Why Hockley Valley Resort Should Be Your Next Weekend Escape

While best known as a ski and golf resort, the farm-to-table cuisine of cabin, Hockley Valley Resort’s  signature restaurant makes Hockley Valley Resort an ideal weekend escape for food fans. Located blissfully off the tourist path 45 minutes from downtown Toronto in Mono Ontario, it offers a delicious taste of rural life and local fare.

I’m mostly vegetarian and along with my primarily carnivorous boyfriend (and photographer/driver for this trip) Arnie, we hit the road on a snowy, spring day with big appetites and the goal to try as many wines and dishes as we could in a 24 hour period and squeeze in some much needed relaxation time.

A Tasting at Adamo Estate Winery

We started our day at Adamo Estate Winery which is located just one kilometre down the road from the main resort (shuttles are available from Hockley Valley Resort).  Adamo Estate Winery was started by Mario & Nancy Adamo – the proprietors of Hockley Valley Resort. Mario Adamo originally came to Canada from Calabria Italy when he was 18 years old. The rolling hills reminded him of home and in 1985 they started Hockley Valley Resort, which has since grown into a 104 room, 4 season luxury resort with 18 hole golf course, 15 runs of ski slopes, 8,000 square foot spa, 3 on-site restaurants and a 25 acre winery. Amenities also include indoor and outdoor pools, a hot tub, sauna and fitness centre.

Hockley Valley Resort Adamo Winery Fireplace

A welcoming fireplace on a chilly day

After our scenic drive through the rolling hills, we arrived at the winery where we were warmly greeted by Tasting Bar Attendant Bailea. Given the chill outdoors, we were thrilled to see Adamo Estate Winery had a large marble fireplace with a crackling fire blazing.  We learned that the winery’s first vines were planted by Mario Adamo and his friend Frank in 2013 and the Adamo Winery was launched in 2016. It’s a unique destination, being the sole winery in the region. In fact pioneer Mario Adamo was told by many it was not possible to grow vines in this region. Many awards later, his gamble seems to have paid off.

The bright two storey building with in-house cellar was constructed on land that had originally been a horse farm and the original paddock doors were preserved and installed in the cellar. We started our tour in the main entry, impressed with the artistic touches such as the massive chandelier constructed out of the inaugural estate wine barrels.

We then explored the “crush pad” where the wine is fermented in huge steel tanks the Adamo family had custom made and shipped over from Italy. Here we got to touch the “ice jacket”  a thick icy frost layer used to ferment the higher sugar wines like Vidal and Rieslings. After learning all about their wine making process we were really looking forward to sampling the results of all this science so we headed over to the tasting room.

Hockley Valley Adamo Estates Winery

Our wine tasting begins

A tasting includes a flight of four wines and are limited to a maximum group size of 20 around the tasting bar (although larger groups can be accommodated in other rooms) . During our tasting we munched on crispy gnoccho fritto (deep fried pasta dough), then our appetites got the best of us and we ordered the cheese board  which featured a variety of cheeses from the Cheese Boutique in Etobicoke,  bread from Hundred Acre Bakery in Orangeville as well as  in-house honey made from bees on the Adamo Estate. Bailea informed us that an etymologist had recently tested the bees and pronounced them “happy”. I don’t normally have a sweet tooth, but this was exceptional honey. Perhaps it is the happiness that is the secret ingredient?

Cheese tray at Adamo Winery

A savoury cheese tray at Adamo Winery

All the wines were fantastic  – Arnie picked his favorite as the refreshing Viognier 2016 with its fruit and floral aromas – while I thought the Meritage 2015 with its hints of blackberry was the standout. Adamo Estates has won numerous awards including Best In Show, Best Value Dry Riesling at the 2017 Decanter Wine Awards.  Adamo Estates Wines are available to purchase on site at the winery, or on their website (for Ontario only).

Hockley Valley Resort Weddings and Corporate Events

If you’re looking for a gorgeous outdoor venue for a special event, Hockley Valley would be  great for an intimate, romantic wedding ceremony or a corporate event.

