VPR Cafe

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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.

VPR Cafe: Hot Cross Buns

Mar 18, 2016
Glenn Russell / Burlington Free Press

Hot cross buns are made from a rich, yeast-raised dough with spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. They also usually contain currants, candied citrus peel and have a cross of the top which is traditionally made from a flour paste, though most hot cross buns made in America use a sweet icing.

Candace Page

Maple has been used in cooking for over a century and through the years the recipes using maple have changed.

Candace Page, a contributor to the Savorvore Section of the Burlington Free Press, recently took a look at three contemporary cookbooks that highlighted the ways to bring maple into the kitchen. One book was Maple by Katie Webster, a Vermont-based recipe developer.  

Zach Stephens / Burlington Free Press

The Vermont Country Store in Weston began not as a brick and mortar establishment, but a paper one.

In 1945, when Vrest and Mildred Orton moved to Vermont to start a family, Vrest also decided to start a catalog. He printed the catalog in his garage and as it became popular, fans started asking if they could visit a store, which didn't exist. So, the Ortons bought a building and opened the Vermont Country Store.

Erin Siegal Mcintrye / Burlington Free Press

On the first Tuesday of March in Vermont, people gather to make decisions on their hometown issues. Town meeting day is a more than 200-year old tradition and along with the voting comes the tradition of  town meeting potluck lunches.

Erin Siegal McIntyre / Burlington Free Press

The Alchemist's Heady Topper is one of the most sought after and highly regarded beers in the world. The brewery, which was at first a brew-pub, was founded by  Jen and John Kimmich. John focuses on the brewing and Jen manages the business side of the operation.


Just in time for Valentine's Day, Melissa Pasanen, who writes for the Savorvore Section of the Burlington Free Press shares ideas from local restaurant chefs for creating a romantic dinner.

Glen Russell / Burlington Free Press

By the end of 2015, there were 50 breweries in Vermont. Tourists from across the country were making the journey to sample the numerous beers, including some of the best in the world.

Besides the beer tourists, people in the towns where these breweries were popping up, started to gather and just hang out at their town's local craft brewery.

HausOnThePrairie / iStock

In the winter, fresh salad greens can be hard to come by. 

Candace Page, a contributor to the Savorvore Section of the Burlington Free Press say a new book outlines the surprisingly simple method for growing fresh greens inside.

Corey Hendrickson / Burlington Free Press

Nate and Jessie Rogers had a cow problem. The owners of Rogers Farmstead in Berlin brought the cows onto their farm to help keep the land healthy, but they didn't know what to do with all the milk.

Glenn Russell / Burlington Free Press

Soup can seem like a basic dish, until you tuck into a beautiful, complex bowl of soup that warms you to the core.

Kevin Hurley / Burlington Free Press

Throughout summer and fall in Vermont you can go to farms and pick your own berries, cherries, apples, pumpkins and even potatoes.   

In late September, Chappelle's Vermont Potatoes in Williamstown opens their fields for the people to come and pick their own potatoes.

Glen Russell / Burlington Free Press

Vermont has the most breweries per capita, boasting 40 craft breweries in its boarders. While the adventurous beer enthusiasts might travel to all 40, throughout the state growler filling stations are popping up, allowing people to try a variety of beers without making a winding road trip through Vermont.

Kevin Hurley / Burlington Free Press

  On December 7 1941, Pearl Harbor Day, Lewis and Victoria Bove opened the doors of their new restaurant. The two were originally from Naples and after settling in Burlington's Little Italy, they saved enough money from their horse-drawn hot dog cart to open a restaurant.

Glen Russell / Burlington Free Press

Families come together during the holidays to share company, gifts and food. Melissa Pasanen, a contributor the Savovore Sections of the Burlington Free Press, visited several Vermont families to learn food traditions for the holidays including the Howrigans, a seventh generation dairy-farming family with Irish heritage. 

Candace Page

Everyone has their own unique way to celebrate the holiday season. One commonality is the opportunity to gather with family around the table. Breakfast on Christmas Day is a popular time for families to share that special meal.

“I think these traditions can become more important in families as the kids grow and there’s less of that mad dash to the Christmas tree,” said Candace Page, a contributor to the Savorvore Section of the Burlington Free Press.  “It’s my favorite time in the kitchen with my mother and sister. We all cook together without having the chaos of Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.”

Melissa Pasanen / Burlington Free Press

Taking your cooking up a notch during the holiday season can be tempting, but doing so often leaves stuck in the kitchen, instead of enjoying the company of your guests.

Glen Russell / Burlington Free Press

As the gift-giving season approaches, so too begins the search for the perfect gift for each person on your list. 

“As a receiver of kitchen gifts, I love getting things I wouldn’t buy for myself. [So] as a giver of gifts, I love being able to do that for other people,” said Candace Page, a contributor to the Savovore Section of the Burlington Free Press.

VPR Cafe: Homesteading In Vermont

Nov 15, 2015
Kevin Hurley / Burlington Free Press

From the Nearings in the 1930's, to the back-to-the-land movement in the 1960's, Vermont has a rich history of homesteading. And today there is a new wave of homesteaders. 

Glen Russell / Burlington Free Press

A shortage of cooks in Vermont has led some restaurants to pursue creative alternatives to the traditional methods for attracting new talent. Some restaurants are offering signing bonuses and even finders fees to employees that bring in new workers. And it's not just about new hires. Restaurants are also looking for new ways to retain existing staff.

Ric Cengeri / VPR

With hunting season in Vermont, comes the wild game suppers. These suppers, held across Vermont, can feature anything from moose to bear to squirrel.