Andrew Hind

The warming days of April bring with them maple syrup season, an annual tradition in rural Canada and a favourite for family eager to experience a taste of spring. There’s no place better to experience the bounty of the liquid gold than JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort, where the resort’s talented chefs have crafted a maple inspired menu to tempt your taste buds. Maple syrup isn’t just for drizzling over pancakes and waffles.

Executive Chef Shaun Crymble is excited about the new menu and how it reflects the season.

“This is a new endeavour for us this spring and we’re excited about it,” he enthuses. “We’re using only the best-locally sourced maple syrup from Sugarbush Hill Maple Farm. Robin (Executive Sous Chef Robin Little) did a tour of the farm so that the experience could be incorporated into the menu. What we came up with speaks to the character of maple syrup season in Muskoka.”

Begin your dinner with steaming bowl of maple-roasted butternut squash soup, made with pumpkin seeds, sage and maple-infused cream, and maple bacon lardons. It’s so good you’ll be scraping the bottom of your bowl for every last mouthful. For a main, savor the maple-glazed pheasant breast, served with braised red cabbage, apple and onion soubise, and drizzled with a mouth-watering red wine maple syrup reduction.

Perhaps the best was saved for last, the sinfully good maple syrup sugar pie. Put aside your diet for this one evening and enjoy.

“This is pure Canadian flavour,” enthuses Little. “It’s like a buttertart and is inspired by a Quebecois tart that uses maple syrup. The rosemary and thyme crème fraiche and lemon thyme pudding provide a unique twist, and the local cranberry compote (sourced from nearby Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh) roots it in Muskoka.”

Pull yourself away from the table long enough to experience the process behind the maple sugaring process as performed by Muskoka’s settlers. Tap, collect, boil, and taste during onsite demonstrations every Thursday and Sunday from 1-4pm starting March 20th.

With gorgeous views of Lake Rosseau, an indoor-outdoor heated pool, and soul-soothing spa, it’s easy to get lulled into a sense of tranquillity at The Rosseau. But if you can pull yourself away from the comforts for just a few hours, you may perhaps want to tour Sugarbush Hill Maple Farm in Huntsville, or any one of the other area sugar bushes taking part in the first annual Muskoka Maple Trail (www.discovermuskoka.ca/muskoka-maple-festival.html), to appreciate how a commercial maple farm operates.

Maple sap runs for only a brief window, and so too does the maple menu at JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort. Visit before April 24 to savour the bounty of the springtime Muskoka woods.

Resorts in Ontario offer an incredible range of experiences for all season, and many member properties have integrated the sweet taste of maple into their menus. For more information, go to www.resortsofontario.com.

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Maple Syrup Sugar Pie

With Rosemary and Orange Crème fraiche, Bala Cranberry Compote, Lemon Thyme Pudding

Courtesy JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort and Spa

Maple Syrup Sugar Pie

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs at room temperature

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup pure maple syrup (preferably dark amber)

2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together brown sugar and eggs until creamy. Add cream, syrup, and butter, then whisk until smooth. Pour filling into pie shell.

Bake pie in lower third of oven until pastry is golden and filling is puffed and looks dry but still trembles, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool on a rack to room temperature (filling will set as pie cools).

 

Rosemary & Orange Crème Fraiche

Ingredients:

Juice of 2 oranges

2 tbsp golden caster sugar

2 small fresh rosemary sprigs

2 x 200g cartons crème fraiche (recipe follows)

Directions:

Pass the orange juice through a sieve into a small pan with half of the caster sugar and rosemary and simmer until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely, then remove the rosemary sprigs and discard. Fold into the crème fraiche, then cover and chill until needed.

Crème Friache

Ingredients:

1 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons buttermilk

Directions:

Combine 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass container. Cover and let stand at room temperature (about 70°F) from 8 to 24 hours, or until very thick. Stir well before covering and refrigerate up to 10 days.

Maple Cranberry Compote

Ingredients

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (about 8 ounces), rinsed

1 cup pure maple syrup (preferably grade A dark amber)

2/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1/2 cup maple sugar or (packed) golden brown sugar

Directions (Do AHEAD; can be made 3 days ahead):

Combine all ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until berries pop, about 4 minutes. Cover and chill. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.

Lemon Thyme Liquid Gel

Ingredients:

100ml Lemon juice 100ml Water 100gm Sugar

2tsp thyme leaves 3gm Agar Agar

Directions:

Bring water, sugar and thyme leaves to a boil add in Agar Agar and cook 1-2 min more. Allow to cool before mixing with lemon juice. Allow to set until cold. Process in Vitamix until creamy, strain, reserve at ambient temperature

Andrew Hind is a freelance writer specializing in travel and history. He is the author of 19 books, including Muskoka Resorts: Then and Now. He can be reached at maelstrom@sympatico or followed on Twitter @discoveriesAM.