Spring at Hockley Valley Resort Restaurant Credit Hockley Valley Resort

In addition to the main building, we thought the large airy and bright 2 level space of Adamo Winery with its Great Hall and outdoor patio would also make a perfect Corporate Event or Wedding venue.

Top marks for the entire space being wheelchair accessible.  We bought a bottle of our two favourite wines to take with us back to the resort.

It’s worth noting, if you purchase 4 of any bottles of wine, the Tasting fee is waived.

Hockley Valley Resort Rooms

After the winery, we checked into our room at the resort, which was a spacious 2 level loft style suite with 2 balconies and 2 bathrooms. We noted the muted nature-inspired earth notes used throughout the space, very tranquil with lovely tree-inspired artwork on the walls.

Hockley Valley Resort Room

Welcome to our Hockley Valley Resort Guest Room

The Hockley Valley Resort room amenities  included a bar fridge, Keurig coffee and tea machine and a King sized bed which we found delightfully comfortable. I also enjoyed seeing the eco initiatives such as organic, paraben free and minimally fragranced toiletries in the bathroom. Recycling receptacles are also available. I wish all hotels would provide recycling bins.

Hockley Valley Resort Restaurants

There are several restaurants at the resort – Babbo Wine Bar & Lounge, R85 with views of the slopes available for the very popular breakfast buffet (and corporate lunches) and the fine dining restaurant, cabin. It was named cabin as a nod to the first structure on the property, a log cabin.  A la carte dining is also available in the Spa at Oasis Café and Babbo Lobby Lounge.

In addition to the fabulous Adamo wines, their extensive wine list features Ontario wines from the Niagara and Prince Edward County regions.

Hockey Valley Resort Restaurant and Bar

Dressed for dinner at cabin and Babbo Wine Bar & Lounge

We’re as into fashion just as much as food (maybe even more) so  Arnie changed into a navy blue Ted Baker suit with champagne Cole Haan shoes with Tag Heuer Aquaracer watch.  I opted for a black and white Vince Camuto dress paired with a chunky vintage gold necklace and knee high Geox boots with a 4” heel (super comfortable due to the Vibram sole).

Meeting Chef Iniyan Vijay at cabin restaurant

Specializing in farm-to-table Italian inspired cuisine, the team at cabin is led by Chef Iniyan Vijay who trained under the former Chef John-Paul Adamo (son of Mario Adamo). In the summer, cabin sources up to 80% of the produce from their in-house gardens as well as local farmers. All meats are locally sourced and grassfed. Chef Vijay is truly passionate about keeping his ingredients within a 100 kilometre radius.

Hockley Valley Chef Inny Credit Hockley Valley Resort

Hockley Valley Chef Iniyan Vijay works his magic in the kitchen

Every March he holds a meeting with local farmers where he shares with them the ingredients he wants to work with, menu planning is a truly collaborative experience.  The à-la-carte menu celebrates the best from local producers featuring fresh ingredients from Hockley Valley Resort’s two-acre fruit and vegetable garden as well as seasonal preserves.

House-made preserves at Hockley Valley Resort restaurant

House-made preserves at cabin restaurant at Hockley Valley Resort

During the warmer months, Chef  Vijay stops to chat with the in-house gardener each morning to see what is ready to be harvested that day. All cabin kitchen staff are required to spend at least 1 hour a week in the garden planting, or harvesting.

“If you don’t get your hands dirty, you don’t know what you’re doing” he told us with a smile.

Menu at cabin, a Hockley Valley Resort Restaurant

We began our cabin culinary experience with bread from Hundred  Acre Bakery, which is served with whipped butter as well as a chipotle-infused kidney bean spread that I vow I must attempt to recreate at home.

Next up were house-cut potato chips topped with shaved reggiano cheese, fresh chives and paired with truffle aioli. They were wonderfully light and seasoned perfectly, the earthy flavour of the truffle aioli making them truly addictive.

