Just 90 minutes west of Toronto, in Cambridge, you’ll find an elegantly romantic country hotel –Langdon Hall Country House Hotel and Spa. The Manor House rests on 75 tranquil acres, full of gardens and century-old trees.
This beautiful, privately owned hotel is a Relais & Châteaux property, making it part of the world’s most prestigious hotel group; and it certainly meets all the criteria the designation requires – character, calm, charm, courtesy and cuisine.
I’m here on a snowy afternoon in February for a one night visit to check out the property and enjoy a dinner crafted by Executive Chef Jason Bangerter and his team. Landon Hall has received accolades for its five-star cuisine and its use of locally grown foods as well as from their own gardens. Hence they qualified for Culinary Tourism Alliance “Feast On” designation. Snow covers the gardens at the back of the property but they have two large greenhouses, one totally devoted to vegetables and herbs ensuring a year-long supply for the kitchen.
I’ve known Chef Bangerter for years and was keen to see how his cuisine had evolved and where he draws his culinary inspiration. Dining at Langdon Hall is not just a meal but an experience.
In his own words, Chef Bangerter explains his culinary inspiration –
“My culinary inspiration comes from where I stand; the ancient Carolinian forest with its bounty of wild produce, the Langdon Hall kitchen garden and surrounding farmers and artisans. This is where my inspiration comes. It is always changing and new and exciting with every season.
Langdon Hall is built on an ancient Carolinian forest; filled with incredible indigenous species. Wild berries, mushrooms, leeks, ginger, watercress, maple…. you name it – there’s always something to forage for.”
Chef Bangerter is graduate of George Brown College Chef School in Toronto, started his professional career apprenticing at Le Royal Meridian King Edward Hotel with Chef John Higgins, (eventually becoming his assistant) before heading to London England to work with Anton Mosimann (one of London’s leading chefs). He returned to Toronto in 2002 and joined Auberge du Pommier, (of the Oliver and Bonacini Group) helping raise this restaurant to new heights winning many awards and accolades. He helped open the TIFF Bell Lightbox – O&B Canteen and Luma, before being wooed away by Langdon Hall in the fall of 2013.
Putting myself in Chefs capable hands – I decided to try the following dishes from the Tasting Menu:
First-course Tuna Bone, a remarkable presentation; a piece of West Coast Albacore resting on the spinal bone of a tuna, with Apple and Shiso from the Greenhouse.
Followed by the Sunflower Root appetizer, served with Seeds, Truffles and Thyme artfully served on a piece of tree bark.
East Coast Oysters seasoned with Langdon Hall Greenhouse Lemongrass served in a bowl filled with seashells and forest garnish. Liquid Ocean mist is poured into the bowl creating a cloud of fog over the oysters, quite a stunning procedure to watch.
Arctic char served with Vanilla Parsnip, heirloom carrots and a sauce of Cardamon Cream, tantalizing the taste buds with a mesh of flavours.
Lamb cooked on the Bone (one of my favourite meats), simply melted in my mouth; accompanied by Pickled Tongue, Squash, Maple and Autumn Spice.
A Light Souffle made from Parsnip, served with a slice of Banana Bread and Maple Ice Cream – the perfect finish to a delicious meal.
All these delicious dishes were served with accompanying wines recommended by the Somellier which included New Zealand LoveBlock and French Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes De Beaune. Aaron Hatchell, Lead Bartender curates beautiful cocktails that start your dinner off just right.
The menu changes with the season and with the ingredients available from their gardens as well as local farmers. Only the best wholesome natural products are used in the preparation of your meal – prepared with care and respect.
The Dining Room serves lunch and dinner – afternoon tea is served Friday, Saturday and Sunday and reservations are necessary for all meals – the summer could find you dining on the outdoor terrace under a lovely Elm Tree.
Langdon Hall has 60 luxurious suites. I stayed in a unique two-story ‘Attic Suite’ with a cozy feather bed, sloping ceilings, and architectural beams. There was a lovely wood-burning fireplace in the first-floor sitting room complete with TV and impressive view.
Langdon Hall is happy to welcome your ‘well-behaved’ pet.
Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa
1 Langdon Drive
Note: I was a guest of Langdon Hall and Explore Waterloo Region, all opinions expressed in this article are my own.