RESTAURANT WINVIAN FARM, LITCHFIELD, CONNECTICUT

Forget the chowda. Indulge in perhaps New England’s finest dining experience

 

 

At Winvian Farm, perhaps America’s most unique resort, they complement their romantic setting with divine cuisine at their farm-to-table restaurant, helmed by Executive Chef Chris Eddy. 

 

Winvian’s fine dining experience is elevated with imaginative, handcrafted dishes using ingredients from their own organic gardens and the menus change nearly every day. (These photos are just a sampling of menu items as we were told it is impossible for the chefs to photograph every dish.) Their cellar boasts vintages from 13 countries and 37 regions. And then there’s the award-winning pastry chef, Jim Hutchison, who must get paid for every mind he blows. 

 

I recently dined in Winvian’s fire-lit 18th century dining room. The amuse bouche was a cucumber gazpacho with local radish, buttermilk and dill. Fresh light and very much a reflection of the garden and grounds that surround the property. Surprisingly, it paired well with the perfectly aged 2006 Domaine de la Vougeria le clos Blanc de Vouget (a white burgundy).

 

 

Winvian Farm

This little piggy is exquisite. Farm fresh pork

 

 

Next up was the shrimp escabeche with grilled vegetables, fresh herbs and a highly addictive pickling agent that had us tilting the plate to sop up as much as possible with the local sourdough that accompanies the meal. I only wish the shrimp had a chance to marinate longer in said pickling agent, which was poured as the plate dropped, because the last bite was by far the best.

 

Bacon wrapped rabbit with beans, tomato and natural jus was slightly complex, playing off a subtle foundation and a great example of how contrasts can make simple flavors sing. The tomato livens the rabbit and the bacon while the beans help recenter your palate for the next bite.

 

We ordered two pastas, the first was a hand rolled pici pasta with pepe sepe lamb ragout and parmesan, which sounds like it’s going to be heavy and rich, but to our surprise was rather light on its feet, with tiny morsels of ragu providing big bursts of flavor with each bite. The handmade corn ravioli that followed proved to be the heavy hitter of the night with assorted mushrooms, porcini broth and a touch of marscapone. Sweet in two ways, the dish was a masterclass of the interplay between umami, mascarpone and corn, where the high and sweet notes never get too high or too sweet because the porcini broth balances everything out along the way, making for an unmistakably fine dining dish.

 

 

Winvian Farm

The fruits, vegetables actually, of the chef’s labor

 

 

The first of the main courses was duck breast with local carrots, turnips and natural jus. The duck was perfectly cooked and the vegetables by themselves were delicious, but this was a dish where the whole was more than the sum of its parts, and the bites comprising everything on the plate provided the “ah ha” moment. The Colorado lamb loin was well seasoned and delicious by itself but was slightly bogged down by the circle of quinoa and ancient grains that stymied some of the subtle complexity I think this dish was going for.

 

The desserts were a revelation. We ate all of them without leaving a scrap. I could probably write an entire article about them, but for now just take my advice and if you go to Winvian Farm for dinner, please order as many as possible. Our three were milk chocolate cream with impossibly light caramel cake and a passion fruit sorbet, an almond pineapple cake with coconut cream strawberries and coconut sorbet which somehow tasted like a churro, and that same amazing local corn in a custard with Litchfield bourbon infused peaches, caramel sauce, and miso vanilla ice cream. 

 

My guest and I practically levitated out of the dining room.

 

 

Winvian Resort restaurant

Winvian’s garden, growing the finest vegetables in the region

 

 

 

Three-course prix fixe start at $98
Four-course prix fixe start at $115
Tasting menus start at $140

 

 

Winvian Farm

155 Alain White Road

Morris, Connecticut 06763

(860) 567-9600

winvian.com

 

 

David Astor Cohen is a Court of Master Sommeliers Level Two Certification and graduate of the International Culinary Center Intensive Sommelier training program. He’s an avid skier, ex-publicist and lives in Connecticut.