The sky is clear over the vineyards of Glenora and the shores of Seneca. The temperature is 21 degrees; however, if you are outside, it feels like 13 degrees - a result of the wind which is coming from the south southeast at 5 miles per hour.
More weather news: Looking at the forecast for the coming week and for the balance of November it appears we have seen that last of our 50 plus degree temperatures as the weather gurus are telling us to expect daily temperature highs to be in the 40 degree range with lows in the mid 20's and not a lot of precipitation. So the weather conditions appear to be fine for travel for next weekend's Seneca Lake Wine Trail's Deck the Halls event and the Cayuga Wine Trail's Holiday Shopping Spree Event. The forecast seems fine for Thanksgiving travel as well.
In the vineyard: The vineyard teams were VERY HAPPY that harvest had wrapped up the preceding week as this past week brought sleet, ice, snow and wind to the vineyards (and every place else). So in general, this past week was one of gathering up and putting away harvest equipment, harvest bins, and picking trays. The teams have started and will continue to "walk rows" checking for broken wires and posts that will be repaired before winter sets in. They also continue the hilling up project as well as applying potash to the vineyards that are in need of the same. We will also be reviewing the yields from a few of our older vineyards, and perhaps making the decision to retire some of them. Some of that is driven by yields (tons per acre) and some by the marketability and prices paid for the grapes which come from those vineyards.
On the Press Deck: The activity there has slowed significantly with the only activity this past week was the emptying of red fermenters: Cabernet Sauvignon that had been harvested the preceding week. Vice President of Production Tracey will not be wasting any time disassembling the press deck and wrapping up the equipment for winter storage.
In the cellar: With harvest/pressing finished for 2019, the Cellar team has returned to bottling and sparkling wine work on a full time basis. This also includes resuming some of our custom wine projects.
Last Saturday's 43rd Annual Nouveau celebration was a success even in spite of the very cold weather (thanks Joel for keeping us warm). The wine, a Lemberger or Blaufrankish (a name that is on the same level as Limberger) was very well received and we heard, for the 42nd time, the comment "best ever". There was, "no best ever" comment for the first wine - for obvious reasons.
Last evening Chef John and his team at the Vineyard Restaurant at Knap presented their November Wine Dinner, "All that Jazz." Each of the five courses was themed around a very recognizable jazz tune, which was performed by a live artist (beats the alternative which we have thought was the case in some situations). Next month's dinner will wrap up the wine dinners for the season and hence is themed "All Wrapped Up" - December 7th.
It was another week or so of winery association meetings as during that 10 day period there were two wine trail meetings, a wine alliance meeting and a marketing/promotion organization meeting (there may have been a couple of chamber of commerce meetings held as well). If there is a common thread, it is that the same people seem to take leadership roles in many of these organizations and have done so for years. In many cases the organizations continue to do the same thing or to offer the same programs year after year after year. They, the organizations, often times wonder why they do not see an increase in support or membership - could it be there are no leadership opportunities/openings for people who are new in the industry, or the organizations offer programs never seem to change?
How much wine for Thanksgiving? Unless your guests or family do not enjoy wine, you might use this guide sent to us by long time Glenora supporter Diane Wolcott. Diane tells us roughly a bottle person - of course you would have several different types which would be shared. The only exception to that rule is that the chef who gets their own bottle of sparkling wine to enjoy will preparing the meat in addition to the wines served with the meal. (And then there should be a bottle or two for the dishwashing team!!)
This coming week the retail teams at Glenora, Knapp and CLR will be decorating for the wine trail holiday events. The trees will be up by Wednesday, the wreaths by Thursday, and wassail bowl out on Friday (we need a recipe). We will start mumming on Saturday evening - all are welcome!!!
Thought for the Week: Education
"The aim of education is the knowledge not of facts but of values."
