Manoir Hovey, North Hatley, Quebec

On the banks of Lake Massawippi, near North Hatley in Quebec’s Eastern Townships (L’Estrie), this inn and the chefs have been harvesting the region and serving it forth for as long as I’ve been writing about it. I published then-Chef Roland Ménard’s recipe in 1990 for lamb tenderloin baked in phyllo pastry and served with a local honey/fresh mint sauce. It would be at home on any 2019 menu.  The salade ‘Estrienne’ that we published the same year is a plate full of local greens and sliced Eastern Township apples topped with cider-marinated, seared pork. His rack of pork stuffed with maple laced-apples and roasted hazelnuts and served with a Fine Sève cider sauce is one of the best recipes my 2000/2006 food book, Flavours of Canada.  FABULOUS!

Manoir Hovey, which was built in 1900, marked its 40th anniversary under the ownership of the Stafford family this year. It is a gracious place, a Rélais et Chateaux member and a five star dining experience absolutely rooted in the here and now of Quebec cuisine. 

It is the extraordinary terroir of L’Estrie that inspires Chef de Cuisine Alexandre Vachon.  Growing up on a farm himself, he is no stranger to the foods of the land and is translating it directly onto the inn’s menus. He has honed his skills in Quebec’s finest restaurants. The culinary dream team of 65 that he leads is filled with international talent. Food & beverage manager Jean-Charles Brakhausen has worked at 2 and 3 star Michelin restaurants all around the world, most recently with Alain Ducasse at Spoon in Hong Kong.  Head sommelier Jerome Dubois has worked for 3-star Michelin chef Marc Veyrat. New assistant sommelier Reynald Belkacem was formerly at Joel Robuchon’s Hotel Metropole in Monaco.

Chef Vachon’s cuisine, however, is supremely approachable.  In Le Hatley dining room, Quebec lamb is prepared with artichokes, broad beans and cavatelli, while the Ricotta Raviolo uses Taliah cheese, ceps, and summer truffles while in the more casual Tap Room, prosciutto-wrapped quail is served with mushrooms and foie gras.  There are lobster rolls and poutine Abenaki with a house made birch syrup.

The terroir…the natural factors that give a food its identity, are summarized best by the culinary guidelines that the chefs follow religiously.

Birch: The abundance of birch trees at Manoir Hovey makes it ideal for the “tree to table” production of birch syrup and birch vinegar. In early spring, the birch trees at Manoir Hovey are tapped, and the sap is made into birch syrup and vinegar. 100 – 150 liters of birch sap make just one liter of syrup, and Le Hatley is possibly the only Canadian restaurant to engage in this practice.

Seafood & Shellfish: The nutrient rich St. Lawrence River, and the waters of the Atlantic Coast provide an abundant array of seafood that is featured on the menu year round, but especially from April through June. Sea urchin, fresh Nordic shrimp, snow crab, lobster, sea snails, gooseneck barnacles, razor clams and sea scallops can be found on the menu.

Sea Plants: In the summer, sea asparagus, sea spinach, and seaweed are foraged along the St. Lawrence River and provided to Le Hatley by Les Jardins de La Mer, operated by Claudie Gagné, a local producer who lives in a church and dries part of her harvest in a school bus. Other interesting products are beach rose hips, fresh local elderberry and celtuce stems.

Preserves: One of Manoir Hovey’s most notable products of the winter season is the house made winter harvested apple vinegar. It’s made from apples that are left on trees through the first frost, which changes their sugar profile and allows for a unique flavor. Other staples come directly out of the birch and sumac vinegar cellar, as well as in-house dried products such as chanterelles, lobster mushrooms, dry seaweed, kelp, Irish moss, sea lettuce, root vegetables, winter squash and the chef’s own winter stored carrots

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The Tap Room with it’s 10,000 brick fireplace is a great place to ponder the recreational possibilities – fly fishing with guide Flo Hebert (all gear provided for novices and experts alike); jumping into the lake for a great swim; kayaking or canoeing it’s expanse; mountain biking the lakeside trail; hiking throughout the property or just enjoying an utterly elegant holiday.

Manoir Hovey DoorRecent Awards:

  • #1 Meilleur Hôtel de Villégiature au Canada / #1 Best Hotel Resort in Canada
  • #19 sur la liste des 100 Meilleurs Hôtels au Monde / #19 “The 100 Best Hotels in the World”
    Travel + Leisure – World’s Best Awards 2016
  • Élu #1 Meilleur dans l’Est du Canada / #1 Top Rated Hotel in Eastern Canada
    Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards 2014
  • Top 5 des Meilleurs Hôtels au Canada / Top 5 Hotels in Canada
    Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards 2015
  • Lauréat National Or
    Les Grands Prix du Tourisme Québécois 2014
  • Best Luxury Country Inn in the Americas
    World Luxury Hotel Awards 2013 to 2015

Contact Manoir Hovey at the number below to reserve a Food Day Canada table.

Contactez Manoir Hovey directement, au numéro ci-dessous, afin de faire votreJournée des terroirs réservation.

Manoir Hovey
575 Rue Hovey,
North Hatley, QC J0B 2C0
T: 819 842 2421

 

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