Feast Ontario Style

Tales of a Food Writer – Lynn Ogryzlo

As Ontario’s Local Food Ambassador I’ve travelled the province uncovering its hidden treasures from amazing resorts to charming country villages and mouthwatering food festivals. In between I have savoured toasted garlic fudge a the Perth Garlic Festival, enjoyed a romantic field dinner at Cross Wind Farms and chowed down on the sloppiest, juiciest ribs at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market – oh yum.

I discovered Ontario’s most delicious food in the most unlikely places. Travel through Hensall, the bean capital for amazing cassoulet, Perth County the pork capital and home of the Bacon and Ale Trail or the dairy capital, Oxford County and savour your way through the Cheese Trail. I also discovered many resorts that excel at making Ontario food a focus for what they do best.

In Oxford County, Elm Hurst Inn’s executive chef Michael Davies takes his cheese very seriously. I used this historic inn as a base to visit as many stops along the Cheese Trail as I could. At the inn, try Michael’s all-local cheese platter or enjoy one of his cheesy features such as the delicious cheddar soup.  What a great time you’ll have!

Blue Mountain Resort is the centre of Ontario’s apple production and also home to the Apple Pie Trail. The Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood is at the beginning of the Trail and is a great place to take advantage of everything apple pie from the different  stops along the way. Then when you’ve over indulged (as I did), have fun working it off with many of their 4-season outdoor activities, it’s great for the whole family. When you leave, don’t forget to buy a bushel of farm fresh apples to continue your apple love affair.

One of my favourite culinary destinations, the Millcroft Inn & Spa was once a knitting mill providing yarn and blanket. Executive Chef James Buder crafts delicious dishes from fresh, organic and natural foods that are available to him throughout the fertile and unspoiled Hills of Headwaters. Bring a good pair of hiking boots because the tranquility of this place along with Buder’s cuisine will captivate you.

The Hills of Headwaters, or Headwaters as the locals call it, is quintessential Ontario equestrian country with rambling ranches and graceful horses. It’s also a delicious rural landscape with farmers the likes of Amaranth Springs, Besley Farms and Hockley Valley Resort growing amazing food. At Hockley Valley they have a 4-acre vegetable garden providing over 80% of the vegetables for Restaurant 85 and Cabin. Some of it is preserved to enjoy year round. What a refreshing experience to bask in the authentic flavours of the summer when you’re dining in January or February.

You’ll find more gardens at Briars Resort and Spa. Executive Chef Trevor Ledlie plans his menus a year in advance. It’s a great culinary collaboration between Inn owners and a chef who knows it takes as much time to nurture a tiny seedling into a fully mature plant as it does to simmer the ingredients into a luscious meal for his guests in the Briars’ dining rooms. Foods this fresh are thrilling on the palate.

When I was at the Westwind Inn I remember sitting in a large Adirondack chair watching a herd of deer pass through the forest. The Inn is as peaceful and remote a place as any in the heart of Ontario. The owners forage the wilderness around them for wild fiddleheads, leeks, morel mushrooms, edible flowers and more. You can try asking for  their favourite picking  spots but it’s like asking a fisherman for his favourite fishing hole – they’ll never tell. I’m told it I sat in the chair long enough, I might catch a glimpse of a flock of wild turkey, or perhaps even a moose. At Westwind you are allowed to shoot them, but only with a camera!

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Fall in Ontario is a feast for all your senses…breathtaking vistas emblazoned with fiery colours of crimsons, reds, golds and more… Indulge yourself at an Ontario resort or inn this Fall, where an amazing array of packages such as Fall Colour Packages, Reconnect Now…Just the two of you, Spontaneous Getaways and Thanksgiving Packages and celebrations can be enjoyed with those closest to you for just that special reason. Just a short drive away, often only three or four turns from where you are. For a taste of Fall, browse through our web site at http://www.resortsofontario.com

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Great Golf Getaways

Glen House Resort, Gananoque

One of Eastern Ontario’s most demanding and picturesque courses  is found at this historic 75-room inn on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, in the heart of the Thousands Islands. From the nerve-rattling opening tee shot over a deep gorge, Smuggler’s Glen Course treats golfers to spectacular river views and a roller-coaster thrill ride through a Canadian Shield landscape of high granite cliffs and rolling pine-covered hills and valleys.

4Pete teeing off 1st tee

The Briars Resort and Spa, Jacksons Point

With nine holes designed by legendary golf architect Stanley Thompson, and nine by his lone-time associate Robbie Robinson, The Briars Golf Course boasts one of the most enviable  pedigrees in Canadian golf. The subtle 6,285 yard layout near the banks of Lake Simcoe rolls gracefully through mature stands of birch and evergreens, while offering vistas of the Black River. The resort itself is build around an antiques-filled Regency manor house dating from the 1840’s.

