Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Many Tastes of Local

Yesterday I went to Shelburne Vineyard Autumn Wine and Food Festival. There were over ten different vendors there, sampling their locally made products. There were several meat options, like quail, charcuterie meats, and smoked sausages that my friends said were delicious, but I bypassed those options for the wine, mead, cider, chocolate, cheeses and bread. There could not have been a better way to accomplish afternoon local snacking. 
We started with the wine, which I learned while tasting, is not local according to our rules. Shelburne Vineyard receives grapes from many vineyards up to a 300 mile radius. The woman who gave us our tasting explained to me that some grapes just do not grow as well in the Vermont climate and therefore they must venture further into New York to find the appropriate grapes they need for certain wines. The same was true for the East Shore Vineyard from Grand Isle, VT. Most of their grapes are produced at their Vineyard (they also have a tasting spot on Church St!), but they are not able to grow all that they need there, so they pick up from Vineyards in the Finger Lakes region of New York, again up to 300 miles away. They did however have one all local wine for tasting that day, the St. Croix. 

The Star All Local Wine!

 Red Hen Bakery, from Middlesex, VT, was also there sampling a variety of their breads.  I found out from them that they do indeed have a few all local options. The Cyprus Pringle (light wheat bread) and the Vermont Miche (rye and wheat) use all local grains, and were a perfect match for the Smoked Cheddar from Shelburne Farms and the Coupole goat cheese from VT Butter and Creamery from Websterville, VT. I learned from them something new as well. To wash down this delicious bread and cheese feast, I finished my tastings with local and traditional Artesano mead from Groton, Vermont. The mead is made from Vermont wildflower honey and sweet as can be! We also tried Eden Ice Cider from West Charleston, Vermont made from a variety of Vermont apples. I think I could drink that all day it was so appley good. Overall this tasting event was a blast and even introduced me to a new restaurant that uses "locally-sourced seasonal Vermont products whenever possible" says chef and owner, Michael Orfan of the Lemon Peel Cafe in Shelburne. He hosted the charcuterie meats along with several condiment options. My favorites were the garlic pickles and homemade mustard! 

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