9th Annual Crystal Springs New Jersey Wine & Food Festival

Grand Tasting - Photo by Crystal Springs

Grand Tasting – Photo by Crystal Springs

Tickets are now on sale for the 9th annual New Jersey Wine & Food Festival at Crystal Springs Resort, taking place March 31 – April 2. This year, we are excited to announce that one of the most celebrated chefs in the world, Daniel Boulud, will be the Guest of Honor. Proceeds benefit Ment’or, a leading nonprofit organization devoted to inspiring culinary excellence in young professionals and preserving the traditions and quality of cuisine in America. 

Weekend Happenings

Friday March 31

SOLD OUT!!! 8PM – Chef Daniel Boulud is an industry legend, with 14 restaurants around the world and numerous James Beard awards to his credit. Daniel and his team will be cooking in the Wine Cellar for what will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience rare vintage wines from the cellar. The dinner includes a Krug Champagne reception with dishes by Crystal Springs Resort Executive Chef Anthony Bucco ($1,000 plus tax and gratuity).

SOLD OUT!!! 8PM – Top Chefs & Top Wines Dinner featuring three chefs from the current season of Bravo’s Top Chef: Katsuji Tanabe, Silvia Barban and Casey Thompson, alongside Chef Martyna Krowicka of Restaurant Latour and Pastry Chef Miro Uskokovic of Gramercy Tavern. ($225 plus tax & gratuity). 

Saturday April 1

10AM – Perfectly Paired Pastries with Chef Jessie Dardar of Le Petit Temptation Dessert Truck ($35).

11AM – A Conversation & Book Signing with Guest of Honor Daniel Boulud – Enjoy a glass of Champagne as Daniel reminisces about his career and signs copies of his cookbooks. ($50, including a copy of either My Best: Daniel Boulud or DANIEL: My French Cuisine).

11:30AM – 1PM – Marketplace Lunch

12PM – The Art of Fresh Pasta with Chef Silvia Barban (Top Chef Season 14) and Aishling Stevens (Crystal Springs), featuring winemaker Ryan Rech of Beringer ($50).

SOLD OUT!!! 1PM – A Taste of Mexico with Chef Katsuji Tanabe (Top Chef Season 14) and Chef Martyna Krowicka (Restaurant Latour) – refined Mexican dishes with beers and spirits from Mexico ($40).

2PM – Create your own Red Blend with Rodney Strong winemaker Justin Seidenfeld ($35).

2PM – Daniel Boulud Foie Gras Challenge – 4 NJ chefs will compete to produce the winning dish as judged by Chef Boulud ($60).

3PM – An Afternoon in Provence – kick off the spring rosé wine season and enjoy Daniel Boulud’s custom smoked salmon, caviar and more ($45).

3PM – Punch Party – learn how to make the perfect party punch and try punches from top NJ bartenders ($35).

3PM – Secrets of the Crystal Springs Wine Cellar with Wine Director Robby Younes – Robby will open rare wines from the award-winning cellar ($150).

4PM – 7X Ranch: The Perfection of Beef – join Chef Anthony Bucco for a discussion of the prized 7X beef and tasting of this rare delicacy ($45).

4PM – Craft Whiskey Spotlight: Widow Jane Distillery – tastings of this award-winning spirit ($40).

7PM – 10PM; Early VIP admission at 6:30PM – The Grand Tasting returns with 30 top NJ and NYC chefs and winemakers from around the world. The VIP experience will feature Daniel Boulud and 5 acclaimed restaurants ($135 regular, $295 VIP). 

10PM – Meet the Chefs & Winemakers After Party guests can party into the night with a DJ, dancing, open bars and more ($150).

Sunday April 2

10AM – 1PM – Champagne Brunch featuring a sumptuous brunch buffet and free flowing Champagne, the perfect capper to the weekend!

Tickets can be purchased at www.njwinefoodfest.com. Rooms can be booked at 855-415-2776.

Hope to see you there!

Veronique    

Restaurant Latour Makes New Jersey Proud

Restaurant Latour Makes New Jersey Proud

Photo by Crystal Springs Resort

Photo by Crystal Springs Resort

For those of you who have visited the incredible 75,000-bottle wine cellar at Crystal Springs Resort, you’ll agree it’s difficult to comprehend the unmatched selection without witnessing it. Equally as outstanding is the culinary program at Restaurant Latour, the refined restaurant at Crystal Springs where Chef de Cuisine Martyna Krowicka crafts creative and delectable dishes under the direction of Head Chef Anthony Bucco. The sophisticated restaurant has again in 2016 been recognized by a number of top wine publications in the US and abroad for its outstanding fine wine collection, including Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast and UK’s The World of Fine Wine.

