiday markets in the world. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Christmas, the Toronto Christmas Market is the perfect place to start.
I highly recommend kicking off your holiday eating spree with Das Kartoffelhaus! Home to the Tornado-potato you’ll likely see that this food line gets longer and longer as the day goes on. These fried spiral potatoes feature a wide variety of flavors, from BBQ to Salt and Vinegar and everything in between, you’ll find something for the foodie in everyone here.
It’s near impossible to shop the Toronto Christmas Market without enjoying a glass (or two) or hot apple cider or mulled wine. There are an abundance of cocktail vendors scattered throughout the market serving up hot drinks spiked with rum or whiskey to keep you nice and toasty warm! Mill Street Brew Beer Hall is a great place to start!
And speaking of staying cozy and warm, be on the lookout for heating stations. There’s lots of bon fires and stand up heating areas to keep the crowds happy and warm! Are you Team Naughty or Team Nice?
The waffles at Wafel Bar are very NICE!!!! If you only eat one thing at the Toronto Christmas Market let it be anything from Wafel Bar. This S’mores style Liège carmelized waffle was loaded up with marshmallows, drizzled with Belgian chocolate fudge, Speculoos cookie butter, and topped with graham crackers and homemade toasted marhmallows. OMG out of this world AMAZING!!!!
And since we’re talking about sweets be sure to stop at Soma Chocolates and curate your own box of artisan chocolates. The store is a year round vendor to the Distillery District and is definitely worth a visit! Formerly a whisky-aging tank house, this unique location has now been transformed into an open concept chocolate making factory. This delightful little box of six did not stand a chance of making it back to Buffalo!
Soma also serves up some of Toronto’s best drinking chocolate. Chocolate fanatics will absolutely love this rich and creamy concoction! We sipped this delicious drink outside while enjoying the sound of Christmas Carolers. If that doesn’t put you in the Christmas spirit then I dunno what will?
Don’t miss out on your instagram moment in front of the massive Christmas tree that’s just overflowing with holiday cheer! This gigantic 50-foot white spruce tree is decorated with more than 40,000 lights, 800 Christmas balls, 1.5 kilometers of gold ribbon and topped off with a star and sits in the center of the festivities.
The market has no shortage of Christmas decorations, displays and even art installations that are perfect for taking close ups. You literally can’t snap a picture here without capturing a little Christmas cheer! Santa’s House, the Light Tunnel, and the Heart of Christmas should all be at the top of your list.
And did you really even go to Canada if you didn’t try some of the poutine? We could not even make it 10 steps into the market without grabbing a warm cup from French Canadian Poutine. What could be better than fries smothered in gravy and topped with cheese curds??? We kept it classic with the traditional French Canadian variety. We also polished off a footlong hotdog from Wvrst so fast that we didn’t even get a picture!!
Cluny Patisserie is the place to splurge on all things sweet!!! Their fancy desserts are worth every. single. calorie. I promise! Of course I wanted to try one of everything but I settled on a frozen s’more and a few macarons. The center of the frozen s’more is vanilla ice cream that’s covered in chocolate feulletine. It’s then covered with a generous portion of marshmallow, skewered with an applewood-smoked willow branch, and toasted with kitchen torch for that campfire feel. Get it. Just get it!!!
I’m always a sucker for macarons. These flavorful little meringue cookies get me every time. We kept it traditional with chocolate and strawberry. Cluny’s macarons are right on the nose with a smooth, crisp shell and a moist, chewy interior. Total perfection! Perfect for giving or receiving.
If I have the option to smother something in cheese, I’m definitely going to take it! We jumped at the chance to eat at the Raclette hut. Choose from either rosemary and garlic potatoes or piriegoies covered with ooey-gooey molten cheese and garnished with a gherkin if you like. SO delish! This one touched my soul.
It’s not what’s under the tree that counts but who’s gathered around it. But if you’re in the spirit of gift giving then you’ll absolutely want to wander into a few stores while you’re here. Yummi candles is the perfect place to pick up a gift for just about anyone! They’ve been family-owned and operated since 1976 and all of their candles are made from the highest-quality, sustainable ingredients and of course are made in Canada as well.
Day time is the best time to visit to beat the crowds, but nothing compares to the way this magical market lights up at night! Tis the season to sparkle!! And of course the countdown to Christmas is well lit to remind you just how many days are left until Santa stops by.
She’s a beaut Clark! There’s something about Christmas trees that ALWAYS gets me so excited for Christmas. The bigger the better in my book!!
