Bring the Season and Our State to the Table
Serving locally sourced food has many benefits
Let them eat local. Save money and improve the quality of your reception meal by serving locally sourced foods that are fresh and in season. We asked several area chefs for their take on what fall can bring to the table.Local is the word, for everything from fresh eggs to even fresher seafood as restaurants gear up to source their menus from nearby farmers markets and fields.
As the discerning bride, why not ask your reception venue to create a menu that features a taste of the Granite State?
Fall is harvest season and the fields are loaded with root vegetables for rich soups and even late summer tomatoes for flavorful salads.
A few creative farmers are extending the season for greens, mushrooms and more by using hoop houses and greenhouses, and offering their products at winter markets after the first frost that closes most local farmers markets in mid-October.
Apples are the state's largest agricultural crop and, even though the harvest from September to October ends soon, many growers hold their products in cold storage into early winter to maintain a bit of snap. They make great additions to salads, sauces and soups.
New Hampshire cider is another way to enjoy apples especially the sparkling Farnum Hill ciders from Poverty Lane orchards in Lebanon. Consider making a toast with their Semi-Dry.
The state has a growing number of wineries, both fruit and grape, that harvest in the fall. This year's harvest is not ready for pouring for at least a few months, but their cellared wines from 2009 have had time to develop a great character. You can ask to have NH wines served with the meal, or just have your reception at Flaghill Winery in Lee or Zorvino Vineyards in Sandown.
Long Pepper-Encrusted Venison Loin with sweet potato gratin, sherry-scented cippolini onions and pomegranate reduction. Prepared by Chef Earl Anthony Morse at the Bedford Village Inn.
Photo by Susan Laughlin
Maple syrup, gathered in March, has to be the most iconic food group from the state and many chefs have devised ways to glaze and sauce entrées with its golden goodness available year-round.
The number of small farms are growing in the state and each year ambitious young couples and even retirees take to the land to raise chickens, lamb, venison and even grass-fed beef. Ask your chef to find and use this local product. A good source of information is the New Hampshire Farm to Restaurant Connection.
Lastly, our short seacoast has abundant resources for seafood, and even lobsters are available in the fall. Little Bay Oysters on Great Bay are cultured and harvested by hand for a real New Hampshire treat from the sea.
It's up to you to ask your venue's chef to source locally. Not only will your guests be impressed and pleased, but you are also doing our state a big favor by helping to support local farmers who in turn keep large portions of our state a beautiful, scenic countryside.
Harvest Chicken with farm fresh apples and a cider cream sauce in a roasted acorn squash served over rice. Prepared by chef Thomas Pifari at the Inn on Newfound Lake.
Photo by Susan Laughlin
Taste of Fall
Inn on Newfound Lake offers lake views and a newly remodeled barn (up to 240 guests) for the reception that manages to be elegant and rustic at the same time – all for an affordable price.
Chef: Thomas Pifari
Venue: Inn on Newfound Lake, Bridgewater
Entrée: Harvest Chicken with farm fresh apples and a cider cream sauce in a roasted acorn squash served over rice
Appetizer: Caprice Salad with farm fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and buffalo mozzarella topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Dessert: Bread Pudding with fresh local apples topped with house-made grand mariner sauce and whipped cream
Taste of the Sea
Give your guests a taste of local waters with a fresh seafood menu. By using lobster as an appetizer and cod as the entrée, the cost is not prohibitive, yet guests are treated to fresh, sweet, local fare brought in by local fishermen who dock their boats in Portsmouth.
Chef: Matt Louis
Venue: Wentworth by the Sea – a Marriot Hotel and Spa, New Castle
Locally caught pan-fried cod with roasted fingerling potatoes, grain mustard beurre blanc and bacon lardons. Prepared by Chef Matt Louis at the Wentworth by the Sea Hotel.
Photo by Susan Laughlin
Appetizer One: Cold butter-poached lobster with butternut squash coulis, baby spinach and sautéed salsify
Appetizer Two: Little Bay Oysters with pickled new hampshire apples with a local cider foam
Entrée: Locally caught pan-fried cod with roasted fingerling potatoes, grain mustard beurre blanc and bacon lardons
Farm to Table
Chef Morse knows his local foods and presents this menu sourced from Apple Hill Farms in Concord, Yellow House Farm in Barrington and Corn Hill Farm in Boscawen.
Chef: Earl Anthony Morse
Venue: Bedford Village Inn
Amuse Bouche: Pheasant Sausage with roasted honey crisp apples, pistachios, sage and orchard cider emulsion
Appetizer: Roasted Duckling Salad with caramelized pears, autumn squash and blood orange vinaigrette
Intermezzo: "Kissing Cousin" Sorbet with white Concord grapes
Entrée: Long Pepper-Encrusted Venison Loin with sweet potato gratin, sherry-scented cippolini onions and pomegranate reduction (pictured)
Dessert: Pumpkin Gateau au Fromage with spiced cheesecake, walnut brittle and sea salt caramel