Staycation Escape in The Kawarthas
The main lodge, Viamede Resort, Stoney Lake, The Kawarthas, On.
Oh, the lazy, hazy days of summer. If you’re looking for multi-generation family fun (including your pet), you could do worse than Viamede Resort in The Kawarthas. Find out more – plus try these signature summer recipes to try at home!
A sunny staycation escape in The Kawarthas. Yes, we said escape. And, what is it about Canadian summers anyway? Especially summers by the lake, at the cottage or cabin or campsite? For many of us, going “up north” is an annual rite of passage, knowing we’ve made it through another Great White winter and we’re ready to say here comes the sun!
One place that comes to mind is the Viamede Resort in The Kawarthas. The resort sits on picturesque Stoney Lake, only a couple hours drive northeast of Toronto – and if you don’t have your own cottage, you can rent one of the resort’s, which has 18 in all, perfect for multi-gen family fun. Plus, you can bring Rover with you. Yes, the resort is pet-friendly, too.
But, if you’re looking for more intimate accommodations, the main lodge and its neighbouring hillside building feature 24 guest suites, every one with an open-air balcony with views of the lake and the surrounding forest. Speaking of which, the forests are all set for a hike, with well-marked trails. Oh, and did we mention the swimming? There’s the lake, of course, perfect for a hot-weather dip, but the Viamede Resort also has a brand new Fitness Centre, with a sparkling indoor pool along with floor to ceiling windows – and a swim through to a smaller outdoor pool – with views of the lake.
It wouldn’t be a top-notch resort without top-notch food, of course. “Our culinary approach reflects both my general experiences of cooking across the country and the more specific feel of being very localized here in The Kawarthas,” says executive chef Jay Nutt. Casual days include lunch dockside at The Boathouse, but it’s taking a meal at Mount Julian Restaurant, in a heritage house just down the lane from the resort, which adds a bit of elegance to the country-chic retreat.
“We want our guests to feel comfortable about our menu selections and thrilled at our interpretations,” he adds. “When possible, we utilize local farms, suppliers, producers and staff. We all have roots in the area no matter how recently we arrived. We want guests to feel they also have these roots; a sense of place.”
We agree with chef Nutt, who, by the way, has been kind enough to share two of his signature recipes. When we visited we did feel a sense of calm, of unhurried luxury, of peace.
Click through for a few lakeside views and Executive Chef Jay Nutt’s summer menu recipes.
Warm Potato and Sausage in Dijon Cream with Poached Duck Egg
“This dish features our maple bratwurst with arugula from our garden and duck eggs from our farm, all ingredients accessible at most farmers’ markets in season,” says Viamede Resort‘s Executive Chef Jay Nutt. “It makes for a nice summer entrée salad.”
- 1 tbsp cold press vegetable oil
- 2 maple bratwurst sausages, cooked, diced
- 2 cups cooked baby red potatoes, quartered
- ¼ cup chopped arugula (more or less to taste, it can be peppery)
- ½ cup heavy cream (35%)
- 1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 duck eggs
- Hot sauce to taste (my go-to is 1 tsp Sriracha to 1/3 cup mayonnaise)
- In a sauce pan bring about 4 cups of water plus 1 tbsp of white vinegar to a simmer.
- In a skillet over medium heat add the chopped bratwurst. Stir the sausage gently for 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the potatoes, cream, mustard and honey. Stir until combined and warmed through. Set aside to keep warm.
- Crack a duck egg into a small bowl, transfer the egg into the pan of water. Repeat with remaining eggs. Poach for 3 to 5 minutes for a soft egg, longer if desired.
- Add the chopped arugula to the sausage and potatoes. Stir until combined and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place ¼ of the sausage mixture in each of four serving bowls. Top with poached egg, hot sauce and serve warm. If you have extra arugula it’s nice to garnish with one or two leaves per dish.
Next: Pan-Seared Perch with Corn and Edamame in White Wine and Butter
Pan-Seared Perch with Corn and Edamame in White Wine and Butter
Chef Nutt’s eat-local tip: “If you don’t catch any perch this summer you can substitute pickerel. If you didn’t catch pickerel, you can always try your local fishmonger. Any white-fleshed fish should work. [At Viamede] we get corn and potatoes from local farmers and our soy beans and oil from Pristine Gourmet.”
- 8 oz perch filets, skin on (approx. 6 pieces)
- 2 small new potatoes, boiled and sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh corn kernels
- 2 tbsp Ontario edamame (soy beans)
- 2 tbsp white wine
- 2 tbsp butter, chopped and chilled
- 1 tbsp cold pressed soy oil
- ¼ cup fresh sprouts or baby greens
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a non-stick pan heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the potatoes, corn and edamame beans. Stir until combined and the potatoes are warmed through. Remove from heat and arrange on two serving plates.
- Season the perch with salt and pepper. Add the perch filets, skin side down, to the pan, two or three pieces at a time. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and flip. Remove from heat and arrange cooked fish over the potatoes and corn mixture.
- Add the white wine to the pan over medium high heat and let simmer until almost evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cold butter. Stir with a wooden spoon or non-metal whisk until butter melts, add in sprouts and stir to coat. Garnish the fish with the sprouts and melted butter. Season to taste.