Last week, we had our annual department retreat at ThornCreek Winery in Aurora. I think somebody is having fun with me because throughout this pregnancy, I have found myself at more wineries then every before – including Sonoma and Napa. But I digress…
The last time I was at this winery, probably five or six years ago, it was known as Dankorona. Granted I was definitely over served that evening and my memories are pleasantly fuzzy, but let’s just say there was nothing memorable about that place. While it was basically a dump with horrible wine, I have to admit I did have fun the few times I was there. Kind of like the old Lonz Winery – you didn’t go there for the wine, but you always left happy.
I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived for our work retreat. The place looks completely different and is absolutely beautiful (the Web site does not do this place justice). The inside is very tranquil – almost like a spa, with a a giant stone fireplace surrounded by over-sized couches, wonderful woodwork and other natural elements that make you feel like you could be sitting in a winery out west.
The grounds were equally as impressive with gorgeous flower beds, walkways and a stone patio. You can tell a lot of attention and detail was spent on this “new” winery.
Coincidental, I received an e-mail from chef Ben Bebenroth of Spice of Life Catering the day before the retreat. Turns out he is now responsible for all the food at ThornCreek, another feather in this winery’s cap.
To celebrate the new business partnership, there will be a Tuscan Harvest Dinner and wine tasting on Sunday, October 19 from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m. The cost is $35 per plate or $40 the day of.
The Tuscan Harvest Dinner will feature an Italian family-style menu with ingredients sourced from family farms within 100 miles of the winery. Guests will enjoy a buffet of smoked Berkshire hog; olive-braised, grass-fed beef; heirloom organic vegetables; hardwood-grilled Chioggia pumpkin; aged cheeses and house-baked breads. All offerings have been created to pair perfectly with ThornCreek wines, including the just-released Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.
“We’ve spent the summer tailoring our flavors to the wines and honing presentations that really suit this beautiful venue. Some menu items even feature herbs from the winery gardens. This dinner will showcase the best of what we’ve learned,” said Bebenroth.
Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 216.432.9090.
While we won’t be able to attend this dinner on Sunday, I definitely plan on heading back to ThornCreek soon. I was genuinely impressed by the grounds and overall atmosphere and look forward to trying a few of the chef’s dishes – oh yeah, and the wine.