Tuesday night, Seven Days partnered with the Basin Harbor Club in Vergennes to host a special event for members of the 7 Nights Bite Club. To spread the word that dining at the luxe resort is open to the public and not just guests or members, the Basin Harbor Club invited 50 diners to Vergennes for a free, eight-course dinner prepared by new chef Rodney Rehwinkel.
Winners were chosen from among nearly 300 Bite Club members who learned about the contest through the June 19 Bite Club newsletter.
At 5:30, guests began arriving for a cocktail hour and tour of the resort's picturesque grounds. Dinner began at 6:30 with an amuse bouche of a hard-boiled Cavendish quail egg and lobster medallion in Champagne emulsion, pictured at right.
Then the meal started in earnest with a peppered Vermont bison carpaccio with Parmesan-Reggiano.
Buttery roasted golden beet soup converted even the root-shy. Could it have been the anise-scented chervil dumpling?
Housemade tagliatelle featured a tender, meaty hen of the wood mushroom and a crispy oyster mushroom in a creamy, cheesy garlic sauce.
Chef Rehwinkel uses produce from within Addison County whenever possible. The salad greens were from Lalumiere Farmstand and Greenhouse in Ferrisburgh. Dressed in a light vinaigrette with coarse salt, the beautifully balanced salad also featured pickled celeriac, an oil-cured olive and a chunk of Maplebrook Farm burrata.
A delicate, bittersweet sorbet of Campari and grapefruit served as a refreshing intermezzo.
A seared Maine scallop rested atop a smear of parsnip purée with a sweet, tangy sauce made from rice vinegar and grape must.
A grilled Brandt Beef New York strip was flavorful and cooked to a perfect medium. Yukon Gold mashed potatoes were incredibly creamy and tasted even better with the rich Cabernet-peppercorn demi-glace. Crispy kale and a whole caramelized onion finished the stellar plate.
The meal ended with a meltingly soft dark-chocolate tart in a chocolate shell. A tiny scoop of ice cream flavored with salt and pepper offset the rich chocolate flavors.
The evening closed with a selection of Vermont cheeses with crackers, and thank-yous to the team at Basin Harbor Club. It was a meal that we and our Bite Club members will long remember!