A couple of years ago, I discovered a town two hours from home called Stowe. It was love at first sight! Abundance, green luscious trees, never-ending rivers, mountains, farm fresh produce and that welcoming laid-back feel. Quebec and the rest of Canada are brimming with beauty but I will reserve that for another post. For me Stowe has that “je ne sais quoi” and just knows how to do it right.
Let me start with the magnificent grounds at Stowe Mountain Lodge (SML). Heaven for SML horticulturist, André, who shared some of his sage wisdom with me. I learned that André cultivates 50 different kinds of herbs and edible flowers at the resort. I got to taste a sweet leaf called stevia, which comes from the sunflower family. It can be traced back to Paraguay where people used stevia leaves to sweeten their bitter drinks.
Along with the sweet — comes savory. In the lush garden, I discovered a variety of basil and coriander seeds. Check out the eye-popping purple petals along with the yummy yellow edible flowers that I snipped myself!
The restaurant Solstice at SML uses all these different herbs and flowers in their menu. Whether it be fragrant fresh dill for your salmon supper or putting thyme together with summer squash ribbons, served with lamb rack.
The right portion size
@Solstice: AAAA Four Diamond Distinction
Along with discovering that every dish focuses on freshness, simplicity, and seasonal flavors, I was happily surprised that they understand serving size. My garden omelet at breakfast was made with two farm fresh eggs, loaded with veggies such as mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, spinach and tomatoes. Alongside, were bliss breakfast potatoes (with the skin) and one slice of bread. As they say, this is definitely the place “where food goes beyond sustenance and becomes handcrafted art”.
@ the Green Goddess Cafe
This is a great spot for salad seekers and vegetarians. However, there are many non-vegetarian options as well. The grilled tofu wrap at lunch was delicious, consisting of maple ginger tofu, red onions, greens and a lemon tahini dressing. My tastebuds were inspired. So much, that when I returned home, I created my own tahini salad dressing.
Convenient store @ SML
Forget selling ice-cream in regular size containers (500 ml). The Convenient store only sold individual mini containers of 118 ml. Foods packaged and sold in appropriate portion sizes create healthy food environments.
Just enjoying the outdoors
Here are some pictures of what we discovered on our walk.
Wooden walking bridge led us to forest trails
Stowe’s Farmers Market – Rain or Shine
There are all sorts of reasons to check out your farmers’ market. Including: Support Local. A big motivator for me is the joy of discovering new food. It’s an extraordinary moment to savour something for the first time ever. Nothing beats fresh. That simplicity is what makes the farm to table approach so outstanding when it comes to food. And if you’re my husband, fresh and hot is where it’s at. I brought back some habanero hot pepper sauce from Farmer Sue to spice up our meals. Hmmm. Perhaps it’s time for another cross-border adventure since Guy practically drinks the stuff! While I’m at it, I could stock up on more of that fresh chèvre cheese from Sage Farm Goat Dairy. Sisters Molly and Katie sure know how to make the best of that little herd of Alpine dairy goats.The cheese and hot sauce were treats we bundled up to take home to Montreal.
But one thing we ate on the spot was WoodBelly Pizza made from scratch with Vermont flour. After all the toppings are tossed on, it’s put into a mobile wood-fired oven with one goal in mind: “To make damn good pizza”. How cool is that? And imagine munching on freshly made pizza prepared with local cheese and farm herbs, while listening to Soul Project NOLA. The band travelled all the way from New Orleans, to perform its fusion of soul, funk and jazz. Musical heaven on earth, surrounded by trees and a backdrop of mountains.
Back home, I felt replenished and relaxed. To re-create that “healthy environment” I tried a new tahini salad dressing recipe for supper that same evening (promise to share in another post) and stepped up my yoga practice.
How do you create a “healthy environment” in your own daily life?
*** My definition of a “healthy environment” is when we try to incorporate wellness in our everyday lives by taking care of ourselves: our health, our mind and our body.