Wine Enthusiast America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants

Perhaps most impressive is Restaurant Latour being named as one of Wine Enthusiast “America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants” for the third year running. Why is that particular award so impressive, you might ask? Restaurant Latour is the only New Jersey restaurant to make the list, which is published in the magazine’s August 2016 issue, joining the ranks of such esteemed restaurants as Per Se, Daniel, Eleven Madison Park, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Le Bernardin, among others. See the mention and gorgeous photos here: http://www.winemag.com/100-Best-Wine-Restaurants-2016/Restaurant-Latour

The World of Fine Wine Three Stars

The World of Fine Wine, the prestigious international wine publication for serious wine aficionados and collectors, has also recognized Restaurant Latour third year running as having one of the world’s best wine lists. For the 2016 “World’s Best Wine Lists,” the magazine’s editors and a group of international wine experts reviewed over 4,500 wine lists from around the world to come up with just over 800 honorees. Restaurant Latour’s wine list was awarded three stars – the highest honor (the ratings are 1, 2 and 3 stars). Restaurant Latour was additionally awarded a Jury Prize, given “at the nomination of individual senior judges, but subject to the approval of the jury as a whole, these prizes recognize wine lists that show distinctive character and flair, offer exceptionally good value, or were particularly strong in a specific wine style. See the award mentioned here: http://www.worldoffinewine.com/WineListAwardsSearch/RestaurantDetails/2016/restaurant-latour

Wine Spectator Grand Award

Restaurant Latour has once again been awarded Wine Spectator’s prestigious top honor Grand Award, which it has held since 2006 – only 88 restaurants in the world hold the award. Wine Spectator gives its wine list awards to about 3,600 restaurant around the world in three categories from the lowest Award of Excellence to Best of Award of Excellence to Grand Award. See the award mentioned here: https://restaurants.winespectator.com/restaurant/1050/restaurant-latour

Congrats to the Crystal Springs cellar and Restaurant Latour teams – making us proud in the Garden State.

Cheers,

Veronique

2016 New Jersey Beer & Food Festival

2016 New Jersey Beer & Food Festival

NJ-Beer-Fest-3-300x200The 8th New Jersey Beer & Food Festival will take place June 25-26 at Crystal Springs Resort at a new location on the corner of Route 94 and Wild Turkey Way. The festival will feature new events for 2016 including a second day of festivities for the first time. The two day extravaganza offers guests beer tastings under the big tent, a beer and chocolate seminar, yoga with beer tasting, golf tournament and more.

Saturday June 25

9AM – Brews & Birdies Tourney on two of Crystal Springs’ award-winning links, Wild Turkey and Ballyowen. The tournament will feature 18 holes of golf and craft beer tastings on 4 different holes. Prizes will be awarded to the winners on each course. Tickets are $195 for Wild Turkey and $205 for Ballyowen. Registration for the golf tournament can be made at GolfGenius.com. 9AM Hoppy Yoga class at the picturesque Crystal Springs Quarry and enjoy a tasting of Schofferhofer Grapefruit ($25) afterwards. 12PM – 2PM – “Chefs & Shorts” Lunch ($45) will be served in the lush Chef’s Garden. 12PM – Beer & Chocolate, a fun, interactive seminar and tasting will showcase a wide variety of beers including Keegan Mothers Milk, Atwater Vanilla Java Porter, Atwater Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale, Sam Adams Nitro Coffee and more ($20). 3PM – 7PM – NJ Beer & Food Festival tasting for adults 21 & over only. Under the tent, beer aficionados can sample over 120 beers, including many craft brews, along with delicious BBQ pulled pork, German bratwurst, spit-roasted Berkshire pork and more. Popular cover band Lima Bean Riot returns to play everyone’s favorite hits ($75). NJ-Beer-Fest-9-300x200

Sunday June 26

12PM – 4PM – NJ Beer & Food Festival family day. Along with being able to enjoy over 150 beers from around the world, families will be welcomed with rides and activities for kids of all ages. There will be a petting zoo, pony rides, three-legged races, face painting in more, while adults can carom off each other playing Knockerball and Human Foosball ($55).  

