Get Your "Signature" Drink On

Our semi-annual tasting and planning events provide an opportunity to show off the year's newest recipes. This spring we focused on signature drinks. Our team gathered a week before the event to taste a bevy (pun intended) of homemade lemonades and teas with champagne, vodka, whiskey and a few french liqueurs. 

The outcome (besides a whole lot of giggling) was a collection of signature drinks that were light enough for a hot day, but strong enough to be be converted to a masculine version. 

We have a feeling these taste tests may continue on a regular basis. You know, just to make sure we still like them. 

Here is our take on four classic drinks:


French 75

Our favorite of all cocktails, this Gin & Juice (ok, there's champagne involved too) concoction can be altered in so many fun ways. We like versions with C2 Cognac & Citron, puréed strawberries or huckleberry juice (below). 

Kir

The 1841 birth of Creme de Cassis made Kir a popular French cafe cocktail. We created several variations on this theme using blackberry juice (de mûre), hard cider, Chambord, peach purée or even blood orange (below). 

Midori Sour

We've used the tart apple version of our lemonade and created our own take on the Midori Sour. 

Lillet Rose

This apéritif made from wine is excellent paired with lavender, lemon juice and champagne. It's soft and earthy for those who don't like super sweet cocktails.

Where We Come From- Part 3

The Farm Transforms

photo by: Mountain Soul Media

photo by: Mountain Soul Media

In 2010 Leigh Clarke, a city-dwelling MBA-type with a corporate background in finance and consulting, stepped foot on Chanteclaire Farm and fell madly in love.  She purchased the farm from Christiane and Fred Bergheim, who retired to the beaches of South Carolina, and began the happiest period of her life, starting with the 2011 wedding season.

The farm had been a wedding venue for a decade.  Having spent years living in Italy, France, and England, she was immediately drawn to the farm's European vibe.  Leigh's passion had always been the creation of beautiful businesses that are constantly evolving and growing.  She brought her discerning taste in food, decor, and design to the farm, and began her quest to make Chanteclaire a nationally recognized, top-notch wedding venue. 

 

She instituted a deep involvement in guiding each couple through the wedding planning process, spending time creating a mood and avoiding any pitfalls of a poorly orchestrated production.  Her ability to connect deeply with people means that couples don’t feel like just clients, but partners and even friends.  Because she has a profound reverence for weddings, she focused the business entirely on this one type of event.  As Leigh would say, she has no interest in catering parties, but in creating weddings, because they are filled with so much meaning and importance.

Leigh’s first mission was to upgrade the property to match modern tastes in a way that would last for many years.  This meant balancing a cleaner and more streamlined aesthetic without losing the "quirky European sensibilities" that set the farm apart.  A roof was added over the upper deck, changing the profile of the structure from a barn to an estate.  New, larger bathrooms were built, and storm drainage added.  

The Friend family cabin and farmhouse, described in Part 1 of our series, were renovated and redecorated to become gorgeous rental properties where brides, grooms, and their wedding parties spend the weekend connecting with the farm and one another.

The farmhouse, where the Bergheim's once lived, is now where our brides gather with their bridesmaids.  It is a historical wonder and a modern woman’s dream.  The original plaster walls still exist and in one room the lathing beneath has been exposed as a design element.  Central AC, a massive master suite and classic European decor have been added to make the home the perfect place to spend a wedding weekend.

photo by: Leigh Clarke

photo by: Leigh Clarke

The cabin is the groom's domain.  Built in 1840, its hand-hewn logs and chinking are masculine in a way that reminds us of how life used to be on a farm.  Even the nails in the walls are hand forged, evidence that it was crafted with care and meaning.  We love sitting on the porch swing under the metal roof overlooking the pond during a rain storm.  The sounds and view are so cozy and intense at the same time – it’s an experience that almost makes you long for rain. 

photo by: Higher Focus Studios

photo by: Higher Focus Studios

In late 2014, the farm's most impressive upgrade was completed, transforming the barn's silo into a steampunk-themed bar.  For a peak at the process, which was televised by Animal Planet. (see our blog post)

photo by: Vision Quest Studios

photo by: Vision Quest Studios

In 2015, Chanteclaire launched a new website that would better display the property’s personality and atmosphere.  Leigh is now creating an online wedding planning platform that distills her experience and advice into an easily accessible app.  Future plans include publishing a book on the art of wedding planning.  Leigh wants to create a roadmap for all couples that challenges old traditions and infuses weddings with deep personal meaning all while creating a party so epic that it becomes a family legend.

The new website launched in 2015.

The new website launched in 2015.

