Archives for the month of: February, 2009

My inbox is filling up with emails requesting “Girlfriends Weekend Getaways”. Women are coming two, four, six, even eight groups of friends  at the same time from all over New England, Middle Atlantic States and Eastern Canada to take a very short vacation away from life.  They generally share our value-priced traditional two-bedded rooms, keep our room service staff hopping, dine casually in The Tavern and Butler’s (they’re loving our award-winning wine lists, BTW), take Chefs Courtney and Kerry’s Cook Academy classes in our beautiful theater kitchen (addicting!).

Request in-room massages, shop Essex Shoppes designer outlets next door, and enjoy the Burlington area’s sophisticated range of fine and performing arts. “Girlfriends Weekend Getaways” will really pick up when our spa opens mid-May and our warm season sports, golf, tennis and fly-casting, get underway. In fact, we have just joined the premier private golf course in Vermont at the Country Club of Vermont which offers the most spectacular views one can find on a golf course.

Hey, men! How about “Guys Getaway Weekends” at The Essex? Call me at 800-727-4295,  I’ll custom-design a fabulous experience for you and your friends!

By Dave Hakins, Director of Business Development

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Although it was a few weekends back, Valentine’s  weekend was full of love and fun cooking! We loaded up on rich and decadent dark chocolate Fondue in our Fondue Demo that was open to the public on Saturday! We dipped hazelnut wafers, ginger molasses cookies, and soft chocolate chunk cookies! Later in the day I taught a class how to make Fettuccine Alla Carabonara in “Ticket To Rome”. On Sunday, I taught a brunch class where we prepared poached eggs, made herb hollandaise sauce, and the best ever fennel & pork breakfast sausage!


Enjoy the recipe and let me know how it comes out for you.

Fennel & Pork Breakfast Sausage

Makes 16- 2 inch patties

2 pounds fine ground pork
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 ∏ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 ∏ teaspoons fennel seed
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
∏ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

Mix all ingredients well. Form into 1 inch rounds. Refrigerate and use within one week or freeze for up to 3 months.  To cook, heat a cast iron pan or similar heavy pan to medium low. Cook about 10-15 minutes or until brown on both sides and cooked through.

We have classes almost every week, incorporating local and seasonal foods and creating our own spins on the tastiest international and traditional foods.

See you in the kitchen!

By Chef Courtney

Traditional rehearsal dinners have evolved from sit down restaurant affairs to so much more!  We are finding brides and grooms are becoming more creative with their offerings and at Vermont’s culinary resort why not take advantage of all we have to offer.

One popular choice is action stations with the students of the New England Culinary Institute preparing the food right in front of the guests.   Hand rolled Sushi stations or pasta stations with freshly made pastas and gnocchi’s, risotto stations with a variety of fresh ingredients are all popular choices.  For something more “informative” one of our Instructors would be happy to do a cooking demo, wine class or beer tasting!   Enjoying delicious, freshly prepared and local product is a fun and interesting start to a wonderful wedding weekend.

No matter the season, we can work with you to create a personalized theme that can accommodate groups of any size.  An outdoor barbecue amid our beautiful gardens, a bonfire and New England Clambake or a pool side picnic are great ways to include a larger group of wedding guests.

For the more active and adventurous couples,  we can customize a menu and set up a wonderful event at our golf course or ropes, rock and ice course.

There are so many fun,  fabulous and exhilarating events to experience at the Essex Resort and Spa!


By Mimi Overman

Did you know that the average American wedding produces 800 pounds of garbage?

That’s right 800 pounds! As of lately, the sales team at the Inn has decided to draw their attention to the evolving trend of green weddings. As a team we would like to offer our wedding clientele responsible choices that make a statement. Not only can you make your wedding day a beautiful and romantic ceremony, but you can also take the chance to make the wedding reflect yourself and your concerns for the environment.

New England Culinary Institute is a founding member of the Vermont Fresh Network, as well as the Inn at Essex being a member of the Green Hotel Association, and prides itself on taking care of the environment and bettering the long-term value of our property and staff.  Here at the Inn at Essex we focus on social responsibility. Not only do we recycle and compost all excess food, we make a point of using energy efficient light bulbs in all our facilities. We also offer our guests the opportunity to share our social responsibility with our towel re-use program as a water conserving method.

There are many ways to go green on your wedding day, and the Inn at Essex has already started to make your special day socially responsible. Here at the Inn our food products come from local, seasonal and sustainable farms and vendors.  Recently, we have begun to research ways to make your event even greener. For example, using soy candles, reducing plastic and paper usage, and purchasing green cleaning products that contain natural ingredients.

By Mimi Overman

I’ve retired twice in my life. The first time, after I had sold my conference and event-planning firm based in New Jersey. Soon after I sold my firm, I received and accepted an appointment from Governor Jim Douglas to become the Director of Sales & Promotion for Vermont Tourism. Vermont leaders later asked me to run the Vermont Convention Bureau.

