Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Want a little cheese with that wine? Also known as Allison and Danielle’s Awesome Winey Adventure

So last weekend I went up to Vermont to celebrate Danielle’s birthday, and OMG, what a great time we had! I arrived Friday evening after spending about 4 ½ hours in the car (super fun – but what a gorgeous drive), so naturally, our first stop was dinner at the Bluebird Tavern. Have I mentioned before how much I love the Bluebird? It was delicious as always, with the usually highs and lows. First we got a cheese board, which has basically become a tradition of ours. It was great, with a wide variety of cheeses and different textures and flavors. However, I must interject – the cheeseboard used to be a flat price (like, $15 or so) and you got whatever they put on it. Now they charge $7 per cheese – something that we were not aware of…meaning we unwittingly spent $35 on cheese! Oh well. It was yummy. Then I had the heirloom tomato salad with house ricotta (and you know how I feel about ricotta) and Danielle had mussels (any surprise there). Oh, and we shared fries with – you guessed it – homemade Bluebird ketchup! I swear, that stuff is legendary. We finished the evening with some really fresh, fruity desserts – blueberry pudding for Danielle (she had a thing for pudding) and a strawberry tart for me. Success.
The next day is when our adventure really began. Danielle had taken some time to route out our trip around northern Vermont. We started in the Champlain Islands, where we stopped at an adorable farmers’ market. While there, we just happened to taste some East Shore Vineyard wine. The Summer Snow is delicious, cool and crisp and fruity. From there, we were off to Snow Farm for another wine tasting. I loved the Rose Red – a surprise, because I’m usually strictly a white wine drinker. I think I liked the Rose because it was sweet, and could be drunk cold, like a sangria….I don’t really care for room temp drinks. Plus, their tasting room was adorable and so scenic.
After the islands we headed inland to Boyden Valley Farms, known best for their ice wine. Well, they had an apple crème liqueur that incorporated ice cider that was simply to die for. Very similar to Baileys, it was smooth and creamy and really flavorful. The guy who handled our tasting was friendly and cute, adding to the fun of the experience.
Now, I must confess, I do not claim to be any kind of wine aficionado. I know what I like and what I don’t and just go with it, regardless of whether it is overly sophisticated or not (as in, we tried one wine that tasted just like grape juice, and I loved it). I would like to learn some more, actually – BCC is offering a few inexpensive wine courses this fall that I might be interested in. In the meantime, I’ll just drink what I enjoy.
We ended up in Stowe for the afternoon. Lunch at The Whip was fab out on the patio, soaking up the gorgeous weather. I had some really yummy crab cakes, and Danielle had a caprese-inspired sandwich. We spent some time wandering the quaint shops, including the Laughing Moon chocolate shop. They have really unique truffles – blue cheese, lavender-chevre, basil-pepper – and delicious hand dipped treats. A quick stop at the Von Trapp Family Lodge for a little touristy fun rounded out the trip.
We finished the day on the waterfront in Burlington, listening to live music (after a stop at Starbucks, during which I made Danielle listen to me while I rambled on about all the ways I’ve missed Starbucks these past few months). Excellent. IS there really a better way to spend a weekend then drinking wine, eating good food, listening to music, and enjoying the perfect mountain weather, all in the company of a great friend? I think not.

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