Friday, April 6, 2012

Gluten-Free at The Grove Park Inn

The first time I dined at The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC, it was during the Christmas holidays. I was not gluten-free back then and the holiday buffet we enjoyed was spectacular in terms of taste and visually amazing as well. Seeing the impressive holiday themed ice sculpture alone was worth the price of the meal!

During the last week of December last year, we popped over to Asheville from TN after spending  Christmas with family. We enjoyed viewing the wonderful Gingerbread House Competition entries at the inn before heading to feast on a gourmet meal at Horizons - the high end dining room at the resort. The sprawling property is always busy, especially so during the holidays, and this year was no exception. We were glad to get away from the crowds and enter the relaxed atmosphere inside Horizons.

We were seated by the window and had an incredible view of Asheville down below. Our friendly server introduced herself and someone delivered freshly made gluten-free savory mini biscuits to the table. I named the bread that because that's what it reminded me of. A bite of the tasty mini biscuit with a dab of butter on it and I knew I was in for a real treat!

Below are my selections from the printed gluten-free menu offered to me that evening. There are no photos posted because the ones I took did not turn out at all. I've spent way too much time trying to  make them viable to publish here, but I can't do that to the talented culinary team at Horizon's. Their dishes looked like artwork at times and the photos don't do the impressive meal any justice at all.


Amuse Bouche - green tomato jam with blue crab salad atop lemon creme fraiche, garnished with shaved fennel, fennel fronds and spiced pumpkin seeds.  


Butternut Squash Bisque - shaved dark chocolate and marshmallow fluff

Slow Braised Hickory Nut Gap Pork Belly - quail egg, citrus confit and grilled scallion


Pan Seared Diver Scallops - braised South Texas wild boar, Swiss chard and Hendersonville apple butter


Artisan Cheese Plate - served with gluten-free bread 

Most everything I had at Horizons was wonderful! The description of the bisque was so intruiguing that I could not pass on ordering it, and I was surprised that I actually quite enjoyed it. The pork belly was out of this world delicious and I was glad my husband doesn't care for that dish so I didn't have to share it.  The scallops were incredible as was the apple butter, but I don't care for Swiss chard at all.

There were three desserts on the gluten-free menu and I was in the mood for a cheese plate listed among the offerings.  The artisan cheeses served were all wonderful, and while I appreciated the gluten-free bread wedges served with them, I didn't have room much of it. It was similar to pita bread wedges and pretty tasty.

The menu changes at Horizons often so that the freshest and most local ingredients can be used. However, I want to share the other interesting dessert options available to me during our visit.

*Stirred Lemon Custard - torched meringue and blueberry sorbet
*Espresso Mousse - flourless cinnamon cake and chocolate-orange ice cream 

There are several restaurants at the resort, but we didn't inquire about other gluten-free options as we only visited for dinner one evening.  If you make reservations at Horizons, be sure to mention your gluten-free needs so the staff can accommodate you deliciously!

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