Tickets for Beer Festival events are available at www.njbeerfoodfest.com.

Cheers,

Veronique

Masters of Mixology Dinner at Crystal Springs Resort

Masters of Mixology Dinner at Crystal Springs Resort

On 2/21, Crystal Springs Resort will host a Masters of Mixology Dinner featuring author Warren Bobrow and cocktail expert Christopher James.

Chris JamesThis exclusive event will feature a five-course menu by Executive Chef Anthony Bucco paired with cocktails from two of New Jersey’s premier mixologists. Bobrow will demonstrate a cocktail from his popular series of books then dinner and cocktails will follow in the resort’s award-winning Wine Cellar.

The menu and pairings:

First Course

Amberjack – blood orange/grapefruit/meyer lemon

Le Premier – Reyka vodka, grapefruit, tangerine, Champagne

Second Course

Octopus Chili – parsnip/pumpkin seeds

Sweet River – Glenfiddich 12, cachaça, lime, demerara, Regan’s no. 6

Third Course

Pheasant – fennel/pomegranate/chicory

Monkey Gland – Hendricks gin, orange, grenadine, absinthe

Fourth Course

Lamb – heirloom carrots/honey/clove

The Corsa Cocktail – Monkey Shoulder whiskey, Drambuie, Angostura

Dessert Course

Yogurt – poppy seed/streusel/oro blanco

El Ultimo – Ancho Reyes, Sailor Jerry rum, tawny port

The Masters of Mixology Dinner is $150 per person, inclusive of the food and cocktails; tax and gratuity extra. The event begins with a cocktail reception at 5pm followed by dinner at 6pm in the Wine Cellar. Reservations are extremely limited and can be made by calling 844-207-3203.

Crystal Springs’ Wine Cellar is located at 1 Wild Turkey Way in Hamburg, NJ.

Cheers,

Veronique

Valentine’s Day at Crystal Springs Resort

Valentine’s Day at Crystal Springs Resort

Crystal Springs Resort will be catering to guests of all types with various dining experiences at its many restaurants for Valentine’s Day weekend.

Restaurant Latour

Executive Chef Anthony Bucco has created a tantalizing 7-course tasting menu that will be served at the jewel-box like Restaurant Latour on both Saturday February 13th and Sunday February 14th ($165, $225 with wine pairing). The guests will enjoy the elegant setting and view, along with superb service and menu that will showcase decadent ingredients such as oysters, black truffles, caviar, uni and wagyu beef. The full menu is below.

The Wine Cellar

Couples can also opt to have a rare dining experience in the renowned Wine Cellar’s Bordeaux Room on February 14th at 7pm. Surrounded by verticals of wine from the storied houses of Bordeaux, the centerpiece of Crystal Spring’s award-winning 135,000 bottle wine collection, guests will enjoy a luxurious five-course menu ($150, $195 with wine pairing). The menu features Fluke Crudo with cara cara orange and poppy seed; Foie Gras Torchon; and Lamb with sweet potato and black truffle.

Crystal Tavern

On Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th, Crystal Tavern’s 5-course menu ($85, $120 with wine pairing) will feature Wagyu Beef Tartare with black truffles; Tenderloin of Beef with parsnip and brussels sprouts; and Muscovy Duck with turnips and lentils. The a la carte menu will also be available.

Springs Bistro

The menu at Springs Bistro ($75, $115 with wine pairing) will feature the flavors of Northern Italy with dishes like Chestnut Soup; Tagliatelle with saffron; Orechiette with hazelnuts and winter squash; and Duck Breast with mushrooms and polenta. The Valentine’s Day menu will be served from Friday the 12th through Sunday the 14th.

Kites at Minerals Resorts & Spa

Kites at Minerals Resort & Spa will serve a 4-course menu ($75, $110 with wine pairing) in addition to the regular a la carte menu. Dishes include Steak Carpaccio with shaved black truffles; Prosciutto-wrapped Lobster Tail; and Stuffed Roasted Squab with quinoa and squash. The prix fixe will be available Saturday the 13th from 5pm – 10pm and Sunday the 14th from 5pm – 9pm.

Reservations can be made by calling 844-207-3203.

