This summer in Vermont has been so dense with festivals that we’ve almost hit overload. But this weekend’s Celebrate Vermont festival in Stowe is too sprawling and food saturated to blow off.
The four-day fête will bring together chefs, farmers, brewers, food producers, musicians, craft makers and even loggers for a party spread across several sites in town, with its center at the Stowe Events Field on Weeks Hill Road.
Food-wise, the weekend is packed with farmers markets; seminars in beekeeping, brewing and cheese pairing; and six chef demonstrations, including sessions with Tom Bivins of Crop Bistro & Brewery, Cody Vasek of the Whip Bar & Grill and Suzanne Podhaizer of Salt Café in Montpelier.
Each day also features its own flesh: On Friday, JDC’s Just Delicious Catering (of Applecheek Farm) will serve up its own lamb; on Saturday, mobile food vendor Misery Loves Co. will tackle an entire pig; and on Sunday, roving butcher Frank Pace will break down and serve a 1000-pound steer from Hardwick Beef.
On Saturday night, seven local microdistillers will put up their own bartenders for a Vermont Craft Cocktail contest at Stoweflake Mountain Resort. “It’s not so much a competition as a fun way to highlight Vermont spirits,” says festival organizer Charlie Dooley.
We know that L’Amante’s potato-crusted sea bass in citrus beurre blanc is off the hook. Now the rest of the world does, too. This month, the Burlington eatery was named one of the best Italian restaurants in the country by Travel + Leisure magazine, which cited both that dish and the celebrated squash-blossom fritters stuffed with Taleggio.
L’Amante landed on the list with the likes of New York City’s Del Posto and chef John Besh’s Domenica in New Orleans. “We were a bit surprised by it,” says Kevin Cleary of the honor bestowed on the eatery he owns with his wife, Kathi. “Being named to a list such as this is a great validation of all the hard work that the staff puts in every day to make L’Amante what it is.”