Preparing a meal for friends can be quite a taxing experience. First, you have to purchase the food and accompanying ingredients before spending all day slaving over a piping-hot stove. And then, after several hours of entertaining, it’s time for the arduous task of cleaning up after everyone. But this month, instead of inviting your pals over for dinner at the house, encourage them to join you at Château Élan for the resort’s Dining Under the Stars event on October 12.
The dinner is part of an overnight package at the wine château, which is about a one-hour drive from downtown Atlanta. Upon check-in, you’ll receive a welcome letter in addition to a Château Élan private label bottle of wine with an opener. Then, you’ll make your way to your deluxe king room, which is outfitted with mahogany furnishings, a 32-inch LG flat-screen TV, corduroy-covered beige accent chair, glass-enclosed shower and Gilchrist & Soames body wash and lotion.
After you’ve freshened up, a shuttle will transport your party to the exclusive 6 p.m. dinner, which is held on the property’s Sunset Lawn located in the vineyards. You’ll have the opportunity to mix and mingle with about 40 people who have come out to celebrate special occasions, like a wedding anniversary, or just to make new friends. Winemaker Simone Bergese hosts the dinner. He chats it up with guests, explaining why a certain dish might get paired with a particular vino and answering any questions you might have. If you’re lucky, Sean Wilborn, the winery’s tasting room manager, will grab a chair at the head of your table and share details about his beloved bottles or recall charming stories of his time living in the Caribbean.
This Saturday’s five-course menu lineup prepared by executive chef Bradley Czajka consists of all things fun and fungi. “We are bringing in truffles from France and Italy and utilizing the black and white varieties, which bring a different flavor and aroma to each dish,” Czajka says. “We build each dish around the characteristics of each type of truffle while utilizing fresh seafood and produce. For example, infusing fresh pear juice with the truffle to make a sorbet so that it takes on the aroma while keeping the fall sweet profile of the pear is what we’ve done with our truffle-infused pear sorbet.”
Expect to indulge in everything from lobster and morel salad with black truffle crème fraîche wrapped in tomato and paired with the Château Élan Muscadry Pink 2012 to braised osso buco with white truffle risotto and cardoon gratin served with the Château Élan Scarlet Reserve 2012. And for dessert, enjoy dark chocolate truffle with foie gras-black truffle gelato. Making the starry experience as fresh as possible, Czajka adds, “We shave the fresh truffles right on before [the plates] are served to maximize the flavor profile.”
Post-meal, head over to the winery to watch Bergese and other staffers work their magic in the vat room or pick up a bottle or two of the resort’s very own Muscadry Pink wine. After you’ve snagged your favorite selections, take a stroll back to your room and savor another glass of vino with friends before calling it a (lovely) night.
To reserve a seat for the October 12 Dining Under the Stars feast, call 678-425-0900, ext. 41, or book online at www.chateauelan.com.
Photo Courtesy of Chateau Elan