When I went on a bike tour with Lifecycle Adventures through the Willamette Valley of Oregon, I certainly didn’t expect to eat a gruyere quiche with bits of black truffles prepared by an award-winning French chef. Made with an ostrich egg…
There are lots of surprises at A Tuscan Estate bed and breakfast in McMinnville, Oregon. The owners are a French chef who has lots of cookbooks with his name on them, and his stylish wife Liz, who keeps the service aspect humming. Jacques Rolland has one of those “most interesting man in the world” resumes, with pastry chef, hotel manager, executive chef, and first class dining room manager on a luxury cruise liner. The locations of these positions stretch from Europe to Africa to Las Vegas and San Francisco before he settled down near Oregon’s Pinot Noir territory. Liz spent many years leading high-end tours in the Americas. Together, they run the kind of inn that seems to punch far above its weight class in the small town of McMinnville.
A Tuscan Estate is made up of several buildings on a corner, with well-tended flowering gardens and mature trees on the property. There are three rooms and three suites to choose from, with two of the suites being whole floors of the second house. In B&B tradition, all are decorated differently, in traditional style, with sumptuous bedding and curtains. The apartment-style suites at the high end have a kitchen/dining area and more space, while all are supplied with a full array of toiletries.
While this is all well and good, the reason to go out of your way to stay here if you’re touring Willamette Valley is the stupendous breakfast. You start with an array of seasonal fruit, a croissant that tastes like it came from Paris, and then perhaps some blueberry pomegranate juice or framboiss with your coffee? Then comes the main course, which is either that signature quiche or a stuffed tomato volcano. There’s an incentive to stay more than one night here: your second breakfast will be completely different from the first.
The inn is located in a quiet residential area that’s a five-minute walk from the main drag of McMinnville. There you’ll find plenty of options for nighttime dining and drinking. If you want to tour local vineyards, there are plenty nearby, plus there’s a tasting room and wine store if you want to bring a bottle back to enjoy in the garden. If you want to feel that Tuscan connection, there’s a bocce ball court on site.
Book direct at A Tuscan Estate, where rates run from$150 to $255 per night, including one of the best breakfasts you’ll ever experience.