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Geneva Inn on forefront of Country With Character project

--- Premier inn will be using locally produce, meats

(Published June 28, 2007, 12:43 p.m.)

Walworth County offers a wide variety of amenities, shopping opportunities, tourist destinations and more. Adding to the mix this year, the Walworth County Visitors' Bureau is sponsoring "Country With character" (CWC), a seven-weekend county-wide promotion focusing on the wealth and quality of offerings available to visitors.

An agritourism component of CWC will offer tourists-and locals-opportunities to visit local farms and visit restaurants using local produce and meats in their culinary offerings.

The Geneva Inn, one of Lake Geneva's premier inns and its Grandview Restaurant, will be in the forefront of this county-wide emphasis.

"We'll be using as much fresh farm produce and meats as possible," said innkeeper Rick Treptow. "We're really enthused about it."

In addition, Geneva Inn is planning events to coincide with CWC, including a possible cooking class hosted by Executive Chef Scott Commings, and a possible farmers market and other demonstrations at the Inn.

One aspect of their participation is the summer menu prepared by Commings which makes good use of locally produced produce and meats and lists the growers and producers on the menu.

"There's an amazing difference in flavor and appearance when you crack open a fresh egg," said Commings. "And it's also nice to be able to support local farmers."

Commings said the summer menu will include pork tenderloin crusted with sesame and miso produced by Wilson Prairie View Farm, Elkhorn, lamb with a grilled vegetable cous-cous and grilled summer beans produced by Pinn-Oaks Ridge Farms, Delavan, a poultry dish with baby clams and linguini and shaved fennel produced by Yuppie Hill Poultry Farm, Burlington, fresh eggs from Yuppie Hill Poultry Farm and other fresh produce grown by local farmers.

"Vegetables that are commercially grown don't ripen on the vine," said Commings. "They ripen in trucks and they don't taste the same. Using locally grown foods, we're able to keep the integrity of the vegetable in the vitamins and nutrition. And it's fun for me to get the flavors from fresh foods!"

Martha Phelps, food and beverage director at Geneva Inn, said buying from local growers is a huge investment the inn makes in the community in which it operates, plus plays a big part in the freshness and flavor of the food the Grandview Restaurant offers.

"Buying locally is even better than buying organic," Phelps said.

Phelps said another event being planned at the restaurant and inn is a wine dinner on Sept. 4 which will be a part of the Lake Geneva Wine Festival Sept. 4-7 which will raise funds for local charities.

"We're partnering with Jan Shrem of the Clos Pegase winery in California for this event," she said.

"We'll have seats for about 50 people. The dinner will be $150 per person, which includes all taxes, gratuities and a donation to charity.

It will be open to the public, but reservations are required and should be made early on." Shrem will be present at the dinner to explain his wines and Chef Commings will be putting on his best culinary skills for the event, Phelps said.

Treptow said the Geneva Inn continues to be a leader in the community with continuing upgrading of their facilities always taking place.

"There are several things about this place that make it so attractive, but the most important are the great view of the lake, an excellent restaurant and a staff that is just outstanding," he said. "I can't say enough about our staff. Some of them have been here for 17 years, ever since we started. They are what make us so successful."

The Geneva Inn and Grandview Restaurant is located at N2009 S. Lake Shore Dr. Contact them at (800) 441-5881 for more information on rates and events, or visit their Web site at www.genevainn.com.

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