Holiday Feast

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now behind us and, in the ideal world, stockings are hung by the chimney with care and children are nestled all snug in their beds. Perhaps right about now adults are in need of a mid-holiday respite.

Pursell Farms might be just the ticket to go over the river and through the woods for a “12 Days of Christmas” 12-course wine dinner at 6 p.m. Dec. 12.

Pursell Farms is situated on 3,500 acres approximately 45 miles from Birmingham and 10 miles west of Sylacauga. It is home to FarmLinks Golf Course, which is characterized by dramatic elevation changes, pristine fairways and immaculate greens surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery.

This stunning Alabama resort has joined the ranks of the Southern Living Hotel Collection, which also includes properties like Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn., Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C., and The Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans.

Pursell Farms is anchored by Parker Lodge, all 14,000 square feet of it, featuring guest suites and rooms, magnificent common areas and intimate dining spaces. There are also cabins and cottages scattered across the property.

Keep the availability of overnight lodging in mind while I share the particulars of the upcoming 12-course meal.

Pursell’s award-winning chef, Andrea Griffith, will source many of the ingredients for this holiday celebration from Pursell’s own organic gardens and orchards.

Griffith has artfully put together a 12-course, fowl-centric meal using the “12 Days of Christmas” song as her inspiration. Five different wines will be paired with the meal in addition to a Champagne aperitif and an after-dinner Port.      

Consider the following offerings:

Course 1: “A Partridge in a Pear Tree,” represented by a breadstick tree limb topped with arugula leaves held in place by prosciutto and house-made pear jam.

Course 2: “Two Turtle Doves” represented by a dove pithivier (pronounced “pee-tive-vyah”). A pithivier usually consists of two discs of puff pastry with a sweet cream filling in the middle. In this case, Griffith uses a savory dove filling.

Course 3: “Three French Hens” represented by hen cracklings, cipollini (small, thinskin onion), microgreens salad and potato rosti (potato pancake). Griffith makes her hen cracklings by cutting hen skin into strips and soaking  in a salt-sugar-water brine before baking into crisp morsels.

Course 4: “Four Calling Birds” represented by chicken crépinette served with a white bean cassoulet with roasted garlic. Don’t expect a French pancake here. A crépinette is a small, handmade, flattened meat parcel wrapped in a thin membrane layer of fat.

Course 5: “Five Golden Rings” represented by a shepherd’s pie made with pheasant, wild mushrooms and garden vegetables. There is double symbolism in this course. The meat is sourced from ring-necked pheasant, and the pie will be served surrounded by five golden rings of whipped Yukon Gold potatoes.

Course 6: “Six Geese-a-Laying” represented by an egg shell filled with goose rillettes (pronounced “ree-ett”), a pâté consistency spread, topped with shaved golden beet and pickle.

Course 7: “Seven Swans-a-Swimming” represented by beef bourguignon with herb pâté â choux (little baked puffs of pastry piped from a pastry bag in the shapes of swans). These swans will be swimming in a bourguignon red wine reduction.

Course 8: “Eight Maids-a-Milking” represented by horchata (pronounced “or-cha-tah”), a Latin American favorite made with almond milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and rum, served cold as a dessert.

Course 9: “Nine Ladies Dancing” represented by espresso, lady fingers and chocolate.

Course 10: “Ten Lords-a-Leaping” represented by galette des rois (pronounced “ga-let de-wah”), almond pastry cream sandwiched between puff pastry that leaps up as it is baked. This is historically known as Twelfth-Night Cake or King’s Cake.

Course 11: “Eleven Drummers Drumming” represented by drum-shaped petit fours.

Course 12: Are you still with me? “Twelve Pipers Piping” represented by whipped local goat cheese piped on the plate alongside roasted stone fruits drizzled with farm-fresh honey.

Remember what I said earlier about keeping lodging in mind?

Do you really want to drive home after such a feast? The Farm is offering a special room rate for the night for $99 plus the usual tax for single or double occupancy, along with complimentary crane service to lift one to one’s room.

Contact Pat Kettles at