Markell is the kind of friend you want with you in case of emergency. And by ‘case of emergency’ I mean that time we got bedbugs. Quarantined for two weeks on a remote floor of our dorm rooms in Australia, Markell and I survived on Marmite, Cheerios, and a box set of Sex in the City DVDs. I guess the guide books don’t tell you that about bed bugs. Despite the clearing and removal of most of our clothes and linens, use of steroids for close to a month, and debilitating fear of a re-infestation, they really do bring people together. It’s just that everyone else happens to run away.
So to say Markell and I have been through thick and thin, well, I guess you can see exactly what I mean. I got a chance to have a reunion with Markell last month when I drove up to Hanover, NH. Known as the home to Darmouth College, Hanover is located along the Connecticut River, bordering Vermont in the Upper Valley region. It’s a beautiful part of the Northeast, with pristine landscapes and stunning views, which I unfortunately couldn’t enjoy due to the rain. However, there was still a ton to do, like drag Markell to the King Arthur Flour headquarters for the hundredth time.
Founded in 1790, King Arthur Flour is the oldest food company in the country and is 100% employee owned. Complete with a bakery, cafe, store, and school, it’s a wonder I ever made it out of there! Poor Markell dealt with my label reading, picture-taking, and generally obsessive baking behavior like a champ, and I got to go home with an armful of new flours to test out.
We also got a chance to play farmer at the Billings Farm & Museum’s Cheese Festival, where we toured the pastures and barns, met local celebrities Jim & Joe the draft horses, and tasted close to two pounds worth of extra sharp cheddar cheeses – aka my personal version of heaven.
Following our cheese extravaganza, we headed over to Simon Pearce to watch the glassblowers create the most exquisite vases, glasses, and bowls. Trained for between 2-5 years in the traditional methods of handblown glass work, watching these artists work is truly mesmerizing. I also heard that the restaurant housed in the store is fantastic, though we didn’t get a chance to stop there on this visit.
I would be remiss to write about Hanover without mentioning the best part of the entire weekend: Morano Gelato. Owned by Morgan Morano, this outstanding gelateria is home to the best gelato I’ve had outside of Italy. And it’s no wonder that this Institute of Culinary Education grad is so well versed in the traditional methods as mentor and friend, Chef Antonio Cafarellito, taught her the Sicilian style of gelato making. Lower in butterfat than traditional ice cream, flavors like dark chocolate, torrone, pistachio, hazelnut, ricotta & pear and my personal favorite ‘fior di latte’ (translates to flower of milk) really shine through. I’ve already talked about my obsession with ice cream here, and in all honesty, just writing about this makes me want to drive up to Hanover to start sampling some more of the fresh flavors. It is certainly worth the drive.
King Arthur Flour
135 US Route 5 South
Norwich, Vermont 05055
Billings Farm & Museum
Route 12 North & River Road
Woodstock, VT 05091
1760 Quechee Main St
Quechee, VT 05059
57 South Main Street