VPR Cafe

Friday 6:20 p.m. on VPR

Credit VPR

The VPR Café is a weekly feature that's all about Vermont food and the people who grow it, prepare it and love it.

VPR's Ric Cengeri talks with food writers from Seven Days and Vermont Life food editor Melissa Pasanen. They share stories from the farms, kitchens and eateries of Vermont that connect our communities.

Lumpaing Shanghai, finger-sized spring rolls, are one of the small plates served at Pica-Pica - a new Filipino restaurant in St. Johnsbury.
Hannah Palmer Egan / Seven Days

Central Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom have recently welcomed new food establishments offering tastes of Asia and the western Pacific. Seven Days food writer, Hannah Palmer Egan, shares all the delicious deets in this VPR Cafe podcast!  

Samples of Vermont beer featured at the national Beer Marketing & Tourism Conference held in Burlington in March.
Bear Cieri / Seven Days

Vermont beer is not only wildly popular here at home, but also across the country and around the world. In fact, visit Spain and you might just find a "Vermont-style IPA."  That's what one attendee of the Beer Marketing & Tourism Conference recently shared when it was held in Burlington in March.

Traditional CSA items are still popular, like those from 1000 Stone Farm in Brookfield (pictured), but many producers are now offering niche products like cheese, meat and more.
Courtesy, 1000 Stone Farm / Seven Days

Paying a seasonal fee for a weekly cache of greens and root veggies from a local farm remains popular in Vermont; however, the model of community supported agriculture (CSA) is evolving. In order to offer convenience to customers, many CSA programs are now offering flexible purchase plans and more product options. These approaches also allow more farmers to get in the game.

Elementary school students in Starksboro listen as Eugenie Doyle of Last Resort Farm reads from her book, "Sleep Tight Farm."
Matthew Thorsen / Seven Days

Writing a letter? Having a pen pal? These may seem a little old-fashioned but both are alive and well thanks to NOFA-VT (The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont). They've come up with a program that connects young students with local farmers through correspondence and field trips.

A student at the Thetford Outdoor Program chops wood to fuel an evaporator for maple sugaring.
Sarah Preistap / Seven Days

When it comes to producing maple syrup in Vermont, the younger generation is not only embracing the tradition, but also trying to make it better. In this podcast, we'll hear about high schoolers just learning the classic art of sugaring as well as a couple of college students who are innovating the process. 

A chocolate pig with tiny chocolate piglets inside is just one of the many Easter novelties created by chocolatier, Pier Normandeau, at L'Oeuf in Mystic, QC.
Sally Pollak / Seven Days

There's a little place north of the border that makes you feel as though you've been transported to a small, French village. A Québécois Brigadoon, if you will. It's called L'Oeuf - a French country restaurant and chocolate shop where chocolate takes center stage this time of year.  

Chicken dumplings (pictured) served at Double King, a Chinese food pop-up at Montpelier's Kismet restaurant.
Hannah Palmer Egan / Seven Days

From traditional Chinese food restaurants to Asian fusion, from buffets to pop-ups, it all can be found scattered throughout Vermont. In this episode, Seven Days food writer Hannah Palmer Egan shares a few of her favorites.

After learning to bake bread as a child in Germany, Bread and Puppet Theater founder, Peter Schumann, is still rising sourdouogh rye today in Glover.
Sally Pollak / Seven Days

Glover, Vermont, is a strange and wonderful place. There's the self-serve/self-pay Red Sky Trading Company, Currier's Market and Taxidermy, The Museum of Everyday Life and - the epicenter of strangeness - Bread and Puppet Theater.

Vermont's tea culture abounds with many tea rooms around the state including Stone Leaf Teahouse in Middlebury (owner, John Wetzel, in background).
Melissa Pasanen / Vermont Life

There's no doubt the British have a tea culture. But Vermont? Oh yeah, it's a thing!

Consider planning ahead before traveling to more easily find restaurants that meet your needs once you reach your destination.
Piola666 / iStock

Traveling and eating out usually go hand in hand. But finding an amazing place to nosh while far from home can be a bit tricky, especially when overseas.

