A Slow Weekend in Vermont
by Francesca Arato, Slow Food Vermont Co-Chair
Slow Weekends is a travel series from Slow Food USA that highlights businesses that have been awarded the Snail of Approval award. This distinguished recognition is given to food businesses that make meaningful commitments to the environment, local communities, employees and purveyors, and advance justice and work to end oppression in food systems and beyond.
As you drive along the country roads of Vermont you will be astonished by the amount of nature that surrounds you. Whether you come in the white winter, the colorful fall or the summer when the whole state turns green, you will be able to see a landscape that provides food, recreation, and a deep connection to place. During your weekend in Vermont our Snail of Approval recipients will provide a window into Vermont’s evolving food traditions. All these businesses embody the Slow Food principles of Good, Clean and Fair food for all.
Are you wondering how a seafood restaurant could responsibly source its ingredients in our landlocked state of Vermont? Ask Chef Doug Paine from the Bleu Northeast Kitchen in Burlington. His approach to food is deeply connected to the land and over the years he built strong relationships with his producers. This is the perfect place where to start or end your day. They have a great brunch selection and a dinner menu that features fresh New England seafood and local Vermont products.
For an informal and delicious lunch (or dinner) don’t miss Misery loves Co in Winooski. Chefs Aaron Josinsky and Laura Josinsky mission is to feed people with nourishing and honest food. The menu constantly changes following the seasons with local ingredients paired with strong influences from the American South and Asia. They will serve your meal at their picnic tables or you can take your food to the several lovely nearby picnic areas, in the rotary park and by the river.
Towards the end of the afternoon enjoy a cocktail on the Juniper Bar and Restaurant terrace overlooking Lake Champlain. Their ingredient-driven cocktail bar specializes in mixology and Vermont distilled spirits and brews. Everything in the bar and restaurant is locally sourced and seasonal. Farms, breweries, bakeries, distilleries, and gardens are not only scattered across our rural state, they are also right within Burlington’s city limits.
When it comes dinner time, you cannot miss Richmond’s The Kitchen Table Bistro, a restored historic brick farmhouse where you will be able to taste real seasonal Vermont cuisine. The ingredients are sourced locally from farmers and suppliers, most of whom Lara and Steve Atkins have long-standing relationships that evolved into friendships over time. To say that they “know their food and their farmer” is a way of life for the Atkins’, not just a trend.
The day after, you have to stop by Eden Specialty Ciders in Newport, where Eleanor & Albert Léger produce vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Aperitif Ciders. Their goals are to create healthy soils and heirloom trees in their own orchard and to support Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same with the aim of minimizing their carbon footprint. You can schedule a Cider Tasting Friday & Saturday 12PM – 6PM, Sunday 12PM-3PM.
Before you depart, be sure to bring some Vermont flavors with you! Get some All Souls Tortillas from local co-ops like City Market in Burlington. Joe Bossen, Sam Fuller and Hubert d’Autremont believe in strengthening the local food system and supporting the health of our communities. The only ingredients in their tortillas are: corn, water, lime. They use locally grown organic heirloom corn and the traditional process of stone-grinding nixtamal into fresh masa for the best-tasting most nutritious tortillas.
For the best sourdough bread visit Brotbakery. The founder, Heike Meyer, sources from local farms where the land, animals and workers are treated with respect and integrity. By promoting the use of chemical-free, whole food ingredients, they work to continue building a holistic food culture. Find their bread at their bakery or in different location in the Burlington area and don’t miss the opportunity to take a class on the secrets of baking.
And of course, you cannot leave Vermont without bringing with you some real, local cheese. Parish Hill Creamery, located in Westminster West, exemplifies the highest level of commitment to the Slow Food principles of Good, Clean and Fair food. They are food artisan and producers who are transforming the way we eat and share food, locally and globally.
Rachel and Peter make, educate and advocate for natural cheese that appreciates, learns from, and builds on the traditional modes and methods. Find their cheeses in local co-ops or at their self-serve farm store at the front of the creamery. There is a window from the store into the make room so you can see them in action!
Vermont feeds your soul and makes your heart sing. By visiting our Snail of Approval awardees you will be certain to taste the products of the land of our state from producers and businesses that live the principles of good, clean and fair food every day!
Title image by: Malia Guyer-Stevens