Could there be a more pleasant way to spend a Friday evening? I very much doubt that…

When it was suggested that we spend the Friday of the Canada Day weekend at Langdon Hall it did not take me too long to answer in the affirmative. Having dined at Langdon Hall upon two previous occasions I was well aware of the magnificent Relais & Chateaux property and the gastronomic marvels proffered by Grand Chef Jonathan Gushue and his talented team. Futhermore, the opportunity to join them for the very first of their 2012 barbecue evenings and then to stay overnight was simply too much for me to resist.

Situated near Cambridge, a mere hour west of Toronto if the traffic gods are smiling upon you, Langdon Hall was constructed in 1898 as the summer home for the granddaughter of successful New York businessman John Jacob Astor. In 1987 the property was transformed by current owners William Bennett and Mary Beaton. After 18 months of renovations Bill and Mary realised their dream of operating a country house hotel. Sitting amidst 75 acres of beautifully maintained grounds nestled within some 200 acres of Carolinian woodlands, Langdon Hall is quite simply the ultimate romantic getaway. And then there is the food…

There has never been any doubt in my mind that Grand Chef Gushue is one of the most talented Chefs in this country. Over the years I have had the fortune to taste his dishes upon many an occasion, twice at two stellar luncheons at Langdon Hall itself.

For 2012 Gushue has planned a series of special Friday evening themed barbecue nights that run up until the end of August.

These events are open to both hotel guests and those who would like to experience the gastronomic magic of Langdon Hall without staying overnight. Priced at a stunning $69, these events are simply too good to be missed… I’m certainly planning on heading back out there over the next couple of months. The food on offer coupled with the pulchritudinous setting of the Hall’s gardens make for a truly unforgettable midsummer’s night.

2012 BBQ Series

July 13th –A Night in Provence
Guest host wine director Jérôme Pernot – Châteaux Léoube, France.

July 20th – Rustic Italian
Guest host Chef Rob Gentile of Buca Ostoria & Enoteca, Toronto.

July 27th – Culinary Arts
Guest host Chef Anne Yarymowich of
FRANK at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

August 3rd – Writers in Residence
Guest hosts best selling culinary authors –
Bonnie Stern and Mitchell Davis.

August 10th – Foraged Flavours
Guest host Tama Matsuoka Wong – Forager to
Grand Chef Daniel Boulud, Relais & Chateaux.

August 17th – Musical Feast
Guest host celebrated violinist Susanne Hou combines her passion for music and gastronomy to create a magical evening.
The evening will finish with a 30 minute concert.

August 24th- An Evening with Cowbell
Guest host Chef Mark Cutrara of Cowbell restaurant, Toronto.

For more information and reservations click here.

On this visit to Langdon Hall we were given a tour of the property’s culinary garden by Head Gardener Heather Riddle. Heather’s garden really is a sight to behold, being both pleasing to the eyes as well as performing the important function of providing the hotel’s kitchen with true garden fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. As we marvelled at the multicoloured kale and beautiful edible flowers, Chefs were dipping in and out of the rows, picking all manner of delights for the coming evening’s festivities. Heather obviously takes great pride in her work, something that was made evident as she took us around her fecund beds of heirloom varieties. Growing the vast majority of her plantings from seed, it was astonishing to see just how far along many of her fruits and vegetables were already this season, particularly the tomatoes. They put my personal horticultural efforts to shame.

In my mind great food demands great wine, and Langdon Hall is certainly no slouch in that department. Overseeing a 1000 bottle wine list (and the cellar to support that) is one of the warmest and most passionate of Sommeliers, Kathleen Moore. Having been at Langdon Hall as Sommelier for almost seven years, Moore knows Chef Gushue’s cuisine inside out and utilises her remarkable palate to select the perfect bottle or glass to accompany each dish. I would highly recommend asking her for guidance when perusing her fascinatingly deep wine list as even an expert could find oneself lost in there. Moore exhibits exquisite taste in her wine purchasing, finding some remarkable hidden treasures from all around the globe. (For full disclosure I should note here that I have always thought that we share similar tastes in wine!) I’d strongly advise that you seek her out as a night at Langdon Hall is incomplete without a little wine banter with Kathleen.

Our wonderful summer night at Langdon Hall was an experience that will stay in our memories forever. Everything about our little romantic night away was so deliciously perfect, down to the very last detail. Langdon Hall is an extremely special place run by some extremely special people. We look forward to returning soon.

The Evening’s menu was as follows:

The Altar

Corn Bread, Whole Wheat Rolls

Langdon Butter

Chili Honey


Prosciutto & Soppresatta

Deviled Eggs

Greens & Things

Roasted Asparagus and Walnut Tapenade

Heirloom Tomato Salad, Green Goddess

Poached Leeks, Celtic Blue, Citrus and Radish

Snap Peas, Garlic, Toscano and Mint

Kale Caesar

Roasted Baby Carrot Salad, Crushed Sun Flower

Strawberry, Celery, Salted Ricotta

From The Grill

Albacore Tuna, Fennel, Basil, Grapefruit, Dried Tomato

Sweet Peppers and Egg

Zucchini and Wild Oregano

Wagyu Flank Steak with Salsa Verde

From The Smoker

Smoked Beef Striploin

Sausages by Cameron

Perth County Pork

Langdon Pickles

Dressed Radish

In The Hut

Fried Chicken

Eggplant Gratin


Pecan Pie

Chocolate Bundt Cake

Maple Pie

Apple Pie

Butter Tarts

Date Squares

Blueberry Yogurt Flan

Banana Chocolate Cream Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Stewed Peaches

Maple Creme Brulee

Buttermilk Panna Cotta

Peach Cobbler

Blackberry Almond Tart

Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he thinks that Landon Hall is truly magical.