So there’s this place in town called Hotel Vermont. Have you been there yet? Oh my goodness, get your date clothes on and get over there! Forgive me for being a little late to the game, I don’t know what took me so long to step foot into that beautiful and delicious place.
Last week Hotel Vermont held their first ever Farmer’s Dinner at Juniper Bar and Restaurant. More than a little curious, my husband and I dressed ourselves up in our winter’s finest and headed on over to the new hotel nestled near the shores of Lake Champlain in downtown Burlington.
When you walk into Hotel Vermont you are immediately immersed in this juxtaposition of modern and rustic. Décor is colorful , angular, wooden, but also warm and inviting. A huge fireplace beckons to guests to come inside from the cold and warm themselves. The same area serves as a waiting space for Juniper. And on this particular evening, a DJ mixed a mood fitting for a night out.
Before heading off to Juniper for the Farmers Dinner, I checked into my room. Let’s talk about the room shall we?
Details, details, details…
There’s not a lot of fluff in a Hotel Vermont room. No frills, nothing overtly fancy. The lines to everything…every piece of furniture, every fixture, every accent…all clean, simple, and beautiful.
And then I started looking at the smaller things. The Lunaroma toiletries in the shower, the Vermont Soap at the sink, the Johnson Woolen Mills blanket on the bed. This is a place that speaks the love language of Vermont itself…support local.
After settling in we strolled, excitedly, down to Juniper. Not sure what to expect we entered the event with eyes wide open and a palate ready to be delighted.
The dinner featured foods from various members with the Vermont Fresh Network. VFN is a non-profit organization whose vision it is to build a flourishing state food and farm economy. Their mission is to encourage farmers, food producers and chefs to work directly with each other to build relationships that translate into stronger local communities.
Before the actual dinner began we were treated to a cocktail…more specifically a Bootlegger’s Bellini. This tasty little number went down very smooth and very quickly. The buffet of appetizers included fried chicken bites, marinated veggies, housemade trout caviar, and other delectables. I was a little apprehensive to try the caviar, past food memories, but I’m so glad that I did. It was delicious!
The actual dinner was served family style at long tables. It was a four course meal and had beverage pairings that were optional. Each course featured a specific farm and between courses that farmer would get up and say a few words about his contribution to that evening’s dinner. Here is what was in the lineup.
Pete’s Greens (Craftsbury) Root Vegetable Bisque, Cedar Roasted Pork Belly, and Crispy Brussel Sprouts. Good golly who knew that pork belly could be so yummy!
Starbird Fish (Burlington) Smoked Salmon Cake, Dill Rouille, Grilled Leeks. I’m not a fish lover but having lived in the Pacific Northwest for 14 years I absolutely refuse to eat Salmon from any other area of the country. I loved it!
Maple Wind Farm (Huntington) Short Ribs, Red Wine Braised Cabbage, Horseradish Cheddar Polenta. The ribs were my husband’s favorite. Tender, juicy, and savory.
Sweet Simone’s (Waitsfield) Coconut Cake, Little Sweets by Hen of the Wood Ice Cream, Fair Trade Chocolate Truffles. A perfect way to end the meal.
I learned a lot at this dinner. I think I always had this preconceived notion of farming. My grandparents were farmers so it’s not like I formed my ideas from books. But I learned that there is a science to it, and yes, even beauty in farming. Farmers love what they do and, in the case of this Farmer’s Dinner, that love was served up bountifully.
After dinner I headed back to my room with a full belly. We pulled the shades, tucked ourselves into bed, laid our heads to the pillow and woke up at this time the next morning. I love being able to sleep in, such a rare commodity these days.
Here was my view from the room.
Ladies, if you’re looking for a night away, a little something romantic with your significant other, may I implore you to check out Hotel Vermont. And even if you can’t get away for a full night, hire a babysitter and get some truly delicious food at Juniper. In any case you won’t be sorry.
**Burlington VT Moms Blog received compensation for this post, but the opinions expressed are entirely our own.