Blueberry Sauce Recipe

This week we have had new testimonials added to both the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast’s  Trip Advisor and  BBCanada.com listings.

One read:

“We have now completed our 3rd stay here and it’s like visiting family. Situated on the outskirts of Truro, within easy walking distance of the town, a beautifully appointed house with lovely, well equipped rooms. Breakfast was delicious as usual and we shall return again, if only to hope we get the blueberry waffles next time!”

We have guests staying with us this week for five nights while they do some genealogical research and explore Central Nova Scotia. We serve something different for breakfast each day, and so far this week they have had omlets and Eggs Florentine. Helen’s comment inspired me to serve our waffles with blueberry sauce today. There was not a bite left on anyone’s plate when I cleared them, so I thought I would share our blueberry sauce recipe:

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine:

  • 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • dash of salt

Bring to a boil and add:

  • 1 TBSP corn starch mixed with 1 TBSP water

Stir until thickened.

Top waffles with blueberry sauce, vanilla yogurt and wheat germ, and serve with maple bacon.

Image

SO YUMMY – and this also works well for blueberry shortcake when put on a scone with whipped cream!

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Traveling with Food Allergies

Did you know that Belgravia Bed & Breakfast is the only accommodation in Nova Scotia that advertises as “Peanut & Tree nut Free”?

This came about after our youngest daughter was diagnosed with severe food allergies when she was just ten months old. Initially her list of allergies was long: peanuts,  tree nuts, eggs, soy, dairy, cinnamon, banana, avocado, kiwi, strawberries, celery, citrus, pineapple, blueberries, grapes, melon… The only fruits she could have were canned peaches, pears and applesauce. It was overwhelming at first and we had to learn a whole new way of cooking and baking. Luckily, our baking was mostly homemade due to the quality of breakfast we provide at our bed & breakfast anyway, so we just had to modify some recipes, not learn how to bake from scratch…

Traveling still makes us nervous, but we know she can’t live in a bubble either. We are fortunate that she has outgrown most of her allergies and is left with *only* peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and soy – all of which result in anaphylaxis and, as per her most recent blood work, appear to be life-long. At home, accommodating these allergies has become second nature. She can be around eggs as long as they don’t touch her and she doesn’t ingest them, so we use a separate spatula for cooking eggs for our guests than we do when flipping egg-free pancakes for her. She has her own separate washcloths so that we don’t accidentally wipe her hands or face with a cloth that has wiped up egg. (Learned that one the hard way!) We also ask our guests to refrain from bringing peanut or nut products into our home. (Learned that one the hard way too!)

Showing off her 16 pokes after her allergy tests – 14 skin pricks, blood work and her MMR immunization (grown on egg, so her allergist administers that one and watches her afterwards for reaction)..

When we travel, we tend to take a lot of our own food with us, so that we know there will be something safe for her to eat. We tend to dine at restaurants where we know they take allergies seriously. Did you know that Boston Pizza and The Keg keep allergy binders with all ingredients for the recipes included? Each will wipe down all surfaces and change all cutting boards & utensils when they know they are preparing a meal for a guest with allergies? For our daughter’s particular mix of allergens, McDonald’s french fries and a burger without the bun are “safe”! Regardless, she does not leave our house without carrying her two epipens – just in case! All six of us are trained to use it in an emergency.

Here at the Belgravia, we “get” food allergies and do our best to accommodate any type we can, with notice. We’ll make room in our fridge and freezer for your own special food/ice packs. We will also tailor the  breakfast we serve to accommodate your needs.  One dietary restriction that affects more and more people is the need to be gluten-free and we can accommodate that too!

One of our favourite gluten-free recipes is for Buttermilk Apple Cake, passed along to us by former guests, the owners of Valley Flax Flour.

  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar
  • 2 cups Buttermilk (we’ve also soured rice milk successfully)
  • 1 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1 cup Flax Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 medium Apples, cored & chopped
  1. Lightly grease and flour (gluten-free, of course!) a 2L baking or Bundt pan
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and buttermilk.
  3. Combine rice flour, flax flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add apples to wet ingredients; mix until combined.
  4. Spread batter evenly in the pan.
  5. Bake in an oven preheated to 350*F for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pan before removing and cutting into 12 servings.

Traveling is stressful enough, without worrying that you are going to end up sick or having to spend time hospital – or heaven forbid – worse, because of something you ate. Here, we will do our best to keep you safe!

