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Chow!Bella in St. Albans, VT

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http://www.chowbella.us/

Has anyone eaten here or hired them as caterers? We're considering them as caterers for our wedding on Lake Champlain next summer, but have no actual experience and would love some feedback before we plan a trip up from Boston to meet.

Connie, who runs the place, seems really nice and down to earth, says she loves to use local and organic ingredients, is really flexible, and loves our idea of wedding pies instead of wedding cake.

If anyone has any experience with her, the restaurant or the catering, we would love to hear about it.

Thanks!

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  1. I've eaten there on and off through the years- It's a little off the beaten path but a nice stop on the way to or from Montreal- Haven't been in about a year or so. Nice food and ambiance- I didn't know that they did catering... I guess a lot of restaurants are branching out into that realm these days- I see that Starry Night in Charlotte is promoting catered events now- and last month I attended a wedding reception catered by the chefs from Taste in Burlington.
    Sorry to not be of more help!

    1. no, thanks, thats great. your post also got me looking at other burlington restaurants, like taste and smokejacks - any word on them?

      were getting married at a place on isle lamotte that has been in my family for generations, but we're currently living in boston, and its nice to have some info to go on before we make a drive up for a weekend.

      2 Replies
      1. re: andytee

        oh, and thanks for the mention of taste in burlington. thanks to you, i started chatting with their chef, rick, and he seems wonderful. if you remember any more about the reception you attended that he catered, id love to hear it. better yet, if the couple that he worked for were friend of yours and open to me emailing them a few questions about how they liked working with him..

        either way, i'd love to hear more about him, and his food. he seems like a really nice guy with good food ideas and a passion for sourcing local, which i love.

        thanks again, good tip.

        andy

        1. re: andytee

          Please see me reply below AndyTee-

      2. Andytee,

        Not sure about catering but I think the best food in the area is done by the Chef at Sonoma Station in Richmond VT.....the food is so good it is worth an inquriy. It is a great little spot right on the railroad tracks. Great selection of foods and wines - and the foods seem to showcase VT goods.

        Other great places are the Kitchen Table Bistro, and Trattoria delia again I have not needed any catering in the area so not sure about that. Last time I was in town I hit the newly opened Magnolia's (brunch place) what a nice job they did on the renovations and the place was packed so the locals seem to like it too!

        Good luck with the wedding plans and congrats!

        1. Oh, the memories...

          My parents owned a vacation home on Lake Champlain (we were from Montreal), which they purchased when I was about 16. It was located on Lake St. (Route 36), between Swanton and St. Albans. After my husband and I moved to Toronto ten years ago, we got to go there only once a year, but I got to see St. Albans start to grow up before my father finally sold the place about 4 years ago.

          Ciao Bella was one of the only decent restaurants in St. Albans, and was consistently good, unlike the very inconsistent Jeff's Seafood (is it still around?). Still, these places were a definite improvement over The Cornerstone and The Blue Lion (both long gone), which were our options back in 1974.

          Good luck with the wedding. From what I remember, Ciao Bella was good.

          1. You're welcome AndyTee. I was actually the guest of a somewhat distant cousin of the groom so I can't help you with getting in touch with them. I can tell you that the food was wonderful, fresh and tasty. Very beautifully presented- Lots of subtle layers of flavor and paired nicely with the wines served. I had roasted leg of venison with black truffle demi glace over a garlic crouton, golden fingerling potatoes with parsley and chive butter and baby patty pan and zucchini squash.
            The appetizers were stationary and passed- There was an absolutely gorgeous display of Vermont cheeses with trout pate and a very nice country style pork pate- the crackers looked and tasted homemade. The cake table was made up of about 100+ little baby cakes of all kinds instead of a typical wedding cake- Each was decorated with edible flowers- quite a stunning display. Another guest at our table mentioned that the chef had done the cakes as well as the food. It was quite a high quality affair.
            The chef is quite friendly and kind- Seems to know lots of his clients by name- I actually discovered his restaurant on a night when he was hosting an exhibition of his paintings- The place is full of them- Some quite wild! Hope this helps you some. Happy wedding!

            1. AndyTee- One other interesting aspect of the catered reception I attended- There was a juicer at the bar that the chef's had set up for the party- One could order cocktails with freshly sqeezed mango, pineapple, pear and watermelon juices. The bar had a somewhat tropical theme as the couple was heading to the Carribean for their honeymoon. I thought it was a thoughtful touch.

              1 Reply
              1. re: OCatswell

                Thanks, OCatswell. Rick / Taste seem great so far. Unfortunately Connie from ChowBella ended up bowing out, apparently she got a little overbooked for that time of year. We are hoping to get a few more proposals to compare but are pretty excited about working with Taste.