Aqua Vodka is produced by Appalacian Gap Distillery using excess alcohol from the fermentation-process of making Aqua ViTea's kombucha.
Caleb Kenna / Seven Days

This time, a tale of an alcohol problem, innovation and cooperation. A delightful relationship has blossomed between a Vermont beverage company and spirit maker; Aqua ViTea and Appalachian Gap Distillery. It all started with a big problem that turned into a big win.

Miso, a grain or bean paste found in the famous Japanese soup, can be used in much more than just broth.
ALLEKO / iStock

Where is the miso in my soup? Is it those white blocks swimming around in the bowl? No, not at all. Miso is a paste made from grains or legumes and has various colors and flavors. Most known for making the broth of the famous Japanese soup, many believe miso also offers many health benefits.

With the recent opening of Tres Amigos, Mark Frier (left) and Chad Fry now own a trio of resturants in the Waterbury-Stowe area.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Seven Days

An interesting little chain of restaurants has been growing quietly in the Waterbury/Stowe area over the last decade. We'll call it the Fry and Frier Empire; three eateries owned by Chad Fry and Mark Frier. The most recent, Tres Amigos in Stowe, serves Mexican fare, but the common denominator of all three establishments is the huge selection of Vermont beer and cider they serve.  

Cured Perch with Romesco Sauce prepared by Executive Chef Doug Paine of Burlington's Bleu and Juniper restaurants (pictured).
Oliver Parini / Vermont Life

Most of us know what's going on in those little shacks and shanties we see on frozen lakes this time of year. Usually, it's an angler keeping warm, relaxing with friends or enjoying solitude while ice fishing. Around here, popular catches pulled from the water through perfectly-cut circles include Northern Pike, land-locked Salmon and Walleye. But the most abundant is Yellow Perch.  

Zenbarn co-owner, Ari Fishman, delivers Zero Gravity beer during the restaurant's recent Hemp + Hops Dinner.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Seven Days

Move over peanut butter and jelly, eggs and bacon, and mac and cheese. There's a new food pairing in Vermont that was recently served at a first-of-its-kind dinner in Waterbury Center. Hemp and hops!

A bubbly libation from SILO Distillery is just one of the many food and drink options available at Artisans Park in Windsor, Vermont.
Suzanne Podhaizer / Seven Days

This is definitely not your father's industrial park. Although it may appear like one upon first glance, Artisans Park in Windsor, Vermont, is a collection of mostly food and beverage businesses with both manufacturing and retail space on the banks of the Connecticut River. The greenery surrounding it includes an actual park featuring a maze, open space, life-size chess set and more.

Residents of Johnson gather for the inaugural pizza-bake at the town's community oven in October, 2017.
Jim Deshler / Seven Days

Vermont is all about community and, in one Lamoille County town, that means something special and delicious. The Johnson Community Oven was fired up for its inaugural pizza-bake in October of last year, and locals have been loving it.

One dining highlight of 2017 for food writer, Sally Pollak, was the chile-lime chicken leg plate at Lucky Next Door in Burlington.
Sally Pollak / Seven Days

Yes, it's another year-in-review piece, but this one is bound to make your mouth water or cause you to pick up the phone to make a dinner reservation!

Holiday dinners don't always need to be dictated by tradition but, instead, can include other enjoyable customs chosen by the group you're celebrating with.
People Images / iStock

In addition to being with family and friends, the holidays also mean breaking out wonderful recipes and food traditions. Often, these traditions are rooted in religion or nationality, but they can also be established by simply determining what everyone with whom you celebrate likes best.

The Mad River Taste Place in Waitsfield is a shared space where food and beverage makers can sell their wares. "Vermont Edition" talks about food tourism in Vermont.
Daria Bishop / Vermont Life

At a renovated bank building in Waitsfield, you can still find some dough lying around. No, not money, but rather foods made with actual dough, along with cheese, beer, meats, spirits and more. The Mad River Taste Place is a shared space that serves as a mini Mecca for food and drink produced in The Mad River Valley.  

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