Nestled in Niagara’s verdant wine country, Southbrook Vineyards is a model of modern winemaking, following a philosophy of organic, biodynamic practices that provide good stewardship for the land.
Complementing Southbrook’s wines is onsite restaurant The Farmers’ Table, open from Victoria Day Weekend until Thanksgiving, serving lunch Friday to Sunday and dishing up a menu anchored by Ontario-sourced ingredients.
Outfitted with a grill and pizza oven, the spacious bistro patio adjoins one of Southbrook’s vineyards and is an uncommonly pleasant place to lunch on a warm summer afternoon.
First up are a duo of salads: Caprese, made with sugar-sweet tomatoes (grown on Southbrook’s property) scented with basil, creamy Monforte cheese, supremely fresh local greens and a sophisticated vinaigrette anchored by Southbrook’s Petit Verdot wine.
The second salad sees local beans, quinoa and wheat berries attractively mounded, along with arugula, on white-bean puree, a balanced roasted shallot vinaigrette bringing everything together.
Pizzas are built on a crust fashioned from dough (courtesy of Niagara’s De la Terre Bakery) made from Ontario’s Red Fife wheat enriched with Bioflavia, organic red wine grape skin powder made by Southbrook. The resulting crust is thin and sturdy, and topped with Pingue prosciutto, Monforte Little Kid Brie and mozzarella.
Mains bring tasty grilled sausages made with Linc Farm lamb and garnished with caramelized onions and peppers, onion chutney and mixed greens. Incidentally, Linc Farm is part of Southbrook’s operation, located at the very back of the vineyard’s 150-acre property. Lamb doesn’t get any more local than that.
Ending off this midday feast is a wooden platter overloaded with Ontario cheeses, Pingue cured meats and pickled heirloom vegetables.
To finish, there’s a light, summer-perfect cheesecake made with cottage and goat cheeses, semi-frozen and garnished with a brightly flavoured compote of raspberries, strawberries and blackberries.
Seating 80 people, Southbrook’s Great Room is available for group buyout.
— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 25 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,200 eateries. In 1988, he studied the fundamentals of French cuisine at Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, France. During his time in France, he furthered his gastronomic education by visiting the country’s bistros, brasseries and Michelin-starred temples of haute cuisine. He relishes exploring the edible universe in his native Toronto and on his travels throughout Canada and abroad.