I do not make six figures a year but I get compensated with so many wonderful experiences through the people I meet in my food career. Last weekend, my colleagues and I made a 3 day trip to Vermont, making a visit to a cheese cellar, in time for maple syrup sapping season, beer tasting and to burn it all, well partially off the calories with cross country skiing.
March 18, 2011 (Day 1 Saint Johnsbury & Greensboro, Vermont)
Our weekend getaway started with us meeting at 5:30am on the Upper East Side. The 6 of us included Lisa and Orion (who drove us), Ava, Alen, Avery and me. After 6 hours drive from New York City, we made a stop in St. Johnsbury for lunch at Dylan’s Cafe, which recently reopened in an old US Post Office building. It was a typical lunch spot with sandwiches, wraps, soups and salads on the menu selection. As soon as we had replenished we made our way to Greensboro, Vermont to visit Cellars at Jasper Hill which was how the trip to Vermont had conceived. Through the scenic drive in the mud terrain where most of Vermont was still coated with snow and a hint of Spring in the air and passing through barns to farms, we arrived to Cellars of Jasper Hill Farm. This is where their award winning Cabot Clothbound Cheddar was created, along with my personal favorites the Landaff and Constant Bliss cheese are made. We started with the tour given by cheese resident expert Vince Razionale, with the “Man Cave” where the Cabot Clothbound Cheddar ages. This is the pride and soul of Cellars of Jasper Hill and it is an incredible space with giant wheels of cheese after wheels stacked neatly in rows. The cheesemongers at Cellars of Jasper Hill takes a lot of care into a fine aged cheese with precise graphic charts that measures its acidity, ph, temperature and all that mad science. What is delicious and admirable about Cellars of Jasper Hill is the Jasper Hill Farm works with many local creamery and farms in Vermont to collaborate in making the cheese, such as the Cabot Clothbound Chedder with Cabot Creamery or provide the cellars as a space to age the Landaff with Landaff Creamery and the Oma with Von Trapp Creamery. The idea of small businesses working with small businesses and the collaborative efforts is truly inspiring.
For the weekend, our friends from Jasper Hill Farm generously accommodated us with lodging at a nearby inn. That evening we were given the recommendation for dinner at a local popular hangout pizza bar, Parker Pie Co. in West Glover. It was essentially the only place still lively at 7pm or really the only place in town. With a little general store in the front which the selection was very scattered and felt like a popup shop, though their trail mix of peanuts and raisins are pretty good. We ordered three medium pies: a Pizza Margherita, a Buffalo Chicken Pizza and a Green Mountain Special. So, what is the Green Mountain Special you may ask? Well, it’s a cleverly well executed Vermont Maple syrup pizza. By maple syrup it’s not drowned in maple syrup like pancakes would but more of a drizzle and everything is better with Bacon! And of course some green spinach, cheddar, and red onions. The pizza crust was thin and outstanding. Parker Pie definitely have a chance to compete with the big boys in New York City. Who would have known something so delicious exist in such a rural suburbia Vermont?!
March 19, 2011 (Day 2 Craftsbury Common, West Glover, & Hardwick, Vermont)
We woke up to a fresh coat of thinly layered snow! Which was perfect for cross country skiing at the Craftsbury Common and the amazing deal is with rentals and entry only came to $15 per person. It’s so nice to ski in real snow and in Vermont! We later made our way to a family owned farmed with sugar maple trees in time for maple syrup tapping season at Ledgenear Farm. Located in the woods where all the trees had thin blue tubes through every tree and where the maple syrup gradually drips into a center port that collects the syrup. This is the twenty-first century method and “supposedly” a much more efficient method in comparison to the drill and pail. Once the syrup is collected it gets boiled in an impressive massive boiler in a boiling hut. This was where the commencement of maple syrup sapping tapping boiling with family, friends and four legged friends party was held. Beer, plain donuts to be dipped with maple syrup, maple candy, and more cheese this included the winter special Cellars of Jasper Hill, Winnimere. With 30 minutes to spare we made a quick stop at an up and coming beer craft brewery, Hill FarmStead Brewery and best known for the American Pale Ale or aka Edward after the owner’s grandfather. – Isn’t that sweet! Sniffles. That evening, Vince from Cellars of Jasper Hill invited us all over to their house party, a communal gathering of food makers and food lovers for an awesome Landaff cheese (OMG) fondue. Beer, more cheese and more maple something. I can get use to this lifestyle.
March 20, 2011 ( Farewell Vermont )
With a 7 hours drive back to New York City ahead of us, we packed and made one last stop at Waitsfield, Vermont for brunch at a spot our friend, Taylor had recommended to us, The Green Cup. For brunch, this place loves their eggs. Baked eggs in ramekins?! I went for the more traditional sunny side up but it was a beautiful presentation and it was freshly made with potato hash, chorizo with vibrant colored green slices of avocados and diced tomatoes. With a side of fresh fruits and slice of Red Hen Baking Co. butter bread toast. I also ordered an americano with coffee beans roasted by Vermont Bean Company. The cost was comparably the same to New York City but the ingredients are amazingly farm fresh or maybe I am just delusional because I am surrounded by the nature’s beauty of Vermont.
A lovely weekend indeed. Thank you to our friends in Vermont.
Here is a visual recap of our 3 day trip to Vermont with selected photos courtesy of Alen Agaronov. For a full album, please visit iluvpotato’s facebook page! ~ yes now on facebook too.
Dylan’s Cafe/// 139 Eastern Avenue, St Johnsbury, VT 05819
Cellars at Jasper Hill /// Greensboro, VT 05841
Parker Pie Co. /// 161 County Rd., West Glover, VT 05875
Ledgenear Farm /// 2342 Andersonville Road West Glover, Vermont 05875
Hill Farmstead Brewery ///403 Hill Road, Greensboro Bend, VT 05842
The Green Cup/// 40 Bridge Street, Waitsfield, VT 05673
text and images © iluvpotato