Like many chefs, Doug Paine of the Hotel Vermont is interested in local, sustainable cuisine. On November 7, the hotel will take that culinary mentality to the next level by hosting Wild About Vermont, a meal showcasing the state’s finest fish and wild game.
Local hunters and fisherman are donating their catches for the meal, and so is the Vermont Fish and Wildlife bureau, who will supply three animals who were injured or killed on the states roads. That’s right: roadkill.
“The idea is to get people connected to their local food sources, but also to showcase the traditions of Vermont,” Chef Paine said in a video from local news affiliate, WPTZ.
What Paine was hinting at is that eating animals injured or killed on the highways is somewhat of a tradition in Vermont. According to Seven Days Vermont, the state’s game wardens keep lists of local residents who are more than happy to take so-called “salvageable” road kill to stock their freezers.
In 2014, Vermont Fish & Wildlife documented 98 bears, 142 deer, and 58 moose killed by vehicles, and wardens are glad to offload some of those animals to residents who view the animals as just another source of meat to feed their families.
If the idea doesn’t quite whet your appetite, you don’t have to eat it. “We're not going to force anyone to eat muskrat if they don't feel like it, but it will be offered to everyone,” said Paine, later adding, “I'm sure 90 percent of Vermonters haven't tried beaver. But I'm sure they would like it if they did.”
Goose, deer, bear, moose, pheasant, and fish pulled from Lake Champlain could also be on the menu, depending on what Vermont Fish & Wildlife can gather. The game will be paired with local and organic vegetables.
A taste of the so-called pavement-to-plate cuisine will cost diners $75, and Paine promises the meal will be delicious. The proceeds from the dinner will benefit the conservation efforts of Vermont Fish and Wildlife and Lake Champlain International. Up for challenging your taste buds? Tickets available here.