Indulge without the guilt; as a Canadian health spa, Ste. Anne’s believes in nourishing the body on all levels.
My recently Culinary Retreat at Ste. Anne’s Spa in Grafton, ON was everything I could have imagined, and more. Nestled in a private cottage just a stone’s throw away from the main inn, my husband and I enjoyed the many delights of Ste. Anne’s Spa, in addition to a private lesson with their celebrated Pastry Chef Khushroo Khambata. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my experience – everything from the accommodations to our chocolate-making triumph. Today’s entry is a gastropost dedicated to the sumptuous delights you’ll find at the main dining room.
Ste. Anne’s is an all-inclusive destination spa; whether you choose a day or overnight getaway, your stay will include at the minimum two culinary experiences in their dining room. For overnight guests, your stay includes a 4-course dinner, breakfast, 3-course lunch and afternoon tea.
“Relaxation would not be complete without taking care of the great appetite that develops during your stay at the spa. We have gone to great lengths to put together a dining experience that is both healthy and wholesome. You will notice that we don’t discuss calories or fat content on our menus. If your requirements are left wanting by our philosophy please feel free to ask the chef to prepare a special meal. The dress code in the dining room is very casual, be yourself, and be relaxed!
Our culinary team considers the healing powers of food for the body and soul when creating Ste. Anne’s breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Specifically designed to intrigue and delight, each dish generates a strong response from guests who appreciate the creativity while taking comfort in knowing that every ingredient is hand-selected after thorough consideration.”
Upon arriving at the spa, we were treated to the most delightful afternoon tea.
I highly recommend the Sampler Plate, which achieves the perfect balance between sweet and savoury. All baked goods are prepared fresh daily by Ste. Anne’s gluten free bakery, and although the menu has been created for simplicity, guests can feel free to choose their favourite items for a special, personalized plate.
Above: Smoked salmon pinwheel with a spinach flavoured wrap, fresh sprouts, herb and honey mustard; open-faced cucumber sandwich with sundried tomato cream cheese and fresh chopped herbs, served with havarti and old orange cheddar cheese, crackers and dried cranberries.
Above: An oatmeal raisin cookie, white chocolate and macadamia nut cookie, espresso hazelnut chocolate biscotti, reverse chocolate chip cookie and almond florentine. A delicate rosette of whipped cream perfectly complements the fresh fruit skewers.
The highlight of this intense celebration of flavours: an orange cranberry scone. Light, buttery and melt-in-your mouth good, the flaky pastry is worth raving about. (The next morning, I *may* have overindulged once again at the breakfast buffet.) In fact, I am thinking about it again at this very moment.
Dinner was sublime; to start, I enjoyed a cream of mushroom soup with Ste. Anne’s antipasto plate, followed by slow roasted beef served with a red wine demi-glace. Adequately portioned with quality evident in every bite, it was the most wonderful birthday dinner a girl could imagine. Now I am far too polite to whip out my DLSR with obnoxious flash during romantic evening rendezvous, hence, to respect the other diners, I have no photographs of the meal.
However, a very special birthday dessert was delivered – Kahlua Tres Leches Mousse Cake with Salted Caramel – which you can view here via Twitter.
The next morning, after unceremoniously depositing two more orange cranberry scones on my plate, I opted to bypass the continental buffet and order straight from the a la carte breakfast menu.
(For those interested, the continental buffet includes muesli and other assorted cereals; a wide variety of breads and pastries prepared by Ste. Anne’s Bakery; homemade lactose-free yoghurt, made fresh daily; an assortment of fresh fruits and homemade high protein granola.)
From the menu, I settled on Atlantic Eggs Benedict.
With diner’s choice of bread, topped with smoked Atlantic salmon, perfectly poached eggs, Hollandaise sauce, capers and dill – and paired with a mini potato rosti served with tangy creme fraiche – the symphony of flavours is almost too heady for an early morning meal. However, a palate-neutralizing serving of fresh fruit is the perfect finish to the opulent offering, and guests will no doubt revel in the savoury feast.
Lunch at Ste. Anne’s Spa is a must-do, as the culinary team creates its own soups, baked goods, preserves and salad dressings. Initially set on having the honey and white wine poached pear salad, I was lured into ordering the daily special, which was described as a Greek pasta salad with quinoa and romaine. Since I will eat almost anything that includes feta cheese, it was a very easy sell for me.
Although not the most visually stunning dish, I nevertheless must pay respect to the kitchen for finding the perfect balance of flavours and textures. Crisp, bright and loaded with Mediterranean flair, I wondered vaguely how I could recreate this masterpiece at home.
For my main, I selected a seared wasabi and sesame marinated tofu steak, served with a kale and assorted vegetable slaw in a tahini and ginger dressing. The tofu steak was seasoned with finesse and incredibly flavourful. The only blemish was the salad; it was heavily dressed to the point of being inedible, and in fact, I concluded my meal with almost all the the greens still on the plate.
As my husband and I had participated in a chocolate-making lesson just prior to lunch, we opted to skip dessert. However, I hope I’ve painted a scrumptious picture of the dining experience when you book your overnight getaway to Ste. Anne’s Spa. Just thinking about the food makes me want to return immediately!