Food: Langdon Hall’s Tasting Menu

Have you ever had a dining experience that renders you speechless? And if you’re like me – someone who loves words, writing, and language – such an experience becomes that much more remarkable.

Last week, as an early celebratory treat at Langdon Hall, I was fortunate to enjoy Chef Jason Bangerter‘s tasting menu. It was heavenly. Ten beautiful, dramatic, and delicious courses served over the period of several hours made for an incredibly memorable evening.

Let me take you through a bit of the experience today, since I love a good walk down memory lane. (And I love Langdon Hall, as you must know by now, too!)

The tasting menu started off with a terrine (kind of like a paté) served on a pig’s skull. Yes, a pig skull. I realize this could be disturbing to some people, but it wasn’t for me. It was wild.

Next up was a crispy sunflower root. Inside was a purée of seeds, summer truffle, and thyme.

Then came the caviar. This was paired with a deviled egg, brioche, and crème fraiche.

The presentation of the sea scallop was beautiful. The scallop was in its own shell, surrounded by a backing of “trees.” Then water was poured into the bowl, producing a beautiful smokey mist. Gorgeous. (Note: Simply B‘s photo captures this dish beautifully.)

The asparagus with a lemon verbena sauce came next. Veggies have never looked so pretty in my own home!

Next came the fried pork belly with rhubarb and rhubarb sauce. I loved the combination of sweet and tart of this dish. Along with the sunflower root and scallop, this was one of my favourites of the menu.The lovely hen mousse came next. The creamy mousse was paired with morels.

Veal with peas and truffles was the final main course on the tasting menu.

As a palate cleanser, we were served orange and rum ice cream (aka The Creamsicle), which was topped with marigold.

For dessert (my fave!), we had Langdon Hall’s signature milk chocolate with caramelized butter croissant, Ontario black walnuts, and wild blueberries. Divine.

And because one dessert is never enough, the meal ended with a mignardise (a final sweet treat).

Amazing, right? Oh, the flavours and the presentation of each dish was amazing. Truly memorable.

I know the attention is on the food in the post, but there’s much more to it at Langdon Hall. As you’ve read here before, the service is top notch, and the decor is beautiful. I absolutely enjoy speaking with the Langdon Hall staff. Everyone I have met over the years is genuinely interested in what they do and the contributions they make to guests’ experiences.

Even on a very busy evening, Chef Jason Bangerter comes out of the kitchen to greet his guests and to ensure everyone is enjoying his creations. It was also a pleasure to meet Sous Chef Steffen. I know I’m not the only one who appreciates Chef’s creativity and his love of local flavours.

Many thanks to the following Langdon Hall crew for making our evening special: Chef Jason Bangerter, Sous Chef Stefan, Greg, Evan, and J.J. Thanks to Anna, too, who always makes me feel like a part of the LH family.

Event: Terroir Symposium, Toronto

Food makes any event pretty darn great, doesn’t it? Well, what about an event that showcases the best-of-the-best in culinary gems? Count me in! Today, I’m sharing news from the Terroir Symposium. Founded by Arlene Stein, the symposium brings together chefs, pastry chefs, food enthusiasts, publishers, bloggers, and more to showcase and share the achievements of Canada’s culinary industry. This year, Terroir was held at Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). In short – the event was memorable!

I arrived around lunch, and easily made my way around the food booths. Lunch was presented by Ocean Wise, and each chef prepared a dish to highlight Canada’s sustainable seafood offerings. I was in fish food heaven!

Hor mok, steamed white fish from Georgian Bay, and rice in a banana leaf, from Chef Noureen Feerasta of Rickshaw Bar

crispy fried pickerel wings and cheeks with thai larb, from Chef Kristin Donovan of Hooked   

Acadian Shortnose Sturgeon Toasts, from Chef Katie Venables Lloyd of lbs

albacore tuna donburi, from Chef Michael Hunter of Antler

Water and wine flowed.

