By Adrienne Eisen Sentinel-Review
WOODSTOCK – Oxfordlicious is celebrating its fifth year by championing county farmers and locally grown fresh food in restaurants across Oxford County.
Seven county restaurants are participating during the Oxfordlicious month of September, including the Charles Dickens Pub, the Dairy Capital Cheese Shoppe, Ody's and SixThirtyNine in Woodstock, as well as the Elm Hurst Inn and Spa in Ingersoll, Quehl's in Tavistock, and The Manse and Niko's, both in Tillsonburg.
Eric Boyar, the chef at SixThirtyNine, said the restaurant's entire menu is always local, but added he's still happy to take part in the event every year. Boyer described Oxfordlicious as a way to do something special to promote Oxford farmers.
Currently, the Woodstock restaurant gets ingredients from businesses like Birtch Farms, Creton's Produce and the Bright Cheese House.
Brandon Buckle, the executive chef at Niko's, said Oxfordlicious is a great opportunity to showcase local farmers and produce.
Buckle recommends such specialty menu items at his restaurant as the chicken finochio and Moroccan spiced beef wontons.
A very popular local ingredient this year is trout from Goossens Trout Farm in Otterville. The trout comes from the cleanest water in the county, said Cathy Bingham, tourism specialist with Tourism Oxford.
"You can really taste the difference," she said.
She encourages the public to try the food and hopes the experience will inspire them to use local ingredients in their own cooking.
Every time a customer orders a meal from an Oxfordlicious menu during September, they will be given a ballot and a chance to win a prize. The top prizes include a cooking lesson and lunch for six with executive chef Michael Davies at the Elm Hurst Inn and Spa, and dinner for four catered in your own home by Boyar from SixThirtyNine.
Other prizes include gift certificates, artwork and specialty food items.
Bingham got the idea for Oxfordlicious during her travels around the world.
"From Norway to New Zealand, from the Mediterranean to Hawaii," she said. "I've always enjoyed meals that were local to that specific location."
Over the years, the event has formed a strong following, and as a result, Bingham said they have decided to hold a winter-themed Oxfordlicious in February.