The Italian-inspired menu at Osteria Pane e Salute celebrates Vermonts seasonal and local ingredients that make it to the wooden farm tables in its cosy dining space. Green-painted walls, vases of blooms and foliage, candle light and a very unique wine selection.
Husband and wife team Caleb Barber and Deirdre Heekin regularly travel to Italy for regional food and wine inspiration; bringing back ideas and flavours to share with their guests and retain the pulse in their passion. The menu reads from antipasti to primi to secondi and is based on slow food principles - simply prepared so that the ingredients shine.
The 4-course $45 Prix Fixe gave us a taste of what was up for grabs on the nights menu. Not before Deirdre talked to us and got a feel of what wine we were wanting. Neither of us know a great deal about Italian wines so an experienced hand was needed.
Our first plates of antipasti were a perfect introduction to the rustic fare this place is known for. A simple caprese salad and prosciutto e mozzarella. Sweet tomatoes, basil from their own vegetable garden and creamy mozzarella drizzled with grassy olive oil.
Both of us end up choosing the same primi dish - pasta con zucchini. Simply prepared and simply flavoured. The pasta was very al dente and had nothing more than zucchini, red onion, grated cacio and olive oil going on.
More flavour made it to the salsiccia - a butterflied roasted Italian sausage served over wilted bitter greens from the home farm. And as much as I loved the rainbow trout with rosemary, red wine grapes, potato and beans, I thought the fish was rather tiny for a secondi dish.
Even the sliver of pear tart - as incredible as it was - didn't make me feel like I'd just eaten four courses. Perhaps my appetite had become accustomed to the over-sized portions of this country?