Monday, February 27

If Winter Won't Come to You...'ll just have to come to it! There are folks in parts of the province who are calling this season the non-winter of 2012. Poor souls. They don't know what they're missing.

I realize some people are enjoying the uncharacteristically mild temperatures and near-absence of snow in Toronto and other parts of Southern Ontario. After all, who's going to say they miss shoveling out the driveway? Of course it's easier to go about your daily routine—getting to and from work or running errands—when there's less snow on the ground, but really, it's not much fun. 

If you're one of us crazy optimists who love the snow (and we are legion!) then you know what I'm talking about. Winter—and I'm talking about a good, proper winter with deep billows of pure white snow—is a great season to get outside and reconnect with your inner child

Imagine snowshoeing through a snow-clad forest the likes of Narnia. Glide on cross-country skis along groomed trackset trails; skate over a frozen pond; fly down a hill on a bright red toboggan. Or really turn up the adventure factor and mush through the woods on the edge of Algonquin Park with your own dog sled team. Laughter and glowing cheeks are just about guaranteed.

When the sun sinks in the sky, the quieter pleasures of the snowy season are waiting to be discovered. The night sky is incredibly clear and vibrant in the colder months. A cozy seat by a real wood fire is the perfect way to warm up, perhaps with a favourite beverage in hand. The sounds of the winter world (the crunching of boots on frosty paths, the creaking of trees as the mercury drops) are muffled by the snow, making for a night that is truly silent.

If you hate winter, then I'm not going to try to convince you otherwise. But if you know how wonderful the season can be, there is good news: If winter won't come to you this year, you can come to winter! 

Here at Fern Glen Inn, we're only 2 1/2 hours north of Toronto. Close enough for an easy weekend escape but far enough to feel like you're in another world. And you will be—you'll be in the best part of winter!

Call, email or book online for your getaway where winter comes to play.

Saturday, February 25

Tap the Sap Culinary Event

Savour the tastes of Muskoka with a night of incredible food and entertainment. Tap the Sap is a culinary event celebrating the start of the maple syrup season, hosted by Savour Muskoka, an organization promoting the farmers, producers, chefs, and food artisans of the region.

The evening will showcase dishes prepared by a dozen local chefs with food from twenty local producers. Food will be available from 7-10 pm and served marché-style, similar to the summer Field to Fork Event. All guests will have their own plates and mingle from table to table, tasting large canape size samples from various tables. We expect there will be six appetizers, six mains and three desserts—and you can savour them all.

Fern Glen Inn will be there, too! I'm pairing up with three local producers (ultra premium ice cream maker
Belly Ice Cream, Lake of Bays Brewing Co. and Deisel House Coffee Roasters) to create one of the dessert offerings.

There will also be a cash bar offering locally crafted beers and wines as well as live entertainment featuring the music of The Roots/Reggae Jeremy Waterhouse Band.

The event takes place at the
Port Sydney Community Hall. For tickets, call 705-646-7118 or visit Savour Muskoka events to find ticket locations. Tickets are $40 per person.

Monday, February 13

Pie Iron Sandwicherie in Huntsville

Fern Glen Inn •
My choice was the duck confit with brie and cranberry preserves on multigrain bread. Ripple-cut chips and coleslaw on the side.
I'd been meaning to try Pie Iron Sandwicherie since it opened in downtown Huntsville last summer and my interest was piqued anew after guests absolutely raved about it during their visit over the Christmas holidays. So when our friend, Ed, came up for a few days to attend the Banff Mountain Film Festival with us, it was the perfect opportunity to try something new for our pre-show dinner.
I am happy to report it did not disappoint. In fact, we enjoyed it so much I have to share it with you!

That is a sandwich that would make Dagwood proud!
 As a "sandwicherie", the focus is, naturally, on sandwiches -- but don't think that means boring. It's the variety, creativity and quality of the fillings that set the menu apart. The foodie in me loves the well-matched and inventive flavours and the artisanal bread. The generous size and house-made mushroom soup impressed Jim and Ed.
Nothing like a locally-made Lake of Bays Pale Ale to complete a meal like this.
Jim had the montreal smoked meat on marbled rye and Ed chose the pulled pork with Memphis style BBQ sauce, jack cheese and slaw on a ciabatta bun.

Sushi is a new addition to the menu this weekend. We shared a sample platter and it was delicious. I finally have a local source for good sushi! Also on offer: a selection of desserts, muffins, scones and baked goods, as well as local beers and specialty coffees.

Yay! Good sushi comes to Huntsville!
Another high note of our dinner was the service. Our server was attentive, helpful and genuine. When we told him we were running a little late and had tickets to the theatre, he let the kitchen staff knew and he made sure we got out in plenty of time for the show.

If you go: Pie Iron Sandwicherie is on Main Street in downtown Huntsville, near the bridge, next to the Bookcase, across from Algonquin Outfitters, just a block down from Algonquin Theatre.