Story by Aaron Lynch and Amber Sky
Photos by Amber Sky

Follow us on a chef’s odyssey from a home-kitchen Belgian Chocolate Mousse to a stylistic Michelin star worthy concoction.

Goodstone Inn and Restaurant, located in the gorgeous wine and hunt countryside, sits on 265 private rolling acres. A popular wedding destination, it is known for fine dining, incredible hospitality, and superior service.

Goodstone’s new executive chef brings a distinct European flavor to this recipe of success. We had the pleasure to sit down with Goodstone’s new award-winning Executive Chef Jan Van Haute to discuss one of his favorite recipes, Belgium chocolate mousse, and the origin of his recipe.

As a child, Chef Jan said he was constantly creating dishes at his home in Bruges, Belgium. “I was in the kitchen more than my mom.” Chef Jan chose to return to his Belgian roots when invited to share one of his favorite recipes. With a smile, he recalled making this mousse as a child with his grandmother. That was his first introduction to making this simple, yet deliciously creamy and rich mousse.

In Belgium, students move into a secondary education phase at the age of 12, which is divided into four branches: humanities, technical, artistic, and vocational. At 14, Jan followed his culinary interest and started culinary school. This was where he discovered the culinary way of making Belgium
chocolate mousse.

“My schooling taught me all aspects of culinary arts including the business side.” The young chef perfected this recipe in culinary school, but over time, as he continued to evolve, so did the recipe.

The new Goodstone head chef was formally educated at the Spermalie Hotel and Tourism School in Bruges. Upon completion of his formal training, he became the chef for the Royal family in Brussels.

Michelin, the world’s oldest restaurant guide, recognizes culinary stars across the globe. This young chef is fortunate enough to have worked in multiple Michelin-starred restaurants in Australia, Belgium, and Japan.

This current Belgian Chocolate Mousse recipe was inspired from his time at Hof van Cleve, a three-star Michelin restaurant in Belgium. Hof van Cleve is where this chef mastered the art of properly shaping and plating this mousse recipe.

Ten years ago, he came to the United States to work in Washington D.C. as the executive chef to the Ambassador of Belgium. There, he served prominent guests from across the globe including Belgian Ministers, United States Supreme Court judges, US Senators and CEOs of multinational corporations. In 2010, he was awarded the title of Best Embassy Chef!

Now, destiny brought him to Middleburg and both Goodstone and Chef Jan find this pairing to be an amazing blessing. “Culinary tourism has evolved in recent years with travelers craving more authentic dining experiences,” said Edward Villafane, General Manager. “Executive Chef Jan Van Haute’s impressive resume is poised to drive new energy to our community in Middleburg, creating globally-infused dishes that are inspired by his Belgian influences.”

“This is just the beginning here and we plan to go for a Michelin-Star. We have a great team and I am excited to see what we can do together,” the chef said. Pulling this recipe from such a profound and in-the-moment inspired chef was interesting. We watched in fascination as he gestured, touched, tasted, and formulated the finale recipe to share. Creativity is hard to bottle, even harder to measure. This executive chef truly feels all the dishes he produces, recipe or no recipe.

Chocolate mousse makes a perfect finish to any Valentine’s dinner. Make it your own version by adding cinnamon, lavender, or caramel.

Belgian Chocolate Mousse
(serves 6 people)
Ingredients:
240 grams Dark Belgian Chocolate
(preferably 60%)
4 egg yolks
100 grams Sugar
400 grams heavy cream
Milk

Directions:
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler on low heat.
Beat the heavy cream until Irish coffee cream thickness. Set aside.
Beat the sugar and the egg yolks together until the color whitens (kitchen aid or by hand).

Pour melted chocolate over the egg mixture and nicely incorporate.
Add a splash of milk to make the mixture smooth.
Fold in the the heavy cream with the chocolate mixture.
Pour in cups and put in the refrigerator to set for 3 hours.
Enjoy with some fresh fruit!

This recipe is just one small slice of what Goodstone offers. We fell in love with so many aspects! One of our favorites was the extraordinary leadership and camaraderie between all staff members. The execution of a well thought out vision and mission with a refined team are impeccable and seamless.

Goodstone’s award-winning fine dining restaurant features many intriguing ingredients from the property’s farm and greenhouses. Chef Jan loves to pick fresh radishes, microgreens, and eggs from the farm daily. Goodstone recently launched the new Farm + Vine series, a monthly dinner that features local farmers and premiere vineyards. January’s delicious Farm + Vine dinner welcomed Ayrshire Farm and Opus One winery.

Something to look forward to is Goodstone’s new upstairs French bistro! Debuting in February, it will offer a modern and more casual dining experience. The Goodstone culinary team have prepared a very special Valentine’s Day Tasting Menu: a decadent dinner of oysters, caviar, veal, lobster, beef fillet, and Belgian chocolate, held in the gorgeous conservatory! Reservations required.

As one of Middleburg’s premier all-inclusive wedding destinations, Goodstone offers an exquisite wedding and reception venue complete with in-house catering and guest accommodations in one of their well-appointed rooms. Goodstone is a beautiful tapestry made of many fine pieces. Take a visit and immerse yourself in what they have to offer.

Visit Goodstone Inn & Restaurant online at www.goodstone.com.

This article first appeared in the February 2019 issue of Middleburg Life.