Story and photos by Manos Angelakis
Fox Harb’r Resort
1337 Fox Harbour Road
Wallace, Nova Scotia
Canada BOK 1YO
Most hotels I have recently visited have chef’s gardens where the herbs and aromatics used in their kitchen grow and can be harvested at a moment’s notice by the chef and his staff. A growing number have become more ambitious and are now attempting to grow as many of the kitchen ingredients they need as possible, close by. A good example was a resort in Phuket, Thailand, where, in addition to a very large chef’s garden full of herbs, they also grow on the grounds numerous leafy greens for salads, have a large mushroom shed where oyster, shitake and button mushrooms grow, and a large chicken and duck coop that provides the kitchen with fresh birds at the height of taste. They even have goats that are milked; the milk used in the morning coffee.
At our recent visit to Fox Harb’r Resort in Nova Scotia, I found this to be another resort with an outstanding kitchen that attempts to grow at the property as many of the herbs, greens and salads as are needed, plus they stock a trout pond where fat trout are caught fly-fishing for sport (then they are released back to the pond) or for the kitchen (see Fox Harb’r Resort).
Creative Executive Chef Shane Robilliard along with master horticulturist Michael Stewart have developed sustainable farming methods and grow veggies for the kitchen and flowers for decorations in extensive hot-houses on the campus. The sea also provides lobsters and other seafood harvested from the waters near the property, so the kitchen’s self-sufficiency is very close to optimal.
I found that kitchen exceptional, with tasty recipes that showcase the freshness of the ingredients. Eye appeal also seemed to be as important as taste-bud appeal. When plating, considerable care was taken with the design of the dish as well as the ingredient color combination and balance. And that was true, whether what was prepared was an appetizer, a salad, a main course or a dessert.
From a surf-and-turf to a charcuterie platter, fish and chips or an elaborate chocolate dessert or petit-fours; everything was appealing as well as very tasty. From the breakfast buffet, through lunch, afternoon indulgences to dinner, the meals were well planned and, in our case, well attended. There were nice local wines, both white and red from Jost Vineyards and Domaine de Grand Pré, as well as local beers.
Very memorable was the evening when we were invited to an al fresco lobster boil. Numerous lobsters were caught by the hotel’s boat, boiled in a mixture of fresh and sea water and spices, de-shelled and brought to the table to be devoured with sides of red potato and egg salad, corn-on-the-cob, as well as seared, sesame encrusted salmon and pickled, shelled mussels. Absolutely delectable!
We enjoyed the food and our stay at the resort and came back a couple pounds up.
But, as long as the food is great, who cares!!!
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