Archives for category: General

The party planning season is coming around full-swing and The Essex is proud to announce their newly renovated ballroom as of this month! Whether it is a large company gathering or a pleasant wedding reception the ballroom can fit up to 130 guests. A rehearsal dinner or brunch with all of your closest family and friends would be perfect for the space!

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Featured above is our NECI Wedding Coordinator, Stacy Elwell. She is one of the party planning ladies from the entire Essex Resort and Spa! She will coordinate your visit and be a part of every aspect throughout the planning process to being a part of the harmonious event you dreamed of having.  Site tours, menu tasting with the New England Culinary Institute and outdoor adventure opportunities can be a great adventure.  Your wedding should be the time of your life!

Visit the special Weddings & Catering section on our Web site!

By Maggie Kerin

4 pork loin chops
4 strips bacon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Braeburn apples, unpeeled and cut into wedges
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons Banyuls vinegar

Wrap each pork chop with a strip of bacon, not around the sides but around the surface area so that it crisps when in contact with the pan, season well with salt and pepper.

Preheat a 12 inch skillet over a moderate heat add butter and then chops. Cook for five minutes on the first side, then turn over and cook for 5 minutes on the second side. Remove pork chop from pan and set to rest.

Turn sauté pan up to med high and add apple wedges, sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Return chops and any liquid from them to the pan; add syrup, vinegar, and thyme continue to cook until the syrup has formed a nice glaze.

The pork should register 145 to 150 degrees on your meat thermometer when done.

Enjoy the seasons freshest flavors and check back for more great and easy recipes!

Chef Courtney Contos

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Great news that we’ve confirmed our tennis stars again for summer 2009! For the fourth time, we will have Mats Wilander and Mikael Pernfors join us for a Fantasy Tennis Camp hosted by New England Tennis Holidays.  The weekend is slated for August 27-30, 2009 with package details found here.

For those that don’t know….From 1982 through 1988, Mats Wilander won seven Grand Slam singles titles (three at the French Open, three at the Australian Open, and one at the US Open), and one Grand Slam men’s doubles title (at Wimbledon). He won three of the four Grand Slam singles events in 1988 and finished that year ranked World No. 1. Although he never won the singles title at Wimbledon, Wilander twice won the Australian Open when that tournament was still played on grass courts. This makes Wilander one of only four men (along with Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi, and Rafael Nadal) to have won Grand Slam singles titles on grass, hard, and clay courts. He now resides in Sun Valley Idaho with his family, captains the Swedish Davis Cup Team and coaches Paul-Henri Mathieu, who finished in the top 35 in the world last year. Mikael Pernfors was the only player in the history of NCAA tennis to win back-to-back singles championships. The titles came in 1984 and ’85 and in that second year he led his Georgia squad to the team championship as well. Pernfors was a finalist at the French Open in 1986, losing to Ivan Lendl. He played Davis Cup for his native Sweden in 1986, ’87 and ’89, helping his team reach the final in 1986. Mikael achieved this highest rank in singles – No. 10 – in 1986. His pinnacle in doubles came when he ranked No. 32 in 1988. During the course of his career, Pernfors had wins over Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Mats Wilander and John McEnroe. Today, Mikael resides in Vero Beach Florida and Atlanta and is a consistent threat on the Champions Outback Tour which travels the globe. We are thrilled to have these two great champions back and look to have another fantastic weekend! It’s always fun to say that you took a point off a Grand Slam Finalist….but trick is….you actually have to do it to say it – and this weekend gives you that chance!

We are very excited this year about the possibilities with our extensive and growing wine program!  Recently, we have submitted our wine list into consideration for the next level of award with Wine Spectator Magazine. For those of you that are unaware, Wine Spectator, is one of the best publications in the United States focused strictly on wines and it runs a highly competitive restaurant award program all across the country. Butler’s, the upscale dining venue for The Essex Resort and Spa and the crown jewel of culinary achievements for our students at New England Culinary Institute, has received the first level of award, the Award of Excellence, for the past 5 years running.

This award is only given to top restaurants that have demonstrated a commitment to their personal wine programs, having great understanding and training surrounding wines from all around the world. While we have been honored to receive this award, we have been working hard towards a goal of ours and the next level  of awards, The Best Of Award.  There are only a few hundred restaurants in the United States who have earned this honor, and only 2 or 3 are here in Vermont.  We have been working whole heartedly to get that next level.  We have expanded our offerings to almost 800 labels (one of the largest in the whole state of Vermont!). We also have excellent vertical strength in many areas (verticals are a term used for a wine that has vintage depth…a single bottle label that we have multiple vintages of), and have representation from every major wine producing area in the world.

By Chris Benjamin

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

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