Food tour floods taste buds
Tourists sample a wide variety of fresh local fare
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 20:09
Between the months of May and September, millions of visitors flood the streets of Burlington to immerse themselves in Vermont’s history and culture.
From decorated local vineyards and the farmers’ market, to the Lake Champlain waterfront and the lively atmosphere of Church Street, Burlington offers a culture different from what one may find elsewhere in the Northeast.
In anticipation of the busy summer season, Joe Haedrich, along with the help of Scott Pelligrini, launched Burlington Food Tours.
The 2.5-hour walking tour, guided by Pelligrini, provides insight into the food culture of the area and allows customers to taste what makes Vermont so special and delicious firsthand.
“It gives them a good [look] into a lot of stuff that they wouldn’t find on their own,” he said. “When tourists come to town they go right to Church Street; we’re trying to give them an inside glimpse on what the locals might do.”
The Saratoga Food Tour, which is managed by Haedrich, expanded to Burlington at the beginning of the summer and gave its first tour in July.
Since then they have provided tours almost every Saturday.
The $45 excursion begins at noon at the East Shore Vineyard Tasting Room on Church Street, where Pelligrini introduces the key aspects and stops of the day.
After sampling some of Vermont’s finest wines and cheeses, the group departs for the Burlington Farmers’ Market.
In its 34th year, the market continues to offer freshly prepared local food products including granola, fresh juices, and mustards.
Just this year the market added 30 more vendors, and people drive from all over the state to attend the weekly event.
“The amount it’s grown in the past five years has been amazing,” market manager Chris Wagner said. “We found a good balance from our vendors and from what we’re offering.”
The tour group, which consisted of two UVM students and four Texans experiencing their first taste of Burlington, then headed to Pistou Restaurant for a sit-down taste at one of the dining locations in the area.
The head chef, Max MacKinnon, prepared multiple bread and pâté dishes for the group, which were complimented by mustards and hummus that Pelligrini had purchased from the market.
“I’ve lived here for 18 years and been to a lot of great restaurants in Burlington, but Pistou was really unique,” first-year Cody Putre said. “It offered lots of organic foods from our area, and it was a great place to eat that was somewhat off the beaten path.”
The tour would usually head to Saratoga Olive Oil for more local sampling, but due to the requests of the group, the tour derailed to the Champlain waterfront instead for dessert.
With multiple options from the Skinny Pancake to Burlington Bay Market & Café, the waterfront offered a beautiful setting to end the day.
The Burlington Food Tour offers an in-depth view into the hidden tastes that the area has to offer.
“Those four Texans will be talking about the fact that we ate crickets that day for the rest of their lives,” Pelligrini said. “It’s creating an experience and shaping a mindset; those are the little experiences that we can provide.”