Thursday, August 24, 2017

An Amazing Supper in the Orchard

On Saturday evening Christopher and I drove about 20 minutes out of town to Over the Hill Orchards

This amazing place is an organic orchard and winery, and the friendly family who own and run it are growing fruits that we had no idea could be grown in Saskatchewan, including peaches, pears, cherries, and grapes among numerous other fruits and veggies. 

Throughout the summer Over the Hill Orchards does Supper in the Orchard, partnering with the Canadian Culinary Federation (CCFCC) to bring in different local chefs to create multi-course meals, using mostly ingredients from local farms and the orchard.  I received a gift card a couple of months ago to try Supper in the Orchard, and once we saw that Chris Torjuson was the guest chef on Saturday, we made reservations for that night.  He has been the chef at many of our favourite restaurants in town over the years (currently at Malt City), and we were excited to see what he would prepare.


The majority of proceeds from these evenings go back to the Canadian Culinary Federation (CCFCC), which helps send junior members for training across North America.  The suppers seat up to 32 people, so they are intimate, and the chef comes out to talk to the diners about what they will be eating.

When you arrive at the orchard, there is a beautiful patio to sit on and admire the scenery, and enjoy a beverage.  The many wine selections are all made at the orchard, as is the non-alcoholic beverage option.

At 6:30 the guests move indoors into the dining space, which is very lovely.

There was a nice floral touch to our water, and the service was excellent.

The multi-course meal is $65 dollars per person, with an optional wine pairing for an additional $25 each.  Beverages may also be purchased by the glass, and we opted for that route instead of the wine pairing.

The first course was grilled baby cabbage with balsamic Brussels, zucchini, mixed greens, Italian vin, house-made ricotta, and soppressata (an Italian dried salami that was also made and fermented by the chef).

This salad was so good, and a delightful start to the meal.

Next up was dijon gnocchi with pepperonata, and sweet corn puree.

The sweet corn puree was so flavourful, and was our favourite part of this tasty dish.  All of the food at the Orchard is gluten-free and nut-free, so this is a perfect night of dining for those who have nut and gluten dietary restrictions

Making gluten-free gnocchi is no easy feat, but chef Chris pulled it off flawlessly; the little dumplings were soft and fluffy.

Before the third course Dean, who owns the orchard with this wife Sylvia, gave us a small tour of the fruit and veggie growing operation they've got going on out there, and we were completely blown away by it - so, so impressive!  Dean was also quite funny, and extremely informative, which made the tour so interesting.  We only looked around for about 15 minutes before we went back to try the third course.  As we were heading back inside, the view of the sun going down over the valley was spectacular. 

Next up was sous vide grilled pork tenderloin, with duck fat veggies, pickled shaved carrot, pancetta, and red wine pork sauce.

All of the elements in this dish paired so well together, and the pork was extremely tender and juicy.  The sauce was superb.

The final course was apricot wine zabiaone with grilled peach, apricot gel, and dark chocolate milk crumb.

Now I am not usually a dessert person, but I ate every single bite of this, and could have gone for more.  It wasn't overly sweet, and the chocolate crumb was such a nice texture contrast to the creamy zabiaone (which I am totally going to learn how to make).

In fact, I ate every bite of every dish, which usually isn't the case when we go out for dinner.  Everything tasted so fresh, healthy, and masterfully created.  I think we were both expecting this dining experience to be good, but we had no idea it was going to be as wonderful as it was.  We're already talking about going back ... sooner rather than later.

The sun was almost completely set as we were leaving to head home.

And on the way home we couldn't stop talking about the supper and the orchard, and all the people we know who would love it.

If you're local, there is still time to book your Supper in the Orchard before the season is over.  Click here to see which nights have openings, and which chef will be cooking on those evenings.

You can find Over the Hill Orchards on Facebook, Twitter, on Instagram @overthehillorchards or on their website

I hope you make it out there to try this unique and memorable dining experience; I think you'll be as pleasantly surprised as we were.

Have you been to Over the Hill Orchards?  If you're not from around here, do you have something like this where you live?  Do you try to support local farms and other local businesses?


BobbyJo said...

Brent and I were just looking at this today!! Something we would love to do!! Glad to have read your review!! Now we need to book it!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks - we will definitely check it out!


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

OMG, this sounds amazing. When I started to read about the courses, I was thinking - 'gosh I wish I could do this, but with my gluten intolerance it wouldn't work'. Then I read that it's all GF/nut free and I was ENVIOUS that we don't have something like this here. If we did, I would be there in a heart beat as it all sounds so amazing. Plus I feel strongly about supporting local farmers. Ever since I read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" I have really thought more about where my food comes from and trying to eat more locally-grown foods. It's not something we can do year-round in our part of the country but I try to eat as much local food as I can, especially in the summer and fall when there are local farmers markets. And as I've probably mentioned before, a friend and I split a half meat share from a local organic farm. Each month we get 2 pounds of ground beef, a dozen eggs, and an assortment of other things like bacon, sausages, steaks, pork chops, etc. We don't eat a ton of meat so we don't have to buy much more meat. It feels really good to support a local family farm and it's actually pretty cost effective, too!