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Archive for the ‘Snack’ Category

I could stand to eat more pickles.  They are delicious, great with a sandwich at lunch, or a quick snack on their own.  The problem is there’s usually a jar of in the fridge somewhere, a partially finished jar that’s probably been in there too long, and I’m afraid to even open it.  So I don’t eat those pickles, and while I’m shopping and about to put a new jar of pickles in my cart I remember those lonely spears. Wasting away into nothing, half hidden behind an unfortunate pumpkin beer and some horseradish.  Such a vicious cycle.

But as of today I’m committing to buy only local pickles.  And to finish what I buy.  Which won’t be a problem if I’m sticking with Vermont Pickle’s Hot Dills.  They say their pickles have that “old fashioned, fresh from the garden taste, just like grandma used to make.”  I’m not sure if their pickles are old fashioned, but they are damned delicious.  Popping open the jar yields a tremendous, sour pickle juice smell.  The spears are a medium length (you might want two if you’re going Chicago Style and sliding them onto a roll with a hot dog) with a great, satisfying crunch.  Just as you finish off the pickle you pick up the heat, not too much, right at the front of your mouth and tip of your tongue.  The hot/sour combo is pretty compelling and I found myself snacking away on the pickles before they made it into the fridge.

One of my other favorite things about this jar was the mix of dill seeds, garlic clove, and pepper still in the pickle juice.  It conveys the homemade angle Vermont Pickle is striving to project, but is also visually appealing to see the seeds and pepper float along in the jar, moving around like sand in a wave.  Plus you can use the remaining juice for all sorts of things like: getting rid of cramps, making Russian Dressing, or any of these “gazillion” ways.

Verdict: Break the pickle cycle in your fridge with some addictive Hot Dills.  

Pickled in Milton or Burlington (website lists Milton, jar has an address in Burlington), we grabbed this jar at Healthy Living in South Burlington for $6.49.  Check out Vermont Pickle’s full array of pickled products, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @VermontPickle.

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With the dizzying number of Vermont made granolas, I typically head to bulk food section of a grocery store to test out a new flavor.  Even though I wind up liking most of what I try, I never want to wind up with a huge bag of granola that doesn’t taste right.  This smaller bag of granola with its re-sealable top and pleasant looking label sold me on breaking my rule.

The dominant flavor in this granola is a rich tasting toasted oat.  It’s a loose granola, with a healthy mix of sunflower seeds, sliced almonds and bits of pecan.  That adds a really nice nutty flavor and additional crunch to the dry and slightly salty base (it was best with milk or on yogurt).  The cranberries I could take or leave, they weren’t that flavorful and I probably wouldn’t have noticed if they were replaced with raisins.  All in all this was a really nice granola that I’d buy again.

Verdict: A good breakfast granola. 

Made in Manchester we paid $2.29 for this four ounce bag of granola at the Rutland Co-Op.  Find where else you can find this granola in Vermont and beyond and Like them on Facebook.

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Is there any meat (or other item) that is more associated primarily as a supporting actor than pepperoni?  Pizza has meant big business for pepperoni makers, but as this article points out, when chefs use cured meats rarely do they use pepperoni.  There are things to love about chorizo, soppressata and Saucisson sec, but pepperoni can more than stand on its own as a snack or part of a cheese plate.

Vermont Smoke and Cure’s Smoked Pepperoni is one such offering.  In this “Bite” sized form it makes a great snack or addition to an evening dinner party.  We sliced it up to have as a pre dinner snack and found it smoky, spicy and delicious.  It has a nice crunch, with a casing that didn’t tear or peel.  The delicious spicy and lightly oiled taste simmers on the roof of your mouth for minutes after you’ve eaten it, subsiding just as you go back in for another slice.  We’ll be bringing some of this snack to some Superbowl festivities tonight and know it will be gone by halftime.

Verdict: Often the little piggy that stayed home, pepperoni as made by VT Smoke and Cure’s should be a regular at your stops at the market.

Smoked in Barre, we bought this “Damn Fine” pepperoni bite at the Springfield Co-Op for $1.59.  When they expand into the old Saputo plant in Hinesburg, we hope more folks in and out of Vermont will enjoy these bites.  Follow them @VTSmoke for recipes and news.  

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Rex’s packaging is kind of ingenious in its simplicity.  Each label prominently features road construction equipment above a plastic window that gives customers a view of the treats inside.  The window might not be unique, but the clever image draws you in to pick up the bag.  You then see the delicious looking snack mix coated in chocolate, peanut butter or white chocolate.  Kudos to you if you can set it down.

