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Visiting Shelburne Farms

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Where can you watch cheddar being made, buy delicious sticky buns and olive-studded ciabatta and see baby pigs frolic, all within one building? Shelburne Farms, that's where! In the past, I'd visited the Coach

Barn at the farm for a production of Romeo and Juliet, and also for a presentation on maple terroir. But I'd never just visited to enjoy the properties offerings, until last weekend, that is.

On Saturday morning, I had breakfast at the Inn at Shelburne Farms with my lovely friends Margot, Eva and Molly. All three have been there before and assured me that I would just love it...they were right!

We sat at an outdoor table with a view of the lake. I ordered a mimosa because I'm finicky about Bloody Marys, but was promptly jealous when I tried a sip of Eva's. Now that I think about it, I don't even like the concept of a mimosa: I'll take my champagne and fresh-squeezed o.j. separately, next time. Or, more likely, I'll order a nice, stiff, horseradish-scented Bloody Mary, instead.

Then I had eggs Benedict. When I try a new breakfast place, I almost always order the eB. Why? Because the ability to turn out a good hollandaise sauce is the mark of a well-run kitchen. And this was a good hollandaise, albeit, it could have used just a touch more lemon, methinks. The eggs were perfectly poached with sunny yolks, the toast was just crusty enough and the Vermont ham was a delicious complement...nicer than the traditional Canadian bacon. Molly had a gorgeous fruit plate (the pineapple she let me sample was sweet and juicy). Overall, a very tasty meal in a lovely setting.

After breakfast, we explored the gardens and visited the Inn's fancy library and game room. Then we walked along a forest path to the Farm Barn, which houses the Cheddary, Bakery, Wood-Working Studio and Children's Farmyard. We shopped at the O'Bread Bakery (mmm...cinnamon twists and olive rolls) and checked out the baby animals before heading back to the car in a rainstorm. We stopped at one more place, too, but you can read about that in this week's food news (on Wednesday afternoon...before that, you'll find last week's food news).

On Sunday, I was spending time with my lovely friend Kate, who hails from San Diego. Kate wanted to see Vermont cheese being made. Where to go? Back to Shelburne Farms! We visited the cheese-making facility and watched as cheddar curds were drained of their whey. We also sampled Shelburne Farms Cheddar at a few different ages (6 months, 1 year and 2 year). We both liked the 2-year cheese best. And yes, we stopped at O'Bread for a few treats. This time, I got a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread and a flaky chocolate croissant.

What a lovely, educational and ultra-Vermont-y place to take advantage of...In the future, I'll be visiting Shelburne Farms on a regular basis. I can't wait to go back for dinner!

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