A quick two hour drive is the city of Stratford, Ontario in Canada. It is also the home of the Stratford Festival, a wonderful collection of theatrical productions and Shakespeare. There are several theatres just off of the Avon River which goes through the city. The whole city has embraced the Festival and the commerce that has grown from it. There are some wonderful Bed and Breakfast establishments, as well as some enjoyable and unique restaurants. We also try to visit some old friends that live in the city as well.
On one of our trips we went to see the play Filumena, starring Richard Monette who was also the Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival, at the time. What a grand performance he gave, but the entire time I was watching the play I was in a sense of déjà vu. The story line was driving me crazy, as I knew what was going to occur next. I could not realize why this play was so familiar and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I saw this movie with my parents as a child in downtown Detroit. The film “Marriage, Italian Style” or Matrimonio all’italiano” and the two leads were channeling the performances of Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren. I had forgotten about the film, but the play brought in right back to me.
We also dined at one of my Bride’s favorite restaurants in Stratford. We went to the Church Restaurant and Belfry. The restaurant has been retro fitted into an old church, so the main room is large and airy like the main part of a church. There is also a separate restaurant that is very cozy and more romantic called the Belfry which overlooks the Church. It is a wonderful way to spend an entire evening after a play, and they offered a prix fixe dinner as well as a regular seasonal menu. If you go to Stratford this is a restaurant that I would recommend, though it is a bit dearer in price than some of the other eateries in the city.
When we were there I was not that well versed in Canadian wines, so I decided on a French wine. Some of the regular readers will not be surprised to find that we enjoyed a bottle of Cotes du Rhone wine, which as I have said before is a great go-to wine. It is not as heavy as Grande Cru wine from either the Medoc or from the Burgundy region, but tends to weave its magic when paired with French inspired dishes. The wine was from Domaine Mireille & Vincent, which was a new one me, but that does not deter me, sometimes which will inspire me or dare me to try it. It was a memorable trip for us.