S. Pellegrino – an event sponsor (and one of my faves!)

I met up with my friends from Langdon Hall for some bonding over food.

me, Anna, Chef Jason Bangerter, and Franco Stalteri (of Charlies Burgers)

Mingling and desserts pair very nicely together, so that’s where we headed post-fish! The desserts were so beautifully presented in the centre court of the AGO. Were they delicious? Of course they were! I had multiples just to be sure! (I had to do the research to report back to you, right?) The flavours were rich, and everything was of the highest quality. The pastry chefs and their teams sure did spoil all the attendees!

eclairs from Atul Palghadmal of Nugateau 

white perfection (white chocolate, vanilla cream, maple mousse, biscuit) from Lior Aronovich of Amadeus Patisserie

from Chris Kwok of Cluny Bistro

With a full belly, we happily attended sessions to learn about Canada’s culinary industry from the experts. We started with a session on cookbook publishing. It seemed right up my alley considering my background in writing. The panel consisted of Michelle Meade (senior editor, Figure 1 Publishing), Lisa Jager (art director, Penguin Random House), and Trish Bunnett (publicity manager, Penguin Random House). It was moderated by Alison Maclean. These four women spoke about the cookbook publishing industry for chefs, bloggers, and enthusiasts. I was pleased that bloggers were included in several presentations throughout the day. The women spoke of the publishing process – for pitch to proposal to editors meetings to writing to food styling – there are so many parts that go into book making, and I soaked it all up!

We then turned from cookbook publishing to Quebec’s culinary traditions in a session titled “French Flavour.” Since my trip to Montebello, Quebec has been on my mind quite a bit, so when I saw this session in the program, I was curious. We heard from Alex Cruz and Cyril Gonzales (co-owners: Société-Original and L’École Buissonnière), Anne Desjardins, Geneviève Vézina-Montplaisir (Caribou magazine), and Simon Thibault.

The third session we went to before the break was titled “The Science of Flavour.” In this session, moderated by Brian Gilvesy (YU Ranch), Joshua Evans (PhD student), Mark Schatzker (author and hst on Flavour TV), and John Szabo (master sommelier) addressed questions and concerns about flavour. Why do people taste things differently, what are we doing when we grow our food to enhance or change flavour, etc. “Tomatoes” was a hot topic…flavourful or flavourless? It depends on the time of year and where they’re grown, of course!

At this point in the day, attendees were invited to a reception. While I could not eat more caviar (I know, I know, but I couldn’t!), I did manage to sip on a delicious bourbon cocktail! And just like the food and desserts that were served earlier in the day, the cocktails were made with much attention to detail. Loved it!

The late-afternoon sessions first consisted of a panel moderated by Matty Matheson, Viceland TV host and chef, Parts & Labour. We saw clips from Kevin Kossowan’s dramatic film about food and agriculture, learned about pulses (which are dried goods like chickpeas and lentils) from Courtney Hirota from Pulse Canada, and Michael Ableman, author and organic farmer. It was a session that urged us to think about where our food is grown, where we buy it, and how we can maximize our local efforts.

Following this, we heard about the San Pellegrino Young Chef competition. Jacob Richeler of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants moderated the session with Alison Ramage (Design to Dine) and Normand LaPrise (Toqué). Could you imagine judging a food competition? That would be amazing! They should get the public (aka people like me) right on in there alongside the top chefs! Right?

To end Terroir Symposium, we attended an “Iconically Canadian” panel with Lynn Crawford, Dufflet Rosenberg, Susur Lee, and Matty Matheson. The four chefs have different personalities and culinary backgrounds, so it was interesting to hear about their perspectives on the Canadian culinary industry. While the session focused on Toronto, I know that there are many gems across Canada that add to our culinary excellence!

So would I attend the Terroir Symposium again? You bet I would! Food, mingling, art, and learning…these are some of my favourite things, and Terroir served them all!

All photos by Jordana.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Event: Relais & Chateaux Congress at Langdon Hall

Please tell me you’re still enjoying all of my #WhiteCabanaGoestoLangdonHall news. I thoroughly enjoy my visits there. It’s a unique gem, and I’m happy to share stories about my experiences. The staff is so kind and welcoming, and I’m thrilled that I get to keep visiting. Some friends have asked me about my recent dinner there, so I thought I’d write a little something about it in case others were interested in learning, too.

