The tourism sector may be slumping because of the pandemic, but Tourism Oxford is taking a proactive approach by promoting its programs to county residents. One of the unique tourism attractions locally is the Oxford County Cheese Trail.
The Cheese Trail has been an extremely successful product, winning two provincial tourism awards. “It is a creation that allows people to go out within their bubble and visit retail settings, restaurants, and attractions while following safety protocols,” said Meredith Maywood, a tourism consultant with the county. She added that while the trail may be open for business now, some adjustments have been made because of COVID-19. “You can’t be doing sampling at the counter of a cheesemaker, but some are offering samples you can take outside and enjoy at a picnic table, and some attractions aren’t open. We do provide information to let people know what is currently open and by contacting a member of our team we can help plan out an itinerary for you.”
The Cheese Trail is a culinary trek where people get to choose the spots they want to visit. Most typically travel by car but some of the sections can be visited by bicycle or on foot. Meredith said “it could be a museum tour, learning how to churn butter, cheese tasting, or an artisan who is using dairy to make homemade ice cream or chocolate. There are plenty of unique opportunities.”
Over 25 businesses are involved in the project and the first year of the trail saw about 20 new business to business relationships develop. “This included carrying products in a retail setting and on menus, so the Cheese Trail has been very good for the businesses involved to build a local network and celebrate the local story for cheese and dairy,” said Meredith.
One of the most appealing aspects of the tour is that there is something for everyone. Meredith said she sees a diverse mix of people coming out to enjoy it. “Adults will come out and they will do a full-on culinary day meaning they hit every cheesemaker, restaurant, and the smaller artisanal food producers. We also see entire families coming out, from grandparents to grandkids, who create a fun day out in the country learning our history, exploring, and tasting along the way.”
For more information on The Cheese Trail, click here: https://www.tourismoxford.ca/listing.aspx?categoryid=723