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Taco Time at Middlebury Chocolates 

click to enlarge Pickled radishes at Middlebury Chocolates - COURTESY OF MIDDLEBURY CHOCOLATES
  • Courtesy of Middlebury Chocolates
  • Pickled radishes at Middlebury Chocolates

Middlebury Chocolates is known for slabs of bean-to-bar chocolate, house-ground espresso and dark sipping chocolate tempered by homemade whipped cream. But through October, the chocolate makers will add two hours to their usual Friday service to serve ... tacos. And, no, they're not the chocolate kind you ate in elementary school.

From 5 to 7 p.m. each Friday, Stephanie and Andy Jackson, the husband-and-wife team behind Middlebury Chocolates, will host a monthlong series of taco nights at their café in Frog Hollow Alley. The small first-come, first-served operation capitalizes on partnerships with area producers, including Elmer Farm, Quill Hill Farm, Monument Farms Dairy, Windfall Orchard and Nitty Gritty Grain Co. of Vermont.

"We want to show what can and should be done to connect fresh local food to customers' plates here in Middlebury," says Stephanie. "We have an abundance of incredible farmers and food producers in the area."

The couple starts by making their own masa dough with High Meadow Yellow corn from Nitty Gritty Grain. The homemade tortillas are the canvas for two nightly taco specials, one of which will be vegetarian. They're both sided with a selection of housemade accoutrements such as pickled jalapeños and beets, Maya Red habañero sauce, apple-and-cabbage slaw, lemon crema, lime wedges, and fresh cilantro. Fillings such as fennel-spiced lamb and Jamaican jerk roasted pumpkin with collard greens will pique the palate. On some Fridays, live local music might complement the mellow sound of the Otter Creek waterfall tumbling outside the café's window.

"Our hope is that restaurants follow suit in pursuing better year-round food integration," Stephanie says. "We ought to be showcasing the amazing locally grown foods in the best possible way."

And for dessert, there's always the house specialty: chocolate.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Not a Choco Taco"

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Julia Clancy

Julia Clancy is a local chef and Seven Days food writer.

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