BY MEREDITH POWELL
While Middleton Place – a beautifully-maintained plantation with gardens designed in accordance with the principles of André Le Nôtre, designer of the gardens at the Palace of Versaille –is a breathtakingly beautiful place to visit any time of year, there are now a few more reasons to spend a day at this peaceful retreat.
From now until November, Middleton Place will be offering Wine Strolls every Wednesday night from 5:30 to 7 p.m. For $10, visitors may enjoy several varieties of wine poured by experts, as well as take their own private stroll of the gardens while the sun sets over the Ashley River. Then, if the walk and wine have piqued your appetite, the Restaurant at Middleton Place is now offering an exciting new menu.
Known for revolving their menu around seasonal, local produce, the Restaurant at Middleton Place has taken “locally grown” to a whole new level by offering meals made with produce from the plantation’s private garden.
I recently had the opportunity to meet the restaurant’s Executive Chef, Micah Garrison. After we found a seat at one of the tables on the glass-enclosed porch, Garrison was especially excited to show off their new and seasonally-appropriate menu which contains more than a few delicious organic ingredients and seafood entrees.
However, what was even more exciting than drooling over the savory options was listening to the preparation process. Garrison laughed, explaining that he is as much a chef as a farmer, “tilling the fields and getting my redneck on; literally,” he smiled. While Garrison works in the kitchen at night, most days one will find him out in the garden weeding, trimming, tilling, feeding and pondering what would look good and taste delicious on the lunch and dinner menus.
This time of year the young green beans are crisp, the beets are small and packed with flavor, the new potatoes are deliciously fresh and the sweet corn could almost be served as a dessert. Not only is this an economically smart method to run a restaurant business, it is friendly both to the ecology and our stomachs.
For more information, to make a reservation for a wine tasting stroll or dinner at the restaurant, visit www.middletonplace.org or call 556-6020. The Restaurant at Middleton Place is a member of the Sustainable Seafood Initiative, the Billfish Foundation, Slow Foods and Fresh on the Menu.