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Side Dishes: Leftover Food News

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With the rising cost of, well, just about everything, it's tough to treat the family to dinner out. Three Tomatoes Trattoria in Williston is responding with its own edible economic-stimulus package. The casual eatery is offering family-style dinners, including salad, pasta and pizza, at deep discounts. Sunday through Thursday, an early evening meal for three or four will cost $39. Families of five or six will pay just $49.

Luckily, patrons won't have to provide DNA samples before ordering up a Greek salad and some penne Bolognese. According to a Three Tomatoes staffer, the pricing applies to any group of the requisite size, whether or not they're actually related.

Chocoholics flock to the Inn at Essex this weekend for the second annual Vermont Chocolate Show. Exhibitors include Laughing Moon Chocolates of Stowe, Waitsfield's Liz Lovely and Farmhouse Truffles from Waterbury.

Need some chocolate education? NECI chefs will be cooking up a storm. The list of demos includes Chef Mark Molinaro preparing local, grass-fed beef with a bitter chocolate and chili sauce and Mathew Zimmerman whipping up "chocolate cherry sourdough bread." Artistes from Lake Champlain Chocolates will show off their stuff, too. And just like last year, cacao lovers can sip chocolate martinis made with local Sunshine Vodka. Sweet.

Last week, the country's largest organic dairy co-op, Organic Valley, celebrated its 25th anniversary by reporting some good news: Despite the economic downturn, revenue increased by 29 percent in 2007.

The co-op also honored its top dairy producer in each region of the country. In the East, that's North Hardwick Dairy.

It may have taken an ammonia spill, but Cabot Creamery Cooperative recently added a new "green" position. Former Marketing Director Jed Davis, a 17-year veteran of the company, recently switched to the role of "Director of Sustainability." "For a while now, we've had some projects going, but this is an effort to give all of the projects a little more structure," Davis explains. "We'll try and take a more comprehensive look at where there are opportunities."

In other Cabot news, the cheesemaker is pairing with local breweries to cross-promote Vermont products in other states. "We're doing a program with Harpoon and looking at a program with Long Trail," says spokesperson Ian Ormon, "but the details haven't been finalized." A partnership with Magic Hat may also be in the hopper.

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