Meet the chef: Sarah Griswold from Blueberry Hill Inn
GOSHEN — Sarah Griswold, Blueberry Hill Inn’s winter chef, might be new to Vermont, but she’s been cooking like a farmer since she was a child.
Griswold grew up on a sheep farm in Danbury, Conn. There, she ate from the garden, canned her own fruits and vegetables, and learned to cook with food she grew herself. In the summertime, she worked with her uncle, who had a catering business based in Rhode Island.
“I’ve loved it since I was little,” she said.
Now, her workshop lies five miles down a meandering Forest Service road off the Middlebury Gap in Goshen. The Blueberry Hill Inn, a bright blue accent in over 16,000 acres of protected Moosalamoo Recreation Area wilderness, serves as a refuge to chilly cross country skiers after a long day in the woods, a base camp for out-of-staters seeking adventure and, for locals, a dining destination.
The stone-floored kitchen features a hulking black cast-iron stove where Griswold carefully crafts hearty chicken noodle soups, risottos and meat dishes sourced from local farms. With a degree from the Connecticut Culinary Institute in Farmington and years of experience as a caterer, Griswold knows her way around the kitchen. To the right, visitors can lounge with the two house pups, Remy and Weezer, in a south-facing sitting room, decorated with large hanging plants, that looks out onto acres of forest. To the left, a kitchen door leads first into a dining room with a giant stone fireplace, then to a larger, more spacious expanse outfitted with long, farmhouse tables, bordered by windows that dapple the floor with sunlight in the daytime.
The inn only serves overnight guests and those with a reservation — which they recommend making at least 48 hours in advance — because Griswold’s four-course fixed menu ($50) changes according to the number of people dining, and their dietary restrictions. (All dining occasions at the Inn are BYOB.)
On Valentine’s Day, the Inn will feature a special menu, including beet risotto, a warm Brussels sprout salad, crispy Misty Knoll chicken, and for dessert: chocolate rose pots de crème. For guests who decide to stay the night, the Inn will offer rooms at $150, with a homemade breakfast included.
“We always have granola and yogurt, coffee, tea, that sort of thing,” Griswold said. “We usually do a sweet or a savory—that would be any kind of egg dish, or eggs, or crepes. There are always house-made pastries and fruit. So it’s kind of a four-course breakfast.”
Later in February, the Inn will hold “guest chef” nights — an event series designed by Griswold. For these, she’ll invite a few esteemed chef-friends from Connecticut’s culinary world to grace the Inn with their best dishes. The first chef, Geoff Croteau, is a sous chef at Creative Kitchen and Catering in Sheldon, Conn. He plans to serve a roasted tomato soup with sundried tomato pesto and a grilled cheese baton, grilled pork chops with braised red cabbage, apples, creamy polenta and beurre rouge, along with a brownie tart and chocolate-dipped strawberry for dessert.
After dinner, guests can relax by the fire with a mug of coffee or tea — or one of the Inn’s famous chocolate chip cookies, whose recipe was developed in the ’80s and has stayed the same ever since. The cookies, which the Inn has shipped to customers all over the world — may be a testament to its kitchen and an indicator that guests won’t leave unsatisfied.
For more information about events, and to see sample menus, visit blueberryhillinn.com.
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