A Vermont Country Wedding

south londonderry, vt
On Saturday, András and I were invited to a country wedding in Vermont. The betrothed were our friend and my colleague at Food Network, Morgan Bennison, and her dearest, Jim Hass. Since Morgan joined us at the Food Network, first as our intern in the text kitchen, and now as one of our talented food stylist, she’s been talking about Serge Roche, the chef owner of Three Clock Inn where she used to work, in her native Vermont. When Morgan got engaged, about the same time I did, she knew Serge would be the man behind her wedding meal. She also knew that the tiny Chapel of the Snows in Stratton, VT, where she took her first communion, would be where she would say her vows.
My own wedding wasn’t so easy to plan. We thought about a sophisticated city affair right here in New York, or an orchard wedding at Edward’s Apple Orchard where I picked apples every fall of my childhood or a tiny ceremony in Hungary in the chapel where András spent his boyhood summers with his nagymamma {Grandmother}. We even considered celebrating at a vineyard in Illinois {yes, they exist}. We landed on a quiet affair on a 600-acre estate called Berry Hill in Southern Virginia, which was perfectly us.
What was easy about planning my wedding, was deciding what to wear on my head when I said I do. It just so happens that Morgan is not only a talented culinarian, she is also a gifted milliner, and came to her delicate touch with food through studied hat-making for the Victor Osborne label. And it just so happened that our wedding fell on the year of my parent’s 40th anniversary, and that my mother so graciously saved a tidbit of the lace she had made her own veil with, which Morgan used to make me a delicate little French bird-cage veil for my wedding day. But that’s another story for another day.
Today I want to tell you about Morgan’s very delicious Vermont country wedding. On Saturday morning, András and I drove north toward Vermont, munching on garden veggies, stopping at farm stands and driving deeper into an idyllic land of town halls and handsome homes built in the late 1700s. When we finally arrived at the chapel, five hours later, we were famished. After a sweet and simple ceremony, we gathered at the Three Clock Inn in South Londenderry, where the Southern French borne chef-owner, Serge, gloriously lived up to the praise Morgan had given him over the years. He and Morgan's Papa had prepared duck rillettes and roasted rabbit legs, escargots and port-poached pears, roasted artichokes and mini lobster roll sandwiches. The tables were laid with farmstead Vermont cheeses and salami and homemade grissini and marinated olives and enough flavor to ignore the delicate drizzle that fell all around us. The cast-iron fire pit and Viognier gave warmth as we waited for the bride and groom to arrive for toasting and tucking into a meal of braised short ribs and chicken with chanterelles and roasted beets and green beans and rabbit with preserved lemons, served family style around long tables lined with fresh breads baked in tiny terra cotta pots.
Everything about the meal was superb, and the atmosphere, French auberge meets small town America, was charming. And, as if perfectly cast, Serge’s beautiful young daughters, Charlotte and Sophie would flit to and from the kitchen, restocking crackers and sampling cheeses and smiling in that sweet, sophisticated French girl way, already mastered at the young ages of 9 and 12. And then there was Francois, his youngest, who toddled always near his mother with his petit juane cheveux pulled into a coiled ponytail at the nape of his neck.
If there were a story I’d like to insert myself firmly into, it would be this one. A young boy is born in Alau, France, one of twelve children. He gathers food in the fields with his siblings, and cooks alongside his mother. He becomes a chef, working in Geneva, France, England. One day, he’s working diligently in Marseille, when he gets a call from a restaurateur in midtown Manhattan. Come to New York, the caller says. Yes, the young man replies. He comes, he works his way around a grand big city, and falls in love with a lovely American girl. She’s not only beautiful, but also brilliant, and begs him to run away with her to the countryside where she can attend medical school. He finds a spacious white clapboard house in Vermont that reminds him of the auberges of France. He buys it, and begins the business of creating beautiful menus that highlight ingredients grown in Vermont’s fertile soil, and they live happily ever after with their four perfect children.
I’m not sure exactly where András and I would fit into this story, except as we did that night, as guests on the lawn of Serge’s auberge, eating fine food and drinking fine wine, toasting to another story beginning around us, and feeling very lucky to be a part of it.


lola said...

beautiful pictures!

judy m. said...

sarah, your descriptions leave my mouth watering for more! and the scene, the way you tell it, make me want to be a part of the story too. i am excited to hear the story of your wedding, and to see a picture of the birdcage veil.

JJPickford said...

I love "another story beginning around us" -- what a wonderful way to describe a wedding. I can picture the beautiful country air around you on this special occasion. What a weaver of stories you are.

Tara Desmond said...

Sounds like a scene lifted from the pages of Martha Stewart Mag. I wish I was situated in front of that cast-iron fire pit with a glass of Viognier. What a fantastic wedding feast.

morgan said...

Thanks so much for your lovely words and pictures! Jim and I were so lucky to have such a talented friend in attendance. I can't wait to see more pictures!


Anonymous said...

Your photos are so beautiful! And the words perfectly match, what an amazing scene you have portrayed!

Frances said...

This wedding is stunning! I love the simple yet elegant treatment of the food & details. I wanna know more... makes me want to plan a road trip to Vt. right now and find a husband!

Anonymous said...

pictures...writing...all amazing. my favorite is the second to last paragraph about the "story"....it's like a romance novel wrapped up into one paragraph. love it.

Sarah Paradoski said...

Sarah--You captured the wondrousness of Morgan's wedding with eloquent aplomb. It was such a pleasure to meet you and András, not to mention to have all you Food Network hotties at my table (and hovering around the appetizer area!) and with whom to gush about the food and all else. Take care, and keep being great.
--Sarah P

Anonymous said...

Such a lovely and wonderful story.By just imagining the food that you have mentioned, my stomach is already burst.Thanks for posting.

vermont country wedding

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New York City, United States
Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.