In a time when people are trying to be as conscious of what goes in their mouth as much as they are aware of where it came from, along comes the Erleichda Wellness Centre. Seasonal, local, and organic are three features that Nicole Daignault, and others who work to run the centre, believe are vital when buying and cooking food. Nicole is eager to try to educate people about “conscious consumption” while trying to serve food that is as fresh as possible.

This house is a retreat within the city. The activities offered here include yoga classes, drumming circles, massage therapy, aromatherapy, as well as a Sunday brunch and lunch on Tuesdays. This centre is 100% run by volunteers and survives on contributions of those that attend classes or events at the house.

One objective Nicole has is to share with people how good food tastes. The Sunday Conscious Brunch achieves this goal. It offers a wide range of dishes to satisfy your morning cravings.

Nicole does not have specific portions on her menu, but instead asks the customer “How hungry are you?” This, in turn, prevents food waste (any waste created is composted), and you can always have seconds.

Brunch is cooked by Nicole and volunteer Marie France. Their creations focus on cuisine that is a mix of cooked and fresh, but all is as local and organic as possible. Customers are encouraged to begin their meal with homemade Chai tea or organic coffee and sprouted grain granola with yogurt to help get digestive enzymes going. Fresh carrot juice is also served which is sweet and vibrant.

The menu includes buckwheat crepes filled with fresh vegetables or fruit, grilled vegetables and free range eggs prepared as requested. The sauces for the crepes change from week to week and organic sausage and bacon are occasionally available. Local vendors congregate in the parking lot near the house on Sundays. They include local artists, holistic healers and organic or local produce farmers.

On Tuesdays, Nicole and Marie France like to take traditional fare from around the world and adapt them to their food philosophy. Nicole defines her dishes on Tuesdays as “semi-raw”. An example of this would be risotto. When eating this, one may expect a pasta dish with a great deal of butter and cheese. Instead, Nicole creates a fresh and live version out of local cauliflower. She also enjoys serving soup on these days and whether hot or cold it is always “full of mindfulness”. Nicole’s cooking styles are seasonal, just like her produce choices. During the summer months she attempts to cook as raw as possible to keep the kitchen cool, while she will more often use the stove when it is cold outside.

As the menu states, “You will not receive a bill here”. Instead it is asked that you decide what you believe your experience to be worth. The box for “love donations” is located on the coffee bar. Erleichda is located at 131 Elliot St. W. (in the old Nisbet Inn). Nicole can be contacted at (519) 255-1444 or

Danielle Piche

Danielle’s earliest memories include going to the Windsor Market and buying cheese curds and giant chocolate chip cookies with her family. Her interest in food writing was sparked after taking a course with Carol Ferguson at George Brown College in Toronto. She expresses her interest in all things culinary by keeping up her blog “Maple Syrup & Poutine” and regularly participating in a cooking club with friends.