A ‘Dairy’ Good Time in Tillsonburg
While a way down in Southern Ontario, (recognize those lyrics from Stompin’ Tom?) be sure to check out the Tillsonburg hub of the Cheese Trail. The Cheese Trail’s newest hub in Tillsonburg brings together the arts, artisans, dairy-makers and dairy-lovers of the area. From delicious eats in a historic, 1878 Grist Mill to Sheep’s Milk Cheese and Welsh favourites on a rural sideroad, this new hub of the Cheese Trail has become a go-to with its’ proximity to Ingersoll’s cheesy history.
A ‘Dairy’ Good Time in Tillsonburg
If you're looking to explore a bunch of stops close to each other, Tillsonburg is one of the wonderful stops to do that. Read on or skip ahead:
- Sheep’s Milk Cream Cheese, Curds, and Cheese – Oh My!
- Country Store with Charm in Bulk
- Old Fashioned Ice Cream in Over 30 Flavours
- All Aboard for Local Art
- Unexpected Pairings from a Pair of Cheese-lovers
- UnBRIElievable Makers and Artisans
- Rustic Roots and Cheesy Choices
- Connect in the Woodland and Woodshop
Stop #1: Sheep’s Milk Cream Cheese, Curds, and Cheese – Oh My!
On your way into Tillsonburg, turn onto Salford Road to visit Red Dragon Dairy, a sheep dairy that transitioned to cheese making in 2020, specializing in sheep milk cheese using milk from area farms. Owner and operators Ellis, Sion and Hazel Morris pride themselves on creating new cheeses, available to taste on the daily. Enjoy a wide variety of sheep milk products including feta, mozzarella, gouda, gruyere cheddar, halloumi, pecorino, cream cheese and yogurt. Locals love their sheep milk cheese curds including plain, dill, chilli flake, herb and garlic, and taco flavour. Guests on the Cheese Trail are welcome to enjoy samples in the shop of the various cheeses. Chat with their team for a taste.
Their shop doesn’t stop with cheese. They offer a full country store full of locally grocery staples for the pantry, fridge and freezer including lamb. They also have a deli for sandwiches and a bakery making crusty loaves of sour dough (call to order) and Welsh baked goods. In fact, the store has an extensive British Import section so find out why people love British Crisps and Cadbury Chocolate. If you want a cool British Flavour try a 99, a soft serve ice cream with a Cadbury Flake bar in the middle
Drive Time to Next Stop: 10 mins
Stop # 2: Country Store with Charm in Bulk
Discover a unique family run store in a lovely country setting that has existed for over a hundred years. They still manufacture several products in house including fresh fudge (we recommend the cream cheese fudge) and freshly roasted nuts. This is a one stop shop for baking supplies, dry goods, sweet treats and gourmet goods. The store also is known for its' iconic displays of home décor available for purchase from cabinets to wall art. This really is a store where everyone will find something of interest.
Drive Time to Next Stop: 5 mins
Stop # 3: Old Fashioned Ice Cream in Over 30 Flavours
Shaw's Ice Cream owners, Kelly, Kristine and Kim developed their passion for ice cream at this scoop shop. When their supplier Shaw's Ice Cream fell on hard times, they decided to purchase the company, building it into the thriving business it is today, with a new factory right here in Tillsonburg. Step back in time for the simple pleasure of ice cream made with 100% Canadian Cream. This old fashioned ice cream comes in over 30 flavours including their special Cheese Trail flavour, Cinnamon Bun, a cinnamon flavoured ice cream with cream cheese frosting and cinnamon bun pieces.
Drive Time to Next Stop: 5 mins
Stop # 4: All Aboard for Local Art
Head to Downtown Tillsonburg, park for free, and walk this portion of the Cheese Trail beginning at the Tillsonburg Station Arts Centre. Explore Tillsonburg’s non-profit hub for artists featuring a gallery, studio space, and artisan shop, all located in two attached, reimagined train stations.
Shop for little pots, made by local potters, to complete your charcuterie board and hold snacks, dips, or spreads. Visit from 8am-Noon on Saturdays (Spring-Fall) to shop the Tillsonburg Farmer’s Market featuring some incredible Oxford Fresh farms, food and local fare.
Looking to stretch your legs and get some extra steps in? Participark is steps away and offers a 1.2km stroll along a river ravine complete with picnic tables, benches, and swing set.
Drive Time to Next Stop: 2 min drive, 6 min walk
Stop # 5: Unexpected Pairings from a Pair of Cheese-lovers
Set off into the core to Two Girls and a Cheese Shop, Tillsonburg’s first Cheese Shop, to sample local Cheeses. Chat with ‘The Girls’ Tracy and Kelly about their favourites, get their expertise on what pairs best, and take home a bit of Oxford County with their locally-curated goodies. Don’t forget the cooler! These souvenirs are too good to pass up. We won’t judge if you keep them for yourself, though.
Drive Time to Next Stop: 1 min drive, 2 min walk
Stop # 6: UnBRIElievable Makers and Artisans
On the next block you’ll find Betty’s Marketplace, an adorable shop known locally for their creative window displays and over 80 incredible artisans. These local makers create gourmet food, body care, fashion, décor, and more. Betty's also runs an online clothing resale shop and proudly carries reusable and eco-friendly products.
Have a GOUDA time exploring the “cheesy punny” gifts artisans have created to show your love of cheese…it is unBRIElievable.
Drive Time to Next Stop: 1 min drive, 6 min walk
Stop # 7: Rustic Roots and Cheesy Choices
End your adventures with a delicious meal at The Mill, overlooking the Otter Creek. This Inn + Eatery resides in a restored 1878 Grist Mill, built by Tillsonburg’s founding family.
Settle into the cozy vibes in the dining room or take in the serene surroundings and sunshine on the patio. For more of a pub feel, head to The Mill Underground, located in the lower level. Dine on The Mill’s house-made creamy Three Cheese Spinach Dip using Oxford County Cheese.
After enjoying the view, take post-meal stroll through Coronation Park on the Carroll Trail, conveniently located steps away.
Additional Experience: Connect in the Woodland and Woodshop
Where: Ottercreek Woodworks Inc., Tillsonburg, ON.
Spending more time in Tillsonburg? Consider booking the From Tree to Table Experience with Dave Schonberger of Ottercreek Woodworks Inc.
Immerse yourself in the natural wonder of trees while exploring a woodland ecosystem, then head into the woodshop to craft your own artisan charcuterie board. Leave this award-winning experience with a charcuterie board you created and a spread of Oxford cheese and charcuterie. Book a Tree to Table Experience Online.