No Taste Like the Present Uncommon local products make great gifts
hances are, it’s happened to you: the experience of unwrapping a f ruitcake or a garbage can of stale, ﬂ avored popcorn, surrounded by watchf ul relatives. The well-meaning but clueless loved one knows you’re a food lover. You nod with an awkward smile, then take a bite and feign satisfaction. But your loved ones don’t have to be part of the problem. Luckily f or them and you, Vermont entrepreneurs are venturing f ar beyond maple candy and preserves these days. We talked to the owners of f our ﬂ edgling f ood businesses to learn more about their stories and their appetizing gif t ideas. Even conﬁ rmed do-it-yourself ers are bound to ﬁ nd something to like among their uncommon products. And if you really miss that fruitcake, you can always make one yourself.
explains Dowsett. “It helps to have a couple of condiments and small things prepared. These saved my butt a little bit. They’re all designed to be multipurpose and real food.” Now Dowsett has applied that same inventiveness to his product line, Wozz! Kitchen Creations, f or sailors and landlubbers alike. As he puts it, the
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large collection is “not your traditional blueberry jam.” Dowsett’s wares include dressings, condiments and vinegars, all designed to be versatile in the kitchen. They’re available online and at a growing number of markets and co-ops around the state, including Healthy Living, the Woodstock Farmers Market and the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center.
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Ever wondered how Prince Albert of Monaco and Rupert Murdoch eat on their private yachts? Warrick “Wozz” Dowsett knows, because he made the f are himself . Dual passions f or sailing and cooking led him to the nomadic life of a seaf aring private chef . And it took serious ingenuity f or him to mimic the ﬁ ve-star f are he had cooked at Sydney hotels on the high seas. “I was in a position where I had to do interesting, real f ood. [But] sometimes it can be three months straight [at sea],”
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COURTESY OF WOZZ! KITCHEN CREATIONS
Wozz! Kitchen Creations, Hardwick. wozzkitchencreations.com
Take, f or instance, Wozz’s North Af rican Chermoula dressing. The aromatic combination of cumin, coriander and lemon is great on salad, but on his website, Dowsett also tells cooks how to use it as a marinade, as braising liquid for lamb or folded into couscous or other sauces. Other eclecticf lavors include Vietnamese green-tea-and-mint dressing, goji-berry-and-miso dressing and Indian-spiced beetroot relish. Many of the products originated when Dowsett and his wif e, Ashley, were living in Australia. When they moved to the States last year to be closer to her native New Hampshire, Dowsett decided to focus on keeping his ingredients as regional as possible. It didn’t hurt that the couple settled in Hardwick, home of the Vermont Food Venture Center and some of the state’s best farms. Despite the presence of many tropical f ruits in his creations, Dowsett has largely succeeded in localizing them. Even the miso paste now comes f rom a Massachusetts company. One group of items Australian fans never got to taste is Dowsett’s salsas. There wasn’t much demand f or salsa in the Southern hemisphere, he says, but “here, it’s the first thing people ask me for.” And it’s no surprise, when the staple is as addictive as Wozz’s puckery kiwi-lime salsa verde. It’s a f resh taste of summer that anyone would appreciate stuffed in their stocking.
NO TASTE LIKE THE PRESENT
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