“Do you floss?” my dentist asked.
“Airryae” I responded, mouth full of dental instrument. He paused, pulling the scrape-y metal tool out of my mouth. I began again.
“I floss every day,” I said, truthfully. I had worked really hard on my flossing game and I was damn proud of myself. I was offended my gums didn’t scream “daily flosser” like I had hoped.
My dentist spoke calmly. “I believe you! Now tell me this: are you a big snacker?” I squinted at him through the protective spit goggles.
“Uh, I guess? What does that have to do with anything?”
Apparently, a lot. Something about pH balance in your mouth. I guess optimum mouth pH gets disrupted every time you eat anything. So he began to warn me against snacking—not like abstaining from unhealthy snacking—but he told me to stop consuming anything between meals, apart from water or black coffee. I nodded and told him I would work on it. As I left the office, I resolved to just floss more often, and keep on keeping on.
But it got me thinking about what I’ve been snacking on lately.
If you know me, you know I try to eat locally produced/made/grown food when possible. Luckily for me, Vermont has some really incredible artisan food producers in its ranks.
And so, I dedicate this list of my favorite Vermont-made snacks to you Dr. Koch.
1. Vermont Smoke and Cure Meat Sticks
The food snob's answer to filling the Slim Jim sized hole in your heart. I ain't about that mystery meat life. Vermont Smoke and Cure discloses where their meat comes from (and its mostly the Northeast) and has a commitment to higher quality than the meat sticks you'd find for sale at the average gas station. The Cracked Pepper and Ancho Pepper flavors are my two favorites.
2. Aqua ViTea Kombucha
Yes, yes, I know you can make your own kombucha. But lets be real, we don't always do everything we are capable of doing. Just because I can cut my own hair doesnt mean I should. (Hey but if you can, more power to you. I've tried pretty recently and failed.)
Whether you've never tried this fermented tea drink, or youre a kombucha connoisseur Aqua ViTea is available throughout Vermont and New York. If youre lucky, you can even find it on tap! There is a whole mess of different flavors, even beyond just in this photo. My personal favorite is the elderberry, but I've heard that a blood orange flavor can be found if you look hard enough.
Yep. Sweet, spicy, salty, and local. Feed the sriracha-phile in you.
I refuse to eat bad peanut butter.
Vermont Peanut Butter is the crunchy-granola peanut butter my heart desires. Free of corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable oils, this peanut butter is just peanuts + salt. And sure, they do make fancy blends with local honey, pure Vermont syrup, and even a chocolately-peanut blend, I stick with plain ol' chunky peanut butter.
Oh and dont even try telling me this isn't a snack. Why else would I keep it in my snack drawer at work? Huh? I thought so.
Okay, calling this one a "snack" miiight be stretching it. Ideally, it would go on a snack, like apple slices, or with a hunk of bread and bit of cheese. But once you've tasted Fat Toad Caramel, you'll get it.
I actually sent my editor a little pot of the vanilla bean flavor and she loved it! So then i had to go back and buy myself one,,,or two. The maple caramel was tasty and would be perfect with a tart green apple. But the salted bourbon flavor, goodness. I had a hard time not pouring that in my coffee. I had some self control and went for a classic caramel + vanilla ice cream dessert. Mmm.
What balanced snack list would complete without a vegetable? Que the kale chip.
Vermont Kale Chips makes 5 different flavors. I wasnt a fan of the Olive Oil and Sea Salt, but when I conducted a taste test at the office, that was the flavor that all my coworkers preferred! I found that flavor too...kale-y, I guess? I really liked the original. It had a salty, nutty, and zesty thing going on, while still allowing me to feel good about a vegetable based snack.