A strong confession, I came for the food.
I have long ago discovered that sometimes the key to understanding culture and customs is through your stomach. So when I start planning an itinerary, it normally revolves around food. Vermont was no exception, wood burning ovens, farm to table cuisine and enticing home baked goodies; it was very easy for me to fall in love with the state's food scene.
So here is how we ate our way around Vermont! Warning, this may trigger a strong desire to eat pumpkin everything, apples in many different forms, (I have a special affection for the boozy kind) and mounds of grilled meat.
Our first stop when we crossed the border was the beautiful university city of Burlington; The Church Street Marketplace, which boasts a pedestrian and pooch friendly boulevard (no vehicles allowed), was the perfect welcome mat to our weekend. We decided to stop at Ken's Pizza and Pub which claims to be the oldest restaurant in the market. Pulled pork nachos and NY style pizza by the slice was a well deserved reward for being in the car all morning. We all treated ourselves to some local beverages, cider being my favourite I was excited to see Citizen Cider on the menu, one of Burlington local cider houses.
A visit to Prohibition Pig I dare say is a must while in Vermont. Situated in the historic town of Waterbury this main street smoke house is a hipsters haven. With old fashioned cocktails, southern style comfort food, and its own brewery, it is everything it was hyped up to be. The service was quick, the food was simple yet complex with its slow cooked sauces, and the atmosphere had a high energy. Both families with toddlers, and couples on dates were comfortable.
Farm to Table fare
Michael's on the Hill was a recommendation from a customer who was visiting my small town (not un-similar to Waterbury) I wanted one night of decadence, and after reading raving reviews decided to book in advance. Situated in a farm house in the town of Waterbury, we were seated right next to a window with absolutely the most pristine views of the Green Mountains.
tAfter oooing and awing the style and decor of the room, which was covered in large farm machinery widgets, we ordered our beverages (I needed a Manhattan made with Vermonts maple syrup). We all decided that the chef's tasting menu was the way to go. So to Canadians it was more of a Prix Fixe menu because we could decide what courses we were tasting. Everything from the corn soup to the gnocchi was incredible, and the portions were large.
My first taste of a whoopie pie was in Chicago, a traditional sandwich of soft chocolate cookies filled with fluffy icing, so whenever I am in the US I seek out this very American treat. Coming into fall I was tickled to see a pumpkin version at our first sweet stop in Waterbury. The bakery which was named after her golden retriever dog, Hender's Bake Shop & Cafe, was adorable and stocked with the most decadent looking baked goods. Of course I didn't hesitate to grab the pie, which I paired with a traditional latte. Absolutely charming.
A very satisfying pit stop was on our way to Stowe. Cold Hollow Cider Mill is stocked with many local products, preserves and gifts, but it is kinda famous for it cider donuts. Freshly made, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside it was a sweet little treat that is a must try while in Vermont. Pair that with a sample of their apple cider and you will have the perfect Vermont moment.
Another pleasant stop was in a town, called Marshfield. It would be easy enough to miss if it didn't have the most inviting sign hanging from the front facade. Rainbow Sweets Cafe & Bakery has been around since 1976 and its proprietor is not only an incredible baker (for both the savoury and sweet) , he is a bit of a showman. The energetic explanations are enough to win you over, and a stop for a coffee turned into bags filled with spanikopita, bumbleberry pie, and its famous St. Honore (AKA Johnny Depp's) Profiteroles stuffed with custard dunked in caramel sitting on a puff pastry and finished off with some whipped cream. Delicious.