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August 27, 2015

CHAMARD VINEYARDS

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My mom and I decided to take a few days and spend some time at our beach house in Westbrook, CT just the two of us. A couple months ago, I was in the Starbucks in Old Saybrook, CT and was eaves dropping on a couple who were raving about Chamard Vineyards in Clinton, CT. I mean hello, it’s hard not to listen to people when you’re standing in line anxiously awaiting your daily source of sanity. They could not stop talking about how delicious the food was and how wonderful their time was there. My mom, who is also my best friend is always up for trying new things especially when it comes to restaurants, she’s quite the foodie. We booked a reservation for Monday night, to try out the bistro that overlooks the vineyard. The Chamard Vineyards bistro only seats 35 people so reservations are required, it’s not a place you can just drop in on unannounced, however it wasn’t crowded on a weekday night (as you can probably imagine). The entrance was out of a Nicholas Sparks romance novel, a long gravel driveway lined with vines of various grapes until we reached the beautiful bistro that overlooked a small pond, more of the vineyard and a field of sunflowers. It was charming and breathtaking, almost too perfect. Our reservation was for 7pm but we arrived a half hour early to do some exploring and enjoy the pending sunset. While we would have loved to have gone on a tour we were happy with our choice to do some solo exploration, and then comfort ourselves with a delicious meal. Once we were seated our waitress was attentive and welcoming. We started with a glass of Chamard Chardonnay and the Camemberet en Croute, which is a creamy brie wrapped in a puff pastry served with salted caramel sauce, pears and apples. I’m typically not a fruit and cheese person, meaning I don’t like to mix my salty foods with sweet ones, however I could not get enough of the apple slices drenched in the gooey cheesy goodness—AMAZING. We couldn’t even finish it, and had to wrap it up for later (it was just as delicious reheated, if you could believe that!). For our main meals, my mom got the Croque Madame, which is essentially an open faced sandwich with ham, swiss cheese, a fried egg and Mornay sauce on a sourdough bread with a side salad. I don’t think my mom has ever raved about a meal as much as she did with this one. It looked delicious, and she especially liked the fried egg complemented by the rich sauce—she’s still drooling. I got the Chamard Fines Herbs Gnocchi, I was reluctant at first because gnocchi tends to be overwhelmingly filling and rich, however this meal was refreshingly light  (for gnocchi) and absolutely delicious. It was homemade gnocchi accompanied by morel mushrooms, spring ramps, sauteed nettles, asparagus, truffle butter and topped with shaved parmesan. The sauce was light enough not to make me feel uncomfortably full but the flavors were rich enough to make it an outstanding meal. What’s unique about this bistro, (open from Noon-9pm Monday-Saturday & open Sunday 11am-8pm) is that the menu varies with the season and they do have some daily/weekly alterations as well. I definitely plan to come back in the fall to give that menu a try, I’m hoping there will be some pumpkin inspired dishes to try! As you can expect, they also host weddings as well as other types of events, oh and on the weekend they have live music in their barn! So, if you’re in the area or even in the city and want to get away for the weekend I highly recommend you book a room at Water’s Edge Resort in Westbrook, CT and take a quick trip 20 minutes down the road to Clinton to spend the day at Chamard Vineyards. It’s worth the trip, plus you’ll be able to escape from reality and enjoy some time surrounded by natural beauty and followed by delicious food!

Just treat yourself and book a trip to look forward to as we brace for summer’s end!

xx

Jacqueline

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