Cheers,

Veronique

Christmas at Crystal Springs Resort

Christmas at Crystal Springs Resort

Image by Crystal Springs Resort.

Image by Crystal Springs Resort.

The holidays are right around the corner and there aren’t many more festive places to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day than at Crystal Springs. The resort will be offering three options for dinner at the restaurants of the Grand Cascades Lodge (1 Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg, NJ).

Restaurant Latour

A five-course menu will feature luxury ingredients to indulge in: truffles, foie gras, chestnuts, lamb and more. Dinner starts with Amberjack Crudo with toasted pecans and blood oranges, followed by Acquerello Risotto topped with white truffles. Hudson Valley Foie Gras is accompanied by spice bread and quince, while Saddle of Lamb is served with endive, olives and herb jus. For dessert, Roasted Chestnuts are paired with caramelized white chocolate, bitter chocolate sponge and preserved cherries. (The regular 5-course menu will also be available.) Restaurant Latour will be open 3pm – 9pm on Christmas Eve and 3pm – 7pm on Christmas Day. ($125, $190 with wine pairing)

Crystal Tavern

Crystal Tavern will offer a three-course menu ($65, $94 with wine pairing) featuring Shrimp and Grits with red eye gravy, Rib Roast with Yorkshire pudding and spinach, and a Yule Log with chestnut cream. Crystal Tavern will serve this special menu from 5pm – 10pm Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The a la carte menu will also be available from 11am to 10pm each day.

Springs Bistro

Springs Bistro will serve a four-course menu inspired by the Feast of the Seven Fishes ($69, $98 with wine pairing). A Seafood Salad of shrimp, tuna, cuttlefish, squid and octopus is an aquatic feast while Roasted Branzino is accompanied by fennel, olives and arugula. For dessert, a rich Budino is served with whiskey cherries. Springs Bistro will be open 3pm to 8pm on Christmas Eve and closed Christmas Day. The regular a la carte menu will also be available.

Reservations can be made by calling 844-207-3203. For more information and online menus: http://www.crystalgolfresort.com/dine/holidays/christmas-holiday-weekends/

Cheers,

Veronique

 

Thanksgiving at Crystal Springs Resorts

Thanksgiving at Crystal Springs Resorts

Crystal ApringsLast year, we had the loveliest time dining at Crystal Springs Resort (1 Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg, NJ, 844-207-3203) for Thanksgiving so I thought I’d share all the options available to you if opt to dine out and let others do all the heavy lifting!

Crystal Springs Resort has five options for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday November 26, from family-friendly ballroom buffets to casual prix fixe menus in the Springs Bistro and Crystal Tavern to a creative five-course menu in Restaurant Latour.

Grand Cascades Lodge will host a Thanksgiving buffet with live music from 11:30am – 4:30pm in the Emerald Ballroom. Guests can enjoy a seafood bar, salad bar, Honey glazed Smoked Ham, Herb-roasted Heritage Turkey with cornbread stuffing, and more, as well as all-American desserts like Apple Pie and Pumpkin Pie. The buffet is $49 for adults, $24 for kids aged 4 – 11, kids under 4 are free (tax & gratuity additional). The full menu is here.

Restaurant Latour will serve a five-course Thanksgiving tasting menu from 5pm – 10pm for $129 (tax and gratuity additional). Executive Chef Anthony Bucco has created a menu full of fall flavors and twists on the traditional holiday ingredients: Chestnut Agnolotti topped with white truffles, Heritage Turkey served in a croquette with a “gravy sponge” and Roasted Venison accompanied by beets and black walnuts. For dessert,Pumpkin is roasted in hot ashes and served with honey and spice bush berries.

Thanksgiving at Restaurant Latour

Orchard Apples – Caviar, Uni, Browne’s Pt. Oysters

Chestnut Angolotti – White Truffles

Heritage Turkey Croquette – “Gravy Sponge”, Autumnal Vegetables, Stuffing Crumble

Split Roasted Venison – Beets, Black Walnuts, Curds

 Pumpkin Roasted in Hot Ashes – Honey, Milk Skin, Spice Bush Berries

Springs Bistro at Grand Cascades Lodge offers an Italian take on Thanksgiving with a three-course menu for $59 from 5pm – 10pm (Kids 4 – 11 $18, under 4 free). The menu starts off with a Carrot Salad with pistachio, capers and parmesan or an Autumn Squash Soup with pancetta and sage. The main course is Traditional Turkey Dinner with all the fixin’s. For dessert, guests can choose a Ricotta Crostata or Apple Pie. The a la carte menu is also available.

