Chef Kevin McKenna shows how we prepare delicious Peking Duck for a holiday party at Viamede Resort.
In this video, Ben Samann introduces a Prince Edward County delight. The pairings at Mount Julian are always artfully selected – take a peek and see what you can learn.
Riley Wanke, from one of Canada’s Top Restaurants, visits Viamede. In this video, he and Chef McKenna give us a behind-the-scenes look at the first course on the menu. So excited to have this creative collaboration at Mount Julian!
Spring has sprung its wings, and summer is almost here. The wild leeks are gone for another year, unless you have pickled them and made pesto to go into your Boathouse coleslaw to be enjoyed all year. Spruce tips are preserved, cattail hearts jarred, garlic mustard frozen and now (better late than never) planting.
Earlier this week Jarrod Craig, our groundskeeper, and myself had a meeting with the Resort General Manager Ben Samann regarding putting in a new 70ft garden to expand our beautiful vegetables. Jarrod carefully sourced the best soil to host our vegetables such as globe carrots, rainbow Swiss chard, hakurei turnips, and a wide variety of radishes for my team and I to use later this summer. I am as excited as a little kid in a candy store. I will push the limits of what Jarrod can plant for me to share with our guests in any of our 3 restaurants on site.
By Chef Kevin
The unmistakable smell of Spring! A sign that Mother Nature is ready to wake up from her winter slumber. The first of the season’s Wild Leeks are here. This morning my Pastry Chef Dylan Smith and I went for a quick hike around beautiful Stony Lake near Viamede Resort in search of the illustrious wild green. It also happens to be my favourite ingredient by far of any item I may bring into our Kitchen and I put it on everything. It’s pure excitement when they finally arrive and I am like a little kid in a candy store. Mother Nature being the store and Wild leeks, morel mushrooms, cattail hearts, fiddleheads, wild ginger and any other Ontario wild edible being the candy.
I picked them about 10:30am this morning Friday, April 15, and I have immediately made changes to our Mount Julian Tasting Menu this week to include them on 7 of our 9 items . I’m sure Dylan will find a way to incorporate them in a such a way that it will be a delicious part of all 9 courses by the end of day.
The sap is running here at Viamede and that means spring is just around the corner. Today our On-site Farmer Jarrod and Chef Kevin McKenna started our annual maple syrup production by heading out and tapping our trees. From the early signs, it looks like we will have a fantastic season.
The syrup we produce here at Viamede is used throughout the year in Chef McKenna’s local forest inspired menus as well as with recreation programming for our guests. This March Break we will be running activities for the coming two Saturdays where guests can learn all about the process and boil down last year’s syrup to roll out maple toffee on ice and sample.
This year we’ve doubled our production with a total of 28 trees tapped. 26 Sugar Maples and 2 White Birch, which produces a savoury mineral rich caramel flavoured syrup. Next year we are looking forward to tapping some of our Black Walnuts and expanding our syrup selection.
The sap will flow for about 4-6 weeks, during which time we will collect each tree’s tap buckets on a regular basis and empty into 30 gallon food grade barrels which are stored until we are ready to begin the filtration and boiling down process. A healthy tree can provide between 40 to 300L of sap and the syrup to sap ratio is 40:1 for Sugar Maple and 70:1 for Birch.
We look forward to sharing this very Canadian experience and teaching you more about the process, our respect for the land and how we do things here at Viamede. Another reason we are boldly different!
Recently, there has been considerable controversy about a restaurant in Toronto in hot water over mislabelling ingredients – fresh squeezed orange juice from a big brand bottle, organic granola from a box of Quaker Oats, and similar.
This is sad, and unfortunately, will have repercussions for restaurants that really do try to serve the best ingredients. Many guests will need to spend more time researching the restaurant and it’s philosophy, and in many cases, reputable chefs will need to spend more time proving where they buy their food. This is harmful to the industry, and comes as a shock to many.
What this means for Viamede, really, isn’t much. For years now, Chef Kevin McKenna has been working with guests to show them where our food comes from – tours of farmer’s markets, where he buys the vegetables right in front of guests, or contacts at his farms where our beef, duck, and other meats come from. In many cases, you can even come a few months early and meet your bacon – our farm provides us with heritage breed turkeys for thanksgiving, pigs for sausages and roasts, duck eggs, and quail, along with vegetables and herbs.
In the summer, we go even further – no ingredient could be more local than freshly foraged ingredients from our 150 acre property, and we’re happy to share the knowledge. Not only can we prove where it came from, but we can show you how to get your own.
