Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Norwich, Vermont

As rewarding as it was baking the day away at King Arthur Flour, this weekend continued to provide fun and excitement outside of the kitchen classroom. The girls and I - with pizza boxes, brownie trays, swag bags and our purchases from the Bakers Store in tow, made our way up the road to the Norwich Bed & Breakfast at Shear Luck Farm.Located off the beaten path at 229 Bradley Hill Road ,the B&B is a picturesque historic New England Farmhouse with just enough beds to accommodate the nine of us spending the night. Britta greeted us one by one, introducing herself with a handshake and a smile as we pulled in the driveway. She gave us the grand tour and then allowed us to choose our rooms. All of them were bright and spacious with old country charm and a private oversized contemporary bathroom. Michelle, Megan and I choose the Ledyard Room with hardwood floors that creaked when you walked, oriental rugs running the foot of the beds, and walls painted a lively teal and soft periwinkle blue. After freshening up we reconvened in the suite for happy hour. We sipped on wine - pint glass style before heading downtown for dinner. We drank a Travessia Rose provided by Meghan and a bottle of California Red provided by yours truly. Last week Alicia graciously worked with the staff at Carpenter & Main and put together a 3 course prix fix menu for dinner out that evening. A casual and comfortable establishment, Carpenter & Main strives to incorporate the spirit and flavors of Vermont by utilizing products from local farms whenever possible. We began the meal with an amuse bouche of white bean cassoulet, and a couple bottles of the good stuff. Champagne. Refill - yes please!Rolls - yes please!
I feel like this roll is somewhat reminiscent of my ball of dough from cooking class! I also enjoyed the elegant butter spheres so those deserved a picture too. For my appetizer I chose the Beet Bento Boxes with goat cheese mousse and toasted hazelnuts. This was a popular appetizer choice around the table. The beets were incredibly tasty and the plating showed creativity and skill. The beets would have benefited from an additional amount of the yummy toasted hazelnuts or the goat cheese mouse, or perhaps a dash more of the emulsions. These elements complimented the beets well, however, I was left with many bites of just beet where I craved to pair them with additional flavor and texture.With dinner we ordered a bottle of red wine. For my entree I chose the Fennel Pollen Crusted Halibut with sautéed spinach, fennel and carrots in a roasted tomato saffron broth. The delicate fish was cooked to flaky perfection yielding a barely there crust with a flavorful dusting of fennel pollen. The fennel itself provided slightly sweet notes, as did the tender carrots. Both these vegetables melded with the savory broth of roasted tomato and saffron, creating a wonderfully soothing and aromatic dish. And then we indulged in dessert.

I chose the Buttermilk Panna Cotta with oven roasted nectarines and brown sugar cookies. Panna Cotta is one of my favorites, second only to creme brulee. The silky smooth Italian gelatin-pudding goes down easily at the end of a meal. The brown sugar cookies were a little too dense for my liking, but the oven roasted nectarines were definitely enjoyed next to the slightly tart and creamy custard. The edible flower was a welcome garnish. Carpenter & Main provided flawless service in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. The staff were efficient and accommodating and I really appreciated the excellent menu they put together for us. Back at the B&B:

We relaxed in our PJs with a bottle of red wine.
And woke up to this! Gooood morning Vermont.
The sun had barely risen over the mountains, and some of us headed out for an early morning stroll. The innkeepers 11 year old dog Zoe greeted us at the door. They were more than happy to let us take her on a walk, no leash would be necessary they announced from the kitchen. But perhaps it was the other way around?!Meaning, Zoe took us on a walk. We saw the most stunning views of the sunrise over the mountains.

Behind the barn, we found the shear luck sheep!
The mountain scenery appeared more serene with every passing minute. Zoe also liked to lick the grass. I'm not really sure.....
And you wonder why I want to live here.....Eventually, we headed back to the house for breakfast. We could smell the bacon all the way across the dirt road. We were welcomed to the dining room where coffee, orange juice and fresh fruit awaited us.Breakfast was served piping hot in the form of a blueberry and cream cheese stuffed french toast sprinkled with powdered sugar and a side of bacon. It was sweet, hearty and filling.And soon it was time. To say goodbye....to the cutest most friendliest dog ever and the most enchanting picturesque views in New England.
There was a caravan pit stop in New Hampshire to stock up. Take me back.....

15 comments:

  1. What gorgeous photos! It was so fun hanging out with you and haha, I love your pictures of the car :)

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  2. So fun! That banana panna cotta looks amazing, I must say. So glad you guys had fun, you have the best trips, I read every word of your posts! XX!

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  3. wow that looks like such a fun time!!

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  4. Great picture of the leaf, even if it is just a leaf :-) The B&B looks nice! very cozy. Have you ever tried green tea panna cotta? Very good, too!

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  5. What a beautiful recap! I miss Zooey already...and I cracked up at my sexy PJ photo :-)

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  6. the food looks so yummy and the photos you took are beautiful.

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  7. Beautiful pics! I love that you saw some sheep. Now I'm craving for a Vermont vacation too!

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  8. ooooooo it sure is fall in new england. if i couldn't tell by looking outside i sure could tell by all your wonderfully charming pics!

    dude, thats a LOT of beets.

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  9. Love that last picture! And the halibut looks yummy!

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  10. I'm craving a hike in the Green Mts.! I just ate roasted fresh beets on multigrain toast spread with boursin garic & fine herbs! Keep traveling, writing, & entertaining us. Love, Mom

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  11. Ooh, beets!!! I didn't like them until recently, when I realized that all beets aren't from cans, like how my mom used to make 'em.

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  12. Aw... this post made me miss our trip so much! From the packed car right down to that silly cat brushing up against my leg! :) I love all of your pictures... the leaf is especially beautiful. Had so much fun!

    P.S. That picture of me, Michelle, the cat, and Zoe really makes me think of that movie... Homeward Bound?

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  13. Forgot to comment about dessert... that was the best panna cotta I've ever had. It was so tangy and just the perfect texture!

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  14. another super super post my dear love dad

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  15. Kristen - you captured it so well - especially Zoe. Best.Pup.Ever.

    I love catching up on posts and reliving the weekend!! We need to plan another one soon!

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