By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Anytime The Greenbrier is spoken of, your first thoughts are probably of exquisite, indulging accommodations, luxurious dining, and some of the finest golfing greens in the East. Who would have imagined that this famous destination resort in West Virginia would also gain a reputation for being a heavenly haven for chocolate? But it has!
It all began with a spectacular Christmas display that featured 1,000 pounds of chocolate creatively built by The Greenbrier’s Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Francois Suteau and his team. Suteau, named one of the Top 10 Best Pastry Chefs in 2011 as well as the U.S. Chocolate Master, spent three months creating the extravagant holiday display that included everything from bigger than life Nutcracker characters to reindeer to gift wrapped packages made of chocolate! Not a creature was stirring? BAH! Not at The Greenbrier; those who witnessed this delectable display were definitely all astir!
But now, Christmas has passed and Spring will soon be upon us. Suteau decided that while the snow was melting outside, he and his team would busy themselves inside – melting down the Christmas display. In January, they began to continue building this new chocolate tradition at The Greenbrier by creating for visitors a special Easter display!
This is not an easy task, requiring specific temperatures, shaping and sculpting to bring about the desired result without any cracking. The process also requires coloring the chocolate for certain pieces, smoothing it and polishing it so that it gleams. Now, as the revelation draws near, Suteau and his team are wasting no time to meet their deadline. The exhibit will make its debut on March 21st and will remain on display for three weeks – through the Easter holiday.
This newest seasonal chocolate creation will showcase items synonymous with spring and Easter … things like a six-foot tall bunny rabbit, more than 200 baby chicks, colorful, blooming tulips, and a nest of large golden eggs! Guests and visitors will be awed by the Choco-Easter extravaganza that will be very carefully carried and put into place in both the lower and upper lobbies of the resort. Now, however, while the finishing touches bring the pieces to perfection, it’s very hush-hush. Everything is hidden from the public eye and stored in temperature-controlled surroundings until the big reveal! It promises to be quite a sight to see – for both children and adults.
Although the celebrated chocolatier’s unique display may take center stage, Easter at The Greenbrier will encompass lots of additional treats – such as an Easter egg hunt for resort guests on April 4th and an Easter brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with fruit stations, bakery specialties, an omelet station, a waffle station, carving station, an enormous display of both hot and cold foods, and, of course, a dessert station!
Prior to that, on March 29th, a community Easter event will begin at 2 p.m. with an egg hunt, photos with the Easter Bunny, a Bunny Hop Fun Run, a talent contest for children, prizes, games and entertainment. Those attending are asked to bring food items that will be donated to the Greenbrier Area Food Bank.
While you may think that ‘hopping’ to The Greenbrier is out of your price range, keep in mind that the resort offers many “specials” and it just might be affordable to you during these times. That is one thing that owner Jim Justice has tried to do … to offer a Greenbrier ‘experience’ to more than just the rich and famous – an opportunity for folks of all incomes to discover the incredible beauty and magic of The Greenbrier for a memorable day or two! Call 855-453-4858 to inquire about packages and special offers … and maybe you too can hop on down to The Greenbrier!