Sunday, January 3, 2016

Essex Culinary Resort and Spa

 For no good reason whatsoever, I decided it would be nice to get away for a short weekend with Hubby right after the holidays. As I was researching places to go, our Fedex guy, Steve, came in to the office and asked what I was doing.  When I told him, he recommended this place!

The Essex Culinary Resort and Spa 
in Essex Junction, Vermont

We left on New Year's Day and our trip got off to the slightest bit of a rocky start.  I checked out places to stop for breakfast, and found the Red Arrow Diner in Londonderry, NH.   Unfortunately, when we got there, the wait was an hour.  I don't know how many times it's going to take before I learn that you can't go anywhere on a holiday.  We turned around and went back one exit to Cracker Barrel.  (No hardship there, we love Cracker Barrel!)

We also hit some snow, but it turned out to be just a squall and lasted only about 15 minutes.  It was beautiful to be up in the mountains with that little bit of snow covering everything.

After we got to the hotel and checked in, we went and investigated the pool.  That was one of the reasons I wanted to go to this place.  The pool house and spa were a 30 second walk outside from the main building under a covered walkway.  The hotel gave us some super heavy and comfy robes to traipse across to the pool.

We were very excited to get inside and enjoy the amenities!

The pool house was big and very pretty.  We were there after dark, but the next day we got there while it was still light and it was cool to be swimming inside and watching the snow come down outside.

I absolutely loved the hot tub!  It was outside, right outside the door from the pool room.   You just had to hurry from the pool and get into that hot water really fast!

The hotel was quite lovely inside.  There were three buildings and we were housed in the main building.  We got a room on the third floor, at the very end of a very long corridor that had many twists and turns.   In fact, Hubby took a video of our walk from the lobby to our room, and it's 2 1/2 minutes long!

There were two restaurants in the hotel.  The "Junction" which was a very high class, expensive restaurant.   The other was the "Tavern".   We chose the Junction, which is totally not our style of restaurant, because Hubby's son gave us a gift certificate for  $100 for Christmas.  We used it up - and then some!   The food was incredibly good!  Hubby had mushroom risotto, and I had scallops and lobster.   A couple glasses of wine, some dessert and we were done!

On Saturday morning we had a very delicious breakfast in the Tavern.  I had Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict and Hubby had Stuffed French Toast with banana and walnuts.

Then we drove over to Burlington to visit the shops and Lake Champlain.

One of our favorite places is Frog Hollow, which is a store that showcases local artists and crafters.  Hubby thought I should get this hat.  We visited many nice shops and art galleries downtown.

At the waterfront of Lake Champlain.

The highlight of our trip was our session in the "Cook's Academy".  We chose the Italian dinner.  We made Italian Wedding Soup, Pasta alla Carbonara, Chicken Cacciatore, and Zabaglione.

We made the pasta from scratch.  Hubby is kneading the pasta dough so it will blend.

Our chef Anthony showed us the correct way to hold a knife and dice up vegetables.

There was lots of chopping, cutting, stirring, whisking and blending.

Hubby takes a turn at the stove.

Our partners for the evening were Nancy and Gerard, from Montreal. And on the left is our Chef, Anthony.

Anthony showing off our Chicken Cacciatore

Making the pasta was so much fun, I ordered a pasta-making machine when I got home!

The aromas were fantastic!  

We cooked for about 3 hours and finally got to sit down and taste the fruits of our labor!  I have never had such delicious food!  When the class started, Anthony had promised us we'd be so sated we'd be unable to move from the table.  He was right!

It was a great weekend away.  We'd like to go back in the summertime and enjoy their outdoor pool, fire pit and tennis courts!