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Cobble Beach Golf Resort, Owen Sound

Doug Carrick’s acclaimed Cobble Beach Golf Links is the centerpiece of a master-planned golf community on the southern shore of Georgian Bay near Owen Sound. From the Nantucket-style clubhouse, which includes a 10-room inn (there are also five new guest cottages), golfers set forth to play a links-style course that offers gorgeous views of the bay with almost every shot. And like all great courses, this one ends with a wallop on the 18th hole, a par five that rolls along  dramatic cliff-top bluffs.

a-Clubhouse 9th and 18th holes from air

Pinestone Resort, Haliburton

A sky-high slope rating of 141 has earned Pinestone’s golf course a reputation as one of the most challenging in cottage country. Though just 6,024 yards long, architect Jack Davison’s layout deep in the Haliburton Highlands features tight fairways, treacherous multi-level greens and numerous water hazards. After golf, explore kilometres of marked wilderness trails at a country-style resort that offers accommodations in 103 guest rooms, villas and chalets.

2Pinestone Resort Golfers on 18th Green - Jpeg June 2009

Hockley Valley Resort, Orangeville

This intimate and popular family-run resort, which offers 14 downhill ski runs in winter, is home to a gorgeous links-style course by Tom McBroom routed through the dramatic and heavily wooded Hockley Hills. Following the natural contours of the land, McBroom’s layout climbs about 90 metres and then plunges as much within a span of several holes. On a clear day, eagle-eyed golfers can see as far north as Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay.

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Rocky Crest Golf Resort, MacTier

A popular cottage country getaway offering spacious suites and a variety of sporting activities on Lake Joseph, Rocky Crest caught the attentions of the golf world with the 2000 opening of a Tom McBroom-designed course that surely numbers among the most scenic  in Canada. McBroom carved his fairways through a thrilling mix of forest and wetlands, brilliantly using the granite outcroppings of the Canadian Shield to shape and accent golf holes the same way that Arizona’s desert courses are framed by cacti and sand.

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Horseshoe Resort, Barrie

Adrenaline junkies flock to this popular ski resort during the summer to mountain bike, take a Hummer tour, and zip-trek through the treetops. A more sedate-though no less satisfying challenge is offered by Horseshoe’s two excellent Rene Muylaert-designed golf courses. The Valley course starts at the base of the hill and ends with a panoramic view of the valley from the 18th tee while the wider fairways of the Highlands course are slightly more forgiving.

Golf

Deerhurst Resort, Huntsville

Muskoka’s golf boom began with the 1990 opening of Deerhurst Highlands Golf Course, an outstanding Top McBroom-Robert Cupp co-design on the grounds of a sprawling lakeside resort capable of accommodating more than 1,000 guests. Starting with a awe-inspiring view of the surrounding countryside from the elevate first tee, Deerhurst Highlands leads golfers on a thrilling ramble through forest and wetlands, and past immense walls of Canadian Shield granite. Also offered at Deerhurst Lakeside, and executive course renowned for its lovely views of Peninsula Lake.

Golf-Swing

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Ahhh Winter…one of our most majestic seasons. Make time to come with friends and family and savour great times at Ontario Resorts. As the temperature drops and the snow starts to fall, Resorts, Lodges and Inns throughout Ontario are rolling out their welcome mats, lighting the fires and grooming the trails for you to experience Winter. The promise of Winter offers both great outdoors and memorable indoor experiences.

A majestic season, winter is a time to bask in the warmth of resorting, romance the snow and find panoramic winter scenes, where you can experience the wonder and enjoyment that winter has to offer. The great outdoors offer all kinds of winter pursuits and adventures whether for making trails, romance, activities on the hill or simply just to taste winter.

  • Dreamy ski hills
  • Exciting trails
  • Luxuriating spa treatments
  • Exhilaration of dog sledding

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Come on up to our place and experience our one-of-a-kind resorts! Our natural surroundings further defines the unique characteristics offered by our resorts. These resorts can be found in spectacular settings with sparkling lakes, forested landscapes, and a place where your senses come alive. Go Resorting!

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Resorts of Ontario (http://www.resortsofontario.com), Ontario’s premier association of resorts, inns and lodges, is pleased to launch our new magazine Go Resorting just unveiled at Casino Rama in Orillia , April 8, 2013. This exciting new Ontario tourism and vacation magazine includes fun vacation stories of inspiring resort experiences and stories by professional travel writers. Go Resorting magazine includes interesting topics that relate to vacationing at Ontario resort, lodges, cottages and inns, including romance, culinary, family, golf, spa and more.

The inaugural edition of the magazine features several informative articles, including “Best Family Vacation Ideas”, “Great All-Girl Escapes”, “10 Great Golf Getaways” and more. A contest is featured in the magazine which we hope will be shared through social media. The contest runs until September 30, 2013.

Enter your “My Favorite Go Resorting Moment” now at http://www.resortsofontario.com or tell , share or show us via Blog, Twitter, Face Book or Pinterest.