The Chefs Table - Holiday Celebrations across VermontDecember 25, 2015
Holiday food traditions vary from place to place and table to table. A handful of VFN Chefs will share their unique holiday traditions with their guests this season.
Chef Marc Provencher - Taverna Khione, Shelburne
To celebrate the Eastern Church's traditional Greek Christmas, Chef Marc is creating a menu centered around pork, honey, wine and apples. Many Greeks have recently embraced a more westernized, American style holiday, but Chef Marc is focusing on deep-rooted traditions from when the Greeks would decorate ship replicas to celebrate their long history as a seafaring nation, as opposed to the Christmas trees often seen now. "Pork will be the protein of choice as a family would typically raise the pig in the fall and have meat for the winter time," Chef Marc explains, and the rest of the meal staples have deep rooted symbolism along with seasonality, "like the traditional dish lahano dolmathes - stuffed cabbage with pork and rice with avgolemono (egg-lemon) sauce. In the days of the Byzantines, this dish was symbolic of the Christ Child being wrapped in swaddling clothes."
Chef Marc explains the ingredients' symbolism, and how it will work in his menu....
Honey represents each family members contribution to the household - "We will make melomakarona which are Greek cookies seasoned with orange zest and then dipped in honey. Meli is honey in Greek and makarona is macaroon."
Wine represents the wish for each family member to grow strong like grapevines - "We'll have plenty of Greek wine!"
Pitas express hope for an abundance of wheat for the following year - "Based on what I've been seeing at the farmers market it looks like we'll do prassopita - leek and feta pie."
Apples are symbolic of good health- rosy color of health and rosy color of an apple - "We are going to offer another entree option of hirino me mila (braised pork with apples and prunes)."
Menu Featured Friday, December 18th - Wednesday, December 23rd • Make a Reservation
Chef Doug Paine - Hotel Vermont, Burlington
Chinese food on Christmas has whimsically been described as a sacred Jewish ritual in America. There are usually limited options for those looking to avoid the kitchen on December 25th, but the neighborhood Chinese joint has always been a safe bet. Chef Doug at Hotel Vermont decided to "have a little fun" with their Christmas Day offerings and created a localized 'Jingle Bell Wok' menu...
Jingle Bell Wok - a Non-traditional Christmas Dinner
Maine lobster rangoon,
tangerine pepper sauce
Rookies ginger beer glazed VT whey fed pork lo mein,
pea shoots, wild mushrooms, black sesame
Szechuan beef rib eye,
charred broccoli, foie gras fried rice
Fried Red Hen panattone, ginger ice cream,
rose scented maple syrup
Menu Featured Friday, December 25th • Make a Reservation
Chef Michael Ehlenfeldt - The Inn at Weathersfield, Perkinsville
Goose has been a celebratory meal centerpiece of the winter season since before the Middle Ages. It makes sense, a goose is best harvested after the first freeze when they have developed that coveted layer of fat that keeps them warm. That layer of fat holds all the flavor.
The Inn at Weathersfield is a quintessential place to celebrate the holiday. It's a historic Inn, in a tiny Vermont town, with a roaring hearth and Chef Michael's traditional holiday menu featuring Gozzard City Goose, with a little personal twist.
It's rare to find goose on a menu these days, and preparation takes skill. Here is how Chef Michael is serving his bird. The goose legs and thighs will be confitted and the fat rendered. The carcass will become consommé. The breast will be pan roasted to serve medium rare with halved German Butterball potatoes (harvested from Chef Michael Ehlenfeldt's personal organic garden) roasted in the goose fat. House-made sauerkraut and maple glazed carrots and spinach will finish the plate. "The sauerkraut takes me back to my cooking roots. I come from a German-Polish family." Chef Michael shared. The sauerkraut, made with cabbage from Hemmingway Farm and from the Inn's organic garden, takes a minimum of 6-12 weeks of fermentation. It will be ready just in time for the holiday!
Menu Featured Friday, December 25th • View Menu and Make Reservations
Chef Michael's Kraut Brewing!