October 20, 2023
The Food Scene in Vermont is a Gay Traveler's Paradise
Roger Porter READ TIME: 7 MIN. SPONSORED
Vermont has a little secret: It isn't just known for its lush foliage, covered bridges and hiking trails. The freedom and unity state has built up a tasty food scene to rival culinary quests around the country.
With a literal smorgasbord of curious food festivals, food experiences and breweries popping up in every corner of the state, Vermont is the place to take your foodie adventures to the next level. Grab your best gay pals and head north to Bernie Sanders' home state for the latest and greatest to sate your palate. You'll thank me after every bite.
Feelin' Fine at the Vermont Food Festivals
Kick off the fall season in Vermont every year with Garlic Town U.S.A., a time honored tradition for garlic lovers and "always a stinkin' good time." Choose from over 120 vendors serving up every food garlic goes with and enjoy live music, beer tents and activities for friends and family. The annual festival is held in downtown Bennington in the southern region of the state. Then take your pungent flavors to the next stinky level with Moos and Brews and Cocktails Too, a celebration of Vermont cheese at Billings Farm in Woodstock. Snap a pic with a Jersey cow, stroll through Farmstead Gardens and sip a cocktail from a local distillery.
Bask in the Vermont foliage as you nosh on delectable bites and sip on a wine from a local vintner at the Vermont Wine & Harvest Festival, an annual tradition every fall in Wilmington. Dubbed one of North America's Top 100 events by the American Bus Association, you don't want to miss the selection of savory foods from specialty food producers and curated wines. This is your chance to mingle with an enclave of all kinds of artists: Painters and chefs, publishers and potters, jewelers and photographers. The celebration of craftspeople and their wares is an open marketplace for sipping, shopping and savoring at Mount Snow Resort. The festival crescendos with the wine stroll and soup contest the first night and grand tasting and artisan expo to close the festival.
Another notable food festival to catch during a visit to Vermont is the week-long Blueberry Festival. The annual festival happens every summer in Deerfield Valley and features a parade, street fair, blue-colored foods at an open market, live musical performances and a special blueberry boat extravaganza. Then raise a glass to the Vermont Brewers Festival, a summer tradition of tasting sessions overlooking gorgeous Lake Champlain in Burlington's Waterfront Park.
With Vermont having the highest number of cheesemakers per capita, the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival is a yearly summer treat. Peruse a smorgasbord of food samplings, including Vermont cheese, meat, wine, and spirits, all while you mingle with the artisans who created those delicious offerings. Finally, discover Open Farm Week, a week-long, state-wide celebration of the foods and products that come from Vermont's beloved farms. The annual event brings the various Vermont farming communities together to connect with their customers and taste the delectable foods that come from Vermont's soil.
No matter which food festival you choose, you'll enjoy the rolling farmlands that make the picturesque state of Vermont the place to visit.
Taste the Local Terroir
Vermont has the highest concentration of maple trees in the country. In the spring, warm days and cool nights trigger the flow of sap, and sugar makers get to work boiling the sap into pure maple syrup. All of these maple trees not only makes Vermont the leading producer of maple syrup in the nation but also creates a vibrant display of colorful foliage over the landscape every fall. Celebrate Vermont's signature syrup with The Maple 100, a month-long extravaganza of events, tastings, and toasts every autumn.
Maple isn't just for pancakes; it flavors cocktails, compliments dinner plates and sweetens Vermont's one-of-a-kind creemees. Made from Vermont dairy with hints of, you guessed it, Maple, a creemee is the creamier version of soft-serve but served up slightly less chilled to capture that pillowy cream texture. Hop on the Maple Creemee Trail with the trail map as your guide and you'll discover a number of creamy creations that only Vermont locals know how to make.
With so many farms dotted across the map of Vermont, it's no wonder there are a cornucopia of delicious restaurants and lunch spots to pick from during your travels through the state. Visit the DigInVT website to find an eatery or local favorite that goes with your tastes. And speaking of good taste, the Vermont Fresh Network brings together chefs, farmers, food artisans and diners to deliver the highest quality ingredients that come through in every bite on your plate. Whether you find yourself at a winery, food market, a farm walk or fruit stand, you'll know you're getting the finest foods with Vermont Fresh Network.
And for the curious foodies, reserve a seat at an Adventure Dinner, a curated and hosted list of unexpected food and drink experiences. Adventure is the optimal word here as these events supply a location and theme and guests discover the rest once they arrive. You'll taste the local landscape with a full course meal made from the freshest ingredients sourced at the event location (typically a farm or winery). Sip on a local variety of wine or hand-crafted cocktail as you mingle with other adventurous foodies, stroll the farm and relish in the rolling Vermont hills and brilliant bursts of foliage. Adventure Dinner is a one-of-a-kind tasting odyssey – found only in Vermont!
Pass Me a Cold One at a Vermont Brewery
To get the taps going, stop off in Burlington for cold brews as delicious as any beer you've ever had and yummy bites the whole group can enjoy. First on your list is the Burlington Beer Company (BBCO) where you can dine in their 120 year-old brick building restaurant and enjoy beers featuring artist-designed labels on all their offerings in the taproom. Don't forget to pop in at Fiddlehead Brewing, which shares a building with local pizza spot Folino's Pizza, to grab the coolest swag to go with your beers and finish at Zero Gravity, featuring a full menu and covered outdoor patio.
Tasty beer goes far beyond Burlington. Check out Hill Farmstead Brewery in the Northeast Kingdom region of the state to experience a family-owned farm and brewery that continues on a 220-year tradition. Don't miss the retail shop to enjoy Hill Farmstead beer at home. When visiting the Champlain Islands, pop over to Kraemer and Kin, another family-owned brewery that blends the farm with the brew for a savory experience. In addition to a taproom with the latest brews on tap, discover a menu of wood-fired pizzas, burgers, cheeses and a Sunday brunch that can't be beat. Finally, cruise down the state to the lush hills of Braintree for Bent Hill Brewery, a cozy designed brewery featuring warm amber wood finishings that match the flourishing fall foliage. Enjoy Bent Hill's meat-less menu as you sip on a favorite taproom pint.
Plan Your Trip
Vermont goes above and beyond to offer an eclectic mix of food festivals, marketplaces and food trails, and popping breweries. No matter where you find yourself in the state, you and your friends will discover flavors that are unique to Vermont. Start planning at VermontVacation.com for a trip that both you and your taste buds won't forget!