Given Evan’s love of making bread, the advent of Panzanella into our lives by one Chelsea Bardot Lewis has been pure revelation.
Panzanella is a salad popular in Tuscany made primarily with tomatoes and stale bread.
If you’ve ever made bread on your own before, you know its shelf life varies vastly from store-bought bread. This little trick has come incredibly in handy, and has yet to fail us as a spectacular midday (or late-day) meal. Chelsea’s Panazella was made with – exclusively local, and some even garden fresh (!) – tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, basil, and chunks of quickly-staling bread. With a simple dressing of olive oil, balsamic, and heaps of garlic (you may recall we were knee-deep, literally, in heaps of garlic), it was a positively heavenly salad.
Perfect for a late summer meal where all these food groups are prolific, and even more perfect for a two-person family who can’t, despite trying, quite finish an entire loaf of bread in one day, thanks always for the inspiration. ♥.
The local food movement in Vermont is impressively (almost oppressively) high-functioning. It is greatly inspirational and makes me really bitter with New York for not catching up… But we’ll get there. On a breezy Saturday morning Chelsea brought us to the Montpellier Farmers Market where we perused piles and piles of beautiful vegetables grown from Chelsea and Nate’s cohorts and neighbors.
Additionally, there were buttery cheeses to try, sheepskins to rub ones face into, pierogi to nibble upon, and a dynamite green tea milkshake made with rice milk and Vermont maple syrup.
As well as the spectacular (and multitudinous) farmers markets, Chelsea and Nate also brought us to market-markets dedicated exclusively to local – often organic – produce, some beautiful local bakeries full of scrumptious treats, and inundated us with local beer and cheese – and not just Cabot (!), although Cabot definitely held its own.
Way to be awesome, Vermont.
**And come on, NYC. We got this.**
True to New England form Vermont has an amazing beer culture, and Waterbury is currently host to the most sought-after beer in the region – Alchemist’s Heady Topper. It is a terrific beer, cloudy and thick from the combination of unfiltered hops and mystery.
Alchemist produces less than 200 barrels of the stuff each week, and distributes it directly to stores across Vermont according to a public schedule. What results is hysteria. Some stores, such as the pictured Craft Beer Cellar, post signs in the window with the stock status (out of stock). Many are known to guard the identity of their most reliable locations like mama bears.
We walked into one store, and before we could even ask the clerk how he was this sunny Vermonty day, he spastically blurted out: “We’re outta topper.” When asked what tipped him off to our quest, he glanced us up and down before informing us that we were smiling more than his usual customer.
These four beautiful cans were not found at a fancy beer store, or even an un-fancy beer store. They were found at a gas station, on the top shelf, in the back of the cooler. Behind some Budweiser. That’s just how lucky (or determined) you have to be to find this stuff. and it is hella worth it.