New Years Eve, Downton Abbey style, proved an elegant and vintage end to 2014. Guests at the Wine Dinner Dance were met in the entry parlor by an appropriately aproned maid with flutes of wine. Gifts of handmade Victorian paper and ribbon medallions announced them as honored guests. Hosts, Bob and Sharon, owners of the Empress, escorted the elegantly clad guests to the formal dining room to feast on a four-course gourmet meal featuring: Pumpkin and Fig Autumn Soup with a Pumpkin-Nutmeg Creme Fraiche, Victorian Rosewater Sorbet, Beef Wellington Duxelles accompanied by Gruyere Sausage Stuffed Onions, Blueberry Goat Cheese Salad with toasted Almand Croutons; Pear-Parsnip Velvete’ with Cognac, and a dessert finale of Apple Butter Pie and fresh creme. Each course was paired with a unique wine chosen by the house sommelier to compliment the distinct flavor of each course.
During dinner, lively conversation sprang up among guests representing Britian, Israel, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and various cities around Arkansas. After dinner, up came the rugs in the main parlor for dancing and live musical entertainment began, provided by Jeff Long and Mary Kai CLark, well known local entertainers. Flames danced in the fireplaces, candles and oil lamps throughout the parlors of the mansion, as well guests. At the witching hour of midnight, guests toasted the New Year in with a glass of champagne to the strains of Auld Ang Syne.
It was a memorable evening and we are glad to be able, once again, to host so many wonderful guests for this New Year’s Eve Wine Dinner Dance, “Downton Abbey style”! We hope you’ll join us next year. Sign up for our newsletter to catch all the wonderful events throughout the year.