Springs Bistro Thanksgiving Menu

Shaved Carrot Salad – Pistachio, Capers, Parmesan

or

Autumn Squash Soup – Pancetta, Sage

Traditional Turkey Dinner

Ricotta Crostata

or

Apple Pie

Crystal Tavern will serve a traditional three-course prix fixe menu for $59 (kids 4 – 11 $21, under 4 free) featuring Oyster Chowder,Brussels Sprout Salad with cranberries, walnuts and pecorino, a Traditional Turkey Dinner with all the fixin’s, and a choice of either Bourbon Pecan Pie or Apple Turnover. Crystal Tavern will be serving from 11am – 10pm and the a la carte menu is also available. A wine pairing is available for $30 and the a la carte menu will also be served.

Crystal Tavern Thanksgiving Menu

Oyster Chowder – House-Smoked Bacon, Peanut Potatoes

or

Brussels Sprout Salad – Cranberries, Walnuts, Pecorino

Traditional Turkey Dinner

Bourbon Pecan Pie

or

Apple Turnover

The Diamond Ballroom at Minerals Resort & Spa (Rte 94 Vernon) is another option for families with a buffet from 11:30am – 4pm for $45 (Kids 4 – 11 $25, under 4 free).  A calvacade of meats will be carved including Bourbon Barrel-Aged Maple & Thyme Glazed Turkey BreastRosemary & Garlic Encrusted SirloinRoulade of Pork with fennel and sausage and more. Kids have their own corner of the buffet with mac ‘n’ cheese, chicken fingers, pizza bagels and more. The full menu is here.

Cheers,

Veronique

Fall Happenings at Crystal Springs Resort

Fall Happenings at Crystal Springs Resort

9/26 Malus Domestica Dinner

Chef's Garden

Chef’s Garden

On Saturday September 26, Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg will celebrates Malus Domestica, the orchard apple, in all its forms from cider to spirits to use as an ingredient in savory dishes. Guests will explore the differences between varieties of apples and their unique flavors during a reception featuring local ciders and cocktails. Then they will enjoy a four-course dinner from Executive Chef Anthony Bucco paired with ciders and cocktails in the outdoor Chef’s Garden. Guests will receive a take away package of cider donuts after the event. Crystal Springs Resort Mixologist Stephen Thomas will lead the discussion and serve three signature cocktails including The Malus with Warwick Applejack, American Spirits Barrel Aged Liqueur, fresh apple and Doc’s Hard Apple Cider; Applejack Rose with Black Dirt Distillery Applejack, housemade pomegranate syrup and pomegranate bitters; and A Stroll Through the Orchard with Calvados, fresh cider and honey crisp apple.

Malus Cocktail. Photo by Michael Tulipan

Malus Cocktail. Photo by Michael Tulipan

Chef Bucco will showcase the versatility of different varieties of apples with a four-course menu of Ginger Gold Apple & Quinoa with parsnip and sage, Tuna with Cameo apple, argan oil and cilantro, Duck Liver with Cortland apple, peanuts and caramel, and Pork Shoulder with Macoun apple and squash. The reception will start at 6pm in the Chef’s Garden, the resort’s seasonal wood-fired restaurant set in a lush organic garden, followed by dinner at 6:45pm. The reception and dinner with all cocktails and cider pairings $55, tax and gratuity additional. Reservations can be made by calling 844-207-3203.

10/10 Karen MacNeil French Wine Dinner

On October 10, Karen MacNeil, the award-winning author of The Wine Bible, the highest selling wine book in U.S. history, will be honored at a dinner featuring French wines from Crystal Springs 135,000 bottle Wine Cellar. MacNeil will be signing copies of the second edition of The Wine Bible, which has been completely revised and updated for the new release, during a Champagne reception starting at 6pm in the Wine Cellar. Dinner in Restaurant Latour will follow at 7pm with a discussion of the wines of France. Executive Chef Anthony Bucco has created a five-course menu that will be paired with two wines per course, covering the breadth of French winemaking regions.

