Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Riverwalk in Muskoka: Farm to Table Cuisine

Located in an historic mill overlooking the picturesque Muskoka River Falls in the heart of Bracebridge, Riverwalk Restaurant sources its ingredients locally, infusing the beauty of seasonal flavours in every dish they serve — from field to fork. Born and raised in Vancouver, Chef David Friesen is also a proud supporter of Savour Muskoka, which promotes the use of ingredients grown or produced in the area. We have a wonderful farming community up here,” he says. “There are a lot of smaller farms that do most of the growing in the region, whether it’s agriculture or livestock. But the farmers play to Mother Nature, so you never know what’s going to happen or what produce you’ll get.” Opened in 2001, Riverwalk's Mediterranean inspired dining room, animated with the bright, bold and beautiful paintings of renowned Muskoka artist Wendy Moses, also features a stunning outdoor terrace with breathtaking views of the cascading falls. The restaurant's open kitchen allows diners a full view of dishes as they are being prepared while they peruse chef Friesen's seasonally changing menu of gourmet dishes, such as house marinated salmon and free-range Muskoka chicken to hand-rolled gnocchi and Riverwalk's sensational house-made wild mushroom paté, in addition to a selection of creative vegetarian and vegan options. Locally sourced and proudly Muskoka grown, there’s always a delicious reason to visit Riverwalk.

The bright charming interior of Riverwalk, whose history dates back to the late 1880's when it was originally a working mill named Bird's Woolen Mill Company

Selection of Wendy Moses paintings brighten the walls at Riverwalk

Riverwalk's menu features locally sourced ingredients for fresh farm to table cuisine

Stylish hammered Knot cutlery

Pinot Grigio, Tiefenbrunner, Italy, 2012

2019 Merlot, Christian Moueix, Bordeaux, France

Vegetarian Carrot Soup with spiced oil and fresh herb garnish

Onion Confit and Goat Cheese Frittata served with mixed greens, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette

Chef David Friesen

Outdoor dining on Riverwalk's deck which overlook's the Muskoka Falls in Bracebridge

View of the brace bridge from Riverwalk's outdoor deck 

Muskoka-Grown Summer Berry Shortcakes
Serves 6
Recipe courtesy of Chef David Friesen

6 cups fresh berries, cleaned and sliced: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp Grand Marnier

2 cups all purpose flour 3 tbsp sugar
1⁄2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1⁄4 lb butter, cut into small cubes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1⁄2 cup + 1 tbsp half-and-half cream
1 egg white
2 tbsp sugar

Whipped Cream:
2 cups whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

In a nonreactive bowl mash 2 cups of the berries with sugar and Grand Marner. Add the remaining berries and allow to marinate for 30 minutes.

In a food processor, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add the butter cubes and with quick 1-second pulses, process until a coarse meal texture is achieved. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add the egg and cream into the flour mixture and combine with a rubber spatula until large clumps form. Place the entire mixture onto a work surface and lightly knead until it comes together, being careful not to overwork the dough. Pat the dough into a 9x6 inch rectangle. Flour a 3-inch biscuit cutter and cut out 6 rounds then place onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Brush tops with egg whites and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown then allow to cool for 10 minutes. Whip the  cream to soft peaks then add sugar and vanilla, and continue whipping until firm peaks form.

To serve, split each biscuit in half horizontally. Place the bottom of biscuit on a plate and divide the berries among the plates. Place a dollop of whipped cream on the berries and top with biscuit top.

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