Last week, Langdon Hall hosted the Congress of the North American Relais & Chateaux partners. Owners, general managers, and others from Relais & Chateaux properties came to Langdon Hall for a few days of learning and mingling. On the Sunday before the learning began, Langdon Hall hosted a reception for its guests – congress attendees and a few other friends, too. I was thrilled to have been invited to join in on the fun.

I arrived at Langdon Hall on a rainy evening, but the weather didn’t dampen anyone’s mood. As soon as I stepped inside the main house, I was handed a glass of champagne (rain? what rain?). While sipping on the bubbly, I chatted with a few of the guests. Everyone was in a happy mood, and everyone seemed to be amazed by the beauty of Langdon Hall. I know! I get it!

Wine tasting was happening in several of the rooms, and in addition to the Bergström and the Guado al Tasso wines, I was fascinated by the Coravin wine opener. A needle punctures through the cork, and the wine is poured. Through the power of magic (and engineering), after you take the opener off the bottle, the cork remains in place. The wine is protected, and it won’t spoil, since the cork remains as the seal.

While we were sipping on champagne and wine, plenty of hors d’oeuvres were passed around. Presentation was beautiful and we were treated with plenty of delicious treats!

A little while later, all guests were invited to make their way to the Firshade Room which is Langdon Hall’s newest event space (I wrote about it when it was set up for a wedding open house.). Here, Langdon Hall’s owner, Mr. Bill Bennett, welcomed all of his guests and introduced three performers from the Stratford Festival – Sean Arbuckle, Blyth Wilson, and Laura Burton on piano. They performed a few songs, and the songs from Guys and Dolls were especially entertaining. It seems like it’s a really fun show!

costumes from A Little Night Music

And then…we feasted.

Chef Jason Bangerter and his team worked wonders once again. Charcuterie, truffle risotto, beef and pork with turnip purée, oysters, and apple slices topped with cheese and marcona almonds? Oh, jeez, I was in food heaven! The meal was served buffet-style, and everything was plated in style. As is the Langdon Hall way!

And to end our meal? Pastry Chef Rachel Nicholson and her team created so many artistic treats. There was something for everyone. I opted for a creme brulée and a peanut butter and strawberry mousse. It was hard to resist at just two – let me tell you!

The evening was memorable, fun, interesting, and delicious. I had great conversations throughout the evening, and I learned more about several Relais & Chateaux properties.

Thanks again, Langdon Hall, for welcoming me in so warmly!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Beauty: Indulge in a Vichy Scrub at the Langdon Hall Spa

Please tell me you’re not sick of me talking about Langdon Hall! If you are, then skip this post. If not, keep reading.

As I had last Friday off from work, I opted to book a last-minute treatment at the Langdon Hall Spa. I am not much of a beauty fanatic, and while I do like a good manicure and pedicure, I have only ever had one facial in my life, and I have never had a massage.

Considering my lack of spa experience, I basically asked Julie for any treatment any time during the day. And I didn’t even want to think about it or make a decision (can you tell I’m tired!?). So Julie took the reins and suggested the Vichy scrub. Say what? After she told me it was her favourite treatment, I said “book me in” without knowing anything about it besides that it’s done in the crazy looking shower treatment room that I saw on my spa tour. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Yeah. What the what? But Julie is the Spa Director and she knows a heck of a lot about spa treatments, so I put my trust in her.

Now let me tell you what this treatment is all about.

After I got over the fact that I was in this crazy shower room, I listened to my esthetician (Hi Reem!) who told me to lie on the table/bed. She adjusted the water temperature, then swung the shower head contraption over my body which led to a full body water massage. Definitely interesting. She scrubbed, gave me a hair treatment, and cleansed and tone my skin. The post-water massage part included a full cream application (which was massage-like), which almost had me sleeping. Amazing!

In short, if you like any of the following, you should book yourself in for a Vichy scrub:

  • long, hot showers
  • soft skin
  • scalp massage
  • perfectly scented products
  • massage
  • toned skin
  • not having to do anything while your body is scrubbed and cleansed

I thought the relaxed feeling would wear off as soon as I drove home, but it didn’t. Neither did the delicious smells of the Valmont products, and neither did my soft skin. My skin continues to feel fresh and soft days after my Vichy scrub.