The Toronto Christmas Market runs Tuesday-Sunday (closed Mondays) from now until Christmas. Admission is free during the week. Weekend admission starts Fridays at 6pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $8 or purchased day of for $12. Will you be heading to the Toronto Christmas Market this year??? What puts you in the Christmas spirit?
The Toronto Christmas Market is located at 373 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5A 1G4 in the Distillery District in Toronto, Ontario. It’s about a 2.5 hour ride from our hometown of Buffalo, perfect for a day trip or weekend getaway.
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A trip to Tennessee wouldn’t be complete without a stop to one of the most iconic distilleries in the US, the Jack Daniels Distillery, of course. Every American knows Jack by first name, but what you may not know is that Jack Daniels Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey is the top selling whiskey in the world! Just a short, 90 minute drive from downtown Nashville, is the cozy little town of Lynchburg, TN home to the America’s oldest registered distillery. Every single drop of Jack Daniels, from Tennessee Honey to Gentleman Jack, is made right here. Whether you’re a whiskey drinker, a history buff, or just plain interested in how things are made, you’ll be completely amazed at the time-honored process and history that’s poured into every bottle of Jack Daniels.
There are lots of tour companies available if you’re looking for a chauffeur, but we opted to get a rental car and drive ourselves so we could explore Lynchburg at our own pace. I highly recommend popping into Lynchburg Fixins beforehand to grab a bite to eat because no one wants to whiskey taste on an empty stomach. If you like a little bit of everything try the Bacon Breakfast Bowl. It comes with biscuits, gravy, bacon, eggs, and home fries and it is out this world amazing!! I mean c’mon….just look at all that goodness!! My hubby ordered an omelette which he gave rave reviews as well and the food came out piping hot to our table in record time. And if that’s not enough the prices are super reasonable as well. This place is a great inexpensive alternative to Miss Mary Bobo’s restaurant. You’ll find them located just a few minutes past the distillery on Main Street. I can’t say enough good things about this place.
Main Street also offers a unique collection of Jack Daniels products. If you’re looking for t-shirts, whiskey glasses, repurposed barrel crafts, or other unique souvenirs, you’ll find them all here in the heart of downtown Lynchburg. The distillery sells bottles of whiskey but you won’t find any other JD merchandise. The parking there is pretty limited and fills up quickly especially when tours let out. You can always opt to park at the distillery and take a nice little country stroll down to the town square. It’s just a short 10-15 minute walk over and absolutely worth the effort.
Jack Daniels offers a variety of tour options so there’s definitely a little something for everyone! Tours run daily from 9AM-4:30PM (CST) every day of the year except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Day, and Easter Sunday. Choose from the Dry County Tour, perfect for those who want a behind the scenes glimpse into Jack Daniel’s whiskey making process and it’s unbelievable history. If you’re up for some whiskey tasting then go with the Flight of Jack Daniels Tour. In addition to a behind the scenes look into the world of Jack Daniels, you’ll also make a memorable stop at the Barrelhouse where you’ll sip a flight of five Jack Daniels products. If Jack runs deep in your blood or if you’re a whiskey afficionado don’t miss the Angel’s Share tour. This tour ups the ante and allows you to sample whiskey drawn from individual barrels, an honor that was once reserved exclusively for distillers and tasters only. We opted to get our feet wet with the Flight of Jack tour. Whichever option you choose, be sure to book your reservations online ahead of time as tours often sell out.
What to know before you go! Backpacks, purses and bags of any kind are not allowed on the tour so stash these items in your car. They also have free lockers in the main building to hold your belongings on a first come first serve basis. Cellphones and cameras are allowed on the tour so snap away unless you’re in a restricted area. Your tour guide will let you know when it’s ok to take pictures and when photo ops are not allowed. You’ll also need your ID to check in so make sure someone in your group has pockets. Allow yourself a bit of extra time to stroll around the Visitors Center which is an attraction all in itself. There’s a whole lot of history to explore.
Keep in mind this is about an hour and a half walking tour where you’ll be outdoors for about half of the time so dress according to the weather. Many of the buildings you’ll be exploring do not have climate control and can be very hot especially in the summer months. And you’ll also need to climb about 100-150 stairs over the course of the tour. All tours kick off with a group photo and then you’re shuttled over to the Distillery Hollow to learn more about the legacy that is Jack Daniels.
