Today’s global “farm-to-table” trend isn’t exactly a “trend” in Virginia’s Historic Triangle of Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. Back in the 1600s in these parts, mastering the skills of farming and hunting meant life. Crops were grown for sustenance and hunting wild turkeys became second hand.
“Many of our guests want that colonial experience,” says Jackie Chutter, president of the DMC, Virginia Escape. “We’ve recreated a 17th century dinner for Princess Diana’s parents; we held an elegant museum walk with dinner in the rotunda for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor…. And we turned a clubhouse into a colonial wine cellar, complete with plank tables, hurricane lamps and a visit by Ben Franklin!”
Many of Chutter’s unique events are highly educational and interactive, such as a buffet dinner aboard a 3-masted sailing ship. Participants are greeted by the crew and then enlisted to help hoist the sails and take a turn at the helm. The dinner cruise showcases the coastline along Norfolk and Virginia Beach, while providing illuminating historical anecdotes on the port cities.
Then it’s time to focus on Virginia’s fresh coastal cuisine and country cooking, with heaping helpings of crab and corn chowder, Smithfield ham, sweet potato biscuits and sweet and tart fruit cobblers. The uniqueness of all her group dinners lies in explaining the food’s journey from ground or sea to the table. You’ll learn about the history of 17th century farming techniques and what it really means to live green.
Don’t for a minute think of Williamsburg as only a destination where everyone’s dressed up like Paul Revere. The 4-diamond Kingsmill Resort & Spa is a modern golf resort with three name-designer championship golf courses, 425 villa-style suites, four restaurants and 16,000 sf of meeting space.
Since this is an Anheuser Busch property, they do some interesting group programs focusing on “beer cuisine” at the Eagles steakhouse, where chops, chicken and fish are grilled over Budweiser-bathed beachwood chips.
“When people think of beer, they automatically think of barbeque, and that’s great for a Sunday afternoon get-together, but we want people to know that beer goes with a lot of other things too,” says executive chef Justin Watson.
Luckily for the planner, Kingsmill’s expert Beer Ambassador is available to educate attendees about beer marinades, injections and reductions, as well as provide creative ideas for pairing flavor nuances in the food and beer.
Yes, we’re thinking this oughta be good too.
A sample of Watson’s “Beertail” menu includes Budweiser American Ale crab dip with garlic crisps; duck chimichanga with Bud Light and pomegranate molasses; and grilled lamb lollipops with a Honey Lager demi glace. All of the foodstuffs are local, seasonal and prepared in the traditions of Appalachian Mountain cast-iron cooking for a truly American dining experience.