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Posts Tagged ‘vt food’

Taste Your Way Through Burlington

Written by Julianne Puckett on . Posted in Taste of the Landscape

Whether you’re a lifelong Vermonter, a new resident or simply a visitor to our green state, you’re probably well aware that the Burlington area is a food-lover’s paradise.

But did you know that there’s a now a food-focused walking tour of Burlington?

Burlington Food Tours offers a cultural walking tour of the downtown area, with tasty sampling stops along the way at various vendors at the farmer’s market as well as specialty food shops and area restaurants. The experienced guides also provide some Burlington food history and overview of the area farming and locavore culture along the way.

My friend Jennifer and I decided to take the 2.5-hour tour on a sunny Saturday in July. We met our guide, Andrea, and the other tour participants — a few visitors from Saratoga, N.Y., a mother-daughter pair from Iowa and two other locals, like ourselves — at our first stop, the East Shore Vineyards Tasting Room on Church Street. We were treated to, along with an assortment of local cheeses, a tasting flight of wines, produced locally from grapes grown on Grand Isle. The hands-down favorite among our group was East Shore’s Louise Swenson, a crisp, refreshing white with notes of citrus.

Our next stop was the downtown farmer’s market, which was bustling on such a beautiful day. We sampled wood-fired bread from Naga Bakehouse, organic bitters from Urban Moonshine, honey vodka and elderberry cordial from Caledonia Spirits, sharp cheeses from Shelburne Farms, internationally-inspired pastries from The Nomadic Oven and more, all while enjoying the beautiful sunshine and cool lake breezes.

Another highlight of our tour was a special stop at Pistou, where we were served a delightful caprese-like salad of local heirloom tomatoes and creamy ricotta, prepared especially for our group as the restaurant is not normally open during the day.

The tour concluded with visits to Church Street shops Lake Champlain Chocolates (I can now highly recommend the chocolate milk shake) and the Saratoga Olive Oil Company, where I could have spent hours, sampling all the unique varietal oils and richly-flavored balsamic vinegars.

If you’re looking for a unique way to introduce your out-of-town guests to the gastric delights of downtown Burlington or just want an excuse to be outside, enjoying some delicious treats, drinks and sights on a warm-weather Saturday, check out Burlington Food Tours; be sure to arrive hungry!

All photographs by Julianne Puckett.

Dump Diva

Written by Julianne Puckett on . Posted in Taste of the Landscape

shallot_dressingI’m a regular at the dump.

OK, OK, it’s not actually the dump: it’s my local Chittenden Solid Waste District Drop-Off Center. But when I score a treasure there and tell my friends about it, it’s so much more dramatic to say, “Look what I got at the dump!”

So why am I picking up when I should be dropping off, as the name implies? Because the clever folks at CSWD have added a little shed at each drop-off center that they call the “ReUse Zone,” a place where you can leave still-usable household items that you no longer want but someone else might (note that drop-off fees still apply).

In other words, there’s good free stuff for the taking.

As a food blogger, I am always on the lookout for props for my food photography: interesting plates, flatware, glasses, bowls, linens — anything that might enhance my photos and prevent them from seeming repetitively boring, which they would be if I used my everyday dishes for each photo.

Clearly, though, acquiring these props could turn into an expensive prospect. Since I generally only need one of any item (ever try to buy a single fork in a retail shop? not so easy) rather than a set, my favorite sources are low-cost venues like yard sales and second-hand shops or, better yet, free sources like the ReUse Zone.

You would be amazed at what I have rescued from that one little shed: brand-new items (price tags often still attached), including a stoneware Bundt pan, a tabletop drinks cooler and bamboo flatware, as well as gently used finds, such as a black lacquer rice bowl, colornutella_banana_breadful plates, cute old milk bottles, lots of mason jars and a large enameled salad bowl. With just a little scrubbing, they are all enjoying a second life.

See the bowl and serving utensils in the background of the photo of the shallot dressing? Or the bamboo cutting board underneath the banana bread?

They’re all dump treasures.

And I haven’t even mentioned all the books I find at the ReUse Zone — some for me, some for my friends, some for my family.

There truly is something for everyone at the dump.

And, who knows? That “something” just might make an appearance in a photo on my blog.

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