Play with your Food
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Written by Cory Ayotte
Camps and classes in the Valley where kids can put on their chef's hat
The Mad River Valley has been at the heart of Vermont’s local food movement for years, and local establishments offer unique hands-on experiences involving the Valley’s locally sourced food by bringing it directly to kids. In kid-specific cooking classes and specialty food camps, it is now acceptable for kids to play with their food.
Sugarbush Kids' Cooking Classes
On select evenings throughout the year, Sugarbush’s culinary team develops tasty, creative, hands-on culinary experiences that dive into different food cultures, including those of Vermont, Italy, and Asia. Students learn important kitchen skills, from vegetable peeling and proper oven operation to knife safety and food handling—all while they prepare a three-course meal. (Previous menu items have included homemade pasta, potato wedge fries with homemade ketchup, salad with maple balsamic dressing, and maple pudding cake.) Fresh local ingredients are at the center of all the dishes the participants make. And who knows? The interactive learning experience might nudge a young chef or two toward a lifelong love for the culinary arts and good food. sugarbush.com/events-calendar
Sugarbush Farm≠to≠Plate Summer Camp
During this five-day program, campers visit the Barn Yard Camp in nearby Roxbury. While there, they mix traditional camp activities with working with food grown right here in Vermont. While honing their cooking skills, they learn about nature and get a chance to work with farm animals. Campers pick fresh veggies from the garden—tomatoes, lettuce, eggplant, cucumbers, and more. Using what they have harvested, the kids make items like cucumber-hummus cups, black bean dip and veggie sticks, rainbow spring rolls, and zucchini brownies for their families at the conclusion of the program.
The Store (Waitsfield)
Located on historic Main Street in Waitsfield, The Store is a foodie paradise for kids (and adults, too). In The Kitchen, a welcoming open space located in the rear of The Store, the informative and entertaining chef John Lumbra teaches interactive, often family-oriented cooking classes. Classes such as Après Ski—Fondue and Panini (with comfort food like apple cider cheese fondue, grilled macaroni and cheese panini, and bananas Foster panini with caramel fondue) and Butter, Sugar & Sin—Sweet Crêpes (including maple cream mousse crêpes and caramelized apple in cinnamon crêpes) are particularly kid friendly. Families can also mark a birthday by cooking and then eating a custom-designed celebratory meal together. “Learn, Create, Eat” is the motto behind every class. Each participant leaves with a folder containing recipes of their creations, coupons to shop at The Store, and full stomachs. kitchenatthestore.com
Preparing a rainbow pizza at the Sugarbush Kids' Cooking Class
Fun Dining Spots for Kids
American Flatbread (Waitsfield)
While you wait for your table, head outdoors—a warming bonfire awaits you throughout the year, and volleyball and cornhole boards are available during the summer months. With plenty of room to roam, kids can run around freely while parents kick back and relax with a Vermont craft brew—and delicious pizza, of course.
Mad River Barn (Fayston)
Upstairs in the Pub & Game Room, you’ll find entertained kids and relaxed parents. Card games, a comfy couch with TV, foosball, air hockey, and shuffleboard tables create a fun and friendly dining atmosphere.
Round Up on The River (Waitsfield)
Every Wednesday from July to September, you can join local food vendors and musicians along the Mad River on Bridge Street in the Waitsfield Historic District for an evening of music, swimming, food, local beer on tap, and visiting with neighbors.
Timbers Restaurant (Sugarbush)
Take a break from your mountain adventures and recharge your child’s batteries just steps from the slopes of Lincoln Peak. With a special kids' menu featuring local Vermont products, there is something for everyone—even the pickiest of eaters.
Zach's Tavern at Hyde Away Inn (Waitsfield)
Kids feel right at home in this casual setting with dinner choices like nachos, wings, and a grilled cheese with add-ins like fried onions, North Country smokehouse bacon, and avocado.
The Blue Stone (Waitsfield)
Known for their Old World hand-tossed pizzas, the Blue Stone also offers standard fare like burgers, salads, and wings. Special side entrance for takeout orders.