Amberjack Crudo – gala apples, habanero, shiso, textured barley

Sunchoke – cider vinegar, caviar

Paired with Ruinart, Blanc de Blancs, MV and Egly-Ouriet, Les Crayeres, Blanc de Noirs, MV

Stracciatella Tortellini – pastured hen egg, black trumpet mushrooms

Paired with Darviot-Perrin, Chassagne-Montrachet, La Bergerie, 2007 and Jean Louis Chave, Crozes Hermitage Blanc, Sybille, 2007

Vinegar Glazed Squab & Foie Gras – wild maine blueberries, parsnips

Paired with Baron Thenard, Givry, Cellier Aux Moines, 2005 and Dominique Laurent, Bourgogne Rouge, Cuvee Numero 1, 2005

7x Ribeye Cap & Short Rib – turnips, bone marrow, bordelaise

Paired with La Lagune, Haut-Medoc, 1983 and La Parde de Haut Bailly, 2009

Beet Sponge – goat cheese panna cotta, bitter chocolate, caramel

Paired with Cypres de Climens, Barsac, 2009 and Chateau De La Peyrade, Muscat de Frontignan, Languedoc, 1994

Each guest will receive a copy of The Wine Bible. Tickets are $195 (tax and tip extra).

10/25 An Afternoon with Gaia Gaja

On October 25, Gaia Gaja, scion of the legendary Italian winemaking family, will lead a tasting of her family’s wines during a five-course lunch. A pre-eminent producer of Barbaresco and Barolo, the Gaja family has produced wines for five generations dating back to 1859. Guests will meet Gaia Gaja at a Champagne reception at 2pm in Crystal Springs’ award-winning Wine Cellar and then enjoy a five-course menu in Restaurant Latour by Executive Chef Anthony Bucco paired with Gaja wines from Piedmont and Tuscany.

Reception

Browne’s Point Oyster – osetra caviar, apple granita, tarragon

Paired with Champagne Duval-Leroy Rose MV

Lunch

Crudo of Snapper – fennel, citrus, castelvetrano olives

Paired with Gaja Ca’marcanda Vistamare 2013

Crispy Veal Sweetbreads – caviar, albacore tuna, sea beans

Paired with Gaja Rossj-bass Chardonnay 2014 or Gaja Barbaresco 2011

Pheasant Agnolotti – carrots, hazelnuts, sage

Paired with Gaja Magari 2012

Roasted Lamb – salsa verde, autumn vegetables, polenta

Paired with Gaja Ca’marcanda camarcanda 2010

Dark Chocolate Torte – rosemary, pine nuts, caramel

Paired with Gaja Brunello Rennina 2010

The menu paired with wines is $275, tax and gratuity additional. Reservations for these events can be made by calling 844-207-3203. Cheers, Veronique

Foraging and Dining Events at Crystal Springs Resort

Foraging and Dining Events at Crystal Springs Resort

Crystal Springs Resort is hosting two events showcasing local foragers and a local brewery in August. The first event, Foraging Trip & Dinner, takes place on 8/16 and the second, Angry Erik Brewery Dinner, happens on 8/20. The Crystal Springs Chef’s Garden, a wood-fire outdoor restaurant surrounded by a lush one-acre organic garden, will be the location of both dinners (see a recent article I wrote on the gorgeous Chef’s Garden).

8/16 Foraging Trip and Dinner

NJ Chanterelles

NJ Chanterelles

Crystal Springs Executive Chef, Anthony Bucco, works closely with Sarah Berman and Corey Finck of Sussex County foragers to bring locally-foraged goods to the resort’s Restaurant Latour twice each week. On 8/16, guests will be able to participate in a foraging expedition with Chef Bucco and the folks at Sussex County Foragers. Upon returning from foraging, guests with make their way to the Chef’s Garden to enjoy cocktails and canapés prepared with ingredients foraged on the trip, This will then be followed by a four-course dinner by Chef Bucco paired with local wines.

Foragers Dinner Menu

Chanterelles/ NJ Corn / Basil

Lubina/ Plankton / Purslane

Mangalitsa Pig/ Wood Sorrel / Stone Fruit

Chocolate/ Anise Hyssop / Wine Berries

The foraging trip and dinner costs $115 including food, wine and transportation to the foraging location and back to Crystal Springs (tax & gratuity additional). Foraging trip begins at 4pm followed by dinner at 7pm. Reservations can be made by calling 855-977-6473.

