Taste Winchester History and the Winchester Food Tour’s latest stop for a Tasting Tuesday episode was the Pembroke Springs Retreat in Star Tannery, Virginia. Let us tell you, even on a cloudy day with low slung cloud cover, the slow ride along the long driveway leading up to this magnificent bed & breakfast was rather breathtaking.
The property on which this bed & breakfast is located is 175 acres of natural forest, chock-full of flora and fauna which is beautiful right now, but we imagine it will be bursting with amazing colors and scents as we move deeper into the spring season and onward to summertime! Family-owned since 1968 when Manager Lisa Floyd’s father, Walter Floyd purchased the property when he primarily used it for hunting and fishing. Walter met and married his lovely wife, Taeko, soon thereafter their daughter, Lisa, was born as was the foundation that would ultimately become Pembroke Springs Retreat Bed & Breakfast. In speaking with all of them, it’s clearly a passionate family affair to deliver a wonderful experience to all who pass through the doors.
If you’re planning on visiting, or better still staying at Pembroke Springs Retreat, plan on leaving the everyday world behind and stepping into a lovely taste of Japanese Culture. Inside leaves you with as warm and peaceful feeling as sitting outside and just listening to the sounds and observing the views of nature on and around the North Mountain. Miles of hiking paths for nature walks and even a pond stocked with bass and bluegill for those interested in a relaxing day of fishing.
The entire establishment is adorned in traditional and modern Japanese touches, from the art, to the decor, the ofuros (two large Japanese baths fed by natural springs), and everything in-between!
Oh, and then there is the cuisine. We also had the privilege to meet and briefly chat with Chef Rebecca Hassell, as you’ll see in the video below. Chef Rebecca has been a part of the operation’s special events since April of 2017 and comes by way of Washington D.C., bringing with her excellence also shared with some of the top restaurants in the city. She is truly an artist and her passion and expertise were abundantly clear in the presentation of each of the five-courses we were blessed to taste this day. And it’s not likely that our photos or video does the artistry justice, but take our word for it, these dishes were truly too beautiful to eat! Well, almost too beautiful to eat.
Lisa Floyd was a most gracious host, both tending to our efforts masterfully while also handling all that the full dining room could throw her way. Lisa also managed to spare us a few moments to give us some insight into what goes on at the Retreat!
Our five course were:
- Sesame Deviled Duck Egg
- Roasted Mushroom Bisque (Maitakes & Ginger)
- Orange-Marinated Leg of Lamb with Asparagus, Shallots, and Spring Greens
- Sauteed Corvina with Rainbow Peppers, Snow Peas, Forbidden Rice & Coconut Cream
- Chocolate Ganache Cake with Strawberry Truffle Center.
The sesame deviled duck egg’s smooth texture and smoky flavor led well into the roasted mushroom bisque, with a veritable burst of mushroom flavor. The bisque is certainly going to be a mushroom-lover’s delight. The leg of lamb was absolutely perfectly prepared and beautifully displayed, so very colorful. And neither of us could recall a time in our lives where we had eaten such a wonderful fish. The Corvina has a light sear on the outside that offered just a hint of crisp that paired perfectly with the tender fish. Light and easy to eat. Closing was with a warm, very rich, deeply chocolaty ganache cake that was centered by a heart-shaped strawberry truffle center, all of which just melted in our mouths. (A few photos will follow the Tasting Tuesday video.)
The few hours we spent here for Tasting Tuesday was truly wonderful. Lisa, Taeko, and Walter were amazing to chat with. Chef Rebecca’s meal we can’t praise enough. And we look forward to finding the time to enjoy the full B&B experience with this fine family whose goal is to spoil their guests and give them a most memorable experience away from the day-to-day and honestly escape just a few moments of peace and tranquility. Check out the video tasting and review and find all of the particulars for Pembroke Springs Retreat immediately thereafter, there is a lot more to learn about them on their website!
Thanks to everyone at Pembroke Springs for the experience!
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