The sky is cloudy this morning over the vineyards of Glenora and the shores of Seneca. From the temperature readings it would seem winter has arrived but we still have another month of Fall according to the calendar. The current temperature Is 35 degrees however it "feels like" 27 degrees due to the wind which is coming from the south southwest at 10 miles per hour. Lake temperature: Keuka - 53 degrees.
In the vineyard: The 2019 harvest at Glenora, Knapp, and CLR is finished with the CLR team "wrapping it up" on Monday when the Mason Road Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Petite Verdot at CLR were harvested. We certainly appreciate the efforts of the vineyard teams in bringing in all of the grapes. The season starts out with short sleeved shirts and ends up with sweatshirts, heavy jackets, and Carharts! There is always a lot of moving parts to the harvest season, and depending on the vineyard, the winery and the weather the picking schedule needs to be flexible. For people who need a structured work day/week the harvest season would be very stressful. Thanks go out to Chaz, Jeffery, Bob, Brent, and Corey - the harvest team!
With harvest ending this past Monday, the Vineyard teams quickly "changed gears" as they power washed and greased the harvester, making notes of all of the items that will need attention before harvest next year. They rounded up all of the bins that seem to grow legs during harvest, power washing them as well and making repairs as needed. There is one winery where we deliver grapes that seem to play "bin bumper cars" when they unload and empty the bins - they also fail to risnse the bins which is and has been a winery courtesy since the beginning. The teams also started "hilling up" in several of the vineyards. Hilling up consists of pushing soil up and over the graft at the base of the vine to protect it over the winter.
On the press decks: While the harvest (picking) finished on Monday the press deck teams stemmed, crushed and then placed the Cabernet in red fermenters on Monday. They also started to press our "iced Wine" grapes on Monday, however that was cut short by a "stripped gear" on the Wilmes Press's motor. So a quick trip was made to Knapp where we have an identical press. Thanks to the efforts of Tracey, Chaz and Brent, the motor on that press was removed - quite a project has it had been in place for over 40 years with several coats of paint on the nuts and bolts that held it in place. However with some prayers (or were they cuss words?) the motor came off and the "Iced Wine Grapes" were pressed and the juice is now in the tank. A side note - pressing "Iced wine Grapes (frozen) gives us a yield of 45-60 gallons per ton as compared to 170-175 gallons per ton from the same fruit that was not frozen.
Yesterday marked the 43rd anniversary of a Nouveau Wine Celebration at Glenora. The event was first started at the end of harvest in 1977 to celebrate our first year of harvest/winemaking. It was a rather small event at which we invited all who had helped us establish Glenora during the year of 1977. We had started the year with a site on which an old barn had stood, and by years end we had 4500 cases of wine in the tanks-10 months. The event was original called Foch Nouveau as Foch grapes were the grapes used. It has now become "Nouveau" because we no longer make a Foch wine although the vineyard is still alive and well. One tradition did end this year and that was Henry the Hogg was not roasted on a spit or smoked - he was cooked in an oven. That decision was made when the weather forecast came out earlier in the week. Starting the smoker at 6 AM and standing by it when the temperature is 25 degrees for 6 hours is no longer considered fun - even when fortified with a glass of two of brandy. Thanks go out to Joel and the Maintenance team for keeping us warm, the kitchen and restaurant team for the great food, and to the administrative team for all of the organization.
Bob, who assists us with marketing and sales, returned from the American Wine Society meeting in Florida carrying a plethora of medals won by our wines, including one for the best white Vinefera wine in the commercial wine competition (wineries from across the US) - our 2019 Select Harvest Riesling! While all of our wines are the efforts of our entire cellar/production team, Winemaker Rachel took the lead on this one -Congratulations Rachel!!
While 2020 is 7.5 weeks away, plans are being made or finalized for some of the early years events which include Pasta Night, Fish Fry Fridays, Steak and Potato, the Bridal show and the early year Wine Trail events. There are several "twists" in store for these events. We also will have a new program - a monthly signature wine. More to come as we do not want other readers of the Gazette to plagiarize it.
