At the resort shop Kate's Mountain Outfitters, manager James Crews fielded questions about how best to cook wild game, and offered recipes for everything from whitetail deer, pheasant and grouse to rabbit, wild turkey and trout.
"Some of your newer hunters are unsure of how to cook the meat, and a lot of preparing wild game is how you take care of it before you cook it," he said. "Birds, especially, you're better off dressing them in the field."
Wild game, he said, has the flavor of real meat, not what he called the bland flavors often found in a grocery store.
The highlight of the day for those with a strong sweet tooth was "The Chocolate Experience," in which a roomful of eager students followed careful instructions to make their own chocolate raspberry truffles, blending raspberry puree, cream and sugar over a burner, then stirring it into a bowl of chocolate pieces.
"It's very easy to do at home. It looks difficult, but once you do it, it's really not," assistant executive pastry chef Sarah Helzer told the eager students, as she explained how higher percentages of chocolate give a more bitter taste.
In the end, if most of the students ended up with truffles that didn't look like they quite belonged in a display case at The Greenbrier, they weren't lacking in what really matters: flavor.
"This is our first time at The Greenbrier," said Brian Emberg, who drove in from Pennsylvania with his wife, Barb. "We normally look for something warmer this time of year, but we saw the culinary weekend and thought it would be different and fun, and it's been great."
That, said Jeff Kmiec, president and managing director of The Greenbrier, is the point of the Discovery Series: to attract new guests with diverse interests through specially themed exclusive weekends.
The weekends focus on everything from craft beers (Jan. 31-Feb. 2) to art appreciation (March 21-23) and antique treasures (March 14-16) featuring the experts from the PBS hit "Antique Roadshow."
"We're seeing a lot of guests we haven't seen before, and the reception from our guests has been overwhelming, probably because the weekends have such a variety, and things the public might not expect to find at The Greenbrier," Kmiec said.
Asked if the resort has plans to repeat the Discovery Weekends, he said, "Absolutely. This is our first annual Discovery Series."
This weekend, the focus has been on romance, with doubles tennis and fitness clinics, ballroom dancing and massage lessons, and wedding workshops.
At 4 p.m. Feb. 16, a wedding fashion show will be followed by an autograph session with West Virginia native Monte Durham, of TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta."
For more information, call 855-453-4858 or visit www.greenbrier.com.
Reach Maria Young at maria.yo...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5115.