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Side Dishes: New fest to pick up where Chew Chew left off

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The Green Mountain Chew Chew Festival expired in 2009 after 24 years. But a new event called the Burlington Wine & Food Festival will give waterfront walkers plenty to chow down on in 2010.

The brainchild of Vermont Wine Merchants’ Mike Stolese, who partnered with Chew Chew’s Rick Norcross, the one-day gig will highlight a wide variety of vino, live music and food from eight area restaurants. So far, L’Amante, Miguel’s on Main, The Belted Cow Bistro, Trattoria Delia and Souza's have signed on.

The eating and sipping will happen in two four-hour sessions on Saturday, June 26. For $40 a head, guests get a wine glass and 15 swigs, a voucher for one food item from a restaurant and unlimited artisan bread and Vermont cheese.

Expect a celebrity guest: Olympic figure-skating gold medalist Peggy Fleming, who’ll be representing the California vineyard she owns with her husband, Greg Jenkins. “They’re awfully nice people,” says Norcross. “Their son works at Burton; that’s the Burlington connection.”

Sounding bemused, Norcross notes how far Burlington has come, taste-wise, since the first Chew Chew Fest 25 years ago. “When I started that festival, Carbur’s was the hot place in Burlington,” he recalls. “There’s a little different bent to this [event].”

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