VPR Cafe

Sunday 10:45 a.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.

Candace Page, Burlington Free Press

Sunday, August 4, 10:40a.m.  Whether you steam it, grill it, or enjoy it super fresh right in the field, sweet corn is an iconic pleasure of Summer in Vermont.  Candace Page, who writes for the Savorvore Section of the Burlington Free Press, explains how sweet corn has gotten sweeter over the years and shares the secret for perfectly steamed corn. 


Sunday, July 21, 2013 10:40am  It's a tiny parking lot surrounded by art studios the rest of the week, but on Friday night, the space behind 400 Pine Street is home of The South End Truck Stop.  A dozen or more food trucks offer everything from macaroni and cheese to curried goat to cupcakes.  Hundreds of people gather to eat, listen to the music, meet up with friends and make new ones.  Sally Pollak of the Burlington Free Press talks with Ric Cengeri about how the South End Truck Stop came to be.

Emily McManamy/Free Press

Sunday July 14, 2013 10:40am  As the temperature rises, we head for the refrigerator for cold drinks to quench our thirst and cool off.   This week, food writer Melissa Pasanen shares her recommendations for Vermont made favorites from yesterday and today.  Learn about Haymaker's Punch and the true origins of Vermont Made Maple Lemonade.  We first heard about Maple Lemonade on The VPR Cafe when Sally Pollak recounted how popular it is at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, New York.

Candace Page / Free Press

Sunday July 7, 2013 10:40am  Award winning chefs from acclaimed New York City restaurants are opting for a different lifestyle in Vermont.  What's it like to take a passion for gourmet cooking from a city of eight million to a small town in Vermont?  Candace Page talked with chefs that have made the switch about their new lives, their restaurants and their patrons. 

Sally Pollak / Free Press

Sunday June 30, 2013 10:40am Local and Fresh - those are the key ingredients of localvore eating.  Many restaurants in Vermont are going super local and super fresh with their own gardens.  Sally Pollak, who writes for The Burlington Free Press Savorvore Section, has visited several restaurants that serve their patrons direct from their own gardens.  You can read more about 'Dinner Grown Here' and restaurants tha

Sunday, June 23, 2013 10:40am  The buttermilk we find in the supermarket is usually skim or low fat milk with culture added to sour it.  Real buttermilk is the thick, creamy 'left-overs' of the butter churning process.   Diane Saint Claire of Animal Farm in Orwell, Vermont had lots of 'left overs' from her custom butter making (VPR Cafe June 2 '13), so she developed dozens of recipes and published The Animal Farm Buttermilk Cookbook.  This week, Melissa Pasanen talks about delicious ways to

Mark Eley/Free Press

Sunday June 16, 10:40am  Farmers markets were once a central location for local farmers to sell their produce, eggs and meat.  Shoppers got to know the farmers personally and catch up on the latest news with their neighbors.  As farmers markets have grown in popularity, they've also grown in number, size and the variety of offerings - including an ever expanding menu of prepared foods.  This week, Candace Page talks about how farmers markets are trying to stay true to their roots and maintain a balance of fresh and prepared foods.

Sunday June 9, 10:40

Jean-Louis Gerin brings his French traditions of customer service, elegance and outstanding food to his new position as Executive Chef at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier.  Sally Pollak of The Burlington Free Press spent time with Chef Gerin, and on this week's program she profiles his career and his plans for shaping the next generation of chefs.

Sally Pollak

Put a smorgasbord on the Williamsburg waterfront on the East River and you're in a food heaven called Smorgasburg. It's a Brooklyn, New York phenomena that brings food and people from around the world together every weekend.

Sally Pollak of the Burlington Free Press visited Smorgasburg with Eric Rozendaal of Rockville Market Farm in Starksboro. Sally talks about her experience - and how Eric and his team introduced maple lemonade to the Big Apple. Rozendaal also sells chocolate-beet and butternut squash doughnuts and gorditas.

Maddie McGarvey / Free Press

Sunday, May 12, 10:40am  Mary Anne Gucciardi was the den mother for UVM Athletes for more than 30  years.  Affectionately known as Mama Gucc (pronounced Gooch), her huge spaghetti suppers are legend.  On this Mother's Day edition of The VPR Cafe, Melissa Pasanen recounts the magic of Mama Gucc, and Italian 'motherliness'. 

