Out in the woods, in Athol, Idaho, just 20 minutes from Coeur d’Alene, lucky food and wine enthusiasts will find a beautiful log home, light beaming through the windows like a candle in the woods. Step in, and you will be greeted with friendly hospitality and an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.
Owner and chef Dave Adlard, as seen on Food Network, along with his wife and business partner Lisa, are the couple behind this private-dining establishment. Unlike a walk-in restaurant, the pair host reservation-only dinners, and take reservations for private group dinners for four to 20 people. Dave creates an original, high-end, eight to 10-course small-plate menu, with each course perfectly paired with a wine to complement that specific dish.
This concept is unlike any other in the area. Guests are treated to a “prix fixe” chef’s dinner, specially designed for the evening. Though there are some signature appetizers and dishes that Dave has created over the years, not one meal has been duplicated in its entirety in the 10 years since they first started hosting these private dinners. Even the table settings are unique for each event.
Wines for the dinners come from their diverse 4,000-bottle wine cellar, in which each wine has been hand selected by Dave. Many of the 1,800-plus label wines are unique and rare or from small, little-known wineries from around the world, allowing Dave a variety of interesting options to offer his guests. The cellar also houses many local and regional wines from Idaho and Washington. Candle in the Woods received one of only two “Best of Wine Spectator” awards in Idaho, and one of only a small handful in the entire Northwest. It has been featured in Wine Spectator and several newspapers regionally and nationally.
“There are inexpensive wines that have become guests’ favorites because they pair so well with the food, and then there are some high-end treats,” says Dave. “And I love using local wines. Every dinner always has local wines on the list, as well as well-known favorites from California, Bordeaux, Italy and Spain, to name a few.”
In between courses, guests can get up from the table and watch and interact with Dave in the open kitchen while he prepares the next course, or they can entertain themselves in the game room, where they can play pool, foosball and darts, and their famous house game “BATC.” (You have to experience it for yourself to understand the fun!) Once the dinner is over, guests are welcome to head outside by the fire pit, or even take a dip in the hot tub to finish off the evening, if they so choose.
“This is an experience they’ll never forget,” says Dave. “It’s a very memorable dining experience, and we have never received less than a five-star review. We are honored and humbled by it.”
For guests who want to take advantage of the whole evening, they have a limited “Dinner and Bed” option, where they can spend the night in one of the beautiful cabin bedrooms and be treated to a wonderful brunch the next morning.
So how does one get invited to such an incredible evening? People can sign up to be part of Candle in the Woods’ emailing list. Approximately every four weeks, Dave sends out an invite to those on the list. The first 16 people to respond reserve their seat at the chef’s table. It’s that simple. Dave also posts upcoming dates on their website, and folks can phone in to secure their spot.
Those interested in having their own private dining event at Candle in the Woods can make reservations, and Dave will create a special menu catered to them. To add to the special night, he works closely with a local limo service, and guests can reserve a limo to take them to and from the event. He is also available for off-site catering, private meals and personal cooking classes at your home.
Dave truly has a gift for pairing food and wine, all while creating a fun, interactive atmosphere for his guests. Treat yourself to this exceptional food and wine experience at the Candle in the Woods. It will be an evening to remember.
Candle in the Woods
11805 E. Nunn Rd.