Vermont is only about 9,600 square miles, but it’s a small and mighty contender for “most delicious state.” Farm-to-table food wouldn’t exist as we know it without Vermont and its nearly 7,000 farms, which churn out everything from juicy Honeycrisp apples to (impossibly sweet) sweet corn. Travel through the Green Mountain State, and you’ll see the roads lined with hilly pastures for dairy cows to graze, charming sugarhouses for sweet maple treats, and sleek restaurants where imaginative chefs take farm-fresh ingredients to higher heights.
What makes Vermont’s reputation for great food even better? You can jump into the culinary action yourself, through delicious activities like baking a pro-level, perfectly flaky pain au chocolat, snowshoeing to a moonlit cider and cheese tasting, or even cooking a hearty dinner by cauldron. (Yes, cauldron!) These hands-on, distinctly Vermont-flavored activities are just a few of the reasons to plan a tasty trip soon.
Learn to bake foods from all over the globe
Norwich, VT : If cozy baking shows are your thing, then you’ll love visiting King Arthur Baking Company. Students of all levels are welcome at the center’s classes, so it’s zero percent pressure and 100 percent carb-y goodness. Top-tier instructors will teach you how to roll the perfect naan, lock buttery layers into delectable croissants, or decorate silky layers of a Swiss meringue buttercream cake. If you’d rather stay out of the campus kitchen, then book an online class — or wander around the King Arthur Café, Bakery & Store, where you can munch on wildly popular Almond Cloud Cookies, sip a latté made with Brattleboro’s own Mocha Joe’s coffee beans, and snap up specialty baking supplies.
Snowshoe by moonlight to a hidden sugarhouse
Stowe, VT: Hear the crackling fire? Smell the cider mulling? Then you must have booked the Umiak Outdoor Outfitters’ Moonlight Cabin Snowshoe Tour. The three-hour excursion starts with a lesson on snowshoe technique. After that, it’s an adventure through the woods to a secret sugarhouse — with an expert guide pointing out local wildlife along the way. You’ll have an appetite by the time you reach your destination, where you’ll relax by a toasty fire and enjoy essential Vermont treats: mulled Cold Hollow cider, plus Cabot cheese with crackers. Bring some wine if you’d like to raise your glass before trekking back.
Sample a whole world of honey
Brookfield, VT: Maple syrup gets most of the attention in Vermont, but in Brookfield it’s all about honey. Brookfield Bees is a hidden gem with shelves and shelves of samples collected around the globe. You can taste all of the types of honey yourself to appreciate the differences in sweetness, texture, and flavor notes — and you’ll find plenty of variety in a collection including bottles from most U.S. states and countries ranging from Brazil to New Zealand to Sierra Leone. Be sure to call ahead so the owners will be ready to serve up your sampling.
Make the meal of a lifetime at Vermont’s “culinary resort and spa”
Essex, VT: Just outside Burlington, you’ll find The Essex, a resort themed around food, from its décor to its activities. At The Essex’s Cook Academy, classes range from sushi rolling to “Sunday Brunch” (mimosas included). But is your inner chef still calling? A Gourmet Getaway package means one-on-one time with a chef who’ll chop, slice, and simmer alongside you while you make a three-course meal. (And you get to eat it later, too!) If you’d rather just watch the meal take shape, try the Curated Dinner, where a chef instructor will build a menu and wine pairing exclusively for you, then cook in front of you and share pro tips. The best part? You’ll be able to take the recipes and tips you learned home with you.
Paddle your way to cocktails
Jeffersonville, VT: Family-owned Smugglers’ Notch Distillery really earned its name: It’s near a mountain pass that bootleggers used to transport alcohol during Prohibition. Fortunately, you won’t have to be sneaky when you book a themed tour (and grab an adult beverage) with Vermont Canoe & Kayak. Their two-and-a-half-hour Kayaks & Cocktails adventure will have you paddling along the picturesque Lamoille River — admiring the densely-forested mountains that give Vermont the highest concentration of maple trees in the country — straight to the award-winning distillery. Smugglers’ Notch Distillery is renowned for vodka made with Vermont spring water, inventive whiskeys, and even a very Vermont-y maple bourbon. Don’t miss their Smugglers’ Pickled Garlic Martini or Smugglers’ Notch Maple Bourbon Old Fashioned. (Vermont Canoe & Kayak also offers non-alcoholic excursions, like their Ice Cream Float canoe trip and S’mores Tour.)
Ride an e-bike along a brewery tour
Johnson, VT: Imagine gravel crunching under your tires as you roll through lush farmland and forest passes, and coast alongside a peaceful river. Even better, you’re on your way to three beloved Vermont breweries. That’s your Saturday with Lamoille Valley Bike Tours, on their E-Bike and Brew Guided Tour. You’ll hit up Rock Art Brewery, Lost Nation Brewing, and Ten Bends Beer, and between stops, your guide will tell you about the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, a historic former railroad. On Fridays by reservation, you also can book a Teahouse Tour starting in Morrisville to sip hot or iced tea at Fledermaus Teahouse, known for its scenic grounds, lush herb gardens, and rolling hills. Cheers to that.
Cook dinner in a cauldron over an open flame
Warren, VT: Bubble, bubble, toil, and… gruyère. With Three Shepherds Cheese, don’t expect the typical dining experience. Instead, get ready to stir a cauldron, whipping up comfort foods (like smoked cheeses, apple butter, colonial Dutch-style donuts, pork ribs, and “Sunday sauce” for pasta) over blazing coals. The low and slow cooking technique will help you tap into the simplicity of an earlier age, as you enjoy an alcoholic beverage while you wait. Nothing is cookie-cutter at Three Shepherds, which also leads an “Eat the Weeds” class (dandelion fritter, anyone?) and an “Earth’s Bounty” experience, where you’ll learn to turn farmed and foraged ingredients into sweet and savory pies, homemade jams and jellies, cultured butter, Sicilian gelato, and more. Consider your palate expanded.
Whether you’re in Vermont for a quick trip or you’re on an extended vacation, you’ll find the state’s passion for the freshest foods and flavors delightfully obvious. That energy can sweep you up — so much so, that you might find yourself craving a cauldron dinner now and then. These seven spots are just the starting point of the state’s culinary creativity, so get started planning your own delicious Vermont vacation now.
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