By Evan Johnson
Linda and Ted Fondulas, former owners of Hemingway’s, the once celebrated restaurant in Killington, are reviving their Food Odysseys for Vermont.
The couple’s concept of a “food odyssey” encompasses a variety of food and beverage related activities, including cooking classes, visits to farmsteads, vineyards, orchards, and artisan food or beverage producers, as well as food tastings, wild edible forages, picnics, or restaurant outings.
For over 15 years while Hemingway’s on Route 4 was in operation, wildcrafting and foraging expeditions were held twice a year in the spring and fall. The Fondulases also spent several years escorting clients on Food Odysseys to France and Italy. After holding their Food Odysseys in Europe, the couple decided to hold one close to home in Vermont.
“In retrospect, our Food Odyssey was born as far back as 1994 with our first culinary excursion to Saint Barths in the French West Indies. Back then we called ourselves Global Gourmets,” said Ted.
As young restaurateurs circa 1975 in Woodstock, the Fondulases accepted lamb and beefalo meats from local farmers, their first inroad into what became known later as the localvore movement.
“Along with the major influence from the New England Culinary Institute, we feel we played a minor role in shaping Vermont’s food culture,” said Linda. “Early on at Hemingway’s we offered wine and food tasting menus along with special wine and food events. We also assisted the American Institute of Wine and Food with special events, garnering the support of founder, Julia Child.”
After Tropical Storm Irene the Fondulases literally moved from table to farm—from Hemingway’s table to Newhall Farm, in Reading, They have been co-directors for the past eight years and oversaw the planting of a cold-hardy vineyard plus a hard-cider apple orchard for the production of spirited products.
Linda said, “Vermont’s food culture is ripe for our narrow focus and though we like to travel afar, Food Odysseys can take hold right here in the abundance of our beautiful Green Mountains. We’ll begin with cooking classes in Bridgewater Corners where sampling is de rigueur! Folks can let us know what they want to learn and we’ll go from there.”
Mountain Times co-publisher Jason Mikula displays trays of pasta made in a Food Odyssey workshop with Linda and Ted Fondulas.