If only it would be this easy when she becomes a teenager…

We’ve received a Trip Advisor 2012 Certificate of Excellence Award!

We recently received an email from Trip Advisor:

“TripAdvisor is proud to congratulate Belgravia Bed & Breakfast on earning the prestigious 2012 Certificate of Excellence award.

Our travelers consistently commend your property with the highest praise, and we recognize your 5 rating as an exceptional achievement.

Only the very best in the business are awarded a Certificate of Excellence… Wishing you and Belgravia Bed & Breakfast much continued success throughout 2012. “

We’ve had a number of new reviews posted on Trip Advisor recently – and all have rated the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast as “Excellent”. We strive to provide clean, comfortable accommodations; plentiful, healthy, local food; and a friendly, authentic Nova Scotian atmosphere. We’re always searching for new ways to improve the product we provide.

We know that first-time guests are more likely to trust on-line reviews than a property’s website, so we at Belgravia would like to extend a HUGE  “Thank You!” to our guests who take the time to review us and tell others about their positive experience here on sites such as Trip Advisor, Facebook, or BBCanada.com!

Some recent reviews:

We had an excellent stay! – Tim R, Waterloo, ON

My wife and I can’t say enough good things about our stay at the Belgravia. The hosts were amazing, very welcoming and very helpful. We enjoyed chatting with them. The room was excellent, very comfortable and well appointed. The breakfast was AMAZING, by far the best breakfast of our entire trip. We will most certainly tell our friends to stay here and look forward to staying there again any time we are in the area.”

Superb B&B – Jennifer, Annapolis, MD

The Belgravia really was a fantastic place to stay. The hosts are very welcoming and the house is absolutely beautiful. They gave us great advice on where to see the tidal bore (very quick tidal change ) near by. The rooms are immaculate, well appointed and facilities are great too. The breakfasts were delicious. The photos on the website of the rooms are true to form. You’ll be glad you stayed here. We stayed in the yellow room, I think it was called Serenade. They are all nice. The rose room was smaller, but still very nicely decorated and comfortable. We would love to return here.”

Another Trip Home! – John S, Calgary, AB

I grew up near Truro and try to go back often to visit family. I have stayed at Belgravia four times in the last six years and have come to know it well. Ann and D’arcy are very friendly hosts and are well informed about the area. I often see them giving very useful information to their guests. Breakfasts are great and I am amazed at the variety I enjoy during my longer stays. Belgravia is a welcome retreat when I need a bit of space from my wonderful family.”

A Great  Place to Spend our Anniversary! – Andrew C., Nova Scotia

We had a great time at the Belgravia, celebrating our wedding anniversary. The room was very comfortable with an excellent bathroom and a historic feel. Anne was a perfect host, suggesting a trip to the Marigold Center to see a concert and turning out delicious Belgian Waffles and fresh berries for breakfast. Highly recommended!”

Feels Like Home! – Wilf R., Lethbridge, AB

The Belgravia is an excellent B & B. The house is a nicely kept, older home, with a great deal of charm. The home is very clean with comfortable beds. We recently had our second stay at Belgravia and the atmosphere is wonderful. Breakfast was delicious and healthy. We hope to make staying at Belgravia a routine when in Nova Scotia. Thanks D’arcy and Ann for the enjoyable visit.”

Very Comfortable and Nice! – Long H., Xiamen, China

Comfortable bed and quiet environment made me adjust time different quickly. By the way, the breakfast is very very very good.”

The Impact of Heritage on Local Economies

Last week was a very busy week here at the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast. School activities are wrapping up while tourist season is in full swing. We’ve been attending recitals, concerts, and parties. Thrown into the mix was the Nova Scotia Provincial Heritage Conference, in Sydney, of which I was asked to be a panelist. Our topic? “The Impact of Heritage on Local Economies.”

The Conference ran from June 12th – 15th, but NSCC Graduation was on the 13th and I chose to be on stage to hug my eleven Tourism Management graduates on their big day. After the graduation was over, I hopped in the car and left for Sydney, Cape Breton, which is about a 3.5-4 hour drive from Truro, depending on which road you take. I was booked into the beautiful Colby House B&B, my third stay there.

Colby House B&B, Sydney

I was exhausted after a long day, and the beautiful bed was calling my name. I chatted with Bev for a few minutes, then set to work tweaking the slideshow for my presentation the following morning. There are many things I enjoy about staying at Colby House B&B – it’s a beautiful property for starters, immaculately kept! Bev & Gordon are wonderful hosts, and their attention to detail is superb. The first night I was there, they had a full house, with couples from Germany, Saskatchewan, and Vancouver. We had a great chat during breakfast.