Thought for the week: Thought-Ideas
"True originality consists not in a new manner but in a new vision."
The sky is partly cloudy on this the first Sunday of the 11th month of 2019. The temperature is 36 degrees with a feel like reading of 30 degrees - a result of the wind which is coming from the west south west at 3 miles per hour.
Lake temperatures: The Seneca Lake recording buoy located at Clark's Point (Roy's Marina, or east of Vonnie's and Port's restaurant) has been removed for the season, hence no more Seneca Lake temperatures until 2020. Keuka, where the water temperature readings are taken at the municipal water plant in Penn Yan is recording 57 degrees. It has been interesting to follow the graphs that show the water temperature on Keuka. Ever since the middle of June the water temperature has been lower than it was at any given time in 2019 - a reflection of the weather pattern this year. It was cooler which also is an indicator for the lower Brix and higher acid levels in the grapes this year. Last year it was November 14th before Keuka reached 57 degrees.
In the vineyards: Another monsoon week, or at least the later part of it when we received 1.48 inches of rain on Thursday evening at all of the vineyard locations. That was followed by "hurricane type wind" (at least it seemed that way) on Thursday evening and most of Friday. The Knapp Team wrapped up their 2019 harvest by picking their Catawba on Wednesday afternoon. CLR harvested Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and had plans to harvest the Mason Road Cabernet on Friday as well as Petit Verdot at CLR, but the rain and wind stopped that. The Mason Road Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard is on a bit of a slope, good for air drainage, but not good for harvesters, tractors and bin trailers after an inch and a half of rain. Those grapes will be harvested on Monday and that will finish the harvest season - November 4, 2019
The vineyard teams will be winterizing equipment this coming week as the forecast is for temperatures declining to the lower 20's on Thursday and Friday, with 2.7 inches of snow on Thursday. Sad news for any grapes still not harvested (and there seem to be quite a few) unless they are planned to be used for ice wine.
In the cellar and on the press deck: This past week, the press deck team emptied the red fermenters that contained Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Lemberger. The grapes had been in the fermenters close to a week (color extraction) before being pressed. This coming week, the Cabernet Sauvignon from Mason Road will be put into the tanks. Given the predicted cold temperature we are very glad our red fermenters are jacketed and can be warmed.
On Thursday, Kerry, Mitchell, Rachel, and the editor met to review plans for Deck the Halls number one. This will be the first Deck the Halls event for Mitchell and Rachel. The wine trail has sold tickets that will bring 3100 people to the trail. Historically we see 87% of them which would be approximately 2700 guests. We will be serving a holiday gourmet soup to each visitor - a half of a cup or 4 ounces. When multiplied by 2700 potential visitors that equals 10,800 ounces of soup or 84.375 gallons of soup. We will make 90 gallons as woe would be us at the next wine trail meeting if we were short of soup by few ounces - a public wine trail flogging! We also discussed staffing - 22 team members will be needed on Saturday which is the busiest day.
It was yet another double header wedding weekend at Glenora with weddings and receptions taking place on both Friday and Saturday. Today, Sunday, we have a group of 55 people who will be joining us for lunch and then a tasting. As part of the tasting, the editor will be giving them a brief history grape growing and wine production in the Finger Lakes viticultural area and at Glenora.
Finally the power of social media, websites, etc.. Several of the folks (many were millennials) who attended last Saturday's "Flannel and Foliage Dinner" at Knapp's Vineyard Restaurant had found the information by viewing the Cayuga Wine Trail website and then the Knapp Wine site. Almost all of the attendees were from outside the area-Philadelphia, Boston, etc. and had been looking for something to do while visiting Finger Lakes Wine Country - we have several new friends!
According the weather gurus the dress code for next weekend's Nouveau event at Glenora may include Carharts! But not to fear, as Maintenance Engineer Joel and his team have plans to bring in portable heaters-the ones that meet all of the building code (in this case tent) specifications.
Thought for the Week: Laughter
"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter."
