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Secret Agent: Sarah Fidler

Sally Pollak Sep 11, 2018 10:00 AM
Matthew Thorsen
Sarah Fidler

Age: 30
Occupation: Flavor guru, Ben & Jerry's
Town: Burlington

Since its founding 40 years ago, Ben & Jerry's has produced more than 1,000 flavors of ice cream. Sarah Fidler and her fellow "flavor gurus" at the company's South Burlington headquarters are busy dreaming up even more. "The most important thing when we [create] a new flavor is having a very open mind and seeing how it tastes," she says.

Fidler graduated from the University of Vermont in 2010 with a degree in dietetics and food science, then earned an associate's degree in pastry and baking arts from the Culinary Institute of America in New York City. Using what she calls her "chefmanship skills," Fidler is able to "look at any kind of dish or cocktail that I see out in the world and interpret that in pastry or ice cream."

Her job is an appealing mix of office work and playing with food. "I enjoy the balance," Fidler says. She also enjoys living in Burlington, a city she "fell in love with all over again" when she and her husband were deciding where to begin their careers. "It's home now," she says.

Where to eat ice cream in Chittenden County:

I love being near the water in the summer, so I would absolutely be strolling down the bike path, maybe dipping my toes in the lake. I'd get a chocolate-dipped waffle cone with a combination of Chocolate Shake It and Strawberry ice creams.

Vermont-made foods that are perfect picnic fare, and where to picnic:

Cheese. There are so many excellent options to choose from; you can't really go wrong. Grab a baguette, some fresh berries, and maybe a chocolate bar or some cookies. Add in some local beer, wine or kombucha, and you've got yourself a great little picnic.

My husband and I live in the Old North End in Burlington, so when we want to have a picnic, we love biking down to Waterfront Park. Also, no matter what kind of food you bring, any picnic is awesome at the top of a mountain. 

Where to take out-of-towners for a cocktail and appetizers:

It depends on the time of year. When it's cold outside, I love Hen of the Wood — it's so cozy by the fireplace, and the oysters and cocktails are delicious. Juniper [Bar & Restaurant] at Hotel Vermont is always a great choice, too. We love to sit outside around the fire pit and take in the lake view. For something more low-key, we love taking friends to play shuffleboard at Zero Gravity [Craft Brewery] on Pine Street. There's a great variety of beer, and the food is really tasty.

Vermont authors I recommend:

I tend towards mysteries, so Archer Mayor is a favorite author. Also, I clearly have a passion for food, and I love Molly Stevens' cookbooks.

Vital intel for new Vermonters:

Buy a good pair of winter boots and a proper winter coat. Also, enjoy summer as much as you can while it lasts and spend lots of time outside.