by Andrew Coppolino
Restaurant menus change seasonally, and at Puddicombe House the transition from summer to fall especially energizes chefs Lance Edwards and Jammie Monk. While cooler weather and the falling leaves swirl outside the elegant and historic building from 1868, the dining room is set with warming dishes, locally harvested ingredients and imaginative cooking. There’s roasted chicken supreme with a crabapple mushroom ragout or salmon with blueberry mustard and walnut crust, yellow tomato coulis, beets and a Fuji apple chutney.
Back to Comfort Food
“This time of year, we go back to comfort food, and we thought this chicken would be perfect,” according to Edwards. “The ragout has nice sour notes from the local crabapples and the bacon has just enough fat to cut through so the apples aren’t overbearing. The mushrooms and the truffled champ, an Irish mashed potato, cream, butter and scallions dish, adds a nice earthiness to balance everything out.”
Edwards adds that the fall means getting into bigger flavours and bolder seasoning. The Atlantic salmon dish is baked with a rich beurre noisette (butter cooked to a hazelnut colour with a deep, rich flavour) and finished with a blueberry mustard and walnuts. “The mixture of ingredients gives it nice pow, but not too much,” he says. The yellow tomato coulis is from tomatoes grown on the family farm and canned for a contrast to the mustard, says Edwards. “I love the apple and beet combination. It usually turns up in some form on our fall menus and adds a nice sweetness and texture as well as a pop of colour.”
Warming Up with a Wee Dram of Scotch
Another wonderful part of chilly fall weather is scotch: there’s nothing like a wee dram when winter is looming. Puddicombe currently has about 40 single malts available, including “Winter Storm,” a 21-year-old Glenfiddich scotch finished in ice wine barrels from Peller Estates in Niagara, according to Nick Cressman, Puddicombe owner.
“We’re also looking forward to the Glenfiddich Experimental Series #4. It’s half-peated and half-unpeated and finished in a rum cask.” Otherwise, Cressman says be on the lookout for a number of scotch events coming soon, including a visit from the Canadian national brand ambassadors for two unique whiskeys.
“If I was going to drop a hint, it would be that they aren’t from Scotland this year,” Cressman says. “Expect details in the next couple of weeks, as the big tastings always sell out quickly.”
Keep an eye on Puddicombe’s website for tastings and other special events.