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Dinner in the Round

Side Dishes: A weekend of food events in Waitsfield

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The Inn at the Round Barn Farm bed-and-breakfast in Waitsfield is known as an elegant destination for weddings. But unless we’re invited to a big ’do, few of us get to try its food. This weekend, hungry folks will have several opportunities to enjoy the resort’s local bounty.

The gustatory weekend kicks off with a three-day intensive cheese-making course taught by Larry and Linda Faillace of Three Shepherds Cheese in Warren.

On Sunday, the Round Barn will host the Mad River Valley’s Thanksgiving farmers market. Round Barn chef Charlie Menard says he’ll be cooking omelettes to order at the market, which will take up two levels of the barn. “The circular building creates a neat kind of flow and buzz,” says Menard of the market, held for the second time in that location.

Menard will have gotten a workout the previous day, November 20, when he cooks his first Vermont Fresh Network dinner. The Round Barn was a founding member of the VFN. But, because Menard’s in-house catering company, Cooking From the Heart, isn’t really a restaurant, the meals he prepares — usually for weddings and retreats — are rarely open to the public.

Excited to show his stuff, Menard is going all out. The $58 limited-availability dinner will include no fewer than 13 dishes, all using fare from Mad River Valley-area farm partners.

The meal will start with Vermont Yak Company stroganoff with homemade pasta and shiitake mushrooms from Dana Forest Farm; a local cheese plate will offer samples from Three Shepherds.

Guests will mingle to the strains of ex-pastry chef Anthony Santor’s jazz duo before sitting down for family-style platters of food, including quince- and pear-stuffed quail; spaghetti squash with cranberries and feta; braised lamb shanks; and duck fat-roasted vegetables.

“It’ll be the perfect opportunity to really get to know your neighbor and really talk to the farmer,” predicts Menard. The meal, he says, is his way to give back to the farmers who make his job possible: “This is the food I want to cook for the people I want to cook it for.”

For reservations, call 496-2276 or check out www.theroundbarn.com.

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