Being a sucker for things coated in peanut butter, we were unable to pass up a bag of Rex’s dubbed “Sand.”  Surf over to Rex’s website to read about how his grandmother originally conceived these recipes which he has carried forward and adapted with new ingredients.  The distinguishing characteristic of the Sand is the peanut butter coating, which is the first thing you taste.  The pretzels and peanuts bring a balancing saltiness, and the Chex like cereal adds a satisfying crunch.  Reminiscent of a peanut butter birds nest cookie the snack mix is as advertised, absolutely addicting.

Verdict: A great snack that won’t last long in your cupboard.

Handmade by the batch in Jericho, you can buy Rex’s products online and at Vermont specialty stores such as Apple Mountain in Burlington and Vermont’s Own Products in Middlebury.  Check out Rex’s blog and follow him on Twitter @Rexsoutrageous

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Forget the banana stand, apparently there is always money in a cracker business.  After a conversation about what product would earn the title as longest running food item in Vermont (not counting syrup here), we thought Westminster Crackers might be a good candidate.  Founded in 1828, Westminster Crackers are actually a relative newcomer to Vermont, having moved to Rutland in 1988.  They have a long history of making delicious crackers, and in 2007 cleared $13 million in sales.  Pretty impressive for a cracker company, even more so for a banana stand.

You don’t sell that many crackers if they are not delicious, and delicious these are.  Small and light, plopping a handful into your chowder is so natural that a bowl of soup seems naked without them.  The crackers have a wonderful old time biscuit flavor that is simple, yet because of that, feels incredibly authentic.  They have a satisfying crunch, you can split them in half and each has a few granules of salt;  just enough to extend the taste of the crackers so that you are drawn back in for another handful.

Verdict: If we had a witty pun about tasty crackers, we’d insert it here.  Instead we’ll let these folks go overboard with the praise: http://www.westminstercrackers.com/love_the_crackers.cfm 

Made in Rutland, these crackers are widely available at major grocery stores and chain restaurants (a family member brought these over).  Read the full story behind Westminster Crackers and find what other products they make here: http://www.westminstercrackers.com/home.cfm 

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“I want to say one word to you just one word. Yes, sir? Are you listening? Yes I am.  Plastics.”

This scene from The Graduate is all I could think of when we tasted Granny’s chips.  Why?  Because they tasted like plastic.  Not in a “the texture was bad and they were tough to eat” way, no, these literally tasted completely like plastic.  I ate one, Mrs. Sapbucket ate one, and we then did something I’ve never done with a Vermont product, tossed them away.  Given that Green Mountain Gringo chips flew south to take up permanent residency in North Carolina I was excited to dig into these chips.  Throwing them away made me feel so guilty that an hour later I dug them out of the trash to give them one more try.  Straight back into the trash went the chips.  I can only hope that we got a bad bag, perhaps they sat too long on the shelf and absorbed the flavor of the packaging, but these were absolutely awful.

Verdict: You probably have some sort of plastic in your house that tastes like these chips, maybe even better. 

Made in West Pawlet, we stumbled across these chips for $3.39 at Mac’s Market in Stowe.  Granny’s has sauces, salsas and other items online http://grannyblossom.com/index.php

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Pretty much everyone likes popcorn right?  Perhaps not as universally popular or as loved as pizza, I put popcorn in a category of things that are pretty widely accepted as good. We might differ when it comes to butter saturation, or whether microwave popcorn is still killing people.  So why is that kettle corn is so divisive?  In my completely unscientific survey, 50% of the people I polled turn their noses up at kettle corn.  It’s as if one out of every two people was born with a gene that predisposes them not to like it.  Personally I’m a back bencher on team kettle corn.  Absolutely love it in certain circumstances, the fair, road trips, drinking snack.  But I’m not first in line at a stand every time I see it being freshly made.

Mama’s Maple Organic Kettle Corn has everything you’d expect for this style of popped corn.  Balanced salty sweet flavors, and as advertised a nice hint of maple.  In the right setting it could be positively addicting.  Thankfully it comes in a reasonably sized package as opposed to the 50 gallon clear garbage bag size found in most fair and street locations.  I’ll be curious to try out their other varieties and wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another bag when I’m in the mood.

Made in Hyde Park, VT, purchased for $3.49 at Sunflower Natural Foods in Waterbury.  Check out their other products online at http://www.vermontkettlecorn.com/

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