We hope you have enjoyed our three part series on the history of Chanteclaire Farm.  As you can see, Chanteclaire is constantly evolving, so be sure to check back often to see our latest projects.

 

Groom Fashion

Chanteclaire Farm has certainly seen more than its fair share of beautiful brides in gorgeous gowns, but our grooms are equally as fashionable and cut quite a dashing figure.  While you may think men's fashion doesn't provide the variety of options that wedding gowns afford, you would be surprised at how creative and sophisticated our grooms manage to be for their big day.  It's true that when everyones heads turn to watch the bride glide down the aisle, the bride has eyes only for her man.  Our grooms give their brides something great to see.  We find ourselves drawn to the men that focus on the details to make sure they stand out.  Here are a few of our favorite groom fashions over the past few seasons.

Photocredit: The Happy Couple              The fun colors and coordinating patterns of the tie and pocket square                                                                                                        make this groom's look really pop.

Photocredit: The Happy Couple              The fun colors and coordinating patterns of the tie and pocket square                                                                                                        make this groom's look really pop.

Photocredit: Grace Photography                                   Bowties and suspenders hit the mark for this groom's party.

Photocredit: Grace Photography                                   Bowties and suspenders hit the mark for this groom's party.

Photocredit: Kirsten Smith                        The paisley tie and unique boutonniere really pop against this gray suit.

Photocredit: Kirsten Smith                        The paisley tie and unique boutonniere really pop against this gray suit.

Photocredit: Amberlee Christey                               After this couple's butterfly release, the groom had an addition                                                                                                                          to his boutonniere look.

Photocredit: Amberlee Christey                               After this couple's butterfly release, the groom had an addition                                                                                                                          to his boutonniere look.

Photocredit: Sonlight Imaging                        Who says the groom has to wear a three piece suit?  Wearing a vest is                                                                                       trendy, and perfect for hot summer weddings.

Photocredit: Sonlight Imaging                        Who says the groom has to wear a three piece suit?  Wearing a vest is                                                                                       trendy, and perfect for hot summer weddings.

Photocredit: Karlo Photography                                   Gorgeous gray with a pop of color make for a striking combo.

Photocredit: Karlo Photography                                   Gorgeous gray with a pop of color make for a striking combo.

Photocredit: Karlo Photography               A tartan tie with matching pocket square is ultra chic...extra points for                                                                                                        matching the bride's bouquet wrap.

Photocredit: Karlo Photography               A tartan tie with matching pocket square is ultra chic...extra points for                                                                                                        matching the bride's bouquet wrap.

Photocredit: Vicki Grafton         Your initials and wedding date in your suit jacket is a hidden, but adorable, detail.

Photocredit: Vicki Grafton         Your initials and wedding date in your suit jacket is a hidden, but adorable, detail.

Photocredit: Amberlee Christey              This gorgeous gold pocket watch is the perfect accent for the groom who                                                                                 knows the importance of making it to the ceremony on time.

Photocredit: Amberlee Christey              This gorgeous gold pocket watch is the perfect accent for the groom who                                                                                 knows the importance of making it to the ceremony on time.

Photocredit: Karlo Photography                      A message from the bride sewn into the groom's tie is a lovely idea.

Photocredit: Karlo Photography                      A message from the bride sewn into the groom's tie is a lovely idea.

Photocredit: Higher Focus                                             We were in love with this group's matching jeans and boots.

Photocredit: Higher Focus                                             We were in love with this group's matching jeans and boots.

Photocredit: Higher Focus                                                                                                A belt buckle fit for a groom.

Photocredit: Higher Focus                                                                                                A belt buckle fit for a groom.

Photocredit: Karlo Photography          This daring groom rocked quite the dashing hat.  And who says denim has                                                                                to be styled casually?  This denim tux is gorgeous.

Photocredit: Karlo Photography          This daring groom rocked quite the dashing hat.  And who says denim has                                                                                to be styled casually?  This denim tux is gorgeous.

Photocredit: Vicki Grafton    The argyle socks and perfect fit of this suit make this groom's look an instant classic.

Photocredit: Vicki Grafton    The argyle socks and perfect fit of this suit make this groom's look an instant classic.

Photocredit: Kelsey Kradel                               A three piece suit is a classic that will never be out of style.  Try fun                                                                                                   colors, like navy, to give it a fresh spin.

Photocredit: Kelsey Kradel                               A three piece suit is a classic that will never be out of style.  Try fun                                                                                                   colors, like navy, to give it a fresh spin.

Photocredit: Amanda Briscoe                                                                                           We love a well tailored suit.

Photocredit: Amanda Briscoe                                                                                           We love a well tailored suit.