8/20 Angry Erik Brewing When We Were Kings Dinner

On 8/20, Crystal Springs will host a dinner showcasing Angry Erik Brewing beers in the Chef’s Garden. The dinner will feature seven different beers including The Dainty Viking, an elderflower blonde ale; Hop-n-Awe double IPA; and Mary Shroom, a mushroom and rosemary saison.

The event will begin at 6pm with passed canapés and cocktails made with Angry Erik beers, followed by a four-course, beer-paired dinner crafted by Chef Anthony Bucco.

Angry Erik “When We Were Kings Dinner” Menu

Heirloom Grains – tomatoes / cucumbers / dill (Paired with Angry Erik Two– Shoe Brew, Copper Ale)

Day-Boat Scallops – grapefruit / coriander / corn (Paired with Angry Erik Hop-n-Awe)

 Roasted Duck – mushrooms / pine / wild blueberries (Paired with Angry Erik Mary Shroom)

Chocolate – coffee / yogurt / lavender (Paired with Angry Erik Freaky Freydis)

Dinner costs $65, inclusive of food and beer tastings. Reservations can be made by calling 855-977-6473.

Cheers,

Veronique

Crystal Springs Resort – Excelling at Garden to Table Dining

Crystal Springs Resort – Excelling at Garden to Table Dining

GardenLast week, I was invited to join a small group to sample some of the new dishes and drinks offered at Crystal Springs Resort’s Chef’s Garden.

The Chef’s Garden has a new Chef, a new menu and a new drinks program. What’s not new is how gorgeous the space is. Adjacent to a fantasy-like garden of vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers, guests dine al fresco, under an impermeable canvas roof, to intoxicating aromas of grilling meats and scenic views of the Kittatinny Mountain Range.

The food offered in the Chef’s Garden is grilled over an open fire – no gas or electric cooking. The open kitchen, with its various cooking stations, provides diners a theatrical view of the food being prepared.

The new menu created by Chef Anthony Bucco and his team showcases true “garden-to-table” dining with some of the produce, herbs and flowers used in the kitchen harvested in the nearby garden.

The starters we tried were the Deviled Eggs and the Heirloom Tomatoes. The deviled eggs were beautifully-presented, with good tang, crunch from a small piece of red onion and fresh corn flavor from a corn shoot. The tomatoes were ripe, juicy and served with goat cheese, fresh basil leaves and moist corn bread croutons – a perfect dish to enjoy in the garden.   

Our entrées spanned across many categories and flavors. The dishes we shared were the Pastrami Rubbed Brisket, Grilled Shrimp Tacos, Paprika Rubbed Skirt Steak and two different flatbreads: Carbonara and Margherita. I’m weak for brisket and this version was juicy, with the perfect meat-to-fat ratio and big beefy flavors – a winner. The tacos were okay and featured nicely cooked extra-large shrimps, could-be-better tortillas, guacamole and grilled scallions, lemons, shallots and cherry tomatoes. The skirt steak was beautifully-cooked to a medium-rare temperature and served with heirloom radishes and an outstanding potato salad. The flatbreads were perfect for sharing as each was cut in individual portions. The Carbonara with its Pancetta, Pecorino and egg was a favorite at our table – rich and salty goodness. The Margherita version was also good but the tomato sauce that was smeared on the dough wasn’t as light and fresh as it needed to be to match the vibrant flavors of the fresh basil and cherry tomatoes that crowned the flatbread.     

DrinksDesserts were over-the-top, whimsical and indulgent – S’mores, Pots de Crème and Strawberry Shortcake. The three desserts were served in glass jars which made it somewhat difficult for us to share. The S’mores combined hand-made marshmallows, Graham cracker crumbs and a chocolate layer – my favorite of the three desserts. The chocolatey pots de crème were decadent with some spiced notes. The shortcake featured good quality biscuits, airy whipped cream and garden-fresh strawberries.

New to the Chef’s Garden is an onsite mixologist who’s created an interesting drinks menu with hand-made bitters and juices, local liquors and an all-American wine list. I enjoyed a Rosé of Cabernet Franc by Finger Lakes’ Anthony Road Wine Company.

The Chef’s Garden at Crystal Springs’ Grand Cascades Lodge brings fresh and local dining to a whole new level, in an idyllic setting.

Hours of operations: Dinner served Friday & Saturday: 5pm-10pm. Lunch served Saturday & Sunday: 11am-4pm. No reservations – first come, first served.

Cheers,

Veronique