Pin It

Tasting Dinner at Café Shelburne 

For a couple of foodies, sharing a multi-course tasting menu is the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion. Eating a slew of small dishes minimizes the risk that one mediocre offering will dampen the mood. And it's kind of sexy to ooh and aah over each course with someone who's having the same deliriously delicious experience at the same time.

But around here, very few restaurants offer them. Sure there's the 3-course prix-fixe option at a bunch of places, but that's different. I'm talking 6+ courses, each one made up of just a couple bites of tantalizing food. The only ones I've been able to find are at Hemingway's, Hen of the Wood and Christophe's on the Green. Michael's on the Hill doesn't appear to have one, but there is a note that they're happy to accommodate "special desires."

As my second anniversary approached, I thought it would be really nice to have a tasting dinner, but couldn't stray far outside of the Burlington area. So, I decided to start calling area chefs to see if any were willing to do a special occasion menu. Luckily, the first chef I spoke with, Patrick Grangien of Café Shelburne, said yes right away. And of course, I asked about the tasting and made the reservation without disclosing my secret identity as "Food Girl." I use my husband's name when I make reservations so chefs don't know who I's the only way to make it fair.

The food was excellent. Everything was cooked perfectly, sauces were mouthwatering, there was a lot of variety and the portions were just right. Here's a run-down of the courses.


1) Escargots with prosciutto, Parmesan and garlic butter topped with tiny toast rounds.
2) House-smoked salmon with veggie egg rolls, balsamic reduction
3) Creamy gazpacho topped with zucchini and shrimp
4) Blood sausage ravioli in a Bordelaise sauce with caramelized onions
5) Striped bass with red pepper sauce, snow peas and carrots
6) Duck breast with potato gratin and hedgehog mushrooms, demi-glace
7) Artisan Cheese Plate
8) Currant sorbet
9) Floating island topped with toasted almonds and caramel in a vanilla sauce, garnished with blueberries
10) Apple tart with caramel ice cream

I was particularly enchanted by the creamy gazpacho, the duck and the currant sorbet, which was the creamiest, richest sorbet I've ever had, but like I said, everything was delicious.

I wonder if there are more chefs out there willing to do tastings...

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It

More by Suzanne Podhaizer

About The Author

Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the former Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a goose,... more


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Seven Days moderates comments in order to ensure a civil environment. Please treat the comments section as you would a town meeting, dinner party or classroom discussion. In other words, keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

foodie poll

What are you MOST interested in learning more about?

  • Food-related events, festivals and other gatherings
  • Bars and restaurants — where should I eat out?
  • Farms and agriculture — what's up with the people producing our food?
  • Issues: What are the social, environmental and economic impacts of my food choices?
  • How to cook better meals at home

View Results

Latest in Food News

Recent Comments

Social Club

Like Seven Days contests and events? Join the club!

See an example of this newsletter...

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2016 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So Champlain St Ste 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation