Director: Jason Stafford
Arriving at the Manor is like stepping into a fairy tale. It has stepped out of the past, located on almost 600 meters fronting Lake Massawipi. Nestled between the forest and the English gardens, this charming house perpetuates the art of good living where it's good to relax twelve months of the year.
The restaurant is considered one of the region's best, generous and classical at its heart, but with some daring touches - little flashes of sunshine and freshness like the delicious poached halibut on a base of rhubarb. For more than 30 years, Roland Ménard has been fostering the organic food industry of the Eastern townships. Cheese from Hatley, trout from East Hereford, deer from Highwater, wines from Magog... he has devoted himself to promoting regional products and was one of the first chefs in Quebec to meet with local producers to encourage them to develop new products.
To satisfy his creativity, Roland set aside some parcels of land for himself at the Ferme de l'Étang aux Bouleaux, Birch Pond Farm, located in the heights of Ste. Catherine de Hatley.
The Maitre d' reminded me that dinner was going to be served in the main dining room which was once panelled in oak. Today it is brightly wall-papered in a way that brings to mind birch bark - a theme found in various forms throughout the Manor and a visual reference to the name given to the property by its original owner: The Birches.
The service is that of a great house. I was pleased to learn from Yannick Lallier, the sommelier, that the cellar holds more than 10,000 bottles. Its 850 labels hold some real treasures and have earned it The Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence on several occasions.
The cheese tray, the largest in Quebec, offers a unique selection of raw-milk and artisanal cheeses, including the exceptional aged goat's milk cheese, rich and slightly granular, the Brie-type Mi-Carême, and the triple cream Brillat Savarin.
During the warm months, breakfast is served on the Tap Room terrace to allow guests to enjoy the gardens that spread out at their feet in an explosion of color against a blue backdrop.
Roland is assisted by Francis Wolf and a dynamic team that will hold you under their spell from the first course to dessert.
Hints & Tips