Comparing maple-blueberry scones with a bacon tart might seem like the proverbial case of apples vs. oranges. But last Wednesday, judges at the Central Vermont Localvore kick-off celebration on the State House lawn had to do just that. Ten chefs submitted dishes made entirely with local ingredients in a bid to score one of four prizes.
The big winners? The Black Door took home a prize for creativity. Its offering: a slice of rosy, rosemary-scented lamb with wheat-berry salad, a goat-cheese crisp and maple-cider syrup. The prize for "most Vermont character" went to Lisa Rubin of the Farmhouse Café. Her "farmers' bounty Neapolitan" was a colorful stack of garden-fresh veggies with cheese and pesto. The folks at Norwich University's branch of Sodexho snagged "most exotic use of local products." Why? They grilled lettuce hearts to go with their sausage-stuffed chicken and put Long Trail Blackberry Wheat beer in a cheesecake. The final prize, for "most delicious dish," was awarded to Restaurant Phoebe. Chef Aaron Millon also served up chicken stuffed with sausage, but his came with a side of bacon-braised collards and a summer salad. Millon's dish also won the "People's Choice Award."