There is something inherently romantic about a historic bed and breakfast. I’m not sure if it’s the feeling that time has stopped, like stepping into another era, or if it’s all of the pretty furniture and accessories. I especially like themed rooms with lots of small details that I would never think of adding in my own home.
Then there is the food. Entire cookbooks have been written on the decadent breakfasts served by bed and breakfasts. Being a bit of a foodie, I’m always excited to see what the hosts have prepared in the morning. First, I start by raiding the coffee service to clear my eyes. Usually this includes a way-to-small-and-dainty cup, which I have to refill within three minutes. Then I follow my nose toward the kitchen for a sneak peak if I can manage one.
At the breakfast service, I annoy the other guests by taking pictures and asking about ingredients. Such was the case during my visit to The Mount Dora Historic Inn & Cottage a few weeks ago. Luckily, most people are forgiving when I explain that I’m a writer.
The Mount Dora Historic Inn & Cottage, owned by Ana and Jim Tuttle, is actually a combination of a traditional B & B and private cottages complete with kitchens, outdoor living areas and more. While the property impressed me with its comfort, cleanliness and attention to detail in the romantic décor, what really wowed me was breakfast. Jim Tuttle spent over 20 years as a professional chef and Ana has worked by his side so long she knows a few tricks as well. Additionally, she brings a Filipino flair to her dishes.
The Inn is located in the historic town of Mount Dora less than an hour from the Orlando attractions. It’s a good option to base from if you prefer a slower pace away from the theme park crowds and chaos. It’s also a good location for activities such as kayaking, bird watching and nature walks.
I stayed in “Mary Grey’s”room decorated with sky-blue walls, lace curtains, brass bed and little details such as a plush rabbit on the bed. Considering I normally travel with a stuffed wolf, I felt right at home. Although the inn is historic, my room included modern amenities such as a private bathroom and television.
Breakfast began with a chilled vanilla bean citrus soup, followed by sweet potato pancakes, served with homemade butter, and a three-cheese soufflé. Ana presented the soufflé prior to plating and it was gorgeous, but it tasted even better. The cheeses were a combination of cheddar, Muenster and gruyere Swiss, a lovely blend.
I requested a recipe to share, and Chef Jim kindly provided both the soufflé recipe and one for peach ricotta pancakes. I normally prepare every recipe before sharing it here to ensure that it works well when prepared by a novice. One look at the soufflé recipe, which suggested calling NASA if it didn’t fall within 45 seconds, had me intimidated – so you get the pancakes. If I feel brave, I’ll try my hand at the soufflé later. I made and sampled these pancakes and they are amazing. I really like that they are finished off in the oven which is perfect for serving a crowd so everyone can eat at the same time. Enjoy, and check out Jim and Ana’s place if you’re ever in the Central Florida area.
Peach Ricotta Pancakes
Jim Tuttle – Mount Dora Historic Inn
Serves: About 8 guests
7 ½ oz. Ricotta Cheese
1/3 cup sugar
3 capfuls vanilla (~ 2 teaspoons)
½ stick melted butter
3 large eggs
2 cups self-rising flour (Bisquick works well)
29 oz. can peaches
- Blend the first four ingredients well.
- In the same bowl, mix 3 large eggs cracked separately to ensure no eggshells in your batter
- In the same bowl, mix 2 cups self rising flour (Bisquick works well)
- Blend this group of ingredients very well
- In the same bowl as above, add one, 29 oz. sliced can peaches, well drained & diced, fold into above ingredients
- Lightly brown both sides of pancakes on griddle; these cook quickly so don’t leave unattended. Flip quickly; flipping slowly may cause a major mess.
Place pancakes on a cookie sheet and in oven at 300 degrees. Cook on one side for 10 minutes and flip over and cook other side for another 10 minutes. This additional cooking sets the center of the pancake before serving.
If you go: Mount Dora is known for its many festivals throughout the year. Before setting a date to visit, check an area event calendar so you don’t miss out. Additionally, these festivals make the town very crowded so you may want to avoid them if you’re looking for a more tranquil stay.
The Mount Dora Historic Inn & Cottages hosted me at no charge. That said, I was under no obligation to say nice things about the Inn, or their decadent breakfast service.