If you know me, you know my love for all things Cheese Boutique. I first discovered them when I moved into Bloor West Village in late 2000. (Yes. As in Y2K. Let's take a moment to digest that fact.) Hands down it is not only my favourite place to buy cheese, but food in general. Not only because of the quality and variety of products they offer, but also because of the people there. I pretty much love everything they do. SO - when they have parties or food events of any kind, I know they're going to be fantastic. Obviously then, when I found out that Afrim Pristine, Mâitre Fromager of Cheese Boutique (his family's business since 1970) was regrouping the League of Extraordinary Chefs at Langdon Hall (of all places) this summer, I thought it would be a great place to be. So I invited my bestie and booked a couple of spa appointments and planned for a great summer road trip.
But this was definitely not just about the destination - because I was lucky enough to be behind the wheel of a shiny new 2018 Subaru Forester 2.5i Touring for the weekend. It was the perfect vehicle for our getaway. It really strikes a balance that so few SUV's do - roomy (without feeling like you are driving a bus), sensitive steering, plenty of pickup and good looks to spare. Subaru hasbe always been known for innovative engineering, safety and quality. The 2018 Forester comes with updated features and more safety technology than ever before. On all models, improved child seat anchors and updated seatbelt reminder warnings ensure that passengers are kept safe at all times, while the 7-inch infotainment system with navigation on the Limited models see the addition of new Starlink apps, including Yelp, Best Parking and Glympse for even more usability than before.
So the trip there was great, and I was immediately impressed with my first visit to Langdon Hall. It really is the picture perfect example of an elegant country house. Personally, I was due for a little dose of luxury, and our massage appointments were a fantastic start. It was a pretty rainy afternoon, so being inside in the spa was more or less perfect.
After that, it was time to get ready for the main event - which was a feature part of Langdon Hall's Summer BBQ Series.
Just in time for dinner, the rain cleared. We made our way out to the garden at Langdon Hall and were greeted with a beautiful scene (they sky was getting particularly cotton candy-ish) and a glass of wine. The lineup of chefs for the evening made it a "TLoEC" classic: Afrim Pristine, Cory Vitiello of Flock, Jason Bangerter of Langdon Hall, Victor Barry of Piano Piano and Café Can Can, and Jonathan Goodyear. Prior digging in, we had the opportunity to tour around the garden and some of the unique items being grown there for Langdon Hall's kitchen - in many cases dishes are built around items that are planted in the garden. There were several BBQ stations, each belonging to a feature chef and their team. But before we even got started on those, there was (literally) a canoe full of fresh shellfish and all the things you'd want with it and a rather epic cheese and charcuterie table. Naturally.
Of course the meal was fantastic - wood-fired pizza, beef, salmon, lamb - and yes, grilled cheese. All paired with wines selected by The Vine Agency. Plus a pretty impressive table of desserts. Dinner under the stars at Langdon Hall is hardly roughing it, and as it got chilly we wrapped ourselves up in warm blankets and continued to chat well into the night. And perhaps had more dessert, and wine. A stay at Langdon Hall is worth it, regardless, but if you ever have a chance to get in on one of these special dinners put on by The League of Extraordinary Chefs, I highly recommend that you do so.
Many thanks to Cheese Boutique for having me at this wonderful event as their guest, and to Alex Eidelman for so many great photos!