Italian cuisine at cabin Hockley Valley Resort Credit Hockley Valley Resort

Italian cuisine is a specialty at cabin the signature restaurant at Hockley Valley Resort

For a starter, I chose the Tuscan kale salad, tossed in a buttermilk dressing, brioche crouton, saba and grated reggiano. As a vegetarian, I’ve eaten my fair share of kale salads – this was hands-down the best one.  The quick blanching of the kale removed all the typical toughness from the greens and the creamy buttermilk dressing made the greens sing with flavour.

We’d heard that one of the in-house specialties was  homemade pasta, so Arnie ordered the ricotta gnocchi, with braised short rib, mushrooms, pan sauce and pecorino cheese.  He proclaimed it “unforgettable”. The mushrooms were from Fresh & Tasty Mushrooms in Amaranth (you can try them yourself at The Stop’s & The Evergreen Brickworks Farmers Markets).

I chose the Vegetarian Plate – 5 tastes from the Chef’s choice. So often I find the vegetarian options to be an afterthought at restaurants – this wasn’t the case here. A fresh shaved fennel, onion and olive salad drizzled with Adamo Estates Olive Oil from Italy, couscous with roasted brussel sprouts, bruschetta with ricotta and roasted grapes, and perfectly cooked asparagus topped with shaved almonds – it was a vegetarian’s dream meal I could eat every day. Even “meatatarian” Arnie was eyeing it approvingly.

Worth noting, our server Raj was attentive, with a perfect pace of service and checked in at the beginning of our meal to inquire about any dietary restrictions. Having worked at Hockley for 13 years, he clearly knows what he’s doing. They can accommodate gluten free, dairy free, low sodium, and low cholesterol diets. There is something for everyone at cabin and I’d agree with the OpenTable users who awarded cabin their Diners Choice Award 2018.

After our dinner we retired to our king size bed and slept off our food comas – we loved how quiet the resort was. It must be the friendly reminder to guests when we checked in “to please keep volume to a minimum after 11 pm”.

In the morning, we drank a quick coffee (whitener is provided in the room, but you can request cream or milk at the front desk which we did) and headed down to restaurant 85 which offers both a popular breakfast buffet and a la-carte breakfast and lunch option.

I’d read rave reviews about the buffet which includes frittatas, potatoes, pancakes/french toast, cereals, fresh fruit, smoked salmon, fresh pastries, with plenty of gluten free, vegetarian and kid friendly options. You can tell they take pride in using high quality ingredients not just in the fine dining restaurants, but also in the buffet.

Hockley Valley Resort Spa

While Arnie leisurely sipped his coffee, I ate my delicious bagel with smoked salmon and capers in record time to make my morning spa appointment. My Just For You facial was customized to my skin type (unfortunately acne prone, and sensitive) followed up with an Oxygen Ageless treatment that I found invigorating. 

Hockley Valley Resort Spa

Relax at the Hockley Valley Resort Spa

I really enjoyed the luzern and naturpathica products used my treatment. Typically my sensitive skin is red and irritated by facials, I was surprised to see it was positively glowing as I sauntered out of the spa. I was so tranquil after my treatment, I had to ask for a late check  out (thank you front desk!).

Arnie and I adored our stay at Hockley Valley Resort and we both vowed to return to this romantic, relaxing resort again soon.

We think it’s a great quick getaway for couples, families, foodies or any stressed out Torontonians who need to unwind from the big city.

An Exclusive Hockley Valley Resort Giveaway

We enjoyed our getaway so much, we’d love for you to have an opportunity to enjoy dining at the Hockley Valley Resort restaurant, cabin. And Hockley Valley has generously offered to sponsor a giveaway for A Taste for Travel readers! The winner will receive a 3-course dinner for 2 at cabin (approximate value of $170 CAD). Please note this is for dinner not an overnight stay!

All you have to do is leave a comment at the end of this post telling us why you’d like to visit Hockley Valley Resort restaurant and then enter your email in the Rafflecopter form. Don’t worry – your email will not be shared with anyone (unless you’re the lucky winner of course – in which case you’ll be contacted by the resort to claim your experience). Good luck and buon appetito!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: The author was hosted by Hockley Valley Resorts. However, as always our opinions are our own honest opinions. All of the writers at A Taste for Travel only recommend properties and experiences we believe our readers will enjoy. We also participate in affiliate programs which means  A Taste for Travel may receive a small commission if you make a purchase from some of the links on this website such as Amazon, Hotels.com, Booking.com or others (though the price remains the same for you!) Please read our Full Disclosure. 

