A Royale -- with or without cheese

It’s dark. Cold. And you’re in the middle of nowhere — as close to Canada as you can be without actually crossing the border. You ask yourself, "How the hell did I end up here?" Suddenly, a gingerbread-style cottage comes into view. You couldn’t care less if there’s a witch inside, ready to toss you into the oven, because you’re hungry. Really freaking hungry.

You’re in luck. Because if you’ve wandered far enough off the beaten path to find yourself at Canterbury Royale in Fort Fairfield, it is impossible to leave with an empty stomach. In fact, you’re more likely to leave with a shopping bag full of leftovers.

In this Medieval-meets-Victorian dining room, you dine by candlelight — and you dine like royalty. Fred Flintstone-size lamb chops with rosemary. Duck a l'orange. Chateaubriand. All in the same meal. You pick the theme (Scottish, French, whatever). Chefs Barbara and Renee bring an endless parade of gourmet food. It’s overwhelming. And the experience — which can border on the bizarre — is not for everyone. But I can guarantee it’s like no meal you’ve ever had.

Just be sure to make reservations, because it’s a private dining room, and a meal like this takes planning. Besides, you’d hate to drive this far only to settle for a Coffee Crisp and a bunch of bananas at the Irving station.

Canterbury Royale Gourmet Dining Room, 182 Sam Everett Road, Fort Fairfield, 207-472-4910.


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