A Great Location + Great Food & Drink = 24th Annual Forum!August 10, 2022
We haven't gathered our network together at the Coach Barn on the shores of Lake Champlain since the summer of 2019, so we were due for a celebration of the bounty of the summer harvest and the connections between our Chef, farms, and food producer partners! With over 50 chefs and Vermont food and beverage artisans participating in the 24th VFN Annual Forum, it was a spectacular summer evening that lived up to what we like to call "the best dinner of the summer."
It was another sold out signature fundraising event and over 420 ticket holders enjoyed a display of local food and beverages including craft beer, local wine and cider, non-alcoholic sparkly drinks and oh, the cheese and local bread! Folks sipped and nibbled in the courtyard and brick room of the Coach Barn as the local jazz band, In the Pocket provided the backdrop for sampling all the amazing cocktails, brews and Vermont artisanal food products including Grafton Cheese, Sobremesa fermented foods, Vermont Tortilla Company and Vermont Fresh Pasta. It was hard not to fill up during cocktail hour - who can say no to a Mad River Distillery Blueberry Mojito or a Small Oven Pastries maple bourbon macaroon? Not us!
When the Coach Barn doors open, a bit of magic ensues when our VFN chefs offer up their bespoke dishes made with ingredients from their farm partners. People could not stop talking about Highland Lodge's Fried Green Tomato BLT on a cheddar biscuit with lemon thyme aioli and Chef Doug Paine's Snug Valley Farm smoked pork slider with kimchi and pickled peach BBQ sauce. And did you catch the grilled zucchini, curry aioli, golden raisins, spicy tomato vin, and cashew crumble Chefs Cara Tobin and Allison Gibson served the crowd?
Everyone put their best dish forward, showcasing local farms and producers, but Swift House Inn took the Best Bite prize with their LegEnd Farm collaboration of venison carpaccio on tomme crostini, horseradish crème fresh, pickled onions and Swift House micro greens.
Thank you to all the chefs and their culinary teams who worked so hard (on a warm day!) to deliver such a lovely dinner.
One person took the time to let us know how special the evening was, " I wanted to let you know how uplifting it was to be in that space with so many people who respect the art growing and preparing food," they wrote. "Such a talented and committed bunch who clearly work in community with each other, and a whole community of folks who appreciate what they do!" We couldn't have said it better.
The evening capped off with an ice cream social hosted by Strafford Creamery - what better way to end the evening than with a cup of Maple Ice cream and a spectacular summer sunset by the Lake! Thank you to everyone who participated in making the 24th Annual Forum a resounding success - from the culinary teams to the hard-working volunteers- we are grateful for the many hands and hearts responsible for our very special event that celebrates Vermont's local food and beverage makers. How can we top it for next year on August 6, 2022 for our 25th VFN Annual Forum?