This past Columbus Day weekend, I visited Vermont for the first time to see the fall foliage, alpine slide and of course, explore the local good eats. Vermont is famous for the wide variety of cheeses, maple syrup, Lake Champlain chocolates, craft breweries, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Here are the food highlights from my trip – hope you enjoy!
In Stowe, VT, I had dinner at the Solstice restaurant at the Stowe Mountain Resort and ordered the cheese plate from the menu. I picked out three cheeses (all locally made in VT): Cabot Creamery‘s signature cheddar (cow’s milk), Lake’s Edge (goat’s milk) and the Verano (sheep’s milk) – each one was phenomenal and unique in its own way. The plate was served with raw honey from Lake Champlain, toasted walnuts, house-made stone fruit chutney and slices of bread. The cheddar cheese was very fresh and had the perfect sharpness – great to eat alone or with bread. The goat cheese had a soft, cream cheese consistency and blue veins – it’s delicious when eaten with the honey and best complemented with light red wine. The sheep cheese was a bit too pungent for me, but when paired with the chutney and bread, it was just as good as the others. I never thought I would be a turophile but now, I look forward to expanding my cheese palate.
The next day, I had breakfast at The Dutch Pancake Cafe in Stowe Village. A traditional Dutch pancake “is prepared in a traditional Dutch skillet. Pancakes are 12 inches in diameter and thinner than an American style pancake.” The menu had over 80 varieties(!) to choose from – ranging from sweet and savory ingredients. I went with a sweet version: strawberry compote, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream – it was delicious and very similar to French crepes. I might even like Dutch pancakes more than American style buttermilk pancakes.
I also got a chance to try the famous flatbread pizza at American Flatbread in Burlington, VT. The flatbread was made with 100% organically-grown wheat and baked in their wood-fired oven. I shared an order of half “New VT sausage” (maple-fennel ground pork sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, mushrooms, cheeses, and herbs) & half “Punctuated Equilibrium” (Kalamata olives, oven-roasted sweet peppers, handmade VT goat cheese, fresh rosemary, red onions, cheeses, and fresh herbs). The pizza was very flavorful, the toppings were generous, and the crust was well-done but not burnt. Be prepared for a long wait – tourists and locals love this pizza joint!
Lastly, no trip to Vermont is complete without a visit to the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory in Waterbury. Since it was Monday, the factory was in full production and I was able to learn and see how the ice cream was made from point A (pasteurized milk from cows) to point B (pints in stores’ freezers). At the end of the 30-minute guided tour, everyone got to sample the flavor of the day, which was “Maple Me Happy,” a new Vermont-exclusive flavor. The ice cream was creamy as expected with a hint of maple syrup; I would definitely buy this flavor in stores when/if it’s available. Just outside the factory, there was a Flavor Graveyard, a phony cemetery with gravestones honoring discontinued flavors such as “Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough,” “Peanut Butter and Jelly” and “Fresh Georgia Peach” – a very creative (and morbid) way to remember past Ben & Jerry’s flavors.
Have you ever been to the green mountain state? If so, what are your favorite Vermont food memories?