In August 2011, wineaccess.ca wrote a great article titled The World’s Best Winery Restaurants; once I saw that Ravine Vineyard was on the list, and because I had always heard that many taste-buds are tickled at their bistro, I knew that I would plan a visit sooner than later. Well – it took a little longer than expected but finally my chance came this year when Ravine Vineyards hosted the Spring Handmade Market.
Knowing that hundreds (if not thousands) of people would congregate at Ravine over the course of the Mother’s Day weekend I did what any Type A planning personality would do and made a reservation. The reservation was for 1pm in the afternoon and I wondered how I would make it through the anticipation waiting for the day to come.
When my mother and I showed up on the day of the market at the bistro not a chair in the entire place was vacant. Our table wasn’t quite ready so were were offered comfortable chairs at the front with a small, quaint wooden table with some lilac blooms in the middle and enjoyed a glass of water.
The table that we were seated at was picture perfect; we sat alongside the north windows that overlook the escarpment. True to the women that we are, we both went for the wine menu before the lunch one. Earlier in the day we had tried the Sand and Gravel Cab Franc that the winery was showcasing for Niagara’s Wine and Herb passport weekends.
After deciding on our wine, we looked eagerly to the menu. Their selection is small and mighty. If you ask me, and I guess you have somewhat because you happen to be reading this, there is something to be said for the extreme innovation and care that goes into lunches like the one that my mom and I were about to indulge in at Ravine. Like any project, when the pieces are smaller and more manageable the chefs are better able to ensure attention to detail. And, in turn, these details play a large part in giving this winery bistro a place as one of the best in the world.
Here’s what we had:
2011 Sand & Gravel Riesling
Warm House-Made Bread & Whipped Butter
Wachs’ Farms & Gummi’s Garden Seasonally Inspired Soup
herb parmesan muffin
Lemon Dill Brined Smoked Scallop
cauliflower puree, RAVINE pork belly, eggplant & goat cheese ravioli
Chocolate Peanut Butter S’more
peanut butter mousse, chocolate sable, cinnamon marshmallow
Raspberry & Lemon Meringue Pie
graham crumb crust, raspberry & lemon curd layers, toasted meringue
Out of all of the above, my favourite part of the meal was the Raspberry & Lemon Meringue Pie. My mouth watered in want of a bite from the moment I saw our waitress bringing it to the table. My main was also fantastic, I especially liked the cauliflower puree as it was seasoned to perfection and gave me a whole new outlook towards this bubbly, white, usually boiled and bathed in cheese, vegetable.
I most certainly will return to Ravine Vineyards for lunch (and any other meal for that matter). However, I suspect that my next visit will likely start with wine and then right to dessert, especially if that meringue pie is still on the menu!