Celebrating a much-maligned season

Here in the U.S. Midwest, we are right in the thick of winter. As someone who has lived most of my life in Chicago, winter fails to faze me, but it is easy to understand why this cold, often dreary season is frequently maligned as a period of time to pass over as quickly as possible.

I was pleasantly surprised, then, to hear recently of a couple F&B promotions that actually celebrate winter and its unique, underappreciated charms.

Andaz Liverpool Street in London has partnered with food designer Linda Monique to offer the Winter Club Sandwich through March 31 as a sweet take on a hotel classic. The £10 (US$16) sandwich, crafted in collaboration with Andaz Liverpool Street Pastry Chef Joseph Wagenaar, showcases seasonal flavors via spiced poached pears, slow-roasted Braeburn apples, caramel curd, Earl Grey tea mayonnaise, lemon “fried egg” and cinnamon fries.

Sixteen in my hometown Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago has also created a distinctively seasonal offering in a Winter’s Day. Executive Chef Thomas Lents and Executive Pastry Chef Patrick Fahy aim to take guests on a culinary journey from daybreak to fireside retreat with dishes such as “dawn breaking” featuring blood oranges and “stillness of ice,” with fennel, oyster, iced sturgeon and caviar.

“When creating a menu, I approach it not as a collection of items, but as a vehicle for storytelling,” Lents says. “For winter, I wanted the dining experience to takes guests through a day’s events by experiencing specific moments in time and reflecting on their own memories of the season.”

I love the idea that food should tell a story and evoke memories — even if those thoughts do revolve around the most brisk and biting time of year.