Hockley Valley Travel Guide

Hockley Valley Resort: This  year-round destination resort is located 45 minutes to one hour north of Toronto, in the heart of a valley with picturesque rolling hills. It features 104 luxury rooms and suites, 14 meeting rooms and an 8,000 sq.ft. full-service spa. The resort is home to a championship 18-hole golf course as well as Hockley Valley Ski Resort with  15 scenic ski and snowboard runs for all levels. Cabin is the signature restaurant at Hockley Valley Resort.  You can also contact them at 1-866-HOCKLEY (462-5539) Follow them @HockleyVResort #cabinfoodies

Hockley Valley Resort Deals: Check for details on their Fantastic Fridays, a promo from April 1-August 31st featuring  one-night accommodation, a 3-course meal, full buffet breakfast and a spa credit.

How to get to Hockley Valley Resort: Driving from Toronto to Hockley Valley Resort should take you  less than one hour. It’s located just north of Orangeville near Mono Cliffs Provincial Park.

York Durham Headwaters Tourism: 45 minutes from the GTA, the York Durham Headwaters Region is a convenient destination for a weekend getaway with a range of spas, resorts and culinary experiences to choose from. #visitydh  #DiscoverOn

Be sure to subscribe to the free A Taste for Travel newsletter for more foodie news, giveaways, inspiration and exclusive resources.


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5 Things To Do When Visiting Toronto 

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How to Plan a Perfect Weekend Getaway to Hockley Valley Resort near Toronto Ontario

Heather and Arnie
Heather and Arnie
Heather and Arnie are a Toronto-based writer and photographer team who love fashion, food and outdoor adventure.
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Showing 44 comments
  • Mary Luz Mejia
    Reply

    The vegetarian offerings alone sound worth investigating! Sounds scrumptious.

  • Shannon
    Reply

    Thank you for this well written piece! I’m not sure how I missed this gem. Was looking for a weekend getaway for myself and the hubby. It ticks all the boxes!

  • janine a
    Reply

    We have had hockley valley on our list to visit for quite sometime and haven’t made it out yet, if i won i would definitely take my husband. Thanks for the chance!

  • Carol Perehudoff
    Reply

    Mark took me there one birthday for a spa weekend. I loved it. The hiking around there is fantastic, part of the Bruce Trail.

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      I wondered if you and Mark had hiked this region. Of course you have!

  • Clare O'Brien
    Reply

    I would love to visit Hockley Valley because it sounds so relaxing and beautiful. I would take my mom with me for a girl’s weekend 🙂

  • J
    Reply

    I would take my wife, and hopefully persuade the in-laws to watch the kids so we can relax!

  • kim
    Reply

    I’m looking forward to a weekend getaway with my boyfriend and this looks like it would be fantastic!

  • Cassandra Kazlovskis
    Reply

    I love the scenic drive and I would love to take my hubby

  • Pat Capo
    Reply

    Great descriptions of the food and wine! The fact that this experience is available just 30 minutes from Toronto is a huge bonus.

  • Mario C.
    Reply

    How interesting the resort and winery’s owners’ connection with Calabria. The food sounds amazing.

  • Surinder gurm
    Reply

    My husband needs a break from looking after family.

  • Irene S Levine
    Reply

    Hockley Valley Resort looks uber-relaxing. Have to re-read this again next time we’re up north!

  • Laurence
    Reply

    I would take my mother. I would like to do something special for her because she always supports and encourages me be the best that I can be.

  • Orna Soref
    Reply

    the food

  • Donnas
    Reply

    Even though I’ve lived in the GTA most of my adult years, I’ve never ventured to Hockley Valley Resort. I’d love to eat in their restaurant. The food looks amazingly delicious. I’d bring my boyfriend with me.

