Oh, Chateau Elan… where do I begin this wine soaked love affair?
Known for it’s gorgeous winery tours, ultra luxurious spa, and award winning food, Chateau Elan is considered a total hot spot for Atlantans looking for an upscale, steamy staycation.
I first visited Chateau Elan as part of an overnight event with the radio station. We had a pretty tight schedule during the day, but I made sure to squeeze in some exploring (and a successful Instagram sesh) before the sun went down. The sprawling property and incredible landscape were the perfect substitute for my favorite skyline.
Naturally, I sampled several (all) of the Chateau Elan wines that night (yum) which quickly led to drunken daydreaming about my then-boyfriend and how much I wished he was there to enjoy le romance. The comfy robes, the crisp sheets, the big bath tub… swoon. When I found out about the the cooking classes they offer on site, I was in full fantasy mode. Unfortunately for me, there is nothing my ex would have hated more than drinking wine with people he didn’t know while cooking food he was too picky to eat.
When I got back to Atlanta, I couldn’t get the class out of my head; I was really in the mood to get out of my comfort zone. C’est la vie, am I right? I called my go-to girl, Erica, and she was totally down to be my date. Drunken comfort food and new friends are two of her favorite things.
Fast forward two weeks….
We got lost (woops) and arrived 5 (ok 10) minutes late… but just in time for wine. There was a Pinterest worthy table set beautifully in the dining area and several individual cooking stations in the kitchen. After introducing ourselves to the other couples (who had clearly been on the winery tour before class), Erica and I donned our chef hats and aprons and selected the two stations located conveniently in front of the bartender. We ooh-ed and aah-ed over the state of the art kitchen, sipped (chugged) some rosé, and took some selfies while we waited for everyone to take their seats.
I was starving, so when the chef announced the menu for the night, I literally squealed (screeched) with joy:
- Mushroom Bruschetta with Herbed Goat Cheese & Balsamic Glaze
- Chorizo Shrimp & Anson Mill Grits with Smoked Cheddar
- Dark Chocolate Cremeaux with Caramelized Bananas
Incredible, I know.
The ingredients for each dish were pre-measured and neatly laid out in cups at our stations which really made the experience effortless and enjoyable.
We made the mushroom bruschetta first and it was the perfect way to kick off the class. We sautéed the mushrooms in a pan with some olive oil and herbs, spread the goat cheese on the crostini, and topped everything off with balsamic and parmesan. Doesn’t get much easier than that! I would totally pull a mini version of this bad boy out as a passed hors d’oeuvre at my next party.
Next, we worked on what I considered the star of the show- the chorizo shrimp n’ grits. I actually consider myself a shrimp n’ grits connoisseur (addict maybe?) and chorizo is easily one of my all-time favorite ingredients, so this was a win/win for me.
We did a little slicing and chopping and then mixed everything together in the pan. The smell of the shrimp and chorizo with the spices, onions, and peppers was a total tease. I was actually drooling (gross, not really) while I waited for everything to hurry up and finish cooking.
We (finally) served the shrimp, chorizo, and peppers over a huge helping of creamy grits. When I took a good look at my finished product, I was totally impressed… I MADE THAT! I mean- y’all. That is a pretty bowl of shrimp n’ grits. And it tasted even better than it looks. If Erica wouldn’t have killed me and then died of embarrassment herself, I would have 100% licked my bowl.
My favorite part about this whole experience (aside from all the wine and laughter) was how the chef made everything feel so achievable. I’m pretty confident that I could replicate this meal again, and I’m no Top Chef.
If you love yummy food, great wine, and are looking for the perfect night (date night, girls night, mommy/daughter night, family night, whatever night) I insist that you check out the cooking classes at Chateau Elan. You might not be quite ready for your debut on Chopped, but you’ll come home with a full belly, amazing memories, and more skills than you showed up with. I seriously can’t wait for my next visit!