OK, so you know that the only reason we come to Vermont for three weeks every summer is because we need to get our fill of maple syrup right?
Well maybe not exactly, but Vermont really is home to everything delicious and original related to maple. Since I arrived two weeks ago I’ve been taking advantage of this maple abundance at every opportunity. How? Well, I enjoyed that syrup on some amazing gingerbread pancakes at the Hostel Tevere a new, hip, affordable place to eat and stay in Waitsfield that I’m hoping to describe in more detail in a future post. If you’re in the area you should definitely check out their breakfasts – the food is fantastic and cheap and the atmosphere is perfect for families, both laid back and stylish. And they’ll give you as much syrup as you want to douse those pancakes or perhaps their equally delicious stuffed French toast. This is important for a syrup lover like me. I like the proportions on my pancake plate to be roughly 50-50.
I’ve also had two maple creemees, which is what Vermonters call soft serve. These can be bought at many roadside stands across Vermont, but two of my favorite places to purchase them are Maynard’s Snack Bar on Route 100B in Moretown and at the Morse Farm outside Montpelier. While you’re there, be sure to feed the goat – the kids love to watch him climb for his food.
For a mix of meat and maple, I look to the Vermont Smoke and Cure Company. Since we’ve been here, I’ve served my family their maple smoked bacon for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Salty. Sweet. Bacony.
OK, I’ve wiped the drool from my keyboard. I’ll move on to another great family breakfast of teeny, tiny maple-glazed donuts from the Very Small Donut Company. These used to be available at an eponymous shop in Waitsfield, but are now can be purchased only at the café connected to The Big Picture Theater. What could be a finer movie snack than a few of these treats? And I dare you to limit yourself to only a couple, which is OK, since they’re only a few inches across. A secret: if you go in the morning you can often get them when their warm. It’s worth getting up early for. We get a dozen and I have to tell you, it’s hard to be fair and give the kids three each.
Another maple product that Tommy and Matt love in particular is the maple soda brewed by the Vermont Sweetwater Bottling Company. I don’t really care for the stuff, which tastes like carbonated syrup. Matt says I’m crazy, because carbonated syrup is bad exactly how? But they also make a great root beer that I’m partial to.
And perhaps my most favorite maple item sampled thus far was one I couldn’t share with the kids (which, come to think of it, may be part of its appeal) – maple beer. That’s right: beer made without water, just pure sap. It’s called a Maple Tripple and is produced by Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Warren. It is like everything you love about beer, breakfast, and dessert all rolled into one. I’m sure I should say something more sophisticated than that, so I’ll add that it has a great nose and body and makes a wonderful aperitif at a barbeque. And it’s precious – they only make 200 bottles a season. Ours was number 44. If we had our way about it, 45 through 200 would be spoken for, but I don’t think we could fit it all in the car to come home with us.
Oh, they make other beers too, some of them also incorporating maple sap. I tasted several them on a fine Saturday morning at the Waitsfield Farmers Market. Breakfast of champions! They were all very good.
I know that Vermont and maple is kind of a cliché, but you know what? All clichés should be this delicious.
Photo of maple syrup sign courtesy of simsbury119.