The tour kicks off at the Rickyard, where the charcoal is made. In order to be considered “Tennessee Whiskey”, it must be made from 51% corn, the whiskey needs to be mellowed through charcoal, then aged in charred, new American white oak barrels. Jack Daniels takes it a step further and makes their own charcoal from cords of sugar maple wood. The cords are strategically placed, doused in 140-proof whiskey and set on fire twice a day, 3 days a week. There’s only two people in the company that are trained to do this and those two people have been doing the charcoal burns for the past 15 and 17 years at the time of our tour. You’ll also get to try a sample of distilled bourbon before it gets mellowed through the charcoal process. Later on in the tour, you’ll get to see the mellowing process, where combinations of malt, barley and rye are dripped through vats of tightly-packed charcoal. The whiskey is filtered through 10 feet of charcoal, a drop at a time. It takes about a week for a whiskey drip to make it all the way to the bottom. Gentleman Jack is actually filtered through twice.
Jack Daniels has about 90 seven-story barrel houses, each home to 1 million gallons of whiskey at any given time. Just take that in for a second! The barrels are such an important part of the whiskey making process that Jack Daniels has their own barrel factory. Each and every barrel is handmade and built one American oak stave at a time. But get this…each barrel is only used just one time! It’s a good thing an experience barrel maker can crank out about 500 barrels a day. Whiskey is aged in the barrel for 4-12 years in a barrel house. The whiskey ages differently based upon where it’s placed in the barrel house. The air temperatures can vary by over 20 degrees from bottom to top. Once a barrel has served it’s purpose they are then available for sale to the average person. Many go overseas to Scottish whiskey-makers, to Jamaica for rum aging, or to Louisiana for Tabasco hot sauce production.
Arguably the most important part of the Jack Daniels legacy is Cave Spring Hollow. Every bottle of Jack Daniels sold around the world is made with water from this iconic limestone spring cave. The spring contains no sediment just clean, pure, natural spring water. This is the main reason why Jack Daniels will never move from Lynchburg, because without this water, it wouldn’t be Jack Daniels. Jack purchased the hollow and it’s surrounding land for just $2,148 back in the mid-1800s and the rest is history of course! The statue that stands in front of the hollow depicts Jack as 7 inches taller than his 5’2″ statue and makes a great photo op.
Just steps away from the spring is a small building that was home to Jack Daniels office. Inside you’ll find pictures of the 7 master distillers that have made this product great for the past 150 years. That’s right, only 7 people have held this great honor. Jeff Arnett is the seventh master distiller and has held that title since 2008. Stepping into the office is like stepping back in time. You’ll find lots of great history in here including Jack Daniels original desk as well as his infamous safe, which is now sits empty.
As legend has it this safe is ultimately responsible for the demise of Jack himself. Jack was a local bar owner and somewhat of a night owl and as a result of this, his nephews would handle opening the office for him on a daily basis. One morning Jack decided to head in early and needed money from his safe. But seeing how this was not regular practice for him, Jack couldn’t remember the safe combination. Out of frustration and anger he kicked the safe and broke his toe. He didn’t go to a doctor…because…arrrgh…MEN!!!! Am I right?!? As a result the toe became infected, the infection spread, and ultimately Jack needed his entire leg amputated. He died due to complications from the gangrene infection on Oct. 9, 1911 at the age of 61. Moral of the story…..Don’t go into work early, it could actually kill ya! Take that to your boss!!
Wanna drink whiskey like it’s your job? Well it can be…but it takes A LOT of practice!! An official Jack Daniels taster must go through a rigorous 10 years of taste testing before they can even be considered for an official tasting position. And the pay isn’t what you’re hoping for either. Tasters in the training program get paid only 0.75 cents per day and your paycheck comes in the form of a gift card that you can use for yep, you guessed it, more Jack Daniels.
Our tour concluded in the tasting room where we sampled each of the five iconic flavors, Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniels Old No. 7, Jack Daniels Rye, Tennessee Honey, and Tennessee Fire. Believe it or not, all of these varieties (excluding the Rye) start off with Old No. 7 as the main ingredient and then additional flavors are added. Our tour guide spilled the beans that an Apple Jack flavor is in the works and we can’t wait!!
Interestingly enough, Lynchburg is actually a dry county, meaning the sale of alcohol is forbidden here. Whiskey tastings have only recently been made allowed in the past decade or so due to a few loopholes in the legislation. For example, samples can now be given, but not sold to visitors on the distillery property. And commemorative bottles can be purchased in The White Rabbit Saloon in limited quantities for consumption at home.
If you’re in the Nashville area you’ve gotta put the Jack Daniels Distillery on your list! It’s totally worth the drive. The tour was absolutely amazing and I left with a newfound respect for this whiskey brand. Like they say, every day we make it, we’ll make it the best we can. And they sure do! Planning a trip to Nashville? Check out our What To Eat In Nashville Post too!