  • Eiji Tay
    Reply

    Looks like a fun place to be for me and my wife! We are new to Canada and would like to experience as many new things as we can. I’d bring my wife.

  • Linda Svarovsky
    Reply

    I would take my spouse, it looks beautiful there

  • Beth Dekoker
    Reply

    Amazing that in the summer 80% of their produce comes from their in house gardens or local farmers! That is a sign of food made with love. I would love to treat my daughter Melanie for a nice dinner out- just finishing 3rd year and gearing up for co-op placement in the summer.

  • Manuel Vizcaya
    Reply

    I have heard that Hockley Valley is a very picturesque resort. I will be bringing my girlfriend for dinner.

  • Colette
    Reply

    Sounds relaxing and beautiful! I would bring my boyfriend!

  • Catherine Sweeney
    Reply

    Hockley Valley Resort looks terrific — and so close to Toronto! You’ve sold me on why I should visit sometime. Looks lovely and would love to visit Adamo Estate Winery, too.

  • Emily C
    Reply

    I would love to have a night out in Hockley Valley with my boyfriend so we can get out of the city and relax for once!

  • Kevin Wagarr
    Reply

    Looks like a fantastic menu! AndHockley Valley isn’ttoo farfrom us at all!

  • Janice Chung
    Reply

    It’s been years since I visited Hockley Valley resort for a conference. It’s a really nice place to “chill out”!

  • Esperanza
    Reply

    What a great place to visit, great food, wine, spa. Who could ask for anything more.? Definitely worth a visit!

  • Vanessa Logan
    Reply

    My husband and I could use a nice romantic dinner by ourselves after having our first child earlier this year.

  • Lily Wolfe
    Reply

    I’m looking forward to the yummy vegetarian food and beautiful scenery!

  • Athena
    Reply

    This would be great for a mini getaway with my hubby!

  • cathy erdle
    Reply

    I would love to take my husband to Hockley Valley Resort. It looks gorgeous! My daughter spent a weekend there with a work group, and she said she loved the accommodations and food.

  • Mike D
    Reply

    I’ve only heard rave reviews but I’ve never been to the resort before. I’d love to take my boyfriend there as a special treat.

  • Chris MacDonald
    Reply

    I am looking forward to enjoying the spa! I would take my hubby with me for a quiet getaway!

  • Christine N
    Reply

    Our anniversary is coming up. A weekend away at this beautiful resort would be a great gift for my husband. We are both in need of some R and R

  • NATALIE
    Reply

    I would love to take my best friend to this resort, we are both huge foodies so I would be excited for the restaurant!

  • dave
    Reply

    I loved checking out Adamo Estates last summer. Would love to go back!

  • Erika
    Reply

    I would love to have a getaway to visit Hockley and destress! The Monday to Friday grind can get tough so this would sure be a treat on the weekend! I would also invite my boyfriend who could use a break from work!

  • mike erdle
    Reply

    I would love to take my wife to Hockley Valley Resort. It looks so beautiful — the accommodations and the surroundings. Nothing like a stay in the country!

  • stephaie erdle
    Reply

    I attended a corporate getaway at Hockley Valley Resort and loved it! Would love to go back with my partner for a romantic weekend! It’s our anniversary in June, so fingers crossed!

  • Reena
    Reply

    We’re a good food and drink couple. Would love to check out Adamo Winery and see what delicious creations Chef Iniyan Vijay offers. Overall sounds like a relaxing property with tons of great amenities. Thanks for the chance!

  • lisa erdle
    Reply

    I love Hockley Valley! Such beautiful countryside. I’ve always wanted to stay at Hockley Valley Resort – it looks so lovely and I’ve heard the food is great too.

  • EIta
    Reply

    would be a treat to go in the summer!

  • Sally
    Reply

    I would go with my boyfriend, with relax and rewind!

  • Ian
    Reply

    I would enjoy a nice meal in a country resort with my best friend

  • Jessica
    Reply

    My mom because she works extremely hard and deserves a break. Would love to treat her!

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