With our 5th wedding anniversary fast approaching my husband and I decided we were going out for an evening of dining. We would arrange for a babysitter and head out for an enjoyable meal experience without any toddler meal time distractions.
I happened to come across a facebook posting of a locally owned and operated orchard that was hosting set course dinners prepared by local chefs. The first date they had on the schedule just happened to be on our anniversary. What perfect timing!
We were very excited about the indulgence of an evening to ourselves as it has become a rarity with having an active family. The majority of our meals are prepared at home and it is always a treat to experience enticing collaborations between local businesses, products and talent.
The stars had aligned: I have been a fan the Over the Hill Orchard‘s product line that includes beverages, fruit spreads and toppings, chocolates and wine for some time. Coincidentally their sour cherries were incorporated into the chocolate ganache birthday cake I created for my husband’s recent 40th.
The orchard is approximately a 30 minute drive from the city. This would be our first visit and we were very excited as we meandered in the prairie country side to the valley. Our anticipation grew as we drove up over the hill (hence the name), along the orchards to the main building where dinner awaits.
We had has several days of rain earlier on in the week in addition to that evening so the short tour of the orchard was not in the cards as it would have made for extremely muddy dress shoes. A rain check to return another day was offered which provides another opportunity to further converse with the owners Dean & Sylvia Kreutzer about their business they developed over the past 16 years.
The Kreutzer’s are innovative entrepreneurs who are a viable part of the community business infrastructure with their participation in numerous local events and organizations.
They are inviting hosts who welcomed all the guests in attendance. Luckily Sylvia had asked to join our table for dinner and we are truly grateful for her hospitality. Her and her husband are a wealth of knowledge and are eager to share their story of how the orchard came about. The details of all the work they put into it everyday in order to make their dreams a reality for their family is astounding. The scenery and the setting are amazing and with limited seating we were truly blessed to be a part of the experience.
The dinners are presented as a set menu by the featured chef which may make some people nervous but place your trust in the hands of trained professionals as they rarely lead you astray. There is never a better opportunity to dine when the chef has the creative power and vision of the meal.
The proceeds of the dinners are supporting the Canadian Culinary Federation-Regina (CCFCC-Regina) Junior Chefs Program. Funds are put towards opportunities and activities that help our up and coming talented chefs further develop their skills and experience.
The featured acclaimed Executive Chef that evening preparing the courses was from the local restaurant Crave – Jonathan Thauberger . We were familiar with his culinary talents from previous visits to the restaurant where he is head chef.
Even before the first bite, we knew we were in for a gastronomic treat. Chef Jonathan is a gold plate winner and strong advocate for incorporating local fresh ingredients in many of his menu selections.
The course selection was local and seasonal based with the fresh ingredients combined to compliment one another. The majority of the product were sourced through Local & Fresh as well as Pusch Bros, R&J Milling all Saskatchewan based.
You really had a sense celebration and passion that was behind the creativeness that was about to be shared when the details were explained by the chef as a new delight was set before us.
The theme of spring really came through with seasonal vegetables and especially with surprise asparagus course that was added to the original 4 courses initially set.
Every plate was stunningly presented and prepared with great skill as you can see pictured in the menu prepared for that evening.
Lake Diefenbaker Steelhead Escabeche, local radish/greenhouse tomato/cucumber salad and gazpacho, horseradish aioli, chive blossoms
Duck Soup; braised duck leg set in triple clarified duck consomme, Saskatoon berry glaze, pickled sea buckthorn berries
Roasted Pioneer Gardens Asparagus, Three Farmers Camelina Bearnaise
Lake Winnipeg Pickerel, Sprouted lentil saute, pine mushroom cream
Fresh pear poached in Over the Hill cherries, preserved berry compote
All the elements of a fantastic culinary experience were present: interactive conversation with fellow guests, an amazing setting made even better when the prairie sky cleared for a dramatic sunset view over the valley, a special local product based designed menu by an renowned chef, select wines from the orchard paired with each course and the love of my life beside me.
Happy anniversary and many more.
I did not receive monetary compensation for the evening experience. I do promote local business, culinary talent and products which align with my blog. If given the opportunity, please make a point in supporting these endeavors yourself.