Blog Archive for September 2014

24 September, 2014 - by DigInVT Staff

A Delicious Collection

 

Have you noticed how many wonderful places there are to visit to experience Vermont’s food, drink, and farms?  There are many exciting road trips you can plan around visiting these places.  (Check out the trails or make your own.)  Have you ever wished that you could find some of these places all under one roof?  The Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in Newport, VT is just such a place.  Check out the blog post from the Vermont Fresh Network’s Fresh Feed to get more information.  Another such place that is gathering the best Vermont food and drink together is the Vermont Artisan Village.  Slated to open in early 2015, the Village is currently looking for craftsmen, artisans and food producers to join the collaborative and creative community at the Vermont Artisan Village.  Read their post below to get more information and become part of the Village!
From the Vermont Fresh Network’s Fresh Feed:
On the Road - Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center
March 5, 2014
The Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in Newport, VT opened its doors in August of 2013 enticing both visitors and locals to come taste what the Kingdom has to offer. The Center is a local food emporium featuring a bakery, butcher counter, café, maple shop, and a top-shelf tasting bar with a tempting array of Kingdom spirits and cheeses from local farms. I was lucky to visit the center last week, and explore its culinary treasures with the Center co-founders and Eden Ice Cider owners, Eleanor and Albert Ledger.
Eleanor and Albert moved their cider making, aging, bottling and distribution operations from their farm in Orleans to the basement of the Tasting Center. Guests can see the process of making the ice cider which makes the experience especially unique. Eden Ice Cider manages to capture that off-the-branch taste of a ripe apple in golden liquid form. We settled in at the tasting bar, where Eleanor poured us samples of her Orleans Bitter and Herbal, Ice Cider, and other local spirits from Caledonia Spirits, Dunc's Mill and Artesano Mead. You can try a number of different wines and spirits, pair them with cheese, or have a Seasonal Tasting Plate featuring four “bites and sips” for just $9!
We headed for lunch across the room at the Brown Dog Bistro where local specials include items like a gorgeous beet salad, Vermont Bean Crafters Burgers, and Brisket sandwiches using Spring Hill Farm’s Beef that's processed in the onsite butcher shop. Owner Stephen Breault chatted nearby with farmer partner Ben Nottermann of Snug Valley Farm as we ate our tasty sandwiches. The beer list at Brown Dog is full of local brewers like Kingdom Brewing—who grow most all their own brewing ingredients on their Newport farm. We topped off lunch with salted caramel and mocha cupcakes from Jocelyn and Cinta’s Bakery, who have also found a happy home at the Tasting Center. 
Sitting on the border of Canada, the shores of Lake Memphremegog and just 20 minutes from the awesome slopes of Jay Peak, hungry visitors surround Newport--and there is no better food than that produced by the farmers and producers of the Northeast Kingdom. “Bringing these businesses together in an attractive downtown location will create a destination for residents and visitors to learn more about locally-produced foods and beverages,” Eleanor said. “They will buy and eat more healthy local food, and area farmers and producers will benefit from a larger local market for their products.” 
We urge you to go explore the Northeast Kingdom, and there's no better place to start than the Tasting Center! They can also now accommodate groups of 20-50 for tours of the center and cidery, followed by a tastings or meal in the barrel room of the Cidery. (Reservations required at least 2 weeks in advance, contact is Tracey@nektastingcenter.com)
From Vermont Artisan Village: 
vermont artisan village is a working community of artisans and food producers that promises to be one of the top food and tourist destinations in Vermont. Located on the busy Middlebury-to-Burlington Route 7 corridor in Shelburne near some of the most visited attractions in the state, Vermont Artisan Village brings together the best in sustainable local food production and artisan craftsmanship in a combined production and retail facility.
Calling all craftsmen, artisans and food producers to join the collaborative and creative community at the Vermont Artisan Village! Do you make artisanal hard cider? Or, maybe coffee roasting is your specialty? Maybe you are a traditional weaver? We're looking for any and all types of food and craft artisans to join us at the Vermont Artisan Village. We are scheduled to open in early 2015 and are currently accepting applications for tenants. 
Come join our unique and collaborative community of artisans and producers in this beautiful new production and retail facility. Our spaces are 100% customizable to your needs. Learn about the Vermont Artisan Village, view site plans, rates and more on our website: http://vermontartisanvillage.com/.

