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Waitsfield Just Keeps Getting Sweeter 

Side Dishes: Big Picture meets Small Donuts, and Liz Lovely goes nuts

Claudia Becker, owner of Waitsfield's Big Picture Theater & Café, has some pretty big ideas. "We're in Waitsfield," Becker explains, "and Waitsfield is a small town and the Mad River Valley is a small community. It's a small market. Our answer to that is to try to provide many, many different services."

In addition to first-run and repertory films, the Big Picture already offers locally grown "high-end diner fare" for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Wednesday through Sunday, and is home to a bar and an Internet lounge. Starting in mid-February, Becker plans to add something new: tiny, maple-glazed donuts. She's teaming up with Ashley Woods, former co-owner of the defunct Very Small Donut Company, who will make the donuts and bake up other VSDC specialties, such as cinnamon rolls. "It's really a merger between two cool little places," Becker says.

When the donuts are ready to go - the Wednesday before President's Weekend, Becker guesses - the Café will start serving hot meals, freshly brewed coffee and the tiny treats at 8 a.m. Currently, it opens at 10.

For ethical eaters, it doesn't get much more lovely than Liz Lovely cookies. The Waitsfield-based company has been certified vegan since its inception, and since last August, its baked goods - which come in flavors such as "peanut butter classics," "ginger snapdragons" and "mochadamia mountains" - have been certified organic and Fair Trade, too.

According to co-founder Dan Holtz, "We've always used organic and Fair Trade ingredients, but we'd never done the certifications. We finally decided that it's time to dot the i's and cross the t's and make it happen." As far as Holtz knows, he says, his company makes the only triple-certified cookies in the country.

Now, just in time for Valentine's Day, Liz Lovely is trying out a few new eco-friendly products: a line of goodies coated in Fair Trade, organic dark chocolate from Peru. "We have this really cool chocolate-enrobing line. It's huge," says Holtz. But until this year, they'd never used it for anything but their cookies. "We finally got some extra time and realized we can coat almost anything in chocolate . . . organic pretzels, nuts, crystallized candied ginger," Holtz says. His personal pick for chocolate enrobement is Newman's Own sandwich cookies in a trio of flavors.

The goodies will be sold in compostable, corn-based tubs, and will also be available as part of Liz Lovely's "green" V-day gift collection. "We're offering a wide variety containing different quantities of cookies and chocolate-covered stuff," Holtz explains. "Pretty much anything that goes into the gift packaging is reused or recycled, or can be reused or recycled."

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Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Former contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the first Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a... more


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