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Be a romantic snow bunny for Valentine's Day: Harriman's Farm to Table, Vermont

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Whether you're skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing, you're gonna get hungry afterwards. It takes a lot of energy to go up and down mountains in all kinds of cold! Vermonters in the Rt. 100 ski areas value quality, locally sourced ingredients, but don't want to get all dolled up to eat them. You won't see people teetering about in stockings and heels, for example, come dinnertime.

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I was very happy to be hosted to experience Harriman's Farm to Table at Mt. Snow's Grand Summit Resort in Vermont. The restaurant has made a fresh, new commitment to obtaining prized cheeses, produce and meats from nearby farms. They provide fine dining touches in a relaxed atmosphere. Local beer dinners are popular with patrons.

Many of Vermont's exquisite dairy products have won national and international awards, so I wasn't really scratching my head wondering, "What do they eat in Vermont?" However, I was interested in how they put everything together in their own cooking culture.

With bread service, they serve cultured butter -- tangy, European-style -- from Vermont Creamery, an American Cheese Society prize-winner. Vermont Creamery also makes cultured butter with maple (available at Whole Foods) that's so good with everything, it's insane.

Thick-cut Vermont smoked and cured bacon, along with roasted pear and blue cheese with gastrique combined for a tasty amuse bouche.

They have local foods charcuterie plates and also, cheese plates as part of their regular appetizer selections, served with locally made Castleton hardtack crackers, which come in different flavors when you're at gourmet stores.

A couple of cheeses that were on the cheese plate included Consider Bardwell Farms' "Equinox," a farm using both goat and cow milks from fertilizer-free pastures, aged in caves located on the farm. Jasper Hill Farms' "Bayley Hazen Blue" is a natural-rinded blue cheese. Unlike most blue cheese that has a peppery spice character, it's more of a sweet, nutty and grassy flavor. Also, a licorice flavor is noticeable in the creamy paste.

An intermezzo was served: house-made cranberry sorbet with kafir lime soda.

A comforting and flavorful entree was the house-brined Lucky 7 pork chop -- loved the crispy bits! -- along with mulled bourbon-cider gastrique, bosc pear risotto, chopped fresh kale. I noticed that kale (as well as beets) appeared on a number of the local, seasonally-oriented menus. The pear risotto was rich with just a touch of sweetness from pears being treated as vegetables inside.

They have a number of comfort desserts, such as cobblers.

This destination could certainly be part of your special Valentine's Day plans.

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