At these Ontario resorts, your next great meal can be found just steps away from your hotel room.
Set on a 760-acre property overlooking Peninsula Lake in Huntsville, Deerhurst delivers meals that are just as inspiring as its top-notch waterfront views. Menus at the resort’s four Feast On Certified restaurants combine local ingredients with culinary influence from the diverse cultural backgrounds of its kitchen team, says executive chef Gus Gulmar. Be sure to try at least one dish that incorporates the resort’s own honey or maple syrup, which are gathered on-site. Summers at Deerhurst bring additional culinary options, including beachside eats provided by locally owned food trucks.
Located in the Town of Mono, Hockley Valley’s flair for gastronomy can be traced back to its founders, according to general manager Ken Murray. “The original owners – the Adamos – came from Italy and food and wine and hospitality have always been a huge part of their culture,” he explains. Hockley Valley blends these European-influenced cooking techniques with a farm-to-table approach: Much of the produce served at the resort’s main restaurant comes from a garden on the property. The culinary team also makes many artisan products from scratch, including prosciutto, which is aged in-house. If all that wasn’t enough to lure staycationers in search of excellent food and drink, visitors also have the opportunity to sip small-batch wines at Hockley Valley’s sister property Adamo Estate Winery.
At Elmhirst’s Resort in the Kawarthas, trails curve through 400 acres of farmland adjacent to the property, allowing visitors to see where their food is grown. Now in its fourth generation of family ownership, Elmhirst’s raises its own Black Angus cattle, turkeys and Pekin ducks, in addition to growing a wide range of produce and herbs. “How I like to describe the food experience here is, unique farm-to-table dining in a lakeside setting,” says general manager Greg Elmhirst. A VQA wine cellar with between 60 to 70 labels and local microbrewed beer on tap complement dishes featuring “Elmhirst’s Own” ingredients that have been farmed or raised on the property.
Chef Jason Bangerter says walking around Langdon Hall’s garden, where he and his team often bring produce straight from the soil to the kitchen, is essential for visitors who want to understand the resort’s farm-to-table ethos. “Anything you have in the dining room that is a vegetable – 90 percent of it comes from the property,” says Bangerter. From ripe coriander seeds to trout lily picked before flowering, Bangerter takes advantage of the opportunity to work with produce that’s only available for a few weeks. He also forages for ingredients, including morels and wild leeks, on the Cambridge resort’s 75-acre property. These unusual ingredients, combined with Bangerter’s exceptional execution and talent for beautiful plating, make for a dining experience that’s regularly touted as one of Canada’s best.
The menu at Heather Lodge in the Haliburton Highlands changes daily, with executive chef James Jennings given free rein to get creative with the freshest ingredients available. The lodge works with nearby suppliers like Abbey Gardens, Wintergreen Maple Products and Kawartha Dairy to develop delicious dishes that showcase the best of the area’s homegrown bounty, while craft beers and Niagara region wines round out the restaurant’s locally-driven Feast On Certified dining program.