Standing in the fields or walking barefoot in the loose earth of the garden at Castlegarth, the Ottawa Valley farm that lends its name to the restaurant, there’s a softness in the air. It may simply be the smell of summer but whatever magic this place weaves, it’s transposed onto the thoughtful plates of Chefs Matt and Jenn Brearley serve forth about a mile away in their intimate restaurant.
Matt grew up on the farm that his parents, Michael and Di Brearley, still operate and proudly share throughout the year. Matt and Jenn met at Stratford Chefs School and then hit the road. Their credentials are substantial; having worked in Domus in Ottawa, Zucca in Toronto and the River Cafe in London, England. They even had a stint cooking as personal chefs to the Westons – Matt at the Weston Foundation; Jenn at the family’s private home.
The other element that makes this restaurant/farm collaboration work is the unmitigated culinary curiosity of all involved. They are seed-savers extraordinaire. A tomato tasting garden
showcases all the heritage and modern tomatoes that will eventually find their way onto Matt’s menu. Whether it’s huge heads of multi-coloured lettuces and pungent purple mustard greens or the hand-gathered wild mushrooms and a plate of house-made charcuterie; whether it’s a pickerel brandade, a White Lake bean puree or red-wine and tarragon macerated strawberries atop home made berry ice cream, Castlegarth’s meals are as a complete reflection of the terroir of the region as any diner could ever hope for.
In the early days of settlement, White Lake was a major staging village between Kingston and Pembroke. On the wide Madawaska River, it’s now a summer destination. Castlegarth is located in one of the heritage buildings that line the main street near the public beach. A fire destroyed the first log cabin built on the site but then, in 1862, a house and store was constructed which housed the local post office as well as a boot and shoe manufacturer. These were the days when self sufficiency was paramount. And today, Matt and Jen are making a similar statement. Having just opened their retail shop, they’re selling local produce, Matt’s baking, their stellar ice cream and some of the Province’s best cheeses.
~ Food Day Canada 2012 ~
Castlegarth Fried Green Tomato on Cos Lettuce with Blue Haze Cheese & Buttermilk Dressing
Nippising Quail with Heirloom Cherry Tomato, Stuffed Squash Blossoms & White Pine Bolete and Romanesco Zucchini Tortellini
Back Forty Cheese Board featuring Madawaska, Flower Station & Highland Blue Sheep’s Milk Cheeses with Brandied Ontario Cherries
- All produce is grown on the farm and the boletes come from our bush, Back Forty Cheese is 40 Km from the restaurant. -
Castlegarth is one of about 250 restaurants that celebrate Food Day across Canada. Contact them at the number below to reserve a table.
Castlegarth est l’un des 250 restaurants à travers tout le Canada qui participent au Journée des terroirs . Contactez Castlegarth directement, au numéro ci-dessous, afin de faire votre réservation.
90 Burnstown Road,
White Lake, Ontario
T: 613 623 3472