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Celebrity chef Lynn Crawford bringing her flair for food to Deerhurst Resort

In this month’s Ontario travel column, Bradford West Gwillimbury author Andrew Hind stops by Deerhurst Resort for a perfect winter wonderland getaway

Snow falls gently from a grey sky, dancing lazily upon the breeze before floating down to a landscape peacefully settled under a cloak of white.

A string of cross-country skiers glides past and disappear out of sight amidst a copse of evergreens bent low at the waits under a draping of white, and in the distance a horse-drawn sleigh glides over the frozen landscape. All is hushed and serene.

This is the true definition of winter wonderland. This is Deerhurst Resort.

But as if Deerhurst in the midst of winter doesn’t hold enough appeal, the resort has unveiled an exciting culinary weekend with Chef Lynn Crawford (March 1-3) which offers fresh new reasons for visiting.

A celebrity chef and best-selling cookbook author beloved by Canadians, Crawford is known for appearances on the Marilyn Denis Show and various Food Network programs, like Iron Chef Canada and Restaurant Makeover.

Many have been wowed by Crawford’s flair for food at her market-inspired, critically acclaimed Toronto restaurant Ruby Watchco, and at The Hearth, her Toronto Pearson International Airport offering.

“We're super excited to welcome Chef Lynn Crawford to our corner of cottage country this spring,” said Laura Kennedy, Deerhurst’s director of marketing. “She's not only one of Canada's favourite celebrity chefs, but this will also be something of a reunion for her and our Executive Chef Rory Golden.

When still in culinary school Crawford actually came to work in the kitchen for Golden at the Elmwood Club and this will be the first time they've worked together since then.”

Crawford is heading north from her home in Toronto for a weekend culinary adventure in cottage country, a region the entertaining and amiable chef knows well from blissful respites spent at her Haliburton cottage.

The event promises three days of great food and endless fun in one of Ontario’s premiere resorts.

“Culinary weekends with celebrity guest chefs are always very popular at Deerhurst,” explained Kennedy. “It gives food lovers the chance to meet and mingle with their culinary heroes - not to mention tasting incredible food - all while enjoying a Muskoka getaway. It's a relaxing, informative, entertaining and of course, delicious, experience.”

The event kicks off on the Friday night with a cocktail reception where you can meet and mingle with Chef Lynn.

It continues Saturday afternoon with a question and answer session and cookbook signing Saturday afternoon, culminating in Saturday night’s dinner and culinary demo featuring a menu that Chef Lynn will design specifically for this special weekend.

In between, enjoy lots of fresh air, winter fun and cozy relaxation in the comfortable-yet-refined lakeside setting.

There’s something about settling into a comfy chair, pulling up the blanket right to your chin and sitting back to enjoy a hot toddy while gazing out the window unto a pristine landscape of white.

It’s tempting to remain indoors to relish the warm hospitality Deerhurst offers. But the real thrill of a winter day at this Huntsville property comes upon bundling oneself up and heading outdoors where the silence is peace-inducing, the beauty of the snow-draped forested hills blissful.

“We have so many outdoor activities to choose from you could spent days here and not repeat the same experience,” enthused Kennedy. “People think they know Muskoka, but it’s transformed into a whole new world once the snow arrives.”

If you want something perhaps a bit romantic, enjoy a ride straight out of a greeting card aboard a horse-drawn sleigh, jingle bells and all.

Feeling a bit more adventurous?

Horseback riding through the snowy hush of pine trees or, better yet, mushing through the hills on a dogsled (you can handle your own team or have a guide take the reins, so to speak) are must tick-off winter experiences. In a nice touch, outdoor skating, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing are all included with room fees.

Whatever the outdoor adventure, you feel great afterwards, glowing, as you come in from the chill. And at Deerhurst, the pleasure doesn’t end once you shed your coat and take off your mittens. There’s a fine-dining restaurant to thaw out in even as the temperatures plummet, a soul-soothing spa, indoor pool, exercise room, and other amenities.

Winter is Muskoka is a magical experience, and nowhere is it better enjoyed than at Deerhurst Resort. And no time is it better to visit than during the Lynn Crawford culinary weekend, when winter wonderland meets fabulous food.