It is a damp morning on this the last Sunday in October in the vineyards of Glenora and along the shores of Seneca. The temperature is 54 degrees but feels like 48 degrees due the wind which is coming from the south southeast at 17 miles per hour. The wind and the wet weather are starting to end the colors of Fall. Lake temperatures: Seneca - 56.6 degrees; Keuka - 58 degrees. Last fall must have been warmer or quieter (less rain and wind) as it was November 9th in 2018 before Keuka reached 58 degrees.
In the vineyards: It was another damp/wet week, but no monsoons! Tuesday was the "wet day" with Knapp receiving .54 inches, while CLR and Glenora received .36 inches - we did not harvest on Tuesday! The Knapp team harvested Cabernet Franc, Lemember, and Vidal (about 5 tons of the Vidal where hand-picked for "iced wine"). The CLR team finished their Riesling along with Merlot and Syrah, and the Glenora press deck team saw Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Lemberger arrive.
If all goes well, and it should, we will finish harvest with the Catawba being harvested at Knapp and Varick, and the Petite Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon being harvested at CLR. As well, we plan to remove the Vidal that are in the freezer at Lakewood and press them for "Iced Wine". So it does appear that the 2019 harvest will run into November.
On Wednesday we (Tracey D. Kerry, Peter, input from Tracey M. and the editor) conferenced with our distributor, Empire North, to review year to date numbers, tweak plans for November and December, and to discuss, briefly, plans for the first quarter of 2020. We learned that, to date, the tariffs that have been imposed on imports to the United States have not had much of an impact on wine - more impact on spirits. It was also interesting to see the impact that "The Milennials" are having on/in the marketplace, especially pertaining items such as packaging (bottle size, labels), brand loyalty, and canned products. Along the canned line: Regional Sales Manager Anne sent a message noting the coffee is now being canned, and with a kick - read about here. Perhaps, as Anne suggests, we should introduce a wine based coffee!
It has been another double header wedding/reception weekend at Glenora. Our hats are off the restaurant, kitchen, and Inn teams. Back to back weddings during fall foliage season add even more intensity to the weekends (which they handle very well). And, they are doing this with a very lean staff. Thanks to everyone, you are appreciated!!
Last evening the Team at Knapp Winery Inn and Restaurant presented a themed dinner, Flannel and Foliage. Guests, most of whom had some flannel clothing, arrived to have cocktails (wine based of course) and wine on the Vineyard Restaurant's patio, then enjoyed at seasonal dinner, followed by the opportunity to go back outside to make smores. Enjoyable, unique and fun!! One has to wonder what is next?!!
The Great Debate: At Friday's Glenora managers meeting, there was discussion revolving around how Henry the XLIIIrd (that is 43rd for the non-Romans) would be prepared. Traditionally Henry "The Hogg" has been roasted, or in some cases burnt or destroyed (too much brandy??) over an open fire on a spit or on a smoker. The discussion-debate revolved around "should he be smoked, or roasted in an oven?" It seems that the group was leaning towards the oven - breaking a 42 year tradition. Time and weather will most likely dictate the venue for Henry. All of this will take place during our 43rd annual Nouveau wine celebration which will be held on Saturday November 9th - all are welcome
The editor was reminded last week that in addition to tickets still being available for the Cayuga Wine Trail's Holiday shopping Spree event and that there are still tickets available for the Keuka Lake Wine Trail's Keuka Holidays event. Lots of wine trail holiday opportunities!!
Finally tomorrow, Monday, is world Champagne Day - celebrate with a glass of Glenora's finest!
Thought for the Week: Hope
"He that lives upon hope will die fasting." Ben Franklin
Fall is truly a magical time in the Finger Lakes. The landscape comes alive with vibrant colors. The air is scented with the sweet smell of grapes ripening. The wineries, vineyards and farms are abuzz with harvest activity. Fall fruits and veggies become abundant. Tourism is at its peak with visitors coming from all over the world to visit our little slice of heaven. The list goes on. It really can’t be beat!