Have you noticed how many wonderful places there are to visit to experience Vermont’s food, drink, and farms?  There are many exciting road trips you can plan around visiting these places.  (Check out the trails or make your own!)  Have you ever wished that you could find some of these places all under one roof?  The Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in Newport, VT is just such a place.  Check out the blog post from the Vermont Fresh Network’s Fresh Feed to get more information.  Another such place that is gathering the best Vermont food and drink together is the Vermont Artisan Village.  Slated to open in early 2015, the Village is currently looking for craftsmen, artisans and food producers to join the collaborative and creative community at the Vermont Artisan Village.  Read their post below to get more information and become part of the Village!

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18 September, 2014 - by Nicole Roach, Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge

A Summer Tasting of Vermont’s Outstanding Artisan Cheese

Category: Place Profiles

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A cow named Dizzy munches on buttercups, a goat named Isabelle ruminates under the shade of an old oak tree; in Vermont, the rolling green pastures are shadowed only by the cheeses that its distinct flora promotes.
With all the marvelous European cheeses we carry, tasting through terroirs of France, Italy, Switzerland or Portugal can sometimes make it hard to remember that, here in New England, a slice of the Old World exists right on our doorstep. While Europeans are upholding some of the most important cheese traditions, Vermont’s cheese makers and affineurs (cheese agers) are bursting with creativity, blending European and American traditions with some truly extraordinary results.
Earlier this summer I awoke in a strange bed; the rattling in my head reminding me that I might have had one too many pints of beer the night before. I was at Consider Bardwell Farm, the first of several stops on a trip visiting the people and animals behind some of our favorite Vermont cheeses. My coworkers and I had been welcomed at the farm the previous evening with a feast spread by our gracious hosts and farmer friends. Now I scrambled to get dressed and greet the sun, which was just breaking through the clouds over the pasture.
The dairy was already bustling with activity before I crossed the fields to the milking room. The goats nudged each other trying to be first in line. The heifers ran to the stalls where suction would relieve their mammaries. Everyone was awake and brimming with energy. The farmers washed the equipment and prepared the udders for milking. The goats smiled, and seemed to laugh as they noshed on coveted treats, and gave their milk.
The milk traveled through sterile tubing into large vats in the dairy. The rennet was added and the process began. Each cheese has its own recipe, its own distinct needs to present itself best to our palates. While in the dairy, time, pH, and tactile impression shape the cheese before its curds are cut. Although most of the flavor in our favorite cheeses materializes in the caves, the structure of the final product depends upon the precision of the cheese maker.
After a tour of Consider Bardwell’s controlled aging rooms, we drove to nearby Twig Farm to meet Michael Lee and his goats. The area was more wooded, and the land appeared to be mainly untouched. Michael greeted us at the end of the driveway and promptly gave a tour of the grounds. He introduced us to many of the 64 goats he cared for. Michael had names for each, distinguished by the goat’s markings and the color of its collar.
As we toured his land, and moved the fences to expand the pasturing area, Michael astounded us with his knowledge of the flora and the goats’ affinity for particular plants. He explained the nuances that particulars in diet bring to the flavor and structure of his famed tommes. In his cave he enjoyed watching the milk evolve. He embraced the micro cultures, molds, and yeasts that spawn delicious cheese. Twig Farm is small, Michael does the farming, cheese making and cave management himself with only an occasional helper. His devotion to the craft is recognized in each of his products.
From Twig Farm we traveled to Blue Ledge Farm, renowned for their Lake’s Edge and fresh chèvre. It was late in the afternoon when we arrived, and we had already missed the cheese maker. A young dog ran up to greet us near the barn. Hannah was right behind him. She took us down into their cave. There curds for chèvre drained in baskets along steel tables dripping with whey. In the next room, Lake’s edge rested covered in ash.
Next on my itinerary was Jasper Hill Farm, and the Cellars at Jasper Hill. In the pastures, on the way to the Cellars, we met Dizzy. She was munching on grass and wildflowers in a field just down the road from the barn. Jasper Hill’s cows spend much of the day ruminating in the gorgeous pastures on along the hills.
We passed the barn and dairy and continued up the road to the caves. This massive underground facility was unimposing, just a door into the hillside. Matteo opened the door and welcomed us into the cellars. Vince, our guide, and former Formaggio Kitchen monger, acquainted us with the many arms of the facility. One was devoted to raw milk bloomy rind cheeses, one to alpine style washed rinds, the largest arm was reserved for Cabot Clothbound Cheddar. The affineurs care for cheeses from a variety of neighboring dairies. Regular turning, washing, and tasting wheel after wheel is required by the cave managers to provide the best product possible.
After a fascinating visit at the Cellars at Jasper Hill we made our way to Cobb Hill. Cobb Hill is co-housing community who’s residents manage a vegetable farm and dairy, and create delightful cheese as well as frozen yogurt. We were given snacks of Ascutney Mountain, Cobb Hill’s signature alpine cheese and maple frozen yogurt; it was perfect on a hot summer afternoon.
I had one final stop. I was running out of time but needed still to visit Spring Brook Farm: Farms for City Kids. Here they are dedicated to educating children and impressing upon them the need for sustainability. With 100% Jersey cow’s milk the farmers create award winning cheeses like the Spring Brook Tarentaise. I was introduced to the copper kettle envied by many, and after visiting their cheese caves I took some time to wander the beautiful landscape, and pat a calf or two.
It was an incredible journey through the Vermont countryside; reflective of life ruled by the sun, the seasons, and a sincere commitment of neighbors to the highest standards of quality, community, and sustainability.
Nicole Roach is a keen kitchen experimenter and a member of the produce, register, and operations teams at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge.