Photocredit: Karlo Photography                   There's no better opportunity to have your own custom suit created                                                                              than your big day.  We especially love the fun lining this groom chose.

Photocredit: Karlo Photography                   There's no better opportunity to have your own custom suit created                                                                              than your big day.  We especially love the fun lining this groom chose.

Photocredit: Derek & Diane                                                                     What could be better than a man in uniform?

Photocredit: Derek & Diane                                                                     What could be better than a man in uniform?

Photocredit: Cassidy Duhon                                          Classic black and white with a skinny tie always looks chic.

Photocredit: Cassidy Duhon                                          Classic black and white with a skinny tie always looks chic.

Photocredit: Karlo Photography                                                                       A classic tuxedo is never out of style

Photocredit: Karlo Photography                                                                       A classic tuxedo is never out of style

Where We Come From-Part 2

A Wedding Barn is Born

Chanteclaire Farm in the early 2000s

Chanteclaire Farm in the early 2000s

In 2000 Christiane and Fred Bergheim purchased the Elder Hill farm in order to transform it into the area's only professional farm wedding venue.  The Bergheims had previously owned Cornish Manor restaurant in Oakland and a French bakery before that, so they brought decades of catering and wedding experience to the new business.

 

The barn at Chanteclaire Farm prior to renovation

The barn at Chanteclaire Farm prior to renovation

Before the barn was opened for events, a major renovation occurred.  The flooring in the upper level where hay had been stored was almost completely deteriorated.

A view of both stories of the barn at Chanteclaire Farm prior to renovation

A view of both stories of the barn at Chanteclaire Farm prior to renovation

The Bergheims replaced it with hardwood Ash flooring reinforced with steel and concrete supports to create a safe and attractive dining and dancing area. 

The top story of the barn at Chanteclaire Farm during renovation.  The ceiling work has been completed, and work has begun on installing the gorgeous Ash hardwood floors.

The top story of the barn at Chanteclaire Farm during renovation.  The ceiling work has been completed, and work has begun on installing the gorgeous Ash hardwood floors.

The basement where the cows were housed required repair to three walls.  The floor was stained to mimic old European stone. 

A closer view of the lower story of the barn at Chanteclaire Farm.  Shown prominently are the supports which would be created with steel and concrete to ensure a safe and beautiful dance floor in the reception space above.

A closer view of the lower story of the barn at Chanteclaire Farm.  Shown prominently are the supports which would be created with steel and concrete to ensure a safe and beautiful dance floor in the reception space above.

The barn was completely closed in and insulated to keep out unwanted critters.  A commercial kitchen was added, and designed to be so warm and inviting that it looks like a dream from a magazine.  Four bathrooms were built, along with decking and awnings.  

The upper story of the barn at Chanteclaire Farm during renovation.  Note the work occurring on the roof.

The upper story of the barn at Chanteclaire Farm during renovation.  Note the work occurring on the roof.

Christiane added eclectic touches all over the barn, creating a highly decorated venue.  This is where our "quirky European sensibilities" began. A French native with a heavy accent and dramatic flair, Christiane forged the original aesthetic of the barn from her intense and colorful creativity.

In 2001 Chanteclaire Farm opened its doors for weddings....

An original ad for Chanteclaire Farm

An original ad for Chanteclaire Farm

A 2003 ad for Chanteclaire Farm

A 2003 ad for Chanteclaire Farm

From 2001 through 2010 Christiane and Fred grew the Chanteclaire Farm wedding business.  They laid the foundation for our process of controlling event timing and flow.  Christiane developed some signature menu items like slow cooked braised beef and chicken stuffed with apples and brie.  They formed a relationship with Jonny Rock, owner of Sounds Fun Entertainment, that resulted in a permanent installation of sound and light equipment.  Twenty speakers were positioned throughout the facility, creating unrivaled sound quality.  Christiane cooked, decorated the cakes, and managed the planning process, while Fred maintained the property and the administrative tasks.  

The outdoor wedding ceremony location in the early 2000s

The outdoor wedding ceremony location in the early 2000s

The Lower Grange, home of cocktail hour, in the early 2000s.  

The Lower Grange, home of cocktail hour, in the early 2000s.  

The reception space in the early 2000s.

The reception space in the early 2000s.

A wedding cake created by Christiane 

A wedding cake created by Christiane 

In 2010 the Bergheims sold the business to Leigh Clarke and retired to Myrtle Beach.  They follow the activities of Chanteclaire Farm actively and still keep in touch with Leigh.  In Part 3, we explore the most recent updates and changes at Chanteclaire Farm.