Here at Glenora, it’s a great time to visit to experience harvest firsthand, especially during the week. You’re almost guaranteed to catch live harvest action and what we like to call the “harvest dance,” where our winemaking team brings in grapes to be crushed and pressed. While you can witness this from our tasting room windows, a cellar tour gets you up close and personal to where the magic happens on the crush pad and in the cellar. If you’re lucky, you might even catch our winemaker Steve D!
While all of the seasons offer something different and exciting, it’s likely that a majority of the Glenora team would pick fall as their favorite season at the winery. It’s one of the most exciting times of year for many reasons, and with that said, we thought it’d be fun to dive a little deeper and ask some of our staff what they love about autumn. Read on to find out!
What is your favorite thing about fall at Glenora?
“Watching the grapes come in, and the process they go through to eventually end up in the bottle is exciting! Being able to ‘show and tell’ for our visitors as the wine is being made, and to be a part of their Finger Lakes vacation memories, is a lot of fun.”
– Stacy Gray, Retail Manager
“The smell of grapes in the air is by far my favorite part! I also love the colors of the hills across the lake, providing a beautiful backdrop for everyone to enjoy. I love all of the fall colors in the vineyard. They add so much to the property. There is something cozy about it!”
-James Merritt, Assistant Weddings & Event Manager
“The smell of ripe grapes in the air!”
-Emily Edsall, Assistant Inn/Restaurant Manager
“Like most people in wine country I enjoy the sights, sounds, smell of the ripening grapes, the color, and visitors that fall brings. Being a vineyardist and winery owner it also marks the end of the season for the vineyards which started over 10 months ago with pruning—ending now with picking of the grapes—we get to see the culmination of work in the vineyards. At the same time it marks the beginning of the winemaking process something that depending on the grape variety and wine type can last from 6 months to several years. Fall marks the end of one part of grape growing/wine production and the beginning of another.”
–Gene Pierce, Owner & President
"What I like about fall are all the autumn vegetables that we start to get at Veraisons. Butternut squash, buttercup squash, kale, parsnips, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts..the list goes on."
–Orlando Rodriguez, Executive Chef of Veraisons Restaurant
“The fall is beautiful anyway, and with grapes being harvested almost every day, there’s a feeling of urgency in making sure the quality is as good as it can be, and the excitement in converting the crop into some wonderful wines that our customers will enjoy.”
-Steve DiFrancesco, Winemaker
We hope you’ll consider joining us this fall so you can experience the magic yourself!
Upcoming Fall Events:
10/28: Annual Harvest Dinner at Veraisons
Sparkling wine toast + locally sourced five course meal
11/11: Nouveau Celebration
A long-standing tradition celebrating the first wine of the 2017 harvest
11/23: Thanksgiving Buffet at Veraisons
For harvest updates, be sure to check us out on Facebook and Instagram!
1) Take a Cellar Tour
There’s no better way to experience harvest in the Finger Lakes than with a cellar tour. Learn about the ins and outs of winemaking and catch live action. The cellar is abuzz with activity, offering a unique opportunity to liven up your senses as you witness the sights, sounds and scents of harvest! Learn more
2) Taste the first wine of 2016 at our Nouveau Celebration
Our annual Nouveau celebration began in 1977, the year we were established as a winery, as a way of celebrating our first harvest and we’ve continued the tradition every year since, much like the Beaujolais nouveau celebrations in France. Each year, our Nouveau wine undergoes a quick primary fermentation before being racked and put in a wooden cask to be enjoyed at our celebration. Mingle with our winemaker Steve DiFrancesco and taste this intensely fresh and fruity wine straight from the cask, all while enjoying live music & hearty hor d’oeuvres by Chef Orlando on November 12th! Learn more
3) Join us for our annual Harvest Dinner
If you love all things fall, our Harvest Dinner on November 19th is a must! Served outside at our communal harvest table overlooking Seneca Lake, the menu is packed full of fresh, local ingredients and fall flavor. It’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in all things Finger Lakes during harvest time, both on the plate and in the glass, and celebrate the wonderful bounty that surrounds. Rumor has it the Hogwarts theme from last year’s harvest dinner is resurfacing, for any Harry Potter fans out there! Learn more
4) Book a Fall in the Finger Lakes package at the Inn
For a quintessential fall weekend in the Finger Lakes, try our newest package at the Inn. Start with a tasting and cellar tour at the winery, followed by a picnic along the vineyards with an assortment of local cheeses and a bottle of Glenora wine, and leaf peep to your heart’s content around our property. End the day at Veraisons for a delicious locally sourced meal! Learn more
5) Taste Fall in our Tasting Room
If you love fall drinks, we’ve got options! Warm up with our Mulled Wine made from Jammin’ Red, try our Trestle Creek Hard Cider, or opt for our fan favorite Audacious Apple, our newest fruit wine. We’re certain one will please your palate!
