What if you could take our quarterly dinner party, The Gathering, and stretch it allllll weekend long? Food coma aside, you’d be sure to come home feeling thoroughly nourished in heart, soul and body.
Well, that’s exactly what we did the weekend of March 24-26. 16 brave gourmands joined us for a weekend long exploration into Viamede’s culinary philosophy: what can be sourced from the land around us, is complemented by ingredients from our partner farmers and food producers.
It all began with a rainy Friday night at The Boathouse, where Chef Jay served up platter after platter of elevated pub grub favourites: sunfish fish and chips, beef tongue pastrami, sous vide porchetta with a side of wild leek pesto… Our Open Kitchen was kicked off, with guests joining the culinary team stove-side to pick up some cooking tips.
On Saturday, attendees rolled in for our Big Breakfast buffet. Sun streamed in through the verandah as we sampled blueberry pancakes, traditional bircher muesli, sausage, smoked salmon, crispy potatoes, eggs, bacon, pastries and more. Espresso, cappuccino, tea and hot chocolate were the beverages of choice.
At noon, Chef Jay threw the doors to the kitchen open and invited our guests in for the signature Open Kitchen / Chef’s Table event. Everyone was split into teams to prepare a home-made lunch fit for kings and queens. Under Chef Jay’s tutelage, the teams prepared mushroom soup with scones, sous vide brisket and potato salad, and blueberry crumble with earl grey ice cream to finish. When the cooking was done, the entire group enjoyed the fruits of their labour, family style, around a long table right in the heart of the kitchen.
Those who weren’t still lingering over scones and wine in the kitchen, joined our head groundskeeper, Jarrod, for a walk through the forest on Saturday afternoon. Jarrod showed the group how to identify and tap maple and birch trees for sap, and discussed our kitchen garden program. We’re guessing you can find at least a few of our guests in their backyards this week, contemplating which of their own trees they want to test out!
After a few catnaps and probably some more caffeine, our guests met at Mount Julian for a lively cocktail hour before dinner. With appetites aroused, we sat down at a long table in the century old farmhouse, just as the sun was setting over Stoney Lake. A 9 course feast was brought out from the kitchen, dish by dish, with each course paired with a unique Ontario wine, beer, or spirit. General Manager Ben Samann recounted a personal story with each pairing, and his love of exploring the province for rare, unusual and delicious libations became clear! Dinner went late into the night, accented by the live guitar playing of Mike Graham. When the feast was done, guests continued the afterparty with classic rock on vinyl and their favourite wines from the evening.
A recovery brunch on Sunday morning was a nourishing farewell to new friends, great food and delicious beverages. We hope to see you for the next Gathering Weekend!