The beautiful bed, calling my name in the MacLellan Room at Colby House B&B.

I could see the home that D’Arcy’s father grew up in from my window. Gordon mentioned the connection to the other guests at breakfast and we had a great chat about D’Arcy’s great-grandfather, a Sea Captain.

The conference was very interesting and I was disappointed I had missed the previous two days – especially dinner at Fortress of Louisbourg, and the Sydney Ghost Walk! The panel I was on included Dan Coffin from Destination Cape Breton, Cheryl Chambers of Chambers  Guest House B&B, and Stan Munroe of Port Morien Rectory B&B. Dan led the session, discussing market research which shows that most people traveling to Nova Scotia are looking for authentic cultural experiences and will visit at least one heritage site while here. We know from experience that there are many people who stay in Bed & Breakfasts for the duration of their entire trip for just that reason. You don’t get a much more authentic Nova Scotian experience than staying in a Nova Scotian home! (B&B’s in Nova Scotia MUST be owner-occupied.)

By preserving our heritage home and welcoming people into it from all around the world during the past ten years, we have had a huge positive impact on our local economy. In addition to the obvious taxes we pay at all three government levels, we are certain to send our guests to locally run restaurants rather than chains, we shop at the local Farmers’ Market during the season, we use and recommend local companies for gas, we recommend gift shops run by locals rather than encouraging guests to shop at the malls. Even when doing our renovations last month, we used companies with a connection to our area, and chose to install the solar panels that were built in Dartmouth, rather than in the US. By having local knowledge, we are able to tell our guests about events going on in our area, hopefully keeping them in our area longer. We have such a long and rich history here in Nova Scotia, and we sometimes forget that the western half of the country is much younger than we are – one of the points which had been made at the breakfast table by the couples from Saskatchewan and Vancouver at Colby House!

That evening, we had dinner and “A Taste of Celtic Colours” at the Sydney Cruise Ship Pavillion. What talented artists performed. We enjoyed guitar performances, Gaelic storytelling, singing & fiddling. It was a toe tapping great time! Back at the B&B, I chatted with Bev & Gordon until much too late! Bev was one of our “regulars” for many years here at Belgravia in her former career, so we always have lots to chat about!

After another delicious breakfast, I said my goodbyes and headed for home via Guysborough. It was a road I hadn’t driven in a long, long time and I wanted to check out the DesBarres Manor Inn and Rare Bird Pub which I have heard so much about. It was a beautiful drive, and I landed at the pub in time for lunch on opening day. They didn’t have their craft beer on tap yet, but I was driving, so wouldn’t have been able to enjoy one anyway. I sat by the window,overlooking beautiful Chedabucto Bay and had a delicious lunch with attentive service. I would love to go back and take D’Arcy sometime.

The Rare Bird Pub

I arrived home mid-afternoon, just in time to get the girls ready for their Highland Dance Recital and welcome favourite guests from the UK, staying with us for the third time. I do love exploring our beautiful province and am grateful for our rich heritage! I am happy that we chose this home to raise our children and build our lives. One of the nicest comments we had when we started this adventure ten years ago was from former owner, Mary Shephard. She had come to visit when we had our initial renovations complete and wrote in our guest book: “I’m so happy that this house is full of life again!”

Belgravia Best B&B Third Year in a Row!

Last night the Truro & District Chamber of Commerce held the 2012 Best of Colchester Awards. We at the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast were honoured & delighted to be awarded the title of “Best B&B” for the third year in a row! Unfortunately, D’Arcy has been off his feet since last Sunday due to what the doctors think is a ruptured Baker Cyst, so he wasn’t able to join me. Instead, I took my parents, Dave & Deanna, as my dates! We had a lot of fun at our table, sitting with Donnie & Janice  of Eagle’s Landing B&B and Lisa & Leigh from Masstown Market.

D’Arcy & I and the whole Belgravia Bed & Breakfast team would like to extend a huge sincere “THANK YOU” to everyone who supported and voted for us! We are so grateful!

D’Arcy & Anne, before Best of Colchester 2012.

Receiving the award for “Best Bed & Breakfast”

The winners of the 2012 Best of Colchester Awards, presented by the Truro Chamber! Congratulations everyone!

Our awards from the past three years, on the dining room mantle.

To see the full list of 2012 award winners, please click here!