There’s a new girl in town! On November 2, the staff at Viamede Resort welcomed Daisy, Toby’s new sidekick and the resort’s newest furry guest experiences team member.
Daisy was Golden Rescue’s 2221st rescue dog. She is 7 years old, from the Toronto area and very outgoing. As a pedigreed Golden Retriever who loves wearing a fancy pink bandana, she’s a true uptown girl. Toby, our downtown boy, is not quite sure what to think about her!
Daisy is your typical active Golden Retriever, in that she can find opportunities for mischief around every corner. The day isn’t done before she’s had a chance to swipe an apple from an employee’s lunch, escaped from the office to inspect the pool construction, and chew-tested the durability of Ben’s new coffee table!
Our two fur babies are getting along quite well, although Toby wonders why Daisy is always so playful when he wants to nap. Don’t worry Toby, I’m sure she’ll learn the cottage country ropes soon enough.
WORKING TO IMPROVE YOUR EXPERIENCE! In an effort to offer you even more fun during your stay with us, we’re putting in an indoor pool and gym! This means we do have some construction noise during the day and a small area of the grounds next to the main building is not the prettiest backdrop for your vacation photos. The rest of the resort is fully operational and ready to entertain you.
We’ve got a tasty recipe for you this week! Perfect for the last use of the BBQ while your local farmers still have Ontario corn left. We made this dish at the Purple Onion Festival in Peterborough on Sept 20th and it was a big success.
Pairs perfectly with Publican House Brewery Ale or SmithWorks Brewing Company
1 Pork Shoulder or Ham Roast from your local farmer / butcher – cooked and shredded
4-6 Corn on the Cob – from your favourite farmer’s stand / farmer’s market
4-6 Plum Tomatoes – chopped
1/2 Red Onion – chopped
1 bunch Cilantro or Basil – washed, dried, chopped
1-2 Cloves Ontario Garlic – minced
2-3 tbsp Favourite Oil (eg. grapeseed or sunflower)
250 ml Yogurt – preferably Cross Wind Farms Goat Yogurt
1 tsp Dried Crushed Chili – chop to make extra fine
1 pkg Favourite Flour Tortillas
1 bag Apple or Maple Wood Chips for smoking
2 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Warm up your BBQ to Med-High heat, while you soak a handful of wood chips in water for half an hour. Take the wood chips out of water and place on tin foil, fold up like a parcel and poke holes in parcel. Place wood chip parcel on one side of BBQ. When the package starts to smoke, turn BBQ to low.
Place cooked chopped pork in a covered BBQ safe vessel to warm and add corn on the cob. BBQ until cooked through and smoky.
Cut corn off the cob into a large bowl and mix in chopped tomatoes, herbs, onion, garlic, cider vinegar and oil. Season with salt, pepper and cumin to taste.
Mix chopped ground chilies into yogurt. Set aside until ready to serve.
With BBQ still on, warm up tortilla shells slightly. Place large scoop of smoked BBQ Pork in center of each taco, top with Smoked Corn Pico De Gallo and drizzle with Chili Yogurt to finish.
Fine dining at Mount Julian! A la carte, or 5, 7 or 9 course tasting menus. We also feature over 100 fine wines.
With any building that has been around for more than a century, you’re bound to find a few historic treasures. Viamede Resort has collected its fair share of interesting items over the years. Take for example, the Victory Loan Flag.
During the First and Second World Wars, the Government of Canada instituted the Victory Bonds program. This program encouraged citizens and businesses to purchase bonds, and the money collected was used to help fund the country’s war efforts. Patriotic Canadians across the country loaned their hard-earned money to support the cause.
When a city or region met a Victory Bonds sales target, they were awarded a Victory Bonds Flag. This was a very prestigious award and the entire community took great pride in being presented with the flag.
In 2011, after Ben (our General Manager) purchased the resort, he discovered this precious flag in a box in the basement of the Mount Julian restaurant. As it looked like a lovely antique artifact, it was hung boldly from the ceiling of the lobby. There were some rumours that it might have been a fishing trophy from years past.
Soon enough, Ben received a letter from a woman who had attended a group event at the resort and noticed the flag. As her father was a salesman for Victory Bonds during the Second World War, she was well versed on the story of the Victory Flags. She explained our flag’s prestigious history and even identified that our flag was from the 4th bonds campaign during World War Two.
The flag is still holding its grand place in the lobby at Viamede Resort, and we can now proudly tell the story! However, we still don’t know how it ended up in a box in the basement!
