Welcome to my first issue of Katherine’s Chateau Blog! I am really excited to bring you updates on our newly opened location in historic Collingwood in one of the most stunning locations I could have hoped for. Going forward I will be sharing excited to stay connected with our valued patrons and followers , sharing exciting news on Katherine’s Chateau news/updates, both in the home decor boutique and Champagne cafe, along with cooking, gardening, decor ideas and… of course some humour and tips!
Well, it’s been almost three months since we first opened our doors in beautiful historic Collingwood. There is no question about it—it has been a very exciting three months (following a very trying nine months of renovations) with lots of learning for us as we roll out our unique and passionate vision.
Essentially, we have launched two businesses in one with a home décor and gift boutique, as well as full-service lunch and dinner in the champagne café. This isn’t the first time I have launched a business, but certainly it has been the most fun! A labour of love as they say. Part of the reason for the successful launch is the amazing team we have working at Katherine’s Château and how quickly we have become a family, and the other is how incredibly welcoming the Collingwood community has been.
I’m seriously overwhelmed (or as my grandma used to say “tickled pink”) by our guests who have embraced our venue, many returning multiple times, bringing family and friends frequently for lunch, dinner, or shopping for special gifts. Additionally, I appreciate the tremendous positive feedback we have received, including very valuable suggestions for improvement/enhancements. We are literally egoless at Katherine’s and not only invite feedback, but in all sincerity appreciate it. After all, the triangle of success includes the team, product, and most importantly, our guests, of which many have already been crowned part of the Katherine’s Château family.
One of the initial and important elements of our vision is to ensure we are constantly updating both the boutique inventory and our café menu regularly. Part of the reason for that is I crave change! I love trying new things and finding that special something. Who wants to go into an establishment and see the same things over and over? Where is the adventure in that? So we have already revised our champagne café lunch, dinner and beverage menu with 50% new items. You will see these changes occur quite regularly going forward, providing the opportunity to try some new and tasty options and interesting home décor ideas.
I would have to say, one of the most, if not the most successful items on our menu, has been the afternoon tea options. Ruth is proving to be the best example of this, having returned six times already for afternoon tea (and she is British!) We will also be constantly changing this as well going forward to keep it new and exciting.
One of the starring characters in the afternoon tea is our clotted cream. As an afternoon tea junkie myself, it took us a long time to find the right recipe for authentic clotted cream, as you would find in Devon or Cornwall. I am confident we nailed it! Clotted cream is intended to be smooth, silky, not sweet (that’s what the preserves are for), and is of course ladened with approximately 55% full fat and is in fact difficult to make. Gone are the days where we have to churn butter in our barns (thank heavens), but I think the process to make authentic clotted cream is worth it.
As we move from the post-Christmas sale season and usher in the Valentine’s season, our boutique inventory is quickly rotating with new special gifts. Wait until you see all the options we have for you to get that special someone – gift baskets, something from the apothecary, premade gift bags, faux flowers, and of course, our shelves will be overflowing with chocolates, teas and more.
Or maybe you’d like just a special Valentine’s card. The majority of our greeting cards are by “Planted”, a Canadian company. They are not only lovely greeting cards, but the recipient simply has to plant the environmentally friendly card in soil with its embedded seeds, and wildflowers begin to grow and bloom! Who wouldn’t love that?
In the next few weeks in our home décor boutique, we are launching our skiing/château and cabin-themed dishware/serveware that are beautifully designed and hand painted in Canada. I can’t wait to set the table in the boutique to display these pieces!
Finally, while it’s a bit early to think about Easter and spring, we will have a fully revised café menu and open our outdoor and garden department in March which I will tell you more about. As an avid gardener myself, I can tell you our selection will be lovely, unique and evoke spring in our minds. I’ll be doing a video blog to give you a sneak peek of all our spring inventory.
For a special ”hint” this issue, I thought I would share one of my favourite things to do for Valentine’s Day every year. While of course I will get my spouse something special (and thankfully we have many, many new male apothecary items that have just arrived), I have a number of friends who I know won’t be getting a darn thing on Valentine’s Day and will likely be in their PJs viewing Netflix for the night. I always pick up something for them—nothing that breaks the bank, but sends an important message that I care deeply about them and that when love is in the air this Valentine’s Day, it’s not just about spouses/partners and romance, but people who mean so much in our lives.
Sometimes it is a simple but much appreciated bottle of bubbles we drink together or homemade baking, and sometimes its its a special gift I know they will love and be grateful for in the dark cold days of February. This year, I have a friend who lost their spouse recently (not in the really sad way, but a happy divorce kind of way). They are going to get the full Valentine’s friend treatment this year with a bubbles and champagne night out together and a very special friend-to-friend gift!
Warning! I don’t recommend you send it anonymously; I’ve tried that, and the sentiment got lost in their utter frustration of trying to figure out who sent it. Who is that special someone in your life this Valentine’s Day who would truly appreciate the gesture of love and friendship?
Finally, please keep an eye out for our Valentine’s special offering in the café for dinner or simply come by and try our new “Sparking Wine Flights” with a loved one or a dear friend, or bring your whole posse!
Can’t wait to see you at the Château.
Making every day a champagne day!