Photo by Candace Page

Rhubarb is Spring's zucchini.  It grows in abundance, is shared generously among neighbors, and can be used in a hundred ways.  This week, Candace Page raves about her favorite fruit.  Candy writes for the Savorevore Section of the Burlington Free Press and keeps copious amounts of rhubarb in her yard and freezer. 

Glenn Russell / Free Press

'Small Plates' is a popular phenomena in restaurant eating - the perfect solution for those of us who can't make up our minds!  In this April 28th edition of The VPR Cafe, Sally Pollak of the Burlington Free Press talks with Ric Cengeri about her small plate samplings, including  Misery Loves Company in Winooski. You can read more about 'small plates' eating in Sally's Savorvore article.

Photo: Melissa Pasanen, for the Burlington Free Press

This week, Melissa Pasanen takes us behind the scenes at cooking competitions.  From Junior Iron Chefs to gourmet challenges, cook-offs are fun for the participants and always a treat for the judges.  Melissa has judged many competitions over the years and gives us a taste of what that’s like.

Selecting A CSA

Apr 14, 2013
Maddie McGarvey / Burlington Free Press

Is a CSA right for you?  How much food will you get?  Will you have time to cook it?  Will you know what to do with it?  Candace Page, who writes for the Burlington Free Press, is a two-time CSA divorcee.  VPRs Ric Cengeri is an enthusiastic CSA devotee.  Between them you'll hear sound advice for selecting a CSA that works for you.

For information about CSAs in your area:

Vermont Department of Agriculture

Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont

Cooking Class Taste Test

Apr 7, 2013
Sally Pollak/Free Press / In a cooking class described by the chef as 'French comfort food,' participants enjoy their meal. Pictured eating are Ron and

Sally Pollak tested cooking classes in the region recently. Today on the VPR Café, Sally talks about what she learned: slicing, sauteing, making friends and the secret behind the perfect French Onion Soup.

Sally writes for the Savorevore Section of The Burlington Free Press, where you can learn more about the classes she took. (And what kind of fun job is that?!)

Niche Foods

Mar 31, 2013
Dori Ross of tonewood Maple standing in the Vasseur sugarbush on Bragg Hill in the Mad River Valley. She is partnering with the

Many young farmers and food producers are finding new niches in the local, sustainable food landscape. Melissa Pasanen, who writes for the Savorevore Series in the Burlington Free Press, fills us in on super delicious sweet potatoes, trout farming in a grain silo and maple crunchies.

The VPR Café is produced in collaboration with The Burlington Free Press, where you can read more about niche food endeavors.

VPR Cafe: Lunch!

Mar 24, 2013
Maddie McGarvey / Free Press / Customer at the Franklin General Store

The heart of many of Vermont's towns and villages rests in their country stores. Patrons stop in for gas, a few groceries, and just as importantly - the latest news and lunch!

Ric Cengeri talks with Candace Page about the variety of menus you'll find at country stores around Vermont as well as how these stores and their communities hold each other together.

The VPR Café is produced in collaboration with The Burlington Free Press. Candy writes for the Free Press Savorvore Series.

Creating Community

Mar 17, 2013
Seth Butler / Fable Farm

Theater among the vegetables, bacon at a sweet shop, and bread at a puppet show. This week on The VPR Café, Ric Cengeri talks with Sally Pollak about the unexpected combinations that are the catalyst for community.

Drawing from her travels around Vermont, Sally shares stories about how eating gets people talking, singing, laughing and connecting.

Baked Beans

Mar 10, 2013
Vermont Life Melissa Pasanen / From left, Vermont yellow eye grown by C.P. Hazen Co. in North Hero, Marfax beans from Patti Qua in Exeter, Maine; and Maine

This week on the VPR Café, Ric Cengeri talks with Melissa Pasanen about the New England Tradition of baked beans and - how we bake them. They talk about beans grown here in Vermont and The J Sisters in Georgia.

The VPR Café is produced in collaboration with The Burlington Free Press. Melissa Pasanen is a free lance writer for several publications including the Burlington Free Press Savorvore Series.

Maple Sugaring season is fast approaching. On this first episode of the VPR Café, Ric talks with Candace Page about what the new international maple grading system means for producers and consumers. She also bringsus into Ginger Isham's kitchen in Williston where maple is king.

By the way, Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Open House Weekend is coming up March 23rd and 24th.