A Taste of Vermont: Culinary Retreat Weekends

by Matthew Wexler
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Feb 26, 2013

Looking for a cozy, culinary getaway? Café Provence and the Lilac Inn are hosting a series of Vermont Culinary Retreat Weekends for visitors with a passion for cooking, a penchant for Vermont's farm to table bounties and a desire to experience the warmth of a classic Vermont country inn.

Former Executive Chef of the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston and New England Culinary Institute Chef Robert Barral from Café Provence will guide the couples with hands-on preparation of a four-course meal in his culinary theater.

The retreat's emphasis is farm to table cuisine, with a focus on Vermont ingredients. The weekend itinerary includes tours of central Vermont farms, such as Blue Ledge Farm for the goat cheese, a newly created yak farm and the Spotted Dog Family Farm.

"The Lilac Inn and Café Provence are a perfect pairing for those seeking a farm-to-table immersion in a town beautifully nestled between the Lake Champlain Valley and Green Mountains," said Vermont's Department of Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Megan Smith.

Guests are greeted on Friday evening with a small reception and dinner at Café Provence. The cooking begins on Saturday morning. After lunch, the afternoon options include touring farms, an in-room massage or a sleigh ride through the winter snow. Come springtime, Vermont embraces "mud season" as the winter snow melts and maple tapping begins - the perfect time to curl up with a good book.

Later in the afternoon, guests return to the Café to complete the evening’s culinary creation with Chef Barral and enjoy their grand dinner in the new private dining room. The weekend adjourns after a Sunday morning breakfast cooking demonstration.

When not in the kitchen (or the dining room), visitors can explore the charming town of Brandon, which looks as if it’s been lifted from a Currier & Ives lithograph. Charming shops offer exposure to local artists, antiques and handcrafted collectibles.

Vermont Culinary Retreat Weekends:
March 22-24
April 5-7
April 19-21
$995/per couple

Includes two nights lodging at the Lilac Inn, meals and classes at the Café Provence, a visit to the Vermont goat farm and all taxes and gratuities.

For more information, visit:

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's National Style and Travel Editor. More of his writing can be found at Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.


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