Summer may be ending but it's always the right season for a trip exploring Vermont's delicious cheese. Read this cheese adventure here and then make your own!

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4 September, 2014 - by DigInVT Staff

Exploring Burlington: Home of the Art Hop

 

Burlington is a strolling city. Visit it in early September, when the air is still warm and the sun has taken an autumnal slant, and you feel like you could walk around, casually exploring forever. The city is set up to invite you to do just that. There is the Waterfront Park along Lake Champlain, City Hall Park where the Burlington Farmers' Market convenes every Saturday (it goes indoors after October 25th), and the famous Church Street Marketplace pedestrian mall with plenty of shops and restaurants. 
A newly popular area for exploring is Pine Street, in Burlington's South End. 
Pine Street is home to well-established businesses, such as Conant Metal & Light and Dealer.com, many of which involve food, including Lake Champlain Chocolates, Speeder & Earl's Coffee, New World Tortilla, Great Harvest Bread Company, and Myers Bagels (Montreal style bagels sold from a shop that opens at 4:00 am. . . nothing tastes better than a bagel - or three - straight from the wood oven at 4:00 am). The kitchen collective at ArtsRiot provides a rotating menu with a different chef each night and organizes a food truck stop on Friday nights. New eateries on the street include So-Yo Frozen Yogurt, a tangy frozen yogurt using Vermont dairy, and the South End Kitchen at Lake Champlain Chocolates, which combines a cafe and cooking class space (check the DigInVT calendar of events for upcoming classes). 
Pine Street is perhaps best known as the home to many individual artists' studios from traditional painting to rust-belt inspired clay sculpture to Strange Dolls (a studio that makes. . . strange dolls). Near the end of Pine Street are the studios of the Emergent Media Center, run by Champlain College, which creates interactive, multimedia experiences. Earlier this year, the Burlington Writers' Workshop brought their headquarters and writing space to Pine Street's Studio 266. 
The South End Arts and Business Association (SEABA) refers to this neighborhood as the place where art meets commerce. 
If you're looking for a chance to explore the arts, commerce, and food of Pine Street, then the first week in September is the time to do it. The annual Art Hop, organized by SEABA, runs from September 5th - 7th. Studios and businesses all along the street open their doors with exhibits by local artists. There are kids' events, live music, a comedy show, an artists' market, juried shows, outdoor sculptures and the STRUT! Fashion Show. 
The Art Hop is a perfect introduction to this region of Burlington. This event will give any visitor a feel for the energy of this creative corridor, which carries over into the rest of the year. After you've seen the work on display, and the number of people who come out to view it and participate in their community's annual festivities, you'll always imagine the hum of activity going on behind the walls of the Pine Street buildings. 
To get information on ticket sales, a full list of venues, and schedule of events for the 2014 Art Hop, visit the SEABA website at: http://seaba.com/ 
Looking for a place for lunch or dinner during the Art Hop? Check out the food vendors at the Burlington Farmers' Market on Saturday, the eateries on Pine Street, and, of course, all the great downtown Burlington restaurants - including some delicious brunch venues like Mirabelle's Cafe, Penny Cluse Cafe, and Magnolia Bistro. You can find more information on the DigInVT.com Places page.

The South End Art Hop is coming this weekend Friday, September 5 - Sunday, September 7.  While you are taking in the art don't forget to take in some food too.  Check out this great article to get a taste for what Burlington and the Art Hop have in store for you!

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