I’m in The Essex hotel’s kitchen classroom for a Cook Academy class on the finer techniques of proper cooking. What’s on the three-course menu? A bowl of flavorful French onion soup with toasted bread and Gruyere cheese, a pan-roasted steak fillet with a demi-glace and mash potatoes, and for dessert, a luscious maple crème brûlée. After all, this is Vermont, and maple syrup is bound to be one of the ingredients.
With aprons donned, a glass of wine poured, and the ingredients set before us, the instruction begins. Throughout the next two-hours, Chef Adam shares tips on how to roast bones before you make a stock for a demi-glace, the importance of thoroughly drying meat before you season and pan roast, and how much salt really goes into the pot when boiling mash potatoes (half a cup of salt for one gallon of water). During this process, we get as hands-on as we like, slicing, stirring, and pan searing.
The Green Mountain state is full of unique hotel experiences. Besides cooking, you can go for a paddle in Lake Champlain, hear the von Trapp family’s Sound of Music story firsthand or even try an Aqua Solarium during a wellness retreat. If you crave more than ticking items off a bucket list, check out these four hotels that are all about the experience.