Biltmore in Fall

Mother Earth continues to ready her world for the onslaught of fall colors. The weather is cooperating, giving relief from the smoldering summer days. Memories are vivid, just like the beautiful fall colors. One memory is of a trip, with friends, to Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. It was fall and the colors were beautiful. I had been there in the summer, but this was my first fall trip. Sourwood, gum, maple and red oak trees popped in beautiful colors before my eyes. Flowers bloomed everywhere my eyes looked. It was stunningly beautiful. The air was crisp. How could the day be more perfect?

Having toured the house on an earlier trip, I was more interested in the massive grounds that surround the house. The plan was to see every bloom and fall secret hiding at Biltmore Estate. The fields had been harvested, ready for a winter rest. Gardens were full of fall crops, awaiting the harvest table, and I was about to indulge in their bounty. Yes, I was about to enter the doors of the Deerpark Restaurant, home of the bountiful buffet, featuring foods grown on the grounds and in season. This charming, rustic restaurant was originally a barn, transformed into a courtyard restaurant with walls of windows. Deerpark Restaurant was known to serve a generous array of southern family-style dishes and Appalachian specialties in an endless buffet, topped off with a charming courtyard setting.

The fields and gardens provided a variety of vegetables, herbs, and fruit year-round. From typical home garden crops, such as lettuces, heirloom tomatoes, asparagus, and winter squash, to more unusual ones, such as red scallions, carrots in five different colors, edible flowers, and micro greens, the garden’s products reflected the region’s rich growing season. Among the fruit were plump blackberries, raspberries, and alpine strawberries. And the chef knew exactly how to prepare wonderful dishes from the garden’s abundant supply. With this knowledge, I could not wait to taste the salads, casseroles, vegetables, fruit dishes, soups, meats, breads, and pastries of the season.

Upon entering the Deerpark Restaurant, the smells were overwhelming, beckoning me to the buffet. The presentation of food on the table was pleasant to the eyes, adding to my feeling of anticipation. There were two choices of soup: pumpkin and wild mushroom. I indulged in both, and they were equally delicious. I can still taste the wonderful flavors. There were at least six different salads, and I sampled each delicacy, savoring every bite. After the soup and salad, I needed a small break before tackling the main course. Choosing the main course from several “yummy” choices was very difficult. So much so, that I decided to continue sampling. The vegetables were so well prepared (oh, the acorn squash) I would have been satisfied without meat, but, of course, I had it all. The breads were home-made, and the deserts were “to die for.” We dined for well over two hours in a relaxed fashion, as it was that kind of eating experience. I have traveled to many places and eaten from many fabulous restaurants (I consider myself to be a connoisseur of good food), but this one is in my top ten. I bought the cook book, but nothing compares to the memory of the smells, tastes, and atmosphere of the Deerpark Restaurant and Biltmore Estate in the fall. If you go to the Biltmore Estate this fall, you will certainly come away with memories!

Source: K. P. Guessen