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Gimme a “B”…..Gimme an “L”…..Gimme a “T”. What’s that spell??? Well, the BEST sandwich of summer of course!!! I’ve gotta admit that Cornbread Waffle BLT Sandwiches took me by surprise. Waffles and BLT’s might not seem like the obvious pair, but oh my goodness they most definitely are. Cheesy, golden delicious waffles make the absolute perfect vessel for crispy bacon, juicy tomatoes, and crunchy lettuce. This savory sandwich is great for a quick dinner, a hearty lunch, or even a game day tailgate brunch. You’ll love this unexpected twist on a true classic!
Here’s all you’ll need: all-purpose flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, salt, eggs, milk, butter, shredded cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, salt and pepper.
First things first, like any BLT we’re going to need bacon, lettuce and tomato to make our Cornbread Waffle BLT Sandwiches. Go ahead and prep that lettuce, slice those tomatoes into thick, hearty slices, and cook the bacon. I almost ALWAYS use this No Mess Bacon method! So easy!! Then let’s get those crispy, crunchy, golden delicious waffles started. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
Next we’ll want to separate the eggs. Crack open those eggs and carefully separate the egg yolks and place them in a small bowl. Set the egg whites aside for now. We’ll be using them in a minute. Add the milk and melted butter to the egg yolks and whisk to combine.
Add the egg yolk mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir into the dry ingredients until everything is just moistened. No need to over mix! Now stir in that cheddar cheese. The more the merrier in my opinion!!! We cut it off at 1-1/2 cups but if that whole 2 cup bag just happens to fall in there I won’t be upset about it either.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks begin to form. I’m usually not into recipes that dirty a lot of dishes but just stick with me on this one! Stiff peaks can be a little tricky but I’ve got ya covered. First off make sure there’s no shells or yolks in there cause that’ll really ruin our mojo. Room temperature eggs will work better than cold ones. Beat with a hand mixer, gradually increasing to the very highest speed. The higher the speed, the better!! Move the beaters in a back and forth motion to help the process along. You’ll also want to occasionally scrape the sides of the bowl.
You’ll know you have stiff peaks when you can remove the beaters from the bowl (while the mixer is turned off of course!) and the egg peaks stand straight up. Add the egg white mixture to our waffle batter and gently fold to combine. You’ll know it’s mixed well when you can’t see any more white foam in the batter.
Spray a waffle iron with cooking spray and preheat. Pour a small amount of batter in the tray. This big guy takes close to half a cup of batter (for reference). Close the lid and bake. Most machines will have a timer or light to let you know when the waffle is done. Carefully remove the waffle with a spatula. A square waffle maker will work just as well, the only difference is that you’ll have a different shaped waffle.
Got a little crazy with that waffle batter?!? No worries! Just trim the edges with a knife. I’ll never tell! You’ll also need to cut each round waffle into fourths. I mean unless you’re really, REALLY hungry and plan on making a giant Waffle BLT.
Oh and for the record those tomatoes are homegrown. I know…I’m so proud!!
Spread a little bit mayo onto the top of a waffle, then stack with bacon slices, tomato, and lettuce. Spread more mayo on the underside of a waffle to top off the sandwich. How do you layer your BLT’s? Do you go bacon, tomato, lettuce or tomato, bacon, lettuce? Really there’s no wrong way…both roads lead to happiness!!
Nothing beats a Cornbread Waffle BLT Sandwich hot off the press! I’ll race ya to the first bite. Looking for more great ideas to use up that tomato harvest? Try our Roasted Tomato Salsa or Slow Roasted Tomato Sauce next.
Cornbread Waffle BLT Sandwiches
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 8 bacon strips, cooked and drained
- 2 small tomatoes, sliced
- 8 lettuce leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Step 1 Prep that lettuce, slice tomatoes, and cook bacon. Set aside.
- Step 2 In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
- Step 3 Separate the eggs. Add the yolks to a small bowl and set the egg whites aside. Add the milk and melted butter to the egg yolks and whisk to combine.
- Step 4 Add the egg yolk mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir into the dry ingredients until just moistened. Stir in the cheddar cheese.
- Step 5 In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites for 3-5 minutes at a high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the waffle batter.
- Step 6 Spray a waffle iron with cooking spray and preheat. Pour a small amount of batter in the tray. Close the lid and bake. Carefully remove the waffle with a spatula. Cut each waffle into fourths.
- Step 7 Spread mayo onto the top of a waffle, then stack with bacon slices, tomato, and lettuce. Spread more mayo on the underside of a waffle to top off the sandwich. Enjoy!
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