Hey, what’s better than selling Vermont every day?

When I decided to conclude my public service career a few months ago, only one job could have drawn me out of retirement a second time; the opportunity to work with friends and sell The Essex every day to organizers of meetings, incentive travel programs, events, reunions, etc.

So here I am, mixing and matching the quality and amenities of the Lake Champlain Region’s leading resort, the totally trendy destination of Burlington, and the wrap-around activities of Vermont. Oh, yes, at the same time I’m helping organizers plan their group events and travel at The Essex. I work with Vermont’s happiest resort staff, dine on Vermont’s finest cuisine every day, and stay fit “test-driving” all of great  recreational assets at The Essex. I’m looking forward to our huge indoor pool and state-of-the-art fitness center when they open in May and selling The Essex to the group market, watching the joy of our group guests, and having fun here myself makes my third retirement seem like a long way off.

By Dave Hakins

Have you ever tasted that special ingredient, Love? I often here about people adding it to recipes, I even saw it written on labels of different foods as an ingredient. Have you added it? I have, and I also remember the memorable meals with love added. This Valentine’s Day add some love to your romantic meal for your special one. I know it will be well received and remembered!

I send you off with one of our favorite chocolate dessert recipes. Promise me that you will purchase high quality chocolate, as it is the main ingredient.

This is impressive and easy to prepare. Enjoy!

Chocolate Hazelnut Lave Cakes

Ingredients:

  • Lots of Love
  • 5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup ground hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 425º.  Butter six ramekins.  Melt chocolate and butter in heavy sauce pan over low heat.  Set aside to cool slightly. Whisk whole eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla extract. Add sugar and mix well. Then fold in chocolate mixture, Love, flour and hazelnuts.

Pour batter into the ramekins, dividing equally. Bake cakes oven until the sides are set but the center remains soft and runny, about 14 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 2 minutes. Run small knife around cakes to loosen. Immediately turn cakes out onto plates and serve hot with your favorite Ice Cream.

Tip: You may prepare the batter and pour it into the well-buttered ramekins in advance! It will keep unbaked in the refrigerator for two days. Serves 6


By Chef Courtney Contos

February is the month that reminds us to take time out of life for Love and Romance with the special someone in our life. Whisk them away and travel to the Inn at Essex on one of our Valentine’s Day packages!

The Valentine Romantic Rendevous features a night in a Country Inn room with a fireplace, two relaxing Swedish massages, a candlelit three course dinner for two in Butler’s Restaurant, a chilled bottle of sparkling wine and delicious continental breakfast for two the next morning.  This package will surely make any Valentine swoon. This wonderful package including personal pampering, food and lodging can be purchased for an affordable $378.54, including taxes and gratuities.

Or you can skip the massages and make time for other special things with our Valentine Vermont Getaway package.  With this package you will enjoy all featured package elements of the Romantic Rendezvous Package excluding the Swedish massages. This package will cost $288.10 including taxes and gratuities.

Any cupid knows that it’s smart to give the gift of a gift certificate to the Inn at Essex. Purchased in any denomination, they can be used towards goods and services throughout the resort, including our new spa, opening in the spring! The spa features a 25 yard lap pool, state of the art fitness center, a 25 person outdoor hot tub, full service salon and a wide range of the best spa treatments. So why not give that special someone a chance to fulfill their dreams of relaxation and romance with you.  The answer to a wonderful and loving Valentine’s Day is so close and you can skip that stressful shopping that seems to occur every year.

By Deb Robinson

Here at NECI we take pride in our culinary-education heritage in order to better serve our guests. This February we would like to take the opportunity to expand your knowledge of sparkling wines, specifically: what it is you’re drinking and where it comes from.

It is a common misconception that Champagne comes from different countries all over the world. However, did you know that the word Champagne is legally reserved for a specific variety of sparkling wine originating exclusively from the Champagne region of France? It is for this reason that, here in the United States, the champagne produced is labeled Sparkling Wine. Similarly, in Italy it is called Prosecco, and Spain’s product is Cava. There are also different classifications of Champagne. For example, most Champagne Houses have what’s called a Cuvees de Prestige, or a Deluxe addition. For example, Veuve Cliquot’s Cuvees de Prestige is called Grande Dame, and Moet Chandon produces one of the most famous, Dom Perignon. There are also Blanc de Blanc’s (white of whites) that are made completely of Chardonnay, or Blanc de Noir’s (white of blacks) which is made completely from a mixture of Pinot Noir and Pinot Menieur.

Valentine’s Day is an occasion perfectly suited to sharing a glass of bubbly with a special person, and throughout the month of February, take 20% off all Champagne and Sparkling Wines at our NECI restaurants here at The Essex!

Chris Benjamin, Food & Beverage Director