Written by Stacy Gray, Tasting Room Manager
Your BFF is getting married! Your sister is turning the big 3-0! What better way to enjoy a day out in the beautiful Finger Lakes than to charter a limo or bus, gather up all your besties, and check out these amazing wineries you’ve heard so much about!
Ok… so… where do you start?
What IS a wine tour, anyway? A wine tour is an excellent opportunity to sample some wines in order to choose your favorites to bring home with you – in a beautiful setting with friendly staff to help you along the way! It’s best to aim for 3-5 wineries in a day, with a planned stop for lunch along the way.
The first thing you’ll want to do is choose a lake to visit. There are many great wineries surrounded by beautiful scenery throughout the Finger Lakes, so you may want to pick the lake closest to home, or one with a wide variety of wineries. Or maybe, like many of our guests, you have a favorite must-visit winery and plan your tour around that area.
Ok, great! Next, it’s a good idea to do a little research about the wineries you’d like to visit. Check out their websites for group tasting policies, amenities, and events. You may discover a winery has live music, a unique restaurant, or any other number of things going on. One thing to check for is “Wine Trail Events” – this is something you may want to participate in, or, you may want to avoid the crowds! At Glenora you can reserve a special Chocolate & Wine Experience, or a cellar tour to see how the wine is made. You can also plan to have lunch at our restaurant, Veraisons, or even stay overnight with us at our Inn!
Next, you will want to pick a date – aiming for at least a month out is a good idea. An insider tip – Saturdays are the busiest day by far along the trail, so if you’d like a little more personal attention without fighting the crowds, picking a Sunday or weekday is a very smart idea! Here at Glenora, through the end of August, our reward members get double points on Wednesdays and Fridays… just sayin’! Not familiar with our Rewards Program? Learn more here.
Once you’ve decided on a lake and a date, you can start calling your chosen wineries to make reservations. The folks at the wineries are eager to help arrange your visit and are happy to answer your questions. Keep a notepad, a pen, and a credit card for deposits handy when you call. Most wineries have a cut off time in the afternoon for larger groups, so try to reserve your first tasting right when the first winery opens – usually 10am. Glenora’s tasting room opens at 9am during the summer months, so make a point to see us first!
Of course, you’ll want to hire transportation or designate a driver for your adventure. There are many options for limos, buses, and even a company that will drive you around in your own vehicle. It’s well worth the peace of mind to know you have a safe, sober, experienced driver at the wheel. The transportation companies and drivers are knowledgeable and can make suggestions for must-visit wineries, restaurants, and best routes to take.
A few other tips for a successful wine tour:
When traveling with multiple friends, it can be hard after a while to remember who bought what wine bottles once they start accumulating in the trunk. A great idea I have seen, is folks bring along different colored stickers (for example, garage sale price stickers), and each person has their own color to put on the top of the bottles they buy. Super easy and super smart!
