Let’s assume you’ve been faithfully following your New Year’s resolutions to get in shape. Maybe you’ve been attending your new gym or trying some of the myriad of outdoor activities. It’s time for a reward, in this case a decadent reward.
We are heading to Oakhurst, about an hour and 15-minute drive. We will enjoy dining in a European-inspired castle on a 9-acre forest setting with a AAA Five Diamond Award. It’s called Erna’s Elderberry House, and truly deserves each of the five diamonds. Besides elegant dining, it features a fully stocked downstairs bar with drinks you may never have heard of, such as some signature cocktails:
- ELDERFLOWER SOUR gin, lemon juice, elderflower syrup, egg white
- NEGRONI winter spice infused gin, Campari, sweet vermouth
- WINTER OLD FASHIONED hazelnut bourbon, cinnamon simple syrup, orange bitters
- SPICED PEAR MANHATTAN rye bourbon, sweet vermouth, pear liqueur, angostura
- ANCHO CHILE MARGARITA silver tequila, ancho chili liqueur, lime juice, Cointreau
- GINGER PEAR MARTINI pear vodka, lime juice, ginger simple syrup, ginger bitters
That’s not to say you can’t order more traditional drinks at this elegant setting with wooden chairs, wooden floors, stone-clad walls, and wooden bar. Upstairs, there are several dining rooms that seat 120 guests. Each room is very European with elegant seating and professional wait staff and sommelier. Enjoy a thoughtful three or four course tasting menu sourced from local farms that are harvested at their peak of flavor. Each ingredient is meticulously cared for by Chef Robert Snyder III and his culinary team.
As I write the article, this week’s 3- and 4-course menu features
- SALT ROASTED PERSIMMON, HEIRLOOM BEET, ELDERBERRY CRAB CAKE, CRISP TEMPLE FARM MUSHROOM, TOGARASHI SEARED AHI TUNA, LA BELLE FARM’S FOIE GRAS ÉCLAIR, BRANDT FARM’S BEEF RIBEYE, MAINE DIVER SCALLOPS, WILD ALASKAN HALIBUT, SMOKED PITMAN RANCH DUCK BREAST
- WINTER PEAR & CHOCOLATE and other unique desserts.
I did say as I started the article that it would be a decadent reward. So, sit down when you read the prices. Three Course Tasting Menu: $80; Sommelier Wine Pairing: $60; choice of soup or salad, entrée, dessert
Four Course Tasting Menu: $110; Sommelier Wine Pairing: $80; choice of soup or salad, appetizer, entrée, dessert.
But wait, there’s more!
You can stay on-site at one of the ten rooms of the Château du Sureau with prices starting at $395.Each room is truly elegant with features like 4-poster beds or sleigh beds, fireplaces and suburb forest views. There’s one package I really like, but will probably never do, it’s called, Best of Both Worlds.
Embark upon a two day/one-night backpacking and hiking adventure with your own private naturalist guide/chef. Enjoy hiking, camping, swimming and more, then return to camp and enjoy “back-country gourmet” meals and snacks prepared just for you. Upon your return to the Château, relax at the spa followed by an elegant meal at Erna’s Elderberry House. An optional fourth day is reserved for complete relaxation here on the Estate – sit by the pool, listen to music, read a good book, and get ready for a scrumptious 5 course dinner at the Elderberry House Restaurant.
Three-day retreat $5,370.00. Prices based on 1–2 guests.
I must admit, we’ve only been there once, several years ago. It was a special New Year’s Eve event and a surprise for my wife. As luck would have it, on the day before, they called our house and my wife answered. They said they saw that we had a reservation for the next night and wanted us to know they had the Villa du Sureau open to rent for $1800. So much for the surprise, but we did win the only door prize, a 3-night stay at the 4-Seasons in San Francisco. We really hope to return to Erna’s Elderberry House someday.