The new Mount Julian menu is out! These delicious dishes are waiting for you when you try the 5, 7 or 9 course tasting menu between August 20-27:
Fowl Spruce Broth
Smoked Hen, Rillette, Roast Buckhorn Corn, Flower
Durham Co. Lamb
1hr Egg, Rye Earth, Tarragon, Garlic Scape, Smoked Chili
Lake Erie White Perch
Buffalo Bresaola, Currant Tomatoes, Celery Leaves, Birch Aioli
Casteana Farms Romano Bean, Shisito Pepper, Lemon Cucumber, Cold Pressed Soya Oil
Wild Ginger Breast, Jarrod’s Greens, Confit Leg, Grated Carrot, Elderberry Jus
Wild Blueberry Venison
House Bacon, Baby New Potato, Candy Beet, Garden Rocket, Church-Key Holy Smoke Jus
Indian Runner Citrus Pudding
McLean’s Berry Sorbet, Fruit Crumb, Orange Pollen
(Albert’s Leap, Vaughn ON. Goat Milk, Ash Rind, semi-soft)
Filbert Brittle, Buckhorn Wild Flower Honey, Crisp
Pepper Chocolate and “Stone”
Tempura Yellow Plum, Herb Guy’s Honey Peach, Caramelized White Chocolate
This morning, I chatted with a guest. They wanted to let me know how thrilled they were with their stay – the friendly staff, the activities and Toby, the resort dog. As I gave them a tour of the new pool under construction, they told me how impressed they are with the changes since last time they were here, 4 years ago (shortly after I had taken over). They have even already rebooked for another visit in summer 2016.
These happy guests then told me that they had written a list of minor issues, and were torn about whether they should give it to me. I think my “YES PLEASE!” reaction surprised them quite a bit.
On the list were some things we know about – the cottage they stayed in was built 50 years ago, and bringing it to modern standards can be tough. A list like this helps flag things that guests are noticing. As we start to plan the complete renovation of our cottages, this information is very important.
Other things, however, we have almost no way of knowing. The microwave is apparently noisy, and since the housekeeping staff doesn’t make popcorn while they’re in the room, they have no way to know this. Now that we know, it’s an easy fix. The neighbours were apparently noisy at 3:00 am, but they didn’t think to call us.
We do our best to maintain the resort in pristine condition, but we really do need help from our guests. Comments are always welcome.
The new Mount Julian menu is out!
Come try an incredible, local culinary experience and have our 5, 7 or 9 course tasting menu with wine pairings!
Don’t be scared away if it seems a little “out there”, the food is incredible and Chef Kevin McKenna will work with you to accommodate any dietary restrictions you might have.
BARK! WOOF! bouncebouncebounce WOOF!
That’s Golden for “I love Viamede!”. My name is Toby and I’m Viamede Resort’s official super-dog. I’m often referred to as Toaster, which is some silly comparison about circuits in a toaster… but since it reminds me of toast, which is delicious, I don’t mind.
I arrived at Viamede only about a year ago, last winter, but I love it here. Before that, I was at a home where I didn’t get much attention. But then Golden Rescue came in, and I’ve been catching up since!
I’m a 7 year old pup, full of beans (and whatever I can stuff into my mouth around here) and I love people. My Human, Ben, brings me to the resort most days, where I hang out at the front desk, getting into trouble. Sometimes, guests take me for a walk on the trails, where I get into trouble. Usually mud, but then, I do love mud. It’s my favourite thing! The humans don’t agree, so they take me to the lake and I get to swim – see how this works?
And I do love to swim! It’s my favourite thing! I go swimming before the ice melts off the lake, and all the way until it’s back on. I can swim for a long time, especially if I don’t see my ball anymore. I’ll swim until I find it, or until someone tricks me back to shore, but I like to make that as hard for the humans as possible.
Sometimes, I meet other dogs around the resort. They’re not my favourite thing, but I’m getting better at tolerating them. Mostly, they’re a bit scary to me and I don’t know why.
I much prefer kids, especially if they pet me. Kids are awesome, and they move in packs, like dogs. So when a pack of kids runs at me, I know it means lots of attention, and I do love attention! It’s my favourite thing!
But at the end of a long day at work, I like to go home and relax with Ben. I sleep on the couch, or pull the blankets off his bed and chew holes in them (He loves that! It’s his favourite thing!).
Life’s pretty good as a resort dog, I tell ya!
Woof Arf Bark (see you soon!)