Something you might want to bring along is water and snacks, or even a packed lunch, if you don’t plan to stop at a local restaurant. Our tasting room cheese cooler is always stocked with local cheeses, charcuterie and crackers if you need a pick me up during the day and we have many picnic tables around our property, perfect for taking in the view of Seneca Lake while snacking on some local wares. Many wineries offer the same throughout the wine trail.
Another bit of friendly advice, wineries need to abide by the law, which means they are prohibited from serving folks who are intoxicated. Making sure your group is aware of this is always a good choice!
We hope you’ll include Glenora on your next wine tour! We offer a wide variety of wines to please any palate, friendly staff, an incredible restaurant and inn, and the most stunning views of Seneca Lake! But wherever you end up, I hope this post has been helpful and informative, and that you all have a great time here in Finger Lakes Wine Country!
Written by Sous Chef Sarah Hassler of Veraisons Restaurant
Autumn in New York might be a romantic cliché, but it is truly a chef’s dream season in the Finger Lakes. Farmers from all over the region send me emails every day with lists of available produce. Yes, farmers market via e-mail, welcome to the future everyone. Squash, beans, brassicas, apples, pears, grapes, and still the summer produce winds in with tomatoes, corn, peppers, eggplant, and melons. It is bounty at its fullest.
At Veraisons we have always taken the time to prepare a special feast that celebrates the season. For years our annual Harvest Dinner has marked a time to honor our farmers and our winemakers, to toast the end of tourist season, and to wind down into the quiet of winter – like a late-night bowl of Mom’s soup before bed.
This year our Harvest Dinner falls on Halloween, an occasion that happens only once every seven years. Talk about adding special to already-celebratory! Orlando and I wracked our brains to come up with spooky ideas – at one point there was a chicken pot pie with a clawed foot sticking out of the crust as a potential idea, quickly vetoed, but nonetheless memorable. Finally, one of us said “Let’s just go all out and do Harry Potter.”. Neither of us spoke for a bit, wondering if it might be ridiculous, and after a moment’s silence, we pounced.
Images of bountiful feasts rolled into our heads. Having read all of the books several times over (especially the audio versions – total #jimdalefangirl), I know how strongly that imagery takes hold. A young boy coming from a cold home he doesn’t belong in finds himself at an enormous table, surrounded by friends and food…so much food! Rowling nailed the relationship between food and comfort, highlighting the intimacy of breaking bread with friends and finding joy that multiplies.
Think about your favorite food memories. I’m willing to bet that they rarely, if ever involve you eating alone, dining on something you made yourself. Most likely they revolve around family, or a longing for family (care packages from Mom while you were at college anyone?).
The equation so far:
Autumn harvest romance + deeply imbedded nostalgia + chefs = truly awesome dinner plans
So the idea was born – do a Hogwarts themed dinner, serving the food family style at communal tables. We plan to separate guests into houses and leave the platters for sharing and available seconds. We’ll serve Butter Beer and Polyjuice Potion and the dessert course will be nothing short of a child’s dream – treacle tart, sticky toffee pudding, chocolate frogs, ton-tongue toffee, and trifle. We’re leaving the rock-cakes at Hagrid’s hut for the night.
The books we read play a role in the direction of our lives. Harry Potter and his tales have long been in a thread in mine. Attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York felt very much like my own Hogwarts adventure – only with more food and less house elves. Click here for an article I wrote for their alumni magazine, Mise En Place, back in 2011 on the subject.
Whether the plan is to wind down the season and shake the hands of our farmers or to immerse yourselves in the world of magic (at least the of culinary sort), I hope to see you at our Great Harvest Feast this year!
Author Bio: Sarah Hassler is the Sous Chef of Veraisons Restaurant. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a native of the Finger Lakes region, Chef Hassler has a keen understanding of flavor and nuance and a reverence for the agricultural community, bringing local ingredients into her cooking as much as possible. She has been a member of the Glenora team, in between her time at CIA and professional experiences in the Hudson Valley and Corning, since 2009.