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Saveur-ing Vermont

Side Dishes: and more media madness

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Vermont scored two mentions in the September issue of Saveur magazine. The New England Maple Museum, in Pittsford, is one of six on a list of food museums around the world that are worthy of visitation. The story's blurb: "The Met and the Louvre have their appeal, but these establishments are far more appetizing." Calling the NEMM a "decidedly folksy affair," writer Iris Brooks explains that "Mr. Doolittle, a storytelling mannequin, greets arrivals with tidbits about Vermont farm life..."

No offense to Mr. Doolittle, but given the choice, I'd take the Louvre.

The magazine's August "agenda" includes the Vermont Fresh Network's 12th annual forum, to be held at Shelburne Farms' Coach Barn on August 5. The event's theme is "Eat It to Save It: Renewing Our Farm and Food Traditions."

The folks at VFN are in good company . . . other special events that made Saveur's calendar include the far-flung South American Festival da Pinga, which celebrates Brazilian sugar cane liquor, and the Sardine Festival in Scala Koloni, Greece.

Too bad the mag didn't deliver all the Forum's juicy details. There was no mention, for instance, of the event's keynote speaker, ethno-botanist Gary Paul Nabhan. The Arizona-based author penned one of the first "localvore" books, the sensuously descriptive Coming Home to Eat, back in 2002. If you think it's tough eating local in Vermont, try living in a desert!

Nowadays, Nabhan is the director of the Center for Sustainable Environments, and is a founder of — Renewing America's Food Traditions — project. Tickets to the forum and the accompanying dinner, prepared by 20 chefs from local restaurants such as Elements in St. Johnsbury, Café Provence in Brandon and The Inn at Shelburne Farms, are $60 for the general public. Info, 434-2000.

Another mainstream mention? Roy Blount Jr. ends his August 15 review of American Food Writing: An Anthology with Classic Recipes, edited by Molly O'Neill, with a paean to Corby Kummer's "tribute to Vermont cheesemakers Cindy and David Major." The Majors make the highly acclaimed Vermont Shepherd cheese, which received highest honors from the American Cheese Society. Blount's final word on the anthology: "That cheese won a blue ribbon. So should this book."

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