Would I do this again? Most definitely. I learned that people tend to have this scrub twice per year, and people who really love it have it four times per year. Regular visits to the Langdon Hall spa is something I could get used to. I think I need to start a spa fund.

I realize this post is getting rather long, but one more thing before I let you carry on with your day. If you do plan a visit to the Langdon Hall Spa, then I highly recommend that you arrive a little early so you can enjoy the whirlpool, sauna, and steam room.

The Vichy Aroma Rain Scrub is a 50-minute session and costs $135. To book this or any other treatment, check out the Langdon Hall Spa.

Thanks to Julie for making my visit a special one!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Food: Langdon Hall + Shoushin

I absolutely do not know how to begin this post. Do I start by telling you about the 10-course menu? Or maybe about the first time I sipped on sake? Perhaps I could tell you about how I shared an evening with a group of strangers. A good place to start might be to tell you about how two celebrity chefs came together to plan a unique dining experience. Okay, you want me to just get to it, don’t you?

You already know that I’m a big fan of Langdon Hall. Ever since I drove up the winding driveway and saw Langdon Hall for the first time in June 2015, I’ve been hooked. It’s not just something in the water. There’s something in the air, the food, the surroundings, the garden, the architecture, and the people. The place is special.

A couple of weekends ago, I was invited to be a guest at an exclusive dinner prepared by Chef Jason Bangerter of Langdon Hall and Chef Jackie Lin of Shoushin. This dinner was a celebration – and collaboration – of two cultures. It was a dinner that brought together tradition from the Japanese and French. It was a unique feast that showcased the culinary art of two incredibly talented chefs as well as incredible sake and wine pairings from Kado and Halpern, respectively. It was certainly a night to remember!

langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-7

A 10+ course meal? I trained for it! I only ate breakfast that day in preparation for the event! (Although I did have some Terroir upon arrival…do you blame me?). I’m pretty sure my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw the extensive menu. Chef Jackie Lin prepared fish that was flown in from Japan for the occasion. Chef Jason Bangerter worked with Jackie to prepare and pair the fish with French flavour and flair, and, as per usual, he sourced many ingredients from Langdon Hall’s gardens. It was inspiring, educational, and delicious! It was chemistry. It was art.

British photographer Simon Boucher-Harris snapped a collection of beautiful photos that I’m thrilled to be able to share here.

Behind the scenes…

langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-1langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-3 langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-6langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-5 langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-4langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-19

(Simon took this photo of Chef Jackie during the cooking demonstration the following day, but it’s such a great photo that I had to include it!)

The dinner…

langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-8 langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-9langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-13langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-10 langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-12 langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-14 langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-15langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-17 langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-21langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-18langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-20

Each course – as you’ve seen in the photos above – was paired with sake or wine. I had never had sake, so I was a bit hesitant, but since I was sitting beside Kiyoko Miyashita – sake expert and owner of Kado – I was given excellent explanations of what I was drinking. Sake has a higher alcohol percentage than wine, and it has a unique flavour. I thought I had tasted anise, but Kiyoko assured me that there was no anise in the drink. Althought I was told that the flavour is even better after the drink sits for a while, I could never seem to let mine sit for too long since it was so delicious!

As the evening was a celebration of two cultures, we were also lucky to sip on French red wine for some of the fish courses and the venison course.

It’s hard to put into words how special this evening was. Although many of the 30 people in attendance started the evening as strangers, after clinking glasses to toast, sharing travel stories and laughs, we ended the evening as new social media friends and conversations continued after the evening ended. To have two remarkable chefs collaborate to create a menu just for us, share their recipes, and mingle as they put finishing touches on our meals at our tables was extraordinary. Shoushin at Langdon Hall was a very good idea!

This event was a partnership between two well-recognized establishments – Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ontario and Shoushin in Toronto.

Photos by Simon Boucher-Harris.

Thanks to Langdon Hall for inviting me to be your guest.

Save

Save

Save

1 2 3