You can skate on the canal, play in the Snowflake Kingdom and take in the ice sculptures, but to get the full Winterlude experience, you have to taste it.
The Taste of Winterlude program kicked off this weekend, with more than 55 restaurants in Ottawa and Gatineau offering special meals and dozens of special culinary and wine tasting events spread throughout the next three-and-a-half weeks.
Many of the menus feature ingredients produced locally and paired with Ontario wines, said Taste of Winterlude co-ordinator Sean Moher.
“Winterlude is Canada’s winter festival and we’re trying to showcase what the national capital region has to offer,” he said. “I think we’ve got interesting selections on menus that you may not see at other times of the year.”
Moher said the winemaker dinners on Feb. 17 and 19 featuring wineries paired with a local restaurant is one of the highlights of the festivities.
While the programming obviously helps out-of-towners find a great place to eat, Jantine Van Kregten with Ottawa Tourism said it is also gives residents an opportunity to discover local restaurants that they might otherwise overlook.
One of the “coolest” events this year, said Van Kregten, are the walkabout winter feasts that start with appetizers at one place, and move to five restaurants for each course.
Interested diners can sign up for the feasts on the winterlude.gc.ca.