Enjoy a Behind-the-Scenes Look of Belfair
Nestled in the heart of Bluffton, Belfair Plantation sits quietly off the highway eluding to scenic views and beautiful homes. The graceful entrance bids the viewer a taste of the charm that lies within. After driving past Belfair nearly every day, I was very excited for the opportunity to learn more about the plantation, and most of all, take a behind-the-scenes look at the magic that happens in their renowned kitchen.
An established private golf community with a rich history, Belfair Plantation evokes a nostalgic feeling for the good ‘ole days, while offering exquisite dining, top of the line amenities and world class private golf courses. This tight-knit, friendly community in the heart of Bluffton creates a Lowcountry experience for their members, complete with traditional and contemporary cuisine. The Belfair culinary team has mastered the art of multitasking, balancing up to four dining areas, club functions and events, simultaneously.
As I enter the plantation, a picturesque oak-lined drive leads me into Belfair’s oasis, giving way to beautiful homes and a regal clubhouse. I began my visit with General Manager Dave Porter, who gave me insight into the history of the plantation and the inner workings of the clubhouse. Belfair Plantation began as a working plantation in 1811 with livestock, vegetables and a plantation home with the now preserved oak-lined drive. In 1995, the plantation was converted into a community by a team that included Tom Fazio as the golf course designer.
Dave Porter, along with Food and Beverage Manager, Millie Grimes, run a cracker-jack team with extensive hospitality experience. The team includes Executive Chef Bruce Christensen as well as three additional chefs. Dave boasts over 23 years of hospitality experience and is happy he moved further south from Chicago to warmer weather. Millie joined the Belfair team to work under the direction of Dave. As the daughter of a chef, she has a love for food and beverage in her blood. They both enjoy the constant activity of the club, creating unique events for members and completing events from A-Z.
Belfair offers various dining experiences, which all serve the freshest ingredients. The 1811 Grille overlooks the 18th hole, as well as the Colleton River, and offers a casual, yet intimate, atmosphere. The Oaks Dining Room offers scenic views of the golf course and is an ideal venue for fine dining and banquets. The Veranda Dining area offers relaxed al fresco dining for lunch or dinner with majestic views of Colleton River. And, during the summer they offer pool side al fresco dining. During my visit, the staff was topping off a beautiful banquet-style preparation for a wine dinner with exquisite design.
Chef Bruce originally trained in Minneapolis and continued his education in New York and Napa Valley, California. With 28 years experience as an executive chef, Bruce has never considered being anything else. His favorite part of working at Belfair is his awesome team and the camaraderie amongst them. Bruce pulls from his years of experience to juggle it all. He led me back to kitchen to finish up the Butternut Squash Bisque.
Served in a small pitcher the soup looked decadent! I will admit I’m a picky eater and wouldn’t consider ordering this particular soup if on the menu. But after one spoonful, I was blown away to say the least! Smooth and creamy, with a wonderful punch of flavor—this soup is a lucious delight!
Next, I met with Pastry Chef Theresa Brandow, an experienced chef who has dedicated her career to baking. She decided that baking was a perfect small niche in the culinary world and she has been assuaging the sweet tooths of patrons ever since! Theresa baked a wonderful cappuccino crème brulée, complete with torched sugar on top. This decadent dessert was the perfect amount of sweet, and as we all tasted it there was a simultaneous “Mmmmm”!
From beautiful views to savory soup, my experience at Belfair Plantation was one I will never forget. Dave Porter described Belfair as casual and comfy, but also a classy place and he was right—spot on!
Cappuccino Crème Brûlée
2 cups Whipping cream
½ cup Sugar
2 tsps Instant espresso powder
5 large Egg yolks
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp Ground nutmeg
1 tsp Vanilla extract
3 Tbsps Golden brown sugar, (packed)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Arrange six 3/4-cup ramekins in 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Combine cream, sugar and espresso powder in heavy saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Whisk yolks, cinnamon and nutmeg in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in cream mixture, then vanilla. Divide custard among ramekins. Pour enough hot water into pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Bake until custards are softly set, about 30 minutes. Remove custards from water. Chill until cold, at least 3 hours. DO AHEAD: This can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.
Preheat broiler. Arrange custards on baking sheet. Press ½ tablespoon brown sugar through strainer onto each custard. Broil custards until sugar bubbles and caramelizes, about 2 minutes. Chill custards until topping hardens, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours. Serve cold.
Butternut Squash Bisque
1¼ lb. Butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into large pieces
½ lb. Butter
1½ Tbsp Sage, dried
1 Carrot, chopped small
1 Onion, chopped small
¼ Fresh fennel, diced
1 Potato, chopped small
½ cup Maple syrup
1 tsp Fennel seed
½ cup White wine
4 cups Water
¼ cup Whipping cream
1 tsp Coriander, ground
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp White pepper, ground
1 Green apple, cored,
½ tsp Cinnamon sticks
¼ cup Rice wine vinegar
Grill squash on a char broiler until it is well caramelized. Combine squash and all other ingredients, except vinegar, in a large stockpot and simmer for 1 hour. Remove soup from the stove, allow to cool for 1 hour and then puree in a blender until completely smooth. Strain through a fine sieve. Add rice wine vinegar and blend. Taste, season as needed with additional salt and pepper.
Note: This soup freezes well.
Crab Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Aioli
1 lb. Crabmeat
1 Egg, beaten
2 tsp Lemon juice
2 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup Bread crumbs
½ cup Mayonnaise
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 Green onion, minced
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 dash Tabasco
Salt & white pepper, to taste
¼ cup Salad oil
Combine all ingredients together and mix well. Adjust consistency with more bread crumbs as needed.
Pat crab cake mixture into any size. Heat oil over a medium flame in a Teflon skillet and fry crab cakes until brown, about 2 minutes. Turn over and brown on the other side. Serve with roasted pepper aioli on top.
Roasted Red Pepper Aioli
3 oz. jar Roasted red peppers or pimentos, pureed
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
Salt & white pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and mix well.
To learn more about Belfair call (843) 757-0701
or visit www.belfair1811.com